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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 JULY 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 JULY 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.


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

Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

1) The utility of the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill could be of enormous abet in many areas yet bereft of safeguards. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The Lok Sabha has passed the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018 that allows regulated use of DNA technology to establish the identity of certain defined categories of persons, including offenders, suspects, and undertrials. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain the advantages and concerns associated with the bill.

Directive:

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: 

Begin with brief highlights of the bill.

Body:

Discussion should include the following: 

Explain what was the need for such a legislation and what is its significance.

Bring out the key features of the bill and analyse both pros and cons.

Explain the benefits such as – By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in the country. There is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable and the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.

Then explain the associated concerns.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need for a balanced vision towards such aspects.

Introduction:

With DNA technology being relied upon worldwide in crime investigations, identification of unclaimed bodies, or determining parentage, India has been attempting for several years to pass legislation on use of DNA technology to support and strengthen the justice delivery system.

Body:

Key Highlights of Proposed Bill

  • Purpose:
    • It allows law enforcement agencies to collect DNA samples, create DNA profiles and special databanks for forensic-criminal investigations. It states that all DNA data, including DNA samples, DNA profiles and records, will be only used for identification of the person and not for any other purpose.
  • DNA profiling board:
    • It creates DNA Profiling Board (DPB) that will be final authority that will authorise creation of State-level DNA databanks, approve the methods of collection and analysis of DNA-technologies. It makes accreditation and regulation mandatory for DNA laboratories.
  • DNA banks:
    • It allows government to set up DNA data banks across India to store profiles. These banks will maintain national database for identification of victims, accused, suspects, undertrials, missing persons and unidentified human remains.
  • Penalty:
    • It also empowers government to impose jail term of up to 3 years and fine of up to Rs. 1 lakh on those who leak information stored in such facilities. It prescribes similar punishment for those who seek information on DNA profiles illegally.
  • Use of DNA Data:
    • Under the Bill, DNA testing is allowed only in respect of matters listed in the schedule to the Bill (such as, for offences under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for paternity suits, or to identify abandoned children).
  • DNA Data Bank:
    • The Bill provides for the establishment of a National DNA Data Bank and regional DNA Data Banks, for every state, or two or more states.
    • The National Data Bank will store DNA profiles received from DNA laboratories and receive DNA data from the regional Banks.
    • Every Data Bank will be required to maintain indices for the following categories of data: (i) a crime scene index, (ii) a suspects’ or undertrials’ index, (iii) an offenders’ index, (iv) a missing persons’ index, and (v) an unknown deceased persons’ index.
  • Protection of information:
    • It also ensures that the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of citizens.
    • Under the Bill, the Board is required to ensure that all information relating to DNA profiles with the Data Banks, laboratories and other persons are kept confidential. DNA data may only be used for identification of the person.
    • However, the Bill allows for access to information in the Data Bank for the purpose of a one-time keyboard search. This search allows for information from a DNA sample to be compared with information in the index without information from the sample being included in the index.
  • Retention of DNA Data:
    • The Bill states that the criteria for entry, retention or removal of the DNA profile will be specified by regulations.
    • However, the Bill provides for removal of the DNA Data of the following persons:- (i) of a suspect if a police report is filed or court order given, (ii) of an undertrial if a court order is given, (iii) on request, of persons who are not a suspect, offender or undertrial from the crime scene or missing persons’ index.
    • Further, the Bill provides that information contained in the crime scene index will be retained.
  • DNA Laboratories:
    • Any laboratory undertaking DNA testing is required to obtain accreditation from the Board. The Board may revoke the accreditation for reasons including, failure to: (i) undertake DNA testing, or (ii) comply with the conditions attached to the accreditation.  If the accreditation is revoked, an appeal will lie before the central government or any other authority notified by the central government.
  • Obligations of DNA Laboratories:
    • Under the Bill, every DNA laboratory is required to perform various functions, including: (i) following standards for quality assurance in collection, storing, testing, and analysis of DNA samples, and (ii) depositing DNA samples with the Data Bank.
    • After depositing the sample for ongoing cases, the Laboratory is required to return the biological sample to the investigating officer. In all other cases, the sample must be destroyed and intimated to the concerned persons

