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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 January 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:  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. What do you understand by social Mobility? Discuss the Concerns and challenges highlighted for India by the recently released Global Social Mobility Report. (250 words)

Indian Expess

Why this question:

The World Economic Forum has come out with its first-ever Global Social Mobility Report, which has ranked India a lowly 76 out of the 82 countries profiled. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of social Mobility in general and Discuss the Concerns and challenges highlighted for India by the recently released Global Social Mobility Report in detail and suggest what needs to be done to address these challenges.

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 define what you understand by Social Mobility.

Body:

In detail explain the following aspects –

  • Social Mobility can be understood as the movement in personal circumstances either “upwards” or “downwards” of an individual in relation to those of their parents.
  • Discuss the key features of it. Explain why is it important and why does it matter?
  • Explain that Social mobility has become the pressing issue of modern life, and as the index highlights, while major improvements have been made in some areas, notably extreme poverty, in others, the situation is deteriorating.
  • Discuss the importance of Global Social Mobility Index, point at the facts brought out by the index with respect to India’s performance.
  • Explain what the causes of concern are and what way they can be addressed.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India has way to go to achieve better and stable social mobility.

Introduction:

Social Mobility can be understood as the movement in personal circumstances either “upwards” or “downwards” of an individual in relation to those of their parents. In absolute terms, it is the ability of a child to experience a better life than their parents. On the other hand, relative social mobility is an assessment of the impact of socio-economic background on an individual’s outcomes in life. It can be measured against a number of outcomes ranging from health to educational achievement and income. World Economic Forum has come out with its first-ever Global Social Mobility Report.

Body:

Performance of India:

  • The report has ranked India a lowly 76 out of the 82 countries profiled.
  • It lists India among the five countries that stand to gain the most from a better social mobility score.
  • It ranks 41st in lifelong learning and 53rd in working conditions.
  • The Areas of improvement for India include social protection (76th) and fair wage distribution (79th).

Concerns and challenges highlighted for India:

  • Inequalities are measured in income terms, which has been found inadequate.
  • As the report states, “many situations exist where, despite high levels of absolute income mobility, relative social mobility remains low.
  • For example, in economies such as China and India, economic growth can lift entire populations upward in terms of absolute income, but an individual’s status in society relative to others remains the same.
  • The notion of relative social mobility is more closely related to the social and economic status of an individual relative to their parents.
  • In a country with a society with perfect relative mobility, a child born in a low-income family would have as much chance to earn a high income as a child born to parents who earn a high income.
  • The concept of social mobility is much broader than just looking at income inequality. It encompasses several concerns such as:
    • Intra-generational mobility: The ability for an individual to move between socio-economic classes within their own lifetime.
    • Intergenerational mobility: The ability for a family group to move up or down the socio-economic ladder across the span of one or more generations.
    • Absolute income mobility: The ability for an individual to earn, in real terms, as much as or more than their parents at the same age.
    • Absolute educational mobility: The ability for an individual to attain higher education levels than their parents.
    • Relative income mobility: How much of an individual’s income is determined by their parents’ income.
    • Relative educational mobility: How much of an individual’s educational attainment is determined by their parents’ educational attainment.

Way forward:

  • Creating a new financing model for social mobility: improving tax progressivity on personal income, policies that address wealth concentration and broadly re-balancing the sources of taxation can support the social mobility agenda.
  • Most importantly though, the mix of public spending and policy incentives must change to put greater emphasis on the factors of social spending.
  • More support for education and lifelong learning: targeted at improvements in the availability, quality and distribution of education programmes as well as a new agenda for promoting skills development throughout an individual’s working life.
  • This includes a new approach to jointly financing such efforts between the public and private sector.
  • Developing a new social protection contract: this would offer holistic protection to all workers irrespective of their employment status, particularly in a context of technological change and industry transitions, requiring greater support for job transitions in the coming decade.

