SECURE SYNOPSIS: 31 AUGUST 2018
SECURE SYNOPSIS: 31 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– Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.
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 contribution and role played by Bankim Chandra Chatterjee In the emergence of Bengal renaissance and Indian nationalism.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– write a few introductory lines about Bankim Chandra Chatterjee- e.g He was an Indian writer, poet and journalist who lived between 1838-1894. Chattopadhyay is widely regarded as a key figure in literary renaissance of Bengal as well as the broader Indian subcontinent.
Discuss the contributions of B.C Chatterjee towards Bengal renaissance and towards Indian nationalism. E.g Chattopadhyay’s earliest publications were in Ishwar Chandra Gupta’s weekly newspaper Sangbad Prabhakar; His first fiction to appear in print was Rajmohan’s Wife. It was written in English and is regarded as the first Indian novel to be written in English; Partly from a feeling of nationalism, (he) crossed over to Bengali and embarked on the project of creating the first modern corpus of Bengali; He also wrote Kapalkundala, Mrinalini, His Anandamath was the story of a group of monks (sanyasis) who fought the British. “The problem of culture was the main preoccupation of (Bankim Chandra); for he believed that the proper cultivation of all the faculties resulting in action and knowledge was the natural function of man; He also founded a monthly literary magazine, Bangadarshan, in 1872, through which Bankim is credited with influencing the emergence of a Bengali identity and nationalism etc.
Take the help of the articles attached to the question to frame your answer.
Conclusion -sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.
- Bankim Chandra Chatterjeewas an Indian writer, poet and journalist.He is widely regarded as a key figure in literary renaissance of Bengal as well as the broader Indian subcontinent.
- Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay was more than just the father of the Indian national song. He was a celebrated writer, poet and journalist. He’s considered to be the father of the Bengali novel.
- Chattopadhyay’s earliest publications were in Ishwar Chandra Gupta’s weekly newspaper Sangbad Prabhakar. His first fiction to appear in print was Rajmohan’s Wife. It was written in English and is regarded as the first Indian novel to be written in English
- The most noteworthy contribution Bankim made to the nationalistic imagination was the political novel Anandamath which was based on the ‘sannyasi rebellion’ of the late 18th century.
- It was in Anandamath, that Bankim wrote the poem ‘Vande Mataram’. The novel madeBankim an influential figure on the Bengali renaissance who kept the people of Bengal intellectually stimulated through his literary campaign.
- The novel became synonymous with India’s struggle for freedom from the British.
- Vandemataram song:-
- The song became popular when the British tried to divide Bengal on religious lines. It was the song for a nation seeking to free itself from the shackles of imperialism.
- Addressed to Mother Bengal, the song in a sense represents a stage in the transition from regional patriotism to a nationalism more broadly conceived.
- He raised nationalism to the level of religion by identifying the Motherland with the Mother-Goddess.
- He also founded a monthly literary magazine, Bangadarshan, in 1872, through which Bankim is credited with influencing the emergence of a Bengali identity and nationalism.
- Bankim Chandra wanted the magazine to work as the medium of communication between the educated and the uneducated classes at a time English had become the language of communication between the educated class, widening the gulf between the higher and lower ranks of society.
- Partly from a feeling of nationalism, he crossed over to Bengali and embarked on the project of creating the first modern corpus of Bengali. He also wrote Kapalkundala, Mrinalini,
- The problem of culture was the main preoccupation of Bankim for he believed that the proper cultivation of all the faculties resulting in action and knowledge was the natural function of man
The fact that Vandemataram song and Bankim’s works continue to be referred to even today and controverted and defended shows that his impact on our historical imagination was great and he continues to be relevant in our times.
General Studies – 2
Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Why this question
The medical device market is growing at a phenomenal rate of 15% and is poised to double its size by 2020. Besides, medical devices are crucial to realise the dream of ‘Health for All”. It is therefore essential to deliberate upon the need to align our medical device policies with the maximum good.
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 express your opinion and understanding on the given issue- need to align our medical device policies so as to achieve maximal good. We have to support our answer with proper and valid arguments/ facts/examples.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– mention that in spite of our global dominance with pharmaceuticals and vaccines, India continues to lag far behind in the medical devices sector. India imports over 75 per cent of its domestic medical device requirements etc.
