SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 OCTOBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 OCTOBER 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Natural vegetation of India”

1)Tropical Deciduous Forests are most widely distributed in India. Explain the different types of tropical deciduous forest in India and their characteristics?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the different kinds of tropical deciduous forests found in India and explain their characteristics such as geographical location, major trees, rainfall requirement etc

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain what tropical deciduous forests are and the type of such forests found in India – dry and moist

Body – Explain the main characteristics of tropical dry and moist deciduous forests. Explain the climatic conditions, main characteristics such as the kind of trees, vegetation etc and the distribution of such forests in India.

Tropical deciduous forests:-

  • Tropical Deciduous forests also known as monsoon forests are found in the belt along the equator between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn as well as in the humid subtropics
  • In India Tropical Deciduous Forests are found in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and parts of Maharastra.
  • Tropical deciduous forests experience 80 to 90% humidity throughout the year and the average temperature is around 30 degree Celsius year around.
  • The tropical deciduous forest is found in tropical areas with a dry season that still has enough moisture for tree growth. 
  • One of the most defining characteristics of monsoon forest is their seasonality.
  • Deciduous forest is a beautiful biome (alarge naturally occurring community of flora and fauna occupying a major habitat, e.g. forest or tundra.) famous for season and trees that lose their leaves in winter.
  • In the Tropical Deciduous forests, the majority of species of trees and other vegetation that make up the forest drop and shed their leaves during the cold (winter) and regrow new leaves in the next spring season (Monsoon Season).
  • Forests where a majority of the trees lose their foliage at the end of the typical growing season are called deciduous forests. These forests are found in many areas worldwide and have distinctive ecosystems, understory growth, and soil dynamics.

Features of Tropical Deciduous Forests in India

  • These forests are lesser in density.
  • These are the most widespread forest in India
  • Spread over the region receiving rainfall between 200cm & 70cm.
  • Trees of this forest types shed their leaves for about six to eight week in dry summer.
  • These forests exist therefore mostly in the eastern part of the country.

Classification of Deciduous Forests

  • The Deciduous Forests are divided into two categories.
  • Moist Deciduous Forests
    • Moist deciduous forests are the mixture of trees and grasses.
    • These forests are found in areas of moderate rainfall of 100 to 200 cm per annum, mean annual temperature of about 27°C and the average annual relative humidity of 60 to 75 per cent.
    • Moist Deciduous Forests grow abundantly on the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats, Chhotanagpur Plateau (east M.P., south Bihar, west Orissa), and on the Shivaliks.
    • They are found in the north eastern states of Jharkhand, West Orissa and Chhattisgarh, parts of West Bengal and in the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
    • The main species found in these forests are teak, sal, padauk, laurel, white chuglam, badam, dhup, chikrosi, kokko, haldu, rosewood, mahua, bijasal, lendi, semul, irul, dhaman, amla, kusum, tendu, paula, jamun, bamboo, etc.
    • It is comparatively easy to exploit these forests due to their high degree of gregariousness.
    • Open grass patches are found in moist deciduous forest.
  • Dry Deciduous Forests
    • The Indian dry deciduous forests are actually a type of the Indian deciduous or monsoon forests and they are mainly found in both Northern India and in the south Deccan plateau in India
    • These are found where rainfall is 100 – 200 cm.
    • These are found on peninsular plateau and plains of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
    • Teak Sal, Peepal, and Neem are the dominant species found in the dry deciduous forest.
    • Lion, tiger, pig, deer and elephant are some of the animals that make these forests their habitat.

General Studies – 2


Topic – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2) Consumption of poor quality medicines could be accelerating drug resistance in India. Examine the issue with an eye on what needs to be done.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question

The article highlights the growing risk of AMR developing in India on account of the spurious quality of drugs manufactured and consumed in India. It also examines the associated issues such as the nature of regulations in India along with the likely impact on the pharmacy of the world. Questions related to pharma sector are often asked in UPSC including in this year’s paper and thus it would be prudent to prepare this issue.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what AMR is and its linkage to the problem of low quality medicines, along with data on the extent of the problem. Next, we need to bring out the regulations related to checking the usage of such low quality medicines and the role of CDSCO in this regard. Finally, we need to suggest steps on what needs to be done to keep the issue in check.

