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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 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 – 2


 

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

1. Increasing age at first marriage, age at first birth, can be a promising approach to improve maternal and child nutrition. Do you agree? Discuss (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Indian Prime Minister has stated in his Independence Day speech that the government may take a relook at the age of marriage of women.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way increasing age at first marriage, age at first birth, can be a promising approach to improve maternal and child nutrition.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present briefly the background related to the context of the question.

Body:

When a girl is married too early and has a child before the age of 20 years, available evidence highlights the detrimental effect it has on the health and growth of the baby as well as the health of the mother.

Scientific studies have shown that children born to adolescent mothers (10-19 years) were more likely to be stunted (shorter for their age) than those born to young adults (20-24 years), and adult mothers.

Children born to adolescent mothers also had higher prevalence of low weight as compared to adult mothers.

Given the relation between age of a girl entering motherhood and the age of a girl at marriage, the government has indicated its willingness to take strong decisions about the age of marriage of girls.

Present the counter arguments if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude by emphasizing focus on women empowerment.

Introduction:

The Prime Minister, during his address to the nation on the 74th Independence Day, announced that the central government has set up a committee to reconsider the minimum age of marriage for women, which is currently 18 years. The law prescribes a minimum age of marriage to essentially outlaw child marriages and prevent abuse of minors. Personal laws of various religions that deal with marriage have their own standards, often reflecting custom.

Body:

Background:

  • The Union Ministry for Women and Child Development set up a committee, headed by Jaya Jaitley, to examine matters pertaining to age of motherhood, imperatives of lowering Maternal Mortality Ratio and the improvement of nutritional levels among women.
  • It will examine the correlation of age of marriage and motherhood with health, medical well-being, and nutritional status of the mother and neonate, infant or child, during pregnancy, birth and thereafter.
  • It will also look at key parameters like Infant Mortality Rate (IMR), Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR), Total Fertility Rate (TFR), Sex Ratio at Birth (SRB) and Child Sex Ratio (CSR), and will examine the possibility of increasing the age of marriage for women from the present 18 years to 21 years.

Link Between Age of Marriage and Nutrition:

  • A study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), which was published in 2019, showed that children born to adolescent mothers (10-19 years) were 5 percentage points more likely to be stunted (shorter for their age) than those born to young adults (20-24 years).
  • They were 11 percentage points more stunted than children born to adult mothers (25 years or older).
  • Children born to adolescent mothers also had 10 percentage points higher prevalence of low weight as adult mothers.
  • It also highlighted other factors, such as lower education among teenage mothers and their poor economic status, which had the strongest links with a child’s height and weight measurements.
  • It recommended that increasing age at first marriage, age at first birth, and girl’s education are a promising approach to improve maternal and child nutrition.

Arguments Against Increasing the Minimum Age of Marriage of Women:

  • The National Coalition Advocating for Adolescent Concerns asserts that increasing the legal age of marriage for girls will only “artificially expand the numbers of married persons deemed underage and criminalise them and render underage married girls without legal protection”.
  • Instead, transformative, well-resourced measures that increase girls’ access to education and health, create enabling opportunities and place girl’s empowerment at the centre will not just delay marriage but lead to long term, positive health and education outcomes.
  • It recommended bringing education for three-to-five year-olds and 15-to-18 years under the Right to Education, instead of confining the law to children between 6 years to 14 years.

Need for relooking at the law:

  • There are many arguments in favour of increasing the minimum age of marriage of women.
  • There is a need to bring in gender-neutrality.
  • There is a need to reduce the risks of early pregnancy among women.
  • Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality rates and affects the health of the mother.
  • Despite laws mandating minimum age and criminalising sexual intercourse with minor, child marriages are very prevalent in India.

Conclusion:

Early pregnancy is associated with increased child mortality rates and affects the health of the mother. Thus, there is a need to focus on a mother’s health and readiness to carry a child. Government needs to emphasize upon economic and social empowerment of women and girls, as well as targeted social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) campaigns. Increasing the minimum age of marriage of women will also lead to gender-neutrality.

 

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

2. What is National Digital Health Mission? What are its objectives? How it will be helpful? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Prime Minister in his Independence Day speech has stated the government’s intention to implement a National Digital Health Mission (NDHM).

