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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 1 December 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 : Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Discuss the importance of participation of women in science; Do you think fewer participation of women in it is a reflection of our Indian society? Evaluate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The explained page of Indian express brings to us insights on India’s push for gender equity in science.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to reason why there are fewer women in this field; explain in what way participation of women in it is a reflection of society, which hasn’t considered investing time or money in the gender’s science career.

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 with some fascinating facts that justify the stand of the question. The new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy are currently being drafted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Body:

Gender inequality is the social process by which men and women are not treated as equals. The treatment may arise from distinctions regarding biology, psychology, or cultural norms. Some of these distinctions are empirically-grounded while others appear to be socially constructed.

The world over, women scientists have been in the forefront of ground-breaking research across the world. But despite their remarkable discoveries, globally they still represent just 29 % of researchers. In India the numbers have been even less.

Discuss the causes of such dismal number of participations of women in Science field in the country, explain the societal factors.

Suggest what needs to be done; take cues from the article.

Conclusion:

Conclude with efforts of the government in this direction.

Introduction:

Science, technology, engineering, and medicine –together known as ‘STEM’ fields –suffer from lack of women, especially in India. In school exam results, we hear of how girls have outshone boys, but when it comes to those who take up research in later life, the number of women is minuscule. This means that many of our best brains that showed the maximum potential do not pick research as a career.

Body:

Importance of participation of women in science:

  • Women make up roughly half the India’s population. It is useful to think about how many important discoveries we could be missing because we aren’t taking advantage of our collective talent pool.
  • Scientists from diverse backgrounds often have personal experiences that can help them identify potential solutions.
  • Ensuring the full participation of women in science is a moral imperative.
  • Science and Engineering jobs often pay quite well and allow said professionals to support themselves and their family.
  • Ensuring women have access to these technical, high-paying jobs would help close the wage gap and incentivize higher participation by women in the workforce.
  • Role models—it will also give established role models who can inspire women, eg. Kalpana Chawla.

Status of gender gap in the field of Science, technology, engineering and mathematics:

  • According to the 2018 UNESCO Institute for Statistics’ report on women in science, 44% of bachelor students and 41% of doctoral students in India are female.
  • Women face “double burden syndrome” – a culture where both men and women feel the family and household duties are primarily the woman’s responsibility.
  • According to a recent survey on Women in STEM, 81 per cent women in India perceive gender bias in performance evaluations.
  • While more women are enrolling in university, relatively few pursue careers in research.
  • The ideal fraction of 50% of female students has not been achieved.
  • There is a drastic drop in the percentage of women from the doctoral level to the scientist/faculty position.
  • There is a “major paucity” of women at the senior-most administrative and policy making positions in scientific institutions.
  • Women showed a preference for arts; however, female enrolment in science streams rose from 2010-11 to 2015-16.
  • The report found that in over 620 institutes and universities, including IITs, NITs, ISRO, and DRDO, the presence of women was 20.0% among Scientific and Administrative Staff, 28.7% among Post-Doctoral Fellows, and 33.5% among PhD scholars.
  • In India, a 2016-17 NITI Aayog report compared female enrolment in various disciplines over five years, until 2015-16.
  • UNESCO data from 2014-16 show that only around 30% of female students select STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)-related fields in higher education.
  • Female enrolment is particularly low in information technology (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and engineering and allied streams (8%).

Reasons for this gender gap:

  • When highly qualified women drop out of the workforce, it results in considerable depletion of national resources in science and technology.
  • Stereotypes encountered by girls to the family-caring responsibilities.
  • Patriarchal society.
  • Women face bias when choosing a career.
  • Women continue to face the same kind of discrimination at work as they face in society.
  • According to a recent Accenture research report, the gender pay gap in India is as high as 67 percent.
  • Various studies have found that girls excel at mathematics and science-oriented subjects in school, but boys often believe they can do better, which shapes their choices in higher studies.
  • In 2015, an analysis of PISA scores by OECD found that the difference in math scores between high-achieving boys and girls was the equivalent of about half a year at school.
  • But when comparing boys and girls who reported similar levels of self-confidence and anxiety about mathematics, the gender gap in performance disappeared — when girls were more anxious, they tended to perform poorly.

