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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 AUGUST 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 AUGUST 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 – 1


Topic– Salient features of Indian Society

1) Evaluate whether gender bias is all pervasive in Indian societies. Discuss how we are dealing with correcting these biases?(250 words) 

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article discusses the issue of gender bias in our country and exposes how it is prevalent in more 0fields than just economic. The article discusses the stages in which gender movement in India has evolved, the steps taken and required to be taken to overcome these biases. The article is important for preparing women related issues for society section of GS1.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to give our opinion on whether gender bias is pervasive in Indian society and the areas where its impact can be seen. Thereafter, it expects us to explain our efforts to correct the gender bias and discuss their effectiveness.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the status of women in today’s society.

Body

  • Mention that the status of women in India has been highlighted via several indices and reports. Discuss the biases in various domains like social, political, economic etc. Highlight the reasons for such biases
  • Explain the steps taken by India so far in correcting these biases. Discuss the steps taken over the course of history as explained in the article. Highlight currently how we have started giving more importance to gender issues with steps like beti bachao beti padhao etc
  • Discuss the problems faced by women still such as threat to physical safety etc and highlight the steps that can be taken

Conclusion – Give your opinion on the status of women in Indian society and the steps that can be taken to further improve the situation.

Background:-

Most people think about gender bias in terms of economics (labour-force participation and missing GDP) or interpersonal dynamics (men being insensitive to women). But gender bias is a set of interlocking dynamics with lots of well-meaning people implementing and protecting systems, practices, structures and institutions that fundamentally exclude, disenfranchise, and marginalise women.

Gender bias is all pervasive to Indian societies:-

1.Political:-

  • Political parties in India tend not to follow provisionsin their constitutions reserving seats for women in different committees
  • Additionally, since women are not integratedin any local political process initially, and, unlike men, are not part of the relevant social and power networks, women leaders are prone to inefficiencies
  • The Economic survey for 2017-18tabled in Parliament said factors such as domestic responsibilities, prevailing cultural attitudes regarding roles of women in society and lack of support from family were among main reasons that prevented them from entering politics.
  • India ranks 20th from the bottom in terms of representation of women in Parliament. .The 16th Lok Sabha has only 64 women among its 542 members, a mere 11.8 per cent which is even less than Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • There has been concern over the role of women as proxies for male family members :-
    • Quotas like 33 per cent of seats are reserved for women at local level are neither meritocratic nor useful because women in politics are simply representatives of the men who would have been in politics .
  • Training issues:-
    • The issue of traininghas become an increasing concern with preparing women for the role of leadership. It was found in Tamil Nadu that women lack the education and training to understand procedures in panchayats.

2.Socio-cultural issues :-

  • Role of entrenched gender norms in our society:
    • The discrimination against the girl child begins from the birth itself. Boys are preferred over girls; hence, female infanticide is a common practice in India. 
  • Caste discrimination:-
    • Dalit women and their children are routinely denied medical care as upper castes refuse to treat them.
  • Violence:-
    • Women are more likely to experience physical and sexual violence at home, in their immediate neighbourhoods, and at the workplace.
  • Health issues:-
    • Low age at marriage and high fertility has a direct impact on the health outcomes. Women record low Body Mass Index (BMI), higher prevalence of anaemia and low access to maternal health care facilities.
  • Mainly husbands and in-laws take decisions regarding their health. 
  • Familial influencecan be a barrier or a support system for female elected officials in terms of connections. 
  • Domestic responsibilities, prevailing cultural attitudes regarding roles of women in society and lack of support from familywere among main reasons that prevented them from entering politics. 
  • Education:-
    • Literacy among Indian women is 53.7%, which is much lower than literacy among men reported at 75.3%. Illiteracy limits the ability of women to understand the political system and issues.
    • Problems with exploitation, such as women being left off of voters lists, have been reported as illiteracy limits the ability of women to ensure their political rights are exercised
  • Despite the reservation of seats at the local levels, there are no similar quotas in relation to elected seats at the national and state level. 

3.Technological bias:-

  • Another obstacle faced by women is the lack of access to information and communication technologies (ICT)which also been used to attack women

4.Economic:-

  • Lack of confidence and financewere the other major deterring factors that prevented women from entering politics. 
  • Because of the current structure of labour laws, dis-incentivizing formal labour markets and hiring, India has an extremely asymmetric and disproportionately informal labour market.So  women are also more likely to be trapped at the lowest levels in the informal labour market.
  • Lacking the social networks that enable upward mobility in the labour market, they are often relegated to the lowest paying, hard physical labour under exploitative conditions by middlemen. 
  • The informal sector leaves women in a poor positionto access the economic growth resulting from market liberalization.
  • Dalit  women record higher work Participation Rate than that of their non-Dalit  counterparts but high wage gap between SC and non-SC/ST women, concentration of Dalit women workers in agricultural sector and elementary  occupations show that most of the Dalit women are deprived of high-salaried positions. So they stay poor.
  • Women earn for their families, but they have no control over their earnings.
  • The rising incomes of men (which raises family income and makes it easier for women to quit working), and the lack of quality jobs for women
  • Lack of a safe and secure external and internal environment in India’s employment sector etc.