Challenges with the bill:

  • The draft statute, not only disregards the serious ethical dilemmas that are attached to the creation of a national DNA database, but also, contrary to established wisdom, virtually treats DNA as infallible, and as a solution to the many problems that ail the criminal justice system.
  • This Bill fatally ignores the disproportionality of the DNA bank that it seeks to create, and the invasiveness of its purport and reach.
  • It also conflates its objectives by allowing the collection of DNA evidence not only in aid of criminal investigations but also to aid the determination of civil disputes.
  • Importantly, while consent is not required before bodily substances are drawn from a person accused and arrested for an offence punishable with either death or imprisonment for a term exceeding seven years, in all other cases a person refusing to part with genetic material can be compelled to do so if a Magistrate has reasonable cause to believe that such evidence would help establish a person’s guilt. Therefore, there’s no end to the state’s power in coercing a person to part with her DNA.
  • In Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India declared that the Constitution recognizes a fundamental Right to Privacy. But, it is unclear whether the proposed bill is compatible with the Right to Privacy or not.
  • The Bill’s failure to place sufficient checks on the use of DNA evidence collected in breach of the law makes the process altogether more frightening.
  • The Schedule lists civil matters where DNA profiling can be used. This includes “issues relating to the establishment of individual identity.” DNA testing carried out in medical or research laboratories can be used to identify an individual. It is unclear if the Bill intends to regulate such laboratories.
  • The Bill requires the consent of the individual when DNA profiling is used in criminal investigations and identifying missing persons. However, consent requirements have not been specified in the case of DNA profiling for civil matters.
  • DNA laboratories are required to share DNA data with the Data Banks. It is unclear whether DNA profiles for civil matters will also be stored in the Data Banks. Storage of these profiles in the Data Banks may violate the right to privacy.
  • DNA laboratories prepare DNA profiles and then share them with DNA Data Banks. The Bill specifies the process by which DNA profiles may be removed from the Data Banks. However, the Bill does not require DNA laboratories to remove DNA profiles. It may be argued that such provisions be included in the Bill and not left to regulations.

Way Forward:

  • DNA profiling should be undertaken exclusively for the identification of a person and should not be used to extract any other information.
  • The state must show that there exists a legitimate reason for extracting DNA evidence and that the extent and scope of such extraction do not disproportionately contravene a person’s right to privacy.
  • To enact the law in its present form would only add a new, menacing weapon to the state’s rapidly expanding surveillance mechanism. The government should not allow the benefits of science and technology to be privileged over the grave risks in allowing the unrestricted access to deeply personal material.
  • Maintenance of strict confidentiality with regard to the keeping of records of DNA profiles and their use should be considered a priority.

Topic Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

2) Discuss the importance of Public Distribution System in India and also explain the challenges involved and what reforms are required to overcome these challenges. (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The question is about PDS – its importance, challenges and reforms required. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of the PDS system for India and the challenges facing the system and suggest necessary reforms.

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: 

Define what you understand by PDS.

Body:

Explain that the Public Distribution System (PDS) evolved as a system for distribution of food grains at affordable prices and management of emergency situations. Over the years, the term PDS has become synonymous with the term ‘food security’ and also an important part of Government’s policy for management of food economy in the country.

Then move on to explain the growing significance of PDS, why is it so important with the aspect of food security.

Discuss the challenges associated and suggest what measures/reforms can be taken to make the PDS a success.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the need to have a robust PDS in place to ensure food secure and healthy India.

Introduction:

The Public Distribution System (PDS) is an Indian food security system which evolved as a system for distribution of food grains at affordable prices and management of emergency situations. It distributes subsidized food and non-food items to India’s poor. This scheme was launched in June 1947. It functions through a network of Fair Price Shops at a subsidized price on a recurring basis.

