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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 OCTOBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 07 OCTOBER 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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues

1) The kind of politics Mahatma Gandhi introduced Indians to, during Indian freedom struggle were not entirely new. Analyse. (250 words)

Modern history by Spectrum

Why this question:

The question intends to evaluate the Gandhian methods and the kind of politics he introduced to Indians that were not totally new to the countrymen but were result of his experiments in the past.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss how the kind of politics Mahatma Gandhi introduced Indians to, during Indian freedom struggle were not entirely new.

Directive:

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: 

Briefly explain the significance of Gandhian contribution to the politics that evolved during freedom struggle.

Body:

Major portion of the answer should explain how political methods of Gandhi were not entirely new – 

  • His boycott programs during Non-Cooperation movement were effectively utilized by the Swadeshi and Boycott movement of 1905. 
  • Involvement of masses – this too had started during the Swadeshi movement due to the efforts of the extremists. 
  • His idea of Swaraj or self-government was effectively demonstrated by the Home Rule League Movement of Tilak and Besant. 
  • However Gandhi’s techniques were novel in respect that they were strictly based on non-violence, demonstrated Hindu Muslim unity, etc.

Explain the relevance of his political tenets even today.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting significance of Gandhian methods of politics.

Introduction:

The Gandhian strategy is the combination of truth, sacrifice, non- violence, selfless service and cooperation. Although the political means like boycott, self-reliance, the aim of self-rule and solidarity to an extent were seen in the earlier movements, the above ideals of Gandhiji was not seen or ingrained in them.

Body:

Gandhian elements of the freedom struggle transformed the Congress from a mere platform struggling for political reforms to a movement of masses, making the it a multi-dimensional movement not involving only political struggle but socio-economic aspects of removing the evils of society such as untouchability, communal discontent.

However this transformation was not a sporadic moment or a radical one in the Indian history, its development in phases can be located in various forms even before the arrival of Gandhi.

  • Gandhi’s method of active phase (Boycott, picketing, processions) and passive phase (constructive program) incorporate in Non-cooperation movement finds resonance during the Swadeshi movement of 1905.
  • The self-reliance or atmashakthi during the Swadeshi movement led to development of many Indian industries, villages working towards production of their own goods and making themselves a ‘self-sufficient’ units.
  • Fight against the social evils of the society was confronted at several stages during national movement from Raja Ram Mohan Roy to Satyendra Nath Bose and others.
  • Gandhi’s economic critique was well developed by the Pherozshah Mehta and Dadabhai Naoroji, broadening the scope of struggle.
  • Hindu – Muslim unity was a significant feature of the earlier movements before advent of Gandhiji.
  • Idea of self government or Swaraj was echoed in the Home rule league movement of Tilak and Annie Besant. This was pursued later with idea of democratic decentralization which Gandhiji advocated for.

The Gandhian phase of Indian national movement changed the nature and ideals of the struggle, it marked a significant departure from the erstwhile Moderates constitutional and extremists way of struggle for India independence. Historian Bipin Chandra has called it as one of the most spectacular mass movements ever witnessed in the modern society.

Gandhiji’s characteristic traits in Indian freedom struggle:

  • Gandhiji also gave his own ideals of non-violence and truth which formed the basis of all his mass struggles.
  • His method of political protest which he called satyagraha, which literally means ‘truth force’ or ‘the struggle for truth’.
  • Gandhi described it as ‘a force which is born of truth and love or non-violence’. For him, it was the end of a quest for a moral equivalent of war.
  • Satyagraha was not passive resistance, but active opposition to any form of injustice.
  • The abrupt withdrawal of non-cooperation movement soon after Chauri Chaura massacre is an example of following above ideals.
  • Gandhiji was also in favour of reform of the caste system by abolishing the discriminatory practices which was in opposition to few leaders who wanted complete annihilation of caste system.
  • His ideas of making a small and common thing the base of a struggle was unique. E.g.: Salt in the case of Salt Satyagraha.
  • He understood the pulse of the people by travelling the length and breadth of country and made the freedom struggle more inclusive by involving all sections of people from women to children to tribals.

