"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents come alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamt yourself to be."
Maharishi Patanjali Yoga Sutra before 2200 years.
Que. Write on the recent history of Sinai Peninsula and the reasons why it is in news.
Ans. The Sinai Peninsula is a triangular peninsula in Egypt. It is situated between the Mediterranean Sea to the north, and the Red Sea to the south, and is the only part of Egyptian territory located in Asia, as opposed to Africa, serving as a land bridge between two continents. Israel invaded and occupied Sinai during the Suez Crisis of 1956, and during the Six-Day War of 1967. By 1982, as a result of Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979( Camp David Agreement), Israel had withdrawn from all of the Sinai Peninsula.
Today, Sinai has become a tourist destination due to its natural setting, rich coral reefs, and biblical history. Mount Sinai is one of the most religiously significant places in Abrahamic faiths.
ISIS launched terror attacks in Sinai in July 2015 that killed about 70 people.
Que. What is disruptive technology? Give ample examples.
Ans. A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Here are a few examples of disruptive technologies:
The personal computer (PC) displaced the typewriter and forever changed the way we work and communicate.
The Windows operating system's combination of affordability and a user-friendly interface was instrumental in the rapid development of the personal computing industry in the 1990s.
Personal computing disrupted the television industry, as well as a great number of other activities.
Email transformed the way we communicating, largely displacing letter-writing and disrupting the postal and greeting card industries. Cell phones made it possible for people to call us anywhere and disrupted the telecom industry.
The laptop computer and mobile computing made a mobile workforce possible and made it possible for people to connect to corporate networks and collaborate from anywhere. In many organizations, laptops replaced desktops.
Smartphones largely replaced cell phones and PDAs and, because of the available apps, also disrupted: pocket cameras, MP3 players, calculators and GPS devices, among many other possibilities. For some mobile users, smartphones often replace laptops. Others prefer a tablet.
Cloud computing has been a hugely disruptive technology in the business world, displacing many resources that would conventionally have been located in-house or provided as a traditionally hosted service.
Social networking has had a major impact on the way we communicate and -- especially for personal use -- disrupting telephone, email, instant messaging and event planning.
E-commerce is disrupting physical departmental stores and malls.
Thus, it is a technology that significantly alters the way that businesses operate. A disruptive technology may force companies to alter the way that they approach their business, risk losing market share or risk becoming irrelevant. Recent examples of disruptive technologies include smart phones and the e-commerce retailing. Clayton Christensen popularized the idea of disruptive technologies in the book “The Innovator's Dilemma” in 1997.
Que. What is "shock therapy" in economics? Critically comment.
Ans. it is a sudden and dramatic change in national economic policy that turns a state-controlled economy into a free-market one. Characteristics of shock therapy include the ending of price controls, the privatization of publicly-owned entities and trade liberalization. Shock therapy is intended to cure economic maladies such as hyperinflation, shortages and other effects of market controls in order to jump-start economic production, reduce unemployment and improve living standards.
Shock therapy can trigger a rough transition while prices increase from their controlled levels and people in formerly state-owned companies lose their jobs, creating citizen unrest that may lead to forced changes in a country's political leadership.
The opposite of shock therapy, gradualism, indicates a slow and steady transition from a controlled to an open economy.
It was implemented in Russia and its erstwhile communist partners in eastern and central europe in 1990's and early last decade.
Que. Differentiate between Bank Run, Bank Panic and Systemic Bank Crisis. What can be the Causes and Remedies?
Ans. Bank run is a situation that occurs when a large number of banks or other financial institution's customers withdraw their deposits simultaneously due to concerns about the bank's solvency. It may be beginning to happen in Greece as rthere is uncertainty about Greece's future in the Eurozone.As more people withdraw their funds, the probability of default increases, thereby prompting more people to withdraw their deposits. In extreme cases, the bank's reserves may not be sufficient to cover the withdrawals. A bank run is typically the result of panic, rather than a true insolvency on the part of the bank; however, the bank does risk default as more and more individuals withdraw funds - what began as panic can turn into a true default situation.
Because banks typically keep only a small percentage of deposits as cash on hand, they must increase cash to meet depositors' withdrawal demands. One method a bank uses to quickly increase cash on hand is to sell off its assets, sometimes at significantly lower prices than if it did not have to sell quickly. Losses on selling the assets at lower prices can cause a bank to become insolvent.
A "bank panic" occurs when multiple banks endure runs at the same time.
A systemic banking crisis is one where all or almost all of the banking capital in a country is wiped out. Something like what happened in 2008 in the USA after the Lehman bankrupcy was filed. The resulting chain of bankruptcies can cause a long economic recession as domestic businesses and consumers are starved of capital as the domestic banking system shuts down.
Several techniques have been used to try to prevent or mitigate the effects of bank runs. They have included government bailouts of banks, supervision and regulation of commercial banks, central banks acting as a lender of last resort, the protection of deposit insurance systems and after a run has started, a temporary suspension of withdrawals.
