SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 MAY 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 MAY 2019


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.


TopicCommunalismregionalism secularism.

1) How does religion influence politics in India? Critically analyse in the light of recent 2019 report of  United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. (250 words)

The hindu

why this question:

Recently The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, in its 2019 report has stated that there is an “overall deterioration of religious freedom conditions in 2018” in India. Thus the question becomes important to ponder from the point of view of GS paper I.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must evaluate the link between religion and politics in Indian case and how is different from other countries of the world, also discuss why is India often being criticized to fall in Tier II category, conclude with way forward.

Directive word

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

In a few introductory lines explain the background of the report findings.

Body

Discuss the following dimensions in the answer:

  • Quote the findings of the report about India – According to the Commission, India continues to remain a Tier 2 country, a list it has been unable to get off of since 2009.
  • In India, religious freedom is declining, apart from increased securitization and politicization of religion.
  • Also discuss that Tenzin Dorjee, Commission Chairperson gave a dissenting view and argued that India is an open society with a robust democratic and judiciary system where religious harmony exists.
  • Explain the correlation of religion and politics in India ? How does religion influence politics in India? Discuss pros and cons – The religion based politics ideology and mass mobilization have always challenged secular forces in Indian society.
  • Many people vote on the basis of religion and to the person belonging to their religion. In my view religion based politics is harmful, it divides the citizens.
  • Discuss the constitutional provisions.
  • Analyse the findings of the report – discuss shortcomings if any.
  • Suggest what needs to be done?

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan, independent federal government commission has said that there is an “overall deterioration of religious freedom conditions in 2018” in India, in its 2019 report released earlier this week. India continues to remain a Tier 2 country, according to the Commission, a list it has been unable to get off of since 2009.

Body:

Tier 2 countries are those in which “violations engaged in or tolerated by the government during 2018 are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of the ‘systematic, ongoing, and egregious” CPC (Country of Particular Concern) standard.

India- specific Key findings:

  • India saw an “overall deterioration of religious freedom conditions in 2018”.
  • India continues to remain a Tier II country. It is in same list since 2009. Tier II countries are those in which violations engaged in or tolerated by government are serious and characterized by at least one of the elements of systematic, ongoing, and egregious (horrible)’.
  • India is facing declining religious freedom, apart from increased securitisation and politicisation of religion.
  • It is increasingly becoming difficult to separate religion and politics. It is a tactic which is sometimes intended by those who seek to discriminate against certain religious communities.
  • Over the last decade Minorities conditions have deteriorated in country. The reason is attributed to extremist groups, anti-conversion laws, cow-protection groups, mob lynching, concerns that millions from Assam will be incorrectly left out of NRC (National Register of Citizen) and a denying international NGOs registration.

Correlation of religion and politics in India:

  • Religion and Politics are intertwined and are integral parts of our society. It is a type of identity politics that is produced through the development of a community on the shared link of religion.
  • Religion and caste have always played a very dominating role in Indian politics but since the past few years, religion has overtaken caste to become the No.1 issue for vote bank politics.
  • Unlike western secularism where religion is totally separated from politics Indian secularism treats all religions equally.
  • A majority of Indians prefer political leaders from their own caste, tribe or religion, according to a 2018 study.
  • Politicians in order to win the confidence of the public, take the support of their religion, they build temples, give donations to various social organizations on the name of caste and religion, give religion influential speeches, etc.
  • The rise of Hindu national decisiveness, politics of representational government, persistence of communal perceptions, and competition for the socio-economic resources are considered some of the reasons for the generation of communal beliefs and their change into major riots.
  • Identity schemes based on religion have become a major source of skirmish not only in the international background but since the early 1990s it has also become a challenge for Indian democracy and secularism.
  • The report says conditions for minorities in India have deteriorated over the last decade, adding that a “multifaceted campaign by Hindu nationalist groups like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Sangh Parivar, and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus is a significant contributor to the rise of religious violence and persecution.”
  • It calls out the role of Hindutva/Hindu extremist groups, India’s anti-conversion laws, cow-protection lynch mobs, concerns that millions from Assam will be incorrectly left out of the National Register of Citizens and a lack of transparency on denying international NGOs registration and political targeting of NGOs.

