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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 February 2017

 


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 February 2017


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.

STATIC Syllabus Timetable


General Studies – 1;


Topic: Urbanization; oLocation of industries

1) Is there a correlation between high levels of pollution in India and coal-fired power plants? Critically discuss. (200 Words)

The Indian Express

The Hindu

Introduction:- High level of pollution has grappled many Indian cities. Delhi emergency in November 2016 is an eye opening lesson in this regard. Among many reasons coal fired power plants have catched attention of many.

AIR POLLUTION IN INDIA:-Air Pollution in Indian

Air pollution is one of the most serious and dangerous issues of the World, which directly challenge to the global environment as well as the thread to the living beings. Normally, pure air consists, 78.084% of Nitrogen (N2), 21.946% of Oxygen (O2), 0.934% of Argon (Ar), 0.0397% of Carbon dioxide (CO2), 0.00182% of Neon (Ne), 0.0005% of Helium (He) and 0.0002% of Methane (CH4). When this normal situation of air changed due to the existence of harmful gasses like, carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides, any hydrocarbon gases, sulphur-di-oxide (SO2), hydrogen sulphide and some greenhouse gases including extra carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane or other dust particles (mainly un-burnt carbon, lead, cement and asbestos), smokes, and many more, then the air become polluted, which are seriously disturbances on the global eco-system and environment.

As per the inclusion characteristics into the fresh air, all air pollutants are divided into two categories – primary pollutants and secondary pollutants.

Primary Pollutants: Primary Pollutants are those harmful gasses or particles, which are directly included into the air by nature or human beings. Sea salts, volcanic ashes and dust are some natural resources; on the other hands, exhausting gasses of vehicles, smokes and others gasses from firewood or biomass are some human resources of the primary pollutants.

Secondary pollutants: Secondary pollutants does not included into the air but create itself with chemical reactions of existing different primary pollutants, as well as reacts with the normal gasses or natural particle like water vapors. Sometimes it also generates after reacts with sunlight. Ozone, smog, sulphur-trioxide, nitrogen-dioxide, different hydrocarbons, etc. are some example of secondary pollutants.

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants:-

Air pollution from coal-fired power plants is large and varied and contributes to a significant number of negative environmental and health effects. When coal is burned to generate electricity, the combustion releases a combination of toxic chemicals into the environment, and thus the human body. A November 2009 report on the effects of coal by the Physicians for Social Responsibility found that coal combustion affects not only the human respiratory system, but also the cardiovascular and nervous system.

A 2011 report by the the American Lung Association found that coal-fired power plants produce more hazardous air pollution in the United States than any other industrial pollution sources.[2] A 2004 report by the Clean Air Task Force estimated that soot pollution from power plants contributes to 24,000 premature deaths, 38,200 non-fatal heart attacks, and tens of thousands of hospital visits and asthma attacks each year.

POLLUTANTS FROM COAL FIRED POWER PLANT:-

Nitrogen oxides (NOx)

Sulfur dioxide (SO2)

Mercury (HG)

Particulate matter (PM)

Smog

Black carbon

Correlation between air pollution and coal fired power plant:-

  • There is substantial growth in number of power plants and emissions from them. Also the lax emission standards will worsen the situation in near future.
  • In 2016, an IIT-Kanpur study attributed “nearly 80% of sulfates and 50% nitrates to the receptor concentration” in India to coal-fired plants.
  • In 2015, the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) put the numbers at 53% and 40% respectively.
  • coal consumption in India has doubled since 2005 without significant investment in cleaner technologies.
  • India notified its first comprehensive emission standards for thermal power plants only in December 2015 and set a 2-year compliance window. With not one among 400-plus thermal units complying yet, the government is set to relax the norms, and also extend the compliance deadline which will again increase contribution of coal fired power plant in air pollution.