 

Topic:  Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2. Unifying post-partition India and princely states under one administration was perhaps the most important task facing the political leadership. Explain. (250 words)

Post independence India – Bipin Chandra

Why this question:

The question is direct and from the sections of GS Paper I and aims to discuss the significance of political leadership at the time of integrating post-independent India.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the significance of political leadership at the time of integrating post-independent India in detail.

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:

Brief upon the Condition of the India at the time of independence.

Body:

Nearly half of the Indian territory was ruled by princely states under British Paramountcy. These were protected against internal as well as external aggression by the British.

Discuss why integration was the need of the hour.

Explain the significance of unification of the country – Territorial continuity, Demand for modernization, Internal Security etc.

Discuss the contributions of various political leaders and thus the importance therefore.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of single continuous territory and reassert the key role played by the political leaders then.

Introduction:

The post-independence period was marred with violence and displacement followed by the partition, the issue of integration of the princely states and re-drawal of internal boundaries based on languages were some of the immediate challenges faced by India post-independence. To maintain the democratic aspirations of the newly formed nation state, the government took several steps.

Body:

Challenges to the unification and integration of India:

  • Accommodating the diversity of Indian society by taking into account the regional aspirations of the people, balancing between the rights of different regions and linguistic groups to retain their own culture.
  • Formation of the states was not just a matter of administrative divisions. The boundaries had to be drawn in a way so that the linguistic and cultural plurality of the country could be reflected without affecting the unity of the nation. E.g.- the Vishalandhra movement caused great unrest and violence in the Telugu-speaking region.
  • Ethnic tension in North Eastern states: Over 635 tribal groups in the region with distinct language and culture along with its relative isolation from the rest of the mainland, resulted into social-political disturbances and unrest for a few years.
  • The isolation of the region, its complex social character and its backwardness compared to other parts of the country have all resulted in the complicated set of demands from different states of the North-East.
  • The vast international border and weak communication between the North-East and the rest of India further added to the delicate nature of politics there. First Nagaland and then Mizoram witnessed strong movements demanding separation from India.
  • Developing democratic practices in accordance with the Constitution by ensuring the development and wellbeing of the entire society and not only of some sections.
  • Partition had deepened the communal tension in the country and it was important to assure the minority communities of their equal protection of rights to avoid further communal divisions within the nation.
  • The discontent among these communities could destabilise the newly formed political system.
  • Integration of as many as 565 Princely states after independence. These states became legally independent and were free to join either India or Pakistan or remain independent. However, this decision was left not to the people but to the princely rulers of these states.
  • The integration of these states was important for the unification of the country.

Measures taken:

  • Under the State Reorganisation Act 1956, states were divided based on the linguistic and cultural differences between them. This ensured the united social life without losing the distinctiveness of the numerous cultures that constituted it.
  • The cooperative federalism enshrined in the constitution (Schedule VII) empowered the regional identity, aspirations and provided autonomy to the states to solve their specific regional problems.
  • At different points of time the Central Government created Meghalaya, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh out of Assam. Tripura and Manipur were upgraded into States too.
  • Autonomous Councils were created to satisfy the smaller groups within the states without breaking the states down.
  • Constitutional safeguards for marginalised and minorities: The adoption of the constitution of India highlighted the country’s strong beliefs in equality, liberty and secularism (reflected especially in the Fundamental Rights), assuring the marginalised sections of equality and justice.
  • Articles 29 and 30 specifically protect the cultural and linguistic rights of the minorities.
  • The leaders of independent India, especially Sardar Patel, negotiated with the rulers of princely states firmly but diplomatically bringing most of them into the Indian Union through the instrument of accession.

Conclusion:

The newly formed democracy in India came to terms with differences in society on several different lines and accepted the plurality of ideas and diverse ways of life. The challenges are still posed by the differences in the contemporary socio-political system of the country. These are reflected in continuing communal tension and intolerance towards the minorities and marginalised and also imperative in statehood demands.

