SYNOPSIS [2nd July,2020] Day 20: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. The outbreak and spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to divided opinions on the impact of globalisation. What are your views on the issue? Is the pandemic a deadly blow to globalisation? Critically comment.
COVID-19 महामारी के प्रकोप और प्रसार ने भूमंडलीकरण के प्रभाव पर विभाजित राय उत्पन्न किया है। इस मुद्दे पर आपके क्या विचार हैं? क्या महामारी वैश्वीकरण के लिए एक घातक झटका है? समालोचनात्मक टिप्पणी करें।
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about the divided opinions upon impact of globalisation along with analysis about whether pandemic of COVID-19 is deadly blow to globalisation.
Globalization is generally recognized as the fading or complete disappearance of economic, social and cultural borders between nation- states. It is sharing of ideas, technologies, skills, goods and services, finance with other countries which defines the beneficial part of globalization. Many scholars argued that ignorance to the risks associated with globalization led to rapid spread of financial crisis, cyber threats and pandemics like COVID-19 and many counter opinions also expressed.
Spread of COVID-19 and reversal of globalization:
- Process of reversal of globalization was set in motion far earlier even before the spread of corona virus and resultant pandemic of COVID-19. Corona virus worldwide spread has provided a potent weapon to use against globalization.
- The USA was already involved in a Trade war with China due to huge trade deficits with china. The Idea of increased dependence on China for goods and services and a deteriorating global health scenario has gained traction as it has been a source of many infectious diseases even before.
- There will be a focus on starting the internal economy based on consumption as the main priority of every nation in the post COVID-19 world.
- Priority of every government would be to create jobs for its own people. In a high unemployment scenario, hiring expats won’t be in favour.
- Health emergency of easily contracting infectious diseases has demonized globalization. People started viewing globalization as more centered on economic objectives and profit oriented approach of capitalism rather than positive impact on lives of people in recent times.
- Vocal for Local strategy: The disruption in supply chains due to the covid-19 outbreak and the lockdown in China have had an adverse effect on several world economies. More countries are now looking at boosting domestic production capabilities to be able to absorb supply chain shocks including India.
- It is very much in line with the global phenomenon of ‘protectionism’ adopted by various countries. India’s move can be compared with ‘America first’ rhetoric of United States.
- It is not clear whether this strategy will try to bring import substitution and high duty regime back. But priority to domestic goods procurement can be seen clearly in various government decisions recently.
- There is a possibility of raising import duties on a wide range of final goods and services. Some of these changes could focus on specific countries to address India’s trade deficit with them. Globally, such tariffs may rise due to geopolitical considerations as the world decides to move towards globalization 2.0, which relies a lot on trade between rules-based economies. Some tariffs may also be moderately hiked to correct for an inverted duty structure and incentivize final production of goods and services in India.
- India’s ability to recover from the effects of covid-19 and its economic fallout depends on the ability to protect industries.
- This is why it’s important to promote Indian industries while making them competitive through reforms and government interventions. The move to avoid global tenders up to Rs. 200 crore is geared to incentivize companies—Indian and multinational—to set up base in India. The aim is to encourage them to invest in the country.
However, Corona virus is a global crisis, not a crisis of Globalization. Globalization makes the world safer, not more dangerous, as nations are ever more closely bound together and thus have a mutual self-interest in keeping the system afloat.
- Restriction on trans-boundary movement of people and goods can help in flatten the curve of increasing transmission of corona virus in current situations but in the long-run there will be a requirement of a more sustainable plan to handle pandemic.
- Restriction on trade of goods will avert the spreading of disease but it will adversely affect industrialization and the global supply chain market of goods.
- ‘Slowbalisation’ with reduced international trade will bring Global economic slowdown which can worsen the situation of the global economy. It can also impact unemployment level. Western economies too now became dependent on globalization. Restriction of mobility of goods and people will not be a sustainable plan.
- Nature of globalization has changed already; services trade can hardly be restricted. Share of services trade in terms of value added is more than 50% of total trade of the USA as per World Bank report.
- It will be not easy to build alternative domestic supply chains. Import substitution will lead to a situation of less competition, absence of choice and inefficient production of goods and services which will not be a successful political choice for governments.
- Even with the policies of protectionism, it will be not possible to restrict movement of highly skilled individuals.
- Globalization is not the formal intergovernmental agreement between two powerful nations or groups of nations. It is thousands of years of interactions between civilizations. It will be impossible to reverse the process in the more interconnected world of 21st century.
Increasing collaborative effort of multiple disciplines towards health of human beings, animals and environment at global, national and local level initiatives such as ‘One health concept’ must be encouraged to fight the challenge of Pandemic and its after-effects.
Globalization has not only led to movement of people or goods. It’s about moving ideas, knowledge, information, values which can help us to fight such pandemic situations. It is helping to share best practices, telemedicine, vaccine development and rapid recovery as well.
