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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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:  History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

1. “Auschwitz was and is, still the center of Holocaust history”, Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

On January 27 this year, survivors of the Holocaust and international heads of state marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the reasons for ‘Auschwitz’ being called the centre of Holocaust history.

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 that in many ways, Auschwitz has become the center of Holocaust history and research and serves as a reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust.

Body:

In detail explain the history associated with – Auschwitz.

Discuss the horrors of 2nd world war that took place at Auschwitz.

Explain the factors that led to liberation of Auschwitz, discuss what occurred at the liberation.

Highlight as to what makes the place unique even today.

Conclusion:

The camps at Auschwitz have become an important reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and in 1947 the government of Poland made the site a state memorial. In 1979, UNESCO added the Auschwitz memorial to its list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Introduction:

Recently on January 27th survivors of the Holocaust and international heads of state marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. During the Second World War, the government of Nazi Germany killed approximately 17 million people across Europe in half a dozen camps specifically designated for killings. Of these seven killing centers, the camp at Auschwitz, perhaps the most well-known, was the largest in size.

Body:

Importance of January 27th:

  • During the final stages of the Second World War, months before the fall of Nazi Germany, Nazi officials began forcibly moving prisoners between the camps spread across Europe.
  • Called ‘Death Marches’, this forcible displacement on foot over long distances in the bitter cold, with little to no food resulted in many deaths.
  • Some researchers believe that prisoners were moved from camps to prevent the liberation of prisoners held inside these camps and to also remove evidence of crimes against humanity perpetrated by Nazi officials.
  • Prisoners who were very ill and disabled were left to die in the abandoned camps.

Liberation of Auschwitz:

As 1944 came to a close and the defeat of Nazi Germany by the Allied forces seemed certain, the Auschwitz commandants began destroying evidence of the horror that had taken place there. Buildings were torn down, blown up or set on fire, and records were destroyed.

In January 1945, as the Soviet army entered Krakow, the Germans ordered that Auschwitz be abandoned. Before the end of the month, in what came to be known as the Auschwitz death marches, an estimated 60,000 detainees, accompanied by Nazi guards, departed the camp and were forced to march to the Polish towns of Gliwice or Wodzislaw, some 30 miles away. Countless prisoners died during this process; those who made it to the sites were sent on trains to concentration camps in Germany.

When the Soviet army entered Auschwitz on January 27, they found approximately 7,600 sick or emaciated detainees who had been left behind barbed wire. The liberators also discovered mounds of corpses, hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing and pairs of shoes and seven tons of human hair that had been shaved from detainees before their liquidation. According to some estimates, between 1.1 million to 1.5 million people, the vast majority of them Jews, died at Auschwitz during its years of operation. An estimated 70,000 to 80,000 Poles perished at the camp, along with 19,000 to 20,000 Romas and smaller numbers of Soviet prisoners of war and other individuals.

Rescue of Auschwitz:

  • Allied forces advanced from the West while soldiers belonging to the Red Army of the Soviet Union began entering concentration camps and killing centers across Europe, liberating survivors.
  • The first camp that the Red Army soldiers liberated was the Majdanek camp in Poland in July 1944.
  • The Army entered Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, finding hundreds of sick, starving and exhausted prisoners, who had somehow survived.
  • In 2005, the UN-designated January 27 as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Significance:

  • Historical records show that despite attempts by Nazi officials to obliterate prisoners, particularly those at Auschwitz, there were survivors who lived to provide testimony against Nazi officials.
  • Several factors set Auschwitz apart from other camps across Europe.
  • The camp at Auschwitz had originally been built to hold Polish political prisoners but by March 1942, it became one of the main centres for the Nazi’s Final Solution to the Jewish Question.

Results:

  • Trials were held against Nazi officers and people who worked inside the camps in various capacities and perpetrated crimes against humanity in the camps of Auschwitz and elsewhere in Europe.
  • These individuals included both men and women, many who escaped accountability for their crimes after the fall of Nazi Germany.
  • To evade justice, many SS officers changed their identities and escaped to other parts of Europe, the US and to other parts of the world.

Conclusion:

The camps at Auschwitz have become an important reminder of the horrors of the Holocaust and in 1947 the government of Poland made the site a state memorial. In 1979, UNESCO added the Auschwitz memorial to its list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

 

Topic:  Appointment to various constitutional posts, powers, functions and Responsibilities of various Constitutional bodies.

2. Discuss the significance of electoral literacy for a stronger democracy. (250 words)

Reference: News On Air

Why this question:

Recently 10th National Voters Day was celebrated to mark the Foundation Day of Election Commission of India.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the importance of electoral literacy for a stronger democracy.

