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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 February 2020

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 February 2020


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:  geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

1. India has witnessed a rapid degradation of its wetlands in recent times, Discuss the causes and explain in what way they will lead to water, food and climate insecurity in the country? Suggest solutions to address the issue. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why this question:

2nd Feb is World Wetlands Day, which marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The 2020 theme Wetlands and Biodiversity is an opportunity to highlight wetland biodiversity, its status, why it matters and to promote actions to reverse its loss. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss why India has witnessed a rapid degradation of its wetlands in recent times, what the causative factors are and what needs to be done to address the same.

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:

Briefly explain what Wetlands are.

Body:

  • First explain why it is important to save wetlands? What kinds of challenges do they face in India?
  • Discuss the causative factors such as – urbanization, agriculture expansion and pollution etc.
  • Explain the link between health of Wetlands and the water, food and climate factor.
  • Discuss methods and means of saving the Wetland ecosystem and essence of it.
  • Highlight the efforts being made in this direction by the Government of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of wetland ecosystems.

Introduction:

February 2 is World Wetlands Day, which marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea. The 2020 theme Wetlands and Biodiversity is an opportunity to highlight wetland biodiversity, its status, why it matters and to promote actions to reverse its loss.

Rapid degradation of wetlands

  • India has witnessed a rapid degradation of its wetlands. In the last three decades alone, nearly one-third of natural wetlands have been lost to urbanisation, agriculture expansion and pollution.
  • The loss of wetlands in urban areas has been more rapid. Data from 26 cities and towns show that since 1970s, for every one square kilometre increase in built up area, 25 ha of wetlands has been lost.
  • Wetlands loss needs to be seen not just as a biodiversity crisis, but as a development crisis, which could lead to more water, food and climate insecurity for society.
  • A transformed response to address rapid wetlands degradation and loss would be to pursue the integration of wetlands, and their wide-ranging values, within developmental programming at various levels.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India’s survey reveals that 70-80% of individual freshwater marshes and lakes in the Gangetic flood plains have been lost in the last five decades
  • The loss of wetlands leads to environmental and ecological problems, which have a direct impact on the socio-economic benefits of the associated populace. Serious consequences, including increased flooding, species decline, deformity, or extinction and decline in water quality could result.

The importance of wetlands to the ecosystem:

  • Wetlands play an integral role in the ecology of the watershed. The combination of shallow water, high levels of nutrients and primary productivity is ideal for the development of organisms that form the base of the food web and feed many species of fish, amphibians, shellfish and insects
  • Wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, comparable to rain forests and coral reefs. An immense variety of species of microbes, plants, insects, amphibians, reptiles, birds, fish and mammals can be part of a wetland ecosystem.
  • Wetlands are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, and biodiversity, to flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.
  • Wetlands are an important resource for sustainable tourism.
  • They carry out water purification, filtration of sediments and nutrients from surface water.
  • They help in nutrients recycling, groundwater recharging and stabilization of local climate.
  • Buffer (act as a riparian buffer) shorelines against erosion and pollutants.
  • They act as a genetic reservoir for various species of plants (especially rice).
  • Wetlands function as natural sponges that trap and slowly release surface water, rain, snowmelt, groundwater and flood waters.

Threats to wetlands:

Urbanization Wetlands near urban centres are under increasing developmental pressure for residential, industrial and commercial facilities. Urban wetlands are essential for preserving public water supplies.
Anthropogenic activities Due to unplanned urban and agricultural development, industries, road construction, impoundment, resource extraction and dredge disposal, wetlands have been drained and transformed, causing substantial economic and ecological losses in the long term.
Agricultural activities Following the Green Revolution of the 1970s, vast stretches of wetlands have been converted to paddy fields. Construction of a large number of reservoirs, canals and dams to provide for irrigation significantly altered the hydrology of the associated wetlands.
Hydrologic activities Construction of canals and diversion of streams and rivers to transport water to lower arid regions for irrigation has altered the drainage pattern and significantly degraded the wetlands of the region.
Deforestation Removal of vegetation in the catchment leads to soil erosion and siltation
Pollution Unrestricted dumping of sewage and toxic chemicals from industries has polluted many freshwater wetlands
Salinization Over withdrawal of groundwater has led to salinization
Aquaculture Demand for shrimps and fishes has provided economic incentives to convert wetlands and mangrove forests to develop pisciculture and aquaculture ponds.
Introduced species Indian wetlands are threatened by exotic introduced plant species such as water hyacinth and salvinia. They clog waterways and compete with native vegetation.
Climate change Increased air temperature; shifts in precipitation; increased frequency of storms, droughts, and floods; increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration; and sea level rise could also affect wetlands.

