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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 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:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Migrants’ vulnerability is newly visible, but not new, do you agree? Critically analyse in the light of recent train accident of Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The author talks about the Migrant issue especially the aspects of migrant vulnerability that has been an issue for longer than it is being imagined to be.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the nuances of migrant issues in India and specifically bring out the fact that the issue is not new to the country.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present in short the recent train accident that took lives of migrants.

Body:

Start by explaining the ever-increasing uncertainty about the welfare of the vulnerable sections of the society, many of whom depend on daily wages for their sustenance – the migrant workers. Discuss their woes of the past till present. Highlight with suitable examples that justify the fact that the woes are not new. Suggest solutions to address these issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward and what needs to be done.

Introduction:

 Migrants very often travels from poorer parts of the country to different states in order to earn an income, and have come to be known as “migrant workers”. India witnessed a tragic irony last week when 16 migrants, part of a group of 20 headed towards their villages in Madhya Pradesh and who were hoping to board a “Shramik Special” train, chose to rest on the rail tracks: They were run over by a goods train in Maharashtra’s Aurangabad district.

Body:

Migrants issues in past:

  • According to the 2001 Census estimates — figures which are nearly two decades old — there were 41 million migrants from other states in India. Yet, the percentage of inter-state migration in India is low compared to several other countries.
  • From the “Marathi manoos” movement in Mumbai from the 1960s onwards to the 2012 exodus from Bengaluru of people from the Northeast, there are innumerable examples of the hatred and intolerance displayed by “localites” towards “migrants”.
  • Right before the pandemic hit, the political discussion in our country was around the issue of illegal immigrants. There were protests in Delhi and elsewhere against the recently passed Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, which provides citizenship to illegal immigrants — who are Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Parsi, Buddhist, and Christian from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, and who entered India before 2014.
  • A 2018 World Bank study found that households with some form of identification proof were less likely to have a household member migrate across states, thus suggesting that inadequate portability of identification documents for social welfare benefits deters households from sending migrants across states.
  • The lack of policy measures to ensure the welfare of migrants coupled with discriminatory policies surface in the form of much lower rates of inter-state migrants compared to intra-state migrants.

Hardship faced by migrant labourers:

  • Between 100 million to 125 million people leave their villages, families and homes to find work far away wherever they can find it; their invisible hands harvest the crops and feed us, clean streets, run factories, build roads, and construct our houses.
  • The migrant workers are largely dependent upon casual and daily wage labour and unorganized retail.
  • The lockdown would severely affect their livelihood opportunities.
  • Citing the uncertainty of employment, and therefore of money and resources, these migrant labourers sought the comfort of the social net in their towns and wanted to return back.
  • Most of the migrant workers live in cramped spaces where it would be difficult to maintain physical distancing.
  • The lack of hygiene and sanitation facilities makes this section highly vulnerable to such epidemics.
  • An analysis of the migration trend shows that a major portion of the rural-urban migration constitutes the migration of men to cities in search of better employment opportunities.
  • They are generally the primary breadwinners, and the survival of their families back home is entirely dependent on these migrant labourers. The anxiety of being affected by the virus drove many to return to their families.

Issues faced by migrant lockdown due to Government lockdown:

  • The Central government announced the lockdown with just a four-hour notice, making it even harder for the migrant labourers to figure out ways to face the challenge of a lockdown.
  • The lockdown has a disproportionate impact on the socioeconomic conditions of the poor and unorganized sector.
  • The lack of social security among the poor makes it difficult for them to practice social distancing. They are mostly dependent upon daily and even hourly wage earnings. The lockdown would lead to an income security challenge to them.
  • There have been suggestions that given the prior warnings of COVID-19, the situation could have been handled much better. There have been concerns that the decision was arbitrary, unplanned and ill-prepared.
  • The lockdown was not accompanied by practical and necessary relief measures.
  • The movement of the labourers towards their hometowns was not aided by the government.
  • There have been some sections which have argued that if the government was willing to evacuate Indians from other countries, why similar intent is not being shown to make sure that the poor migrant labourers reach their hometown.

