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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 July 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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Literary account of foreigners proved extremely useful in writing the history of Ancient India. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference: shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in

Key demand of the question

Literary account of foreigners have played a useful role in writing the history of ancient India. The question expects us to discuss the account of such travellers and how they enabled us to write the history of ancient India.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion needs to focus on highlighting the account of foreigners and how they enabled us to understand in detail the society, polity, economy etc of Indian society.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that Foreign travelers in the past played a more profound role than tourists of the present day. They were agents of civilizational contact and exchange, bringing with them new ideas, skills and technologies and returning with new knowledge.

Body

 discuss how Greek and Roman literary account has proven useful by discussion some works and highlighting it’s significance in writing the history of ancient Indian.

Hsuan-Tsang – Account during Harshavardhan’s era.

Al Beruni (AD 973 – 1048) – Mahmud of Ghazni. Culture of Indians especially the hindus.

Abdur Razzaq – Vijaynagar Empire

Fa-Hien – Account of the Gupta Period. An extensive account of society. first to talk about the caste system and shudras. Shudras were kept outside the town and entered the town by making a noise with a stick. Fahien had also mentioned about Shaiv and Vaishnav religion.

Conclusion 

Highlight the impact and importance of such accounts..

Introduction:

From very ancient times, foreigners visited India. They were agents of civilizational contact and exchange, bringing with them new ideas, skills and technologies and returning with new knowledge. Some of these visitors have left a valuable account of the places they visited, people they met, events they witnessed and the experiences they underwent.

Body:

  • Greeks:
  • The oldest accounts of India which have come down to us from abroad are of the Greeks. But although India figures in the writings of Herodotus and Ctesias, these consist largely of incredible tales. The most realistic and perhaps the most important of these is Indica by Meagasthenes.
  • Meagasthenes was an ambassador sent by Seleucus Nikator, a general of the Alexander the Great, to the court of Chandragupta Maurya. He resided at Pataliputra, near modern Patna, and also travelled around the country. He describes India’s two largest rivers – Sindhu and the Ganga;
  • He has described the people of India with admiration. He has given a graphic account of their physical features, their dresses, diet and social customs. According to him the people of India were divided into seven classes according to their occupation: Philosophers; Peasants; Herdsmen; Craftsmen and Traders; Soldiers; Overseers and Spies; Councillors or Assessors.
  • Romans:
  • Apart from the Greeks, India had a flourishing trade with Rome: hence, it was natural that contemporary Roman authors too mention India in their narratives. Thus we have a geographical account of India by Ptolemy in his book Geography of India, written in about 130 A.D.
  • Yet another account of India comes to us from the pen of Pliny. In his work Natural History, Pliny wrote about Indian plants, animals and minerals. The most interesting observation of his was that Rome was losing a lot of bullion to India through its import of luxurious goods.
  • Chinese:
  • With the spread of Buddhism, we have a number of pilgrims from the east — especially China — who have left us very valuable accounts which help us to reconstruct the history of the period. The earliest of these is Fa Hian, a Buddhist monk who was in India between A.D. 405 and 411.
  • Fa Hian’s book A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms tell us a great deal about India of 1,500 years ago.
  • Although main mission of Fa Hian was to collect Buddhist manuscripts and visit the monasteries, he has left an account which throws invaluable light about India in the fifth century during the rule of Chandragupta Vikramaditya.
  • Following the footsteps of Fa Hian, more than sixty Chinese travellers visited India and have left accounts of their travels. The most important of these was Hieun Tsang, who visited India two hundred years after Fa Hian.
  • Hieun Tsang carefully noted down all that he saw, but unlike Fa Hian and I Tsing, his observations were not confined to religious matters alone. His travel account, known as Travels or Records of Western Lands, comprises of twelve books, containing details of political, social, economic and religious lives of the 7th century Indians and the rule of Harshvardhana.
  • Hieun Tsang then reached his destination –Nalanda, the great seat of learning in those days. He spent a couple of years in Nalanda, learning Sanskrit, and studying Buddhist texts.
  • No account of Harsha and his reign and even the contemporary political and religious condition of India during this period can be satisfactory unless the historian turns to the account of Hiuen Tsang.
  • Arabs:
  • From the 8th century onwards, when the Arabs conquered Sindh, India figured prominently in the chronicles written by the Muslim scholars. Of these the most important is Abu Rihan, better known as Alberuni.
  • During the years of his exile in India, Alberuni availed of the opportunity to study its people and their culture. He even learned Sanskrit, studied the ancient texts and was familiar with such diverse subjects as mathematics, chemistry, philosophy, religious rites, customs, astronomy and astrology of India.
  • Alberuni translated or wrote about twenty-four books in Arabic, among which his work on India, his Kitab-ul-Hind, is the most outstanding. This voluminous book is considered as the most comprehensive account of India ever written by a foreigner.
  • Ibn Batuta was a Moroccan traveller and visited India during the reign of Muhammad-Bin-Tughlaq. His book “Rihla” (the travelogue) provides extremely rich and interesting details about the social and cultural life in the subcontinent in the fourteenth century.
  • Abdur-Razzaq Samarkhandi gave one of the most important descriptions of the city of Vijayanagara in the fifteenth century. He was a diplomat who came visiting from Herat.
  • Europeans:
  • French jeweller Jean-Baptiste Tavernier travelled to India at least six times. He was particularly fascinated with the trading conditions in India, and compared India to Iran and the Ottoman empire.
  • Some of the travellers, like the Italian doctor Manucci, never returned to Europe, and settled down in India.
  • François Bernier, a Frenchman, was a doctor, political philosopher and historian. Like many others, he came to the Mughal Empire in search of opportunities. He was in India for twelve years, from 1656 to 1668, and was closely associated with the Mughal court, as a physician to Prince Dara Shukoh, the eldest son of Emperor Shah Jahan, and later as an intellectual and scientist, with Danishmand Khan, an Armenian noble at the Mughal court.

