[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 September 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.
General Studies – 1
Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues.
1) Closing the gender pay gap is key to achieving social justice, as well as economic growth for the nation. Discuss. (250 Words)
Reference: The Hindu
Why this question:
The question is in the context of rising trends of Gender wage disparity in India as pointed out by the recent report on pay disparity by Oxfam.
Demand of the question:
This question seeks to examine the current gender wage gap scenario prevalent in India. One has to address the question by listing out the various associated causes and suggest suitable measures to overcome them.
Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.
occupational segregation, racial bias, disability, access to education etc.
Structure of the answer:
Start by highlighting the alarming issue of the Gender wage gap and how and why it disfavors women as well as LGBTQ+.
Discuss the following aspects –
What do you understand about the gender pay gap?
Factors leading to gender gap viz. – The primary industries in the state and the opportunities they create; Demographics such as race/ethnicity, age, and education level; Regional differences in attitudes and beliefs about work and gender; and Differences in the scope and strength of state pay discrimination laws and policies.
Facts and reports suggesting the prevalence of it.
Suggest what needs to be done to overcome it. – policy actions, government efforts, awareness, education for women, state-led facilitation for equal pay etc.
Conclude with the importance of gender equity.
India is among the most important countries when it comes to the global economic growth and structural transformation story. However, asymmetries still abound in the country’s labour market. India had slid 28 spots to rank at 140 among 156 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index 2021. The pandemic causing a disproportionate impact on women jeopardises rolling back the little progress made in the last decades—forcing more women to drop off the workforce and leaving them vulnerable to domestic violence.
Gender gap in India:
- Women earned less: Indian women earned, on an average, 48% less compared to their male counterparts in 1993-94.
- National Sample Survey Office (NSSO):The gap declined to 28% in 2018-19.
- Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2020-21:The pandemic reversed the progress and showed an increase in the gap by 7% between 2018-19 and 2020-21.
Gender dap and discrimination
- High gender divide: The gender gap in the country has widened, with only 62.5% of it closedand especially low gender parity in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity.
- Wage gap:Women are paid considerably less than men, with some research showing that the gender pay gap between women and men in the same jobs with equivalent qualifications can be as much as 34%.
- Labour force participation:India, as of 2020, has the lowest female labour force participation rate among South Asian nations, with four out of five women neither working nor looking for jobs.
- High Job loss:According to Oxfam, 17 million women in India lost their jobs in April 2020, with their unemployment rate rising far higher than that among men.
- Lesser opportunities for women:Women were found to be seven times more likely to lose their jobs during the lockdown phases, and if rendered unemployed, were 11 times more likely to remain jobless than their male counterparts.
- Uneven domestic responsibility: Potential reasons for this include the increased burden of domestic responsibilitiesthat Indian women typically had to bear, in terms of not just household chores but extra time needed for elderly care and children’s studies, with schools shut.
- Even pre-pandemic,a Time Use Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office showed that women spent nearly 4.5 hours on childcare and other care-giving responsibilities, in contrast with the meagre 0.88 hours for men.
Measures to overcome gender gap
- Behavioral Nudge:For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. , Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
- Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
- Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
- Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
- Maternity and paternity: . An amendment to the Act in 2017 increasedpaid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks. Though well-meaning, this unfortunately fortifies notions of care-giving being primarily the onus of the woman, and thus reinforces and raises the risk of women being subject to the motherhood penalty.
- An explicit law for mandatory paternity benefitswill go a long way towards equalizing gender roles and reducing employer bias
- Better work conditions:The provision and strengthening of childcare facilities for working mothers are very important.
- The Maternity Benefit Act mandates the setting up of creche facilities for organizations with over 50 employees.
- A better policy measure would be to provide mothers in need of childcare with a monthly allowance. This will also help mothers working from home.
- Political Representation:India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.
Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Indian Judiciary
Q2. How are Supreme Court and High Court judges appointed? Trace the evolution of ‘Collegium system’ of appointment of higher judiciary in India with specific case laws and suggest reforms needed. (250 Words)
Difficulty level: Easy
Reference: Indian Express
Why the question:
Recently, Union Minister for Law and Justice has suggested that the collegium system of appointments to the higher judiciary needs to be reconsidered in view of the concerns about the process.
