SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 APRIL 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 APRIL 2018


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


General Studies – 2


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

1)The government’s plan to roll out an extensive social security plan for workers might prove to be a white elephant. Examine.(250 words)

Financial Express

Why this question

Labour reforms have been a lot in news since the past 3-4 years. In this context, the potential carrot of the government in the form of this plan, as a precurson to the stick in form of Labour reforms needs to be analyzed.

Key demand of the question

The question asks us to analyze whether it is a sound decision from various perspectives to invest so much in providing free healthcare from all workers, at a time when labour productivity is poor, priorities are many and similar programs exist. This central query has to be examined from different perspective

Directive word

Examine – We have to examine the issue from different perspectives, elucidating the pros and cons of such a measure and analyzing whether this is the most efficient step that could have been taken. Some suggestions at the end are also welcome

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the scheme and the debates of the issue

Body

  • Examine the benefit for having such a move. In this the focus should be on justifying the money, resources etc spent on providing healthcare for all workers.
  • Examine why this scheme does not make sense – the question of labour productivity, economy of the scheme etc
  • Examine whether this is the most efficient way of providing social security when other such schemes exist
  • Suggest some alternatives

 

Conclusion – Summarize the arguments presented above and mention the need for bringing in labour reforms to enhance the stake of each stakeholder such that benefits can be provided.

Background:-

  • Recently government accepted the proposal on universal social securitycover for 500 million workers, including those in the farm sector, seeking to start the process of putting in place a more secure welfare net .

Social security plan:-

  • It is a comprehensive social security system to provide retirement, health, old-age, disability, unemployment and maternity benefits to the 500 million workers.
  • This will be the second mass-benefit social scheme after the National Health Protection Scheme.
  • The plan is to implement the scheme in three phases over a 10-year period after which the government hopes to make it universal.
  • Three phases:-
    • The first phase will see all workers getting the bare minimum coverage, which includes health security and retirement benefits.
    • The second phase will see unemployment benefits being added while other welfare measures could be launched in the third phase.
  • The 500 million beneficiaries will be classified into four tiers.
    • The first will comprise the destitute and those below the poverty line who cannot contribute to security payments with the cost being entirely borne by the government through tax-based schemes.
    • Workers in the unorganised sector who have some contributory power but cannot be self-sufficient may be covered under subsidised schemes in the second tier.
    • The third tier will include those who either by themselves or jointly with their employers can make adequate contributions so as to be self-sufficient.
    • The fourth tier will comprise the relatively affluent who can make their own provisions for meeting contingencies or risks as they arise.

Why such a plan is necessary?

  • Not only does the move extend a formal social safety net to the entire workforce, it could also accelerate the formalization of the economy. 
  • With this move the government will have complete data on the Indian workforce. This will tell about the job creation picture more reliably and offer retirement benefits to a large number of workers so far out of the social security net.
  • The dire state of finances of workers in the agricultural sector necessitates the provision of such relief.
  • According to a study submitted to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2016, only one percent of the workers have access to social security. The social security system at present caters more to the formal sector. However, even within the organised sector, only over ten percent avail social security in some form or the other. Existing schemes have failed to be inclusive because of various conditions and thresholds imposed to qualify for the plan.
  • Seeding the unique identity numbers with Aadhaar will provide data on the entire workforce to the government. This could help to quicken the process of formalisation and minimise the wastage of resources through the duplication of benefits. 

Concerns :-

  • It only lightly touches upon the subject of unemployment.
  • Opposition:-
    • Households that employ domestic help are likely to show a lot of resistance because of the increase in cost that such a proposal imposes on them. Even small industries may face a similar issue with having to provide social security to all their workers.
  • Without proper labour reforms the utility of the scheme would be of no use
  • Funding issues:-
    • Funding such a plan is impossible without a complete revamp of India’s current system of budgets.
  • There are already other programmes :-
    • Health benefits for workers will for instance get subsumed in the ambitious National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) that will be available to 10 crore households, so there is no need to provide for it separately.

