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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 5 August 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 : Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues. The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. The economic policies followed by the British led to the rapid transformation of India’s economy into a colonial economy whose nature and structure were determined by the needs of the British economy. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Modern Indian history by Bipin Chandra

Why the question:

The question is based on the features of colonial economy in India and its economic policies.

Key Demand of the question:

Describe the features of colonial economy in India and provide for a detailed analysis of the economic policies of the British in India.

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:

Start by describing the features of colonial economy in India.

Body:

Earlier India was known as sink of gold and silver. It was self-sufficient in agricultural and handicrafts products and had steady market of finished products abroad. However, with the coming of British rule, Indian economy was transformed into colonial economy that suited the interests of British, not the local population. India was transformed into supplier of raw materials, a market of British manufacturers, and a field of investment for foreign capital.

Discuss the exploitation of British through its economic policies in three phases -Mercantile Phase (1757-1813), Free Trade Capitalist exploitation (1813-1858), and Imperialistic phase.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the negative effects of such policies on India and how it entirely lead to the freedom struggle.

Introduction:

With coming of British colonialism in India, the economic policies followed by British were more concerned about protection and promotion of the economic interests of their own country rather than development of Indian economy under British rule. The policies followed by the company rule brought about a fundamental change in the structure of the Indian economy, transforming India into a supplier of raw materials and a consumer of finished industrial products from Britain.

Body:

There were three broad stages of British Colonialism in India. The economic impact of British rule in India is also studied under these stages to assess the full meaning of British rule.

  • Mercantile development (1757-1813)
    • The East India Company began to use its political power to monopolize the trade in India.
    • It dictated the terms of trade in its dealings with the traders and merchants of Bengal.
    • The Company imposed inflated prices of goods leading to adventurous capitalism whereby the wealth was created by the political clout of the British traders.
    • The revenue collected from Bengal was used to finance exports to England.
  • Industrial phase (1813-1858)
    • With development of British industries, India was exploited by its colonial masters as a market for British goods.
    • With coming of the act of 1813, only one-way trade was allowed by the British, as a result of which, the Indian markets was flooded with cheap, machine-made imports from newly industrialized Britain.
    • This led to loss of Indian market and foreign market for traders of the country.
    • Now, Indians were forced to export their raw materials to Britain and import the finished goods.
    • They imposed heavy imports duty on the Indian products exported to England in order to discourage them in the British market.
  • Financial phase (1860 onwards)
    • After the British consolidated their position in India they converted India into a market for British manufacturers while still being a supplier of foodstuffs and raw materials.
    • In the second half of the 19th century, modern machine based industry started coming up in India.
    • With the Introduction of Railways in 1853, and Post and Telegraph being introduced in year 1853 as well.
    • There was a rush of foreign investment in India mainly lured by high profits and availability of cheap labour, raw materials.
    • The Banking System was introduced in form of Avadh Commercial Bank in year 1881.
    • Home grown Industries came into existence in form of Tata Iron and Steel in 1907.
    • Socially, this led to the rise of an industrial capitalist class and a working class became important feature of this phase.

Effects of British Rule on economic conditions:

  • The British rule stunted the growth of Indian enterprise.
  • The economic policies of British checked and retarded capital formation in India.
  • The Drain of Wealth financed capital development in Britain.
  • Indian agricultural sector became stagnant and deteriorated even when a large section of Indian populace was dependent on agriculture for subsistence.
  • The British rule in India led the collapse of handicraft industries without making any significant contribution to development of any modern industrial base.
  • Some efforts by the colonial British regime in developing the Plantations, mines, jute mills, banking and shipping, mainly promoted a system of capitalist firms that were managed by foreigners.
  • These selfish motives led to further drain of resources from India.

Conclusion:

Britain subordinated the Indian economy to its own economy and determined the basic social trends in India according to her own needs. The result was stagnation of India’s agriculture and industries, exploitation of its peasants and workers by the zamindars, landlords, princes, moneylenders, merchants, capitalists and the foreign government and its officials, and the spread of poverty, disease and semi-starvation.

 

Topic : Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2. Sea-level rise (SLR) is a “well accepted” consequence of climate change. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

Recently, a study in journal scientific reports made predictions that a large population and assets will be globally affected as a consequence of Sea Level Rise (SLR). Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail in what way Sea level rise has become more of a result of climate change these days.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss the concept of Sea level rise.

Body:

SLR is an increase in the level of the world’s oceans due to the effects of climate change, especially global warming, induced by three primary factors – Thermal Expansion, melting glaciers, Loss of Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets.

