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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 1 October 2020


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


General Studies – 1


 

Topic : Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

1. Assess the role of Indian Civil Services in facilitating and furthering the British Rule in India.(250 words)

Reference:  Modern Indian history by Bipin Chandra

Why the question:

The question is based on the role of Indian Civil Services in facilitating and furthering the British Rule in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the role played by Indian Civil Services in facilitating and furthering the British Rule in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly narrate the background of Indian civil services and its coming in the Indian history.

Body:

Civilian administration had always remained in Indian hands, even under the Mughals, as part of a deliberate policy of assimilation. But the British saw themselves as a superior race and, seeking to impose colonial rule for commercial gain, considered it necessary to man their administration at all senior and strategic levels with their own personnel.

The question of the “Indianisation” of the civil service in India thus directly arose for the first time after the assumption and gradual consolidation of administrative power by the East India Company, and subsequently by the British government.

Explain such above factors and explain how it furthered British rule in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its effect which hold true even today.


Introduction:

The Indian Civil Service has often been called the ‘steel-frame’ which reared and sustained British rule in India formed one of the three pillars on which the British administration of India was based. Along with the Army and Police.

The Indian Civil Service gradually developed into one of the most efficient and powerful civil services in the world. Its members exercised vast power and often participated in the making of policy. They developed certain traditions of independence, integrity and hard work, though these qualities obviously served British and not Indian interests. They came to believe that they had an almost divine right to rule India.

Body:

Historical perspective Indian Civil Services:

  • Civil Servants for the East India Company used to be nominated by the Directors of the Company and thereafter trained at Haileybury College in London and then sent to India.
  • Lord Cornwallis further reorganized the civil service, incorporating structural changes into it. He established a strong government, with a highly organized network of judicial and  executive administration.
  • Following Lord Macaulay’s Report of the Select Committee of British Parliament, the concept of a merit based modern Civil Service in India was introduced in 1854. The Report recommended that patronage based system of East India Company should be replaced by a permanent Civil Service based on a merit based system with entry through competitive examinations.
  • For this purpose, a Civil Service Commission was setup in 1854 in London and competitive examinations were started in 1855. Initially, the examinations for Indian Civil Service were conducted only in London. Maximum age was 23 years and minimum age was 18 years. The syllabus was designed such that European Classics had a predominant share of marks.
  • All this made it difficult for Indian candidates. Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Shri Satyendranath Tagore brother of Shri Rabindaranath Tagore succeeded. Three years later 4 other Indians succeeded.
  • Throughout the next 50 years, Indians petitioned for simultaneous examinations to be held in India without success because the British Government did not want many Indians to succeed and enter the ICS. It was only after the First World War and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms that this was agreed to.
  • From 1922 onwards the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India also, first in Allahabad and later in Delhi with the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission. The Examination in London continued to be conducted by the Civil Service Commission.
  • Their Salary and pensions formed part of ‘Home Charges’ which was one of the mechanism of drain of wealth from India as put forth by Dadabhai Naoroji.

    The role of Indian Civil Services in facilitating and furthering the British Rule:

  • An Iron Fist: Imperial and authoritarian government, racial arrogance coupled with superior education made the ICS a superb instrument to serve British interest. The bedrock of this system were the 400 district officers, variously called Collectors and District Magistrates or Deputy Commissioners, who administered the districts with utmost loyalty to the Colonial masters. Hence Mahatma Gandhi commented “They are neither Civil, nor Servants”
  • Lack of Indianization of the services: Till about twentieth century, number of Indian ICS officers were few. Heavily dominated by the British, many officers were rather unconnected with the local issues and populace. Though, after recommendations of Islington Commission, efforts were made to Indianise ICS but Indian ‘babu’ continued to serve the interests of Britain.
  • Suppressing the nationalist movement: ICS officers acted in a straightforward way to suppress the nationalist movement, or to punish those who supported it by Imposing collective fines on villages guilty of sabotage, passing detention orders against political offenders. Organising troop marches through affected areas, along with demonstrations of weaponry. All these were aimed at suppressing the national movement.
  • Suppressing the nationalist agitation: The ICS did more than just administer India: it represented the Raj and was charged with securing its dominance. ICS officers were responsible for enforcing laws during periods of civil disobedience, arresting nationalist leaders at particularly volatile times, and spreading pro-government propaganda. They had a large say in the formulation of policy and a great deal of discretion while executing it, often describing themselves as “rulers” rather than “servants.
  • Hostile Attitude towards Indian National Congress: ICS activity was sometimes also designed explicitly to punish those who were involved with the Congress or supported it in some way. They also furthered the propaganda activities designed to raise support for the administration while discrediting the INC and its leader at the same time.