Conservation of wetlands:

  • Showing an early commitment to protecting wetlands, India became one of the first signatories to the Ramsar Convention in 1981.
  • The good work in Chilika continues and today it is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the subcontinent.
  • The Indian government has been updating Ramsar Sites Information Service (RSIS), an international resource guide and information database for Ramsar wetlands globally.
  • Through this searchable database, one can track spatial boundary, management plans and up-todate information on any wetland of importance.
  • India has also identified 115 sites as wetlands of national importance so far, and the maintenance of these sites is funded through the MoEFCC
  • National Wetland Conservation Programme (NWCP), a MoEFCC scheme under which funds are allocated to wetland site management, and asking the states to identify wetlands of importance in their state for such management.

Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017:

  • In September 2017, India adopted the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017.
  • It prohibits conversion of wetland for non-wetland uses, setting up of industries near wetlands, and waste dumping into the water.
  • The Wetlands Rules 2017 require setting up of a State Wetlands Authority in each state and union territory to monitor the notified wetlands in their state.
  • This is a move in the right direction.

 Protection laws and government initiatives

Wetlands conservation in India is indirectly influenced by an array of policy and legislative measures (Parikh & Parikh 1999). Some of the key legislations are given below:

  • The Indian Fisheries Act – 1857
  • The Indian Forest Act – 1927
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act – 1972
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act – 1974
  • Territorial Water, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and other Marine Zones Act – 1976
  • Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act – 1977
  • Maritime Zone of India (Regulation and fishing by foreign vessels) Act – 1980
  • Forest (Conservation act) – 1980
  • Environmental (Protection) Act – 1986
  • Coastal Zone Regulation Notification – 1991
  • Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Act – 1991
  • National Conservation Strategy and Policy Statement on Environment and Development – 1992
  • National Policy And Macro level Action Strategy on Biodiversity-1999

Way forward:

  • Protection: The primary necessity today is to protect the existing wetlands. Of the many wetlands in India only around 68 wetlands are protected. But there are thousands of other wetlands that are biologically and economically important but have no legal status.
  • Planning, managing and monitoring: Wetlands that come under the Protected area network have management plans but others do not. It is important for various stakeholders along with the local community and corporate sector to come together for an effective management plan. Active monitoring of these wetland systems over a period of time is essential.
  • Comprehensive inventory: There has been no comprehensive inventory of all the Indian wetlands despite the efforts by the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Asian Wetland Bureau and World Wide Fund for Nature. The inventory should involve the flora, fauna, and biodiversity along with values. It should take into account the various stakeholders in the community too.
  • Legislation: Although several laws protect wetlands there is no special legislation pertaining specially to these ecosystems. Environment Impact Assessment needed for major development projects highlighting threats to wetlands need to be formulated.
  • Coordinated approach: Since wetlands are common property with multi-purpose utility, their protection and management also need to be a common responsibility. An appropriate forum for resolving the conflict on wetland issues has to be set up. It is important for the ministries to allocate sufficient funds towards the conservation of these ecosystems.
  • Research: There is a necessity for research in the formulation of national strategy to understand the dynamics of these ecosystems. This could be useful for the planners to formulate strategies for the mitigation of pollution. The scientific knowledge will help the planners in understanding the economic values and benefits, which in turn will help in setting priorities and focusing the planning process.
  • Building awareness: For achieving any sustainable success in the protection of these wetlands, awareness among the general public, educational and corporate institutions must be created. The policy makers, at various levels along with site managers need to be educated. As the country’s wetlands are shared, the bi-lateral cooperation in the resource management needs to be enhanced.

Conclusion:

Communities engage with wetlands in various ways – from seeking livelihoods to spiritual fulfilment. The values community hold for wetlands are expressed in diverse ways. It is important to integrate community linkages in wetlands management planning, and incentivise community stewardship. This is crucial as over 85% of wetlands in India are in the form of village ponds and tanks.

 

Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

2. Will Trump’s peace plan help resolve Israel-Palestine crisis? Discuss the possibilities and suggest way forward.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The West Asia peace plan has been unveiled recently by U.S. President Donald Trump. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the relevance of the plan in addressing the Israel-Palestine crisis and the possible way ahead of it.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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 explain what the plan is.

Body:

  • The Peace plan seeks to give the Israelis what they have long wanted — an expansive state with Jerusalem as its undivided capital and tight security control over a future Palestinian state.
  • With his plan, Mr. Trump is actually pushing to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but on his own terms.
  • The Trump plan seeks to address most of the contentious issues in the conflict such as the border of Israel, the status of Palestinian refugees, Jewish settlements on the West Bank, Israel’s security concerns and the status of the city of Jerusalem.
  • However, the solutions Mr. Trump has proposed to almost all of these issues favour the Israeli positions (Explain the areas in detail)

Conclusion:

Conclude with your opinion as to whether the plan will work or more needs to be done in this direction.

