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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 March 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 world’s physical geography. Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.,

1. What do you understand by seasonal shifting of pressure belts? What impact does it have on the formation of various climatic regions across the globe? Discuss its socio-economic significance.(250 words)

Reference: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, based on the theme of seasonal shifting of pressure belts.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what seasonal shifting of pressure belts is and its impact across the globe.

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 constitute pressure belts.

Body:

To start with, directly explain shifting of pressure belts and its cause.

Link various climatic phenomena with associated regions which are influenced by shift of the belts.

Discuss socio-economic significance through their impact on livelihood.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance.

Introduction:

The distribution of atmospheric pressure across the latitudes is termed global horizontal distribution of pressure. Its main feature is its zonal character known as pressure belts.

All air movements have their roots in pressure differentials in the atmosphere, called pressure gradients. Systematic differences in the Earth’s land temperature affect air pressure, and significant patterns of pressure that persist over time are called pressure belts, or wind belts. Wind belts depend on temperature, so temperature changes can move the belts and also change wind patterns.

Body:

The horizontal distribution of air pressure across the latitudes is characterized by high or low-pressure belts. These pressure belts are:

  • The Equatorial Low-Pressure Belt
  • The Sub-Tropic High-Pressure Belts
  • The Sub-Polar Low-Pressure Belts
  • The Polar High-Pressure Belts

pressure_belt

Reasons for season shifting of pressure belts:

  •  In the absence of the revolution of the earth around the sun in about 365 days the global pressure belts would have been permanent and stationary at their places.
  • However, the relative position of the earth with the sun changes within a year due to earth’s revolution and thus the position of all the pressure belts except the polar high pressure belts changes with the northward and southward migration of the sun.
  • Due to the inclination of the Earth on its axis, there are differences in the heating of the continents, oceans and as a result, the pressure conditions in January and July vary greatly.
  • On 21 June, where the sun is overhead on the tropic of Cancer then the pressure belt shifts 5° northwards and on 22 December when it shines overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn, they shift 5° southwards.
  • The pressure belts remain balanced in both the hemispheres when the sun shines vertically over the equator on 21st March and 23rd September.

climatic_regionsImpact on formation of various climatic regions across the globe:

  • The shifting of the pressure belts causes seasonal changes in the climate, especially between latitudes 30° and 40° in both hemispheres.
    • In this region the Mediterranean type of climate is experienced because of shifting of permanent belts southwards and northwards with the overhead position of the sun.
    • During winters Westerlies prevail and cause rain.
    • During summers dry Trade Winds blow offshore and are unable to give rainfall in these regions. These seasonal changes in the relative positions of the pressure and wind belts intro­duce the following typical climatic conditions:
    • This belt extends upto 40° latitudes in the northern hemisphere at the time of summer solstice and in the southern hemisphere at the time of winter solstice. Thus, the western parts of the continents within the zone of 30°-40° latitudes do not receive rainfall during summer season.
    • Mediterranean regions are characterized by dry summers and wet winters and a typical Mediterranean type of climate is produced due to shifting in pressure belts.
  • The regions lying between 60°-70° latitudes are characterized by two types of winds in a year because of shifting of pressure and wind belts.
    • With the northward migration of the sun at the time of summer solstice the polar easterlies are weakened during north­ern summer because the westerlies extend over these areas due to northward (poleward) shifting of sub-polar low pressure belt
    • While the situation is quite opposite in the southern hemisphere because the polar easterlies extend over much of the areas of the westerlies due to equator-ward shifting of sub-polar low pressure belt.
    • The situation is reversed at the time of winter solstice when there is southward migration of the sun.
    • Consequently, a typical climate characterized by wet summers through westerlies and associated cy­clones and dry winters due to polar easterlies is pro­duced.
  • Monsoon climate:
    • Monsoon climate is the result of the shifting of pressure and wind belts. Due to northward migration of the sun in the northern hemisphere at the time of summer solstice the north intertropical convergence (NITC) is extended upto 30°N latitude over Indian subcontinent, south-east Asia and parts of Africa. Thus, the equatorial westerlies are also extended over the aforesaid regions.
    • These equatorial westerlies, in fact, become the south-west or summer monsoons. These south-west monsoon winds bring much rains because they come from over the ocean and are asso­ciated with tropical atmospheric storms (cyclones). The NITC is withdrawn from over the Indian subcon­tinent and south-east Asia because of southward shift­ing of pressure and wind belts due to southward migra­tion of the sun at the time of winter solstice.
    • Thus, north-east trades are re-established over the aforesaid areas. These north-east trades, in fact, are north-east or winter monsoons. Since they come from over the lands, and hence they are dry.