However, the Chairperson of Commission, Tenzin Dorjee gave a dissenting view. He argued that India is an open society with a robust democratic and judiciary system where religious harmony exists. He cited “positive developments” like communal attacks dropped by 12 % in 2018 from 2017 levels, a 12% increase in budget of Ministry of Minority Affairs and Supreme Court’s push for a 11-point plan to counter mob violence

The Supreme Court had ruled that Section 123 (3) of the Representatives of People Act prohibits any candidate, his agent, or any person consented by such candidate or his agent, from soliciting votes, or discouraging voters against voting for a rival candidate, on grounds of religion, race, caste, community or language, by declaring such conduct as a ‘corrupt practice’.

Conclusion:

The constitutional provision of Secularism must be upheld to maintain the plurality of India. The political parties must be sensitized to stay off communal activities barring which the Election Commission should take penal actions.


TopicStatutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

2) Discuss the roles and responsibilities of National Anti-Profiteering Authority as a quasi- judicial body in ensuring transparency in the trading industry post GST roll out.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is to analyse the roles and objectives of the quasi-judicial body of National Anti-Profiteering Authority.

Demand of the question:

This answer is straightforward and direct- one must list down the objectives of National Anti-Profiteering Authority in ensuring transparency and how the institutional mechanism under GST law acts to check the unfair profit-making activities by the trading community.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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

Start with brief introduction on National Anti-Profiteering Authority.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • Explain the composition of National Anti-Profiteering Authority.
  • Evolution of NAA.
  • Vision and Mission of NAA – is the institutional mechanism under GST law to check the unfair profit-making activities by the trading community. The Authority’s core function is to ensure that the benefits of the reduction is GST rates on goods and services made by GST Council and proportional change in the Input tax credit passed on to the ultimate consumers and recipient respectively by way of reduction in the prices by the suppliers.
  • Key functions of the authority – to ensure that traders are not realizing unfair profit by charging high price from consumers in the name of GST.to examine and check such profiteering activities and recommend punitive actions including cancellation of Registration.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of the body.

Introduction:

The National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA) is a statutory body constituted under Section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017. It is to ensure the reduction in rate of tax or the benefit of input tax credit is passed on to the recipient by way of commensurate reduction in prices.

Body:

Profiteering:

  • Profiteering means unfair profit realized by traders by manipulating prices, tax rate adjustment etc.
  • In the context of the newly launched GST, profiteering means that traders are not reducing the prices of the commodities when the GST Council reduces the tax rates of commodities and services.
  • Conventionally, several traders will have a strong tendency to quickly increase the price of a commodity whose tax rate has been increased.
  • But on the opposite side, they may delay the price reduction of a commodity whose tax rate has been cut by the government.
  • A delayed or postponed price reduction helps business firms to make higher profit. The losers here are the consumers.

Roles and Responsibilities of NAA:

  • The Authority’s core function is to ensure that traders are not realizing unfair profit by charging high price from the consumers in the name of GST.
  • It ensures that the benefits of the reduction is GST rates on goods and services made by GST Council and proportional change in the Input tax credit passed on to the ultimate consumers and recipient respectively by way of reduction in the prices by the suppliers.
  • Traders may charge high price from the consumers by naming the GST factor.
  • Similarly, they may not make quick and corresponding price reduction when the GST Council makes tax cut. All these constitute profiteering.
  • The responsibility of the NAA is to examine and check such profiteering activities and recommend punitive actions including cancellation of licenses.