Eg: Wadsworth’s imposition of a new ‘tax’ in some parts of Godavari district, to take ‘offensive action’ against people who had come out in favour of the Congress.

  • The ICS and the Dyarchy: The Government of India act, 1911, which introduced Dyarchy and Indian representatives were elected as ministers in provinces, they seldom took orders from them or respected them. At times, non-implementation of the orders of elected ministers and open defiance made ministers ineffective.
  • The ICS and the Congress ministries: Situation was comparatively better than in 1919. In the provincial secretariats, the Congress and the ICS were colleagues; in the districts, they were competitors: the growth of the Congress machinery posed a direct challenge to the authority of district officers. It often led to allegation and counter allegations of high handedness.

Though there are instances when ICS officers lent support to the nationalists/ national agitation:

  • An Officer by the name of Turignacharam Ghosh gave refuge to Khudiram Bose.
  • Some Officials resigned in protest against Rowaltt act as well as resigned during Non-Cooperation movement and the numbers of resignations were much more during Civil Disobedience movement and Quit India movement.

But it is a fact that those were only a handful of officials who did so and an overwhelming majority of them remained loyal to the British rule.

Conclusion:

ICS was the bed rock of British administration, they played a vital role in furthering the British rule in India and it was one of the reasons the J.L Nehru wanted to disband ICS post-independence but they were a necessity and hence the ‘steel frame’ continued but this time it served the interested of country.

 

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

2. State the core principles of Bhakti movement that defied the existing social system and values. What impact did Kabir and Nanak leave on Indian society and culture? Discuss.  (250 words)

Reference:  Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania

Why the question:

Question is premised on the theme of Bhakti movement and its contributions in defying the existing social system and values.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail core principles of Bhakti movement that defied the existing social system and values. Also bring out the contributions of Kabir and Nanak.

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 Bhakti movement is.

Body:

The most important social impact of the Bhakti movement was that the followers of the Bhakti movement rejected the caste distinction. They began to mix together on the basis of equality. They took their meals together from the common kitchen. The movement tried to loosen the bond of caste.

Explain the contributions it made in doing away with then defined social system and its values.

Discuss the contributions of the two – Kabir Das is the first Indian saint who has coordinated the Hinduism and Islam by giving a universal path which could be followed by both Hindus and Muslims, He always rejected murti pujan of Hinduism and shown the clear confidence in bhakti and Sufi ideas.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introdution:

                Bhakti movement was a liberal and progressive movement which emphasized on personal devotion and love towards god irrespective of caste, creed, gender and sects in order to achieve salvation. It was free for dominance of any class, ritualistic practises and sacrifices or need for a place of worship.

Body:

The core principles of Bhakti movement are as follows:

  • Monotheism: The propagating saints of Bhakti Movement believe in a single God. He was of the opinion that the people utter the names of Rama, Krishna, Allah, Vishnu, Shiva etc. for their convenience. In reality, God is one. Eg: Ramananda was strong preacher of monotheism.
  • Submitting to God: The saints of the Bhakti Movement were of the view that self-dedication to God leads to renunciation. Lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego are detrimental to the path of total indulgence into Godlihood. Therefore, their sacrifice alone is beneficial. Eg: Chaitanya Mahaprabhu preached complete discard of desires and submission to god.
  • Devotion to God: The saints were of the opinion that a true heart, love, devotion and concentration ease the attainment of God. This is the path to salvation. Eg: Mirabai’s undying devotion to Lord Kirshna.
  • Guru (the teacher): One cannot seek knowledge about the Lord without the help of the Guru, such was the opinion of the Bhakti saints. At places they treated the Guru at par with God. Guru is guide to seek god.
  • Opposition to priestly hegemony: Bhakti stressed on the notion of ‘personal god’ and opposed the dominance of priestly class. Kabir openly condemned priestly class.
  • Opposition to idol worship: As a corollary to personal devotion, most of Bhakti saints believed the god to be formless and omnipresent. They preached that one does not need any idol to worship god. God resides in the heart of the worshipper.
  • Opposition to caste system: The saints criticised the artificial social distinction based on birth. They said that god is universally accessible to everyone based on his bhakti and so is salvation. Hence the criticised the rigidity in the society on the basis of caste. They drew disciples from all caste and creed. Eg: Ramananda’s followers consisted of prince, barber, farmer and even female.
  • Praise of Good Deeds: The saints of the Bhakti Movement laid special emphasis on good deeds. They held the opinion that mankind can improve both his worldly and other worldly life on the strength of forgiveness, satisfaction, service, truth etc. He will conquer rivalry and opposition in this world and God will also be merciful on him.
  • Unity in being: The saints professed for unity in all beings irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender. Hence their disciples transcended the barriers of caste, creed and gender.

Impact of Kabir on Indian society and culture: 

Kabir (1440- 1500) was the son of a Brahmin widow and wasbrought up by a Muslim weaver, so could be considered the first important living bridge between Islam and Hinduism.

  • He believed that God was in the heart and this was the most important realisation.
  • Kabir emphasized the unity of God, whom he calls by several names such as Ram, Rahim, Allah, Govind, Hari, Saaien, Sahib. It led Kabir to conclude that all religions were different roads to the same goal, hence he considered the difference between Hindus and Muslims meaningless. Hence created unity among religions.
  • He strongly opposed the rites, rituals and ceremonies performed by both Hindus and Muslims like pilgrimages, bathing in rivers, or taking part in formal worship, such as

Namaz.

  • Kabir denounced idol worship
  • He was sharp and harsh critic towards the orthodox Brahmins and ulema, as he believed they misused the innocence of the people for their own benefit and that they tried to misguide the common people by interpreting the scriptures according to their own conveniences.
  • Kabir believed that God was Supreme and was not far away in some ‘heaven’, but residing within oneself.
  • Kabir’s principal media of communication were songs called padas and rhymed couplets (dohas) sometimes called “words” (shabdas) or “witnesses” (sakhis). A number of those couplets, and others attributed to Kabir since his death, have come to be commonly used by speakers of north Indian languages which not only helped in spread of vernacular languages like Brajbasha and Awadhi but became an important part of cultural history of medieval India.

Impact of Guru Nanak on Indian society and culture:

Guru Nanak (1469 – 1539) was the son of a village accountant. He was one of the most important nirguna saints who preached in a similar manner to Kabir.

  • He believed in the formless God and that God could be seen within the self, and lay emphasis on the repeated recitation of God’s name, which was called as nam or shabd by him.
  • He believed that taking Knowledge could only be attained through a living guru as guru was the only one who would help in attaining Union with God.
  • He was opposed to all religious rivalries. He declared “there is no Hindu, there is no Musselman”.
  • Nanak’s teachings were for people from all castes and he preached a practical approach to problems of life. His views were closely related to those of Kabir and the Chishti saints. He rejected asceticism and advocated living a normal life accompanied by right faith and belief.
  • Nanak continued to demonstrate a radical spiritual streak – arguing with local holy men and sages, both Hindu and Muslim that external things like pilgrimages, penances, and poverty were of far less spiritual importance than internal changes to the individual’s soul.
  • His most radical social teachings denounced the caste system and taught that everyone is equal, regardless of caste or gender.
  • He was the founder of Sikhism.
  • He promoted the practise of Langar; or community kitchen, where food would be partaken by Nanak’s followers irrespective of their caste or creed.
  • He established a spiritual centre – Dera Baba Nanak, in Kartapur. His teachings and sayings are immortalised in Guru Granth Sahib compiled by later Gurus.

    conclusion:

As seen above there are multiple overlapping attributes in teaching of both Kabir and Nanak. Actually most of teachings of Bhakti Saints could be clubbed together as one. Their mission was to preach the religion of love that could unite all irrespective of any social barriers.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. What are “Global commons”? Deliberate how governing the global commons is the defining challenge for current and future generations. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of global commons and its governance.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of global commons and discuss how governing the global commons is the defining challenge for current and future generations.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

‘Global Commons’ refers to resource domains or areas that lie outside of the political reach of any one nation State.

