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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 April 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 aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Raja Ravi Varma’s art marks an historic turn in the development of Indian modern art and Indian artists, at the beginning of the movement for Indian Independence. Discuss. (250 words).

Reference : Indian Express 

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Why this question:

April 29 is the birth anniversary of the famed Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), remembered for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses. Through his printing press, Varma’s humanised depiction of Hindu pantheon travelled beyond the surfaces of costly canvases, and into the prayer and living rooms of working-class homes.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the works of Raja Ravi Varma, his contribution towards Indian paintings and his significance in the history of Indian art.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about Raja Ravi Verma. Raja Ravi Varma was an Indian painter and artist, considered as one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art.

Body-

Discuss in points, his works, significance and contribution.

  • Ravi Varma’s works, which incorporated the use of oil as a medium and a distinctly European style of realism, influenced other artists and shaped a new perception of “Indian Art”.
  • All this took place at a time in Indian history when a “modern and progressive India” was the call of the day.
  • This unique style incorporated a European naturalism and realism, with distinctly Indian mythological themes.
  • The distinguishing factor, however, was Ravi Varma’s depiction of mythological figures in a natural human style rather than the traditional supernatural imagery used to convey gods, goddesses and their myths or tales.
  • Ravi Varma’s groundbreaking work lay not only in his style of art, but also in his influence on other artists and collectors.

Conclusion:

based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

April 29 is the birth anniversary of the famed Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma (1848-1906), remembered for giving Indians their western, classical representations of Hindu gods and goddesses. Through his printing press, Varma’s humanised depiction of Hindu pantheon travelled beyond the surfaces of costly canvases, and into the prayer and living rooms of working-class homes.

Raja Ravi Varma is considered as one of the greatest painters in the history of Indian art. He is known for his amazing paintings which revolve mainly around the Puranas (ancient mythological stories) and the great Indian epics – Mahabharata and Ramayana. He is one of the few painters who managed to accomplish a beautiful union of Indian tradition with the techniques of European academic art.

Body:

Significance of Varma’s art:

  • Varma was also responsible in taking the Indian art all over the world with his impeccable technique.
  • While the Europeans and other art lovers admired his technique, the laymen of India enjoyed his work for its simplicity.
  • His paintings highlighted the beauty of South Indian women which were admired by all.
  • His portrayal of Hindu gods and goddesses went on to become worship material for many people belonging to the lower castes who weren’t allowed in temples.
  • He also managed to improve the artistic knowledge and spread the importance of art among Indian people.
  • He achieved this by making affordable lithographs, which were accessible even to the poor.
  • Recognizing his feat, Viceroy Lord Curzon honoured him with the Kaisar-i-Hind Gold Medal for his service in the furtherance of public interest.
  • His paintings can be classified into three categories – portraits, portrait-based compositions and theatrical compositions based on myths and legends. It is the third category of paintings for which Raja Ravi Varma is most renowned.
  • Ravi Varma first started a press in Mumbai and later shifted it to a place near Lonavala. The press came up with tons of oleographs, depicting Hindu gods and goddesses

Raja Ravi Varma produced many masterpieces of art during his life. Some of the most prominent works of Raja Ravi Varma:

  • A Family of Beggars – This painting represented the sorry state of Indian economics.
  • A Lady Playing Swarbat – Just like many of his paintings, this too, was modelled after a South Indian woman.
  • Arjuna and Subhadra – This painting narrates a story from the Hindu epic Mahabharata.
  • Damayanti Talking to a Swan – This too is a scene straight out of Mahabharata.
  • Jatayu (a bird devotee of Lord Rama) – This is perhaps one of the most commonly featured work of Raja Ravi Varma. The picture narrates the story of Jatayu who gives up its life after fighting the mighty villain Ravana from Ramayanam.
  • Lady Lost in Thought – Once again this painting was modelled after a South Indian woman.
  • Nair Woman – As the name suggests, this painting portrays a Malayali woman in all her glory.
  • Shakuntala – This painting depicts the legendary woman Shakuntala who marries Dushyanta. The couple later gave birth to Bharata after whom ancient India was named.
  • Romancing Couple – This painting goes on to show that Raja Ravi Varma was not a painter who limited himself to depicting only gods and goddesses

However, Varma is often criticized for being too showy in his paintings. His paintings are also condemned for overshadowing traditional Indian art forms, especially the ones depicting Hindu gods and goddesses. His approach is said to lack the dynamism of expression seen in the traditional paintings. Critics have also criticized him for modelling goddesses after prostitutes, saying that his representation of deities have reduced them to the level of mortals.

Conclusion:

He was one of the first Indian artists to use oil paints and to master the art of lithographic reproduction of his work. In addition to incidents in Hindu mythology, Varma painted many portraits of both Indians and British in India. He adapted Western realism to pioneer a new movement in Indian art.