NAA has taken the following steps for customers get the full benefit of tax cuts:

  • Holding regular meetings with the Zonal Screening Committees and the Chief Commissioners of Central Tax to stress upon consumer awareness programs.
  • Launching a helpline to resolve the queries of citizens regarding registration of complaints against profiteering.
  • Receiving complaints through email and NAA portal.
  • Working with consumer welfare organizations to facilitate outreach activities.
  • A number of complaints regarding companies not passing on the full benefits of tax cuts to consumers have been received by the National Anti-Profiteering Authority (NAA).

Conclusion:

The National Anti-profiteering Authority (NAA) is the institutional mechanism under GST law to check the unfair profit-making activities by the trading community. It helps in furthering the benefits of one-nation, one-tax to the consumer level.


Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3) The listing of Masood Azhar as a global terrorist has opened new phase in India-China relations. Analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The United Nations Security Council recently has designated JeM Chief, Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifted its technical hold on his listing under the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee. The JeM itself was sanctioned by the 1267 Committee in 2001. The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, UK and the US on February 27.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to analyse the implications and significance of the move upon India- China relations in coming future.

Directive word:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, 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:

Begin with brief on the recent happenings around declaring JeM Chief, Masood Azhar as a global terrorist.

Body:

Discussion should include the following aspects –

  • Past attempts by India to designate Masood Azhar a global terrorist: India had initiated the move in UN to list him as global terrorist in 2009. However, on all occasions China, a veto-wielding permanent member of the Security Council, blocked the proposals from being adopted by the Sanctions Committee.
  • Recent developments: Now, the 1267 Sanctions Committee of UN has designated Masood Azhar, as a UN proscribed terrorist. The recent proposal was the fourth attempt by India.
  • Reason for china not using Veto: It appears that China has responded to the growing global concern in relation to Jihadi terror, most recently seen in Sri Lanka.
  • Discuss the significance of the move to India – China relations ; take cues from the article.
  • Discuss what is the way ahead for India?

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such move.

Introduction:

The United Nations Security Council has designated JeM Chief, Masood Azhar as a global terrorist after China lifted its technical hold on his listing under the UNSC 1267 sanctions committee. The JeM itself was sanctioned by the 1267 Committee in 2001. The proposal to designate Azhar under the 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council was moved by France, UK and the US on February 27.

Body:

India’s previous attempts:

  • In the last 10 years, China has repeatedly blocked India’s listing proposals at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1267 sanctions committee to designate Azhar as a global terrorist.
  • Beijing blocked it for the first time in 2009, after India had moved the proposal in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attack.
  • In February 2016, after the Pathankot attack, India put forward a fresh proposal. China intervened at Pakistan’s behest and placed a technical hold on India’s move, and did so again in October 2016.
  • It subsequently used its veto power to block the proposal in December 2016, a day before the end of the technical hold.
  • After the February 14 Pulwama attack, claimed by the JeM, the government had made the listing of Azhar a focus in its diplomatic efforts.
  • It reached out to several governments, and shared a dossier on Azhar with each member of the Security Council, who are all members of the 1267 ISIL and al-Qaeda sanctions committee.
  • Despite weeks of a diplomatic campaign after the Pulwama terror attack, China’s decision to place a “hold” on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) listing of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist had come as a setback to India.

Reasons for not blocking this time:

  • A major reason was the sustained international pressure by India, the US, Britain and France. It had become untenable for China to continuously withstand growing international pressure not to blindly support Azhar.
  • There was even a threat to put the question of blacklisting Azhar to a public vote – a move that would have been very embarrassing for China.
  • China’s decision to drop its objection to the UN listing Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Masood Azhar as a terrorist reflects its growing frustration with Pakistan’s use of terror masterminds as strategic assets.
  • Experts say it was a move to shield from growing criticism that China supports terror infrastructure.

