SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 April 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.
In recent months, unprecedented rates of glacier melts have been reported both in the Antarctic and the Arctic. “A massive crack in Antarctica’s fourth-biggest ice shelf has surged forward by at least 10 kilometres since early January,” according to Nature magazine in a recent article. Glaciers cover the terrain in both these regions, which have the only permanent ice sheets that still exist on earth today.
Factors aggravating the melting of ice in the Arctic and other ice regions-
- Scientists say that the melting trend is part of overall global warming that is caused by burning coal, gas and oil. The burning of fossil fuels traps gases that cause the Earth’s temperature to increase.
- Temperatures appear to have been mostly stable for up to 2,000 years prior to 1850 despite some regional variations. The increase in sea levels is consistent with data showing rising temperatures at the surface of the Earth. The Earth’s oceans also show an increased temperature due to the overall warming.
- Large scale spewing of green-houses gases due to increased industrialization and urbanization. Because of which CO2 concentration has crossed the level of 400 ppm and it is the largest concentration in about last four lakh years.
- Decreasing albedo of these regions due to deposition of soot, black carbon, dust and other particulate matter on ice sheets leading to faster melt.
- Breaking and tempering off ice selves due to unstable geological conditions which fastens the pace of ice melting of the whole glacier.
Response to the climate change-
Policies relating to climate change fall into the four broad categories as illustrated in figure. We could reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, an approach that is typically called mitigation. We could increase society’s capacity to cope with changes in climate, which is called adaptation. We could deliberately manipulate the Earth system in ways that might counteract at least some of the effects of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations. That kind of intervention is typically called geoengineering or climate engineering. We could also expand our knowledge base in ways that help us better understand the climate system, our sensitivity to climate change, and the other three risk-management strategies, which are more proactive.
- By reducing emissions, mitigation reduces society’s future contributions togreenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. That would reduce the amount that climate changes and thereby increase the chances that the resulting societal impacts are manageable. Mitigation might also confer secondary benefits unrelated to climate change risk management. For example, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases would likely also reduce oil consumption and some traditional forms of air pollution, which would lessen foreign oil dependence and improve public health.
- Approaches to reducing emissions fall into several categories.1We could pass regulations that set minimum energy-efficiency standards for cars or appliances or that prohibit the use of inefficient products. Policies could encourage conservation of energy or forests through public awareness campaigns, or they could subsidize climate-friendly choices. Policies can fund the creation and deployment of low-emitting technologies like wind and solar energy or nuclear power. And policymakers could put a price on greenhouse gas emissions to encourage reductions.
- Adaptation involves planning, building resilience, and improving society’s capacity to recover fromclimate impacts. It can help reduce damages and disruptions from climate change. Adaptation might also help with threats we already face from routine and severe weather events or from other natural and human- induced hazards—an important side benefit of efforts to build adaptive capacity to climate change.
- Regulations can promote adaptation by mandating practices that can decrease vulnerability. For example, improved land-use planning could help keep people away from flood-prone areas, and stronger building codes could help reduce theimpact of extreme events.
- Adaptationpolicies can also help establish planning and recovery procedures for dealing with climate impacts. For example, climate change impact assessments can identify vulnerabilities and protective measures for critical resources such as water, health care facilities, biological systems, agriculture, and infrastructure. Similarly, monitoring of key systems and resources can create early warning systems that enable rapid responses to extreme weather events, pest outbreaks, infectious diseases, and a wide range of other climate-related risks. In addition, efforts to minimize compounding stresses such as traditional air pollution, habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, and nitrogen deposition from fossil fuel combustion and agriculture could enhance resiliency to climate-related threats.
- Geoengineering refers to deliberate, often global-scale manipulations of the climate Geoengineering might help lower greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, partially counteract the warming influence of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations on the climate system, address specific climate change impacts, or offer desperation strategies in the event that abrupt, catastrophic, or otherwise unacceptable climate change impacts become evident.