But there are other many other sources for air pollution and coal fired power plant is not the sole reason:-

Natural sources:

Volcanoes: ashes, smokes, carbon dioxide, dust and other gases immerged into the air from the volcanic eruptions.
Land surface: salts spray from seas and ocean, dust and soil particles from the ground surface.
Extra-terrestrial bodies: cosmic particles and rays, chest produced due to the bombardment of asteroid materials, comets etc. with the earth.
Green plants: pollen grains of flowers.
Animals: Carbon dioxide from animals during respiration, Methane from cattle during digestion.
Fungi: Fungal spores, viruses

Man-made sources:

Industries: smokes, fumes, dust, particulate matters.
Domestic sources: Bituminous coal used as cooking fuel, charcoal and firewood also causes air pollution by producing carbon dioxide, carbon monoxides, and sulphur dioxides. These gases create a layer over the earth which allows penetration of the sunlight on the earth but hinders radiation from the earth surface and increases hot on the earth surface or simply we can say Green House effects.
Automobiles: The major source of air pollution in big cities and industrially advanced countries is the automobiles (smoke, fumes, emissions from different cars and motor vehicles).
Agriculture: Agricultural activities as crop spraying and dusting for pest and weed control are responsible for emitting organic phosphates, arsenic, and lead into the air.
Power plants: heat from the power plants, smokes, fly ash.

Nowadays air pollution is a common scenario to all developed and industrially developing countries. Indian air pollution is a quite serious issue for human life. Traffic jams and vehicle emission, industrial exhausting, smokes from biomass and fuel wood burning are major sources for Indian air pollutants. However, Indian per capita emissions of greenhouse gases is low, but it is the third largest greenhouse gases producer in the world, only after China and the United States of America. Which change the climate of India as well as direct effects to the human health.

Conclusion:- As India’s energy demand increases cutting down on coal fired power plant immediately, who shares the largest amount of energy in India is not the solution. So in immediate sense setting up precipitator, air filter in plants and using techniques like washing coal, using low sulphur coal etc are required. In long term India needs to shift its dependence from non-renewable to renewable energy sources.


General Studies – 2


Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2) Examine the the values related to education that the Constitution of India upholds. Also examine objectives of these values. (200 Words)

Livemint

Introduction:-Our Constitution lays special emphasis on education and considers it necessary for the development of a good citizen, society and State. The term ‘education’ has a broad meaning in our constitution and the same can be divided into following sections:

Moral Education 
i) Inclusion of respecting teachers, elders and parents as a fundamental duty in Art 51A.
ii) To protect wildlife and nature is an emphasized fundamental duty.
iii) Respecting women is yet another moral education.

Formal education 
i) Promotion of scientific temperament in fundamental duties.
ii) Compulsory education till the age of 14 years is a fundamental right.

Social Education 
i) Our people and the State are being taught by the Constitution to treat everyone equally.
ii) Justice to all is an important aspect of Preamble.

Objectives of these values 
i) To make India more united as a society.
ii) To inculcate within people the feeling of their duty towards nation, nature and their people (Fraternity).
iii) Education for all and development of scientific temperament would help India make a mark in the global arena of achievements.

Conclusion:-Our Constitution has touched upon almost every aspect of personal and collective growth. Now it is the duty of the State and the people to adhere to it and make the most of the guidance of our founding Fathers.


Topic: Pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity; Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act

3) Critically analyse effectiveness of electoral reforms announced in the  recent Union budget. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction:-

The fundamental of a vibrant democracy is periodic elections. Elections to be meaningful should be conducted free and fair with a level playing field to all in the fray.

The Representation of People’s Act 1950 and 1951 aims to achieve the same through the Election Commission, a constitutional body. The problem in recent days has been use of immense money power in elections and hence disturbing the balance.

Issue:
The Union Budget 2017 saw the finance minister announce a slew of reforms aimed at cleaning the field of election funding. The four elements of the scheme announced by the Finance Minister to “cleanse the system of funding of political parties” are –

  •  First, he claimed to follow the Election Commission in proposing a ceiling of Rs 2,000 on the amount of cash donation that a political party can receive from one person in a year.
  •  Second, he announced that political parties would be “entitled to receive” donations by cheque or digital mode from their donors.
  •  Third, he proposed a new scheme of Electoral Bonds.
  •  Fourth, he said that every political party would have to file its Income Tax return within the prescribed time limit in order to enjoy exemption from payment of income tax.

