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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 05, 2016

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SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A March 05, 2016

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This is an experimental feature. As feedback from our side on your answers is missing, we thought of providing detailed synopsis of important Secure questions on daily basis so that you could revise our synopsis and compare it with your answers. We intend to post synopsis of Secure questions every next day of posting questions on website. 

You must write answers on your own and compare them with these synopses. If you depend on these synopses blindly, be sure of facing disaster in Mains. Until and unless you practice answer writing on your own, you will not improve in speed, content and writing skills. Keep separate notebooks for all GS papers and write your answers in them regularly. Now and then keep posting your answer on website too (Optional).  Some people have the tendency of copying content from others answers and pasting them in a document for each and every question. This might help in revision, but if you do not write on your own,  you can’t write a good answer in real exam. This is our experience at offline classes. We have seen many students who think they were regularly following Secure, yet fail to clear Mains. So, never give up writing. 

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Please provide your valuable feedback in the comment section to improve and sustain this initiative successfully. 


General Studies – 1;


Topic:Urbanization – problems and remedies

1) It is found that aside from poor quality public transport systems, inadequate city planning and a flawed design framework have further compounded Delhi’s congestion problem. Around the world there are examples of successful models to address these issues. Examine these models which can be applied to Indian cities, especially to Delhi. (200 Words)

EPW

Option for Choice, good quality, reliable and affordable multimodal public transport system, exclusive lanes for pedestrians and bicycle riders and measures like penalty for single occupancy vehicles, congestion tax and incentives to use public transport, if properly integrated into city planning, could lead to meaningful solution to the concerned problem.

Some of the best practices from around the world which are relevant to Delhi,

  • Bike sharing to improve public mobility – Hangzhou – 40% of air pollution in Hangzhou was the result of vehicle emissions. – government invested 180 million Yuan to create a bike sharing system that connected to the public transport network.  –

Result – Improved Hangzhou’s environment, making it more attractive to tourists. It has also created a more affordable way for people to get around the city

  • Istanbul – The constant congestion, heavy traffic made the city less accessible. – Soultion, pedestrianization project to protect from traffic accidents – Since 2011, Istanbul has pedestrianized 295 streets — through infrastructure upgrades and by making it easier for people to use trains, ferries, buses, and bicycles rather than cars.

Result – More public convenience, citizen friendly

  • London – Automated congestion pricing, City levies a surcharge on single occupancy vehicles – The daily fee could be paid before or on the day of travel through various means—online, by telephone or text message, at select shops and petrol stations, and by post.

Result – Traffic fell by 20%, congestion 30%, 16% reduction in carbon emission in the city. Citizens switched to public transport. 83% rise in bicycle trips.

  • Dublin – Introduced IBM’s park ya app to find parking space
  • Hongkong– – “rail plus property mode”, metro stations are integrated with business centers and commercial complexes.
  • Barcelona- effective parking management and dynamic traffic facility. Traffic cameras provide real time information about congestion to end users and authorities.
  • Copenhagen– Transport systems are integrated with integrated ticketing system via Phone apps and SMS. It gives flexibility to user to choose its option efficiently.
  • Bogota’s TransMilenio systemuses Bus rapid transit in conjunction with pedestrian and cycle tracks to ease congestion, creating more jobs and increasing access to city-center.
    Urban Car management policy in Europe
    – France (Lyon, Grenoble, Montpellier) Free choice for choosing the model of public transport
    – Great Britain (Cardiff, Liverpool) Deregulation of public transport.
    – Italy (Bologna, Milan) entry of cars to city centre restricted
    – Switzerland (Bern, Zurich) use of cars restrained and public transport promoted.
  • School opening times arranged to avoid rush hour traffic

 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2) Discuss the features of ancient Indian universities vis a vis their autonomy and education culture, and compare them with features of modern state funded universities in India. (200 Words)

Frontline

Features of Ancient Indian universities

Nalanda in Bihar, Taksha-sila in Punjab and Vikram-shila in western Bengal, Valabhi university in Saurashtra, Gujarath, Pushpagiri university in Kalinga (Odisha)

Ancient universities

Autonomy

Patronage –Mainly as philanthropic initiative – Grants and donations from Kings and Merchants

Away from political interference – Located in remote, forested areas – ensured autonomy in functioning and independence in thinking and work.