Measures needed:

  • The proposed quarantine camps must be well equipped with sufficient supplies of essential items for all.
  • Governments must use schools and college hostels for the migrants to stay and also utilize the Public Distribution System to provide food.
  • Governments must show resolve, commitment, and compassion to deal with the migrant crisis.
  • Civil society must come forward and support the most vulnerable.
  • For the migrants already enroute to their places, there should be proper screening enroute and they should be informed of the practical health protocols to be practiced during the first 14 days.
  • These migrants need to be put under observation, further screening, isolation, testing, and quarantine where required.
  • The affected families also have to be given minimum guarantees of food, health, and some income by the government during the lockdown.

 

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. India’s transformed commitment with Non-Alignment movement remains a critical forum for pursuing India’s global interest. Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The article brings to us the changing role of India’s foreign policy amidst the changing times being witnessed by the world.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the importance of NAM and India’s crucial role in it to pursue its own interests as well as the interests of the world at large.

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 current context.

Body:

To start with explain that video address by our Indian prime minister to a summit of the non-aligned nations was held recently. NAM is a relic of the Cold War, but we must also acknowledge that a new Cold War is beginning to unfold, this time between the US and China. Talk briefly about the importance of NAM in current times. Explain why India’s renewed engagement on Non-Alignment movement remains a critical forum.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India’s diplomacy during the ongoing pandemic suggests that it has been quick to recognize the changing global dynamics.  It will be imperative for India’s foreign policy to remain consistent with its renewed approach in the times to come.

Introduction:

 Non-Aligned Movement is an idea that emerged in 1950. NAM is the second-largest platform globally in terms of country membership after the UN. It currently has more than 120 members. Azerbaijan is the president of the grouping from 2019-2022 and the meet is being organized under the leadership of President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. The title of the summit is “We stand together against COVID-19”. Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi participated in a video conference meeting of non-alignment movement (NAM) on COVID crisis.

The new interest is not a throwback to seeing the NAM as an anti-Western ideological crusade. Nor is it a pretence of valuing the movement but treating it as a ritual to be performed every three years. It is based on the bet that the NAM remains a critical diplomatic forum for the pursuit of India’s international interests.

Body:

Significance:

  • This is the first time PM Modi is taking part in a NAM meeting since taking 2014 when he first became the Prime Minister. The last time any Indian PM participated at Tehran NAM meet was 2012 with the then PM Manmohan Singh was present.
  • Both in 2016, 2018 summits of NAM, India was represented at Vice President level.
  • The last NAM Summit happened in 2019 in Azerbaijan, before that it was 2016 in Venezuela

India’s past experience with the policy of non-alignment: 

  • NAM played an important role during the Cold War years in furthering many of the causes that India advocated: Decolonisation, end to apartheid, global nuclear disarmament, ushering in of new international economic and information orders.
  • NAM enabled India and many newly born countries in 1950’s and 1960’s their sovereignty and alleviated the fears of neo-colonialism.
  • South-South Co-operation: NAM together with the Group of 77 (G77–largely made up of NAM members) succeeded to keep Third World issues on the agenda in most UN forums, effectively supported independence movements in third world country.
  • Soft-Power Leadership: NAM made India a leader for many countries who didn’t want to ally with the then global powers USA or USSR. India became a soft-power leader which still holds good till date.
  • Balanced friendship: India’s non-alignment gave her the opportunity to get the best of both the global superpowers of the time in terms of aid, military support etc. This was in line with her objectives of national development.

However, NAM’s authority has slowly eroded in recent past:

  • The end of cold war lead to unipolar world and now tending towards multi-polarity. The NAM is now reached irrelevance.
  • NAM could not push for reforms in the global bodies like UN, IMF, WTO. Thus, it has dissuaded many developing countries from pursuing it.
  • Disputes within the Global South countries. Example: India-Pak, Iran-Iraq. This has paved way for the blocs to enter.
  • Inability to find solution to the West-Asian crisis. Withdrawal of one of the founder members- Egypt, after the Arab Spring.
  • Most of the members are economically weak; hence they have no say in world politics or economy.