Conclusion:

Arrival of Gandhi and his techniques merged these different forms of struggle emanating from various platforms into one national movement based on mass struggle. The Indian national movement became an inclusive, and welfarist embodying the idea of egalitarian nationalism.


Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues

 2) The Anglo-French Rivalry in India was a part of their global rivalry aiming supremacy. Trace the course of their wars in India and also, examine the reasons for French failure.(250 words)

Modern Indian history by spectrum publications

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of Modern Indian history.

Key demand of the question:

The question is to trace the wars between English and French in India. So one has to explain Carnatic Wars and their result in detail and the entire struggle of the French to establish their supremacy.

Directive:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

The Anglo French Rivalry in India reflected the traditional rivalry throughout their history. 

Body:

Explain first how it all started – It started with the outbreak of Austria war of Succession and ended with the conclusion of Seven years’ war.

Discuss the factors that led to victory of the British like – 

Less governmental control over English company helped them in taking instant decisions unlike French

  • Superiority of English Navy to the French counterpart.
  • Strategic locations like Calcutta, Madras and Bombay occupied by English while French had just Pondicherry.
  • French subordinated their commercial interest to territorial ambition which made them short of funds.
  • Brilliant commanders like Rovert Clive, Eyre Coote in British camp while French had just Dupleix.

Explain the effect of it on rest of the dynamics around the period.

Conclusion:

The end of Seven years of war finally decided that English and not French were to become masters of India.

Introduction:

The Anglo-French struggle lasted in India for nearly 20 years and this ultimately gave way to the establishment of British power in India. In the Carnatic region and Bengal, the Anglo-French rivalry was much evident. In Bengal, their hostility had been contained by the effective intervention of Alivardi Khan. But in the south, the French position was reinforced due to the arrival of a fleet from Mauritius and this resulted in an attack by French on the English position in Madras.

Body:

Anglo-French struggle in India was a part of their global rivalry:

  • After Nadir Shah s attack in 1739 Mughal hold had weakened. Therefore, both English and French tried to strengthen their positions which led to frequent conflicts among them.
  • The outbreak of the Austrian Succession War in Europe in 1740 was the immediate cause for the political conflict between the two European rivals in India (As in that war England and France were in the opposite camps).
  • The trading rivalry of the companies further climaxed due to expansionary policies of Dupleix as he tried to strengthen the French Positions.

Anglo-French wars in India:

  • First Carnatic War (1746-1748)
    • English navy under Barnett captured some French ships. The French governor of Pondicherry, Dupleix attacked the English in retaliation in 1746 and this led to the beginning of first Carnatic War.
    • English appealed to the Nawab of Carnatic for protection.
    • Battle of St. Thome was fought between the French and Mahfuz Khan, commander of Anwar-Uddin (the Nawab of Carnatic). In this battle, French emerged as winners.
    • Treaty of Aix-La-Chappelle brought an end to the first round of Anglo-French conflicts in India as well. The English possessions in India were returned, while the French got back their North American possessions. (Madras was returned back to the English East India company in exchange of Louisburg in North America to France.)
    • The First Carnatic war also demonstrated the importance of Naval Power.
  • Second Carnatic War (1749-1754)
    • Anglo-French rivalry, continued in India although it had ended in Europe.
    • In 1748, Nizam of Hyderabad Nizam-ul-Mulk Asaf Jah died, which resulted in a war of succession. Muzaffar Jang, who aspired to become the Nizam of Hyderabad and Chanda Sahib, a candidate for the throne of Arcot was supported by French Governor
    • After Victory in Battle of Ambur in 1749, Muzaffar Jung became the Nizam and Chanda Sahib the Nawab of Muhammad Ali, (son of Anwar Uddin) who was supported by British escaped to Tiruchirappalli.
    • In 1751 the British commander Robert Clive captured Arcot, i.e. the capital of the Carnatic.
    • Chanda Sahib was treacherously murdered by the Raja of Tanjore. Later, Duplex was recalled.
    • The war concluded by the Treaty of Pondicherry in 1755. According to this treaty each party was left in possession of the territories that it occupied at the time of the treaty.
  • Third Carnatic War (1758-1763)
    • The outbreak of the Seven Years War (1756-1763) in Europe was the cause of the Third Carnatic War (1758-1763).
    • The British General Sir Eyre Coote defeated, Count de Lally (the commander of the French troops) at Wandiwash in 1760. Battle of Wandiwash ended almost a century of conflict over supremacy in India and availed the British East India company a far superior position in India compared to the other European traders.
    • The Seven Years War concluded by the Treaty of Paris in 1763 and this also led to the ending of Third Carnatic War. The French got Pondicherry, Karaikkal, Mahe and Yenam but condition applied was these were to be never fortified.