Quote some key data such as – Global sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate has accelerated in recent decades. The average global sea level has risen 8.9 inches between 1880 and 2015. That’s much faster than in the previous 2,700 years.

Discuss the possible consequences and with suitable facts explain in what way it is more a consequence of climate change.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue, explain what needs to be done; significance of global collective efforts in this direction.

Introduction:

Sea level rise (SLR) is one of the most severe impacts of climate change, with rising waters threatening to inundate small-island nations and coastal regions by the end of the century. In a study published recently in the journal Scientific Reports, researchers predict that by 2100, the global population potentially exposed to episodic coastal flooding will increase from 128-171 million to 176-287 million. The value of global assets exposed to these episodes is projected to be between $6,000-$9,000 billion, or 12-20 per cent of the global GDP.

Body:

Findings of the study: 

  • The researchers note that sea-level rise (SLR) is a “well accepted” consequence of climate change.
  • Their study has found that globally, of the 68 per cent area that is prone to coastal flooding, over 32 per cent can be attributed to regional SLR.
  • This, they say, will significantly increase coastal flooding by 2100.
  • Their results indicate by the year 2100, for most of the world, flooding incidents that are typically associated with a 1 in a 100-year event could occur as frequently as 1 in 10 years, “primarily as a result of sea level rise.”
  • As per this assessment, 0.5-0.7 per cent of the world’s land area is at a risk of episodic coastal flooding by 2100, impacting 2.5-4.1 per cent of the population, assuming there are no coastal defences or adaptation measures in place.
  • The combination of climate change and heavy congestion continues to bury Jakarta, the “world’s fastest-sinking city”, by about 25 cm into the ground every year.
  • The situation looks grim for India’s financial capital Mumbai as well. As per some projections, climate change is expected to inundate significant sections of Mumbai by 2050, impacting millions of people.
  • Other cities that regularly feature in the lists endangered by climate change include Guangzhou, Jakarta, Miami, and Manila.

Factors that are aggravating sea-level rise:

  • Anthropogenic activity is at the root of this phenomenon. Specifically, since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions have raised temperatures even higher in the poles.
  • Burning of fossil fuels has resulted in the build-up of greenhouse gases influencing the warming trend because they trap heat in the atmosphere.
  • Oil and gas drilling that emits methane which is the main constituent of natural gas is another contributor.
  • Methane is more damaging to environment than carbon dioxide, locking in heat more efficiently and escalating global warming.
  • Deforestation, on the rise, across the globe, has a lot of negative effects like a rise in sea levels.
  • In summer, Ice breaking ships that head to the north in the Arctic Ocean leave trails of open waters, leaving the oceans with lesser ability to reflect back sun rays.
  • Consequently, water gets heated up and melts more ice. This is also contributing to Global Warming. 

sea_level

Challenges posed by the sea-level rise:

  • Seas and oceans:
    • The Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets hold enough frozen water to lift oceans about 13 metres. East Antarctica, which is more stable, holds another 50 metres’ worth.
    • Melting glaciers add to rising global sea levels, which in turn increases coastal erosion.
    • The Greenland ice sheet is disappearing four times faster than in 2003 and already contributes 20% of current sea level rise.
    • Storm surge gets elevated as warming air and ocean temperatures create more frequent and intense coastal storms like hurricanes and typhoons.
    • The ocean currents get influenced, as massive amounts of very cold glacial-melt water entering warmer ocean waters slows down ocean currents.
  • Climate and weather patterns:
    • As permafrost thaws, the trapped carbon inside it is released to the atmosphere in the form of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
    • This process leads to more climate change and is an example of a positive feedback loop, which happens when warming causes changes that lead to even more warming.
    • The Arctic is warming twice as fast as anywhere on earth, and research shows the polar vortex is appearing outside of the Arctic more frequently because of changes to the jet stream, caused by a combination of warming air and ocean temperatures in the Arctic and the tropics.
    • The glacial melt in Antarctica and Greenland is changing the circulation of the Atlantic Ocean and has been linked to more destructive storms and hurricanes around the planet.
  • Urban areas and cities
  • Most of the people found to be at risk from coastal events live in Asia residing in countries like China, Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan.
  • Very large fractions of coastal populations in these countries will be inundated.
  • Other than Asia and the Netherlands, there are 20 countries (13 of which are small island nations) in which more than a tenth of their population are expected to reside below the high tide line by 2100, and this is with deep cuts to emissions.
  • Coastal cities, such as Alexandria, Ho Chi Minh City, Basra and Shanghai are among the most vulnerable and large portions of Mumbai and Kolkata will be fully submerged by 2050.
  • The effects on the economy, coastal communities, infrastructure and land will be immense and people living along the coast will be forced to move inland, probably to nearby towns and cities.
  • Humans and wildlife:
    • Industries that thrive on vibrant fisheries will be affected as warmer waters change where and when fish spawn.
    • Coastal communities will suffer as flooding becomes more frequent and storms become more intense.
    • In the Arctic, as sea ice melts, wildlife like walrus are losing their home and polar bears are spending more time on land, causing higher rates of conflict between people and bears.
    • The habitats of several marine and terrestrial species are changing which results in the imbalance of the food chain.
    • When permafrost melts, the land above it sinks or changes shape. Sinking land can damage buildings and infrastructure such as roads, airports, and water and sewer pipes and also affects ecosystems.

