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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 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. Explain how local winds are different from planetary winds. Giving examples, highlight the role of local winds in influencing climate, agriculture and livelihood in various regions.(250 words)

Reference: physical geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I , theme physical geography of the world.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain the difference between the planetary and the local winds and their role in influencing the climate, agriculture and livelihood in different regions.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss these two types of winds by highlighting the characteristic difference between them.

Body:

Define the two types of the winds first.

Explain the difference between the two.

One must bring out the role of local winds in the climate, agriculture and livelihood in different regions through examples.

Name the local winds, their effects using suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such winds.

Introduction:

Local winds occur on a small spatial scale, their horizontal dimensions typically several tens to a few hundreds of kilometres. They also tend to be short-lived lasting typically several hours to a day. There are many such winds around the world, some of them cold, some warm, some wet, some dry. There are many hazards associated with the winds.

Planetary winds or Primary Winds are those which blow extensively over continents and oceans. The winds that blow constantly throughout the year and blow constantly in a particular direction. There are types of permanent winds namely Trade winds, Easterlies and Westerlies.

Body:

flow_chart

Types and Impact of local winds on the weather:

Periodical winds: The winds originating from diurnal temperature and pressure variation are known as Periodical and they generally complete their cycle in a day/ 24 hour like Land & Sea Breeze and Mountain & Valley Breeze.

Land and Sea Breeze: Land and Sea Breeze is generated by the diurnal variation of pressure. Due to this reason, the Land and Sea Breeze are sometimes known as diurnal Monsoon.

Land Breeze:

  • At night reversal of sea breeze may occur but with somewhat weaker characteristics as the temperature and pressure gradient are less steeper during the night.
  • During night land breeze is established since land cools to a temperature lower than the adjacent water setting up a pressure gradient from land to sea
  • The horizontal and vertical extent of the Land Breeze helps in moderation of temperature of a coastal area during night time as it maintains regular circulation
  • Land Breeze usually attains its maximum intensity in the early morning hours and dies out soon after sunup.

Land_Breeze

Sea Breeze:

  • The sea breeze develops along seacoasts or large inland water bodies when the land heats much faster than the water on a clear day and a pressure gradient is directed high over the water to low over the land.
  • Impact of Sea breeze rapidly declines landward and impact is limited to 50km.
  • Land- Sea Breeze system is very shallow as the average depth of the land and sea breeze, varies from 1000-2000M in tropical regions and over the lakes, the depth is even lesser.
  • Sea Breeze brings cool marine air and thus help in moderation of coastal temperature and due to the sea breeze, coastal regions record a drop of 5-10 0C in their temperature
  • It also frequently causes late afternoon rainfall in these coastal areas, particularly during summer.
  • Due to the location nearer to the lakes, places experience the Lake Effect like Chicago, due to its location near a lake presents a typical example of lake effect- where lakeside areas are cooler than the much warmer outlying areas in the summer.

Sea_Breeze

Mountain and Valley Breeze: These winds develop over areas with large differences in relief and majorly caused by the temperature gradient that exists between Mountain Slopes and valleys.

Valley Breeze:

  • Due to the intense insolation during the daytime, the slopes of the mountain heat up rapidly but the free atmosphere above the lowlands is not heated to some extent.
  • As the valleys receive comparatively lesser insolation so relatively high pressure sets up in the valleys while along the mountain slopes due to more heating the warm air is uplifted, and low pressure sets up.
  • Thus, the air moves from the Valleys towards the slopes (High pressure to the low pressure) and this upslope movement of air is known as valley breeze.
  • Valley breezes are also known as Anabatic Wind.
  • Weather associated with the Valley Breeze
  • This type of upslope winds in the Mountainous region may cause occasional and afternoon thundershowers on warm and humid days.
  • Sometimes, the valley breezes are also accompanied by the formation of cumulus cloud near mountain peaks or over slopes and escarpments.

Mountain Breeze:

  • On mountain-sides under the clear night sky, the higher land (upslope land) radiates heat and is cooled and in turn cools the air in contact with it. The cool denser air flows down the mountain slope due to the pressure difference since the valley is warmer and at relatively lower pressure.
  • This flow of the air is termed as Mountain Breeze and they are also known as Katabatic wind.
  • Weather associated with the Mountain Breeze
  • By the morning the mountain breeze produces temperature inversions and valley bottom becomes colder than the Mountain Slopes.
  • Thus, the valley floors are characterised by frost during the night while upper part/ hill-side are free from frost in cold areas.

Non-Periodical winds: Only present during a season and are classified as Hot and Cold Winds.