2. Has social media led to real social empowerment? Critically examine.
क्या सोशल मीडिया ने वास्तविक सामाजिक सशक्तीकरण को जन्म दिया है? समालोचनात्मक जांच करें।
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write about whether social media has contributed to real social empowerment with substantial arguments.
Popular hash tag of Black lives matter on various social media sites ignited worldwide movement against racial discrimination and for demand of equality. Twitter a popular micro blogging social media site decided to affix a warning label to US President Trump’s tweet about protests in US against custodial death of George Floyd, indicating that it violated the platform’s rule against glorifying violence.
Social empowerment means equal status, participation and power of decision making to women, minorities and backward sections of society.
Role of social media in real social empowerment:
- Democratic movements like Arab spring started with social media’s viral video brought down many unpopular rulers, recent protest over violence against coloured people highlighted importance of social media platforms in social empowerment.
- Awareness about tribal and minority rights by activists on social media. Every person with camera in mobile phone can record and make proof of wrongdoing and injustice.
- Success of #MeToo movement due to social media platforms: The #MeToo Movement in India started when Raya Sarkar, a Dalit PhD scholar compiled a list of sexual harassers. However, the movement gained traction when the Bollywood celebrity Tanushree Dutta called out Nana Patekar for sexual harassment. Several men in power have been named and shamed in the #MeToo movement such as Alok Nath, MJ Akbar and Sajid Khan.
- The #MeToo Movement, while in some respect, has given a number of women the courage to speak out about the experiences of sexual harassment, it has only extended that courage to women who had the resources to be aware of such a movement.
- As per Youth Connections for Wellbeing, an integrative review paper says, with or without physical separation (social-distancing) due to Covid-19, youth are using social media to connect and support each other. Report illuminates how teens support each other through digital media during times of stress and isolation.
- Recognising that youth experience positive social support in many online settings, which may reduce their feelings of social isolation and social anxiety, increase their social skills, and augments their offline friendships.
However, role of social media in real social empowerment is very limited,
- Women empowerment attempts to take #MeToo movement to wider sections of society remain limited. While there were initiatives such as the Dignity March, which aimed to make the rural population aware of the movement and help them raise their voices against sexual harassment, there haven’t been many more such instances.
- Social media use is leading to greater vulnerability for mental health problems for youth, including harassment and bullying, sleep disruption, and exposure to idealized images that may lead to envy.
- Too little attention span of users of social media reduces possibility of any real change of attitude towards gender, caste or communal bias.
- Spread of hate and insecurity on social media has become worldwide phenomenon. Christchurch shooting live streamed by white supremacist in New Zealand or Muslim man corpse burnt on camera over allegations of love jihad by a Hindu far right in India are examples of validation to hate on social media platforms and its impact on actual; violence and death of people.
- Sense of offendedness: Polarised opinions are feeding on people’s sentiments of being “offended” based on their perception of how freely the religious and ethnic minorities can practice their faith and culture. This sense of “offendedness” can often be amplified by the ease of communication on social media.
- Anonymity provided by social media sites increases the daring of rumour monger or extremist opinionated person to spread hate and insecurity.
- Lesser users might hamper revenue models of social media giants: Twitter and Facebook, in particular, are being made to account for their blind eye towards polarising fake news reports and computer ‘bots’ programmed to widely disseminate such articles on their platforms.
- Algorithm favours polarisation: The algorithms used by these platforms, which distort realities and create alternate ones in echo chambers of like-minded users where beliefs are perpetuated, even those that are premised on hate and lies.
- Complex nature of social media: In a socially networked world where comment is free and reactions are instant, lines between violent personal abuse and/or speech inciting violence against a community or group are becoming increasingly blurred. At times, even if intent and language are not explicitly hateful, the implications can be.
Field of social media is the crossroads between technology, profit, freedom, politics, identity, power and insecurity that any effort to regulate social media will have to traverse. Social media is virtual world which is reflection of physical world; there is need of more concrete efforts to bring social empowerment along with social media as tool.
3. How justified it is to view the issue of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) from the communal prism? Substantiate your views.
नागरिकता संशोधन अधिनियम (सीएए) के मुद्दे को सांप्रदायिकतावाद के नजरिये से देखना कितना न्यायसंगत है? अपने विचारों की पुष्टि करें।
Demand of the question:
It expects students to write whether it is justified to view Citizenship amendment act from the communal prism or not with substantial arguments.
Democratic presidential nominee and former US vice president Joe Biden has expressed disappointment over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the implementation of the NRC in Assam. It highlights misreading of India’s internal policy decisions at world stage and creates threat of damaging India’s soft power.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) enables migrants/foreigners of six minority communities from three specified countries who have come to India because of persecution on grounds of their religion to apply for Indian citizenship. It does not amend any existing legal provision which enables any foreigner of any class, creed, religion, category, etc to apply for Indian citizenship through registration or naturalization modes. Such a foreigner has to become eligible to apply for citizenship after fulfilling the minimum legal requirements.
