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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 SEPTEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 SEPTEMBER 2018


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


General Studies – 2


Topic– Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

1) Each branch of armed forces extolling its own importance is not helping our ability to prepare for the future. Analyze in the context of need of a unified military command in India.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Modern warfare has changed a lot and old military strategies are no longer relevant. In this context, it is essential to analyze the desirability of a unified military command in India. The article provides arguments in favour of such an integrated command.

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 delve deep into the Indian defence system and discuss why each service is extolling its own importance and then discuss why it is necessary to have an integrated command in India. We have to discuss the reasons in favour of the integrated command.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few lines about India’s defence system- no of personnel, divisions into army, navy and airforce etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the pitfalls of giving primary importance to any one branch of defense. E.g discuss the different geographic realms into which India might need to operate- himalayas, Indian ocean, western border and eastern border; mention the unpredictable nature, arena and tactics of the war which negate the idea of placing primary reliance on any one branch of armed forces etc.
  • Discuss the benefits of having an integrated command. E.g better management of material and human resources; a unified command will integrate interoperability and pave way for better  strategy making; quicker decision making etc.

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

 

Background :-

  • Recently there have been discussions about the idea of forming three integrated military Theatre Commands, covering the Northern, Eastern and Southern territory, that would subsume all operational functions of the existing 19 predominantly single-service commands in their respective geographical areas.

Theatre commands/unified military commands :-

  • Under theatre commands like the ones which exist in the US, all the forces working in a geographical area are put under a theatre command which can be headed by one officer from any of the three services.
  • The integrated theatre commander will not be answerable to individual Services, and will be free to train, equip and exercise his command to make it a cohesive fighting force capable of achieving designated goals. 

Why India needs a unified military command  

  • Speedy decision making:-
    • 19 different commands in India are neither co-located nor co-purposed. Since speed in decision-making, allocation of resources and flexible operations would be the essence in modern war, it is important that there should be only two commanders, one for each joint command theatre, instead of the present 19. An example given is of the Chinese military which has created theatre commands. 
  • Brings in greater jointness:-
    • The armed forces need to move away from a service specific approach to operations towards a system which avoids duplication, ensures optimum utilisation of available resources, brings in greater jointness.
    • It leads to timely and mature decisions to developing situations and ensures flawless execution of orders to achieve success in battle.
  • International instances:-
    • Major military powers like the US and China, who are serious about their war fighting capabilities, operate via theatre commands as it is seen to be a better means of pooling resources and improving efficiency.
    • China restructured its military in 2015 to come up with six theatre commands, whereas America’s theatres the Unified Combatant Commands are global in scope.
  • Today’s military challenges cannot be tackled without a real integration up to the command level :-
    • Modern potential conflict with a major military power like China might extend well beyond the typical theatres into the domains of cyber, space, nuclear and covert capabilities. A more integrated response will be needed from the Indian armed forces.
  • The pressures for increasing jointness in the Indian military, like other militaries, are because of not only the need for enhanced efficiency in the use of resources but also due to the need for optimising military performance in joint operations. 

Criticism:-

  • Forming Theatre Commands would demand large increase in expenditure with doubtful returns.
  • India is still lagging behind in modernization of defence forces so formation of a Theatre Command at this juncture would not be in the best interest of the nation.
    • India, unlike China, does not have a vibrant defence-industrial complex to accelerate productions to meet the war-effort. Given this, the time for India to have joint theatre commands has not come.
  • Might lead to operational chaos:-
    • By adding another layer in the form of joint theatre commander, there would be three operational commanders leading to further operational chaos.
  • Airforce issues:-
    • While India would undertake hostilities on its western border, it would inevitably get sucked into a two-front war (non-contact with China and a partial contact war with Pakistan) scenario. Given this, the IAF aircraft and other support assets would need the Air Force Headquarters, rather than the two joint theatre commanders, for fighting the war.
    • The IAF feels that it doesn’t have enough resources fighter squadrons, mid-air refuellers and AWACS to allocate them dedicatedly to different theatre commanders.
  • All services not on the same page:-
    • Defence experts feel that the recent Air Force war game Exercise Gaganshakti showcased that its assets can shift from one theatre to the other within no time and putting them under a dedicated theatre would not be of much use in a country with limited resources.
  • There are also underlying fears about the smaller Services losing their autonomy and importance.