Hot Local Winds: Hot Local winds are produced generally by the mechanism of downslope compressional heating also known as adiabatic heating. The examples of the Hot Local Winds include Chinook, Harmattan, Foehn, Sirocco, Norwester, Brickfielder, Khamsin, Santa Ana, Loo etc.

  • Chinook:
    • Chinook is the name of hot and dry local wind, which moves down the eastern slopes of the Rockies in U.S.A. and Canada.
    • The literal meaning of chinook is snow eater as they help in melting the snow earlier.
    • During winter Great Plain of North America are very cold and frozen, Chinook with its arrival increase the temperature and bring relief to the people and at the same time, the rise in temperature due to Chinook also helps in early sowing of spring wheat in the USA.
    • They keep the grasslands clear of snow. Hence they are very helpful to ranchers.
  • Foehn:
    • Foehn is strong, dusty, dry and warm local wind, which develops on the leeward side of the Alps mountain ranges.
    • Regional pressure gradient forces the air to ascend and cross the barrier.
    • Ascending air sometimes causes precipitation on the windward side of the mountains.
    • After crossing the mountain crest, the Foehn winds start descending on the leeward side or northern slopes of the mountain as warm and dry wind.
    • The temperature of the winds varies from 15°C to 20°C, which help in melting snow.
    • Thus making pasture land ready for animal grazing and help the grapes to ripe early.
  • Harmattan:
    • Harmattan, hot, dry wind that blows from the northeast or east in the western Sahara.
    • It usually carries large amounts of dust, which it transports hundreds of kilometres out over the Atlantic Ocean.
    • The dust often interferes with aircraft operations and settles on the decks of ships.
    • The interaction of the Harmattan with monsoon winds can cause tornadoes.
    • Humidity drops to as low as 15 per cent, which can result in spontaneous nosebleeds for some people.
    • The wind can also increase fire risk and cause severe crop damage
  • Loo:
    • Loo is hot and dry winds, which blow very strongly over the northern plains of India and Pakistan in the months of May and June.
    • Their direction is from west to east and they are usually experienced in the afternoons.
    • Their temperature varies between 45°C to 50°C.
    • They have desiccating effects and are considered as environmental hazards.
    • It causes heat waves and can cause heat stroke.

Cold Local Winds: Cold local winds are dust-laden winds and as they have a temperature below freezing point, they create Cold Wave condition. The examples of Cold Local winds include-Mistral, Bora, Northers, Blizzard, Purga, Laventer, Pampero, Bise etc.

  • Mistral:
    • Mistrals are most common local cold winds.
    • They originate on the Alps and move over France towards the Mediterranean Sea through the Rhone valley.
    • They are very cold, dry and high-velocity winds.
    • They bring down temperature below freezing point in areas of their influence.
    • People in these areas protect their orchards and gardens by growing thick hedges and build their houses facing the Mediterranean sea.
  • Bora:
    • These are cold and dry north-easterly winds which blow from the mountains towards the eastern shore of Adriatic Sea.
    • Bora is more effective in North Italy since here it descends the southern slopes of the Alps, although due to descend it gets adiabatically heated still its temperature is very low in comparison to the coastal area and these are the typical example of fall winds.
    • Bora has often associated with the passage of a temperate Cyclone and at times the Bora winds themselves attain the hurricane force at the foot of the mountain and may cause disastrous impacts on properties.
  • Blizzard:
    • Blizzard is cold, violent, powdery polar winds (pick dry snow from the ground)
    • They are prevalent in the north and south polar regions, Canada, USA, Siberia etc. Due to the absence of any east-west Mountain barrier, these winds reach to the southern states of USA.

Conclusion:

Local differences of temperature and pressure produce local winds. Such winds are local in extent and are confined to the lowest levels of the troposphere.

 

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

2. What aspects are responsible for the origin and modification of ocean currents? Explain with examples how they affect the climate of surrounding regions.(250 words)

Reference: physical geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I , theme physical geography of the world.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss factors that are responsible for the origin and modification of ocean currents and their effect on the climate of the surrounding regions.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define what ocean currents are.

Body:

First of all, bring out factors which are responsible for the origin and modification of the ocean currents and elaborate them briefly; origin, Other factors – Accumulation of water on east coasts leads to gravity induced movements down the slope. Expansion due to heat – Even though water is considered practically incompressible, minor expansion due to excess solar heat in equatorial regions causes a slight gradient and water tends to flow down the slope. Modification – Wind, Coast line and inundation, large river discharge, presence of partially enclosed seas. Periodic reversals due to heating and accumulation can also cause modification such as in case of ElNino current caused by a stronger counter equatorial current. Coriolis force etc.