Key Demand of the question:
To write about the process of selection of SC and HC and evolution of the process of the appointment of Judges to the SC and the reforms that are needed to the existing collegium system.
Structure of the answer:
Begin the answer by briefly describing the process of selection of HC and SC judges.
Show evolution of appointment process. Mention, in brief, the three judges’ cases and NJAC act, 2014.
Next, write about the reasons which call for reforms to the existing collegium system. Opaqueness, lack of accountability, lack of representation from weaker sections, slow pace of appointments and lack of public faith etc.
Suggest reforms to overcome the above issues that are affecting the collegium system.
Mention the importance of an efficient, independent and vigilant judiciary for our democracy.
The judges of the Supreme Court and High Court in India are appointed by President as per article 124(2) and 217 of the constitution. In such appointment, the President is required to hold consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as he may deem necessary for the purpose.
For the first time ever, the Supreme Court Collegium led by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) recommended/selected as many as nine persons at one go to be appointed to the apex court.
Evolution of the process of selection of judges to the Supreme Court in India
Collegium system is the system of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution.
The collegium system has its genesis in a series of Supreme Court judgments called the ‘Judges Cases’. The collegium came into being through interpretations of pertinent constitutional provisions by the Supreme Court in the Judges Cases.
FIRST JUDGES CASE:
- In S P Gupta Vs Union of India, 1981, the Supreme Court by a majority judgment held that the concept of primacy of the Chief Justice of India was not really to be found in the Constitution.
- It held that the proposal for appointment to a High Court can emanate from any of the constitutional functionaries mentioned in Article 217and not necessarily from the Chief Justice of the High Court.
- The Constitution Bench also held that the term “consultation” used in Articles 124 and 217 was not “concurrence”– meaning that although the President will consult these functionaries, his decision was not bound to be in concurrence with all of them.
- The judgment tilted the balance of power in appointments of judges of High Courts in favour of the executive. This situation prevailed for the next 12 years.
SECOND JUDGES CASE:
- In The Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association Vs Union of India, 1993,a nine-judge Constitution Bench overruled the decision in S P Gupta, and devised a specific procedure called ‘Collegium System’ for the appointment and transfer of judges in the higher judiciary.
- It was this judgment that was sought to be reviewed in the petition filed by the National Lawyers’ Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms.
- Underlining that the top court must act in “protecting the integrity and guarding the independence of the judiciary”, the majority verdict in the Second Judges Case accorded primacy to the CJI in matters of appointment and transfers while also ruling that the term “consultation” would not diminish the primary role of the CJI in judicial appointments.
- “The role of the CJI is primal in nature because this being a topic within the judicial family, the executive cannot have an equal say in the matter. Here the word ‘consultation’ would shrink in a mini form. Should the executive have an equal role and be in divergence of many a proposal, germs of indiscipline would grow in the judiciary,” it held.
- Ushering in the collegium system, the court said that the recommendation should be made by the CJI in consultation with his two senior most colleagues, and that such recommendation should normally be given effect to by the executive.
- It added that although it was open to the executive to ask the collegium to reconsider the matter if it had an objection to the name recommended, if, on reconsideration, the collegium reiterated the recommendation, the executive was bound to make the appointment.
THIRD JUDGES CASE:
- In 1998, President K R Narayanan issued a Presidential Reference to the Supreme Court over the meaning of the term “consultation” under Article 143 of the Constitution (advisory jurisdiction).
- The question was whether “consultation” required consultation with a number of judges in forming the CJI’s opinion, or whether the sole opinion of CJI could by itself constitute a “consultation”.
- In response, the Supreme Court laid down nine guidelines for the functioning of the quorum for appointments and transfers – this has come to be the present form of the collegium, and has been prevalent ever since.
- This opinion laid down that the recommendation should be made by the CJI and his four senior most colleagues, instead of two.
- It also held that Supreme Court judges who hailed from the High Court for which the proposed name came, should also be consulted.
- It was also held that even if two judges gave an adverse opinion, the CJI should not send the recommendation to the government.
The current procedure of appointment of Supreme Court judges
In Supreme Court Advocates on Record Association v. Union of India, the Court held that the ‘collegium system’ as it existed before NJAC, would again become operative. But the Court also ordered for the introduction of appropriate measures in order to improve the 21 years old ‘collegium system’ resultantly the memorandum of the procedure is brought into working i.e. now ‘collegium system’ will work as per ‘MOP’.