Body– bring out the need to align our medical device policies and deliberate upon the benefits it could bring. e.g mention the CAGR of around 15 % over the last few years, huge potential in future and discuss the need for proper fiscal and regulatory measures for facilitating the creation of ecosystems to turn India into a hub for medical devices; to increase research funding for better execution through innovative, dedicated platforms — for example Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) equivalent for devices — while curating extensive industry-academia partnerships; Extensively promoting the existing low-tech segment; Innovatively incentivising the middle segment to scale-up, and; simultaneously driving-up public investments initially into R&D of high-tech segment etc.
Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.
- Serving the entire healthcare chain of disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment and supportive care, medical devices are crucial in realising the dream of ‘Health for All’.
Why there is a need to revise medical device policies :-
- Higher imports:-
- In spite of India’s global dominance with pharmaceuticals and vaccines, India continues to lag far behind in the medical devices sector. India imports over 75 percent of its domestic medical device requirements
- Higher potential:-
- India’s medical device market, is estimated to be over Rs 50,000 crores by 2020, riding over the CAGR of 15 percent over next few years.
- Indian domestic manufacturing focusses on low cost segment of medical consumables lagging behind in mid tech segment:-
- Indian domestic manufacturing is dominant mainly in high-volume and low-cost segment of medical consumables such as disposable syringes and gloves, which contribute to a large chunk of the country’s medical device exports.
- But when it comes to low-volume and expensive, high-tech segments, for example advanced diagnostic imaging, India has a long way to go.
- In the near future, the best returns lie in the intermediary, relatively less complex, mid-tech segment consisting of In Vitro Diagnostics and Implants, collectively accounting to over 35 percent of the total device market.
- International success experiences:-
- Success stories from Israel and Ireland should guide the governments at both the Centre and States to act far more coherently in order to really spur the growth of the domestic industry.
- Israel’s march in medical devices has been based on innovative, high-end research and development
- Ireland’s progress in the global medical devices value chain has been a result of some smart policy frameworks that have attracted global investments in the sector. Today, 80 percent of the world’s cardiovascular stents are manufactured in Ireland.
- GST complications:-
- The implications of multiple labelling requirements under various new rules and the unclear influence under the GST regime seems to be adding up to the complexity of business.
- Medical devices, 75% of which are imported, are currently treated as drugs under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act:-
- Without legislative backing, the regulator Central Drug Standard Control Organization was helpless to curb both the flood of substandard imports as well as the production of poor quality medical devices in the country.
- Lack of distinct identity for the medical device industry has acted as a substantial deterrent to the expansion of the sector
- Issues with Medical device rules 2018:-
- Creating the right ecosystem:
- The primary concern in implementation is the establishment of an ecosystem for the notified bodies, which will shoulder the burden of evaluating regulatory compliance. The process so far, is not going as speedily as expected.
- The state vs. the center debate:
- The efficacy of any legislation laid down by the central government depends on the involvement and co-operation of the state governments.
- The present legislation is based on the licensing model with a one-time audit and no in-built surveillance mechanism to measure continued compliance.
- Sampling is also expected to be conducted by the central licensing authority (the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization) or the respective state licensing authority (the state Food and Drug Administrations) themselves.
- Infrastructure issues:-
- The relatively slow pace of infrastructure development of medtech parks under the Make in India program is delaying the domestic industry from setting shop.
- In the face of the anticipated withdrawal of large players as an effect of price control, this may have larger implication on the availability of devices in the country.
- Industry awareness:
- There is a general lack of in-depth understanding of the rules by the industry
- Creating the right ecosystem:
- Overcome policy uncertainty:
- The new medical device rules were framed with the intention of making the domestic industry on par with global manufacturing practices. While the policy has the right intent for addressing multiple aspects of this paradigm shift encouraging domestic manufacturers, boosting innovation and R&D (research and development), the industry is looking for an assurance on follow-through at the basic level. For instance, fixing land allocation and electricity connections, and a clarity on the exact subsidies provided at medtech parks.
- Streamline the licensing process to ensure that manufacturers who already possess reputed international certifications can obtain the Indian mark easily. Currently, a domestic manufacturer with a CE mark must undergo nearly the same regulatory grind as a new manufacturer, a rather discouraging measure.
- Promoting startups:
- The healthcare startups have gained tremendous private equity and venture capital attention over the past year and this trend is expected to intensify in the coming years. The state governments should set-up schemes to fund the medical device startups.
- It is vital for India to increase research funding for better execution through innovative, dedicated platforms:-
- For example Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) equivalent for devices while curating extensive industry-academia partnerships.