Impact of India-China relations:

  • The move helps remove a key irritant in China-India ties and it may help the process of stabilising relations between the two.
  • The move is also significant as it removes the suspicion between the two.
  • Sino-Indian relations have improved since the Doklam confrontation in 2017. The Wuhan “spirit,” the supposed positive outcome of the informal summit at Wuhan between Modi and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, is credited with improving relations between the two countries.
  • India can now bring up any problems it has with Pakistan in the conversations it has with China.
  • The collaborative efforts to fight terrorism as seen in various multilateral groupings like BRICS, SCO where both India and China are members can now be accelerated.
  • The bilateral trade between the countries will continue to grow smoothly.
  • However, there are irritants which need to be worked upon viz. Belt and Road Initiative to which India refuses to be a partner, the border issue, the issue of giving refuge to the Tibetians.

Way forward:

  • India-China relations must be managed through a mix of competitive and cooperative policies and regular leadership-level interaction.
  • The only effective instrument for managing India-China relations will be a significant, sustained and rapid development of India’s economic and security capabilities, thus narrowing the power gap between the two Asian giants.
  • The two sides need to build mutual strategic trust based on the fact that their common understanding and shared interests are greater than their divergences.
  • The two countries should realize that they offer each other opportunities without posing any threat, and that peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation are the right choice for them.
  • The two countries should prudently and discreetly deal with sensitive issues, including the border dispute, and should not allow such issues to restrain the further development of bilateral ties.
  • There are several areas, apart from trade and investment, in which the two sides can strengthen cooperation, such as infrastructure construction, urbanization, food security and climate change.
  • The two countries militaries should maintain regular high-level and non-confrontational dialogues, in order to reduce strategic miscalculations and enhance strategic trust.
  • The two sides should also build a communication and coordination mechanism to manage their overseas interests, and organize dialogues at academic, media and cultural levels, as well as exchanges between NGOs as a way to improve bilateral ties.

Conclusion:

The relationship between India and China is a complicated, multifaceted one that involves a mix of issues. There are issues where they work together and issues on which they disagree. As long as the two sides deepen their exchanges and reduce suspicion the strategic value of cooperation would be evident and people would be confident of China-India relations.


TopicStatutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

4) Discuss the emergence of quasi-judicial bodies as an alternative justice system in India.(250 words)

Polity by Lakshmikant, D D Basu

Why this question:

The question is about evaluating the role of quasi-judicial bodies in functioning as an alternate justice system.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must appreciate the role played by  quasi-judicial bodies in India and how over time they have emerged as a mechanism of justice. One must explain using suitable examples.

Directive:

DiscussThis 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:

Briefly suggest the evolution of quasi-judicial bodies in India.

Body:

Body of the answer should discuss the following:

  • What do you understand by  quasi-judicial bodies? – an organization or an individual on which powers resembling that of court of law of a judge have been conferred in order to adjudicate and decide upon a situation and impose penalty upon the guilty or regulate the conduct of the individual or entity.
  • Discuss the emergence of quasi-judicial bodies in India.
  • Suggest examples ranging from tribunals; types and various other bodies that support as an alternative mechanism of justice.
  • Discuss the pros and cons, limitations or criticism if any.
  • Quote examples ranging from – Lok Adalat, administrative tribunals, NGT etc.
  • Suggest what should be done ?

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of these quasi-judicial bodies in administering justice

Introduction:

Quasi-judicial bodies is an entity such as an arbitrator or a tribunal, generally of a Public Administrative Agency, which has powers and procedures resembling that of a Court of Law or Judge, and which is obliged to objectively determine facts and draw conclusions from them so as to provide the basis of an official action. Such actions are able to remedy a situation or to impose legal penalties, and may affect the legal rights, duties or privileges of specific parties.

Body:

Some examples of Quasi Judicial Bodies in India are as follows

  • Election Commission of India.
  • National Green Tribunal.
  • Central Information Commission (CIC)
  • Income Tax Appellate Tribunal.
  • Lok Adalat.