- The MOP may indicate eligibility criteria such as the minimum age
- in order to bring transparency in the appointment process, the appointment procedure of judges as detailed in MOP ought to be made available on the website of the concerned Court
- The MOP may provide for the establishment of the secretariat for better management of’ collegium system’
- The MOP may provide for an appropriate mechanism to deal with complaints against anyone who is being considered for appointment as a judge
These were the broad suggestions that were given by the Court to enhance the ‘collegium system’ Till date, this mechanism is being followed to appoint judges of the Supreme Court.
Flaws in the Collegium system:
- Credibility of the SC:
- Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises doubts about the credibility of the highest court.
- There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
- Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticized for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
- The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
- The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
- Lack of Transparency:
- Justice J Chelameswar once wrote a dissenting verdict, criticising the collegium system by holding that “proceedings of the collegium were absolutely opaque and inaccessible both to public and history, barring occasional leaks”.
- The lack of a written manual for functioning, the absence of selection criteria, the arbitrary reversal of decisions already taken, the selective publication of records of meetings prove the opaqueness of the collegium system.
- No one knows how judges are selected, and the appointments made raise the concerns of propriety, self-selection and nepotism.
- The system often overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
- Lack of Consensus among Members:
- The collegium members often face the issue of mutual consent regarding appointment of judges.
- The shadow of mistrust between the members of the collegium exposes the fault lines within the judiciary.
- For instance, recently retired CJI Sharad A. Bobde was perhaps the first chief justice to have not made even a single recommendation for appointment as SC judge due to lack of consensus among the collegium members.
- Unequal Representation:
- The other area of concern is the composition of the higher judiciary. While data regarding caste is not available, women are fairly underrepresented in the higher judiciary.
- Delay in Judicial Appointments:
- The process of judicial appointment is delayed due to delay in recommendations by the collegium for the higher judiciary.
- Unfortunately, in some cases, it has not covered itself with glory. There have been cases where the nearest relative of Supreme Court judges has been appointed as a high court judge, ignoring merit.
- During the regime of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, judges far lower in the combined All India Seniority of High Court judges were appointed to SC, and the reason assigned was that those selected were found more meritorious.
- Supreme court is overburdened:
- The Supreme Court did not realise the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
- An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
- NJAC, A Missed Opportunity:
- The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) could guarantee the independence of the system from inappropriate politicization, strengthen the quality of appointments and rebuild public confidence in the system.
- The decision was struck down by the SC in 2015 on the ground that it posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.
Reforms needed in the collegium system:
- The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
- The collegium members have to make a fresh start and engage with each other.
- A transparent process adds accountability that is much needed to resolve the deadlock.
- Individual disagreements over certain names will continue to take place, but care must be taken that the institutional imperative of dispensation of justice does not suffer.
- The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
- The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process.
- In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges.
- Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
- Setting up a constitutional bodyaccommodating the federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
- There should be a fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
- As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
- New memorandum of procedure:
- After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
- The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalised for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.
Till 1973, from appointing senior-most judge of Supreme Court as CJI to gradually developing a ‘collegium system’ through precedence established by the Supreme Court judgements in three Judges’ case to appoint judges of the Supreme Court, the ‘collegium system’ evolved so far has ensured ‘independence of the judiciary’. Further, the working of the collegium system under the protocol of MOP is hitherto the best possible way to appoint a judge of the Supreme Court of India. However, with the need of time, a more efficient system surely needs to be found so that appointment procedure could be fairer and the judiciary will have the best possible minds as judges.
Topic: India – West Asia, India – Israel, India – Africa
3. West Asia is one of the foremost foreign policy challenges for New Delhi. Discuss. (150 Words)
Difficulty level: Moderate
Why this question:
The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of the Mission-2023 Secure timetable.
Key demand of the question:
One must explain in what way West Asia is important to India for many factors like that of the presence Oil, Indian Diaspora etc. And how dealing with West Asia is a challenge.
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:
Explain the current situation of the West in general.
Briefly elaborate on the recent attacks on Saudi and US sanctions on Iran and other Incidents in west Asia and its impact on India.
Explain the strategy of India towards west Asia in a broader perspective. Discuss the interests of India over West Asia.