Reasons for the French failure in India:

  • The English East India Company was the wealthier of the two due to its superiority in trade.
  • EIC possessed superior naval strength. They could bring in soldiers from Europe and also provide supplies from Bengal. The French did not have any such avenue to replenish resources.
  • Its possessions in India had been held longer and were better fortified and more prosperous.
  • The French Company was heavily dependent on the French Government.
  • English had three important ports i.e. Calcutta, Bombay and Madras which provided them superiority in almost every angle be it trade or Naval Power, but French had only one port i.e. Pondicherry.
  • The victory at the Battle of Plassey opened up the British to a rich area, namely Bengal.
  • The British had many capable and able soldiers like Robert Clive, Stringer Lawrence and Sir Eyre Coote.

Conclusion:

With the treaty of Paris, Chandernagar and Pondicherry were returned to France but they were barred from fortifying them or having troops in them. They could only have trading activities. French hopes of building an empire in India were completely dashed. The French agreed to support British client governments making the British a dominant foreign power in India.


Topic:   Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) Does the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill go against Article 14 of the Constitution?Critically analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

he Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha in January this year but lapsed as it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha. It had proposed to amend the original Citizenship Act of 1955. After returning to power with a majority for another term, the National Democratic Alliance government is trying to resurrect the Bill. 

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the mandate of the bill, associated fault lines, the apex court observations in this regard and in what way the bill goes against Article 14 of the Constitution.

Directive:

Critically 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. 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain the mandate of the bill.

Body:

First explain the Concept of Citizenship followed by the country.

The answer must focus to bring out the conflict that the bill holds on with Article 14 of the constitution.

Discuss the drawbacks associated with the bill.

Explain that there should be no politics in the passing of legislations that bypass the democratic ideals of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting propositions or solutions to the issue.

Introduction:

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955. The Bill was recently passed in the LokSabha. Nagaland, along with other north-eastern States, has witnessed several protests following the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Body:

The key features of the bill are:

  • Definition of Illegal migrants:
    • The Citizenship Act, 1955 prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship.
    • The Bill amends the act to provide that the following minority groups will not be treated as illegal migrants: Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014
  • Citizenship by naturalisation:
    • Under Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India for 12 of the 15 years preceding the date of application.
    • It appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants.
  • Cancellation of registration of OCI cardholder:
  • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

The issues surrounding the bill:

  • Violates Article 14:
    • Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners, differentiating between people on the grounds of religion would be in violation of the constitution.
    • Civil society groups are opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, terming it “communally motivated humanitarianism.”
  • Endorsing a particular religion:
    • The bill undermines the Assam Accord which was signed to deport all the illegal migrants, majority being from Bangladesh, who entered Assam after 1971.
    • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 imagines India as a Hindu homeland, which is a refutation of the constitutional idea of the republic.
    • Experts see it as a move to endorse Hindus from Bangladesh who migrated to Assam after 1971.
    • The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
  • OCI:
    • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences
  • Discrimination of Muslims:
    • Alleged illegal migration from Bangladesh has been at the heart of Assam’s discontent. Not just the Muslim Bengali, but the Hindu Bengali has also been a reason for political mobilisation in the state. But only Hindu Bengalis are being favoured by the bill.
    • While Hindus and Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians might be naturalised, Muslims will not be offered the same advantage even if they are persecuted

