SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 March 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.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes
1) The India Meteorological Department has forecast above-normal temperatures over much of India in the coming summer months. To which factors this phenomenon can be attributed? Examine the policy challenges this phenomenon would give rise to policymakers in India. (200 Words)
GLOBAL TEMP. TRENDS (NASA) –
Temperatures in different parts of the world may have variations due to local weather phenomena, but as the U.S. space agency NASA has pointed out, there has been a record three-year warming trend, with 2016 the hottest; 16 of 17 warmest years based on globally-averaged temperatures occurred since 2001.
The effect of El Nino on the global temperature average is only a small part of the overall rise, indicating that the trend could be correlated with the rise in greenhouse gases.
India, a major emitter of GHGs, has classified 2016 as the century’s warmest year, with an increase of 0.91ºC over the long-term average; NASA’s corresponding global figure is 0.99ºC.
IMD Forecast –
The Indian Meteorological Department has forecasted above-normal temperatures over much of India in the coming summer months. This poses several challenges in front of policy makers, as last year(2016) was recorded as the warmest year of century.
Factors responsible for increased temperatures :
- El Nino effect: It contributed to rise in summer temperature due to less rainfall.
2. Green House gas emission affects amount of heat retained by earth’s atmosphere. It’s contribution is rising with increase of use of its emitter like burning of fossil fuels(vehicle, industry), reduction in forest cover(increases CO2) livestock emits methane, fertilizers release NO2.
3. Increased concrete cover and decreased tree cover in cities and distorted agricultural practices.
Policy challenges :
SHORT TERM CHALLENGES –
1. Ensuring adequate supply of water throughout India, as there will be water distress due to less storages in reservoirs and over-exploitation of groundwater .
- Health: Protective and preparatory measures in case of Heat wave condition – providing all information regarding weather to public in advance and that should be easily available and visible to general masses.
- Work and school curriculum rescheduling: Outdoor workers and student suffer the most.
- Electricity supply without load-shading.
LONG TERM CHALLENGES –
- Adopting green technology To achieve Sustainable development i.e Strict emission norm (enforcement), reforestation , eco-friendly buildings, green cities , etc.
- Global Warming and GHG emissions –India should keep it high on its agenda to enforce Paris agreement . SECOND COMMITMENT PERIOD (2013-2020) is ratified by cabinet.
- Rapid Urbanization: Increased pressure due to scarcity of land resulting into reduction in tree cover for construction activity.
WAY FORWARD –
1. Urban : Adopt Ahmadabad heat resilience initiative.
– conservation of water bodies, Build more water reservoirs and judicious use of water.
– In addition to this increase use and production of renewable energy resources.
– All stakeholders must work together and reduce energy consumption, adopt mitigation measures to reduce menace of urban heat island.
- Rural : Surface irrigation facilities, water harvesting, expand tree cover.
-MGNREGAshould use the opportunity for workers to provide them job of creating Ponds for irrigation facilities.
– Change in cropping pattern : Use of crops which consumes less water. No need to export invisible water in form of rice.
- Proper water sharing techniquesacross states should be planned and there should not be wastage of this precious resource.
Holistic policy as adopted in Paris Agreement and nationally determined contributions should be effectively implemented . Coordination between various ministries in India in essential to tackle this problem (i.e Ministry of Environment and Forest , Water , Renewable Energy , Industrial affairs etc).
# NOTE —
Ahmedabad’s Heat Action Plan –
It has a four-pronged approach to reduce heat-related health impacts and mortality:
- Building public awareness and community outreach to communicate the risks of heat waves and implement practices to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses. This includes disseminating public messages on how to protect people against extreme heat through inter-personal contact, traditional media outlets and modern mediums such as WhatsApp, and informational materials such as pamphlets and advertisements on heat stress prevention.
- Initiating an early warning system and inter-agency coordination to alert residents of predicted high and extreme temperatures. The AMC has created formal communication channels to alert governmental agencies, the meteorological department, health officials and hospitals, emergency responders, local community groups, and media outlets of forecasted extreme temperatures.
- Capacity building among health care professionals to recognize and respond to heat-related illnesses, particularly during extreme heat events. These strategies are paired with straight-forward measures like stocking emergency rooms and ambulances with ice packs.
- Reducing heat exposure and promoting adaptive measures by launching new efforts including mapping of high-risk areas of the city, increasing outreach and communication on prevention methods, access to increased potable drinking water stations and cooling spaces during extreme heat days.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Amnesty International, an NGO focussed on bringing forward human rights violation happening across the world, recently in its annual report, 2016 showed a dire situation that the world was witnessing vis-a-vis human rights.
