SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 AUGUST 2018
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 2
Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Why this question
The centre has recently released the draft policy for Prevention and Control of Hemoglobinopathies. It is therefore necessary to know what are hemoglobinopathies and what are the objectives and the strategy of the draft policy.
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 meaning and significance of hemoglobinopathies. It also wants us to write in detail about the objectives of the recently mooted draft policy for Prevention and Control of Hemoglobinopathies as well as the strategy recommended by it.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– Define hemoglobinopathies- e.g A genetic defect that results in abnormal structure of one of the globin chains of the hemoglobin molecule. Thalassemia major, sickle cell disease and Hb E are the three most important clinical syndromes among hemoglobinopathies in India. They impose a heavy burden on the affected families and the health sector.
- Write a few more lines about hemoglobinopathies. E.g The severity of these disorders manifests in children of ‘healthy’ carrier couples which makes their prevention and support for management an issue of public health importance. They require lifelong blood transfusions and iron chelation treatment, with monitoring and management of disease complications. Presently, the only cure available for thalassemia major is bone marrow transplantation(BMT), which is possible in only a few patients, mainly because of non-availability of a suitable HLA matched donor.
- Discuss the objectives of the draft policy. E.g Provide affordable and quality care for all patients with Thalassemia major and Sickle Cell Disease; Reduce the prevalence of hemoglobinopathies.
- DIscuss the strategy envisaged (recommendations). E.g compulsory genetic screening of all pregnant women along with putting in place advanced facilities for comprehensive care of such patients; provision of medicines, including iron chelating agents, leukocyte filters and infusion pumps free of cost to the poor patients; waiver of GST and custom duties to reduce cost of treatment for the affected families; creating awareness of these disorders in the community for better acceptance of carrier screening etc.
Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.
- Thalassemia and sickle cell diseases are two common genetic disorders that are chronic, life-restricting and require long and specialized treatment. They cause severe distress and financial loss to the family and are a great drain on the health resources of the country.
- With the fall in infant mortality rate due to control of communicable and nutritional disorders in the last decade in India, these disorders have become important causes of morbidity and mortality,
- Hemoglobinopathies are inherited disorders of red blood cells and constitute an important cause of morbidity and mortality. They impose a heavy burden on the affected families and the health sector.
- Hemoglobinopathies are genetic disorders with Mendelian pattern of inheritance. Genes are,
therefore, the primary determinants of the disease with environmental, nutritional and infectious factors playing only a limited modifying role at best.
- Severity of these disorders manifests in children of ‘healthy’ carrier couples which makes their prevention and support for management an issue of public health importance. They require lifelong blood transfusions and iron chelation treatment, with monitoring and management of disease complications.
- Presently, the only cure available for thalassemia major is bone marrow transplantation(BMT), which is possible in only a few patients, mainly because of non-availability of a suitable HLA matched donor.
- Thalassemia major, sickle cell disease and Hb E are the three most important clinical syndromes among hemoglobinopathies in India.
- India has the largest number of children with Thalassemia major in the world – about 150,000.
- There are almost 42 million carriers of b- thalassemia trait.
Draft policy for Prevention and Control of Hemoglobinopathies:-
- The Centre has prepared a draft policy proposing compulsory genetic screening of all pregnant women to prevent inherited disorders such as thalassemia and sickle cell anaemia, along with putting in place advanced facilities for comprehensive care of such patients.
- Provide affordable and quality care for all patients with Thalassemia major and Sickle Cell
Disease including through:
- Strengthening treatment centres in in central government institutions and States in all
districts to provide access to affordable and quality services for the management of patients with Thalassemia major by regular and safe blood transfusions and iron chelation therapy
- Setting up National/Regional Centres of Excellence as a referral and training centres for
- Strengthening facilities for separation of blood components and blood storage.
- Initiation of newborn screening for Sickle Cell Disease where required, and institute
prophylactic antibiotic therapy to improve survival rates and reduce morbidity.
- Establishing facilities for bone marrow transplants in tertiary care institutions.