Body:

Discuss their features in detail; they are shared resources that cannot be managed within national jurisdictions. It is a term typically used to describe international, supranational, and global resource domains in which common-pool resources are found. Global commons include the earth’s shared natural resources, such as the high oceans, the atmosphere and outer space and the Antarctic in particular. Cyberspace may also meet the definition of a global commons.

Discuss the issues related to governing the global commons. Highlight the challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Global commons refer to shared resources such as air, land, water and biodiversity that do not belong to one community or individual, but to humanity and those that cannot be managed within national jurisdictions.

International law identifies four global commons, namely the High Seas, the Atmosphere, the Antarctica and the Outer Space. Tropical rain forests and biodiversity – have lately been included as global commons. Some define the global commons even more broadly, including science, education, information and peace.

Establishment of civilisations across the world as well as agricultural development feeding the world today are a result of such ‘Commons’ being managed by communities for centuries.

Body:

Importance of global commons:

• According to estimates, a third of the global population depends on ‘Commons’ for their survival;

  • 65% of global land area is under ‘Commons’, in different forms.
  • At least 293,061 million metric tonnes of carbon (MtC) are stored in the collective forestlands of indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • The significance of ‘Commons’ in supporting pollination cannot be overlooked.
  • In India, the extent of ‘Common’ land ranges between 48.69 million and 84.2 million hectares, constituting 15-25% of its total geographical area.
  • Common’-pool resources contribute $5 billion a year to the incomes of poor Indian households.
  • Around 77% of India’s livestock is dependent on ‘Commons’ pool resources.

The Challenge of governing of global commons:

        The governance of the global commons represents a specific aspect of global governance. Stewardship of the global commons cannot be carried out without global governance. Global commons have been traditionally defined as those parts of the planet that fall outside national jurisdictions and to which all nations have access.

Commons’ becoming uncommon is a major socio-political, economic and environmental problem. Historically, access to most of the resources found within the global commons has been difficult and they have not been scarce. However, the advancement of science and technology in recent years and the increased demand for resources is leading to an increase in activities such as fisheries, bioprospecting, navigation, flight, scientific research, and the laying of submarine cables etc.

  • The spread of zoonotic diseases like COVID-19; greenhouse gas emissions; biodiversity reduction; overfishing; and the accumulation of plastic waste are some of the problems within the scope of global commons.
  • The increased demand for resources is leading to an increase in activities such as fisheries, bioprospecting and navigation.
  • Our planet is facing critical environmental challenges, most importantly climate change and global warming. If business as usual prevails, these trends will likely worsen and will negatively impact the global commons’ capacity to provide ecosystem services for human well-being.
  • Developing countries face a particular challenge in undertaking expensive environmental impact assessments or monitoring of the global commons, and they often lack sophisticated technology to carry out exploitation or environmental conservation activities.
  • Multilateral negotiations on climate change and other global commons over decades have had limited success.
  • Despite their significance, ‘Commons’ in India have suffered continued decline and degradation.
  • National Sample Survey Office data show a 1.9% quinquennial rate of decline in the area of ‘Common’ lands, jeopardising the health of soil, moisture, nutrient, biomass and biodiversity, in turn aggravating food, fodder and water crises.

