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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 1 June 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


 

Topic:   Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Account for the factors that contribute to Indian monsoon. Also, analyze the effect of climate change on the Indian monsoons and the concerns associated with it.(250 words)

Reference:   The Hindu 

Why this question: The onset of monsoon over Kerala marks the commencement of four-month rainy season in the country. The country receives 75% of the rainfall from June to September. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to analyse the factors that contribute to Indian monsoon. One must discuss in detail the effect of climate change on the Indian monsoons and the concerns associated with it.

Directive:

Account – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with key facts explaining the context and specialty of Indian monsoons.

Body:

First explain the various factors that contribute to Indian monsoons; discuss the regular geographical factors first – The presence of the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayan ranges. The differential heating of the Indian Ocean and the landmass of Asia. The presence and circulation of upper air jet streams in the troposphere. The occurrence of snow over the Tibetan Plateau. Later move on to explain other factors such as – climate change, cyclonic circulation in the Bay of Bengal, changing depth of the westerlies, factor of Out wave Longwave Radiation (OLR) etc. Suggest measures to overcome the concerns caused by the above factors.

Conclusion:
Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Monsoons are seasonal winds which reverse their direction with the change of season. The monsoon is a double system of seasonal winds. They flow from sea to land during the summer and from land to sea during winter. Monsoons are peculiar to Indian Subcontinent, South East Asia, parts of Central Western Africa etc. Indian Monsoons are Convection cells on a very large scale. They are periodic or secondary winds which seasonal reversal in wind direction.

The southwest monsoon has arrived in Kerala before its onset schedule according to the private agency Skymet Weather, but India’s official forecaster IMD said conditions are not yet ripe for the declaration.

Body:

Factors that influence formation of South west monsoon are:

  • The differential heating and cooling of land and water creates a low pressure on the landmass of India while the seas around experience comparatively high pressure.
  • The shift of the position of Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) in summer, over the Ganga plain (this is the equatorial trough normally positioned about 5°N of the equator. It is also known as the monsoon-trough during the monsoon season).
  • The presence of the high-pressure area, east of Madagascar, approximately at 20°S over the Indian Ocean. The intensity and position of this high-pressure area affect the Indian Monsoon.
  • The Tibetan plateau gets intensely heated during summer, which results in strong vertical air currents and the formation of low pressure over the plateau at about 9 km above sea level.
  • The movement of the westerly jet stream to the north of the Himalayas and the presence of the tropical easterly jet stream over the Indian peninsula during summer.
  • Position and strength of the Tropical Easterly Jet (African Easterly Jet).
  • Southern Oscillation (SO): Normally when the tropical eastern south Pacific Ocean experiences high pressure, the tropical eastern Indian Ocean experiences low pressure. But in certain years, there is a reversal in the pressure conditions and the eastern Pacific has lower pressure in comparison to the eastern Indian Ocean. This periodic change in pressure conditions is known as the SO.
  • Indian Ocean Dipole, which is sustained variations in the difference between tropical western and eastern Indian Ocean surface temperatures
  • Madden-Julian oscillation, an oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon which affects weather activities across the globe. It brings major fluctuation in tropical weather on weekly to monthly timescales.

Effects of climate change on the Indian monsoons:

  • Climate Change has been ruining quite a few things such and Indian Monsoon might be one of them.
  • The worst part here is that the effects of the Indian Monsoon are also felt by others and not just India, making it an active feature of the weather across the globe.
  • Research has confirmed that Monsoon in Asia is entwined with several aspects of global climate along with having an influence over the global atmospheric circulation as well.
  • Since the year 1950, average summer rains in India have declined by around 7 percent.
  • In 1990s, high concentrations of aerosols were found in the northern Indian Ocean. In fact, satellite images even showed a stain across the Indo-Gangetic Plain and over the Indian Ocean, which was named as the “brown cloud”. In 1999, a team of investigators set out to understand what brown cloud exactly was.
  • Black carbon combines with sulfates and other aerosols, wherein the Indo-Gangetic Plain contributes highly due to intensive industrial and extractive activity.
  • Regional Climate Change has been occurring also because of changes in land use.
  • In the last 15 decades, forest cover over Asia has reduced significantly.
  • Increase in agricultural production in India, excessive use of water for irrigation has caused a negative impact on the moisture of the soil thereby diminishing its capability to reflect or absorb heat.
  • Due to all these factors, Monsoon is shifting its patterns.
  • Aerosols absorb solar radiation due to which less of it reaching the surface of the Earth.
  • This leads to cooling of land, reducing the contrast of temperature between sea and land, thereby weakening the atmospheric circulation that sustains the Indian Monsoon.
  • Not only this, changes in circulation in the Indian subcontinent affect air-sea interaction which is the binding factor between Asia and the Indian Ocean.