Government Initiatives so far to bridge the gender gap in STEM: 

  • Vigyan Jyoti scheme:
    • Announced in the 2017 budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • The scheme aims to arrange for girl students of classes 9, 10 and 11 meet women scientists, with the IITs and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.
    • It is intended to create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education
    • It also offers exposure for girl students from the rural background to help to plan their journey from school to a job of their choice in the field of science.
  • GATI Scheme:
    • The Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) will develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM.
  • Inspire-MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge)
    • Attract talented young boys and girls to study science and pursue research as a career.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan programme
    • Launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2014.
    • Connect India’s elite institutes with local communities and address their developmental challenges with appropriate technological interventions.
  • Indo-US fellowship for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to participate in international collaborative research in premier institutions in America
  • Women-centric programmes under the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN) initiative
  • Bio-technology Career Advancement and Reorientation (Bio-Care)

Way Forward:

  • India will have the world’s youngest population by 2022 and the women of the country will play a definitive role in devising the country’s future.
  • It takes a multi-pronged approach to create meaningful, lasting changes in the retention of women in STEM fields.
  • Women’s participation in STEM should be encouraged from primary school level rather only in higher studies.
  • Awareness about gender inequality and its outcome has to be increased.
  • The community should be supportive and understanding of career prospects for women.
  • Changing mindsets and overcoming biases.
  • Companies can provide more internship opportunities for women and give STEM scholarships to meritorious yet economically backward girls.
  • Initiating a well-planned role model programme with successful women scientists.
  • Special fellowships for girl students securing top positions in university exams.
  • Reintegrate women who have taken mid-career breaks.
  • Closing the pay gap.
  • Government agencies, universities, and society must work together to ensure that women achieve their full potential.

Conclusion:

“The problem of entry of women in science is not uniform across disciplines. Interventions geared to popularizing subjects such as Engineering or the Physical sciences or Chemistry among female students at the school level in both urban and rural areas might be helpful in changing mind-set.”

 

Topic : Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

2. “The caste system is the bane for the Indian society.” In light of the mentioned statement, examine the evil face of this system. (250 words)

Reference: Class XI NCERT Indian society, NCERT Book For Class XI: Understanding Society

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions and talks about the caste system prevalent in our society.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to examine the evil face of caste system in the country.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what caste system is.

Body:

Caste not only dictates one’s occupation, but dietary habits and interaction with members of other castes as well. Members of a high caste enjoy more wealth and opportunities while members of a low caste perform menial jobs. Outside of the caste system are the Untouchables.

Explain how in Indian societal setup caste a form of social stratification and  is characterized by endogamy, hereditary transmission of a style of life which often includes an occupation, ritual status in a hierarchy, and customary social interaction and exclusion based on cultural notions of purity and pollution.

Give case studies to justify.

Conclusion:

Conclude with current status of caste system in the country; suggest way forward to address the challenges.

Introduction:

Caste system refers to a broad hierarchical institutional arrangement along which basic social factors like birth, marriage, food-sharing etc are arranged in a hierarchy of rank and status. These sub-divisions are traditionally linked to occupations and decide the social relations with respect to other upper and lower castes.

Indian society has been bearing the brunt of this social evil since the post-Vedic times and continues to bear despite Constitutional and Legal measures.

Body:

Caste system is the bane for the Indian society:

  • Segmental division of society: It means that social stratification is largely based on caste. Membership to a caste group is acquired by birth, on the basis of which people are ranked in relative to other caste groups.
  • Hierarchy: It indicates that various castes are categorized according to their purity and impurity of occupations.
  • Civil and religious disabilities: Example, lower caste groups had no access to wells, they were restricted from entering temples etc.
  • Endogamy: Members of a particular caste have to marry within their caste only. Inter caste marriages are prohibited.
  • Untouchability: It is the practice of ostracizing a group by segregating them from the mainstream by social custom.

The evil face of Caste System:

  • Manual scavenging: Manual scavenging eventually became a caste-based occupation, which involves the removal of untreated human excreta from bucket toilets or pit latrines. It has been officially abolished by the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013.
  • Caste based violence in India:Increasing trend of caste based violence are related to instances of inter-caste marriage and assertion of basic rights by Dalits including land rights, freedom of expression, access to justice, access to education etc.
  • Jati Panchayat:The status of each caste is carefully protected, not only by caste laws but also by the conventions. These are openly enforced by the community through a governing body or board called Jati Panchayat.
  • The Concept of Purity and Pollution:The higher castes claimed to have ritual, spiritual and racial purity which they maintained by keeping the lower castes away through the notion of pollution. The idea of pollution means a touch of lower caste man would pollute or defile a man of higher caste.
  • Restriction on Food and Drink:Usually a caste would not accept cooked food from any other caste that stands lower than itself in the social scale, due to the notion of getting polluted.
  • The caste system is a check on economic and intellectual advancement and a great stumbling block in the way of social reforms
  • It undermines the efficiency of labour and prevents perfect mobility of labour, capital and productive effort
  • It perpetuates the exploitation of the economically weaker and socially inferior castes, especially the untouchables.
  • inflicted untold hardships on women through its insistence on practices like child-marriage, prohibition of widow-remarriage, seclusion of women
  • Caste conflicts are widely prevalent in politics, reservation in jobs and education, inter-caste marriages etc.

How casteism can be removed?

  • Emotional and intellectual appeal to economic determinism, as was advocated by Karl Marx
  • Awareness about Constitutional values, ethics, ill effects of castiesm etc. by debates, nukkad natak, puppetry,
  • Promote and incentivise inter caste marriages as is already done for marrying a SC ST women in some parts of India.
  • Evaluate the existing customs, rituals etc. on the touchstone of Human Rights. Here judiciary can play a positive role but with due respect to religious feelings.
  • Implement laws and agreements like ICCPR, Protection of human rights, Prevention of atrocities against SC ST etc. with full letter and spirit.
  • Dalit capitalism, check on extra judicial bodies like Khaps etc.
  • Economic empowerment of Dalit through education and ownership of land and capital.

Conclusion

caste system is a terrible anomaly of society which became more prevalent over time. It is the strong enemy of the concept of social justice mentioned in the Indian Constitution and causes economic, social damage to the country from time to time. Undoubtedly, along with the government, it is the responsibility of the common man, religious leaders, politicians, and civil society to resolve this discrepancy as soon as possible.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Explain the challenges associated with targeting welfare beneficiaries in the country. And also analyse how can concept of social registry help addressing the same? (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

A social registry linking Aadhaar to residence info can target aid to the vulnerable during a pandemic. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the challenges associated with targeting welfare beneficiaries in the country. And also analyse how concept of social registry can help addressing the same.

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:

Recent estimates from the World Bank suggest that 88 to 115 million people could slide into poverty in 2020, which presents a tough challenge for targeting welfare beneficiaries.

Body:

Start by first presenting the challenge of targeting welfare beneficiaries in the country; this can be best explained through examples. Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), an ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 was credited to women Jan Dhan account holders. Similarly, Farmers registered for PM-KISAN also received Rs 2,000 in their accounts immediately. However, the money did not reach the most vulnerable households. For example, recipients of PM-KISAN were not amongst the poorest households. Data from round-3 of the NCAER Delhi Coronavirus Telephonic Survey (DCVTS-3), suggests that 21 per cent of farm households received transfers through PM-KISAN. However, 42 per cent of such households belonged to the wealthiest.

Discuss what needs to be done to overcome these challenges.  Then present the concept of social registry; discuss its merits and demerits.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such an innovative idea to tackle the issues associated with identifying and targeting welfare beneficiaries.

Introduction:

The socio-economic caste census is being increasingly used for targeting in welfare schemes but there are discrepancies with other measures of deprivation. The case whether it can be used for central schemes such as the Ayushman Bharat and Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to identify beneficiaries or any other initiatives has been a matter of debate in the recent days.

Body:

 Problem with SECC

  • Discrepancies in the set of data: recent National Family Health Survey (NFHS 2015-16) suggest that while there are some common patterns in all three databases, there are considerable differences when it comes to identification of the most backward districts. 
  • SECC was conducted to replace the old below-poverty-line (BPL) lists to identify the potential beneficiaries of government schemes better. As a result, it is likely that the SECC overestimates deprivation, at least in some parts of the country.
  • Respondents had a vested interest to overstate the extent of their deprivation in order to be identified as beneficiaries of welfare schemes.
  • Errors in enumeration may have led to under-counting of the poorest sections.
  • With regard to the caste information, there were 81 million errors reported, that are still being rectified.

The problem with the targeted approach

SECC, is targeted approach for welfare delivery mechanism.

  • Targeted programs create tensions between those who are excluded.
  • Tendency of politicians to abuse targeted programs by converting them into instruments of patronage.
  • Most of the benefits meant for poor end-up being elitist. As, Amartya Sen points out,” benefits that go only to the poor often end up being poor benefits.”