- However, these partnerships must extend far beyond the conventional options of Indian Council for Medical Research (IMCR) and Council for Industrial Research (CSIR) to a much wider network with both public and private institutions of technology and healthcare across the nation.
- Government’s policies and actions should be woven through a three-pronged approach:
- Extensively promoting the existing low-tech segment,
- Innovatively incentivising the middle segment to scale-up
- Simultaneously driving-up public investments initially into R&D of high-tech segment all under the overarching mandates of both ‘Make in India’ and ‘Made in India’.
- The dilemma of being primarily indigenous for local affordability versus integrating seamlessly into the global supply chain and medical advances needs to be sorted out as well, through patient centric “Medical Device Sector Development Policy,” which can serve as a guiding force for various central ministries and states.
Topic– India and its neighbourhood relations
Why this question
With BIMSTEC summit around the corner, the focus has shifted to understanding the SWOT of BIMSTEC. The article makes us aware of how, if not taken care of, BIMSTEC can go on the same path as SAARC. The article highlights the challenges and discusses the way forward for BIMSTEC and will be useful for preparing material on this important regional organization which is BIMSTEC.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to bring out the reasons why regional integration efforts via BIMSTEC may meet the same fate as SAARC. Here we will have to bring out the threats in front of BIMSTEC which might lead to discord later on. Thereafter, we need to mention the potential of BIMSTEC and how the organisation can be used to weave south Asia in a cohesive unit.
Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Give a brief status of the regional integration project in south asia. Highlight the fate of SAARC and bring out the overall dynamics between the members of BIMSTEC.
- Explain in brief about BIMSTEC
- Discuss why India is reaching out to BIMSTEC and trying to reinvigorate BIMSTEC – failure of SAARC, Act East Policy etc
- Examine why BIMSTEC faces similar challenges as SAARC – explain that BIMSTEC like SAARC may be an India dominated group, China question etc
- Explain why BIMSTEC differs from SAARC – no country looking to play a negative role like in SAARC, not a negative organization like SAARC etc
- Highlight the potential of BIMSTEC
Conclusion – Give your view on the assertion in question and discuss how India should proceed wrt BIMSTEC.
- The European and ASEAN experience is testimony to the contribution of regional cooperation in the economic growth of the countries.
- BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia. It includes all the major countries of South Asia, except Maldives, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Given this composition, BIMSTEC has emerged as a natural platform to test regional cooperation in the South Asian region.
- Recently, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) has gained more favour as the preferred platform for regional cooperation in South Asia. The fourth summitof Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was recently held in Kathmandu.
How is it a desirable alternative to SAARC ?
- BIMSTEC includes the countries of the Bay of Bengal region: five countries from South Asia and two from ASEAN. The organisation is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia.
- It includes all the major countries of South Asia, except Maldives, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Given this composition, BIMSTEC has emerged as a natural platform to test regional cooperation in the South Asian region.
- BIMSTEC’s major strength comes from the fact that it includes two influential regional powers: Thailand and India. This adds to the comfort of smaller neighbours by reducing the fear of dominance by one big power.
- BIMSTEC emerged out of the necessities of the member countries:-
- India was motivated to join BIMSTEC as it wanted to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN countries
- For Thailand, BIMSTEC helps achieve the country’s Look West Policy.
- BIMSTEC also helps smaller countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan to develop connectivity with ASEAN countries, the hub of major economic activities globally.
- Myanmar sees itself as a gateway for BIMSTEC to ASEAN, primarily due to its strategic location between South and Southeast Asia.
- The dormant status of SAARCand the changes underway in the regional and global landscape triggered India’s initiative to invite the BIMSTEC leadership . Its goals, therefore, are being redefined to add ballast to India’s “Act East Policy”.
- Urgency of promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation via BIMSTEC and BBIN has to be seen in the context of China’s BRI/OBORand the compelling strategic challenge posed by China’s muscular geo-economic and geo-political interventions in Asia, particularly in India’s neighbourhood.
- Though maritime disputes in the South China Sea attract global attention, the Bay of Bengal has moved centre stage as the next strategic and economic arena in the Indo-Pacific region.
- BIMSTEC and ASEAN both have seminal roles, in re-integrating the Bay of Bengal as an economic hub and strategic space.The salience of BIMSTEC has, therefore, grown for India to secure its strategic space in the neighbourhood and the Bay of Bengal region.
- The BIMSTEC countries host a population of around 1.5 billion, approximately 21% of global population, with cumulative GDP of US$ 2.5 trillion. The annual GDP growth rate has averaged around 6%.