- Institution of central Hematopoietic Stem Cell donor registry, to facilitate bonemarrow
transplants in those patients lacking sibling donors, in appropriately identified patients.
- Strengthening treatment centres in in central government institutions and States in all
- Reduce the prevalence of hemoglobinopathies through the following activities –
- Extensive awareness and education programmes in the community, schools and colleges.
- Inclusion of basic knowledge about genetics, inheritance and prevention of thalassemia major and sickle cell diseases in the school curriculum.
- Strengthening laboratories at the District level for facilitating and supporting screening and diagnosis of carriers, including extended family members of patients with thalassemia and sickle cell.
- Screening for carrier status of β-thalassemia, HbS and HbE in adolescent students in schools and colleges, to empower them to make informed decisions regarding marital and reproductive choices in future.
- Screening of pregnant women, preferably in the first trimester, for carrier status, and for those who test positive, screen their husbands and enable the at-risk couples to avail services for prenatal diagnosis to prevent the birth of an affected child.
- Strengthening facilities for prenatal diagnosis in Medical Colleges and selected tertiary care hospitals in the State.
- Screening of new born children for early detection of sickle cell disease and provide
appropriate intervention followed up by counselling of families.
- Cascade screening of blood relatives of those affected with thalassemia major or sickle cell disease, as well as screen subjects in high risk communities.
- The policy advocates for provision of medicines, including iron chelating agents, leukocyte filters and infusion pumps free of cost to the poor patients.
- In line with ‘Make in India’ initiative, the draft policy also advocates for promotion of manufacture of the equipment and chemicals in the country and waiver of GST and custom duties to reduce cost of treatment for the affected families.
- The policy recognises that for prevention, the focus should be on creating awareness of these disorders in the community for better acceptance of carrier screening.
- For women identified to be carriers, their husbands will be screened and in couples where both the partners are carriers, prenatal diagnosis will be offered to ensure that they have a baby unaffected with a clinically significant hemoglobinopathy.
- Carrier screening could also be undertaken for high school and college students.
- As per the draft policy, all subjects screened would be given a card indicating their status, whether normal, carrier or diseased through systems of colour-coding.
- For sickle cell disease, policy recommended newborn screening to be initiated in areas of high prevalence.
- The following measures are recommended for implementation.
- Constitution of appropriate mechanism at National and state level for policy guidance and oversight
- Create a web-based application for providing information about the disease and its complications, the places where specific facilities are available for the patients, and
information regarding parent organizations.,
- The Government should make adequate resources for prevention and management of Hemoglobinopathies.
- Set up thalassemia/hemophilia units at the COE, medical colleges/tertiary care hospitals and district hospitals, with providing adequate staff and equipment. Hemophilia and thalassemia are linked together for logisticpurposes.
- Initiate a patient registry for thalassemia and sickle cell disease, putting systems in
place for reporting and data collection.
- Improve research and development for new treatments such as gene therapy / editing,
new diagnostic modalities, and innovative care and support,
- Take measures, legislative or otherwise, for allowing duty free import of essential drugs and equipment for the care of hemoglobinopathies, exempt GST and other taxes on the medicines and equipment along with the consumables
Topic– Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Why this question
While Union Finance Commissions (UFC) have been regularly constituted and their reports have influenced Indian federalism, State Finance Commissions (SFCs) have not been given due attention. It is important to discuss the problems faced by them which have resulted in suppressing their role in the Indian fiscal federalism.
Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.
Key demand of the question.
The question wants us to express our opinion as to how SFCs have not been provided with the necessary environment to play their rightful role in Indian fiscal federalism. We have to substantiate our point with proper facts and arguments.
Structure of the answer
Introduction– Write a few lines about the SFCs. e.g The State Finance Commission (SFC) is a unique institution created by the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments (CAs) to rationalise and systematise State/sub-State-level fiscal relations in India. Its primary task is to rectify growing horizontal imbalances in the delivery of essential public services to citizens. But there has been inadequate appreciation of the significance of this institution.
- Discuss the role of SFCs.