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:

Start with the fact that the theme for NVD 2020 was ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy’ reiterating the commitment of the Election Commission

Of India towards electoral literacy for all to ensure maximum participation and informed and ethical voting.

Body:

  • Narrate first upon the significant role played by Election commission in ensuring strong electoral system.
  • Explain why electoral literacy is the key to the system?
  • Discuss the efforts made the election commission so far.
  • Take hints from the article and highlight the importance of electoral literacy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The 10th National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on 25th Jan. It was celebrated at over ten lakh locations across the country including Polling Stations, District and State headquarters. The theme this year is ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy’.

It sets the tone for year-long activities focusing on voter education and renewal of citizens’ faith in the electoral process. The Day is celebrated since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950.

Body:

Voter literacy:

Voter literacy means providing citizens of a democracy with basic information about participating in elections. Voter education is often provided by the state itself, often through a national electoral commission, so it is therefore important that it is politically non-partisan. Government departments that focus on voter education are often highly scrutinized by a third party. In addition, there are various private institutions whose mission it is to strengthen democratic values by increasing voter education.

Dimensions_of_electoral_literacy

Electoral literacy for a stronger democracy:

  • In view of the upcoming elections voter literacy clubs are to be set up in various schools, colleges, Government departments, voluntary organisations and corporate institutions.
  • The clubs are to be set up under Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program (SVEEP) with an aim to sensitize voters through various activities and ensuring their participation in the elections. It will also work towards informing the future voters about the procedures related to the voting process.
  • The purpose of the literacy clubs is to give information about the voting process to the target population.
  • The members of this club will be future voters aged between 14 to 17 years, first time voters- 18 to 19 years and senior citizens. The election schools will be organised at regular intervals.
  • The Election Commission of India has directed the formation of a voter literacy club in all schools and colleges. Through these clubs students will be educated about their franchise, voter registration, election process and related subjects through various activities.
  • It will also facilitate their participation in the election process. Classroom based activities will be organised for the members.
  • Schools and colleges can contact the Deputy Commissioner cum District Election Officer for setting up these clubs. As per the guidelines set by the Election Commission of India facilities will be provided to the organisations.
  • Forums are also to be set up in various Government departments, corporate institutions and voluntary organizations where senior officials will be appointed as nodal officers.
  • The forum will be responsible for conducting a wide range of activities for ensuring participation in the election.

Role of EC:

  • Guardian of Free & Fair Elections.
  • Issues a Model code of Conduct for political parties and candidates to conduct elections in free & fair manner.
  • Registration of Political Parties and Allotment of Symbols
  • The Election Commission has fixed the legal limits on the amount of money which a candidate can spend during election campaigns.
  • Use of Scientific and Technological Advancement like introduction of EVM and computerizations of the electoral rolls,
  • Election Commission – A Tribunal for Adjudication
  • Checking Criminalization of Politics.
  • Cancellation of Polls due to rigging at any polling booth
  • The Election Commission has the power to disqualify a candidate if he or she does not file election returns within a prescribed period.

Role of EC to increase voter’s participation:

  • The steady increasing electoral participation points out to the positive interventions made by Election Commission of India to secure the same.
  • Free and fair elections attract more voters. The measures taken by ECI to attract voters include:
  • Employing “Awareness Observer” across the country in order to compile a report on voting numbers and reasons behind low or high participation in each constituency so that ECI can work upon the hurdles
  • Introducing Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) to make voting process interactive by showing the details of their votes
  • Introducing Short Message Service and Toll Free Numbers so that people can ask details regarding enrolment process and address of polling station
  • Live Monitoring of Sensitive Areas to ensure that no mischievous activities are carried at the polling station
  • Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) to increase awareness and education about the electoral process
  • Replacing ballot papers through electronic voting machine to make the voting process easier
  • Organizing National Voters’ Day, Voter Fest and employing school children and renowned personalities as ambassadors to persuade people to cast their votes.

Conclusion:

Election management body and other related agencies of a country is responsible for nurturing a democratic nation with a political literate and empowered citizenry that cherishes democratic values and promotes good governance. A country’s administration should be governed not by the bullet but by the ballot

 

Topic:   Indian Constitution and judiciary

3. The interpretation of the constitution by the judiciary has changed over the years in recent times, trace the change in approach of judiciary and explain with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The article in essence explains that Smaller benches of judiciary are continuing to decide on substantive constitutional cases at the risk of going against the spirit of our constitution.

Key demand of the question:

Trace the change in the methods and perspectives of the Judiciary from past to present, evaluate has it changed for the god or deteriorated. Explain using suitable examples to substantiate your stand.