How is India  dealing with these biases:-

  • Huge progress has been made:-
  • Gender 1.0 was set off by Raja Ram Mohan Roy.
  • Gender 2.0 came from Gandhiji’s recognition that the freedom movement “walked on one leg”.
  • Gender 3.0 was votes for everybody in 1947 (some women in Switzerland only got voting in 1971).
  • Gender 4.0 started after 2014 with schemes like Beti Bachao Beti Padhao, Ujwala, Maternity Leave Bill, and many other initiatives.
  • Gender 5.0 will include working on men and issues such as triple talaq, fixing our employment exchanges, more learning outcomes in schools, more formal enterprises, more apprentices, more cities, more manufacturing and macroeconomic stability.
  • Government initiatives for ensuring women empowerment:-
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojna:
    • It was launched to generate awareness and also improve the efficiency of welfare services meant for girl child. This scheme is to prevent gender-biased sex-selective elimination and ensure the education, survival, and protection of the girl child. It also aims to celebrate the girl child.
  • Mahila E-Haat:
    • To support women and also ‘Make in India’ through online marketing platform this bilingual online portal is a blessing.
    • The Mahila E-Haat is an initiative for meeting needs of women entrepreneurs. It provides a unique and direct marketing platform and also leverages technology for supporting women entrepreneurs, SHGs, and NGOs.
  • One Stop Centre Scheme :-
    • The aim of launching this scheme is to provide support and assistance to women who are affected by violence in public and private spaces. Through this scheme, the women who are facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse, irrespective of age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race, and culture will be supported.
  • The safety measures, recommended by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, concerning safety of women commuters availing of cab services have been included in the new Taxi Policy Guidelines.
    • The taxis should be mandatorily fitted with GPS panic devices. 
    • For the safety of women and child passengers, the central locking system in the taxis should not be allowed. 
  • National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyan)
    • National Nutrition Mission was launched as an expansion of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao programme
    • The main objectives of this scheme are to attain proper nutritional status among children from 0-6 years, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers in a timely manner; reduce stunting, under-nutrition, and anaemia among young children, women, and adolescent girls; and lowering low birth weight by at least 2% per annum.
  • Trafficking of persons bill, 2018 seeks to provide a strong legal framework and dedicated institutions at various levels
  • Women helpline numbers providing emergency and non emergency assistance to women in distress

How to deal with the biases :-

  • Creatively design policies to counteract the market failures caused by cultural norms, for example, in designing employment exchanges India needs to address lower registration by women by having information campaigns on returns to employment for women.
    • In designing apprentice schemes, India needs to require factories to invest in hostels and child care that will get women to take up apprenticeships.
    • In reducing labour laws, India needs to push harder to remove discriminatory acts like The Factories Act 1948 that prevent women working at night.
  • Political participation:-
    • Gender stereotypeswhich perceive women as weak representatives should be changes through awareness and education. Efforts need to be taken to enhance the participation of women in governance in large numbers.
    • Women Panchayati membershave to be trained to analyse and understand their roles and responsibilities given in the 73rd amendment act.
    • Women’s leadership and communication skillsneed to be enhanced by increasing female literacy especially in rural areas. They should be empowered in order to break socio-cultural barriers and improve their status in the society.
    • Empowerment of Indian women can occur through bridging gaps in education, renegotiating gender roles, the gender division of labour and addressing biased attitudes
    • Introduction of quotas:-
      • Women Reservation Bill needs to be passed and is certainly a positive step in the right direction. 
    • ICT can be used to raise awareness of women’s political activismand to organize campaigns for advocacy
    • Conducting trainingsuch as developing media skills, designing campaigns and building knowledge of key national and local policy issues along with long term mentoring has assisted in building women’s confidence to take on leadership roles beginning at grassroots levels.
    • Providing skill building and leadership trainingfor women civil society members, women’s organizations, and female journalists
    • Promote community and sport programs that foster leadership skills for girls and women and promote gender equality.
    • Support women’s leadership in the workplace through greater inclusion in executive positions and on corporate boards.
    • Support women’s coalitionsto work more effectively within and with political parties and representative bodies.
    • Promoting coalition building and networkingamong women representatives and decision-makers to strengthen women’s influence up and down the decision-making chain.
    • Supporting gender sensitive parliamentsthrough induction training for MPs on gender issues, mainstreaming gender impact reviews into parliamentary committee work, gender analysis of proposed laws, the introduction of tools for gender-sensitive budgets, support for cross-party women’s caucuses, and women’s mentoring programmes.
    • Incorporate men, especially fathers and sons, in training focused on supporting and promoting girls and women as leaders and decision makers.
    • Encourage political partiesto
      • Remove all barriers that discriminate against the participation of women
      • Develop their capacity to analyse issues from a gender perspective and develop gender-sensitive election manifestos
    • Bridging implementation gaps:
      • Government or community-based bodies must be set up to monitor the programs devised for the welfare of the society.
    • Women need group and gender specific policies and programmes  to address the issue of multiple deprivations.
      • Women require comprehensive policies on health, especially on the maternal and child health
    • Make credit available by pooling the women to form self help groups. The example of Kudumbashree model of Kerala can be emulated.
    • Women safety:-
      • Police vigils should be made mandatory at places. The presence of police should be increased at places like schools, colleges, malls and other places were crowd gathers
      • Authorities should ensure that all the public places are lit properly
      • The authorities should ensure that women travel safely whether it’s the trains, buses or the metro rails.
      • The authorities should ensure the cameras are installed at all key places which will help the manual management of law and order a great deal.
      • The autos which still are a good and cheap source to commute don’t have GPS system installed. Authorities should ensure this.
      • A victim should be able to File  FIR online, but despite recommendations, FIRs are still filed in conventional ways where the victim is made to wait for hours
    • Integrating social and cultural transformation with an economic alternative is critical.
    • Huge investments will be needed in upskilling and educating womenand government needs to create an abundance of new jobs within the formal sector and lowering barriers to job creation
    • Increased availability of stable-wage jobs for women is critical to preventing their socio-economic exploitation.