Need for Social registry:

  • Recent estimates from the World Bank suggest that 88 to 115 million people could slide into poverty in 2020, which presents a tough challenge for targeting welfare beneficiaries.
  • It also emphasises the need for post-disaster revalidation of any existing social registration database.

Case study: challenge of targeting welfare beneficiaries:

The case of US:

  • Few months back, the US government enacted the CARES Act that sends $1,200 to each individual below the income threshold of $75,000 to provide relief on account of the COVID-19 to poor and middle-class individuals and to stimulate the economy.
  • Yet, according to The Washington Post millions of households were yet to receive their stimulus payments.
  • Account information was not available for the poor, whose incomes were below the income threshold, hence authorities found difficulty in reaching them leading to exclusion from safety nets.

India’s Case:

  • Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), an ex-gratia payment of Rs 500 was credited to women Jan Dhan account holders.
  • Similarly, Farmers registered for PM-KISAN also received Rs 2,000 in their accounts immediately.
  • However, the money did not reach the most vulnerable households.
  • Data from round-3 of the DCVTS-3 report, suggests that 21 per cent of farm households received transfers through PM-KISAN. However, 42 per cent of such households belonged to the wealthiest.
  • For the PMJDY payment, BPL and non-BPL households record similar receipt transfers. For example, nearly half of poor women are unlikely to receive PMJDY transfers.

Potential of Universal Social Protection Scheme:

  • It will lead to serious fiscal impacts if expanded nationwide because most disasters are geographically clustered.
  • For example, Floods or earthquakes often devastate a few districts not all, similarly pandemics may affect densely-populated cities more than villages.
  • Hence Universal social protection schemes can benefit the well off more than the needy.

Suggestions:

  • Authorities need a registry containing data about individuals and the individual must have a functioning bank accounts for money to be transferred expeditiously.
  • But, registries based on specific criteria (for example, identified BPL households) may not identify individuals most vulnerable to crises.
  • The reason for this is, factors that contribute towards alleviating poverty may differ from the ones that push people into it that pose a challenge of targeting welfare beneficiaries.
  • For example, about 40 per cent of the poor in 2012 were pushed into poverty by special circumstances.

Way forward:

  • Need to set up social registries that identify individuals, their place of residence, and their bank accounts, these linkages can be used to transfer funds to everyone living in the affected area quickly.
  • Aadhar linkages of individuals and bank accounts already exist. If residential information in the Aadhar database can be efficiently structured, this would allow for geographic targeting.
  • The Role of National Social Registry in promoting participatory decision making in channelizing welfare schemes for all is crucial for democratic development.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

4. Why is the “Delhi Chalo” call against the agri-marketing laws in the country being witnessed? Discuss the reasons for farmers’ protest in the country and suggest solutions to address the same. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Thousands of farmers have reached the national capital on their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles, responding to the “Delhi Chalo” call against the agri-marketing laws enacted at the Centre in September. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Evaluate the “Delhi Chalo” call against the agri-marketing laws in the country being witnessed, discuss the reasons for farmers’ protest in the country and suggest solutions to address the same.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Give brief background of the question.

Body:

Explain that s look at the timeline of farmers’ protest over the last 10 years shows that the minimum support price (MSP) for various crops has been a major grouse. Another issue has been that of land acquisition, with farmers complaining that compensation for land acquired for industrial projects was not in tune with market rates –

  • Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020: aims to provide government with the tool to regulate agri commodities.
  • Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020: aimed to provide a legal contract for farmers to enter into written contracts with companies and produce for them.
  • Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation),(FPTC) bill 2020: aims to Break the monopoly of government-regulated mandis and provide farmers and traders freedom of choice of sale and purchase of Agri-produce.

Discuss what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions.

Introduction:

Thousands of farmers have reached the national capital on their tractor-trolleys and other vehicles, responding to the “Delhi Chalo” call against the agri-marketing laws enacted at the Centre. They believe that farm gate prices would fall with the intensification of a corporate presence in agricultural markets. Farmers also believe that the state, ultimately, wants to phase out the Minimum Support Price (MSP) system

Body:

The Government through the new legislations believes that many private markets will be establishedmiddlemen would disappear, farmers would be free to sell to any buyer and farm gate prices would rise.