Directive word

Examine

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that India has an unusually high rate of AMR primarily on account of two reasons – improper course of antibiotics and low quality for antibiotics. Highlight that The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one in 10 medical products sold in low- and middle-income countries such as India are either substandard or falsified

Body

  • Explain the issues arising out of such a situation both in terms of health outcomes for India and the loss of reputation.
  • Next, bring out the causes why such a situation exists – standards set by CDSCO which prescribe  that medicines can be short of up to 30% of the active ingredient before they are considered seriously sub-standard — that’s three times the shortfall generally allowed for most anti-infective medicines in the British or U.S. pharmacopeia, poor overseeing and monitoring of pharma manufacturers, lack of engagement etc
  • Discuss what steps can be taken to check the menace – government improving its procurement and regulatory infrastructure, creating awareness etc

Conclusion – Emphasize on the necessity to address this problem on an urgent basis and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • In the past 20 years, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) has grown from hypothetical hazard to dire global threat. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one in 10 medical products sold in low- and middle-income countries such as India are either substandard or falsifiedSF

Reasons how consumption of poor quality medicines leading to antibiotic resistance :-

  • Poor quality medicines can cause serious (sometimes fatal) injuries to patients. They can prolong an illness due to wrong dosage or the lack of an active ingredient, which could result in emergence of drug resistance.
  • Poor quality medicines were contributing to the development of drug resistant pathogens in lower income countries.
    • Chloroquine, for example, is often used in place of newer antimalarials, delivering the customary bitter taste and perhaps reducing fever, but not effectively clearing parasites
  • CDSCO role:-
    • The CDSCO suggests that medicines can be short of up to 30% of the active ingredient before they are considered seriously sub-standard that’s three times the shortfall generally allowed for most anti-infective medicines in the British or U.S. pharmacopeia.
  • Poor overseeing and monitoring of pharma manufacturers
  • Exposure to subtherapeutic levels of an antibiotic can promote development of resistant bacterial strains and increased virulence, threats that can give rise to deadlier infections.
  • Use of poor-quality medicines also directly increases mortality and complicates the monitoring and detection of resistance as an epidemiologic driver of poor disease outcomes
  • Treatment failure due to poor-quality medicines may be incorrectly attributed to a resistant infection, even in cases where standard treatment guidelines are followed. Such situation can cause unnecessary switches to more aggressive treatment regimens when a quality-assured first-line treatment could have been successful. Additionally, patients who are switched to new regimens may still encounter problems with the quality of medication.
  • Quality control can be threatened by inappropriate care and handling.
    • For example, improper shipping, handling and storage whether in warehouses or in homes can result in the degradation of the medicine, potentially resulting in toxic impurities or reduced potency.
  • Easy availability of medicines over the counters and lack of awareness of the people about quality of medicines complicate the issue further.

What more needs to be done :-

  • Unless the Drugs and Cosmetics Act is amended to include severe penalties for those manufacturing substandard drugs, nothing will change.
  • As a regulatory response, the first step should be to tighten our specifications to not allow substandard drugs on the market.
  • International standards:-
    • Several approaches to ensure antimicrobial quality are being suggested, including those proposed by WHO, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation and the Promoting the Quality of Medicines programme, a programme funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the United States Pharmacopeia. These approaches can be integrated into activities already included in global strategies and national action plans.
    • Ensuring that procured medicines meet international quality standards, such as WHO prequalification, is another critical measure that can prevent poor-quality antimicrobials from reaching patients
  • Optimize the use of antimicrobial medicines in human and animal health
    • Prevention
      • Strengthen and optimize registration and market authorization systems within the national medicines regulatory authority
      • Promote and operationalize principles of reliance on stringent regulatory authorities and regional harmonization
      • Ensure sufficient WHO prequalified sources of medicines
      • Ensure compliance with current good manufacturing practices
      • Ensure good supply chain practices including proper dispensing
      • Procure medicines from WHO prequalified sources
    • Detection
      • Monitor antimicrobial quality through strategic and risk-based post-marketing surveillance programme
      • Strengthen national quality control laboratories to comply with ISO 170125 or WHO prequalification standards
      • Ensure routine inspection of products imported and utilize appropriate screening technologies
    • Response:
      • Use data on medicines quality to inform and take regulatory action
      • Develop mechanism for communicating notices of poor-quality antimicrobials with relevant stakeholders
    • Strengthening quality assurance and regulatory systems, particularly implementing risk-based post-marketing quality surveillance and supporting national quality control laboratories to accurately and reliably verify the quality of antimicrobials, can reinforce surveillance efforts
    • Manufacturers role:-
      • In addition to procuring from WHO-prequalified sources, working with manufacturers to improve compliance with good manufacturing practices encourages the continuous and reliable availability of quality-assured antimicrobials. This approach has enabled critical antibiotics to be produced, including those necessary for the treatment of tuberculosis and maternal and child health conditions.
    • Building quality assurance into the architecture of the response to antimicrobial resistance, including efforts to strengthen surveillance, optimize rational use and improve supply chain and availability, can strengthen and amplify the effect of other containment efforts
      • Increase in the capacity of existing testing laboratories and opening up of new laboratories in government colleges. Pharmacology departments of existing medical colleges can play a big role in this direction.

