[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 July 2022

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.

 

1. The Latin American revolution produced great men of vision. Foremost among them was Simon Bolivar, celebrated as liberator of the great continent. Bolivar had in mind the vision of a republican federation embracing all Units of South America. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the contributions of Simon Bolivar to Latin American independence.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving brief description of Simon Bolivar – who is known as The Liberator.

Body:

First write about the political philosophy of Simon Bolivar and that penned two political treatises—the Cartagena Manifesto and the Letter from Jamaica.

Next write about his military achievements – encouraging the people of South America to rebel against Spanish colonial rule, leading multiple expeditionary forces against the Spaniards, liberated territories etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising that his contributions earned him the epithet – The Liberator from the Latin American people.

Introduction

Simon Bolivar lived a short but comprehensive life. History records his extraordinary versatility. He was a revolutionary who freed six countries, an intellectual who argued the problems of national liberation, a general who fought a war of unremitting violence. He inspired extremes of devotion and detestation. Bolívar was a product of the Enlightenment.

To liberal historians he was a fighter against tyranny. Marxists interpret him as the leader of a bourgeois revolution. Modern revolutionaries see him as a reformist who secured political change but left the colonial heritage of his continent virtually intact.

Body

Political treatises by Simon Bolivar

  • Cartegena manifesto: Prior to the document’s publication, Bolívar had been an officer in the Venezuelan army. The First Republic, however, was defeated due to a number of movements that confronted and exploited each other such as the royalists who fought for the old order, the supporters of independence who fought for creole supremacy, and the pardos, blacks, and slaves who fought for their liberation.
    • The Cartagena Manifesto was written by Simón Bolívar during the Colombian and Venezuelan War of Independence, after the fall of the First Republic.
    • In Cartagena Manifesto, Bolivar outlined a framework that would prevent New Granada from suffering the fate of Venezuela since the territory reproduced the prevailing pattern of colonial dissent from loyal juntas to independent governments.
  • Letter from Jamaica: Letter from Jamaica, written by Bolívar in 1815 while in exile in Jamaica in which he articulates his desire for Latin American unity and his vision of republican government.
    • One of Bolívar’s most important pieces of writing and a landmark of Latin American political theory, the Letter from Jamaica revealed both Bolívar’s passionate commitment to independence for Spain’s Latin American colonies as well as an illiberal proclivity for oligarchical rule.

Military achievements of Bolivar

  • Spanish America’s independence movement started around 1810, when the first official declarations were asserted and battles were fought, the seeds for independence were planted about 20 years prior.
  • He envisioned independent countries brought together under a Pan-American entity.
  • Young Bolívar moved to Spain in 1799 after the deaths of his parents.
  • Bolivar returned to Europe in 1803 from Venezuela and kept company with Napoleon. Bolívar returned to Venezuela in 1807. When Napoleon named Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain and its colonies, which included Venezuela, Bolívar joined the resistance movement.
  • The resistance group based in Caracas gained independence in 1810, and Bolívar travelled to Britain on a diplomatic mission.
    • The fight for control of Caracas, Venezuela and most of South American continued on back home.
    • Finally, Bolívar returned to Venezuela and began a campaign to wrest control of that country from the Spanish.
  • He and his followers invaded Venezuela on May 14, 1813; this marked the beginning of his “Campana Admirable” (Admirable Campaign), which resulted in the formation of the Venezuelan Second Republic later that year.
  • Bolívar was hailed as El Libertador (The Liberator), though civil war soon erupted in the republic, forcing him to flee to Jamaica and seek foreign aid.
  • There he wrote his famous “Letter from Jamaica,” detailing his vision of a South American republic with a parliamentary setup modelled after England and a life-long president.
  • His idea of being a nation’s chief who could not be removed from power would be heavily critiqued by other leaders and intellectuals.
  • Gaining support from Haiti, Bolívar returned to his home continent and became involved in a number of military battles, eventually able to claim several territories.
  • 1821 saw the creation of the Gran Colombia, under Bolívar’s leadership. This federation included much of what is now Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador.
  • Further manoeuvres saw him named Dictator of Peru in 1824, followed by the creation of Bolivia in 1825.