Global measures undertaken:

  • The International Cryosphere Climate Initiative (ICCI) was launched in 2009. is a network of senior policy experts and researchers working with governments and organizations to create, shape and implement initiatives designed to preserve as much of the Earth’s cryosphere as possible.
  • To prevent the severe effects of climate change, the UN signed the Paris agreement in 2016, an international treaty designed to keep the average global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels until greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.
  • 2019 UN Climate Action Summit saw some commitment from countries to advance their Carbon Neutrality efforts.
  • India has worked towards International Solar Alliance which is a step forward in consciously trying to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • International instruments such as The Antarctic Treaty and the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) that aims for the protection of the continent’s ocean wildlife.

Way forward:

  • Climate policy is consistent with the 1.5°C goal could cost upto 6. 3 trillion dollars per year globally. But the cost likely outweighs the consequences of inaction. If global temperatures rise more than 1.5 °C, humankind will have to make adaptations that will make a serious dent on the world’s economy and reduce food security and biodiversity.
  • Delaying action any further will need nations to remove CO2 at an unmanageable magnitude that current technology and resources cannot achieve.
  • 2020 is a critical year for climate change. Countries will meet to renegotiate their commitments at the UN Climate change conference in Glasgow in November 2020. But extensive actions must be taken to avert a future crisis.
  • There are some changes that are needed to chip away the emissions. These include:
    • Establishing vehicle emission standards and investing in public transportation that runs on electricity.
    • Pricing carbon, i.e., making major polluters pay for their emissions. This provides an incentive for major emitters to reduce their output.
    • Phasing out coal power plants.
    • With renewable energy technology becoming increasingly affordable, Solar power and Wind turbines are needed to phase out coal plants. However, it is important to note that these changes on a global scale will not be cheap.
  • While immediate action is needed to save the earth, it is not too late to do something about it either.
  • It may be important to revisit the commitments of global climate change before it is too late, as the changes that have already set in due to climate change might continue to cause damage for a several decades, even if solid measures are taken to contain the changes.
  • Incremental changes no longer enough to stall devastating effects of climate change. The need of the hour is rapid and transformational changes.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3. Discuss the prospects of online dispute resolution to the Indian judiciary. Do you agree that it provides for an opportunity to give more people access to justice and ease the burden on the courts? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents to us in detail the possible prospects of online dispute resolution to Indian Judiciary.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the prospects of online dispute resolution and in what way It can aid more accessibility to justice and help in easing the burden of the courts.

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:

Start by suggesting that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge traditional services’ delivery, including access to justice and effective justice delivery.

Body:

Given the worrying situation in terms of pendency and time taken for resolution of disputes, the pandemic has led to introspection and an immediate pivot to fast-tracking innovation led by technology.

Suggest that for efficient justice delivery will require the intervention of technology and a two-pronged approach towards dispute avoidance and dispute resolution and in such a situation online dispute resolution (ODR) could have a significant role in pre-empting disputes at the avoidance and containment stages.

Talk about the potential of ODR, its advantages and concerns if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to challenge traditional services’ delivery, including access to justice and effective justice delivery. Given the worrying situation in terms of pendency and time taken for resolution of disputes, the pandemic has led to introspection and an immediate pivot to fast-tracking innovation led by technology.

Body:

The Supreme Court passed directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings saying congregation of lawyers and litigants must be suspended to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic. The top court, which has restricted its functioning and is conducting hearing through video conferencing since March 25, exercised its plenary power to direct all high courts to frame a mechanism for use of technology during the pandemic. A bench headed by the Chief Justice stressed that “technology is here to stay”

e-Courts project as part of virtual judiciary was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005” submitted by eCommittee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts. 

e-Courts objectives:

  • To provide efficient & time-bound citizen centric services delivery as detailed in eCourt Project Litigant’s Charter.
  • To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate the processes to provide transparency in accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  • To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.

