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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 May 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:  The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1.  “What the reforms of 1909 gave to people of country was more of a shadow than substance.” Analyze the statement. (250 words)

Reference:  History  of Modern Indian by Bipin Chandra

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

Explain the lop sides of the Act of 1909 in detail and in what way it was more of a shadow than substance.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The Reforms of 1909, commonly known as the Morley Minto Reforms were introduced to placate the moderates and driving them away from the extremists.

Body:

To start with explain the coming of the 1909 reforms, bring out the circumstances under which it came into force. Discuss what the demands of the moderates were, like expansion of legislative council, responsible government etc. With examples show how these reforms were just a shadow of what was actually demanded.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the constitutional reforms instead of solving the political problems of the country just shown a shadow of the actual reforms.

Introduction:

The Morley-Minto reforms named after the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs Lord John Morley and the Viceroy Lord Minto was the alternative name given to Indian Councils Act 1909. It introduced for the first time the method of election, an attempt to widen the scope of legislative councils, placate the demands of moderates in Indian National Congress and to increase the participation of Indians in the governance. The Act amended the Indian Councils Acts of 1861 and 1892.

Body:

Background of the Act

  • In October 1906, a group of Muslim elites called the Shimla Deputation, led by the Agha Khan, met Lord Minto and demanded separate electorates for the Muslims and representation in excess of their numerical strength in view of ‘the value of the contribution’ Muslims were making ‘to the defence of the empire’.
  • The same group quickly took over the Muslim League, initially floated by Nawab Salimullah of Dacca along with Nawabs Mohsin-ul- Mulk and Waqar-ul-Mulk in December 1906.
  • The Muslim League intended to preach loyalty to the empire and to keep the Muslim intelligentsia away from the Congress.
  • John Morley, the Liberal Secretary of State for India, and the Conservative Viceroy of India, Minto, believed that cracking down on uprising in Bengal was necessary but not sufficient for restoring stability to the British Raj after Lord Curzon’s partitioning of Bengal.
  • They believed that a dramatic step was required to put heart into loyal elements of the Indian upper classes and the growing Westernised section of the population.

Features of the Act

  • It considerably increased the size of the legislative councils, both Central and provincial. The number of members in the Central Legislative Council was raised from 16 to 60. The number of members in the provincial legislative councils was not uniform.
  • British retained official majority in the Central Legislative Council but allowed the provincial legislative councils to have non-official majority.
  • The elected members were to be indirectly elected. The local bodies were to elect an electoral college, which in turn would elect members of provincial legislatures, who in turn would elect members of the central legislature.
  • It enlarged the deliberative functions of the legislative councils at both the levels. For example, members were allowed to ask supplementary questions, move resolutions on the budget, and so on.
  • It provided for the first time for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the Viceroy and Governors. Satyendra Prasad Sinha became the first Indian to join the Viceroy’s Executive Council. He was appointed as the law member. Two Indians were nominated to the Council of the Secretary of State for Indian Affairs.
  • It introduced a system of communal representation for Muslims by accepting the concept of ‘separate electorate’. Under this, the Muslim members were to be elected only by Muslim voters. Thus, the Act ‘legalised communalism’ and Lord Minto came to be known as the Father of Communal Electorate.
  • It also provided for the separate representation of presidency corporations, chambers of commerce, universities and zamindars.

Evaluation of the Reforms:

  • The reforms of 1909 afforded no answer and could afford no answer to the Indian political problem. Lord Morley made it clear that colonial self-government (as demanded by the Congress) was not suitable for India, and he was against introduction of parliamentary or responsible government in India.
  • The position of the Governor- General remained unchanged and his veto power remained undiluted and the Act was successfully maintained relentless constitutional autocracy.
  • The ‘constitutional’ reforms were, in fact, aimed at dividing the nationalist ranks by confusing the Moderates and at checking the growth of unity among Indians through the obnoxious instrument of separate electorates.
  • The Government aimed at rallying the Moderates and the Muslims against the rising tide of nationalism.
  • The officials and the Muslim leaders often talked of the entire community when they talked of the separate electorates, but in reality it meant the appeasement of a small section of the Muslim elite only.
  • Congress considered separate electorate to be undemocratic and hindering the development of a shared Hindu-Muslim Indian national feeling.
  • Besides, system of election was too indirect and it gave the impression of infiltration of legislators through a number of sieves.
  • And, while parliamentary forms were introduced, no responsibility was conceded, which sometimes led to thoughtless and irresponsible criticism of the Government.
  • Only some members like Gokhale put to constructive use the opportunity to debate in the councils by demanding universal primary education, attacking repressive policies and drawing attention to the plight of indentured labour and Indian workers in South Africa.
  • The reforms of 1909 gave to the people of the country a shadow rather than substance.