Conclusion:

The travellers account help in reconstructing the India’s History. It helps us to understand the social, political and economic situations of the past where not much recorded information is available.  All these accounts are a treasure-trove of information – a boon to the chronicler of the past.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

2. Various parliamentary committees have contributed immensely to the policy debate in Parliament. Discuss their significance, challenges faced and measures needed for effective operations. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why this question:

The Parliament of India has also been a victim of the coronavirus pandemic. But even as having full sessions of both houses must be the goal, it is perplexing that parliamentary committees — which are important pillars in keeping the government accountable, rigorously examining an issue of public interest, and developing a cross-party consensus on issues — have been barely functional.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss importance of parliamentary standing committees, their key functions, roles and responsibilities and justify their significance.

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:

Define what are parliamentary committees. Highlight how the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the meetings of these PCs also to a halt.

Body:

Discuss in detail the following points:

What are Parliamentary standing committees? Their purposes?

Discuss the role and significance of parliamentary standing committees.

Provide alternative measures as to how to go about the parliamentary committee meetings.

Conclusion:

Conclude with their importance.

Introduction:

In the Indian Parliament, a Parliamentary Standing committee is a committee consisting of Members of Parliament. It is a permanent and regular committee which is constituted from time to time according to the provisions of an Act of Parliament or Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business. Both houses of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, and Lok Sabha have similar Committee structures with a few exceptions. Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

The Parliament of India has been a victim of the coronavirus pandemic. The Budget session ended early — and rightly so, given the surge in Covid-19 cases. The monsoon session has not been scheduled yet. Given the compulsions of social distancing, the predicament of officials in coming up with a workable formula to ensure that India’s most important democratic institution is functional — but safe — is understandable

Body:

Significance of Parliamentary Standing Committees:

  • Parliament is the embodiment of the people’s will. Committees are an instrument of Parliament for its own effective functioning.
  • Committees are platforms for threadbare discussion on a proposed law.
  • The smaller cohort of lawmakers, assembled on the basis of the proportional strength of individual parties and interests and expertise of individual lawmakers, could have more open, intensive and better-informed discussions.
  • Committee meetings are ‘closed door’ and members are not bound by party whips, which allows them the latitude for a more meaningful exchange of views as against discussions in full and open Houses where grandstanding and party positions invariably take precedence.
  • Members of Parliament may have great acumen but they would require the assistance of experts in dealing with such situations. It is through committees that such expertise is drawn into law-making.
  • Executive accountability to the legislature is enforced through questions in Parliament also, which are answered by ministers. However, department standing committees go one step further and hear from senior officials of the government in a closed setting, allowing for more detailed discussions.
  • This mechanism also enables parliamentarians to understand the executive processes closely.

Role of committees:

  • Support Parliament’s work.
  • Examine ministerial budgets, consider Demands for Grants, analyse legislation and scrutinise the government’s working.
  • Examine Bills referred to by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.
  • Consideration of Annual Reports.
  • Consideration of national basic long term policy documents presented to the House and referred to the Committee by the Chairman, Rajya Sabha or the Speaker, Lok Sabha.

Challenges faced:

  • Current challenges during COVID-19:
    • virtual meetings of panels have not been allowed, and physical meetings are difficult given that Members of Parliament (MPs) are spread out across the country, with difficulties in mobility and state-specific quarantine rules
    • The Parliamentary rules doesn’t allow virtual meetings of the Parliamentary committees.
    • The need for secrecy — which may not be possible during a virtual meeting is another major concern.
    • Insisting on physical meetings — just recently, MPs who attended a committee meeting had to go into quarantine because a staff of a committee secretariat tested positive — isn’t wise.
  • Other challenges:
    • Persistent absenteeism from meetings of department-related standing committees should cost MPs their spot on these parliamentary panels was a strong view that emerged during a meeting of chairpersons of the committees with Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu recently.
    • Eleven of the 22 Bills introduced in the ongoing session of Parliament have been passed, which makes it a highly productive session after many years.
    • But these Bills have been passed without scrutiny by parliamentary standing committees, their purpose being to enable detailed consideration of a piece of legislation.
    • After the formation of the 17th Lok Sabha, parliamentary standing committees have not been constituted as consultations among parties are still under way.
    • Partly as a result of this, the Bills were passed without committee scrutiny. They were discussed in Parliament over durations ranging between two and five hours.

Measures needed:

Immediate measures:

  • Ensuring the use of technological platforms which are secure, and owned and vetted by the government.
  • The prime minister, for instance, uses video conference facilities for a range of meetings; Same can be replicated for the legislature too.

Long-term measures:

  • Parliamentary committees don’t have dedicated subject-wise research support available. The knowledge gap is partially bridged by expert testimony from government and other stakeholders.
  • Their work could be made more effective if the committees had full-time, sector-specific research staff.
  • The national commission to review the working of the Constitution has recommended that in order to strengthen the committee system, research support should be made available to them.
  • Currently, the rules of Parliament don’t require every bill to be referred to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny. While this allows the government greater flexibility and the ability to speed up legislative business, it comes at the cost of ineffective scrutiny by the highest law-making body.
  • Mandatory scrutiny of all bills by parliamentary committees would ensure better planning of legislative business.

Conclusion:

India is confronted by a range of serious issues, from the pandemic to economic distress, from the security threat from China to rapidly changing global geopolitics. All of them require careful examination. MPs have a role in providing inputs, scrutinizing the executive’s approach, involving domain experts in the discussion, and ensuring accountability. Thus, the PSC act as check and balance which must be constituted at the earliest.