Rationale behind India’s renewed interest in the NAM:

  • A new Cold War is beginning to unfold, this time between the US and China.
  • As the conflict between the world’s two most important powers envelops all dimensions of international society, India has every reason to try and preserve some political space in between the two.
  • In the last few years, Delhi paid lip-service to the NAM but devoted a lot of diplomatic energy to forums like BRICS.
  • Given the Russian and Chinese leadership of BRICS, Delhi inevitably began to tamely echo the international positions of Moscow and Beijing rather than represent voices of the Global South.
  • As a nation seeking to become an independent pole in global affairs, India could do more with forums like the NAM in mobilizing support on issues of interest to Delhi.
  • An independent Indian line backed by strong support within the NAM can make a big difference to the outcomes of the impending contentions at the World Health Assembly later this month on reviewing the WHO’s performance during the COVID crisis.

Way forward:

There are now new kinds of alignments, more likely to be defined by economics and geography than by ideology. To be aligned is now a virtue, a sign of good leadership. Countries, especially small ones, can and should aim for multiple alignments of their interests. There is now no country in the world that can claim to be non-aligned.

Conclusion:

India is a large and globalized economy with “big stakes in all parts of the world”. Its foreign policy must focus on a pragmatic assessment of India’s interests and the best means to secure them — including partnerships and coalitions — against current and potential threats. A newer, reformed NAM 2.0 can be looked at to continue NAM as our foreign policy.

 

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

3. Discuss the lacunae with respect to privacy concerns and transparency in administering the Aarogya Setu app, what should be the ideal way that the govt. should follow to ensure privacy is not infringed?(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The author of the article presents a critical examination of the privacy concerns associated with Aarogya Setu app.

Key demand of the question:

Explain lacunae with respect to privacy concerns and transparency in administering the Aarogya Setu app, and suggest what should be the ideal way that the govt. should follow to ensure privacy is not infringed.

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:

Present briefly the concerns that have been making news around the Aarogya Setu app.

Body:

To start with explain the loopholes with the app. It breaches the fundamental right to privacy, it must have legislative sanction. Unclear safeguards against data theft and other breaches. App not open source; raises concerns. Take hints from the article and list down the issues and concerns involved. Suggest solutions to address the problem.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

 Aarogya Setu is a COVID-19 tracking mobile application developed by the National Informatics Centre that comes under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India. The purpose of this app is to spread the awareness and to connect essential health services to the people of India. It will calculate risk based on the user’s interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Body:

Objectives of Aarogya Setu:

The Aarogya Setu is developed keeping in mind the following objectives:

  • To spread awareness of the novel Coronavirus outbreak among Indian citizens.
  • To augment the Government of India’s initiatives, particularly the Department of Health, in proactively reaching out to the users and informing them about the risks, best practices and relevant advisories relating to the containment of COVID-19.
  • To establish a connection between the government and the people of India for health services, facilities and updates from the health ministry nationally and state-wise.

Key Features:

  • The application uses Bluetooth and GPS of a smart phone to inform the user if he is in a radius of 6 feet from a COVID-19 infected person.
  • The application also provides information about the best practices and advisories regarding containment of the virus.
  • The application is available in 11 languages.
  • In order to keep the application running, one has to keep their GPS and Bluetooth ON always.
  • The application asks for name, gender, profession, travel history and profession.
  • The data extracted are to be shared only to Government of India according to the terms and conditions of the application.