Way forward:

  • A precursor to the creation of integrated theatre commands has to be the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff or Permanent Chairman, COSC. This was first proposed by the GoM in 2001, but hasn’t been implemented so far.
  • Experience from the US, Russia and China shows that the decision to create integrated theatre commands will have to be a political one, which will then be executed by the defence services.

 


Topic– Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2) Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity. Discuss in the light of the SC judgement on the right to privacy.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Right to privacy is a landmark judgement of the SC of India. It is essential to understand the essence of the judgement and the constitutional position of the right itself.

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 SC judgement on the right to privacy as a fundamental right and how the court has interpreted the right as being the constitutional core of human dignity.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the right to privacy. E.g A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that Indians enjoy a fundamental right to privacy, that it is intrinsic to life and liberty and thus comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

Body-

  • explain the right further. E.g The dignity of the individual, equality between human beings and the quest for liberty are the foundational pillars of the Indian Constitution;  Life and personal liberty are not creations of the Constitution. These rights are recognised by the Constitution as inhering in each individual as an intrinsic and inseparable part of the human element which dwells within; Privacy is a constitutionally protected right which emerges primarily from the guarantee of life and personal liberty in Article 21 of the Constitution. Elements of privacy also arise in varying contexts from the other facets of freedom and dignity recognised and guaranteed by the fundamental rights contained in Part III etc.
  • Discuss its association with dignity of an individual. E.g Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity and has both a normative and descriptive function. At a normative level privacy sub-serves those eternal values upon which the guarantees of life, liberty and freedom are founded. At a descriptive level, privacy postulates a bundle of entitlements and interests which lie at the foundation of ordered liberty;Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation etc.

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

Background:-

  • Privacy was declared as a fundamental right by the Supreme Court in 2017. A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court has ruled that Indians enjoy a fundamental right to privacy, that it is intrinsic to life and liberty and thus comes under Article 21 of the Indian constitution.

Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity :-

  • Right to privacy has been held to be a fundamental right of the citizen being an integral part of Article 21 of the constitution. Life is worth living because of the freedoms, which enable each individual to live life as it should be lived. The best decisions on how life should be lived are entrusted to the individual. They are continuously shaped by the social milieu in which individuals exist.
  • Privacy is the constitutional core of human dignity. Privacy has both a normative and descriptive function. At a normative level privacy sub-serves those eternal values upon which the guarantees of life, liberty and freedom are founded. At a descriptive level, privacy postulates a bundle of entitlements and interests, which lie at the foundation of ordered liberty;
  • Privacy includes at its core the preservation of personal intimacies, the sanctity of family life, marriage, procreation, the home and sexual orientation. Privacy also connotes a right to be left alone.
    • Privacy safeguards individual autonomy and recognises the ability of the individual to control vital aspects of his or her life. Personal choices governing a way of life are intrinsic to privacy.
    • Privacy protects heterogeneity and recognises the plurality and diversity of the culture. While the legitimate expectation of privacy may vary from the intimate zone to the private zone and from the private to the public arenas, it is important to underscore that privacy is not lost or surrendered merely because the individual is in a public place. Privacy attaches to the person since it is an essential facet of the dignity of the human being;
  • Core value that the judgment is built around is dignity as the right to life. 
    • The expression ‘Dignity’ carried with it moral and spiritual imports. It also implied an obligation on the part of the Union to respect the personality of every citizen and create the conditions in which every citizen would be left free to find himself/herself and attain self-fulfilment.
    • Dignity of the individual was, therefore, always considered the prime constituent of fraternity, which assures the dignity to every individual. Unity and integrity of the Nation cannot survive unless the dignity of every individual citizen is guaranteed.
  • Right to privacy consists of three facets i.e. repose, sanctuary and intimate decision and includes the freedom of certain groups to determine their appearance and apparel.
  • Privacy must also mean the effective guarantee of a zone of internal freedom in which to think. The vigour and vitality of the various expressive freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution depends on the existence of a corresponding guarantee of cognitive freedom.
  • Earlier cases reaffirmed by the Supreme Court in 2017 have held that the right to privacy includes the right to safeguard personal intimacies of the home, the family, marriage, child rearing and education.

Topic– Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

3) RCEP negotiations hold significant importance for India, as opting out of RCEP may push india on the margins of Asia. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question

The article discusses the importance of RCEP for India both from an economic as well as strategic point of view. The decision to join RCEP and the terms of those agreement hold immense significance for India and its economy in the near future. RCEP thus needs to be prepared in great detail.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to critically analyze the hypothesis that not joining RCEP will push India to the margins of Asia. We need to interpret “margins” from an economic, geopolitical and geoeconomic perspective. In critical analysis we need to provide arguments as to why India should or should not join RCEP. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

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. 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 background of the question. Briefly explain what RCEP is and the stage at which the negotiations are.

