Economics – an introduction

To start with, lets discuss the importance of the subject. The most famous definition of Economics comes from Lionel Robbins who states that:

“Economics is a science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses

To elaborate further, let us assume that you are stuck on an island alone. There is certain amount of wood that is available on the island (this is the scarce means) and this wood can be used for alternate uses – would you use the wood to burn fire? Or to make shelter? Or to make a boat to reach the nearest habitation? Thus, the limited amount of wood has number of alternate uses. In this setup, Economics guides you in analyzing the choice made by the concerned decision maker.

Another example could relate to use of land in a village. Assume that you are SDM of Rampur subdivision in Barwani. In one of its tribal villages, there is 5 bighas land that is currently beingused for cow grazing. This limited piece of government land can also be used for building a school, a hospital or an anganwadi centre. Amongst these alternate uses, the gram panchayat, with the approval of SDM and Collector, may decide to either let the land be used for cow grazing and hence allowing villagers an alternate source of income or it may decide in favour of investing in social infrastructure. While it is a difficult decision to make, Economics can assist in making the choice an informed one.

Economics is broadly divided into two fields – Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. Microeconomics deals with behavior of small units – be it household behavior or how a particular firm functions. On the other hand, macroeconomics tends to aggregate such behavior over a large sample to analyse and assess the behavior at a macro level.

In this blog, we will discuss concepts of both microeconomics and macroeconomics with a special focus on public policy making and developmental paradigms.

Hello there!

It’s been a long time off this blog. But it’s never too late to pick up from where you left!

This time I am attempting to bring the subject of Economics closer to the blog readers. There is a growing interest in this subject across the country and I want to do my bit by handholding the readers into the intriguing world of Economics.

Let me state at the on start that the objective of this series is NOT to clear UPSC mains or BA papers or Masters Economics entrance examinations. My aim is to take Economics to a common blog reader with no initiation into the subject until now. While there are ample of books available in the market, there are limited ones that offer Indian context. Given the humble experience I have gained over the past few years in implementing government schemes, I will attempt to draw examples from day to day interaction in the field of policy making and implementation.

The blog will come in snippets – a topic would be taken up, its theory discussed and its relevance in the Indian context will be elaborated upon. I am looking forward to my interactions with the readers here and I would welcome your comments to improve upon the content or discuss anything you consider relevant. At the end, I will ask for your forgiveness if I am not able to pursue this blog on a regular basis as I might be constrained on time!

A brief update about myself – I was posted as Assistant Collector in Seoni for a year. Afterwards, I was posted with Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice in Government of India. Subsequently I was SDM Nagda in Ujjain district for six months. I have now been posted as SDM Rajpur in Barwani district.

Preparing for Law Paper II

 

With lot of apologies to those who kept waiting for this to appear. It’s written in a hurry, will keep improving on this rough draft. Best Wishes, Avi Prasad

 

The Law Paper II is extraordinary in its breadth. So unless, you are one of those sincere students who start preparing years in advance, the entire syllabus cannot be done. I used the strategy of what I call ‘royal ignore’ to few topics in both the attempts. But I must add that it’s a high-risk strategy. Let’s start by comparing paper one and two. Paper one is predictable, can be done by couple of decent books and some part of it is covered under GS. One the other hand paper 2 is extensive, it involves 30 odd Acts and many topics are very dynamic, for instance competition law, IPR etc. Now, very few people even the lawyers will read an entire book for Competition Law, which might be asked once a year. So, what to do?

 

Let’s start with the basic, three main components of syllabus are- Crime, Torts and Contract & Mercantile Law.

 

Law of Crimes

 

For Crime, especially IPC, I used Dukki as main book. There are two of them as DU teaches IPC in two semesters. K D Gaur and Ratanlal were the reference books to be used for some topics not covered in Dukki. My experience with the 2012 and 2013 exam is that UPSC is more keen to ask a relatively insignificant section than the famous ones like murder, rape etc. So, expect a question on misappropriation from a dead body, obscenity etc. Most of the books, unless you are using the comprehensive section wise volume, focus on the important sections. That’s why reading the sections directly from the bare act becomes most important as the section which UPSC might ask would not have been covered in sufficient detail in the book. Again, I will advise you to read the DU case material that has summary of important cases. I gave a royal ignore to prevention of corruption Act and Civil Rights Act of the Crime syllabus. For, plea-bargaining, no need to study CrPC, just read couple of articles form the net.

 

Law of Torts

 

Torts- probably the easiest part of the syllabus. I preferred Ratanlal for this in addition to Dukki and DU case material. The questions are simple, the strategy of seeing past year papers and identifying the questions which are repeatedly asked works well for this part. I will advise to do consumer protection Act from Dukki itself, in addition to reading CPA bare act. Some people prefer to use Bangia from Torts, I will advise that unless you are really short of time, don’t go for Bangia.

 

 

Contracts & Mercantile Law

 

In addition to Indian Contract Act, we have SGA, NI, ACA and Partnership. I used Avatar Singh and Mulla for Indian Contract Act. Mulla is a superior book but not advisable if time constraint. Dukki is to be read even if you have ample time. Past year strategy works safe for Contract Law part. However, the remaining 4 Acts are really tricky as the questions can be asked from any 2/3 of them. I chose to ignore NI Act for the reason that is it more technical in nature and may be because I was in RBI so I was overconfident that will make some story if faced with compulsion to answer. Partnership Act is very smooth to read, Dukki is decent and now that LLP is here for sometime, it’s a probable question. SGA is extension of Contract Act and not very difficult to follow either. Relying solely on Dukki in addition to bare act is a safe bet. Arbitration and Conciliation Act has not been asked much in the past but must be done as for this Act you can focus on some important sections alone like sec 34 etc. For Contract part, read case law from DU material. I will not suggest reading too many case laws for the other 4 Acts, as it will be too much effort for too few probable gains.

 

 

Contemporary Legal Developments

 

Please note down that if you have done the above three portion well it is NOT going to be enough for this paper. This part has been the Achilles’ heel for many a candidates and I have seen candidates in the exam hall most confused as to which question to attempt. 1, 7, 8 i.e. PIL, RTI and trial by media can be done as part of General Studies by reading few well researched articles. However, in the case of RTI, take a look at Bare Act also, as questions can be as specific as to objectives of the RTI Act as mentioned in the preamble of the Act.

 

 

For 5, if you have done the ACA well then there is not much to worry. You must also focus on the Lok Adalats system of ADR. DU case material on Indian Legal System has some excellent articles on dispute resolution mechanisms in India.

 

So, we are left with 4 topics- environmental laws, Competition, Cyber Law and IPR.

 

As I was a faculty for Cyber Law at NLU J, I ignored this for preparation. But for others, I will suggest using online material to prepare for this Act. Some important topics are cyber offences, digital signature, intermediary’s liability etc.

 

Competition Commission of India has provided excellent booklets on this subject on this website. You can use them for this part of the syllabus. As the questions are usually general in nature they can be answered if you have basic awareness of the legal terminology related to Competition Law.

 

Environmental Law in itself is a very broad subject and I kept it for royal ignore. However, one can look at the NGT and the legal framework for it. Reading all the Pollution Laws is beyond the scope for normal aspirants. MoEF has compiled a list of important Act and their brief summary on it’s website. I only referred to that.

 

IPR is very broad again. I did an online course of few hours to familiarize myself with the terminology. The course is offered by WIPO academy and I think its course number is 101. I used one excellent website called spicy IP to prepare for all the developments in the area of IPR.