 

Topic:   Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. For a sustainable Universal healthcare model, maintaining a balanced trade-off between cost, quality and access to healthcare services is critical, Discuss in the context of India’s Ayushman Bharat and suggest the key takeaways that India can borrow from the famous Brazilian model of UHC. (250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses the lessons to be learnt for India from Brazils’ universal healthcare plan.

Key demand of the question:

The question seeks to ascertain the need for a balanced model for the concept of Universal health Care and what India can borrow from the famous Brazilian model.

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 discuss the need for UHC and its significance to the overall development of the country, and then explain the relevance of Brazilian model.

Body:

  • Explain that India’s Ayushman Bharat can benefit by borrowing best practices from Brazil Universal Health coverage plan. Such as- public expenditure, community healthcare plan.
  • Discuss India’s Ayushman Bharat; highlight what India can borrow from the Brazil model.
  • Explain the importance of maintaining a balanced trade-off between cost, quality and access to healthcare services.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a collaborative approach aligning patients, payers and providers, along with innovative partnerships, will hasten efforts to mitigate risks, drive impact, forge stronger social returns and achieve sustainable UHC targets.

Introduction:

India moved a step closer towards its commitment to the SDGs, when in 2018 the country launched a national health protection scheme, Ayushman Bharat, to achieve UHC. However, achieving UHC is a very complex task, especially for developing countries. India, for instance, faces many challenges in this pursuit.

Body:

Challenges in the Healthcare Value Chain of India:

  • Poor healthcare infrastructure: A crucial component of Ayushman Bharat is the strategic purchasing of secondary and tertiary healthcare services from the private sector.
  • While private healthcare caters to around 70% of India’s population there are 0.65 doctors, 1.3 nurses and 1.3 hospital beds per 1,000 people in the country.
  • Low Healthcare spending: Public health expenditure is still very low in India, at around 1.3% of GDP in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
  • Acute shortage of skilled personnel: Global estimates reveal that only half of all countries have the requisite health workforce required to deliver quality healthcare services.
  • Furthermore, the twin burdens of communicable and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are projected to generate additional demand for 40 million health workers globally by 2030.
  • Worse still, even if we meet the WHO’s benchmark of one doctor for every 1,000 people in the next six years, there is a large imbalance among individual states.
  • Another major challenge is that a one-size-fits-all approach is not feasible for heterogeneous regional realities in India.

Unified Health System (SUS) of Brazil:

  • The Brazilian society decided to achieve universal coverage by establishing a government-funded system.
  • The Unified Health System (SUS), which guaranteed free health coverage that included pharmaceutical services, was written into the new Constitution in 1988.
  • In the last 30 years, Brazilians have experienced a drastic increase in health coverage as well as outcomes: life expectancy has increased from 64 years to almost 76 years, while Infant Mortality Rate has declined from 53 to 14 per 1,000 live births.
  • In terms of service provision, polio vaccination has reached 98% of the population.
  • National Health Identification Card: It allows a patient’s health record to be accessed via a central database from any public or private hospital within the Unified Health System network.
  • Family Health Programme: Community-based healthcare network who perform monthly visits to every family enrolled in the programme. They conduct health promotion and prevention activities and effectively manage the relationship between citizens and the healthcare system
  • A 2015 report said that 95% of those that seek care in the SUS are able to receive treatment.
  • Every year, the SUS covers more than two million births, 10 million hospital admissions, and nearly one billion ambulatory procedures.
  • This has been made possible even amidst a scenario of tightening budget allocation.