 

Conclusion

Bolívar left his mark on history by leading independence movements in five countries in South America, despite the fact that he did not manage to create a well-established government or any type of Pan-American entity. Geography, not Bolívar, ultimately dictated the degree of cohesion between nations.

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. What is Colonialism? Trace the patterns of colonization in Africa in the late nineteenth century. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about colonialism and pattern in which Africa was colonised.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining Colonialism.

Body:

First, write about major features of Colonialism.

Next, write about the Colonisation of Africa – late as 1880 only 20 per cent of Africa had come under European rule. With the spread of the Industrial Revolution to other countries of Europe rivalries increased as did the search for colonies. The emerging industrial powers looked for a place in the sun. A continent of over 28 million square km was partitioned and occupied by European powers by a combination of two strategies, treaties and conquest.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing the outcome of Colonisation.

 

Introduction

Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony, and often between the colonists and the indigenous population.

Body

Background

  • African continent was known by the name of Dark Continent till its interior areas were explored in the 19th
  • Difficult terrains, non-navigable rivers and other such geographical features ensured that colonialism had a late entry in mainland Africa and was restricted for a long time to Coastal Africa.
  • In the 19th century, publications of the expeditions made by individual explorers raised the interest among the Europeans.
  • These publications included the accounts of the explorers who detailed the wealth of the Central Africa. They were able to chart the courses of important rivers like Congo. The navigability of rivers and knowledge of their course implied that the European companies and troops could now reach into the interiors and transport out the mineral wealth to the coasts for further export.

Colonization of Africa

  • King Leopold II of Belgium patronized the explorers and was the first to establish a colony in central Africa. In 1876, he had brought Congo under his control and managed it as his private colony (Congo was renamed as Congo Free State in 1885).
  • His success raised the interest of other European powers and they entered into a quest for colonies in Africa.
  • After colonization of Congo, the Scramble for Africa began. By 1914 whole of Africa was scrambled among Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal, except for Abyssinia (where the Italians were defeated by the nationalists in the 1876 Battle of Adowa), and Liberia.
  • There were many squabbles among the European powers for territory and trading rights in Africa.
  • French and British interests collided in Egypt and Sudan. Belgium opposed an agreement in 1884 signed by Britain and Portugal, demarcating their areas of influence, as it would have resulted in denial of sea access to Congo.
  • Finally, the overlapping claims of European colonists were resolved through negotiations in different conferences.

Berlin conference and sphere of influence

  • Niger river Valley was divided among the British and the French with the Lower Niger becoming a protectorate of Britain and the Upper Niger a protectorate of France.
    • Niger river was made free for ships of all signatory nations.
  • The British agreed to French colonization of Tunis. Spain was awarded coastal area of present-day Western Sahara.
  • Also, the European powers promised to take steps for welfare and development of the Africans. The conference vowed to end Slavery by the Black and Islamist powers and this was to be ensured by each colonial power in their sphere of influence.
  • It was decided that the Congo Free State will be governed by the International Association for Exploration and Civilization of Central Africa.
    • This association was setup by King Leopold II of Belgium and thus Congo was recognized as a private colony of King Leopold II (to be taken away from him by the Belgium government in 1908)
    • Freedom of trade and navigation for all was guaranteed in the Congo River Valley.
  • Germany entered the scramble for Africa after unification of Germany in 1870. From 1882 to 1884, Germany was able to colonize South West Africa, the Cameroons and Togoland in Equatorial Africa and German East Africa.
  • Italy, like Germany was a late entrant. It failed to colonize Tunis because the French took control of it in 1881. It succeeded in colonizing Eritrea in North Eastern Africa. Through various treaties Italy acquired Eastern Somaliland in 1880s.
    • Abyssinia (Ethiopia) lay between Eritrea and Eastern Somalia. Italy failed to colonize it and was defeated by the nationalists in 1896. I