He insisted that this scheme will bring about “greater transparency and accountability in political funding, while preventing future generation of black money”.

Analysis:
The second and the fourth components of this scheme are redundant, as these are no different from what the existing law provides for.
•    It does not require a new law to say that political parties are “entitled” to receive donations by cheque or digitally. They were always entitled to this and were already doing so.

  •  We needed a new law to mandate that the parties would be “required” to receive donations by cheque or digitally. The Finance Minister did not propose any such thing.
  •  Similarly, the existing law requires political parties to file their income tax returns to enjoy tax exemption. The Finance Bill now proposes a new proviso in Section 13A clause (d) of the Income Tax Act 1961 that explicitly says that the return should be filed within the stipulated time limit.
  •  So far, all major parties have routinely flouted this requirement. Big national parties file their return months after the due date and many parties don’t file the return at all. No one gets penalised for this non-compliance. The government really did not need this amendment if it had the will to enforce the existing law.

The case of  ‘Limiting cash donations’
•    The proposal about limiting cash donations to Rs 2,000 has been widely misunderstood and therefore welcomed as a first step in the right direction.

  •  Everyone was made to believe that the limit for anonymous donations, contributions that are exempt from reporting, has been reduced from the existing Rs 20,000 to Rs 2,000.
  •  That is what the Election Commission (EC) had asked for in its revised compendium of Proposed Electoral Reforms in December 2016. The Finance Minister’s speech claimed to follow the EC’s advice.
  •  The Finance Bill reveals something different. The existing limit of Rs. 20,000 on anonymous donation as per Section 23 of the Representation of the People Act (RPA) has been left untouched.
  •  The Minister has merely proposed a new, additional, clause that limits cash donation from one source to Rs.2,000 in one year.
  •  Notice that there was and is no requirement to disclose a contribution by cheque or digital transfer up to Rs,20,000. There was and is no limit to how much a party can receive from anonymous donations.
  •  More importantly, there was and is no limit to how much overall a party can receive in cash from all sources put together.
  •  Following the Law Commission’s recommendations, the EC had proposed that no party should be allowed to receive more than Rs.20 crore or 20% of its overall donations from anonymous sources. The Minister did not pay heed to this.
  •  A small amount enters the coffers of the party and becomes party funds. A tiny fraction of party funds is placed in the bank accounts of the party to meet some expenses that cannot remain invisible.
  •  The figures widely discussed in the media relate to that tiny fraction of party funds, which is a small proportion of political funds. Most of this is not voluntary contribution or donation.
  •  Much of what political parties show as donations is black money generated by party leaders which is turned into white money by way of book entries as donations to the party.
  •  So far, the accountant who had to covert, say,  Rs 100 crore had to make sure than the entire amount was broken down into entries of  Rs 20,000 or below. Now they will absorb the same amount by breaking it down into entries of Rs 2,000 or below. All that the proposed law would ensure is more book entries and perhaps a higher fee for the accountant. Otherwise, it would be business as usual.

 

‘Electoral Bonds’
In order to structure the political funding better and to bring transparency, the Modi Government made several provisions in the Union Budget recently. An unprecedented announcement was made introducing electoral bonds for which the Government is gearing up to amend the rules of Reserve Bank of India.

The proposal has found favour generally but the plan is seen as yet another attempt by the Government to step on the turf of the RBI. The electoral bonds which will be issued by notified banks can be redeemed by recognised political parties within a prescribed time limit.

Electoral bonds are more to do with eliminating black money and less to do with electoral reforms. The Government already took a step in the Budget that the political parties cannot take cash of more than Rs.2000 from a particular donor. This will go a long way in ensuring electoral reforms.

The identity of the donor will not be disclosed if there is use of electoral bond which in case of cheque payment gets fully disclosed showing which companies and industrial houses are supporting a particular political party even if the funding is legitimate.

Even if there are electoral bonds, there is no limitation on giving cash to the political parties. At present also, the amount being paid as donation is shown less than the amount being actually given to the political parties.

