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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 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. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

1. What kind of experience is India likely to experience as a behavioural change in urban mobility? Discuss the need for Investment in infrastructure for more effective circulation of people and goods amidst the Covid -19 times. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

The author of the article explains in detail the possible change in behavioural change in urban mobility that the current covid-19 situation has brought and can bring more such changes.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what kind of experience is India likely to experience as a behavioural change in urban mobility. Discuss the need for Investment in infrastructure for more effective circulation of people and goods amidst the Covid -19 times.

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 explaining the current conditions of Covid-19 situation.

Body:

In the aftermath of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, India is likely to experience a behavioural change in urban mobility. Due to lasting concerns about transmission and a newfound aptitude for working from home, we must expect an overall reduced demand and an increased preference for personal modes of transport.

Explain that on the other hand, this crisis also presents an opportunity to guide the recovery of urban transport towards long-term development goals. Transport networks in Indian cities, whether public or private, road or rail-based, are severely overburdened. Investment in infrastructure to address more effective circulation and interchange of people and goods will have an economic multiplier effect

Conclusion:

Conclude that transport is the backbone around which a city functions. A radical transformation is needed.

Introduction:

COVID-19 has had a disruptive impact on the way we live and move around, on cities and society as a whole. Cities need to steer ‘Mobility as a Service’ that can be accessed by commuters. Pedestrians, bicyclists, e-bikers, all must be accommodated alongside public transit. Commute is a huge part of urban sustenance and living without which India cannot hope for revival of economic growth back to the same trajectory.

Body

Covid-19 disease’ primary mechanism of contagion is contact and proximity. The very key factor that led to the success of cities — people congregating in close proximity to one another for social and economic benefits — is now emerging as an unexpected source of serious health risk.

Effects of covid-19 lockdown on urban mobility

The urban transportation landscape is likely to undergo significant changes due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Increased risks associated with crowded places combined with social distancing measures in public and shared transport are likely to affect modal choices of commuters.

  • Fearing crowd infections, commuters prefer travelling in private modes like two-wheelers.
    • Cities like Delhi, that resumed services nearly four weeks ago, observed less ridership than the allowed 20 passengers per bus, despite the limited frequencies on many routes.
    • Although bus crowding is seen in some cities such as Mumbai, it is temporary and due to a lack of alternatives.
  • Congestion due to Increasing use of personal vehicles: Already, in parts of China, car-use in the still recovering economy has surpassed pre-Covid levels as commuters shun public transit to maintain social-distancing.
    • They appear willing to accept traffic congestion and longer travel times in the process.
    • The collapse of oil prices has only served to increase the appeal of personal car-use.
    • If this reverse migration away from public transit to personal cars continues, cities will become unliveable due to congestion and unhealthy air.
  • Automobile sector: The most immediate and visible effect of COVID-19 in the traditional automotive sector is the standstill of many OEM and supplier factories, which will likely produce 7.5 million fewer vehicles in 2020.
  • Public Operators cash strapped: Public-transit ridership has fallen 70 to 90 percent in major cities across the world, and the operators are burdened with uncertainty and the potential need to implement and control strict hygiene protocols—such as compulsory face masks and health checks for passengers, or restricting the number of riders in trains and stations to comply with space requirements.
  • Local taxis and car-pooling: Ride hailers have also experienced declines of up to 60 to 70 percent, and many micro mobility and carpooling players have suspended their services.
    • g.: Ola, Uber had to stop pool rides after lockdown resumption. Many migrant drivers had not returned back to cities while also suffering loss of income.

Steps to be taken to ensure safe mobility:

  • Direct efforts towards accessibility instead of only mobility. While mobility focuses on movement of people and goods and the distances they cover, accessibility emphasises the ability of people to obtain the same goods, services, and activities without necessarily having to move, or at least move as much.
    • Transit oriented development is a concept that has come of age, and its implementation to enable access to live-work-play triangles without needing to commute long distances will be a game-changer for the urbanscape.
  • Safety Protocols: Social Distancing, wearing mask and thermal screening must become compulsory in all public transport systems.
    • The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation has released guidelines to tackle several social distancing and sanitisation concerns, and to address the possibility of viral transmission through tokens, push buttons on lifts, and handrails at the station elevators.
    • Other metro rail systems are also expected to follow similar guidelines.
  • Non-motorised transport should be encouraged and touchless and cashless technologies should be adopted to curb COVID-19 transmission on public transit networks, according to a Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) advisory on public transport for States, cities and Metro rail companies.
    • g.: To reduce human interface, cashless systems like BHIM, PhonePe should be used as well as the National Common Mobility Card should be quickly rolled out.
    • Fastag will prove to be visionary in this regard.
    • Promotion of non-motorised transport is essential to prevent an increase in the use of private vehicles.
    • Improved cycling and walking infrastructure combined with increased public awareness are required to achieve sustainable urban mobility.
  • Integrate pricing of all modes of transport, private and public, to ensure continuity of public operators of transport in the context of reduced transit demand.
    • We need pricing measures that disincentivise private vehicle adoption through congestion pricing, parking charges, and variable pricing to modulate demand, and channel revenues from these to cross-subsidise public transit.
  • Infrastructure: Investments in public transport and non-motorised transport will have to be prioritized over infrastructure for private vehicles. g.: Dedicated bi-cycle lanes around the city
  • Focus on demand moderation efforts like work from home and staggered working hours should be adopted.
  • The first is to employ staff to wipe the handgrips at frequent intervals, constantly moving from end to end in the train.
    • Any handgrips in buses also need to be cleaned often.
    • Another is to give wet sanitising wipes to every traveller entering a metro rail coach with a suggestion to have it in their palms before touching or gripping anything.
    • Wipe disposal bins will be needed in the coaches.
  • Maintaining hygiene: Offering contact-less wash basins with soap dispensers at the platform level could be effective. Signs on hand hygiene vis-a-vis touching surfaces are needed.

Conclusion

Transport is the backbone around which a city functions. A radical transformation is needed, and we must only look at instances of global cities that used transportation to rejuvenate and reinvent themselves away from the auto-centric cities they once were — Istanbul transformed itself through pedestrianisation, Amsterdam by inculcating a bicycling culture, Bogota through integrating bus networks and land use, and Seoul by turning urban highways into public places. India must use this crisis as an opportunity.

 

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

2. Do you agree that India’s geopolitical interests are in close orientation with moderate Arab centre? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article presents to us the current relations of India with Arab center and the associated geopolitical interests.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain and analyse in detail in what way India’s geopolitical interests are in close orientation with moderate Arab centre.

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:

One can briefly explain the recent happenings between the two countries.

Body:

The geopolitical realignment in the Middle East, marked by last week’s agreement on the normalization of relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, intersects with the equally significant reorientation of the Subcontinent’s relationship with the region.

Explain the pros and cons of such engagements, list down the areas in which India can benefit.

Take hints from the article and explain the significance of Arab centre to India, bring out the possible geopolitical interests that India has in the region.

Conclusion:

Conclude that standing up for Arab sovereignty and opposing the forces of regional destabilisation must be at the very heart of India’s new engagement with the Middle East.

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:

  • The UAE has become the first Gulf Arab state to do so and only the third Arab nation to have active diplomatic ties with Israel.
  • Egypt made a peace deal with Israel in 1979, followed by Jordan in 1994.
  • Under the deal, Israel would suspend its plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.
  • The West Bank is sandwiched between Israel and Jordan. One of its major cities is Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of Palestine.
  • Israel took control of it in the Six-day Arab-Israeli war, 1967 and has over the years established settlements there.
  • A joint statement from the USA, the UAE and Israel has been issued which says that delegations would meet in the coming weeks to sign deals on direct flights, security, telecommunications, energy, tourism and health care.
  • Both nations will also partner on fighting the Covid-19 pandemic together.
  • It remains unclear what prompted Israel and the UAE to make the announcement now.
  • In June 2020, the UAE’s ambassador to the USA warned that Israel’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley and other parts of the occupied West Bank would upend Israel’s efforts to improve ties with Arab nations.