Body

  • Briefly explain what the question means when it says opting out of RCEP would push India on the margins of Asia. Here you might interpret that it might push India to economic and geopolitical margins of Asia
  • Discuss the economic impact. Highlight the pros and cons of RCEP for India. In the pros side, you could mention the access to markets of developing countries , easier standards for IT and pharma exports etc. In the negative side you can talk about the lack of competitiveness of Indian economy which puts it at a risk, the threat of even higher trade deficit with china etc
  • Also discuss the geoeconomic perspective. What it means for India to stay out of all the major mega regional FTAs
  • Discuss the geopolitical perspective such as the impact it would have on India’s Act East policy, strategy for indo pacific etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view, based on the arguments made above on what should India’s strategy with respect to RCEP be and the way forward.

Background:-

  • The RCEP was built upon the existing ASEAN+1 FTAs with the spirit to strengthen economic linkagesand to enhance trade and investment related activities as well as to contribute to minimising development gap among the parties.
  • The legally binding RCEP covers a wide range of issues including trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, competition policy, dispute settlement and economic and technical cooperation

RCEP holds significant importance for India :-

  • India believes an ambitious services deal will help it provide job opportunities in RCEP member countries for its millions of skilled professionals at home.
  • RCEP agreement would complement India’s existing free trade agreements with the Association of South East Asian Nations and some of its member countries, as it would deals with Japan and South Korea. It can address challenges emanating from implementation concerns vis-à-vis overlapping agreements, which is creating a “noodle bowl” situation obstructing effective utilization of these FTAs.
  • The RCEP would help India streamline the rules and regulations of doing trade, which will reduce trade costs.
  • It will also help achieve its goal of greater economic integration with countries East and South East of India through better access to a vast regional market ranging from Japan to Australia.
    • The RCEP can be a stepping stone to India’s “Act East Policy.”
  • RCEP will facilitate India’s integration into sophisticated “regional production networks” that make Asia the world’s factory. The RCEP is expected to harmonize trade-related rules, investment and competition regimes of India with those of other countries of the group.
  • Through domestic policy reforms on these areas, this harmonization of rules and regulations would help Indian companies plug into regional and global value chains and would unlock the true potential of the Indian economy. 
  • Because the RCEP will contain three of the largest economies in the world- China, India, and Japan hence it is globally important. The bloc represents 49% of the world’s population and accounts for 30% of global GDP. It also accounts for 29% of world trade and 26% of world foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows
  • It will also reduce the overlap among Asian FTAs.
  • Exports will become even less competitive staying out of RCEP since members will enjoy preferential access.
  • India cannot sustain an expanding political and security role in the Indo-Pacific with a shrinking economic role. RCEP is important as it is excluded from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), whose 22 members are actively considering a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
    • Neither is India included in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has been concluded among 12 countries after the US walked out.
    • Several RCEP countries are also its members. Opting out of RCEP may push India irretrievably on the margins of Asia.