 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. The recognition by Supreme Court to equate physical or mental disability with the social disability and experience of untouchability suffered by marginalised sections for centuries, although raises a question, is a laudable one. Critically analyze. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu The Hindu 

Why this question:

The Supreme Court, in a significant decision, has confirmed that persons suffering from disabilities are also socially backward and entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education. The Court has upheld a 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court in Anamol Bhandari (minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delhi Technological University in a significant decision.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss about the recent decision by Supreme Court that persons suffering from disabilities are also socially backward and entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education. Discuss about the pros and Cons of the decision and provide a way forward.

Directive word:

Critically analyze- here we 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:

write a few introductory lines about the ruling of the Supreme court.

Body:

Highlight the issues faced by the Disabled in accessing the education and public employment. Substantiate your argument by providing the supporting facts and figures.

Now discuss the pros and cons of the decision of equating physically/mentally disabled vis-à-vis the socially disabled.

Provide the measures that India must take to empower the disabled.

Conclusion:

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

Introduction:

The Supreme Court recently upheld that people suffering from disability are entitled to the same benefits and relaxations as candidates belonging to the Scheduled Castes. This has helped recognize the travails of the disabled in accessing education or employment, regardless of their social status. The SC has upheld the Anamol Bhandari (minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delhi Technological University, 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court, holding that persons with disabilities are socially backward and hence are entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education.

Body:

Challenges faced by the Divyaangs in accessing Education and employment:

illitrerate

  • 45% of India’s disabled population is illiterate, according to Census 2011, compared to 26% of all Indians. Of persons with disability who are educated, 59% complete Class X, compared to 67% of the general population.
  • Some 600,000 (28%) special-needs children between six and 13 years of age are out of school, according to the 2014 National Survey of Out of School Children report, at a time when India has almost universal primary school enrolment.
  • Among children with special needs, as many as 44% of children with more than one disability are out of school, and children with mental (36%) and speech (35%) disabilities are more likely to be out of school than those with other kinds of disability.
  • A higher percentage of children with hearing disability, orthopaedic/locomotive disability and visual disability go to school, with only 20%-30% failing to do so, according to this 2014 United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization report.
  • Thus, the current system doesn’t allow equal access for children with special needs to various education-related programmes.
  • According to a study, only 34 lakh of the about 1.34 crore people with disabilities (PwDs) in the employable age have a job in India.

Rationale behind the decision of equitable treatment of Supreme Court:

  • Through this judgment, the Supreme Court has recognised the difficulties faced by the disabled in accessing education or employment, regardless of their social status. People suffering from disability have always been an under-privileged and under-represented section.
  • Hitherto, candidates with disabilities were often not able to get the benefit of reservation in education and employment because of not meeting the general standards
  • The larger principle behind the judgement was that without imparting proper education to those suffering from disabilities, there cannot be any meaningful enforcement of their rights.
  • The judgment could help alleviate some of the difficulties faced by this section through this affirmative action.

However, there have been concerns regarding the judgment:

  • The ruling is seen as eliminating the distinction between the disabled and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • It is seen as an attempt to equate physical/ mental disability with the social disability and experience of untouchability suffered by marginalised sections for centuries.
  • This would allow disabled persons from a traditionally privileged community an advantage over those suffering from a historical social disability.

Conclusion:

Many think that persons selected under reserved categories, especially under the differently abled category, are not meritorious candidates and their selection brings down the quality of institutions in which they are selected. If this mindset prevails, we must expect the systemic violation of disability reservation to continue. The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 sought to address this by raising the quota for the disabled from 3% to 5% and envisaging incentives for the private sector to hire them too. It is vital that this is fully given effect to so that this significant segment of the population is not left out of social and economic advancement.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4. Universities should be a place for ‘creativity’, ‘out of the box thinking’ and ‘ideological disruptions’. Comment in the light of existing higher education scenario in India.(250 words).

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the significance of universities as platforms for creative thinking.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the Indian scenario of higher education, what way they are places for creative thinking.

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:

Begin with brief introduction on the current status of universities in India.

Body:

Discussion should include the following:

Give a brief on the current scenario on Universities.