General Studies – 2


Topic–  India and its neighborhood- relations.

2) India China reset is necessary for India to pursue meaningful engagement with South East Asian countries. Critically analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the impact and links that China has with ASEAN. The article argues that in terms of India’s relationship with ASEAN, India would gain if it has deeper ties with china. Off late, India has started resetting it’s ties with China due to several reasons and the question expects us to bring out these issues.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first describe the status of India’s relationship with china and ASEAN. Thereafter, we need to provide both sides of the debate that whether it would be prudent for India to reset ties with China for pursuing a closer partnership with ASEAN, or whether, China is not a factor in India Asean ties as well as ties with other countries of south Asia. Finally, a fair and balanced view needs to be provided.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  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. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention the importance of ASEAN in India’s foreign policy and the importance is reflected in act East policy of India.

Body

  • Mention the difference in approach of India and China vis a vis ASEAN – India pursues influence through heightened diplomatic, bilateral and military engagement, China has started to garner influence through hard investments in cash-strapped littoral nations suffering from massive infrastructural deficits.
  • Discuss other influences of China on Asean – code of conduct in South China sea, the heavy investment that China has made in countries like Cambodia and Vietnam etc
  • Highlight the pros and cons of the need for India to reset ties with china to pursue closer relationship with ASEAN and other nations of south Asia.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on this and discuss the way forward.

China- India approach towards ASEAN :-

  • Power conflict between India and China continues to impact sea lanes and chokepoints, with both these countries pursuing interests in the littoral states spread across the Indo-Pacific.
  • India:-
    • India pursues influence through heightened diplomatic, bilateral and military engagement.
    • Although India enjoys cordial relationship with all ASEAN nations, it is unlikely that diplomatic relationship alone will help garner the grouping’s support for its Indo-Pacific strategy against China’s economic power and growing military presence.
  • China:-
    • China has started to garner influence through hard investments in cash-strapped littoral nations suffering from massive infrastructural deficits.
    • China’s heavy investments in ASEAN nations have brought these nations closer into its orbit of influence to the point where despite an international ruling against its activities in the South China Sea (SCS), the ASEAN as a bloc agreed to cooperate with China on a Code of Conduct instead of pursuing the international ruling.
  • The influence of China on certain ASEAN states like Cambodia is enormous. China is Cambodia’s largest provider of foreign aid and has invested in dams, oilfields, highways, textile operations and mines.
  • In the Philippines, China provided rifles worth about $3.3 million to the Philippines police and guns worth $7.35 million to fight against extremists
  • ASEAN’s trade with China far surpasses that with India, and Chinese foreign direct investment in ASEAN is nine times higher than India’s.

There is no need for China India reset because :-

  • The overt-assertiveness of China has driven many countries in East and Southeast Asia to seek friendship with India, and today Indonesia and Singapore are looking to bolster relations with India.
  • ASEAN has a cultural affinity with India with its shared religious diversity, ancient ties and a sizeable Indian diaspora in countries like Singapore and Malaysia.
  • After the U.S., India enjoys global soft power through its art, literature, music, dance and cinema.
  • India is perceived by many in East Asia as a friendly democracy, making the country a safe ally to have in the long run.
  • Relations with countries :-
  • Japan has significantly increased its engagement with India and the two countries enjoy robust military ties.
  • India and Australia have initiated the ‘2+2’ dialogue signalling Canberra’s interest in deepening a maritime security partnership with India.