Other legal fallacies of the proposed law:

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill also fails on the tenets of international refugee law.
  • Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, granting refuge based on humanitarian considerations is arguably a norm of customary international law.
  • Shelter to individuals of a select religion defeats not only the intention but also the rationality of refugee policy.
  • Muslims are considerably discriminated against and exploited in the neighbouring countries of China, Sri Lanka and the 36,000 Rohingyas Muslims from Myanmar who fled to India in the wake of 2015 insurgency is just one such example.
  • Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar are not offered such hospitality. The only way for them to live in India is by obtaining a valid visa and refugee status.

Conclusion:

India’s citizenship provisions are derived from the perception of the country as a secular republic. In fact, it is a refutation of the two-nation theory that proposed a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan. Independent India adopted a Constitution that rejected discrimination on the basis of religion and the birth of Bangladesh undermined the idea that religion could be the basis of a national community. So citizenship bill amendments need to be on this line.


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

4) “Mother tongue vital for survival of a civilization”, Do you agree? Analyse the statement with suitable justifications backing your opinion.(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

A few days after a language row erupted over allegations of an alleged plan to impose Hindi on Southern states, vice-president Venkaiah Naidu recently said respecting and recognizing the mother tongue and promoting it is vital for the survival of any civilisation.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the vitality of Mother tongue in marking the survival of any civilisation.

Directive:

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: 

In brief explain the importance of Mother tongue in general.

Body:

Explain the role that a mother tongue plays in the development of a civilisation.

Discuss the contributions of it in establishing a civilisation.

Discuss its applications – in development of child, in education, Better connection with your culture, Intellectual Development, Commercial benefits, the Pride and in establishing identity of a particular society.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Mother tongue or mother language refers to the language which a person has grown up speaking from early childhood. India is a land of linguistic diversity and the languages differ in their dialects every 100 kms. There have been many arguments and dissatisfaction over having a single national language (Hindi) for entire country. The Vice president of India recently said that mother tongue vital for survival of civilisation and every country must encourage their children to study primarily in the mother tongue.

Body:

Mother Tongue is vital for survival of a civilization:

  • Mother tongue is the very first language that one hears, understands and gets familiar with. Thus, it plays important role in shaping feelings, emotions and thought processes.
  • Use of mother language helps one in getting comfortable with his/her cultural identity.
  • Maintaining mother languages is necessary for preserving cultural heritage and identity.
  • Dissemination of mother languages encourages linguistic diversity, thus inspires solidarity based on understanding, tolerance, and dialogue.
  • When languages disappear, the world loses a rich tapestry of cultural identity.
  • Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression, valuable resources for ensuring a better future also get lost.

Every year, UNESCO celebrates 21st February as International Mother Language Day to promote mother tongue-based multilingual education. The day is also a reminder of how language connects us, empowers us and helps us to communicate our feelings to others. The world has over 7,000 languages whereas India alone has about 22 officially recognized languages, 1635 mother tongues, and 234 identifiable mother tongues.

Challenges faced in preserving mother languages:

  • According to the UN, every two weeks, a language disappears and the world loses an entire cultural and intellectual heritage.
  • At least 43% of the estimated 6000 languages spoken in the world are endangered.
  • Only a few hundred languages have been genuinely given a place in education systems and public domain. Also, 40% of the global population does not have access to education in a language they speak or understand.
  • Less than a hundred languages are used in the digital world.
  • Apart from globalization, rush for learning foreign languages for better job opportunities is a major reason behind the disappearance of mother languages.