Overcoming the Challenges of governing global commons:

  • Problems of the commons can be solved by agreement between parties, or property rights can be assigned by governments either to private parties or to government instrumentalities. Enforcement can be through the normal legal mechanisms of the country.
  • International spill over effects and the global commons, government actions can be unilateral or through cooperation via multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs). Both are accompanied by jurisdictional and enforcement issues.
  • Need for a more decentralised multi-level approach that builds on the observed successes of local solutions.
  • We need to have coordinated activities at different scales. For example, local irrigation communities could adapt their watering scheme or cropping patterns to changes in water availability.
  • To manage our global commons, we need to facilitate and accommodate the self-governance of local commons.
  • Governments often take measures to promote economic efficiency (on both the national and international levels) that also reduce environmental degradation and imposition of market discipline on the exploitation of natural resources.
  • There needs to be a review of current governance of biodiversity and natural resources. We need to focus on the management and governance principles of ‘Commons’ approaches into decision making.
  • Every environmental issue involves a unique configuration of scientific factors, stakeholders, costs, benefits, and policy implications. But all global environmental problems have one thing in common: individual countries do not have sufficient incentives to act on them because countries cannot capture all the rewards of doing so. Working ‘globally’ becomes important to address global issue.
  • Learning from O-zone success stories of Montreal protocol, where all the countries came together to address the issue. Similar approach needs to be adopted as well in UNFCCC, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) ensuring the protection of the Antarctica fauna and flora.

Conclusion:

To achieve coherence in global governance, all three dimensions of sustainable development – sustainable economic growth, social inclusion and protection of the environment and the global commons – need to be integrated at the global. At the same time, for the UN to effectively play its role as convener and principal forum for coordination, consideration should also be given to proposals that have been made to enhance coordination, cooperation, coherence and policy-making across the United Nations system and other multi-lateral forums.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. What do you understand by carbon tax? Discuss its benefits in the current times to India specifically. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is based on the topic of Carbon tax and its significance.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of Carbon Tax and discuss its benefits in the current times to India specifically.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what carbon tax is.

Body:

A carbon tax is a tax levied on the carbon content of fuels, generally in the transport and energy sector. Carbon taxes are a form of carbon pricing. The term carbon tax is also used to refer to a carbon dioxide equivalent tax, the latter of which is quite similar but can be placed on any type of greenhouse gas or combination of greenhouse gases, emitted by any economic sector.

Explain in what way putting a price on carbon is widely seen as the most cost-effective and flexible way to achieve emission reduction.

Discuss that globally there is consensus that Carbon Pricing, would facilitate compatible emission pathways, increase investment and innovation in clean technology, promote achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals through channeled financing, generate revenue for aiding vulnerable communities, managing the economic impacts of a low-carbon economy, create environmental, health, economic, and social co-benefits, ranging from public health benefits coming from reduced air pollution to green job creation.

Present the case of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Carbon tax is a form of pollution tax. It levies a fee on the production, distribution or use of fossil fuels based on how much carbon their combustion emits. The government sets a price per ton on carbon, and then translates it into a tax on electricity, natural gas or oil. Because the tax makes using dirty fuels more­ expensive, it encourages utilities, businesses and individuals to reduce consumption and increase energy efficiency.

Carbon tax aims to internalise the externality of climate change by setting a price on the carbon content of energy consumed or greenhouse gas emitted in the production or consumption of goods.

Body:

Features of Carbon tax:

  • It avoids the problems related to choosing a baseline. In a price approach, the natural baseline is a zero carbon tax.
  • A carbon tax policy will be better able to adapt to the element of uncertainty which pervades the science of climate change. Quantity limits on emissions are related to the stocks of greenhouse gas emissions, while the price limits are related to the flow of emissions.
  • Carbon tax primarily discourages environment unfriendly production and consumer practices by making the ‘polluting sources’ costlier.
  • It works on the principle of ‘the polluter pays’. The carbon tax will essentially be a Pigovian Tax which balances the marginal social costs and benefits of additional emissions, thereby internalising the costs of environmental damage. It can act as an incentive for consumers and producers to shift to more energy-efficient sources and products.