Why there is a need for China India reset for better relations with South East Asian Countries :-

  • With China, India can strike a better strategic bargain compared to the smaller states in the region.
    • For example, it would be difficult for China to take forward the BRI without participation from India, which has reservations on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • With a strategic partnership with China, India can better pursue its own regional groupings like the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) initiative.
  • Strategic understanding with China can help streamline regional connectivity projects and help India gain influence in the region.
  • Stability:-
    • Both the countries shared the view that peaceful, stable and balanced relations between India and China will be a positive factor for stability amidst current global uncertainties.
    • They also agreed that proper management of the bilateral relationship will be conducive for the development and prosperity of the region, and will create the conditions for the Asian Century.
    • To this end, they decided to strengthen the Closer Development Partnership in a mutually beneficial and sustainable manner, in pursuit of national modernization and greater prosperity for their peoples.
  • Recently, China and India have initiated discussions to jointly use their leverage in oil price negotiations. In addition, both the countries are having cooperation in global climate change negotiations.

Way forward:-

  • The only effective instrument for managing India-China relations will be a significant, sustained and rapid development of India’s economic and security capabilities, thus narrowing the power gap between the two Asian giants.
  • India-China relations must be managed through a mix of competitive and cooperative policies and regular leadership-level interaction.
  • The two sides need to build mutual strategic trust based on the factthat their common understanding and shared interests are greater than their divergences.
  • The two countries should realize that they offer each other opportunities without posing any threat, and that peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation are the right choice for them.
  • The two countries should prudently and discreetly deal with sensitive issues, including the border dispute, and should not allow such issues to restrain the further development of bilateral ties.
  • There are several areas, apart from trade and investment, in which the two sides can strengthen cooperation, such as infrastructure construction, urbanization, food security and climate change.
  • The two countries militaries should maintain regular high-level and non-confrontational dialogues, in order to reduce strategic miscalculations and enhance strategic trust.
  • The two sides should also build a communication and coordination mechanism to manage their overseas interests, and organize dialogues at academic, media and cultural levels,as well as exchanges between NGOs as a way to improve bilateral ties.

Conclusion:-

  • China and India are two bodies, one spirit. So long as the two sides deepen their exchanges and reduce suspicion the strategic value of cooperation would be evident and people would be confident of China-India relations. 

 


Topic– Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

3) Evaluate whether the current focus on collecting and highlight various forms of data reflects a commitment to evidence based policy making?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the current focus on data in terms of comparison between states, refining data collection and analysis methodology in the case of GDP data. The article gives its view on whether the current focus on data reflects a commitment to evidence based policy making, or whether it shows that data is being utilised for perverse gains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the role of data in evidence based policy making. Thereafter, it expects us to highlight the current debates wrt data such as GDP backseries data, data on achievements made under several flagship projects of the government. We need to give our view on whether with focus on data collection and analysis , we are moving towards evidence based policy making.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that data interpretation and analysis is one of the worst casualties in a post truth era. Highlight the debate wrt GDP data, employment data etc and the questions it raises.

Body

  • Discuss the  role of data in evidence based policy making and examine whether the current focus on data in India is due to this reason
  • Highlight the problems with data collection and analysis in India – relatively little by way of independent data on politically contentious issues, frenetic race to the top, focus on achieving targets rather than measuring effectiveness. Discuss the cons by taking examples of the recent debates wrt data collection methodology and the results.
  • Highlight how data can be better incorporated in policy making and the advantages it has

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on role of data and data collection methodology in India and discuss how the process can be improved going forward.

Background:-

  • Decision-making in public policy has to be on the basis of building political consensus. Here’s where data can help inform that political consensus- by putting data out there to the general public and helping to nourish the debate out there, so it’s not informing the policymaker, the decision-maker, it’s informing the public.

Evidence based policy making:-

  • Evidence-based policymaking involves synthesising research with policy formulation in a two-pronged manner. 
    • First, policy decisions should be backed by sound data from the design stage.
    • Second, evaluation of implementation should be carried out through data-gathering exercises. This involves being open to policy alternatives, the availability of quality research, using this research productively and quantifying the number of changes that can be solely attributed to the introduction of the policy in question

Role of data in Evidence based policy making :-

  • In the last decade or so, evidence-based policymaking has gained traction in India, with some governments showing interest in using scientific evidence to devise policies
  • Reliable information plays greater role:-
    • In times of increasing populism and contestation of politics, reliable information plays a vital role for well-informed policy-making based on evidence rather than emotions and fake news.
  • The popular legitimacy of any political system around the world depends on its effective capacity to successfully deliver good and targeted outcomes based on facts.
    • These outcomes have to be based on reliable data in order to make political decisions understandable, assessable, sustainable and future-proof.
  • Within the preparatory and scrutinising processes of policy-making, policy proposals, legislative acts and implementation arrangements are increasingly being assessed and evaluated on the basis of factual evidence and statistical data. Such evidence-based monitoring is increasingly recognised as a complex steering mode in itself resulting from changing governance patterns, supranationalisation and globalisation.
  • Evidence-based policy-making reflects the need to re-structure the interaction between the political actors of different institutional origin and political levels, and represents an influential policy instrument at the border of the politics and policy dimensions of multilevel political systems.