Way forward :-

  • In addition to ensuring that workers get a fair wage, the provision of social security also entails actions such as investing in the skill and training of workers to improve their marketability. A move of this nature and magnitude is therefore necessary.
  • Labour reforms must be linked to the ease of doing business, creating a habitat where jobs can be fostered. Reforms must be linked to worker benefits, while simultaneously easing the compliance burden on small and medium enterprises. The labour law must be rationalised by defining minimum wages and linking them to inflation.
  • MGNREGA should be restructured and linked to apprenticeship programmes in industry and agriculture.

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

2) Death penalty for cases of child rape is unwarranted, especially for a country like India. Discuss, in the light of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018(250 words)

Indian Express

The Hindu

 

Why this question

Recently the Union cabinet approved death penalty for cases of rape in which the victim is below certain age. However, earlier legislations, with similar aims and philosophy as the present bill, could not serve the purpose. The question is related to GS 2 syllabus- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018; what are its salient provisions and why death penalty as enunciated by the ordinance is unwarranted.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to dig deeper into the issue involved here and write in length about the salient provisions of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018. We have to discuss those provisions vis a vis death penalty recommendation and then justify why this is unwarranted in India. We have to justify by citing the reasons/ conditions in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- in the introduction what are the provisions/ laws/ mechanisms dealing with cases of child rapes. E.g The POCSO act and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (CLAA).  

 

Body- divide the body into 2 parts.

In one part, briefly enlist the salient provisions of  Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018.

In the other part, discuss why the similar philosophy shared with earlier legislations is ill-conceived. E.g victim will likely be killed by the accused to save his life (LIFE VS LIFE). Infrastructure and manpower issues, no research backing, issues of age determination of victim  etc.

Conclusion- briefly mention the knee jerk nature of response towards sexual crimes and briefly mention in 1-2 lines measures needed to tackle the situation (e.g sex education at all levels, aggressive advertisement campaigns to increase awareness and stimulate conversations about gender bias, everyday sexism, misogyny, stereotypes etc.).

 Background:-

  • POCSO and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (CLAA) changed the sentencing regime for sexual offences by introducing mandatory minimum sentences. Brutal rapes in India have not decreased despite enforcement of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 which is a piece of legislation which prescribes the death penalty and life imprisonment for sexual assaults 

Criminal law amendment ordinance 2018 :-

  • The Criminal Law Amendment Ordinance, 2018, amends Indian Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, Indian Evidence Act and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

Salient Features of the Ordinance :-

  • Minimum Punishment for Rape made Ten Years
  • Minimum punishment of twenty years to a person committing rape on a woman aged below 16.
    Minimum Punishment of 20 years rigorous imprisonment and maximum
  • Death penalty/Life Imprisonment for committing rape on a girl aged below 12.
  • Fine imposed shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and rehabilitation of the victim
  • Police officer committing rape anywhere shall be awarded rigorous imprisonment of minimum ten years.
  • Investigation in rape cases to be completed within two months.
  • No Anticipatory bail can be granted to a person accused of rape of girls of age less than sixteen years.
  • Appeals in rape cases to be disposed within six months.