- Discuss how have not been provided with the necessary environment. E.g mention article 243I; Till date, only Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have submitted their fifth SFC reports. Many States are yet to cross the third SFC stage; The seriousness, regularity, acceptance of recommendations and their implementation which characterise the Union Finance Commissions (UFCs) are conspicuously absent when it comes to SFCs; overwhelming presence of serving and/or retired bureaucrats in SFCs; local governments with no proper budgetary system are in deep disarray and, because of that, SFCs face a crucial problem of reliable data etc.
Conclusion- Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.
- State Finance Commission (SFC) is a unique institution created by the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments (CAs) to rationalise and systematise State/sub-State-level fiscal relations in India. It has few parallels in other federal systems.
- Its primary task is to rectify growing horizontal imbalances in the delivery of essential public services to citizens.
- Article 243I of the Constitution mandated the State Governor to constitute a Finance Commission within one year of the CAs (before April 24, 1994) and thereafter every five years. This means fifth generation SFCs ought to have submitted reports by now, with around 140 reports available in the public domain
Why they could not play good role:-
- Very few states actively formed the commissions:-
- Till date, only Assam, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have submitted their fifth SFC reports. Many States are yet to cross the third SFC stage. The large majority has violated the mandate of the Constitution with impunity.
- The seriousness, regularity, acceptance of recommendations and their implementation which characterise the Union Finance Commissions (UFCs) are conspicuously absent when it comes to SFCs. The UFC has been widely acknowledged as a professional and quasi-judicial body when compared to the SFC.
- It is important to disabuse the notion among several politicians, policymakers and even experts that SFCs and the local governments they deal with have an inferior constitutional status when compared to the UFC
- composition of SFCs would reveal the overwhelming presence of serving and/or retired bureaucrats rather than academics.
- SFCs face a crucial problem of reliable data
- Local governments with no proper budgetary system are in deep disarray and, because of that, SFCs face a crucial problem of reliable data etc.
- For historical reasons, UFCs, particularly from the third, have chosen a restrictive role of staying away from plan and investment allocations
- SFCs normally could not do this although some have chosen the UFC path
They played good role:-
- The task of the SFC to correct horizontal imbalances is extremely onerous when compared with the UFC as SFCs have to consider nearly 2.5 lakh local governments to promote minimum essential services in rural and urban areas
- An SFC is the institutional agency to implement the golden rule of cooperative federalism that every citizen should be assured minimum public goods irrespective of her choice of residence
- Article 280(3) has been amended to add clauses (bb) and (c) in order to take measures to augment the resources of panchayats and municipalities on the basis of the recommendations “made by the finance commission of the state. These sub-clauses affirm the organic link between local governments and SFCs to fiscal federalism
- The federalist development state of India can grow only through a process of evolutionary policy making which works towards cherished goals. Articles 243G and 243W give mandate of planning for economic development and social justice.
General Studies – 3
Topic– Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.
Why this question
Various experts have called for a revision of India’s nuclear policy which they claim is not in accordance with the strategic realities of the times. The article discusses this issue in much depth by comparing the nuclear posturing of the three nuclear powers in Asia, the changes made by them in td suggests reforms. Hence this is important for mains.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain India’s nuclear policy, examine the issues in it, compare it to the policy of the nuclear powers in our neighborhood and discuss the challenges it poses for strategic security of India. In such questions where criticism of current policy is mentioned, it is always better to suggest alternatives or reforms.
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 India’s nuclear doctrine is
- Highlight the issues in India’s nuclear doctrine – issues with the wording of minimum credible deterrence, debate over NFU in light of nuclear doctrines of Pak and China etc
- Highlight the changes made in nuclear doctrine of Pak and China and the likely impact that it could have for strategic security of India.
- Also highlight why a toughened nuclear doctrine would make India lose the moral high ground even more when it comes to the aim of denuclearization.
- Discuss alternatives to the current doctrine – a doctrines which incorporates the threat of strategic nukes, examine the alternatives suggested in the article
Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view on the nature of changes (if any) are required in our nuclear doctrine and the way forward.