Que. Why does Raghuram Rajan think that 1929 type of Crash could recur soon?
Ans. In order to comprehend Raghuram Rajan's warning, the causes of 1930's Depression as they were linked to the Stock Crash of 1929 need to be understood.
The 1929 crash brought the Roaring Twenties to a shuddering halt. The crash marked the beginning of widespread and long-lasting consequences for the United States. Businesses found it difficult securing capital markets investments for new projects and expansions. Business uncertainty affected job security for employees, and as the American worker (the consumer) faced uncertainty with regards to income, the propensity to consume declined. The decline in stock prices caused bankruptcies and severe macroeconomic difficulties including contraction of credit, business closures, firing of workers, bank failures and other economic depressing events.
The resultant rise of mass unemployment is seen as a result of the crash. The Wall Street Crash is usually seen as having the greatest impact on the events that followed and therefore is widely regarded as signaling the downward economic slide that initiated the Great Depression. The consequences were dire for almost everybody. It wiped out billions of dollars of wealth in one day, and this immediately depressed consumer buying.
About 4,000 banks and other lenders ultimately failed.
Exuberance on stock markets drove the crisis. According to Raghuram Rajan, same could be happening now also with stock markets going higher by the day with real economy not supporting it and thus financial bubbles building that could eventually take down the real and financial economy with it.
Que. What is the rationale for gender sensitization training for police?
Ans. In order to make police officers behave and act in a gender sensitive manner in cases of violence against women and in the discharge of their duties in general, there is an urgent need to conduct gender sensitization training courses for police. At present, the concept of gender is grossly misunderstood by a large majority of police officers. There is also a lack of proper awareness of the prevailing gender inequalities among police officers. Even if there is awareness, the cult of masculinity prevailing in the police organizations does not easily permit a change in the attitude and behaviour of male police personnel toward women. The stereotypes held by the police about sexual violence/harassment and domestic violence (blaming the victim etc) indicate the general attitude of police towards women. The following findings of a research study about the opinion of male police personnel regarding the role of women colleagues also reflect the attitude of a majority of police officers towards women and the lack of awareness about the concept of gender:-
1. There is no need to integrate women into the mainstream of police. 2. Women police personnel should be given specific tasks related to women and children. 3. Women are not enthusiastic about their jobs. 4. Women may work as cooks in the police mess. 5. Women should escort only female prisoners and not male prisoners. 6. Women should not be engaged in operations against militants, extremists and insurgents. 7. Women police officers are very gentle and are not capable of handling hardened criminals.
In order to remove the prejudices and biases of police officers towards women in general and women victims as well as women colleagues in particular and to develop in them the required professionalism (in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes) for dealing with cases of violence against women more effectively, it is imperative that all State police organizations undertake suitable initiatives, including organizing of training programmes to sensitize the police personnel at all levels. Such biases have serious consequences for morale of women, justice meted out to them, entry of women into police force etc.
Que. Discuss India’s Defense Offset policy, rationale and its advantages.
Ans. The global arms trade is increasingly becoming a two-way process. Instead of the traditional off-the-shelf procurement involving goods/ services being exchanged for money, more and more arms buyers are now demanding that some form of work should also directly flow from the contracts they sign with foreign entities. The flow back arrangement in the contract, widely known as offsets, is usually demanded as a certain percentage of the contract value. Offsets are also demanded in various other forms ranging from traditional counter trade practices (barter, buying goods from the purchasing country of defence equipment) to practices such as co-production, investment, and technology transfer. The purpose for demanding offsets also varies from country to country, depending upon their priorities. While some countries seek offsets in the form of foreign investment and the like for general economic development, others demand technology transfer and a definite work share in the items being procured.
India, predominantly an arms importer country, has evolved its offset policy over the years. Defence Offset Policy will enable creation of local employment, upgradation of technology levels while ensuring substantial increase in both domestic production and export capability. Offset also provides leverage to the domestic industry specifically the SMEs [Small and Medium Enterprises] to enter the sophisticated markets of defence products.
Offset obligations were introduced in 2005 to develop the defence industrial base in the country. It stipulates that for deals worth over Rs. 300 crore, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) has to reinvest 30 per cent of the contract value in the country.
Que. Comment on the role of major powers of the world in Central Asia
Ans. Central Asia is the core region of the Asian continent and stretches from the Caspian Sea in the west to China in the east and from Afghanistan in the south to Russia in the north. Central Asia includes five republics of the former Soviet Union: Kazakhstan (pop. 17 million), Kyrgyzstan (5.7 million), Tajikistan (8.0 million), Turkmenistan (5.2 million), and Uzbekistan (30 million), for a total population of about 66 million as of 2013–2014. Afghanistan (pop. 31.1 million) is also sometimes included.