 

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

2. Explain the reasons for the formation of Sargasso Sea. Also, examine the factors for it being a region with one of the highest ocean salinity. (250 words)

Reference: Physical Geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, based on the theme of formation of Sargasso Sea.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain the factors responsible for the formation of Sargasso Sea and as well discuss the reasons for high ocean salinity.

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.

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Mention the location and features of Sargasso Sea in brief.

Body:

The Sargasso Sea is a vast patch of sea in the North Atlantic Ocean located between latitudes 20N and 35 N and longitudes 30W and 70W, named for a genus of free-floating seaweed called Sargassum. It is the only sea in the world without a land boundary.

Explain the reasons behind formation of Sargasso Sea.

Write about the Salinity of Sargasso Sea and the various factors responsible for its high salinity; Sargasso Sea is characterized by a high salt content of 36 ‰which is a distinct feature of the sea. It can be attributed to the following factors – Prevention of mixing of fresh water from surrounding oceans and poles due to virtual boundary created by the ocean currents, Low wind conditions also prevent intermixing with fresh water, High temperature in the region owing to its subtropical location and very less cloud cover. This causes high evaporation, Gulf Stream brings in high salinity water to the sea etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

The Sargasso Sea is a motionless sea confined to the sub-tropical north Atlantic gyre. The area of the sea is found between 20 degrees N and 35 degrees N latitude and 30 degrees W and 75 degrees W longitude—the hump extending northward of BERMUDA. The sea area which is some 700 miles wide, 2000 miles long and located in the North Atlantic, has no shores. It is bounded by ocean currents on all sides. It is located entirely within the Atlantic Ocean, is the only sea without a land boundary.

Body:

gulf_stream

Features:

  •  To its west is the Gulf Stream Current, on its east is the Canary Current, northern side is bounded by North Atlantic Current, and the south by North Atlantic Equatorial Current.
  • The island of Bermuda is located on its western fringes.
  • With such ocean currents on all sides, this sea area unlike the harsh cold North Atlantic, is strangely warm with stable weather conditions and with calm and weak winds.
  • Another strange phenomenon which is nowhere seen in the world is, this vast water area is covered with some dense seaweed which forms a thick mat on the surface.
  • This free floating golden-brown seaweed is known as Sargassum and therefore such name of the sea.

Reasons for its formation: 

  • The gyral system formed by the anti-cyclonic circulation of the North Equatorial current, the Gulf Stream and the Canary current confining the water from the rest of the ocean.
  • Atmospheric stability due to it being located in the transition zone of the trade winds and the westerlies which is characterized by anti-cyclonic conditions. Hence there are feeble winds which allow little intermixing with waters outside the gyre.
  • The less extensive nature of the North Atlantic Ocean between 20°N-40°N than other oceans in the same latitudes.
  • The higher velocity of the North Equatorial Current and the Gulf Stream create calm waters in the confined region.

The factors for it being a region with one of the highest ocean salinity:

  • The atmospheric temperature in this part of the Atlantic is higher—about 78 degrees F (26 degrees C), which helps in the process of evaporation.
  • The higher salinity of Sargasso Sea is attributed to high temperature and greater evaporation and lack of mixture of fresh water by rivers or ice water.

Conclusion:

Sargassum provides a home to an amazing variety of marine species. Turtles use sargassum mats as nurseries where hatchlings have food and shelter. Sargassum also provides essential habitat for shrimp, crab, fish, and other marine species that have adapted specifically to this floating algae. The Sargasso Sea is a spawning site for threatened and endangered eels, as well as white marlin, porbeagle shark, and dolphinfish. Humpback whales annually migrate through the Sargasso Sea. Commercial fish, such as tuna, and birds also migrate through the Sargasso Sea and depend on it for food.