Discuss the issues surrounding the higher education system in the country, what are the key challenges and suggest what needs to be done to overcome the same.

Explain what can be done to ensure they become hubs for creative thinking and innovation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India is a rapidly changing country in which inclusive, high-quality education is of utmost importance for its future prosperity. The country is currently in a youth bulge phase. It has the largest youth population in the world—a veritable army of 600 million young people under the age of 25.

Body:

Evolution of “critical thinking ethos” in the Indian Universities:

  • In the 19th and 20th centuries, Indian universities emerged as institutions where a privileged generation of colonial subjects trained to serve the colonial regime and further Western political ideals.
  • Some graduates went on to serve the colonial state, while others contributed to the nationalist movement.
  • In the 20th century, the growth of nationalism, liberal education and the process of de-colonialization offered universities with an opportunity to revise the curriculum and to define new goals.
  • Over the years, these institutions gradually discarded their elitist character and became more representative.
  • In the initial decades after Independence, the government was conscious of various social, economic and financial challenges.
  • It strongly supported these institutions, encouraging them to further develop an academic rigour that would shape a new generation and contribute to the nation-building process.
  • The Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management along with other distinctly envisioned institutions of academic excellence like the Indian Institute of Science, Indian Statistical Institute, and Jawaharlal Nehru University emerged as model institutions that defined the new academic ethos and the vigour of the modern Indian nation.

Challenges posed to the ‘Critical thinking ethos’:

  • From 2005 onwards, these changes that infused a new vigour in institutional academia were undermined by government policy that displayed an eagerness to impose a new intellectual regime.
  • The constitution of the National Knowledge Commission and a very strong emphasis on privatisation of education undermined the deliberative and independent character of these institutions of higher education.
  • Administrative and academic decisions were imposed from above and discussions within various academic bodies were discouraged.
  • The imposition of the semester system across India and the introduction of a four-year undergraduate programme in many public and private universities were hallmarks of this new era of bureaucratic centralisation.
  • The government of the day undervalued the academic achievements of scholars from Indian universities, romanticised American academia and undermined all the progress, new academic traditions and culture that had shaped Indian universities since Independence.
  • It justified governmental intervention arguing that Indian academia had stagnated. Those in positions of authority within the universities were encouraged to undermine academic bodies and limit their role in revising and regulating matters pertaining to curricula, teaching and academic life in their institutions.
  • The imposition of the ‘cafeteria system’ associated with the Choice Based Credit System and renewed attempts to privatise higher education linked to an emphasis on rankings were highlights of this new thrust.
  • It became apparent that the government’s desire for intervention now included the determination of minute details pertaining to academic curricula, the teaching-learning process and the parameters that governed academic research within the university.
  • Academicians were disenfranchised of their role in designing curricula and their own academic work was removed from the regulatory gaze of peers to that of the government bureaucracy.
  • During this period, the university emerged as an extension of government.
  • The manner in which the Central government and the University Grants Commission have imposed themselves on the daily functioning of all higher educational institutions (Central, State and private) represents a new government-oriented bureaucratic centralisation.
  • Decisions about the conclusion of academic term, the modalities for evaluation and the conduct of the teaching-learning process have become exclusive government prerogatives overnight.
  • The various academic bodies that had original jurisdiction over these matters and were being subjected to decisions by higher authorities in the last few years have, in the last few weeks, been made redundant.
  • How and whether examinations are to be conducted has become an issue of contention between State and Central governments.
  • The general public now no longer appeals to the administrators of these institutions.
  • The university administration has been replaced by the Education Minister and his bureaucratic apparatus.