But why death penalty is not the solution:-

  • Death penalty has never been a deterrent against any sort of crime. There is little empirical evidence to show that those about to commit a capital offence would stop themselves merely out of the fear of being hanged.
  • Even S. Verma committee decided against recommending the death penalty for rape. It rightly took into account the possibility of awarding life sentences without remission for aggravated sexual assault.
  • Further, there is a legitimate concern that the country’s judicial system has not been consistent in awarding the death penalty. It will be especially wrong to force judges to compare the relative ‘merits’ of rape victims based on their age and choose between death sentence and life.
  • The Law Commission, while recommending abolition of the death penalty, except in terrorism-related cases, observed that it is difficult to operate the ‘rarest of rare cases’ principle without a hint of arbitrariness.
  • Provision of death penalty in rape cases will only make matters worse by slowing the administration of justice. Besides, when victim is the sole witness, as in most sexual assault cases, it will induce murder of rape victims by the perpetrators of the crime to destroy the evidence .
  • Even when awarded death penalty the accused do not have remorse for their actions for instance documentary showing the accused blaming victim itself in Nirbhaya case etc 
  • The following issues need to be looked into instead of enforcing death penality for effective implementation of laws like POSCO:-
    • The appalling lack of infrastructure and manpower in the criminal justice system.
    • Most districts continue to try cases of child sexual abuse in regular sessions courts, designated as special courts for the sake of compliance
    • Investigations are regularly botched up by an understaffed, poorly trained, overburdened police force which has little to no forensic support. These are not addressed by the ordinance .
    • The fact that the ordinance reduces the time given to the police to file a chargesheet, and to the court to decide appeals against sentencing, displays a complete lack of understanding about the issues on the ground.
    • Given the unavailability or unreliability of age-related documents in most parts of the country, reliance is placed on ossification tests to prove the age of the victim in cases under the POCSO.

How to reduce child rapes :-

  • Instead of death penalty, a combination of heavy financial penalty, life imprisonment with no provision of parole and prompt delivery of justice through fast track courts can do the job effectively.
  • Awareness is one of the most powerful weapons against child abuse. Training modules for different children age groups need to be created which teachers can use to impart awareness on these issues to children in school.
    • Such initiatives need the support of civil society and strong voices across justice, education, child welfare and institutions.
  • Activists called for more comprehensive reforms, arguing that the laws and the support system for children should be better integrated.
  • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act is already there and some new amendments are also cleared in the cabinet. But many police and medical personnel still need to be sensitized on it. 
  • Making concerted efforts to change the way society raises its sons and daughters. 

TOPIC: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3)Despite the historical hesitations, a rejuvenated Commonwealth would lend greater depth to India’s global outreach. Analyze(250 words)

Indian Express

Reference

Why this question

Our PM’s recent visit to UK and the shifting sands of global power equations, any potential grouping which would help India hedge itself in the geopolitical flux becomes important. India has a long association with Commonwealth and the platform’s utility for India could increase in the coming days. Hence this question becomes important.

 

Key demand of the question

The keywords here are historical hesitation and enable India to enahnce its global outreach. These keywords have to be analyzed. We have to analyze the reasons behind historical hesitations and whether the advantages of closer alignment with Commonwealth can help India attain the goals of its foreign policy. We also have to point out the precautions that India should take to ensure that this association proves beneficial for India.

 

Directive word

Analyze – Here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. We have to examine each part of the question – reasons for hesistation, whether those concerns have been alleviated, the significance of Commonwealth for India and the precautions that India should take.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Begin with talking about the Commonwealth and mention India’s history with Commonwealth in brief. Also highlight PM’s visit which has brought this issue in focus.

Body

  • reasons for hesistation
    • Mention the macro picture for why India’s relations with Commonwealth could not blossom
  • Thereafter analyze the reasons why Commonwealth has again come to the notice of the mandarins of MEA.
    • Here highlight teh potential benefits that India might accrue out of this association. Divide it into heads like economic, strategic etc
  • Point out the precautions that India must take. Here also explain why India’s hesitations are no longer valid.

COnclusion – Summarize the points mentioned above which should give a fair indication of stance on India’s greater association with Commonwealth

Background:-

  • Indian Prime minister’s visit  to the CHOGM summit recently had reaffirmed India’s commitment to a strong India-UK partnership.
  • The UK is India’s fourth largest inward investor and the Indian diaspora in the UK of around 1.5 million is not only one of the largest ethnic minority communities but also one of the most productive, contributing around 6 percent to the country’s GDP.