- The development of the Northeastern region, by opening up to Bangladesh and Myanmar, is another incentive for India.
- The ongoing India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the India-Myanmar Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Projectare expected to further augment connectivity and economic cooperation in the sub-region and beyond.
- BIMSTEC serves two purposes for India – it makes it easier for India to share a common regional platform with its neighbours in South Asia (sans Pakistan) and secondly, BIMSTEC also establishes a linkage between South and Southeast Asia.
- Regional cooperation under the ambit of SAARC has become difficult and this made BIMSTEC more viable:
- Despite India’s keen interest in cooperating and strengthening intra-regional connectivity by backing the SAARC–Motor vehicle agreement, the agreement was stalled following Pakistan’s reluctance.
- Similarly, the SAARC satellite project that India proposed was abandoned following objection from Pakistan in 2016
- SAARC has also faced obstacles in the area of security cooperation. A major hindrance in this regard has been the lack of consensus on threat perceptions, since member countries disagree on the idea of threats
- For instance, while cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan is a major concern for India, Pakistan has failed to address these concerns.
- One of the reasons for BIMSTEC’s popularity is that the member countries have generally cordial relationships, something patently missing among the SAARC countries.
- As a trade bloc, BIMSTEC provides many opportunities:-
- The region has countries with the fastest-growing economies in the world. The combined GDP in the region is around US$2 trillion and will likely grow further.
- Trade among the BIMSTEC member countries reached six percent in just a decade, while in SAARC, it has remained around five percent since its inception.
- Compared to SAARC, BIMSTEC has greater trade potential as well. Among the member countries, India’s intra-BIMSTEC trade is around 3 percent of its total trade.
- It is an extra feather to India’s act east policy :-
- India was motivated to join BIMSTEC as it wanted to enhance its connectivity with ASEAN countries: a major component of its Look East Policy, now rechristened ‘Act East’ policy.
- In terms of connectivity, BIMSTEC has at last three major projects that, when finished, could transform the movement of goods and vehicles through the countries in the grouping.
- One is the Kaladan Multimodal project that seeks to link India and Myanmar.
- Another is the Asian Trilateral Highway connecting India and Thailand through Myanmar. It represents a significant step in establishing connectivity between India and Southeast Asian countries.
- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) have signed a pact for the movement of goods and vehicles among them.
- The agenda of BIMSTEC is in sync with other regional/sub-regional organisations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), etc. Simultaneously, BIMSTEC fits in the agenda of a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific too.
- The political rivalry between India and Pakistan never allowed SAARC to be the driving factor in an augmenting regional cooperation within South Asia. Hence, it would be pragmatic for India to work closely with BIMSTEC and ASEAN to expand regional cooperation in areas of mutual concerns including terrorism, violent extremism, transnational organised crime and insurgency; food security, energy; trade and investment, connectivity and infrastructure, poverty alleviation to name a few.
- India’s stimulating outlook towards Southeast Asia vis-à-vis Asia-Pacific as expressed through Act east policy and the other way round, i.e, the Asia-Pacific’s desire to have India as a strong stakeholder in the region.
- Infrequency of the BIMSTEC summits, the highest decision-making body of the organisation. In its 20 years of existence, the BIMSTEC summit has taken place only thrice.
- The delay in the adoption of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA),a framework that was agreed upon in 2004, fuels doubts about BIMSTEC’s efficacy.
- A landmark achievement for BIMSTEC was the establishment of a permanent secretariat in Dhaka. However, the secretariat faces a severe resource crunch, both in terms of money and manpower, which has adversely affected its performance
- BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement [MVA] is an instrument that was conceived to transform and facilitate trade. It has not yet been completely successful as Bhutan is worried about security and environmental fallout of such an agreement.
- Both Thailand and Myanmar are criticised for having ignored BIMSTEC in favour of ASEAN.
- Region lacks physical connectivity. The tri-lateral highway connecting India-Myanmar-Thailand has been a non-starter.
- BIMSTEC has identified 14 priority sectors and has signed an FTA (2004) and a Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking (2009). The pace of implementation has been quite sluggish so far.
- Early ratifications of the BIMSTEC FTA, the counter-terrorism convention and finalisation and conclusion of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, BIMSTEC Framework Agreement on Transit, Trans-shipment and Movement of Vehicular Traffic as well as BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement etc should be prioritised without much delay.