Conclusion

Colonialism in Africa brought along with-it trading merchants, businessmen, missionaries, military and administrative officers. Many of them settled in Africa due to attractions of plentiful arable land and profits from trade. The missionaries stayed on and established Christian institutions for propagation of their religion. Thus, today we see many African countries divided into Muslim and Christian dominated regions. The European settlers were elites in Africa and they enjoyed luxuries of living, which they could not afford back home. The European settlers, like the Boers in South Africa, became wealthy and powerful in Africa. They controlled the government and denied Africans any political right. In almost every colony, the lands of Africans were taken away for cultivation and mining by settlers with Blacks working as slaves.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

3. Discuss the impact the elevation of Droupadi Murmu, as the first tribal women to be the President of India will have on social justice and assimilation of Adivasis. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintIndian Express

Why the question:

Former Jharkhand Governor and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Droupadi Murmu was elected the 15th President of India, the first tribal woman to be elected to the position and the youngest as well.

Key Demand of the question:

To write the impact on social justice and inclusion due to the election of Droupadi Murmu.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the historic moment of a tribal women being elected to the highest office in the country.

Next, write impact this can have on the social justice and inclusion of Adivasis. Cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to achieve inclusivity.

 

Introduction

There is much to celebrate in the election of Droupadi Murmu as the 15th President of India in the Amrit Mahotsav year of independence. In Murmu, the country not only has a Santhal tribal woman as the head of the state but also a leader from one of the country’s poorest regions. Her rise from the tribal lands of western Odisha to become the first citizen is a glowing tribute to the success of Indian democracy.

Body

Background

  • A Santhal tribal by birth and a resident of Odisha, Droupadi Murmu personifies resilience and strength. She may hardly appear as a risk-taker, but that’s exactly what she has been throughout her life.
  • Murmu started her career with a government job, as a teacher at the Shri Aurobindo Integral Education and Research Centre in Rairangpur, Odisha. She went on to become a junior assistant in the state irrigation department.
  • But she soon found her calling in public life and she quit a secure government job to successfully contest a councilor’s election in 1997.
  • She was elected to the Odisha assembly and went on to become a minister of state (independent charge) for commerce and industry and the fisheries and animal resources development minister. She won two consecutive assembly polls and then lost two successive state elections in 2009 and 2014.

Impact of elevation of Draupadi Murmu as President of India

  • A fair stake in power for all is a national goal for good reason and every sign of progress on this must be celebrated.
  • It should also cue some reflection on inclusion. At a time when 1.3 billion Indians are marking Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, a daughter of India hailing from a tribal community born in a remote part of eastern India has been elected our President
  • She has emerged as a ray of hope for our citizens especially the poor, marginalised and the downtrodden.
  • Her win will be a milestone in the direction of fulfilling the resolve of uplifting the last person in the queue and empowering the tribal community.

Conclusion

For our politics to mature, however, mass empowerment must follow. And we mustn’t lose sight of how far we are from a fair equilibrium of power sharing. Although the election of a tribal women from the poorest regions of India is surely a factor that can lead to assimilation of all adivasis into the development fold.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4. Innovation is the cornerstone of sustained economic growth and prosperity. Evaluate the various government measures aimed at promotion of innovation in the country. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

Karnataka has bagged the top rank in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022, which determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national level. The State has held this position, under the Major States category, in all three editions of the Index so far.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of innovation and performance of government schemes aimed at boosting innovation.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about level on innovation in the country by citing a statistic.

Body:

First, highlight the significance of Innovation system; Innovation is important to the advancement of society. Innovation helps solve problems, especially as the world’s problems continue to evolve. New and innovative products/technologies have increased the standard of living and provided people with opportunities to improve their lives. Give examples to justify their significance.

Next, explain the measures taken by the government in this direction. Evaluate their successes and limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward on how to overcome the limitations.

Introduction

Karnataka has bagged the top rank in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022, which determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national level. The State has held this position, under the Major States category, in all three editions of the Index so far.

