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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 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:  Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

1. What are the factors affecting the Localisation of the textile industries in the country, provide for a spatial analysis.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Geography by Majid Hussain

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

One must bring out the factors affecting the Localisation of the textile industries in the country, provide for a spatial analysis.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly discuss first the factors that contribute to localisation of an industry.

Body:

First chalk out the spread and expanse of textile industries in the country.

Then discuss the variants of textiles available – cotton,silk ,jute etc.

Use a map of India to show and depict the spread spatially.

Analyse the factors responsible in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the Industry and its contribution to the Indian economy.

Introduction:

Cotton plays an important role in the Indian economy as the country’s textile industry is predominantly cotton based. India is one of the largest producers as well as exporters of cotton yarn. The textile industry is also expected to reach US$ 223 billion by the year 2021.

The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab are the major cotton producers in India. There has been a phenomenal growth of this industry during the last four decades. About 16 per cent of the industrial capital and over 20 per cent of the industrial labour of the country is engaged in this industry.

Body:

India has a glorious tradition of producing excellent quality cotton textiles. Before the British rule, Indian hand spun and hand woven cloth already had a wide market. The Muslins of Dhaka, Chintzes of Masulipatnam, Calicos of Calicut and Gold-wrought cotton of Burhanpur, Surat and Vadodara were known worldwide for their quality and design. But the production of hand woven cotton textile was expensive and time consuming. Hence, traditional cotton textile industry could not face the competition from the new textile mills of the West, which produced cheap and good quality fabrics through mechanized industrial units.

A host of factors such as low labour costs, government subsidies , irrigation, proximity to ports led to the spread of cotton textile industry.

Pre-1920’s:

  • Traditionally, cotton industry in India was largely concentrated in cotton growing areas of peninsula, Like Gujarat (Surat), Maharashtra(Mumbai).
  • These areas had advantages of proximity of market, capital facility, cheap labour, proximity to port facility and favourable humid climate.
  • But cotton is lightweight, non-perishable material, humidity can be created artificially and there is hardly any weightloss during production.
  • As a result, proximity to raw material becomes non-critical factor in location.
  • Production can be carried out anywhere with cheap labour, energy and water supply is available for dyeing.

Post-1920’s:

  • Dispersal of industry from the old nuclei started after 1921 with railway lines penetrating into the peninsular region.
  • Gradually industry shifted towards small towns and cities. Example: centres like Coimbatore, Madurai, Bangalore, Nagpur, Indore, Solapur, Vadodara, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Indore, Amritsar.
  • These were favourably located in respect to raw material, market and labour than places of original locations.
  • This industry also reached some places with some additional advantages, such as nearness to coal (Nagpur), financial facilities (Kanpur) and wide market with port facilities (Kolkata).
  • Dispersal of cotton textile industry was further boosted with the development of hydroelectricity. The growth of this industry in Coimbatore, Madurai and Tirunelveli is largely due to the availability of hydroelectricity from Pykara dam.

Post-Independence:

  • The industry also tended to shift from areas of high labour cost to those with low labour cost. The labour cost factor played a crucial role in establishing this industry at Madurai, Tirunelveli, and Coimbatore.
  • Government Incentives: Handloom industry considered highly labour-intensive, beneficial to village economy and women empowerment. Therefore, government aids them with measures such as Integrated Village Handloom Development scheme and National Silk Yarn Scheme.
  • Handloom sector employs more than 65 lakh people and contributes to 15 % of total textile productions. They are widely distributed throughout the country, states of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Manipur account for nearly 50 per cent of the production capacity.

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Conclusion:

A huge population is dependent on growing of cotton as well as textile industry. The labour-intensiveness, low-capital and high export incentives, urbanization and demand changing fashion has led to setting up of many decentralized textile centers.

 

Topic:  Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

2. Examine the factors responsible for large production of corn and Wheat in the North America and compare it with suitable states of India.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Geography by Majid Hussain

Why this question:

The question is about comparing the production of corn and wheat of North America with that of the Indian states.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the factors responsible for large production of corn and Wheat in the North America and provide for a comparison with that of the Indian states.

Directive:

ExamineWhen 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 set the context of the question with some key facts of production of wheat and corn.

Body:

To start with, explain first the factors contributing to large production – geographical factors, industrial setup, availability of technology etc.