Body:

Importance of PDS:

  • Food grains to the poor, at prices lower than the price of food grains at private shops.
  • Food grains are directly purchased from farmers, assuring farmers with a greater price.
  • Make goods available to consumers, especially the disadvantaged /vulnerable sections of society at fair prices.
  • Rectify the existing imbalances between the supply and demand for consumer goods. Check and prevent hoarding and black marketing in essential commodities.
  • Ensure social justice in distribution of basic necessities of life.
  • Even out fluctuations in prices and availability of mass consumption goods.
  • Support poverty-alleviation programmes, particularly, rural employment programmes, (SGRY/SGSY/IRDP/ Mid-day meals, ICDS, DWCRA, SHGs and Food for Work and educational feeding programmes.

Challenges faced by PDS:

Procurement:

  • Open-ended Procurement: All incoming grains accepted even if buffer stock is filled creating a shortage in the open market.
  • The recent implementation of Nation food security act would only increase the quantum of procurement resulting in higher prices for grains.
  • The gap between required and existing storage capacity.
  • The provision of minimum support price has encouraged farmers to divert land from production of coarse grains that are consumed by poor, to rice and wheat.

Storage:

  • Inadequate storage capacity with FCI.
  • Food grains rotting or damaging on the CAP or Cover & Plinth storage.
  • The storage of foodgrains inculcates high carrying costs on the government.

Allocation of food grains:

  • Identification of poor by the states is not fool proof. A large number of poor and needy persons are left out and a lot of fake cards are also issued.
  • Illicit Fair Price shops: The shop owners have created a large number of bogus cards or ghost cards(cards for nonexistent people) to sell food grains in the open market.

Transportation:

  • Leakage and diversion of food grains during transportation.
  • Uneven distribution of Food generations, procurement and distribution. For example: north eastern states are very far from Punjab and Haryana, from where wheat is procured. To transport food grains from Punjab to far flung areas in North east will entail cost and time both.

Other issues:

  • Many times, good quality food grains are replaced with poor quality cheap food grains.
  • Public distribution system includes only few food grains such as wheat and rice, it does not fulfil the requirement of complete nutrition.
  • Fair Price Shop owner gets fake Ration cards and sell the food grains in the open market.

PDS Reforms undertaken by Government:

  • Aadhaar Linked and digitized ration cards: This allows online entry and verification of beneficiary data. It also enables online tracking of monthly entitlements and off-take of foodgrains by beneficiaries.
  • Computerized Fair Price Shops: FPS automated by installing ‘Point of Sale’ device to swap the ration card. It authenticates the beneficiaries and records the quantity of subsidized grains given to a family.
  • DBT: Under the Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, cash is transferred to the beneficiaries’ account in lieu of foodgrains subsidy component. They will be free to buy food grains from anywhere in the market. For taking up this model, pre-requisites for the States/UTs would be to complete digitization of beneficiary data and seed Aadhaar and bank account details of beneficiaries. It is estimated that cash transfers alone could save the exchequer Rs.30,000 crore every year.
  • Use of GPS technology: Use of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology to track the movement of trucks carrying foodgrains from state depots to FPS which can help to prevent diversion.
  • SMS-based monitoring: Allows monitoring by citizens so they can register their mobile numbers and send/receive SMS alerts during dispatch and arrival of TPDS commodities
  • Use of web-based citizens’ portal: Public Grievance Redressal Machineries, such as a toll-free number for call centers to register complaints or suggestions.

Way forward:

  • Primacy should be given to ensuring that the functioning of FCI is streamlined and fast paced as per recommendations of the Shanta Kumar Committee.
  • 100 lakh ton silo storage capacity must be created in the country. For this, RITES has been assigned the task of changing the silo model and they will give their recommendations in 90 days to FCI.
  • At present, there are 3 types of labourers in FCI namely Departmental, Daily Payment System (DPS) and No work no pay workers along with contractual labour. Government of India is deliberating to finish the 3 different arrangements and bring all workers of FCI under a single, uniform system which will bring stability of tenure and secured wages for all.
  • To improve the usage of Information Technology in FCI, a Human Resource Management System (HRMS) must be implemented.