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:

Highlight that Indian constitution was a unique experiment which affected the quality of life of Indian citizens in a positive way. Ex: Universal adult franchise, federalism, social programmes etc. The interpretation of the constitution by the Judiciary has changed over the years in recent times.

Body:

Take cues from the article and explain how it has changed from textual approach to structure approach, to perception based approach.

Use the examples such as A.K. Gopalan v. State of Madras case, Keshavananda Bharati case, striking down section 377, bringing CJI under the ambit of RTI etc.

Explain what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Constitution of India came into force 70 years ago, on January 26, 1950. The enactment of the Constitution was an ambitious political experiment — with universal adult franchise, federalism in a region consisting of over 550 princely States, and social revolution in a deeply unequal society.

However, it was equally a unique achievement in terms of constitutional design. Republic Day, especially this year, therefore provides us an opportunity to take a step back from political contestations about the Constitution and consider how the text has been interpreted by the courts over the last seven decades.

Body:

 Role of Judiciary in interpreting constitution:

  • The higher judiciary (Supreme Court and High Courts) acts as the custodian of the Constitution because it is responsible for its interpretation and enforcement. The higher judiciary also has the power to strike down laws of Parliament and actions of the Executive as invalid, if they violate the Constitution. This is called the power of judicial review.
  • For example, a law may be declared as invalid if it violates the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. A law may also be declared invalid if its subject-matter is outside Parliament’s area of competence (e.g. a central law on police may be invalid because police falls within the state legislatures’ domain).
  • Striking down of Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000: The Supreme Court exercised its power of judicial review and struck down its provision as unconstitutional. It held that Section 66A violates Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution that protects freedom of speech and expression.
  • The Judiciary also exercises oversight over the Executive, when it decides matters related to constitutionality and legality of executive actions. Occasionally it has also set up investigative and monitoring committees to monitor and oversee executive decisions.
  • For example, in 2011, it set up a Special Investigation Team to investigate money laundering and unaccounted money held abroad by Indians.10In another case, the Supreme Court required the state governments to report on forest conservation and industrial activities around forest.
  • The Supreme Court has held that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution is limited, that is, Parliament cannot amend the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
  • The Judiciary has used its power of interpretation to identify fundamental aspects of the Constitution that cannot amended. These include ‘supremacy of the Constitution’, ‘separation of powers’, ‘judicial review’ and ‘judicial independence’. This is an open list to which the Judiciary may add new aspects.

The interpretation of the constitution by the Judiciary has changed over the years in recent times:

The first phase of Interpretation-Focus on text:

  • A textualist approach-focusing on the plain meaning of the words: In its early years, the Supreme Court adopted a textualist approach, focusing on the plain meaning of the words used in the Constitution.
  • Gopalan v. State of Madras (1950) was one of the early decisions in which the Court was called upon to interpret the fundamental rights under Part III.
  • The leader of the Communist Party of India claimed that preventive detention legislation under which he was detained was inconsistent with Articles 19 (the right to freedom), 21 (the right to life) and 22 (the protection against arbitrary arrest and detention).
  • Fundamental rights separate from each other: The Supreme Court decided in A. K. Gopalan case that each of those articles covered entirely different subject matter, and were to be read as separate codes rather than being read together.
  • Unlimited Amendment Power: In its early years, the Court read the Constitution literally, concluding that there were no limitations on the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.

The second phase of interpretation-Focus on ‘basic structure’:

  • Appeals to the structure and coherence: Appeals to the text of the Constitution were gradually overtaken by appeals to the Constitution’s overall structure and coherence.
  • Limited Amendment Power-Kesavananda Bharati case: In the leading case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala(1973), the Court concluded that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution did not extend to altering its “basic structure”.
  • “Basic Structure”: The basic structure is an open-ended list of features that lie within the exclusive control of the Court.
  • When Parliament attempted to overturn this decision by amending the Constitution yet again, the Court, relying on structuralist justifications, decisively rejected that attempt.

Key takeaways from Kesavananda Bharati case

  • Limited Amendment Power: In this case, the Court pronounced that Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution is not unlimited.
  • Fundamental rights as a cohesive bill of rights: In this phase, the Court also categorically rejected the Gopalan approach in favour of a structuralist one.
  • Maneka Gandhi v. Union of India (1978): Through decision, in this case, the Court conceived of the fundamental rights as a cohesive bill of rights rather than a miscellaneous grouping of constitutional guarantees.
  • Incremental interpretation of Right to Life: The right to life was incrementally interpreted to include a wide range of rights such as clean air, speedy trial, and free legal aid.
  • Courts playing role in governance: The incremental interpretation of Article 21 paved the way for the Supreme Court to play an unprecedented role in the governance of the nation.