Then move onto discuss the wheat production in the Northern America. State the facts related to wheat production in the Indian states such as those of Punjab UP and others.

Draw a detailed comparison.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of production of corn and wheat in general.

Introduction:

North America benefits greatly from its fertile soils, plentiful freshwater, oil and mineral deposits, and forests. With a strong domestic and export economy focused on this abundant array of natural resources, North America has become one of the most developed regions in the world. From the freezing Arctic to the tropical jungles of Central America, North America enjoys more climate variation than any other continent. These differences contribute to North Americas variety of agricultural industries, which are often divided by climate zone: tropical zone, subtropical zone, cool temperate zone, and dry zone.

Body:

The factors responsible for large production of corn and Wheat in the North America:

  • The Dairy Belt, Corn Belt, and Wheat Belt are three agricultural areas in the continents cool temperate zones.
  • The Corn Belt, located between the Ohio River and the lower Missouri River, receives ample water and strong summer sun, ideal for corn and soybeans.
  • West of the Corn Belt, the Wheat Belt stretches from the U.S. state of Kansas through the Canadian Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. This vast area of the Great Plains allows wheat to be cultivated in both winter and spring.
  • Soil:
    • The prairies i.e. the temperate grasslands has had centuries of grass rotting.
    • This has inturn produced fertile soil with high phosphorus content which is good for wheat
    • The topography is suitable for wheat cultivation because wheat cannot tolerate stagnant water
    • Further, the flat terrain makes it easier for machines to be employed at every production stage.
    • Mechanization is imperative because population is scarce and it is hard to find laborers and expensive to hire, unlike Asia.
    • For corn, chernozem soil is found which is great enabler.
  • Land-holdings:
    • in the early days of colonization, land was abundant in the North American prairies
    • European settlers seized opportunity, bought large farm holdings at throwaway prices. Consequently, farms have area of several thousand acres.
    • Since farm is large, mechanization is possible. This inturn reduces the number of farm-workers needed.
  • Transportation & Marketing:
    • Railroad connectivity via American Railway and Shipping industries.
    • Many branch lines are constructed to connect even the remotest farm regions with the mainline. This makes it easy to transport the produce to market.
    • most of the wheat moves by rail through Rocky Mountains to Vancouver /Prince Rupert for export.
    • Most of the corn produced is used for fattening animals. Further, these animals sent to slaughterhouses in Chicago and Omaha.
  • Storage facilities:
    • Grain elevator storage facilities along the railway lines: here wheat is cleaned, graded, processed and stored.
    • storage complexes and milling operation at many of the bulk location, where Railways intersect major waterways.
  • Governmental policies:
    • The Wheat board coordinates movement of wheat to major terminals.
    • Farmers are given schedules to send their wheat to nearby railway station.
    • This system minimizes price fluctuations/distribution inefficiencies and provides quality control for exported wheat.
  • Labor factor in Corn belt:
    • only small labour force needed because planting and harvesting is highly mechanised
    • once seeds are planted, no labour needs arise other than spraying pesticides for weed control and fertilization but that too is done with help of aero planes because farm holdings are so large.
    • for harvesting, outside contractors with crew and machines are hired.
    • This has led to new type of farmers known as suitcase farmers: they live more than 30 miles away from their farm, in large urban cities.

India: 

  • Next to rice, wheat is the most important food-grain of India and is the staple food of millions of Indians, particularly in the northern and north-western parts of the country.
  • Mostly grown in regions of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
  • Presence of Well-drained fertile loamy and clayey loamy soil type. There is also immense water resources provided by the Indus and its tributaries.
  • There are two types of wells, namely dug wells and tube wells. This kind of irrigation is widely practiced in plain regions of India. Overexploitation of wells is well observed in Punjab-Haryana region. Canal irrigation is well suited for regions with clayey soil as clayey soil prevents water percolation. Mostly practiced in south India and Ganga-Yamuna region.
  • The temperature required for wheat during growing season (RABI) is around 15.5°C. The weather should be warm and moist during the early stage of growth and sunny and dry in the later stages.
  • Presence of large farm holdings has helped in use of machinery.
  • Further the green revolution started in the north-western regions helped in boost of wheat cultivation.
  • Rapid growth in food grain production from using seeds of high yielding variety is termed as Green Revolution.
  • The high yielding varieties (HYVs) of wheat and use of chemical fertilizers also helped in higher wheat production.