India and benefits it can accrue from carbon tax:

  • Impact on Revenue: Taxing fossil fuels is one of the larger contributors to exchequers globally and India is no exception. A report estimated that a carbon tax @ $ 35 per tonne of CO2 emissions levied by India in phases from 2017 to 2030 can yield more than 2% of GDP, thereby compensating the loss from taxing fossil fuels (Rs 5.5 lakh crore for FY20).
  • Impact on Innovation: Carbon taxes accelerate the development of innovative business models around clean energy like solar powered automobiles, solar drones, zero energy buildings, super grids, utility scale battery production etc. Multiple start-ups have already raised hundreds of millions of dollars in venture investments.
  • Impact on investment: Given the scale and magnitude of change desired, the scale of investment needed is substantial. FDI inflow in the Indian non-conventional energy sector stood at US$ 9.22 billion between April 2000 and March 2020 (DPIIT). More than US$ 42 billion has been invested in India’s renewable energy sector since 2014 and India rank’s 3rd globally in the EY Renewable Energy Country Attractive Index 2019.
  • Impact on employment: Utility-scale renewables sector have already created 100,000 jobs (2020), and the current targets are likely to generate another 1.3 million direct jobs. This if harnessed with skilling and re-skilling of workforce can be panacea to unemployment problems caused of Covid-19.
  • Impact on health care infrastructure: India is also exploring the case for ensuring universal rural healthcare through a sustainable energy path: a CEEW study has shown that primary healthcare centres in Chhattisgarh with battery supported solar PV systems (costing just Rs 28/ person) have better outcomes, especially in maternal and neonatal cases, due to power supply for medical equipment and storage of drugs. Expanding the application across a fractured health care system can have far reaching benefits at affordable costs.
  • Impact on pollution: India losses a significant $150 bn pa owing to just air pollution (Green peace 2020). Studies by acclaimed institutions have established that the use of solar and wind energy reduce pollution levels by as much 80-97%. India’s total renewable capacity was around 35.7% (Sep 19) of the total installed generation capacity consequent to which CO2 emissions fell by around 1% in FY 20. India aims to have 275 GW (by 2027) from renewable/clean energy, and has pledged a 33-35% reduction in the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. This is expected to have far-reaching impact across sectors like health care, urbanisation, transportation, power etc.
  • Impact on India’s NDC’s: A carbon tax would definitely push India towards cleaner fuels and it will automatically ensure a step closer to India’s NDC’s as per Paris Accord of 2015.
  • Impact on social infrastructure: India has been imposing a form of carbon tax in case with coal cess. The government now aims to use this cess to clean the Ganga or build toilets. This can also help us achieve social objectives.

    Conclusion:

Carbon tax is one of the potent options to nudge the adoption of green tech and, if used wisely, can generate significant results in a short span along with considerable long term dividends. A calibrated introduction of Carbon Tax with an effective market for ETS, would go a long way in making the transition financially viable and widen the participation of stakeholders.

 

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

5. Unscientific use of irrigation water is giving rise to a variety of ecological problems in India. Elucidate. (250 words)

Why the question:

The question talks about the ecological problems that are being caused owing to unscientific use of irrigation water in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the ecological problems that are being caused owing to unscientific use of irrigation water in the country. Suggest solutions to address the same.

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

Introduce the answer by giving a brief highlight of present scenario of irrigation in India.

Body:

Irrigation consumes about 84 percent of total available water in India, while industrial and

Domestic sectors consume about 12 and 4 percent respectively. India has already realized over 80% of its irrigation potential. While this reflects significant irrigation expansion, unscientific utilization of irrigation water has raised several issues. There are multiple factors contributing to unscientific use of irrigation water like low irrigation

Efficiency; poor water management; ineffective ground water policy; heavy subsidization in Electricity etc. Discuss them in detail.

Explain in brief the issue of unscientific use of irrigation water. Enlist the ecological hazards resulting from the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions. 

Introduction:

Irrigation is the process of applying water to the crops artificially to fulfil their water requirements. Nutrients may also be applied to the crops through irrigation. The various sources of water for irrigation are wells, ponds, lakes, canals, tube-wells, and even dams. Irrigation offers moisture required for growth and development, germination, and other related functions.

India which depends largely on irrigated water for farming is facing a myriad of ecological problems because of unscientific approach and over use of traditional irrigation systems.

