1.Unlike the pre-colonial India, the feature of self-sufficiency vanished in the colonial state. Discuss the impact of colonial intervention on agriculture. (GS Paper-1, History) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Brief discussion on status of agriculture before colonial rule
· Discuss the impact of colonialism on agriculture
During the pre-British era, a major part of India’s population was dependent on agriculture. The farming technologies and irrigation facilities were not satisfactory. However, agriculture in villages was self-sustaining and independent.
Britishers were keen on establishing a monopoly in India. They saw India as a means to drive their home country towards a state of unmatched power. Colonisers drew out every ounce of Indian resource and every drop of Indian blood for their selfish motives.
During the British rule also the Indian economy remained agrarian. Rough estimates claim that about 85% of the economy derived their livelihood directly or indirectly from agriculture. Colonial exploitation led to various famines which the colonizers paid no attention. Effectively, the agricultural sector continued to experience deterioration and stagnation, particularly marked by low levels of agricultural productivity.
Impact on Agriculture
- The British brought about important transformation in India’s agricultural economy but this was not with a view to improving Indian agriculture but rather to obtain land revenue, all surpluses available in agriculture and to force Indian agriculture to play its assigned role in a colonial economy.
- Old relationships and institutions were destroyed and new ones were born. But these new features did not represent a change towards modernisation or its movement in the right direction.
- The British introduced two major land revenue systems. One was the Zamindari system. The other was the Ryotwari system. Later, a modified version of the same Zamindari system was introduced in North India under the name of the Mahalwari system.
- Peasant, cultivators were forced to pay very high rents and for all practical purposes functioned as ‘ tenants-at-will. They were compelled to pay many illegal dues and cesses and were often required to perform forced labour or begar.
- Whatever the name or nature of the revenue system, in effect the Government came to occupy the position of the landlord.
- The greatest evil that arose out the British policies with regard to Indian agricultural economy was the emergence of the moneylender as an influential economic and political force in the country. Because of the high revenue rates demanded and the rigid manner of collection, the peasant cultivator had often to borrow money to pay taxes.
- In addition to paying exorbitant interest, when his crops were ready he was invariably forced to sell his produce cheap.
- The money-lender, on the other hand could manipulate the new judicial system and the administrative machinery to his advantage. In this regard the Government, in fact, actually helped him, because without him the land revenue could not be collected in time, nor could the agricultural produce be brought to the ports for export. It is not surprising, therefore; that in course of time the moneylender began to occupy a dominant position in the rural economy.
- The impact of British rule thus led to the evolution of a new structure of agrarian relations that was extremely regressive. The new system did not at all permit the development of agriculture.
- The most unfortunate result of all this was that absolutely no effort was made either to improve agricultural practices or develop them along modern lines for increased production. Agricultural practices remained unchanged. Better types of implements, good seeds and various types of manures and fertilizers were not introduced at all.
- The poverty stricken peasant cultivators did not have the resources to improve agriculture; the landlords had no incentive to do so, and the colonial Government, behaved like a typical landlord; it was interested only in extracting high revenues and did not take any steps to modernise and improve and develop Indian agriculture.
The result was prolonged stagnation in agricultural production. Overall agricultural production per head fell by 14 per cent between 1901 and 1939; the fall in the per capita production of food grains was over 24 per cent.
2.Since 1945 the geopolitical realities have changed drastically, but the Security Council has changed very little. In your opinion why India is a rightful candidate for a permanent seat at the high table of UN Security Council? Discuss. (GS Paper-2, International Relations) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Briefly mention the need of the reform
· Then explain why India is a strong candidate for permanent member
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), charged with ensuring international peace and security. Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations and international sanctions as well as the authorization of military actions through resolutions – it is the only body of the United Nations with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
There has been discussion of increasing the number of permanent members. The countries who have made the strongest demands for permanent seats are Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan. Japan and Germany, the main defeated powers in WWII, are now the UN’s second- and third-largest funders respectively, while Brazil and India are two of the largest contributors of troops to UN-mandated peace-keeping missions.