Way forward to preserve mother languages:

  • With the help of technology, every mother language can be maintained. Google’s Project Navlekha in India is an example. The project is aimed at increasing the online content in Indian local languages.
  • People should be made aware of the professional viability of pursuing degrees in native languages. With a degree in a native language, one can take up professions like Language Expert, Translators, and Tourist-Guide etc.
  • Also to maintain any native language, it is necessary that it is spoken. Use of native languages at homes, schools, and offices should be encouraged.
  • The Upper House of India has an arrangement for interpretation of 22 languages i.e. members are encouraged to speak in their native languages.
  • Countries like France, Germany, Italy, China have developed their mother languages as a powerful medium. Other countries need to learn from these to preserve their cultural and linguistic identity.

Conclusion:

It is our strength that we have many languages and dialects. All other languages are important. But one should respect, learn and understand their mother tongue. According a hegemonic role to the “most-spoken” language in the country may promote cultural homogenisation, but that is hardly desirable in a country with a diverse population, a plural ethos and is a cauldron of many languages and cultures. Further, national identity cannot be linked to any one language, as it is, by definition, something that transcends linguistic and regional differences. The need today is to respect, protect and nurture diversity of our nation so that unity is ensured.


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

5) Should groundwater use for cultivation of water intensive crops be discouraged? Critically analyse how groundwater can be used and managed effectively for Agricultural purposes.(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question:

The article highlights the efforts being made by International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in developing rice crops that are less water intensive.

Key demand of the question:

Provide for a detailed analysis of ground water usage associated in the agrarian systems of the country.

Directive:

Critically 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. 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain the importance of conserving ground water and that the major contributions in exploitation of ground water are being made by the agricultural systems; such as rice cultivation etc.

Body:

First discuss the arguments made in the article.

Explain the importance of saving ground water.

What are the factors responsible for unconditional exploitation of ground water?

Explain what needs to be done to overcome the situation, suggest alternatives.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Water Development Report states that India is the largest extractor of groundwater in the world. Fifty-four percent of India’s groundwater wells have declined over the past seven years, and 21 major cities are expected to run out of groundwater by 2020. Erratic monsoon rains and skewed farm incentives have led to the growing groundwater crisis, impacting farm incomes and availability of drinking water.

Body:

According to IRRI, if the aquifers are well-connected, and rechargeable, pumping of groundwater is one of the good approaches to capturing water from rain and rivers, which otherwise ends up in the sea. The amount of water that can be pumped out depends on the type of aquifer, and the recharge capacity, which, in turn, depends on the source of recharge, and the properties of the sink.

Reasons for ground water exploitation in India:

  • India is the largest user of the groundwater in the world with almost 90% being used for drinking water and almost 60-70% for irrigation.
  • Subsidies:
    • Subsidies on electricity are thought to play a central role in the Indian groundwater crisis.
    • The vast majority of groundwater pumps are unmetered, and if charged, are billed at a flat, non-volumetric, and highly subsidized tariff.
  • Water intensive crops:
    • Government encourages farmers to produce water-intensive crops like rice and sugarcane through increased minimum support prices (MSP). This has also led to groundwater depletion, income inequality and unsustainable agriculture.
    • Farmers are digging more and more borewells, but the sources of the problem are many, including transition to water-intensive crops and spate of construction activity along catchment areas.
  • Unpredictable monsoon:
    • Successive droughts and erratic rainfall have led to excess extraction of groundwater. That explains 61 per cent decline in groundwater level in wells in India between 2007 and 2017.
  • Land use changes:
    • India’s huge groundwater-dependent population, uncertain climate-reliant recharge processes and indiscriminate land use changes with urbanization are among the many factors that have rendered the Indian groundwater scenario to become a global paradigm for water scarcity, for both quantity and quality.
    • Trans-boundary upstream water sources and archaic irrigation methods for the water shortage.
  • Government failure:
    • The government finance for well digging and pump installation with capital subsidies, massive rural electrification and pervasive energy subsidies all have enabled this process to aggravate.
    • In the north western parts of India and southern peninsula, the early and rapid rural electrification, free or subsidised power to the farm sector, large productive farmers and attractive procurement prices for major cereals led to intensive use of groundwater.
    • Zero marginal cost of pumping and lack of restriction on volume of water resulted in inefficient and unsustainable use of the resource.
  • Lack of adequate planning, crumbling infrastructure, indiscriminate drilling of borewells, large-scale consumption of water, and a false sense of entitlement in using water carelessly are causing water shortages.