India’s relations with Arab countries:

  • India’s engagement with the Arab Gulf has become deeper in the recent past.
  • The last six years have also coincided with a significant deterioration of Pakistan’s relations with the region, especially with the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  • India has deep stakes in terms of energy supplies and expatriate populations in middle east.
  • The deal opens up new opportunities for India to play a much larger role in the regional security and stability in the Gulf.
  • India should use this unexpected opportunity to give itself a bigger role in a region which is its strategic backyard.
  • The first step should be to ramp up defence and security relations with the UAE.
  • Israel is already a very close defence partner. But India should restart joint exercises with the UAE, and even Saudi Arabia.
  • India will also need to watch ties with Iran, which has slammed the agreement and will see Arab-Israeli tie-ups as a direct threat to its security.
  • India has consistently supported peace, stability and development in West Asia, which is our extended neighbourhood.
  • In that context, India welcome the full normalization of ties between UAE and Israel.
  • New Delhi will also need to watch ties with Iran, which has slammed the agreement and will see Arab-Israeli tie-ups as a direct threat to its security.
  • The deal opens up new opportunities for India to play a much larger role in the regional security and stability in the Gulf, where New Delhi enjoys special relations with both Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem.
  • This is a region where India has deep stakes in terms of energy supplies and expatriate populations.

Way forward:

  • The first step should be to ramp up defence and security relations with UAE.
  • Israel is already a very close defence partner. But India should restart joint exercises with UAE, and even Saudi Arabia.
  • While some work has already happened, India should leverage its economy for a bigger opening in this region.
  • Importantly, India can use its good offices to ensure that any future deal on a regional security framework gives adequate space to Iran, which may be weak
  • but not so weak that it cannot be a hugely disruptive power if it so chooses. A balance between Shia and Sunni, between Persian and Arab, is key to any sustainable peace.
  • In recent years, China has indicated its willingness to play a larger role in this region, and is close to both UAE and Israel and, increasingly, Saudi Arabia.

Conclusion:

India should make its moves before this market and this extended neighbourhood come under the Chinese sphere of influence. 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.

3. Provide for a discourse on the evolution of the concept of judicial review in the constitutional history of India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu  Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The article presents to us Judicial remedies for the Jammu and Kashmir net restrictions. Thus the question of judicial review.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the evolution of the concept of judicial review in the constitutional history of India.

Directive:

Discourse – 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:

Define what judicial review is.

Body:

Judicial Review is the power of Courts to pronounce upon the constitutionality of legislative and executive acts of the government which fall within their normal jurisdiction.

The role of Judicial Review in Indian Constitution is to protect/provide liberty and freedom of the people. Some Indian thinkers have observed that the scope of Judicial Review in India is very limited, and the Indian Courts do not enjoy as wide jurisdiction as the courts in America.

Detail upon the Place of ‘Judicial Review’ In Indian Constitution & Its History.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction:

Judicial review is the power of the Supreme Court and the High Courts to examine the constitutionality of the Acts of the Parliament and the state legislatures and executive orders both of the centre and state governments. It is one of the most important features of the judiciary. It is the power to reject such laws as are held to be it ultra vires. Judicial review is considered a basic structure of the constitution (Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain Case).

Body:

Provisions in the Constitution:

There are specific and extensive provisions of judicial review in the Constitution of India such as Articles 13, 32, 131-136, 143, 226, 227, 246 and 372. Though the term judicial review is not mentioned in these Articles but it is implicit.

Judicial review in India:

  • Although the term Judicial Review has not been mentioned in the Constitution, the provisions of various Articles of the Constitution of India have conferred the power of judicial review on the Supreme Court.
  • Accordingly, the constitutional validity of a legislative enactment or an executive order may be challenged in the Supreme Court on the following grounds.
    • Violation of fundamental rights.
    • Outside the competence of the authority which has framed it.
    • It is repugnant to the Constitutional provisions.
  • The Supreme Court considerably widened the scope of judicial review in India through its judgement in Maneka Gandhi’s case.

Evolution of Judicial Review in the constitutional history of India:

  • In India the power of judicial review was exercised by the courts prior to the commencement of the constitution of India.
  • The British Parliament introduced Federal System in India by enacting the Government of India Act 1935.
  • The constitution of India envisages a very healthy system of judicial review and it depends upon the India judges to act in a way as to maintain the spirit of democracy.
  • In the present democratic setup in India, the court cannot adopt a passive attitude and ask the aggrieved party to wait for public opinion against legislative tyranny, but the constitution has empowered it to play an active role and to declare a legislation void, if it violates the constitution.
  • the scope of judicial review before Indian courts has evolved in three dimensions – firstly, to ensure fairness in administrative action, secondly, to protect the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights of citizens, and thirdly, to rule on questions of legislative competence between the centre and the states.
  • The power of the Supreme Court of India to enforce these fundamental rights is derived from Article 32 of the Constitution. It gives citizens the right to directly approach the Supreme Court for seeking remedies against the violation of these fundamental rights.
  • With the advent of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and dilution of the concept of locus standi [the right or capacity to bring an action or to appear in a court] in recent decades, Article 32 has been creatively interpreted to shape innovative remedies such as a ‘continuing mandamus’ for ensuring that executive agencies comply with judicial directions.
  • It was through the expansive interpretation of Article 21 of the Constitution in Maneka Gandhi v Union of India (1978), the Court held that the “procedure established by law” envisaged in the said article had to be just, reasonable and fair to pass the test of constitutionality.
  • In M Nagaraj v Union of India, the Court declared that fundamental right in Articles 14, 19 and 21 “stands atop in constitutional value” in a fulsome recognition that “human dignity, equality and freedom were conjoined, reciprocal and similar values”.
  • Instances of the Court’s intervention to expand the frontiers of these rights to include redressal for the killing of innocent people in false encounters and relief to the victims of custodial violence etc, has multiplied in recent times.
  • The Court therefore has established the foundational principles for the exercise of its judicial review jurisdiction traceable to Articles 13, 32, 136, 142 and 147 of the Constitution. The high court’s judicial review jurisdiction is anchored in Article 226 of the Constitution.

Though one does not deny that power to review is very important, at the same time one cannot also give an absolute power to review and by recognizing judicial review as a part of basic feature of the constitutional Courts in India have given a different meaning to the theory of Checks and balances this also meant that it has buried the concept of separation of powers where the judiciary will give itself an unfettered jurisdiction to review anything everything that is done by the legislature

Conclusion:

While the Court’s jurisdiction as a soldier to protect and advance fundamental rights merits loud affirmation, the Court however should not to be seen as dismissive or disdainful of the processes of democratic governance. The presumption that the legislature understands the needs of its people and that even its discrimination and classifications are based on adequate grounds has also been acknowledged by the Supreme Court itself. The challenge, therefore, is to find the delicate balance between the three organs which nurtures and invigorates institutions designed to serve the ideals of a true republic.

 

Topic : India and its neighborhood- relations. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. From Europe to Central Asia and now India, dependence on China is destroying indigenous traditions, Discuss in the case of Indian textiles. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

The article presents to us how Chinese imports are destroying our traditional textiles.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way from Europe to Central Asia and now India, dependence on China is destroying indigenous traditions.  Also, present the case of 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:

Present briefly the context of the question.

Body:

Explain that with Covid-19 causing a dramatic rupture, and with Chinese aggression at the border, India must reassess its approach to trade, especially the import of textiles and other artifacts of religious use from China. This is essential to preserve India’s traditional strengths and ensure it doesn’t fall into the same trap as other countries, which have lost their livelihoods and indigenous traditions.

Present key statistics to justify the damage the Chinese aggression is causing. Explain what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the problem.

Introduction:

Textile Industry is one of the oldest and the largest industries in India. The Indian textile and apparel industry can be broadly divided into two segments – yarn & fibre, and processed fabrics & apparel. Indian textile industry has some deep-rooted problems which needs to be addressed with long-term sustainable solutions

Body:

Potential of Textile Sector:

  • Employment generation: textiles & garments industry is labour intensive sector that employs 45 mn people in India is second only to the agriculture sector in terms of employment.
  • The textiles and apparels industry in India is valued at around $127 billion in size.
  • According to India brand and equity foundation(IBEF), India is among the world’s largest producers of textiles and garments. Domestic Textile and apparel industry contributes 2% to India’s GDP and accounts for 14% of industrial production, 27% of the country’s foreign exchange inflows and 13% of the country’s export earnings.
  • The sector is a large foreign exchange earner, and is the second-largest employer (after the agricultural sector) in the country.
  • In India, the sector enjoys the presence of the entire value chain from fibre, yarn, fabric and apparel apart from the availability of cheap and abundant labour.
  • Thus for India the textiles industry is important not just for labour absorption and as a source of foreign exchange, but also as a symbol of India’s rich heritage.
  • Tradition and culture: India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in the Indian economy, it not only provides livelihoods to millions of households but is a storehouse and carrier of traditional skills, heritage and culture.
  • It can be divided into two segments-
    • The unorganised sector is small scale and uses traditional tools and methods. It consists of handloom, handicrafts and sericulture.
    • The organised sector uses modern machinery and techniques and consists of spinning, apparel and garments segment.