- It has to adopt people-centric and output-oriented approaches to win the confidence of the common people across the sub-region. That would help it to become a facilitator of regional cooperation in a true sense.
- Consistency in the frequency of the summits to ensure regularity in decision-making;
- Improving the capacity of the secretariat, both in terms of manpower and funding;
- Ensuring tangible results/benefits, which will add to the motivation of the countries to concentrate on BIMSTEC (projects in the areas of tourism, digital connectivity, energy connectivity and humanitarian assistance in disaster relief should be considered); and
- Empowering BIMSTEC to be a platform for dispute resolution among member countriesThis will require debates and discussions among the BIMSTEC countries to reach consensus.
- India’s SAGARMALA project, still at an early stage, can be integrated into the cooperation framework of BIMSTEC.
- While India is the lead country for four priority sectors, namely, transportation and communication, environment and disaster management, tourism, and counter-terrorism and trans-national crime, BIMSTEC has to move into areas of strategic cooperation.
- The Asia-Africa Growth Corridor [AAGC] is another vision that can be dovetailed into BIMSTEC’s Development and Cooperation Projects, Quality Infrastructure and Institutional Connectivity, Enhancing Capacities and Skills and People-to-People partnership.
- BIMSTEC can function as the hub for connecting Asia-Pacific and the Bay of Bengal with Africa. At some stage when tangible progress has been made, other countries in the region can be invited to join specific projects.
General Studies – 3
Topic– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
Why this question
Dual-class share issuance is on the rise in a number of markets around the world. Many jurisdictions allow dual-class share structures, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, and Italy. Other economies such as Singapore and Hong Kong are reconsidering whether to allow dual-class share structures. It is therefore essential to discuss the desirability of dual class shares vis a vis India.
Critically examine- Here we have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. Based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and deliberate upon both the sides of dual-class shares in terms of their implications for the economy, market and the shareholder. It then wants us to form a personal opinion on the issue.
Structure of the answer
Introduction-write a few introductory lines about dual-class shares and how they are different from normal shares. E.g such shares offer different voting rights ( or dividend payments) to different class of shareholders-e.g founders vs general public. Mention that dual-class share issuance is on the rise in a number of markets around the world. Many jurisdictions allow dual-class share structures, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, and Italy.
- Discuss the pros of dual class shares. E.g Even without dual-class shares, outside shareholders do not enjoy much control; the dual-class share structure makes insider control more transparent. It will signal the firms in which insiders enjoy absolute control; allowing dual-class shares is the only way we can have an Indian-owned unicorn etc.
- Discuss the cons of dual-class shares. E.g Supporters feel that the structure allows strong leadership and the placing of long-term interests over near-term financial results etc.
Conclusion– Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced opinion on the issue.
- Dual-class share issuance is on the rise in a number of markets around the world. Many jurisdictions allow dual-class share structures, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, France, and Italy.
Dual class shares:-
- DCS structure permits the issuing of different classes of shares with differential voting rights and dividend payment arrangements by the same company
- A dual class stock structure can consist of Class A and Class B shares, for example. Shares can differ, based on distinct voting rights and dividend payments.
- When multiple share classes are typically issued: one share class is offered to the general public, while the other is offered to company founders, executives and family.
- The class offered to the general public has limited voting rights, while the class available to founders and executives has more voting power and often provides for majority control of the company.
Why India needs dual class shares :-
- Long term interests
- Supporters feel that the structure allows strong leadership and the placing of long-term interests over near-term financial results
- Strengthen corporate governance:-
- By selling two kinds of partnership shares, through the dual-class share system, Indian businesses will actually strengthen corporate governance
- Dual-class share structure makes insider control more transparent. This will put greater onus on outside investors to exercise due diligence before investing.
- Having access to dual class shares will enable them to grow fast using outside equity while retaining control:-
- New technology firms typically have an asset-light balance sheet. They do not invest in physical assets such as plant and equipment but in intangible assets. In the absence of a dual-class share structure, raising outside equity would dilute the insider’s ownership stake and risk loss of control.
- Even without dual-class shares, outside shareholders do not enjoy much control.
- Ideal for small shareholders:-
- These shares are ideal for small shareholders as they rarely exercise their voting rights. This is because only a few understand the company’s affairs in such detail that they can influence its actions. They buy shares only to make money and so happily give away voting rights in favour of those who have management control.
- For promoters:-
- The dual-class structure allows promoters to hold a large percentage of voting rights, while minimizing their cash flow stake. Thus, dual class shares system assist management in deterring potential rivals from winning a control contest.