Lessons for Ayushman Bharat from UHS of Brazil:

In the last 30 years, Brazilians have experienced a drastic increase in health coverage as well as outcomes:

  • It guarantees free health coverage that includes pharmaceutical services
  • Life expectancy has increased from 64 years to almost 76 years.
  • Infant Mortality Rate has declined from 53 to 14 per 1,000 live births.
  • A 2015 report said that 95% of those that seek care in the SUS are able to receive treatment.
  • Every year, the SUS covers more than two million births, 10 million hospital admissions, and nearly one billion ambulatory procedures.
  • UHS strategy is based on an extensive work of community health agents who perform monthly visits to every family enrolled in the programme.
  • UHS strategy is based on an extensive work of community health agents who perform monthly visits to every family enrolled in the programme.
  • These agents carry out a variety of tasks. For example, they conduct health promotion and prevention activities, oversee whether family members are complying with any treatment they might be receiving, and effectively manage the relationship between citizens and the healthcare system.
  • UHS has expanded from 4% of coverage in 2000 to up to 64% of the overall population in 2015; it was able to reach even the rural areas and the poorest states of the country.

Way forward:

  • For UHC to become a reality, it is important to expedite steps beyond infrastructural interventions to include water, sanitation, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. The challenge is to incentivize wellness-seeking behaviour.
  • An encouraging aspect of India’s commitment to UHC has been the active and participatory role of the government.
  • From Poshan Abhiyaan, which aims to eliminate the malaise of malnutrition, to the Prime Minister’s call for a Fit India Movement, new emphasis has been given to multi-stakeholder engagements.
  • India has to align the vision of medical education with the vision of “one nation, one healthcare sector”.
  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) 2019 Bill recognizes the much-needed reforms in medical education.
  • The challenge of building capacity of people in a short time needs to be addressed through more transformational public-private partnerships (PPPs), presenting another opportunity to develop and adopt e-learning models.
  • Digital health has emerged as a game-changer in achieving UHC goals. India has taken rapid strides here and digital health is bringing healthcare within reach of 70% of our population residing in rural and remote areas.
  • With the use of digital technology, India is positioned to not only bridge gaps in our healthcare delivery but also to have the capability to contribute to global UHC goals through its telemedicine and digital health tools.
  • India’s healthcare providers are already working on new frontiers of digital technologies.
  • Machine learning, blockchain and AI will continue to strengthen India’s ability to engage effectively with other geographies towards achieving global UHC targets.
  • Regional disparities in terms of resources and institutional capabilities must be addressed. This diversity, nevertheless, can be a powerful source of policy innovation and creativity.
  • A collaborative approach aligning patients, payers and providers, along with innovative partnerships, will hasten efforts to mitigate risks, drive impact, forge stronger social returns and achieve sustainable UHC targets.

 

Topic:  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4. Discuss the objectives of National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme. Why should the tribal pockets be mainstreamed? Explain.(250 words)

News on Air

Why this question:

The 12th National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme was inaugurated in Puducherry, under which tribal youths will be visiting many places to know about the language, customs, culture, arts, dressing patterns, food pattern and other aspects of Puducherry. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the objectives of National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme. And explain why the tribal pockets should be mainstreamed.

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:

Start by stating the facts like – Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) organizes Tribal Youth Exchange Programme with the support of Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India.

Body:

  • Discuss the objective of the programme; To provide an opportunity to the tribal youth to understand the cultural ethos, language, lifestyles of the people depicting Socio –economic and Cultural Development and Development process unity in diversity aspect of our national life.
  • Quote reasons as to why tribals should be mainstreamed? – To deal with discrimination against tribal communities and in providing them with the rights they truly deserve.
  • Discuss what steps the government is taking in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude that as India is aspiring to become a developed country, it needs to rethink and redefine its definition of development to incorporate the discourse of inclusive development.

Introduction:

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan organizes Tribal Youth Exchange Programme for the development of tribal youth with the support of Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India. The 12th National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme was held in Puducherry recently. Tribal youths will be visiting many places to know about the language, customs, culture, arts, dressing patterns, food pattern and other aspects of Puducherry.