Topic–  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources; Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

3) Discuss the challenges faced by India in eradicating Tuberculosis. (250 words)

epw

Why this question

TB is an important infectious disease affecting millions of people worldwide. India harbours the highest TB burden in the world. In this context, it is important to analyze as to what prevents India from eradicating tuberculosis.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the challenges faced by India in eradicating TB.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the burden of tuberculosis across the world and particularly in India. e.g The global burden of tuberculosis is in decline. However, with an estimated 10 million new cases of tuberculosis and 1.6 million dying from the disease globally in 2017, we still have a long way to go; India, which accounts for 27% of the world’s tuberculosis burden, had set its own target at the End-TB Summit in Delhi earlier this year: TB Free India by 2025.

Body-

Discussion points/ paragraphs the factors responsible for impeding India’s efforts to dedicate TB. e.g The under-reporting of tuberculosis cases has been a perpetual issue hampering efforts at estimating, controlling and treating the disease. Though the number of reported cases from India has seen a jump since 2013, largely attributed to increased reporting from the private health sector, the underreporting of tuberculosis cases that have been detected and the under-diagnosis of the disease itself make a treatable and curable disease like tuberculosis deadly and rampant; In 2012, when it declared tuberculosis a notifiable disease, India had set up “Nikshay,” an online tuberculosis reporting system for medical practitioners and clinical establishments, with the aim to increase the reporting of tuberculosis, especially from the private sector. In the years since it was launched, Nikshay has faced many roadblocks on the ground, such as unawareness of the system, unwillingness to report due to misconceptions about it, inconsistency in reporting, and lack of incentives for those reporting cases etc. Of the five risk factors for tuberculosis mentioned in the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018—alcohol, smoking, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and undernutrition—it is undernutrition that poses the gravest risk in India, as it does in other poor, developing nations, especially among children. The prevention and successful treatment of tuberculosis are closely linked with the overall improvement in nutrition and health indicators, poverty, and access to healthcare etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • India accounts for 27% of the world’s tuberculosis burden and it had set its own target at the End-TB Summit in Delhi earlier this year: TB Free India by 2025. 
  • With an estimated 10 million new cases of tuberculosis and 1.6 million dying from the disease globally in 2017, the world still has a long way to go.