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the objectives of the NDHM, its advantages and other aspects in detail.

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:

The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 had laid significant emphasis on leveraging digital technologies for enhancing the efficiency effectiveness of all healthcare delivery services.

Body:

Start narrating the key features of the mission like – Under the National Digital Health Mission, every Indian will be given a digital health ID which will contain information regarding disease, medical reports, medicine prescribed and consultant doctor details of a person.

The National Health Authority (NHA), which runs the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, would be designing and implementing the NDHM.

While the core systems of NDHM like Health ID, Digi-Doctor and Health Facility Registry shall be owned, operated and maintained by the Government of India, Private stakeholders will be given an equal opportunity to integrate with the core system and create their own products.

The NDHM would be a voluntary programme.

Then move onto discuss the significance of the program, suggest concerns if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Prime Minister of India announced the launch of National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) on 74th Independence Day. The NDHM will enable every Indian citizen to have a unique health account to enable hassle-free access to healthcare across the country. The mission will be a “completely technology-based” initiative and it is expected to revolutionise the health sector. The National Digital Health Mission comes under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY). The government has said that it will ensure security and privacy of personal information.

Body:

The National Health Policy 2017 had envisaged creation of a digital health technology eco-system aiming at developing an integrated health information system that serves the needs of all stakeholders and improves efficiency, transparency and citizens’ experience with linkage across public and private healthcare.

Objectives:

  • It seeks to provide an efficient and affordable health coverage through a wide-range of data and infrastructure services.
  • The key feature of this mission is the technology part – it will leverage open digital systems to provide high-quality healthcare for all.
  • It will integrate various digital health services to create an ecosystem which can assimilate existing health information systems.

Key features of NDHM:

  • The NDHM is a complete digital health ecosystem. The NDHM is implemented by theNational Health Authority (NHA) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • Under the National Digital Health Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will work as a health account comprising information regarding the person’s past medical conditions, treatment and diagnosis.
  • The NDHM would provide technology to manage and analyse data, and create a system of personal health records and health applications.
  • Central to the “ecosystem” would be a Personal Health Identifier (PHI) to maintain a Personal Health Record (PHR).
  • The PHI would contain the names of patients and those of their immediate family, date of birth, gender, mobile number, email address, location, family ID and photograph.
  • The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation.
  • However, access to the confidential medical data will have to be given separately for each visit due to fears over data confidentiality.
  • The National Digital Health Mission will allow patients to access health services remotely through tele-consultation and e-pharmacies, as well as offer other health-related benefits.
  • The mission will be launched through a pilot launch in UTs including Puducherry, Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.
  • After analysing the initial learnings from the launch in the Union Territories, the centre will work to launch the mission in the states as well.
  • The Government’s increased focus on tele-medicine and digital health services comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was taken India and the world by storm.

Significance of NDHM:

  • The National Digital Health Mission will help lessen all difficulties faced while getting appointments to visit a doctor, depositing money or getting a slip in the hospital.
  • The mission aims to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in the country.

Way forward:

  • Health being a state subject in India, the standardisation of NDHM architecture across the country will need to find ways to accommodate state-specific rules.
  • It also needs to be in sync with government schemes like Ayushman Bharat Yojana and other IT-enabled schemes like Reproductive Child Health Care and NIKSHAY etc.
  • NDHM must ensure that the health records of the patients remain entirely confidential and secure. The right to privacy of individuals must be upheld.
  • In addition, the failure of a similar National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom must be learnt lessons from and the technical and implementation-related deficiencies must be proactively addressed prior to launching the mission on a pan India scale.
  • The NDHM still does not recognize ‘Health’ as a justiciable right. There should be a push draft at making health a right, as prescribed in the draft National Health Policy, 2015.

 

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

3. Discuss the possible effects of recently signed deal to normalize relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel on Gulf. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The recently signed deal to normalize relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the nuances of the pact signed between the two; explain how will the Israel-UAE pact impact the Gulf?

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:

Briefly present the background of the question,

Body:

Start by explaining how Arab-Israeli ties have historically been conflict-ridden.

Discuss the past attempts of reconciliation between the two countries.

Explain the causative factors that have led to long conflicts between the two.