  • THE FARMERS’ PRODUCE TRADE AND COMMERCE (PROMOTION AND FACILITATION) BILL, 2020: It allows farmers to sell their harvest outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis without paying any State taxes or fees.
  • THE FARMERS (EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECTION) AGREEMENT ON PRICE ASSURANCE AND FARM SERVICES BILL, 2020: It facilitates contract farmingand direct marketing.
  • THE ESSENTIAL COMMODITIES (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2020: It deregulates the production, storage, movement and saleof several major foodstuffs, including cereals, pulses, edible oils and onion, except in the case of extraordinary circumstances.

Causes for farmer protest:

  • Monopolisation of APMC MANDIS: Mandis controlled by Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees(APMC) are monopsony (a market situation in which there is only one buyer) in rural areas.
  • Official data show that even for paddy and wheat, respectively, only 29% and 44% of the harvest is sold in a mandi, rest is sold to either a local private traderor an input dealer.
  • Scarcity of Agricultural Markets.
  • Ineffective Price Realisation of farm produce
  • Limited Direct Benefits transfers: Only 19 States have allowed the direct purchase of agricultural producefrom farmers.
  • Dearth of Private Investment: Despite such legislative changes, no significant private investmenthas flowed in to establish private markets in these States.
  • High transaction cost:
    • The reason for poor private investmentin markets is the presence of high transaction costs in produce collection and aggregation.
    • Taxation at mandis: Even if private markets emerge, the size of transaction costs are likely to offsetany decline in mandi taxes.
  • Additional costs: Corporate retail chains face additional costs in urban sales and storage, as well as the risk of perishability.
  • Deprived rural investment: If surplus is less then, such rural investments will also be adversely affected if mandis are weakened.
  • Weakening of MSPs:
    • Logarithmic decrease: MSPs are rising at a far slower rate over the past five to six yearsthan in the past.
  • Procurement policy:  Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices(CACP) has been recommending to New Delhi that open-ended procurement of food grains should end.

Steps to be taken:

  • Proper framework: Discussions between the government and the farmerscan be structured using a broad framework based on two focus points.
  • Expanding mandis: India needs an increase in the density of mandis, expansion of investment in mandi infrastructure and a spread of the MSP system to more regions and crops.
  • Universalisation of PDS: This should happen hand-in-hand with a universalisation of the Public Distribution Systemas an affordable source of food for the poor.
  • Internal reforms: APMCs need internal reformto ease the entry of new players, reduce trader collusion and link them up with national e-trading platforms.
  • Unified licensing: The introduction of unified national licences for tradersand a single point levy of market fees are also steps in the right direction.

Way forward:

  • Farmers protest in India is an indication of larger complex issue. Pressure groups play a vital role in generating awareness and reaching a consensus and sustainable solutions to farmer’s problems.
  • NITI Aayog has suggested that all subsidies for agriculture, including fertilizer, electricity, crop insurance, irrigation and interest subvention be replaced by income transferwhich will give them the freedom to choose the best crop. Also, it will help in lifting farmers out of poverty and prevent misuse of resources and leakages in the system.
  • States have to be taken on board along with land records that will identify the beneficiaries. It has also suggested that supplementing the farm incomeis the best way forward.
  • Loan waiversbenefit only a small fraction of farmers thus Ministry of Agriculture must link allocations to states to reform measures undertaken by them in the farm sector. This will generate accountability and responsibility on part of states.

 

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

5. Write a short note on 5G Networks. How will a 5g network power the future of the country? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Times of India

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of 5G networks and analyse in what way a 5g network power the future of the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the nuances associated with 5G network in the country, also analyse in what way a 5g network can power the future of the 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:

Define what 5G networks are.

Body:

5G is the fifth generation cellular technology that apart from increasing the downloading and uploading speeds over the mobile network, also reduces the latency i.e. the time taken by a network to respond. 5G will provide download speed of 1 Gbps, which is at least 100 times the existing data speeds. Worldwide, chipmakers and smartphone companies are conducting trials of 5G technology based services that are going to hit the globe soon. Discuss the timeline of evolution.

Explain in what way it may power our future; present the Indian context too in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of its applications and advantages.

Introduction:

                5G is the next generation cellular technology that will provide faster and more reliable communication with ultra-low latency. A government panel report points out that with 5G, the peak network data speeds are expected to be in the range of 2-20 Gigabit per second (Gbps). This is in contrast to 4G link speeds in averaging 6-7 Megabit per second (Mbps) in India as compared to 25 Mbps in advanced countries.