Measures needed to improve status of Indian Universities:

  • The best Indian universities would require a kind of “cultural revolution” to join the ranks of global world-class universities and to be able to lure top faculty.
  • It is virtually impossible for India to attract large numbers of international professors of high standing and ability without dramatic changes in many aspects of the existing governance structure in higher education. Dramatically enhanced funding would also be required.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development should be working closely with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs to have a road map that incentivizes CSR funding to be made available for universities.
  • There need to be an immediate move to attract more candidates, such as the faculty recruitment drive in the US, and monetary incentives like the Young Faculty Incentive Fellowship Scheme.
  • Parallel development in infrastructure is necessary to accommodate the research needs of incoming faculty.
  • The structural and practical realities of Indian universities make them generally unattractive to academic talent from abroad, this must be rectified at the earliest.
  • The key motivation for hiring foreign faculty must be to improve international competitiveness and secure positions in global rankings, which in turn would also attract more motivated students.
  • Attracting foreign nationals, Indians who studied at prestigious foreign universities by offering higher salaries and other benefits.
  • The moral and motivation of the academics have to be maintained. Not only attract the quality but also retain the quality of teachers. For this, the recruitment and the promotion policy have to be looked into. Recruitment policy on merit, kind of promotion on merit and in intervals would retain good teachers.

Conclusion:

If universities become center of fresh knowledge production, then things change. Complete freedom of thought in direction and ideas is need of the hour. There is a prevailing culture that knowledge is finite and job of student is to master pre-existing knowledge. This has a limiting problem in educational culture which needs to be challenged.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. With the rate of zoonotic on the rise, it will prove to be a big health risk going forward and India must gear itself to deal with this challenge. In this light, Examine the link between zoonotic diseases and right diet. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why this question

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

Key demand of the question

What are zoonotic diseases and How they are a huge health risk – apart from the obvious fact that they can lead to loss of significant no of lives, what other factors exacerbates the risk. One must establish the link for rising zoonotic diseases and how our diet is influencing it.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

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

Body

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

Examine the links of why zoonotic diseases are on the rise and how it is linked to the food/diet of humans.

Provide measures as to how right diet can help fight these zoonotic diseases and other diseases in general.

Conclusion

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

Introduction:

Zoonotic disease is a disease that passes into the human population from an animal source directly or through an intermediary species. Zoonotic infections can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic in nature, with animals playing a vital role in maintaining such infections. Zoonotic diseases are those that are transmitted from animals to humans and account for over 60% of infectious outbreaks. This has been true in recent years, with SARS, H5N1, H1N1, MERS, Ebola, Zika, Nipah viruses and the current Covid-19 disease becoming familiar names in the rogues’ gallery of viruses that move from animals to humans.

Body:

Reasons for increasing Zoonotic diseases:

  • One of the reasons for the spread of zoonotic diseases is the destruction of animal habitat and their displacement. The Nipah outbreak was the result of disturbing the habitat of bats so that they invaded the human space.
  • Deforestation due to expanding agriculture and logging, animal breeding, and livestock farming are creating a conveyor belt for the transmission of microbes, hitherto confined to their primary animal hosts in wild life, to the veterinary population and then to human habitats.
  • Anthropogenic climate change creates conditions for vectors like mosquitoes and ticks to spread to new geographies.
  • Exploitation of wildlife for hunting, harvesting of wild animals for meat and research or medical purposes can bring humans in closer contact with wild animals, thus increasing the risk of zoonotic disease emergence.
  • The popularity of food products with animal source and the need for immediate delivery to consumers is driving major changes in the food supply chain.
  • The intensification and industrialisation of animal production, wherein a large number of genetically similar animals are bred in for higher productivity.
  • Intensive farm settings cause animals to be raised in close proximity to each other characterised by poor waste management. This makes them more vulnerable to infections, which can further lead to emergence of zoonotic diseases.
  • High use of antimicrobials in farm settings is contributing to the burden of Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR). Antimicrobial resistance is the resistance acquired by any microorganism (bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc.) against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics) that are used to treat infections.