Amnesty International pointed out that 2016 of human dignity and equality, the very notion of a human family coming under vigorous and relentless assault from powerful narratives.
Though Africa noted 2016 as Human Rights Year yet the most serious violations are witnessed there.
The following are some of its observations :
a)Human Rights violation : Be it Rohingya Muslims in Myanmaar, systematic abuse and use of chemical weapons in Sudan, or extrajudicial executions out of mere speculations in Phillippines, the egregious happenings is a reason to worry about.
b) Majoritarianism : Parts of the world are moving towards the attitude reflecting what led to the WW2, the attitude that majority rules and minorities are the one eating up their share is creating a polarized environment all over the world.
c) Divisive politics : Brexit, US-elections and candidates wooing voters by using identity politics, and hate speeches is on a rise.
d) Geo-politics over Terrorism : China’s veto suppressing the resolution calling Masud-Azhar a terrorist shows how vested interests are more prominent than humanitarian thoughts.
e) Suppression of Dissenting voices : Ideological differences with the government are being suppressed by putting bans and sedition charges. There was surrender of participatory rights and civil freedoms in various parts of world . The killing of Indigenous leader Berta Cáceres in Honduras epitomized the dangers faced by individuals who bravely stand up to powerful state and corporate interests . Similar incidents in Turkey, Ethiopia, Middle Africa were highlighted in report.
f) The gap between imperative and action, and between rhetoric and reality : was stark and at times staggering , which can be cited in the failure of UN summit for refugees and migrants where there was no significant development on the state of refugees. 75,000 refugees trapped in Syria and Jordan.
g) Attack on privacy:- UK ‘s – Investigatory Powers Act which significantly increased the power of authorities to intercept, access or retain communication data without any requirement of reasonable suspicion.
h) The substitution of an ‘us versus them’ nationalist narrative for multilateralism that leads to the challenge of mass migration.
The above has been trend in not just one or two countries but these ideas are used and it has seen a domino effect.
RAY OF HOPE –
– Despite the grim picture, what creates hope is the attitude of the people, who despite being suppressed are ready to voice their opinion and hold together despite the divisive politics being played.
Volunteer response to govt failures:-
(a)Anas-al-basa [crown of aleppo], in dehumanized state he continued with his effort of cheering children;
(b) Rio Olympics- Ethiopian marathon runner Feyisa Lilesa draw attention toward govt’s persecution of Oromo people.
– International NGOs and civil societies have now become more aware and know how to pressurize the government and make them accountable to their unaccounted atrocities.
– Further, according to Amnesty International, we must remember the change that was ushered in through acts such as the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the year 1948 by the United Nations. At the same time, it exhorts the world leaders not to circumscribe the arms of justice, by getting away with the commission of blatant acts of mass suppression, tortures, and executions.
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
3) In addition to existing anti-corruption institutions at the union level, what other recommendations does the second ARC make to fight corruption effectively in India? Critically comment on these recommendations. (200 Words)
The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) was constituted on 31 August 2005, as a Commission of Inquiry, under the Chairmanship of Veerappa Moily for preparing a detailed blueprint for revamping the public administrative system.
Indian govt have established several institutions such as CVC, CBI. CIC to tackle the corruption cases. But these institutes are already burdened with huge pile of cases and lack of manpower. In wake of this ARC have recommended few supplementary reforms to solve the menace of corruption:
The existence of anti-corruption institutions such as the Central Vigilance Commission, and agencies like CBI which function under it are indicative of a basic structure for deterrence of corruption, and the corrupt in India.
However, the other recommendations of the 2nd ARC in the context of fighting corruption in India need to be critically commented upon. The various recommendations in this regard are:
- Introduction of a code of ethics for the public servants.
In the present politico-administrative scenario the line between what is ethical and what is unethical is getting blurred. Thus such a code of ethics needs to be framed in accordance with the growing need for changing ethical perceptions in recent times.
- Appointment of an independent ombudsman to inquire into cases of corruption against public servants.
However, such an ombudsman must not be granted excessive discretionary powers and authority, and must me made accountable to the Parliament. There are already different mechanisms to deal with cases of corruption but their functioning is proving ineffective due to reasons like lack of autonomy, insufficient human resource, political interference etc. Thus any new body must be insulated from such problems.
- Reforming of political funding through partial state-funding of elections.
Partial state funding of election is good idea when it comes to curb money power in election and to conduct free and fair elections. However, it must also be ensured that there is a cap on such funding for the parties as a whole, and they should be brought under the ambit of the RTI Act.
- The excessive protection given to the civil servants as regards their prosecution needs to be looked into.