Pointing out that India’s average innovation score is arguably insufficient, given the country’s ambitious targets to be named among the top 25 nations in the Global Innovation Index, the report by the government think tank has recommended measures, such as increasing Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GDERD), promoting private sector participation in R&D and closing the gap between industry demand and what the country produces through its education systems.

Body

Need for innovation and role in economic growth

  • Creation of new products and services people need: Innovation creates new products and services in response to unmet needs and demands in the market. Innovation enables access to products and services that people require in order to be productive.
    • Products like Jaipur foot emphasise the importance of innovation as tool to further socio economic development of marginalised g. Jaipur Foot, prosthetic limb which was invented in Jaipur in 1968, is credited with changing thousands of lives all over the world, especially known for helping people in under privileged and downtrodden countries rampaged by war, terrorism and disease.
  • Innovation contributes to economic growth: New innovative businesses hire employees. Thus, Innovation creates jobs and these economic opportunities uplift and support communities through increasing the quality of life and overall standard of living. The entrepreneurial innovation like new age Cab aggregators like OLA and Uber provided new job opportunities to people. They helped in increasing the wages which Cab drivers receive thus raising economic status.
  • Socio –Economic empowerment: Innovative products also can help in goal of empowerment of people who are at margins of societyg. innovations like Smokeless Chulha can help in reducing the Indoor air pollution (IAP) which improves health of women. Innovative products like Water ATMs also help in reducing the burden on women in areas where accessibility of safe drinking water is a problem.
  • Policy Innovations: In governance context, more so in developing countries policy innovation can improve socio-economic status of targeted beneficiaries.
    • For example, innovative products like Kisan Credit Cards help farmers to avoid informal lending which have usurious interest rates.
    • Policy innovations like Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA), a trained female community health activist selected from the community itself and accountable to it has been credited with improving social indicators like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Mother Mortality Rate (MMR).
  • Innovation promote efficiency: Innovation promotes efficiency through reduction in time taken as well as cost of doing business or in general any other non- commercial activity. Innovation thus can lead to large socio-economic benefits it can help in reducing public expenditure which can be better utilized elsewhere. Use of innovative mobile technology and biometric authentication can improve efficiency in service delivery; reducing leakage, reducing chances of fake beneficiary etc. Innovative mobile application can provide solutions in improving service delivery.

 

Measures needed

  • Fostering an environment where innovation flourishes and a knowledge economy is built, is the key idea. Hence, the policy should have a balance.
  • It should encourage patenting and at the same time ensure that patentability of a product/process does not deter further innovation and progress.
  • Intellectual Property must not be about patents on paper but dearth of application in reality. T
  • The organisations such as CSIR and others must be encouraged to work upon socially useful applications of their patents.
  • Support for innovation has to be accompanied with instruments that guard local companies against the misuse of market power, coercive bargaining and aggressive acquisition strategies.
  • India needs to spread awareness on IPR in public and for its traditional industries to enable fair monetisation of IP Rights.
  • It needs to safeguard its patents, copyrights and traditional knowledge by ensuring easy IPR rules.

 

Conclusion

India today needs powerful innovation ecosystem like research institutions; it should also include idea incubators, accelerators, technology parks, a robust intellectual property rights regime, balanced regulatory systems, and strategically designed standards. India’s spending on R&D in terms of percentage of GDP has been stagnant at 0.6 to 0.7 per cent in the last two decades. It needs to increase spending on R&D in commensuration with its growing needs. Private sector need to be engaged to foster culture of innovation through higher spending as well as sponsoring innovation through Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR).

Value addition

Overview of IPR and patents in India

  • The issue of IP enforcement has become all the more sensitive considering a bulk of patent applications in India are filed by foreign companies.
  • As an example, the data provided by the Indian IP office in its annual report of 2017-2018 shows the applications filed by foreign applicants were more than double (32,304) compared to those by Indian residents (15,550).
  • The International IP Index 2017 released by the US Chamber of Commerce, compares India’s intellectual property environment with that of 44 other world economies. The index ranked India at a dismal 43rd position out of 45 countries.
  • This shows that challenges to innovation continue to exist in India and, therefore, the government needs to build upon the positive rhetoric of its IPR policy with the substantial legislative reforms that innovators need.