Debate and discussion was the means of learning. Main mode of gaining knowledge. Disagreement was part of the deliberations

Education culture

Subjects – different fields of study like vedas, grammar, philosophy, ayurveda, agriculture, surgery, politics, archery, warfare, astronomy, commerce, futurology, music, dance, etc. But, the major theme is restricted to religious learning like, Mahayana Buddhism, Heenayana Buddhism, Jainism, Vedas and Upanishads

Not Universal education – Formal education restricted to only a section of the society (Brahmanas, Kshatriyas), rest learn their family professions like Pottery, Basket making, Goldsmithery, Black smitery.

Ashrama and Sangha model of education – Students had to commit their entire study period to Ashrama life, without distraction from outside events.

Cosmopolitan centers – Students from across the world

Quality of education – Best at that time. Attracted students from all parts of the world like, Indonesia, China, Malaysia, Srilanka, Japan etc.

In Modern universities –
Patronage – Obligation of the state – State funded, located amidst power centers (state capitals, district head quarters) – Political interference, activism of political parties to extend the sphere of influence on youth

Political interference – Huge through student unions in university politics, propaganda through textbook curriculum (trying to push leftist, rightist ideologies),

Education culture

Universal access to formal education – State promotes this through incentives, scholarships

Secular education – Majority curriculum on secular aspects like Science, History, Geography, Linguistics.

No ashrama style, no restriction in pursuing other aspects of life

Quality of education – Not comparable to global standards except few , Needs improvement, no longer attracts foreign students


 

TopicModern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues

3) During the early years of national movement, both Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Mahatma Gandhiji were charged under the Section 124A of IPC for committing sedition. What was their crime? How did they react? Do you think this provision of IPC should have been removed once India gained independence? Critically comment. (200 Words)

Frontline

(Only for Reference The sedition law, introduced by the British in India in 1870, outlaws speech that “brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards, the Government established by law in India.” The penalty – up to life imprisonment)

Sedition charges against Bala Gangadhar Tilak

Tried for Sedition Charges in three times by British India Government – 1897, 1909, 1916

In 1897, he was charged for speeches that allegedly incited violence and resulted in the killings of two British officers. Lt. Ayerst and Rand. Mr. Tilak was convicted but got bail in 1898.

On 30 April 1908, Prafulla Chaki and Khudiram Bose, threw a bomb on a carriage at Muzzafarpur, to kill the Chief Presidency Magistrate Douglas Kingsford of Calcutta, but erroneously killed two women travelling in it.

Tilak, in his paper Kesari, defended the revolutionaries and called for immediate Swaraj or self-rule. The Government swiftly arrested him for sedition

Reaction – Tilak maintained that he was innocent.

Mahatma Gandhi, in 1922, was sentenced for 6 year jail term, on sedition charges because of the articles he wrote for a weekly journal, ‘Young India’, that challenged the British government and asked Indians to stop serving it.

Gandhiji response

Gandhiji did not oppose the verdict, saying it was a “privilege” to be charged with sedition. He said in court speech “I am here, therefore to invite and submit cheerfully to the highest penalty that can be inflicted upon me for what in law is deliberate crime, and what appear to me to be highest duty of a citizen

Gandhiji said people should be free to express their disaffection toward the government so long as they aren’t inciting violence.

(Difference between Gandhiji and Tilak View point —- Tilak maintained that he was innocent. But, Gandhiji accepted the verdict and accepted that as highest duty of a citizen to criticize the colonial government)

Should it have been removed? No, but, must have used for charges which were threat to National security, not as a tool for political vendetta and to silence political opponents.

Utility of Sedition law before independence and after independence cannot be compared. Before, it was used to perpetuate British rule in India, but, now it is applied to uphold the integrity of the country, we need to protect the country from anti national, secessionist forces which seeks to overthrow the democratic regime and divide the country (Highly relevant in this fluid world with evil forces like different terrorist organizations, ISIS, Foreign intelligence agents like ISI, CIA, Naxalites etc.,)

Constitution provides freedom of speech and expression, but, with reasonable restrictions to protect the public good and to maintain sovereignty and integrity of the country.