Challenges faced by India to tackle tuberculosis:-

  • Under-reporting of tuberculosis cases has been a perpetual issue hampering efforts at estimating, controlling and treating the disease.
    • India alone accounts for 26% of the 3.6 million global gap in the reporting of tuberculosis cases.
  • Issues with Nikshay:-
    • India had set up Nikshay which is an online tuberculosis reporting system for medical practitioners and clinical establishments, with the aim to increase the reporting of tuberculosis, especially from the private sector.
    • In the years since it was launched, Nikshay has faced many roadblocks on the ground, such as unawareness of the system, unwillingness to report due to misconceptions about it, inconsistency in reporting, and lack of incentives for those reporting cases.
  • While the reporting of cases has increased, the corollary reporting on treatment outcomes has not been robust.
    • In 2016, of all the tuberculosis cases notified, the treatment outcome data for 22% had not been reported.
    • If there is no consistent follow-up of treatment regimens and outcomes, tuberculosis patients can easily slip through the cracks, resulting in cases of relapse, and multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) tuberculosis.
    • There is currently little to no follow up of patients in government hospitals or community clinics once they are discharged, or if they stop turning up to take their medicine.
  • Treatment of vulnerable sections:-
    • The coverage and prophylactic treatment of vulnerable populations, such as children under five living in households with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS patients, has been even slower.
    • While TB affects everyone, it is widely known as a disease of poverty. The poorer the community, the greater the likelihood of people becoming infected and developing disease.
  • Undernutrition:-
    • Of the five risk factors for tuberculosis mentioned in the World Health Organization’s Global Tuberculosis Report 2018 – alcohol, smoking, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and undernutrition ,it is undernutrition that poses the gravest risk in India, as it does in other poor, developing nations, especially among children.
    • The prevention and successful treatment of tuberculosis is closely linked with the overall improvement in nutrition and health indicators, poverty, and access to healthcare. 
  • Data constraints:-
    • Data on the disease with which experts are working in India is more than 60 years old now, with the last national-level survey on tuberculosis having been conducted in 1955. 
  • New technologies:-
    • The development and spread of new methods and technologies to detect the different modes of this disease, new vaccines, and new drugs and shorter drug regimens have been slow, as compared to other such diseases like HIV/AIDS. 
    • The method most commonly used to diagnose TB in India, is sputum smear microscopy which is nearly 100 years old and it misses up half the cases.
  • Governance failure:-
    • TB is continuing to devastate lives because of the government’s inability to regulate an exploitive private health sector, and to fill gaps in the supply of live-saving medicines.
    • Doctors, NGOs, survivors and advocates warn that India almost certainly will not meet the target because of a lack of disease prevention, delays in correctly diagnosing patients, inadequate treatment and the growing epidemic of drug resistant TB.
    • Logistical problems common in TB clinics.
    • Staff report delays in patients receiving their diagnosis from the local hospital and delays in obtaining key lab equipment.
    • The government does provide free TB drugs, but they often arrive late, sometimes with only a few weeks before they are due to expire. 
    • In April 2018 the Indian government introduced a subsidy of 500 rupees a month to every TB patient so they can buy the food they need, as nutrition is so important in fighting the disease.
      • However, only newly diagnosed patients can currently claim the subsidy.
      • Reports in the Indian press said only 12% of eligible patients had received it, two months after it was announced.
    • Lack of awareness:-
      • Not completing the full course of medication which takes at least six to eight months for uncomplicated TB leads to drug resistance, making the infection more difficult to treat.
      • Stopping treatment midway is a major reason why around 3 lakh people in India die each year from this respiratory infection.
      • There can be a lack of education around symptoms of illness in poor communities like Burari.
      • Factors such as the cost of travel, fear they will lose out on their daily income or the perception doctors might look down on them all mean that people in poor communities can be less likely to seek healthcare. Without access to good quality healthcare there are longer delays between diagnosis and cure.
    • Multisectoral approach not done:-
      • TB cannot be addressed as a disease with drugs, but also the other social issues: housing, food, out of pocket expenses.
    • One of the biggest barriers to elimination in India, is that the condition is still seen as shameful.
      • Women who suffer TB are regularly divorced, or fear for their future marriage prospects.
      • Around 100,000 women a year are abandoned by their families to die of disease and starvation because they have TB, according to a 2008 government report.

Way forward:-

  • In March 2018, in a gazette notification, the Indian government put in place provisions penalising the non-reporting of tuberculosis cases, along with making it mandatory for pharmacists/chemists to report tuberculosis cases and maintain records of the drugs dispensed to patients, allowing for self-reporting by tuberculosis patients, and providing cash incentives to those reporting cases. Thid needs better implementation.
  • Counselling for patients to start treatment, to keep taking their medicines, to deal with any side effects and to combat shame is the only way India will eliminate TB.
    • Having people go to patients homes and explain to their whole families the importance of taking the medications, of good nutrition and to talk about any side effects they might be experiencing is very effective and means fewer patients stop treatment,
  • Ensuring patients complete the full course of the treatment becomes mandatory to cure the disease.
  • One of the most important pillars of eliminating TB is timely diagnosis, as each undiagnosed patient can transmit the disease to others. A study by the Global Coalition of TB Activists found it took between a month and more than two years for patients to get a proper diagnosis. This needs change.
  • Sputum smear tests should be replaced by a faster and more accurate molecular test, called GeneXpert or CBNAAT. CBNAAT is highly sensitive, takes only two hours to produce a result, and tells doctors the patient has a drug resistant form of the disease.

Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

4) What do you think are the pros and cons of living in a slum for the urban poor(slum dwellers). Analyze.(250 words)

epw

Why this question

Slums are a harsh reality of most of the Indian cities and the government has launched various initiatives to promote affordable housing for the urban poor. In this context, it is important to analyze the pros and cons of living in a slum area so that better policy interventions can be made in this regard.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue, bring out the pros and cons of living in a slum from the point of view of a slum-dweller and discuss how it affects developmental efforts of the govt.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the slums and slum development programmes in India.