Advantages of online dispute resolution to the Indian judiciary:

  • The key advantages of establishment of Electronic Courts in India is bringing in a justice serving mechanism that is transparent, efficient, affordable, time saving, protects the interests of witnesses, reduces the backlog of pending cases and most importantly reduces the number of unscrupulous activities.
  • Entire information related to a particular case would be available online. It would be available to the attorneys, parties and the general public through the help of internet.
  • Registered attorneys can file their case document directly from their home or office. They do not have to worry about postage, traffic congestion or messenger services. They can create a docket sheet and update it immediately, when the documents are filed.
  • With the help of internet, the documents of a case can be accessed easily from anywhere at anytime.
  • E-courts would help in the computerization of work flow management in courts. Thus, it would help to create a better court and case management. Video conferencing facilities would be installed in every court complex. Evidence of eyewitness, who are unable to attend the court can be recorded through this method.
  • The information would not be misplaced as all the information regarding the case would be carefully recorded and stored. Data keeping would include maintaining the records of e-file minute entries, bail orders, warrants etc.
  • In many cases, the witnesses are not able to come to the court and make their statement as the other party is too strong and scares them of the consequences. e-Courts can help in dealing with such cases.

Limitations of online dispute resolution in judiciary:

  • E-courts in India is an endless and complicating process. The process of e-filing a document is a difficult process. All the evidence cannot be produced in a digital format.
  • Lack of techno legal expertise is the main reason for the poor status of e-courts in India. With the absence of techno legal expertise, electronic courts cannot be established in India. The country requires more techno legal e-court centers so that the project of e-court can achieve success.
  • The project of e-court involves a lot of expenditure. It involves the use of a lot of computers and infrastructures. In the long run, e-courts may face the issue of lack of funds.
  • Hackers are getting stronger with every passing day. The possibility of e-Courts getting hacked in such a case cannot be denied.

Measures needed:

  • It is critical to draw up a well-defined and pre-decided framework as it can help in laying a concrete roadmap and direction to the e-courts scheme of India.
  • To achieve this, the government must establish an effective task force consisting of judges, technologists, court administrators, skill developers and system analysts to draw up a blueprint for institutionalizing online access to justice.
  • Such a task force must be charged with the responsibility of establishing hardware, software and IT systems for courts; examining application of artificial intelligence benefiting from the data base generated through e-courts projects; establishing appropriate e-filing systems and procedures.
  • Creating skill training and recognition for paralegals to understand and to help advocates and others to access the system to file their cases and add to their pleadings and documents as the case moves along.
  • Once the blueprint is ready, the High Courts across the country may refer the same to the Rule Committee of the High Court to frame appropriate rules to operationalise the e-court system.
  • One aspect that needs to be focused on is the deployment of a robust security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties. The security of e-courts infrastructure and system is of paramount importance.
  • Also, user friendly e-courts mechanism, which is simple and easily accessible by the common public will encourage litigants to use such facilities in India.
  • The government must also make dedicated efforts in the training of personnel to maintain all the e-data.
  • Also, conducting training sessions to familiarize the Judges with the e-courts framework and procedure can give a huge impetus to the successful running of e-courts.

Way forward for Indian litigation and arbitration:

  • In India, a significant amount of time is spent in resolving disputes which has been the real bane of the Indian judiciary system.
  • The e-courts project, if implemented, would go a long way in saving costs and time for the litigants.
  • The present government is taking active steps to establish e-courts all over India. All these government efforts will result in providing quick and cost effective solutions to the litigants.
  • The judiciary system in India with the help of e-courts can overcome the challenges and make the service delivery mechanism transparent and cost efficient.
  • Further, the e-court project also requires the executive and the judiciary to reaffirm their resolve to support a speedy, efficient and quality justice delivery in the country.
  • It is also important to discuss steps required to surmount the various challenges facing the justice system.

 

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

4. Literacy rates differ considerably across gender, regions and social groups in India. Elaborate. Also, suggest measures to improve the current conditions. (250 words)

Reference: orfonline.org

Why the question:

The question intends to analyse the spatial variation of literacy rates across the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the underlying factors responsible for such a spatial variation in the literacy rate and suggest solutions to improve the current conditions.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining what you understand by literacy rate.

Body:

Literacy is said to be an instrument of empowerment; discuss in what way it varies across the following dimensions – Gender, Region, social groups etc.

Literacy across gender – The literacy rate for women is almost 22% less than the literacy rate for men. There has been rise in female literacy and in the year it was noticed that between year 1991 and 2001 there has been a 15% rise in literacy in case of females compared to the rise in male literacy of a little less than 12% in the same period.