Some of the techniques include-
- Fertilizing the ocean.
- Adding minerals to increase the ocean’s alkalinity and enhance its ability to dissolve carbon dioxide.
- Directly capturing CO2from the air by chemical means.
- Building biomass-based power plants with carbon capture and storage capabilities.
- Deploying space mirrors.
- Injecting aerosols into the stratosphere.
- Seeding marine clouds to make them more reflective.
- Research, observations, scientific assessments, and technology development can help reveal risks and opportunities associated with the climate system and support decision making with respect to climate change risk management. Expanding the knowledge base allows policymakers to understand, select, and refine specific risk-management strategies and to thereby increase the effectiveness of risk-management efforts.
- Knowledge-base expansion could, in some cases, also reveal entirely new opportunities for protecting the climate system or reducing the risks of climate change impacts. As a result, policies to expand the knowledge base underpin and support mitigation, adaptation, and geoengineering.
- Climate system research spans numerous disciplines and subdisciplines, including those in atmospheric sciences, oceanography, hydrology, biology, cryology, and paleoclimatology. Determining the societal consequences of climate variability and change likely requires insights from a broader range of disciplines, including economics, sociology, history, and political science. Each discipline has unique and sometimes contradictory insights on the potential for climate impacts and the effectiveness of risk management.
To deal effectively with the climate change, all nations should synergize their efforts at international level. The existing organizations such as IPCC, meetings of COPs and agreements like UNFCCC, Kyoto protocol, Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) should be respected and followed by all nations. Still there is no consensus on the issues of climate change among the nations. Thus efforts at international level must be strengthened and followed strictly.
Topic: Political philosophies
Populism is a political doctrine that proposes that the common people are exploited by a privileged elite, and which seeks to resolve this. The main ideology of populists can be left, right, or center. Its goal is uniting the uncorrupt and the simple “common person” against the corrupt dominant elites (usually established politicians) and their army of followers (usually the rich and influential). It is guided by the belief that political and social goals are best achieved by the direct actions of the masses. Although it chiefly comes into being where mainstream political institutions are perceived to have failed to deliver, there is no identifiable economic or social set of conditions that give rise to it, and it is not confined to any particular social class.
Technocracy is a form of government where decision-makers are chosen for a governing office based on their technical expertise and background. A technocracy differs from a traditional democracy in that individuals elected to a leadership role are chosen through a process that emphasizes their relevant skills and proven performance, as opposed to whether or not they fit the majority interests of a population. Decisions made by technocrats are based on information derived from methodology rather than opinion.
Populism reduces representation as the leadership’s identification with the people as ‘one of (all of) them’, while technocracy places rule by a group of experts who are authorised to decide on the people’s behalf. Both types have a non-pluralistic view of society and seek to unitarily represent society to pursue an external common good as opposed to party representation’s subjective aggregated good, and are anti-ideological. Populism’s legitimacy is based on the ‘will of the people’; technocracy on ‘rational speculation’. But plurality is reductive for both: for the former, it is the opposition between the people and the elite; for the latter, it is between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’.
Populism also aims to appease and represent the masses collectively. The common public should have the authority to make rules for themselves.
Eg Banning of Alcohol can be said as populism to appease women voter, distributing freebies during or after winning the election, loan waiver etc
On the other hand technocracy refers to the doctrine where an elite group takes decisions for the whole population.
Eg Continue urea subsidy but rationalizing it by introducing neem coated one to reduce its diversion, rationalizing the prices of petrol and diesel in India etc.
A successful government needs the support of masses as well the required expertise to run the state efficiently and to ensure long term welfare of people. populism and technocracy can be constructed as theoretical ideals and thus exist as a challenge to party democracy. But the latter’s resilience in places where parties are mature will lead to its adapting itself to populism and technocracy by incorporating features from both.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
The late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s 20-year-old Disproportionate Assets (DA) case is no ordinary one. Its ramifications, legally, in the country are wide-ranging and severe.