Issues with current data collection:-

  • Path of embarking on the evidence-based approach is not without obstacles:-
    • With evaluative studies varying in quality, there are doubts on which ones should be relied on and in what manner should a set of studies on a particular issue be appraised
    • Doubts regarding how decision-makers will deal with research that is not conclusive and yields multiple possible interpretations
  • Ethics:-
    • Data collection is increasingly being done by contractual employees and for-profit organisations. Supervising them and ensuring their honesty remains challenging.
  • A report in The Guardianin 2017 noted declining trust in official statistics around the world and argued that it damages democracy by jeopardising public knowledge and public argument. 
  • Employment:-
    • Absence of data on district-level employment for decentralised planning, data on circular migrant workers; the working and living conditions of women labour.
  • Official data and post-truth politics
    • According to some political analysts and scholars, post 2014, in the age of post-truth politics there has been instances of manipulating and distorting data by the government. Post truth politics is evoking public emotions and deviation from facts and details of policy.
  • Faulty sampling frames
    • Identifying respondents and sample selection is poor
    • Survey designs, questionnaires are inappropriate in many instances
    • For instance The RBI adopts inflation targeting approach to maintain price level-monetary policy. This approach is based on data on inflations expectations of individuals The reliability and validity of the data is a big question as ASER reports highlights extremely low mathematical skills of Indians.
  • Delay/ Sporadic nature of Release of Data:
    • There is no strict process of monitoring for release of data.
    • Delay in publishing data is a persisting problem. However, there has been improvement in recent years
  • Discrepancy in data:
    • Lack of uniformity in data across government agencies is a major concern
    • For instance there is data contradiction on jobs as recently EPFO estimated that 3.68 million jobs were generated till November of fiscal year 2018- much higher estimation than that of other agencies
  • Quality/ Accuracy of data is another concern
    • In 2011, commerce secretary admitted that India’s export figures for the April–October period were inflated by US$9.4 billion due to a misclassification of certain items and data entry errors.
    • There has also been question over the accuracy of the Index of Industrial Production
    • Allegations that NSS systematically underestimated household consumption
  • Infringement of privacyby the government’s data-collection machinery

Way forward:-

  • Data-driven politics is only credible if administrative data is complemented by rigorous independent studies and evaluations. Civil society too plays a critical role by demystifying and communicating data, thus empowering citizens with relevant information.
  • Harness diverse energies from academic and research institutionssuch as the ISI, the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute etc.
  • Include private sector as well:-
    • Smaller, technology-savvy private sector organisations may also make important contributions in technology-driven data collection.
    • Around the world, in diverse countries such as China, South Africa, Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S., statistical ecosystems consist of universities, research institutions and government agencies working synergistically. 
  • Creative thinking about building synergies with diverse communities such as academic and research institutions would strengthen it and reduce the burden on the NSC, leaving it free to devote greater attention to developing quality control parameters and to play an oversight and coordination role.
    • Scholars from different disciplines should be incorporated for framing samples and questionnaires
    • Include takeaways from experiments designed by cognitive anthropologists, and survey design specialists
  • Robust survey management structure to ensure quality and honesty in data collection

Conclusion:-

  • The draft National Policy on Official Statistics offers a great start for fostering trust in statistics but enhancing its inclusiveness will go a long way towards encouraging competence, reliability and honesty in public statistics.

General Studies – 3


Topic– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

4) Bioremediation process is a better, alternate low-cost solution to capping of solid waste management and disposal in our cities. Analyze.(250 words)

indianexpress

Indian express

Why this question

Open dump sites and mismanaged landfills are the harsh realities of most of the Indian cities today. They contribute to air and water pollution, compromise the public health and also decrease the aesthetic appeal of an area making it less desirable for residential and commercial purposes.

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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and compare bioremediation as an alternative to capping of landfills. We have to bring out the limitations of the latter and highlight the benefits of the former.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about the problem of solid waste management in Indian cities- growth of poorly managed landfills and open dump sites which due to the growth of city limits have come in close association with the population.

Body

  • Discuss the limitations and disadvantages of capping of landfill sites. E.g capping is successful only when the landfills have a certain height which has been already crossed in most of the landfills; it requires proper scientific designing and construction in the absence of which the structure faces the same problems as open dump sites- leakage of gases, foul smell, leachate etc.
  • Define the term bioremediation and discuss its desirability and advantages. E.g Bio-remediation and bio-mining are clearly specified as the first choice under Rule 15 (zj) of The Rules for the Safe Treatment of Legacy Waste in all open dumpsites and existing operational dumpsites in India; near-zero emission of harmful gases (such as methane, hydrogen sulphide, and ammonia) and leachate; organic fraction of the original waste is degraded biologically by the bioculture. Specific microbes are also used for leachate treatment. Once the waste is stabilised, it is ready for bio-mining, and can be separated into different fractions which can then be used for different purposes — for compost, road subgrade, making RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) pellets, recycling plastics, or inert for landfills etc.

Conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

 

Background:-

  • Most Indian cities are surrounded by hills of garbage, which are a testimony to India’s neglect over a long period of managing and disposing of the waste it generates in the course of its household activities and commercial activities in the cities. 
  • Even after the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 specified that landfill sites should be allocated on which sanitary landfills should be developed to receive the final residual waste, the sites have been used only as open dumpsites for all kinds of waste, mixed together.

Why bioremediation is necessary:-

  • Solid-waste management is a major challenge in urban areas throughout the world. Without an effective and efficient solid-waste management program, the waste generated from various human activities, can result in health hazards and have a negative impact on the environment.
  • Continuously and uncontrolled discharge of industrial and urban wastes into the environmental sink has become an issue of major global concern
  • The industrial and anthropogenic activities had also led to the contamination of agricultural lands which results the loss of biodiversity.
  • Although the use of pesticides, herbicides increases the productivity of crop but also increase the contamination in the soil, water and air.
  • Limitations and disadvantages of capping of landfill sites:-
    • Capping is successful only when the landfills have a certain height which has been already crossed in most of the landfills
    • It requires proper scientific designing and construction in the absence of which the structure faces the same problems as open dump sites- leakage of gases, foul smell, leachate etc.

Bioremediation:-

  • Bioremediation is not only a process of removing the pollutant from the environment but also it an eco-friendly and more effective process
  • The pollutants can be removes or detoxify from the soil and water by the use of microorganism, known as bioremediation
  • The purpose of bioremediation is to make environment free from pollution with help of environmental friendly microbes.
  • Bio-remediation and bio-mining are clearly specified as the first choice under Rule 15 (zj) of The Rules for the Safe Treatment of Legacy Waste in all open dumpsites and existing operational dumpsites in India.

Advantages :-

  • The contaminations of soil through heavy metals become a major problem among all other environmental problems.
  • These metals can also be removed by the use of various biological agents like yeast, fungi, bacteria, and algae etc. which act as bio sorbent for sequestering the metals. 
  • In solid waste, about 12% constitute of rubber. A rubber can neither degrade easily nor recycled due to its physical composition. This can be removed due to bioremediation.
  • Bioremediation of Agricultural Waste
  • Each year, human, livestock, and crops produce approximately 38 billion metric tons of organic waste worldwide. Disposal and environmental friendly management of these wastes has become a global priority.these can be managed through vermicomposting.
  • A vermicomposting is nothing but a joint action between the earth warms and microorganism. Here microorganism helps in degradation of organic matter and earth warm drives the process and conditioning to the substrate and altering the biological activity.
  • It leads to near-zero emission of harmful gases (such as methane, hydrogen sulphide, and ammonia) and leachate
  • Organic fraction of the original waste is degraded biologically by the bioculture. Specific microbes are also used for leachate treatment.
    • Once the waste is stabilised, it is ready for bio-mining, and can be separated into different fractions which can then be used for different purposes — for compost, road subgrade, making RDF (Refuse Derived Fuel) pellets, recycling plastics, or inert for landfills etc.
  • The major advantage of the bioremediation methods is that it allows for contamination to be treated, neutralized or removed and then produces a waste product itself that is more easily disposed of.
  • In some cases, there is no need for disposal at all. In the case of the plants used in phytoremediation and rhizofiltration, the plant is able to do something called bioaccumulation. This means is holds onto the contaminant. As the plant is still growing, there is no need to remove and destroy it.

Topic Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) Ecosystem based adaptation focuses on the benefits humans derive from biodiversity and ecosystem services, and how these benefits can be utilized in the face of a disaster. Discuss.(250 words)

indianexpress

Reference

Why this question

The recent Kerala floods have demonstrated the vulnerability of today’s habitations and the magnitude of harm disasters can inflict on a society. In this regard it is essential to discuss the ecosystem based approach to disaster reduction. The concept has been supported by not only many environmentalists, conservationists but also by several international institutions including UNEP.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. We also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the ecosystem based adaptation- what it means, why it is important and how to follow it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few lines about ecosystem based approaches to disasters. E.g Ecosystem-based Approaches to Disaster Adaptation, or Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) involves a wide range of ecosystem management activities to increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people and the environment to disasters. Such an approach  involves the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

Body-

  • Discuss the need for such a approach. E.g The role of ecosystems in adaptation is well-recognized at the international level, under the UNFCCC, the CBD and the UNCCD;The ability of people to adapt to climate change is inextricably linked to their access to basic human rights and to the health of the ecosystems they depend on for their livelihoods and wellbeing; If adaptation policies and programs are to be effective, they must integrate efforts to sustain and restore ecosystem functions and promote human rights under changing climate conditions etc.
  • Discuss how such an approach can be followed. E.g coastal habitat restoration, agroforestry, integrated water resource management, livelihood diversification, and sustainable forest management interventions that use nature to reduce vulnerability to climate change and other natural disasters etc.