- Last year the defence minister’s statement questioning the need and desirability of the ‘no first use’ of nuclear weapons policy has spurred a flurry of commentaries reviewing India’s nuclear doctrine, even though it does not reflect any change in India’s no first use commitment per se
India’s nuclear doctrine:-
- India’s nuclear doctrine was first enunciated following a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting in January 2003.
- Some of the main features of India’s nuclear doctrine are :-
- Building and maintaining a credible minimum deterrent
- A “No First Use” posture; nuclear weapons to be used only “in retaliation against a nuclear attack on Indian territory or on Indian forces anywhere
- Nuclear retaliation to a first strike will be “massive” and designed to inflict “unacceptable damage”
- Nuclear retaliatory attacks to be authorized only by civilian political leadership through the Nuclear Command Authority.
- Non use of nuclear weapons against non nuclear weapon states.
- India to retain option of retaliating with nuclear weapons in the event of a major attack against it with biological or chemical weapons
- Continuance of strict controls on export of nuclear and missile related materials and technologies, participation in FMCT negotiations, continued moratorium on testing
- Continued commitment to goal of nuclear weapon free world, through global, verifiable and non discriminatory disarmament
No change is necessary :-
- India’s current doctrine has helped India secure crucial international deals, such the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG) waiver as part of the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal in 2008.
- More recently, India signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with Japan, which is quite surprising as Japan is known for its staunch anti-nuclear stance and India is not a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
- India is currently also seeking to join the NSG as a permanent member which is a doctrinal shift and is only going to give China more reason to delay India’s entry. This posture would also play into the hands of Pakistan, which has long accused India of duplicity over its no first use policy and called India’s expanding arsenal a threat to the region’s stability.
- No First Use works well:
- It builds stability into deterrence by credibly promising nuclear retaliation in the face of extreme provocation of a nuclear first strike by one’s adversary.
- Change in stance will create issues:-
- All the gains enjoyed by India in the international community by the restraint of India nuclear posture would be frittered away if there is change in stance of nuclear doctrine
- It would enormously complicate and increase the expenditure incurred by us in regard to our command and control mechanisms which would have to be reconfigured to engage in calibrated nuclear war fighting.
- It would weaken the possibility of our engaging in conventional warfare insulated from the nuclear overhang.
- It would encourage the use of tactical nuclear weapons against under the illusion of no massive response.
- It would facilitate the painting of South Asia as a nuclear flashpoint and thereby encourage foreign meddling.
Change is needed :-
- No first use :-
- Such an approach unnecessarily kept India on the back foot and on the defensive and made it axiomatic that India would have to face the consequences of a first strike before being able to respond. Moreover, it prevented India from keeping a potential adversary off balance.
- Despite being party to formulating the no-first use policy in 2003, the time has come to re-examine it. It has been 15 years since we adopted the doctrine, a lot has changed since then
- There is increasing evidence of Pakistan’s proclivity to use tactical nuclear weapons against India.
- Pakistan’s acquisition of a TNW such as the Hatf IX missile, with a range of 60 kilometres and capable of carrying a nuclear warhead of an appropriate yield, has attracted widespread attention in various Indian debates on strategic stability.
- It has been argued that Pakistan’s acquisition of TNWs has lowered the deterrence threshold and thereby affected the overall strategic stability in the region.
- Emphasising this change in India’s strategic environment, the proponents of doctrinal review argue that India’s existing doctrine is ill-suited to deter Pakistan from using TNWs against India
- China is also witnessing a debate between traditional advocates of a “minimum deterrence” and new arguments for a more flexible “limited deterrence”.
- The latter envisages counterforce operations and supports building nuclear war-fighting capabilities, including a greater and diverse arsenal.
- Advocates of a change in India’s NFU policy would like its nuclear doctrine mimic those of most of the established Nuclear Weapon States which contemplate the use of nuclear weapons even in sub nuclear conflicts.