Introduction:

The West Asia peace plan was recently unveiled by U.S. President Trump. It plans to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.  It seeks to give the Israelis an expansive state with Jerusalem as its “undivided capital” and tight security control over a future Palestinian state.

Background:

Both Israel and the Palestinians hold competing claims to the holy city. The Palestinians insist that East Jerusalem, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war, be the capital of their future state.

Conflicts between Israel-Palestine:

Of all the conflicts in the Middle East, that between Israel and the Palestinians has been the most intractable. Although the two sides signed a breakthrough peace accord in 1993, more than a quarter of a century on the two sides are arguably as far apart as ever.

  • Jerusalem: Both Israel and the Palestinians hold competing claims to the city. Israel, which occupied the formerly Jordanian-held eastern part in 1967, regards the whole of Jerusalem as its capital.
  • Palestinian statehood: The Palestinians want an independent state of their own, comprising the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Israeli prime ministers have publicly accepted the notion of a Palestinian state alongside Israel but not what form it should take.
  • Recognition: Israel insists that any peace deal must include Palestinian recognition of it as the “nation-state of the Jewish people”, arguing that without this Palestinians will continue to press their own national claims to the land, causing the conflict to endure. The Palestinians says what Israel calls itself is its own business, but to recognise it as the Jewish state will discriminate against Israel’s Arab population of Palestinian origin, who are Muslims, Christians and Druze.
  • Borders: Both sides have fundamentally different ideas as to where the boundaries of a potential Palestinian state should be. The Palestinians insist on borders based on ceasefire lines which separated Israel and East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza between 1949 and 1967.
  • Israel says those lines are militarily indefensible and were never intended to be permanent. It has not said where borders should be, other than making clear its own eastern border should be along the Jordan River.
  • Settlements: Since 1967, Israel has built about 140 settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as 121 outposts – settlements built without the government’s authorisation. They have become home to some 600,000 Israeli Jews.
  • Refugees: The UN says its agencies support about 5.5 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East (the Palestinian Authority says there are up to 6 million), including the descendants of people who fled or were expelled by Jewish forces from what became Israel in the 1948-49 war.
  • Palestinians insist on their right to return to their former homes, but Israel says they are not entitled to, noting that such a move would overwhelm it demographically and lead to its end as a Jewish state.

How West Asia peace plan help resolve Israel-Palestine crisis:

  • It proposes an independent Palestinian state and the recognition of Israeli sovereignty over West Bank settlements.
  • As per the plan, Israel would be allowed to annex the Jewish settlements on the West Bank as well as the Jordan Valley.
  • The Palestinian refugees, who were forced out from their homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that followed the declaration of the state of Israel in the historic Palestine, would not be allowed to return. They could move to the future Palestinian state, be integrated into the host countries or settled in other regional countries.
  • Land swap: The plan proposes some land swap for the Israeli annexation of the West Bank Jewish settlements. It seeks to enlarge Gaza and connect the strip with the West Bank through a tunnel.
  • US has also proposed $50 billion in investment over 10 years should Palestine accept the proposals. In the final settlement, Palestine would get control over more land than what it currently controls.

Possibilities:

  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said it was “impossible for any Palestinian, Arab, Muslim or Christian child to accept” a Palestinian state without Jerusalem as its capital.
  • The militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, also rejected the deal which it said aimed “to liquidate the Palestinian national project”.
  • The UN said it remained committed to a two-state solution based on the borders in place before the 1967 war, when Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza.
  • A spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres said the UN wanted a peace deal on the basis of UN resolutions, international law and bilateral agreements.
  • Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said the proposals envisaged a form of apartheid. It said Palestinians would be relegated “to small, enclosed, isolated enclaves, with no control over their lives”.
  • It would be difficult for any Palestinian leader to sell Mr. Trump’s proposals to a people who are living under occupation for decades
  • Unsurprisingly, they had rejected the proposal even before Mr. Trump unveiled it.
  • The Palestinians want an independent state of their own, comprising the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
  • Palestinians threaten to quit Oslo Accords, if U.S. President Donald Trump announces his West Asia peace plan next week.
  • Palestinians challenged the US and Israeli stances.

India’s response:

  • India urged both Israel and Palestine to “engage with each other, including on the recent proposals put forward by the United States, and find an acceptable two-state solution for peaceful coexistence”.
  • India has since long been maintaining that Israel-Palestine conflict should be resolved through negotiation “resulting in sovereign, independent, viable and united State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living within secure and recognized borders, side by side at peace with Israel as endorsed in the Quartet Roadmap and relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions”.