Conclusion:

PDS has helped bring about the socio-economic justice by helping alleviate hunger, malnutrition, anaemia among poorest of the poor, BPL citizens, women and children. The use of ICT to reduce the touch-points will further increase the efficiency of PDS.


Topic:  Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

3) Discuss the effects of livestock farming on environment.(250 words)

Indian Geography by Majid Hussain

Why this question:

The question is direct and is about discussing the effects of livestock farming on environment.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the pros and cons of livestock farming on the environment.

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: 

Describe basics of livestock farming. 

Body:

Explain in detail the equation between livestock farming and global warming

The conversion of forests into agricultural land and livestock ranches is one of the major causes of deforestation. It is being done to meet the rising demand for food. One to two acres of rainforests are cleared every second for animal rearing and agriculture. Another major concern is greenhouse gas emissions. Raising livestock generates 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are very bad for the environment. Forests help lower the risks of sudden climate change and also tone down the impacts from natural disasters.

Discuss both pros and cons and conclude with what needs to be done to overcome the challenge.

Conclusion:

Suggest how the impact can be mitigated or reduces what can be other alternatives.

Introduction:

Livestock is used for meat, dairy products, eggs, fibre and leather, transport, and for manure to fertilize crops and for fuel. According to FAO 2006, the livestock sector accounts for 40 % of the world’s agriculture-related gross domestic product (GDP). It employs 1.3 billion people and provides livelihoods for around 1 billion of the world’s population living in poverty. However, it is also a major driver of climate change through the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, CH4, and nitrous oxide.

Body:

Effects of livestock farming on environment:

  • Globally, the livestock sector contributes 14.5 % (7.1 billion tonnes CO2equivalent) of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. (FAO)
  • Cattle are responsible for the most emissions, representing about 65% of the livestock sector’s emissions.
  • In terms of activities, feed production and processing (45%) and enteric fermentation from ruminants (39%) are the two main sources of emissions
  • About 44% of livestock emissions are in the form of methane (CH4). Nitrous Oxide accounts for 29% and Carbon Dioxide 27%
  • About 92 per cent of the fresh water is used for farming purposes, and 1/3rd of it is used for rearing livestock and manufacturing animal products.
  • Ruminants such as cattle, sheep, buffalo, and goats produce methane, potent greenhouse gas that can contribute to global climate change, as part of their digestive process.
  • Globally, ruminant livestock produce about 86 million metric tons of CH4 annually.
  • Animal manure produces anthropogenic CH4 via anaerobic decomposition of manure and N2O via nitrification and denitrification of organic nitrogen in animal manure and urine.
  • Livestock operations require a variety of external inputs (i.e., feed production, herbicides, pesticides, etc.). Carbon dioxide emissions originate from the expansion of feed crops and pasture into natural habitats.
  • They also originate from the use of fossil fuel to manufacture fertilizer, and process and transport feed.
  • The livestock sector includes direct and indirect (e.g. electricity) on-farm fossil fuel use, which is used for machinery operations, irrigation, heating, cooling, ventilation etc.
  • Land-use changes, including expansion of pasture and arable land for feed crops generally occur at the expense of forested land.
  • It is estimated that livestock-related land-use change produces 35 % of the total GHGs attributed to livestock.
  • Post farm CO2 emissions is related to the processing and transportation of livestock product between the production and retail point
  • Overgrazing by livestock is one of the most important cause of land degradation and desertification. Such problem is prominent in Africa, Central Asia, north-eastern Australia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.

Measures needed:

  • Improving Feed Quality and Digestibility: measures should be taken for better grassland management, improved pasture species, changing forage mix and greater use of feed supplements.
  • Improving animal health and husbandry: It is important to improve animal health through measures such as animal health management, extending the productive life of animals, and improving reproduction rates to reduce the number of animals kept otherwise rather than production.
  • Agroforestry: Agroforestry should be practiced to help maintain the balance between livestock production, environmental protection and carbon sequestration to offset emissions from the sector.
  • Manure management: It is important to adopt sound manure management to mitigate GHG emissions, reduce nutrient losses from livestock production systems and reduce other detrimental environmental impacts of livestock production such as air and water pollution
  • Grassland management: It is important to improve grazing and grassland management to increase feed quality and carbon sequestration. Further, overgrazing should be hauled to combat land degradation and desertification.
  • Awareness: Raising awareness about impact of livestock/meat consumption on climate is important.
  • Policy: Countries should develop sectoral mitigation policies that integrate other development objectives, and seek international support towards their implementation.