Concerns associated with above changes:

  • What used to be a steady combination of rains and sun is giving way to long periods of inadequate rainfall followed by intense rain; in short — drought and floods.
  • For instance, in 2019, in the state of Kerala, at the southwestern tip of the Indian peninsula, June and July were months of inadequate rains, followed by a burst of intense storms in early August, causing floods and landslides in northern districts.
  • The Kodagu and Chikkamaguluru districts in Karnataka state, northeast of Kerala, saw the same pattern.
  • Avalanche, a river valley in the Nilgiris Mountains of Tamil Nadu state, to the east, received more than 900 millimeters (35 inches) of rain in just one day.
  • Mumbai, India’s commercial capital city, was flooded for weeks this year and saw bouts of intense rain following each other in quick succession.
  • Eastward flowing rivers originating in the Western Ghats have seen increased flow and the western districts of Maharashtra, including Satara, Kolhapur and Sangli, have faced heavy floods and destruction.
  • Northwards in Gujarat state, it was Vadodara and surrounding regions that endured the brunt of the deluge.
  • To the north and northeast, there were floods in Himachal Pradesh, while parts of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, and Assam states were also under water.
  • Juxtaposed to all this, the reservoirs supplying drinking water to the southern city of Chennai ran dry this summer. Chennai had devastating floods in December 2015, and since then has not received sufficient rains in subsequent monsoons.

Conclusion:

Climate change is set to inescapably alter the ocean temperatures around the Indian neighbourhood. So, giving more importance to understanding the vagaries of the NE monsoon should be among India’s key priority in adapting to climate change. India needs to step up research to improve the performance of the monsoon prediction models. Preparedness is the best way forward.

 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

2. Brief about the disputed boundary areas between India and China, What are the reasons for increased tensions? Suggest ways to address them.(250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint The HIndu 

Why this question:

The India-China border has been witnessing tensions over the past month, with incidents reported in at least four different locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Highlight in detail the disputed boundary areas between India and China, the reasons for these disputes and explain why they are on rise in recent times and also suggest methods to address them.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by quoting the recent flare up between the two countries with respect to the borders.

Body:

One has to explain in the answer bodies as to Which are the tension points? Why has the Line of Actual Control not been clearly demarcated? Why is there a stalemate in boundary talks? Explain that Face-off and stand-off situations occur along the LAC in areas where India and China have overlapping claim lines. The LAC has never been demarcated. Differing perceptions are particularly acute in around two dozen spots across the Western (Ladakh), Middle (Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand), Sikkim, and Eastern (Arunachal Pradesh) sectors of the India-China border. Suggest what needs to be done to overcome the situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The India-China border has been witnessing tensions over the past month, with incidents reported in at least four different locations along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). These include the Pangong lake in Ladakh, the Galway valley and Demchok.

 Body:

territorial

crossing_the_linecrossing_the_line

Contributing factors for the border stand-offs:

  • Non-demarcated borders:
    • The Line of Actual Control (LAC) is the disputed boundary between India and China.
    • The LAC is divided into three sectors: western, middle and eastern.
    • The countries disagree on the exact location of the LAC in various areas, India claims that the LAC is 3,488 km long, while China believes it to be around 2,000 km long.
    • The two armies try and dominate by patrol to the areas up to their respective perceptions of the LAC. This often brings them into conflict.
    • The LAC mostly passes on the land, but Pangong Tso is a unique case where the LAC passes through the water as well.
  • Strengthening of infrastructure by India:
    • China, along the LAC, has enjoyed an advantage in infrastructure as well as terrain that is more favourable to mobilisation of troops and resources.
    • The broader context for the tensions appears to be a changing dynamic along the LAC, wherein India seems to be catching up with China by improving its border infrastructure.
  • Increasing assertiveness of China:
    • The latest skirmishes at the Galwan Valley and Sikkim are somewhat unexpected as the contours of the LAC are broadly agreed to in these sectors.
    • The Galwan Valley incident was triggered by China moving in troops and equipment to stop construction activity by India. India is claiming that the construction activity was well within India’s side of the LAC.
  • Failed negotiations:
    • India has long proposed an exercise to clarify differing perceptions of the LAC to prevent border stand-offs.
    • India has argued that such an exercise could help both countries understand the claims of the other, paving the way to regulate activities in contested areas until a final settlement of the boundary dispute is arrived at.
    • Maps were exchanged in the Middle Sector, but the exercise fell through in the Western Sector where divergence is the greatest. China has since rejected this exercise, viewing it as adding another complication to the on-going boundary negotiations.

The state of boundary negotiations:

  • A three-stage boundary negotiation was proposed between India and China.
    • Agreement on political parameters and guiding principles
    • Evolving a framework to resolve the dispute
    • Delineating and demarcating of the boundary
  • The 22nd round of talks between the Special Representatives, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China’s State Councillor Wang Yi, was held in Delhi in December 2019.
  • Both “agreed that an early settlement of the boundary question serves the fundamental interests of both countries” and “resolved to intensify their efforts to achieve a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution”.
  • In 2005, an agreement on political parameters and guiding principles completed the first of three stages of the talks. The agreement said both sides “shall safeguard due interests of their settled populations in border areas”.
  • The current, and most difficult stage involves agreeing a framework to resolve the dispute in all sectors. The final step will involve delineating and demarcating the boundary in maps and on the ground.

Prospects of a settlement:

  • The likelihood appears remote. The main differences are in the Western and Eastern sectors.
  • India sees China as occupying 38,000 sq. km in Aksai Chin. In the east, China claims as much as 90,000 sq. km, extending all across Arunachal Pradesh.
  • A swap was hinted at by China in 1960 and in the early 1980s, which would have essentially formalized the status quo. Both sides have now ruled out the status quo as a settlement, agreeing to meaningful and mutual adjustments.
  • At the same time, the most realistic solution will involve only minor adjustments along the LAC, considering neither side will be willing to part with territory already held.

Way forward:

  • Protocols agreed to in 2005 and 2013, detailing the rules of engagement to prevent border incidents, must be adhered to.
  • There is a need to follow the principles agreed to in the previous agreements between the two countries which call for “mutual and equal security” in border negotiations.
  • The most realistic solution will involve only minor adjustments along the LAC.
  • Need for a renewed effort to resolve the boundary dispute to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas.
  • India and China should “reinforce communication and coordination in international affairs and make the international order more just and equitable”.
  • Maintain regular contact and advance the development of bilateral relations in all areas.
  • Seeking mutually acceptable resolutions on the differences with due respect for each other’s sensitivities, concerns and aspirations
  • Need to respect each other’s Sovereignty and sincere adherence to Panchsheel (Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence).
  • A strong India-China relationship is important not only for the mutual benefit of the people of India and China, but also for the region and the world.

 

Topic:  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. Do you think the recent China’s unilateral measures with respect to Hong Kong will erode both rights and prosperity in the city-state? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The question is premised on the fact of China’s unilateral measures with respect to the territory of Hong Kong.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the effects of recent China’s unilateral measures with respect to Hong Kong and in what way it will erode both rights and prosperity in the city-state.

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:

Introduce by setting the context of the question.

Body:

Explain that China’s growing emphasis on the principle of “one country” has met resistance from Hong Kong’s young activists, who underline the idea of “two systems”. China’s recent focus on extending its national security laws to Hong Kong has sharpened the inherent contradictions in the Anglo-Chinese compact and triggered large-scale protests against Beijing’s effort to tighten its grip over the city. Discuss what it means to end the economy for Hong Kong, explain what the territorial claims of China are, and highlight the international reaction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the ideal way forward.