Body-

  1. Discuss the pros of living in a slum, for a slum dweller. E.g more floor space available in slums as compared to low-cost houses; better access to market and transport facilities as slums are usually found in/ around populous centres; While the younger men and women are at work, the children usually play in the neighbourhood under the watchful eyes of the older men and women. Their group also knows that if they require a service in the neighbourhood, such as having handpumps or street lights installed, they need to be together to convince their local parshad.
  2. Discuss the cons. E.g risky neighborhood, lack of amenities and sanitation; inability to get residence certificate and lack of access to institutional credit etc.
  3. Discuss how these factors prevent/ promote slum development and relocation.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Recent years have seen a dramatic growth in the number of slums as urban populations have increased in developing countries.
  • Nearly a billion people worldwide live in slums, and some project the figure may grow to 2 billion by 2030

Pros of living in slum for the urban poor :-

  • They use less transport, causing less traffic, burning less fuel, and saving transportation time and cost.
  • People/governments spend less on making new infrastructure: roads, water-pipes, power cables, phone lines, etc.
  • They are forced to use recycling and live on minimum resources.
  • Community feeling:-
    • People living in slums develop social skillsmany rich neighborhoods dwellers don’t have. They are forced to be more sociable because of their closeness and constant daily problems.
    • Social bonds can replace some of the missing securityby government and money. There are people to hear you when you cry for help.
    • Many daily chores are done in social spheres because people live close to one another. This helps to generate a sense of community. 
  • Cost effective:-
    • It’s cheapto live in slums.
  • Economy:-
  • Slums have particularly vibrant informal economies including a great deal of informal economic production that happens on the streets and in homes
  • This informal economy may afford children living in slums more economic opportunities than both their non-slum urban counterparts and rural counterparts.
  • There are positives such as informal shopping areas existing, where it is possible to buy anything one may need. 
  • Housing benefits:-
    • More floor space available in slums as compared to low-cost houses
  • Better access to market and transport facilities as slums are usually found in/ around populous centres
  • While the younger men and women are at work, the children usually play in the neighbourhood under the watchful eyes of the older men and women.

Cons:-

  • Poverty:-
    • Living in slums puts enormous social, economic, and financial burdens on households, and it can lead to intergenerational poverty. Many argue that slum dwellers are caught in a poverty trap that living in slums makes it harder for households to escape poverty.
    • Several slum-related factors contribute to the perpetuation of poverty, including poor health outcomes; an inability to access finance or leverage property assets; and lack of access to basic service.
  • Inadequate access to credit and mortgage, because of informality, distrust of private builders etc
  • Insecurity was one of the biggest drawbacks of living in a slum for most households, both owner-occupiers and renters, as they had to invest in some form of housing without any security.
    • People admitted that they lived in the constant fear of being evicted by the
    • Because people’s residency rights and their conditions are not recognized, they have little incentive to “invest in healthier homes”.
  • Poor sanitary conditions, and no proof of address or access to institutional credit.
    • People living in slums experience “neighbourhood effects” where they are affected by shared environmental risks, like poor garbage disposal and sanitation.
  • Disaster prone:-
    • The ad hoc construction, lack of quality control on building materials used, poor maintenance, and uncoordinated spatial design make them prone to extensive damage during earthquakes as well from decay. These risks will be intensified by climate change.
    • Some slums risk man-made hazards such as toxic industries, traffic congestion and collapsing infrastructure. Fires are another major risk to slums and its inhabitants with streets too narrow to allow proper and quick access to fire control trucks.
  • Unemployment leading to illegal activities :-
    • Due to lack of skills and education as well as competitive job markets many slum dwellers face high rates of unemployment.
    • The limit of job opportunities causes many of them to employ themselves in the informal economy, inside the slum or in developed urban areas near the slum.
    • Examples of illicit informal economy include illegal substance and weapons trafficking, drug or moonshine/changaa production, prostitution and gambling – all sources of risks to the individual, families and society
  • Crime:-
    • Crime is one of the main concerns in slums.  Empirical data suggest crime rates are higher in some slums than in non-slums, with slum homicides alone reducing life expectancy of a resident in a Brazil slum by 7 years than for a resident in nearby non-slum.
  • Health:-
    • Slum dwellers usually experience a high rate of disease. 
    • High population densities, poor living conditions, low vaccination rates, insufficient health-related data and inadequate health service engender a higher rate of disease transmission in slums than that in non-slum areas. 
    • Child malnutrition is more common in slums than in non-slum areas.  In Mumbai and New Delhi, 47% and 51% of slum children under the age of five are stunted and 35% and 36% of them are underweighted.

Way forward:-

  • It is important to address constraints in four principal areas:
    • Policy and non-policy induced constraints in land markets
    • Constraints on infrastructure development
    • Constraints on the expansion of the formal construction sector
    • Capital market constraints. This can be achieved through the following measures: Improvements to urban planning, development controls, and the efficiency of land markets (including informal markets).