Since the money will come through banks, so to some extent black money will be reduced. But as far as corruption is concerned, it is still difficult to put a check with this step. Rather than having political funding, government funding can be a better tool to curb corruption which is followed in many countries of the world.

However, in  country like India, this might lead to further problems when already Government has expenditures on other serious issues like poverty, unemployment etc.

In order to bring electoral bonds, RBI Act will have to be amended because right now under the law only RBI can issue these bonds. After this the banks designated by RBI to issue these bonds will come into picture.

These will be short duration bonds which means that they will have to be encashed within a period of 30 or 45 days as suggested by the Finance Minister. The scheme is left at the discretion of political parties or companies which means that it does not really addresses the issue of political funding.

There is nothing in the scheme that will encourage the companies or industrial houses to buy these bonds by payment of cheques and political parties to take those bonds.

The new proposal of Electoral Bonds, although the detailed rules are yet to be framed, the basic outline of the scheme is clear.

The Problem with the bonds
Once introduced, these bonds will mask whatever little transparency exists in the current system. Instead of the usual practice of converting black money into white, these bonds will push white money into a grey, if not black, trail.

Indeed, the black money in politics might go down, as the white money has been provided a perfect cover of secrecy. Why would anyone give any money to a political party through cheque or digital payment and face all the hassle of disclosure?

Trouble with electoral bonds
•    Anyone who wants to donate to a political party would be able to purchase bonds from authorized banks. This purchase will have to be in ‘white money’ against cheque and digital payments only.

  •  Once purchased, these bonds will be like bearer bonds and will not contain the name of the eventual beneficiary.
  •  These bonds shall be redeemable only in the designated account of a registered political party within a prescribed period.
  •  So, the donor’s bank would know about who bought how much of Electoral Bonds, but not the name of the party which received it.
  •  The party’s bank would know the amount deposited through Bonds, but not the identity of the donor.
  •  The Income Tax authorities and the EC would not know anything: reporting of donor, beneficiary, or even the amount of contribution has been exempted by amending the Income Tax Act Section 13A (b) and the RPA, Section 29C.
  • The net effect, and indeed the purpose, of the Bonds will be that no one except the fund giver and the fund receiver would know about this exchange done in white money with full tax exemption.

Consider an example
Let us think of a classic quid pro quo. A government favours a business house in a mining or spectrum or oil deal to the tune of ₹5,000 crore. Both of them have a fifty-fifty deal. Under the existing arrangement, the business house would have to either declare in its balance sheet a ‘donation’ of Rs.2,500 crore to the ruling party, or find that much cash to secretly hand over to the party bosses.

If the payment is in white, the party will have to declare the amount and the name of the company to the Income Tax authorities and to the EC. Now, the company could simply purchase Election Bonds worth Rs.2,500 crore and hand it over to the party. The company’s balance sheet will show “purchase of Election Bonds” with no name of the beneficiary, while it enjoys 100% tax deduction on that amount.

The party will simply deposit the money in its account, with no obligation to report anything to the IT authorities or to the EC. It may well report an innocuous amount of, say, Rs.3.8 crore as its annual reportable income.So much for transparency.

Way Ahead
1.    If the country is moving towards digitization, even the Rs.2000 which can be paid in cash to the political parties should be paid online.

  1.  If all the transactions and accounts being done and used by political parties are regulated under a piece of legislation, it might prove to be more effective and simple. There are many political parties at present which do not file the return every year.
  1.  Setting aside the election of such candidates against whom there are evidences of spending black money or excluding them from future elections as penalty can be a strong measure.
  1.  Voters have to be made aware through awareness campaigns as often illiterate voters are bribed for votes before elections.

These measures if taken into consideration seriously along with the will to control illicit funding in elections, some changes can be expected in future.

The need for electoral reforms is less emphasised. But the reforms should be designed in the right spirit and aim to bring change at the ground level. The reforms in the current budget are less transparent than the transparency they seek to bring about.


