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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 OCTOBER 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

1) Discuss the landforms of wind erosion in general while explaining the salient features of Ayers Rock with special focus.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

From October 26, 2019, climbing Uluru, Australia’s famous desert rock, considered sacred by the local Anangu people, has been banned.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to discuss Aeolian landforms in detail with special focus on Ayers rock as an example.

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 short define what Aeolian landforms are.

Body:

Explain the salient features of landforms created by wind.

Discuss separately with diagrams different landforms such as pedeplain, deflated hollows, Mushroom tables etc.

Discuss specifically the features of Ayer’s rock and its significance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of wind driven landform formations in physiography.

Introduction:

The wind is the main geomorphic agent in the hot deserts. Winds in hot deserts have greater speed which causes erosional and depositional activities in the desert. The landforms which are created by erosional and depositional activities of wind are called as Aeolian Landforms.  The wind or Aeolian erosion takes place in the following ways, viz. deflation, abrasion, and attrition. This process is not unique to the Earth, and it has been observed and studied on other planets, including Mars.

Body:

Erosional Landforms due to Wind:

  • Pediplains:
    • When the high relief structures in deserts are reduced to low featureless plains by the activities of wind, they are called as Pediplains.
  • Deflation Basins:
    • Deflation is the removal of loose particles from the ground by the action of wind.
    • When deflation causes a shallow depression by persistent movements of wind, they are called as deflation hollows.
  • Inselbergs:
    • A monadnock or inselberg is an isolated hill, knob, ridge, outcrop, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain.
  • Mushroom Rocks:
    • Ventifacts are rocks that have been abraded, pitted, etched, grooved, or polished by wind-driven sand or ice crystals.
    • These geomorphic features are most typically found in arid environments where there is little vegetation to interfere with Aeolian particle transport, where there are frequently strong winds, and where there is a steady but not overwhelming supply of sand.
    • Mushroom Tables / Mushroom rocks are Ventifacts in the shape of a mushroom.
    • In deserts, a greater amount of sand and rock particles are transported close to the ground by the winds which cause more bottom erosion in overlying rocks than the top.
    • This result in the formation of rock pillars shaped like a mushroom with narrow pillars with broad top surfaces.
  • Demoiselles:
    • These are rock pillars which stand as resistant rocks above soft rocks as a result of differential erosion of hard and soft rocks.
  • Zeugen:
    • A table-shaped area of rock found in arid and semi-arid areas formed when more resistant rock is reduced at a slower rate than softer rocks around it.
  • Yardangs:
    • Ridge of rock, formed by the action of the wind, usually parallel to the prevailing wind direction.
  • Wind bridges and windows:
    • Powerful wind continuously abrades stone lattices, creating holes. Sometimes the holes are gradually widened to reach the other end of the rocks to create the effect of a window—thus forming a wind window. Window bridges, are formed when the holes are further widened to form an arch-like feature.

Salient features of Ayers Rock:

  • Uluru also known as Ayers Rock is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory in central Australia. Uluru is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Formation
    • Scientists have estimated that Uluru is around 500 million years old, forming a similar time to when the Australian continent first developed. This all began when a large majority of Australia was underwater.
    • The rock first began once the land masses began to separate and move, causing two fans, one made of sand, and the other made of conglomerate rock, to be pushed together with force.
    • Eventually, the pressure was so great the two fans condensing into one rock, to what we know today as Uluru.
  • Southern Side
    • The southern side of Uluru features a series of steep valleys with large pot-holes and plunge pools. This is all due to the continued water erosion on the arkose rock.
    • From centuries of rainfall slowly cutting into the deep sections of Uluru until they eventually fell away with the stream, forming the large holes we see today.
  • North-West Side
    • Featured on Uluru’s north-west side is parallel ridges outlining the sedimentary layers of the rock. This is also caused by erosion, with large winds and rainfall cutting away segments.
  • Uluru’s Smooth Surface
    • The smooth sections of the red are all due to humans, with millions of feet travelling across the same section of rock every day.
  • Uluru’s Flaky Surface
    • The flaky exterior of Uluru is due to the chemical decay of the minerals present. Normally, the arkose rock is a greyish colour, however, the oxidation of the iron mineral present in the rock exposes a rusty flaky residue, causing the rust red colour Uluru is famous for.