Way forward:

  • To retain the status quo: a militarized Jewish state permanently occupying the Palestinian territories and even annexing parts of it, without giving full citizenship rights to the Palestinians.
  • To have a single democratic federal state with equal rights to Jews, Muslims, Christians and others.
  • Three state solution- Territorial redrawing of boundaries between Israel, Palestine and Jordan(mainly regarding West Bank and Gaza Strip)
  • International community should proceed to resolve the crisis step by step and hence pursue the option of Self-rule to Palestine. This alternative delineates functions of each government reducing scope of intervention. It also provides a healthy and stable first foundation for establishment of two states. It can act as a ceasefire solution while the tedious redrawing of boundaries is finalized upon. But it suffers from the intent of both parties to ensure successful implementation of this solution with impeding downfall imminent though not manifested.

Conclusion:

It is time for world community and the two parties to end the Impending lacuna of two state, look beyond individual objective and move towards a holistic broad based solution at the earliest.

 

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

3. Discuss the key features of National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA).  (250 words)

Reference: News On AIR

Why this question:

The government in its budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with a total budget outlay of Rs 8000 Crore for a period of five years to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the key features of such a mission and its ultimate goal and contributions to Science and technology of the country.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

First explain what you understand by Quantum Technology.

Body:

Quantum Technology is based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level.

Quantum computers store and process information using quantum two level systems (quantum bits or qubits) which unlike classical bits can be prepared in superposition states.

Discuss the key features of the scheme. Explain that the implementation of the mission would help develop and bring quantum computers, secured communications through fibre and free space, quantum encryption and crypt-analysis and associated technologies within reach in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such a move.  

Introduction:

The government in its budget 2020 has announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with a total budget outlay of Rs 8000 Crore for a period of five years to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).

Quantum Technology:

Quantum technology is opening up new frontiers in computing, communications, and cyber security. A large number of commercial applications are expected to come from developing theoretical constructs.

Quantum technologies are rapidly developing globally with huge disruptive potential. The next-generation transformative technologies to be explored under this mission include quantum computers and computing, quantum communication, quantum key distribution, encryption, cryptanalysis, quantum devices, quantum sensing, quantum materials, and quantum clocks.

  • Quantum Technology is based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level.
  • It concerns the control and manipulation of quantum systems, with the goal of achieving information processing beyond the limits of the classical world. Quantum principles will be used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computing, communications, sensing, chemistry, cryptography, imaging and mechanics.
  • Quantum field has not yet matured for commercialization, due to the extreme scientific challenges involved.
  • Quantum computers store and process information using quantum two level systems (quantum bits or qubits) which unlike classical bits, can be prepared in superposition states.
  • This key ability makes quantum computers extremely powerful compared to conventional computers when solving certain kinds of problems like finding prime factors of large numbers and searching large databases.
  • The prime factorization quantum algorithm has important implications for security as it can be used to break RSA encryption, a popular method for secure communication. Indian physicists and engineers are preparing for a deep dive into the quantum world that holds the secrets for developing exciting technologies for computing, communication, cryptography and many more.

Objectives of National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA):

  • It aims to create high-skilled jobs, develop human resources and start-ups, and promote technology-led economic growth.
  • The mission intends to tackle the ever-increasing technological requirements of society and consider the international technology trends and roadmaps of leading countries for the development of next-generation technologies.
  • The implementation of the mission would help secure communications through fibre and free space and develop quantum encryption and cryptanalysis.
  • The mission will help prepare skilled manpower, boost translational research, and encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development, the release claimed.

Key features of the scheme:

  • The areas of focus for the mission will be in fundamental science, translation, technology development, human and infrastructural resource generation, and start-ups to address national issues.
  • The applications under the mission include aerospace engineering, numerical weather prediction, simulations, securing communications and financial transactions, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, health, agriculture, and education.
  • The mission plans to draw upon the existing strengths within academic institutes across India to support interdisciplinary research projects in key verticals involving quantum technology. It will try to develop key foundational strengths in important core areas.
  • It has become imperative both for the government and industries to be prepared to develop these emerging and disruptive technologies to secure communications and financial transactions, remain competitive, drive societal progress, generate employment, foster economic growth, and to improve the overall quality of life, the release stated.

Budget_2020

Conclusion:

With a solid research base and workforce founded on significant and reliable government support, it can lead to the creation of innovative applications by industries, thereby stimulating economic growth and job creation, which will feed back into a growing quantum-based economy. The government’s financial and organizational support will also ensure that both public and private sectors will benefit. It will establish standards to be applied to all research and help stimulate a pipeline to support research and applications well into the future.

