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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 OCTOBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 OCTOBER 2018


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


General Studies – 1


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Drainage – India”

1) Explain how the major geological events of the past shaped the peninsular drainage system?(250 words)

NCERT Class XI India physical geography Pg 27

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to list the major geological events of the past that impacted the peninsular drainage system. We also need to explain how these events affected the drainage system as in the characteristic features of Peninsular Drainage system

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief overview of peninsular drainage system.

Body

  • List the major geological factors that impacted peninsular drainage system – Geologists believe that the Sahyadri-Aravali axis was the main water divide in the past; The western part of the Peninsula cracked and submerged in the Arabian Sea during the early Tertiary period ; upheaval of Himalayas; slight tilting of peninsular block from NW to SE direction
  • Discuss the impact that these events causes which manifest themselves in characteristic features of peninsular river system such as – one drainage was towards east flowing into Bay of Bengal and the other towards west draining into Arabian Sea; During the collision of the Indian plate, the Peninsular block was subjected to subsidence in few regions creating a series of rifts (trough, faults) through which these rivers flow, Straight coastline, steep western slope of the Western Ghats, and the absence of delta formations etc

Background:-

  • Peninsular drainage system is older than the Himalayan one. This is evident from the broad, largely-graded shallow valleys, and the maturity of the rivers.

Geological events that shaped peninsular drainage system:-

  • Geologists believe that the Sahyadri-Aravali axis was the main water divide in the past.
  • Subsidence of the western flank of the Peninsula leading to its submergence below the sea during the early tertiary period. Generally, it has disturbed the symmetrical plan of the river on either side of the original watershed.
  • Upheaval of the Himalayas when the northern flank of the peninsular block was subjected to subsidence and the consequent trough faulting. The Narmada and The Tapi flow in trough faults and fill the original cracks with their detritus materials. Hence, there is a lack of alluvial and deltaic deposits in these rivers.
  • Slight tilting of the peninsular block from northwest to the South-eastern direction gave orientation to the entire drainage system towards the Bay of Bengal during the same period.

How the geological events led to some specific features for peninsular drainage system:-

  • Peninsular Rivers are broad, stable and flow through shallow valleys. These are more ancient then the Himalayan Rivers and have almost attained the old age. Hence, the slope-gradient of these rivers are very slow. Only those areas are its exceptions where new rifts have been created.
  • Most of the peninsular rivers flows eastward because their main water divide is the Western Ghats. Only Narmada and Tapi are the exceptions, which flow from east to west in the rift valley.
  • The rivers of peninsula are less important for irrigation because they are rain-fed. Hence, Peninsular rivers flows through hard peninsular rocks, their courses are straight and linear. So alluvial deposits are almost absent.
  • During the collision of the Indian plate, the Peninsular block was subjected to subsidence in few regions creating a series of rifts (trough, faults) through which these rivers flow, Straight coastline, steep western slope of the Western Ghats, and the absence of delta formations etc
  • The Peninsular drainage system is older than the Himalayan one.
    • The rivers are fed by the rain only.
    • They have broad, largely-graded shallow valleys.
    • They are characterised by fixed course, absence of meanders
    • They are non perennial
    • They do not form deep gorges

General Studies – 2


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

2) India’s drone use policy makes the possibility of a red tape-free flight very slim. Analyze. (250 words)

The hindu

Indianexpress

Why this question

Drones and UAVs have numerous applications and in the coming age of fourth industrial revolution, their importance is only going to increase. In this regard the Indian govt has recently released the maiden drone-use policy. It is important to examine the policy and bring out its shortcomings.

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 how the recently released guidelines on drone use, make the possibility of red-tape very slim.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the recently released guidelines by the DGCA- e.g briefly discuss the definition of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) and RPAS.

Body-

Discuss in points/paragraphs, how the new policy enhances the chances of red-tapism. E.g

India’s regulations separate drones into five categories — nano, micro, small, medium and large. There is very little regulation for flying a nano up to 50 metres height, except for not flying near airports, military sites or in segregated airspace; a unique identification number (UIN) for each drone, with a long list of documentation including security clearances from the MHA in several cases. Once the UIN is obtained, operators have to apply for an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), implying more forms, more annexures and more submissions. Even to fly a micro drone below 200 ft, users have to intimate the local police station 24 hours prior; Manufacturers of drones as well as technologists and researchers making applications using drones have to test fly these frequently, often several times a day etc.

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

Background:-

  • With the publication of the drone regulations in late August, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has attempted to give some structure to the development of drone infrastructure in India.