Measures needed:

  • Reducing electricity subsidies:
    • An analysis of panel data across 370 districts in India found that a reduction in electricity subsidy was correlated with a decrease in groundwater extraction .
    • Most empirical studies are in favour of pricing electricity on the basis of actual consumption. They show that the energy prices at which the farmers start responding to tariff changes in terms of reducing the demand for water and electricity would be socio-economically viable.
    • Incentivising farmers with carbon credits can encourage them to use groundwater efficiently, IRRI says.
  • Micro-irrigation:
    • Encouraging farmers to adopt micro-irrigation techniques such as drip irrigation and micro-sprinklers.
    • According to the CWMI report, adopting micro-irrigation techniques can save roughly 20% of the groundwater used annually on irrigation in India.
  • Sustainable Agricultural Practices:
    • When rice is grown under aerobic conditions, like Direct Seeded Rice (DSR), a saving of about 12-35% of irrigation water is reported.
    • Efficient irrigation scheduling (like alternate wetting and drying) not only shrinks the use of water but also the carbon footprint by reducing emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas, from bunded fields or paddies.
  • Creating awareness:
    • Creating sustainable change would require a bottom-up approach by empowering the local community to become active participants in managing groundwater.
  • Proper implementation of initiatives:
    • 12th five-year plan proposed a policy of participatory groundwater management (PGM), which involves a collaborative approach among government departments, researchers, NGOs and community members.
    • The plan involves training community workers to carry out aquifer mapping and implement innovative ways to use groundwater conservatively with the local community.
    • Government has come up with a 6,000-crore World Bank-aided Atal Bhujal Yojana with community participation to ensure sustained groundwater management in overexploited and ground water-stressed areas in seven States.
    • World Bank’s Water Scarce Cities Initiative seeks to promote an integrated approach to managing water resources and service delivery in water-scarce cities as the basis for building resilience against climate change.
    • India needs better policies that directly help small-holders and labourers to adapt and adjust to risks associated with groundwater depletion and a more variable future climate.
  • Crisis can be tackled by restoring and enhancing groundwater recharge areas, stopping polluted water from recharging groundwater, rainwater and roof top harvesting and the restoration of ponds, lakes and other river systems.
  • Growing less water-intensive crops in the dry season and transitioning away from irrigation-intensive systems where there is little water.
  • Behavioural economics and other novel approaches can be brought to bear on maximizing agricultural production with minimal water use instead of focusing on marginal increases in yields with unbounded water use.
  • Water-deficient states should promptly move towards micro-irrigation systems. These techniques have significantly higher efficiency vis-à-vis flood irrigation techniques.
  • States should continue to focus on command area development (CAD). This is now part of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) which focuses on “more crop per drop”.
  • The cropping patterns in the states should be changed as per the agro-climatic zones. Improper cropping patterns affect both crop productivity and irrigation efficiency.
  • Farmer producer organizations (FPO) provide a sense of ownership to farmers and encourage community-level involvement with lower transaction costs.
  • India needs to establish data networks to track not only crop transpiration but also total inflows and recoverable outflows of irrigation water but also the losses to unrecoverable sinks such as evaporation.

Conclusion:

There is a need to modernise the regulatory framework for accessing groundwater soon after massive expansion in mechanical pumping led to the realisation that recharge could not keep pace with use.


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

6) What is Single Use Plastic?Discuss the challenges posed by them and explain in what way one can deal with the plastic menace steadily and replace it? Also suggest way forward.(250 words)

youtube

 

Why this question:

The TV debate captures the issues associated with single use plastic and the challenges associated with it.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain in detail the issues associated with single use plastic and the challenges in overcoming the threats posed by it and in managing and eradicating the menace totally.

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.

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: 

In brief narrate the recent ban placed on single use plastic in the country.

