31st October 2018
Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.
Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.
GS I- HISTORY
Q1. Discuss the contributions of Sardar Patel to India after independence.
- Sardar Patel’s foresight and tactful navigation of the most turbulent period in post-Independence, and the resolve he demonstrated in integrating the more than 500 disparate princely States into the Dominion of India is an unparalleled accomplishment in modern history. Patel was a statesman with a strong sense of realpolitik, a realist to the core and an earthy politician whose sole aim was to build a strong and united India.
- What makes the merger of the princely States truly incredible is the fact that the princely rulers had the option at that time to either accede to India or Pakistan or remain independent. Yet, Patel’s sagacity, foresight, patriotism, tact, persuasive powers and abiding commitment to fair play enabled him to untangle a highly complex political and social problem of an unprecedented scale, without triggering any kind of revolt or civil unrest.
- However, he was also compelled to use coercion by launching ‘Operation Polo’ to liberate and integrate Hyderabad after the Nizam of Hyderabad entertained false hopes of either joining Pakistan or remaining independent. In a swift operation lasting five days, Hyderabad State was liberated in September 1948.
- Indeed at the most critical time when the country’s political unity was in jeopardy, India found the man of the moment in Sardar Patel, who displayed amazing patience, tact and a steely determination in dealing with an intransigent ruler, who refused to see the writing on the wall and even wanted to take the issue to the United Nations. Displaying statesmanship of the highest order, Sardar Patel prevented the attempts to not only Balkanise India but internationalise the issue as well. The complicated case of Junagarh, Gujarat, was also handled with dexterity by Patel. I feel that the problem of Jammu and Kashmir would have been resolved long back had Sardar Patel been given a free hand to handle it at that time.
- Patel himself termed the entire exercise as a “bloodless revolution” when he wanted the Constituent Assembly to consider privy purse settlements for the surrender by the rulers of all their ruling powers and the dissolution of the States as separate units.
- Patel was an ardent follower of Mahatma Gandhi and never swerved in his loyalty to his mentor, although there were occasions when he differed with him. He did not allow anything to come in the way of protecting the larger interests of the country — which were at the core of his heart. He worked shoulder-to-shoulder with Nehru in building a modern India.
- Patel was a multifaceted personality. He was a dynamic political leader, an organiser par excellence, a competent administrator and a skilful negotiator.
- After coming under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi, he became his loyal follower and successfully organised peasants against the imposition of taxes by the British at Kheda and Bardoli, Gujarat, and in the process he earned the title of ‘Sardar’ for his leadership qualities. The manner in which he marshalled the peasants and the unflinching stand taken by him eventually forced the authorities to roll back the taxes.
- The Iron Man of India was the chief architect of India’s steel frame — the civil services. Thus, the All India Services were seen as an important cementing force in promoting the unity and integrity of the nation.
- Another aspect of the Sardar that needs to be highlighted is his graciousness and magnanimity in readily abiding by Mahatma Gandhi’s advice to withdraw his candidacy for the post of Congress President in favour of Pandit Nehru in 1946, although a majority of State Congress committees supported his candidature. It was apparent that the Congress President would become the first Prime Minister of India. It once again proved his noble intention of placing the country’s interests above self.
GS III- INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS
Q2. Shortage of human resources is the biggest roadblock that may be faced by universities in India set up Intellectual Property (IP) Centres. Discuss.
- In its biggest push to create entrepreneurial universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has now asked all universities in India to set up Intellectual Property (IP) Centres. As universities line up to set up these centres, they will face a strange human resources problem: despite the policy push to have more IP, we simply do not have enough IP professionals in the country.
- The dearth of IP professionals is a problem related to the field of intellectual property itself. Its recent rise to prominence in the international arena, thanks to various international treaties and trade agreements, alongwith with the legal-centric approach where law schools and colleges are the only institutions which mandate teaching these subjects, are reasons why the supply of IP professionals is not keeping pace with demand. But there is a great opportunity now that should not be missed. The Central government conducts the only competitive examination in the country to check a person’s proficiency in IP. Fine-tuning the patent agent examination to cater to the growing IP needs of the country can be a successful way to build a band of professionals and create career opportunities.
- India witnessed significant changes in IPRs since the introduction of the National IPR Policy in 2016. The grants rates at the Patent Office have increased: in 2017-2018, there was a 32% increase in the number of patents granted compared to the earlier year. The Patent Office increased its workforce with the inclusion of 459 new examiners and is on the lookout for more. The timeline for filing responses to official objections for patents has been reduced by half. While the disposal rate has increased, the filing rate for patents has not changed significantly. In 2016-17, the Patent Office reported a dip of 3.2% in filing compared to the previous financial year.
- The new policy has pushed universities to file more patents. Kindled by the call to have more IPRs, the higher education sector has witnessed many reforms. The UGC’s call to universities, highlighted earlier, has come after a series of policy directives to introduce awareness about IP in higher educational institutions.
- The number of patents applied for, granted and commercialised by universities and institutes is factored in in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rankings: no surprise that the top ranked engineering institutes in India are also the leading filers of patents. Whether a higher educational institute has an innovation ecosystem could also have a bearing, with the National Assessment and Accreditation Council, awarding up to 24 points to an institute which sets up an innovation ecosystem and has a facility for identifying and promoting IPRs. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) model curriculum for its member institutions lays emphasis on the need for IPR education in technical institutes.
- The lack of IP professionals to teach IP was one of the reasons the committee could not suggest the mandatory introduction of IP courses in all technical institutes. Online courses on IPR are available on the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning platform. Though thousands register every year, much needs to be done to build capacity on IP in universities. We need to focus on careers rather than courses.
- India has a poor patent agent density, with only about 2,000 registered patent agents currently in practice. The last time when the Patent Office conducted the patent agent exam, in 2016, around 2,600 candidates took it, a paltry number if one looks at the ambitious goals set by the IPR Policy. Despite the infrequent manner in which the examination has been conducted, the private sector does give good weightage to the examination as it is considered to be the de facto IP qualification today.
- The ambitious goal set by India’s IPR Policy will be realised only when the examination becomes the foundation for making a career in IPR. In a dynamic field such as intellectual property, in order to create a band of qualified IP professionals there should be a push towards post-qualification continuous education as well. To achieve this, the format, membership, syllabus and the frequency of the patent agent examination will need to be addressed. This will not only increase the number and quality of IP professionals in the country but also become a new career choice for graduates with a degree in science and technology.