Introduction:

Hong Kong, a city synonymous with bankers and brokers, has become a city of inventive protesters. China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) has approved the decision to move forward with the National Security Law on Hong Kong in a move critics say will fundamentally undermine the freedoms that were enshrined in the territory’s laws when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The bill, passed by China’s parliament recently, signals the end of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Body:

Background:

  • Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 when China ceded the island to the British after the First Opium War – which had erupted over British traders smuggling opium into China.
  • Britain handed Hong Kong back to China in 1997 as a ‘special administrative region’.
  • The territory has been ruled under the ‘one country, two systems’ formula agreed by then U.K. and Chinese leaders.
  • Hong Kong citizens have more autonomy and freedom than mainland Chinese, but the elective process is still partly controlled by China.
  • At present, Hong Kong residents can only vote for pre-approved political candidates under Chinese law, making it impossible for a critic of Beijing to get on the ballot.

Rationale behind the law:

The legislation itself has yet to be drafted, but the draft decision that was shared by the NPC indicates the legislation will cover the following areas:

  • Acts of secession
  • Subverting state power
  • Organising and carrying out terrorist activities and other behaviour that endangers national security
  • Activities that interfere with the internal affairs of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and involve foreign or external powers.
  • It also raises the spectre of mainland intelligence agencies, “relevant national security organs”, setting up shop in the territory, which the Hong Kong Bar Association has said is in contravention of the Basic Law.

Impacts of China’s unilateral measures:

  • China’s growing emphasis on the principle of “one country” has met resistance from Hong Kong’s young activists, who underline the idea of “two systems”.
  • China’s recent focus on extending its national security laws to Hong Kong has sharpened the inherent contradictions in the Anglo-Chinese compact and triggered large-scale protests against Beijing’s effort to tighten its grip over the city.
  • China may use the changed law to target political opponents in Hong Kong.
  • Extradited suspects are likely to face torture.
  • Also, they say, the change in the law will deal another blow to Hong Kong’s already crumbling autonomy.
  • Article 4 of the Basic Law, the mini-constitution which governs post-colonial Hong Kong, promises to “safeguard the rights and freedoms of the residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and of other persons in the Region in accordance with law”. The bill is against Article 4 of the Basic law.
  • It would further erode the freedoms people enjoy under the Basic Law.
  • The issue thus brings to light the tensions between the Hong Kong’s Beijing-appointed elite rule, and the expectations of civil society and pro-democracy movement.
  • There are also concerns about the impact on Hong Kong’s much cherished judicial independence, which has helped underpin investment and business and made the city an international financial centre.

Other impacts:

  • Hong Kong being the Asian financial hub was entering “a very difficult economic environment” as trade declined and growth slowed.
  • Industries like retail, catering and transportation have taken a hit because of the recent violent unrest, with significant revenue drops.
  • Southeast Asian countries remain concerned about adverse effects on tourism.
  • The closure spread jitters in Southeast Asia’s tourism-oriented countries such as Thailand and Singapore, as it disrupted Hong Kong residents’ plans to go abroad.

Conclusion:

Draconian laws will only escalate the situation further, jeopardising Hong Kong’s future as an open Chinese international city. The majority of Hong Kongers support the maintenance of “one country, two systems,” though their confidence in this arrangement may be waning. There is a need to handle the situation peacefully and fulfil the demands of the protesters that is in the interest of the nation and reflect the values of democracy. International community should come forward to ensure that the matter is settled peacefully without the use of force by China.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. “A call for Atmanirbhar Bharat is just the right impetus for local manufacturing in a world overly dependent on China”, Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint 

Why this question:

The article explains how India’s economy can gain from opportunities thrown up after Covid.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the potential and prospects of having Atmanirbhar Bharat as the right impetus for local manufacturing in a world overly dependent on China.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First explain the ground situation in the economy owing to the Covid situation.

Body:

Discuss then the challenge that the Covid situation has thrown in front of the Indian economy and in what way we have to understand and realize this as an opportunity that the Covid situation is giving us to become a self-reliant economy against the huge dependence on China. Explain the impact of becoming self-reliant economy on the local manufacturing. Suggest that a balanced approach is needed where the economic ties with China are not totally done away with yet we are not depending on it completely.