The Act of 1909 was important for the following reasons:

  • It effectively allowed the election of Indians to the various legislative councils in India for the first time, though previously some Indians had been appointed to legislative councils.
  • The introduction of the electoral principle laid the groundwork for a parliamentary system even though this was contrary to the intent of Morley.
  • It also gave recognition to the elective principle as the basis of the composition of legislative council for the first time.
  • It gave some further avenues to Indians to ventilate their grievances. They also got opportunity to criticise the executives and make suggestions for better administration
  • After Jinnah’s death in September 1948, Pakistan lurched towards Islamic orthodoxy and Dalits faced mounting attacks.

Conclusion:

Indian Council Act of 1909 was instituted to placate the moderates and appeasement to the disseminate Muslims from National Movement by granting them separate electorate. The people had demanded self-government but what they were given was ‘benevolent despotism’.

 

Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

2. With respect to Indian foreign policy, Do you think it’s time for India to strengthen its national security structures and introduce flexibility? Examine.(250 words)  

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The author discusses the changing dimensions of foreign policy amidst changing equations in the world.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need to revisit Indian foreign policy and strengthen its national security structures and introduce flexibility.

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:

Present briefly the context of the question.

Body:

To start with explain the fact that we are living in a time when there is a deep sense of strategic confusion. In India’s case, that confusion extends to it being not just about the ultimate goal India’s foreign policy should pursue but also over the best means to achieve them. Explain that it has a moment of double opportunity if it changes its ways. Tactically, China-U.S. contention — which is structural and, therefore, likely to continue for some time with a paradigm shift away from cooperation to increasing contention.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to revisit Indian foreign policy and strengthen its national security structures and introduce flexibility.

Introduction:

National interest has been the governing principle of India’ foreign policy even at the time, of Nehru who was inspired by the ideal of world peace, toleration and mutual respect among nations. Foreign policy is not a fixed concept as it keeps on changing according to changing domestic and international conditions. In operational terms, the idea of national interest takes the form of concrete objectives of foreign policy. The secondary national interest may change with time but the primary national interest endures.

Body:

India’s core foreign policy objectives are:

foreign_policy

The geopolitical scenario of the world is changing, and this has brought up new global issues for India deal with. Therefore, various aspects of India’s foreign policy also are required to be changed to fit the changing geopolitics of the world.

Changing geopolitics of the world:

South Asian concerns and realities to India:

  • In this backdrop, India needs to rework many of its policies in the coming five years.
  • South Asia, in particular, and the region of our highest priority, needs close attention.
  • The region is one of the most disturbed in the world and India has little or no say in any of the outcomes taking place.
  • India-Pakistan relations are perhaps at their lowest point. Tarring Pakistan with the terror brush is hardly policy, and stable relations continue to be elusive.
  • India has no role in Afghan affairs and is also excluded from current talks involving the Taliban, the Afghan government, Pakistan, the U.S. and even Russia and China.
  • India might have recouped its position more recently in the Maldives, but its position in Nepal and Sri Lanka remains tenuous. In West Asia again, India is no longer a player to reckon with.