New frame work for drones:-

  • The Director General of Civil Aviation has finally announced its policy for remotely piloted aircraft or drones. Set to come into effect from December 1, 2018, the new policy defines what will be classified as remotely piloted aircraft, how they can be flown and the restrictions they will have to operate under. 
  • The DGCA has defined remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) as an unmanned aircraft piloted from a remote pilot station.
    • The remotely piloted aircraft, its associated remote pilot station(s), command and control links and any other components forms a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS).
    • Also, as per the civil aviation requirements issued under the provisions of Rule 15A and Rule 133A of the Aircraft Rules, 1937  these RPAs will need a Unique Identification Number (UIN), Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) and need to adhere to other operational requirements.
  • The DGCA has segregated drones into five different categories
    i) Nano : Less than or equal to 250 grams.
    ii) Micro : From 250 grams to 2kg.
    iii) Small : From 2kg to 25kg.
    iv) Medium : From 25kg to 150kg.
  1. v) Large : Greater than 150kg.
    • All drones, other than in the nano category, shall apply to DGCA for import clearance and based on that Directorate General of Foreign Trade  shall issue license for import of RPAS.
  • Unmanned aircraft operator permit:-
    • Operators of civil drones will need to get a permit from the DGCA. There are exceptions for:
      • i) Nano RPA operating below 50 feet (15 m) in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises.
      • ii) Micro RPA operating below 200 feet (60 m) in uncontrolled airspace / enclosed premises but will need to inform local police 24 hours prior.
      • iii) RPA owned and operated by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies but after intimating local police
    • The DGCA has to issue the UAOP within seven working days provided all the documents are complete.
    • This UAOP shall be valid for five years and not transferrable.
  • Who can fly?
    • The policy also stipulates that RPAs shall be flown only by someone over 18 years of age, having passed 10th exam in English, and undergone ground/ practical training as approved by DGCA.
    • Under the new framework, civilian users seeking UIN/UAOP have to be Indian citizens.
    • Companies seeking permits for commercial use must be registered in India, with two-thirds of the board members, including the chairman, being Indian nationals. Their primary place of business must be India and “substantial ownership” and this has not been defined must be resting with Indian nationals.
  • The basic operating procedure will restrict drone flights to the daytime only and that too within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS). This applies to all categories.
  • Also, along with other SOPs, the DGCA has clarified that no remote pilot can operate more than one RPA at any time. Manned aircraft will also get priority. There can’t be any human or animal payloads, or anything hazardous. It cannot in any manner cause danger to people or property. An insurance will be mandatory to cover third-party damage.
  • Where can drones not be flown?
    • RPAs cannot be flown within 5km of the perimeters of the airports in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru and Hyderabad and within 3km from the perimeter of any other airport.
    • It cannot fly within permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas and within 25km from international border which includes the Line of Control (LoC), Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL).
    • It cannot fly beyond 500 m into sea from the coast line and within 3 km from perimeter of military installations.
    • It also cannot be operated from a mobile platform such as a moving vehicle, ship or aircraft.
    • Eco-sensitive zones around National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries are off-limits without prior permission.
    • Violations will be acted on under relevant sections of the IPC and the Aircraft Act 1934.
  • Imported models:-
    • India is one of the largest importer of drones barring those in the lowest weight category, as per the DGCA classification, must get an import clearance from the DGCA, and subsequently, an import licence from the directorate general of foreign trade.

Benefits of the policy:-

  • Setting up a legal framework for commercial use of drones could help in developing the drones market and encourage investments for local production.
    • According to an estimate by EY and industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, the adoption of drones is increasing in India and the projected market size is $885.7 million by 2021.
  • Drones are also not allowed to fly above the obstacle limitation surfaces of an operational aerodrome and this has been prescribed to avoid interference with the flight plan of airlines.

 

How it might not reduce red tape:-

  • Lengthy definitions:-
    • The abbreviations themselves are very long.
  • Complicated division of categories:-
    • There is a long list of documentation including security clearances from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in several cases for all categories
    • Once the UIN is obtained, operators get to move to the next step of having to apply for an Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP), implying more forms, more annexures and more submissions.
    • Even to fly a micro drone below 200 ft, users have to intimate the local police station 24 hours prior.
  • Manufacturers of drones as well as technologists and researchers making applications using drones have to test fly these frequently, often several times a day.
  • With so many government authorities involved in allowing permission and keeping an eye, it is inevitable that operators could be slapped easily with real and perceived violations
  • Regulation provides a list of identified areas for testing and demonstration. Flying drones in these areas comes with less paperwork. However, the locations provided are so far from technology and development hubs that it is unclear how practical these will be.
  • Other concerns:-
    • There are some reasonable restrictions buffer zone and no-fly restrictions around airports and certain government facilities, including military and strategic ones.
    • Mandating all drones must fly within the visual line of sight of the remote pilot, placing explicit restrictions on dropping and discharging substances without prior permission, the numerous and complicated police approval requirements, etc, will all prove to be hurdles for efficient commercial application.
    • The ban on substance discharge without prior permission means that India won’t see the same farm applications drones are being put to in other countries like France where fertiliser and pesticide application over cropped area is carried out via drones.
    • Requiring police clearance for every planned flight 24 hours prior to flight will prove a regulatory headache for delivery services

Way forward:-

  • India must also examine prevailing policy mechanisms in other countries to adopt their best practices as it formalises its regulatory framework. However, a point to be underlined is that guidelines alone are not sufficient so the key is ensuring implementation and compliance.

 


Topic–  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3) Tribal communities lag behind the general population on most health parameters. Critically Examine.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

Health is an important and probably one of the most critical indicator of development. Tribals are one of the most marginalized sections of Indian society and in this regard it is important to discuss in detail the reasons behind their poor health.

Directive word

Critically examine- Here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any. Based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to find out the reasons as to why the tribal population of India fares poor in most of the health parameters and then form a concluding and substantive opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  tribal communities in India, their proportion in the population and the environmental conditions in which they live.