Then, with examples, elaborate how ocean currents determine the climate of surrounding regions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance.

Introduction:

An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of sea water generated by a number of forces acting upon the water, including wind, the Coriolis effect, breaking waves, cabbeling, and temperature and salinity differences. Depth contours, shoreline configurations, and interactions with other currents influence a current’s direction and strength. Ocean currents are primarily horizontal water movements.

Body:

gloab

Factors leading to origin and modification of ocean currents:

  • There are a variety of factors that affect how ocean currents (water in motion) are created, including a combination of two or more factors.
  • The different types of currents (referred to as surface or thermohaline, depending on their depth) are created by, among other things, wind, water density, the topography of the ocean floor and the coriolis effect. 

Primary Forces Responsible for Ocean Currents: 

  • Insolation
    • Heating by solar energy causes the water to expand. That is why, near the equator the ocean water is about 8 cm higher in level than in the middle latitudes.
    • This causes a very slight gradient and water tends to flow down the slope. The flow is normally from east to west.
  • Wind (atmospheric circulation)
    • Wind blowing on the surface of the ocean pushes the water to move. Friction between the wind and the water surface affects the movement of the water body in its course.
    • Winds are responsible for both magnitude and direction [Coriolis force also affects direction] of the ocean currents. Example: Monsoon winds are responsible for the seasonal reversal of ocean currents in the Indian ocean.
    • The oceanic circulation pattern roughly corresponds to the earth’s atmospheric circulation pattern.
    • The air circulation over the oceans in the middle latitudes is mainly anticyclonic [Sub-tropical High Pressure Belt] (more pronounced in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere due to differences in the extent of landmass). The oceanic circulation pattern also corresponds with the same.
    • At higher latitudes, where the wind flow is mostly cyclonic [Sub-polar Low Pressure Belt], the oceanic circulation follows this pattern.
    • In regions of pronounced monsoonal flow [Northern Indian Ocean], the monsoon winds influence the current movements which change directions according to seasons.
  • Gravity:
    • Gravity tends to pull the water down to pile and create gradient variation.
  • Coriolis force:
    • The Coriolis force intervenes and causes the water to move to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere.
    • These large accumulations of water and the flow around them are called Gyres. These produce large circular currents in all the ocean basins. One such circular current is the Sargasso Sea.

Secondary Forces Responsible for Ocean Currents: 

  • Temperature difference and salinity difference are the secondary forces.
  • Differences in water density affect vertical mobility of ocean currents (vertical currents).
  • Water with high salinity is denser than water with low salinity and in the same way cold water is denser than warm water.
  • Denser water tends to sink, while relatively lighter water tends to rise.
  • Cold-water ocean currents occur when the cold water at the poles sinks and slowly moves towards the equator.
  • Warm-water currents travel out from the equator along the surface, flowing towards the poles to replace the sinking cold water.

Impact on climate of surrounding regions:

  • Desert formation
    • Cold ocean currents have a direct effect on desert formationin west coast regions of the tropical and subtropical continents.
    • There is fogand most of the areas are arid due to desiccating effect (loss of moisture).
  • Rains
    • Warm ocean currents bring rain to coastal areas and even interiors. Example: Summer Rainfall in British Type climate.
    • Warm currents flow parallel to the east coasts of the continents in tropical and subtropical latitudes. This results in warm and rainy climates. These areas lie in the western margins of the subtropical anti-cyclones.
  • Moderating effect
    • They are responsible for moderate temperatures at coasts. [North Atlantic Drift brings warmness to England. Canary cold current brings cooling effect to Spain, Portugal etc.]
  • Drizzle
    • Mixing of cold and warm ocean currents create foggy weather where precipitation occurs in the form of drizzle [Newfoundland].
  • Climate
    • Warm and rainy climates in tropical and subtropical latitudes [Florida, Natal etc.],
    • Cold and dry climates on the western margins in the sub-tropics due to desiccating effect,
    • Foggy weather and drizzle in the mixing zones,
    • Moderate clime along the western costs in the sub-tropics.
  • Tropical cyclones
    • They pile up warm waters in tropics and this warm water is the major force behind tropical cyclones.

Conclusion:

An ocean current flows for great distances and together they create the global conveyor belt, which plays a dominant role in determining the climate of many of Earth’s regions. More specifically, ocean currents influence the temperature of the regions through which they travel. Knowledge of surface ocean currents is essential in reducing costs of shipping, since traveling with them reduces fuel costs. Ocean currents can also be used for marine power generation, with areas off of Japan, Florida and Hawaii being considered for test projects.