China, US, Eurasia Challenges:

  • China is the major challenge that India has to contend with. Smaller countries in the region are being inveigled to participate in China’s programmes such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • India and Bhutan are the only two countries in this region that have opted out of the BRI, and they seem like the odd men out.
  • Deepening India-U.S. relations today again carry the danger of India becoming involved in a new kind of Cold War.
  • India must ensure that it does not become a party to the conflicts and rivalries between the U.S. and a rising China, the heightened tensions between the U.S. and Russia, and also avoid becoming a pawn in the U.S.-Iran conflict.
  • Closer relations with the U.S. also carries the risk of aggravating tensions between India and China, even as China and the U.S.
  • The U.S.-China-Russia conflict has another dimension which could affect India
  • The strategic axis forged between the Mr. Putin’s Russia and Mr. Xi’s China will impact not only the U.S. but also India’s position in both Asia and Eurasia, with India being seen as increasingly aligned to the U.S.
  • Hence, India needs to devise a policy that does not leave it isolated in the region.
  • The challenge in the coming years for India is to check the slide, especially in Asia, and try and restore India to the position it held previously. India cannot afford to wait too long to rectify the situation.

Increasing Chinese influence in South Asian region:

  • Defence outreach: Back in 1980s and 1990s there was a Sino-Pak military axis; today even the defence forces of Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives have Chinese equipment.
  • Friendlier approach: China is off late changing its hostile relationships with some neighbours to becoming friendlier. For example, with Philippines, Myanmar, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.
  • Soft loans: China has been extending soft-loans to neighbouring nations to help them develop state of infrastructure. The downside of this has been countries being caught in a debt-trap, like in Sri Lanka and Maldives.
  • Concerns about China involvement: China has only two real friends in the world: Pakistan and North Korea. Big and small nations are increasingly wary about Chinese intensions.
  • Even in The Arctic Circle council, Greenland (Denmark) expressed deep distrust towards China’s investment in its aviation sector.
  • Reorienting diplomacy: China’s ‘major power diplomacy’ consists of four aspects: economic expansion, political penetration, “friendship” creation, and core interest protection.

Need to focus on newer threats as well:

  • As India intensifies its search for state-of-the-art military equipment from different sources, it may be worthwhile for India to step back and reconsider some of its options.
  • Military power is but one aspect of the conflicts that rage today. Experts point out that outright war, insurgencies and terror attacks are fast becoming passé.
  • Nations confront many other and newer threats at present. Today, disruptive technologies have tremendous danger potential and nations that possess these technologies have the ability to become the dominant powers in the 21st and 22nd Centuries.
  • A major challenge for India will hence be how to overcome our current inadequacies in the realm of disruptive technologies rather than remaining confined to the purely military domain.
  • The U.S., China, Russia, Israel and few other countries dominate these spheres as also cyberspace and cyber methodologies.

Measures needed in the neighborhood:

  • India must regain its role as a prime mover of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the organisation it abandoned.
  • Indian government must promote the alternate regional groupings such as South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC), BIMSTEC, the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Initiative and Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • India must recognise that doing better with its neighbours is not about investing more or undue favours. It is about following a policy of mutual interests and of respect.
  • India is more culturally attuned to than China is. Each of India’s neighbours shares more than a geographical context with India. They share history, language, tradition and even cuisine.
  • With the exception of Pakistan, none of them sees itself as a rival to India, or India as inimical to its sovereignty.
  • When dealing with Beijing bilaterally, New Delhi must match China’s aggression, and counter its moves with its own.
  • When dealing with China in South Asia, however, India must do exactly the opposite, and not allow itself to be outpaced.
  • Maintaining regional peace is the responsibility of all the countries. India needs to rekindle the SAARC process in order to secure historical affinity with its neighbours.
  • Indian policymakers must take the long view and pursue an approach of peaceful competition in the neighbourhood.

Way forward:

  • Despite a plethora of official statements, the state of the economy remains a matter of increasing concern. India needs to pays greater heed to its economy.
  • Notwithstanding India’s ambition to become a $5-trillion economy by 2024-25, the reality today is that the economy appears to be in a state of decline.
  • New policy parameters will need to be drawn up by India, and our capabilities enhanced in areas such as artificial intelligence, biotechnology and cyber methodology, all of which constitute critical elements of the disruptive technology matrix.
  • Neither the Economic Survey nor the Budget contain useful pointers to a more robust economy, one that is capable of providing a higher rate of growth, more opportunities for skilled labour, and greater potential for investments.
  • The looming challenge for India in the coming five years, therefore, would be how to build a strong economic foundation, one that is capable of providing the kind of power structure needed for an emerging power, and also one possessing the best liberal credentials.