Conclusion:

In India, agriculture provides the livelihood to farmers, therefore, farmers first look for the economic viability of a crop within their socio-physical and political environment. Crops contribute to the overall growth of the country’s economy but the numbers are not very high. To lift it up, the country needs to take innovative initiatives and to upgrade its plans and policies. Also, the latest agriculture technologies and equipment should be adopted for better output and more educated and right talent should enter to the farming sector.

 

Topic:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

3. “Disruption in economic activities in urban areas and a national lockdown make the rural India a potential hotspot for the further spread of the outbreak”. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article talks about the possible Pandora of events that would get initiated due to the disruption in economic activities in urban areas and a national lockdown in the rural regions of the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the impact that the current disruption may have on the rural India and highlight urgency with which the policy makers need to recognise these factors ad take necessary steps in dealing with the upcoming situation not short of a disaster.

Directive:

ExamineWhen 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 the current scenario.

Body:

To start with, explain the significance of protecting rural India as two thirds of lives live in here.

Briefly explain the current situation in the economic activities of the urban areas of the country.

Discuss the impact of the lockdown.

Explain what the challenges specific to rural India are.

Suggest steps/measures to handle the situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward, take hints from the article.

Introduction:

In just a few weeks, the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) went from being an unknown entity to the largest problem we’ve faced in India in recent history. But the real worry is when the virus enters the community transmission stage in rural areas. Because the coronavirus arrived in India with international travellers, most cases so far have been in cities. The dramatic contraction of economic activity in cities has pushed migrant labourers back in droves to their villages in rural Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, and other states, potentially carrying the virus back home.

Body:

Challenges in rural India:

  • First, two-thirds of India lives in rural areas.
  • Second, the quality of healthcare available to them is staggeringly poor.
  • Third, the most common symptoms of COVID-19 are cough, fever and shortness of breath.
  • We need to plan ahead to mitigate a potential epidemic in these areas because it is merely a matter of time before this becomes our biggest collective challenge.
  • Family members, extended contacts, and household workers have been infected.
  • The return of the migrant employees into rural India poses a major threat to the rural inhabitants of India.
  • Over 70 per cent of primary care visits in India happen in the private sector.
  • Furthermore, in rural areas in states like Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, unqualified healthcare providers — what we call “informal sector providers” — provide care for over 75 per cent of primary care visits.
  • The quality of care available to people in rural parts of India is staggeringly poor.
  • Providers in these areas have very low levels of knowledge and they often do even less than they know — what we refer to as “know-do” gaps.
  • As a result, we find providers frequently under-prescribing the right treatment and over-prescribing harmful ones even when they know better.
  • if suspected positive patients from rural areas try to travel to urban centres to get tested, this can undermine efforts to limit transmission.

Measures needed:

  • Prepare healthcare providers for what is coming:
    • Informal sector providers are untrained, and hence will need clinical guidelines that are in local language, and more accessible ones than are currently available from the Ministry of Health and the WHO.
    • We could leverage the presence of a vast network of medical representatives of the pharmaceutical industry to reach informal providers.
    • It is possible to develop videos in local languages to inform providers about safety and prevention.
  • Educate patients about what coronavirus is and how to deal with it:
    • Educating patients about the illness to avoid panicking and overwhelming the health system with every fever or flu will be critical.
    • In the absence of clear information aimed at ordinary citizens from reliable sources, social media is currently rife with fake remedies and misinformation.
    • The collaborative effort between the health ministry and WhatsApp is an excellent step in this direction, and needs to be publicized widely.
  • Make strategic investments in creative surveillance systems that can help get ahead of the epidemic:
    • We need to put in place a system of surveillance to help policymakers learn where the epidemic could be peaking in the next week.
    • Creative solutions such as digital surveillance systems based on self-reporting of symptoms using the wide cell phone coverage in India have the potential to be a second-best solution that can be mobilized immediately.
    • Learning about a significant uptick in symptoms can help policymakers identify potential hotspots of transmission in order to plan and coordinate delivery of more testing kits and drugs for palliative treatment.

Conclusion:

Rural India is still the backbone of Indian in terms of economy. It is imperative to safeguard the rural citizens from community transmission of COVID-19 and its dangerous impacts.