- These shares are priced lower at issuance and offer higher dividends
- Opponents of the system feel it allows a small group of privileged shareholders to maintain control, while other shareholders (with less voting power) provide the majority of the capital.
- Academic research has proven that powerful classes of shares for insiders can actually hinder long term outperformance.
- Strips stockholders of the power to push through changes in management, when companies are poorly run.
- Security holders with superior control claims can affect the value of other minority claimholders by taking decisions in favour of promoters.
Topic – EIA
Why this question
In times of disaster, we remember what could have been done. Off late, the focus has shifted to the process of EIA, which has several gaps which need to be plugged to ensure that the environmental damages are kept at a minimum. This article discusses the problems with the process of EIA which needs to be examined.
Key demand of the question
The question is making an assertion that the EIA process is merely filling up paper, with very little to no original work being done. Basically it raises question mark over the process of EIA. We have to give arguments both for and against this assertion, give a balanced view at the end and discuss the way in which the process can be improved.
Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic, get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain the process of EIA and highlight that the poor quality of eia is now affecting us when we are faced with disasters at a very high frequency.
- Explain in detail what all are the key components of EIA
- First of all discuss why it is said that EIA had become merely a documentary exercise. Highlight the issues with the process of EIA both in terms of issues in preparation of report and also bring out the public hearing issues.
- Thereafter, discuss why the process of EIA is so critical and highlight the advantages that has accrued to India on account of EIA
- Discuss how the process can be strengthened by suggesting reforms.
Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on EIA and mention the way forward.
- Compromised decision-making on development and infrastructure projects have already wrecked the lives of rural and forest dwelling people. Mining and industries pollute their water sources and farmlands and prohibit their access to forests.
What is EIA?
- It is a study to evaluate and identify the predictable environmental consequences and the best combination of economic and environmental costs and benefits of the proposed project.
- On the basis of EIA, an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is prepared, which is a description of the means by which the environmental consequences as pointed out in the EIA will be mitigated. Together the whole draft is termed as EIA-EMP report.
- Environmental Impact Assessment Notification (EIA) ,2006:-
- The EIA notification categorizes all kinds of developmental projects in various schedules.
- The EIA notification establishes four stages for obtaining Environmental Clearance.
- Public hearing
Importance of EIA:-
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) provides a framework for assessing the environmental impact of projects at their concept stage. It normally includes a detailed risk assessment.
- This process is established good practice and an integral part of most multilateral and bilateral donors as well as governments planning for infrastructure investment.
- EIA plays an important part in identifying technological hazard risks and ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to prevent accidents.
- EIAs also include the development of a ‘safety case’, integrating safety concerns at stages of design, construction and operation.
- Standard EIA guidelines include assessment of the potential impact of projects on natural hazards
- EIA-based approvals for most projects also involve the process of conducting public hearings, so that who are likely to be affected can be taken on board before approving the project
- EIA links environment with development. The goal is to ensure environmentally safe and sustainable development.
Issues with the current EIA process and why there is a need to strengthen EIA:-
- Report Issues.
- Screening and Scoping not well defined:-
- In the EIA notification 2006, there is a lack of clarity in overall conductance of the Screening process. As it is discretion of the State Level committee to decide which projects are B1 and which are B2, many a times the bias of respective State Governments come into play. The Scoping process faces same types of issues because of lack of clarity in guidelines.
- Misleading EIA reports :-
- Sometimes the EIA reports lack the expected degrees of honesty, owing to bias, corruption, exaggeration and wrong claims. Due to poor knowledge of the project area the agencies lift paragraphs and sentences from other sources, thus presenting contradictory, inconsistent and outdated information. Moreover there is no process for punishing the agencies tabling such dishonest EIA reports.
- The EIA reports for the approved redevelopment projects in Delhi used plagiarised information and old baseline data.
- Insufficient EIA reports:-
- Agencies or project proponents also prepare incomplete EIA reports, which include incomplete surveys, arbitrary demarcation of EIA study area and unsubstantiated statements. Sometimes the impact with respect to flash floods, landslides, peak precipitation etc. round the year is grossly ignored in reports.
- Poor quality of EIA professionals:-
- This happens mostly when the proponents themselves conduct the EIA. They intentionally hire local and incompetent professionals to save cost over the whole process or some other vested reasons. These poor professionals prepare a poor quality of EIA reports.