General Studies – 3


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

4) What is Global Positioning System (GPS)? It’s said that apart from navigation, most modern technologies depend on it. Examine. (200 Words)

Livemint

GPS –

Global Positioning System(GPS) is a satellite-based navigation system that can be used to determine the time and exact position of an object on earth. By receiving signals from a set of satellites(minimum 4) in space, an object with a GPS receiver can determine the time and its location without the help of any other source of time.

It consists of 24 orbiting satellites, each of which makes two circuits around the Earth every 24 hours. These satellites transmit three bits of information – the satellite’s number, its position in space, and the time the information is sent. These signals are picked up by the GPS receiver, which uses this information to calculate the distance between it and the GPS satellites. It helps us to locate the GPS receiver’s position on earth, with the parameters latitude, longitude, altitude and heading (speed), with varying level of vertical and horizontal accuracy depending on the visibility of number of satellites, by the method of triangulation. At least 4 satellites should be the visible range of the receiver to achieve good triangulation with both L1 and L2 bands of frequency getting detected.

THE USES OF GPS :

Navigation, time , military and weather systems are the main areas of use.

Agriculture:

number of crop producers use GPS to practice Site Specific Management (SSM) and precision agriculture. Eg. Soil Health card, Fasal Bima Yojna. Can measure yield on much smaller scales as well as precise determination and automatic storing of variables such as field time, working area, machine travel distance and speed, fuel consumption and yield information [precision agriculture]
Astronomy: for finding extra-solar planets
Automated vehicle: applying location and routes for cars and trucks to function without a human driver.
Cartography: both civilian and military cartographers use GPS extensively.
Cellular telephony: clock synchronization enables time transfer
Clock synchronization: the accuracy of GPS time signals (±10 ns) is high.
Disaster relief/emergency services: emergency services depend upon GPS for location and timing capabilities.
GPS-equipped radiosondes and dropsondes: measure and calculate the atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction up to 27 km from the Earth’s surface.
Fleet tracking: used to identify, locate and maintain contact reports with one or more fleet vehicles in real-time.
Geo fencing: vehicle tracking systems, person tracking systems, and pet tracking systems use GPS.
Geo tagging: applies location coordinates to digital objects such as photographs
GPS for mining: significantly improve several mining operations such as drilling, shoveling, vehicle tracking, and surveying
GPS data mining: aggregate GPS data from multiple users to understand movement patterns, common trajectories and interesting locations.
GPS tours: location determines what content to display; for instance, information about an approaching point of interest.
Phasor measurements: GPS enables highly accurate time-stamping of power system measurements, making it possible to compute phasors.
Recreation: for example, Geo caching, Geo dashing, GPS drawing, way marking, and other kinds of location based mobile games.
Robotics: self-navigating, autonomous robots using a GPS sensors, which calculate latitude, longitude, time, speed, and heading.
Sport: used in football and rugby for the control and analysis of the training load.
Surveying: surveyors use absolute locations to make maps and determine property boundaries.
Tectonics: GPS enables direct fault motion measurement of earthquakes. Between earthquakes GPS can be used to measure crustal motion and deformation to estimate seismic strain buildup for creating seismic hazard maps.
Telematics: GPS technology integrated with computers and mobile communications technology in automotive navigation systems.
Military application : Missile and projectile guidance,Target tracking,Search and rescue,Reconnaissance,nuclear detonation detectors and navigation.

Monitoring of power grid : SCADA system. 

However US government can selectively deny access to the system, as happened to the Indian military in 1999 during the Kargil War. So it is important to develop reliable indigenous positioning system which we are developing in form of NAVIC.


Topic: Resource mobilization; Infrastructure

5) Do you think a robust municipal bond market will help cities grow better? What else is needed? Critically examine. (200 Words)

Livemint

A bond – a written and signed promise to pay a certain sum of money on a certain date, or on fulfillment of a specified condition. All documented contracts and loan agreements are bonds. Municipal bond is only one of the methods through which cities can increase their income which can be used in developing the city. 