 

Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

5. Discuss the need for better global governance for pandemics to avert the next crisis while highlighting the failures of the governments and global institutions across the world to contain the corona pandemic initially.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of global governance.

Key demand of the question:

One has to bring out the need for better global governance for pandemics to avert the next crisis while highlighting the failures of the governments and global institutions across the world to contain the corona pandemic initially.

Directive:

DiscussThis 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 views of the author with respect to the context of the question.

Body:

Define what you understand by global governance.

Explain the case of COVID-19, discuss the spread, expanse; highlight the factors that lead to the failure of global governance, describe the role played by organisations such as WHO.

Discuss the lacunae.

Suggest what role the policy makers across the world countries. Highlight the need for global governance to be in place to tackle the challenge.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Prime Minister’s announcement of a 21-day all-India lockdown to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 would have led many to appreciate the threat posed by the virus. The lockdown has also created problems for a section of the country’s population. Migrant labourers in Mumbai, Delhi and other metros have left for their homes in Bihar, Jharkhand and UP. The Finance Minister announced a welfare package of Rs 1.7 lakh crore to tide over the difficulties posed by the pandemic in India.

Body:

Challenges posed to the governments and global institutions in averting COVID-19:

  • The welfare package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore is too small to cope with the onslaught of the virus.
  • It is believed that a package to compensate all losses, including business losses, should amount to at least Rs 5 to 6 lakh crore, if not more.
  • the Issue for the government to find funds for this package is also big.
  • In case of supply chain lines, the challenge pertains to supplying perishables like fruits, vegetables and milk.
  • As humanity is wrestling with a new common enemy, a previously unknown coronavirus, this highly interconnected world has made the ongoing international drive to safeguard global public health an unprecedented struggle
  • The procurement operations for rabi crops are around the corner and the disruption of supply chain has posed a big problem.

Measures needed:

  • By Government:
    • the government must ensure that people don’t go hungry and the measures it must take to make sure people don’t crowd a few outlets, increasing the chances of the virus spreading.
    • governments around the world to create a global architecture for the health of all mankind, within which the United Nations (UN) and the WHO should be given a core role.
    • The challenge is to ensure that fair price shops deliver the provisions in an orderly manner and their supply lines remain intact.
    • NGOs, resident welfare associations, religious organisations and paramilitary forces can be engaged for orderly and safe distribution of food — both pre-cooked and fresh.
    • NGOs with experience in food preparation and distribution, such as Akshaya Patra, could guide local authorities.
    • People involved in this endeavour should be provided with safety gears.
  • By Global institutions:
    • An enhanced global cooperation mechanism for the development of drugs and vaccines needs to be stressed in this network.
    • Policy makers, experts and medical professionals worldwide should also try to jointly come up with a set of both lessons and useful experiences to guide the work against the pandemic and even future health emergencies.
    • There is an urgent need to help those under-developed countries and regions with vulnerable health systems build up their capability, so that the weak points in the global network of epidemic prevention and treatment can be strengthened.
    • The World Bank announced earlier this month a plan to provide a fast and flexible response to meet the needs of developing countries in dealing with the spread of COVID-19, which includes emergency financing, policy advice and technical assistance.
    • Therefore, besides the UN, such a wide-reaching agency as the WHO could function as a platform to facilitate coordination among nations in the field of global health security.

Conclusion:

More than 150 years later, the threat one lethal pathogen can pose to human health is even greater, as people around the world are linked like never before. The ultimate solution is not to turn back the clock, but for the human race to move forward.

 

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

6. A unified command is vital for the Government of India to ensure there is clarity, no confusion in handling a catastrophe amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. Explain.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article brings out the interview transcript of Dr K Sujatha Rao who was at the forefront of the battle against H1N1 in 2009, the last viral epidemic that hit India.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need for a unified command to overcome the challenge of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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 the expanse of the current catastrophe.

Body:

There isn’t much to discuss, the aspects of the disease spread needs to be explained first and then the urgency and need to have a unified command control to contain the spread and do away with the disease.

Present the case of Spanish flu and justify your answer by suggesting what needs to be done essentially to overcome the situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

Since 1918, not just India but the world has witnessed anything so devastating in terms of speed, fatality, and spread. We have seen epidemics and pandemics, but they are like the cyclonic waves, while COVID-19 is like the tsunami.