Conclusion-Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Climate change magnifies the existing risks and vulnerabilities associated with disasters, due to changing patterns of some hazards and due to increased population exposure and land-use changes.
  • Since 2009, IUCN has promoted the use of EbA as a nature-based solution for addressing the impacts of climate change on people and their environment

Ecosystem based adaptation:-

  • Ecosystem-based Approaches to Climate Change Adaptation, or Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) involves a wide range of ecosystem management activities to increase the resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people and the environment to climate change.
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation is the use of biodiversity and ecosystem services as part of an overall adaptation strategy to help people to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change.

Why such approach is necessary:-

  • EbA is a people-centric concept, one that acknowledges that human resilience depends critically on the integrity of ecosystems. Yet ecosystem health alone does not guarantee human resilience, so EbA is best implemented as an integrated element of a broader adaptation strategy.
  • EbA – or the conservation, sustainable management, and restoration of ecosystems to help people adapt to the impacts of climate change – is gaining increasing attention, as such approaches are accessible to the rural poor in developing countries and can be cost-effective.
  • EbA approaches include, for example, coastal habitat restoration, agroforestry, integrated water resource management, livelihood diversification, and sustainable forest management interventions that use nature to reduce vulnerability to climate change.
  • The ability of people to adapt to climate change is inextricably linked to their access to basic human rights and to the health of the ecosystems they depend on for their livelihoods and wellbeing. If adaptation policies and programs are to be effective, they must integrate efforts to sustain and restore ecosystem functions and promote human rights under changing climate conditions.
  • The role of ecosystems in adaptation is well-recognized at the international level, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).

How to follow such approach in future:-

  • In the context of floods:-
    • For example, what needs to be done is to reserve enough land for the river to expand at the time of flooding. That means disallowing the building of houses near rivers and reserving the land for agricultural purposes.
    • If there are cities near rivers, they will have to be protected by safety walls.
  • These approaches are wide ranging and include
    • Mangrove restoration to buffer against storm surges
    • Watershed management to protect against droughts and floods
    • Rangeland management to prevent desertification
    • Sustainable management of fisheries and forests to ensure food security.

Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “tropical cyclones and temperate cyclones”

6) Compare and contrast Temperate cyclones vis a vis tropical cyclones.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to give similarities and differences in the nature, origin, physical traits etc of temperate cyclone vis a vis tropical cyclones.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what tropical and temperate cyclones are.

Body – Give a point wise answer where each point would bring out some element of similarity or difference between the two. Discuss origin, latitude, presence of a frontal system, formation, season, size, shape etc in your answer.

 

ParametersTropical cycloneTemperate cyclone
Origin Tropical cyclones always origin in large water bodiesTemperate cyclones can origin on both landmass or water. 

Dynamic Origin – Coriolis Force, Movement of air masses.

LocationTropical cyclones form along the 5 to 10 degree latitude {but never form along 0 to 5 degree latitude due to absence of coriolis force}temperate cyclone are formed along middle latitude (35 to 60 degree) where convergence of thermally different masses collide each other.
StructureTropical cyclones have a definite structure of formation having a front end followed by a zone of calmness called “eye” and ends with tail (rear end).In temperate cyclone, two different air masses collide each other so four different sectors are formed, they are cold sector (cold drier air mass), cold front, warm sector(warm moist air mass) and warm front.

 

Size and Speed Tropical cyclones range from 150-200 kms with high velocityTemperate cyclones are larger in size ranging around 1900 km and due to large size it moves slower at the speed of 40-60 kmph. 
Movement and directionTropical direction moves from east to west direction under the influence of trade windsTemperate cyclones move from west to east direction under the influence of westerly winds.
Weather conditionThe tropical cyclones are associated with heavy rain fall and high velocity of winds for short duration at small area, sometimes the rain and associated winds are so high that it can cause damage to life and property mostly at eastern coastal areas.In temperate cyclone the weather are mild and overcast sky in initial stage and followed by moderate to heavy rain for long period of time on large area. 
Frontal systemAbsentThe very cyclone formation is due to frontogenesis.[Occluded Front]
SeasonSeasonal: Late summers (Aug – Oct)Irregular. But few in summers and more in winters.
ShapeEllipticalInverted V
DestructionGreater destruction due to winds, storm surges and torrential rains.Less destruction due to winds but more destruction due to flooding.
Temperature distributionThe temperature at the center is almost equally distributedAll the sectors of the cyclone have different temperatures
Driving forceThe tropical cyclone derives its energy from the latent heat of condensation, and the difference in densities of the air masses does not contribute to the energy of the cyclone.The energy of a temperate cyclone depends on the densities of air masses.
Influence of jet streams The relationship between tropical cyclones and the upper level air-flow is not very clear.The temperate cyclones, in contrast, have a distinct relationship with upper level air flow (jet streams, Rossby waves etc.)
CloudsThe tropical cyclones exhibit fewer varieties of clouds – cumulonimbus, nimbostratus, etc..

 

The temperate cyclones show a variety of cloud development at various elevations
Surface anticyclonesThe tropical cyclones are not associated with surface anticyclones and they have a greater destructive capacityThe temperate cyclones are associated with anticyclones which precede and succeed a cyclone. These cyclones are not very destructive.
Indian caseBoth coasts effected. But east coast is the hot spot.