Conclusion:

Thus, wind and water act as major erosional factors leading to formation of various landforms.


Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.,

2) Discuss the features and process of formation of a tropical cyclone. How are they different from temperate cyclones? (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The Super cyclone ‘Kyarr’ in the Arabian Sea has moved westwards and away from India’s coast, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

It is “very likely” to move west-northwestwards till October 30 to recurve west-south-westwards thereafter and move towards the Gulf of Aden off south Oman-Yemen coasts in the next three days. 

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of tropical cyclones and compare them with the temperate cyclones.

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: 

Explain what tropical and temperate cyclones are.

Body:

The question expects us to give similarities and differences in the nature, origin, physical traits etc. of temperate cyclone vis a vis tropical cyclones.

Discuss origin, latitude, presence of a frontal system, formation, season, size, shape etc. in your answer.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the recent examples witnessed in Arabian sea.

Introduction:

Tropical Cyclone is any large system of winds that circulates about a centre of low atmospheric pressure in a counter-clockwise direction north of the Equator and in a clockwise direction to the south. Cyclonic winds move across nearly all regions of the Earth except the equatorial belt and are generally associated with rain or snow.

Body:

Process and conditions favourable for Cyclone Formation:

  • Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C
  • Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex:
    • The Coriolis force is zero at the equator (no cyclones at equator because of zero Coriolis Force) but it increases with latitude. Coriolis force at 5° latitude is significant enough to create a storm [cyclonic vortex].
    • About 65 per cent of cyclonic activity occurs between 10° and 20° latitude.
    • Small variations in the vertical wind speed
    • A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
  • Humidity Factor:
    • High humidity (around 50 to 60 per cent) is required in the mid-troposphere, since the presence of moist air leads to the formation of cumulonimbus cloud.
    • Such conditions exist over the equatorial doldrums, especially in western margins of oceans (this is because of east to west movement of ocean currents), which have great moisture, carrying capacity because the trade winds continuously replace the saturated air.
  • Upper divergence above the sea level system:
    • A well – developed divergence in the upper layers of the atmosphere is necessary so that the rising air currents within the cyclone continue to be pumped out and a low pressure maintained at the center.
  • Low-level Disturbances:
    • Low-level disturbance in the form of easterly wave disturbances in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) should pre-­exist.
  • Temperature contrast between air masses:
    • Trade winds from both the hemispheres meet along inter-tropical front. Temperature contrasts between these air masses must exist when the ITCZ is farthest, from the equator.
    • Thus, the convergence of these air masses of different temperatures and the resulting instability are the prerequisites for the origin and growth of violent tropical storms.
  • Wind Shear:
    • It is the differences between wind speeds at different heights
    • Tropical cyclones develop when the wind is uniform.
    • Because of weak vertical wind shear, cyclone formation processes are limited to latitude equator ward of the subtropical jet stream.
    • In the temperate regions, wind shear is high due to westerlies and this inhibits convective cyclone formation.

Non tropical cyclone and differences between tropical and non-tropical cyclones

  • A non-tropical (or cold core) storm has the coldest temperatures in the center of the storm. Temperatures cool as you move higher in the atmosphere and there is a trough at the highest levels.
  • Winds:
    • Unlike tropical (warm core) storms, winds are not as concentrated near the center of the storm, but can spread out for hundreds of miles from it.
  • Precipitation:
    • It is in a cold core (non-tropical cyclone) can also spread far away from the center of the storm. Most mid-latitude storms are cold core including nor’easters.
    • The precipitation is more intense in tropical cyclone than non-tropical cyclone. Also, precipitation in tropical cyclones are localised while in case of non-tropical cyclone the precipitation is widespread.
  • Shape:
    • Tropical cyclones are nearly symmetric in shape and are without fronts. Mid-latitude (cold core) cyclones are comma shaped and have fronts associated with them.
  • Transition:
    • Hurricanes and tropical storms often transition to cold core cyclones, meaning that it has technically lost many of its tropical characteristics and is more closely related to a mid-latitude (non-tropical) storm.
    • The transition often occurs when a tropical cyclone moves to higher latitudes and interacts with atmospheric features that are more common there.
  • Troughs:
    • Tropical cyclones don’t form troughs whereas non tropical cyclones form troughs in upper level of atmosphere.