Issues posed:

  • Legal loopholes:
    • The app exists in the privacy law vacuum that is India.
    • With no legislation that spells out in detail how the online privacy of Indians is to be protected, Aarogya Setu users have little choice but to accept the privacy policy provided by the government.
    • The app’s Terms of Service (TOS) confer blanket limited liability on the government. In cases of data theft, there is no accountability to the users.
    • The policy goes into some detail on where and how long the data will be retained, but it leaves the language around who will have access to it vague. There is no protocol for deletion of data.
    • No specification on the issue of how the government will use data if the data gets shared with the government of India.
    • Ever-changing rules add to the problem. On April 14, the app updated its privacy policy without notifying users, despite the privacy policy explicitly mandating the same. Such actions do not inspire trust.
    • Additionally, there was also a question of proportionality with the app and whether it will be as effective as envisaged in containing the Covid-19 outbreak.
    • India’s situation is different from countries like Singapore, where a good number of people have smartphones.
    • In India compared to its population, smartphone users are very less which means very few people will be able to download the app.
  • Technical loopholes:
    • The unique digital identity in Aarogya Setu is a static number, which increases the probability of identity breaches.
    • The app allows the government continuous access to an individual’s location and demographic data.
    • The closed source architecture of the app violates transparency principles and this government’s own policies.
    • The abundance of data collected is also potentially problematic. Aarogya Setu uses both Bluetooth as well as GPS reference points, which could be seen as an overkill.
    • The forums such as the Internet Freedom Foundation and the Software Freedom Law Center have raised is that the Aarogya Setu app is something of a black box. There is no documentation publicly available on the app.

Way forward:

  • The app privacy policy needs detailed clarification on data collection, its storage and uses. A legislative sanction to this effect will be a great step forward
  • The Government of India must specify how it will deal with the app’s data and how long it will retain the server side data.
  • According to the Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy judgement (2017), the right to privacy is a fundamental right and it is necessary to protect personal data as an essential facet of informational privacy.
  • Singapore’s TraceTogether app was made open source, thus allowing researchers and experts to test the architecture and suggest measures to correct vulnerabilities.
  • A better approach against unique digital identity would be constantly-changing digital identification keys like what Google and Apple deploy in their joint contact tracing technology.
  • With the launch of this app, the governments seek to limit the spread of the Covid-19 cases in India via technology and AI as well as, help create self-awareness among the citizens with relevant information on the infection.

 

Topic:  Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

4. Discuss some of the key elements of Inclusive Growth in India while highlighting the challenges associated with it.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Economy by Uma Kapila

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

Students are expected to detail upon the key elements that constitute Inclusive growth and also bring out the challenges associated with it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First define what you understand by Inclusive growth.

Body:

To start with explain the significance of inclusive growth in short. Then move on to list the key elements that constitute it; Agriculture Development Industrial Development, Environment Protection, Poverty Reduction, Employment Generation etc. elaborate on each factor as to how they lead to inclusive growth. Discuss what are the challenges associated with it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions and way ahead.

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:

inclusive_growth

Challenges to inclusive growth:

  • Poverty alleviation is one of the big challenges for India. Eradication of poverty in India is generally only considered to be a long-term goal. Poverty alleviation is expected to make better progress in the next 50 years than in the past, as a trickle-down effect of the growing middle class.
  • Increasing stress on education, reservation of seats in government jobs and the increasing empowerment of women and the economically weaker sections of society, are also expected to contribute to the alleviation of poverty
  • Government schemes should target eradication of both poverty and unemployment (which in recent decades has sent millions of poor and unskilled people into urban areas in search of livelihoods) attempt to solve the problem, by providing financial assistance for setting up businesses, skill honing, setting up public sector enterprises, reservations in governments, etc.
  • Disparity
    • The disparity between -> Rich and Poor
    • The disparity between -> Urban and Rural
    • The disparity between -> Educated and Uneducated
  • Demography: We have 550 million young people below 25 age, we have the ready workforce for the world, everything we do today must focus on this population, we need to provide them nutrition food, skills, and job opportunities to grow.
  • Improving the delivery of core public services: The incomes rise, citizens are demanding better delivery of core public services such as water and power supply, education, policing, sanitation, roads and public health. As physical access to services improves, issues of quality have become more central.
  • Maintaining rapid growth while making growth more inclusive: The growing disparities between urban and rural areas, prosperous and lagging states, skilled and low-skilled workers, the primary medium term policy challenge for India is not to raise growth from 8 to 10 percent but to sustain rapid growth while spreading its benefits more widely.
  • Developmental challenges:
  • Expansion: Expansion is happening every day in developing countries like India, but perhaps not happening in the pace we would like. We have roads but we need more roads likewise we need to expand energy, infrastructure, facilities, etc.
  • Excellence: Leaving of our top 5 or 10% quality of our education, our services, our governance, is really not that so great, we must collectively work towards improving quality in everywhere.
  • Equity: We need to make sure that the poorest to the poorer can indeed get the best education, health, jobs, and other facilities.
  • Social development is possible through achieving Women Empowerment and eradicating the regional disparities. Though the Government is giving the women empowerment by giving special reservations, the women’s advancement in India is still not matched the expectations for inclusive growth.