Conclusion:

In international community every country has to interact with other countries. This interaction is not haphazard but takes place with definite orientations and objectives. These orientations and objectives form the core of foreign policy. National security is an example of primary interest. No country can compromise with her national security for the sake of most beloved principles of foreign policy. Thus, the foreign policy is the instrument to realize the national interest of a country. A foreign policy bereft of national interest is a purposeless exercise.

 

Topic:  Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

3. What are some of the practical ways by which countries can boost social inclusion as well as economic growth? Discuss in the context of India.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Economy- Uma Kapila.

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

The answer expects elaboration on ways and means of social inclusion as well as economic growth.

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:

Explain briefly what you understand by inclusive growth.

Body:

To start with explain that Inclusive growth means economic growth that creates employment opportunities and helps in reducing poverty. It means having access to essential services in health and education by the poor. It includes providing equality of opportunity, empowering people through education and skill development. Suggest methods by which countries can boost social inclusion as well as economic growth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Social inclusion is the process of improving the terms on which individuals and groups take part in society—improving the ability, opportunity, and dignity of those disadvantaged on the basis of their identity. Exclusion can rob individuals of dignity, security, and the opportunity to lead a better life.

Body:

Costs of social exclusion:

  • At the individual level, the loss of wages, lifetime earnings, poor education, and employment outcomes are the commonest measures of costs. Social exclusion is often solidified through discrimination, which can have physical and mental health costs.
  • At the national level, the economic cost of social exclusion can be captured by forgone gross domestic product (GDP) and human capital wealth. Exclusion or the perception of exclusion may cause certain groups to opt out of markets, services, and spaces, with costs to both individuals and the economy.
  • A recent International Monetary Fund (IMF) paper shows that the current gender gap in the labor force costs countries at the bottom half of gender inequality around 35 percent of GDP.
  • A 2018 World Bank paper estimates that Africa alone lost $ 2.5 trillion in human capital due to gender inequality and 11.4% of total wealth in 2014.
  • Another study found that exclusion of the ethnic minority Roma cost Romania 887 million euros in lost productivity.

Steps taken by the government for Inclusive Growth:

The government has realized the importance of inclusive growth and has taken steps accordingly. Some of the steps taken by the government are:

  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan
  • Right to Education
  • Midday meal scheme
  • MNREGA
  • Housing for All
  • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
  • National Social Assistance Programme
  • National Health Mission
  • Rashtriya Swasthya Suraksha Yojana
  • Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyothi Bhima Yojana
  • Skill India, Make in India and Digital India
  • Right to Information
  • Other initiatives like Payment Banks, Small Finance Banks.

When the social indicators of an individual and a society improves by social inclusion measures, it leads to improved economic growth as they start contributing in various ways. World Economic Forum has suggested 3 practical ways by which countries can boost social inclusion as well as economic growth:

  • First, countries should increase public and private investment in their citizens’ capabilities, which is the most important way they can durably lift their rate of productivity growth.
  • Second, governments, together with employers’ and workers’ organizations, should upgrade national rules and institutions relating to work. These influence the quantity and distribution of job opportunities and compensation, and thus the level of purchasing power and aggregate demand within the economy.
  • Third, countries should increase public and private investment in labor-intensive economic sectors that generate wider benefits for society. These include sustainable water, energy, digital, and transport infrastructure, care sectors, the rural economy, and education and training.

Other ways:

  • Research into the effects and causes of social exclusion.
  • Educational and awareness campaigns on the needs of people who are socially excluded.
  • To encourage service providers to adapt their services to meet their needs, or the public to generally be more accepting of, and engaging with, particular communities;
  • regeneration activities to change and improve the social and economic circumstances of a community.
  • providing a local network group, linking groups in an area concerned with different issues affecting a particular community to enable them to make a more effective and joined up approach.
  • increasing or coordinating opportunities for particular communities to participate in society. For instance, decision making on certain aspects by local decision making groups like local governments.

Way forward for India:

  • Indian government along with the state governments and local governments should continue to focus on eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development in order to improve the lives of India’s people.
  • Through innovative partnerships with an international organization, civil societies, and private companies, inclusive and equitable growth can be targeted.
  • Inclusive growth will help in the empowerment of vulnerable and marginalized populations, improve livelihoods, and augment skill-building for women.