Conclusion:

Despite the differences both these cyclones are destructive in nature and cause irreparable damage to life and property.


Topic:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3) The focus of the whole population debate in India has mostly always been on women from sterilisation to reproductive health workers. Critically analyse the causes and suggest way forward.(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

The question aims to ascertain the gender angle associated with population control policies.

Key demand of the question:

The article highlights in detail the causes of prejudicial population policies prevalent in country and why they have always been centered on women.

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: 

Highlight in general the population policies of India.

Body:

The article highlights in what way instead of punishing people with the two-child policy, the policy must give them information and tools to make a choice.

Discuss why the policies have always focused on controlling population through women despite the fact that the reproductive rights mostly have remained with Men.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

India is forecast to become the world’s most populous country in 2030, up from 1.25 billion today to nearly 1.5 billion. India has one of the world’s highest rates of female sterilisations, with about 37% of women having the operations, compared with 29% in China, according to the UN. About 4.6 million Indian women were sterilised in 2011 and 2012, according to the government.

Body:

Causes for increased focus on women for sterilization:

  • Women continue to bear the burden of family planning in India, with female sterilisation constituting 75% of modern contraceptive methods used.
  • The share of condoms is approximately 12% and male sterilisation 0.6%.
  • Prevailing myths and social norms pose a huge barrier to men sharing the responsibility for planned families.
  • Only a tiny fraction of men choose to have vasectomies. Male sterilisation is viewed as culturally unacceptable in India’s conservative society, experts say.
  • National Family Health Survey data shows that investing in the education of girls has led to a reduction in fertility rates. Women who have no schooling had the highest Total Fertility Rate of 3.06, while women with 12 or more years of education reported a fertility rate of 1.71.
  • Sterilisation camps for women seen as cheaper option than contraceptives in remote villages
  • Teaching poorly educated women in remote communities how to use pills or contraceptives is more expensive than the mass sterilisation campaigns.
  • Despite successive years of economic growth, governments have systematically chosen the cheaper option.
  • Incentives vary, however in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh – where 14 women have died recently and more 20 are in intensive care after surgery at two government-run sterilisation camps – women were supposed to get about 1,400 rupees (£14), for having the operation, equivalent to nearly two weeks’ wages for a manual labourer.
  • health advocates worry that paying women is dangerous. The payment is a form of coercion, especially when you are dealing with marginalised communities.
  • Local officials in Chhattisgarh say they were set a target by central government of 220,000 sterilisations a year, including 15,000 in Bilaspur, the district where the botched surgeries took place
  • One further problem is a gender imbalance, arising from selective abortion of girls or their murder immediately after birth.
  • In some communities there are fewer than eight women for every 10 men, with the ratio skewed even further among younger people.

However, female sterilization is not the only way to control population:

  • The state authorities assert that state’s sterilisation programme is voluntary.
  • health officials in Delhi said no such targets for sterilising women had been set since 1998.
  • Experts point out that the population control strategy is linked to a series of other problems relating to discrimination against women and marginalised communities.
  • In Indian states where female literacy is higher the fertility rates are lower.

Measures needed:

  • Rather than enforcing punitive policies, we need empowering actions that give girls and women the ability to exercise their rights – as Government aims to do through the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign.
  • higher public investments, more appropriate spending and increased focus on the requirements of young people, so that every couple is able to plan their families as per their desire and needs.
  • Sexual education and sanitation and hygiene should be promoted for the sexual health well-being of the women.