 

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

2. What are Zoonotic diseases? Examine the challenges posed by it in India? How should India gear itself to deal with this challenge. (250 words)

Reference : The Print 

Why this question

The coronavirus onslaught has presented an unprecedented challenge for India in scale and expanse, but there are other viral diseases that the country battles year to year. One such disease is the monkey fever, which originated in Karnataka and peaks as the summer begins. It is a zoonosis like the novel coronavirus, which means it reached humans via an animal carrier.

Key demand of the question

Following points are to be brought out in your answer

What are zoonotic diseases

How they are a huge health risk – apart from the obvious fact that they can lead to loss of significant no of lives, what other factors exacerbates the risk

How India deals with these diseases and the changes required

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . In the above case, discuss points as highlighted above.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

explain zoonotic diseases along with some current examples to establish the scare on account of zoonotic diseases.

Body

How they are a huge health risk – apart from the obvious fact that they can lead to loss of significant no of lives, what other factors exacerbates the risk. Explain points like ecosystem changes brought about, no vaccination etc

How we deal with such diseases, highlight our experience in dealing with Zika scare and now Nipah scare.

Examine how can we improve our handling of these diseases – virology centres, border screening, awareness etc

Conclusion:

Mention that it is important to take proactive action, rather than reactive in this case as the health cost of an outbreak will be immense.

Introduction:

Zoonotic diseases are those that are transmitted from animals to humans and account for over 60% of infectious outbreaks. Deforestation due to expanding agriculture and logging, animal breeding, and livestock farming are creating a conveyor belt for the transmission of microbes, hitherto confined to their primary animal hosts in wild life, to the veterinary population and then to human habitats. Anthropogenic climate change creates conditions for vectors like mosquitoes and ticks to spread to new geographies. They transport the microbes to the human body. Microbial genetics evolve far more rapidly than humans. Microbes which are confined to forest animals or small human communities follow the survival rules of evolution, and generally have low virulence, because the extinction of their host will lead to their own extinction

Body:

Challenges posed by Zoonotic diseases in India:

  • Humans now crowd together in large numbers, travel fast and far in many modes of transport, and unknowingly transmit microbes to other humans through sputum, saliva, semen, blood, and other bodily fluids. This enables the virus to multiply rapidly and mutate to more virulent forms.
  • Vaccines are presently not available against many of these viruses, though some early success has been reported in candidate vaccines for Ebola and Zika.
  • Specific drug treatments too, are unavailable.
  • Laboratory diagnosis is possible in specialised labs but is mainly useful for identifying the nature of the outbreak, modelling its likely spread, and alerting the health system of the anticipated clinical severity of the cases that will arise.
  • India has one of the highest density of livestock population and poorly guarded animal-human interface makes it vulnerable to disease outbursts.
  • The Indian subcontinent has been identified as one of the four global hotspots at increased risks from emergence of new infectious diseases, particularly zoonoses according to various studies.
  • Economic risk:
    • The case for control of zoonotic diseases (zoonoses) is compelling. The economic losses from six major outbreaks of highly fatal zoonoses between 1997 and 2009 amounted to at least US$80 billion.
    • The health infrastructure in India, already quite shabby, would bend it’s back in trying to deal with situations like these.

India’s actions:

  • India is now expanding its laboratory network but epidemiological surveillance systems need further strengthening.
  • In the absence of specific treatments, supportive care has been provided in the case of Nipah virus attack. Fluids for adequate hydration and electrolyte balance; medicines to control fever, and intensive care with respiratory and circulatory support are given when needed.
  • During any outbreak, isolation of the patient, avoidance of direct contact while providing care, tracing, examination of all contacts, and limiting their movement during the incubation period are helping to contain the spread.
  • Preventive measures include hand washing and avoiding contact with bodily fluids of a person known or suspected to be infected. Avoidance of direct or indirect contact with animals, who act as primary or reservoir hosts, is necessary and people are being made aware.
  • Effective risk communication to the public is especially necessary, to enable them to adopt preventive personal protection measures, seek timely medical care, and avoid mass panic. This requires clear and open information sharing by trusted experts who are adept in jargon-free messaging via mass media.
  • In Jaipur, India, dog vaccination and sterilization resulted in a decline of human rabies cases to zero.