Body-

Mention that health is an interplay of a number of social, political, cultural, environmental and genetic factors; Access to healthcare depends on a number of factors of which female literacy is an important determinant — it is instrumental in shaping a group’s healthcare seeking behaviour. According to the 2011 Census, the female literacy of Scheduled Tribes is 56.5 per cent; this is almost 10 per cent below the national rate and is one reason for tribal groups doing poorly on health parameters. Financial insecurity is another major cause of the ill-health of tribal people; The poor health of an ethnic group is very often a result of the exclusion of that group from a country’s national imagination; Exclusion and marginalisation of a group leads to poverty, which in turn makes people from such groups vulnerable to diseases. This holds true for India’s Scheduled Tribes as well; Moreover, some Scheduled Tribe communities are known to be vulnerable to specific diseases — people of Odisha’s Gond tribe, for example, are susceptible to sickle cell disease etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g Improving the health of Scheduled Tribes requires a multi-pronged approach. However, honest attempts at inclusion — politically, administratively and socially — should be behind all such endeavours. Measures to tackle group specific health issues and capacity building of a group in terms of improving their education and literacy, would go a long way in promoting their health.

Background:-

  • The health status of India’s tribal communities is in need of special attention. Being among the poorest and most marginalised groups in India, tribals experience extreme levels of health deprivation.
  • The tribal community lags behind the national average on several vital public health indicators, with women and children being the most vulnerable.

Tribal health parameters:-

  • According to the 2011 census, Scheduled Tribes form 8.6 per cent of the country’s populations. Many of these tribes live in the most inaccessible geographical regions of the country.
  • Less healthcare accessibility:-
    • In fact, in a study, published in The Lancet in May, India ranked 145 among 195 countries in terms of healthcare accessibility behind Bangladesh and Bhutan.
  • Access to healthcare depends on a number of factors of which female literacy is an important determinant as it is instrumental in shaping a group’s healthcare seeking behaviour.
    • According to the 2011 Census, the female literacy of Scheduled Tribes is 56.5 per cent this is almost 10 per cent below the national rate and is one reason for tribal groups doing poorly on health parameters.
  • Several studies on maternal health show poorer nutritional status, higher levels of morbidity and mortality, and lower utilisation of antenatal and postnatal services among tribals. 
  • Starvation deaths continue to be reported from tribal areas, including from advanced States like Kerala.
  • Health problems prevalent in tribal areas include endemic infectious diseases like malaria, tuberculosis, and diarrhoeal diseases, apart from malnutrition and anaemia.
  • Prevalence of chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus, hitherto rare in these populations, is rising, and stroke and heart disease are now the leading causes of death.
  • Some of the highest rates of tuberculosis in the country have been reported from the Sahariya tribe of Madhya Pradesh. Similarly, deaths due to malaria occur disproportionately among tribals

Reasons for inadequate health care for tribal population :-

  • Reasons for poor health Research has shown that 75 per cent of India’s tribal population defecates in the open and 33 per cent does not have access to a clean source of drinking water.
  • Insanitary conditions, ignorance, lack of health education and poor access to healthcare facilities are the main factors responsible for the poor health of tribals.
  • Further, displacement from their traditional forest homes and natural source of food and lack of livelihoods makes them dependent on the public distribution system (PDS) and other government handouts for survival. Most tribal groups are traditionally hunter-gatherers and not accustomed to agriculture their diets, therefore, are now severely limited in fruits and vegetables as well as good sources of protein (including fish and meat).
    • Polished rice and cereals available through the PDS have replaced diverse dietary food baskets.
  • Posts of doctors and paramedicals are often vacant.
  • Additionally, the non-availability of essential drugs and equipment, inadequate infrastructure, difficult terrain and constraints of distance and the lack of transport and communication facilities further hinder healthcare delivery.
  • The geographical and infrastructural challenges to public health and the lack of health-related knowledge among tribals are exploited by quacks (unqualified medical practitioners), who are often available at the doorstep. 
  • Levels of illiteracy are high, with 47 per cent in rural areas and 21.8 per cent in urban areas being unable to read and write. 
  • Financial insecurity is another major cause of the ill-health of tribal people.

Way forward:-

  • Traditional healers, who are often the first point of care, can be sensitised and trained to deliver simple interventions like ORS for diarrhoea and anti-malarials as well as to refer patients to the PHC in a timely manner.
  • Tribal boys and girls (who complete school but often have no further opportunities) could be trained as community health workers or nurses and incentivised to stay and work in their own communities.
    • A successful example is the ASHWINI Gudalur Adivasi hospital in the Nilgiris, where the management and most staff (except the doctors) are tribal.
  • Nutritional counselling and education, establishment of kitchen gardens and provision of a more diverse range of food items through the PDS would help in curtailing macro and micronutrient deficiencies.
  • More research needs to be done on the traditional herbal medicines used by tribal people and their use encouraged, wherever beneficial.
  • Tribals right to good healthcare must be addressed using modern technology and innovative approaches and most importantly, by involving the community in developing solutions for their problems.
  • There are many successful examples of good healthcare delivery in remote tribal areas in India. These models need to be scaled up in order to improve the lives of the most vulnerable and marginalised citizens of India.

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

4) An uncertain policy environment and the lack of supporting infrastructure are major roadblocks to adoption of Electric Vehicles in India. Analyze.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article examines the challenges faced by electric vehicle sector in India. The article delves into the policy and infrastructure loopholes that hasn’t allowed the sector to grow at the pace necessary. Since PM has targeted unleashing an era of electric mobility, the topic is important for mains.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the status of electric vehicles sector in India, the issues and challenges faced by them, evaluate whether the slow growth can be attributed to the policy and infrastructural lacunae. Thereafter, we need to provide a way forward as to how the performance of this sector can be bettered.