 

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

4. Discuss in detail the components of Cyber Security. Explain various mechanisms available at the international level to handle it.(250 words)

Reference:  DSCI

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is from the static portions of the GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the various components of Cyber Security; explain the mechanisms available at the International level to address it.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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 explain what you understand by Cyber security.

Body:

Highlight the fact that, with recent reports – one of the highest numbers of cyber threats have been detected in India and the country ranks second in terms of targeted attacks. Although Banking and Telecom are the most attacked sectors but Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Retail have also faced a significant number of cyber-attacks.

Discus the various components of Cybersecurity – Application Security, information security, Network Security, Disaster recovery planning etc.

Then move onto explain the mechanisms available to address the threats of cybercrimes at the international level and in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Cyber security is a broad spectrum phrase and relates to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to a personal computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a major network like the national banking system or the railway network or a national information technology asset that also has military implications.

Various components of Cyber security

Major areas covered in cyber security are:

  • Application Security: Application security encompasses measures or counter-measures that are taken during the development life-cycle to protect applications from threats that can come through flaws in the application design, development, deployment, upgrade or maintenance. Some basic techniques used for application security are:
  • Input parameter validation,
  • User/Role Authentication & Authorization,
  • Session management, parameter manipulation & exception management, and
  • Auditing and logging.
  • Information Security: Information security protects information from unauthorized access to avoid identity theft and to protect privacy. Major techniques used to cover this are:
  • Identification, authentication & authorization of user,
  • Disaster recovery: Disaster recovery planning is a process that includes performing risk assessment, establishing priorities, developing recovery strategies in case of a disaster. Any business should have a concrete plan for disaster recovery to resume normal business operations as quickly as possible after a disaster.
  • Network Security: Network security includes activities to protect the usability, reliability, integrity and safety of the network. Effective network security targets a variety of threats and stops them from entering or spreading on the network. Network security components include:
  • Anti-virus and anti-spyware,
  • Firewall, to block unauthorized access to your network,
  • Intrusion prevention systems (IPS), to identify fast-spreading threats, such as zero-day or zero-hour attacks, and
  • Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), to provide secure remote access.

Mechanisms available to address the threats of cybercrimes at the international level:

An overview of intergovernmental bodies and initiatives currently addressing cyber security at the policy level.

  • Council of Europe: The Council of Europe helps protect societies worldwide from the threat of cybercrime through the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime, the Cybercrime Convention Committee (T-CY) and the technical co-operation Programme on Cybercrime. The Budapest Convention on Cybercrime was adopted on 8 November 2001 as the first international treaty addressing crimes committed using or against network and information systems (computers). It entered into force on 1 July 2004.
  • Internet Governance Forum (IGF): The IGF was established by the World Summit on the Information Society in 2006 to bring people together from various stakeholder groups in discussions on public policy issues relating to the Internet. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy making power in both the public and private sectors.
  • United Nations (UN): The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the specialized agency of the United Nations which is responsible for Information and Communication Technologies.
  • ITU deals also with adopting international standards to ensure seamless global communications and interoperability for next generation networks; building confidence and security in the use of ICTs; emergency communications to develop early warning systems and to provide access to communications during and after disasters, etc.
  • Conferences on Cyberspace: The London Conference on Cyberspace51 (1-2 November 2011) was meant to build on the debate on developing norms of behavior in cyberspace, as a follow-up to the speech given by UK Foreign Minister Hague at the Munich Security Conference in February 2011 which set out a number of “principles” that should underpin acceptable behavior on cyberspace.
  • Meridian Process: The Meridian process aims to provide Governments worldwide with a means by which they can discuss how to work together at the policy level on Critical Information Infrastructure Protection (CIIP). Participation is open to all countries and targets senior level policymakers. An annual conference and interim activities are held each year to help build trust and establish international relations within the membership to facilitate sharing of
  • NET mundial Conference: In reaction to spying and surveillance activity by National security agency of USA through PRISM, NETmundial – Global Multistakeholder Meeting on the Future of Internet Governance was organized in a partnership between the Brazilian Internet Steering Committee and /1Net, a forum that gathers international entities of the various stakeholders involved with Internet governance. This meeting focused on the elaboration of principles of Internet governance and the proposal for a roadmap for future development of this ecosystem.
  • The Global Cybersecurity Index (GCI) is a survey that measures the commitment of Member States to cybersecurity in order to raise awareness.

Conclusion:

Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with trans-border crime involves lot of international cooperation.

 

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

5. Examine the role of cybersecurity in securing digital India. (250 words)

Reference: Analytics Training  

Why this question:

The question is direct and aims to examine the aspects of cybersecurity and its key role in securing digital India.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the role of cybersecurity in securing digital India.

