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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 SEPTEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 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– Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

1) Supreme Court verdict on Section 377 is a landmark judgement but it also will spark many more challenges to inequality, discrimination. Analyze.(250 words)

The hindu

Indian express

Why this question

The recent SC judgement set aside section 377 which criminalised homosexuality. It is a watershed judgement in the history of India but there are several challenges which ought to arise on account of the judgement. It is necessary to analyze both the aspects of the historic judgement.

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 issue and bring out the significance of the recent SC judgement on section 377. Then the question wants us to discuss about the issues which could arise on account of the judgement- what are the other challenges it will spark against inequality and discrimination.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the historic SC judgement which set aside section 377. E.g it decriminalises consensual sex between consenting adults etc.

Body

  1. Discuss the significance of the judgement. E.g The stirring message from the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment decriminalising gay sex is that social morality cannot trump constitutional morality. It is a reaffirmation of the right to love; the judgement has upheld homosexuals’ right to have intimate relations with people of their choice, their inherent right to privacy and dignity and the freedom to live without fear; The dilution of Section 377 marks a welcome departure from centuries of heteronormative thinking. This is a verdict that will help sexual minorities ‘confront the closet’ and realise their rights etc.
  2. Discuss the challenges to inequality and discrimination the judgement will spark. E.g Suppressed for a long time, the LGBTQI communities in India will demand their rightful share in all spheres of life. Not only in employment, but in education and services and all other spaces, both in the public and, especially, the private sector, for which there is no law at the moment. That journey will shape new lives for all citizens; the law on rape is inadequate to address non-consensual sex other than within the binary of man-woman sex. Such is also the case with sexual harassment. These apart, there will be the demand for a same sex marriage law etc.

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

Background :-

  • Recently the supreme court overturned the 2013 Suresh Kumar Koushal judgement diluting section 377 andupheld homosexuals right to have intimate relations with people of their choice, their inherent right to privacy and dignity and the freedom to live without fear. 

Implications of the supreme court judgement:-

  • The message from the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment decriminalising gay sexis that social morality cannot trump constitutional morality. It is a reaffirmation of the right to love.
  • Dilution of Section 377 marks a welcome departure from centuries of heteronormative thinking. 
  • It has freed the LGBTQI communities from the yoke of a colonial law. 
  • SC’s judgment will, however, now ensure that military personnel can no longer be tried under Section 69 (civil offences) of the Army Act (or similar sections in the Navy and IAF Acts).
  • With the judgement the supreme court thrusted diversity and pluralism into the centre stage of India’s public discourse.
  • It  legitimized same-sex relationships, which also signalled an end to prejudice, which it argued has bedevilled India.
  • The judgement marks the end of the first leg of the long-drawn battle for social legitimacy by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) community.
  • Treating homosexuality as a disorder or disease had a severe impact on the mental health of homosexuals. The judgement can ensure this does not happen anymore.
  • The judgement also flows from an August 2017 judgement of the Supreme Court upholding the right to privacy, which laid the legal ground for a fresh interpretation of decriminalization of homosexuality.
  • This will help the community claim equal constitutional status as other citizens. It also affirms their right to claim the right to adopt, marry and have a family
  • It may also prevent social ostracism with the court declaring affirmatively that it was not a mental disorder. But something inate to a human being.
  • Verdict has opened a window for the community to seek dignity in every sphere of life.
  • People will now have a better understanding of equality and it won’t be limited to just gender and other stereotypes.

Concerns:-

  • The LGBTQI communities in India will demand their rightful share in all spheres of life. Not only in employment, but in education and services and all other spaces, both in the public and, especially, the private sector, for which there is no law at the moment.
  • The law on rape is inadequate to address non-consensual sex other than within the binary of man-woman sex. Such is also the case with sexual harassment. These apart, there will be the demand for a same sex marriage law.
  • Despite the judgement these communities face stigma and discrimination in the society.
    • Social exclusion, identity seclusion and isolation from the social mainstream are still the stark realities faced by these individuals today.
  • These communities can stillbe tried and punished for disgraceful conduct in army. Section 63 also deals with violation of good order and discipline. 
  • Other issues such as same sex marriage, inheritance of property and civil rights are yet to receive legal sanction.
  • Ruling could face a legal challenge from groups that say gay sex erodes traditional values.