Conclusion:

Livestock farming creates a huge carbon footprint and has a very high global warming potential. However, its successful, sustainable and skilful implementation will go a long way in ameliorating the socio-economic condition of lower strata of our society. Thus, the need of the hour is a green, sustainable way of livestock farming which balances the needs of people and environmental conservation.


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

 4) Discuss the impact of global warming on future economy and Jobs, explain more so specifically with respect to Indian scenario.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question: 

The article discusses the report, ‘Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work’ anticipates an increase in “heat stress” resulting from global warming. It projects global productivity losses equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs in 2030, and the projection of 34 million jobs would make India the worst affected.

Demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the impact of global warming on future economy and Jobs.

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

Briefly discuss the recent trends in global warming, highlight the recent trends in it.

Body

The answer should discuss the following – 

The report defines heat stress as heat in excess of what the body can tolerate without suffering physiological impairment. It generally occurs at temperatures above 35°C, in high humidity. Excess heat during work is an occupational health risk and restricts workers’ physical functions and capabilities, work capacity and thus, productivity.

Take hints from the article and the report state how global warming can directly impact the job scenario and the economy.

Conclusion 

Conclude by suggesting measures to tackle such adversaries.

Introduction:

Climate change is certainly without argument the most serious global environmental crisis that we face. It is not the only environmental problem, but it is unique in its multi-scalar characteristic, from the global to the local. And, in many ways, it is arguably the most immediate of our problems.

Body:

India is more vulnerable to climate change:

  • India, being a tropical country, is more susceptible to changes in temperature.
  • Also, in India, about 50% of the population directly or indirectly depends on agriculture for a livelihood.
  • The existent distress in the farm sector and the state governments’ response with loan waivers has already strained their fiscal condition.
  • Furthermore, the production of kharif crops is expected to decline.
  • The possibility of adverse weather events is likely to increase in the future posing a greater challenge.
  • The impact of climate change in agriculture is thus expected to reverberate in other sectors of the economy and affect the overall growth prospects.

Impact of global warming on India’s future economy and Jobs:

  • By 2030, India is expected to lose an equivalent of 34 million jobs as a result of global warming, says a report released by the ILO.
  • The report, ‘Working on a warmer planet: The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work’ anticipates an increase in “heat stress” resulting from global warming.
  • It projects global productivity losses equivalent to 80 million full-time jobs in 2030, and the projection of 34 million jobs would make India the worst affected.
  • The region projected to lose the most working hours is southern Asia, at 5% in 2030, corresponding to around 43 million jobs, respectively.
  • A third of the southern Asian countries have already incurred losses greater than 4%.
  • India, which lost 4.3% of working hours in 1995 because of heat stress, is projected to lose 5.8% of its working hours in 2030, which corresponds to 34 million jobs.
  • The impact of heat stress on labour productivity and decent work’ anticipates an increase in “heat stress” resulting from global warming.
  • With some 940 million people active in agriculture around the world, farmers are set to be worst hit by rising temperatures, according to the ILO data, which indicates that the sector will be responsible for 60 per cent of global working hours lost from heat stress, by 2030.
  • The report projects losses in working hours as04% in agriculture, 5.29% in manufacturing, 9.04% in construction, and 1.48% in services.
  • Although most of the impact in India will be felt in the agricultural sector, more and more working hours are expected to be lost in the construction sector, where heat stress affects both male and female workers,” the report says.
  • There is little data in the country to corroborate trends of climate change and employment.
  • However, that there has been no direct job loss at present, with distressed workers switching from one vulnerable sector to another.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to strengthen its macroeconomic stability to deal with temperature shocks.
  • India has considerably reduced its dependence on the monsoon as evident from avoiding a runaway inflation even after two successive years of drought.
  • However, more needs to be done to enhance productivity in the agriculture sector.
  • India can work on programmes that will help improve the quality of land and reduce the risk of climate change. Ex: Use employment under the MGNREGA to enhance soil and water conservation.
  • India also needs to strengthen its overall capability by investing in and adopting new technology.
  • We need to move climate change, global warming to the top of our foreign policy agenda.
  • We need to start taking climate change more seriously, particularly on the adaptation side, because we really have a lot to be concerned about.
  • And on the mitigation side, we have to be careful as we may not be fully exploring the scope of intersections between ‘a low carbon agenda’ and ‘a development agenda’.