According to 2nd ARC report excessive protection to civil servants is resulting into dishonest servants taking the benefit of the provision to escape punishments. The report is in favor of removing this undue advantage. However, the opportunity should not be misused to harass the honest civil servants.
- Strengthening of anti-defection law and giving primacy to the view of election commission on such matters.
The present anti-defection law gives speaker the final authority over the decisions in cases of defection. The role of speaker in such cases has become controversial as many speakers could not give impartial decisions. Thus the recommendation of 2nd ARC report to give primacy to election commission in cases of defection is step in right direction.
- Use of technology to bring more transparency in government through various e-governance initiatives.
The use of advanced technologies in governance is welcome step which would reduce the discretion of administrators, thereby reducing tendencies of corruption among them. This would build public confidence in the governance.
- Making civil services more empathetic and responsive to the demands of citizens by building citizen’s charter and, ensuring time bound delivery of goods and services.
Building empathy and compassion in civil servants towards weaker sections of society would truly realize the meaning of good-governance.
In fact, the various recommendations made by the 2nd ARC to help curb corruption are worth appreciation. But, at the same time, their pure mechanical application must be avoided, without looking into the possible pitfalls of such steps.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Major crops – cropping patterns in various parts of the country,
4) Recently, the Chief Minister of Kerala met the Prime Minister seeking a greater allocation of rice to the State. Critically examine how and why cropping pattern in Kerala has changed in recent decades. (200 Words)
No state can maintain its political autonomy if it depends on any other state for food security. This statement is equally true for states in India union as far as the todays federal model is considered. Kerala has unique conditions in terms of its Geography and social aspects. The agriculture is always result of socio economic conditions of that landscape. Kerala cannot be an exception.
Reasons for this rice crunch in Kerala can be stated as:
- Impact of migration:
After the economic boom in Gulf region, large scale migration happened from Kerala to gulf countries. This has led to the shortage of the Agriculture Labour further raising the agriculture wages. This led to paddy cultivation getting unsustainable over the period of time.
- Changing Economic status:
Labour migration has led to the raising economic condition of the people. Women abandoned the paddy cultivation Labour due to availability of money. Women have been the main part of tradition labour in paddy cultivation activities.
- Stunted land reforms:
After the land reforms the agriculture production in Kerala fallen to the large extent. The main reason for this is ban on leasing of land. Though the spirit of land reforms were welfare of labor, certain changes are essential to be in tune with today’s environment.
- Cash crop dominance:
Kerala produces 97% of the national output of black pepper and accounts for 85% of the natural rubber in the country. Coconut, tea, coffee, cashew, and spices—including cardamom, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg are the main agricultural products. Cultivation of cash crop made paddy cultivation unsustainable.
Kerala is going urbanization from long time. Being already a land scare country, the prices of land has increased a lot in Kerala. High land prices shifted land from non-lucrative agriculture to lucrative nonagricultural land use.
There in immediate need on policy level to make paddy cultivation sustainable and to create independence in terms of food security. This can be made by allowing land leasing and pooling land pieces together in order to cultivate large areas. Buffer stock maintenance and systemic rice intensification cultivation are some of the possible solutions for food security in longer terms.
Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism; Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate
5) After a spate of terror attacks in Punjab, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Pakistan has launched a new counter-terrorism offensive, Raddul Fasaad. Critically examine how different is this strategy from its previous Zarb-e-Azb operation. (200 Words)
According to the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the media wing of the Pakistan Army, Raddul Fasaad aims at “indiscriminately eliminating residual/ latent threat of terrorism, consolidating the gains made in other military operations… and further ensuring security of the borders”.
Operation Zarb-e-Azb ʿAẓb pronounced was a joint military offensive conducted by the Pakistan Armed Forces against various militant groups, including the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, al-Qaeda, Jundallah and the Haqqani network.
The difference between two operations:-
1)Patronage:- The Zarb-e-Azb was carried out with the help of USA while the Raddul Fasaad is being done with help of Cina.
2)Area of Operation:- Zarb-e-Azb concentrated on areas like North Waziristan and other Tribal area (FATA) which were infested with terrorist however the current operation is in all the provinces including Punjab, Sindh and KP
3)Targeted groups:- The previous operation included groups like Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, East Turkestan Islamic Movements al-Qaeda, Jundallah and the Haqqani network. Now the Sectarian groups like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), ISIS would be included which generally targets other sects (Eg- Sufi shrine attack, Sindh).
4)Officers in command:-The previous operations and National Action plan against terrorism is led by military largely and Raddul Fasaad is going to increase this gap further.
5)Unlike the previous operation the Raddul Fasaad is going to revive the military court system in country.
However the efforts are appreciable most of the things remains the same in these operations launched by Pakistan :-
1)The target groups are unlike the same with just addition of 2-3 new groups.