Conclusion:

When women lack control over their own fertility decisions, they become collateral damage in the event of a coercive population policy. That is a very heavy price to pay, especially with our adverse sex ratio.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

4) Trace the evolution of privacy in India from primitives to Puttaswamy. Discuss the challenges posed by spread of Internet with suitable examples and suggest a balanced approach to internet takedowns.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article highlights the fact that Our courts should observe restraint while ordering the removal of offensive internet content.

Key demand of the question:

The answer should trace in detail the evolution of privacy laws and norms in India from primitives to Puttaswamy. Elucidate upon the challenges posed by the spread of internet.

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 discuss importance of privacy.

Body:

Explain that as much as the internet is a blessing, the fact that it can be accessed from everywhere gives rise to conflicts between national laws that are hard to reconcile. The very concept of an international network, through which data flows unimpeded between countries, threatens traditional notions of sovereignty, challenging courts and governments to find new ways in which to enforce local laws while still availing themselves of the benefits of the network. As the stakes have grown higher, governments have allowed their frustration to show, imposing regulations such as data localization and requiring decryption of encrypted traffic to wrest back some control.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Right to privacy refers to protection of one’s personal information from being public or used by other without permission. Privacy is defined as “absence or avoidance of publicity or display; the state or condition from being withdrawn from the society of others, or from public interest. On August 24th, 2017, Supreme Court has given its verdict on Right to privacy in Justice K S Puttaswamy V Union of India, declaring it as a fundamental right of a citizen. This judgment has finally put an end to the long historical legal battle from the past 40-50 years.

Body:

Evolution:

The first case to lay down the basics of right to privacy in India, was the case of Kharak Singh v. State of Uttar Pradesh, where a seven judge bench of the Supreme Court was required to check the constitutionality of certain police regulations which allowed police to do domiciliary visit and surveillance of persons with criminal record.

In this particular case majority of the judges decline to interpret article 21 to include within its ambit the right the privacy, part of the majority expressed “The right of privacy is not a guaranteed right under our Constitution, and therefore the attempt to ascertain the movements of an individual is merely a manner in which privacy is invaded and is not an infringement of a fundamental right guaranteed in Part III.

The question of privacy as a fundamental right presented itself once again to the Supreme Court a few years later in the case of Govind v. State of Madhya Pradesh. The petitioner in this case had challenged, as unconstitutional, certain police regulations on the grounds that the regulations violated his fundamental right to privacy. Although the issues were similar to the Kharak Singh case, the 3 judges hearing this particular case were more inclined to grant the right to privacy the status of a fundamental right.

Subsequent to the Govind judgment, the Supreme Court was required to balance the right of privacy against the right to free speech in the case of R. Rajagopal v. State of Tamil Nadu. In this case, the petitioner was a Tamil newsmagazine which had sought directions from the Court to restrain the respondent State of Tamil Nadu and its officers to not interfere in the publication of the autobiography of a death row convict–‘Auto Shankar’ which contained details about the nexus between criminals and police officers.

The Supreme Court held: “(1) the right to privacy is implicit in the right to life and liberty guaranteed to the citizens of this country by Article 21. It is a “right to be let alone”. A citizen has a right to safeguard the privacy of his own, his family, marriage, procreation, motherhood, child-bearing and education among other matters. None can publish anything concerning the above matters without his consent whether truthful or otherwise and whether laudatory or critical.

In the case of Mr. ‘X’ v. Hospital ‘Z’, the Supreme Court was required to discuss the scope of a blood donor’s right to privacy of his medical records. The respondent hospital in this case had disclosed, without the permission of the blood donor, the fact that the blood donor was diagnosed as being a HIV patient. Due to this disclosure by the hospital, the lady who was to have been married to the blood donor had broken off her engagement and the donor was subject to social ostracism. Discussing the issue of privacy of medical records, the Supreme Court ruled that while medical records are considered to be private, doctors and hospitals could make exceptions in certain cases where the non-disclosure of medical information could endanger the lives of other citizens, in this case the wife.

In the case of PUCL v. Union of India, the petitioner organization had challenged the actions of the state in intercepting telephone calls. Recognizing procedural lapses that had occurred, the court set out procedural safeguards which would have to be followed, even as it did not strike down the provision relating to interception in the Telegraph Act 1885. The Supreme Court placed restrictions on the class of bureaucrats who could authorize such surveillance and also ordered the creation of a ‘review committee’ which would review all surveillance measures authorized under the Act.