Sedition law relevant in the background of globalized world. Foreign intelligence agencies like, ISI, CIA etc., always covertly tries to instigate violence, divide the country using anti nationals. Social media can be used to forge secessionist tendencies. Naxalism, Maoism ideologies are deep rooted which seeks to overthrow the democratic government with violent struggle —- In such environment, there must be deterrence to act against such activities. But, it must be reasonable and to protect national interests. As Gandhiji said people should be free to express their disaffection toward the government so long as they aren’t inciting violence.

(Binayak Sen for speaking against Chhattisgarh govt. support for Salwa Judum, ToI editor Bharat Desai for speaking against police-mafia nexus etc.)

Supreme court in Kedarnath case: SC held that only “imminent incitement of violence” should be considered under it. Thus curbing its ambiguous interpretation.

But, if an act incites violence and is against integrity of the country, Sedition law must be applied. With vibrant civil society, active media, independent judiciary at service, it is possible to rectify the anomaly. But, unrestricted freedom to even instigate violence to overthow the established democratic rule is unacceptable. Hence, detailed guidelines must be formulated to apply Sedition charges for serious and genuine cases.


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections

4) The latest Budget has  made a pensioned society one of the nine new pillars for growth. Critically evaluate how recent budgets have tried to provide social security to senior citizens. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Social security provision in the union budget 2016.,

The decision to follow EET (Exempt, Exempt, Tax) model for EPF contribution, i.e. taxing the 60% of the money accrued in PF proceeds at the time of withdrawal. This initiative discourages employees to withdraw the EPF money in lump sum.
• Tax exemption to 60% of EPT at the time of withdrawal if it is invested in an annuity program — Encourages to invest and to secure perpetual monthly income
• Bringing parity in EPF and National Pension scheme (40% tax exempt) — Encourages investment in pension schemes.
• Minimum of 1,000 Rs. pension to all the employees invested in Employee Pension Scheme (EPS) (component of EPF contribution)
• The partial revival of Varishta Pension Bima Yojana (VPBY) which was introduced during Sri.Vajapayee government
• The introduction of Atal Pension Yojana (APY) —- for workers of the unorganized sectors in the budget 2015-16.

Deposits unclaimed in EPF /PPF account would be used for the welfare of senior citizen .

But,

Taxation of EPF contribution at the time of withdrawal is unwarranted (Long term commitment of the employee is compromised eg. Buying a house, marriage expenses of Children)

Initiatives like increasing the threshold for EPF contribution from a monthly salary of 6,500 Rs. to Rs. 15,000 for increasing the take home salary (But, this will be counterproductive in the long term, even though it increase the take home salary).

India, with 82% of the work force engaged in unorganized sector, universal pension scheme is the need of the hour, which is missing in the budget.

Agriculture laborers and farmers, without any formal social security scheme also need pension scheme with mandatory contribution from the government (Atal pension yojana need to be universalized even without contributions from the farmers)

Money from IGOAPS is meager, must be raised to meet the age old requirement of citizen.


 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger; Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of vulnerable sections

5) The Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) annual report on the State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2015 explores the potential of social protection programmes in developing countries to tackle hunger and poverty. What constitutes social protection? How can they address poverty? Discuss. (200 Words)

Frontline

What is social protection?

  • Social protection is commonly understood as “all public and private initiatives that provide income or consumption transfers to the poor, protect the vulnerable against livelihood risks and enhance the social status and rights of the marginalised; with the overall objective of reducing the economic and social vulnerability of poor, vulnerable and marginalised groups”
  • objectives of social protection vary widely, from reducing poverty and vulnerability, building human capital, empowering women and girls, improving livelihoods, and responding to economic and other shocks.
  • Social protection programmes fall into three main categories. These are

1.Social assistance is direct, regular and predictable cash or in-kind resources transfers to poor and vulnerable individuals or households. it has helped in reducing poverty in the following ways:

  • Cash transfer:form of cash increases the purchasing power of the poor, who demand goods and services produced largely in the local economy.Indias direct benefit transfer is the best example.
  • Social pensions: are state pensions, a form of cash transfer targeted by age. Pensions are the most common social protection tool, with the widest global coverage and often highest national spend.It can prevent deeper deprivation by preventing loss of assets, creating resilience against shocks. (e.g., health insurance like PMRSBY, crop insurance, pension schemes of indian government etc)
  • Health and education:

–Programs like ICDS have helped in reducing the maternal and child mortality rates by providing maternity treatment,nutrition requirements
–Immunization drives like the pulse polio program,Indradhanush have helped in reducing major communicable and non-communicable diseases.