Measures needed:

  • Lowering the incidence of poverty and inequality requires a comprehensive strategy.
  • Important steps need to be taken like framing policies to improve health, nutrition and education.
  • Labour market reforms and reforms of direct taxation will have redistributive effects on the system.
  • Schemes like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS), provide 100 days or more of employment at a wage determined by government are already in progress but there is a need to check the cost effectiveness of these schemes
  • Reforms to plug the leakages in the PDS, introduction of GPS tracking, activating vigilance committees, must be undertaken across the country.
  • Research needs to be carried out by government agencies to document the ‘best practices’ in the implementation of government schemes.
  • Minorities and other excluded groups, including the poor in upper castes, also need special programmes to bring them into the mainstream.

Conclusion:

To achieve inclusiveness, all these dimensions need to be looked into. Institutional and attitudinal changes should be brought about though this will take time. Awareness about inclusiveness and empowerment is required to be created. Reducing poverty is to be taken as key element in our inclusive growth strategy and there has been some progress in that regard.

 

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention.

5. A comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is needed to foster and sustain trust in the digital ecosystem. Elaborate.(250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express 

Why this question:

The article explains how a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy is needed to foster and sustain trust in the digital ecosystem.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy to foster and sustain trust in the digital ecosystem of the country.

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:

One can start by explaining the importance of security of cyberspace for India.

Body:

To start with explain the fact that the security of cyberspace is important not only because of the actions of individual participants but because the infrastructure of cyberspace is now fundamental to the functioning of national and international security systems, trade networks, emergency services, basic communications, etc. Then move on to explain the need for a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy. List down points in favour. Bring out challenges if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance for India in multiple dimensions.

Introduction:

With the vision of a trillion-dollar digital component, accounting for one-fifth of the $5-trillion national economy, the importance of cyberspace in India would only keep growing as Indians have taken to mobile broadband like fish to water, driven by affordable tariffs, low-cost smartphones and a spurt in availability of audio-visual content in Indian languages.

Cyber security is a broad spectrum phrase and relates to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to a personal computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a major network like the national banking system or the railway network or a national information technology asset that also has military implications. 

Body:

Need for strong cybersecurity strategy:

  • More than 4,000 fraudulent portals emerged within two months, and on a typical day in April 2020, Google alone blocked 240 million spam messages and 18 million phishing scams.
  • Cybersecurity incidents observed by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) went up almost four times from 2017 to 2018, while cybercrimes went up by 77% from 2016 to 2017. Unsurprisingly, India’s global rank on the cybersecurity index slipped to 47 in 2018 from 23 in 2017, according to the UN agency ITU (International Telecommunication Union).
  • A 2017 study conducted by Symantec found that India ranked fourth in online security breaches, accounting for over 5 per cent of global threat detections. In the beginning of 2017, the newly launched Bharat Interface for Money application (BHIM app) reportedly faced spam threats.
  • The real danger to India lies in targeted cyber-attacks coming from adversarial nation states.
    • Countries like China can bring immense assets to bear in carrying out sophisticated cyber-attacks. The success of Stuxnet, which damaged the Iranian centrifuge facility at Natanz is an example.
  • There is a push towards greater digital dependence with demonetization a cashless system is being propagated. Aadhaar and the wider platforms such Digital India and Smart Cities will push things further along. India is the world’s second largest digital nation with more than 350 million Indians are online and millions more will be getting connected in the years to come.
  • Criminals can defraud unsuspecting users in sharing their bank or credit card account details with the PIN and passwords, intimidate and bully others, indulge in cyberstalking or, for that matter, could be involved in cyberespionage, terror financing or child pornography.
  • Operations of critical infrastructure such as power grid or ports can come to a halt with ransomware, and fake news can flare up social tensions.
  • India is not even a signatory to some of the basic international frameworks on Cybersecurity like the Convention of Cybercrime of the Council of Europe which not only European nations but Japan, US, South Africa have become signatories to, except India.
  • Indian laws are not in tandem with the ever-changing global cyberspace.
    • The laws are old and hence need to be more dynamic in nature to deal with issues like cyber-espionage, data theft and so on.
    • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole law that deals with cyberspace in India and was passed way back in 2000.
  • Also, the Cyber Law of India has been subject to amendments on various occasions but hasn’t served the changing dynamics and the growing threats and manifestations of cyberwar.

Strategy should include the following:

  • Since a global consensus is unlikely any day soon, India should consider joining or leveraging existing frameworks like the Convention on Cybercrime and the Paris Call. After all, cybersecurity has become a geopolitical issue, as reiterated time and again by the Prime Minister.
  • Security by design, budgeting by default:
    • It is high time that 10% of every IT budget in the government be earmarked for cybersecurity, as recommended by the NASSCOM Cyber Security Task Force, just like 1-3% of every ministry’s budget was set aside for IT in 1998, as recommended by the Prime Minister’s IT Task Force in 1998.
    • The National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) 2020 and the data protection framework must be consistent with each other.
    • Exceptions and exemptions must be narrowly crafted, in compliance with the principles of lawfulness, fairness, transparency and proportionality laid down by the Supreme Court in its 2017 privacy judgment.
  • Prevention is better than cure:
    • Nine out of 10 data breaches can be mitigated if we all take care of basic cybersecurity like using licensed and updated software, using different and difficult passwords for different services and devices, multi-factor authentication and strong encryption.
    • We need innovative solutions to scale up awareness as our user base is expected to reach a billion over the next five years, compared to half a billion currently.
  • Bidirectional partnership:
    • The government should share its own assessment back with the private sector to create incentive for the latter to proactively share their intelligence on threat vectors without jeopardizing contractual obligations or intellectual property.
  • Pragmatic, predictable, flexible
    • Underlying principles must go along with the strategic objectives and provide sufficient guidance and flexibility to sector regulators within their respective ecosystem.
    • For example, the cybersecurity guidelines or frameworks issued by RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDAI can be greatly synergized under the aegis of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), thereby bringing greater sanity for the regulators as well as the regulated entities.
    • In addition, every regulation must emerge through public consultation and be backed up with a regulatory impact assessment, whether it is about cross-border data flows or restricting encryption.

Measures needed:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organizations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Conclusion:

Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.

 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. COVID Pandemic related suicide incidents are routinely appearing in newspapers. Analyse and suggest remedies to address this issue.(250 words)

Reference:  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Why this question:

The question is from the current times that are witnessing a psychological downturn amidst the Covid situation.

Key demand of the question:

One must examine from the ethical and attitudinal perspectives the context of suicides and address with solutions.

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 context of the question; one can quote facts related to it.