- Periodic statements about the nurturing and upgradation of India’s nuclear arsenal and systems including alternate command structure.
- An indication that India’s nuclear arsenal will be large enough to take care of all adversaries and will have to be in the mid triple digits.
- Appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff and upgradation of the NTRO as a capable apex technical organization which would in a fool proof manner provide indicators of any attack on us and ensure swift and massive nuclear retaliation inflicting unacceptable damage.
- Nuclear testing:-
- Two things need to be done to configure and laboratory-test sophisticated thermonuclear weapons designs.
- The laser inertial confinement fusion facility at the Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore, needs to be refurbished on a war-footing, and a dual-axis radiographic hydrodynamic test facility constructed.
Topic– Challenges to internal security through communication networks
Why this question
The recent increase in incidents of lynching all over the country poses grave security challenges. The government has responded by placing the onus on messaging platforms like WhatsApp to screen messages and tackle the problem of fake news, which is wrong at multiple levels as highlighted in the article. Hence this question requires you to form an opinion on this important contemporary issue.
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to explain the issue and discuss the various legal, ethical, constitutional etc parameters on which the directive of the government falls short. Thereafter, it expects us to discuss ways in which we can tackle the issue of fake news.
Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Highlight the problem of fake news, role of messaging platforms in spreading fake news and the government’s directive to messaging apps like whatsapp.
Body – Examine the legal, constitutional, technological and ethical challenges such a move raises. Constitutional – Curbing freedom of speech and expression; legal – how WhatsApp fulfills the definition of intermediary as per IT Act 2000; technological challenge posed by end to end encryption; ethical challenges such as lack of consent, violating the privacy of individuals etc. Discuss ideally the role government should play in curbing such fake news by enhancing its human resource and technological capabilities as well as bringing law curbing such practices by deterrence. Highlight the steps taken by WhatsApp in this regard. Also highlight the opposite side of the coin that is, why is it necessary in light of billions of messages being transmitted through such apps which makes it virtually impossible for the government to keep a check.
Conclusion – Give your opinion on whether it is okay to shift the liability on whatsapp and discuss way forward.
- India is a burgeoning market for social media platforms and messaging services, with close to half a billion Internet users on mobile platforms i.e.., the second largest online population in the world.
- The growth rates for media access on smartphones are astonishing. Equally disturbing however is the increasing instances of misleading and maliciously false online content.
- Social media and messaging services, which are essentially meant to share information, ideas and interests or to facilitate virtual communities interact, participate and communicate, are increasingly being abused to incite communal riots and spread false information.
- Incidents involving false news stories circulated on WhatsApp have reportedly led to the deaths of two dozen people in India since April. Now, both the apps and the government are scrambling to prevent more mob lynchings
- Recently government has directed Whats App to curb fake news by tracing the origin of ‘sinister’ messages, among other measures.
Controlling messaging apps is a good idea to curb fake news:-
- As government control has increased WhatsApp recently has launched campaigns:-
- The first phase of the educational campaign was kicked off on 29 August with ads across 46 radio stations of All India Radio (AIR) in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
- The second phase of its radio ad campaign was also launched in the country to create awareness and empower users.
- The campaign has been designed in an easy to understand format to help user’s spot misinformation and further sensitize them about the challenges of fake news and addressing these as a society.
- WhatsApp has also taken some technological measures to curb the problem of disinformation, including the introduction of the “forwarded” tag and limiting forwarding to five chats at once.
- It added a setting that would allow only admins to send messages in a group. It removed the quick forward button that appears next to messages containing photos, video or audio.
- It also introduced a “suspicious link” label, which will appear alongside links where WhatsApp detects an obvious problem, such as a strange combination of characters.
However controlling such apps is not a good idea because:-
- Content can still spread very fast between groups. Often, all the members of a group are admins, and they’ll all be admins of ten more groups too. All the groups are interconnected, so it’s really easy for content to go viral.
- Directing messaging platforms to curb fake news by monitoring the messages on their platforms would rob them of their status as intermediaries
- Also directing these platforms to curb fake news will burden them with the liability of having to police their platform for content categorized as objectionable by an elastic yardstick dictated by the prevailing government’s sense of morality.