Conclusion:

Conclude with positives of becoming self-reliant economy.

Introduction:

The Prime Minister recently brought up the importance of local manufacturing and consumption of locally produced goods to revive the economy that is hit badly by the ongoing health pandemic. He emphasized that Indians needed to become “vocal for local”. In continuation, Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan was also announced to urge Indians to be “vocal about local” brands and buy products made domestically in a speech themed around a self-reliant nation. He hinted that the government would need to undertake major reforms in order for the Indian industry to play a major role in the global supply chain.

Body:

Importance of local manufacturing:

  • There are about 361 products (foreign plus Indian) recognised for their uniqueness and registered with the Geographical Indications (GI) registry.
  • The registered Indian products include those from the agriculture, horticulture, textiles, food, and manufacturing sectors.
  • Much of these products have, however, just remained ‘local’ and over time could disappear from the production calendar if they are not given a market push.

Issues with self-reliance for the manufacturing sectors:

  • The world including India is currently overly dependent on China for raw materials and now is the right time to challenge this hegemony, as companies look for alternative manufacturing hubs in their bid to de-risk.
  • Electrical equipment such as smartphones and computers are a key part of India’s import bill. The value addition in India’s electronics industry is limited to mostly assembly, while the country depends on imports to access most of the primary and critical components used to make them, including printed circuit boards (PCBs).
  • For instance, around 88 per cent of the components used by the mobile handsets industry are imported from countries like China.
  • Over 60 per cent of the country’s medical devices are imported as well. Other products heavily imported into the country are cells and modules used by the country’s solar power industry
  • India’s pharmaceutical industry is capable of making finished formulations, and also has domestic manufacturers of several key ingredients used to make them. However, the industry also imports some key ingredients for antibiotics and vitamins currently not manufactured in India. The country is currently trying to encourage domestic firms to make these key ingredients, known as fermentation-based APIs. However, this may take a few years.
  • India imported around Rs 249 billion worth of key ingredients, including fermentation-based ingredients, in FY19, and this accounted for approximately 40 per cent of the overall domestic consumption, according to CII.
  • Medical devices like ventilators also rely on imports of several crucial components like solenoid valves and pressure sensors.
  • Some auto manufacturers depend on imports for various components, while the country’s electric vehicles industry is dependent, “to a large extent” on Chinese imports for chemicals used to make cathodes and battery cells.
  • Local dyestuff units in India are also heavily dependent on imports of several raw materials, while specialty chemicals for textiles like denim are also imported.
  • For instance, when China initiated its lockdown of Wuhan earlier this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 20 per cent of India’s dyes and dyestuff industry production was hit due to a disruption in raw material.

Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan: the right impetus:

  • India could be their destination of choice, provided we offer a conducive environment.
  • A conducive business climate with better infrastructure and logistics, simplified land and labour laws and single window clearances can enable India to develop a robust manufacturing ecosystem.
  • This will help attract foreign capital, latest technology, create jobs and boost our exports.
  • We must also focus on Skill and Scale to be both quality and cost competitive and serve a global customer base.
  • Huge scope exists in sectors such as pharma, electronics, automobiles and defence machinery, not only to be self-reliant but also capture a decent slice of the global supply chain.

Policy measures needed for manufacturing sector for greater local production:

  • A key issue holding back manufacturing in the country and a lack of flexibility in labour laws, high costs and low availability of land and high cost of electricity.
  • Some states including UP and Madhya Pradesh have relaxed some labour laws with Karnataka likely to follow suit.
  • It will be very important for the government to take initiatives and announce more relief packages.
  • The government to provide cash infusions that allow companies to give workers jobs and buy raw materials.
  • The government will also need to increase the insolvency limit for SMEs and MSMEs to 1 crore from 1 lakh.
  • India’s manufacturers could learn a lot from the IT sector’s experience in promoting the large-scale development of s
  • Continued focus on education will help attract foreign investment and also help the economy overcome the challenges.
  • Favorable market access policies
  • Investor’s confidence must be improved.
  • Improving physical infrastructure from transport systems to the power sector is essential.
  • Enhancing the flexibility of labour regulations.
  • FDI policy requires a review to ensure that it facilitates greater technology transfer, leverages strategic linkages and innovation.
  • Attractive remuneration to motivate people to join the manufacturing sector