Body:

Explain the following dimensions:

Provide some statistics/data on single use plastic usage to set the background.

Explain what is single use plastic? – Single-use plastics, also referred as disposable plastics, are commonly used for plastic packaging and intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled. These include grocery (polythene) bags, food packaging, bottles, straws, containers, cups, cutlery etc.

Discuss the challenges involved in detail.

Why we need to ban single-use plastic? Its impact and Government’s Initiatives against plastic menace.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Single Use plastic is a form of plastic that is disposable, which is only used once and then has to be thrown away or recycled. The single-use plastic items include plastic bags, water bottles, soda bottles, straws, plastic plates, cups, most food packaging and coffee stirrers. The single-use plastic products also prevent the spread of infection. Instruments such as syringes, applicators, drug tests, bandages and wraps are often made to be disposable. Also, single-use plastic products have been enlisted in the fight against food waste, keeping food and water fresher for longer and reducing the potential for contamination

Body:

Govt. of India has laid great emphasis on eradicating single use plastic which has become one of the biggest sources of pollution. During his Independence Day Speech this year Prime Minister had urged the people to take a pledge on Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th Anniversary on 2nd October to make the country free of single use plastic

Challenges posed:

  • Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.
  • Plastic in oceans and forests are choking flora and fauna. In fact, plastic trash is expected to exceed the fish population in 2050.
  • Microplastics have ability to enter food chain with the highest concentration of the pollutants.
  • The PWM Rules Amendment, 2018, omitted explicit pricing of plastic bags that had been a feature of the 2016 Rules.
  • Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms remains unaddressed.
  • The fast moving consumer goods sector that uses large volumes of packaging, posing a higher order challenge.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure for segregation and collection is the key reason for inefficient plastic waste disposal.
  • Small producers of plastics are facing the ban, while more organised entities covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility clause continue with business as usual.
  • Lack of consultation with stakeholders such as manufacturers of plastics, eateries and citizen groups: This leads to implementation issues and inconvenience to the consumers.
  • Exemptions for certain products such as milk pouches and plastic packaging for food items severely weaken the impact of the ban.
  • No investment in finding out alternative materials to plug the plastic vacuum: Until people are able to shift to a material which is as light-weight and cheap as plastic, banning plastic will remain a mere customary practice.
  • Lack of widespread awareness among citizens about the magnitude of harm caused by single-use plastic: Without citizens ‘buying in’ to a cause, bans only result in creating unregulated underground markets.
  • No strategy to offset the massive economic impact: Sweeping bans like the one in Maharashtra are likely to cause massive loss of jobs and disruption of a large part of the economy dependent on the production and use of plastic.

Measures needed:

  • Target the most problematic single-use plastics by conducting a baseline assessment to identify the most problematic single use plastics, as well as the current causes, extent and impacts of their mismanagement.
  • Consider the best actions to tackle the problem (e.g. through regulatory, economic, awareness, voluntary actions), given the country’s socio-economic standing and considering their appropriateness in addressing the specific problems identified.
  • Assess the potential social, economic and environmental impacts (positive and negative) of the preferred short-listed instruments/actions. How will the poor be affected? What impact will the preferred course of action have on different sectors and industries?
  • Identify and engage key stakeholder groups – retailers, consumers, industry representatives, local government, manufacturers, civil society, environmental groups, tourism associations – to ensure broad buy-in. Evidence-based studies are also necessary to defeat opposition from the plastics industry.
  • Raise public awareness about the harm caused by single-used plastics. Clearly explain the decision and any punitive measures that will follow.