India needs to overcome the following challenges to gain advantages of RCEP :-

  • China:-
    • Greater access to Chinese goods may have impact on theIndian manufacturing sector.
    • India has got massive trade deficitwith China.
    • The bilateral trade deficit has risen exponentially. This surge in Chinese imports  from electrical and electronic goods, plastics, chemicals, boilers and mechanical appliances to toys and stationery items  has undeniably hurt Indian manufacturing, without helping it move up the technology and productivity ladder. 
  • There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs dutieson a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.
  • Trade deficit:-
    • The RCEP is led by China, with the 10 ASEAN countries, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan and South Korea as partners. India’s trade engagement with these countries has not been favourable, when seen in terms of the trade deficit. 
    • Recent NITI Aayog note on Free Trade Agreements and their costs points out that India’s trade deficit with the RCEP group (it already has FTAs with the ASEAN, South Korea and Japan) has risen from $9 billion in 2004-05 to over $80 billion today. 
  • Given the discontent over lack of jobs and agrarian distress, with the general elections less than a year away, this cannot be an opportune time to throw open sensitive sectors such as dairy products.
  • Many countries want India to open up its market for 92% of traded goods, while India is only ready to offer market access up to a maximum of 85% items with deviations for countrieslike China, Australia and New Zealand with whom it does not have an FTA.
  • Diary sector:-
    • On the other hand, New Zealand’s export-oriented dairy products will decimate India’s growing dairy sector, which is still largely small-scale.
  • Intellectual property:-
    • IP chapter in RCEP is at risk of including provisions far stricter than those mandated by the World Trade Organisation (WTO)and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
  • E-commerce:-
    • E-commerce commitments, if any, will allow companies such as Alibaba from China to displace Indian manufacturing especially in the SME segment.
  • Medicine:-
    • Agreeing to data exclusivity, extending patent terms and unduly strong enforcement measures will weaken the entire generic medicine sector and take away several health safeguards in India’s Patent Act, notably section 3(d). This will make medicines inaccessible not only for Indian patients but for those in the entire developing world.
  • Industrial sector :-
    • If India offers to reduce/eliminate import tariffs on a larger number of industrial products than already committed to Asean, Japan and South Korea, its industrial sector could be under stress. 
    • Further, India is being asked to eliminate export restrictions on minerals and raw material by Japan and South Korea; this may threaten domestic raw material availability for industrialisation and encourage over-mining
  • Services:-
    • More developed countries such as Australia and Singapore are unwilling to accommodate India’s demands to liberalise their services regimeand allow freer mobility of Indian workers.
    • Given India’s inability to negotiate a good services deal in the past, RCEP negotiations, especially with China, need a second thought.
  • It has the potential to overthrow India’s policies of rural development and industrialisation especially ‘Make in India’, and to provide accessible healthcare and medicines to all. It also threatens the policy flexibility and sovereignty to pursue independent economic, social and environmental policies.
  • Other countries have advantage in many sectors:-
    • Under the ambit of RCEP, countries like China, South Korea and Japan are manufacturing powerhouses, and Australia and New Zealand have strengths in processed foods, wine, and dairy products, while Asean has comparative advantages in plantations, electronics and auto-components.
    • Sectors of India such as plantations, automobiles, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and engineering goods would be impacted negatively
    • India’s steel ministry has strongly opposed the inclusion of finished steel products in the proposed regional free-trade agreement, saying it would have an adverse impact on the industry that’s recovering from a crisis.
  • Past experiences:-
    • India already has bilateral FTAs with Asean, Korea and Japan and negotiations are underway with Australia and New Zealand.
  • Role of regional supply chains bind the other RCEP economies together and India has marginal participation in these chains. These supply chains flourish on the basis of low tariffs and efficient logistics which are not India’s strong points.
  • Issue of competitiveness:-
    • Recent studies have shown that India has treated FTAs mostly to preserve market share rather than as opportunities to expand it
    • The reason why India has not been able to take advantage of these existing FTAs again comes back to this issue.

Way forward for India:-

  • Before getting into any multilateral trade deal, India should review its existing FTAs in terms of benefits to various stakeholders like industry and consumers, trade complementarities and changing trade patterns in the past decade. Negotiating bilateral FTAs with countries where trade complementarities and margin of preference is high may benefit India in the long run.
  • Also, higher compliance costs nullify the benefits of margin of preference. Thus reducing compliance cost and administrative delays is extremely critical to increase utilisation rate of FTAs.
  • Proper safety and quality standards should be set to avoid dumping of lower quality hazardous goods into the Indian market.
  • Circumvention of rules of origin should be strictly dealt with by the authorities.Well-balanced FTA deals addressing the concerns of all the stakeholders is the need of the hour
  • Developing countries like India which have taken the leadership in instituting and using balanced intellectual property protection for pharmaceuticals should not only proudly protect their laws in the RCEP negotiations, they should also encourage other countries to adopt and use similar measures that ensure generic competition.
  • Before going ahead with any of the mega trade deals, India needs to aggressively undertake a few of the pending reforms. These include domestic as well as trade reforms like changes in land and labour laws especially in sectors like textiles and reduction in subsidies are crucial as RCEP would bring in investment in several labour intensive sectors including textile.
      • Sanitary & phytosanitary issues and technical barriers to trade measures are the most frequently used against Indian exports. Thus the non-tariff barriers in RCEP countries should be negotiated transparently before negotiating market access.
      • RCEP has the East Asian economies as partners, who have thrived on export-led growth model, unlike India whose domestic economy is its strength. Therefore India should choose a model that will complement this setup.
      • India also needs to introspect as to what it can get from negotiating the proposed RCEP that it has not already obtained from prevailing trade agreements.