Background of the case-
On March 21, the State of Karnataka filed a review petition challenging that part of the order which held that the case against Jayalalithaa had abated. Our argument was that when the death of the accused takes place long after the arguments are concluded but before a judgment is pronounced, there will be no question of abatement of appeal.
But the Supreme Court, by dismissing on April 5 the review petition filed by the State of Karnataka, missed an opportunity to settle this issue. Consequentially, what the highest court of the country has done is to set a bad precedent in helping corrupt public servants.
- A case regarding acquisition of disproportionate assets by a public servant, under the Prevention of Corruption Act, stands on a slightly different footing from an ordinary criminal case. In the case of possessing disproportionate assets, the allegation is that a public servant amasses wealth by illegal means and the object of law is not merely to punish the offender but also to see that the offender or his/her legal representatives do not own or enjoy such illegally acquired assets.
- If we consider the case where an accused public servant chose to commit suicide after acquiring huge property by illegal means. Legal representatives or heirs of the accused, according to the Supreme Court, can later enjoy the benefits of the illegally accrued wealth and property left behind, as the case against the accused public servant abates. This is a retrograde step in the march towards eradication of corruption in public life.
- Order XXII Rule 6 of the Code of Civil Procedure in unambiguous terms states that there will be no abatement of an appeal if the death is after judgment is reserved. It further clarifies that such judgment pronounced shall have the same force and effect as if the judgment was delivered on the date on which the arguments were concluded. The abrupt conclusion of the Supreme Court that the appeal against Jayalalithaa has abated ignores the above said principle of law.
Under the circumstances, it would have been appropriate for the Supreme Court to at least afford an opportunity to the parties to address arguments on this question and take a suitable decision. However, the court dismissed the review petition on merits, rejecting the request for oral hearing. This could set the wrong precedent in the future.
Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health
The HIV and AIDS (Prevention and Control) Bill passed by Parliament does not guarantee access to anti-retroviral drugs and treatment for opportunistic infections, but there is no denying that it is a good base for an active health rights movement to build upon.
|The Human Immunodeficiency Virus And Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention And Control) Bill, 2014
Significance and analysis of bill :-
- Access to insurance for persons with HIV is an important part of the Bill. The numbers are not extraordinarily large and new cases are on the decline, according to the Health Ministry.
- Data for 2015 published by the Ministry show that two-thirds of HIV-positive cases are confined to seven States, while three others have more than one lakh cases each.
- Viewed against the national commitment to Goal 3 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals — to “end the epidemic of AIDS” (among others) by 2030 — a rapid scaling up of interventions to prevent new cases and to offer free universal treatment is critical.
- Publicly funded insurance can easily bring this subset of care-seekers into the overall risk pool. Such a measure is also necessary to make the forward-looking provisions in the new law meaningful, and to provide opportunities for education, skill-building and employment. As a public health concern, HIV/AIDS has a history of active community involvement in policymaking, and a highly visible leadership in the West.
- The bill aims to strengthen the rights of people infected with the disease. The bill makes it illegal to discriminate against people living with HIV in workplace, and in access to education, housing or health care, and empowers them with the right to run for or hold public or private office.
- Itmakes anti retro viral therapy a legal right of the patient of HIV or AIDS.
- Itprohibits HIV testing being used as pre-requisite for securing a job, accessing health care or education.
- Itgives the right to minors to reside in a shared household and prohibits people from spreading any hate against them.
- Bill states that no person shall have to undergo treatment without one’s informed consent.
- It makes a legally punishable offence to deny such a person health insurance on the ground of the infection that causes lowering of immunity.
- The bill will enable an HIV affected person to live a dignified life.
- The requirement for the ombudsman to make public the periodic reports on compliance will exert pressure on States to meet their obligations. In an encouraging sign, the Supreme Court has ruled against patent extensions on frivolous grounds, putting the generic drugs industry, so crucial for HIV treatment, on a firm footing. The HIV and AIDS Bill may not be the answer to every need, but it would be a folly not to see its potential to make further gains.