 

National IPR Policy

A comprehensive National IPR policy was adopted in May 2016, to stimulate innovation and creativity across sectors, and provide a clear vision regarding IPR issues. Objectives enshrined in the policy are hereunder:

  • IPR Awareness – Outreach and Promotion – To create public awareness about the economic, social and cultural benefits of IPRs among all sections of society;  Generation of IPRs – To stimulate the generation of IPRs;
  • Legal and Legislative Framework – To have strong and effective IPR laws, which balance the interests of rights’ owners with larger public interest
  • Administration and Management – To modernize and strengthen service-oriented IPR administration;
  • Commercialization of IPRs – Get value for IPRs through commercialization; 6  Enforcement and Adjudication – To strengthen the enforcement and adjudicatory mechanisms for combating IPR infringements; and
  • Human Capital Development – To strengthen and expand human resources, institutions and capacities for teaching, training, research and skill building in IPRs.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Examine the various issues in the implementation of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) which hinders achievement of its stated objectives. How can these be rectified to make bankruptcy resolution transparent and seamless? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

Recent Supreme Court judgment on IBC may weaken insolvency regime. The likely outcome of the latest ruling would be more litigation and delay at the admission stage, enhancing the risks of value destruction in the underlying distressed business

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various issues in IBC and steps needed to resolve it.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) its aims and objectives.

Body:

First, list down the various features and achievements of IBC since its introduction.

Next, write about the various limitations in the performance of IBC.

Next, write about the reform that is needed to ensure that IBC performance leads to strengthening of its supporting role in capital formation and economic growth of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The game-changing IBC law made its debut in 2016, in the form of India’s Insolvency and Bankruptcy (IBC) Code, which allowed companies an easy and time-bound exit. The IBC effected a tectonic shift in the way lending was perceived. At the start of its implementation, a default as small as ₹1 lakh could lead to insolvency proceedings being initiated by the affected creditor. This gave creditors the confidence that borrowers, especially promoters, would take their debt obligations seriously.

Body

Success of IBC Code

  • The IBC has initiated a cultural shift in the dynamics between lender and borrower, promoter and creditor. It played a critical role in reshaping behaviour of borrowers.
  • Before enactment of the IBC, the recovery mechanisms available to lenders were through Lok Adalat, Debt Recovery Tribunal and SARFAESI Act.
    • While the earlier mechanisms resulted in a low average recovery of 23%, the recoveries have risen to 43% under the IBC regime.
  • Since enactment of the IBC, India significantly improved its ‘Resolving Insolvency’ ranking 108 in 2019 from 134 in 2014 where it remained stagnant for several years.
  • India won the Global Restructuring Review award for the most improved jurisdiction in 2018.
  • An IMF-World Bank study in January 2018 observed that India is moving towards a new state-of-the-art bankruptcy regime.
  • Insolvency law has led to stability in financial systems.
  • Recovery through the IBC was about Rs 70,000 crore in fiscal 2019 twice the amount recovered through other resolution mechanisms such as the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Securities Interest Act, and Lok Adalat in fiscal 2018.
  • The recovery rate is also twice the liquidation value for these 94 cases, which underscores the value maximisation possible through the IBC process.

Issues persisting

  • In its initial years, the IBC faced teething problems and it was expected that with the passage of time, these will be resolved and its functioning will improve.
  • However, according to the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) newsletter for January-March 2022, 7% of all the cases admitted for the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) since 2016 that have been closed, 11% have been withdrawn, about 14 % settled, 30% liquidated and 9% resolved (wherein a resolution plan was approved).
  • Data released by the IBBI shows that the resolution rate of cases under CIRP is rather low and that the number of cases seeing liquidation are three times more than those being resolved.
  • Thus, it is clear that the CoC and courts have been bottlenecks for the IBC’s success.
  • Banks, especially those in the public sector, are unable to take pragmatic decisions as any risk-taking that could potentially yield a low rate of dues recovery in the short term may be subjected to vigilance inquiries and audits.