Body:

Aims and Objectives of National Tribal Youth Exchange Programme:

  • To provide an opportunity to the tribal youth of 30 selected districts of 07 states for exposure visit to 10 different places of the country to understand the cultural ethos, language, lifestyles of the people depicting Socio –economic & Cultural Development & Development process unity in diversity aspect of our national life.
  • To expose tribal youth to the technological and industrial advancement that have taken place in different states of the country with focus on various developmental activities, skill development, educational & employment opportunities available there.
  • To sensitize the tribal youth about their rich traditional & cultural heritage and enable them to preserve it for the future generation.
  • To help the tribal youth to develop emotional linkages with their peer groups in other part of the country and enhance their self-esteem.
  • To provide opportunities to the participants for interactions with Hon’ble President of India, PM & CM, Governor & other VIPs, the local communities, Panchayati Raj Institutions and the youths affiliated with the NYKS Youth Clubs so as understand development issues, seek guidance for their involvement in the process of development.
  • To develop personality of the tribal youth by enhancing their understanding of Ten Core Life Skills, identify their skill development oriented training needs and fulfilment of their legitimate career aspirations through Employable Skills, Scheme of Government of India and State Govt and provide them necessary guidance and career counselling.
  • To provide exposure to industry and Skill Development programme which can facilitate the provision of employment to the tribal youth.
  • To provide literature on developmental schemes of the Centre & State pertaining to tribals.

Need for tribal youth to be mainstreamed:

  • The tribes who are residing in the remote corners of the nation are not having first-hand information about what is happening elsewhere in the country.
  • If the student and youth communities are getting sufficient information and opportunities to interact with their peer groups in other parts of the nation, the extremist activities among them can be curtailed.
  • In this context it is proposed that, the tribal youth should be positively engaged and educated and for that; tribal youth exchange programmes will be of great help.

Conclusion:

The programme helps students in understanding various cultures prevalent in the country and promotes national integration. It would not only help them know about the local culture and customs but help local pupils understand the tribal culture.

 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

5. Explain the key features of National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 (NBDS) also discuss How can Biotechnology be used to address various issues in India? (250 words)

PIB

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and aims to evaluate the objectives of the National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 (NBDS).

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the key features of the policy and its significance to the overall development of the Biotech sector in the country; also explain the applications it offers to the other sectors.

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 highlight the fact that Indian Government seeks to create a US$ 100 billion biotech industry by 2025. It has launched various programs with a view to harness available human and unlimited biodiversity resources.

Body:

Discuss the objectives of the strategy in detail first.

The Strategy aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub. It intends to launch a major mission, backed with significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products, creates a strong infrastructure for R&D and commercialization, and empowers India’s human resources scientifically and technologically.

Explain the possible benefits it would bring to other sectors of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward and prospects of the sector in coming future.

Introduction:

United Nation Convention on Biological Diversity, defines Biotechnology “any technological application that uses biological systems, living organisms or derivatives thereof, to make or modify products or processes for specific use”. And “Biological resources” includes genetic resources, organisms or parts thereof, populations, or any other biotic component of ecosystems with actual or potential use or value for humanity. India has become the world’s 12th biggest biotechnology economy having the second highest number of USFDA-approved plants. Biotechnology will help developing countries accomplish things that they could never do.

Body:

The National Biotechnology Development Strategy -2015-2020 aims to establish India as a world-class bio-manufacturing hub.   It intends to launch a major mission, backed with significant investments, for the creation of new biotech products, create a strong infrastructure for R&D and commercialization, and empower India’s human resources scientifically and technologically.

The Key elements of the Strategy are:

  • Building a Skilled Workforce and Leadership
  • Revitalizing the knowledge environment at par with the growing bio-economy
  • Enhance Research opportunities in basic, disciplinary and inter-disciplinary sciences
  • Encourage use-inspired discovery research
  • Focus on biotechnology tools for inclusive development
  • Nurturing innovation, translational capacity and entrepreneurship
  • Ensuring a transparent, efficient and globally best Regulatory system and communication strategy
  • Biotechnology cooperation- Fostering global and national alliances
  • Strengthen Institutional Capacity with redesigned governance models
  • Create a matrix of measurement of processes as well as outcome