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 – Mention that India wants to create a robust and affordable electric mobility ecosystem comprising production facilities and a large network of charging points to achieve three key strategic goals—cutting down carbon emissions, creating new job opportunities and reduce use of crude oil, about 80% of the requirement of which is met through imports. The goal is to have 30% electric vehicles by 2030.

Body

  • Discuss the status quo with respect to electric vehicles and highlight the challenges faced – EV market currently has one of the lowest penetration rates in the world.
  • Discuss the challenges – Capital costs are high and the payoff is uncertain; India’s limited ability to manufacture cost effective batteries, requirement of raw materials like Li and Co; inadequate battery charging infrastructure etc
  • Analyze the reasons behind these challenges. Scrutinize government’s policies related to this sector to come to a conclusion whether policy lacunae are partly to blame – frequent shifting of targets and uncertain future of FAME, high rate of GST on EVs when government is trying to promote EVs, lack of attention on building charging infrastructure etc.
  • Discuss how the situation can be improved such through policies such as treating the entire EV sector as one close knit ecosystem driven by models of sustainable generation and consumptions, clarifying policies under FAME II etc

Conclusion – Give your view on where improvement in needed and end on a hopeful note that with firm policy direction and robust infrastructure, we can hope to improve on our current situation.

Background:-

  • In order to achieve emission targets, overhauling the transport sector is a key imperative, as it accounts for about 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions .In this regard, electric vehicles (EVs), both battery EVs and plug-in hybrid EVs, are seen as the silver lining, for they can help reduce carbon footprint, lower operating costs and are more energy-efficient.
  • Globally, EV sales have already surpassed 1 million in numbers supported by their growing familiarity, improvements in driving range, fall in battery prices, along with the availability of tax and other incentives.
  • Electric vehicles (EVs) are growing in popularity and certainly in mind space. They are cleaner and more efficient, easy to maintain and there is an advantage of regenerative braking. On the whole it is a package to fight against climate change and global warming as green house gas emissions are reduced .

Problems with current Electric vehicles model in India:-

  • Most worries hinge on battery costs and manufacturer readiness. Also at current the electric vehicles take longer time to charge than conventional vehicles. Batteries make up 50% of EV costs. 
  • A more India-specific concern will be that of the electricity gridas there are doubts when it can successfully handle the demand.
  • India needs to focus on ecosystem EV because the present system does not help environment as most power comes from coal-fired power
  • Will use solar photovoltaics (PV) to charge EVs. This means that Renewable energy may at best contribute some fraction of energy at different times but with personal vehicles and public transport mostly charged at night solar energy advantage as an alternative is constrained.
  • The main challenge to growth is the need to build adequate infrastructure for charging EVs, which is bound to take time.
  • Impact of rupee depreciation:-
    • Local production of inputs for EVs is at just about 35% of total input production. Companies that are in the midst of processing orders for electric cars and buses will now see their production severely affected in terms of production costs.
    • Indian EV market currently has one of the lowest penetration rates in the world. 
  • Policy volatility:-
    • E-mobility is a nascent industry in India and in most countries, for that matter. Capital costs are high and the payoff is uncertain.
    • Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) and Electric Vehicles (Fame) framework has been extended repeatedly. Fame II, which, until recently, was to have been launched has been put on hold. 
    • While electric vehicles are taxed at 12% under the goods and services tax (GST), batteries are taxed at 18%.
  • Technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability.
  • International experiences:-
    • There have been some concerns about previous experiences in China and Israel. But these models were meant for personal cars andwere costly. Besides, lack of marketing, proper execution and mismanagement led to the failure of the promising EV start-up in Israel Better Place. The subsidy structure also became distorted, favouring large batteries.
  • Policies have to be developed to facilitate the indigenization of battery assembly, and manufacture of EVs and their basic components. Currently, there are distortions with the goods and services tax (GST). The GST rate on batteries is 28%, while it is 12% for electric vehicles.
  • Coordination among various stakeholders:
    • EVs, unlike ICE vehicles, involve several actors at the national, State and city levels, respectively
    • Multiple ministries such as Road Transport and Highways, Housing and Urban Affairs, Heavy Industries, Power, New and Renewable Energy, External Affairs as well as national institutes such as NITI Aayog should work together.
    • State and city-level players need to be involved so as to address several technical and infrastructural needs.
  • Charging infrastructure:
    • Charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in India has not been fully developed yet. 
    • EV charging is more than just using electricity. It involves exchange of informationrequiring a communication protocol. 
    • The absence of a standard global infrastructure is a major deterrent for EV penetration in India, as creating infrastructure can be cost-intensive. 
    • The government needs to select or develop appropriate and safe charging technology that avoids multiplicity and reduces the cost of infrastructure.
  • Localization issues :-
    • India does not have any known reserves of lithium and cobalt, which makes it entirely dependent on imports of lithium-ion batteries from Japan and China.