Then move on to discuss how such a deal may prove to be a breakthrough in Arab-Israel relations. Explain that if more countries in the Gulf follow the UAE’s lead, it would open a new chapter in Arab-Israel ties and bring Peace to the region.

Hint at the possible concerns of such a pact.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

U.S. President Donald Trump recently announced that Israel and the United Arab Emirates had reached a peace agreement. The “historic breakthrough” in Arab-Israel relations will lead to a full normalisation of diplomatic relations between the two states, a move that reshapes the order of West Asia politics from the Palestinian issue to Iran. The agreement will be known as the Abraham Accords.

Body:

Details of the agreement:

  • According to the joint statement, the UAE and Israel would establish formal diplomatic relations and in exchange, Israel would suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had earlier vowed to annex the Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
  • The Trump administration, as part of the President’s peace plan announced in January, had backed the annexation plan despite international criticism.
  • But now, as part of the agreement, Israel “will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas” of the West Bank and “focus its efforts on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world”.
  • The statement also said delegations from Israel and the UAE would meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding “investment, tourism, direct flights, security, telecommunications, technology, energy, healthcare, culture, the environment, the establishment of reciprocal embassies, and other areas of mutual benefit”.

Geopolitical implications of the deal:

  • The agreement could fast-track the changes that are already under way in the region.
  • The Saudi bloc, consisting of Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and others, see their interests being aligned with that of the U.S. and Israel and their support for Palestine, which Arab powers had historically upheld, is dwindling, while Turkey and Iran emerge as the strongest supporters of the Palestinians in the Muslim world.
  • This tripolar contest is already at work in West Asia.
  • The UAE-Israel thaw could sharpen it further.
  • Russia, a staunch ally of Syria, has not yet reacted.
  • The deal will send ripples through other parts of the world.
  • In South Asia, it will put Pakistan in a bind.
  • Pakistan is already facing criticism at home for not being able to take on India over its 2019 decisions in Kashmir.

Impact on the UAE:

  • The deal smoothens the UAE’s international campaign to be seen as a beacon of tolerance in the Middle East despite being governed by autocratic rulers.
  • It puts the UAE out first in a regional recognition race among neighbouring Gulf Arab states.

Impact on Israel:

  • The announcement justifies the year-long claims of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his government enjoys closer ties to Arab nations than publicly acknowledged.
  • The deal gives Netanyahu a domestic boost at a time when Israel’s coalition government is facing infighting and the possibility of early elections.

Impact on the USA:

  • The recognition grants a diplomatic win to the USA President Donald Trump ahead of the November election.
  • Neither his efforts to bring the war in Afghanistan to an end nor efforts to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians have been successful yet.

For Palestine:

  • For Palestinians, who long have relied on Arab backing in their struggle for independence, the announcement marked both a win and setback for the Israel-Palestine relations.
  • While the deal halts Israeli annexation plans, the Palestinians have repeatedly urged Arab governments not to normalize relations with Israel until a peace agreement establishing an independent Palestinian state is reached.

Conclusion:

The deal marks a historic day and a significant step forward for peace in the Middle East. Opening direct ties between two of the Middle East’s most dynamic societies and advanced economics will transform the region by spurring economic growth, enhancing technological innovation and forging closer people-to-people relations.

 

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. Awareness in the fields of IT

4.  “Information Superhighways” in democracy are leading to “re-tribalisation” of politics; in this context explain the idea of internet ombudsmen. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Internet centred Privacy, security and information use/misuse are the issues for discussions presented in detail in the article.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the concept of Information Highways and in what way they are leading to re-tribalisation of politics in the country and thus explain the significance of Internet Ombudsmen in this context.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define first what Information Highways are.

Body:

Start first by explaining how today misinformation, data theft, alternate facts, post truth world challenges all surround social media and growth of internet.

Information asymmetry eroded very spirit of democracy by limiting the unbiased communication of ideas.

Then move on to suggest what needs to be done, explain the concept of Internet Ombudsman, significance in this context.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

With Globalization and increased penetration of Internet, Communication and Technology, there has been increasing interplay between government, companies and citizens for big data. The huge amount of data being generated everyday can be at stake if there is no proper regulation on its protection, it could be misused by various stakeholders.