Way forward:

  • A rational response to such outbreaks requires an understanding of why these viruses cross species, how they are transmitted among humans, what preventive measures can be taken, which tests and treatments exist, and whether the health system is ready to contain the outbreak at an early stage.
  • Microbes must be vigilantly monitored during outbreaks to study if highly infective viruses are suddenly seized with mutation madness to develop higher virulence, especially in crowded populations where the virus has a free run.
  • Given the elevated risk to India from zoonotic diseases, it is important to have a policy framework in place to prevent an outbreak.
  • India needs to fund creation of data and evidence-base (data to support actions) on these infections so that they can be controlled in animals.
  • India should prevent infections spreading to humans. This can happen with better collaboration (between various agencies), an operational framework from the government, better surveillance and sharing of data on these diseases.
  • The effectiveness of zoonotic disease control requires early detection at the source of the disease in animals, an early and accurate diagnosis, and rapid disease control measures. Therefore, One Health, a collaborative approach finds an important place at this human-animal interface to work effectively in disease prevention.
  • Numerous examples already exist of the success of this collaboration in One Health like in Chad, joint animal–human vaccination campaigns of DPT and polio in children and CBPP control in livestock resulted in greater coverage in both humans and livestock, and pastoralists became more aware of public health services.
  • Reporting by the media should exercise responsible restraint to avoid stoking mass hysteria.
  • Virology centres need to be established more
  • Border screening has to be done strictly.

 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

3. Despite the baggage of fraught and convulsive neighbourhoods, the transformation of the India-Israel bilateral relationship into a strategic partnership over the course of past tumultuous 25 years is commendable. Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference : idsa.in 

Why this question:

Israel and India are exploring to open new vistas of partnership in the world of finance, including collaboration between market regulators and allowing Israeli investment in corporate bonds, taking advantage of a favourable climate in both countries.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain how has the bilateral relations between evolved from outright hate in 1950’s to strategic partnership today. Also discuss about how there is a co-operation today in various fields from agriculture to defence to science and technology.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines define the current bilateral relations between India and Israel.

Body:

Discuss the evolution of India-Israel bilateral relations from 1948 onwards. Trace the changes in trends of co-operation. How and why is there a shift? Discuss the various areas of co-operation. Talk about the significance of growing India-Israel strategic relations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Israel and India are exploring to open new vistas of partnership in the world of finance, including collaboration between market regulators and allowing Israeli investment in corporate bonds, taking advantage of a favourable climate in both countries.

Body:

Evolution of Relations between India and Israel:

  • Outright hate:
    • For two countries that came into being in the same year — 1947, though Israel formally became free in 1948 — and from the same colonial master, the British, India’s relations with the newly created nation bordered on outright hostility, with New Delhi voting against the creation of the State of Israel at the UN in 1947 and also against its admission to the UN in 1949.
  • Grudging acceptance:
    • In 1950, India recognized Israel as a separate country, allowing it to appoint an honorary consul in Mumbai — a local Jewish resident — in 1951.
    • That was upgraded to a consulate in 1953, leading to a slow uptick in bilateral ties — most notably in 1956 when the Israeli foreign minister Moshe Sharett visited India in the backdrop of the Suez crisis.
  • Secret Alliance:
    • The 1962 India-China war was the first time that India reached out to Israel for help with arms and ammunition, with then Indian PM Jawaharlal Nehru writing to his Israeli counterpart Ben Gurion, who responded by sending ships loaded with weapons.
    • Even as the two nations publicly maintained distance — thanks to Tel Aviv’s pro-Washington stance and India’s founding of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in 1961, which was a de facto pro-Soviet forum — Israel responded to India’s call for help in the 1971 war with Pakistan and the 1999 Kargil war.
    • Today, India is Israel’s largest weapons buyer while Israel is the second largest weapons supplier for India, after Russia.
    • Not just weapons, India’s spy agency RAW, established in 1968 during Indira Gandhi’s tenure as PM, actively collaborated with Mossad, the Israeli Intelligence agency.
  • The thaw:
    • It was in 1992, with P V Narasimha Rao as PM that India finally established diplomatic relations with Israel — with several factors contributing to the decision.
    • Chief among them were the crumbling of the Soviet Union and the start of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in 1991, involving not just Tel Aviv and the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, but also Arab countries like Syria, Jordan and Lebanon — both of which gave New Delhi the necessary leeway to correct its pro-Soviet and pro-Arab tilt in its global diplomacy.
    • India’s public stance against Israel was seemingly an economic and political necessity to keep the oil-rich West Asian nations and certain domestic political constituents happy — with Arafat reportedly ready to help Indira Gandhi rally Muslim votes in India in her favour.
  • Open season:
    • The first inkling that the tide had turned in Israel’s favour came in 2015 when India abstained from voting against Israel at the UN Human Rights Commission.
    • That was followed by the first ever visit of an Indian PM to Israel when Modi paid a three-day visit in 2017 — even though it did vote against the move by US to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Areas of Co-operation:

  • Economic Relations:
    • Trade, technology and tourism are the three key areas in India-Israel economic relations.
    • Over the last 25 years, bilateral trade has increased from $200 million to more than $4 billion (excluding defence) in 2016-17.
    • Given India’s large market and huge consumer base, the numbers are low compared to India’s economic relations with other countries.
    • Israel will invest $68.6 million to boost cooperation with India in areas like tourism, technology, agriculture and innovation over a period of four years.
    • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) and its Israeli counterpart are exploring partnerships and the two sides are also focusing on cyber security collaboration to safeguard their financial markets
  • Defence Ties:
    • India already has robust defence ties with Israel which is expected to strengthen further.
    • India is the largest arms buyer from Israel; trade is to the tune of approximately $600 million.
    • If defence ties keep increasing at the same rate, Israel may replace Russia as India’s largest arms supplier.
    • Last year, India signed the biggest weapons deal in Israeli defence history, which is nearly $2 billion.
    • This will provide India with an advanced defence system of medium-range surface-to-air missiles, launchers and communications technology.
  • Counter Terrorism and Cyber Security:
    • In counter terrorism, intelligence gathering and retaliation, Israel has an exceptional good record and India need to learn from Israel how they have been able to mount surgical strikes all over.
    • Both India and Israel are vulnerable to cyber-attack. Cyber security would be very important concern of all governments.
  • Water and Agriculture:
    • India and Israel are set to jointly develop new crop varieties and share post-harvest technologies following the success of the 10-year-old Indo-Israeli Agriculture Project (IIAP).
    • Israel has become one of the foremost technology superpowers in areas such as rainwater harvesting, use of oceanic water and using that for irrigation in the driest land.
    • Israel has mastered water conservation techniques and India can learn from it.
    • It helps India to face its water stressed condition.
    • Another area of potential cooperation is cleaning polluted rivers.

Conclusion:

For too long, India has, under the guise of maintaining its strategic autonomy, shied away from explicit friendships in the international scenario. The India-Israel relationship must continue to expand. What just needs to be done away with is the normative posturing of the relationship which could potentially endanger India’s international relations and also its domestic situation.

 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

4. “India- EU relations are like a loveless arranged marriage “. Critically discuss. (250 words)

Reference : mea.gov.in 

Why this question:

For long, the EU and India partnership had been slow-moving and fragmented, struggling to maintain momentum. Unfairly large emphasis was laid on foreign policy cooperation, but on many issues divisions far exceeded commonalities, leading to disappointment and an overall delusion in the potential of the partnership. Today, not only do the EU and India have a thriving commercial relationship and growing security collaboration, but both partners have developed greater depth in political cooperation internationally while exploring new and innovative areas for further broadening their partnership.

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding about the India-EU relations, its evolution, the concerns and challenges and the way forward.

Directive:

Critically 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Provide the Background of India-EU relations.

  • India-EU relationship dates back to 1960s when India was the first country to establish relationship with European economic union which later evolved into common market -European union
  • For more than a decade, the EU and India partnership had been slow-moving and fragmented, struggling to maintain momentum. India was acknowledged as a strategic partner in 2004.
  • But fifteen years on there is still no mutually agreed set of clear priorities. The EU-India relationship fails to acknowledge each partner’s individual realities.

Body:

Discuss the following points:

  • Brief summary if India EU relations
    • Trade and Investment
    • Energy Cooperation
    • Research and development
    • And so on
  • Concerns in India-EU relations
    • India’s protectionism to automobile sector
    • India’s Intellectual property regime with the provision of compulsory licensing and manufacture of generic medicine
    • Domestic source obligation in the multi brand retail
    • European Union’s heavily subsidised agro industry. This could hurt Indian farmers
    • EU Import restriction: like ban on the import of mangoes from India
    • Work visa restriction – movement of skilled professionals
  • Way forward

Conclusion:

Based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:

India-EU relationship dates back to 1960s when India was the first country to establish relationship with European economic union which later evolved into common market -European union. For more than a decade, the EU and India partnership had been slow-moving and fragmented, struggling to maintain momentum. India was acknowledged as a strategic partner in 2004. But fifteen years on there is still no mutually agreed set of clear priorities. The EU-India relationship fails to acknowledge each partner’s individual realities.

Body:

Various facets of India-EU bilateral relations:

  • Trade and Investment:
    • The EU is India’s largest trading partner, accounting for 12.9% of India’s overall trade. Further the trade in services have almost tripled in last decade.
    • Overall, the EU is the second largest investor in India, with €70 billion of cumulative FDI from April 2000 to March 2017, accounting for almost one quarter of all investments flows into India.
  • EU and India remain close partners in the G20 and have developed a regular macroeconomic dialogue to exchange experience on economic policies and structural reforms.
  • Energy Cooperation: EU – India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership.
  • Research and Development: India, participates in international ITER fusion. India also participates in research and innovation funding programme ‘Horizon 2020’
  • Environment and Water: The EU and India also cooperate closely on the Indian Clean Ganga initiative and deal with other water-related challenges in coordinated manner.
  • Migration and mobility: The EU-India Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility (CAMM) is a fundamental cooperation agreement between India and EU.
  • Development cooperation: Over €150 million worth of projects are currently ongoing in India.