In 2005, the Supreme Court passed one of its most important privacy related judgments in the case of District Registrar v. Canara Bank. In this case the Supreme Court was required to determine the constitutionality of a provision of the A.P. Stamps Act which allowed the Collector or ‘any person’ authorized by the Collector to enter any premises to conduct an inspection of any records, registers, books, documents in the custody of any public officer, if such inspection would result in discovery of fraud or omission of any duty payable to the Government.

In the case of Naz Foundation v. Union of India, the Delhi High Court ‘read down’ Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 to decriminalize a class of sexual relations between consenting adults. One of the critical arguments accepted by the Court in this case was that the right to privacy of a citizen’s sexual relations, protected as it was under Article 21, could be intruded into by the State only if the State was able to establish a compelling interest for such interference. Since the State was unable to prove a compelling state interest to interfere in the sexual relations of its citizens, the provision was read down to decriminalize all consensual sexual relations.

Following the trend of these judgements, the concept of right to privacy has evolved and emerged, as a fundamental right. Our judiciary has tried in these various judgements interpret the meaning and the scope of right to privacy. Right to privacy is an essential component of right to life and personal liberty under Article 21. Right of privacy may, apart from contract, also arise out of a particular specific relationship, which may be commercial, matrimonial or even political. No doubt puttaswamy judgment will have a deep impact upon our legal and constitutional landscape for years to come. It will impact the interplay between privacy and transparency and between privacy and free speech; it will impact State surveillance, data collection, and data protection for sure.

Challenges posed by spread of Internet:

  • many challenges remain as the Internet entered the twenty-first century.
  • Users faced abusive practices such as spam (unwanted commercial email), viruses, identity theft, and break-ins.
  • Some governments severely limited and closely monitored the online activities of their citizens
  • Other groups complained that the Internet was too open to objectionable or illegal content such as child pornography or pirated songs, movies, and software.
  • Filters and copyright protection devices provided means to restrict the flow of such information, but these devices were themselves controversial.
  • Internet governance was another thorny issue

Balanced approach against internet takedowns:

  • Our courts have always operated with restraint, only taking proportionate action when necessary.
  • They should demonstrate the same restraint while ordering the takedown of offensive content on the internet.
  • Undeniably reprehensible material, such as child pornography and extreme acts of violence, should be taken down everywhere in the world.
  • However, for everything else, we should offer other countries the courtesy of being able to deal with it within their territory, according to their own standards.
  • If we fail to appreciate nuances such as these, we would end up curtailing our ability to benefit from all that the internet has to offer us.

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

5) Uniformity in civil law can only be achieved in a piecemeal manner. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

In Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira (2019), the Supreme Court has yet again revived the debate on a uniform civil code (UCC).

Key demand of the question:

Explain the approach to achieve the significant UCC. What methods must be put in place to achieve the same?

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief define UCC.

Body:

Explain the concept of UCC.

Uniform civil Code is a proposal to have a generic set of governing laws for every citizen without taking into consideration the religion.

Article 44 of the Constitution says that there should be a Uniform Civil Code. According to this article, “The State shall endeavor to secure for the citizens a uniform civil code throughout the territory of India”. Since the Directive Principles are only guidelines, it is not mandatory to use them. 

Explain why India needs a UCC.

What should be the approach to achieve the same?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Uniform Civil Code is one that would provide for one law for the entire country, applicable to all religious communities in their personal matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption etc. Article 44 of the Constitution lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India. Article 44 is one of the directive principles. These, as defined in Article 37, are not justiciable (not enforceable by any court) but the principles laid down therein are fundamental in governance.

Body:

In Jose Paulo Coutinho v. Maria Luiza Valentina Pereira (2019), the Supreme Court has yet again revived the debate on a uniform civil code (UCC) and referred to Goa as “a shining example of an Indian State which has a uniform civil code applicable to all…”.