Body:

Current challenges in COVID-19 response:

  • Our policy mix is similar and is guided by the nature of the infection and trajectory of the epidemic.
  • In events like this, how one handles this are always judgment calls. There is nothing like right or wrong as it is highly contextual.
  • Persons leading the fight respond based on science, available evidence, historical experience and, in the ultimate sense, a hunch that normally must be to overact — safe than sorry.
  • our responses to HIV/AIDS were different from the response to H1N1. In the initial years, we were very cautious with testing under the HIV/AIDS program while under the H1N1 we were aggressive.
  • This is because the nature of transmission and incubation periods etc. of the two viruses were different.
  • However, our response to COVID-19 seems to resemble the HIV/AIDS case though the coronavirus is more lethal and also moves much faster, and so the surge factor can be much more fatal.
  • far too many actors — NITI Aayog, ICMR, GOM, and several people giving different views to the media.
  • Thus, there is a lot of confusion and no clarity in leading the fight against COVID-19.

Current scenario in handling COVID-19:

  • Both in handling H1N1 and now COVID-19, political leadership has been of a very high order.
  • In fact, under COVID-19, given the gravity of the epidemic, the PM is himself leading the fight.
  • However, the political commitment at the state level to be varied, a situation that needs to be avoided. This was ensured in the previous years with the Union Minister personally reaching out to the state Chief Ministers and Health Ministers.
  • Currently, the PM has himself talked to the state Chief Ministers.
  • But there is still the need for the Health Minister must meet the state Health Ministers and ensure a more coordinated approach.
  • What is most important to note is that in matters of infectious diseases we must have one strategy, one approach, and one focal point of leadership.
  • There is need for a guideline of who and when lockdowns should be enforced, and what preparatory work needs to be done, because at all times balance needs to be maintained.
  • One cannot lock down totally as there are always human needs that could be of equal priority. Balance and a humanitarian approach are needed. a graded approach would have been preferable to what is turning out to be a total approach.

Unified command can help tide over the catastrophe like COVID-19:

  • The infectious disease control is in the concurrent list of the VII Schedule of the Constitution.
  • It means that the Union government lays down the strategy, the protocols and the standards for implementation. The states are only to implement.
  • It is a centralized activity with little room for variance or innovation at the state level.
  • This is essential, and you might have seen this in polio (that we eradicated), HIV/AIDS (that we brought down the incidence by 67%) or TB (that we are trying to eliminate), etc.
  • So in H1N1 too, it was the Ministry of Health that led the battle — and provided all logistical and financial support to the states to carry out the implementation that was also closely reviewed and monitored.

Way forward:

  • India has had a window and the cases are just picking up now. By this time, we have the advantage of the experience of China, S Korea, Japan etc. to study and adapt our strategies.
  • in the light of our own experience, we should have followed the testing strategy that we followed in H1N1 and also without time lag.
  • Second lesson is to have a much tighter grip on states so the response is standardized and calibrated and after taking people into confidence so there is no panic.
  • People must understand and trust policy. That is critical for infectious diseases.
  • Uniformity in approach helps as variations in responses can be taken advantage of by the virus.
  • All agencies must only work to support the Ministry of Health and there must only be one voice so as to ensure no confusion and have clarity.
  • There is a need to more intensely utilize data analytics to formulate a strategy. We must at all times look at global and country evidence. I think that is an area where focus needs to be paid and urgently.
  • There is a need to institutionalize response mechanisms for coping with such outbreaks. We cannot afford to reinvent the wheel every time a new epidemic hits us.
  • Such institutionalization down the line can only happen when there is an institutional mechanism for it such as having a Department of Public Health.
  • Having such a mechanism then keeps the priority high at all times and not get buffeted with shifting global and local agendas.

 

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

7. “The science deficit in our society has raised its ugly head and highlighted the paradox embedded in us”. Do you agree with the statement? Elucidate.(250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times

Why this question:

The article talks about the significance of scientific temper in the society and its relevance.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the ill effects of science deficit in our society. Discuss what it has led us to and what needs to be done to overcome it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define scientific temper and its importance.

Body:

  • Explain why there is deficit of scientific temper in our societies.
  • One can quote the response people are giving amidst the covid-19 scare such as reports of stigmatisation, ostracisation and eviction of not just those suspected of infection, but of airline staff who ferried them, and worse, of medical workers etc. that justify the deficit of scieintific thinking and decision making.
  • Discuss the ill-effects it is making on the society.
  • Suggest solutions to address the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to develop scientific temper among all the people of the society.