Reasons for Emergence of Quasi Judicial Bodies in India:

  • As the State grew in size and functions, the burden on its functions, especially those of the judicial system increased manifold. Therefore, the need for an alternative judicial system arose.
  • The cost factor also played an important role because ordinary judicial procedures can turn out to be a costly affair if stretched over a long period of time.
  • The complexity of a plethora of laws called for more technical minds in specific fields.
  • The conventional judiciary is suffering with procedural rigidity, which delays the justice.

Pros:

  • Low Cost: Tribunals on the other hand, have an overall low cost which encourages people to seek redressal for their grievances.
  • Simplicity: Tribunals and other such bodies do not follow any lengthy or complex procedure for submitting application or evidence etc.
  • Expert Knowledge: A tribunal comprises of experts, who can easily understand the technicalities of a case, the necessary actions involved and their consequences.
  • Reduction of Workload: Tribunals while taking up specific matters, majorly help by sharing the massive workload of the Judiciary. In a country which has 2.81 crore pending cases, it is important to take steps to decrease the burden of the Judiciary.
  • Flexibility: since there is little use made of precedent.

Cons:

  • There is an unfair imbalance between represented and unrepresented parties. It is unfair to people who are not represented and  cannot  get  legal  aid  to  come  up  against  a  rich    Since richer parties are allowed to employ skilled representation they are consequently more likely to win. 
  • The no-costs rule and lack of legal aid penalize poor litigants, although they do keep costs down.
  • The lack of fees encourages poor applicants, although it may also result in ill-founded claims.
  • Tribunals can become complex over time – as did the courts – rules of procedure grow up caused by the use of representatives who as a result make representation desirable in future.
  • They may lack some of the perceived independence of the judiciary
  • It can  still  be  difficult  for  the  people  who  go to  tribunals  to  represent  themselves  because  of  the  inherent difficulty in presenting a case in any environment.
  • It undermines the celebrated principle of separation of powers.

Way forward:

  • It should be manned by plural members rather than single individual
  • They should be appointed by judicious process.
  • Members should be from both the technical background and legal one.
  • SC recommendations: The chairman  should  be  appointed  by  President  from sitting  or  retired  judge  of  a  High  Court  in consultation with CJI or committee headed by CJI.
  • Vice-chairman should be a judge of district court or an advocate who is eligible to become a judge of HC.
  • Removal should be more stringent.

Conclusion:

Government needs to address this issue by enabling sufficient number of appointments at various Quasi Judicial Bodies. However, as a foolproof appointment mechanism plays a crucial role in ensuring quality, the Government is duty bound to provide for the same. Only then can India’s Quasi Judicial Bodies expedite not only the resolution of disputes but also dispensation of justice.


Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

5) Do you agree that Asia, not West Asia is turning into a host to multiple “terrorist safe havens,” owing to the rise of mass radical movements and years of complacency on the part of policymakers. Elucidate with recent examples. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis of how the recent  gruesome Sri Lankan bombings are a reminder that Asia—not West Asia—is the region most afflicted by terrorist violence. Home to the vast majority of the world’s Muslims, it is also host to multiple “terrorist safe havens,” owing to the rise of grassroots radical movements and years of complacency on the part of policymakers.

Key demand of the question:

Analyse in  detail the causes of rise in terrorist safe havens in Asia apart from regular incidences of West Asia. One has to bring out recent examples and justify along with suggesting measures of what needs to be done.

Directive word:

ElucidateClarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Provide for the context of recent bombings in Sri-Lanka.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects in the answer body –

  • What are the causes for this shift of terrorist havens from west Asia to other parts of Asia? – rise of grassroots radical movements, lack of effective policies, failures etc.
  • Quote examples – massacre by a white supremacist at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, 2008 Mumbai attacks, the recent Pulwama attack etc.
  • Discuss what needs to be done to resolve the situation and bring it back in control?
  • Discuss the policies and initiatives needed by the governments in this direction, need for collaborative efforts etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done, suggest way forward.