- Freedom of speech can only be curtailed to the extent of the limited circumstances set out in Article 19(2) of the Constitution, and that too by promulgation of a law that imposes “reasonable restrictions”.
- Given this, the directives issued to WhatsApp, which by design is intended to be a private messaging app, appear to be a case of both political posturing and regulatory overreach.
- If messaging apps act ondirectives that are issued without due process, not only would they be robbed of the exemption from liability conferred by the IT Act, they would also violate the privacy of their users without the justification of having been compelled to do so by law.
- In 2015, Section 66A of the IT Act was struck down by the Supreme Court because it impinged on the right to free speech and conferred discretionary powers that were being abused by law enforcement authorities. This provision, notwithstanding the risk of abuse, would have given the law enforcement machinery the necessary powers to curb fake news
- Lasting solution lies in media literacy education.
- Simple AI solution for instance can run a content cross-check for the news story against a dynamic database of stories which demarcates legit and fake stories.
- Due diligence on part of the users, as actual consumers and targets of fake information and online content, can contain the spread of fake news. Human judgement and wisdom is critical to solving this problem, but it needs extensive awareness and education campaigning.
- Eradicating the fake news problem calls for a collective effort of individuals, governments, social media and content platforms, and organisations producing innovative technology solutions.
Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “pressure belts of the world”
Key demand of the question
The question expects us to describe what causes the shift of pressure belts with shift in position of the sun. Thereafter, it expects us to explain how the shifting pressure impacts the different climatic zones of the world such as Mediterranean climate etc
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain what these pressure belts are and what causes them to shift. In the absence of the revolution of the earth around the sun, the global pressure belts would have been permanent and stationary at their places but the relative position of the earth with the sun changes within a year due to earth’s revolution and thus the position of all the pressure belts except the polar high pressure belts changes with the northward and southward migration of the sun.
Body – Explain the impact that the shift in pressure belts has on Mediterranean type of climate, regions lying between 60°-70° latitudes are characterized by two types of winds in a year because of shifting of pressure and wind belts, Monsoon climate is the result of the shifting of pressure and wind belts. Explain the impact of shifting pressure belts on such types of cases in greater detail.
- All air movements have their roots in pressure differentials in the atmosphere, called pressure gradients. Systematic differences in the Earth’s land temperature affect air pressure, and significant patterns of pressure that persist over time are called pressure belts, or wind belts. Wind belts depend on temperature, so temperature changes can move the belts and also change wind patterns.
- In the absence of the revolution of the earth around the sun in about 365 days the global pressure belts would have been permanent and stationary at their places but the relative position of the earth with the sun changes within a year due to earth’s revolution and thus the position of all the pressure belts except the polar high pressure belts changes with the northward and southward migration of the sun.
- Due to the inclination of the Earth on its axis, there are differences in the heating of the continents, oceans and as a result, the pressure conditions in January and July vary greatly.
- On 21 June, where the sun is overhead on the tropic of Cancer then the pressure belt shifts 5° northwards and on 22 December when it shines overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn, they shift 5° southwards. The pressure belts remain balanced in both the hemispheres when the sun shines vertically over the equator on 21st March and 23rd September.
- The shifting of the pressure belts cause seasonal changes in the climate, especially between latitudes 30° and 40° in both hemisphere
- In this region the Mediterranean type of climate is experienced because of shifting of permanent belts southwards and northwards with the overhead position of the sun.
- During winters Westerlies prevail and cause rain.
- During summers dry Trade Winds blow offshore and are unable to give rainfall in these regions. These seasonal changes in the relative positions of the pressure and wind belts introduce the following typical climatic conditions:
- This belt extends upto 40° latitudes in the northern hemisphere at the time of summer solstice and in the southern hemisphere at the time of winter solstice. Thus, the western parts of the continents within the zone of 30°-40° latitudes do not receive rainfall during summer season.