Way forward:-

  • The challenges of social mindset need to be changed with people educated that this aspect is not unnatural and is innate to a human being.

Topic– Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2) In order to prevent tampering of EVMs there is a need for  some urgent technical and administrative changes. Discuss. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question

There have been several allegations from various political parties about the tampering of EVMs. Confidence in the integrity of EVMs is important for voters to trust the outcomes of elections. The ECI cannot allow this confidence to be eroded. It is thus important to discuss in what technical and administrative ways it can be ensured that the EVMs are not tempered with.

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 technical as well as the administrative changes that can be brought in to ensure that the EVMs are not tampered with.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention the allegations of EVM tampering and also mention the need to uphold the credibility and integrity of the electoral exercise in front of the public etc.

Body

  1. Discuss how EVMs can be tampered with. E.g Indian EVMs cannot be hacked because they are not connected to any network and their software is ‘burnt’ into the CPU and cannot be rewritten after manufacture. But someone with physical access to the EVMs and replace the EVM’s non-hackable CPU with a look-alike but hackable CPU that can be programmed to count votes dishonestly. All the features and safeguards relied on by the ECI can be easily negated by insider fraud for which there is scope at three stages: (1) at the EVMs manufacturing stage, (2) at the district level, during the long non-election period, when the EVMs are stored in archaic warehouses in multiple locations with inadequate security systems, and (3)at the stage of ‘first level checks’ prior to an election when the EVMs are serviced by authorised technicians from the EVM manufacturers.
  2. Discuss the steps that can be taken to ensure that EVMs are not tampered with. E.g Procurement and supply of “Authentication Units” to detect Counterfeit EVMs; Completely overhauling the present method of storing EVMs during the non-election period; Engaging the services of a credible electronic security firm; Random allotment of EVMs across states and districts; Candidate ordering etc.

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

 

Background :-

  • Election Commission of India (ECI) has been consistently claiming that its Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are unique and that tampering is not feasible under real election conditionswith its security protocol and administrative safeguards in place. However there have been reservations about the integrity of its EVMs. There have also been demands to revert to paper ballots.
  • Elections are the bedrock of democracy. Confidence in the integrity of EVMs is important for voters to trust the outcomes of elections and the legitimacy of governments formed as a result of them.
  • Indian EVMs cannot be hacked because they are not connected to any network and their software is ‘burnt’ into the CPU and cannot be rewritten after manufacture

Challenges remain :-

  • There are chances that the dishonest insiders and criminals get physical access to the EVMs and replace the EVM’s non-hackable CPU with alook-alike but hackable CPU that can be programmed to count votes dishonestly together with an embedded Bluetooth device that allows it to be remote controlled.
  • Insider fraud:-
    • All the features and safeguards relied on by the ECI can be easily negated by insider fraudfor which there is scope at three stages:
      • At the EVMs manufacturing stage
      • At the district level, during the long non-election period, when the EVMs are stored in archaic warehouses in multiple locations with inadequate security systems
      • At the stage of ‘first level checks’ prior to an election when the EVMs are serviced by authorised technicians from the EVM manufacturers.
    • Flip side of the minimalist software is that it does not attempt to cryptographically protect the voting datastored in the electronic memory of the EVM’s Control Unit which are therefore 
    • Software used in ECI’s EVMs is ‘burnt’ into the CPU by two foreign chipmakers after which they are shipped to India for assembly into the EVMs. This is a rather serious supply chain vulnerability.