Central Asia is rapidly changing after the world started taking more notice of this energy-rich region. Already the flow of capital and expansion of trade is triggering large-scale infrastructure, shipment of goods and flow of people across the region.
Owing to its energy resources and economic potential coupled with radicalism, great powers rivalry in the region has also increased. The major powers have responded in many ways to benefit from region’s strategic and energy resources. Russia is the traditional player and wishes to exert political influence. Moscow has strengthened the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and now it is aggressively pushing the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) to keep Central Asia under its stiff economic control.
The main contestant in the region is China, which has been waiting in the wings, since the Soviet collapse, for fully entering into the region with multiple motives. China considers this region as a source of energy and a critical partner for stabilizing its restive Xinjiang province. China has fully used its geographical proximity to the region and while pursuing an ingenious soft-power policy, it has successfully converted every challenge in Central Asia into an opportunity. China has pursued its interest while using the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as a multilateral vehicle for promoting multiple interlocking of economic, security and even cultural ties. In fact, China has rapidly challenged Russian monopoly over Central Asia’s energy exports. Massive infrastructure development including building of pipelines, roads, and railways completed in the recent years are facilitating transport of oil, gas, uranium and other minerals to the Chinese towns. Beijing’s latest Silk Road Economic Belt scheme envisages $40 billion fund for promoting infrastructure, industrial and financial co-operation from Asia to Europe through Central Asia. The countries have quickly pledged support to the ‘Silk Route Belt’ idea for deepening their ancient ties with China. Chinese-led multilateral development institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Shanghai-based BRICS New Development Bank can also be helpful to China.
During an October 2013 visit to Kazakhstan, Chinese President Xi Jinping outlined his vision of a Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB).SREB will encourage economic development in China’s restive Xinjiang region, and will boost Chinese exports to Central Asia. In addition, expanded land transit allows China to diversify its import and export channels, diffusing risk from maritime lanes still controlled by the U.S. The investment in new infrastructure also cements Chinese economic and, some fear, political influence. Part of the SREB vision is the creation of new institutions with a strong Chinese voice, like the AIIB, that could challenge existing U.S.-led alternatives. China has deployed massive diplomatic, military, academic, and business resources to support the realization of the SREB and this synergy of resources gives its vision the best likelihood of success. While the initial focus is economic, over the long term these developments could even pave the way for increased Chinese-led Asian security cooperation.
The US and its allies remained deeply engaged in the region and used it as a valuable supply hub for the Afghanistan war effort. However, against the backdrop of the crisis in Ukraine, the United States is likely to review its Central Asia strategy. Washington, it seems, is getting concerned about the situation in Central Asia. Russia’s standoff with the West, declining oil prices and overall Western sanctions is already having ripple effects on Central Asian economies, especially on the remittances from millions of migrants from the region working in Russia
The West is also worried about uncertainty looming in Central Asia stemming from the succession issue of regional leaders.
Europe is also taking a renewed interest in Central Asia following the crisis in Ukraine. The European Union is now trying to import energy directly from the source to offset fears of disruption by Russia. The EU is considering for the 3,300-kilometer Nabucco pipeline project to import gas directly from Azerbaijan and Central Asian nations to the heart of Europe. The EU has unveiled recently a new “Southern Corridor-New Silk Route” strategy for a multiple road, rail and pipeline links between the Caspian area and Europe.
Central Asia and regional and global security
The region is the northern frontier of the Islamic world hitherto unaffected by fundamentalist wave. There is a major shift to, religious pattern of society, underway in the region. Central Asia is now emerging as the next radical Islamic region. A series of serious explosions and terrorist acts by Islamists have been taking place in Kazakhstan since 2011. The area extending from Chechnya, Ferghana to Xinjiang, comprising 100 million people could form new arc of instability. The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is more entrenched not only in Af-Pak region but in Central Asia as well. The IMU has strong links with al Qaeda and is now expected to get stronger in Afghanistan after the NATO’s withdrawal. Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has heavily recruited more and more Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz. China’s concerns in Xinjiang underscore the gravity of extremist threat including from ISIS.
India’s interests also center around energy, uranium, trade, investment, national security. India “Connect central asia policy 2012” sumps up all these. Our entry into Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in July at Ufa will enable us to some extent to realize these goals.
Que. Discuss the Battle of Waterloo and the impact of it.
Ans. The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday, 18 June 1815, near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. A French army under the command of Napoleon was defeated by the armies of the Seventh Coalition, comprising an Anglo-allied army under the command of the Duke of Wellington combined with a Prussian army.
Upon Napoleon's return to power in March 1815, many states that had opposed him formed the Seventh Coalition and began to mobilize armies. Two large forces assembled close to the north-eastern border of France. Napoleon chose to attack in the hope of destroying them before they could join in a coordinated invasion of France with other members of the coalition. The defeat at Waterloo ended Napoleon's rule as Emperor of the French.