 

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.

3. A dysfunctional judicial delivery system is a serious impediment to establishing the rule of law in our nation. Examine the statement in the context of the problem of case pendency and judicial vacancies in India.(250 words)

Reference: Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question examines the factors that have let the Indian judiciary system remain a dysfunctional system of justice delivery.

Key demand of the question:

Present the case of the problem of case pendency and judicial vacancies in India, explain how it renders the entire system to be dysfunctional and marred with problems.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain why ours is a dysfunctional judicial delivery system.

Body:

  • Bring out the facts to present the current picture of judiciary.
  • Mention the important issues related to dysfunctional judicial system and explain the reason behind the problem of case pendency and judicial vacancies.
  • Present recent examples highlighting the above scenario.
  • Provide the probable solutions to deal with the problem.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable suggestions and solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

The justice system in any democracy is set up, under the Constitution to serve the public without “fear or favour, affection or ill-will” as far as judges are concerned. The Indian Judiciary plays an increasingly important role in the life and the governance of this country. Pendency of cases across courts in India has increased in the last decade.

Body:

Reasons for pendency of Cases:

  • Shortage of judges: around 5,580 or 25% of posts are lying empty in the subordinate courts. It leads to poor Judges to Population Ratio, as India has only 20 judges per million population. Earlier, Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million.
  • Frequent adjournments: The laid down procedure of allowing a maximum of three adjournments per case is not followed in over 50 per cent of the matters being heard by courts, leading to rising pendency of cases.
  • Low budgetary allocation leading to poor infrastructure: India spends only about 0.09% of its GDP to maintain the judicial infrastructure. Infrastructure status of lower courts of the country is miserably grim due to which they fail to deliver quality judgements. A 2016 report published by the Supreme Court showed that existing infrastructure could accommodate only 15,540 judicial officers against the all-India sanctioned strength of 20,558.
  • Burden of government cases: Statistics provided by LIMBS shows that the Centre and the States were responsible for over 46% of the pending cases in Indian courts.
  • Special leave petition: cases in the Supreme Court, currently comprises to 40% of the court’s pendency. Which eventually leads to reduced time for the cases related to constitutional issues.
  • Judges Vacation: Supreme Court’s works on average for 188 days a year, while apex court rules specify minimum of 225 days of work.
  • Lack of court management systems: Courts have created dedicated posts for court managers to help improve court operations, optimise case movement and judicial time. However only few courts have filled up such posts so far.
  • Inefficient investigation: Police are quite often handicapped in undertaking effective investigation for want of modern and scientific tools to collect evidences.
  • Increasing Literacy: With people becoming more aware of their rights and the obligations of the State towards them, they approach the courts more frequently in case of any violation

Impacts of Judicial Pendency

  • Denial of ‘timely justice’ amounts to denial of ‘justice’ itself: Timely disposal of cases is essential to maintain rule of law and provide access to justice. Speedy trial is a part of right to life and liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Erodes social infrastructure: a weak judiciary has a negative effect on social development, which leads to: lower per capita income; higher poverty rates; poorer public infrastructure; and, higher crime rates.
  • Affects human rights: Overcrowding of the prisons, already infrastructure deficient, in some cases beyond 150% of the capacity, results in “violation of human rights”.
  • Affects the economy of the country as it was estimated that judicial delays cost India around 1.5% of its Gross Domestic Product annually.
  • As per the Economic Survey 2017-18, pendency hampers dispute resolution, contract enforcement, discourage investments, stall projects, hamper tax collection and escalate legal costs which lead to Increasing cost of doing business.

Measures needed:

  • Improving infrastructure for quality justice: The Parliamentary Standing Committee which presented its report on Infrastructure Development and Strengthening of Subordinate Courts, suggested:
  • States should provide suitable land for construction of court buildings etc. It should undertake vertical construction in light of shortage of land.
  • Timeline set out for computerisation of all the courts, as a necessary step towards setting up of e- courts.
  • Addressing the Issue of Vacancies: Ensure the appointments of the judges be done in an efficient way by arriving at an optimal judge strength to handle the cases pending in the system. The 120th Law Commission of India report for the first time, suggested a judge strength fixation formula.
  • Supreme Court and High Courts should appoint efficient and experienced judges as Ad-hoc judges in accordance with the Constitution.
  • All India Judicial Service, which would benefit the subordinate judiciary by increasing quality of judges and help reduce the pendency.
  • Having a definite time frame to dispose the cases by setting annual targets and action plans for the subordinate judiciary and the High Courts. The judicial officers could be issued a strict code of conduct, to ensure that the duties are adequately performed by the officials.
  • Strict regulation of adjournments and imposition of exemplary costs for seeking it on flimsy grounds especially at the trial stage and not permitting dilution of time frames specified in Civil Procedure Code.
  • Better Court Management System & Reliable Data Collection: For this categorization of cases on the basis of urgency and priority along with bunching of cases should be done.
  • Use of Information technology (IT) solutions: The use of technology for tracking and monitoring cases and in providing relevant information to make justice litigant friendly. A greater impetus should be given to
  • Process reengineering: Involves redesigning of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality by incorporating the use of technology in court rules. It will include:
  • Electronic filing of cases: e-Courts are a welcome step in this direction, as they give case status and case history of all the pending cases across High courts and Subordinate courts bringing ease of access to information.
  • Revamping of National Judicial Data Grid by introducing a new type of search known as elastic search, which is closer to the artificial intelligence.
  • Alternate dispute resolution (ADR): As stated in the Conference on National Initiative to Reduce Pendency and Delay in Judicial System- Legal Services Authorities should undertake pre-litigation mediation so that the inflow of cases into courts can be regulated.
    • The Lok Adalat should be organized regularly for settling civil and family matters.
    • Gram Nyayalayas, as an effective way to manage small claim disputes from rural areas which will help in decreasing the workload of the judicial institution.
    • Village Legal Care & Support Centre can also be established by the High Courts to work at grass root level to make the State litigation friendly.

Conclusion:

The fundamental requirement of a good judicial administration is accessibility, affordability and speedy justice, which will not be realized until and unless the justice delivery system is made within the reach of the individual in a time bound manner and within a reasonable cost. Therefore, continuous formative assessment is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system in India.

 

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

4. Discuss the utility of smart meters in India. Do you agree that Smart metering gives a consumer better access to information and enable them to make more informed decisions on the use of electricity? Explain.  (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The author presents viewpoints upon the Centre’s push for smart meters and in what way it may be an important ingredient for transitioning to a 21st century electricity-system.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the utility of smart meters in India, its pros and cons.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what smart meters are.

Present key facts – Last year, the Central Electricity Authority and the Ministry of Power (MoP) had envisaged a complete switch to prepaid smart meters.

Body:

Bring out the transition in electricity system in the country.

Smart meters are the third pillar of the proposed technology-driven transition in electricity systems globally, in addition to renewable energy and energy storage technologies.

Prepayment is an additional feature of these meters that has gained prominence in India, based on two hoped-for outcomes.

Discuss then the benefits of Smart Prepaid Meters. Also bring out the limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the Centre’s push for smart meters may be an important ingredient for transitioning to a 21st century electricity-system. However, it is not the silver bullet to solve the long-standing problems of discom finance and losses, and accountability and governance in the Indian electricity system.

Introduction:

A smart meter is a digital meter that replaces old analog meters, which are used in homes to record electrical usage Smart meters are the third pillar of the proposed technology-driven transition in electricity systems globally, in addition to renewable energy and energy storage technologies. In the Budget 2020-21, the Finance Minister urged states and union territories to replace all conventional electricity meters with prepaid smart meters.

Body:

Significance of Smart meters:

  • Consumers:
    • Smart meters help in monitoring and managing electricity consumption and save money. It can be like your mobile pre-paid connection. You can buy electricity for a fixed amount, and use it. After finishing, you can top-up, just like a mobile recharge.
    • It can reduce billing errors.
    • The pro-poor argument is that these meters allow payment in small, affordable fragments.
    • It may offer a sense of control over consumption and thus relieving the poor of the debt they accumulate with the discom.
  • Discoms:
    • Smart meters help power distribution companies (discom) to conduct power-quality analysis in near-real time, taking into consideration factors such as maximum demand, voltage fluctuation, outage detection etc.
    • It helps discoms reduce peak power purchase cost, thereby improve business efficiency. This in turn reduces their debt, thereby helping the economy.
    • Smart meters also aids in the recovery of receivables, which has caused a huge stress on the system. Estimates say that Rs 1 lakh crore worth power was unbilled last year. So, it can help discoms plug leakages in the whole chain.

Overall benefits of the Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) are multifold and can be generally categorized as:

  • Operational Benefits: AMI benefits the entire grid by improving the accuracy of meter reads, energy theft detection and response to power outages, while eliminating the need for on-site meter reading.
  • Financial Benefits: AMI brings financial gains to utility, water and gas companies by reducing equipment and maintenance costs, enabling faster restoration of electric service during outages and streamlining the billing process.
  • Customer Benefits: AMI benefits electric customers by detecting meter failures early, accommodating faster service restoration, and improving the accuracy and flexibility of billing. Further, AMI allows for time-based rate options that can help customers save money and manage their energy consumption.
  • Security Benefits: AMI technology enables enhanced monitoring of system resources, which mitigates potential threats on the grid by cyber-terrorist networks.