Conclusion:

Inclusive growth is of vital importance to fight inequality in all aspects and promote holistic development of individuals in the country. Inclusive growth is necessary for the sustainable and holistic development of all sections of the society. For economic, social and political empowerment of its citizens, the core components of the Inclusive growth must be tackled.

 

Topic:  Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

4. “ Economic growth is a precondition for inclusive growth”, Do you agree? Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Economy- Uma Kapila.

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail in what way economic growth is a precondition for inclusive growth.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present briefly the salient features of inclusive growth.

Body:

To start with explain the fact that the growth is inclusive growth when it is socially inclusive, regionally balanced, which enables every state to do better than in the past, which narrows the gap between different communities, which also brings in our concern for gender equality, upliftment of women, improving their educational condition and social status. Economic growth is a precondition for inclusive growth, though the nature and composition of growth has to be conducive to inclusion.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it.

Introduction:

The concept of inclusive growth focuses on equitable growth for all sections of society. This involves ensuring that fruits of growth and development reach the poor and marginalized sections as well. Inclusiveness is a multi-dimensional concept. Inequalities that include, social exclusion, discrimination, restrictions on migration, constraints on human development, lack of access to finance and insurance, corruption – are sources of inequality and limit the prospect for economic advancement among certain segments of the population, thereby perpetuating poverty

Body:

Economic growth is a precondition for inclusive growth, though the nature and composition of growth has to be conducive to inclusion.

  • Inclusive growth is to include the poor and lagging socio-economic groups such as ethnic / tribal groups, weaker sections as well as lagging regions as partners and beneficiaries of economic growth.
  • The Inclusive growth addresses the constraints of the excluded and the marginalised. It has to open up opportunities for them to be partners in growth.
  • Inclusive growth should be non-discriminatory and favourable for the excluded. This implies that inclusive growth has to be broad-based in terms of coverage of regions, and labour-intensive in terms of creating large-scale productive employment opportunities in the economy.
  • Inclusive growth is expected to reduce poverty faster in the sense that it has to have a higher elasticity of poverty reduction.
  • Inclusive growth has to ensure access of people to basic infrastructure and basic services/capabilities such as basic health and education. This access should include not only the quantity, but also quality of these basic services.
  • Inclusive growth should reduce vertical as well as horizontal inequalities in incomes and assets.

However, only economic growth does not automatically translate into widely shared gains. Policy choices matter: abject poverty has persisted despite rapid growth in several economies, while some poorer and slower-growing economies have been remarkably successful in alleviating extreme poverty and social deprivation. The relatively even distribution of income and wealth in several Asian “tiger” economies and, before them, in the Nordic countries, demonstrates that equality is associated with sustained strong economic performance. By contrast, high levels of inequality in other economies have coincided with volatile economic performance.

Way forward:

  • Economic policies, particularly those aimed at fostering market integration, tend to impact on men and women differently, and development strategies should aim to promote gender and other forms of equality, in order not only to increase social welfare and facilitate the realization of human potential but also to improve the underlying performance of the economy.
  • Policy makers will have to pay particular attention to the agricultural sector, public investments in the social sectors, and, most importantly, the employment content of growth in order to achieve inclusive development paths.
  • In terms of social sector spending, public sector investments in education, training and health programmes allow countries to address different aspects of poverty and exclusion directly.
  • Investments in social services can also boost aggregate demand that “crowds in” private investment.
  • Cash transfers can support vulnerable groups, including single parents, children, older persons, and persons with disabilities or chronic illnesses, who may have few alternative sources of income.
  • The most critical component of inclusive growth is the creation of decent jobs. Full, productive and decent employment is the most important source of income security and it paves the way for broader social and economic advancement, strengthening individuals, their families and communities.

 

Topic:  role of media and social networking sites

5. The infodemic on social media around Covid crisis calls for a multi-pronged approach. Elaborate.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is amidst the ongoing crisis which is witnessing infodemic on social media around Covid crisis and in what way it calls for a multi-pronged approach.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the issues around Infodemic marring the social media.

Directive:

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:

Present briefly the current situation.