The bicentenary of Waterloo has prompted renewed attention to the geopolitical and economic legacy of the battle and the century of relative transatlantic peace which followed.
The Battle ended the First French Empire and the political and military career of Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the greatest commanders and statesmen in history.
It was followed by almost four decades of international peace in Europe. No further major conflict occurred until the Crimean War. Changes to the configuration of European states, as refashioned after Waterloo, included the formation of the Holy Alliance of reactionary governments intent on repressing revolutionary and democratic ideas. Every generation in Europe up to the outbreak of the First World War looked back at Waterloo as the turning point that dictated the course of subsequent world history. In retrospect, it was seen as the event that ushered in the Concert of Europe, an era characterised by relative peace, material prosperity and technological progress.
Why do we attach "gate" at the end of each scam? It all began with Watergate. Here we go:
The Watergate scandal was a major political scandal that occurred in the United States in the 1970s as a result of the 1972 break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C., and the Nixon administration's attempted cover-up of its involvement. When the conspiracy was scooped up and investigated by the U.S. Congress, the Nixon administration's resistance to its probes led to a constitutional crisis. The term Watergate has come to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included such "dirty tricks" as bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious. Nixon and his close aides ordered harassment of activist groups and political figures, using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The scandal led to the discovery of multiple abuses of power by the Nixon administration.
In India we have so many "gates" like Coalgate, Lalitgate and now Chikki-gate. Needless to say, each one of these "gates" threw up its own Bill Gates!
Que. What do you understand by the term “Youth”? Can we treat it as a social group?
Ans. “Youth” is best understood as a period of transition from the dependence of childhood to adulthood’s independence and awareness of our interdependence as members of a community. Youth is a more fluid category than a fixed age-group. However, age is the easiest way to define this group, particularly in relation to education and employment.
The UN, for statistical consistency across regions, defines ‘youth’, as those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years.
Youth is the time of life when one is young, but often means the time between childhood and adulthood (maturity). Its definitions of a specific age range varies, as youth is not defined chronologically as a stage that can be tied to specific age ranges
Young workers are not a homogenous group. There are certain social groups that face distinct disadvantages which, intersecting with the social exclusion experienced by youth, broaden the challenge of their finding opportunities for decent work.
In general, young women have more difficulty in securing decent work opportunities. Unemployment rates for young women in the Middle East and North Africa are nearly twice as high as those of young men.
The very young in most countries also face difficulty in securing decent work opportunities. Unemployment rates among ethnic minorities tend to be higher.
Que. What is "middle income trap" and how can it be avoided?
Ans. The middle income trap is an economic development situation, where a country which attains a certain income (due to given advantages) will find further growth difficult.The concept was coined in 2007.A country in the middle income trap may lose competitive edge in the export of manufactured goods because wages are on a rising trend. An emerging market brimming with potential really starts growing rapidly, generating growth and prosperity, but as it moves into the middle of the global economic table, growth slows down. Hopes for future wealth diminish. It’s trapped.
For examples of this trend, you might look to Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, or Thailand, countries that saw per capita income stagnate after achieving middle-income status. There are counter-examples, though: consider South Korea and Taiwan, which went from the range of 10% to 20% of US income up to the 60%-70% range with nary a pause.
Avoiding the middle income trap entails identifying strategies to introduce new processes and find new markets to maintain export growth. Ramping up domestic demand is also important—an expanding middle class can use its increasing purchasing power to buy high-quality, innovative products and help drive growth.
The biggest challenge is moving from resource-driven growth that is dependent on cheap labor and capital to growth based on high productivity and innovation. This requires investments in infrastructure and education--building a high-quality education system which encourages creativity and supports breakthroughs in science and technology.
Que. Justify the Draft National Medical Device Policy 2015.
Ans. The objective of the National Medical Device Policy 2015 is "strengthening the Make in India drive by reducing dependence on imports and setting up a strong base for medical devices, especially those with critical implications in terms of affordability and availability of patients". The draft policy, which has been put up on the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) website and communicated to industry bodies and chambers, seeks comments within six weeks, after which a final note will be prepared for Cabinet approval. Medical devices, which are classified as equipment, implants and disposables, are mainly import driven, with nearly 70-80% high-end devices and equipment brought into the country, while the domestic industry manufactures disposables and medical supplies.
The Indian medical devices industry is estimated to be worth around $3 billion a year and is largely import-driven. The industry has been demanding a policy that will reverse their present status of “traders” into “manufacturers.” The emphasis of the draft policy is on the “Make in India” and the thrust is to reduce India’s dependence on imports. The draft policy has been formulated so as to work towards making India a global hub of production and innovation in medical devices. Towards this, it details the various measures and concessions that the union government is keen to put in place to help indigenous businesses to face competition, access foreign markets and find new business partners abroad. In the fourth largest market for medical devices in the world, the domestic producers have only a 25% share.