Body:

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India’s 5G opportunity:

  • Industry 4.0:
  • The manufacturing industry is going through a digital revolution.
  • Within the context of Industry 4.0, manufacturers are becoming more efficient through the application of automation and data exchange to their existing factory processes to enable better integrated workflows and smarter manufacturing.
  • Industrial IoT technologies are streamlining and simplifying many manufacturing processes in revolutionary ways.
  • Mixed reality (MR) applications:
  • The MR Apps comprise augmented reality (AR) plus virtual reality (VR) apps.
  • Beyond the consumer market (think Pokémon Go), interesting applications are also likely to be found in industrial and medical contexts.
  • Remote medical procedures, engineering, public safety and field-service applications are all strong use case opportunities for the application of low latency 5G services.
  • Sports and entertainment:
  • A combination of VR and AR with ultra-high-fidelity enabled by 5G could transform the way fans interact in these events.
  • Motorsports is ideal for VR in particular: equipped with their mobile device or headset, fans could be served information like lap or technical information about cars as they race on the track in a sport like Formula 1.
  • Fixed wireless access:
  • Fixed wireless access could also be used to bring high bandwidth digital services to under-served rural areas.
  • Mobile operators will then be able to compete with wireline, satellite and cable companies, offering new revenue streams and faster RoI.
  • Autonomous vehicles:
  • The idea that much of the car, if not all of it, is controlled not by the driver but by technology.
  • 5G is critical to realize this as it will offer the connectivity and speed needed to deliver vast amounts of data to one another as well as other objects simultaneously.
  • 5G can provide a completely seamless mobile experience is a must so that cars can stay constantly connected.

The road so far:

  • In India, telecom operators applied for spectrum to start 5G trials in August 2019 but the department of telecom (DoT) is yet to allocate radiowaves. the DoT had in March 2018 approved a multi-institute collaborative project to set up indigenous 5G test bed at a total cost of Rs 224 crore.
  • The collaborating institutes include IIT Madras, IIT Delhi, IIT Hyderabad, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IISc Bangalore, Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering & Research (SAMEER) and Centre of Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT).
  • The project envisages setting up of an end to-end open 5G test bed in a distributed architecture model, and it will enable Indian academia and industry to validate their products, prototypes and algorithms. It will also provide facilities for experimenting and demonstrating 5G applications, he said.
  • Recently, Reliance Jio also announced development of indigenous 5G technology products.
  • Reliance Jio Infocomm and Bharti Airtel submitted fresh applications for field trials in July but they are yet to get the spectrum.

Challenges present to adapt to 5G are:

  • Frequency allocation: Indian operators have far less spectrum in comparison to international operators. The high investment cost which makes telecom companies unsure about Return on Investment.
  • Network investment: In India, the telecom sector is facing capital augmentation issues which need to be resolved.
  • Non-availability of funds for investment: Many of the Indian operators are also weighed down by debt.
  • Regulatory restrictions: Faster rounds of new technology introduction when prior technology investments have not been recouped add further complexity.
  • Technical Challenges: Designing IT architecture that can be deployed globally, while still allowing for localized technology to cater for different regions is a challenge.

Way forward for India:

  • Need to align Digital India with 5G technology.
  • Incentivize design and manufacture of 5G technologies, products and solutions in India.
  • Allocate funds and incentivise local technology and telecom firms to develop their internal capacities which would in turn help 5G technology succeed in the country.
  • Promote 5G start-ups that enable this design and manufacturing capabilities.
  • Promote generation of IPR backing the above designs.
  • Manufacture of 5G chipsets, this may require massive investments.
  • Appropriate test-beds and technology platforms to enable and help Indian technical ecosystem to have an edge in 5G.
  • Accelerated deployment of next generation ubiquitous ultra-high broadband infrastructure with 100% coverage of 10 Gbps across urban India and 1 Gbps across Rural India.
  • Coverage, reliability, and scalability must be optimized and seamless mobile networks will require a unified management policy to ensure consistent standards

Conclusion:

The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2023 there will be a staggering 9.1 billion mobile subscriptions. 5G will act as the catalyst for Digital India—a watershed moment in digital transformation. India is at the cusp of a next generation of wireless technology 5G. It provides an opportunity for industry to reach out to global markets, and consumers to gain with the economies of scale. It can help in better service delivery, faster access to services and deeper penetration of digital services.