Current status of Indian textile sector:

  • Indian textiles industry which is one of the oldest industries of the Indian economy is finding it difficult to compete with much smaller players such as Bangladesh and Vietnam.
  • However, in spite of these benefits, India’s share in the global textiles exports is just 5%, which is minuscule as compared to China’s share of 38%.
  • Much smaller players like Bangladesh and Vietnam have a share of 3% in global exports and are increasingly threatening India’s exports.
  • The exports from the sector are valued at around $37 billion, amounting to 13% of India’s total exports.
  • The share of textiles in India’s total exports has fallen sharply from a high of 25% in FY02.
  • The rise in labour cost in China could have been the perfect opportunity for India to increase its share in the global textiles industry.

Challenges faced by Indian textiles sector:

  • Chinese Dependency: China dumped silk yarn in India at prices a fraction of their costs initially, and then slowly raised the prices to set up a lucrative business. The business, unfortunately, is run by middlemen, ignorant of the fact that they are producing goods which are unwearable and at the same time enhancing dependence on Chinese silk yarn. One of the major production areas, incidentally, is in and around the city of Wuhan, a textile hub of low-end garments for the world.
  • Market Reality: India’s textile industry grapples with domestic issues including outdated technology, inflexible labour laws, infrastructure bottlenecks, and a fragmented nature of the industry.
  • The textiles sector in India, primarily dominated by the unorganized and small players, had taken a major hit with demonetization and the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST).
  • Global Policies: According to the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, a country needs to phase out export subsidies for a product as it achieves export competitiveness, defined as 3.25% share in world trade, and the per-capita income reaches more than $1,000 per annum.
  • As per this agreement, India is under pressure to end export subsidy for the textiles sector by 2018.
  • This implies that the existing subsidy schemes including the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS) and the Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) Scheme will get affected by the same.
  • Demand for MMF: Globally, manmade textiles and garments are in high demand, with the ratio of cotton-to-manmade-fibre consumption at 30:70.
  • India, despite being the second-largest textiles exporter in the world, lags in this category because of unavailability of manmade fibres at competitive prices.
  • Free-trade pacts: like the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) have led to intense competition from countries like Bangladesh which have zero-duty access to the Indian market. The government should take a re-look at such pacts and try to work out a solution.
  • The government should aim at driving scale across the textiles value chain by encouraging large investment, consolidation of firms and enlargement of clusters.
  • Impact of recent reforms: The sector went through a phase of stagnating exports, demonetisation, bank restructuring and implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • India, which was the second largest exporter of Textile & Clothing between 2014 and 2017 after China, slipped to the fifth place losing its position to Germany, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
  • Delay in disbursal of subsidies: Fast-track disbursal of subsidies for technology up-gradation under the TUFS scheme to help the industry modernise the operation.

Measures needed:

  • Government needs to move away from export-specific subsidy, which violates WTO norms, to focus on regional and cluster subsidies, technology upgradation and skill development subsidies, which benefit all the producers.
  • In India, cotton and manmade fibres (MMF) have differential tax treatment, here fibre neutrality will give a boost to the industry.
  • Under differential tax treatment cotton is taxed at 5% and manmade fibres at 12%.
  • In fact, of the total textiles and clothing exports from India, cotton accounts for around 75%, there is a need to increase production with the global consumption patterns.
  • While India has abundant supply of labour, flexibility in labour laws and adequate skilling will give a big boost to the textiles industry.
  • For instance, women should be allowed to work in all three shifts, after taking into account adequate safeguard measures.
  • Technology upgradation schemes will help Indian players to increase both their productivity and competitiveness.
  • In addition, the government needs to carefully evaluate the various trade agreement opportunities Bangladesh and Vietnam benefit from favourable access to some of the big apparel markets.
  • The government also needs to re-look at fibre neutrality and evaluate various trade agreement opportunities, while domestically focusing more on technology upgradation and skill development.

Conclusion:

There is a need to expand the production base to non-traditional areas where abundant land and labour are available.