Biotechnology has the following relevance in India:

  • Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine
    • Biotechnology techniques are used in medicine for diagnosis and treating different diseases. It gives opportunities for the people to protect themselves from dangerous diseases.
    • The field of Biotechnology, genetic engineering has introduced techniques like gene therapy, recombinant DNA technology and polymerase chain reaction which use genes and DNA molecules to diagnose diseases and insert new and healthy genes in the body which replace the damaged cells
    • Genetic modification in mosquitoes can solve the problems of epidemic diseases such as dengue and malaria
    • Artificial insemination is the artificial introduction of semen into the reproductive tract of a female animal. It is used extensively in breeding animals, such as sheep and cattle
    • Medical researchers believe that stem cell therapy has the potential to dramatically change the treatment of human disease. A number of adult stem cell therapies already exist, particularly bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukaemia.
    • Stem cell transplantation was first used in the treatment of blood disorders and it was a breakthrough. Conventionally known as bone marrow transplan­tation, the stem cells responsible for production of the blood cells reside in the bone marrow
  • Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
    • Biotechnology has played major role in agriculture by altering genes, studying and cloning various crops in order to provide better quality products of foods ultimately improving our lives.
    • Hybrid Seeds, Artificial Seeds, Photosynthesis improver, Stress resistant crops and plants, Bio-fertilisers, Bio-pesticides are some of the potential applications.
    • Potential advantages that biotechnology can confer across a wide range of agricultural applications are in areas such as livestock management, storage of agricultural products and sustaining current crop yields, while reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
    • Biotechnology offers a very promising alternative to synthetic foods and an improvement on conventional plant-breeding technologies. Combined with other advanced agricultural technologies, it offers an exciting and environmentally responsible way to meet consumer demand for sustainable agriculture.
  • Animal husbandry:
    • The application of biotechnology in this area, in increasing production efficiency through manipulation and control of physiological systems and improving the health and well-being of animals, assumes great significance.
    • Embryo transplantation, used with cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep, aims to increase the number of offspring from a quality female.
    • Cloning embryos to artificially produce genetic duplicates of an animal has also become possible.
    • Direct manipulation and alteration of an animal’s genetic material— genetic engineering—has the potential to produce even more drastic changes in animal breeding. It is believed that genetically altered pigs may one day be able to provide compatible organs for emergency transplantation (xenotransplantation) into humans.
  • Application of Biotechnology in Food Processing
    • Biotechnology has a major application in the food sector.
    • Bread, cheese, wine, beer, yogurt, and vinegar are all made by culturing microorganisms and are really the oldest products of biotechnology.
    • It helps in improving the edibility, texture, and storage of the food; in preventing the attack of the food, mainly dairy, by the virus like bacteriophage.
    • Biotechnologists are also developing tests that will allow the detection of food-contaminating microorganisms and the toxins they produce, which may be present only in minute quantities.
    • Biotechnology also has applications in the detection of mutagens (substances that cause genetic mutations) in individual food products.
    • GM crops which have been approved for use in food items in select countries include corn, maize, soya, tomato, potato and papaya.
    • Latest innovations in biotechnology that fortify major staples with micro nutrients like vitamin A, zinc and iron can be game changers for hunger problem in India.
  • Environment:
    • Biotechnology can be used to tackle environmental issues like deforestation and air pollution
    • Biotechnology can help in finding out the level of Particulate Matter 2.5 in the air,
    • Biotechnology is already providing a clean and renewable alternative to traditional fossil fuels, the burning of which contributes to global warming.
    • The benefit of environmental biotechnology helps us to avoid the use of hazardous pollutants and wastes that affect the natural resources and the environment.
    • Biosensors, which combine a biological component (such as an enzyme) with various electronic components to trigger a circuit when a particular type of chemical is detected. Biosensors are capable of detecting extremely low levels of proteins, hormones, pollutants, gases, and other molecules.