Remedies needed are :-

  • Use of Authentication Unitsbefore the polls to weed out counterfeit/tampered EVMs
  • Effective use of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) systemat the time of counting to guard against EVM tampering or malfunction. 
  • Procurement and supply of Authentication Units to detect Counterfeit EVMs.
  • Completely overhauling the present method of storing EVMs during the non-election period.
  • Two immediate and important courses of action before the ECI are
    • To adopt the correct sample size of EVMs per Assembly Constituency for hand counting of VVPAT slips based on standard statistical sampling theory
    • To procure and supply one or more Authentication Units to each district. If the VVPAT and Authentication Units show that all the EVMs are genuine, then it will reinforce the confidence of the voters in the electoral process and effectively silence the critics of the Election Commission.
  • Engaging the services of a credible electronic security firm.
    • In addition to, the present system of assessing the security of EVM hardware and software through a ‘Technical Experts Committee’ consisting of a few Professors, the ECI must consider engaging the services of a top electronic security firm of international standing and credibility (bound by a confidentiality agreement) to conduct periodic ethical hacking and other modes of attack on its electoral systems and processes, identify loopholes if any, and certify their robustness.
  • The ECI should consider moving towards a kind of 2-bin storage system wherein the long-term storage of the EVMs in between two elections will be in a few large, high-security, regional warehouses and the short-term storage immediately before or during an election in the current district warehouses.
  • Random allotment of EVMs across states and districts.

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

3) Signing the COMCASA agreement is really a matter of when rather than if for India. Critically examine.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The article explains the 4 major pillars of India us defence partnership and presents a critical analysis of signing the COMCASA Agreement. India has recently signed the LEMOA agreement and COMCASA is next on the cards. This article is thus important from GS2 perspective.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the major pillars of defence partnership between India and US, particularly COMCASA. Thereafter, we need to highlight the pros and cons of joining COMCASA and finally, give a fair and balanced opinion on what India’s future course of action might be and should be.

Directive word

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 major pillars of deepening defence cooperation between and USA. Explain that India has just signed LEMOA, and COMCASA is next in line.

Body

  • Give a brief background of India USA relations , highlighting the history of cooperation and contradictions
  • Give opinion in favour of signing the COMCASA. divide the answer into components such as strategic and political – mention that without COMCASA the defence imports received from USA have been stripped down versions of original, will enable India to become close partners of USA’s Free and open indo pacific strategy, logical conclusion to recent developments in India USA partnership after LEMOA, STA -1 status etc
  • Give opinion against the signing of COMCASA – issues it would create in balancing relations with other major strategic partners like Russia etc, facilitate vertical and horizontal penetration by the US of India’s most sensitive government and military communications grids, including the nuclear Strategic Forces Command etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion on what India should do and discuss the way forward.

Background :-

  • With India-US defence ties on an upward swing in recent years and the US administration looking to cultivate partners like India as it operationalises the so-called free and open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) strategy, there are reportssuggesting that the two sides are moving closer to the signing of the COMCASA agreement.
  • In an effort to elevate ongoing defence cooperation between India and tfhe United States to a more meaningful level, the United States had sought to have India sign the last two of the four so-called foundational agreements  which are the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA),  Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) to suggest a more India-specific agreement, and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

COMCASA AGREEMENT:-

  • COMCASA is one of three foundational agreements that guide US high technology cooperation in defence sector with other countries.
  • It was earlier called Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) before name was changed to reflect its India-specific nature.
  • Other two agreements are Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) and BECA.
  • It will enable Indian military to obtain critical, secure and encrypted defence technologies from the other country.

India needs to sign this agreement because:-

  • Not signing COMCASA also means that certain things such as high-precision GPS or the latest guidance packages for US-origin air to air missiles will not be available to India,
  • While Logistics security agreement gave both militaries access to each other’s bases, COMCASA would allow them to be the same communication network
  • India has faced problems in fully exploiting the potential of US-sourced platforms because of restrictions in using compatible communication equipment. By signing the agreement this obstacle can be tackled.
  • COMCASA is meant to facilitate use of high-end secured communication equipment to be installed on military platforms being sold to India by US to fully exploit their potential.
    • COMCASA will allow for greater access to critical communication networks to enable better interoperability between the Indian and US militaries. This will facilitate installation of high-end security gadgets on the many defence equipment and weapon systems that India is buying from the United States.
  • It essentially provides legal framework for transfer of communication security equipment from US to India that will facilitate interoperability between armed forces of both countries and potentially with other militaries that use US-origin systems for secure data links.
  • Interoperability in this case means that there will be access to encrypted and secret technologies or communications. India is currently dependent on commercially available and less secure communication systems on high-end US defence platforms like C-130Js and P8I maritime surveillance aircraft.
  • COMCASA creates the conditions for the Indian military to receive modern secure and net-enabled weapons systems such as precision armament, air-to-air missiles, space systems and navigation systems that are critical components in platforms like fighter aircraft and unmanned aerial systems. Hitherto India has had to purchase more expensive commercial communications equipment, raising the overall acquisition price of a platform,
  • Signing the COMCASA becomes particularly important as India is set to buy the combat version of Sea Guardian drones from the United States.
  • COMCASA can facilitate cooperation on areas such as Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), which is critical for India considering China’s foray into Indian Ocean.