Measures to be taken

  • Freedom to banks: Allow banks to take bold decisions and not create an environment where they limit their decisions to choosing the ‘L1’ or lowest possible haircut quote in fear of future trouble.
    • Most importantly, banks need to be freed of this regulatory overhang so that they can take bold measures for restructuring.
    • To achieve this, bankers should be protected for bona fide decision-making during the resolution process, based on a premise like the ‘business judgement’ rule available for board directors in many countries.
  • Written plea: Also, given that most of the delay occurs at the stage of case admission, it is worth making applications for admission under sections 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC disposable on a written plea rather than on oral arguments.
  • Further, one could identify provisions under the IBC where courts are mandated not to adjudicate but only administrate.
    • But concerns will remain over the expertise of commercial court judges to decide on such matters.
    • Commercial courts need fresh talent with an understanding of business for proper decision-making.
  • The insolvency litigation procedure should aim at reducing the duration of the process and also case volumes, so as to reduce uncertainties that result.
    • This can be done by shortening the window within which a party must lodge a claim, whether it is an initial challenge or an appeal, which elsewhere is often shorter than in other civil or criminal litigation.
    • In France, it is usually 10 days; in 2021, through insolvency and restructuring law reforms, it extended this further by providing for the full judicial resolution of certain disputes ahead of the confirmation of a restructuring plan by a court.
    • In the same spirit of limiting insolvency litigation, the reform also limits which parties may initiate certain legal actions.
    • These entail court-appointed insolvency practitioners or parties involved in the restructuring process.
  • Another feature that is worth weighing is to either give some adjudicating power to the case’s insolvency professional or appoint a supervisory judge for each case. In France, such judges have exclusive power to authorize important settlements with the insolvent company, some of which also require insolvency court ratification.
    • They are often the first to decide an issue, and though their decisions are subject to challenge at the insolvency court and the latter’s decision can be challenged before a court of appeal, insolvency courts tend to confirm the orders of supervisory judges.
      • Most litigants expect they would need to escalate their case to a court of appeal to effectively challenge a supervisory judge’s decision, which is not easy.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, we need a serious rethink on how to design a suitable insolvency ecosystem for India amid our existing challenges of limited court capacity and high regulatory cholesterol. Whatever the government decides, it is important to act in time before the IBC loses its sheen and stakeholders who looked up to this law as a saviour give up hope and search of a newer regime.

 

Value Addition

About IBC

The IBC was enacted in 2016, replacing a host of laws, with the aim to streamline and speed up the resolution process of failed businesses.

The Code also consolidates provisions of the current legislative framework to form a common forum for debtors and creditors of all classes to resolve insolvency.

The Code creates various institutions to facilitate resolution of insolvency. These are as follows:

  • Insolvency Professionals.
  • Insolvency Professional Agencies.
  • Information Utilities.
  • Adjudicating authorities: The National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT); and the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT).
  • Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board.

 

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. The need to take actions to sustain soil and its immediate environment becomes pressing and challenging task in today’s environment as food crises increase across the world. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

Soil is in such a dangerous situation right now that in another 50-60 years, United Nations agencies say that there will be no agricultural soil left to grow anything, because the organic content of soil is in deep decline.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about concerns associated with soil health and steps needed to overcome it.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context regarding status of soil health.

Body:

First, write about the concerns associated with soil health – soil contamination, pollution and degradation, loss of biodiversity etc. Write about the impact of the same.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to preserve soil health in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

For any soil to have agricultural potential, it must have a minimum of 3-6% organic content. But in large parts of the world, it is well below 1%. In fact, records show that across the planet, not a single country has soil with a minimum of 3% organic content. In the last 25 years, an estimated 10% of the earth’s land has become desert.

Body

Importance of soil for sustenance of biodiversity and environment

  • It needs to be understood that soil is living, not dead material. Even now, many agricultural scientists, universities and agricultural departments appear to address soil as a ‘material’.
  • A handful of soil has over 5 billion organisms, sometimes over 7 billion. It is from this microbial life that all other life on this planet has evolved.