Status of Personal Law in India:

  • Personal law subjects like marriage, divorce, inheritance come under Concurrent list.
  • Hindu personal laws have been by and large secularized and modernized by statutory enactments.
  • The Hindu personal laws (that apply also to the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists) have been codified by the Parliament in 1956
  • This Code Bill has been split into four parts:
    • The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955
    • The Hindu Succession Act, 1956
    • The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956
    • The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956
  • On the other hand, Muslim personal laws are still primarily unmodified and traditional in their content and approach.
    • The Shariat law of 1937 governs the personal matters of all Indian Muslims in India.
    • It clearly states that in matters of personal disputes, the State shall not interfere and a religious authority would pass a declaration based on his interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith.
  • Apart from it, Christians and Jews are also governed by different personal laws.

India needs a Uniform Civil Code for the following reasons:

  • A secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
  • Different personal laws promote communalism and it leads to discrimination at two levels:
    • First, between people of different religions.
    • Second, between the two sexes
  • Another reason why a uniform civil code is needed is gender justice. The rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
  • Many practices governed by religious tradition are at odds with the fundamental rights guaranteed in the Indian Constitution.
  • Courts have also often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code including the judgement in the Shah Bano case.
  • The Supreme Court in Shayara Bano case (2017) had declared the practise of Triple Talaq (talaq-e-bidat) as unconstitutional.

Challenges to UCC:

  • Secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.
  • Besides, cultural diversity cannot be compromised to the extent that our urge for uniformity itself becomes a reason for threat to the territorial integrity of the nation.
  • The term ‘secularism’ has meaning only if it assures the expression of any form of difference.
  • This diversity, both religious and regional, should not get subsumed under the louder voice of the majority.
  • At the same time, discriminatory practices within a religion should not hide behind the cloak of that faith to gain legitimacy.
  • Moreover, an individual’s freedom of religion under Article 25 is subject to “public order, health, morality”.
  • In 2018, a report by the Law Commission of India stated that the Uniform Civil Code is “neither necessary nor desirable at this stage” in the country. The Commission said secularism cannot contradict the plurality prevalent in the country.

 Way forward:

  • The social transformation from diverse civil code to uniformity shall be gradual and cannot happen in a day. Therefore, the government must adopt a “Piecemeal” approach.
  • Government could bring separate aspects such as marriage, adoption, succession and maintenance into a uniform civil code in stages.
  • Government must emulate Goan practice of a common civil code, which has been the law since 1867, when the state was under the Portuguese colonial rule.
  • Moreover, when constitution espouses the cause of Uniform civil code in its Article 44, it shouldn’t be misconstrued to be a “common law”.
  • The word uniform here means that all communities must be governed by uniform principles of gender justice and human justice.
  • It will mean modernization and humanization of each personal law.
  • It would mean, not a common law, but different personal laws based on principles of equality, liberty and justice.
  • Government has to take steps towards increasing the awareness among the public, especially minorities, about the importance of having a UCC.

Conclusion:

If the framers of the Constitution had intended to have a Uniform Civil Code, they would have given exclusive jurisdiction to Parliament in respect of personal laws, by including this subject in the Union List. Even the law commission has suggested in against of the idea. The government needs to find a moral backing a unanimous support across the sections of the society to undertake such an move.


Topic:  Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

6) The Representation of People’s Act 1951 is a significant legislation for the electoral system of India. Comment. Also enumerate the salient features regarding the disqualification provisions in the act.(250 words)

Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

One has to bring out the significance of Representation of People’s Act 1951.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the Representation of People’s Act 1951; its features and a detailed narration of disqualification provisions in the act.

Directive:

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with significance of RPA 1951.

Body:

Discuss the Salient features of the Representation of Peoples Act first.

Enumerate the disqualification provisions in detail.

Highlight the significance of the act.

Conclusion:

Conclude  with importance of it to the democratic system.