- Mediterranean regions are characterized by dry summers and wet winters and a typical Mediterranean type of climate is produced due to shifting in pressure belts.
- The regions lying between 60°-70° latitudes are characterized by two types of winds in a year because of shifting of pressure and wind belts.
- With the northward migration of the sun at the time of summer solstice the polar easterlies are weakened during northern summer because the westerlies extend over these areas due to northward (poleward) shifting of sub-polar low pressure belt
- While the situation is quite opposite in the southern hemisphere because the polar easterlies extend over much of the areas of the westerlies due to equator-ward shifting of sub-polar low pressure belt.
- The situation is reversed at the time of winter solstice when there is southward migration of the sun.
- Consequently, a typical climate characterized by wet summers through westerlies and associated cyclones and dry winters due to polar eastelies is produced.
- Monsoon climate:-
- Monsoon climate is the result of the shifting of pressure and wind belts. Due to northward migration of the sun in the northern hemisphere at the time of summer solstice the north intertropical convergence (NITC) is extended upto 30°N latitude over Indian subcontinent, south-east Asia and parts of Africa. Thus, the equatorial westerlies are also extended over the aforesaid regions.
- These equatorial westerlies, in fact, become the south-west or summer monsoons. These south-west monsoon winds bring much rains because they come from over the ocean and are associated with tropical atmospheric storms (cyclones). The NITC is withdrawn from over the Indian subcontinent and south-east Asia because of southward shifting of pressure and wind belts due to southward migration of the sun at the time of winter solstice.
- Thus, north-east trades are re-established over the aforesaid areas. These north-east trades, in fact, are north-east or winter monsoons. Since they come from over the lands, and hence they are dry.
General Studies – 4
Topic – Part of the series of case studies on ethics.
6) The Drinking Water Monitoring Programme initially detected the presence of a chemical pollutant in the well supplying a coastal resort whose economy was based primarily on tourism. The analysis results showed a level of contamination that exceeded the limits established in the applicable legislation. After taking fresh samples and analysing these, the results were confirmed and recorded in the regional Water Quality Information System. The public health officer responsible for testing this supply issued a report in which, despite recognizing that the limits established by law had been exceeded, he stated that consumption of water from the well did not pose an imminent, extraordinary threat to the health of the population. Despite this, the technical report concluded with a proposal to take the precautionary measure of closing the well and informing the population about the ongoing situation. Upon receipt of the technical report, the health authority with competence for adoption of the precautionary measure evaluated the scale of the violation, its imminent impact on the health of the affected population, the economic impact on the locality of closing the well, and the social alarm that this would cause at the start of the tourist season. Following this, it met with the public health management team to inform it of its decision not to ratify the proposed precautionary measure in view of the fact that, having taken into consideration the other public interests at stake, it took the view that it was preferable that the well should continue to supply the population with drinking water while alternative solutions were sought. When the officer responsible for monitoring the supply was informed by his management that, despite the report, the proposed measure would not be adopted, he asked himself what he should do.
Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question.
Structure of the answer
Discuss individually the ethical issues involved in the question. E.g
- Protection of public health: Protecting the health of the population, an intrinsic value of the greatest importance, is not just an ethical imperative for health authorities but also a legal obligation.
- Information: Citizens have the right to be informed about factors that affect individual and population health and, in particular, significant biological, chemical and environmental hazards, together with their potential impact on health. Information enables the population to exercise its freedom of choice.
- Transparency: Transparency is an essential aspect of health information. Both from an ethical and from a legal perspective, public health actions must be clear and comprehensible for the general population, so that citizens can exercise their autonomy when making decisions on the basis of the information provided.
- Precaution: The existence of clear evidence of a potentially serious impact on the health of the population, even where there is scientific uncertainty regarding the nature of the risk, places the competent authorities under an obligation to decide whether to suspend or restrict the activity. Failure to do so would violate the principle of nonmaleficence.
- Legality: the public authorities are obliged by this principle to comply with the applicable legislation, without exception.