Link between zoonotic diseases and right diet:

  • Animals provide food, fiber, livelihoods, travel, sport, companionship, and education for people across the globe.
  • However, animals can sometimes carry harmful germs that can spread to people and cause illness.
  • From Ebola to COVID-19, there is a connect between consumption of meat and disease. The animal-man connect is clear.
  • The American Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that 75% of new and emerging diseases are from animals.
  • Humans are the only animals who do not know what to eat, thus human beings cannot be healthy unless the environment they live in (including plants and animal life) is healthy.
  • Eating or drinking something unsafe, such as unpasteurized (raw) milk, undercooked meat or eggs, or raw fruits and vegetables that are contaminated with feces from an infected animal. Contaminated food can cause illness in people and animals, including pets.
  • For instance, Bushmeat consumption, especially of primates, has been tied to zoonotic diseases such as HIV and Ebola. Bushmeat may either be consumed as an inexpensive source of protein or as a sought-after delicacy, according to cultural value related to taste, wealth, and cultural significance.
  • Some diseases such as salmonellosis can be contracted from eating foods that aren’t cooked properly and un-pasteurised dairy products may cause listeriosis.

Challenges posed by Zoonotic diseases:

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

Way forward:

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

 

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

6. Explain the relationship between attitude and behaviour. Do you think training can change attitude of people towards weaker sections of the society? Discuss. (250 words).

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question aims to analyse the relationship between attitude and behaviour.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the relationship between attitude and behaviour. In what way training can change attitude of people towards weaker sections of the society.

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:

Define what is attitude.

Body:

Explain what are the elements of attitude and behaviour, in what way the two are interrelated. attitude can be defined as what a person internalizes as its values and beliefs, what it carries to be disposed and what generally forms a character of a person. behavior finely abuts attitude. it’s a sum total summary of a person’s actions.

It can be called the visible form of attitude. or rather actions make the attitude visible in the form of person’s behavior.

Discuss the role of training in redefining and shaping one’s attitude.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable examples and justify the importance of the two.

Introduction:

Attitude refers to a set of emotions, beliefs, and behaviours toward a particular object, person, thing, or event. Attitudes are often the result of experience or upbringing, and they can have a powerful influence over behavior.

Body:

Relationship between attitude and behaviour is very fine and subtle to understand. While Attitude is internal component of our cognition (thought process and perception system), behaviour is manifestation or exhibition of such attitude. We tend to assume that people behave according to their attitudes. However, social psychologists have found that attitudes and actual behavior are not always perfectly aligned.

For example, if a person might have an attitude to help poor people, but his/her behaviour may not be in the direction.

Changing anything pre-eminent and settled attitude or behaviour, both, is difficult, as its human instinct. However, change can be bought through self-discovery or external inspiration.  A complete change in attitude may be difficult but rigidness of attitude can be lowered by training. The scope of their thinking can be extended which can make them see the other side of coin. For this both theoretical and practical training is required. Training provides more inputs to the process which is helpful in shaping the attitude of a person.

Teachers, politicians and bureaucrats who are not very familiar with the conditions of poor can be trained to be more amiable and sensitive towards weaker sections. Their familiarity with the situations in which weaker section live can bring out a positive change in them. Change in their attitude will depend on the training provided to them. A Training which emphasise the nature of public service and expectation from public servant can be helpful. It is also in the interest of the country to change the attitude of public functionaries who determines the course of life of the masses, in a positive direction.

Conclusion:

Thus, by training and persuading the people the attitude and behaviour can be changed in the right direction.

 

Topic: Case studies.

7. In one of the districts of a frontier state, narcotics menace has been rampant. This has resulted in money laundering, mushrooming of poppy farming, arms smuggling and near stalling of education. The system is on the verge of collapse. The situation has been further worsened by unconfirmed reports that local politicians as well as some senior police officers are providing surreptitious patronage to the drug mafia. At that point of time a woman police officer, known for her skills in handling such situations is appointed as superintendent of police to bring the situation to normalcy.

If you are the same police officer, identify the various dimensions of the crisis. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis. (250 words)

Reference: UPSC CSE 2019 mains paper.