Then, write about the challenges India Faces while dealing with West Asian Countries.
Quote data suggesting statistics of large number of Indian Diaspora present in West Asia and its significance.
Conclude with need for geo-political stability in the region.
India’s engagement with West Asia has grown with the coming of new government in New Delhi. It has been evident from the high number of exchange of visits and the fact that every interaction has yielded substantial agreements which will take bilateral relations into new areas and reshape ties to make them relevant to contemporary times.
Moreover, the region’s altered security and politico-economic reality, not least because of threats like the Islamic State (IS) or the falling and rising price of oil, has also necessitated new partnerships.
Geopolitics of West Asia: Background
- The landscape is majorly tripolar, with Israel being the Jewish State carved out by colonial powers, Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Arab world and Iran as regional leader of shiite demography.
- Turkey, Syria and Iraq are equally strong contenders.
- Non state actors such as Hamas in the Gaza strip, Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon are influential proxies, while the region is also home to Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda.
Significance of West Asia for India
India has huge stakes involved in the region such as energy, trade and safety of Indian community in the region.
- Energy security: 70 per cent of India’s imported energy needs come from West Asia and this dependence will only increase as the Indian economy continues to grow at 8 per cent or more.
- Security of Indian community :
- India is the largest recipient of foreign remittances from west Asia.
- 11 million Indians working in West Asia. Therefore, stability in the region is high on India’s core agenda.
- To counter radicalization: close cooperation is essential to counter radicalization in India.
- Gate way to central Asia : West Asia is gate way to land locked and energy rich central Asia .
- Geostrategic importance: To reduce the influence of china in west Asia and in Arabian Sea. China is continuously making in road to west Asia through OBOR initiative.
West Asia: Foreign policy challenge for India
- The security situation in West Asia has been continuously deteriorating ever since the onset of the Arab Spring in December 2010.
- The internal security situation in Syria, Iraq and Yemen has gone from bad to worse. The regional powers continue to fight proxy wars on sectarian lines, pumping huge amount of money and weapons to bolster their favoured groups.
- The involvement of extra-regional players such as the USA and Russia in the internal conflicts in West Asia has further aggravated the situation.
- The GCC-Iran rivalry, Shia-Sunni conflict, external intervention in the region, the fear of rise of religious radicalism etc have further contributed to instability in West Asia .
- Terrorism: Terrorism has emerged as the biggest security threat to the region. The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is the most disturbing trend.
- Saudi-Iran rivalry: destabilizing West Asia and influencing West Asian geopolitics.
- Pakistan factor : Pakistan is very close ally of many west Asian countries especially with GCC.
- Shia- Sunni divide may impact internal security of India.
- India’s close relation with Israel is another sore point with west Asia.
- India’s close relation with Iran may antagonize Saudi Arabia. India has to balance its ties with all three regional power in west Asia-Iran, Israel and Saudi Arabia.
Several factors have contributed to this fundamental shift in West Asian strategic thinking.
- First, the structural change in the global energy market with West Asian oil and gas increasingly heading to South and East Asian markets rather than to the Trans-Atlantic markets.
- Second, partly as a consequence of this change in flows and partly owing to the fiscal stress faced by the trans-Atlantic economies, West Asia is looking to India and other Asian powers to step in and offer security guarantees to the region. Many GCC states have welcomed defence cooperation agreements with India.
- Third, in the wake of the Arab Spring and the mess in Egypt and Iraq, the Gulf states find India and China to be more reliable interlocutors than many western states.
- Fourth, under pressure from radical and extremist political forces within West Asia, most states in the region have come to value the Indian principle of seeking and securing regional stability as an over-riding principle of regional security.
India adopted look west policy in 2005. However, the policy did not get much attention since 2005. Recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to number of west Asia countries has the potential to transform our engagement with West Asia.
Thus the West Asian landscape has been touted as a landmine. India’s foreign policy in West Asia is considered a success for maneuvering this complicated network of relations. There is a multidirectional competition and confrontation between the state and non state actors in West Asia. This will be the defining factor of West Asian Geopolitics.
4. What is Abraham Accord? How this peace deal is significant for India. Explain. 10M
Difficulty level: Moderate
Why the question:
The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of the Mission-2023 Secure timetable.
Key Demand of the question:
To write about Abraham Accords and what is its significance to India.