Body:

‘Information Superhighways’ and re-tribalization of politics:

  • The challenges of access to information for many stakeholders on one hand and complete control of data for few stakeholders has led to Information asymmetry
  • Information asymmetry has become so skewed that it has eroded the very spirit of democracy by limiting the unbiased communication of ideas.
  • Data is used as means of control and surveillance, whereby powers of government for National Security and fraud detection is being misused for political surveillance
  • Citizens receive a flood of unfiltered information which is re-circulated into the network of social media causing much greater chaos and uncertainty.
  • There are dedicated IT cells of organisations, governments which carry out a digital form of warfare with propaganda and fake news
  • Politicians are able to misuse internet for arousing passions & fragmenting society for political gains.
  • According to a report by Omidyar Network India and Monitor Deloitte, many private enterprises routinely share the personal data of individuals with third parties including political organisations.
  • Indian Government banned 59 Chinese apps in the backdrop of border tensions. However, its stance on Facebook & Amazon is unclear where they are facing scrutiny on their own soil for their data mining policies
  • The Aadhar Act is alleged as dilution of ‘privacy’ and the standard of proportionality test set up by the Supreme Court. Similar concerns are also raised by Arogya Setu App.
  • A national policy on data privacy of individuals is still a non-starter. The Personal Data Protection Bill, struggling to be born in Parliament despite conception in 2018.
  • Section 35 of the Personal Data Protection Bill provides the government with unfettered access to personal data, negates the three tests of legality, necessity and proportionality given by the Supreme Court in Justice S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs Union of India.
  • The Bill also allows State and private parties to process personal data without obtaining consent. It is the recipe for misuse and also reduces India’s prospects of entering into bilateral arrangements for law enforcement access.
  • Seeing the selection committees, terms of appointment, the Authority is likely to be like a rehabilitation centre for retired bureaucrats.

Other challenges:

  • India’s cybersecurity watchdog, CERT-In, last year reported huge data theft of Facebook and Twitter users by malicious third party apps
  • Reportedly, more than 1.3 million credit and debit card details from Indian banks and the data of 6.8 million users from an Indian health-care website were stolen in the same year.

Way forward:

  • Only an Internet ombudsman with experts on cyber and Internet laws, IT, data management, data science, data security, public administration and national security, and consciously involving eminent sections of civil society, can be an effective antidote to unregulated technological disruptions.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced an Ombudsman Scheme for Digital Transactions in 2019. The Scheme will provide a cost-free and expeditious complaint redressal mechanism relating to deficiency in customer services in digital transactions conducted through non-bank entities regulated by RBI. Government can take queue from this and introduce the digital ombudsman.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Biotechnology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.

5. Write a note on India’s Lunar Exploration programme. Explain how Chandrayaan-2 will benefit our country? (250 words)

Reference: Times of India 

Why the question:

ISRO pays tribute to Dr Vikram Sarabhai by announcing that Chandrayaan 2 Orbiter has captured the Moon images of “Sarabhai” Crater. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the nuances associated with India’s lunar programme and explain how it will benefit the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The Chandrayaan programme, also known as the Indian Lunar Exploration Programme is an ongoing series of outer space missions by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Body:

Start by discussing first the key features of the programme; the programme incorporates lunar orbiter, impactor, and soft lander and rover space crafts.

In detail explain the key objectives, significance, payloads of the mission.

Move on to talk about Chandrayaan-2 mission. Explain in detail how it will benefit our country.  Explain the challenges along the way.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction:

The Chandrayaan programme, also known as the Indian Lunar Exploration Programme is an ongoing series of outer space missions by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). The programme incorporates lunar orbiter, impactor, soft lander and rover spacecrafts.

The terrain mapping camera on board Chandrayaan-2’s orbiter has captured the image of Sarabhai crater, named after the father of the Indian space programme, on the moon.