Historical hesitations:-

  • Though Jawaharlal Nehru decided to join the Commonwealth as he viewed it as a platform where India could develop connections with other erstwhile colonies as well as partly to balance Pakistan, his successors did not seem to be particularly interested in the grouping and viewed it largely as a colonial relic.
  • India’s growing divergence with Britain and the West during the Cold War and an inward economic orientation severely limited India’s possibilities with the forum.
  • As Britain itself turned to Europe, the Commonwealth began to lose much of its lustre in London.
  • When India opened up to the world, politically and economically, after the Cold War, India could have made something out of the Commonwealth. But with its focus on the US and China on the one hand and South Asia on the other, the Commonwealth simply fell off India’s mental map.

 

Commonwealth will lend greater depth to global outreach:-

  • Global interests:-
    • India is already playing major role in international forums and its global interests are expanding .So India must make the best use of all available multilateral forums, including the Commonwealth. 
    • It can become a platform to demonstrate its leadership credentials. From trade and security, from connectivity to global governance, there are enough opportunities to tap into.
  • Economic:-
    • As the soon-to-be largest economy in the forum, India can significantly increase its levels of economic assistance, give more to the maintenance of the Secretariat, boost the current efforts on capacity building, and above all, open its economy to facilitate trade liberalisation across the Commonwealth.
    • Promoting trade and development cooperation among members including support for small island, developing and least-developed countries and collective measures by members against the removal of democratically elected governments by unlawful means.
  • No Chinese interference:-
    • Commonwealth will be one platform where Chinese presence will not hinder Indian ambitions. Taking leadership at this platform will help India project a sense of seriousness about is growing global profile.
    • It would help India strengthen its presence in areas where China is increasingly active, for example in Africa where India is building a development role, and in the Indian Ocean and elsewhere such as the Pacific and Caribbean where it could strengthen its relationship with the Commonwealth small island states.
    • It can also gain clout against one belt one road initiative of China and other important issues .
  • Fight for other states:-
    • India is home to 60 percent of the Commonwealth’s population (and a substantial number of people of Indian descent live in other member states), and one-quarter of intra-Commonwealth trade involves the country.
    • Consequently, India is the most obvious member to lead a revitalization process to serve not only its own interests but also the interests of other countries who want the Commonwealth to emerge as one of many poles in a nonhegemonic regional and global order.
  • UN permanent seat:-
    • The aspiration for India to take a more prominent place in international institutions manifests principally in its bid for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council gets impetus with a more prominent role in the Commonwealth would fit well with this aspiration..
  • Asia pacific:-
    • India could weigh the option of forming a distinct subgroup of Asia Pacific countries; there are eighteen such countries in the Commonwealth. Further, India could become an economic bridge between the Asia Pacific subregional cooperation to enhance economic and trade relationships with the nineteen African members of the Commonwealth.
    • A greater Asia-Pacific orientation to the Commonwealth could buttress India’s effort to balance China. The Commonwealth could provide a discrete, viable platform to bring together Asian and South Pacific countries on security and economic issues.
    • It offers a great deal in terms of furthering meaningful cooperation in the areas of counterterrorism, maritime security, and combating organized crime and money laundering—all of which are critical to India’s future security needs.
  • By piloting and participating in a collaborative effort to reinvent the Commonwealth for the twenty-first century, it can demonstrate its collegial and consultative leadership style.

 

Concerns:-

  • Many British intellectuals are deriding London’s new enthusiasm for the Commonwealth as mere nostalgia for the colonial era. They warn against the illusion that the Commonwealth can be a substitute for the European Union.
  • The total budget was less than £50 million in 2012. With such small budgets, there is very little the organisation can do for its 53 members with diverse needs.
  • Former secretary generals have all spoken of their disappointments about the incompetence of the commonwealth Secretariat.
  • Labour mobility, a demand of businesses globally and certainly of India’s IT sector, was nowhere to be seen. Post-Brexit London is likely to welcome trade in goods from the Commonwealth, not services.