Concerns in India- EU relations:

  • Poor outcomes of strategic summits: The relationship remained far too focused on set-piece summits rather than fostering dynamic everyday linkages. Meetings, including summits, would be ritually cancelled and the paucity of high-level bilateral visits revealed a lack of political will. Unfairly large emphasis was laid on foreign policy cooperation, but on many issues divisions far exceeded commonalities, leading to disappointment and an overall delusion in the potential of the partnership.
  • EU ‘s concerns with India’s ‘human rights violations: India doesn’t take kindly to being lectured to on issues which she considers herself competent of handling. For example, India considers human rights violations as a domestic issue and would wish to handle it within India’s political space. EU’s insistence on including HR provisions into Free Trade Agreement has hampered trade between the two.
  • On multilateralism, EU-India interaction and coordination within UN bodies is not robust.
  • India’s bilateral relations with member countries: Given the lack of cohesion among the EU constituents on strategic issues, India prefers establishing bilateral relations rather than dealing with the EU as a whole.
  • The case of the two Italian marines being tried in India was manslaughter has become a festering wound. The EU’s stand on the issue is seen by many in India as a challenge to her sovereignty.
  • Dual use technology: EU’s reluctance to provide India with strategic dual use technology has pushed India into a closer huddle with the US and other European countries like France. India therefore, doesn’t see the EU as a reliable partner.
  • EU is characterised by over-institutionalized and over-bureaucratized, which makes it far less attractive as a bilateral partner as compared to less institutionalised regimes such as the ASEAN and SAARC.
  • EU has next to nothing to contribute to her energy demand or other principal security interests.
  • When it comes to India’s desire to find a permanent place on the UNSC, it is not the EU but the existing European permanent members, the UK and France, who bring more value to the table for India.
  • Finally, the on-going Eurozone crisis has greatly undermined India’s confidence in the EU.
  • Currently EU is the largest trading partner of India and account for 20% of India’s trade and a major source of FDI whereas India is the 9th largest trading partner.
  • Although trade remains the primary focus, negotiations for The free trade agreement (FTA) which was launched in 2007 is still being dragged due to the following reasons:
    • EU’s concerns:
      • India’s protectionism to automobile sector
      • India’s Intellectual property regime with the provision of compulsory licensing and manufacture of generic medicine
      • Domestic source obligation in the multi brand retail
      • Duty and tariff protection in areas of wine, spirits and dairy products
      • Civil nuclear energy generation legislation
      • Data Security: Based on current standard of protection to data in India the EU refused to grant the status of Data Secure Nation. Data secure nation needs to protect the important data related to innovation, research, individual details, IP etc. to be safeguarded. This affects High end business products specifically. European companies doing outsourcing business with countries not certified as data secure have to follow stringent contractual obligations that increase operating costs and affect competitiveness.
      • Vodafone case has threatened EU investors from entering India due to retrospective taxation measures. So such taxation is also acting as road block.
    • India’s concerns:
      • European Union’s heavily subsidised agro industry. This could hurt Indian farmers.
      • EU Import restriction: like ban on the import of mangoes from India
      • Work visa restriction – movement of skilled professionals
      • Technology transfer issues

Way forward:

  • A framework addressing the above mentioned issues could go a long way in strengthening ties in light of India and EU’s affinities and common concerns such as increasing fundamentalism.
  • India EU FTA has a lot of road blocks but it is in benefit of each other. EU will gain market of 1.2 billion whereas India will gain in terms of Technology, Investments from EU.
  • Both are needed to be pragmatic in approach while working on it in future. India’s share in services trade with EU can grow manifold.
  • Cheaper imports of European luxury items like cars, wine, European expertise in agriculture, infrastructure and urban management can augment Indian drive in make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan & agricultural research.
  • The EU has capacitated to deal with issues like global governance, climate change and the 2030 agenda for sustainable development. India must utilise this through bilateral dialogues and consultations.
  • Working on FTA and realising concrete results in other areas can make the India-EU partnership truly strategic. Deepen the strategic relations and go ahead with the long-term view on global and regional challenges, and a rule-based international order.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

5. What do you understand by Genome Sequencing? Discuss the various efforts by India in this regard and how will it lead to precision medicine and develop its commercial gene testing services?  (250 words)

Reference : Indian Express 

Why this question:

The ongoing analysis of the gene sequences of the novel coronavirus has so far not revealed anything to suggest that the virus present in India is in any way different from that circulating in other parts of the world. There is also no evidence, as of now, of any one particular strain of the virus being more deadly than the other, scientists have said.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward; one must explain the concept of what is genome sequencing and in what way it will help in precision medicine and commercial gene testing services.