Literacy across social groups – Disadvantaged communities like the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have lower rates of literacy and rates of female literacy within these groups are even lower.

Literacy across regions – Regional variations are still very wide, with states like Kerala approaching universal literacy, while states like Bihar are lagging far behind.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to address these challenges, one can mention the efforts of the government in this direction while commenting upon the draft NEP 2020.

Introduction:

Literacy is one of the most essential indicators of the quality of a country’s human capital. The literacy rate in the country is 74.04 per cent, 82.14 for males and 65.46 for females. While the country has made significant progress in improving literacy over the years, it continues to be home to 313 million illiterate people; 59 percent of them are women. Majority of states in India have shown majors signs of improvement in their overall literary rate thus contributing towards a literate nation. But, India is said to be passing through a great dichotomy.

Body:

Imparity in literacy rates:

  • Gender:
    • The current gender-gap in literacy in India is more than twice the 2016 global average and is also higher than the 2016 average for lower-middle-income countries.
    • There are currently 186 million females in India who cannot even read and write a simple sentence in any language.
    • These numbers are a reminder that India is still a long way from meeting Goal 4 of the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) of ensuring “inclusive and equitable quality education” and “lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.
  • Age:
    • The literacy gender gap in children has been successfully closed, possibly reflecting a change in attitudes and mindsets.
    • This can be attributed to the spirited literacy efforts by government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to get more girls, in particular, to attend school.
    • However, gender disparities in literacy skills are wider for older adults and the elderly and are improving less quickly as compared to the patterns for children and youth.
  • Region:
    • Rajasthan is the worst performer in terms of the literacy gender gap. At 29 percentage points, the literacy gender gap in Rajasthan is more than four times the 2016 global average gap.
    • The female literacy rate in the state stands at 49.3 percent—meaning that one of every two females in Rajasthan is illiterate.
    • On the other end of the scale, Kerala and north-eastern states such as Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Assam, and Nagaland have a literacy gender gap of less than nine percentage points, making them the top performers among all of India’s states.
    • Such exemplary performance by these states can be attributed to various historical and socio-cultural factors, and not solely the successes of specific policy initiatives.
  • Social groups
    • Illiteracy and prevalence of a wide literacy gender gap among older adults has been obscuring the progress made with regard to child and youth literacy.

Initiatives undertaken:

  • Initiatives such as Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan has universalized elementary education in time bound manner.
  • Right to Education act which declares free and compulsory education a fundamental right has been instrumental in increasing literacy rates.
  • Mid-day meal scheme where many children are given hot meals in the school is a great initiative to increase enrolment in the schools
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao: Education for girls has been keen one of the keen agenda of government.
  • Public Private Partnerships, involving other major stakeholders like NGOs, Civil Society Organization have contributed immensely in ensuring literacy.

Measures needed:

  • Programmes linked to learning additional skills such as vocational training can be promoted to solicit wider participation.
  • Taking a cue from other countries, programmes can be designed that place literacy learning in the context of rights awareness, health and food security (such as in Zambia), reproductive health, community mobilisation and communication (Gambia), and learning skills that support income-generating activities (Sierra Leone).
  • In order to close the literacy gender gap for older adults, adult literacy programmes that also offer women training in skills such as bangle-making, block-painting, jute-work and other handcrafts should be designed to elicit greater participation. In India, the three states that need such programmes the most, especially for older adults are Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Nagaland.
  • Participation in adult education programmes should be linked to eligibility for the various employment schemes offered by the government.
  • Additional incentives such as the provision of micro-credit facilities and grants to participants should also be offered.
  • the rapid growth in mobile phone coverage in India can be leveraged to launch mobile-learning programmes for older adults.
  • mobilise volunteers and seek community participation for the success of any adult literacy campaign.
  • With human resource increasingly gaining significance in the overall development of the country, development of education infrastructure is expected to remain the key focus in the current decade. In this scenario, infrastructure investment in the education sector is likely to see a considerable increase in the current decade.
  • Public and private aided institutions must be strengthened and expanded and the expansion of self-financing private institutions restricted to a reasonable level.

Conclusion:

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope,” once said former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. As a nation, India must aim to conquer the hurdles posed by illiteracy, not only to preserve its economic vigour but also to ensure that every individual has a full range of opportunities for personal fulfilment and participation in society. For older adults and the elderly in particular, literacy plays an essential role in enabling them to remain in or rejoin the work force, to contribute to society through volunteerism and civic participation, and to live full, independent, and productive lives through their later years.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Pesticide pollution is a major environmental issue in India, which has far-reaching consequences. Discuss while enumerating the various sources of Pesticide pollution. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why the question:

Recently the Centre has issued a draft order banning the manufacture and sale of pesticides on grounds of the grave risk they pose to humans and animals.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the issue of pesticide pollution in India and its far reaching consequences along with its sources.