- Indian EIAs are never peer reviewed. EIA procedures are so corrupted by project interests that reputable scientists almost never agree to be on the Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC) after one experience.
- In the 1990s, EAC committees used to have eminent environmentalists in them which is not the case now
- Public hearing issues
- Lack of awareness:-
- There is a gross lack of awareness among the local people, about the process of EIA, its significance for them, role of various players and their own rights and responsibilities.
- Moreover there is a communication gap between authorities and local people because the notice for Public hearing is issued in local newspapers only and no separate notices are sent to individual concerned panchayats.
- Lobbying efforts have ensured that several sectors, including real estate construction, are altogether exempted from public hearings giving urban communities no say in how their cities are shaped and reshaped.
- There are no public hearings held for urban construction projects, and governments assume that citizens have nothing to say about them.
- Unavailability of EIA in local languages:-
- Most of the time EIA reports are unavailable in local languages, thus local people are unable to decipher the reports, and are misled by the proponents. This can be interpreted as a clear violation of the right to information on their part.
- Ignorance of officials:-
- The concerned officials for example those in Public Hearing committee are ignorant of their roles and responsibilities. Sometimes they don’t even get a copy of EIA report and it is passed without their consent, owing to gross corruption of the system.
- Over involvement of Public hearing consultants:-
- In the public hearing meeting, the consultants should not be allowed to have a dominant say, except responding to the issues of the people. On the contrary, they get involved in public hearings beyond requirements and thus mislead the local people.
- Unaddressed issues persist:-
- The issues raised by people in public hearings remains unanswered and they do not know what happens to the issues, nor do they know if the issues raised are reflected in public hearing reports that is presented to Ministry of Environment and forests
- Large constructions have been difficult to manage in India. The sector has systematically lobbied to be excluded from the environmental norms of the countryand has been successful in carving out special privileges for itself in the environment clearance process.
- Compensatory afforestation taken up in lieu of trees felled by projects is a failure due to poor survival rates of saplings and no monitoring.
- Lack of awareness:-
- Screening and Scoping not well defined:-
- The burden of resource use in upcoming buildings or urban housing projects can be minimized in many ways.
- Properly designed housing projects can provide numerous services such as purification of air and water, pollution control, mitigation of floods and droughts, re-generation of soil fertility, moderation of temperature extremes, climate change mitigation and enhancing the landscape quality.
- The NCEPC, revived in a form reflecting the times, could be the body entrusted with the preparation of a workable policy document on “Environment and Development”
- It could be fashioned on the model of the White House Council on Environmental Quality functioning in the US directly under the President.
- The Indian version could be under the Prime Minister advising him on matters referred to it by him or taken up by it suo moto for enquiry.
- The reason for locating the Committee directly under the Prime Minister is that environment being an all-embracing term, the issues it would deal with would often be the concern of more than one ministry and their examination has necessarily to be undertaken with a perspective larger than what any individual department or ministry may have.
- The revival of the NCEPC need not be at the cost of the MOEF:-
- While the former would act as a senior policy adviser to the Prime Minister, the latter could continue to look after its present duties and responsibilities
- Adverse impacts of development projects can be reduced with the full and equal participation of both genders, particularly women in decision-making processes.
- NGOs, civil society groups and local communities need to build their capacities to use the EIA notification towards better decision making on projects.
Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “El-nino, La nino, El-nino Modoki , La Nina Modoki , Madden Julian oscillation”
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain what ENSO is and thereafter, how El nino and La Nina can be called as opposite phases of ENSO.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain ENSO – The ENSO cycle is a scientific term that describes the fluctuations in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific.
- Explain that La Nina is sometimes referred to as the cold phase of ENSO and El Nino as the warm phase of ENSO. These deviations from normal surface temperatures can have large-scale impacts not only on ocean processes, but also on global weather and climate, including India.
- Explain la Nina and el nino and their impacts on world climate.
- ENSO is one of the most important climate phenomena on Earth due to its ability to change the global atmospheric circulation, which in turn, influences temperature and precipitation across the globe.
- El Nino Southern Oscillation(ENSO) is the term used to describe the oscillation between the El Niño phase and the La Niña, or opposite, phase.
- In the eastern Pacific, the northward flowing Humbolt current brings cooler water from the Southern Ocean to the tropics.
- Furthermore, along the equator, strong east to south easterly Trade winds cause the ocean currents in the eastern Pacific to draw water from the deeper ocean towards the surface, helping to keep the surface cool.