Challenges posed by Smart meters:

  • Smart meters certainly are not tamper proof. The meters can be rigged.
  • Also, smart meters come with their own set of challenges, most notable being it prone to cyber attacks, which can cause power shutdown or steal customer information.
  • In the last few years, there have been instances of cyber attacks on the power grid, which caused power blackouts in California (US), Ukraine etc., though the utilities have to yet confirm whether the power grid was brought down due to a cyber attack.
  • Also, poor agriculture-dependent households currently treat electricity dues as a credit option.
  • These dues are accumulated during the lean period and are paid in the harvesting season.
  • Smart meters will require access to network and support architecture to transmit and store data.
  • There is no clarity on the network costs, who will bear it, and the impact on the electricity bills of the poor.
  • Prepayment will imply elimination of security deposits, which offer cheap working capital. Both factors impose costs on discoms.

Conclusion:

Modernizing India’s grid system by investing in AMI promises to mitigate a number of strains placed on the grid due to growing demand for electric, gas and water resources. Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL) has installed over 5 lakh smart meters in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh which have been distributed under the Smart Meter National Programme (SMNP).

 

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

5. What do you understand by community transmission? In the event of it, explain how the health system will have to be geared up to meet additional challenges.(250 words)

Reference:  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Why this question:

The question is amidst the perils of an all-out lockdown due to COVID-19.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what community transmission is and the necessary interventions a health system must make to control and contain the situation.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what community transmission is.

Body:

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), community transmission “is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)”

It means that the virus is now circulating in the community, and can infect people with no history either of travel to affected areas or of contact with an infected person.

Explain what the health system in such situations should be like and be ready with.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to evaluate the situation and take necessary actions.

Introduction:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says community transmission “is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing positive tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)”. If a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, her or his infection is either linked to travel history to a country where the disease is widespread, or if that person has come in contact with someone who is already infected. But when the source of transmission for a large number of people is not traceable it is called a community transmission.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has announced that it would start testing influenza patients without any travel history or contact with novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) for signs of community transmission.

Body:

US had confirmed its first case of community transmission last month. Since then, a number of American states have reported similar instances of coronavirus patients with no travel history or contact with infected people. Cases of community transmission have also been confirmed in the UK, Australia and Indonesia. Most types of influenza and bird flu outbreaks in the past were known to have spread through community transmission. The outbreak of H1N1 in 2009, commonly known as swine flu, was primarily through community transmission.

Challenges posed by Community transmission:

  •  The Indian government has been closely monitoring the outbreak in the country through contact tracing.
  • Contact tracing means when a case of coronavirus is detected, each individual with whom the patient has come in contact is closely monitored. If necessary, these individuals can be kept in isolation to prevent the infection from spreading further.
  • In the case of community transmission, contact tracing is inadequate in containing the disease. This is because any person — irrespective of whether she or he has been exposed to an already infected person or have travelled to affected countries — remains vulnerable.
  • This is particularly worrisome for health officials because that means the virus is in the community but no one knows where it has come from or track its origins. This also means the virus can be widespread in a community.

Measures undertaken by India:

  • Restrictions on travel to China were imposed very early on.
  • as cases started being imported from other countries, flight and visa restrictions were put in place for those countries.
  • It has now shut itself to every country in the world because the virus has spread almost everywhere on the planet, even to remote Pacific Ocean islands.
  • States Lockdown are already in place.
  • Rajasthan, Punjab, Bengal and many other states have announced state-wide lockdown.
  • Indian Railways has stopped all passenger train services till April 14.
  • Metro and suburban train services have also been restricted 

Measures that the health system need to take to meet additional challenges: 