 

Topic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation. Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

5.Why is it important to improve the forest cover in the country? Discuss various efforts of the government for improving it. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why the question:

Recently States Forest Minister’s Conference held in New Delhi, thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

The question aims to address the importance of improving the forest cover in the country and assess the efforts of the government in this direction.

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:

Discuss what you understand by forest cover, state some key facts and data related to it.

Body:

Start by explaining the importance of forest cover, why is it important to improvise it.

Explain in detail the efforts made by our country in this direction, many initiatives brought by the ministry to bring out transformational changes in policies and programmes includes – Massive tree plantation, Promoting urban forestry through Nagar Van Scheme, Landscape based catchment treatment of major rivers, LiDAR based survey of degraded forest areas for soil moisture conservation projects and, Launch of National Transit Portal to facilitate smooth movement of Forest produce etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of forest cover conservation.

Introduction:

The biennial India state forest report -2019 released by Forest Survey of India defines Forest Cover as all lands more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10% irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. It also includes orchards, bamboo and palm.

The total forest cover of the country is 21.67% of the total geographic area of the country. Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.

Body:

Importance of improving the forest cover:

  • Forests and terrestrial ecosystems more broadly are critical not only to flora and fauna but also to communities that depend on them, contributing to poverty reduction, economic growth and employment.
  • They provide ecosystem services that are critical to human welfare. These include:
    • Absorbing harmful greenhouse gasses that produce climate change. In tropical forests alone, a quarter of a trillion tons of carbon is stored in above and below ground biomass
    • Providing clean water for drinking, bathing, and other household needs
    • Protecting watersheds and reducing or slowing the amount of erosion and chemicals that reach waterways
    • Providing food and medicine
    • Serving as a buffer in natural disasters like flood and rainfalls
    • Providing habitat to more than half of the world’s land-based species.
  • Forest goods provide an important “hidden harvest” for rural populations, keeping many people out of extreme poverty.
  • Forests support rural economies in many countries and create jobs and wealth for populations with few alternative off-farm employment options.
  • Healthy forests provide critical ecosystem services important to people and economies such as habitat for biodiversity, provision of drinking water, water and climate cycle regulation, erosion prevention, crop pollination, soil fertility, and flood control.
  • Forests provide a critical carbon sink to slow climate change.

Various efforts undertaken by Government:

  • National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme, National Mission for a Green India (GIM) and Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPM) under the MoEF&CC.
  • Green India Mission: It has the broad objective of both increasing the forest and tree cover by 5 million ha, as well as increasing the quality of the existing forest and tree cover in another 5 million ha of forest/ non-forest lands in 10 years.
  • National Agroforestry Policy (NAP): A dynamic ecologically based concept which integrates woody perennials in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production.
  • Promoting urban forestry through Nagar Van Scheme, which involves creation of 200 Nagar Van, on forest land by adopting a collaborative approach, involving various agencies like forest and other departments, NGOs, Corporate Bodies, Industries etc
  • Landscape based catchment treatment of 13 major rivers
  • LiDAR based survey of degraded forest areas for soil moisture conservation projects
  • Launch of National Transit Portal to facilitate smooth movement of Forest produce.
  • School Nursery scheme which aims at involving school students from the young age in nursery and plantation operations was also elaborated and discussed during the course of the four-hour long meeting.
  • Joint forest management (JFM): It is the concept of developing relationships between fringe forest groups and forest department on the basis of mutual trust and jointly defined roles and responsibilities for forest protection and development.
  • Funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA): In a major boost to promoting afforestation and achieving “green” objectives of the country, the Centre handed over Rs 47,436 crore of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds to various States.

Other measures needed:

  • India must review the programmes that it has been pursuing to revive forests, and move away from monoculture plantations that are favoured by even forest development corporations in many States.
  • Scientific reforms to bring true nature back are needed.
  • The latest assessment categorises more than 300,000 sq. km of area as open forests with a tree canopy of 10-40%. These lands provide the opportunity to bring back diverse, indigenous trees.
  • Such a measure, combined with a policy against allowing open cast mining, can bring about a renaissance.
  • Dedicated efforts will be required to protect the precious forests of the Northeast.
  • The forest policy must be prepared by involving the stakeholders viz. people along with the state.
  • Community-led initiatives have successfully regenerated forests by adopting sustainable- use practices, regeneration through traditional knowledge of forests and species, guarding and penalizing poachers, among others. These must be promoted.
  • Innovative solutions like Tree Ambulance in Tamil Nadu must be emulated across the country.
  • Identify and reduce the dependency. For instance, fuel wood via LPG connections and promoting fast growing timbers in forest fringes, grazing via stall feeding or rotational grazing, controlling commercial exploitation of forests, adopt zero-tolerance to fires setting targets to reduce fires by 50%, 25% to 10% etc.
  • Increase surveillance and setup legal cell in forest department to follow-up on court cases