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

5) Why are Mumbai rains so disastrous despite the thousand crores spent? discuss the problems plaguing Mumbai’s urban drainage system.(250 words)

 Timesofindia

Why this question:

Flooding seems to recur almost every year in Mumbai, with this year being particularly severe. The city witnessed extremely heavy rains all through Monday.  In 44 years, Mumbai has received second highest rainfall in 24 hours.

demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the underlying reasons for recurrent flood conditions faced by the financial capital Mumbai.

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: 

Discuss in brief first the recurrence of the floods in Mumbai.

Body:

The discussions should have the following points:

What is the issue?

How does Mumbai’s drainage network look? – what and why are the key challenges. what is so specific about the Mumbai floods.

How to deal with tides, what are the specific problems plaguing the drainage system of the city – insufficient drains, crowded town planning.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward, what needs to be done, how should the disaster response be dealt with.

Introduction:

The return of the deluge to Mumbai and the paralysis suffered by the city bring up the question of why Indian cities are unable to improve their resilience to extreme weather events. It t is the second highest rains recorded in a 24 hour period in the last 44years. This event comparable to the 2005 floods in Mumbai resulted in water-logging, halting of all three modes of transport, power-cuts and some casualties as well. Big cities like Delhi, Chennai and Bengaluru also have slowed down during heavy rains.

Body:

Flood is defined as “an overflow of a large body of water over areas not usually inundated”. Thus, flooding in urban areas is caused by intense and/or prolonged rainfall, which overwhelms the capacity of the drainage system.

Reasons for inundation in Mumbai, post rains:

  • Meteorological Factors: Heavy rainfall, cyclonic storms and thunderstorms
  • Hydrological Factors: Overbank flow channel networks, occurrence of high tides impeding the drainage in Mumbai and other coastal cities.
  • Anthropogenic Factors:
    • Unplanned Urbanization: Unplanned Urbanization is the key cause of urban flooding. A major concern is blocking of natural drainage pathways through construction activity and encroachment on catchment areas, riverbeds and lakebeds.
    • Destruction of lakes is a major issue in India cities. Lakes can store the excess water and regulate the flow of water. However, pollution of natural urban water bodies and converting them for development purposes has increased risk of floods
    • Reduced infiltration due to concretization of surfaces which decreases ground absorption and increases the speed and amount of surface flow
    • Reduced groundwater recharge, increased use of groundwater, and diminishing base flow of streams
  • Climate Change: Climate change due to various anthropogenic events has led to extreme weather events
  • Poor Solid Waste Management System: Improper waste management system leads to clogging of storm-water drains because of silting, accumulation of non-biodegradable wastes and construction debris.
  • Disaster management: As far as NDRF is concerned, there is technology, equipment and training about it. Whenever the information is given, they are ready to take action. But the cooperation from the state government, metrological departments, equipment available at the place and help of NGOs, there is lack of communication and coordination.
  • Almost negligible power to local government: Issue of urban governance has two aspects- local government empowerment and motivation to local government to take decisions

Problems plaguing Mumbai’s urban drainage system:

  • The drainage capacity of the entire city isn’t impressive as such, experts have explicitly conceded that at least major roads and traffic junctions fall far short of the required.
  • Although contour maps for drains were prepared it remains incomplete for the rest of the city. This means, although the prediction of the drainage flow is possible, there is no data point to predict how a river’s flood waters will rush out
  • Massive underground sewers built during the colonial era dating back to 1860-1900 are impressive with some of it still in use, but is limited to South Mumbai.
  • The suburbs of Mumbai are served mostly by open drains, into which tonnes of garbage are dumped each year by citizens.
  • Pre-monsoon ‘desilting’ exercises are carried out every year, which has proved to be ever-inadequate.
  • Much of these sewer networks flow several kilometres through congested localities before discharging into the sea, often through outfalls located below mean sea level.
  • This means if it’s raining heavily when the tide is sufficiently high, drainage is impossible.