Way forward :-

  • EVs and the grid can have enormous synergy.
    • Not only can EVs charge whenever there is “surplus” power, they have a battery useful for absorbing variable renewable energy. They can even offer backup power for the grid.
  • Time-of-day pricing(cheap charging when power is surplus)is missing today. Without this, India cannot have signalling to purposely make demand vary to match supply conditions. Such responsiveness is a hallmark of the “future grid”
  • EVs can and should use Renewable energy as much as possible as it helps in cleaning the environment.
  • India could compensate cleaner vehicles through reduced registration charges, or even aim for mandating EVs for taxis and selected (urban) public transport vehicles.
  • There are other ways to spur EVs, including dedicated charging spots, and discounted or free parking.
  • The long-run goal isn’t just to make vehicles electric but to reduce personal driving. This means urban redesign for walking/biking, more shared services, and more and better public transport 
  • The government mainly needs to create the right frameworks and help overcome “network effect” problems, covering both the grid and charging infrastructure.
  • To meet India’s demands for batteries  amid a global surge in electric vehicle demand, the entire mineral supply chain needs to be overhauled and expanded
    • In order to avoid a scenario like the one that played during the oil crises of the 1970s  it is imperative that India secure mineral supplies for its domestic industry by acquisition of overseas assets such as mineral reserves and the associated production.
    • India has long-term trade relations with lithium-producing countries in Latin America through preferential trade agreements (PTAs).  
    • India needs to formulate policies incentivising domestic public and private mining companies to invest in overseas lithium mining assets.
    • Reducing the battery size and adopting “swappable” battery technology are other alternatives
  • India does need to have a low-emission vehicle policy, one that surrounds alternative energy sources such as bio-gas and bio-diesel.
  • Because hybrids are a mesh of existing and future technologiesand do not require the establishment of charging infrastructure, although popularising plug-in hybrids that can be charged both from their own engines and the grid, will actually help in the gradual seeding of such infrastructure before a shift to electric vehicles.
  • Focus on wireless rangingas it allows for significantly smaller batteries or the ability to travel longer distances with a larger battery.
  • Efficiency in terms of total cost per kilometre, not capital costs or larger batteries, should be incentivized
  • Ideally, the best course would be to select five smart cities with the objective of fully electrifying their public transportation as well as 50% of their two-wheelers by 2025.
  • Figuring out the best mode forward:
    • Different countries have different approaches to increase the EV penetration.
    • For example China has focused on Electric busesas catalyst for EV penetration.
    • On the other hand, Netherlands has captured the EV market using a simple yet well-crafted strategy of creating charging infrastructureand encouraging investment in charging technology. It’s a major exporter of this technology too.
  • Hence, the impact on employment in the wake of shift to Electric vehicles needs to be thoroughly studied. Bold initiatives and robust investments in technological research are required to turn its EV dream into reality.

Topic – Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

5) Discuss the status, achievements and challenges that remain as the Swachh Bharat Mission enters into its final stage?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The article discusses the achievements made under SBM, the challenges that remain still and the way forward for the mission, as it enters into its final year. Since the Mission is one of the focus areas of the government and it is entering into its final year of implementation, it would do well to prepare about the status, achievements and challenges of the mission.

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand. It expects us to explain what SBM is and thereafter, discuss the status of projects under SBM, the achievements of the mission, the challenges faced and the way forward.

Directive word

Discuss – In your discussion, you need to bring out points to highlight the status, achievements and challenges of SBM.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain the target under SBM and mention that it is to be achieved by 2019.

Body

  • Discuss the status quo – 24 States have become open-defecation free. The number of toilets built is 8.6 crore. Sanitation coverage has gone up from 39% when we started four years ago to over 93% today. What is even more significant is that, according to the most recent independent survey, as part of a World Bank-supported project, the usage of the toilets is 93% etc
  • Discuss the achievements – programme has really caught on as a jan andolan . It has become a ‘people’s movement’. It has captured the imagination of the country. It has addressed centuries-old practices on open defecation, and it has had major health and economic impact. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report has said that by the time Swachh Bharat ends in 2019, more than 3,00,000 lives would have been saved, behavioural change programme that is at the heart of Swachh Bharat — there is evidence that it is really working.
  • Discuss with the help of your wide reading, as well as points from the article, the lacunae that remains in the programme – a rush to achieve targets, faulty infrastructure, clearing sludge etc

Conclusion – Give your opinion on the achievement under this mission and what more needs to be done in the remaining year to ensure that we truly manage to create an ODF India.

Background:-

  • Swachh Bharat Mission is a campaign which was launched on 2 October 2014, and aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019, and is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns. Its predecessors were the “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” and before that the “Total Sanitation Campaign”.
  • Recent Parliamentary Committee report clearly says this programme is unlikely to make India open-defecation free. The rationale of the 51st Standing Committee on Rural Development report is that even a village with 100 per cent household toilets cannot be declared open defecation-free till all the inhabitants start using them.