Directive:

Examine – When 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:

Explain the fact that in the twentieth century, India saw an impetus in Information Technology (IT) and an enormous growth in e-commerce. Both these sectors ride on and reside in cyberspace involving electronic transactions, software, services, devices and networks which are highly susceptible to cyber-crimes. Hence to ensure its safety, cyber-security has become one of the most compelling priorities for the country.

Body:

Define cybersecurity, explain the key aspects briefly.

Discuss the need for cybersecurity and provide for detailed analysis.

Highlight the challenges involved in ensuring cybersecurity.

Explain the efforts being made by government of India in this direction.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward and conclude that For the success of government initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Smart Cities cybersecurity is quintessential in any government policy.

Introduction:

The Indian government has embarked on a programme to turn the country into a digital economy. It has unveiled a series of initiatives—from introducing Aadhaar, MyGov, Government e-Market, DigiLocker, Bharat Net, Startup India, Skill India and Smart Cities to propel India towards technological competence and transformation.

The move towards a digital economy is likely to help trigger a fresh wave of economic growth, attract more investment, and create new jobs, across multiple sectors. However, it also poses a big challenge, that of Cyber Security.

India’s recent Digital transformation

India is currently pursuing “an alternative and very exciting” route in which it is making the use of digital technology and digital records in public administration with new technologies, according to IMF.

  • India is one of the key players in the digital and knowledge-based economy, holding more than a 50% share of the world’s outsourcing market.
  • India is already the third largest hub for technology-driven start-ups in the world.
  • It’s Information and Communications Technology sector is estimated to reach the $225 billion landmark by 2020.
  • Digital India program seeks to launch a large number of e-governance services across different sectors. These include education, healthcare and banking.
  • The number of mobile phone users in India is expected to rise to 730.7 million. The number of smartphone users in India is predicted to reach 340 million and could reach almost 468 million by 2021.
  • India has made a few achievements in e-governance projects such as Digital Locker, ebastas, the linking of Aadhaar to bank accounts to disburse subsidies.
  • Bharat Net (erstwhile National Optical Fiber Network), the country’s digital infrastructure, has created a common service centre for each panchayat, for which all post offices and CSCs are to be upgraded.
  • India’s mobile wallet transactions were up nine-fold in two years to reach $9 billion.

Need For Cyber security

  • To ensure critical infrastructure system do not collapse under any situation.
  • To ensure Business continuity.
  • For the success of government initiatives like Digital India, Make in India and Smart Cities.
  • To balance Individual’s rights, liberty and privacy.

Challenges involved in ensuring cyber security:

  • New technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning also face new challenges for cyber security.
  • Internet of things are often not built with security
  • New technologies aid hackers too.
  • We don’t have a cyber-security mindset. People still don’t understand cyber risks to an organization
  • Most of the cyber-attacks are not reported
  • Scarcity of cyber security professionals, especially at the leadership level.
  • Cyber bullies, extremists and terrorists are creating havoc within the system.
  • India is not a signatory to the Budapest convention which is the only multilateral convention on cyber security
  • No full time cyber security experts.

India’s attempts to tackle these issues:

Information Technology Act, 2000

  • The act regulates use of computers, computer systems, computer networks and also data and information in electronic format.
  • The act lists down among other things, following as offences:
  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Hacking with computer system
  • Act of cyber terrorism i.e. accessing a protected system with the intention of threatening the unity, integrity, sovereignty or security of country.
  • Cheating using computer resource etc.

Strategies under National Cyber Policy, 2013

  • Creating a secure cyber ecosystem.
  • Creating mechanisms for security threats and responses to the same through national systems and processes.
  • National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) functions as the nodal agency for coordination of all cyber security efforts, emergency responses, and crisis management.
  • Securing e-governance by implementing global best practices, and wider use of Public Key Infrastructure.
  • Protection and resilience of critical information infrastructure with the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) operating as the nodal agency.
  • NCIIPC has been created under Information Technology Act, 2000 to secure India’s critical information infrastructure. It is based in New Delhi.
  • Promoting cutting edge research and development of cyber security technology.
  • Human Resource Development through education and training programs to build capacity.

Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative: It was launched in 2018 with an aim to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.

National Cyber security Coordination Centre (NCCC): In 2017, the NCCC was developed. Its mandate is to scan internet traffic and communication metadata (which are little snippets of information hidden inside each communication) coming into the country to detect real-time cyber threats.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra: In 2017, this platform was introduced for internet users to clean their computers and devices by wiping out viruses and malware.

International cooperation: Looking forward to becoming a secure cyber ecosystem, India has joined hands with several developed countries like the United States, Singapore, Japan, etc. These agreements will help India to challenge even more sophisticated cyber threats.