Over the last many months, there have been complaints about overcharging, with regulators investigating cases where patients have coughed up almost three to four times the landed cost (price at which these are imported) for certain devices like cardiac stents and, hence, sold with huge mark-ups of 250-400%.
In a patient-friendly measure, the draft mentions adopting policies on efficacy and safety testing, and quality control through a 'Made in India' marking (BIS) specific to medical devices in line with global standard.
It proposes creating an autonomous body — the National Medical Devices Authority (NDMA) — pricing control for medical devices by including them under the Essential Commodities Act and, most importantly, floating a separate pricing division in the drug pricing regulator, NPPA.
Significantly, the draft says the government may announce a separate policy for regulating prices of identified medical devices and implement it through a separate medical devices control order. Currently, prices of medicines are notified through the Drug Prices Control Order, by the department of pharmaceuticals.
Que. Elaborate on MERS. Differentiate between MERS and SARS.
Ans. An outbreak of Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) has claimed lives in South Korea. The World Health Organization (WHO) says the new coronavirus appears to be passing between people in close contact. It is the biggest outbreak of Mers, which is similar to the Sars virus, outside the Middle East.
It is a type of coronavirus. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which includes the common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).The first Mers fatality was recorded in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 449 people have now died from the virus.
Mers is a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans. The WHO says that camels are likely to be a source of Mers infection but the exact route of transmission is not yet known. There have been cases where the virus has spread between two people but close contact seems to be needed.
Cases have been confirmed in 25 countries in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. The majority of the cases have been reported in Saudi Arabia. In May 2015, two new countries joined the list: China and South Korea.
Coronaviruses cause respiratory infections in humans and animals. Symptoms are a fever, cough and breathing difficulties. It causes pneumonia and, sometimes, kidney failure.
It is possible the virus is spread in droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. The fact that close contacts appear to have been infected suggests that the virus does have a limited ability to pass from person to person.
Mers is not thought to be very contagious. Up to now, most human cases have been the result of human-to-human transmission in a healthcare setting, the WHO says. How that infection occurs is still not fully understood.
Experts believe the virus is not very contagious. If it were, we would have seen more cases. Coronaviruses are fairly fragile. Outside of the body they can only survive for a day and are easily destroyed by common detergents and cleaning agents.
The greatest global concern, however, is about the potential for this new virus to spread far and wide. So far, person-to-person transmission has remained limited to some small clusters. There is no evidence yet that the virus has the capacity to become pandemic.
Doctors do not yet know what the best treatment is, but people with severe symptoms will need intensive medical care to help them breath. There is no vaccine. As of June 2015, the WHO said about 36% of reported patients with Mers had died.
Experts do not yet know where the virus originated. It may have been the result of a new mutation of an existing virus. Or it may be an infection that has been circulating in animals and has now made the jump to humans.
Coronaviruses are common viruses that most people get some time in their life. Their name comes from the crown-like spikes that cover their surface. Human coronaviruses were first identified in the mid-1960s.Other variants infect many different animals, producing symptoms similar to those in humans.
Sars is thought to have infected more than 8,000 people, mainly in China and South-East Asia. Most coronaviruses usually infect only one animal species or, at most, a small number of closely related species. Sars was different: being able to infect people and animals, including monkeys, cats, dogs, and rodents.
Sars is thought to have infected more than 8,000 people, mainly in China and South-East Asia, in an outbreak that started in early 2003. The illness spread to more than two dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia before the global outbreak was contained. Experts established that Sars could spread by close person-to-person contact. According to the WHO, 774 people died from the infection. Since 2004, there have not been any known cases of Sars reported anywhere in the world.
It's not known exactly how people catch this virus. However, some general measures may help prevent its spread - avoid close contact, when possible, with anyone who shows symptoms of illness (coughing and sneezing) and maintain good hand hygiene.
In the basket of currencies that determine the value of the International Monetary Fund’s reserve asset, the Special Drawing Right (SDR), the following currency does not find a place
a. Euro b. Japanese yen c. British pound d. US dollar
Choose your answer from below:
1. b only 2. c only 3. a only 4. None of the above
Que. What was the background against which the imposition of national emergency should be understood in India? What was the criticism? How justified is it?
Ans. In India, " Emergency" refers to a 21-month period in 1975–77 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi unilaterally had a state of emergency declared across the country. Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352(1) of the Constitution for "internal disturbance", the Emergency was in effect from 25 June 1975 until its withdrawal on 21 March 1977.
It was preceded by turbulence in India for some years. During 1973–75, political unrest against the Indira Gandhi government increased across the country. The most significant of the initial such movement was the Nav Nirman movement in Gujarat, between December 1973 and March 1974. Student unrest against the state's education minister ultimately forced the central government to dissolve the state legislature, leading to the resignation of the chief minister, Chimanbhai Patel, and the imposition of President's rule. After the re-elections in June 1975, Gandhi's party was defeated by the Janata alliance, formed by parties opposed to the ruling Congress party.