— fosters more investment in the education and health of children, and reduces child labour.

–Philippines shows very promising results. School enrolment of children in poor beneficiary families has risen, and the incidence of severe stunting has declined.

  • food security:

–Schemes like PDS, MDM, Food for work ensure basic nutrient intake. Money saved here can be used by the farmers for more farm inputs, fertilizers which in turn increases their produce                            and eventually income.
–In Indonesia, social protection programs provide over 65 million low-income households with everything from cash support to subsidized food and insurance.

  • children:

–In Zimbabwe, during 2013, almost 60,000 children at risk of and exposed to violence, exploitation and abuse received quality support and care
–South Africa’s Child Support Grant, introduced in 1998, has become the country’s largest social assistance programme, covering over 10 million children.A recent evaluation [PDF] shows        that the Grant directly impacts on poverty and vulnerability reduction, while helps break inter-generational cycles of poverty and exclusion.

2.social insurance: pooled, contributory insurance programmes and labour market protection: and 3.provision of unemployment benefits, building skills and enhancing workers’ productivity and employability..they help reduce poverty in the following ways:-

  • GENDER EMPOWERMENT: Women get more leeway in society and their skills and capabilities are enhanced. (Swavalamban scheme) Maternal health improves leading to better health for future generations.
  • Political

(i) Involvement of women from all sections in local governments due to decreased gender and class inequalities
(ii) Mobilization of poorer sections against exploitative practices (e.g. pressure groups of farmers in NW India after Green revolution)

  • unemployed:

–China’s Dibao program, which provides cash to China’s needy, is the backbone of the system. It is also the largest program of its kind in the world..Workers laid off from State-owned                                        enterprises and the unemployed accounted for over two-fifths of the program’s beneficiaries. Today, the focus of the Urban Dibao program has shifted to the elderly living in poverty, the working  poor and low-income families with adult members with low skills, disabled or without a support network.This has allowed a five-fold increase in the average transfer amount to families, along with  the vast expansion in coverage
–Indias’s NREGA has provided employment to vast number of poor households and raised their standard of living and brought them out of the penury.

  • skill development:

–It allows the poor to think of investing in their future rather than their day to day survival. Skill india, Start up India, stand up India  and other initiatives by India make sure that                                             disadvantaged get the opportunity be be self made.

–Infrastructural schemes like Mega Food Parks to reduce crop losses.

problems:

  • Only a few countries in the region have generated high-quality statistics on their social protection programs.
  • In general, the social protection systems operated by governments in the region are not terribly effective outside a few developed countries, such as Japan, Republic of South Korea, and Singapore. They tend to suffer from fragmentation, weak coordination, and poor beneficiary targeting.
  • In Asia and the Pacific, public expenditure for social protection programs for women is about 1.15% of gross domestic product (GDP) while that for men is 1.6% of GDP.
  • Greater attention must be given to gender-related dimensions in the design and implementation of social protection programs to support inclusive growth in the region.

suggestions:

  • ADB’s Social Protection Index has pulled together data on central government social protection programs in 35 countries and presents the figures in a variety of ways.this has to be followed.
  • With most of the world’s poor and hungry still living in the countryside and still dependent on agriculture, twinning social protection with agricultural development programs makes compelling sense

Political commitment, adequate funding, partnerships, and complementary actions in health and education will be key elements in transforming this vision into reality. Policy and planning frameworks for rural development, poverty reduction, food security and nutrition need to promote the joint role of agriculture and social protection in fighting poverty and hunger, together with a broader set of interventions, notably in health and education.


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Government budgeting; Infrastructure – transport; Environmental pollution

6) In India personal transport has now reached saturation limit in the cities, resulting in gridlock, rising air pollution, lost productivity and ill-health. To address this problem, encouraging public transport has become vital aspect of policy making. In this regard, critically comment how the recent budget strives to improve public transportation in the country and examine what else needs to be done. (200 Words)

The Hindu

EPW

India’s urban population is rising at a faster rate from 377 million in 2011 to approximately 600 million by 2030.In 2014-15 India added nearly 20 million vehicles to the existing 172 million registered motor vehicles there are severe environmental health impacts threating the humans.So there is a very urgent need to make public transport the priority.

why public transport has become important ?