Way forward:

  • Real-time intelligence is required for preventing and containing cyber-attacks.
  • Periodical ‘Backup of Data’ is a solution to ransomware.
  • Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for predicting and accurately identifying attacks.
  • Using the knowledge gained from actual attacks that have already taken place in building effective and pragmatic defence.
  • Increased awareness about cyber threats for which digital literacy is required first.
  • India needs to secure its computing environment and IoT with current tools, patches, updates and best known methods in a timely manner.
  • The need of the hour for Indian government is to develop core skills in cyber security, data integrity and data security fields while also setting stringent cyber security standards to protect banks and financial institutions.

Conclusion:

The government must understand that when it comes to security of cyber space and building an incident response mechanism, it is essential to establish a mode of securing information and data. It is not only the laws dealing with cybercrimes that must exist, but the collection of appropriate cyber forensics data in various jurisdictions and their presentation in courts of law. It is critical to build incident management and sharing of information with a view to building an international incident response system. What Digital India needs now is having an incident response and transnational co-operation, including establishment of appropriate mechanisms for co-operation.

 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

6. The recent budget proposals with respect to the power and the renewable energy sector will not only help fulfill India’s obligations towards global climate action but will also serve as an impetus to the economy. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The article deals with important highlights of the Union Budget 2020-2021.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of the recent budget proposals with respect to the power and the renewable energy sector.

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

Briefly explain the key initiatives laid out in the budget with respect to the power sector and the renewable energy sector.

Body:

The Union Budget has allocated ₹22,000 crores to the power and renewable energy sector in 2020-21, aiming to improve the financial health of power distribution firms.

The proposals for prepaid smart metering and freedom to choose power suppliers will lay the ground to bring competition in the sector and give consumers a choice. This will increase the efficiency of the whole system.

The Budget provisions have given impetus to clean energy and power.

Discuss the provisions in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such proposals to the power sector.

Introduction:

The provisions in Budget 2020 received a positive response from the power sector with the industry largely applauding the big push for renewables and rural economy through solar power and the emphasis on smart metering to ease out discom woes.

Recent budget proposals with respect to the power and the renewable energy sector:

  • 22, 000 crore proposed for power and renewable energy sector in 2020-21.
  • Expansion of national gas grid from the present 16200 km to 27000 km proposed.
  • Further reforms to facilitate transparent price discovery and ease of transactions.
  • India to provide ₹273 billion or promotion of industry and commerce
  • Firms operating old thermal power plants advised to shut units if emission norms not met
  • India to allocate ₹44 billion for clean air incentives in cities with over 1 million people
  • FY21 divestment target pegged at ₹2.1 lakh crore

The significance of the recent budget proposals with respect to the power and the renewable energy sector:

  • The Centre has proposed that discoms should replace conventional meters with smart pre-paid meters and give option to consumers to choose electricity suppliers.
  • State governments need to replace conventional electricity meters with pre-paid smart meters in three years
  • Natural gas pipeline grid will be expanded to 27,000 km from over 16,000 km now and further reforms for transparent price discovery for natural gas will be undertaken.
  • The government also underlined its ongoing efforts to provide clean energy through solar power and Ujjwala program that provides clean cooking fuel to households
  • Large solar capacity would be developed along the railway tracks on lands owned by the Indian Railways.
  • The budget has also provided incentives for states that are taking measures for cleaner air in big cities (with a population above one million). For this, ₹44 billion (~$615 million) has been allocated in the budget.
  • To provide support to infrastructure projects, an investment clearance cell to be set up through a portal and will provide end-to-end facilitation, support, pre-investment advisory, information on land banks and facilitate the center and state approvals.
  • The government will also create a single investment cell to expedite the grant of licenses to promote entrepreneurship.
  • On India’s plan for expanding electric mobility, that customs duty rates are being revised on electric vehicles.

Budget provisions have given impetus to clean energy and power:

  • To bring new energy companies under the lower corporate tax rate is expected to encourage investments. “Similarly measures to strengthen the Contract Act to improve financial condition of distribution companies, allowing farmers to utilize their land for renewable energy generation and an increased outlay for clean air in cities will provide further impetus to clean energy,
  • The decision to extend concessional corporate tax rate of 15 per cent to new power generating companies will give a major boost to the renewable sector.
  • The focus on ensuring smart metering replacing conventional energy meters by prepaid smart meters in the states and UTs over the next 3 years will prove to be a positive step in addressing the financial stress of DISCOMs, if there is 100 per cent compliance,
  • The budget provides a boost to propel domestic consumption through income tax sops for nearly 30 million income taxpayers and through improved financial health of 120 million marginal farmers.
  • The focus on gas and renewable energy will enable a shift towards clean energy and also deliver on commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • According to rating agency ICRA the measures to boost decentralised solar generation, including through solar pumps, is likely to lower subsidy dependence for discoms and also provide demand boost to solar equipment and energy efficient pump manufacturers.
  • The proposal to boost coverage of prepaid smart meters over the next three-year period is expected to aid discoms in curtailing distribution losses; benefit consumers by providing flexibility to choose suppliers and rates; and provide demand boost to smart meter manufacturers,”
  • The abolition of dividend distribution tax and lower tax rates will encourage fresh investments in the power sector, especially renewable energy and transmission sectors.