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:

In brief explain the context of the question.

Body:

Explain first what is whole genome sequencing? Discuss the various efforts taken by the Government of India in this regard. Explain the challenges involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such a project.

Introduction:

A genome is the DNA, or sequence of genes, in a cell. Most of the DNA is in the nucleus and intricately coiled into a structure called the chromosome. The rest is in the mitochondria, the cell’s powerhouse. Every human cell contains a pair of chromosomes, each of which has three billion base pairs or one of four molecules that pair in precise ways. The order of base pairs and varying lengths of these sequences constitute the “genes”, which are responsible for making amino acids, proteins and, thereby, everything that is necessary for the body to function. It is when these genes are altered or mutated that proteins sometimes do not function as intended, leading to disease.

Body:

Genome sequencing is the process that involves deciphering the exact order of base pairs in an individual. This “deciphering” or reading of the genome is what sequencing is all about. Costs of sequencing differ based on the methods employed to do the reading or the accuracy stressed upon in decoding the genome.

Importance of Genome Sequencing:

  • A genetic test, which is commercially available at several outlets in the country, usually involves analysing only a portion of the genome that’s known to contain aberrant genes linked to disease.
  • It is important to ensure that India, with its unparalleled human diversity, is adequately represented in terms of genomic data and develops indigenous capacity to generate, maintain, analyse, utilize and communicate large-scale genome data, in a scalable manner.
  • Ever since the human genome was first sequenced in 2003, it opened a fresh perspective on the link between disease and the unique genetic make-up of each individual.
  • Nearly 10,000 diseases including cystic fibrosis, thalassemia are known to be the result of a single gene malfunctioning.
  • While genes may render some insensitive to certain drugs, genome sequencing has shown that cancer too can be understood from the viewpoint of genetics, rather than being seen as a disease of certain organs.
  • The human genome has about 3.2 billion base pairs and just 10 years ago cost about $10,000. Now prices have fallen to a tenth.

India’s efforts towards Genome sequencing:

  • Two institutes of Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi have started working together on the whole genome sequencing of novel coronavirus
  • IndiGen Genome project:
    • The IndiGen initiative was undertaken by CSIR in April 2019, which was implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.
    • The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.
    • This has enabled benchmarking the scalability of genome sequencing and computational analysis at population scale in a defined timeline.
    • The ability to decode the genetic blueprint of humans through whole genome sequencing will be a major driver for biomedical science.
    • IndiGen programme aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
  • Genome India:
    • The Government of India has cleared a gene-mapping project called “Genome India” recently.
    • To build a grid of the Indian “reference genome”, to understand fully the type and nature of diseases and traits that comprise the diverse Indian population.
    • This is spearheaded by the Centre for Brain Research at Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science as the nodal point of about 20 institutions.
    • Each of these institutions will do their bit in collecting samples, doing the computations, and then the research.
    • It hopes to form a grid after collecting 10,000 samples in the first phase from across India, to arrive at a representative Indian genome.
    • Most genomes have been sourced from urban middle-class persons and are not really seen as representative.
    • Over 95% of the genome samples available, which are the basis of new, cutting-edge research in medicine and pharmacology, use the Caucasian genome as the base.
    • So, this Indian genome project is seen as a necessity.

Conclusion:

CSIR is planning to train more clinicians for gene data interpretation and rope in more labs for sequencing. Apart from IGIB and CCMB, National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in Kolkata and Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru will also be part of the IndiGen project. More physicians are being trained to study medical genetics for speedier analysis.

 

 

Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

6. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent countrywide lockdown to prevent its transmission have variedly impacted the Indian Maoists. Critically examine. (250 words)

Reference :  idsa.in Economic Times 

Why this question:

the lockdown has certainly increased Maoists’ desperation to meet their demands of food supplies and other essentials. Maoists, all across the left wing extremism (LWE)-affected states, primarily procure their rations and other essential commodities through a network of aides from village-level haat bazaars (weekly markets).  With haat bazaars being temporarily shut, they are reportedly facing acute shortage of food supplies. Also, since the entire economic and construction activities have been grounded in these areas to ensure the efficacy of the lockdown, the Maoists’ finances have taken a beating given that extortions from contractors, mining industry, truck drivers, etc., formed a major part of their finances.

Key demand of the question

One needs to examine the how the COVID-19 lockdown has halted the finances and other support system to the Maoists, leading to increased pressure on the villagers nearby. Also one needs to talk about how this has led to variations in the form of attacks as seen in Sukma recently, while a faction of Naxals have apparently called for truce with the government authorities.

Directive word

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines briefly discuss the COVID-19 lockdown across nation and how it has affected the supplies of goods and services across the nation to one and all.