Conclusion:

In a complex play of scientific progress and market forces, the biotechnology industry is recording growth that can rival the information technology industry boom of the 1990s. India with its young workforce and a potential market for the end-products can look out for a bright future in the biotechnology sector.

 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

6. Briefly elucidate upon the steps taken by India for strengthening IPR focused on technology and innovation (250 words)

DIPP

Why this question:

Recently the Union Cabinet approved the proposal for Accession of India to the Nice, Vienna and Locarno Agreements, related to the World Intellectual Property

Organization’s (WIPO) international classification systems. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the steps taken by India to strengthen the IPR that focuses on technology and innovation.

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:

In short discuss what Intellectual Property is.

Body:

  • First briefly present the IPR scenario in India.
  • Then explain the efforts being made – In order to promote Intellectual Property in India Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion has taken various initiatives to ensure that intangible assets of the country are adequately protected such as: National IPR Policy 2016, Cell for IPR Promotion and Management (CIPAM), and other various awareness programmes, Filing of Patents and Trademarks applications has been made online. Almost all old Intellectual Property (IP) records have been digitized and new records are digitized immediately. Automated Electronic modules have been adopted to process Patents and Trademarks applications which enabled achieving enhanced speed, accuracy and Transparency etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are legal rights, which result from intellectual invention, innovation and discovery in the industrial, scientific, literary and artistic fields. These rights entitle an individual or group to the moral and economic rights of creators in their creation. For ex: In India, patents are granted for a period of 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application. It is also to be noted that the patents are valid only within the territory where they have been granted. Once a patent expires, protection ends and the invention enters the public domain. In India, Patent Acts, 1970 regulate the IPRs.

Body:

Important highlights from India’s present National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy

  • The Policy aims to push IPRs as a marketable financial asset, promote innovation and entrepreneurship, while protecting public interest.
  • In order to have strong and effective IPR laws, steps would be taken — including review of existing IP laws — to update and improve them or to remove anomalies and inconsistencies.
  • The policy is entirely compliant with the WTO’s agreement on TRIPS.
  • Special thrust on awareness generation and effective enforcement of IPRs, besides encouragement of IP commercialisation through various incentives.
  • India will engage constructively in the negotiation of international treaties and agreements in consultation with stakeholde
  • The government will examine accession to some multilateral treaties which are in India’s interest, and become a signatory to those treaties which India has de facto implemented to enable it to participate in their decision making process, the policy said.
  • It suggests making the department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) the nodal agency for all IPR issues. Copyrights related issues will also come under DIPP’s ambit from that of the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry.
  • Films, music, industrial drawings will be all covered by copyright.
  • The Policy also seeks to facilitate domestic IPR filings, for the entire value chain from IPR generation to commercialization. It aims to promote research and development through tax benefits.

The steps taken by India for strengthening IPR:

  • The statutes governing different kinds of IPRs in India are Patents Act, 1970; Trade Marks Act, 1999; Designs Act, 2000; Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999; Copyright Act, 1957; Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001; Semiconductor Integrated Circuits Layout-Design Act, 2000 and Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is entrusted with matters concerning the specialised UN agency on IPRs, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), including coordination with other concerned Ministries or Departments.
  • The Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks (CGPDTM) under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry is entrusted with the responsibility of administering the laws relating to Patents, Designs, Trade Marks and Geographical Indications within the territory of India.
  • The Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act, 2001 is a sui generis legislation in India providing protection for plant varieties and rights of farmers and is under the aegis of the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • The preservation of biological diversity in India is under the Ministry of Environment and Forests; the Biological Diversity Act 2002 provides mechanism for regulating access and ensuring fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the use of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.
  • India has always been conscious of its obligations in the international arena, and has acceded to a number of international conventions to further the cause of IPRs globally.
  • India was the first country to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty 2013 for Access to Published Works by visually impaired persons.
  • The accession to the Madrid Protocol in 2013 is a step towards global alignment for proprietors of marks.
  • The Indian Patent Office has been recognized as an International Search Authority and an International Preliminary Examination Authority.
  • The Intellectual Property Appellate Board hears appeals arising from the decisions of Controllers of Patents as also Registrars of Trade Marks and GIs.