Introduction:

Scientific temper is a way of thinking and acting which uses a method, including observing physical reality, questioning, testing, hypothesizing, analysing and communicating. It involves the application of logic and the avoidance of bias and preconceived notions in arriving at decisions, and becomes particularly valuable while deciding what is best for the community or the nation.  Article 51A of the Constitution lists the fundamental duties of citizens, which include development of scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform. It means the Indians must have an open mind to learn new things.

Body:

Recent instances of science deficit in our society:

  • The recent events after Janata curfew called in by PM had claims that the cumulative reverberations like it “boosted blood circulation in the body” and “rendered the virus ineffective”.
  • Some super-obedient ones, including the Pilibhit district magistrate, led clanging and conch-blowing processions while being dangerously undistanced.
  • A story snowballed on social media that the virus had indeed “receded” as per satellite data gathered by NASA, prompting this government to ask social media companies to control the spread of misinformation.
  • The minister of state for social justice and empowerment thought it appropriate to lead a tight cluster of people to chant “Go Corona Go”.
  • This inspired replication by even larger gatherings in the unlikeliest of places such as “IT-city” Bengaluru’s airport.
  • People drank cow urine as a preventive against the virus (even as they held their noses), egged on and applauded by people holding public office.

Science-deficit and paradoxes:

  • On the one hand, Indians have embraced modern technologies in daily living, with mobile phones and foetal diagnosis equipment penetrating deep into the rural hinterland. Chandrayaan-2 caught the public imagination. On the other hand, among the same people, there appears to be little recognition of the science that underlies these technologies.
  • Solar and lunar eclipses witness countrywide shut-downs, with pregnant women caged in, food thrown away, and science graduates, engineers and even PhDs watching eclipses on TV instead of experiencing, learning from, and teaching about the beauty of the real spectacle.
  • Claiming cow urine to be a treatment for Covid-19 is part and parcel of a deep-rooted deficit of scientific temper even in our educated populace.

Dangers posed by the science-deficit:

  • Reports of stigmatization, ostracisation and eviction of not just those suspected of infection, but of airline staff who ferried them, and worse, of medical workers, are trickling in daily.
  • Coming right after the public applause for medical doctors, this is a sad reflection on our values. But it also shows a basic lack of understanding of how flu-like infections work.

Reasons behind the science-deficit:

  • Our early science education is hugely culpable.
  • It values information load over understanding, has sidelined learning-by-doing, and built a culture of unquestioning obedience.
  • There is also a lack of clarity as to why we are teaching science and not just how. Science is thought of as a subject and not as a way of life.
  • Science research in laboratories is driven a bit by curiosity, but mostly for personal livelihood and glory. There is no demand to subscribe to the scientific method as a way of life.
  • Scientists are typically quite disengaged from early science education, and appear to be content to skim the cream that willy-nilly floats to the top, with no regard to the scientifically illiterate sea below.
  • Finally, surprisingly few scientists engage with lay audiences, mass media or the government.
  • And the State, while not demanding that public engagement be an imperative in our taxpayer-funded science institutions, is not even, for example, enforcing the Cable Television Networks law which prohibits content that encourages superstition or blind belief.

Measures needed to inculcate scientific temper:

  • In such a situation of social and cultural malaise, a major role of Scientific Temper is to revive confidence and hope and to dispel fatalistic outlook.
  • The campaign to promote Scientific Temper must inculcate values like equality and dignity of all human beings, distributive justice, dignity of labour, and social accountability of one’s actions.
  • Although big science (space probes, cosmic ray physics, etc.,) has served India well, the nation must also look at areas that are less eyeball-grabbing, such as water resources, agriculture and the environment, he said, requesting anonymity because he is not allowed to talk to the press.
  • science and scientists must have a position of pride in society which can influence many young students to move into scientific fields.
  • A nationwide science policy which should be able to anticipate problem areas, devise course correction.
  • Better funding of Science and Technology initiatives which would help in development of the society.
  • All these are essential for bringing about social, economic and cultural transformation of our country.

Conclusion:

Scientific temper needs to be promoted across all sections of the society systematically, using tools like National Knowledge Network. Public and political understanding of science should be based on evidence and debate with open mind.