Conclusion:

‘Vocal for Local’ should protect industry — yet not lead to protectionism. Winston Churchill famously said after World War II, “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. The current pandemic will test the resilience and agility of the Indian economy for sure. However, it will also throw up some new opportunities – it is up to us to capitalize on them and emerge stronger on the other side of this pandemic.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. “SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule successfully docking into the International Space Station marks a new era in the space exploration”, comment and explain what does it signal for the future of space exploration? ( 250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has landed two NASA astronauts at the International Space Station, marking the first human spaceflight with private collaboration. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One has to elaborate in what way the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule experiment has marked a new era in the space exploration and also explain what it signals for the future of space exploration.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss the context; highlight the achievement made by SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule.

Body:

Explain in what way SpaceX flight is a culmination of more than decade-long efforts to free to enable private players build and operate what essentially is a commercial taxi-service to space, and allow NASA to concentrate on deep space exploration, and work more vigorously towards taking humans to moon, and Mars, and, possibly, on some asteroid, in between. Discuss the significance of private players in the space exploration and in what way it has led to new era of space exploration.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its significance.

Introduction:

SpaceX’s Crew Dragon has landed two NASA astronauts at the International Space Station, marking the first human spaceflight with private collaboration. SpaceX became the first private company to launch human spaceflight into orbit, a feat achieved by the US, Russia & China.

Body:

Importance of the mission:

  • It was the first me that astronauts used a spaceship built and launched by a private company, and the event is being widely seen as the beginning of a new era in space exploration.
  • Two NASA astronauts flew onboard a spaceship named Crew Dragon built by SpaceX.
  • The rocket, named Falcon 9, which carried the spaceship into the orbit, was also built by SpaceX.
  • The Florida launch facility used for the flight shall belonged to NASA, however, and had previously been used to launch American spaceships
  • including the Apollo missions that took human beings to moon.
  • The mission was called Demo-2, in keeping with the fact that it was shall only a ‘test flight’, which if successful, would lead to more missions in the coming months.

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Implications of private participation in the Space industry:

For USA:

  • End of Russian Monopoly: Over the last nine years, there have been some 40 successful launches of Russian Soyuz spacecraft with US astronauts on board. But, now the Moscow’s monopoly on crew transport has ended.
  • Boost to USA: President Donald Trump has pledged that US astronauts will return to the moon in 2024 to stay, and make a launch base for Mars.
  • Speeds up Mars Mission: The US has also stated that it would put the first woman on the moon, and the first astronauts on Mars. It will also allow NASA to concentrate on deep space exploration.
  • Possible Space Race: Trump’s competitive America-first rhetoric is of Cold War vintage, when winning the space race was a matter of superpower prestige
  • Era of PPP: An era of public-private partnerships in space is beginning, where the sector will also be driven by profits rather than mere National prestige.
  • National Cooperation: The biggest achievement of the ISS program could be lost: the “invaluable experience of cooperation.” A return to nations going it alone in outer space would be a step backward for international collaboration
  • Cost reduction: The entry of private sector has begun to drive down the cost-per-launch through innovations such as reusable rockets. For a trip to the ISS and back Roscosmos had increased its fees from $21 million to nearly $90 million in 2020

For India:

  • While there are many private companies operating in the space sector in the United States, their contribution is not much significant in India.
  • Most of them collaborate with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), in building and fabricating the components that go into making rockets and satellites.
  • However, launch services, including the building of rockets or launch vehicles are still a monopoly of government space agency, i.e. ISRO.

In General:

  • Space tourism is one among several opportunities that Indian businesses may be keen to explore. A policy framework to enable private participation in this sector, of course, would have to be formulated by the government.
  • Small satellite revolution is underway, globally, 17,000 small satellites are expected to be launched between 2020 and 2030. A strong private sector in space will help India to tap into this lucrative commercial space launch market.
  • Competitive Space Market: Rapid mass commercial aviation at the edge of space would probably be the most lucrative segment in the future. Singapore, China, New Zealand, India are also encouraging the private partnership in Space industry.