Topic: Judiciary functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these
From NOTA to criminal Netas supreme court has played crucial role in bringing out important electoral reforms through its landmark judgements.
- Judicial decisions ushering in electoral reforms started in 1978, when the SC interpreted Article 324 of the Constitution to empower the Election Commission (EC) with unbridled powers in conducting and supervising elections.
- In Mohinder Singh Gill case, it had said: “The Constitution contemplates free and fair election and vests comprehensive responsibilities of superintendence, direction and control of the conduct of elections in the EC. This responsibility may cover powers, duties and functions of many sorts, administrative or other, depending on the circumstances.”
- For 20 years thereafter, there was a lull. In 1996, the court in the Common Cause case had ordered the political parties to submit details of expenses it incurred for each candidate and otherwise in an election.
- In 2002, the apex court in Association for Democratic Reforms judgment returned its focus on the little man in the voter who alone slapped accountability on the political system in a democracy.
- In 2002, the court ruled that voters’ right to information was fundamental. To enable a voter make an informed choice, the court ordered every candidate to submit an affidavit with nomination papers giving correct information about h/his educational qualification, details of h/his and family assets, and importantly, h/his criminal background.
- In PUCL case it ruled out introduction of NOTA as an expression of voter’s right to reject all candidates. However NOTA has been given less teeth as this does not amount to rejection of all candidates in case NOTA vote is maximum. It has only moral implications for contesting parties to chose better candidates.
- Transparency: Concealment of criminal record by a candidate is corrupt practise. Making voters aware about the assets and liability of candidate as well as attempting to curb the use of black money. While the step has been effective to some extent, other ways to garner monetary muscle still remain open.
- Another important verdict is Reassertion of Art 123 (3) of RP Act and outlawing appeals for vote on grounds of Caste, Religion, Language etc. This is aimed at removing irrational behaviour and divisive politics. This judgement also relegates religion and caste to private sphere of life.
- Decriminalisation of politics: Those that are incarcerated are disqualified from contesting elections. The aim was to reduce the dominance of criminals in the political landscape but due the loopholes in our legal system, this has not been achieved to required level.
- The Supreme Court directed the Centre to provide financial assistance to the poll panel for introduction Vote Verifier Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) system with the EVMs, said it will “ensure the accuracy of the voting system” and also help in “manual counting of votes in case of dispute.” However it would incur huge environmental cost and is reversing the process set for gigitisation of election process.
- Currently SC is hearing a PIL to impose lifelong ban from contesting in case of imprisonment for 2 years or more, aimed towards decriminalizing politics
Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
The organisation promotes and verifies the adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention which prohibits the use of chemical weapons and requires their destruction. The verification consists both of evaluation of declarations by member states and on-site inspections.
The organisation was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize because it had, with the Chemical Weapons Convention, “defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law” according to Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
- Destruction of Stockpile of Chemical weapons:About 90% of the chemical weapons have been destroyed.
- Exposure level to Chemical weapons:
About 98% of the world is free from the exposure of chemcial weapons.
- Accolades:It had been awarded Nobel Peace prize in 2013 for its successful efforts in maintaining peace and curbing the use of chemical weapons.
- Coordinating with UN:It has successfully coordinated with UN to promte peace around the world.
- Assistance against Chemical Weapons: State parties renouncing chemical weapons are assured that they will not be threatened by such weapons in future and are offered assistance by other member states in case they are threatened with chemical weapons.Due to extensive work done by OPCW in prohibition of chemical weapons, it was awarded Nobel Peace prize in 2013.
- Syria:Chemical weapons attack in Syrian civil war killed many recently. ISIS has used mustard gas in Syria and Iraq with horrific consequences in recent years.
- United States:It is believed that chemical weapons were used by the US during its Iraqi invasion during 2004-09.
- Terrorism:OPCW has not been able to ensure and publicly declare that terrorists organisation do not have access to chemical weapons.