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

4) Recently the National Green Tribunal pulled up the government for “tardy progress” on the Clean Ganga Mission. Evaluate whether there is a need for a law heavy on punitive measures to clean the Ganga.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article discusses the status of Namami Gange project and the target of the government to see a 70-80% improvement in water of Ganges. The article highlights the issues with a draft proposal by the government of introducing stricter punitive measures to tackle pollution of the river. It also highlights the issues with the implementation of Namami Gange. Since cleaning the Ganges is a top priority of the government and several questions in the past few years have been asked from this topic, it is important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain the status of Namami Gange project, how far the government has been successful in cleaning up the river. Next, we need to highlight the issues with Namami Gange project and the overall approach of the government in dealing with the issue of river cleaning. In this light, we need to evaluate whether a law which penalizes more strictly for dirtying the river would help in more efficient implementation of cleaning project. We need to conclude with a fair and balanced opinion and mention way forward.

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 the Namami Gange initiative of the government – Namami Gange’ program was announced under the National Mission for Clean Ganga initiative with an allocated budget of Rs 20,000 crores for 5 years and that the project covers eight states and seeks to fully connect all 1,632 Gram Panchayats along the Ganga to a sanitation system by 2022.

Body

  • We need to explain how far the government has been successful in implementing the project – According to a new report from the CAG, this new push to clean the Ganga is not delivering results. The Government had only used $260 million of the $1.05 billion earmarked for the flagship programme between April 2015 and March 2017. All of these projects had a consistent list of problems: unused funds, an absence of a long-term plan, and delays in taking concrete action.
  • Thereafter we need to highlight the issues with the project – diversion of water for irrigation and other purposes which reduces the flow of water, poor effluent management system, faulty implementation of rules and regulations etc
  • Next, we need to discuss whether a low more focussed on taking punitive action would help in alleviating the issues being faced. We need to compare it with the current strategy, if properly implemented

Conclusion – We need to provide our opinion on the need for such a law and discuss what the way forward should be.

Background:-

  • Government admitted in Rajya Sabha recently that Ganga doesn’t meet even bathing quality in Haridwar, districts Kannauj to Allahabad, and Berhampore (Murshidabad district) to Diamond Harbour (South 24 Parganas).
  • Again, the CAG’s 2017 report reveals that coliform levels in all river-abutting cities in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal were up to 334 times higher than the level deemed acceptable by the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • Recently National Green Tribunal pulled up the government for its tardy job and said that the stretches between Haridwar and Unnao were unfit for drinking and bathing and that authorities should display health warnings. 
  • So there is a need to ensure ganga is revived to its earlier glory.

 

Clean Ganga mission:-

  • Namami Gange program was announced under the National Mission for Clean Ganga initiative with an allocated budget of Rs 20,000 crores for 5 years and that the project covers eight states and seeks to fully connect all 1,632 Gram Panchayats along the Ganga to a sanitation system by 2022.

Law alone will not help due to the following reasons:-

  • Main issues got lost in specious technicalities, flagrant violation of laws, ubiquitous corruption, and absence of co-ordination between the Centre and States.
  • Three-fourths of Ganga’s pollution emanates from municipal sewage of some 100 cities and towns, , besides thousands of villages located along its banks, stretching over 2,525 km.
  • Ineffective implementation of policies:-
    • In UP, for example, almost all industries inspected by the CPCB in 2013 were in breach of the standards.
  • Namami Gange recognises that the key to reviving the river lies in a robust sewage infrastructure. More importantly, the project accepted that its success hinged on the support of the people, whose activities impact the Ganga. But not much happened.
    • Namami Gange, in fact, has been dogged by the failing of other Ganga clean-up projects i.e.., the gap between intention and implementation. Till March, the water resources ministry had spent barely a fifth of the Rs 20,000 crore allocated for the project.
  • CAG:-
    • The Government had only used $260 million of the $1.05 billion earmarked for the flagship programme between April 2015 and March 2017.
    • All of these projects had a consistent list of problems: unused funds, an absence of a long-term plan, and delays in taking concrete action.
  • Previous attempts to clean the river have been unsuccessful because treatment infrastructure never kept pace with the scale of pollution and riparian states and the Centre had not ensured that pollution was checked at source before being emptied into the river.
  • Also water has been diverted for irrigation and other purposes which reduces the flow of water.