Body:

The Environmental impacts of irrigation relate to the changes in quantity and quality of soil and water as a result of irrigation and the effects on natural and social conditions in river basins and downstream of an irrigation scheme. The impacts stem from the altered hydrological conditions caused by the installation and operation of the irrigation scheme.

Direct Effects:

  • An irrigation scheme draws water from groundwater, rivers, lakes or overland flow, and distributes it over an area.
  • Hydrological, or direct, effects of doing this include reduction in downstream river flow, increased evaporation in the irrigated area, increased level in the water table as groundwater recharge in the area is increased and flow increased in the irrigated area.
  • Likewise, irrigation has immediate effects on the provision of moisture to the atmosphere, inducing atmospheric instabilities and increasing downwind rainfall, or in other cases modifies the atmospheric circulation, delivering rain to different downwind areas.
  • Increases or decreases in irrigation are a key area of concern in precipitation shed studies, that examine how significant modifications to the delivery of evaporation to the atmosphere can alter downwind rainfall.
  • India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water.
  • The crisis is only going to get worse. By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual ~6% loss in the country’s GDP.
  • As per the report of National Commission for Integrated Water Resource Development of MoWR, the water requirement by 2050 in high use scenario is likely to be a milder 1,180 BCM, whereas the present-day availability is 695 BCM. The total availability of water possible in country is still lower than this projected demand, at 1,137 BCM. Thus, there is an imminent need to deepen our understanding of our water resources and usage and put in place interventions that make our water use efficient and sustainable.

Indirect Effects:

  • Indirect effects are those that have consequences that take longer to develop and may also be longer-lasting. The indirect effects of irrigation include the following:
  • Water logging
  • Soil salination
  • Ecological damage
  • Socioeconomic impacts.

The ecological and socioeconomic consequences take longer to happen but can be more far-reaching. Some irrigation schemes use water wells for irrigation. As a result, the overall water level decreases. This may cause water mining, land/soil subsidence, and, along the coast, saltwater intrusion.

Adverse Impacts:

The reduced downstream river flow may cause:

  • Reduced downstream flooding
  • disappearance of ecologically and economically important wetlands or flood forests
  • Reduced availability of industrial, municipal, household, and drinking water
  • Reduced shipping routes.
  • Reduced fishing opportunities. The Indus River in Pakistan faces scarcity due to over-extraction of water for agriculture. The Indus is inhabited by 25 amphibian species and 147 fish species of which 22 are found nowhere else in the world. It harbors the endangered Indus River dolphin, one of the world’s rarest mammals. Fish populations, the main source of protein and overall life support systems for many communities, are also being threatened
  • Reduced discharge into the sea, which may have various consequences like coastal erosion and salt water intrusion in delta’s and estuaries

Measures needed:

  • Irrigation can have a variety negative impact on ecology and socio economy, which may be mitigated in a number of ways.
  • These include sitting the irrigation project in a location which minimize negative impacts.
  • The efficiency of existing projects can be improved and existing degraded croplands can be improved rather than establishing a new irrigation project.
  • Developing small-scale, individually owned irrigation systems as an alternative to large-scale publicly owned and managed schemes.
  • The use of sprinkler irrigation and micro-irrigation systems decreases the risk of water logging and erosion.
  • Where practicable, using treated wastewater makes more water available to other users Maintaining flood flows downstream of the dams can ensure that an adequate area is flooded each year, supporting, amongst other objectives, fishery activities.

Way forward and conclusion:

To achieve more sustainable water use by increasing irrigation efficiency, it needs to be combined with some other interventions:

  • Use of subsidy for irrigation efficiency must be combined with the weather and extended range forecasts to reduce weather-based risk perception by farmers.
  • Access to loans and crop insurance can be used in an effective way to drive farmers to go for less-water intensive crops.
  • Data networks to track total inflows and recoverable outflows of irrigation water along with the losses.
  • Caps on water extraction, irrigated areas and electricity use to ensure effective irrigation efficiency.
  • Behavioural change with a focus on maximizing agricultural production with minimal water use.
  • Source augmentation and restoration of waterbodies and Watershed development.
  • Participatory irrigation practices and Sustainable on – farm water use practices on Demand side management.
  • Urban water supply and sanitation and Policy and governance including proper water pricing mechanisms.