 

MUNICIPAL BOND – There is growing interest in Indian Urban Local Bodies(ULBs) to issue municipal bonds to finance their capital requirements. It has been dormant even though some 25 cities have raised money since the first municipal bond issue by Ahmedabad in 1998.Now , Pune municipality is about to procure a huge amount by issuing municipal bonds.
Indian cities generally depend on funds from central and state governments to fund their requirements. City revenues are typically less than 1% of city GDP .And the share of own revenue in city budgets has been declining consistently. The net result is that cities do not have adequate financial autonomy. This revenue is hardly sufficient for growing urbanization requirements(housing, transport etc.) of India.

The committee on urban infrastructure headed by Isher Judge Ahluwalia had estimated in its 2011 report that Indian cities would collectively need to invest around Rs40 trillion at constant prices in the two decades to 2031. Some 600 million Indians will be living in cities by then.

In this scenario, municipal bonds(muni bonds) and a robust bond market can be a great source of funding for ULBs to drive their projects.Thus robust municipal bond market can be envisaged as game changer, :-

  1. Population pressure:- migration and urban sprawl area wise, will demand better public infrastructure and increased social capital.
  1. To accomplish 74h amendment:- currently cities dependable upon state disbursal and central grants, but decentralization demanded to generate own revenue.
  1. SEBI regulations:- issued last year, encourage municipalities to go directly to market for money .
  1. Successful examples worldwide:- S Africa and Vietnam leveraging Muni bonds, 40% more than cumulative issuance in India.

Criticism-

  • Diversion of fund:- as acquired by muni-bonds thus impact city-people’s trust and divert them from further investment.
  • Poor financial professionalism:- even revenue collection is improper.

But along with popularisation of such bond market, other measures to be kept in perspective include:

  1. Check on the end usage of the money collected through such initiatives, so as to ensure that the capital is used for the same motive, for which it was collected.
    2. Cities should not use it as a substitute for the usual revenue received by the cities, in form of stamp duties, user charges, etc.
    3. To avoid the problems of moral hazard in issuance of such bonds, maximum transparency must be ensured where the buyer is completely aware of all terms of the bond market.
    4. In case of suffering of delay in completion of project, there should be a state sponsored fund to protect the original amount invested by the city dwellers, in the bond market.

All such measures will help in increasing the citizens’ confidence in the municipal bond market and help in supplementing the funds of city administration.

 

Further, Bonds are merely a way to collect money today based on revenue to be generated tomorrow. They are not a substitute for city revenue. So cities will still have to deal with hard policy issues such as collecting local taxes, user charges, stamp duties, etc. Bond investors are unlikely to put money into cities unless they are convinced about their fiscal strength. So, further options can be scrolled by authorities:-

14th FC recommendations needs to implement:-

  • allowed muni bonds, thus can manage “Trust” separately or 2-3 cities pooled it for bond business;
  • Increasing the revenue – needs to increase professional tax according keeping in mind inflation to raise earnings.

Innovations:-

  • tax base can be increase like via heritance tax ;
  • linking FI borrowing to bond markets;
  • incentives to local investors like retailers and wholesalers ;
  • encouraging insurance and pension fund companies for investments.

Institutional reforms:-

  • MC can open their balance sheets to gain credit-ratings, thus attract investors;
  • for safeguard Escrow mechanism can be installed;
  • linking PSL with muni-bond investment;
  • Empowered administrators – elected mayor for better management of MCs.
  • Awareness:- among local people, by connecting them with notion “my city –my home” to invest for city development.

Center and state both needs to come forward by granting “special grants” for development of such institutions, to strengthen the co-operative sub-federalism.


Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. 

6) What’s the purpose of launching Cartosat-2 series satellites? Write a note on important components of these satellites. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Recently ISRO set a world record by launching 104 satellites in a single mission with PSLV, which portrays the growing strength of India’s space power. It included Earth observation satellite Cartosat-2 which is an advance remote sensing satellite capable of providing spot imagery with single panchromatic camera (can produce images of up to 0.6m in resolution).