Yes there is a need for a law:-

  • With a new law a host of activities that impact the Ganga will be deemed illegal. These include construction activities that obstruct the river, withdrawal of groundwater for commercial or industrial purposes, commercial fishing and discharging of sewage into the the river.
  • The ministry also has drafted a bill which prescribes a slew of penal provisions like including fines and imprisonment to curb these activities. The draft also envisages a Ganga Protection Corps to arrest those who pollute the river.

Way forward:-

  • There is need to first plan for drains that discharge into the Ganga, before planning STPs.
  • So also the need for plans for treated effluents i.e..,not to treat and put back treated waste water into open drains, where it is again mixed with untreated waste. 
  • India Inc. needs to be enticed to forge public-private partnerships for installing and maintaining large STPs, besides launching schemes for cultural and tourist-interest activities, including development, maintenance and management of ghats, without impairing the sanctity and dignity of the river.
  • NGT recommended that 100 meters from the edge of the river would be treated as no development/construction zone between Haridwar to Unnao in UP.

General Studies – 3


TopicPublic Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security;

5) Examine the need to give up Cover and Plinth (CAP) structures for storing food grains in India.(250 words)

The hindu

Reference

Why this question

Food wastage is a significant problem for India, which follows a distributed public procurement policy. Food is stored in CAP structures which is an unscientific way to store food grains and there is an urgent need to replace these structures with a scientific storage system.

Directive word

Examine- Here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to bring out the reasons as to why there is a need to give up CAP structures for storing food grains in India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few lines about public procurement of foodgrains and their storage. E.g India produces about 150 million tonnes of food grains per year. Production has been steadily increasing due to advancement in production technology, but losses have remained static at 10%. This means that the loss of food grains is also increasing with the increase in food production. The main reason for this is improper storage, and an average of 6% out of a total 10% loss takes place during storage of food grains.

Body-

  • Discuss in points the problems of CAP structures used for storage of food grains. E.g it causes higher level of food losses and loss of nutritious content; it leads to dampening of foodgrains and leads to development of mycotoxins. Mention the ill effects of mycotoxins on humans; also mention the monsoon season in India which demand damp-proof structures for storage etc.
  • Discuss the need to build more silos in a scientific way; need to build scientific warehouses and also upgrade the cold-chain infrastructure; explore PPP models to build infrastructure.

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

 

Background :-

  • Food grains undergo a series of operations such as harvesting, threshing, winnowing, bagging, transportation, storage, and processing before they reach the consumer, and there are appreciable losses in crop output at all these stages
  • Most grain in India, which is procured from farmers by the government, is stored using the CAP, or cover and plinth method. India stores about 30.52 million tonnes of rice, wheat, maize, gram and sorghum in such structures at Food Corporation of India godowns and hired spaces.

Cover and plinth :-

  • This is an improvised arrangement for storing food grains in the open,generally on a plinth which is damp- and rat-proof. The grain bags are stacked in a standard size on wooden dunnage.
  • The stacks are covered with LDPE sheets from the top and all four sides.
  • Food grains such as wheel, maize, gram, paddy, and sorghum are generally stored in CAP (cover and plinth) storage for 6-12 month periods.
  • It is the most economical storage structure and is being widely used by the FCI for bagged grains.
  • The CAP storage was born of necessity, because harvests increased faster than storage capacity over the period of time. 

Why there is need to change :-

  • International experiences:-
    • In other parts of the world, grain is stored in silos. Here, stored grain is kept dry and aired so as to prevent fungal and insect attacks.
  • Grain is stored in conditions so shoddy that it is estimated that there is a 10% loss of harvested grain, of which 6% is lost in storage. This means that the grain is so damp and fungus-ridden that it cannot be ground and passed on to the public for consumption.
  • Eating mouldy grain causes a variety of illnesses. Mycotoxins which India seeks to prevent by keeping food dry are already present from the time the flour was stored in the form of grain. Mycotoxins have severe impact on health in the form of hepatitis, even death of exposed to higher concentrations.
  • CAP causes higher level of food losses and loss of nutritious content.
  • When India is one of the fastest growing economies with adequate food productions, monsoon period there is a need to ensure proper storage of food grains.