Structure of the answer:
Begin by writing about the Abraham Accords deal signed between Israel and a consortium of Arab States led by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2020 and this how started a new chapter in their diplomatic relationships.
Give a brief context about the turmoil and hostile relationships between the Arab states and Israel in the past and how it impacted India.
Write about the new opportunities for India after the signing of the Abraham Accords in the middle east and west Asia and how it will lead to deepening cooperation with various stakeholders and increase the strategic footprint of India in that region.
Mention the need for a careful and calculated diplomatic balancing act with the multitude of stakeholders in the region with varied interests. The Iranian angle, the Palestinian issues etc must be written in brief.
Conclude with a way forward.
Arab- Israeli Ties historically have been conflict-ridden. Arab countries (including Egypt, Transjordan, Syria and Iraq) – fought their first war with Israel in 1948 after the formation of the state of Israel was announced. The war ended with Israel capturing more territories, including West Jerusalem, which was originally proposed by the UN Partition Plan as a Jewish state. After that, Israel and Arab states fought – the 1956 Suez conflict, the 1967 Six-Day War and the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
The Abraham Accords
- It has been signed recently by the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, under U.S. President Donald Trump’s mediation.
- It marks a new beginning in the relations between the Sunni-ruled Gulf kingdoms and the Jewish state.
- Under the agreement, the UAE and Bahrain would normalise ties with Israel, leading to better economic, political and security engagement.
- The agreements have the backing of Saudi Arabia, arguably the most influential Arab power and a close ally of the UAE and Bahrain. More Arab countries are expected to follow suit.
- This is the first agreement between Israel and Arab countries since the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty.
Importance of Abraham Accords for India
- Economic Cooperation:
- The discovery of new hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean,has renewed territorial disputes between Turkey and Greece, and the Turkish quest for regional dominance has drawn Greece and the UAE closer thereby paving way for India’s participation in the region.
- Regional connectivity:
- Abraham Accords have improved the regional connectivity between the member countries. This regional connectivity has also helped Indians.
- For example, the Indian diaspora in the Gulf can now fly directly from the UAE to Israel or from Israel to Bahrain.
- Technology cooperation:
- Beyond trade, there is potential for India, UAE, and Israel to collaborate in many areas — from space to defence technology.
- The only geopolitical entity in the region:
- The new “Quad” in the Middle East is likely to be India’s only new coalition in the region. The feasibility of a non-ideological engagement with the Middle Eastby bridging the Arab- Israeli rift.
- ‘Extended’ neighbourhood:
- This engagement will open the doorfor extending the collaboration with other regional partners like Egypt, having much more impact in the region.,
- Peace and Stability in West Asia:
- Agreement opens the doors to the first big rapprochement between traditional adversaries in West Asia—Israel and the ArabThis would open new doors for India’s engagement in the region.
- Group formation:
- The Accords have helped in the formation of the I2U2 Group. This group is established by Israel, India, the UAE, and the United States.
Way Forward for India
- India has consistently supported peace, stability and development in West Asia, which is our extended neighbourhood.
- In that context, India welcome the full normalization of ties between UAE and Israel.
- New Delhi will also need to watch ties with Iran, which has slammed the agreement and will see Arab-Israeli tie-ups as a direct threat to its security.
- The deal opens up new opportunities for India to play a much larger role in the regional security and stability in the Gulf, where New Delhi enjoys special relations with both Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.
- This is a region where India has deep stakes in terms of energy supplies and expatriate populations.
- India should use this unexpected opportunity to give itself a bigger role in a region which is its strategic backyard.
- The first step should be to ramp up defence and security relations with UAE.
- Israel is already a very close defence partner. But India should restart joint exercises with UAE, and even Saudi Arabia.
- While some work has already happened, India should leverage its economy for a bigger opening in this region.
- Importantly, India can use its good offices to ensure that any future deal on a regional security frameworkgives adequate space to Iran, which may be weak
- But not so weak that it cannot be a hugely disruptive power if it so chooses. A balance between Shia and Sunni, between Persian and Arab, is key to any sustainable peace.
- In recent years, China has indicated its willingness to play a larger role in this region, and is close to both UAE and Israel and, increasingly, Saudi Arabia.