 

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

6. What is ‘Sea-sparkle’? Discuss its effect on marine food chain. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Karnataka coast has been witnessing the bloom of Noctiluca scintillans that has displaced microscopic algae called diatoms. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the phenomenon of Sea-sparkle; discuss the effects of it on marine food chain.

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:

Noctiluca scintillans are commonly known as “sea sparkle”. Diatoms form the basis of the marine food chain.

Body:

The bloom of Noctiluca scintillans displacing diatoms has deprived food for the planktivorous fish. The toxic blooms of N. scintillans are linked to massive fish and marine invertebrate kills.

Though the species does not produce a toxin, it is found to accumulate toxic levels of ammonia, which is then excreted into the surrounding waters, possibly acting as the killing agent in blooms.

Discuss in detail the effects of it on marine food chain.

Conclusion:

Suggest what can be done.

Introduction:

Noctiluca Scintillans is a bioluminescent specie that brightens the seawater during the night. It grazes on other micro-organisms such as larvae, fish eggs, and diatoms. However, the unicellular phytoplankton that lives inside it can photosynthesize, turning sunlight into energy. They help their host cell survive even when food is scarce. Thus, N. scintillans acts as both a plant and an animal.

In high concentrations – called blooms – Noctiluca forms highly visible orange-red spots that can occur in spring and summer. In case of turbulence, Sea Sparkle produces a bluish light that creates fairytale effects in the dark (‘lighting up’ of the sea). This bioluminescence is caused by luciferin, a pigment, and luciferase, an enzyme, when they come into contact with oxygen.

Body:

Threats posed to marine food chain:

  • The bloom of Noctiluca Scintillans, commonly known as “sea sparkle” that the Karnataka and Maharastra coast has been witnessing since about a month, has displaced microscopic algae called diatoms, which form the basis of the marine food chain. This has deprived food for the planktivorous fish.
  • According to marine experts, the phenomenon is an indicator of climate change.
  • While smaller blooms may be harmless, slow-moving larger blooms may have an impact on deep-sea fishes.
  • The spectacle may be beautiful, but it may also be a signal of danger. Many of the species in this group are toxic. If dinoflagellates reproduce rapidly, they may cause so-called ‘red tides’.
  • During this period all the animals (molluscs, fish, etc.) that feed on dinoflagellates also become toxic due to the accumulation of high amounts of toxins from dinoflagellates.
  • It is dangerous to eat such sea animals because the toxins that are contained in them may have various unpleasant effects: some merely irritate the bowel and cause food poisoning, whereas others, being neurotoxins, may even have an effect on memory.
  • Some species, such as the sea sparkle (Noctiluca scintillans) are not as toxic, but may have other unpleasant effects.

Measures to mitigate algal blooms:

  • Treating Industrial effluents domestic sewage to remove nutrient-rich sludge through wastewater processing. Using tertiary sewage treatment methods to remove phosphate and nitrate before discharging the effluent into rivers and lakes
  • Riparian buffer: Interfaces between a flowing body of water and land created near the waterways, farms, roads, etc. in an attempt to filter pollution.
  • programs to treat wastewater, reduce the overuse of fertilizers in agriculture and reducing the bulk flow of runoff can be effective for reducing severe algal bloom
  • Nitrogen testing & modelling: N-Testing is a technique to find the optimum amount of fertilizer required for crop plants. It will reduce the amount of nitrogen lost to the surrounding area.
  • Encouraging organic farming.
  • Reduction in nitrogen emission from vehicles and power plants.
  • Reducing the use of phosphates as builders in detergents
  • Aerating lakes and reservoirs to prevent oxygen depletion particularly during algal blooms
  • Further, there is a need to monitor the growth of algal bloom using Space technology.

Conclusion:

The microscopic organisms in the sea form the base of the marine food chain. The outcome of the meetings between microalgae and the enemy copepods controls the balance of the marine ecosystem. American and Indian scientists, after their year-long investigation into the phenomenon of glowing of Mumbai beaches, have concluded that it may be due to global warming and not industrial pollution as thought earlier. Thus, it is imperative to strengthen the mitigation measures against the climate change effects.

 

Topic : Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

7. Biological warfare is a potent threat to the countries across globe. Are the existing mechanisms robust enough to prevent biological warfares? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Science Direct 

Why the question:

The question is amidst the rising doubts of Corona virus spreading across the world.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way Biological warfare as a potent threat to the world and critically analyse the existing mechanisms to address them.

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:

Start with the definition of what biological warfare is.