Why this question:

The above case study shows various security challenges faced by a bordering state. As a woman police officer, you are tasked to take up these challenges and find measures to deal with the crisis.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain the challenges faced in the given scenario and measures to deal with crisis.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly highlight the various challenges faced by the state administration in this.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects:

Talk about the various dimensions of the crisis faced as a woman police officer dealing the case.

  • Narcotics issues
  • Money laundering
  • Illegal drug farms
  • Education stalling
  • Alleged involvement of Government officials
  • Patriarchy faced as woman officer

Provide the suitable measures to tackle the various issues under your capacity as a police superintendent.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced way forward.

Introduction:

The above case study highlights the issues related to rampant narcotics menace and the associated perils like money laundering, arms smuggling and wastage of youth-force of region. The various stakeholders include the drug mafia, arms dealer, money launderers, politicians, bureaucracy and public at large. The patronage and security provided to the narcotics mafia has led to a vicious cycle which is on verge of collapsing the entire public system.

Body:

Various dimensions of the crisis:

  • There is an organized crime set up where money from narcotics has been laundered which is financing the various illegal activities of gun-running, arms smuggling, poppy farming etc.
  • Poor governance and corruption in bureaucracy has helped the narcotics mafia to flourish in an unhindered manner.
  • The alleged involvement of politicians and dereliction of duty by senior police officers has led to an unholy nexus of politician-bureaucracy and mafia.
  • Stalling of education has affected the children and youth of the district which makes it easier to be lured by the drugs and money.
  • The schools, colleges and society as a whole have failed to inculcate the good values in the people which have led to such illegal activities.
  • Since it is a frontier district, there are all possibilities of souring the international relations with the neighbouring country.

Measures to deal with the crisis:

  • As a new superintendent of police of district, it is my duty to take stock of the actual ground situation without taking any knee-jerk actions. I must be clear about the various stakeholders, their activities and impacts they are bearing on the district.
  • In such dire situations, it is necessary to use a carrot and stick policy depending on the actors.
  • Using the legal machinery, I will request the district administration and Narcotics Control Bureau to impose total ban on the illegal poppy cultivation and seize the already grown plants under the provisions of NDPS Act. I will support them by providing the police force needed in their operations.
  • At the same time, using intelligence collected I will raid the places where illegal arms are stored.
  • With the support of authorities like ED, DRI; money laundering activities taking place via online mechanism and hawala can be tracked and curbed.
  • The border security and local intelligence will be strengthened to ensure that supply chain of drugs and arms is cut off.
  • As the head of police in the district, I would initiate an internal department enquiry to nab culprit police officers and strict actions will be taken on them.
  • With the help of NGOs, village panchayats, etc. a massive awareness campaign against drug abuse will be started and CSR funds if any available can be channeled to set up rehabilitation centers for the addicts.
  • Further, motivational talks by stars, rehabilitated addicts can help build awareness in the society.
  • Schools and colleges will be encouraged to pitch in and conduct classes regularly, increase sport and co-curricular activities to ensure students are weaned off the influence of drugs.
  • There is also a need to provide skills and job opportunities to youth to help them overcome their poverty which drives people to illegal activities for livelihoods. Using schemes like MGNREGA, Skill India and Start up India, this can be achieved.
  • Lastly, I would send request letters to the ministry of external affairs to increase the help increase collaboration with the neighbouring countries in stopping the narcotics trade, money laundering as well as information exchange which can help us further.

Conclusion:

A multi-pronged approach with perseverance and team work can help bring back the situation to normalcy. Changes although cannot be seen overnight, persistent efforts will yield positive results. Father of the nation “Mahatma Gandhi” condemned the use of drugs. Drugs are one of the greatest evils for our society. It not only affects the individual but also the society. It causes loss of ability to make rational decisions and takes precedence over everything else – career, family, loved ones, friends and even civic sense. Thus, it must be curbed.


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