Body:

To start with explain the possible factors and predictors of the situation. Social Isolation/distancing induce a lot of anxiety in many citizens of different country. However, the most vulnerable are those with existing mental health issues like depression and older adults living in loneliness and isolation. The looming economic crisis may create panic, mass unemployment, poverty and homelessness will possibly surge the suicide risk or drive an increase in the attempt to suicide rates in such patients. Stress, anxiety and pressure in medical healthcare professionals are at immense and at the peak. Social boycott and discrimination also added few cases to the list of COVID-19 suicides. Suggest measures to address the issue, explain what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Sociologist Emile Durkheim had famously hypothesised that ‘suicides are a result of not just psychological or emotional factors but social factors as well’.  Every 40 seconds, someone somewhere in the world takes his or her own life.

A few cases have been reported around the world where people out of fear of getting COVID-19 infection, social stigma, isolation, depression, anxiety, emotional imbalance, economic shutdown, lack and/or improper knowledge, financial and future insecurities took their lives. With recent suicide reports we can anticipate the rippling effect of this virus on worldwide suicide events. However, the basic psychology and inability of the person and the mass society to deal with the situation are the major factors behind these COVID-19 suicides pandemic.

Body:

Reasons behind increasing suicides during pandemic:

  • Social Isolation/distancing:
    • It induces a lot of anxiety in many citizens of different country.
    • However, the most vulnerable are those with existing mental health issues like depression and older adults living in loneliness and isolation.
    • Such people are self-judgemental, have extreme suicidal thoughts.
    • Imposed isolation and quarantine disrupts normal social lives and created psychological fear and feeling like trapped, for an indefinite period of time.
    • Government recommendations to work from home, and travel less advisories restricted our social life.
  • Worldwide lockdown creating economic recession:
    • The looming economic crisis may create panic, mass unemployment, poverty and homelessness will possibly surge the suicide risk or drive an increase in the attempt to suicide rates in such patients.
  • Stress, anxiety and pressure in medical healthcare professionals:
    • These are at immense and at the peak. 50% of the medical staff in the British hospitals are sick, and at home, leaving high pressure on the remaining staff to deal with the situation. In King’s College Hospital, London, a young nurse took her own life while treating COVID-19 patients
  • Social boycott and discrimination:
    • This also added few cases to the list of COVID-19 suicides. For instance, the first COVID-19 suicide case in Bangladesh, where a 36-year-old man committed suicide due to social avoidance by the neighbours and his moral conscience to ensure not to pass on the virus to his community

Immediate measures needed:

  • Emotional distress people need to first set the limit of COVID-19 related news consumption from local, national, international, social and digital platform and the sources must be authentic like CDC and WHO.
  • One needs to maintain connectedness and solidarity despite the physical distance.
  • Individuals with the previous history of suicidal thoughts, panic and stress disorder, low self-esteem and low self-worth, are easily susceptible to catastrophic thinking like suicide in such viral pandemic.
  • Indirect clues need to be noticed with great care, where people often say ‘I’m tired of life’, ‘no one loves me’, ‘leave me alone’ and so on.
  • On suspecting such behaviour in person, we can pull together the people struggling with suicidal ideation to make them feel loved and protective.
  • Socio-psychology needs and interventions for mental rehabilitation should be designed.
  • Tele-counselling along with, 24×7 crisis response service for emotional, mental and behavioural support need to be implemented.
  • Psychological support and care should be given to the individual. The state can seek assistance from NGOs as well as religious missionaries for this purpose.
  • Strengthening the existing National Mental Health Programme and the district mental health programme, along with focus on training resources and streamlining of funds are some other recommendations for fighting depression and suicide.
  • long-term solutions like helping unemployed people find meaningful work or training the armies of contact tracers who will be sent out into communities to identify people at risk of a mental health crisis.

Conclusion:

Suicide is preventable. people who are contemplating suicide frequently give warning signs of their distress. We can spend time indoor with our families, connect to friends on social media, and engage in mindfulness activities, till we all win this battle.