Measures needed:

  • Lot of unauthorized activities are done in drainage areas. Natural nalas are covered with habitation, jhuggis. If these are allowed and water is able to take natural course, there will be prevention of flooding.
  • Municipalities have to be empowered. For e.g.: There is Delhi municipality and also there is Delhi Jal Board which handles the sewerage system and water supply system. So these are interlinked issues where sewage-drainage-water supply is intertwined.
  • In every state there is multiplicity of agencies and therefore municipality has become one of the agency and not the agency. It is time that all the agencies dealing with developmental activities and governance framework are integrated with municipalities concerned. But this will take a while as for 70 years there have gone bypassing the local government. It was because of programmes like BRGF and JNNURM and now AMRUT that municipalities are coming back to some position.
  • The long term and medium term resolution lies in putting integrated coordinated governance framework for cities.
  • Mumbai has problem of high tides. When there are high tides and rain water comes into it, it results in problem of back flow. A simple solution suggested so many times is that there should be gates which take water back to the sea. Only two places have such gates and 100 places don’t have it to prevent the back flow. By saying that such infrastructure is expensive shows the inability to truly analyse the cost-benefit ratio when high damage is done to infrastructure and lives post the flood.
  • Along with drainage, the rivers are not kept clean. People should be taught not to put garbage in rivers, plastics shouldn’t be thrown in rivers. Strong actions should be taken against those who do it. Other countries don’t see this problem of plastics being put in the drainage system and choking it. So there is a need to take action before the flood occurs.
  • There is little participation by the communities. Only state and central government cannot deal with such a big problem. If communities are involved, given the task, responsibilities and resources including finance beforehand, then there will be prompt action.
  • There is a need for a water centric approach which has been missing completely. To develop cities, water is not taken into account as a factor for development. There are courses in architecture, special universities about urban planning but drainage channel is not taken into consideration while building infrastructure. So until unless urban development becomes water centric, this problem is bound to come.
  • There is no linkage between the forecast of rain and forecast of flood. There is no system of flood forecasting or flood warning for cities. The elaborate system of flood forecasting in central water commission is for rivers. What is required is the model of linking flooding with rainfall. This model is developed internationally in academic institutions but not in India.

Conclusion:

Rains in the city are not in control of single agency. The cities handle last part of drains, i.e. tertiary drains. Before it there is state highway and national highway within the city and because the roads and drains are intertwined, the drains are not independent of the roads. So when national highways are made, there is least botheration about the drainage system. So there is a need to revisit the planning on one hand and governance as far as cities are concerned.


Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

6) Explain the difference between animal consciousness and human consciousness. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based upon the theme of consciousness.

Key demand of the question:

One must compare and contrast the consciousness of humans and animals and the intent of the question is to appreciate the superiority of human consciousness.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify 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: 

Explain first what you understand by consciousness.

Body:

Explain that the differences between consciences are a matter of content. A brain experiences thing with the help of representative models stimulated more or less intensely according to the information that reaches it from the outside on the one hand, and that it generates intrinsically on the other hand.

Animals have different contents of humans, coarser for most mental functions, but more elaborate on some specific points. They all have a language, less verbose of course than that of humans, but which nevertheless allows them to exchange essential information for their species. For example the dog consciously experiences a palette of olfactory representations probably as rich as the range of our own visual images.

Highlight thus the importance of human consciousness.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of consciousness in one’s life.

Introduction:

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness or of being aware of an external object or something within oneself. It might be broadly described as an awareness of internal and external stimuli, having a sense of self and some understanding of ones place in the world.