 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. TB even today remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Deliberate upon the national and global efforts to eliminate the disease by 2035. (250 words)

Reference: who.int

Why this question:

World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the national and global efforts to eliminate TB by 2035.

Directive:

Deliberate – 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:

Briefly discuss what TB is. Present some key facts such as TB remains the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.

Body:

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a joint initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership, with the aim of accelerating the TB response and ensuring access to care, in line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage.

Discuss in detail the initiatives taken by the govt.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Tuberculosis (TB) remains the biggest killer disease in India, outnumbering all other infectious diseases put together — this despite our battle against it from 1962, when the National TB Programme (NTP) was launched. Each year, we commemorate World Tuberculosis (TB) Day on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

Body:

TB situation:

In India:

  • Tuberculosis incidence rate in India has decreased by almost 50,000 patients over the past one year (26.9 lakh TB patients in India in 2018).
  • Incidence per 1,00,000 population has decreased from 204 in 2017 to 199 in 2018.
  • Number of patients being tested for rifampicin resistance has increased from 32% in 2017 to 46% in 2018.
  • Treatment success rate has increased to 81% for new and relapse cases (drug sensitive) in 2017, which was 69% in 2016.

In World:

  • Each day, over 4000 people lose their lives to TB and close to 30,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease.
  • Global efforts to combat TB have saved an estimated 58 million lives since the year 2000.

India’s efforts to eliminate TB:

  • In 2018, Indian government launched Joint Effort for Elimination of Tuberculosis (JEET), to increase the reporting of TB cases by the private sector.
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination (2017-2025) was launched in 2017. The government also called for the elimination of TB by 2025, five years prior to the international target (2030).
    • The NSP plans to provide incentives to private providers for following the standard protocols for diagnosis and treatment as well as for notifying the government of cases.
    • Further, patients referred to the government will receive a cash transfer to compensate them for the direct and indirect costs of undergoing treatment and as an incentive to complete treatment.
  • Nikshay,” (2012) an online tuberculosis reporting system for medical practitioners and clinical establishments was set up. The aim is to increase the reporting of tuberculosis, especially from the private sector.
  • In 1992, the WHO devised the Directly Observed Treatment-Short Course (DOTS) strategy and advised all countries to adopt the strategy to combat the menace of tuberculosis. The DOTS strategy is based on 5 pillars:
    • political commitment and continued funding for TB control programs
    • diagnosis by sputum smear examinations
    • uninterrupted supply of high-quality anti-TB drugs
    • drug intake under direct observation
    • accurate reporting and recording of all registered cases
  • The Indian government has been implementing Programmatic Management of Drug Resistant TB (PMDT) services, for the management of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) and TB-HIV collaborative activities for TB-HIV

Global efforts to end TB:

  • The World Health Assembly-approved Global TB Strategy aims for a 90 per cent reduction in TB deaths and an 80 per cent reduction in the TB incidence rate by 2030 compared with 2015 levels. The Strategy established milestones for 2020 of a 35% reduction in TB deaths and a 20% reduction in the TB incidence rate from 2015 levels.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a joint initiative “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” with the Global Fund and Stop TB Partnership, with the aim of accelerating the TB response and ensuring access to care, in line with WHO’s overall drive towards Universal Health Coverage.
  • This World TB Day, WHO calls on governments, affected communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, and national/international partners to unite forces under the banner “Find. Treat. All. #EndTB” to ensure no one is left behind.
  • Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the targets under SDG 3, which is to “ensure healthy lives and pro-mote well-being for all at all ages.”
  • The UN Political Declaration on TB in 2018 includes 4 new global targets:
    • Treat 40 million people for TB disease in the 5-year period 2018-22 (7 million in 2018).
    • Reach at least 30 million people with TB preventive treatment for a latent TB infection in the 5-year period 2018-22.
    • Mobilize at least US$13 billion annually for universal access to TB diagnosis, treatment and care by 2022.
    • Mobilize at least US$2 billion annually for TB research

Way forward:

  • It is important to address the social conditions and factors which contribute to and increase vulnerability to tuberculosis. Concerted efforts should be made to address the issues of undernourishment, diabetes, alcohol and tobacco use.
  • Increased political will, financial resources and increasing research to develop new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent TB will help achieve the goal.
  • Private sector engagement in combating TB needs to be strengthened. The private sector should also be incentivized to report TB cases. Example: The Kochi Model– Increasing TB cases reporting from private sector
  • There is an urgent need for cost-effective point-of-care devices that can be deployed for TB diagnosis in different settings across India.
  • Universal access to drug, susceptibility testing at diagnosis to ensure that all patients are given appropriate treatment, including access to second-line treatment for drug-resistant TB.
  • To ensure public participation — a missing element in the RNTCP —in public-private participation mode.
  • Mass awareness campaigns like ‘TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ can play an important role in breaking social taboos regarding TB.

 Conclusion:

India has the highest TB burden in the world. Given our inter-connected world and the airborne spread of TB, we need collective global action. Ending TB in India will have massive global impact in addition to saving the lives of tens of millions of India’s people over the next 25 years. Even if ending TB by 2025 is not complete, pulling the TB curve down by 2025 and sustaining the decline ever after is a possibility.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

4. What is Section 188 of the CrPC? Why is it imposed? Discuss, also present the concerns associated with its misuse.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 lays down punishment as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for flouting orders issued by various state governments to contain the spread of COVID-19. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the Imposition, concerns on section 188 of CrPC and measures to prevent its misuse.

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 state what Section 188 of the CrPC is.

Body:

Section 188 relates to Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant.

  1. It says violators can be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both.
  2. and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Discuss the concerns associated in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with measures to prevent the misuse of it.

Introduction:

Section 188 of the CrPC relates to Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant. The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 lays down punishment as per Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, for flouting orders issued by various state governments to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Body:

Provisions of Section 188 of IPC: 

  • It says violators can be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to two hundred rupees, or with both;
  • and if such disobedience causes or tends to cause danger to human life, health or safety, or causes or tends to cause a riot or affray, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.

Reasons for its imposition:

  • In the past, the Act has been routinely enforced across the country for dealing with outbreaks of diseases such as swine flu, dengue, and cholera.
  • Its penal provisions are currently being invoked by states to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked governments to take action to prevent transmission at the community level for reducing the epidemic to manageable clusters– thus flattening the trajectory of cases from a sharp bell curve to an elongated speed-bump-like curve.

Concerns related to the misuse:

  • The problem arises when such laws having extra-territorial application are sought to be enforced and the investigation requires the fugitive to be arrested and brought before the court.
  • Since the courts have made it abundantly clear that they are not concerned with the procedure which led to the accused being present in court, and it wouldn’t matter to them, even if the accused was brought to court involuntarily or under illegal arrest.
  • There arises a question as to whether there should be a check on the arrests made on foreign soil by the Indian authorities, with a view to curb illegal arrests which are a violation of customary international law.
  • Against the backdrop of the dichotomy which Indian jurisprudence identifies between inquiry and investigation, where, a Central Government sanction is required for the former, but is not required for the latter.
  • The problem arises because the law does not mandate sanctions for the investigating agencies, and such agencies cannot enjoy unfettered discretion in conducting investigations abroad.

Measures undertaken:

  • This gap was bridged when the Ministry of Home Affairs came up with a set of comprehensive guidelines in 1996, especially for police officers sent abroad for investigating.
  • However, most of the agencies were either not aware of these guidelines, or they did not follow it. This resulted in a lot of administrative inefficacies in conducting investigations.
  • The guidelines were then revised in 2007. The investigation agencies, as per the 2007 guidelines, now require the approval of the International Police Cooperation Cell of the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the Ministry of Home Affairs (‘MHA’) before conducting investigations aboard.

Conclusion:

As highlighted in the case of Muhammad Shameer Ali v. State of Kerala, it also keeps a check on illegal arrests, and targeted frivolous investigations at the same time.

 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it. Government Budgeting.

5. In view of the emergency situation, FRBM Act can be relaxed by the Government of India to enhance the fiscal stimulus. Do you agree? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express

Why this question:

The question is amidst the pandemic covid19 and its impact on Indian economy.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the need of relaxing the FRBM Act and to what extent such an act is justified.