 

Topic:  Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion

7. Why do ordinary people show negative attitude towards transgender? Examine the reasons and suggest remedies to change their attitude.(250 words)

Reference:  ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 

Why this question:

The question is premised on the behavioural aspects of people in general towards the transgender in the society.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the reasons underlying the negative attitude towards the Transgender and suggest solutions to address such an attitude.

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:

One can start by defining who constitute transgender in the society. The term “transgender” refers to a broad range of social identities and gender presentations.

Body:

“Transgender” is an umbrella term, under which fall people who live their daily lives as the gender opposite to that which is associated with the sex they were assigned at birth (transgender men and women), including those who seek medical intervention to align their bodies with the sex associated with their gender identity (transsexual men and women); people who identify outside of the binary categorization of gender (non-binary); people who cross-dress; drag performers; and (sometimes) intersex people—all people who cross (“trans-”) gender boundaries in some way. Explain the underlying reasons for ill attitude of general people towards them. Suggest solutions to change the attitude, comment on the action that needs to be taken to induce the right attitude in public, government and other institutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

According to World Health Organization, Transgender is an umbrella term for people whose gender identity and expression does not conform to the norms and expectations traditionally associated with the sex assigned to them at birth. They are referred to as transsexuals if they desire medical assistance in order to make the transition from one biological sex to another.

Transgender individuals are often ostracized by society and sometimes, even their own families view them as burdens and exclude them. A famous quote by Mahatma Gandhi is quite apt on the struggles of trans people in Indian society – “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you and then you win.”

Body:

Reasons for negative attitude towards transgender:

  • Gender and sexuality have always been varied and rooted in traditions of pluralism in India and other South Asian cultures.
  • Discrimination: Transgender population remains one of the most marginalized groups. Sexuality or gender identity often makes transgender a victim of stigmatization and exclusion by the society.
  • For instance, if you ask people in India what they know about trans people, most of them only answer that they have seen them begging near traffic signals and inside trains. Some start complaining about their ‘bad’ behavior.
  • Most transgenders belong to the poorer castes and classes, and economic marginalization structures their experiences very heavily.
  • Transgenders occupy a position in society that is simultaneously revered and stigmatized.
  • They are seen as having the power to curse or bless people, due to their spiritual heritage, and they are also seen as having a huge potential for embarrassment because they threaten to expose themselves physically if they are not paid for attending events such as weddings
  • Being The Parent of a Transgender Child Is Shameful: This is one of the most common prejudices present in society because of which people disown their own children to suffer alone in this world
  • Thus, these youths are “shunned by their own families (especially by male relatives)”, and experience familial physical violence.
  • Many children who adopt a transgender identity are forced to drop out from school because they are unable to survive the rigid gender norms imposed on them by their school authorities.
  • In workspaces, “trans-men especially are often stereotyped by their colleagues because of their visible “masculine” appearance and/or gender assertion/s. Hence, they easily become soft targets of violence and/or violation”.
  • They are economically marginalized and forced into professions like prostitution and begging for livelihood or resorting to exploitative entertainment industry.
  • Gender-based violence: Transgenders are often subjected to sexual abuse, rape and exploitation
  • Lastly, it is assumed that being Transgender Is a Choice and a Transgender Person Changes Sex to Date People of the Opposite Gender. No, it has already been proved in significant researches that being transgender is not a choice. It’s because of ignorance or lack of awareness regarding trans people in society that some people still think that being transgender is a choice.

Measures needed:

  • A multi-prolonged approach with focus on public awareness campaigns is needed to eliminate the social stigma associated with the transgender community.
  • Large scale sensitization needs to happen starting from the school level to accept the transgender community integral component of societal life.
  • Legal and the law enforcement systems need to be empowered and sensitized on the issues of Transgender community.
  • Stringent criminal and disciplinary action must be taken against the people who commits violence against Transgender.

Conclusion:

The negative attitudes held by people can help us understand the barriers faced by them in gaining social acceptance. Future awareness programmes should focus on removing these barriers.  Better understanding of the problems and challenges faced by transgender will help in bringing about the changes in policies and give them their due rights.