Conclusion:

India’s diverse forests support the livelihoods of 250 million people, providing them firewood, fodder, bamboo, beedi leaves and many other products. The timber currently benefits the state treasury. There is a need of revamping India’s forest policy. These efforts are critical to meet our national and international goals under National Forest Policy, Nationally Determined Commitments and restoration of degraded forest land.

 


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. ‘Weak value system in families eventually transcend to weak social, political and administrative systems, leading in turn to degeneration of the whole country. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is based on the importance and significance of value system in building the character of an individual.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the importance of value system in families, analyse in what way weak value system in families eventually transcend to weak social, political and administrative systems, leading in turn to degeneration of the whole country.

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 individual is the first building block of the value architecture. The values that a person holds have been derived from family, friends, neighbors, teachers, and mass media and so on.

Explain what you understand by family value system.

Body:

The family value system inculcates the moral values of tolerance, non-violence, sympathy, compassion, harmony, etc.

But the development of values and the sense of one’s duty towards the nation, community and one’s self, and thinking skills do not find any place in the curriculum at any stage of child’s development. As a consequence, there are explicit signs of erosion of values in practically every sphere of our life.

Explain that there is a circular relationship between individual and society in these respects in so far as individual behaviour determines the way society moves and social values drive men the way they behave, each reinforcing the other. Suggest examples to explain the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward and reassert the importance of value system at the family level

Introduction:

Values are “things that have an intrinsic worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor,” or “principles, standards, or qualities considered worthwhile or desirable.” Values constitute an important aspect of self-concept and serve as guiding principles for an individual. These human values have the effect of bonding, comforting, reassuring and procuring serenity.

Body:

Impact of Weak value system in families:

  • Weakens Emotional bonding: The integration bonds in a family are mutual affection and blood ties. A family is a closed entity and is held together not only due to a tag but also due to emotional ties.
  • Most of the socializing functions today, like child raising, education, occupational training, caring of elderly, etc., have been taken over by the outside agencies, such as crèches, media, nursery schools, hospitals, occupational training centres, etc. These tasks were once exclusively performed by the family.
  • Increasing mobility of younger generation in search of new employment and educational opportunities allegedly weakened the family relations.
  • The family bonding and ties started loosening due to physical distance as it rendered impracticable for members of family to come together as often as earlier. This affected the earlier idealized nation of ‘family’ as the caring and nurturing unit for children, the sick and elderly.
  • Marriage is considered not as a sacred one but a social contract. It has been found that, divorces and separation are on the increase.
  • Much distress has been witnessed in the social relationships between husband and wife. No doubt, the technology has elevated the social status of women in the family. But at the same time it has put the fabric of social relationships at stake.

Importance of family in strengthening the nation:

  • Family is the first social organization that provides the immediate proximity from which the kid can learn his behavior.
  • The family and society is important in developing the moral values of child. There is a close contact between the parents and children, which determine the personality of child. Family is the foundation on which values are built.
  • Moral values like truthfulness, happiness, peace, justice are instilled in children’s thoughts, feelings and actions and they function as ideals and standards that govern their actions in their life.
  • Family plays a major role in helping a child socialize and has great influence and bearing on the progress of the child. Joint family system, the presence of elders in the family plays the effective role in social and moral development of the children.
  • It will also help young generation of the family to imbibe human values and eradicate their negative mental tendencies when they are among elders.
  • The pivotal role families and family policies can play in promoting peaceful and inclusive societies and in advancing Sustainable Development Goals.
  • In fact, the crucial role that families can play in the creation of healthy and happy societies has been recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations in 1948.
  • Adopting our age-old philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, which embodies the spirit of humanism, compassion, magnanimity and tolerance, family becomes the basic building block of a harmonious, inclusive society.
  • Family can shape the world view, foster and reinforce the value system of the individuals and therefore, consequently, be the warp and weft of a sustainable, peaceful, inclusive, prosperous world.