Introduction:

The murder of more than 250 churchgoers, tourists, and other civilians in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday should serve as a reminder that Asia is now the world’s leading site of Islamist extremism. Radical Islamic groups, some affiliated with larger extremist networks, have been quietly gaining influence in an arc of countries extending from the Maldivian to the Philippine archipelagos, and the threat they pose can no longer be ignored.

Body:

The causes for this shift of terrorist havens from west Asia to other parts of Asia:

  • Poor Socio-Economic conditions:
    • High incidences of poverty, rising inequality, lack of opportunities for the educated youth has made the people soft targets to radicalization and extremist ideologies.
    • The rising radicalism among the people has also added to the vulnerability.
  • Communalism:
    • The Imperialist sown seeds of Communalism are still strong and the differences between the majoritarians and minorities are manifested in violence. Terror easily finds a space in such turmoils.
    • Official discrimination against Muslims has contributed to Islamists’ growing influence, particularly in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, Thailand’s four southernmost provinces, and the southern Philippine island of Mindanao.
  • Complacency on the part of policymakers:
    • Asia and in particular South Asia is one of the least integrated regions of the world exposing the rifts which the terrorists can easily cash in on.
    • The rugged terrains, disconnect between the countries due to political differences have led to poor check on security arrangements.
  • State Sponsored Terrorism:
    • Increased sponsoring of the terror outfits by Pakistan, China and Bangladesh to promote their political agenda has become a serious challenge.
  • Links with the West Asia:
    • Wahhabism, the austere, rigid version of Islam bankrolled by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf sheikhdoms, remains the driving force behind Islamist terrorism today.
    • Its offspring include not just Al Qaeda and IS, but also the Taliban in Afghanistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba in Pakistan, Boko Haram in Nigeria, and al-Shabaab in Somalia. All of these groups are driven by a nihilistic rage born of hostility toward non-Sunnis and a rejection of modernity.
    • The battle-hardened fighters of ISIS from Iraq and Syria with the operational training to stage savage attacks are now returning home. Returnees are present in many other Asian countries as well, from the Philippines and Indonesia to the Maldives and Uzbekistan.

Measures needed:

  • Socio-economic factors leading to poverty and alienation must be targeted with national and local level policies.
  • Defunct organizations like SAARC should be revived to build the inter-regional co-operation, which would help in regional growth.
  • The regional groupings should improve their strategy to fight against terrorism like the RATS of SCO.
  • Intelligence sharing with exchange of critical information about terror and extremists should be made part of bilateral agreements and be share actively.
  • Religious leaders and returnees from terror camps should be used to preach and sensitize youth with radical thoughts.
  • Monitoring of Social media, curbing of fake news and rumours should also be a part of the strategy to fight terror.

Conclusion:

As the late Singaporean leader Lee Kuan Yew said, preventing terrorist attacks requires that we eliminate the “queen bees” (the preachers of hatred and violence) who are inspiring the “worker bees” (suicide bombers) to become martyrs. The global war on terror, launched by the United States after the attacks of 11 September 2001 is losing steam. Unless it is invigorated and prosecuted to the end, many more innocent lives will be lost.


Topic : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6) Climate change is not anymore only an environmental problem, but a unique one with  multi-scalar characteristic, from the global to the local. Comment, also discuss challenges in tackling the problem of climate change across the world. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article explains in detail the issue of climate change facing the world and how it is not anymore just about being an environmental problem but much more than that, it highlights the multi-dimensional aspects of climate change and critically analyses the associate problems in tackling it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the alarming need to address the climate change differently from the usual methods of commitments as they are not doing there bit anymore to address the impact of climate change effectively.

Directive word:

Commenthere we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines explain how climate change is a multi-faceted problem today.