Body:

Biological warfare is the deliberate and intentional release of biological agents such as viruses, bacteria, toxins, or other harmful agents to cause illness or death among humans, food crops, and livestock to terrorize the civilian population.

Explain in what way the Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of several world powers in the event of use of biological weapons against them by rogue states and terrorist groups.

Give examples; example of Anthrax, Botulinum Toxin; nown to be used by Japan on Prisoners of War (POW) during the occupation of Manchuria. Aflatoxin; Iraq had produced and deployed different weapons armed with Aflatoxin. It was noted by the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM) in 1995. However, it was destroyed during the Gulf War.

Then talk about the mechanisms available and analyse them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to deal with the problems.

Introduction:

Bioterrorism or Biological Attack is the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs that can sicken or kill people, livestock or crops. They use microorganisms and natural toxins to produce disease in humans, animals, or plants.

The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of several world powers in the event of use of biological weapons against them by rogue states and terrorist groups.

Body:

Bio-Weapons:

  • Biological weapons can be derived from: bacteria, viruses, rickettsia, biological toxins and fungi.
  • These agents can be deployed as biological weapons when paired with a delivery system such asmissile or aerosol device.
  • Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, is one of the most likely agents to be used in a biological attack.
  • The most destructive bioterrorism scenario is the airborne dispersion of pathogens over a major population region.
  • Tropical agricultural pathogens or pests can be used as anticrop agents to hamper the food security worldwide.
  • It is a substantial threat because small amounts of biotic agents can be effortlessly hidden, transported and discharged into vulnerable populations.
  • It can impact and expose military and civilian susceptibilities to biological weapons and to the complexity of offering ample safeguards.
  • Bioweapons experts believe that currently bioterrorists probably lack the biotechnological capability to produce-super pathogens or super pests.

Covid-19: Bioweapon or Not?

  • Novel-coronavirus is alleged to have originated in bats.
  • Some intelligence agencies claimed that the pandemic might have begun from the Wuhan lab in China after the researchers were probably able to figure out how bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans; but there is no proof that the pandemic virus was engineered or manipulated, yet.
  • In the Indian context, with the existence of hostile neighbours like Pakistan and China, the threat of biological warfare becomes important and cannot be ruled out entirely.

Combating Bioterrorism:

  • The European Union(EU), Russia and China are finding ways to deter bioterrorism and biowarfare. The aim is to make it harder for terrorists to obtain the resources for designing biological weapons.
  • Intelligence Sharing & Rapid Detection
  • Global intelligence agencies should operate together and share credible intelligence.
  • Combining human resources, laboratory resources and information supervision in novel, legal and satisfactory ways that allow for timely detection and categorization of hazards.
  • Rapid detection and surveillance are important for an efficient response to a bioterror strike.
  • Pathogen Analysis
  • Speedy, uniform techniques that allow for the discovery of an extensive range of pathogens used as biological weapons in a measurable fashion.
  • Pathogens are a usual part of the environment and can complicate detection attempts.
  • Strengthening the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention
  • TheBiological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) of 1972 prohibits signatory nations to develop, produce, stockpile or otherwise, acquire or retain:
  • Microbial or other biological agentsor toxins whatever their origin or method of production, of types and in quantities that have no justification for prophylactic, protective or other peaceful purposes.
  • There is no exact authentication method that can ensure compliance with the BTWC. Therefore, efforts must be made to strengthen the BTWC so that it helps to uncover and successfully prevent biological weapons programs.
  • India ratified and pledged to abide by its obligations in 2015.

Biodefense Systems

  • Upgrading and installing biodefense systems in major urban conglomerates to protect against deadly disease outbreaks initiated by bioterrorism.
  • During the Cold War, Soviet Union had set up several Biodefense systems across the country.
  • Developing and stockpiling vaccines and antimicrobial medicines that can be used to defend the people against infections triggered by biological weapons.
  • Coaching first responders on how to deal with a biological weapons attack.
  • Refining diagnostic laboratory capability and epidemiological capabilities.

Way Forward

  • The studies conducted to assess the actual efficiency of counter bioterrorism measures are insufficient which needs to be changed.
  • It becomes important that engaged and methodical efforts in studying the efficiency of counter bioterrorism measures are applied in a meticulous way.
  • It should be taken into account that the implementation of some specific counter bioterrorism practices can possibly have consequences with respect to human rights, institutional liberties, fundamental democratic values and the Rule of Law.

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