 

Bring rains to North – West India. The associated instability is called ‘Western Disturbances’.

 

 


General Studies – 4


Topic-   Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7) The aim of education is knowledge, not of facts but of values. Comment. (250 words)

ncert

Livemint

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the role of education in so far as provision of knowledge of values and not facts. We have to defend our opinion by presenting adequate, valid arguments/ facts/ examples.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about education. E.g Education is the aggregate of all the processes by which a person develops abilities, attitudes and other forms of behaviour of practical values in the society in which he/she lives; the social process by which people are subjected to the influence of selected and controlled environment, so that they may obtain social competence and optimum individual development

Body-

Based on your convictions, knowledge and understanding which guide your opinion, discuss points in favour of your opinion.

Discuss the narrower meaning of education- e.g in a narrow sense, education is nothing, but a purposeful activity, deliberately planned for the optimum development of an individual’s potentials. There is a deliberate effort made with a definite purpose to develop certain amount of knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits in these institutions. This is a narrow concept of education, which is confined only to a few specific, deliberate, and planned efforts that have a bearing on the development of the individual. The educator, in the narrow sense, aims at producing the literate or a professional person such as an engineer, a doctor, a teacher, a businessman and so on. Here, the individual is deliberately ‘taught to think’ as predetermined by the educators etc.

Discuss the broader meaning of education. E.g In the broader or wider sense, education is not limited to a classroom or a school only. It is considered to be a lifelong process, where all the experiences, knowledge and wisdom that an individual acquires at different stages of one’s life through different channels (i.e., formally, informally and incidentally) are termed as education. The broader view considers education as an act or experience that has formative or additive effect on the personality of an individual. It also provides social capacity to students, equipping them with social and relationship skills, intelligences and attitudes to succeed at school and throughout their lives.  

Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • The term ‘education’ has been interpreted by different people in different ways. Some people refer to it as formal schooling or to lifelong learning. Some others refer to it as acquisition of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Some say that education is nothing, but training of people’s mind in a particular direction to bring about desired changes. Education seeks to develop the innate or the inner potentialities of humans.

 

Education, in the narrow sense aims at knowledge of facts:-

  • It is also regarded as acquisition of knowledge. According to it educationis a process by which knowledge or information on a subject is acquire. The aims of education in these contexts are measured in terms of degrees or  certification or promotion.
  • This is a narrow concept of education, which is confined only to a few specific, deliberate, and planned efforts that have a bearing on the development of the individual. The educator, 
    in the narrow sense, aims at producing the literate or a professional person such as an engineer, a doctor, a teacher,  a businessman and so on. Here, the individual is deliberately
    ‘taught to think’ as predetermined by the educators.
  • Thus, in a narrow sense, education is nothing, but a purposeful activity, deliberately planned for the optimum development of an individual’s potentials and does not include self culture and the general influences of one’s surroundings, but only those special influences which are consciously and designedly brought to bear upon the youngster by the adult persons of the community
  • Indian education system:
    • A large proportion of students seem to harbour attitudes and beliefs about crucial areas of social and personal life that show a bias and ignorance.
    • Gender and sectarian bias, insensitivity to disability, and misconceptions about civic responsibility and ecological challenges are rife.
    • For example, nearly 43% of students in classes 4, 6 and 8 felt that education for a girl is less important than for boys.
    • Nearly half of the students had strong preconceptions about people of other religions and believe that religious differences matter and should be violently defended.
    • It is sobering that the progressive values articulated in the Constitution, have still not found wide acceptance in our schools. Students in schools depend more on rote learning and less on understanding. These students fare poorly also in international comparisons of academic learning.

Broader focus tends to aim on education with values :-

  • True learning happens when the student builds, often gradually, coherent conceptual schemes about how the world works and is able to use these concepts to understand, explain and act in unfamiliar situations. Such learning is rarely ever a product of rote. It is, more often than not, a result of learning to cooperate, think critically, and experiment with diverse situations.
  • Education is not limited to a classroom or a school only. It is considered to be a life long  process, where all the experiences, knowledge and wisdom that an individual acquires at different stages of one’s life through different channels are termed as education.
  • The broader view considers education as an act or experience that has formative or additive effect on the personality of an individual. It is believed that education is not only an instrument of social change, but also an investment in national development. 
  • Such a view of education encompasses all life experiences, as there is a shift in emphasis from individual development to national development.
  • The broader meaning of education implies the process of development, wherein the individual gradually adapts himself/herself to various ways to his/her physical, social and spiritual environments.

Conclusion:-

  • Critical thinking, empathy and dialogue are key aspects of such a learning process. Our schools and teachers need to become adept at encouraging students to question the conventional and to discover the meaning of the personal and civic values that promote well-being. As in the case of academic subjects, questioning and understanding values and the learning that results are crucial for our children’s future. The future of our society, too, depends on it.