Way forward:-

  • Commonwealth needs a focus on bringing greater economic prosperity for the peoples of the forum through an enhanced trade and investment relationship.
  • The Commonwealth could devote considerable energies towards the promotion of sustainable development and maritime security, which pose existential challenges to the many small and island states in the forum.
  • The Commonwealth can become more valuable to its member states if it directs its aid and assistance to a few major priority areas rather than spreading its resources on a range of issues.
  • The Commonwealth remains a great platform for development aid, democratic values and educational opportunities, but its relevance is unlikely to increase unless it adopts a more egalitarian and inclusive attitude to its next generation of Commonwealth citizens.

 

Conclusion:-

  • The younger generation in India have no connect to the idea of the Commonwealth. India has an opportunity to reinvent the very idea of the Commonwealth in India’s image.

General Studies – 3


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact
assessment.

4) Fracking might make us less dependent on conventional fossil fuels, but it does so at a huge cost. Discuss in the context of whether it is justified for India to start fracking.(250 words)

 

Why this question

Our energy dependency makes us look for alternative sources of energy. Some of them however have several adverse impacts on the environment. It is necessary to thus understand the pros and cons before we decide to go ahead with fracking.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to underline the pros and cons of fracking, whether the adverse environmental impact can be mitigated and whether it makes sense for India to go ahead with fracking like US has, due to the unique issues that India faces

Directive word

Discuss – We have to discuss all the major points related to fracking – pros, cons, any risk mitigating steps required, the impact on agriculture and other communities due to fracking in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain fracking and the shale revolution

Body

  • Discuss the process of fracking which would help us get an idea of what all can go wrong
  • Explain the necessity of shale oil/gas revolution and the benefits of fracking
  • Discuss the impact that fracking can cause on environment, ground water etc
  • Present your view on whether fracking should be continued or whether we should explore renewable sources more

 

Conclusion  – Present your views on how we can ensure that we use resources such as shale oil and the need to adopt a less utilitarian view point and assess the impact before going ahead.

Fracking :-

  • It is the hydraulic fracturing of shale rock that, together with horizontal drilling, unleashes abundant natural gas. 
  • Fracking is the process of drilling down into the earth before a high-pressure water mixture is directed at the rock to release the gas inside
  • Water, sand and chemicals are injected into the rock at high pressure which allows the gas to flow out to the head of the well.
  • The process can be carried out vertically or, more commonly, by drilling horizontally to the rock layer and can create new pathways to release gas or can be used to extend existing channels.

Advantages:-

  • Fracking allows drilling firms to access difficult-to-reach resources of oil and gas.
  • In the US it has significantly boosted domestic oil production and driven down gas prices

Disadvantages:-

  • Environmental concerns:-
    • Extensive use of fracking in the US, where it has revolutionised the energy industry, has prompted environmental concerns.
  • Use of water:-
    • Fracking uses huge amounts of water, which must be transported to the fracking site, at significant environmental cost.
    • The massive amount of water used in the fracking process has led to water shortages in some drilling areas.
  • Groundwater contamination:-
    • Environmentalists say potentially carcinogenic chemicals used may escape and contaminate groundwater around the fracking site.
  • Tremors:-
    • Fracking process can cause small earth tremors. Recent earthquake in South Korea may be linked to fracking
  • Reliance on fossil fuels:-
    • Campaigners say that fracking is simply distracting energy firms and governments from investing in renewable sources of energy, and encouraging continued reliance on fossil fuels.
  • The long-term impact of weakening underground rock formations through the fracturing technique is widely questioned.

India should start fracking:-

  • Frackinghas led to substantial increases in U.S. domestic oil and gas production, thereby significantly reducing the need for oil imports.
  • Fracking-created oil boom has also had beneficial effects on the economy as a whole, playing a significant part in the reduction of gasoline and natural gas prices and creating hundreds of thousands of jobs.
  • In the U.S., where shale gas has been commercially exploited for two decades, the prices of fuel and electricity have dropped.
  • If India commercially exploits shale deposits, it could meet its ever-increasing energy demand, decrease oil and gas imports, and improve the balance of payments.
  • To gain such benefits, the government introduced a policy on shale gas and oil in 2013, permitting national oil companies to engage in fracking