- UN member countries like Egypt, Israel, South Sudan & North Korea are out of ambit of OPCW and threatens the world security through their chemical weapons stockpiles.
- The recent killing of the North Korean leader half brother of the president of NK in Malaysia highlights the problem that OPCW has been ineffective in controlling imports and exports of chemical weapons across the globe.
- The financial burden of the implementation of the programs is one of the major reasons for the delay in successfully elimination of chemical weapons.
OPCW has done commendable job, still, recent events demands steps like adoption of advance technologies to track misuse of chemicals, bring remaining states under the ambit of CWC and motivate all stakeholders to stop destructive use of chemicals and promote green clean chemistry to fight against climate change & make world more peaceful place to live.
General Studies – 3
7) It is argued that in human – wildlife conflict situations, rather than only focussing on a wild, snarling animal, a greater understanding of crowd dynamics is also called for. Discuss why. (200 Words)
Man-animal conflicts are common in various parts of the country. Incidents of man-animal conflict are reported from States/Union Territories of the country. In India, wild elephants probably kill far more people than tiger, leopard or lion. But, surprisingly, human conflict involving leopard draws great amount of public attention compared to other animals. Other carnivores – tigers, lions and wolves which have been known for causing a large number of human deaths in the past, are now mostly restricted in range and their impact is not as widespread as that of the leopard.
The Government is giving highest priority to mitigate the problem. It supplements the financial resources available with the States/ Union Territory Governments for the purpose by providing limited funds under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes of ‘Project Tiger’, ‘Project Elephant’ and ‘Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats’. Payment of ex-gratia to the victims of wild animals is the responsibility of the concerned State/ Union Territory Governments. Animals like elephant, tiger, leopard, wild dog, monkey, wild boar; Nilgai, bear, sambar deer etc. are major animals involved in human-animal conflict in India.
Seriousness of Man-Animal Conflict in India
- In India, man-animal conflict is seen across the country in a variety of forms, including monkey menace in the urban areas, crop raiding by ungulates and wild pigs, depredation by elephants, and cattle and human killing by tigers and leopards.
- Damage to agricultural crops and property, killing of livestock and human beings are some of the worst forms of man-animal conflict.
- The increase in man-animal conflict is likely due to the greater resilience and adaptability of wild animals in face of their shrinking habitats, which allow them to live successfully close to human habitation.
- Degradation of habitats, depletion of the natural prey base, changing crop patterns, suitability of man modified habitats to wild animals, presence of stray dogs and cattle in forest fringe areas etc. are other reasons. Crops like sugarcane and tea estates are reported to provide excellent cover for wild animals.
- As per Elephant Census held in 2007-08, estimated population of Elephant in India is 27669-27719 (Mid value 27694). The Government In India, wild elephants probably kill far more people than tiger, leopard or lion.
But, surprisingly, human conflict involving leopard draws great amount of public attention compared to other animals. Other carnivores – tigers, lions and wolves which have been known for causing a large number of human deaths in the past, are now mostly restricted in range and their impact is not as widespread as that of the leopard.
The Government has initiated a number of steps in this regard including the following:
- Providing assistance to State Governments for improvement of habitat to augment food and water availability and to reduce movement of animals from the forests to the habitations.
- Encouraging State Governments for creation of a network of Protected Areas and wildlife corridors for conservation of wildlife.
- Awareness programmes to sensitize the people about the Do’s and Don’ts to minimize conflicts.
- Training programmes for forest staff and police to address the problems of human-wildlife conflicts.
- Issuance of guidelines to the State Governments for management of human-leopard conflict.
- Providing technical and financial support for development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals through tranquilization, their translocation to the rescue centres or release back to the natural habitats.
- Providing assistance to State Governments for construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks.
- Supplementing State Government resources for payment of ex-gratia to the people for injuries and loss of life in case of wild animal attacks.