Way forward:

  • Promote alternatives like cotton, khadi bags and bio-degradable plastics.
  • Provide economic incentives to encourage the uptake of eco-friendly and fit-for-purpose alternatives that do not cause more harm. Support can include tax rebates, research and development funds, technology incubation, public-private partnerships, and support to projects that recycle single-use items and turn waste into a resource that can be used again.
  • Reduce or abolish taxes on the import of materials used to make alternatives.
  • Provide incentives to industry by introducing tax rebates or other conditions to support its transition. Governments will face resistance from the plastics industry, including importers and distributors of plastic packaging. Give them time to adapt.
  • Use revenues collected from taxes or levies on single-use plastics to maximize the public good. Support environmental projects or boost local recycling with the funds. Create jobs in the plastic recycling sector with seed funding.
  • Enforce the measure chosen effectively, by making sure that there is clear allocation of roles and responsibilities.
  • Monitor and adjust the chosen measure if necessary and update the public on progress.
  • International examples:
    • The success of imposing a plastic bag fee has also been established in cities like Chicago and Washington, showing that such interventions could be effective in shaping behaviour change.
    • The European Union is mulling new laws to ban some everyday single-use plastic products including straws, cutlery and plates citing plastic litter in oceans as the concern prompting the action.
    • Countries such as the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands have already put in place regulations to stop the use of microbeads in personal-care products. The sooner India adopts such regulations, the better
  • Encouraging plogging: Picking up litter while jogging or strolling was kick-started on a small scale in a small part of Stockholm about an year ago, it has spread across the globe and India can adopt this as well.

       


Topic: strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance

7) “The hungry ‘should not be punished’ for stealing small amounts of food, if they are stealing to feed their family”. Is the statement morally justifiable? Discuss by giving your opinion on the moral conundrum.(250 words)

 case study based question

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of morality and the conundrum associated there so.

Key demand of the question:

One has to present arguments for whether poverty leads to crime? If yes, why so?

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: 

In brief narrate the moral conundrum involved in the situation.

Body:

Discuss first the reasons and the association poverty and hunger, elaborate that If a person is living in poverty they are less likely to have access to advanced education, life skills and job training. They are more likely to face unemployment or under employment. They are more likely to live in areas where crimes such as gangs and substance abuse are prevalent. Growing up in such environments increase the possibility of becoming involved in such activities because of the despair, frustration, anger and hopelessness created in such environments. If faced with the choice of barely getting by on a minimum wage job or making good money dealing drugs, many choose the criminal life because it allows an escape from poverty. So, for these reasons poverty may lead to more criminal activity.

Then discuss the ethical issues involved, and whether it is justified for the poor to steal. Present your opinion with suitable justifications.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

Every human being is a thinking individual and is free to do whatever he/she wants to do. However, one must be prepared to pay for the consequences of one’s action.

Body:

Is it morally correct, or acceptable, in this world, to steal bread to feed our own family? The answer is situational. Is there really no gainful employment to be had? Is this parent sitting in front of the TV all day when he/she could be at work? That is, to know why bread is being stolen instead of purchased is important.

From the consequentialist perspective (ethical egoism), stealing  the food is not an immoral act as he is not doing to cheat others or harm others. It is only with the intent to satiate his family’s hunger which he cannot do otherwise.

For instance, Stealing small Amounts Of Food When In Desperate Need Is Not A Crime, ruled Italy’s Highest Court. “A small theft because of hunger is in no way comparable to an act of delinquency, because the need to feed justifies the fact.” ‘The court’s decision reminds us all that in a civilised country no one should be allowed to die of hunger’.

                From the non-consequentialist perspective (Means are imperative), the act of stealing is an illegal as well as immoral activity. It is a categorical imperative that stealing or unlawfully taking things which don’t belong to a person is a sinful act.

 Thus, the question is better phrased when asking for the definition of “stealing” and how does it apply to us as society and to us as individuals. The concept of “stealing” has been a strong point of discussion since all ages regardless of the item being stolen or the perpetrator.

Are you taking the bread from the mouth of another family? Is it ok for someone to assume that because you are holding two pieces of bread, they can morally take one to feed their own? Does it mean that one should never rid of the fear of not having enough to eat by saving a piece of bread? Someone else could come and “morally” take it from you?

Conclusion:

                Therefore, to generate fruitful discussion, ethical questions should offer some specifics, and we should not be too quick to judge.