Conclusion:

Family is the foundation on which values are built. Moral values like truthfulness, happiness, peace, justice are instilled in children’s thoughts, feelings and actions and they function as ideals and standards that govern their actions in their life. The present-day lifestyle is causing serious damage to the critical role played by a joint or an extended family system in preserving cultural values, traditions and customs, which have been passed on from generation to generation.

 

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

7. Is it necessary that ‘what is ethical is also legal’ and vice versa? Explain with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question aims to assess the statement ‘what is ethical is also legal’.

Key Demand of the question:

Assess in detail the probability of the true and false for the statement – ‘what is ethical is also legal’ with suitable examples.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining what you understand by being ethical and being legal.

Body:

Law can be defined as a consistent set of rules that are widely published, generally accepted, and usually enforced. These rules describe the ways in which people are required to act in their relationships with others in a society. They are requirements to act in a given way, not just expectations or suggestions to act in that way. Since the government establishes law, the government can use police powers to enforce laws. Ethics is the voluntary framework of guiding principles, which brings order and purpose into what would otherwise be a void between laws. Ethics are internal obligations on an individual whereas laws are external obligation.

It is ethical to not give capital punishment as it is against the Right to life but according to law it is correct (mainly for heinous crime) for maintenance of law and order in society. Similarly, the law often incorporates ethical standards to which most citizens subscribe. But laws can deviate from what is ethical. For example the laws made during Britishers were unethical in theme or the old apartheid laws of South Africa.

Conclusion:

Conclude that hence what is ethical is also legal and vice versa are not always correct.

Introduction:

Legal standards are standards that are set forth in governmental laws. All the statutes and laws that lawyers point to are legal standards.

Ethical standards, on the other hand, don’t necessarily have a legal basis. They are based on human principles of right and wrong.

Body:

Based on society’s beliefs, laws are created and enforced by governments to mediate in our relationships with each other. Laws must be followed by all, including private citizens, groups and companies as well as public figures, organizations and institutions. Laws set out standards, procedures and principles that must be followed.

While laws carry with them a punishment for violations, ethics does not. In ethics everything depends on the person’s conscience and self-worth.

Ethics is intrinsic and comes from within a person’s moral sense and desire to preserve his self-respect. It is not as strict as laws. Laws are codifications of certain ethical values meant to help regulate society, and punishments for breaking them can be harsh and sometimes even break ethical standards.

It is not necessarily true that ‘what is ethical is also legal’ and vice versa.

Instances which are ethical but not legal:

  • When a child is hungry and he stole a loaf of bread from a shop to feed. The action of child is illegal and stealing is punishable by law whereas his action of stealing may be for a good cause.
  • It is illegal to run a traffic light or speed even though it is ethical to save someone whose life is in danger.
  • In the 20th century India, social reformers urged citizens to disobey laws in order to protest what they regarded as immoral or unjust laws. Peaceful civil disobedience was an ethical way of expressing political viewpoints.
  • Abortion may be regarded as legally wrong, but for a rape victim, it may be allowed on ethical grounds.

Instances which are legal but not ethical:

  • I give a person a certain amount of money that is definitely legal. Later I ask him for a favor of some kind, I’m one step from being a slug. This is totally legal but when a person betrays me this unethical.
  • Keeping money that someone dropped is legal, but again, many would find it unethical.
  • The death penalty or capital punishment is also legal in many states, but a multitude of individuals consider it unethical.
  • Slave trade was legal in America earlier. But it is an unethical act.
  • Abortion is legal in some places, but many consider it unethical.
  • testing medicines on animals is legal in many countries but some people believe it is not ethical.
  • While slum settlements are required to be cleared legally, the human right to housing and shelter makes it unethical to do without creating proper alternative arrangements first.

Conclusion:

In a mixed-cultured society like ours, public servants need to take a balanced stand involving both legal and ethical factors so as to discharge his/her duties effectively and for the common good. A bureaucrat’s duty is dynamic, which needs interpretation of laws. Thus, there is a need to inculcate ‘ethical sensitivity’ that is the identification of salient aspects of a situation that involves the “good” and the “bad” of public or society. As Aristotle says, “any act is right, if done with a right motive to a right person in a right extent at a right time”.


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