In order to overcome this crisis, close collaboration between several levels of national, state, and local policymakers, researchers, entrepreneurs, NGOs and government officers is the need of the hour. This will enable the collection and compilation of key information in a data-scarce sector, this will enable states to improve their performance in water management, while fostering close collaboration across states and with the centre.

 


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. Is reason the slave of the passions? Discuss and give your opinion. (250 words)

Reference: plato.stanford.edu

Why the question:

The question is quotation based.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way reason the slave of the passions, discuss the quote and give your opinion.

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:

Explain the meaning of the quote.

Body:

Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason.

Discuss the concept Passion vs. Reason.

Turn to Hume’s famous dictum that “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions.” It implies that reason’s role in guiding actions is, and ought to be, limited to its utility in aiding the fulfillment of desire.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance. 

Introduction:

Reason while independent and pure in its functioning is given tasks not by itself but by the human passions. It is commonly understood that “reasonable” persons think before acting, whereas “passionate” (emotional) people, act without thinking. So, “reason” is associated with logical, methodical, and reasonable. “Passion” is associated with emotional, illogical, and unreasonable. Most logical (reasonable) persons see themselves as having control of their emotions, whereas passionate people are thought of as being controlled by their emotions.

According to Hume “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them”

Body:

If we see on one side, it is one thing to accept that reason is driven by emotion, quite another to believe that it should be. But Hume was correct. He understood that pure reason is motivationally inert. Logic alone cannot give you a reason to do something or not. Through reasoning, for example, we can sometimes do utilitarian calculations to see which of a given range of actions would produce the greatest happiness of the greatest number. But that cannot tell us why we ought to want the greatest happiness in the first place. The only “reason” we have to want to increase the welfare of sentient beings is a kind of moral sympathy.

In a hypothetical scenario, if four people are drowning in the river and the one among them is your partner. If you have time to save only one of them, who will you save? You will probably do all in your power to save your loved one when logic says you should the person who is nearest to you to grab hold of. Here the instinct of love trumps all logic.

On the other side, Reason is a word so abused that people often lose sight of its definition altogether. One argument is, reason is not motivational and therefore slave to the emotions. Reason is rather as the framework for all mental activity, and thus the map and fuel for action. The motives for our doing things are embedded in evolutionary psychology, in survival instincts, rivalries, loves and loyalties. This does not make reason their slave. Reason is a unique feature of the human condition, taking us beyond animal responses and stimuli and enabling humans to discipline their actions. It seeks “reasons” for doing something, evidence that it is an appropriate course of action, and provides an assessment of its causes and consequences. Reason is the edifice of Hume’s empirical method.

In another hypothetical scenario, if your loved one is terminally ill and in desperate need of a transplant and no donor available because their blood group is rare type. Will you kill a person having that rare blood group to get a donor? Probably will not. Here reason prevails.

If we analyse reason and passion independently of each other, One of the great virtues of Hume’s account of the role of the passions is that he avoids this crude dichotomy with its implied zero-sum games. Hume was very much in favour of us using reason. Some of his most powerful writing spoke out against superstition and prejudice. But at the same time he was under no illusion that reason alone can be, as you put it, the “fuel for action.” Reason concerns what is not what ought to be. It can provide a “map for action” only if the passions give it some destination to head for.

But again, one man’s emotions, ambitions and morality are another’s prejudices and basic instincts. I would never discount them, let alone deny that they are often the driver of human action and decision. They are what we inherited from the animal kingdom and they gave us the fitness to survive and evolve into humankind.

Conclusion:

On a concluding note, Hume was not being descriptive but prescriptive—reason not only is “but ought only to be the slave to the passions… and must serve and obey them.” I agree that reason is not a destination as such, but a means to a destination. But I my opinion it is probably not right to accept that reason has no role in determining destination. In deciding how we should act, both in our personal lives and in wider society, our actions are constantly subject to conflict between passions and a considered assessment of their consequences, good or evil. Instincts unchained from reason may send us charging off towards some very untoward scenarios.


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