Criticism:-

  • COMCASA will facilitate vertical and horizontal penetration by the US of India’s most sensitive government and military communications grids, including the nuclear Strategic Forces Command which is the reason why the armed services are against signing it.
  • Russia:-
    • Signing COMCASA will enhance Russia’s fears of compromising its high-value platforms, such as the leased Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine and the Su-30MKI combat aircraft” and that it will cause trouble with Russia.
  • COMCASA and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-spatial Cooperation (BECA) are the two remaining pacts that were not signed due to severe criticism from within the government. It was feared that signing these agreements would mean compromising India’s age-old military ties with Russia and access to their weaponry systems.
  • Besides this, the agreement, which is largely operational with traditional US allies, does require granting periodic access to US personnel to inspect the equipment and ensure they remain secure. 
  • From an Indian perspective, COMCASA has the potential to compromise India’s operational security while protecting that of the US.
  • COMCASA may also increase pressure on India to source all of its COMSEC equipment from US vendors in the future.
  • COMCASA requires that US operators perform functions such as keying for the encryption. Indian operators will not be allowed to even participate in the maintenance of these systems. So, India might not be comfortable with the presence of US designated personnel on Indian-procured US platforms for long durations of their operational life.
  • In the COMCASA scheme of things, the US might basically end up controlling the entire communications and message flow for the sake of ‘interoperability’. Long term analysis of the message flow could end up revealing tactical doctrines adopted by Indian forces in combat.
    • Since communication devices and links currently in use with Indian Forces cannot interact with US-provided systems, it implies that any attempt to establish interoperability between a part of India’s inventory and participating US forces could actually lead to reduced ‘intra-operability’ within India’s own military.
  • COMCASA-covered equipment/platforms might become incompatible with the rest of India’s inventory. This could lead to calls to ‘overhaul’ the Indian military’s entire network to COMCASA-compliant standards through wholesale import of US systems.  
  • The fact that COMCASA could lead to the secrecy of tactical doctrines getting compromised besides imposing greater complexity costs on India’s communication systems demands that a detailed study of the ground realities and practical implications of signing COMCASA be made prior to deciding on a course of action.

Topic– India and its bilateral relations

4) Belt and Road initiative provide a major point of disagreement with China and a significant factor driving India and US relations forward. Analyze. (250 words)

dnaindia

Why this question

The article explains BRI in detail and highlights the impact of BRI on India’s relations with China and USA. BRI has been a major foreign policy initiatives of China and India has taken a stand at odds with Chinese strategy. Other nations including the European ones have now started realizing the issues with BRI. In this context, it becomes important to discuss the impact of BRI on India’s major bilateral relations.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what BRI is and its current status. Thereafter, we need to explain the impact of BRI on India’s relationship with USA and China and discuss what the way forward for India should be.

Directive word

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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what BRI is and the current status.

Body

  • Discuss India’s stand with respect to BRI
  • Highlight India’s issues with BRI
  • Discuss the impact of BRI on India and China’s relation in light of BRI becoming the major foreign policy priority of China. Highlight the geopolitical flux in Asia and the impact BRI will have on power equations in Asia. Discuss how BRI is now being seen as a part of China’s debt diplomacy, which India had highlighted in its objections to BRI
  • Discuss how India and USA are cooperating to ensure that their interests are not compromised by BRI – highlight their partnership through synergy between India’s act East policy and USA’s FOIP strategy, support provided by USIDFC to countries in the region to counter China’s debt diplomacy etc.