The implications these announcements might have on the future of the sector:

  • KPMG’s report suggests that the increased budgetary allocation for MNRE will improve financial assistance for various clean energy initiatives such as solar parks, roof-top solar, off-grid renewable energy, etc.
  • The Rs 1000 crore budget allocated for furthering the PM-KUSUM scheme can also have a major effect on the sector. The report states: “This kind of significant monetary allocation will help speed up implementation and could potentially result in 10-15 GW of new capacity creation if it materializes.
  • This will be a big push for farmer’s income, but will in turn require lesser demand for grid scale power, targets for which then should be adjusted downwards.”
  • Additionally, the report also suggests that banks will have to provide funding at an effective cost of interest to aid the implementation of renewable energy projects and the commission will have to consider for feed-in tariff after taking into account the cost of debt.
  • Lastly, the proposal to set up large solar capacity alongside railway tracks can help the Railways add about 18-20 GW capacity by utilizing vacant land owned by the Indian Railways and reduce their power procurement cost.

Conclusion:

The above mentioned initiatives will act as a propellant to push forward the solar energy segment and will also promote development of clean energy in our country as well as provide employment opportunities within the country. These steps would bring significant benefits to the economy as well as consumers.

 

Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7. compare and contrast Distributive and social justice. Do you think Distributive justice can prove to be a better philosophy to bring social justice? Give your opinion with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of social as well as distributive justice.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must compare and contrast the two variants of justice viz. social justice and the distributive justice. One must argue in what way Distributive justice can prove to be a better philosophy to bring social justice with suitable illustrations.

Directive:

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Highlight the significance of Justice in general.

Body:

  • Give the definition of distributive justice and different types of distributive norms.
  • Give the definition of social justice.
  • Explain how distributive justice can support social justice.
  • Explain how distributive justice and social justice are in opposition.
  • Quote examples to justify your stand.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a balanced approach is required to create harmony between social justice and distributive justice.

Introduction:

Social justice:

Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society, as measured by the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges. In Western as well as in older Asian cultures, the concept of social justice has often referred to the process of ensuring that individuals fulfill their societal roles and receive what was their due from society.

Distributive justice:

Distributive justice concerns the nature of a socially just allocation of goods in a society. A society in which incidental inequalities in outcome do not arise would be considered a society guided by the principles of distributive justice. The concept includes the available quantities of goods, the process by which goods are to be distributed, and the resulting allocation of the goods to the members of the society.

A combination of social justice and economic justice denotes what is known as „distributive justice‟. Article 38 and 39 embody the jurisprudential doctrine of “distributive justice”. The Constitution permits and even directs the State to administer what may be termed “distributive justice”. The concept of distributive justice in the sphere of law-making connote, inter alia, the removal of economic inequalities rectifying the injustice resulting from dealings and transactions between unequal’s in society.

The Constitution of India has solemnly promised to all its citizens justices-social, economic and political; liberty of thought expression, belief, faith and worship; equality of status and of opportunity; and to promote among the all fraternity assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity of the nation. The Constitution has attempted to attune the apparently conflicting claims of socio-economic justice and of individual liberty and fundamental rights by putting some relevant provisions.

Distributive justice can prove to be a better philosophy to bring social justice:

  • Equity: Members’ outcomes should be based upon their inputs. Therefore, an individual who has invested a large amount of input (e.g. time, money, and energy) should receive more from the group than someone who has contributed very little.
  • Equality: Regardless of their inputs, all group members should be given an equal share of the rewards/costs. Equality supports that someone who contributes 20% of the group’s resources should receive as much as someone who contributes 60%.
  • Power: Those with more authority, status, or control over the group should receive more than those in lower level positions.
  • Need: Those in greatest needs should be provided with resources needed to meet those needs. These individuals should be given more resources than those who already possess them, regardless of their input.
  • Responsibility: Group members who have the most should share their resources with those who have less.

Conclusion:

The need for Distributive Justice is very pertinent today. In a country like India where Economic Disparity has only increased, affirmative action and distributive justice play a significant role in uplifting the least advantaged sections of the society.