- However in the far western Pacific there is no cool current, and weaker Trades mean that this “upwelling” effect is reduced. Hence waters in the western equatorial Pacific are able to warm more effectively under the influence of the tropical sun.
- ENSO events are typically led and sustained by changes in the amount of heat held in the waters below the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean.
- ENSO is composed of both El Nino and Southern Oscillation. Thus, the oceanic component called El Nino (or La Nina, depending on its phase) and the atmospheric component, the Southern Oscillation.
- The two opposite phases, El Nino and La Ninarequire certain changes in both the ocean and the atmosphere because ENSO is a coupled climate phenomenon. “Neutral” is in the middle of the continuum.
- Neutral phase:-
- In the neutral state (neither El Nino nor La Nina) trade winds blow east to west across the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean, bringing warm moist air and warmer surface waters towards the western Pacific and keeping the central Pacific Ocean relatively cool. The thermocline is deeper in the west than the east.
- This means that under “normal” conditions the western tropical Pacific is 8 to 10°C warmer than the eastern tropical Pacific. This warmer area of ocean is a source for convection and is associated with cloudiness and rainfall.
- El Nino:-
- However, during El Niño years, the trade winds weaken and the central and eastern tropical Pacific warms up. This change in ocean temperature sees a shift in cloudiness and rainfall from the western to the central tropical Pacific Ocean.
- Warming of the Pacific results in weakening of these winds. Moisture and the heat content thereby, gets limited and results in reduction and uneven distribution of rainfall across the Indian sub-continent.
- The most prominent droughts in India since 1871 have been El Nino triggered droughts, including the recent ones in 2002 and 2009.
- During an El Nino, monsoon never witnesses excess rainfall baring few exceptions.
- La Nina
- During a La Nina event, the Walker Circulation intensifies with greater convection over the western Pacific and stronger trade winds.
- As the trade winds strengthen, the pool of warmer water is confined to the far western tropical Pacific, resulting in warmer than usual sea surface temperatures in the region north of Australia.
- Sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean become cooler than usual and the thermocline moves closer to the surface cool waters from the deep ocean are drawn to the surface as upwelling strengthens.
- La Nina usually results in better than normal monsoon in India.
- La Nina
How does the ENSO affect monsoon?
- Heavy rain falls along the South American coast, and heavy rainfall also moves from the western to central Pacific, causing drier than normal conditions in Indonesia and nearby areas including India.
General Studies – 4
Topic- Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.
Discuss- 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 as to what are the ways in which organizations can create a culture that supports and nurtures ethics. We have to be as descriptive as possible (within the word limit).
Structure of the answer
Introduction- mention that an ethical organization is better positioned to win public trust, ensure a healthy participation of workers and work for the benefit of the society etc.
Discuss in points, how a culture of ethics can be created in an organization. E.g
- Clear expectations for behavior among all members of an organization .
- Modeling Desired Behavior (especially from organizational leaders)
- Reinforce the Behavior You Want, and Don’t Reinforce the Behavior that You Don’t Want
- Institutions must help with the step by step strategies for developing effective ethical decision making and behavior skills and strategies for resolving ethical dilemmas or troubles etc.
Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.
- Organizational ethics are the policies, procedures and culture of doing the right things in the face of difficult and often controversial issues.
Need for organizational ethics:-
- Organization devoting resources to developing policies and procedures that encourage ethical actions builds a positive corporate culture.
- Organizations have to retain consumer loyalty through ethical practices that start with fair and honest advertising methods and continue through the entire sales process.
- Organizations that don’t develop policies on ethical standards risk financial liabilities
How to cultivate ethics in organisation:-
- Clear expectations for behaviour among all members of an organization is the first step towards a more ethical organizational culture.
- Any organizational leaders must be mindful that they are being watched very closely and that others in the organization will likely follow their lead when it comes to ethical behavior and attitudes.
- Offering opportunities for recognition, awards, and social reinforcements for desirable ethical behaviors can go a long way to promote the types of ethical culture desired in any organization.
- Workshops, easy to use reference materials, ongoing and readily available consultation from peers or mentors are just some of the many ways institutions can assist in training students and staff to best use the tools that are available to them to participate in better and more thoughtful ethical decision making.
- Having an ethics ombudsman or point person for an organization can be especially valuable. They or their staff can provide a focal point for getting tools and resources to better help with ethical consultation.
- Reinforcement for behaviour that is desired and corrective feedback for behaviour that is not desired is critical to help create and sustain a culture of ethical behavior and consideration.