India should make its moves before this market and this extended neighbourhood come under the Chinese sphere of influence. The deal marks a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East. Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economics will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations.
Importance of the deal for Arab-Israeli relations:
- A landmark agreement:Given that the UAE is only the third Arab country and the first in the Gulf region to establish diplomatic relations with Israel.
- A new chapter in the ties: The UAE-Israel agreement comes after 26 years and if more countries in the Gulf follow the UAE’s lead, it would open a new chapter in Arab-Israel ties.
- Shared interests:The Jordanian-Israeli treatycame after Israel agreed to the formation of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza.
- But in the UAE-Israel deal, Israel has not made any actual concession to the Palestinians as the annexation plan was a threat.
- Although formally committed to an Arab consensus over a two-state resolution of the Palestine cause, the UAE and Bahrain have steadily moved towards having substantive links with Israel in recent years.
- Hence, the ‘Abraham Accords’ entered with the UAE and Bahrain are ‘peace-for-peace’ deals without any physical quid pro quo by Israel.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
5. Explain what is monetary policy and how it is different from Fiscal policy. What explains the divergence between the RBI and govt on monetary policy in recent times? (250 Words)
Reference: Indian Express
Why the question:
While in recent times, the government has emphasised growth. RBI is focused on containing Inflation, thus creating divergence.
Key Demand of the question:
Discuss what monetary policy is and its relationship with fiscal policy and draw the differences and comparisons and the reasons for the divergence.
Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate them with relevant associated facts.
Structure of the answer:
Monetary policy is the control of the quantity of money available in an economy and the channels by which new money is supplied.
Discuss the concept of monetary and fiscal policy in detail.
Discuss its objectives.
Draw a comparison of it with that of monetary policy. Suggest the reason for the divergence between the two in detail.
Conclude with how to address the divergence.
Monetary policy refers to the policy of the central bank ie Reserve Bank of India, in matters of interest rates, money supply and availability of credit.
In short, Monetary policy refers to the use of monetary instruments under the control of the central bank to regulate magnitudes such as interest rates, money supply and availability of credit with a view to achieving the ultimate objective of economic policy.
Fiscal policy refers to the use of government spending and tax policies to influence economic conditions, especially macroeconomic conditions, including aggregate demand for goods and services, employment, inflation, and economic growth. In simple terms, it is an estimate of taxation and government spending that impacts the economy. It is the guiding force that helps the government decide how much money it should spend to support the economic activity, and how much revenue it must earn from the system, to keep the wheels of the economy running smoothly.
- The core policy concern is what to prioritise: economic growth or controlling price rise. The latter cannot be done without hurting the prospects of the former.
- The Govt wants high growth as elections approach, but the RBI must, by law, act to check rising prices.
- India’s GDP growth rate had been decelerating sharply over the three years leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic. It decelerated from more than 8% in 2016-17 to less than 4% in 2019-20.
- By late 2019, inflation started creeping up. Then, in March 2020, came the Covid-induced nationwide lockdown
- Almost instantly, India’s faltering GDP came to a standstill. The economy started contracting. The RBI responded by cutting interest rates sharply in order to limit the economic contraction and continued to stay put in order to fuel the recovery.
- The trouble was, inflation never gave up. It continued to stay above the RBI’s target rate of 4% for many months. This trend worsened in May 2021, when it started staying outside RBI’s comfort zone of 6%. RBI continued to ignore this inflation because it was prioritising economic recovery and did not want to stall it. Between May 2021 and March 2022, inflation stayed around or above 6%.
- Then came the impact of the war in Ukraine. It sent inflation beyond 7%. In April 2022, inflation hit the 7.8% mark
Divergence between monetary and fiscal policy
- Tighter money policy undermining growth: From May 2022 onward, the RBI started raising the interest rate because by then it was clear that inflation could no longer be ignored, and that, if not contained, it would undermine India’s economic recovery.
- It is noteworthy that the RBI’s main legal mandate is to maintain price stability. It must, by law, keep inflation at 4% with a leeway of two percentage points either side in any particular month.
- But then, these actions by the RBI — and more rate hikes are in store — will drag down economic growth.
- Unemployment and poor man’s inflation: The government is struggling to deal with massive and widespread unemployment. While in percentage terms GDP growth rates look rosy, the truth is that in real terms the economy is barely out of the contraction it witnessed during the Covid pandemic.