Body:

To start with explain the fact that with the COVID crisis pandemic there is an accompanied infodemic that needs urgent attention. With various sources (both institutional and individual) attempting to fill the information gaps, we often attend to contradictory information circulating on various social media platforms. Explain the factors responsible for such an infodemic. Suggest solutions to address it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

Infodemic refers to an excessive amount of information concerning a problem such that the solution is made more difficult. Some experts believe that an infodemic, or an excessive amount of both correct and incorrect information, is spreading around the world. The worst-case scenario is that inaccurate information is potentially spreading faster than the virus itself, causing people to make poorly informed decisions. The WHO has declared misinformation and fear as some of the biggest challenges they face with the new coronavirus.

Body:

Challenges posed by Infodemic:

  • WHO is leading the effort to slow the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • But a global epidemic of misinformation—spreading rapidly through social media platforms and other outlets—poses a serious problem for public health.
  • every outbreak will be accompanied by a kind of tsunami of information, but also within this information you always have misinformation, rumours etc,
  • But the difference now with social media is that this phenomenon is amplified, it goes faster and further, like the viruses that travel with people and go faster and further.
  • In a country such as India, where 400 million turn to a single messaging app for sharing news and stories about any and everything, more than 240 million are on Facebook and, often, using it as the predominant source of news, a critical mass of misinformation leads to misdirected behaviours.
  • In times of crises, cybersecurity is critically important, he stressed, adding that a huge number of people under lockdown or movement restrictions are now working and studying remotely, making them susceptible to cybercrime.
  • Some instances are hard to ignore some dominant narratives: Bioweapons origins of the coronavirus (false); Bill Gates was behind it (false); UNICEF’s recommendations for warding off infection (unauthorised).

Measures taken up:

  • Immediately after COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, WHO’s risk communication team launched a new information platform called WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN), with the aim of using a series of amplifiers to share tailored information with specific target groups.
  • WHO is also working closely with UNICEF and other international agencies that have extensive experience in risk communications, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
  • Social-media companies must sort, rank, and prioritize true and reliable information now more than ever.
  • Web companies such as Pinterest have already introduced headers and links on their homepages with information about Covid-19, for example.

Way forward:

  • Maintaining a system of fact-checking and tough standards regarding COVID-19 and weeding out messages, hashtags and transmitters that fail to meet them.
  • The traditional media has a key role in providing evidence-based information to the general public, which will then hopefully be picked up on social media.
  • For both social and conventional media, it is important that the public health community help the media to “better understand what they should be looking for, because the media sometimes gets ahead of the evidence”.
  • We, as users, have a responsibility to find better ways to seek advice or substitutes for that dopamine rush of sharing a message instantly liked, commented on and shared by others.
  • As a society, much like our global response to the coronavirus, we cannot rely on bottom-up decisions.
  • We need decisive leadership from the top. In the digital nations we inhabit, Facebook, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, it is imperative that the leaders of these nations act – and act now.
  • It is about time, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook/WhatsApp), Sundar Pichai (Google/YouTube), Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and Zhang Yiming (TikTok) made some tough calls, much like what their own political leaders have done.
  • It would be more useful if instead of a coy “Forwarded” note, WhatsApp had a note that said, “For Reliable Medical Advice, Check Out the WHO” or some other trustworthy medical authority

Conclusion:

It is time to step up and help us all practise social media distancing by enforcing stricter standards. Beyond India, the entire developing world relies on your platforms for news about the pandemic. If there ever was a time to demonstrate vision and leadership, this is the time for the digital leaders to flatten the curve of the infodemic before it flattens the most vulnerable populations on the planet.

 

Topic:  Environment: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

6.  Discuss the impact of climate change on the water security of the country and suggest mitigation measures to reduce the impacts.(250 words)

Reference:  The HIndu 

Why this question:

The article titled “Water wisdom during a pandemic” brings to us the impact of climate change on the water security of the country.

Key demand of the question:

One must deliberate on the impact of climate change on the water security of the country and suggest measures to mitigate the same.

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:

Discuss in short what is current issue associated with water security in India.