Way forward:-

  • PPP:-
    • In order to export basmati rice, Punjab has, in a public-private partnership, built modern, temperature-controlled grain silos with a storage capacity of 50,000 tonnes . This kind of PPP model needs to be looked into.
  • Storage is an important link in the entire procurement and distribution system of food grains, produced seasonally but consumed all the year round. Therefore, storage facilities in India need to be strengthened by supplying them with the much-needed scientific storage and drying
    equipment’s.
  • Setting up a community drying-cum-storage complex has great potential, as it will help to reduce losses and to provide a better return for the grower. They will aid in enhancing India’s ability to meet its food security objectives by increasing storage capacity, reducing losses, and increasing the efficiency of purchasing and distributing grain. 
  • For safe and scientific storage, a lot of research is required to develop management protocols on grain storage, drying and quality management in silos for India’s climatic conditions. It will be useful to store grains for FCI, CWC and SWCs in their storage facilities.
  • Importance should be given to carefully selection the storage site, storage 
    structure, implementation of Integrated Pest Management (IPM), ensure proper aeration of grains followed by regular inspection of grain stock.

TopicPart of static series under the heading – “Oceans – Temperature”

6) How does the pattern of ocean surface temperature vary across the world? Explain the factors that affect this variation?(250 words)

GC Leong – Ch 12 Oceans

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the nature of variation of surface temperature of oceans across different regions of the world. Next, we need to explain the factors which affects these changes.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that like land masses ocean water varies in temperature from place to place both at surface level and at great depths.

Body

  • Explain the nature of variation of surface temperature of oceans across various regions. Mention that the annual range is somewhat smaller. Mention the variation with respect to latitudes. Examine whether the variation in temperature is uniform or whether it changes due to presence of certain factors. Discuss the variation in temperature in enclosed spaces.
  • Discuss the factors affecting this variation. Discuss the variation in surface temperature with respect to depth, latitude, effect of ocean currents, enclosed spaces.

Background:-

  • Like land masses ,ocean water varies in temperature from place to place both at the surface and at great depths. Since water warms up and cools down much more slowly than the land the annual range of temperature in any part of the ocean is very much smaller. It is less than 10 degree Fahrenheit for most of the open seas.

Pattern of ocean surface temperature around the world:-

  • Ocean water is heated by three processes:-
    • Absorption of sun’s radiation.
    • The conventional currents:Since the temperature of the earth increases with increasing depth, the ocean water at great depths is heated faster than the upper water layers. So, convectional oceanic circulations develop causing circulation of heat in water.
    • Heat is produced due to frictioncaused by the surface wind and the tidal currents which increase stress on the water body.
  • The ocean water is cooled by
    • Back radiation(heat budget) from the sea surface takes place as the solar energy once received is reradiated as long wave radiation (terrestrial radiation or infrared radiation) from the seawater.
    • Exchange of heatbetween the sea and the atmosphere if there is temperature difference.
    • Evaporation:Heat is lost in the form of latent heat of evaporation (atmosphere gains this heat in the form of latent heat of condensation).
  • It may be pointed out that maximum tempera­ture of the oceans is always at their surface because it directly receives the insolation and the heat is transmit­ted to the lower sections of the oceans through the mechanism of conduction.
  • The distributional pattern of temperature of ocean water is studied in two ways :-
    • Horizontal distribution (temperature of surface water)
    • Vertical distribution (from surface water to the bot­tom).
    • Since the ocean has three dimensional shapes, the depth of oceans, besides latitudes, is also taken into account in the study of temperature distribution.
    • Unequal distribution of land and water:
      • The temperature of ocean water varies in the northern and the southern hemispheres because of dominance of land in the former and water in the latter.
      • The oceans in the northern hemisphere receive more heat due to their contact with larger extent of land than their counter­parts in the southern hemisphere and thus the tempera­ture of surface water is comparatively higher in the former than the latter.