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 pesticide pollution is.

Body:

Introduce the answer with some statistics on pesticide pollution in India. Enlist the sources of pesticide pollution and their consequences. Pesticide contamination, diminishing ecology and biodiversity, farmer suicides, insect resurgence, the monopoly of a few corporations and food export rejection due to pesticide residue are all to be cited in detail.

Explain the sources like apart from agriculture, the chemical industry also contributes heavily to the source.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning a few measures to tackle the sources of pesticide pollution and that India is at a crossroads where the need is increasingly being felt for a ‘science to live’ and not a ‘science to kill’.

Introduction:

Agriculture in India is largely dependent on chemicals including pesticides and their usage has a huge impact on the health of humans, animals, biodiversity and the environment. In 2015, the National Crimes Records Bureau recorded 7,672 cases of poisoning due to accidental intake of insecticides/pesticides, out of which 7,060 died.

Pesticides are regulated in India through the Insecticides Act, 1968 and Insecticides Rules, 1971, the experiences in administering this Act over the last five decades has exposed certain gaps. In this context, the union cabinet has recently approved the Pesticides Management Bill, 2020.

Body:

Pesticides usage in India:

  • India is the fourth-largest producer of pesticides in the world, with the market segmentation tilted mainly towards insecticides, with herbicides on the increase in the recent past.
  • It is reported that eight states consume more than 70% of the pesticides used in India. Amongst the crops, paddy accounts for the maximum share of consumption (26-28%), followed by cotton (18-20%), notwithstanding all the hype around Biotechnology.
  • There are 292 pesticides registered in the country, and it is estimated that there are around 104 pesticides that are continued to be produced/ used in India that have been banned in two or more countries in the world.
  • The industry has grown to be an INR 20,000 crores business in India, with the top 3 companies having a market share of 57%.

Sources of pesticide pollution:

Major sources of exposure include

  • use in households.
  • on gardens and lawns
  • in schools, hospitals, public places for disinfection.
  • Agriculture: Relatively high concentrations of pesticides might be due to point sources caused by seed treatment, filling operations or cleaning of sprayers and boxes for storing vegetables and fruits
  • drift from spraying
  • pesticide residues on certain fruits and vegetables.
  • “Run-off” and inappropriate disposal of pesticides that contaminates drinking water.
  • Pesticides in some lice removal shampoos.
  • Pesticides in drinking or bathing water.

Impacts of Pesticide pollution:

  • On Farmers:
    • Agrochemicals are considered as a powerful weapon or magic bullets in the developing countries in order to enhance the agriculture productivity.
    • However, it has been observed that agrochemicals are causing serious hazards and certain pesticides may affect the human endocrine and immune systems and may promote the development of cancer.
    • It has been administered that farmers do not use the safety masks, gloves and other protective gears during the spraying of pesticides which results into the access of pesticides in the blood stream through inhalation and dermal exposure which can adversely affect their eyes, skin and the respiratory system.
    • Pesticide poisoning has been a consistent killer with the state reporting as many as 272 deaths in the last four years.
  • On Consumers:
    • Pesticides go up the food chain by working their way through the environment and into the soil or the water systems after which they are eaten by aquatic animals or plants and ultimately humans. This process is called Biomagnification.
    • Organophosphate pesticides used in the vegetables gradually get deposit into human body and has a link with cancer.
    • As pesticides are applied over the vegetable which are directly entered into human or livestock bodies.
  • On Agriculture:
    • Continued use of pesticides for decades has contributed significantly to the current ecological, economic and existential crisis of the Indian agriculture sector.
    • Excessive use of fertilizers may pollute the underground water with nitrate and it is so much hazardous to livestock.
  • On Biodiversity:
    • Contamination of soil and water with toxic agrochemicals (e.g., phosphate fertilizer contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides etc.) are a particular concern.
    • Monocrotophos, a pesticide killed huge populations of birds in USA and was eventually banned.
    • Heavy treatment of soil with pesticides can cause populations of beneficial soil microorganisms to decline.
    • Chlorpyrifos, a common contaminant of urban streams, is highly toxic to fish, and has caused fish, kills in waterways near treated fields or buildings

Way forward:

  • A comprehensive study should be undertaken to measure the impact of chemical fertilizers and pesticides on soil fertility and general health.
  • The existing fertilizer subsidy policy should be revised, and a new policy which is more favourable to Indian conditions should be formulated.
  • Promotion of organic fertilizers.
  • A Policy should be put in place to incentivize the use of bio-fertilizers. Farmers should be provided with financial and technical support to enable them to switch to organic farming on a large scale.
  • Legal action for using banned pesticides like DDT for agriculture.
  • A Fertilizer Development and Regulating Authority should be established to streamline the process of certification, quality checks, innovations, and fixing prices of fertilizers.
  • A Pesticides Development and Regulation Authority should also be created to regulate the manufacturing, import and sale of pesticides in the country.
  • Balanced use will also reflect in reduced water consumption, while at the same time protecting water bodies from run-off pollution.
  • Farmer awareness about balanced fertilization should be stepped up through the coordinated efforts of the departments of agriculture, cooperation & farmers’ welfare and fertilizers, besides the network of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is to switch priorities and subsidies from chemical to organic farming as shown by the State of Sikkim. Andhra Pradesh launched a ‘Zero Budget Natural Farming‘ Project to phase out chemicals by 2024.The government should divert the undeserved subsidies from the chemical farming sector to the organic farming sector and assist/train farmers across the country to make the transition to organic farming practices and thereby enhance their livelihoods, and protect their lives.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

6. What do you understand by utilitarianism? Illustrate with examples the grounds on which it has been criticized. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the concept of Utilitarianism.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the concept of Utilitarianism in detail and bring out its criticism with suitable examples.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Utilitarianism is fundamentally driven by the principle of utility i.e. that action is morally right which produces the best overall consequences with regard to the utility or welfare of all the affected parties.

Body:

Discuss the objectives of the theory in detail; Utilitarian theories propound “greatest happiness of the greatest number”.

Comment upon the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, John Stuart Mill and Henry Sidgwick who are some utilitarianism theorists.

Then move onto discuss the objections to Utilitarian theory such as – Utilitarian theories might require us to do morally problematic or doubtful things in order to bring about a good result, In a utilitarian society, people’s behaviour would lack the kind of predictability and consistency that is required to sustain trust and social stability.

Suggest way out to such situations.

Conclusion:

Conclude that thus, there are various concerns associated with utilitarian ethics and it cannot be the sole guiding light for human actions, societal goals and government’s programmes.

Introduction:

Utilitarianism is a theory of morality, which advocates actions that foster happiness or pleasure and opposes actions that cause unhappiness or harm. When directed toward making social, economic, or political decisions, a utilitarian philosophy would aim for the betterment of society as a whole. Utilitarianism would say that an action is right if it results in the happiness of the greatest number of people in a society or a group. The theory was propounded by John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham.

Body:

Utilitarianism as an ethical philosophy can simply be defined as a system in which ‘the theory that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its usefulness in bringing about the most happiness of all those affected by it. It leads to maximum utilisation of resources.

The Three Generally Accepted Axioms of Utilitarianism state that

  • Pleasure, or happiness, is the only thing that has intrinsic value.
  • Actions are right if they promote happiness, and wrong if they promote unhappiness.
  • Everyone’s happiness counts equally.

Jeremy Bentham describes his “greatest happiness principle” as: “Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do.”

For instance, Bentham’s utilitarianism would approve of active euthanasia, as it would not only relieve the suffering of the terminally ill patient but also would be beneficial for the family, both monetarily as well as emotionally.

However, there are grounds on which the Utilitarianism is criticized too.

  • Utilitarianism is based on the notion that whatever functions should or should not be performed by the individual should be tested on the touch-stone of utility. If this notion is accepted, each individual will work only for his own pleasure. One will ignore benevolence, renunciation, service and sacrifice.
    • For instance, slavery is justified from a utilitarian perspective as it benefits agrarian economy; however, it is unjust as it undermines the universal moral principle of ‘human dignity’.
  • Utilitarianism also has trouble accounting for values like justice and individual rights.
    • For example, say a hospital has four people whose lives depend upon receiving organ transplants: a heart, lungs, a kidney, and a liver. If a healthy person wanders into the hospital, his organs could be harvested to save four lives at the expense of his one life. This would arguably produce the greatest good for the greatest number. But few would consider it an acceptable course of action, let alone an ethical one.
  • Utilitarianism is allegedly the foundations of our legal system, so it is important to ask ourselves whether it is actually fair or whether some are denied the simple right to have their own interests respected.
    • For instance, Utilitarianism cannot be applied to entities that do not have the capacity to feel pleasure and pain or at least to have recognisable goals that they are aware of fulfilling. This debatably does not include some animals, advanced AI, the planet as a whole, a deity or the victory conditions of an overall storyline, game or narrative. Many people will argue that they should be ascribed certain rights or their interests recognised.
  • Another limitation of utilitarianism is that it tends to create a black-and-white construct of morality. In utilitarian ethics, there are no shades of gray—either something is wrong or it is right.
  • Utilitarianism also cannot predict with certainty whether the consequences of our actions will be good or bad—the results of our actions happen in the future.
    • For instance, bringing down of illegal shops run mostly by poor on road sides is in line with policy and also is good for maximum of people. However, keeping in mind the livelihood needs of the poor, the demolition process should be such that enough time is provided to the poor so as to shift and if possible must be provided with an alternative.
  • Utilitarianism cared only for physical comfort, and have ignored the suppression of sense and self-control. It also doesn’t care for the spiritual comfort which one derives from self-sacrifice for the sake of humanity.