  • Strengthening the medical infrastructure:
    • The ventilator demand will most likely go up to 1 million even as the report pegs the current availability in India between 30,000 to 50,000 ventilators.
    • There is an urgent need to ensure an ample supply of personal protective equipment (i.e., masks and gowns) for healthcare workers. Without them, they get sick, further straining the capacity of the healthcare system to respond to the ongoing outbreak.
    • The testing should be made free of charge and make necessary arrangements to extend free treatment even in private healthcare institutions.
  • Strict implementation of Social Distancing and contract tracing:
    • Social distancing includes ways to stop or slow the spread of infectious diseases. It means less contact between you and other people.
    • containing the spread of the coronavirus by social distancing policy, conducting proper contact tracing of positive cases and by ensuring that all those in home quarantine are monitored.
    • Aggressive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace are not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions.
    • New technologies such as the use of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to strengthen contact tracing and the management of priority populations.
  • Cluster Containment:
    • The cluster containment strategy intends to contain the disease within a defined geographic area by early detection, breaking the chain of transmission and thus preventing its spread to new areas.
    • It includes geographic quarantine, social distancing measures, enhanced active surveillance, testing all suspected cases, isolation of cases, home quarantine of contacts, social mobilization to follow preventive public health measures.
  • Involvement of the Private Sector:
    • The government is working with private hospitals to develop standard operating procedures for treatment and isolation of patients.
    • The involvement of the private sector may face some issues like the possibility of profiteering, affordability issues, crowding of people at a large number of places, etc.
  • Involvement of Community:
    • Tailored strategies could include: mail outs, community radio, working with neighbouring communities to obtain necessary information, posters, door-to-door messaging.
    • Tailoring may also include messaging from people who are familiar or trusted.
  • Voluntary avoidance of crowded places
    • It is recommended for a person who is asymptomatic and who is considered to have had a medium risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. This involves avoiding crowded public spaces and places where rapid self-isolation upon onset of symptoms may not be feasible.

Conclusion:

The community transmission phase of the disease can be curbed if the community and the government work collectively and follow the set guidelines of social distancing, home quarantine and treatment. The third stage of the outbreak focused on reducing clusters of cases, thoroughly controlling the epidemic and striking a balance between epidemic prevention and control, sustainable economic and social development, the unified command, standardised guidance, and scientific evidence-based policy implementation.

 

Topic:  Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology.

6. Discuss the promises that the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications hold for India in the race of quantum revolution. Also comment on the associated constraints. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the prospects of National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications for India in the quantum revolution race while bringing out the challenges it may face in it.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what quantum technologies are, what their applications are.

Body:

Talk about the National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA).

The Mission will be able to address the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and take into account the international technology trends and road maps of leading countries for the development of next generation technologies.

The areas of focus for the NM-QTA Mission will be in fundamental science, translation, technology development and towards addressing issues concerning national priorities. The mission can help prepare next generation skilled manpower, boost translational research and also encourage entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development.

Explain the challenges associated.

Discuss applications and significance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Quantum Technology is based on the principles of quantum theory, which explains the nature of energy and matter on the atomic and subatomic level. It concerns the control and manipulation of quantum systems, with the goal of achieving information processing beyond the limits of the classical world. Quantum principles will be used for engineering solutions to extremely complex problems in computing, communications, sensing, chemistry, cryptography, imaging and mechanics.

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

Body:

Key features of the scheme:

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

Conventional computers process information in ‘bits’ or 1s and 0s, following classical physics under which our computers can process a ‘1’ or a ‘0’ at a time. Quantum computers compute in ‘qubits’ (or quantum bits). They exploit the properties of quantum mechanics, the science that governs how matter behaves on the atomic scale. In this scheme of things, processors can be a 1 and a 0 simultaneously, a state called quantum superposition. Because of quantum superposition, a quantum computer — if it works to plan — can mimic several classical computers working in parallel.

Applications:

  • Secure Communication:
    • China recently demonstrated secure quantum communication links between terrestrial stations and satellites.
    • This area is significant to satellites, military and cyber security among others as it promises unimaginably fast computing and safe, unhackable satellite communication to its users.
  • Research:
    • It can help in solving some of the fundamental questions in physics related to gravity, black hole etc.
    • Similarly, the quantum initiative could give a big boost to the Genome India project, a collaborative effort of 20 institutions to enable new efficiencies in life sciences, agriculture and medicine.
  • Disaster Management:
    • Tsunamis, drought, earthquakes and floods may become more predictable with quantum applications.
    • The collection of data regarding climate change can be streamlined in a better way through quantum technology. This in turn will have a profound impact on agriculture, food technology chains and the limiting of farmland wastage.
  • Pharmaceutical industry:
    • India’s interest in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is huge.
    • Quantum computing could reduce the time frame of the discovery of new molecules and related processes to a few days from the present 10-year slog that scientists put in.
    • For instance, tracking protein behaviour or even modelling new proteins with the help of quantum computers could be made easier and faster.
    • Tackling chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart ailments is a big possibility of the technology.
  • Augmenting Industrial revolution 4.0:
    • Quantum computing is an integral part of Industrial revolution 4.0.
    • Success in it will help in Strategic initiatives aimed at leveraging other Industrial revolution 4.0 technologies like the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence across sectors will further help in laying the foundation of the Knowledge economy.