Conclusion – Give your view on what India’s stand on BRI should be and how India should go about its relation with china and USA.

Background:-

  • India is in the centroid of geopolitical situation where on one side China is describing India as a natural partnerin its Belt Road Initiative (BRI) and on the other side India and US are holding 2+2 dialogue despite uneasiness in relations between the two countries with respect to CAATSA, trade policy etc.

BRI:-

  • BRI was launched in 2013 and has become the most ambitious project of the Chinese government to reshape the regional and global order. 
  • While the BRI is generally viewed in terms of a plan to build infrastructure projects, other elements of BRI are to strengthen regional political cooperation, unimpeded trade, financial integration and people-to-people exchanges. 
  • The BRI covering 76 countries from Asia, Africa and Europe, account for half the world’s population and a quarter of global GDP. 

Belt and road initiative is a conflict between China and India :-

  • India argues that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project violates its sovereignty because it passes through the part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that belongs to India.
  • Debt trap:-
    • BRI projects are pushing recipient countries into indebtedness, do not transfer skills or technology and are environmentally unsustainable.
    • For instance story of Sri Lanka being saddled with great amounts of debt to China was well known.
  • China is planning to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are eagerly pursuing potential BRI projects.
  • Through OBOR, China is countering the strategies of India in North East region and is promoting its greater presence in North East India, part of which China claims as its own territory. This may have a security impact on India.
  • Tense bilateral relations with China, deep mistrusts and India’s growing concerns over Chinese hegemonic intentions in South Asia and Indo-Pacific regionmake it practically unlikely that India will ever consider joining this project.
  • Military deployment:
    • The fact that the Chinese have begun to deploy 30,000 security personnel to protect the projects along the CPEC route makes it an active player in the politics of the Indian sub-continent. Clearly, this is a case of double standards.

How both India and US are fighting through to counter BRI:-

  • Indiaalong with the US, is also mindful of the possible strategic and security threats emerging from the BRI.
  • One of the driving forces behind the Indo-Pacific strategy is aimed at containing China’s assertive posturing in the South China Sea and beyond.
  • The rival of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the US, Japan, Australia and India last year is also attributed to the intention of these countries to check China’s rise.
  • India is focused on working with Japan in developing an Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), which will help create a free and open Indo-Pacific region by rediscovering ancient sea-routes and creating new sea corridors that will link the African continent with India and countries in South-Asia and South-East Asia.
  • Ongoing visit of Indian President  to Cyprus, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic  is also an attempt to boost India’s ties with the erstwhile communist states of Eastern Europe and with Southern Europe amid inroads by China as part of its mega infrastructure project, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • India is also in discussion with Japan and the US to pool resources and coordinate approaches to sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific.

Way forward:-

  • Both India and China have an incentive to reduce their differences on the BRI and find ways to work together on at least a limited agenda of connectivity. 
  • USIDFC:-
    • The United States is expected to invest $ 113 million in infrastructure development in Asia. This investment would be made through the USIDFC (United States International Development Finance Corporation), a new US agency.
    • This program appears to be Washington’s response to Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative. The United States has repeatedly criticized the BRI and warned countries that would be interested in joining it about  possible risks of indebtedness.
  • India need to come up with a concrete plan on PoK.
  • Japan and India can build rail and road connectivityacross the Eurasian landmass running parallel to OBOR.
  • Project Mausam, Chabahar ports projects need to be implemented effectively.
  • India now needs to match ambition with commensurate augmentation of its capacitiesthat allows it to be a net security provider in the Indian Ocean region
  • Chinese railways, highways, ports and other capacities can serve as catalysts and platforms for sustained Indian double-digit growth.
  • Therefore, for the time being, it may be worthwhile to carefully evaluate those components of the BRI which may, in fact, improve India’s own connectivity to major markets and resource supplies and become participants in them just as we have chosen to do with the AIIB and the NDB.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic– Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage

5) Examine whether the increase in irrigation efficiency leads to greater groundwater sustainability? Discuss how increasing irrigation efficiency can lead to more sustainable water usage?(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

This article explains the finding of a recent study which highlights that new study has pointed out that increased irrigation efficiency does not translate into more water availability for other uses at the watershed level. One of the main pushing factors for usage of techniques like drip irrigation etc has been to conserve water. The study forces us to re-examine that view.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the key driving factors behind focussing on irrigation efficiency. Next, we need to evaluate the claim that increased irrigation efficiency does not translate into more water availability for other uses at the watershed level. To answer the second part of the question, we need to discuss ways apart from subsidies for increasing irrigation efficiently to ensure that water use becomes more sustainable.

Directive word

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.

Discuss – Your discussion should highlight ways in which increasing irrigation efficiency can translate into more sustainable water usage

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the findings of the journal in Science. Highlight the programs of the government focusing on enhancing irrigation efficiency such as PMKSY.

Body

  • Highlight the key driving factor behind the government focussing on increasing irrigation efficiency – increase in crop yields, more sustainable water use, improvement in condition of farmers etc
  • Examine whether the focus on increasing irrigation efficiency translates into more efficient water usage and sustainability. Bring out points like farmers adopting drip irrigation are generally commercial scale farmers who can afford the high costs and are also aware of increasing water demand from drip irrigation, water availability at watershed levels decreases because subsidies for irrigation efficiency lead to increases in irrigated areas and water withdrawals as well as driving a choice of more water-intensive crops etc
  • Discuss the overall strategy required to ensure that increasing irrigation efficiency translates into more effective and sustainable water use such as explicit caps on extraction as well irrigated areas, more prudent crop selection etc

Conclusion – Discuss why focussing on this issue is important and highlight the way forward.

 

Background :-

  • Recently a study in journal “science” pointed out that increased irrigation efficiency does not translate into more water availability for other uses at the watershed level. 
  • It is estimated that irrigation requirement has to be lowered to the level of 68% of the total demand by 2050. 

 

Intent of greater irrigation:-

  • The subsidies for increasing irrigation efficiency are intended to  increase crop production as well as more return flow from irrigated areas that can be allocated to urban, domestic and industrial uses.
  • For instance in Rajasthan increased irrigation efficiency due to approaches such as drip irrigation has led to increase in crop yields and agricultural incomes.
  • While groundwater management is under the purview of state governments, the central government incentives to the state focus on irrigation efficiency as a step towards climate resilience.

Increased irrigation does not lead to groundwater efficiency:-

  • Farmers adopting drip irrigation are generally commercial scale farmers who can afford the high costs and are also aware of increasing water demand from drip irrigation. Nearly 80 per cent of water supply for both irrigation and domestic use is from groundwater, dependence on irrigation efficiency for groundwater sustainability may be misplaced.
  • The water availability at watershed levels decreases because subsidies for irrigation efficiency lead to increases in irrigated areas and water withdrawals as well as driving a choice of more water-intensive crops.
  • Irrigation water use shows no decrease even during excess monsoon years which is a clear indication that the subsidies are not incentivising the farmers to produce more crops with less water.

Way forward:-

  • India needsto establish data networks to track not only crop transpiration but also total inflows and recoverable outflows of irrigation water but also the losses to unrecoverable sinks such as evaporation. Explicit caps on extraction as well irrigated areas are also recommended to ensure effective and real increases in irrigation efficiency.
  • The use of subsidies for water withdrawal must be combined with the weather and extended range forecasts as well as seasonal outlooks. This will need trust-building so that irrigation can be planned based on weather forecasts despite their uncertainties.
  • Behavioural economics and other novel approaches can be brought to bear on maximizing agricultural production with minimal water use instead of focusing on marginal increases in yields with unbounded water use.
  • Ensuring real increases in irrigation efficiency requires carefully combining subsidies with caps and trade offs of water withdrawal, irrigated area, electricity use, crop selection, weather and extended range forecasts as well as seasonal outlooks and other market factors. 
  • Water-deficient states should promptly move towards micro-irrigation systems. These techniques have significantly higher efficiency vis-à-vis flood irrigation techniques.
  • States should continue to focus on command area development (CAD). This is now part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) which focuses on “more crop per drop”.
  • The cropping patterns in the states should be changed as per the agro-climatic zones. Improper cropping patterns affect both crop productivity and irrigation efficiency.
  • Farmer producer organizations (FPO) provide a sense of ownership to farmers and encourage community-level involvement with lower transaction costs.
    • Almost 70% farmers in India are marginal farmers and the average farm size is 1.15 hectares. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity in forming the FPOs. This will lead to economies of scale on farm produce, water-usage and cost of production.