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology

5) Coal to Liquid technology might prove to be an end to India’s energy crisis. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article explains what Coal to Liquid aka Coal liquefaction technology is and the advantages it holds for a country like India. At a time when the country is bearing the brunt of high crude price, the technology offers an alternative to the energy situation of India. The topic is important for SnT and Energy section of paper 3.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain what CTL technology is, and the advantages that it has for India. Thereafter, we need to bring out the challenges that India might face in utilization of this technology and provide a way forward.

Directive word

Discuss –

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the current situation with respect to energy such as the crude oil prices, the infrastructural and other bottlenecks in case of renewable etc to establish the need of CTL.

Body

  • Explain what CTL technology is – involves gasification of coal, which in turn will produce synthetic gas (a mix of CO+H2). The synthetic gas can be liquefied to its fuel equivalent in presence of cobalt/iron-based catalysts at higher pressure and temperature. However, liquefied coal emits twice as much CO2 as burning oil. It also emits a large volume of SO2.
  • Discuss the issues and the benefits of using this technology
    • Issues – high capital cost, necessity of huge coal reserves, high emission of CO2 and SO2 etc
    • Examine whether these issues can be resolved
    • Benefits – increasing oil prices; desire for energy independence and security; and the potential for co-development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Shed some light on how India can go ahead and adopt this technology – India had huge coal reserves, foreign companies are already looking forward to investing in Indian CTL plants etc

Conclusion – give your view on how effective this would be for India and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • India is heavily dependent on petroleum imports. It has been hit very badly due to the recent surge in crude prices and uncertainty over future supplies on account of proposed American sanctions on Iranian crude.
  • There is, however, one way through which India can overcome crude shortage and that process is through coal liquefication also called as Coal to Liquid (CTL) technology

What is coal to liquid technology:-

  • It is an alternative route to produce diesel and gasoline and makes economic sense only in a world of high crude oil prices. India has significant coal reserves. CTL plants could be an alternative source of liquid fuels in India.
  • It involves gasification of coal, which in turn will produce synthetic gas (a mix of CO+H2). The synthetic gas can be liquefied to its fuel equivalent in presence of cobalt/iron-based catalysts at higher pressure and temperature

How it can help India in tackling energy crisis :-

  • Interest in CTL is now growing worldwide, especially in coal-rich countries.
    • This is driven by the low cost and large reserves of coal in many of these countries ,increasing oil prices, desire for energy independence and security; and the potential for co-development of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • CO2 emissions are more readily and cheaply captured from CTL plants than from conventional coal-fired power stations.
    • The captured CO2 can be transported and injected into underground storage reservoirs (a procedure known as carbon capture and storage.
    • Without CCS, the carbon footprint of CTL is at least 150–175 per cent higher than that of conventional petrol/diesel production from oil.
  • Another benefit of CTL technology is that the engines of cars need no modification to use the liquid fuel.
  • Largely proven technology for the manufacture of useful liquid 
  • Ability to manufacture transportation fuels from abundant coal.
  • Insurance against depleting oil stocks and oil supply problems.

Criticism :-

  • Converting coal to transportation fuels results in 7-10 times as much CO2 being emitted, compared with converting crude oil. This increase in CO2 emissions at the processing stage has the effect of raising overall CO2 emissions from transport compared with transport based on conventional, refined petroleum products.
  • Economic Risk
    • World oil price volatility is the single greatest impeding the deployment of CTL facilities.
    • High, up-front capital investment costs
  • Technical Uncertainty
    • Although plant components have been operated at commercial scale, the efficient integration of advanced coal gasification with advanced F-T synthesis technologies poses significant risk
  • Needed Incremental Investment in Infrastructure
    • CTL facilities will require the use of large quantities of coal driving a significant expansion of the U.S. coal mining industry
  • Current railroads and railcars are inadequate to handle projected increases coal demand
  • Multiple CTL plants built concurrently worldwide will create competition for critical process equipment, engineering, labour skills and materials
  • Environmental Concerns
    • As a carbon-rich fossil fuel, coal releases large quantities of carbon dioxide when converted into fuels and power which must be economically controlled

Way forward:-

  • India has huge coal reserves, foreign companies are already looking forward to investing in Indian CTL plants etc
  • Apart from development of indigenous technology, the Indian government should facilitate in bringing leading foreign companies investing in domestic CTL projects with private Indian players. This would help in ameliorating energy security concerns and bring about energy independence of the country.
  • It may be stated that issues concerning environment due to emissions of CO2 and SO2 in CTL technology have been resorted to lessen the environmental impact by global players through concerted research.

Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6) Discuss the possible impacts of climate change on India’s different physiographic regions.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Climate change is an impending threat and its manifestations are already clear. In this context, it is important to analyze how climate change will possibly impact different physiographic regions of India.

Directive word

discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail as to what could be the possible impacts of climate change on different physiographic regions of India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  climate change and the target of restricting temperature to 1.5 degree celsius above the pre-industrial levels.

Body-

Discuss the impact of climate change on different physiographic regions of India. Illustrate your points better, with the help of maps.

E.g Coasts and Islands; The desert region; Central and peninsular India; Himalayan region; indo-Gangetic plain. Discuss the possible impacts on each of these regions.

Coasts- Increased intensity and frequency of cyclones, increased rains along the western coast etc.

Desert region- increased max temperature, increased water stress and shortage, droughts etc.

Discuss the impacts for each region.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • India is the 13th most vulnerable country to climate change. Since more than 60 per cent of its agriculture is rainfed and it hosts 33 per cent of the world’s poor, climate change will have significant impacts on the food and nutritional security.

Impacts of climate change on India’s regions :-

  • Indo gangetic plain:-
    • The Indo-Gangetic plain is one of the most populous and productive agricultural ecosystems in the world.
    • Climate change will result in both flood and drought, impacting agriculture in the region
    • Floods :-
      • High-intensity precipitation events projected to increase, leading to floods, particularly in the eastern parts of the basin.
    • Drought :-
      • Western parts of the basin both Haryana and Punjab are likely to become vulnerable to drought.
    • Punjab:-
      • Drought days to extend by 23-46 days in lower Sutlej basin
      • Increase in flash floods
      • Severe water-logging in south-western region
    • West Bengal:-
      • Intensity of cyclone to increase
      • Sea surge height may increase to 7.46 metres
      • Sea level rise will be higher than global average
      • Sunderbans and Darjeeling hill to have more rain
    • Haryana:-
      • Increase in water evaporation
      • Not much change in groundwater recharge despite high rainfall
      • Increase in agricultural water stress by 2100
    • UP and Bihar:-
      • A mere 1°C rise in temperature to reduce wheat yeilds significantly in UP
      • Rice yeilds are expected to decline in Bihar
      • Drought to increase in UP and Bihar
    • The Indian Himalayan region:-
      • The Himalayas, which represent about 16.2 per cent of the total area of the country, are not only a key watershed of India but also play a crucial role in the monsoon system. Climate change impacts on the mountain range can affect the entire sub-continent
      • The mean temperature of the Himalayas has gone up by 0.6°C in the past 30 years; the frequency of warmer days is also increasing
      • The northeastern states of India, particularly parts of Assam and Manipur, are vulnerable
      • Flash flood due to glacial lake outbursts may lead to landslides and affect large-scale food security
      • Himalayan glaciers melting faster than others elsewhere in the world
      • Productivity of apple has decreased by 2-3% over the past few years. This will go down further
      • Projected increase in intensity of rainy days is 2-12% in the Himalayan region
    • Central and Peninsular India:-
      • The region covers most of India’s rainfed areas that contribute more than 40 per cent of the country’s foodgrain production. Already ravaged by frequent floods and droughts, this region will be severely impacted by climate change, affecting the country’s food security
      • Temperature:
        • Six of the 11 states will witness a temperature rise of 1°C to 4°C. Maharashtra will record a 3.4°C increase by 2100
        • Most states will have hotter summer and winter.
        • The winter temperature in Jharkhand will rise to such an extent that the lowest minimum temperature in the 2080 will be higher than the highest minimum temperature in the 2020s
      • Rainfall:
        • Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Jharkhand will witness increase in rainfall.
        • Summer rainfall will increase by the end of this century and the number of rainy days during summer will increase by up to 10 days by 2100 in Jharkhand
        • The post-monsoon and pre-monsoon increase in rainfall is projected to be more than the increase in rainfall projected for the monsoon period for 2100
        • Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh, parts of Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka will witness less rainfall. In Andhra Pradesh, there will be drastic decrease in southwest rainfall over Anantapur and Kadapa districts
        • Northern Karnataka, already witnessing less rainfall and higher temperature, will see the temperature trends accentuated
      • Impact:-
        • The number of days with `high’ or `very high’ rainfall (>25 mm/day) is projected to increase over Maharashtra, while the number of days with `low’ to `modrate’ rainfall is expected to reduce
        • Fluctuating weather to affect agricultural yield in all the states
        • For Karnataka, an increase in droughts is projected for 2021-50 for the two growing seasons. Most of the northern districts of Karnataka would have 10-80% increase in drought incidences
      • The desert region:-
        • The Thar desert, covering 10 per cent of the total geographic area of India, is the seventh largest desert in the world. The region has witnessed unheard of floods in the recent past.
        • Drought
          • Parts of Rajasthan and the Kutch region of Gujarat have the highest probability of occurrence of drought
        • Rajasthan:-
          • The share of water for agriculture is set to reduce from 83% to 70% by 2050
        • Gujarat:-
          • There will be heat stress and water shortages in the state
          • Luni and the West-flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra to experience acute water shortage
          • The severity of drought for the Mahi and Sabarmati rivers will increase between 5% and 20% by 2050
        • The coast and islands:-
          • The region is already witnessing climate change impacts like frequent, severe cyclones and sea ingression due to sea level rise.
          • Cyclone
            • The Kutch region in Gujarat and the entire eastern coastal region are projected to have the highest incidence of cyclone.
          • Coconut yields in Kerala are projected to increase by 30%
          • Sea water intrusion will impact drinking water sources
          • A one-metre rise in sea level will displace 7.1 million people in India
          • Temperature fluctuation will negatively impact winter crop in AP.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic– Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance;