Body:

To start with explain importance of water; Water is the primary medium through which climate change impacts trickle down to the community and individual levels, primarily through reduced predictability of water availability. Then move onto explain the impact of climate change, Increased precipitation and flooding in certain areas and less precipitation and longer and more severe droughts in other areas. Explain the impact all over the geography and expanse of the country. Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

Climate change impacts the world’s water in complex ways. Climate change manifests itself primarily through changes in the water cycle. As climate changes, droughts, floods, melting glaciers, sea-level rise and storms intensify or alter, often with severe consequences. Climate change impacts have direct consequences for water security and conflict.

Body:

The 2020 edition of the World Water Development Report (WWDR 2020) entitled ‘Water and Climate Change’ aims at helping the water community to tackle the challenges of climate change and informing the climate change community about the opportunities that improved water management offers in terms of adaptation and mitigation.

water_security

Impact of climate change on water security:

  • The ever increasing dependence on ground water and its continuous excessive exploitation is reducing the ground water level and adversely affecting the quality of drinking water supply, which is a complex challenge.
  • Drying of water sources, rapid depletion of ground water table, recurrence of drought and deteriorating water management in different states are presenting different types of challenges.
  • Repairs of closed bore pumps, water supply pipelines are not being done on time due to which there is a special crisis in the area.
  • Due to the pressure of industrialization and urbanization, the sources of water have been destroyed. This worrying aspect was consistently ignored by various governments.
  • Fluoride, nitrate, pesticides, etc. were found to be present in more than acceptable limits in the ground water of most cities and about 19,000 villages. Water quality is challenging in this regard.
  • Studies sponsored by the World Bank and UNICEF show that not only is drinking water inadequate in rural India but its imbalance is widespread across the country.
  • Waterborne diseases are the biggest health challenge in India. According to official statistics published in the National Health Profile of India-2018, about one quarter or four cases reported in India are due to communicable diseases and one in every five deaths is due to waterborne diseases.
  • Water crisis has become a major problem in 30 countries of the world and in the next decade about two-thirds of the global population will face extreme water shortage. In real terms water crisis has become a major challenge in India.

Measures needed:

  • Water efficiency:
    • Incentivize the wider adoption of sprinkler and drip irrigation by diverting resources otherwise used to subsidize power and surface irrigation.
    • Special emphasis should be laid on desilting of water bodies, including river, lakes, ponds and reservoirs.
  • Recycle of waste water:
    • With the country generating 140 bcm of wastewater annually, a pilot scheme to irrigate 10 lakh ha with treated waste water by 2020 may initially be taken up.
    • Industries should be encouraged to meet a major share of their demand through recycled water. Besides, programmes for smart water meters and tradable permits for use of recycled water may be launched.
  • Water harvesting
    • Watershed development:
    • The MoWR may develop specific strategies to tap water through watershed development (check dams) in rain-fed areas, expand micro irrigation coverage to 80 lakh ha, and link ground water development to aquifer mapping.
    • The timeline for watershed development projects needs to be shortened from seven to four years with special efforts by state governments. Funds available under MGNREGA and state plans may be used for watershed development projects.
    • Rainwater harvesting:
    • Model Building Bye Laws, 2016 circulated by Ministry of Urban Development includes the provision of rain water harvesting.
    • Barring the states/UTs of Manipur, Sikkim, Mizoram and Lakshadweep, all states have incorporated the provision in their respective Building Bye Laws.
  • Groundwater management:
    • As on date, development of groundwater, i.e., utilization of groundwater resources vis-à-vis replenishable quantity, is 62 per cent. There is a need to develop recharging zones at identified places to make groundwater resources sustainable using check dam, farm ponds, tanks and injection wells.
    • Special focus should be placed on the quality of rural drinking water supply in arsenic and fluoride affected areas by tapping multiple sources through conjunctive use of surface water, ground water and rain water harvesting. All new, piped water supply schemes should have mandatory provisions on operation and maintenance involving local communities and stakeholders.