Third Phase of interpretation-Eclecticism:

  • Different opinions on the same issues: In the third phase the Supreme Court started to give different opinions on the same issues-i.e. it engaged in eclecticism.
  • First-Change in the structure of the SC: The changing structure of the Court, which at its inception began with eight judges, grew to a sanctioned strength of 31; it is currently 34.
  • It began to sit in panels of two or three judges, effectively transforming it into a “polyvocal” group of about a dozen sub-Supreme Courts.
  • Second-expansion of own role by the SC-The Court began deciding cases based on a certain conception of its own role -whether as a sentinel of democracy or protector of the market economy.
  • The focus of the judgement on the result rather than reason: This unique decision-making process sidelined reason-giving in preference to arriving at outcomes that match the Court’s perception.

Fourth phase- based on the purpose:

  • Purpose of enactment of the Constitution as critical: In the fourth phase, the Court has acknowledged as critical to its interpretive exercise the purpose for which the Constitution has been enacted.
  • The realisation of revolutionary and transformative potential: The Court is now beginning to interpret the Constitution in accordance with its revolutionary and transformative potential.
  • Renaissance in decisions: With about a dozen significant Constitution Bench decisions from the Supreme Court since September 2018, there has been a renaissance in decision-making by Constitution Benches.
  • The most important decisions of this period include-
  • Court’s decisions striking down Section 377 and the criminal offence of adultery.
  • And including the office of the Chief Justice of India within the scope of the Right to Information Act.

Conclusion:

The Constitution of India keeps responding to the situations and circumstances arising from time to time. Even after so many changes in the society, the Constitution continues to work effectively because of this ability to be dynamic, to be open to interpretations and the ability to respond to the changing situation. This is a hallmark of a democratic constitution. Indian Constitution can be changed according to the requirement and the needs of the present society and its future, it is not a constant and static document rather it is fluid and it can be changed by the process of amendment.

 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4. Geopolitics has played a crucial role in recent success of Pakistan in Asia-Pacific meet of FATF, Do you agree? Analyse.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the Recent deliberations of the Asia-Pacific

group of Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the deliberations with respect to FATF and in what way the changing geopolitics have redefined the success of Pakistan in the Asia-Pacific meet.

Directive:

Analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss briefly the highlights of the deliberations that took place recently.

Body:

Asia-pacific group has observed that Pakistan has made progress in curtailing

Terror financing in its country. Ex: stopping fund flow to LeT, JeM, legal action initiated against some etc.

Pakistan was put on a grey list under FATF norms for its failure to stop terror financing in the country in 2018.

Discuss India’s response to it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the role that Geopolitics plays in such deliberations at a global level.

Introduction:

The deliberations, in Beijing, of the Asia-Pacific joint group of the global watchdog on terror financing and money laundering, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), gave Pakistan some encouraging news: that it had progressed in its efforts to avoid a blacklisting.

A final decision will be taken at a plenary meeting of the body, expected in Paris next month: in keeping Pakistan on the current “grey list”, downgrading it to a “black list”, or letting it off altogether for the moment.

Body:

Financial Action Task Force (FATF):

  • FATF is an intergovernmental organization founded in 1989 on the initiative of the G7 to develop policies to combat money laundering.
  • In 2001 its mandate expanded to include terrorism financing.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • The FATF is therefore a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.

Pakistan has placed in grey list:

Geopolitics has played a crucial role in recent success of Pakistan in Asia-Pacific meet of FATF

  • The 39-member body had determined that Pakistan was to be placed on the grey list in 2018, and presented it a 27-point list of actions.
  • These included freezing the funds of UN Security Council entities such as 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed and the LeT, the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) and other Taliban-affiliated groups.
  • The actions entailed a sustained effort to bring legal action against these groups, and also called for changes to Pakistani law in line with global standards for measures against money laundering and financing terrorism.
  • Unlike in October 2019, when Pakistan had completed five points, the Beijing meeting has cleared it on 14 points.
  • In the Beijing meeting, Pakistan provided a list of its action taken to comply with the FATF diktat.
  • Pakistan was placed on the ‘Grey List’ by the FATF in June 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by October 2019 or face the risk of being placed on the blacklist along with Iran and North Korea.
  • The FATF currently has 35 members and two regional organisations — the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council.

India want more scrutiny on removing Pakistan’s Grey list:

While Pakistan’s progress will come as a disappointment to India, it wants more scrutiny of Pakistan’s support to terror groups lest Islamabad feels it has been let off the hook there are a few points to consider.