Way forward:

  • Fostering an environment where innovation flourishes and a knowledge economy is built, is the key idea. Hence, the policy should have a balance.
  • It should encourage patenting and at the same time ensure that patentability of a product/process does not deter further innovation and progress.
  • Intellectual Property must not be about patents on paper but dearth of application in reality. T
  • The organisations such as CSIR and others must be encouraged to work upon socially useful applications of their patents.
  • Support for innovation has to be accompanied with instruments that guard local companies against the misuse of market power, coercive bargaining and aggressive acquisition strategies.
  • India needs to spread awareness on IPR in public and for its traditional industries to enable fair monetisation of IP Rights.
  • It needs to safeguard its patents, copyrights and traditional knowledge by ensuring easy IPR rules.

 

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

7. While humans have been manipulating organisms for their benefit since at least the dawn of agriculture, and genetic editing has created a few artificial organisms in recent years, the latest research that brings “Xenobot”; world’s first living machines is the new breakthrough element. Do you agree? Debate from the ethical perspective. (250  words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

Scientists in the United States have created the world’s first “living machines” — tiny robots built from the cells of the African clawed frog that can move around on their own. Thus the question aims to examine the latest invention from the ethical perspective.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the ethical angles involved in the case study mentioned above, present both positives and negatives for the same and provide for your stand with suitable justifications.

Directive:

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First discuss what living machines are according to the latest invention.

Body:

The body of the answer must discuss both positives and negatives of such science marvels that will take a great leap forward but will also involve some cost factor.

Explain that the fact – The “novel living machines” were “neither a traditional robot nor a known species of animal”, but “a new class of artifact: a living, programmable organism”; makes them tricky from the ethical perspectives as they can challenge the humanity like the technology and innovation are doing.

Substantiate your answer with suitable justifications and debate.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced stand on the above case.

Introduction:

“Xenobots” are millimetre-wide robots— named after the species of aquatic frog found across sub-Saharan Africa from Nigeria and Sudan to South Africa, Xenopus laevis. They are the world’s first “living machines” — tiny robots built from the cells of the African clawed frog, that can move around on their own.

Body:

The xenobots can move toward a target, perhaps pick up a payload (like a medicine that needs to be carried to a specific place inside a patient) — and heal themselves after being cut. The new creatures were designed on a supercomputer at the university, and then assembled and tested by biologists at Tufts University. Like searching out nasty compounds or radioactive contamination, gathering microplastics in the oceans, travelling in arteries to scrape out plaque

Ethical challenges posed:

  • There is growing fear that the gene-editing system is being prematurely rushed for clinical use.
  • There are various ethical and technical issues involved with gene editing.
  • Bioethicists fear abuse of gene editing by governments and the private sector.
  • It can create unforeseen changes in the genome which are undesirable.
  • It has also been ethically questioned whether editing gene to create babies that parent’s desires would make them more like commodities.
  • These solutions may be expensive and also not entirely suitable for our specific needs.

Way forward:

  • The technology need enabling policy to ensure their outcomes are in line with the spirit of their promises.
  • The government needs to improve infrastructure and access to funds and spur innovation.
  • India needs to reform its regulatory structure to expedite approvals and make it easier to conduct research.
  • Promoting indigenous gene editing research is important to make treatments available at affordable prices.
  • Clinical trials need to be contingent on robust demonstration of safety and efficacy.
  • A two-step model wherein the government works with industry and research groups to accelerate clinical research is recommended.
  • Responsible use of gene editing could be the remedy for some of India’s problems.
  • This is India’s chance to tailor this cutting edge tool to its own requirements and ensure affordable healthcare to its people