Way forward:

  • The landing by the SpaceX flight underlines the fact that space research and exploration is now a much more collaborative enterprise than earlier.
  • There is also a growing realization that space agencies need to direct their energies and resources more towards scientific research and deep space exploration.
  • It’s been fifty years since the landing on the moon and efforts to take human beings to Mars and other celestial bodies, needs to be expedited.
  • Getting back to the Moon would also require huge amounts of financial resources that most of the space agencies and private players are expected to infuse fresh investments and also technological innovation that will benefit everyone.

 

Topic:  Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. What are the three types of personal qualities desirable in civil servants? Why have civil service ethics become prominent in public administration theory? Explain.  (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by G Subbarao and P N Chowdhary

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and ranges about the qualities that are desirable in a civil servant, also the question asks about prominence of ethics in public administration theory.

Key demand of the question:

Write about any 3 key personal qualities desirable in civil servants according to you and explain in detail why have civil service ethics become prominent in public administration theory.

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:

Start by explaining what virtues civil servants should ideally possess.

Body:

Explain what qualities are desirable in a civil servant. One can explain key qualities such as prudence, fortitude, temperance etc. Explain how such personal qualities explain goodness of character and aid in becoming a good and successful civil servant. Then move onto explain prominence of ethics in public administration theory.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of ethics in public administration.

Introduction:

A public service is associated with government and it is offered by administrative bodies to people living within its region and considered essential to modern life. It refers to the broad framework under which government personnel extend services with the aim of advancing greater public good.

Body:

A public servant must ensure that he possesses the following virtues:

  • Leadership:
    • Holders of public office should promote and support the principles of public life by leadership and example.
    • For eg. Lal Bahadur Shastri used to fast every Monday to save grains for poor people of the country and he gave a call for the nation to follow it. Thus exhibiting a true example of how leaders should lead from the front.
  • Maxim of integrity
    • While undertaking any administrative action, an administrator practices utmost honesty and never uses his power, position and discretion to serve his personal interest. It ensures that public servants work with the honesty of highest standards.
  • Maxim of compassion
    • Compassion for the poor, the disabled and the weaker segment of the society is the highest virtue. It actually determines how successful you are as an administrator. In fact, all great administrators and leaders of society have been a compassionate person which is why they could connect to the masses.
  • Transparency and Accountability
    • Civil servants make all their decisions in a transparent manner. Transparency leaves no room for ambiguity. Civil services aspirants show utmost transparency in all their deeds. this increases the credibility and public trust on the public services.
    • For eg. Vikram Sarabhai accepted the failure of ISRO first mission without actually putting it on the mission head (APJ Abdul Kalam). Thus taking full accountability for the failure of his team.
  • Objectivity
    • A nation having law-abidance citizens always grow and prosper so it becomes utmost essential for law enforcers to follow the law and rules to govern and guide. A civil servant has deepest respect for the law and its enforcement.
  • Principle of Justice
    • Administrators must observe principles of equity, equality, impartiality, fairness and objectivity.
  • Humility
    • the actions must not be high-handed and should be free of any vanity
  • Responsiveness and resilience
    • Responsiveness and resilience are among the most sought-after and must-have skills. Responsiveness helps you connect with people and pare down communication gap, the right response at the time, sometimes, can help avert awkward situations. Likewise, being resilient means you are ready to face down all the challenges of future with great finesse.
  • Commitment for work
    • A committed and a dedicated person excel and bring incredibly noticeable results wherever he puts his efforts. There is no substitute of hard and committed work. So an aspirant of UPSC examination must be a committed worker.
  • Ensuing excellence in the work
    • Determination to give nothing but the best instills in our heart courage to get the better of all agonies and problems and taste success. While striving for excellence, many seen and unseen problems are wiped out and we are on the way of giving optimal performance.
  • Principle of utilitarianism
    • An administrator counts on the principle that all his decisions should lead to the greatest good of the greatest number. Relying on the principle means that an administrator’s reach is to most powerful as well as underprivileged classes of the society as well. After deciding to do maximum good for the society, all the decisions already become rational.
  • National Interest
    • A nation’s prestige comes first and is above everything. A civil servant like a selfless soldier always measures the impact of his action on his nation’s strength and prestige.