Introduction:

India being the largest democracy of the world, elections in India have been the largest electoral exercise in the world since the 1st general elections of 1952. Representation of Peoples Act 1951 is an act enacted by the Indian provincial parliament before first general elections. The People’s Representation act provides for the actual conduct of elections in India. The act also deals with details like qualification and disqualification of members of both houses of Parliament (i.e. Loksabha and Rajya Sabha) and the state legislatures (i.e. State Legislative Assembly and State Legislative Council). Rules for the mode of conduct of elections is highlighted in detail.

Body:

Representation of Peoples Act 1951 (RPA Act 1951) provides for:

  • Actual conduct of elections.
  • Administrative machinery for conducting elections.
  • Poll.
  • Election offences.
  • Election disputes.
  • By-elections.
  • Registration of political parties.

The RP Act, 1951 is of special significance to the smooth functioning of Indian democracy, as it checks the entry of persons with criminal background into the representative bodies. RP act, 1951 was amended many times, the major amendment being made in 1966.

The original RPA 1951 contains 13 parts and 171 sections. Part 2 deals with qualifications and disqualifications of the members of the parliament and the state legislatures. Part 4A deals with the registration of political parties. Part 5A deals with the free supply of certain materials to candidates of recognised political parties. Part 13A mentions the Chief Electoral Officer.

This act is important because it is cited judges frequently in preventing criminals from entering the electoral system and representative bodies of the country.

Section 8 deals with Disqualification of representatives on conviction for certain offences. The various sub-clauses include

  • 8 ( 1 ): A person convicted of an offence punishable under certain acts of Indian Penal Code, Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002 etc. shall be disqualified, where the convicted person is sentenced to — (i) only fine, for a period of six years from the date of such conviction; (ii) imprisonment, from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
  • 8 ( 2 ): A person convicted for the contravention of—(a) any law providing for the prevention of hoarding or profiteering; or (b) any law relating to the adulteration of food or drugs; or (c) any provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.
  • 8 ( 3 ): A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years [other than any offence referred to in sub-section (1) or sub-section (2)] shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
  • A fourth subsection, i.e., 8 ( 4 ) was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2013 (Lily Thomas case). This subsection had provisions for convicted lawmakers to retain their seats if they filed an appeal within 3 months of their conviction.
  • In 2013, the Patna High Court also debarred persons in judicial or police custody from contesting elections.

The other disqualification criteria for an MP as laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191 is holding an office of profit under government of India or state government.

Conclusion:

Elections are the life blood of any democracy. The robustness of electoral processes determines the fate of the nation. The timely reforms to the electoral process by ECI, according to the changing needs of the society and the strong review of the judiciary have helped in conduction of free and fair elections till date.


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

7) What do you understand by ‘carbon mineralisation’? How does it help in the fight against climate change? Which are other significant carbon capture and storage methods? Discuss the prospects of CCS.( 250 words)

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Why this question:

The question is amidst the recent coming of newer methods of carbon capture and storage.

Key demand of the question:

One has to elaborate what is carbon mineralisation, Elaborate how it helps in the fight against the climate change. Write other significant carbon capture and storage methods available.

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: 

Write in brief about the ‘Carbon mineralization’. 

Body:

Mineralisation’ is the decomposition of the chemical compounds in organic matter, by which the nutrients in those compounds are released in soluble inorganic forms that may be available to plants.

Carbon sequestration is the process of capture and long-term storage of atmospheric carbon dioxide to mitigate global warming and to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change. The Carbon Capture And Storage (CCS) chain consists of three parts; capturing the carbon dioxide, transporting the carbon dioxide, and securely storing the carbon dioxide emissions, underground in depleted oil and gas fields or deep saline aquifer formations.

Explain significant carbon capture and storage methods.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

Carbon mineralization is the process of conversion of carbonaceous material to carbon dioxide. It is the most general function of soil microbial communities that can be affected by exposure to pollutants. The mineralisation of carbon compounds is the fundamental energy-producing process for heterotrophic organisms. The process may result in production of CO2 or CH4 (depending on oxygen availability) in secondary production, which is subsequently mineralised, and in residual compounds, which tend to be increasingly resistant to decomposition.

Body:

It is a kind of Carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology which removes carbon dioxide from flue gases for storage in geologic formations or the ocean.