Purpose of launching Cartosat-2 series satellite –

  • Security –Provides Area of Interest (AOI) based images for the armed forces, and its output was used to plan the recent surgical strikes in PoK (Cartosat 2A)
  • Reduced dependence –build indigenous cartographic applications – Bhuvan (substitute of Google Earth), and reduce buying of images from Ikonos (Currently costs ~Rs 2cr a year)
  • Rural-Urban planning –High-resolution digital elevation maps can be used in traffic planning, infrastructure planning thus regulating urbanization rate and facilitating development of upland.
  • Anthropogenic effects –For agricultural fields such as land usage and conservation, forestry, ecology, and water resources, through optimum mapping of Land Information Systems (LIS); also provide disaster management support.

5.Natural resource management – Super imposed maps in GIS software can be coupled with ground exploration techniques for effective exploration.

Important components –

Cartosat series are Earth observation satellites (~700 kg) in a sun-synchronous polar orbit at 630 km, carried by PSLV and indigenously built by India.
Cartosat 2A is dedicated specifically for armed forces to facilitate establishing of Aerospace Command, while 2B, 2C and 2D and upcoming 2E have commercial and planning-focused applications.

  • Image technology –JPEG like data compression, advanced solid state recorder, and high performance star sensors with dual-gimballed antenna (for fast transfer)
  • Body –Carbon Fabric Reinforced Plastic based electro-optic structure which makes it lightweight and high-torque reaction wheels.
  • Energy –Advanced triple junction solar cells as the prime power generators for efficiency.

 

Thus the milestone achieved by ISRO is a big step towards space revolution, and with greater increase in space budget and upcoming ambitious projects (Chandrayaan-2, Aditya) there are no heights which India cannot sail.


Topic:  Issues relating to intellectual property rights. 

7) The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has ranked India at 43rd rank out of a total of 45 countries in its IP index which measures number of patents a country files or produces. Should India be worried? Critically comment. (200 Words)

The Hindu

Introduction-

Preserving intellectual property rights thereby encouraging research and innovation remains top priority for India. However reports like IP index by US Chamber of Commerce have created severe skeptical environment regarding IPR protectionist regime.

Why this report has placed India at 43rd rank among 45 nations?

The report says that there are certain gaps in India’s statutory framework for IP, relative to many other countries. Notable among these are the terms of restrictive patent eligibility, over-broad copyright exceptions and limitations, coercive localization measures and weak civil and criminal damages for IP infringement. The recent Delhi High Court ruling on copy right infringement in University of Delhi copy-shop case seems to have cast a shadow on India’s performance on the IP Index.

Should India be worried?

Although many of above arguments provided by report are true, India should be cautious in taking steps to prevent any hasty decisions. First of all there are several criticism of the report itself. The report has given unnecessary higher ratings to the countries that had joined Trans-Pacific Partnership eg Brunei. Also the process of ranking nations is considered to have methodological flaws.

Further India has taken several steps in bringing transparent IPR regime. India has moved away from process patent to product patent in 2005. India’s patent laws are also compliant with the WTO’s TRIPS agreement. India has also brought national IPR policy 2016. This shows that India is continuously moving towards better IPR regime. The instances which are said to be violating IPRs like allowing photocopying of selecting part of book by Delhi HC, compulsory licensing of Nexavar drug etc are nothing government’s moral and social responsibility towards society. Thus rather than getting worried India should chalk out its path to create environment which would balance government’s social responsibility and impetus to research and innovation in country.

Way ahead to bring transparent IPR regime-

  • Training professionals like patent examiners in order to bring down the time to grant patents to 1 month, as envisaged in the National IPR policy 2016.
  • Modernize its patent offices and leverage technology under Digital India to understand and apply global best practices of IPR management.
  • Ensure efficient working of Intellectual Property Appellate Board, preferably by filling vacancies, opening more branches, digitizing records, and ensuring faster clearance of cases.
  • Coming out with clear cut policy guidelines on the use of Section 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act 1970 (as amended in 2005) so that pharmaceutical MNC’s do not exploit the loopholes of the laws for their commercial benefit. This provision does not allow patent to be granted to inventions involving new forms of a known substance unless it differs significantly in properties with regard to efficacy. Thus, the Indian Patent Act does not allow evergreening of patents. This is a cause of concern to the US pharma companies.