  • First, the grey listing is not new. Pakistan was placed on it in 2012, and was removed in 2015 after it passed a National Action Plan to deal with terrorism following the 2014 Peshawar School massacre. It was also placed under severe restrictions in the years 2008-2012, after the Mumbai attack.
  • Second, this last grey list period has already seen some Indian demands met, including the chargesheeting of Hafiz Saeed for terror financing, and the addition of JeM chief Masood Azhar to the UNSC 1267 list.
  • Finally, although the FATF is a technical organisation, there is no doubting that geopolitics and bilateral deals play a part in deciding outcomes.

 However, FATF needs to scrutinise in an unbiased manner:

  • The FATF monitors the progress of its members in implementing necessary measures, reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and counter-measures, and promotes the adoption and implementation of appropriate measures globally.
  • In collaboration with other international stakeholders, the FATF works to identify national-level vulnerabilities with the aim of protecting the international financial system from misuse.
  • The FATF has developed a series of Recommendations that are recognised as the international standard for combating of money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
  • They form the basis for a co-ordinated response to these threats to the integrity of the financial system and help ensure a level playing field.

Conclusion:

India must study the politics behind Pakistan’s FATF “progress”. Officials have suggested that Pakistan’s role in ensuring Taliban talks are brought to a successful conclusion soon may have weighed with the U.S. and its allies in the grouping.

India’s recent troubles on the international stage, including the UNSC where China has been allowed to raise the Kashmir issue twice in five months, after nearly five decades, may also be a reason its objections at the Beijing discussions were not considered as carefully as in the past.

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

5. ”Ease of living for women in the India is intricately linked to the water woes of the country”, Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of disasters in the form of water woes and in what way they affect the lives of women in the country directly. The article highlights the facts that With women playing a leadership role in managing their community’s water resources, the Jal Jeevan Mission will provide a massive fillip to the ease of living for women, and they will no longer be beasts of burden.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the interlinkages between Ease of living of women and the water scarcity/issues in the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss some facts pointing at the context of the question.

Body:

Discuss Role of women in handling water as a resource in the community.

Explain the water crisis prevalent in the country.

Explain why is it important to address water issues to ensure good living for women in the country.

One can use suitable case study and explain what needs to be done.

Quote the policies like Jal Jeevan mission and their reach.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

For centuries, in most parts of the country, especially in rural areas, our women have borne the responsibility (or should I say the burden) of ensuring the water security of their homes. Our mothers and sisters have silently catered to every water need of their families. In some instances, this would involve walking long distances in unfriendly weather and treacherous terrain — in the blistering heat of Rajasthan to the majestic hills of Uttarakhand to the parched lands of eastern Maharashtra.

 Body:

Water crisis prevalent in the country:

  • About 60% of the States were marked as “low performers” and this was cause for “alarm”.
  • The report has predicted that by 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity.
  • Nearly 600 million Indians faced high to extreme water stress.
  • About 2,00,000 people died every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
  • 52% of India’s agricultural area remains dependent on rainfall so the future expansion of irrigation needs to be focused on last mile efficiency.
  • Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.
  • Critical groundwater resources, which accounted for 40% of India’s water supply, are being depleted at “unsustainable” rates and up to 70% of India’s water supply is “contaminated”.

Role of women in handling water as a resource in the community:

  • According to a report by the National Commission for Women, on an average, a rural woman in Rajasthan walks over 2.5 km to reach a water source.
  • This is probably an underestimate, but the bottom-line is that our women and girls spend a significant proportion of their time on fetching water.
  • But things are changing. In 2014, India witnessed history in the making as the nation saw an incredible shift in the national development agenda.
  • This shift in policy focus was to reduce the drudgery faced specially by women and girls, and improve their quality of life by providing them services targeted for their convenience.

Government measures to address the problem:

  • The first major step in this direction was when Prime Minister Narendra Modi drew the attention of 1.25 billion Indians from the ramparts of the Red Fort and addressed the need to end the practice of open defecation — and restore the dignity of our women and their basic health.
  • By October 2019, all villages in India had declared themselves ODF. Just recently, another study by scholars from the Ashoka University and the University of Virginia, has found that the increased in-home toilet access in India has significantly reduced sexual assaults on women.
  • There were many subsequent programmes of our government focused on reducing drudgery for women, improving their health and giving them the respect they deserve. These programmes have also empowered women to lead the change.
  • The Ujjwala scheme provided LPG cylinders to crores of rural women, saving them from the toxic fumes that they breathed on a daily basis when they burnt firewood for their chulhas.
  • The POSHAN abhiyan supports the health of children, adolescent girls and women, to reduce cases of low birth weight, stunting, under-nutrition, and anaemia.
  • The Swachh Bharat Mission has created a cadre of head women masons, better known as “Rani Mistris”, who have breached a traditional male bastion and have already constructed lakhs of toilets across the country.