View of CAA-Citizenship Amendment Act through Communal prism:
- Singling out of one particular religion: Citizen Amendment act provisioned citizenship for non-Muslim persecuted illegal migrants from select Neighbourhood countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- Fear of Nationwide NRC- National registration of citizen which might make many Indians stateless due insufficient documents or else. While, people of communities mentioned in CAA might become citizen again by CAA while Muslims who could not prove citizenship might be labelled as foreigner. CAA is not creating panic, fear or anxiety alone but its execution along with nationwide NRC- National register of Citizens.
- Positive Secularism is basic feature of Indian constitution which is based on the equal treatment to all the religions from the state. Religious test to policy decisions makes it discriminatory at face value.
- Continued demonization of Bangladeshi citizens and Indian politician’s repeated vows to send back people left out of NRC to their respected countries pointed towards Bangladesh makes it easier for scholars to call it communal.
- The Afghans, too, have been displeased by the fact that the CAA portrays them as a country where minorities face discrimination and persecution.
Inappropriate to see through communal prism:
- The CAA does not apply to Indian citizens. They are completely unaffected by it. It seeks to grant Indian citizenship to particular foreigners who have suffered persecution on grounds of their religion in three neighbouring countries.
- During the last six years, approximately 2830 Pakistani citizens, 912 Afghani citizens, and 172 Bangladeshi citizens have been given Indian citizenship. Hundreds of them are from the majority community of these three countries. Such migrants continue to get Indian citizenship and shall also continue to get it if they fulfill the eligibility conditions already provided in the law for registration or naturalization. About 14,864 Bangladeshi nationals were also granted Indian citizenship after incorporating more than fifty enclaves of Bangladesh into Indian territory post the boundary agreement between the two countries in 2014.
- It was cleared by a 30-member Parliamentary Committee consisting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members after due process.
- It seeks to accommodate minorities who face religious persecution in their own nations (three specific neighbours, not the entire world) and have been forced to seek shelter in India to preserve their faith.
- By amending the appropriate rules during 2015-16 the Govt. of India had already legalized entry as well as the stay of such foreign migrants belonging to six minority communities from these three countries who had come into India up to December 2014 because of persecution on grounds of religion. The Government of India had made such migrants also eligible for grant of Long Term Visa (LTV) to stay in India for a long time. The CAA now enables them to take Indian citizenship if they fulfill conditions/qualifications for such citizenship provided they migrated from these three countries before 31st December 2014.
- On different occasions, special provisions have been made by Govt. of India in the past also to accommodate the concerns of stay and citizenship of foreigners of Indian origin who had to flee to India. For example, Article 6 of The Constitution of India provides that a person who has migrated to India from Pakistan before 19th July 1948 shall be deemed to be an Indian citizen. Secondly, even if he has migrated on or after this date he was registered as an Indian citizen after staying for only six months in India.
- The CAA does not target any religious community from abroad. It only provides a mechanism for some migrants who may otherwise have been called “illegal” depriving them of the opportunity to apply for Indian citizenship provided they meet certain conditions.
- The Central Government will frame rules to operationalize the provisions of the CAA. No migrant from these communities will become an Indian Citizen automatically. He will have to apply online and the competent authority would see whether he fulfills all the qualifications for registration or naturalization as an Indian citizen.
- The CAA protects the interests of the tribals and indigenous people of the North-Eastern region by excluding areas under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and areas covered by the Inner line Permit system. Such migrants living in these areas will not be able to apply for Indian citizens. So, there is no question of any influx of foreigners swamping the indigenous population. The CAA provides a cut-off date of 31st December 2014. Such migrants are therefore already in India for the last several years.
- It is worth noting that the CAA does not prevent Muslims from applying from Indian citizenship. Muslims facing religious persecution in their own nations may still apply for naturalized citizenship and their cases may be considered.
- It opts for positive discrimination hence may not violate Article 14 of the constitution. It has provided benefits of protection of tribal culture to the Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur to be added soon in Inner line permit and schedule six areas to restrict flow of illegal migrants who newly acquired citizenship.
India always maintained that nobody should interfere in internal matters of sovereign nation and Bangladesh seems to have accepted that. Majority of Arab nations maintained restraint from commenting on CAA or NRC. External Affairs minister being career diplomat along with various diplomatic missions of India explained stand of India to major powers of the world and neighbourhood repeatedly.
India being a great nation has both civilizational duties along with pragmatic national security imperatives. There should not be violation of constitutional principles in deciding the fate of citizenship. State cannot simply give up humanitarian approach to deal with persecuted communities. There should be right balance between national security and humanitarian approach to deal with the complex society like India.