Body:

       The question must discuss the following points:

  • How the naxals are affected due to the lockdown and breakage in supply of goods and services.
  • The ramifications of the same in the form of attacks on the security forces, threats on the local villagers, headmen of village , exploiting the villagers for meeting their ends etc.
  • Also on the other hand, how a faction of naxals are calling for a truce with the government.

Also discuss why there is a need to remain cautious with respect to internal security and measures to attain the same.

Conclusion:

Give a balanced way forward.

Introduction:

Naxalism is considered to be one of the biggest internal security threats India faces. Naxal violence is related to the intensity of the feeling of people of their deprivation and their commitment to take revenge against those who are believed to be responsible for such denial. Recently, 17 security personnel killed in Sukma Maoist attack in Chattisgarh.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent countrywide lockdown to prevent its transmission have variedly impacted the Indian Maoists. While there are no verified inputs that suggest confirmed cases of coronavirus among their cadres, the lockdown has certainly increased Maoists’ desperation to meet their demands of food supplies and other essentials.

Body:

Impacts on Maoists:

  • Maoists, all across the left wing extremism (LWE)-affected states, primarily procure their rations and other essential commodities through a network of aides from village-level haat bazaars (weekly markets).
  • With haat bazaars being temporarily shut, they are reportedly facing acute shortage of food supplies.
  • Also, since the entire economic and construction activities have been grounded in these areas to ensure the efficacy of the lockdown, the Maoists’ finances have taken a beating given that extortions from contractors, mining industry, truck drivers, etc., formed a major part of their finances.

The resulting impacts on the villagers and tribals:

  • The Maoists are reported to have devised a few coping mechanisms to overcome the impact of the lockdown on their supplies of rations and finances, albeit in a minuscule way.
  • The Maoists in Bastar are forcing the village headmen and others to arrange rations for them. Places where villagers are unable to arrange large stocks of rice, the Maoists are snatching a one-month free ration from each of the below poverty line (BPL) families.
  • The Maoists are also allegedly transporting stranded migrant workers to their respective villages in lieu of money.
  • The lockdown situation has increased Maoists’ desperation and they are exploiting the villagers for meeting their ends.

Truce call by a few Maoists’ to overcome the effects of lockdown:

  • The Maoists had reportedly offered a temporary unilateral ceasefire early this month in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha, especially in the regions falling under Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC).
  • While the Maoists’ refrain is to ‘facilitate government’s relief operations in their core areas to fight COVID-19’, it is believed that the offer is opportunistic and misleading.
  • The factors that might have influenced the Maoists’ decision to initiate a truce call are: achieving a possible breather in hitherto intensified security offensive in their core areas, and the increased social pressure to pave the way for COVID-19 relief operations in remote villages, which otherwise might increase the miseries of the underprivileged masses.
  • The veracity of the truce call is also debatable as it has not come from the all-powerful Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoist) or CPI (Maoist).

But challenges remain:

  • Moreover, the Maoists have not relented on their violent campaigns in the most affected states of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand8 and Bihar.
  • The Maoist ambush of March 21-22, wherein 17 security personnel were killed and 15 others severely injured in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma District is a case in point.
  • The Maoists are, in fact, shoring up their strength and preparing for future operations.
  • They are reportedly holding village-level meetings and recruiting ground-level forces in the remote villages of Jagdalpur, Dantewada, and Sukma districts.
  • It is believed that the Maoists could also offer money and enlist the jobless migrant workers returning to their villages.
  • Recently, a large group of armed Maoists from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal has reportedly joined their Bastar colleagues to up the ante against the security forces.
  • They are torching road construction vehicles, digging up the roads that lead to the strategically important police camps in remote villages and planting landmines on the deserted lanes to target the security patrols.
  • Besides, the Maoists’ recent forays in the areas of Todma and the Dantewada-Katekalyan main road are testimony of their increased activities during the lockdown.

Measures needed:

  • Good governance:
    • The presence of Naxals in the country also reveals the loopholes in the law and order of the country which has failed to curb the menace.
    • Central government needs to implement a coherent national strategy to end Naxalism.
  • Dialogue:
    • Dialogues between the Naxal leaders, and the government officials can be a way work out a solution.
    • The government should initiate sincere dialogue with Naxalites.
  • Generate more employment and increase wages:
    • Insecure livelihood and unemployment in the areas have left the people with no option but to join the Naxals.
    • If we are actually thinking of ways to end Naxalism, we’ll first have to provide the people of the area with proper employment opportunities with increased wages
  • Rehabilitation and resettlement:
    • mining grounds, irrigation areas, industries, etc., in the area without any provision for the resettlement of the displaced people has only added to the woes of the poor
    • There needs to be more emphasis on rehabilitation of these affected population
  • Prevent environmental degradation:
    • Environmental degradation in the form of destruction of land and water resources due to mining and industrial activates
    • The locals are left with disrupted lives and adversely affecting tourism
  • Stop the political marginalization of weaker sections
    • Weaker sections of the society, the schedule castes and schedule tribes still face discrimination from the upper class.
    • These downtrodden sections don’t enjoy equal participation in casting and contesting politically, making them soft targets of Naxals.
  • Remove disparity:
    • Economic disparity and the growing distance between rich and the poor is one of the main problems that has contributed to the growth of Naxalism
    • This distance needs to be filled to an extent hastily to stop Naxalism
  • Let ordinary citizens have access to basic resources
    • One of the major reasons for unrest is the exploitation of forest and lands of the tribal people for industrial purposes.
    • The loss of land and the lack of basic facilities like education, freedom, sanitation and food
  • Take steps for welfare of the tribals:
    • The socially backward tribals form the major support base for Naxalites because of inequality, illiteracy and lack of opportunities.
    • It’s important to prevent these people from falling in the Naxal trap.
  • Modernize law enforcement agencies:
    • the major policing lies in the hands of the state governments
    • At federal level, many agencies are under the command of Union Ministry of Home Affairs
    • Central government must inroads into these disturbed states with their agencies well-equipped with modern artillery and assist the usually poorly-equipped agencies of the state.

Need of the Hour:

  • Central and State governments, the administration and the security establishment need to recognise that the movement cannot be approached from a purely law and order point of view.
  • The process of improving the conditions of the poor and the tribals clearly need to be speeded up if the movement is to be effectively checked.
  • Winning the hearts and minds of the tribal population and other marginalised groups will lie at the core of the counter-insurgency strategy
  • Development of road and rail infrastructure will not only enhance economic growth and development but will also help in countering Maoist propaganda
  • The improved road connectivity will also have a multiplier effect on the effectiveness of the security forces in carrying out operations.
  • Providing incentives and alternate life support system to those surrendered

Conclusion:

Through a holistic approach focusing on development and security related interventions, the LWE problem can be successfully tackled. Civil society and the media should build pressure on the Maoists to eschew violence, join the mainstream and recognise the fact that the socio-economic and political dynamics and aspirations of 21st Century India are far removed from the Maoist world-view. An ideology based on violence and annihilation is doomed to fail in a democracy which offers legitimate forums of grievance redressal.

 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics.

7. Ethics are less a goal than a pathway, less a destination than a trip, less an inoculation than a process. Illustrate. (250 words).

Reference : Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The question is about evaluation of Ethics as a subject more of a process than mere end.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the evolution of “Ethics” as a process and not mere end.

Directive:

Illustrate – means use examples; data, diagrams and charts to make it clearer (clarify by giving an example).

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines define what you understand by Ethics.

Body:

The answer needs to be a narrative of examples justifying that ethics doesn’t just mean the final end but the process that takes one to the end. Bring in philosophies of moral thinkers, ideologies that justify means are equally important as that of ends. Students must appreciate the answer mainly through a good set of examples in such questions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of Ethics in general.

Introduction:

Ethics is the study of what is right or wrong in human conduct. This is a branch of Philosophy which studies moral principles.

Body:

Ethics is considered as a set of principles by which to live; a code of conduct for our relationships with all whom we come in contact. Ethics encompasses social mores, usually expressed today as good manners; our behaviour towards our fellow humans and fellow creatures; and trust.

Ethics should be a process and not mere end in itself. For instance, in case of administration, if only achieving the result becomes important, then process might take a backseat thereby giving more discretion to bureaucrats resulting in abuse of power or corruption to tweak the process.

Similarly, if just following rules becomes end in itself, then results will not be achieved resulting in inefficiency. Thus, ethics should be not just of following rules and sticking to process, but achieving goals by following process. Example: Determining eligibility of a poor old woman for pension despite lack of documents

Ethics is a requirement for human life. It is our means of deciding a course of action. Without it, our actions would be random and aimless. There would be no way to work towards a goal because there would be no way to pick between a limitless number of goals.

Another instance can be a student should be ethical in facing examination like not cheating, sticking to the time limits etc. however, it should not be an end in itself. He/she should also try to give their best and top the exam.

The process where the duty or actions matter and as important as ends itself is in the branch of Deontological ethics. Even Gandhiji always emphasized on how the means are as important as the ends. He always followed the path of truth and non-violence as evident through his decision to immediately call of Non-Cooperation Movement in 1922 soon after the Chauri-Chaura incident.

Conclusion:

Thus, we can conclude that Ethics is a means of life and following the means will help us achieve the end in itself. Ethics is not a burden to bear, but a prudent and effective guide which furthers life and success. Any flaw in our ethics will reduce our ability to be successful in our endeavours.