 

No,the consequences are very drastic:-

  • Countries like Germany and France and subnational governments like Scotland have banned fracking.
  • As fracking consumes large amounts of water (average 15,000 m3/well) and relatively larger surface area, it is bound to impact irrigation and other local requirements.
  • In the U.S. experience, out of 260 chemical substances, 58 have been identified to pose a risk to human life and environment, eight are carcinogens and 17 are toxic to freshwater organisms.
  • Further, as 25-90% of the fluid is not retrieved and cracks in the shaft are possible, there is a high risk of pollution to nearby underground water.
  • Fracking has other impacts such as increased air emissions (including greenhouse gases) and seismic activity.
  • Legal issues:-
    • If the risk from fracking to underground water materialises, courts can hold the state responsible for it, stop the activity, and order other corrective and preventive measures.
    • Fracking might face the ‘precautionary principle’, which has been incorporated into law.
      • It dictates that where there is a significant risk to the environment or human health, precautionary measures must be undertaken, irrespective of any scientific uncertainty. Therefore, the government would be obliged to adopt measures to reduce those risks.
    • The Model Bill for the Conservation, Protection, Regulation and Management of Groundwater, 2016, sets a priority for use of groundwater. Only after satisfying these priorities can underground water be used for other purposes

 

Conclusion:-

  • India needs to take decision looking into all multiple options but based on international experiences for now the government should impose a moratorium on fracking.

Topic:Linkages between development and spread of extremism; Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

5)Repealing AFSPA is a pre-requisite for establishing long term peace in  violence hit Jammu and Kashmir. Comment.(250 words)

The Hindu

The Hindu

Why this question

Recently the Centre has recently repealed the AFSPA from  Meghalaya from April 1, 2018, the Centre revoked the act from Meghalaya where it was effective in a 20 km area along the Assam-Meghalaya border. In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA was reduced to half the number of police stations. Th same principle can also be applied to the violence torn J and K state. The question is related to GS 3 syllabus-   Linkages between development and spread of extremism; Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Key demand of the question

The questions wants us to analyze AFSPA in depth and; discuss the necessity of the act in disturbed areas like Kashmir, and also whether it can be repealed in case of J and K also.

Directive word

Comment- we have to form a personal opinion on the key issue, whether or not AFSPA should be repealed from J and K. If yes, then under what conditions/ form.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- mention the places where AFSPA has been recently revoked from and remaining places where it is still in place.

Body- divide the body into 2 main parts.

In one part, discuss why there is need for AFSPA in Kashmir. E.g terrorism and support from society, potential abuse of revocation, to further the separatists’ and foreign interests,  effect on forces’ morale and capability to handle terrorism etc.

In the other part , discuss whether the act can be revoked and if yes in what form ( e.g phased repeal, repeal/ amendment of already existing provisions particularly those related to the sexual offenses, setting up dedicated trial courts/ tribunals to hear cases associated with  serious AFSPA violations and inclusion of civil society and political members in such courts/ tribunals etc.)

Conclusion- give a brief conclusion on the above issue as per the above discussion.

Background:-

  • Recently centre has announced that it revoked the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya .In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA was reduced to eight police stations
  • Right now AFSPA is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh

Why is there the need to repeal AFSPA:-

  • Human rights groups are opposing it as being aggressive. Manipur’s Irom Sharmila has been one if its staunchest opponents, going on a hunger strike.
  • Its scrapping has been recommended by various committees headed by Jeevan Reddy and Santosh Hegde . Its core impunity has been frowned upon by the Supreme Court.
  • The law results in the armed forces of the state carrying out atrocities against citizens and producing more alienation and inspiration for violence than is quelled by use of the law.
  • The army need to return to its primary task on the disputed borders, especially when the Line of Actual Control too has become active
  • State law and order machinery, comprising the state police and central paramilitary forces, need time to assume responsibility. With the army’s permanent presence in the state, the paramilitary forces, especially the CRPF in large numbers, has been pushed to the shadows, with little certainty that it will be able to perform under crisis or a war-situation.
  • Draconian provisions:-
  • AFSPA provides India’s Armed Forces and operational adjuncts such as Assam Rifles and Rashtriya Rifles both immunity and impunity in areas that the Act is enforced, to kill at will anyone even on the merest suspicion of breaching law and order, of being a rebel sympathizer. 
  • It gives the army powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, to use force even to the extent of causing death.
  • Abuse of power:-
    • AFSPA derivatives have over the decades led to gross abuse of power in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and elsewhere, especially with non-combatants written off as collateral damage in the greater interest of the nation.
  • Atrocities:-
    • AFSPA has never stopped rebellion. It has instead bred resentment against India by protecting prejudices and atrocities. There have been instances where army was accused of rapes, fake encounters in the AFSPA enforced regions.

The act is necessary in the present circumstances because:-

  • Terrorism:-
    • Terrorism would never have been rooted out in Punjab or Mizoram without the AFSPA and without the tough measures that were taken by the security forces operating under the protection of the Act.
    • The induction of the army becomes imperative to battle the terrorists and maintain the territorial integrity of the country.
    • Lifting of AFSPA from urban areas/large towns in J&K will result in terrorists seeking shelter in such areas and rebuilding their bases, as has been witnessed in Manipur’s capital Imphal post-2004.
    • Administrative support including convoys carrying army personnel and stores moving to the Line of control pass through urban areas in the hinterland and are vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Hence AFSPA cannot be applied in pockets of J&K along the Line of control while withdrawing the act from the remaining areas.
  • State and non state actors role:-
    • While there may be a comparative decline in terrorist violence, there is no change in the Pakistani ideology and will to support proxy war in J&K. The infrastructure to support such a proxy is all intact and being regularly upgraded. 
    • Between 35 and 42 training camps are active in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.
    • Moreover, counter-terrorist operations by the army are not restricted to the Line of Control but cover the entire state.
  • The mere fact that the provisions of AFSPA have to be invoked in a particular area ex facieestablishes that handling the law and order situation had gone beyond the control of the state government.:-
    • The army personnel operating in those circumstances need to enjoy at least similar powers as the police force .So, just as Section 45 of the Criminal procedure code disallows arrest of public servants and just as Section 197 provides impunity against prosecution, Section 7 of the AFSPA gives similar protection to the army personnel.
  • Apex court said that the conferring of powers vide Section 4 of AFSPA could not be held arbitrary or violative of Article 14, 19 or 21 of the Constitution. In fact, having considered the role and circumstances under which the armed forces have to operate, the Supreme Court extended the scope of powers vested vide 4 and 6 of AFSPA so as to include by implication, the power to interrogate the person arrested. 

Way forward:-

  • Revocation:-
    • The revocation of AFSPA from any area needs a concerted view of all organs of the state and Centre. A suggested way is to convert these areas into police administered areas/police districts as was done for Srinagar initially without revoking AFSPA.
    • Subsequently, as the situation improves, while evolving the revocation, an exit strategy needs to be worked out for gradual withdrawal of armed forces from the specified area leading to a smooth transition.
  • India has to balance the need for a stringent law with the basic principles of ensuring human dignity and human rights.
    • Individual freedom has to be balanced with the freedom of other individuals and with reasonable demands of the community and the general public. It is the duty of the state to harmonise the rights of the individual with the requirements of the community
  • Set up dedicated trial courts/ tribunals to hear cases associated with  serious AFSPA violations and include civil society and political members in such courts/ tribunals etc

General Studies – 4


Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

6)What do you understand by“Digital library of life”. Discuss the significance and  ethical issues involved in the project.(250 words)

The Hindu

Reference

Why this question

“Digital library of life” is a research project than aims to create digital copies of the genetic code of all the eukaryotes. The project promises to open new vistas of understanding our nature. However, there are certain ethical issues involved in the project. The question is related to GS-4 syllabus- Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to first write about the Digital library of life, what is its significance and then discuss in length about the ethical issues involved in the project.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to write in detail about both the aspects of the question viz. Digital library of life and ethical issues involved therein.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- introduce your answer by describing the meaning of the term, Digital library of life.