TopicPart of static series under the heading – “ Ocean – Salinity”

6) Account for variation in ocean salinity and discuss its impacts?(250 words)

GC Leong Physical Geography Ch 12

 

Key demand of the question

Write about salinity in the ocean, its variation. Next, explain the factors affecting variation in oceans salinity. Write about variation in salinity both in terms of latitudinal change and change with depth. Discuss the impact of such variations in salinity

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion should bring out the impact of variations in ocean salinity on water cycle, ocean circulation and climate.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what ocean salinity is and how it varies with latitudinal variations and depth.

Body

  • Discuss the factors affecting changes in ocean salinity – precipitation and evaporation, enclosed or not etc
  • Discuss the impact of such variations. Highlight the impact of increasing salinity on water cycle, on physiographic factors like density and how that impacts the movement of current, on climate such as in the case of el nino etc

Background:-

  • Salinity is the term used to define the total content of dissolved salts in sea water.
  • It is calculated as the amount of salt (in gm) dissolved in 1,000 gm (1 kg) of seawater.

Factors influencing salinity are:-

  • Factors affecting the amount of salt in different oceans and seas are called as controlling factors of oceanic salinity.
  • Evaporation, precipitation, influx of river water, prevailing winds, ocean currents and sea waves are significant controlling factors:

Variation in salinity:-

  • Horizontal variation:-
    • High salinity regions
      • In the land locked Red Sea salinity is high.
      • In hot and dry regions, where evaporation is high, the salinity is very high.
    • Comparatively Low salinity regions
      • In the estuaries and the Arctic, the salinity fluctuates seasonally (fresh water coming from ice caps)
    • Pacific
      • The salinity variation in the Pacific Ocean is mainly due to its shape and larger areal extent
    • Atlantic
      • Near the equator, there is heavy rainfall, high relative humidity, cloudiness and calm air of the doldrums.
      • The polar areas experience very little evaporation and receive large amounts of fresh water from the melting of ice. This leads to low levels of salinity, 
      • Maximum salinity is observed between 20° N and 30° N and 20° W – 60° W. It gradually decreases towards the north.
    • Indian Ocean
      • The low salinity trend is observed in the Bay of Bengal due to influx of river water by the river Ganga.
      • On the contrary, the Arabian Sea shows higher salinitydue to high evaporation and low influx of fresh water
    • Marginal seas
      • The North Sea, in spite of its location in higher latitudes, records higher salinity due to more saline water brought by the North Atlantic Drift.
      • Baltic Searecords low salinity due to influx of river waters in large quantity.
      • The Mediterranean Searecords higher salinity due to high evaporation.
      • Salinity is, however, very low in Black Sea due to enormous fresh water influx by rivers
    • Inland seas and lakes
      • The salinity of the inland Seas and lakes is very high because of the regular supply of salt by the rivers falling into them.
      • Their water becomes progressively more saline due to evaporation.
      • For instance, the salinity of the Great Salt Lake, (Utah, USA), the Dead Sea and the Lake Van in Turkey is very high
    • Cold and warm water mixing zones
      • Salinity decreases on the western parts of the northern hemisphere because of the influx of melted water from the Arctic region.
    • Sub-Surface Salinity
      • With depth, the salinity also varies, but this variation again is subject to latitudinal difference. The decrease is also influenced by cold and warm currents.
      • In high latitudes, salinity increases with depth. In the middle latitudes, it increases up to 35 metres and then it decreases. At the equator, surface salinity is lower.
    • Vertical distribution of salinity:-
      • Salinity changes with depth, but the way it changes depends upon the location of the sea.
      • Salinity at the surface increases by the loss of water to ice or evaporation, or decreased by the input of fresh waters, such as from the rivers.
      • Salinity at depth is very much fixed, because there is no way that water is ‘lost’, or the salt is ‘added.’ There is a marked difference in the salinity between the surface zones and the deep zones of the oceans.
      • The lower salinity water rests above the higher salinity dense water.
      • Salinity, generally, increases with depth and there is a distinct zone called the halocline (compare this with thermocline), where salinity increases sharply.
      • Other factors being constant, increasing salinity of seawater causes its density to increase. High salinity seawater, generally, sinks below the lower salinity water. This leads to stratification by salinity.