Body:

Indian Lunar Exploration Programme:

  • The Chandrayaan (Indian Lunar Exploration Programme) programme is a multiple mission programme.
  • As of August 2020, one orbiter with an impactor probe has been sent to the Moon, using ISRO’s workhorse PSLV rocket.
  • The second spacecraft consisting of orbiter, soft lander and rover was launched on 22 July 2019, by using a GSLV Mk III rocket.
  • In a podcast from AT, VSSC director S. Somanath stated that there will be a Chandrayaan-3 and more follow up missions in Chandrayaan Program.
  • Chandrayaan-3 mission is proposed for Q2 2021.
  • Chandrayaan 2 is India’s most ambitious space mission.
  • While data from India’s first lunar mission Chandrayaan 1 confirm the presence of water on the Moon without landing on the lunar surface, Chandrayaan 2 aimed to be the world’s first mission to land on lunar South Pole.

Chandrayaan-1

  • It was launched on 22 October 2008 aboard a PSLV-XL rocket, was a big success for ISRO as the Moon Impact Probe, a payload on board the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, discovered water on the Moon.
  • Apart from discovering water the Chandrayaan-1 mission performed several other tasks such as mapping and atmospheric profiling of the Moon.

Chandrayaan-2

  • It was launched on 22 July 2019 aboard a GSLV Mk III rocket.
  • The spacecraft was successfully put into lunar orbit on August 20, 2019 and the lander was lost while attempting to land on 6 September 2019.
  • The orbiter is operational, collecting scientific data, and is expected to function for 7.5 years.

Chandrayaan-3

  • In November 2019, ISRO officials stated that a new lunar lander mission was being studied for launch in November 2020.
  • This new proposal is called Chandrayaan-3 and it would be a re-attempt to demonstrate the landing capabilities needed for the Lunar Polar Exploration Mission proposed in partnership with Japan for 2024.
  • This spacecraft configuration would not include launching an orbiter and would have a lander, rover, and a propulsion module with mission costing 250 crore rupees with additional launch costs of 365 crore rupees for GSLV Mk III.
  • Third mission would land in the same area as the second one.

Uniqueness of Chandrayaan-2:

  • It represented a significant technological leap compared to the previous missions of ISRO, which brought together an Orbiter, Lander and Rover to explore the unexplored south pole of the Moon.
  • This was a unique mission which aimed at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission.
  • The Orbiter has already been placed in its intended orbit around the Moon and shall enrich our understanding of the moon’s evolution and mapping of the minerals and water molecules in the Polar Regions, using its eight state-of-the-art scientific instruments.
  • The Orbiter camera is the highest resolution camera (0.3m) in any lunar mission so far and shall provide high resolution images which will be immensely useful to the global scientific community.
  • The precise launch and mission management has ensured a long life of almost 7 years instead of the planned one year.
  • The Vikram Lander followed the planned descent trajectory from its orbit of 35 km to just below 2 km above the surface.
  • All the systems and sensors of the Lander functioned excellently until this point and proved many new technologies such as variable thrust propulsion technology used in the Lander.
  • The success criteria were defined for each and every phase of the mission and till date 90 to 95% of the mission objectives have been accomplished and will continue contribute to Lunar science, notwithstanding the loss of communication with the Lander.

Conclusion:

Since the launch of Chandrayaan-2, not only India but the whole world watched its progress from one phase to the next with great expectations and excitement. The ISRO’s Moon Impact Probe and NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper on board Chandrayaan 1 had already provided evidence of the presence of water in the thin atmosphere of the moon, on the surface and below. A NASA study last year found regions, within 20° of each pole in general and within 10° in particular, showed signs of water. The Chandrayaan 2 orbiter will now possibly reconfirm the presence of water on the moon. The Lunar Exploration Programme of India would open up interesting details about the moon and in turn learn about earth.

 

Topic : Disaster and disaster management.

6.The increasing industrialization increases the risk of industrial disasters. What effective steps must be taken to reduce industrial disasters? What lessons India can learn from its past experience in tackling such disasters? (250 words)

Reference: tribuneindia.com

Why the question:

The article talks about preparing for a disaster-resilient nation.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way increasing industrialization increases the risk of industrial disasters; discuss what effective steps need to be taken to reduce the same. Discuss the lessons India can learn from its past experiences.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what constitute Industrial hazards.

Body:

Industrial hazards are threats to people and life-support systems that arise from the mass production of goods and services. When these threats exceed human coping capabilities or the absorptive capacities of environmental systems they give rise to industrial disasters. Industrial hazards can occur at any stage in the production process, including extraction, processing, manufacture, transportation, storage, use, and disposal. Losses generally involve the release of damaging substances (e.g. chemicals, radioactivity, and genetic materials) or damaging levels of energy from industrial facilities or equipment into surrounding environments. This usually occurs in the form of explosions, fires, spills, leaks, or wastes.