7) “Political parties must evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside the Parliament and out of it, otherwise, people might soon lose faith in our political processes and institutions.” Comment. (250 words)

Epw

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and expression and accordingly form an opinion on the need to evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for the MPs.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines highlighting the untoward and unethical conduct of the parliamentarians.

Body-

  1. Briefly discuss the ethics committee of Rajya Sabha and the permanent standing committee on ethics of Lok Sabha. Bring out the operational differences between the two and the limitations of each. e.g The Ethics Committee of Rajya Sabha consisting of nine members (later expanded to 10) was constituted in March 1997 “to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the members and to examine the cases referred to it with reference to the ethical and other misconduct by members”; Over the years this committee has evolved a general framework of a code of conduct for members of the Rajya Sabha and a procedure for enforcing the code; Unlike the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha Committee does not maintain a register of members’ interests and does not prevent a member from participating in a debate on an issue in which they have pecuniary interests. The Rajya Sabha panel acts on complaints and can take up an issue suo-motu while the Lok Sabha Committee can only act on complaints. In this context, it may be important to point out that ethics committees of the house enjoy wide powers in several countries.
  2. Bring out the need to form a code of conduct for the parliamentarians, which respects national interests over parochialism and sub partisanship. Take the help of the article attached to the question to call your answer.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Answer:-

Codes of conduct for high constitutional functionaries and representatives of the people have been discussed for long. In recent times, the obstructive conduct of some MPs and MLAs has caused heartburn among voters .There have seen incidents of the Parliamentary logjam and also in State Assemblies. In fact, there is a distinct need to bring upon reforms in Indian Parliamentary domain.

 

Why political parties must evolve consensus on code of conduct:-

  • Many MPs and MLAs come to office with little knowledge of either the rules of the House or the process of legislation
  • MPs and MLAs  seek shelter behind parliamentary privilege after engaging in disruptive activities.
  • Differences in working of ethical committees as well in both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha.
    • Unlike the Rajya Sabha, the Lok Sabha Committee does not maintain a register of members’ interests and does not prevent a member from participating in a debate on an issue in which they have pecuniary interests.
  • Need to form a code of conduct for the parliamentarians, which respects national interests over parochialism and sub partisanship.
  • In the Rajya sabha there are nominated members who hardly attend the proceedings. Many are experts in their fields and their contributions could greatly enrich the discourse in the House. 

What needs to be done?

  • Ethics committee-
    • Over the years this committee has evolved a general framework of a code of conduct for members of the Rajya Sabha and a procedure for enforcing the code.
    • Its reports have suggested that members need to advance general well-being of the citizen–community and desist from acting in a way that affects their credibility.
    • In case of conflict between one’s private interest on the one hand and public interests on the other, a member should prioritise the latter and they should not employ their official interventions in the house, such as resolutions, voting, or questions, for private gain. 
  • International experiences:-
    • Britain, for instance, has a Committee of Standards and Privileges to examine any breaches of the Model Code of Conduct by their parliamentarians. The European Parliament too has similar procedural rules that enjoin members to respect the dignity of the parliament and not compromise the smooth conduct of parliamentary business. India needs to do that.
  • Code of conduct that is agreed upon by all parties will elevate public discourse.