Concerns associated with soil health

Man-Made Causes:

  • Overgrazing: It reduces the usefulness, productivity, and biodiversity of the land. India lost 31% of grasslands between 2005 and 2015.
  • Deforestation: A forest acts as a carbon sink. Deforestation releases carbon dioxide back into the atmosphere contributing to the greenhouse effect.
  • Farming Practices: Slash and burn agriculture exposes the state to soil erosion hazards. Heavy tilling and overirrigation disturbs mineral composition of the soil.
  • Urbanization: As urbanization increases, the demand for resources increases drawing more resources and leaving lands that easily succumb to desertification.
  • Climate Change: It may exacerbate desertification through alteration of spatial and temporal patterns in temperature, rainfall, solar radiation and winds.
  • Overexploitation of Resources: Increasing demand for land resources due to issues like overpopulation leaves land vulnerable to desertification.
  • Natural Causes:
    • Natural Disasters: Natural Disasters like Floods, Droughts, landslides results into
      • Water Erosion
      • Displacement of fertile soil.
    • Water erosion: It results into Badland Topography which itself is an initial stage of desertification.
    • Wind Erosion: Sand encroachment by wind reduces fertility of the soil making the land susceptible to desertification.

 

Conclusion

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the workings of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows: (i) Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action. (ii) Ignore the commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action. (iii) Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly. Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it. (250 words) (UPSC 2014)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, mention the facts of the case

Body:

Give the major ethical issues involved along with the stakeholders. Evaluate its pros and cons of the options mentioned above.

Next, write the approach you will take.

Conclusion:

Stress on the importance of emotional intelligence and courage in such cases.

Introduction

The case involves various ethical issues like rogue behaviour of employees and openly defying the authority.  There is also gross injustice to the authority premised on false allegations, which can seriously damage the reputation and career of the officer. It is classic case where, good work is disincentivised by fabricated allegations that are grave.

Body

Option 1: Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action

Merits: My explanation will be given and it may clear the doubts in this regard. Since I go               soft on disciplinary action, the allegation may be taken back. It’ll reinstate my reputation. It                 will also show that there is transparency in handling such cases.

Demerits: Going soft on disciplinary action will mean the employees have a leverage over              me and they can dominate me to do anything. It will lead to more inefficiencies amongst them and this is a win for injustice. It will only promote and encourage more inefficiency and   wrongful means to defy authority in future. Giving in to wrong means used by the section of    employees to thwart the enquiry.

 

Option 2: Ignore the commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action

Merits: Doing the duty to maintain departmental efficiency by continuing with the departmental enquiry. I will not give in to wrong means used by the employees. It will show them that nothing can make me afraid or stop me from taking right action. It will become an example for other employees to not do such immoral actions.

Demerits: Not replying would reinforce the allegation. Reputation is harmed and may not be reinstated. May lead to some action upon myself if I don’t explain myself. Transparency and accountability is lost. It shows insensitivity towards issues pertaining to women.

 

Option 3: Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly

Merits: Ensuring effective communication with seniors- honouring lines of authority; will seek their guidance and experience in such matters; taking the seniors into confidence on the matter could prevent/reduce personal harm later.

Demerits: Shows less initiative from my side, especially towards the allegation. Higher ups             may not want to get involved when harassment case is there.

Course of action

One is to gather evidence and prove myself innocent and follow the guidelines in such cases. Second is to reply to the commission regarding the veracity of claims and come clean. Next, I would not go soft on employees and further continue with the disciplinary action. Further, I would seek help of higher-ups and their guidance in this regard. I will keep them in loop regarding every step and also do as directed.

This will lead to better efficiency at work by other employees and set a future precedent for others who try to cause disruption at work. I can also take seniors into confidence and find employees who can vouch for my integrity. It is the most holistic solution with less demerits.

Conclusion

Truth will always prevail and triumph if one is always in pursuit of it. We cannot leave our moral ground even if immoral means are used against us. We can take refuge under truth as Gandhiji said, because it alone will lead to justice and fairness.

 


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