2)The command of such operations have always been handled by the military officers and not the parliamentarians.
3)The traditional policy of Pakistan about selectively targeting some groups and pleasing others has continued in this operation as well.
The Zarb e Azb failed due to half-hearted attempts of Pak Govt and the new initiative will also meet the same fate if proactive actions are not taken by it. Pakistan has many things at stake in this operation, if it manages this operation well it may be able to regain the respect it lost in world, especially South Asia which is worst affected by Pak terrorist outfits.
Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
Introduction:- Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication previously used to treat them. This broader term also covers antibiotic resistance, which applies to bacteria and antibiotics.
- Resistance arises through one of three ways: natural resistance in certain types of bacteria, genetic mutation, or by one species acquiring resistance from another.
- Resistance can appear spontaneously because of random mutations; or more commonly following gradual buildup over time, and because of misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobials Resistant microbes are increasingly difficult to treat, requiring alternative medications or higher doses, both of which may be more expensive or more toxic.
- Microbes resistant to multiple antimicrobials are called multidrug resistant(MDR); or sometimes superbugs
Why is antimicrobial resistance a global concern?
- New resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.
- Without effective antimicrobials for prevention and treatment of infections, medical procedures such as organ transplantation, cancer chemotherapy, diabetes management and major surgery (for example, caesarean sections or hip replacements) become very high risk.
- Antimicrobial resistance increases the cost of health care with lengthier stays in hospitals and more intensive care required.
- Antimicrobial resistance is putting the gains of the Millennium Development Goals at risk and endangers achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
INDIAN SPECIFIC CASE:-
- In countries like India antimicrobial infections are on rise due to factors like unregulated use of drugs coupled with unhygienic problems of sanitation and health care.
- More than 58000 babies died from antibiotic resistance
- In October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a campaign to build toilets to reduce open defecation, which leads to high rates of bacterial infections and broad use of antibiotics.
- India also tightened rules this year on the sale of antibiotics without a prescription, but strict enforcement is required.
- The government spends just 1 percent of its gross domestic product on health care. It will present a new budget in February that should include a hefty increase in spending on health care, sanitation infrastructure and a national program for monitoring antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
- The large population is often blamed for the widespread dissemination of a higher number of resistant pathogens, commonly called superbugs
- Prescription of antibiotics for a variety of diarrhoeal and respiratory infections despite their limited curative potential has exacerbated the situation.
- Poor regulation of pharmacies and licensing out several pharmacies to a single pharmacist introduces a large number of unqualified personnel into the supply chain.
- New virtual marketplaces have made the entire drug distribution process an opportunity for unchecked financial gains by irresponsible actors.
- The lack of awareness among patients regarding the appropriate use of antibiotics has led to self-medication and non-adherence to the prescribed course of antibiotics, further intensifying the problem.
HOW BIG DATA ANALYSIS WILL HELP?
- The absence of a good statistical model to show the relationship between antibiotic consumption and associated resistance makes it difficult to frame usage guidelines for these antibiotics.
- Tackling the superbug problem requires massive data collection and analysis. Well-designed studies and indicator surveys providing general insight into the situation are critical to begin with.
- While studies can provide a clearer picture of the prescribed doses of antibiotics and their pattern of use (including the why, when, where, and for what relating to antibiotic consumption), indicator surveys can attempt to identify the health outcomes emerging from the use of such antibiotics for different ailments.
- Frequently repeated surveys, with their range expanded to track geographic and demographic representative data, are a policy imperative if India wants to build comprehensive indicators of ABR.
- 1) Creation of Database:creation of a database which has information regarding use of antibiotics based on geographical,demographic factors. This database can be accessed by medical practitioners from anywhere to know useful information like how, when and what amount of antibiotics should be used.
- 2) Collection of information and dissemination of information:patients are generally unaware of the consequences of frequent use of ABs, hence the data collection and information based on this data can generate awareness among the users as well.
- 3) Control of over the counter sell:big data can be helpful in tracking the antibiotic production to its distribution in the retail market.This data can provide insightful information about unregulated sell of ABs without prescription which is frequent in India.The area and pharmacies which are doing this can be recognized and penalized.
- 4) Help in policy making:The data generated can be used for developing statistical models to show the relationship between antibiotic consumption and associated resistance. This can help in issuing guidelines and making policies to regulate the future use of ABs.
Conclusion:-With the increasing incidence of ABRs, there is a danger of a future where simple disease like fever and cold becomes deadly. The risk is more to the vulnerable poor population of India. The need of the hour is to use ICT, research and development of drugs other than antibiotics, investment in health infrastructure and control of over the counter sale and prescription of antibiotics.