Jal Jeevan mission – a solution:

The Mission was announced in August 2019. The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.

  • With adequate capacity building and training, water can be most efficiently managed at the lowest appropriate level.
  • Adopting this principle, the Jal Jeevan Mission’s first preference will be to have community-managed single village ground water-based schemes, wherever sufficient quantity and good quality of groundwater exists.
  • Wherever adequate quantity of safe groundwater is not present, or where it may be technically not feasible to have single-village schemes, surface water-based multi-village schemes will be promoted.
  • Further, in some remote regions, where it may not be techno-economically feasible to have household water supply schemes, local innovations, such as solar-based schemes will be encouraged.
  • It is not commonly known that household waste water from HWS amounts to about 75% of the amount of water supplied.
  • With the rural households to get HWS under the proposed mission, huge quantities of household waste water will be generated across the country, therefore making its effective management critical.
  • There is a plan to include a mandatory provision under the mission for the effective channeling and treatment of household waste water, through appropriate and low cost drainage and treatment systems.
  • Once appropriately treated, this waste water can be used for both recharge of groundwater as well as for irrigation purposes.

Way forward:

  • An extensive information, education and communication will be needed to create a people’s movement for water management.
  • The ongoing Jal Shakti Abhiyan will help in creating awareness about the importance of integrating source sustainability and water reuse.
  • This integrated approach to decentralized, community managed, and sustainable water management is the backbone of the government’s plan to ensure that every household gets the benefits of water supply.

Conclusion:

With women playing a leadership role in managing their community’s water resources, minus the drudgery of walking for miles to fetch water for their families, the Jal Jeevan Mission will provide a massive fillip to the ease of living for women, and they will no longer be beasts of burden. The signs are all there and the winds of change are in tandem with the mood of the nation. For real change, it is optimal that we ensure that the real heads of the households our mothers and sisters continue to be at the center of our country’s development agenda.

 

Topic:  Disaster and disaster management.

6. Discuss the significance of disaster prevention and highlight issues involved using a suitable case study.(250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of recent onset of Corona virus and the mass epidemic it has created in China, forcing us to evaluate the importance of disaster prevention methods.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the significance of disaster prevention in the cycle of disaster management.

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 disaster prevention is.

Body:

  • Discuss the aspects of preparedness for Disaster; explain the key areas that need address for disaster prevention.
  • Define disaster, hazard, vulnerability and risk.
  • Describe the types and the causes of disasters.
  • Discuss the magnitude and distribution of disasters.
  • Explain different phases of disasters.
  • Take the case of China’s Corona virus and suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward. 

Introduction:

Disaster prevention is the outright avoidance of adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters prevention (i.e. disaster prevention) expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts through action taken in advance.

Examples include dams or embankments that eliminate flood risks, land-use regulations that do not permit any settlement in high risk zones, and seismic engineering designs that ensure the survival and function of a critical building in any likely earthquake. Very often the complete avoidance of losses is not feasible and the task transforms to that of mitigation. Partly for this reason, the terms prevention and mitigation are sometimes used interchangeably in casual use.

 Body:

Important key terminologies:

Disaster: several definitions are frequently given to disaster. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a disaster as “a sudden ecological phenomenon of sufficient magnitude to require external assistance”. It is also defined as any event, typically occurring suddenly, that causes damage, ecological disruption, loss of human life, deterioration of health and health services, and which exceeds the capacity of the affected community on a scale sufficient to require outside assistance

Hazard: is a rare or extreme event in the natural or human made environment that adversely affects human life, property or activity to the extent of causing a disaster. It is essential to make a distinction between hazards and disasters, and to recognize that the effect of the former upon the latter is essentially a measure of the society’s vulnerability.

Vulnerability: is the degree of loss resulting from a potentially damaging phenomenon.

Risk: is the expected losses (lives lost, persons injured, damages to property and disruption of economic activity) due to a particular hazard. Risk is the product of hazard and vulnerability.