  • sustainable development of these cities depends on developing safe and low carbon transport systems which provide access to the required goods,services and activities for all citizens.
  • Lack of efficient public transport combined with inadequate access infrastructure are resulting in users looking for alternative means of mobility,including an increased use of private vehicles,leading to further deterioration of air quality,reduced trafiic safety and increasing congestion of roads.
  • An efficient public transport system helps meet the mobility needs of a city,using fewer financial and energy resources,compared to private vehicle oriented mobility.It also helps in improving the public health and well being of inhabitants by improving safety on roads.

Recent budget initiatives:-

1.Regulatory –

  • The Motor Vehicles Act will be amended to allow private players to invest in the bus service sector. This will help reduce “permit raj” and increase private entrepreneurship through START UP INDIA in the public transport sector. It will also now allow buses to run on variable route. There will also be an increase in funds for battery operated and bio fuelled public transport.The Motor Vehicles Act is to be amended to open up the passenger segment, and more entrepreneurs will be able to operate bus services. It will be up to the States, though, to accept the new liberalised regulatory system.
  • Accepting Kelkar Panel recommendations such as establishing Public Dispute Resolution Body and PPP contract renegotiation-guidelines
  • START UP INDIA project which may encourage more entrepreneurs to come up with radical solutions on traffic pollution problems
  1. Funding –
  • Renewed impetus to Pradhan mantri gram sadak yojana and construction of 10k new roads.Rs. 97,000 crore has been allocated to roads and road sector
  • Infrastructural cess- 1% on small cars, 2.5% on diesel cars of a certain variety, 4% on diesel powered SUVs. This will reduce demand for private transport.
  1. Procedural –
  • Increasing competition of State corporations by revamping current route-specific permit policy for private bus-operators
  • Measures to improve air connectivity in remote areas and enhance port efficiency

4.Initiatives by the state governments like odd-even scheme has its own benefits.additional benefits including reducing on road congestion, increase of average car speeds, reduced fuel usage and made significant impact on public awareness -The Budget proposal to open up the sector has the potential to reverse the effects of the neglect and obsolescence.

Neglected areas:

  • The law enabling State road transport undertakings dates back to 1950, and many States have failed to progressively augment their operations after opting for full or partial nationalisation, especially in the cities
  • Buses are also unpopular because they are not ergonomically designed as per the national bus code. No proper modern design standards are present in this sector.
  • The biggest problem in using public transport is last-mile connectivity : buses wont drop at the door step- for that one needs rickshaws, autos, etc.
  • However, issues such as inclusion of Intermediate Public Transport(IPT) in the planning process as a result the public transport interventions in the cities have only resulted in providing or augmenting the city bus services and mass transit systems., specific deadline Bharat VI standards etc. were not touched upon.
  • So far the bus fleets sanctioned by the ministry of urban development were decided based on the population of the city without considering any other mobility or development characteristics of the city such as area,population density,travel demand patterns etc..,

Suggestions:

  • Setting up Unified Metropolitan Transport Authorities for planning and implementation of transport solutions as recommended by 2nd ARC
  • Integrating land use planning with multi-modal transport planning
  • Reducing State VAT on CNG to promote sale of CNG vehicles(recommended by Saumitra Chaudhary Committee)
  • Follow BS VI norms and its quick implementation
  • Local train services should be improved with high maintenance of time table and maintain platforms highly clean
  • National Transport Development Policy Committee 2013 said in its report, there is a need for a strategy panel at the national and State levels. This is necessary to take a comprehensive view of rail, road, waterway and non-motorised modes.
  • london model-this model is the use of intelligent transport systems — of the kind the new taxi companies in India use — to determine whether the contractor is adhering to schedules, and to analyse demand-supply patterns
  • Routes should be tendered as per schedules and owners can be paid according to mileage.
  • Mobile app for real time service operation for passengers.
  • Reforms in policies for fleet modernization and vehicle inspection and certification with SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers)
  • FAME India -( Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan),Green railways, car pooling-(eg: rahagiri), Setu bharatam, increase in ethanol content from 5 to 10% need to be effectively implemented.

Public transportation is a immediate concern for cities all over the world especially developing countries like India.So in keeping sustainable development in mind the government has to take serious efforts.