Conclusion:

So, although utilitarianism is surely a reason-based approach to determining right and wrong, it has obvious limitations. Focusing on consequences only may lead to ignorance of ethicality of actions.

 

 

Topic: Citizen’s Charters

7. Highlighting their significance, discuss the issues with Citizen’s Charter in India.(250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is premised on the concept of citizen’s charter; its importance and issues associated with it.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss briefly the concept of citizen’s charter, its significance and bring out the associated issues while suggesting solutions to address the same.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define citizen’s charter; A Citizen’s Charter is a document of commitments made by an organization regarding the delivery of services to citizens with specified standards, quality and time frame. It seeks to make an organisation transparent, accountable and citizen friendly. The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission describes it as a tool to ensure that the citizen is always at the heart of any service delivery mechanism.

Body:

Introduce by defining Citizen’s Charter and its objective.

 Proceed to discuss the significance of Citizen’s Charter – It enshrines trust between the service provider and its users, It ushers in a regime of transparency and openness, enhances administrative efficiency and promotes good governance, helps to enhance the quality of the services to be provided etc.

Analyse the issues facing Citizen’s Charter in India such as – Non-existent and out-dated Charters, Bureaucratic rigidity, Unrealistic targets, Lack of awareness amongst citizens etc. among others.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting a way forward.

Introduction:

A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.

 Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizen’s Charters.

Body:

The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

integrated_approach

Importance of Citizen’s charter in the Governance of developing nation like India:

  • To make administration accountable and citizen friendly.
  • To ensure transparency.
  • To take measures to improve customer service.
  • To adopt a stakeholder approach.
  • To save time of both Administration and the citizen

Problems faced in implementation of Citizen’s charter:

  • One size fits all: Tendency to have a uniform CC for all offices under the parent organization. CC have still not been adopted by all Ministries/Departments. This overlooks local issues.
  • Silo operations: Devoid of participative mechanisms in a majority of cases, not formulated through a consultative process with cutting edge staff who will finally implement it.
  • Non-Dynamic: Charters are rarely updated making it a one-time exercise, frozen in time.
  • Poor design and content: lack of meaningful and succinct CC, absence of critical information that end-users need to hold agencies accountable.
  • Lack of public awareness: only a small percentage of end-users are aware of the commitments made in the CC since effective efforts of communicating and educating the public about the standards of delivery promise have not been undertaken.
  • Stakeholders not consulted: End-users, Civil society organizations and NGOs are not consulted when CCs are drafted. Since a CC’s primary purpose is to make public service delivery more citizen-centric, consultation with stakeholders is a must.
  • Measurable standards of delivery are rarely defined: making it difficult to assess whether the desired level of service has been achieved or not.
  • Poor adherence: Little interest shown by the organizations in adhering to their CC. since there is no citizen friendly mechanism to compensate the citizen if the organization defaults.

Way forward:

  • Wide consultation process: CC be formulated after extensive consultations within the organization followed by a meaningful dialogue with civil society.
  • Participatory process: Include Civil Society in the process: to assist in improvement in the contents of the Charter, its adherence as well as educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.
  • Firm commitments to be made: CC must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery standards to the citizens/consumers in quantifiable terms wherever possible.
  • Redressal mechanism in case of default: clearly lay down the relief which the organization is bound to provide if it has defaulted on the promised standards of delivery.
  • One size does not fit all: formulation of CC should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing only broad guidelines.
  • Periodic updation of CC: preferably through an external agency.
  • Fix responsibility: Hold officers accountable for results: fix specific responsibility in cases where there is a default in adhering to the CC.

Conclusion:

Citizen’s Charter is playing a prominent part in ensuring “minimum government & maximum governance”, changing the nature of charters from non-justiciable to justiciable & adopting penalty measures that will make it more efficient & citizen friendly. The Sevottam model proposed by 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission for public Service Delivery can be regarded as a standard model for providing services in citizen centric governance.


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