This iterative cascade provides some opportunities for directly manipulating the rate of carbon mineralisation by (i) maintenance of the food web; (ii) selective control of specific functional groups; and (iii) relocation of the organic resources.

Carbon mineralization and fight against climate change:

  • Increasing soil carbon offers a range of co-benefits and this would buy us time before other technologies can help us transition to a zero-carbon lifestyle.
  • Significant carbon pools on earth are found in the earth’s crust, oceans, atmosphere and land-based ecosystems. Soils contain roughly 2,344 Gt (1 gigatonne = 1 billion tonnes) of organic carbon, making this the largest terrestrial pool.
  • Increasing Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) through various methods can improve soil health, agricultural yield, food security, water quality, and reduce the need for chemicals.
  • Changing agricultural practices to make them more sustainable would not just address carbon mitigation but also improve other planetary boundaries in peril such as fresh water, biodiversity, land use and nitrogen use.

Other CCS methods:

  • Researchers have developed a new technology to capture carbon dioxide from a stream of air — virtually at any concentration level — an advance that may pave the way for new strategies to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gas levels.
  • Pre-combustion: This method is normally applied to coal-gasification combined-cycle power plants. The coal is gasified to produce a synthetic gas made from carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The former is reacted with water to produce CO2, which is captured, and more hydrogen. The hydrogen can be diverted to a turbine where it can be burned to produce electricity. Alternatively, some of this gas can be bled off to feed hydrogen fuel cells for cars.
  • Post-combustion: In this method, CO2 is separated from the flue gas of the power station by bubbling the gas through an absorber column packed with liquid solvents (such as ammonia). In the most widely used system, once the chemicals in the absorber column become saturated, a stream of superheated steam at around 120C is passed through it. This releases the trapped CO2, which can then be transported for storage elsewhere.
  • Oxyfuel: When coal, oil or natural gas is burned in normal air, CO2 makes up around 3-15% of the waste gas – and separating it out is difficult and energy-intensive. An alternative method is to burn the fuel in pure oxygen. In this environment, virtually all the waste gas will be composed of CO2 and water vapour. The latter can be condensed out while the former can be piped or transported directly to a storage facility.
  • Green Cover: Afforestation / Reforestation / Plantation / Agro forestry: Trees are natural sequesters of carbon, they take carbon from atmosphere, utilize it in the process of photosynthesis as well as they store it in the form of biomass or wood.
  • Wetland restoration: Wetland soil is an important natural carbon pool or sink. Wetlands conserve 14.5 % of the soil carbon found in world. But only 6 % of the world’s land is composed of wetland
  • Oceans: Oceans absorb CO2 from the atmosphere because the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is greater than that in the oceans. This difference in partial pressure of CO2 results in the gas being absorbed into the world’s oceans.
  • Subterranean injection or Geological sequestration: Carbon dioxide can be injected into depleted oil and gas reservoirs and other geological features, or can be injected into the deep ocean, this is known as subterranean injection.

Prospects for CCS:

  • Momentum for climate action has surged since the Paris Agreement in December, with increased investment in clean, renewable energy and new energy technologies.
  • CCS technologies aims to keep climate-warming carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, acting as a bridge to a lower-carbon future.
  • To reach that future, national commitments to reduce emissions and increase public and private funding for research and development could help move CCS forward.
  • Along with global deployment of renewable energy, CCS has the potential to cut emissions from fossil-fuelled power sources and energy-intensive industry.
  • In addition, the Paris conference saw the launch of a CCS development and deployment roadmap for China, a paper outlining the role of CCS in the climate change mitigation portfolio of a coalition of environmental organizations, and a report that highlights CCS in its call for increased climate action over the next five years.
  • Increasing support for carbon pricing from private companies, national governments and international organizations could also support the fledgling CCS industry by using funds collected from putting a price on emissions to help pay for carbon capture and storage, and ultimately making carbon expensive enough to incentivize wider CCS use.
  • Another encouraging sign for CCS is the commitment by 20 countries, known as Mission Innovation, to double public funding for clean energy research and development over the next five years.