Way forward:

  • India’s priority must be:
    • To make our irrigation and water systems amenable to modern concepts.
    • To complete irrigation and water sector reforms.
    • To implement improved water management, governance and regulation practices.
    • Pricing system for water: For making people use water efficiently
  • Bigger program on water efficiency as energy efficiency – Setting standards for water management.
  • Ensuring minimal pollution in both urban areas and industry.
  • Fixing India’s water crisis will need well balanced policies, meticulous strategy and a massive amount of public participation.
  • Sugarcane consumes a disproportionate amount of water and water-stressed regions must make an effort to move away from the crop.
  • Comprehensive restructuring of India’s Central Ground Water Board and the Central Water Commission in order to create a new 21st Century management authority.
  • Right to water should mean a high priority to drinking water.
  • India has so far seen the water sector in terms of irrigation projects or water schemes. We need to balance between our water-needs and that of the river itself.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

7. Explain the significance of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) process in the Indian context. Also highlight the concerns associated with it.(250 words)

Reference:  Green norms must be discussed: Cong. The Hindu

Why this question:

The Environment Ministry has extended the deadline for receiving public comments on the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2020.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to analyse the significance of EIA in the India context along with the concerns associated with it.

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 short define what EIA is.

Body:

To start with explain the details such as – The EIA Notification 2020 is to replace and supersede the 2006 notification. The new EIA Notification proposes fundamental changes in the environmental regulatory regime in India. Bring out the concerns associated- Concept of post facto clearance, Citizens or the civil society cannot report any violations, the construction sector accounts for a large proportion of the greenhouse gas emissions etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is an important management tool for ensuring optimal use of natural resources for sustainable development. It covers developmental sectors such as industries, thermal power projects, mining schemes etc.  EIA has now been made mandatory under the Environmental (Protection Act, 1986) for 29 categories of developmental activities involving investments of Rs. 50 crores and above.

Body:

Significance of the EIA:

  • EIA reports are a critical component of India’s environmental decision-making process.
  • It acts as a detailed study of the potential impacts of proposed projects.
  • It helps in predicting environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design.
  • Based on these reports, the Environment Ministry or other relevant regulatory bodies may or may not grant approval to a project.
  • The EIA reports are also important to define measures that the project could take in order to contain or offset project impacts.
  • EIA-based approvals for most projects also involve the process of conducting public hearings, so that who are likely to be affected can be taken on board before approving the project.
  • EIA links environment with development. The goal is to ensure environmentally safe and sustainable development.

Issues Related to EIA:

  • Environmental decision-making processes for development projects are supposed to use the best available scientific knowledge to ensure that development does not lead to negative impacts.
  • But there are compromised decision-making on development and infrastructure projects.
  • Sometimes the EIA reports lack the expected degrees of honesty, owing to bias, corruption, exaggeration and wrong claims.
  • EIA reports for the approved “redevelopment” projects in Delhi were prepared by copying from copyrighted papers, web-pages and other EIA reports.
  • There are many instances of missing or misleading information which understate the potential impact of the projects.
  • Many projects are approved without public consultation.
  • Lack of awareness among the local people about the process of EIA, its significance for them, their own rights and responsibilities.
  • Most of the time EIA reports are unavailable in local languages, thus local people are unable to decipher the reports, and are misled by the proponents
  • Expert Appraisal Committees (EAC) is dominated by ex-bureaucrats and institutional experts rather than eminent environmentalists.
  • Very little importance is given to socio-economic issues, including those related to gender.
  • In the end, it is citizens who have to bear the brunt.

Way Forward:

  • Competent authorities must ensure that a project causes minimal adverse environmental impact and generates maximum social and economic benefits.
  • Involving affected people and concerned citizens in environmental decision-making has far reaching effects.
  • It allows for democratising environmental governance.
  • Participatory processes give opportunities to understand and plan for unforeseen effects.
  • In 2009, the Delhi High Court in Utkarsh Mandal v/s Union of India upheld that it is the duty of the EACs to consider the merits of the objections raised at the public hearings.
  • Women and other vulnerable sections of the society are the first and most affected by consequences of developmental processes and damage to the environment.
  • Adverse impacts of development projects can be reduced with the full and equal participation of both genders, particularly women in decision-making processes.
  • NGOs, civil society groups and local communities need to build their capacities to use the EIA notification towards better decision making on projects.

Conclusion:

An EIA should not be used just as a means for obtaining an environmental clearance; rather, project proponents should use it as a management tool to assess the soundness of a project plan.  The focus of EIA needs to shift from utilization and exploitation of natural resources to conservation of natural resources.