The success of the scheme has been in the following areas :-

  • A sense of responsibility has been evoked among the people through the Clean India Movement. With citizens now becoming active participants in cleanliness activities across the nation, the dream of a ‘Clean India’ once seen by Mahatma Gandhi has begun to get a shape.
  • Facts:-
    • In the short span of three years, about 50 million toilets have been constructed in rural India, increasing the coverage from 39% to 69% now; another 3.8 million have sprung up in cities and towns and another 1.4 million are presently under construction
    • So far, 248,000 villages have been revived from the disgrace of open defecation; 203 districts, over one-third of the total, have banished open defecation.
    • 24 States have become open-defecation free. The number of toilets built is 8.6 crore. Sanitation coverage has gone up from 39% from four years ago to over 93% today. 
  • States:-
    • Five States have declared themselves Open Defecation Free (ODF) in rural areas: Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Haryana.
  • SBM is not a campaign to just clean India, but has a much deeper significance:-
    • If successful, this campaign can transform the lives of Indian women, bringing in its scope issues of women’s safety, their access to higher education and will even challenge the caste system.
  • It has addressed centuries-old practices on open defecation, and it has had major health and economic impact. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report has said that by the time Swachh Bharat ends in 2019, more than 3,00,000 lives would have been saved.
  • The government has been working on developing an army of foot soldiers called swachhagrahis, grass-root level motivators trained in community approaches and they go out to trigger behavioural change. They get their communities to accept responsibility and accountability. 
  • There is also focus on ‘ODF plus’, which is about solid and liquid waste management and swachhata in general.

However many issues and stigma remain:-

  • Purity and pollution:-
    • The key reason for this is that basic latrines that need to be emptied out manually or pumped by simple machines are unacceptable to higher caste Hindus.
    • It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability. So people rather defecate in open than having a toilet at home.
    • It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste.
    • Even if the government builds free toilets without any leakage or corruption, India will at best have 80 million new toilets that a large proportion of Indians do not want to use.
  • Contract labour :-
    • Municipalities began to employ more contractual labourers mostly scavengers forced into the profession by their caste to remove waste.
    • The sanitation campaign burdens the contractual labourer with an ‘exclusive’ right to cleaning public spaces, while making it a voluntary act for the ‘public’ to not defecate, urinate or litter in random spaces. This reinforces the marginalization and stigmatization of such labourers.
  • The Swachh Bharat campaign hardly addresses a reworking of the underground sewerage system due to which many such labourers have died recently while cleaning jammed manholes that open into the sewerage system etc.
  • The rate of open defecation is not decreasing much:-
    • India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP per capita. For example, India has a higher GDP per capita than Bangladesh, but in Bangladesh only 8.4% households defecate in the open, compared to 55% in India.
  • Funds unspent:-
    • Centre has literally forgotten to spend the money earmarked to promote the use of toilets, a concern raised in the State of India’s Environment in Figure: 2018.
    • Centre has also failed to exhaust its budget for Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin. This, despite the fact, that the budget for the scheme has seen a dipover the past year. 
  • Implementation issues:-
    • Sanitation coverage figures seemed to be more on paper but the actual progress at the ground level is very lethargic. Behavioural change is still a distant reality.
  • Quality:-
    • Standing committee has also raised questions over the construction quality of toilets and said that the government is counting non-functional toilets, leading to inflated data. 
  • Unable to reach target:-
    • Access to free toilets has not helped resolve open defecation in India.The programme is unlikely to succeed in its primary task of eliminating open defecation by October 2019

 Suggestions :-

  • Parliamentary Committee recommends the government to review its data time to time and delete the number of defunct toilets from the list to have a real picture of constructed and functional toilets in the country.
  • Concentrating on developing sewage system makes Swachh Bharat a success:-
    • Deeply entrenched cultural contexts must be taken into account for successful policy outcomes. India needs to change perceptions of ritual purity through education and awareness in rural areas. This can be done by investing in sewage systems.
  • Enabling local governments to construct sewage systems will solve the purity issue :-
    • A toilet that flushes away human waste into the sewage and waste management system solves the problem. If there is a functional sewage system, it is relatively low cost for households to build a toilet in every home that is connected to the sewage system. 
    • Developing proper sewage system in village would also have wider impact with water not stagnating any more, lesser vector borne diseases etc so the wider objective of sanitation will be achieved.
    • Modernising the sewer lines and septic tanks and investing money and energy on smart techniques of sanitation
    • Also it would not put stress on manual scavengingand this occupation can slowly fade away giving sense of dignity and equality to the most vulnerable sections.
  • Mohalla toilets:-
    • Villages have very small houses and much clustered places where there is no place to construct toilets. The ideal solution is to have mohalla toilets designated to each house where people will keep their toilet clean by seeing others. One advantage is that when the toilets are outside the home, there will be a peer pressure to keep it clean.
  • There should be a proper databaseabout what are the requirements in a particular area because we cannot force a toilet in a house where there is no place.
  • For India constructing toilets is like a social work and not a development work. Once it is seen as a development work with country’s image, then the thrust will come and the people will realise how important it is and we should not lag behind other countries.
  • In schools it is the responsibility of the teachers and they have to be oriented to ensure that the child knows about hygiene which also includes knowing how to use a toilet.

Conclusion:-

  • Pursuit of Swachh Bharat also requires strengthening public health services. Services such as good drainage systems, absence of swamps and ponds that are home to stagnant water, and the supply of safe drinking water all of which reduce exposure to and spread of diseases  are classic examples of public goods and require effective government intervention. 

General Studies – 3


Topic -Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

6) Excessive input subsidies have caused large-scale inefficiencies in the agriculture system. Critically analyze.(250 words) 

Indian express

Why this question

India is largely an agricultural country in that 48% of the population is still dependent on agriculture, although the contribution of agriculture to GDP is around 16% only. In this sense it is important to analyze how input subsidies in agriculture impact the agriculture system in the country.