Raj Narain, who had been defeated in parliamentary election by Indira Gandhi, lodged cases of election fraud and use of state machinery for election purposes against her in the Allahabad High Court. Shanti Bhushan fought the case for Narain. Gandhi was also cross-examined in the High Court which was the first such instance for an Indian prime minister.
In June 1975, Allahabad High Court found the prime minister guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat in the Lok Sabha. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years.
Strikes in trade, student and government unions swept across the country. Led by JP and Morarji Desai, protestors flooded the streets of Delhi close to the Parliament building and the Prime Minister's residence.
Indira Gandhi challenged the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court. Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer upheld the High Court judgement but she was allowed to continue as Prime Minister. The next day, JP organised a large rally in Delhi, where he said that a police officer must reject the orders of government if the order is immoral and unethical as this was Mahatma Gandhi's motto during the freedom struggle. Such a statement was taken as a sign of inciting rebellion in the country. Indira Gandhi asked President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to issue a proclamation of a state of emergency. The proposal was sent without discussion with the Union Cabinet, who only learnt of it and ratified it the next morning.
Criticism of the Emergency-era may be grouped as:
1. Detention of people by police without charge or notification of families
2. Abuse and torture of detainees and political prisoners
3. Use of public and private media institutions, like the national television network Doordarshan, for government propaganda Forced sterilisation.
4. Destruction of the slum and low-income housing in the Turkmen Gate and Jama Masjid area of old Delhi.
5. Large-scale and illegal enactment of laws (including modifications to the Constitution).
On 18 January 1977, Gandhi called fresh elections for March and released all political prisoners. The Emergency officially ended on 23 March 1977.
Shah Commission was a commission of inquiry appointed by Government of India in 1977 to inquire into all the excesses committed in the Indian Emergency.
Some say that Mrs.Gandhi imposed Emergency for her own survival. Others say that it was called for as the protests did not allow normal functioning of government. The question was: Should the democratically elected government be allowed to function for five years or civil and political agitation be permitted to derail it?
Que. Describe the "Total revolution" of Jayaprakash Narayan.
Ans. Bihar Movement was a movement initiated by students in Bihar in 1974 and led by the veteran Gandhian socialist Jayaprakash Narayan, popularly known as JP, against misrule of and corruption in the government of Bihar. It later turned against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's government at the centre. It was also called Total Revolution Movement and JP Movement
Total Revolution of JP is a combination of seven revolutions, viz., political, social, economic, cultural, ideological or intellectual, educational and spiritual; and the main motive being to bring in a change in the existing society that is in tune with the ideals of the Sarvodaya. JP had a very idealistic notion of society and it is in this endeavor, he shifted from Marxism to Socialism and later towards Sarvodaya.
By the early 1970s, JP completely withdrew from party and power politics, and concentrated more on social regeneration through peaceful means. In order to better the situation, despite his old age, he embarked on the task of working towards bringing in a complete change in the political and economic life of India.
JP began to organize youth to save the democracy from degeneration and called this revolution as Total Revolution. The momentum to the movement came when there were agitations in Gujarat and followed in Bihar as well.
In 1974, the Bihar agitations spiralled into massive protests by the people to bring about a change in the political, social and educational system. Explaining the term ‘peoples government’, JP stated that it would be a small unit of democracy at the village, panchayat, or the block level, at all the three levels, if possible.
These units were regarded as the sources of the power of the people in times of peace, as well injustice or tyranny, and mainly for the reconstruction of the society on the basis of equality and the elimination of poverty, oppression and exploitation. JP further called upon the people of Bihar as well as the entire India to unite by cutting across their individual and party interests.
His motive behind charging up the Bihar students was to bring about a complete change in the entire governmental structure and the system of Indian polity. It is for this reason he called it a Total Revolution.
He was aiming at uprooting of corruption from political and social life in India. Besides this, JP wanted to create conditions wherein the people living below the poverty line could get the minimum necessities of life. Thus, total revolution was a device for bringing about a Gandhian humanist version of an ideal society.
Que. Trace the origins of the term "Sarvodaya" and state its post-Independence impact.
Ans. Sarvodaya is a term meaning 'universal uplift' or 'progress of all'. The term was first coined by Mahatma Gandhi as the title of his 1908 translation of John Ruskin's tract on political economy, Unto This Last, and Gandhi came to use the term for the ideal of his own political philosophy. Later Gandhians, like the Indian nonviolence activist Vinoba Bhave, embraced the term as a name for the social movement in post-independence India which strove to ensure that self-determination and equality reached all strata of Indian society.