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 the context of the question.

Body:

Fiscal Responsibility and Budgetary Management Act (2003) limits the government borrowings for maintaining Macroeconomic stability.

Discuss the Necessity for the relaxation of provisions of FRBM Act.

Due to Covid-19 pandemic the supply chain is largely effected which may lead to job cut of many employees, results in vicious cycle of Poverty.

Discuss the points to be considered for designing a fiscal package.

Conclusion:

Conclude with positive implications of relaxing the FRBM Act.

Introduction:

The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act was enacted in 2003 which set targets for the government to reduce fiscal deficits. Looming threats of global recession, melting financial markets, and an impending domestic demand destruction pose difficult questions about possible policy responses in India. There is no doubt that till now, the policy focus has been to avert the health emergency caused by COVID-19 because otherwise, the economic emergency would be inevitable.

Body:

Challenges in easing the fiscal deficit target:

  •  The government has already utilized the elbow room offered by the FRBM Act under exceptional circumstances in the FY20 and FY21 budgets, with the targeted budget deficits being 0.5% of GDP higher than the FRBM mandated ones.
  • This leaves limited conventional fiscal space for any stimulus, but there could be a case for temporarily suspending the FRBM Act, as was done during the global financial crisis of 2008.
  • In fact, given the recent trends, the FRBM Act-mandated maximum target of a fiscal deficit of 3.8% of GDP might have already been breached for FY20.

Reasons for need of a fiscal stimulus:

  • With further fall in the tax collection by the Central Government, the devolution of funds to states by the Centre would also suffer.
  • In view of the lockdowns, there could be little doubt that the GST collection, which constituted 70 per cent of the state’s tax collection, would plummet this year.
  • The “lockdowns” and closure of businesses announced by various states to arrest the spread of Covid would severely restrict the capacity of states to mobilise resources.
  • However, considering the grave situation, fiscal stimulus should not be deterred by FRBM considerations as now, growth concerns outweigh worries about future macro stability risks.
  • The states have urged Prime Minister to allow states to borrow more by raising the limit set under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act.

Measures needed for fiscal stimulus:

  • Earmarking an enhanced budget for healthcare would definitely be the top priority.
  • Income support to people whose livelihood has been impacted (these will primarily include daily wage earners in different industries, and services like construction, travel, etc). Direct cash transfer to this group is ideal, but might suffer from proper identification challenges.
  • Packages for deeply affected sectors like travel and tourism (9.2% of India’s GDP) and MSMES could have three components—temporary postponement of taxes, cheaper loans, and explicit financial grants.
  • Frontloading public spending to counterbalance near-term headwinds
  • The government can also consider temporary suspension of long-term capital gains tax to incentivize flows back into the equity market in the short term.
  • Funding a fiscal package: Even if the government limits the fiscal stimulus to 0.5% of GDP for FY21, there is likely to be a revenue slippage of 0.8% of GDP each from both tax, and non-tax revenue components in the current environment, making the overall fiscal requirement higher by more than 2% of GDP.
  • The monetary response: Central bankers are trying to counter the two channels of transmission of the virus shock—financial stability risk arising out of large market dislocations, and growth risk from estimated disruption in economic activity.

Conclusion:

An early assessment and acknowledgement of the extent of demand destruction (both global and domestic) is the need of the hour. Faced with significant uncertainty over the depth and duration of the negative shock, policymaking should be extremely quick and innovative. The fiscal package should, ideally, be proactive (not waiting for signs of growth slowdown in high frequency data), quickly implementable (for a change, revenue expenditure should get priority over capital expenditure), sizeable (at least 0.5% of GDP), targeted (urban might need more support than rural in initial stages), and reversible.

 

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

6. What could be the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to India? Discuss what should be the focus areas and necessary actions for an economic recovery package for India and discuss the challenges associated with it. (250 words)

Reference: Economic TimesThe Hindu

Why this question:

The question examines the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Key demand of the question:

The article explains the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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 the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 on the world.

Body:

Pandemics, apart from posing major health risks, also pose economic and social risks. Pandemics have the potential to disrupt economies, and destabilize national security.