Body:

  • Explain – why climate change is an immediate issue that needs address and action today?
  • Explain the issue with facts and figures – Global warming above pre-industrial levels has touched about 1 degree Celsius etc.
  • What are the challenges in addressing climate change ?
  • complex linkages among emissions, concentrations, climate changes, and impacts.
  • Lack of certainty about the details of future climate change.
  • significant time lags in human response systems.
  • Risks, judgments about risk, and adaptation needs are highly variable across different contexts.

 

  • Suggest what needs to be done?
  • Discuss Indian context and what should India’s move be to tackle climate change at individual level as well as in collaboration with world countries.

Conclusion:

Conclude with urgency of the need to tackle climate change.

Introduction:

Climate change is a complex problem. It is inextricably linked with society, economics, politics, and people’s way of life. More than 190 countries signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, committing to change how they create and use energy in order to lower impacts of carbon and other greenhouse gases on the planet. All over the world, people and organizations are taking action to both lower carbon footprints and find innovative ways to adapt to the effects of climate change.

Body:

Climate change is an immediate issue to be tackled:

  • Global warming above pre-industrial levels has touched about 1 degree Celsius.
  • The IPCC 1.5 report basically says, at the current rates at which we are producing greenhouse gases, we are looking at a couple of decades really before what we have available is exhausted.
  • At one level, for many people climate change has become an existential problem, a problem that risks undermining the conditions for productive life and therefore a problem that does not override but certainly permeates all kinds of other issues.
  • For many others, climate change is a distant problem that is overwhelmed by more immediate issues.
  • The rapid change of climate change is likely to exceed the ability of many species to migrate or adjust. Experts predict that one-fourth of Earth’s species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate.
  • Sea levels have risen between four and eight inches in the past 100 years. Current projections suggest that sea levels could continue to rise between 4 inches and 36 inches over the next 100 years.
  • As temperatures rise globally, droughts will become more frequent and more severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health. This phenomenon has already been observed in some parts of Asia and Africa, where droughts have become longer and more intense.
  • Hot temperatures and dry conditions also increase the likelihood of forest fires.

Challenges in addressing climate change:

  • Regional Inequality:
    • The principle of Common but differentiated responsibilities was proposed to tackle climate change by addressing the regional inequality.
    • However, the indifferent behaviour by the developed countries has led to partial success of many global initiatives. Eg. Kyoto Protocol.
  • Developed Countries not taking responsibility:
    • Historical emissions and pollution caused due to industrial revolution is not accepted by the industrialized nations.
    • Developed nations are unwilling to accept the responsibility and are moving away from global agreements. Eg. USA rejecting the Paris deal.
  • Finance:
    • Huge amount of funds are required for adaptation and mitigation measures to be adopted.
    • For eg: electric mobility, certainly is a green measure, but is actually expensive, in immediate terms, in terms of cost per vehicle kilometre.
    • The cost of shifting into renewable energy is also a fiscal challenge to most countries.
  • Technology:
    • Many adaptation and mitigation measures need sophisticated technologies and Research and Development which is an impediment to many developing and small island nations.
    • Commercialization of technology in form of Patents, evergreening has made it unaffordable.
  • Increasing use of fossil fuels.
  • Complex linkages among emissions, concentrations, climate changes, and impacts.
  • Lack of certainty about the details of future climate change.
  • Significant time lags in human response systems.
  • Risks, judgments about risk, and adaptation needs are highly variable across different contexts.

Way Forward

  • Wealthy nations like the U.S., and those of the EU argued that emissions from developing countries are consistently rising and they need to commit to more serious emission cuts. A consensus needs to be developed at the earliest.
  • The immediate up scaling of ambition in the second Commitment period of Kyoto Protocol and its early ratification by all Kyoto Protocol parties would be a step in the right direction.
  • Concerning mitigation, distinction enshrined in the Convention between Annex I (Developed) and nonAnnex I (developing) Parties must be maintained in accordance with the principles of Equity, CBDR and other provisions of the UN Conventions.
  • The ‘developing versus developed country’ schism needs to be diluted at the earliest and Developed Countries should avoid watering down the CBDR principle envisaged in earlier agreements.
  • Investment in R&D is needed to spur innovations in sustainable climate-friendly and climate-proof productivity, and the private sector can help on this.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. accountability and ethical governance.