Thus, Security Council needs reforms in membership and veto powers. India along with countries like, Brazil, Japan and Germany is contending for a permanent seat at the high table of UN. India can be considered as a rightful candidate on following grounds:
- India is the second most populous country represents about 1.25 billion people.
- India is the largest troop contributor to Peace keeping forces and has participated in 43 peace keeping operations.
- India’s candidature enjoys wide support as suggested by India’s election to non-permanent seat for 7 times.
- India is a well-functioning democracy and she has shown commitment to UN mandate evident in its acceptance of verdict of Maritime dispute with Bangladesh.
- India has been very active in fulfilment of its international commitments on issues of climate change, nuclear issue etc. India’s record with respect to non-proliferation is much stronger than P5 countries like China. .
- India is fastest growing major economy; thus, a driver of world economic growth.
Thus, India is a rightful candidate to be at the high table. India is coordinating with G4 group of countries for demanding a permanent seat. There has been support for India’s inclusion in UNSC permanent membership by major world powers.
3.Suggest five important measures for further strengthening the public distribution system. (GS Paper-3, Economy) (250 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Introduction: Define PDS and mention commodity provided under this programme
· Briefly mention deficiency in PDF
· Suggest measures to improve PDS
Public distribution system is a government-sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and non-food commodities to the needy sections of the society at very cheap prices. Wheat, rice, kerosene, sugar, etc. are a few major commodities distributed by the public distribution system.
Food Corporation of India, a government entity, manages the public distribution system.
The system is often blamed for its inefficiency and rural-urban bias. It has not been able to fulfill the objective for which it was formed. Moreover, it has frequently been criticized for instances of corruption and black marketing.
Suggestions for Improvement
The PDS can play a better role in distributing essential commodities if-
- Interruptions in the supply line which create great hardships for the people can be prevented and supplies made adequate, regular and of standard quality:
- It is revamped, strengthened and expanded further to cover all areas in the country, particularly the backward, remote and inaccessible pans;
- It reaches the deprived social groups especially those living below the poverty line, such as landless rural labour;
- Buffer stocks with the government can be increased;
- Storage and transport problems, which result in large losses, can be overcome;
- Management and distribution of ration cards and malpractices in the operation of the PDS at procurement, stocking, distribution etc. levels can be done away with; and
- It is not used as an instrument of political patronage. Besides, it would be necessary to revamp and strengthen the existing arrangements. In the states where a strong cooperative movement exists, the apex Consumer Cooperative and Marketing Societies may take up the responsibility of procurement, storage, movement and distribution of essential commodities.
- Civil Supplies Corporations are being established by the State Governments to make the essential items available to the weaker sections of the community in remote areas. Further, efficient and socially-oriented marketing techniques should be utilised to reduce the cost of distribution.
- Mobile fair price shops need be organised at centres where development of construction works are in progress.
- Under the plan projects, in tribal areas, arrangements may have to be made to supply goods to the tribals on barter.
As long as poverty persists and there are problems of scarcity, the PDS is bound to play a significant role in ensuring social and economic justice, especially for the weaker sections.
4. What is Cognitive dissonance theory? Mention some methods to reduce dissonance. (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (150 words)
Structure of the Answer
· Briefly define of Cognitive dissonance
· Give examples to illustrate
· Mention methods to reduce dissonance with examples
Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics
Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviours. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviours to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.
For example, when people smoke (behaviour) and they know that smoking causes cancer (cognition), they are in a state of cognitive dissonance.
This theory centre’s around the idea that if a person knows various things that are not psychologically consistent with one another, he will, in a variety of ways, try to make them more consistent. Two items of information that psychologically do not fit together are said to be in a dissonant relation to each other. The items of information may be about behaviour, feelings, opinions, things in the environment.
Dissonance Reduction Techniques
- Individual may modify any of the elements, e.g. change his ideas about the subject. Example: I don’t eat hotdogs that often anyway so I guess it’s not that unhealthy.
- Individual may attempt to modify the degree of importance of the cognition. Example: There are not that many studies that support the notion that hotdogs are unhealthy, so I could be wrong.
- Individual may introduce or add novel cognitions that are in consonance with the attitude or behaviour. Example: I work out regularly. The negative effects of eating hotdogs frequently will be counteracted by the exercise.
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