Factors influencing variation:-

  • The temperature of the oceans also varies vertically with increasing depth. It decreases rapidly for the first 200 fathoms and then more slowly until the depth of 500 fathoms is reached.
  • Latitude :-
    • Water gets colder as we move away from the equator. But the warmest water is not at the equator due to rainfall at the equatorial regions which reduces the temperature. The warmest water is around the latitudes of (35 degree – 45 degree N/S)
  • Ocean currents:-
    • Ocean currentsact much like a conveyer belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Thus, currents regulate global climate, helping to counteract the uneven distribution of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface
    • Due to the influence of the ocean currents the ocean is warmed.
    • Warm ocean currents heat the air above the waterand carry the warm air to the land, increasing the temperature of the coastal region.
  • The highest water temperatures are found in enclosed seas in the tropics e.g.., Red Sea which records a temperature of 85 degree to 100 degree Fahrenheit. The arctic and Antarctic waters are so cold that their surface is permanently frozen. In the warmer summer parts of the ice break off as icebergs that both dilute the water and lower the surface temperature of surrounding ice free areas.
  • Changes in sea surface temperatures reflect the overall warming trend in the climate system and, in turn, influence weather and climate patterns worldwide. 
    • During the past three decades, sea surface temperatures have exceeded the last century’s average every year.
  • Fresh water influx leads to variation in sea surface temperature for instance Persian gulf is relatively cooler even after being in the same latitude as red sea.
  • Prevailing winds:-
    • Coriolis force causes the trade winds to move from east to west on both sides of the equator. Winds carry with them the warm surface water from eastern sides of the oceans to western side. Due to this the surface temperature of oceans on the eastern parts is much lower than that on western parts.
  • Salinity:-
    • Saline water absorbs more heat than fresh water.
  • Minor factors include:-
    • Submarine ridges
    • Local weather conditions like storms, cyclones, hurricanes, fog, cloudiness, evaporation and conden­sation, and
    • Location and shape of the sea.
      • Longitu­dinally more extensive seas in the low latitudes have higher temperature than the latitudinally more exten­sive seas as the Mediterranean Sea records higher temperature than the Gulf of California.

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.

7) Data science poses several ethical challenges to us. Discuss. Also,  discuss how data ethics can help us to deal with those challenges.(250 words)

Reference

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 as to how the newly emerging field of data science poses some ethical challenges to us and then we have to discuss in detail about how data ethics can help us deal with those challenges.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the increasing role and importance of data science. E.g Data science provides huge opportunities to improve private and public life, as well as our environment. But they also pose several ethical challenges to us etc.

Body-

  • Discuss in detail about how the newly emerging field of data science poses some ethical challenges. E.g The extensive use of increasingly more data—often personal, if not sensitive (big data)—and the growing reliance on algorithms to analyse them in order to shape choices and to make decisions (including machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics), as well as the gradual reduction of human involvement or even oversight over many automatic processes, pose pressing issues of fairness, responsibility and respect of human rights, among others etc.
  • Discuss the concept of data ethics and how it can help us overcome those challenges. E.g data ethics is a new branch of ethics that studies and evaluates moral problems related to data (including generation, recording, curation, processing, dissemination, sharing and use), algorithms (including artificial intelligence, artificial agents, machine learning and robots) and corresponding practices (including responsible innovation, programming, hacking and professional codes), in order to formulate and support morally good solutions (e.g. right conducts or right values). Data ethics builds on the foundation provided by computer and information ethics but, at the same time, it refines the approach endorsed so far in this research field, by shifting the level of abstraction of ethical enquiries, from being information-centric to being data-centric etc.

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

Background :-

  • In just a few short years, data has become one of the most valuable commodities in the global economy. The vast quantities of user data from social media accounts, apps and IoT devices have created swathes of information from which vital insights can be mined to implement new problem-solving technologies, ostensibly making the world a better place.

Data science and ethical challenges :-

 

  • Data science provides huge opportunities to improve private and public life, as well as our environment for instance the development of smart cities or the problems caused by carbon emissions.Unfortunately, such opportunities are also coupled to significant ethical challenges.
  • The extensive use of increasingly more data often personal and the growing reliance on algorithms to analyse them in order to shape choices and to make decisions including machine learning, artificial intelligence and robotics as well as the gradual reduction of human involvement or even oversight over many automatic processes, pose pressing issues of fairness, responsibility and respect of human rights, among others

How data ethics helps to deal with these challenges:-

  • Data ethics is a new branch of ethics that studies and evaluates moral problems related to data (including generation, recording, curation, processing, dissemination, sharing and use), algorithms (including artificial intelligence ,artificial agents, machine learning and robots) and corresponding practices (including responsible innovation, programming, hacking and professional 
    codes), in order to formulate and support morally good solutions (e.g. right conducts or right values). 
  • Data ethics builds on the foundation provided by computer and information ethics but, at the same time, it refines the approach endorsed so far in this research field, by shifting the level of abstraction of ethical enquiries, from being information-centric to being data-centric.
  • This shift brings into focus the different moral dimensions of all kinds of data, even data that never translate directly into information but can be used to support actions or generate behaviours, for example.
  • Only as a macroethics will data ethics provide solutions that can maximize the value of data science for our societies, for all of us and for our environments.