Body- divide the body into 2 main parts.

In one part, discuss in points about the significance of the project for the world ( e.g role in understanding nature, evolution etc) and also mention special significance for India ( experience sharing and contribution like in LIGO, capacity building etc. ).

In the other part, describe in points issues involve in such a project. E.g manipulation of nature issue, harming environment, boost to human genome editing etc)

Conclusion- give a fair, balanced and concise conclusion, in 1-2 lines, along with a few suggestions over the issue.

 

Background:-

  • An international consortium of scientists is proposing a massive project to sequence, catalog and analyze the genomes of all known eukaryotic species on the planet, an undertaking the researchers say will take 10 years, cost $4.7 billion and require more than 200 petabytes of digital storage capacity. 
  • The greatest legacy of the Earth biome project will be the gift of knowledge a complete Digital Library of Life that contains the collective biological intelligence of 3.5 billion years of evolutionary history.

Significance:-

  • Economic:-
    • Human genome project  yielded at least $1 trillion to the U.S. alone, according to a 2013 Nature study .So this project will provide immense monetary benefits.
    • Detailed sequences of every species on the earth could be many multiples of that and could benefit the world and not for just the U.S. alone.
  • More knowledge about evolution and origin of life:-
    • Being able to create their detailed genetic sequences will reveal unexpected, evolutionary connections among the genus, orders and families that make up the so-called Tree of Life.
  • Global collaboration will benefit all:-
    • For instance, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN has not only helped Indian physicists but also given a boost to Indian industries, in that they have designed specialised equipment for the machine. The EBP will have similar spin-off benefits
  • Innovation:-
    • Sequencing such a large number of organisms will require innovative computation- and-storage solutions and the programming acumen of many thousands across the world.
  • Health and food security :-
    • The integration of new genetic technologies, such as genetic testing, into the practice of clinical medicine that will guide future discoveries for generations.
    • So far, scientists have only sequenced the DNA of 0.2 percent of all known eukaryotic species. That’s helped scientists discover and understand a number of medications that exist in nature, from morphine to aspirin. So with the other 99.8 percent of un-sequenced species the inventions may be huge  and could lead to the discovery of even more drugs.
    • It could help researchers hone in on new sources of food to nourish the planet’s growing population .
  • Better knowledge about conservation:-
    • Earth BioGenome Project will give us insight into the history and diversity of life and help us better understand how to conserve it.
    • Project could help us protect species and ecosystems endangered by climate change. 
  • Multiple areas:-
    • It will lay the scientific foundation for a new bio-economy that has the potential to bring innovative solutions to health, environmental, economic, and social problems to people across the globe, especially in under-developed countries that have significant biodiversity assets.

Ethical issues :-

  • Privacy and fairness in the use of genetic information, including the potential for genetic discrimination in employment and insurance
  • Ethical issues surrounding the design and conduct of genetic research with people, including the process of informed consent.
  • There are concerns that government agencies or law enforcement authorities use genome research to invade privacy and predict behaviour.
  • Fight for perfection:-
    • With Human genome project concerns about parents beginning to use the results of genome research to begin the process of seeking out the Perfect Baby. Offspring considered grotesque, revolting, impaired, repugnant or offensive could be eliminated.
    • Similarly species and creatures which don’t fit proper criteria might be eliminated slowly.
  • This project threatens to alter the nature of human existence
  • Genetic screening is only one of the moral dilemmas our culture will soon face as the result of fast-moving genetic research.
  • As technology is more advanced in developed countries they might reap the benefits more and sense of dependency on them might increase in future.

Conclusion:-

  • Life is sacrosanct so when scientists are trying to explore it there needs to be adequate safeguards followed to protect the interests of the people world over.