Directive word

Critically 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. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about India’s agriculture. E.g its contribution to GDP, population still dependent on agriculture etc.

Body-

  1. Mention that  public capital formation in agriculture has been declining from 3.9 percent of agri-GDP in 1980-81 to 2.2 per cent in 2014-15 — it recovered to 2.6 per cent in 2016-17 — while input subsidies on fertilisers, water, power, crop insurance and agri-credit have risen from 2.8 percent to 8 percent of the agricultural GDP during the same period.
  2. Discuss how input subsidies in agriculture have impacted the overall agriculture system. E.g the rapid increase in input subsidies has squeezed public investments in agriculture; excessive input subsidies have caused large-scale inefficiencies in the agriculture system. For example, fertiliser subsidies, especially on urea, have led to the imbalanced use of soil nutrients. The subsidy on irrigation water has resulted in an inefficient use of scarce water. Highly subsidised power has led to over-exploitation of groundwater. Subsidy on the interest rates on crop loans has diverted substantial amounts of agri-credit to non-agricultural use. Although the new crop insurance scheme, PMFBY, has dramatically reduced the burden of premium paid by farmers, its effective implementation and the quick settlement of claims into farmers’ accounts remains a challenge etc

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g investment in public irrigation is very expensive, as it involves long lags, and the gap between the potential created and potential utilised has increased over time. To give higher returns, this leaky system must be fixed, it should be made more transparent and the gap between potential created and utilised bridge; Second, the present system of delivering subsidies through the pricing policy needs to be shifted to an income policy, which could be well-targeted, and leakages minimised— on the lines of JAM trinity; Third, investments need to be prioritised towards agricultural research and development, roads and education etc.

Background:-

  • India subsidizes agricultural inputs in an attempt to keep farm costs low and production high. GOI’s intended result is for farmers to benefit from lower costs, but also for them to pass some of the savings on to the consumers in the form of lower food prices

Excessive input subsidies affected agriculture system adversely:-

  • The main policy instruments to support farmers in India include subsidised fertiliser, power, agri-credit and crop insurance on the input side, loan waivers and minimum support prices for major crops on the output front. But a recent study done jointly by OECD and ICRIER estimated that trade and marketing policies of India have inflicted a huge negative price support to Indian farmers.
  • According to the OECD study the producer support estimate (PSE) for India works out to be a negative 14% of gross farm receipts for the period 2000-01 to 2016-17, primarily because of restrictive policies (minimum export prices, export bans or export duties) and domestic marketing policies (due to Essential Commodities Act, APMC, etc).
  • Input subsidies have resulted in overutilization of inputs. This overutilization has in turn led to soil degradation, soil nutrient imbalance, environmental harm, and groundwater depletion, all of which have caused decreased effectiveness of inputs.
  • Additionally, input subsidies distort trade by increasing net exports of input intensive commodities while decreasing net exports of commodities which require relatively fewer inputs.
  • Marginal returns on subsidies are way below those from investments. The results show that expenditure incurred on agri-R&E (research and education), roads or education are 5 to 10 times more powerful in alleviating poverty or increasing agri-GDP than similar expenditure made on input subsidies. 
  • Over time a rapid increase in input subsidies has squeezed public investments in agriculture. Excessive input subsidies have caused large scale inefficiencies in the agri-system.
    • For example, fertiliser subsidies, especially on urea, have led to an imbalanced use of soil nutrients.
  • Subsidies on irrigation water have resulted in the inefficient use of scarce water.
  • Highly subsidised power to agriculture has led to over-exploitation of ground water. Subsidies on interest rates on crop loans has diverted substantial amounts of agri-credit to non-agricultural usage.
  • Although the new crop insurance scheme, PMFBY, has dramatically reduced the burden of premiums that are paid by farmers, its effective implementation and quick settlement of claims into farmers accounts remains a challenge.
  • Weak Producer – Consumer Linkages:
    • There is a disconnect amongst what the Indian farmer produces and what the consumer demands. The farmer is not connected to aggregators, food processors and retail chains to help shape the nature of his produce.
    • As a result, produce remains the same annually, largely dependent on farmers and is often driven by the government’s MSP program. 
  • Weak Supplier Power:
    • The farmer is barely empowered as a supplier. He continues to be small & marginal, inadequately resourced, ill-informed on markets and marketing, ill-equipped to manage risk, burdened with credit & debts and is dependent on traders to reach the buyers.
  • Agriculture market is primarily governed by APMC act.
    • The dominant role of middlemen among others is primarily responsible for farmers not realising a reasonable price for their produce, lowering farm income and profitability
  • Growth in grain yields has not matched increases in demand, nor has it resulted in efficient input usage. Farmers do not have the incentive to improve input productivity and have thus become dependent on the subsidies to sustain their production and incomes.
  • The subsidy system is also causing the misallocation of resources, which may reduce India’s ability to meet its future food demand. 
  • Subsidies also result in detrimental environmental impacts due to resource overuse, as farmers have no incentive to use freely available resources efficiently.

Benefits of Input subsidies:-

  • India’s agricultural input subsidy policies have fostered yield gains and even surpluses.
  • The Indian Government provides free electricity and water for farmers, as well as subsidised seed, chemical inputs and transport. It also guarantees purchase by the government of all wheat and rice produced. This agricultural regime has certainly resulted in increased agricultural production
  • Agricultural input subsidies and the Green Revolution prevented famine in many parts of India.