Gandhi's ideals have lasted well beyond the achievement of one of his chief projects, Indian independence (swaraj). His followers in India (notably, Vinoba Bhave) continued working to promote the kind of society that he envisioned, and their efforts have come to be known as the Sarvodaya Movement. Sarvodaya workers associated with Vinoba, Jaya Prakash Narayan and others undertook various projects aimed at encouraging popular self-organisation during the 1950s and 1960s, including Bhoodan and Gramdan movements. Many groups descended from these networks continue to function locally in India today.
Que. Partially hydrogenated oils (PHO): Why do we hydrogenate edible oils and what is wrong with it?
Ans. Fatty acids are characterized as either saturated or unsaturated based on the presence of double bonds in its structure. If the molecule contains no double bonds, it is said to be saturated; otherwise, it is unsaturated to some degree.
To convert soybean, cottonseed, or other liquid oil into a solid shortening, the oil is heated in the presence of hydrogen and a catalyst. That hydrogenation process converts some polyunsaturated fatty acids to monounsaturated and saturated fatty acids. It also converts some monounsaturated fatty acids to saturated fatty acids. Thus, a healthy oil is converted into a harmful one. The problem arises when some of the fatty acids are converted to the “trans” form. The term “trans” comes from the fact that two parts of fatty acid molecules are on opposite sides of double bonds. In the usual “cis” fatty acids, the two parts are on the same side of the double bonds. The degree of hydrogenation determines how solid the final product will be
Hydrogenated oils - treating with hydrogen- are more stable than corresponding natural oils with unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are mostly found in animal sources (Butter, Ghee etc) which are scarce and hence expensive. Oils from vegetable sources are mostly unsaturated, abundant and less expensive. So, partial hydrogenation of less expensive unsaturated fats from vegetable sources is an attractive commercial proposition. They are not only stable and make the fried food product last longer but also adds to the taste. That is why we find widespread use in commercial cooking in Breads, Cookies, Cream Biscuits, Sweets, fried snacks, chocolates and ice creams.
The primary health risk identified for trans fat consumption is an elevated risk of coronary heart disease. The reason is trans fat increases the level of LDL or bad cholesterol and decreases HDL or good cholesterol. Other ill-effects are Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Obesity, Liver dysfunction and infertility in women.
Artificial trans fat will be phased out in the USA as Food and Drug Administration has determined that its main source, partially hydrogenated oils, are not safe for human consumption. The FDA wants that food manufacturers must stop using partially hydrogenated oils within three years.
Red and Blue Notices of Interpol
An Interpol notice is an international alert used by police to communicate information about crimes, criminals and threats to their counterparts around the world. They are circulated by Interpol to all member states at the request of a member or an authorised international entity. The information disseminated via notices concerns individuals wanted for serious crimes, missing persons, unidentified bodies, possible threats, prison escapes etc.
There are eight types, seven of which are colour-coded by their function: Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Black, Orange, and Purple. The most well-known notice is the Red Notice which is the "closest instrument to an international arrest warrant in use today."
Red Notice: To seek the location and arrest of a person wanted by a judicial jurisdiction or an international tribunal with a view to his/her extradition.
Blue Notice: To locate, identify or obtain information on a person of interest in a criminal investigation.
Green Notice: To warn about a person’s criminal activities if that person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
AP Shah committee was recently set up by the Union Government for the following purpose
1. to look into the minimum alternate tax (MAT) 2. General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) 3. mobilisation of resources for major railway projects 4. Euthanasia
Que. How revolutionary is the "organ on a chip" technology?
Ans. The paradigm used by pharmaceutical companies to discover and develop new drugs is broken. Clinical studies take years to complete and testing a single compound can cost more than $2 million. Meanwhile, innumerable animal lives are lost, and the process often fails to predict human responses because traditional animal models do not accurately mimic human physiology. For these reasons, the pharmaceutical industry needs alternative ways to screen drug candidates in the laboratory. Therefore, organ chips are being tried.
An organ-on-a-chip (OC) is a multi-channel 3-D microfluidic cell culture chip that simulates the activities, mechanics and physiological response of entire organs and organ systems. It constitutes the subject matter of significant biomedical engineering research, more precisely in bio-MEMS. The convergence of labs-on-chips (LOCs) and cell biology has permitted the study of human physiology in an organ-specific context, introducing a novel model of in vitro multicellular human organisms. Soon, they will perhaps abolish the need for animals in drug development and toxin testing.
Research Institutes are engineering microchips that recapitulate the microarchitecture and functions of living organs, such as the lung, heart, and intestine. These microchips, called organs-on-chips, could soon form an accurate alternative to traditional animal testing. Each individual organ-on-chip is composed of a clear flexible polymer about the size of a computer memory stick that contains hollow microfluidic channels lined by living human cells. Because the microdevices are translucent, they provide a window into the inner workings of human organs.
However, building valid artificial organs requires not only a precise cellular manipulation, but a detailed understanding of the human body’s fundamental intricate response to any event.
Que. As far as bad loans of banks are concerned, who is a wilful defaulter and what can be done?