Explain what effective steps can be taken to address the concerns.

Discuss the case studies (India’s past experiences), explain what are the learnings from them.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India has learnt a number of lessons but still a lot needs to be done to efficiently tackle such disasters.

Introduction:

The gas leak from a chemical factory in Vizag, which killed 12 people, is the most serious of three industrial accidents that have taken place since the national lockdown was eased on May 3. The other two were in Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh. Though the numbers are far smaller, the tragedy brings back memories of the Bhopal gas leak, the worst industrial disaster in the world, which killed at least 3,800 people. The Vizag plant leak was styrene, a benzene derivative used to manufacture plastics and resin.

India’s industrial safety record has been patchy at the best of times. Now in the aftermath of the lockdown, it is likely to get further eroded.

Body:

Need for Industrial safety in India:

  • What happened in Vizag should be considered a warning for other industries which are resuming operations after a lengthy lockdown. India’s industrial safety record has been patchy at the best of times.
  • Thirty-six years after the Bhopal disaster, it is distressing to see accidents from hazardous industries.
  • The fields of occupational and environmental medicine, toxicology, and epidemiology which study and prevent industrial accidents have still not been developed adequately to cater for the amount of industrial development that has occurred in India.
  • Reports suggest that the Vizag plant has functioned without proper environmental clearances for a substantial period since it was set up.
  • It must also be asked how the South Korean petrochemical giant, which owns LG polymers, the site of the accident, did not ensure that qualified people were in place to check systems and open the plant.
  • A majority of accidents that occur in refineries are the result of human error. Often times a worker fails to follow the safety procedures that have been put into place by the company.
  • The common reasons for accidents in chemical plants occur is from improper maintenance of equipment. A piece of equipment can ultimately fail and malfunction if it is not properly maintained. This can be very hazardous for the workers who are operating and working around the machine.
  • Every year 48000 fatal accidents occur in India. Only 20% working population was covered under any occupational safety regulation.
  • For instance, fire crackers Factory at Batle Punjab claimed 23 lives this year; Sivakashi factory explosion – 2012, 40 died and 70 injured.

Measures undertaken in India:

  • Civil Nuclear Liability Act, 2010 deals with instituting civil liability for nuclear damage and granting prompt compensation to victims of a nuclear incident
  • The Environment Relief Fund (ERF), a central fund under the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, was set up to provide immediate relief to victims of accidents in chemical industries. In March, a study found that a corpus of Rs 810 crore with ERF has remained unutilised for nearly three decades.
  • India follows the highest standard of liability for an incident like this, when a hazardous or dangerous substance used for industrial purposes leaks and causes harm to people.
  • Environment Protection Act, 1987, brought in the aftermath of Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Under this, the Centre has notified Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989 and the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 for regulating hazardous substances.
  • The principle of ‘absolute and strict liability’ was formulated by the Supreme Court in a crucial judgment in MC Mehta vs Union of India in 1986, when the court was dealing with the leak of oleum gas at the Shriram Foods and Fertiliser Industries plant in Delhi.
  • The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997: Under this Act, the National Environment Appellate Authority can hear appeals regarding the restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • National Green Tribunal, 2010 provided for the establishment of the National Green Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests.
  • This means that if there is an accident at a plant like LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam, which involves the manufacture or use of a hazardous substance (like styrene gas here, or oleum gas in the Delhi case) the company which runs the plant has to make sure that it compensates everyone who suffers any sort of harm as a result.

Measures needed to strengthen the Industrial safety in India:

  • Industries must comply with regulations, and the government must ensure that they are strictly enforced.
  • Regular maintenance at scheduled intervals and the manufacturer’s recommendations is important to ensure that the equipment runs smoothly and safely.
  • Employees should be properly taught on how to operate the equipment in the way it was designed to be used. They should also learn to employ safety procedures when they are operating a piece of equipment.
  • Also, employees should be well versed in what to do if something goes wrong so that they can fix it before it gets out of control.