General Studies – 4


Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

8) Why do you think secularism as a value is considered as ethical? What was Nehru’s view on secularism? Examine. (150 Words)

Class XI NCERT Political Science, Political Theory, Chapter – 8

Introduction-

Secularism emerged as one of the most dominant principle in India’s freedom of struggle and it has been well preserved after independence despite some blemishes. In fact secularism is integral part of the guiding principles of Indian constitution and democracy.

Secularism as an ethical value-

  • Secularism is first and foremost opposes all forms of intra-religious and inter-religion dominations. It promotes freedom within religions and equality between as well as within religion.
  • Secularism promotes equal respect for all religion and peaceful coexistence. Also Indian secularism binds citizens to maintain harmony and the spirit of brotherhood.
  • Secularism also shows high level of conscience in the individual. It also reiterates Mahatma Gandhi’s beliefs that religion is a personal affair and thus should not be made a concern for discrimination.
  • Secularism prevents religious discrimination, promotes tolerance and brings together the people of different religions for mutual enlightenment.
  • Indian secularism promotes equal protection of all religions by state. This provides security to minority communities and instills their confidence in Indian democracy.
  • In case of India, secularism allows state to intervene in religions to stop evil practices like untouchability, Sati, child marriages etc.

Nehru’s view on secularism-

  • For Nehru secularism meant equal protection of all religions by state and state not to favor one religion over another.
  • He was not in favor of a complete separation between religion and state. For him secular state can interfere in matters of religion to bring about social reform. Nehru himself played a key role in enacting laws abolishing caste discrimination, dowry, sati etc and extending legal rights and social freedom to Indian women.
  • Secularism for him meant a complete opposition to communalism of all kinds. Nehru was particularly severe in his criticism of the communalism of the majority community, which posed threat to national unity.
  • Secularism for him was not only matter of principle , it also the only guarantee of the unity and integrity of India.

Topic:Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

9) Examine Friedrich Nietzsche’s views on war and peace. Is using violent means for achieving their objectives in the international arena ethical for states? Critically examine. (200 Words)

Class XI NCERT Political Science, Political Theory, Chapter – 9

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher in 19th century who glorified the war. He did not value peace because he believed that only conflict could facilitate the growth of civilizations. He along with other similar thinkers condemned peace and commended strife as a vehicle of individual heroism and social vitality.

Such views may find resonance in the need to fight war to bring peace. Although such methods may bring peace for short term, but in the longer run violence or war to bring peace has proved unsatisfied and of limited use. This was well evident in the two world wars fought in the 1st half of 20th century. Even millions of people died and disappeared in 1st world war, 2nd world war fought within short period of 20 yrs. Both the world war instead of facilitating growth of civilizations as suggested by Friedrich Nietzsche led to large scale destruction and in reality retarded the pace of progress. Thus the views of Friedrich Nietzsche on war and peace have glaring limitations and if followed by nations in today’s era of nuclear weapons, would lead to instability and insecurity thereby hampering the human development.

Is it ethical to use violence as means for achieving objectives?

It is often asserted that violence can sometimes be a necessary prelude to bring peace. It may be argued that tyrants and oppressors can be prevented from continuing to harm the people only by being forcefully removed. Or the liberation struggles of oppressed people can be justified even though they may use some violence. However well-meaning the violence, could turn out to be self-defeating. Once deployed, it tends to spin out of control, leaving behind a trail of death and destruction.

Therefore to determine ethicality of using violence by state to achieve its objective remains subjective and a topic of debate. If a nation uses force to maintain its sovereignty from enemy or to stop terrorism then such violence can be justified on ethical grounds. For eg if terrorists carries out attacks with the intention of killing people of any particular country then that country has legitimate right to kill those terrorists.

However if state uses its instruments of coercion and force against its own citizens to suppress dissent then it becomes unethical on the part of the state to use violence.

Thus there will always be two groups supporting and opposing the use of force to bring peace.  


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