Ans. Wilful default broadly covers the following:
a. Deliberate non-payment of the dues despite adequate cash flow and good networth; b. Siphoning off of funds to the detriment of the defaulting unit; c. Assets financed either not been purchased or been sold and proceeds have been misutilised; d. Misrepresentation / falsification of records; e. Disposal / removal of securities without bank's knowledge; f. Fraudulent transactions by the borrower.
Steps to be taken
1. While dealing with wilful default of a single borrowing company in a Group, the banks / FIs should consider the track record of the individual company, with reference to its repayment performance to its lenders. However, in cases where a letter of comfort and / or the guarantees furnished by the companies within the Group on behalf of the wilfully defaulting units are not honoured when invoked by the banks / FIs, such Group companies should also be reckoned as wilful defaulters.
2. Role of auditors: In case any falsification of accounts on the part of the borrowers is observed by the banks / FIs, and if it is observed that the auditors were negligent or deficient in conducting the audit, they should lodge a formal complaint against the auditors of the borrowers with the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) to enable the ICAI to examine and fix accountability of the auditors.
3. Grievances Redressal Mechanism should be set up
4. Banks/FIs should take quick measures in identifying and reporting instances of wilful default:like : decisions to classify the borrower as wilful defaulter should be entrusted to a Committee of higher functionaries headed by the Executive Director and consisting of two GMs/DGMs as decided by the Board of the concerned bank/FI; The decision taken on classification of wilful defaulters should be well documented and supported by requisite evidence. The decision should clearly spell out the reasons for which the borrower has been declared as wilful defaulter vis-à-vis RBI guidelines.
5. Monitoring of End Use
6. Criminal Action by Banks / FIs: It is essential to recognise that there is scope even under the existing legislations to initiate criminal action against wilful defaulters depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case under the provisions of Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860.
Que. What is extradition and how far is extradition a judicial process?
Ans. Extradition is the legal process by which a person is transferred from one place to another without the person’s consent. This is a legal method to prevent people from evading justice. When a person commits a crime in a state and then goes to a different one, the person can be sent back to face charges in the state where the crime was committed. Generally, a country’s power to arrest a fugitive only extends within its borders. If there is no provision for extradition, people can evade justice by moving from one place to another. Extradition treaties are signed between nations with the intention to transfer criminals from a requested country to a requesting country. International extradition is allowed by nations only after imposing conditions to the process. When an extradition treaty is signed, the parties to the treaty provide the offenses for which an individual can be extradited. International extradition matters are negotiated by the executive branch of federal government.
Role of judiciary
However, even if the executive branch is in favor of the foreign nation’s request, extradition requests can be turned down by the judicial branch. The judiciary can dismiss an extradition request if the charges the foreign government leveled against the captive are not crimes in the country where the criminal has escaped to. The judicial branch can also dismiss an extradition request if the captive has a reasonable fear of facing cruel and unusual punishment if s/he was extradited, or if the captive had a reasonable fear that s/he would not face a fair trial.
A nation cannot surrender a fugitive to another nation or demand return of an offender from the nation if it is against the constitution of the nation.
In India the provisions of Indian Extradition Act, 1962, govern the extradition of a fugitive from India to a foreign country or vice-versa. The basis of extradition could be a treaty between India and a foreign country.
Underworld don and prime accused in the Mumbai blasts Abu Salem was extradited from Portugal along with wife Monica Bedi. When India requested Portugal government for the extradition of Abu Salem, Portuguese court ordered their extradition after the Indian government, through its lawyer, gave an assurance that if convicted they would not be sentenced to death. The assurance was given since European law prohibits extradition of any accused to such a country where capital punishment is in vogue. As per the Portuguese Constitution, no one can be extradited in respect of offences punishable by death penalty under the law of the state requesting extradition.
* Lalit Modi episode fallout
Que. What is Magna Carta? Why is it important? How is it relevant today?
Ans. Magna Carta, which means ‘The Great Charter’, is one of the most important documents in history as it established the principle that everyone is subject to the law, even the king, and guarantees the rights of individuals, the right to justice and the right to a fair trial.In 1215 King John agreed to the terms of the Magna Carta following the uprising of a group of rebel barons in England.Magna Carta was created as a peace treaty between the king and the rebels.Magna Carta, among other things, gives all English subjects the right to justice and a fair trial. It says: “No free man shall be seized or imprisoned, or stripped of his rights or possessions, or outlawed or exiled, or deprived of his standing in any other way, nor will we proceed with force against him, or send others to do so, except by the lawful judgement of his equals or by the law of the land.
Why is it significant today?
The Magna Carta is considered one of the first steps taken in England towards establishing parliamentary democracy.
What wider role has it played?
There are strong influences from the Magna Carta in the American Bill of Rights, written in 1791. Indian Constitution has Fundamental Rights that were inspired by American Bill of Rights.
Even more recently, the basic principles of the Magna Carta are seen very clearly in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.