Way forward:

  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019, which unfortunately, successive governments have not felt it necessary to ratify should be taken up and put into place immediately.
  • With the ultimate aim of extending the safety and healthy working conditions to all workforce of the country, the Code enhances the ambit of provisions of safety, health, welfare and working conditions from existing about 9 major sectors to all establishments having 10 or more employees.
  • It is evident that the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions has some unique new initiatives for both workers and employers.
  • It promotes health, safety, welfare and better working conditions of workforce by enhancing the ambit of a dynamic legislation as compared to the existing sectoral approach limited to few sectors.
  • Besides, it also drastically rationalizes the compliance mechanism with one license, one registration and one return for the establishments under the ambit of the Code thereby saving resources and efforts of the employers.
  • Thus, there is a need to balance the requirements of worker and employer and is beneficial to both the constituents of the world of work.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators

7. ‘The king should surrender his individuality in the interest of his duty’. Discuss the significance and relevance of the quote applied to administration of today. (250 words)

Reference: shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in

Why the question:

The question is based on a quotation of moral thinker.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate the quote: ‘The king should surrender his individuality in the interest of his duty’. Explain its significance and relevance even as of today.

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:

Kautilya recommended that the king has to come up in the way that he should think not in his happiness but in the happiness of his people

Body:

Explain the philosophy hidden in the quote in detail; He suggests that the kings’ welfare lies not in his own pleasure but in that of his subjects.  This philosophy is still relevant even in the democratic form of government.

Give relevant examples to substantiate.

People expect the paternalistic approach of the state. Even the civil servants are being suggested that they should forget that they are mere individuals. They become ‘person’ which comes only in comparison with other person.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction:

According to Kautilya an ideal king should have highest qualities of leadership, intellect, energy and personal attributes. Even in the era of monarchy, Kautilya suggested the king to be servant of state.

Body:

According to Kautilya (c. 340-293 BCE), a king is the servant of the state who could harbour no personal likes. In the happiness of the subject, lies his happiness. The king should surrender his individuality in the interest of his duties. Kautilya’s king is a constitutional slave, unlike Plato’s philosopher king who had absolute power. Kautilya’s king acts in concert with the seven organs of the state and values their advice. But, Kautilya also warns that not only the ruler, but also the people have to live within constraints, otherwise, there will be no civil society. According to Kautilya, rulers and their officials must be subjected to a vigorously disciplined life and an elaborate code of conduct. Kautilya’s king acts in concert with the seven organs (satang) and values their advice.

Kautilya’s concept reverberates in Max Weber’s concept of rational authority exemplified by a depersonalized bureaucracy.  K P. Jaiswal aptly uses the term ‘constitutional slave’ for Kautilya’s king – a term popularized in England by Locke in the late seventeenth century.

Relevance in today’s times:

  • The concept that a constitutional government is an effectively and regularly limited and restrained government is a much more recent innovation.
  • No unlimited and unrestrained government can be a good government, howsoever good or noble be the ruler.
  • The ruler’s leadership, therefore, consists in his ability to persuade and motivate colleagues and to co-ordinate as a leader so that the collectively agreed upon goals can be executed in time, exactitude and quality.
  • Good governance and stability are even more applicable in the present democratic system. These values remain relevant in present context as accountability; responsibility of government towards citizen is paramount in parliamentary system of democracy adopted by India.
  • Social welfare is the main focal point of Kautilya’s economic notions. The State was required to help the poor and helpless and to be proactive in contributing to the welfare of its citizens. In India, the emphasis on marginalized is important, as from 1990’s economic reforms inequalities of income are increasing in India.
  • His emphasis on ethical standards for public servants and king remain still relevant e.g. 2nd ARC suggested code of ethics for civil servants as well as political executives.
  • Kautilya’s ideas on corruption are still relevant in modern day India as corruption in public life remains big problem. India is ranked 78 out of 180 countries in global corruption index by Transparency International. Issues of corruption in public services, electoral funding, cronyism etc. are widely debated in India.

Conclusion:

The means for good governance is promotion of rational will and moral power of people. For Kautilyan king, in the happiness of his subjects lays the rulers’ happiness, in their welfare his welfare, whatever pleases himself he shall not consider as good. But whatever pleases his subject, he shall consider as good.


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