Risk is the probability that a person will experience an event in a specified period of time. Risk as a function of hazard and vulnerability, a relationship that is frequently illustrated with the following formula, although the association is not strictly arithmetic:  Risk = hazard x vulnerability

The need for Disaster prevention:

  • The Vulnerability Atlas of India reveals that about 60% area is vulnerable to Earthquakes, 8% to Cyclones, 12% to Floods and 68% of land under cultivation is prone to Drought.
  • According to the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), India ranked second after China for natural disasters.
  • According to World Bank report, India’s direct loss due to disaster is around 2% of its GDP.
  • Rapid increase of population and urbanization along prone areas and other developments have increased the level of exposure to hazards.
  • Floods are becoming a common phenomenon in India. Ignoring all the safety guidelines, dwellings, factories and infrastructure facilities have been constructed in areas that are potentially vulnerable to natural hazards like floods.
  • As India is still not catching up with the developed countries in adopting disaster management strategies effectively, the losses are mounting.
  • A report published in 2017 by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) about India’s performance audit on flood control and management schemes categorically stated that only 7% of dams (349 out of 4,862) have Emergency Action Plans.
  • Man-made factors have compounded the scale of the disaster. Unabated expansion of hydro-power projects and construction of roads to accommodate ever-increasing tourism, especially religious tourism, are also major causes for the unprecedented scale of devastation.
  • India has been ranked as the sixth most climate change-vulnerable country by the Climate Risk Index 2018.
  • Dealing with current vulnerabilities and projected climate change impacts needs innovative thinking and participatory planning and action.

Challenges involved:

Lack of governance:

  • Most city governments struggle to deal with other day-to-day development challenges such as education, infrastructure and health, and so climate resilience and adaptation figure low on their priority list.
  • Big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai have no city resilience plans because there is not just multiplicity of problems but also of authorities, which tend to work in silos whereas climate change cuts across several departments: public health, water, environment, energy, and social justice to name a few.

Lack of financial management:

  • While the upfront capital costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation are being increasingly well understood, decision making and investment planning are hindered by uncertainty in the indirect costs and lack of simplified and transparent methods for assessing cost-benefit analysis of the steps that a city takes.
  • They are not equipped with the financial management systems and processes required to access climate financing, such as green bonds

Lack of awareness:

  • Lack of active citizens who are informed and engaged on the subject of climate change and sustainability, which is essential to mitigate and build resilience, and demand accountability including transparency and information on liveability indicators such as air pollution levels, percentage of garbage segregated, modal share of public transport, walking and cycling.

Lack of manpower:

  • Then there is a shortage of skilled personnel specialised in areas such as environmental engineering transportation, traffic management, disaster management, and related areas.

No Environmental Impact Assessment:

  • Roads, railway lines and housing colonies being laid and built without regard for natural water ways, but with formal planning permission.
  • The State Disaster Management Agency also ignores them.
  • Despite India being a signatory to the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, little has changed on the ground.

Land use:

  • Injudicious use of land is responsible for making states more prone to floods and landslides.
  • However, other factors such as a change in land use patterns and climate change could have contributed to the situation on the ground.

Deforestation:

  • Unfettered development activity had increased the chances of landslides, a major cause of casualties during the floods.
  • Wetlands have been lost to development projects, construction of roads, and buildings at places too close to rivers.
  • Other issues mentioned such as deforestation, encroachment and unplanned construction are self-evident priorities when development is viewed using the lens of climate-resilient water management (CRWM).

Disaster management constraints:

  • There is a need to enhance the role of Civil Defence in Disaster Management process and formulating an effective National Plan for Disaster Management.
  • Even now, the communication systems at the local level haven’t been much developed.
  • There are no Standard Operating Procedures for the deployment of National Disaster Response Force.
  • There have been many cases where there has been a relief and rescue mobilization but by the time the teams reach the damage would have already been done.
  • Ignoring all the safety guidelines, dwellings, factories and infrastructure facilities have been constructed in areas that are potentially vulnerable to natural hazards like floods.
  • Disaster management plans exist on paper, but implementation remains a challenge.
  • Despite the emphasis on a paradigm shift to a preparedness approach by the government, most parts of the country continue to follow a relief-centric approach in disaster management, rather than a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness path.
  • Disaster maps and vulnerability profiles by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation of the Government of India identify winds and cyclones, earthquakes, and floods as disaster risks.
  • It is unclear if the maps have been updated to include weather and climate extremes and the associated crop losses or loss of lives or health risks.

Case of China’s Corona virus

  • In order to handle any issues regarding food, water and other essential supplies, the Hubei Foreign Affairs Office has also provided two helplines (027-87122256 and 87811173) on which the provincial authorities can be contacted round the clock
  • In accordance with international practice and in accordance with relevant Chinese epidemic prevention regulations, China has made corresponding arrangements to provide necessary assistance,
  • The evacuation of foreign nationals including Indians from Hubei and Wuhan remain mired in logistical issues especially about not allowing the virus to spread through those being evacuated.