Way forward :-

  • Developing a policy on processed and value-added food exports can help India capture the expanding global market.
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food & Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) recent report forecast a declining global prices outlook for India’s major agriculture export commodities like rice, sugar and cotton among others. This, along with a need to increase agricultural exports, calls for a diversification of the country’s export basket.
  • Agriculture focused Export Oriented Units (EOUs):-
    • Domestic policies like MSP, rather than the global demand-supply scenario, are driving farmers’ sowing decisions. A policy that focuses on developing Agricultural EOUs can help India overcome this trend and increase its export basket.
    • These EOUs can focus on agricultural products that have a high demand in global markets, even if they are not consumed locally in large quantities. The successes of shrimp and beef exports are good examples on which to lay the foundation for such policies.
  • Supporting Pulses and Oilseeds Production:-
    • Domestic support, in the form of government procurement and reactive foreign trade policies, is required for oilseeds and pulses. Policy support will ensure a consistent increase in area sown and production, thereby reducing the country’s reliance on imports.
  • Developing Agricultural Infrastructure:-
    • India lags in the area of agricultural infrastructure, an effective policy for which will enhance crop production and yields. Greater production will enhance exports. Increased production of oilseeds and pulses will help reduce the agricultural import bill.
    • An infrastructure development policy along with crop production will also provide support to the processed and value-added food products industry (e.g. better cold-chain facilities).
  • The smarter way to support agriculture and alleviate rural poverty would have been to invest in agriculture at a faster rate than the growth of subsidies.
  • The present system of delivering subsidies through a price policy needs to be shifted to an income policy which would be well targeted and minimise leakages, something along the lines of the JAM trinity.
  • Investments need to be prioritised towards agri-R&D, roads and education :-
    • Interestingly now at a global level the private sector is leading in agri-R&D. If India needs to access that technology, it needs to develop a proper IPR regime which is in the interest of farmers as well as investors.
    • India has a lesson to learn from China in this aspect too. ChemChina, a PSU, has taken over Syngenta Corporation for $43 billion, which is a leading player in crop protection and seeds.
  • Comprehensive vision document to promote and establish direct linkages between growers and consumers:
    • A policy framework that promotes structured, direct linkages between professional aggregators, food chain collaborators, food processors with large FPOs/Land Banks will reduce uncertainties drastically. This will ensure a fair share of the value created at the terminal end insuring the farmer from concentrated risk.
  • ICRIER study recommended a host of policy reforms such as phasing out the built-in consumer bias, create space for private players to have access to integrated markets, and using income transfers to protect both poor consumers and small farmers. It also suggested creating a predictable and stable trade policy.
  • Committee on Doubling Farmers Income under the chairmanship of Ashok Dalwai has recommended :-
    • Rolling out the model Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) Act 2017 which would facilitate single-point levy of taxes
    • Promote direct interface between farmers and end-users
    • Give freedom to farmers to sell their produce to whomsoever and wherever they get better prices.

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) Is There A Difference Between Ethics And Morality. 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 in detail about the difference between ethics and morality.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the relationship between the terms ethics and morality. E.g mention that the terms are often used interchangeably.

Body-

Discuss in points the difference between ethics and morality. E.g

  1. Ethics focuses on the decision-making process for determining right and wrong, which sometimes is a matter of weighing the pros and cons or the competing values and interest. Morality is a code of behavior usually based on religious tenets, which often inform our ethical decisions.
  2. Morals come from within. One’s own internal compass. Ethics are more extrinsic rule sets to guide us all.
  3. Ethics deals with codes of conduct set my policies in the workplace and morality is the standards that we individually set for ourselves in regards to right and wrong.
  4. Ethics is a set of principles developed purposefully over time. Morality is something one feels intuitively.
  5. Ethics is a map of how one makes choices. Morality is an established code that can be used to judge behavior.
  6. Ethics contains standards of what should be. What we “ought” to do. Morality is more of what we do – how we actually behave – focused on what “is” etc.

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

 

Answer :-

Ethics refer to rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in religions. Morals refer to an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong. Laws, on the other hand, reflect the collective conscience of a nation. As such, they apply uniformly to all who fall within their jurisdiction.

Ethics   shows them the distinction between truth and a falsehood. It makes us aware of the wrongness and rightness of our actions. Ethics enables us to think in moral terms and upgrades us in moral terms. It helps us in raising our moral standard. 

Ethics are external standards that are provided by institutions, groups, or culture to which an individual belongs. Morals are also influenced by culture or society, but they are personal principles created and upheld by individuals themselves.

Consistency and Flexibility

  • Ethics are very consistent within a certain context, but can vary greatly between contexts. For example, the ethics of the medical profession in the 21st century are generally consistent and do not change from hospital to hospital, but they are different from the ethics of the 21st century legal profession.
  • An individual’s moral code is usually unchanging and consistent across all contexts, but it is also possible for certain events to radically change an individual’s personal beliefs and values.

A person strictly following Ethical Principles may not have any Morals at all.

Likewise, one could violate Ethical Principles within a given system of rules in order to maintain Moral integrity.

A Moral Person although perhaps bound by a higher covenant, may choose to follow a code of ethics as it would apply to a system. Ethics are governed by professional and legal guidelines within a particular time and place. Morality transcends cultural norms.