- Empowering the Chief Wildlife Warden of the State/Union Territories to permit hunting of such problematic animals under the provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- Providing assistance to the State Governments for eco-development activities in villages around Protected Areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the Protected Areas.
- Providing assistance to the State Governments for eco-development activities in villages around Protected Areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the Protected Areas.
- Encouraging and supporting involvement of the research and academic institutions and leading voluntary organizations having expertise in managing human -wildlife conflict situations
- Some devices of Information Technology, viz., radio collars with Very High Frequency,Global Positioning System and Satellite uplink facilities, are being used by the research institutions including Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, State Forest Departments and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to monitor the movement of Lions, Tigers, Elephants, Olive Ridley Turtles, and other wild animals to understand their movements and their use pattern of the habitat.
A primary reason for the increasing human-animal conflicts is the presence of a large number of animals and birds outside the notified protected areas. Wildlife experts estimate that 29 per cent of the tigers in India are outside the protected areas. “If we take their number to be 2,200, the tigers outside the protected areas are about 640. This is almost twice the number of tigers found in Russia,” says a senior conservationist at the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun.
Crowd management problem in man animal conflict:-
- A group of people is often defined as a mob if the group becomes unruly or aggressive. One must also consider if the mob has a collective conscience or whether it simply follows the cues by leaders within it. How it gets composed, and what it wants are also important.
- After a leopard entered a school in Bengaluru last year, a group of about 5,000 people surrounded the school. The fact that it is dangerous to be in the vicinity of a panicked leopard is belied only by the absurdity of the fact that most wanted to see the animal and take pictures.
- Other mobs that have gathered around wildlife have clamoured for instant ‘justice’, gratification or resolution — in the form of killing the animal, beheading it, or parading it after its death. In Sariska last month, a leopard, blamed for killing a man, was burnt alive; the mob also hurt forest department officials. In a case last November, a leopard was bludgeoned to death in Mandawar, Haryana.
- The symbolic control of an animal by killing it and then parading the carcass has not escaped judicial attention. A December order of the Uttarakhand High Court said that if animals were (legally) put down, their dead bodies could not be displayed or shown in the media.
- The most visceral and tragic human-wildlife conflict of recent times, a tiger was crushed by a JCB near Corbett after a mob demanded ‘justice’ for deaths. Two people from a labour camp working in forests near Corbett died after being reportedly attacked by the tiger. The forest department was caught in a human conflict situation — a crowd of people did not allow officials to do their difficult job of catching the tiger. The terrain was undulating. In its haste, the forest department brought in a JCB to capture the animal. The JCB attempted to ‘pick up’ the tiger, akin to sandpaper being used to snatch up a protesting butterfly. The results were gruesome — the tiger was hit repeatedly by the JCB, and crushed to death, all part of its ‘rescue’
Guidelines by environment ministry for crowd management in case of animal conflict :-
- Crowd management is crucial to any successful animal rescue operation. The ER team, more often than not, is obstructed and hindered in its activities by furious mobs, making it difficult to discharge its responsibilities.
- Support and cooperation of the police and civil administration should be ensured in advance to facilitate effective crowd control and to discourage formation of crowds.
- The area should be cordoned off with barricades, and the public alerted through a public address system. Regular updates should be made available to the administration and local public.
- There should be an ambulance kept ready to take care of any medical emergencies
A case study in Jammu Kashmir:-
In recent years, conflict with black bear and leopards has reached serious proportions in Jammu and Kashmir. In response, the State Wildlife Protection Department proposed the following measures in 2010:
- Setting up of a Central Conflict Mitigation Command Centre with 24/7 helpline facility to receive phone calls from local people in the event of a conflict emergency.
- Feeding the details of the incident into a central database for quick future response.
- Centrally based monitoring and analysis of conflict patterns from information received in the helpline.
- Creation of community level Primary Response Teams consisting of paid or volunteer members from amongst the local communities, trained in the management of crowds in an emergency situation, till the arrival of the forest staff.