 Concerns: 

  • The challenge lies in harnessing the properties of quantum superposition in a highly controlled manner. The qubits tend to be very fragile and lose their “quantumness” if not controlled properly. Also, a careful choice of materials, design and engineering is required to get them to work.
  • On the theoretical front lies the challenge of creating the algorithms and applications for quantum computers.
  • These projects will also place new demands on classical control hardware as well as software platforms.
  • Further, Information technology-based security infrastructure would never be the same once quantum systems become a reality, given the ultra-fast speed of computing power.
  • Warfare and conflict strategists will have new challenges to face.
  • In such scenarios India’s current plans may have to be reworked to develop integrated war-theatre strategies factoring in quantum technologies.

Way forward:

  • An unprecedented collaboration between physicists (both experimentalists and theorists), computer scientists, material scientists and engineers.
  • Government needs to partner institutions and the scientific community to work out details of the mission and roll it out quickly.
  • Private funding, both via industry and philanthropy, can play an outsized role even with much smaller amounts.

Conclusion:

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

 

Topic:  Case study

7. A Pandemic has broken out and the only key in sight is a drug developed by a group of doctors and scientists. The issue, however, is that the drug is not yet tested. If the standard testing protocol is adhered to, it would take at least a year to get the final approval for human consumption. By that time, the pandemic would have taken millions of lives already. The only possible way to expedite trials is to test the drug directly on human beings. It effectively means replacing animals with humans for trial. Furthermore, there would hardly be any volunteer for such trials. In the meantime, there is an idea floating around the countries. Why not choose the convicts of murders and rapes serving capital punishment for the trials? Even if they die during the trials, it would hardly be a loss to the society and if they survive, their lives would be of some worth for the society after-all. 

What do you think? Should prisoners be forced to undergo the trial? Examine and Substantiate your choice.(250 words)

Reference: Case study

Why this question:

The question presents an ethical case study amidst the global outbreak that has shaken the entire world.

Key demand of the question:

One is expected to resolve the case study by identifying the ethical concerns involved, stakeholders associated and find out the best possible approach to deal with the situation ethically.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain how the current case captures the ethical dilemma where lives of humans are weighed against the larger good of society. 

Body:

Firstly, one must bring out the ethical values involved in the case such as – Violation of human rights, the debate of means vs. ends, concept of larger good etc.

Then one should define the ethical dilemma involved in the situation.

Identify the stakeholders involved; discuss the concerns associated with each of them.

Examine the pros and cons of the move.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting a balanced solution to such a situation where ethical concerns of all the stakeholders are addressed. Justify your stand with suitable substantiation.

What do you think? Should prisoners be forced to undergo the trial? Examine and Substantiate your choice. (250 words)

Introduction:

The case study presents the ethical dilemma of deontology versus utilitarianism (teleology). The case of using undertrials as test subjects for a newly developed drug against a pandemic leads to violation of human rights and duties. The Means versus ends is one of the most debated topics in ethics especially where issues of human beings survival is concerned.

Body

The ethical issues in the case are:

  • Means vs ends
  • Violation of Human Rights of the undertrials
  • Ethical dilemma where many people can die if decision is not done quickly
  • Efficiency, Compassion, Conscience, Emotional Intelligence of Decision Makers.

In my opinion, the undertrial prisoners should not be forced to undergo the clinical trial for the new drug. This is because, as human beings they have basic human rights regardless of their past actions. Testing without their will may lead to violation of Human Rights. They should not be forced to undergo trial as it may amount to torture. Further, the judiciary is already in its course of examining their actions and pronouncing the judgement. The undertrials could include various sections of the society like women, children, and people with disability, indigenous peoples etc.

The rights guaranteed in the part III of Indian Constitution are available to prisoners; because a prisoner is treated as a person in prison. Article 14 contemplated that like should be treated alike, and also provided the concept of reasonable classification. Further, it would set wrong precedence in future as there would be no difference between punishment and torture. It would go against the principle of basic human rights declared in Universal Human Rights Declaration. Although, guilty until proven, they shouldn’t be forcefully pushed into the clinical trials.

The other ways to overcome the criticality of situation is to

  • Carry on clinical trials on lab animals bred for specific purpose.
  • Request the infected people to undergo clinical trials for new drug.
  • Further, the company can advertise for interested individuals to participate in the clinical trials by paying them remuneration.
  • Give the prisoners also an option to nominate themselves for clinical trial, if interested.

Conclusion

Curbing the pandemic would be a primordial responsibility of the government. However, using the wrong means to achieve ends would be unethical and against the law of the land.