7) What do you understand by Autonomous Vehicles?Discuss the Ethical concerns involved in their launch. (250 words)

Indianexpress

why this question:

The article is in the backdrop of recent move by the Tesla that declared to offer fully autonomous vehicles by the second quarter of next year. The article tries to capture why the world is not yet ready for autonomous vehicles.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for a detailed narration of what we understand by autonomous vehicles, what are the associated benefits and concerns, ethical issues involved and why the world is not yet ready to embrace the technology change.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

write a few introductory lines about the move made by Tesla.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • What do you understand by Autonomous Vehicles?  – A driverless car, also called autonomous car or self-driving car, is a vehicle which can sense its surrounding environment and can navigate without human input. It combines multiple sensors and techniques to perceive their surroundings like radar, laser light, GPS, odometer, computer vision, etc. The advanced control systems interpret the sensory information for identifying the obstacles, relevant signage and navigation paths.
  • What are the issues involved in self-driving vehicles? – snow and weather; When it’s heavy enough to cover the pavement, snow blocks the view of lane lines that vehicle cameras use to find their way, Pavement lines and curbs, Dealing with human drivers, Consumer acceptance etc.
  • Quote the Uber incident of March 2018 and elaborate on the ethical issues and concerns involved such as – responsibility of the accident, can machines make ethical decisions?, law aspects, life and death etc.

Conclusion –

Conclude with what needs to be done?

Introduction:

Self-driving vehicles are cars or trucks in which human drivers are never required to take control to safely operate the vehicle. Also known as autonomous or “driverless” cars, they combine sensors and software to control, navigate, and drive the vehicle. They use technologies like radar, Lidar, sonar, GPS, odometry and inertial measurement units. Advanced control systems interpret sensory information to identify appropriate navigation paths, as well as obstacles and relevant signage. Long distance trucks are seen as being in the forefront of adopting and implementing the technology.

Body:

The Ethical concerns involved with Autonomous vehicles are:

  • Decision making:
    • Google, Tesla and other major companies aim to make driverless cars a reality, which they suggest could reduce accidents caused by human error.
    • However, fatal accidents that such autonomous vehicles have already experienced — such as the deadly collision in May 2018 of a self-driving Uber car with a pedestrian — suggest they will not only need to navigate roads, but potentially also the dilemmas posed by accidents with unavoidable deaths.
    • For example, should a driverless car hit a pregnant woman or swerve into a wall and kill its four passengers?
  • Accountability:
    • In the case of any crash, it would arise issue of accountability whether car owner would be accountable or the manufacturer of that vehicle
  • Law vs Ethics:
    • Autonomous cars are made to follow traffic rules strictly. But sometime traffic rules have to be compromised.
    • For example when a critical patient have to be taken to hospital. Some traffic rules like speed restrictions, breaking traffic signal in less traffic have to be broken to save the life.
  • Displaying human values:
    • When the vehicle finds an injured person or an old lady, will it stop to help them and display the qualities of compassion and empathy?
    • will it stop by an accident and act as a good samaritan if need arises
    • Whether robots can amicably adapt to the human environment where interaction between the passenger and driver would be minimum may arise issue of developing companionship, cooperation, bonding which use to be with the human being.
  • Impacts on Environment:
    • This will promote vehicle usage at a time when the objective is to reduce vehicles to reduce green house gas emissions
  • Livelihood of drivers:
    • Job loss to drivers without compensatory skill development and job creation.
    • It is believed that in coming future automation will kill 69% of the job

Conclusion:

The autonomous vehicles have been pegged to revolutionize the driving experience of passenger and have utility over vice like in case of safety of passenger. Any use of this emerging technology must be carefully used keeping in mind its ethical concerns in mind.