Conclusion:

Infectious diseases including those of the zoonotic variety are on the rise in India. In addition, regions in India suffer from seasonal outbreaks of dengue, malaria and influenza strains. In this context, the nation-wide disease surveillance programme needs to be strengthened.

 

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

7. The development of the anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile capability clenches vast implications for India. Explain and also discuss the associated concerns with the Mission Shakti  .(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

India showcased its anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile capability of the weapon, Mission Shakti, during the parade. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the significance of development of the anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile capability for India; discuss the details of Mission Shakti and the challenges involved.

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:

First discuss what an anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile is.

Body:

  • Discuss the details of the missile technology; it has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO).
  • The A-SAT technology enables India to destroy an enemy satellite by directly colliding with it with pinpoint accuracy.
  • A-SAT weapons play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence.
  • Discuss the prospects it will have for India’s defence capabilities.
  • Explain the challenges involved in Mission Shakti in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such missions to India’s defence capabilities.

Introduction:

India recently showcased its Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile capability to the world as the ASAT weapon, Mission Shakthi, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) rolled out on the Rajpath during the 71st Republic Day parade. In addition, the IAF’s newest inductions, Chinook heavy lift helicopters and Apache attack helicopters, also made their debut during the flypast.

Body:

Anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile:

  • ASAT is essentially a missile that can destroy or jam an enemy country’s satellite in space. Until now, only USA, Russia and China had operational ASAT systems.
  • ASAT are space weapons designed to incapacitate or destroy satellites for strategic military purposes.
  • Space weapons can attack space weapons in orbit (ASAT), attack targets on the earth from space or disable missiles travelling through space.
  • ASAT missiles are of two types – Kinetic or Non-Kinetic.
  • Kinetic A-SAT physically strikes an object and destroys it like ballistic missile.
  • Non-Kinetic A-SAT use non-physical means to disable/destroy a space object like frequency jamming.
  • The theoretical range of A-SAT weapons is limited to 20,000km.
  • The capabilities of ASAT have been demonstrated by United States, Russia, China and India.
  • Israel is said to be on the path of developing its ASAT technology.

 

The significance of development of the anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile capability for India:

  • The A-SAT technology enables India to destroy an enemy satellite by directly colliding with it with pinpoint accuracy.
  • A-SAT weapons play a critical role in providing the necessary strategic deterrence.
  • Provide critical information like troop movements and incoming missiles.
  • India became the fourth nation in the world to test an ASAT weapon after US, Russia and China.

Mission Shakti:

The mission of shooting down a live satellite by an anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) targeted in the low earth orbit (LEO) in 2019 by India is known as Mission Shakti.

  • Mission Shakti is a joint programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • India had announced in 2010 to develop a hit-to-kill A-SAT system, was fully successful and achieved all parameters as per plans.
  • The target destroyed by DRDO’s Ballistic Missile Defence interceptor (A-SAT missile) was an out of service Indian micro satellite launched by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2014.
  • The anti-satellite missile test was conducted in the lower atmosphere to make sure that there is no space debris. Whatever wreckage is generated will decompose and fall back in the earth within weeks.

mission_shakti

Significance of Mission Shakti:

  • Satellites are used by countries for navigation, communications and also for guiding their missile weaponry.
  • The ability to bring down an enemy’s missile, therefore, gives a country the capability to cripple critical infrastructure of the other country, rendering their weapons useless.
  • Though the United States and the then Soviet Union both tested anti-satellite missiles way back in the 1970s at the height of the cold war, never has any country brought down the satellite of any other country, either during a conflict or by mistake.
  • During the tests, countries target their own satellites, those which are no longer in use but continue to be in the space.
  • A detailed statement by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) confirmed that an Indian satellite had been used for the test, but did not specify which satellite it was.
  • PM Modi was careful to state that India’s test was a “defensive” move, aimed at securing its space infrastructure, and does not change India’s strong opposition to weaponisation of space.

Associated concerns with the Mission Shakti:

  • Since nations use third-party satellites for their various needs, even striking down every satellite of a nation might not disable military communication of that nation entirely because that nation will simply use another nation’s satellite to communicate.
  • As all major nations have hundreds of dual-use satellites in orbit, it is near to impossible for any nation to stick down these satellites by such missiles.
  • Also, if the situation comes when nations are striking down the satellites of adversary nations then the world has already reached the nuclear threshold.

Conclusion:

The successful development of ASAT technology has improved India’s space power. It has demonstrated its capability to intercept any satellite. So, it has created a deterrence mechanism for its space satellites which are doing various military and civilian services.