- Hierarchy: Hierarchy in public health organizations is expressed through the principle of competence. Political decision-makers and technical staff have different spheres of competence and their fields of action are clearly delimited. Violating this principle of hierarchy or competence has both ethical and legal consequences. Action taken by those who lack the competence to do so is invalid, and all those involved in public health must therefore act within their powers. Hierarchical competence is related in this case to the principle of justice in the widest sense etc.
Read the document attached to the question carefully and frame your answer accordingly.
The process of taking decisions in complex settings, in which different and sometimes contradictory values are at play, is characterized by uncertainty. Bioethics can act as a tool to help search for the optimal course of action, that which best safeguards (or causes least damage to) the conflicting values.
The decision-making process must start with a detailed description of the facts, and this then provides a basis for identifying the main ethical values and principles involved.
The following conflicting ethical values and principles exist in the given situation:
- Protection of public health:
- Protecting the health of the population, an intrinsic value of the greatest importance, is not just an ethical imperative for health authorities but also a legal obligation.The value of health protection is directly related to the ethical principle of beneficence.
- Citizens have the right to be informed about factors that affect individual and population health and, in particular, significant biological, chemical and environmental hazards, together with their potential impact on health. Information enables the population to exercise its freedom of choice.
- Transparency is an essential aspect of health information. Both from an ethical and from a legal perspective, public health actions must be clear and comprehensible for the general population, so that citizens can exercise their autonomy when making decisions on the basis of the information provided.
- The existence of clear evidence of a potentially serious impact on the health of the population, even where there is scientific uncertainty regarding the nature of the risk, places the competent authorities under an obligation to decide whether to suspend or restrict the activity. Failure to do so would violate the principle of nonmaleficence.
- The public authorities are obliged by this principle to comply with the applicable legislation, without exception. In the case described, the legislation places an obligation on the water authorities to make the public aware if the quality of drinking water is modified with the effect that, either temporarily or permanently, it is unfit for human consumption, and to take the corrective and preventive measures necessary to prevent any risk that may be posed to public health. Violation of this value is directly related to the principle of non-maleficence.
- Hierarchical competence is related in this case to the principle of justice in the widest sense.
- Public health actions should be commensurate to the scale of the health problems they seek to correct, justifying their necessity on the basis of principles of proportionality, efficiency and sustainability.
- Violation of this value in the case described, in which no extraordinary and imminent risks to the health of the population had been found, would cause unfounded social panic that would, in turn, have a significant negative impact on the local economy and would clearly contravene the ethical principle of non-maleficence.
- Social panic and the economic interests of the population:
- Strict compliance with the duties of information and transparency may harm other values that are worthy of protection, and politicians must weigh these competing claims when deciding whether or not to temporarily close the well and inform the population. In this case, the values referred to are directly related to the principle of freedom of choice.
- Public health actions that have an impact on the population should promote the reduction of social inequalities in health. Closing the well could generate inequalities between citizens who are able to buy bottled water and those who are too poor to do so, when the technical report states that consumption does not pose a serious and extraordinary threat to the health of any citizen. Harm to this value under the conditions described could imply violating the ethical principle of justice.
- Implies the obligation (legal or moral) to repair any damage caused. In this case, responsibility could arise from the refusal of the health authorities to adopt the precautionary measure proposed by the technical officer, and also from the subsequent action of the officer, once he became aware that the precautionary measure proposed in the report would not be adopted.
- Professional autonomy:
- The technical officer proposing the precautionary measure feels that his professional autonomy has been undermined by the political decision not to agree the closure of the well or to inform the population of the presence of a chemical pollutant in the water supplying the locality, and this leads him to question whether the hierarchical relationship linking him to the authorities, and binding him to respect political decisions, should prevail over his duties as a health professional, particularly as regards the ethical principles of nonmaleficence and autonomy.
- Personal interests of the technical officer:
- At times, the professional or personal concerns of technical officers are treated as a value (corporate or individual) that is harmed by political decisions which, in cases such as this, ignore a technical proposal to adopt precautionary measures. This value is related to the ethical principle of autonomy.