- Unemployment has been a concern since 2017, when it hit a four-decade high.
- Dilemma: If RBI continues to tighten monetary policy, it will weaken economic recovery at a time when growth is already faltering and unemployment is already quite high.
- If RBI ignores inflation then it hits the poor immediately without necessarily guaranteeing that growth and unemployment will be resolved.
Fiscal policy vis-a-vis monetary policy
- Fiscal policy, along with monetary policy, plays a crucial role in managing a country’s economy.
- The government uses both monetary and fiscal policy as macroeconomic tools to meet the county’s economic objectives and manage or stimulate the economy.
- Monetary policy is concerned with the management of interest rates and the total supply of money in circulation. It is generally carried out by the RBI.
- Fiscal policy, on the other hand, estimates taxation and government spending. It should ideally be in line with the monetary policy, but since it is created by lawmakers, people’s interest often takes precedence over growth.
- Monetary policy seeks to spark economic activity, while fiscal policy seeks to address either total spending, the total composition of spending, or both.
- Monetary policy is more of a blunt tool in terms of expanding and contracting the money supply to influence inflation and growth and it has less impact on the real economy.
- Both fiscal and monetary policy play a large role in managing the economy and both have direct and indirect impacts on personal and household finances.
Fiscal policy is an important constituent of the overall economic framework of a country and is therefore intimately linked with its general economic policy strategy. Monetary policy and fiscal policy together have great influence over a nation’s economy, its businesses, and its consumers. Thus, they must complement each other for a stable and growing economy of a country.
General Studies – 4
6. Apart from intellectual competency and moral qualities, empathy and compassion are some of the other vital attributes that facilitate civil servants to be more competent in tackling crucial issues or taking critical decisions. Explain with suitable illustrations. (Answer in 150 words) 10
Difficulty Level: Tough
Why the question:
The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2023 Secure. This was asked in UPSC 2022 GS4.
Key Demand of the question: To write about how universal values like empathy and compassion are much vital in tackling crucial issues.
Structure of the answer:
Start by describing intellectual competency, empathy and compassion.
First, Write about how intellectual competency is very much important for a civil servant while tackling crucial issues. Give examples.
Then, mention how moral qualities like empathy and compassion also play a vital role in understanding issues.
Substantiate the above with examples.
Conclude the answer by giving a balanced opinion.
Morality and ethics have grey areas and at times it is impossible to overcome the dilemma as either choices would lead to moral turpitude. Yet, values such as compassion, empathy, honesty and integrity help in aiding us to take the right decisions. To act or not to act is a challenge and the above values can guide one better.
To put oneself in the shoes of others to understand their sufferings is what a civil servant must do. For instance, Gandhiji when he came to South Africa could not go back seeing the plight of Indians and pledged to fight for their cause. This is how one can develop empathy and compassion.
Empathy and Compassion
Empathy means feeling the emotions of another person. It’s not only an awareness of those emotions, but an understanding. It’s a visceral, automatic reaction that happens in both our brains and our bodies – activating certain nerves and causing parasympathetic reactions we aren’t aware of. It’s similar to compassion in this way, but that’s where the comparison of compassion vs. empathy ends.
Compassion takes empathy and sympathy a step further. When you are compassionate, you feel the pain of another (i.e., empathy) or you recognize that the person is in pain (i.e., sympathy), and then you do your best to alleviate the person’s suffering from that situation. Thus, the emphasis here is on action and wanting to help.
When you’re compassionate, you’re not running away from suffering, you’re not feeling overwhelmed by suffering, and you’re not pretending the suffering doesn’t exist. When you are practicing compassion, you can stay present with suffering.
Mother Teresa came all the way from her homeland to India and dedicated her life in the service of others. She chose to give up her life in a foreign land and came here to take care of the downtrodden and those discarded from the society. The two emotions that guided her were empathy and compassion.
A public servant must possess all the three qualities depending on situation. Public servants are meant to serve and this requires developing a humanistic outlook and to go out-of-the way. These qualities ensure that the public servants act sensitively and interpret the rules so as to advance public interest. This is all the more important in a country like India where most the citizens are not aware of their rights and obligations owing to their socio-economic conditions rather than out of ignorance. In their absence, the administration will become mechanistic, rigid and ineffective.
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