 

TopicAchievements of Indians in science & technology; 

7) Recently,  the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) – India project was approved by the union Cabinet. Briefly discuss about the significance of the project and its likely impact on India. (200 Words)

Frontline

LIGO-India project:

  • LIGO-India is a planned advanced gravitational-wave observatory to be located in India as part of the worldwide network. The project recently received the in principle approval from the Indian government. LIGO-India is planned as a collaborative project between a consortium of Indian research institutions and the LIGO Laboratory in the USA, along with its international partners Australia, Germany and the UK.
  • Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) project operates three gravitational-wave (GW) detectors(2 at Hanford USA)The proposed LIGO-India project aims to move one Advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India

significance of the project:-

  • Discovery of gravitational waves will provide stimulus to research on the origin of universe,black holes and the later events. Can be helpful for the study of earth and understand it better.
  • Adding a new detector to the existing network will increase the expected event rates, and will boost the detection confidence of new sources
  • the dramatic improvement from LIGO-India would come in the ability of localizing GW sources in the sky.
  • Collaboration with scientists across the world will improve the research capabilities, infrastructure and equipment etc. academia and industry can benefit with this at large for improving research in India.Will serve as an example of productive international collaboration for scientific research in the lines of LHC of CERN and attract further investments

Impact on india:

  • The gravitational waves have to combine measurements from different places to get correct data.India is at the right distance from the two other Us laboratories.This is a huge thing to be proud of being part of such a legendary news.

Impact on Indian science: 

  1. The proposed LIGO-India project will help Indian scientific community to be a major player in the emerging research frontier of Gravitational wave astronomy. A major initiative like LIGO-India will further inspire frontier research and development projects in India.
  2. The nature of the experiment is intrinsically multidisciplinary. It will bring together scientists and engineers from different fields like optics, lasers, gravitational physics, astronomy and astrophysics, cosmology, computational science, mathematics and various branches of engineering.
  3. In order to fully realize the potential of multi-messenger astronomy, the LIGO-India project will join forces with several Indian astronomy projects like astrosat,india based neutrino observatory and optical and radio telescopes.

Impact on industry: 

  1. The high-end engineering requirements of the project (such as the world’s largest ultra-high vacuum facility) will provide unprecedented opportunities for Indian industries in collaboration with academic research institutions.
  2. LIGO project has facilitated major industry-academic research partnerships in USA and Europe, and has produced several technological spin offs. LIGO-India will provide similar opportunities to Indian industry.
  3. Atleast 700 crore of orders of indian companies with enhancement of engineering in optics and alloys,building giant magnets and control systems,developing state of the art control systems.

Education and public outreach:

  1. A cutting edge project in India can serve as a local focus to interest and inspire students and young scientists. The LIGO-India project involves high technology instrumentation and its dramatic scale will spur interest and provide motivation to young students for choosing experimental physics and engineering physics as career options.
  2. The ‘multi-spectral’ reach to physics will attract a large number of talented and motivated young researchers and students to the program, as it has done in other countries.
  3. Also, the observatory will be one of the very few research facilities in India of this scale, international relevance and technological innovation to which the general public and students can have access.

An Indian mega gravitational wave astronomy project, especially in the wake of this historic discovery of gravitational waves, means a great opportunity for showcasing Indian capability at the cutting-edge of science and technology


 

Topic: Awareness in biotechnology; Agriculture in India

8) It is argued that Biotechnologies can improve yields, nutrition quality and provide security to farmers. Illustrate with examples. (200 Words)

Down to Earth

With the challenges like malnutrition,agriculture sustainability,sustainable development ,food security debates taking place on a daily basis and future goals like zero hunger by 2030,60% increase in crop productivity globally by 2050 biotechnology has a huge role to play.

Benefits of Biotechnology:

1.Improving Yields:

  • It helps in attaining higher yields with fewer external inputs.For instance in the technique of interspecific hybridisation favourable traits from different species are combined.It has been successful in the development of Asian Rice and new rice for african varieties,Triticale(between rye and wheat) and Raphanaobrassica(between raddish and mustard)
  • micropropagation-growing plant tissue culture in lab conditions has been very successful for cloning superior quality trees of desirable traits at lab itself.disease free sweet potatoes and bananas have been developed usng this method and have been highly successful in increaing the quality of the products.