The effect of the strong clampdown measures taken by the various governments to arrest the spread of the coronavirus is being felt across the global economy.

The shutting down of industries may lead to loss of jobs and subsequently demand in the economy.

There are fears of a global recession given that the two largest economies of the world, China and the U.S. have been affected by the pandemic. The large and developed economies are expected to not merely slow down, but to contract and experience negative growth.

Present the case of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

Pandemics, apart from posing major health risks, also pose economic and social risks. Pandemics have the potential to disrupt economies, and destabilize national security. The effect of the strong clampdown measures taken by the various governments to arrest the spread of the coronavirus is being felt across the global economy. India recently set up a task force under the Finance Minister to assess the economic impact of the pandemic and suggest economic recovery measures.

Body:

Economic challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic to India: 

  • Job losses:
    • There are reports that a third of all restaurants could shut down in the formal sector alone and shed more than 20 lakh jobs, in the coming months.
    • The automotive sector which was already hit by slowing demand is shutting down its factories due to the pandemic. This puts at risk the incomes of around a million people employed in the automotive sector.
    • The unorganized sector, which constitutes a large proportion of the working population in India, would be the most affected, given the loss of livelihood opportunities and lack of social security measures.
  • Drop in demand:
    • Job losses lead to lesser disposable income in the hands of the people and subsequently, consumption drops and overall demand collapses.
  • Financial sector crisis:
    • When businesses close down, they default on their commercial obligations to their financiers and suppliers. This freezes up credit flow in the economy and also affects related sectors.
  • Effect on trade:
    • Trade constitutes a considerable proportion of the Indian economy. The reduced trade due to stringent clampdown measures would affect the growth in the Indian economy.
    • Given the global nature of the crisis, it is not even possible for India to import and export its way to recovery.

Focus areas and necessary actions for an economic recovery package for India:

  • Safety net for the most affected sections:
    • About 37% of households depend on casual labour as their major source of income for rural and urban India, and nearly 55% have tenuous regular employment, as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey data for 2017-18.
    • The poor will be the worst affected, including informal workers, workers in the gig economy, or those running small businesses for whom social safety nets are not adequately in place.
  • Direct cash transfer:
    • As part of the efforts to provide a safety net for the most affected sections, direct cash transfer option should be considered.
    • The destruction of jobs, incomes and consumption can be addressed through a direct cash transfer of 3,000 a month, for six months. This should be provided exclusively to the most vulnerable section of the society.
    • Considering only the bottom half of all Indian households, the direct cash transfer would cost nearly 2.2-lakh crore and reach 60 crore beneficiaries, covering agricultural labourers, farmers, daily wage earners, informal sector workers and others.
    • This would ensure a sustained income stream for the millions who have lost their incomes and provide them a safety net and a sense of confidence.
    • Various existing schemes of the government can be subsumed under the direct cash transfer scheme, to ensure sufficient financial resources to execute the direct cash transfers.
    • The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN) programme with a budget of ₹75,000 crore can be subsumed into the direct cash transfer scheme.
  • Right to work:
    • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) must be expanded and restructured into a public works programme, to build much-needed hospitals, clinics, rural roads and other infrastructure. This can be achieved by integrating MGNREGA with the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana and the roads and bridges programme.
    • The above three programmes together have a budget of nearly ₹1.5 lakh crore. This must be doubled to ₹3 lakh crore and serve as a true ‘Right to Work’ scheme for every Indian who needs it.
  • Access to food:
    • The Food Corporation of India has sufficient buffers of rice, wheat and unmilled paddy stocks.
    • The buffer stocks should be used to provide 10kg rice and wheat to every Indian family, free of cost, through the Public Distribution System.
    • The combination, of a basic income of 3,000 rupees a month, a right to work and food grains, will provide a secure safety net for the most vulnerable section of the population.

Challenges associated with economic recovery package:

  • There is a need for addressing the liquidity squeeze in the financial system
  • Service sectors like airlines, tourism, hospitality, entertainment and logistics have been disrupted due to the clampdown in place.
  • India’s exports predominantly in textiles and leather which are labour intensive sectors have been disrupted due to the sudden drop in global demand and the restrictions on trade.