Body:

Difference between animal consciousness and human consciousness:

  • The first of the criteria for consciousness is the capacity for language. The fact that animals presumably have the organs to do so but do not exhibit this tendency led both Descartes and Locke to reject the concept of animal thought.
  • Another source of difference is the distinction between rational choice and reasoning and instinct and behavior modification. Attributing consciousness to animals is dependent on whether or not they are capable of the first or slaves to the latter. It is humanity’s ability to make logical decisions freely and independently, drawing on various avenues of information to come to a conclusion that makes us more than impulse-driven machines.
  • The third element of consciousness that differs involves the ability for introspection; to recognize oneself as an individual with an awareness of the effects of one’s actions.

Animals have different contents of humans, more coarse for most mental functions, but more elaborate on some specific points. They all have a language, less verbose of course than that of humans, but which nevertheless allows them to exchange essential information for their species. Some sensory sensors, in animals, are more efficient than ours. For example the dog consciously experiences a palette of olfactory representations probably as rich as the range of our own visual images. Of course he does not build, above, a conceptual universe as complex as ours.

Conclusion:

Human consciousness is by definition subjective and private. Like humans, animals display different behaviours depending on levels of consciousness. It is necessary that our actions be guided by human consciousness for the well being of family, society and nation.


Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;

7) “When a man assumes public trust, he should consider himself as public property”. Illustrate the essence of the statement. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the quote given by American president Thomas Jefferson.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the importance of public trust in the governance of the country.

Directive:

Illustrate – Give 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: 

Explain the statement generically as to what it is pointing to.

Body:

Explain that Public trust is a concept that relates back to the origins of democratic government and its seminal idea that within the public lies the true power and future of a society; therefore, whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected. One of the reasons that bribery is regarded as a notorious evil is that it contributes to a culture of political corruption in which the public trust is eroded. Other issues related to political corruption or betrayal of public trust are lobbying, special interest groups and the public cartel.

Conclusion:

Reassert significance of public trust and its importance in the lives of public servants.

Introduction:

The above statement was made by Thomas Jefferson. Although it was said centuries ago, yet the statement holds true even today. The above statement emphasises the importance of public life and the trust that the public servants ought to maintain. Public life is a constant job, and the persona of a public man becomes a public property.

Body:

Importance of Public Trust:

  • A decline in trust can lead to lower rates of compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Citizens and businesses can also become more risk-averse, delaying investment, innovation and employment decisions that are essential to regain competitiveness and jumpstart growth.
  • Nurturing trust represents an investment in economic recovery and social well-being for the future.
  • Trust is both an input to public sector reforms – necessary for the implementation of reforms – and, at the same time, an outcome of reforms, as they influence people’s and organisations’ attitudes and decisions relevant for economic and social well-being.
  • As a result, trust in government by citizens and businesses are essential for the effective and efficient policy making both in good times and bad.
  • Investing in trust should be considered as a new and central approach to restoring economic growth and reinforcing social cohesion, as well as a sign that governments are learning the lessons of the crisis

Responsibilities of a public servant:

  • Maintain highest integrity at work.
  • Accessible to people to hear their problems and quick grievance redressal.
  • Impartial in service delivery.
  • Objective, Transparent and accountable in decision making.

The above responsibilities make him a public property who acts as a trustee between the citizens and the state. Public office can be of any type like it can be ministerial post, Administrator, defence personnel etc. So each individual requires to perform his duty by putting his self interest as less important. It requires a person of considerable character to rise above the petty things and consider the wholeness of his existence in the scheme of things.

Conclusion:

Thus, Core levels of trust in government are necessary for the fair and effective functioning of government institutions– such as adherence to the rule of law, or the delivery of basic public services and the provision of infrastructure. Alexander Dumas had put it presciently “An officer doesn’t have friends”. That sentence shows that the level of dedication required for the role of a public servant precludes even the existence of friendship, a basic private need. Unless we acknowledge this, we cannot run institutions, cannot stand true to modern ideas and cannot in short form a nation.