2.Improving nutritional quality:

  • Biofertilisers like Rhizobium,Azotobacter etc help plants absorb nitrogen and make phosphate soluble which leads to increase in crop productivity and increase in  nutrition,higher export potential and easier to use.
  • Biopesticides like ChitoSan and Spinosad lead to reduction in pesticide spraying and they affect the target pest right away.
  • genetically modifies crops like bt.cotton take genes from soil bacterium that prevents gall disseases of natural cotton.The famous example has been of the Vistive gold soyabean oil-the beans are modifies such that they produce zeroithas been a source of nutrition with improved quality and alternative for traditional oils.
  • Artificial insemination in animals:India has 6.36 million crossbred cows (jersey,holstein etc) which increase the potential for milk production,best breeds,reduced disease transmission and an alternative source of employment to the farmers which is very lucrative.

3.Use of molecular Markers in developing new varieties and breeds:

  • Cassava is the most important source of nutrition for poor people in sub saharan Africa.With the use of cell biology and molecular markers the south american variety of cssava’s germplasm are transferred into this which led to increase in yields in Nigeria.scientists did this because of genetic diversity superior varieties can be developed

4.Disease Diagnostics:

  • Biotechnology offers important tools to diagnose plant diseases of both viral and bacterial origin.For instance Sorghum faces periodic drought and competition from parasite like witchweed.so with biotechnology drought resistant,disease free sorghum can be developed which can be used to fight malnutrition especially in the subsaharan Africa.
  • By altering DNA and early detection of viral diseases led to reduction in the losses of shrimp farming .This provided huge employment to the farmers with minimum production costs and high profits  as was seen in the Andhra movements of aqua culture

5.Environmental Benefits:

  • with challenges like Food security along with occurence of calamities everyday biotechnology is a boon as it provides a major role to integrate adaptation,vulnerability and resilience with agriculture  strategies.
  • with more environmental friendly practices greater financial returns have been guaranteed – farmers adopting reduced and conservative tillage methods which use herbicidal weed control rather than ploughing had reaped benefits in the form of improved soil health and water retention ,reduced run off ,fuel conservation ,reduced green house gas emissions and more efficient carbon storage in the soil.In 2007 this was equivalent to removing 14.2 billion kilograms of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

What needs to be Done?

-strengthening of local human and institutional capacities to adopt available technology to local needs

-effective public private partnerships need to be developed

-linkages should be along the value chain i.e.., farmers-processors who add value to the produce keeping in mind the urban people demands.proper infrastructure like roads,training in enterpreneurship skills,enhanced credit facilities need to be looked by the government.

Recently approves national biotechnology programme and the past cartagen protocol have to be remembered to avoid misuse of transgenic organisms ,unnecessary complications in the future with respect to super bugs,super weeds etc..,

 


General Studies – 4


Topic: Laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;;

9) “The best safeguard against fascism is to establish social justice to the maximum extent possible.” Critically comment. (150 Words)

General

The Constitution of India strives to secure to all its citizens social justice along with economic and political justice. Social justice constitutes providing justice in distribution of wealth, opportunities and access to basic needs and services within a society. A just society is the best bet against rise of fascism as the latter thrives on divisions and discontent in the society.

Fascist regimes, which are inherently unethical, encourage corruption, further marginalization of weaker sections, creation of income inequality, support to cronies, unlimited power to police and armed forces, suppression of labour power, misuse of religion to divide society and many other unethical means to strengthen their hold on political power. This is evident in many past fascist regimes such as Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.

Can social justice safeguard a society against such fascist forces?

It is utopian to think of a totally just society. However, a society where citizens are provided equal opportunities, ensured security of income, health, food and shelter, given freedom to practice and profess their religions, freedom to express and debate their ideas,  chances are less for fascist forces to manipulate such a society. Social justice ensures that no section of society is discontented. Lesser the discontent, lesser the chances of rise of fascism.  Many countries, such as Britain, France, USA and many Nordic countries didn’t become fascist nations thanks to their strong political system and civil society.

Social justice alone can’t prevent fascism. Strong institutions, stable political system, vigilant civil society and vibrant diversity are equally important.

Also important are strong values and ethics in society. A society strong in universal values can always act as buffer to the rise of fascist tendency of certain ambitious individuals.