Conclusion:

India needs an immediate relief package of 5-lakh crore to 6-lakh crore rupees, targeted across all sections of society and sectors of the economy. Given the inevitable economic crisis, it is prudent to take necessary actions immediately. India needs a comprehensive recovery package that will first cushion the economic shock and then help the economy recover.

 

Topic:  Role of media

7. Media is labeled as the fourth pillar of democracy. In this context, discuss the significance of media ethics in contemporary times. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The question is about the significance of media ethics in contemporary times.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain in what way Media is the fourth pillar of Democracy and discuss the significance of media ethics in contemporary times.

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:

Highlight the growing importance of media in a democracy. Explain that Legislature, Executive, Judiciary and Media are pillars of a democracy. Corruption in any one of these pillars can lead to unstable, flawed or dummy democracy. Media has gained importance in the 21st century due to technological revolution , Human Development ,and increasing interconnectedness of the world.

Body:

Highlight some ethical issues currently faced by the media towards jeopardizing democracy.

Explain that such processes naturally place media’s role in democracy under scrutiny of ethical principles and standards in its functioning due to following reasons – Manipulation of Information, Furthering vested interest, conflict with law, Issues of transparency, accountability and independence etc.

Present recent examples to justify your answer better.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the need of media ethics and suggest some measures for its implementation.

Introduction:

Media acts as a watchdog of public interest in a democracy. It plays an important role in a democracy and serves as an agency of the people to inform them of the events of national and international significance. Media is considered as “Fourth Pillar” in democratic countries along with Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. Its importance in influencing readers can be gauged by the role it played during the freedom struggle, politically educating millions of Indians who joined the leaders in their fight against the British imperialism.

Body:

Importance of Media in today’s India: 

  • Journalism is a profession that serves. By virtue, thereof it enjoys the privilege to ‘question’ others.
  • The fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, views, comments and information on matters of public interest in a fair, accurate, unbiased: and decent manner and language.
  • The press is an indispensable pillar of democracy. It purveys public opinion and shapes it.  Parliamentary democracy can flourish only under the watchful eyes of the media.    Media not only reports but acts as a bridge between the state and the public.
  • With the advent of private TV channels, the media seems to have taken over the reins of human life and society in every walk of life.
  • The media today does not remain satisfied as the Fourth Estate, it has assumed the foremost importance in society and governance. While playing the role of informer, the media also takes the shape of a motivator and a leader.
  • Such is the influence of media that it can make or unmake any individual, institution or any thought. So all pervasive and all-powerful is today its impact on the society. With so much power and strength, the media cannot lose sight of its privileges, duties and obligations.

Significance of Media ethics in contemporary times:

  • The issues of paid news, media trial, non-issues being presented as real news while the real issues are sidelined, the news is being doctored and fact distortion for profits and political favour, fake news, yellow journalism are important concerns which are influencing public and impacting national security. For instance, fear mongering through media has led to mob lynchings, attacks on the migrant population.
  • The absence of objective journalism leads to the false presentation of truth in a society which affects the perception and opinions of people. As observed in the case of Cambridge Analytica case, the biased news coverage on social media platform affected the Presidential elections in the U.S.
  • The chase for sensationalism and higher TRP rates as observed in the coverage of 26/11 terrorist attacks in India risked the internal security of the nation. The sensationalism-driven reporting compromised the identities of rape victims and survivors despite SC guidelines.
  • Trial by media does not follow the due process of law and can reduce the public trust in institutions of governance like the judiciary.
  • Paid news and fake news can manipulate public perception and can instigate hatred, violence, and disharmony among the various community within society.
  • With the advent of social media, technological changes, the reach of media has grown profoundly. Its reach and role in impacting public opinion have made it even more important to ensure its objectivity, non-partisanship calls for the enforcement of journalistic ethics.

Conclusion:

It is therefore important that for the media to carry out their important role effectively and efficiently, the media should operate within a well-defined code of ethics while maintaining their freedom and editorial independence.  Since irresponsible journalism invites restriction, robbing off the media its freedom, professional conduct and ethical practice are vital to safeguarding freedom of the media and ensuring that public trust invested in the media is sustained