Importance of civil service ethics in public administration:

  • Outcomes for society are better when the decisions of public office holders are made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal and private interests
  • Low levels of corruption and confidence in the integrity of the trading and operating environment are crucial factors in the functioning of advanced democracies
  • High standards benefit the economy through their effect on international confidence
  • Impartiality and objectivity increases predictability, which improves economic efficiency
  • Governments which are not perceived to uphold high standards have less legitimacy and basic public institutions such as tax and benefit systems rely on public trust to function effectively
  • High ethical standards are a necessary component of managing public money and fundamental to the right use of public funds and delivery of services to the public.
  • It is therefore incumbent on the bodies commissioning or procuring public services, which are ultimately responsible and accountable for those services, to obtain assurance that high ethical standards are being met.

Conclusion:

Public service in both the developed and developing world has significant contribution in providing public goods, such as defence, public order, property rights, macro-economic management, basic education, public health, disaster relief, protection of environment, and managing private sector activity.

 

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.

7. “Ethics derived from religious texts are of no use to civil servants in a secular state.” Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by G Subbarao and P N Chowdhary

Why this question:

The question is based on the utility of religious texts to the working of civil servants.

Key demand of the question:

One has to explain whether the ethics that are derived from the religious texts are of any use to the civil servants especially applied to a secular state.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by highlighting importance of ethics n general to the civil services.

Body:

Discuss first what kinds of ethics are usually derived from the religious texts. Explain if they can be useful and can guide ethical ways to civil servants. Discuss their relevance in a secular state, present your opinion whether they can be useful to a civil servant or they become totally irrelevant.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

Religious ethics concerns teachings and practices of what is right or wrong, good or bad, virtuous or vicious, from a religious point of view. Ethical behaviour entails certain socially acceptable conduct that may not have been codified formally into a law or a rule, violation of which could lead to a formal penalty or punishment.

Body:

A person’s religious beliefs are an integral part of his/her identity which influences all aspects of his/her life including interactions in public sphere. Ethics in this public life of an individual is based on multiple sources, of which religion is an important source. This interaction has historically seen great variations with religious and secular ethics contesting for space in public ethics.

Various religions have as their foundations, some common ethics like compassion, love and generosity. Such ethics derived from religion are not altogether useless from a public service point of view. They compel us to fulfil our civil duties more efficiently and selflessly. Religion teaches us that there is a bigger reality for which we must act and not live for narrow individual benefits.

Religious ethics of humaneness, compassion is necessary at times for civil servants.

  • Consider a situation of natural calamity where an old destitute woman has lost all her Government issued IDs. Without the IDs, she will not be able to access the social security benefits. In such times, civil servants need to be compassionate.
  • However, no law mandates civil servants to be humane and accessible. However, that is what is expected of them.
  • Such attributes give an enormous amount of satisfaction to the officer himself.
  • They also provide much-needed succor to the person concerned. Such officers are respected and remembered. They become role models.
  • Religion helps in establishing ethical conduct in individuals which is reflected in public life of individuals as summation of individuals is public. For example, Buddhist religious ethics has helped in harmonizing public life in Bhutan where happiness of everyone is emphasized over material possession. (Gross National Happiness).
  • Struggles for justice and downtrodden in public life are generally inspired from religious beliefs of individuals. For example, Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts during India’s struggle for independence have religious basis like Non-Violence, Truth etc.
  • Religious beliefs can be great motivators for bringing about social changes in the country. For example, Sant Gadge Baba in Maharashtra inspired many towards cleanliness drives at local level using religious symbolism.

Relevance of religious ethics in a secular state:

However, a civil servant is supposed to possess the virtues of objectivity and impartiality. Such civil servants as are afflicted with intellectual dishonesty do enormous damage to governance. In situations relating to communal tension, and more so during the election process, these become even more critical. The conduct of elections is totally in the hands of civil servants. He cannot but be neutral as the entire democratic process is dependent on him.

Conclusion:

If a religious inspiration can make a civil servant more moral and perform his duties better, then even within the confines of secularism, religion can still guide us to be better humans and better officers. At the same time, the secular ethics developed through human history should be prioritized over religious beliefs in public life.