Impact:-

  • Salinity determines compressibility, thermal expansion, temperature, density, absorption of insolation, evaporation and humidity.
  • It also influences the composition and movement of the sea: water and the distribution of fish and other marine resources.
  • Salinity affects seawater density, which in turn governs ocean circulation and climate
  • Because of the connection among temperature, salinity and density, some currents actually reverse direction seasonally. An example of where this occurs is the Indian Ocean. Salinity of the ocean thus is directly related to weather even on land because salinity is tied to the movement of the currents.
  • Salinity can have a great impact on the type of organisms that live in a body of water.
  • Additionally, salinity plays a critical role in the water cycle and ocean circulation
  • The intensification of the water cycle as a result of ocean salinity changes in the past fifty years shows that the water cycle has since intensified by 4%, twice the rate predicted by models. 
  • Stable salt densities in the oceans keep the earth’s climate in balance.

 


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) What do you understand by moral realism. Discuss.(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 into detail about moral realism- what is the meaning of the term and then discuss in detail about the given philosophy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about moral realism. E.g The major meta-ethical views are commonly divided into two camps: Moral Realism and Moral Anti-Realism.

Body-

Discuss in detail about the meaning and scope of moral realism. E.g Moral Realism (or Moral Objectivism) holds that there are objective moral values, so that evaluative statements are essentially factual claims, which are either true or false, and that their truth or falsity are independent of our beliefs, feelings or other attitudes towards the things being evaluated. It is a cognitivist view in that it holds that ethical sentences express valid propositions and are therefore truth-apt.

Discuss the concept of ethical naturalism and ethical non naturalism. Explain the terms and deliberate upon their scope briefly.

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

Answer:-

  • Moral realism is an ethical view that says that there are certain moral facts and rules that every individual must follow. These facts are like a way of living, a moral lifestyle, that define your behavior towards people and other things.
  • Moral Realism (or Moral Objectivism) holds that there are objective moral values, so that evaluative statements are essentially factual claims, which are either true or false, and that their truth or falsity are independent of our beliefs, feelings or other attitudes towards the things being evaluated. It is a cognitivist view in that it holds that ethical sentences express valid propositions and are therefore truth-apt.
  • Things which are right and those which are wrong, what should be done and what shouldn’t be, what is acceptable and what isn’t, are moral facts. Moral facts can be descriptive for a single or all individuals.
  • Stealing is morally wrong  for all individuals. Consider the moral sentence “Suicide is wrong.” According to moral realism, such a sentence claims there to be some objective property of “wrongness” associated with the act of suicide.
  • There are two main variants:
    • Ethical Naturalism
      • This doctrine holds that there are objective moral propertiesof which we have empirical knowledge, but that these properties are reducible to entirely non-ethical properties.
      • It assumes cognitivism(the view that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be true or false), and that the meanings of these ethical sentences can be expressed as natural properties without the use of ethical terms.
    • Ethical Non-Naturalism
      • This doctrine holds that ethical statements express propositions(in that sense it is also cognitivist) that cannot be reduced to non-ethical statements 
      • Ethical Intuitionismis a variant of Ethical Non-Naturalism which claims that we sometimes have intuitive awareness of moral properties or of moral truths.