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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 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 : Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1. Differentiate between tropical and extra-tropical cyclones. (250 words)

Reference: World physical geography by Savindra Singh/ G C Leong ,The Hindu  Business Line 

Why the question:

From Sri Lanka, cyclone ‘Burevi’ to head for South TN coast, thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and one must differentiate between tropical and extra-tropical cyclones.

Directive:

Differentiate – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with basic definition of cyclones introducing the two cyclones.

Body:

The atmospheric disturbances which involve a closed circulation about a low pressure centre, anticlockwise in the northern atmosphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere, are called cyclones.

They fall into the following two broad categories: (a) Extra-tropical and (b) tropical cyclones.

Differentiate between the two on the basis of various parameters like origin, size etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with recent examples.

Introduction:

Tropical Cyclone is any large system of winds that circulates about a centre of low atmospheric pressure in a counter-clockwise direction north of the Equator and in a clockwise direction to the south. Cyclonic winds move across nearly all regions of the Earth except the equatorial belt and are generally associated with rain or snow.

Body:

Process and conditions favourable for Cyclone Formation:

  • Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C
  • Presence of the Coriolis force enough to create a cyclonic vortex:
    • The Coriolis force is zero at the equator (no cyclones at equator because of zero Coriolis Force) but it increases with latitude. Coriolis force at 5° latitude is significant enough to create a storm [cyclonic vortex].
    • About 65 per cent of cyclonic activity occurs between 10° and 20° latitude.
    • Small variations in the vertical wind speed
    • A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation
  • Humidity Factor:
    • High humidity (around 50 to 60 per cent) is required in the mid-troposphere, since the presence of moist air leads to the formation of cumulonimbus cloud.
    • Such conditions exist over the equatorial doldrums, especially in western margins of oceans (this is because of east to west movement of ocean currents), which have great moisture, carrying capacity because the trade winds continuously replace the saturated air.
  • Upper divergence above the sea level system:
    • A well – developed divergence in the upper layers of the atmosphere is necessary so that the rising air currents within the cyclone continue to be pumped out and a low pressure maintained at the center.
  • Low-level Disturbances:
    • Low-level disturbance in the form of easterly wave disturbances in the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) should pre-­exist.
  • Temperature contrast between air masses:
    • Trade winds from both the hemispheres meet along inter-tropical front. Temperature contrasts between these air masses must exist when the ITCZ is farthest, from the equator.
    • Thus, the convergence of these air masses of different temperatures and the resulting instability are the prerequisites for the origin and growth of violent tropical storms.
  • Wind Shear:
    • It is the differences between wind speeds at different heights
    • Tropical cyclones develop when the wind is uniform.
    • Because of weak vertical wind shear, cyclone formation processes are limited to latitude equator ward of the subtropical jet stream.
    • In the temperate regions, wind shear is high due to westerlies and this inhibits convective cyclone formation.

Extra tropical cyclone and differences between tropical and Extra-tropical cyclones

  • A non-tropical (or cold core) storm has the coldest temperatures in the center of the storm. Temperatures cool as you move higher in the atmosphere and there is a trough at the highest levels.
  • Winds:
    • Unlike tropical (warm core) storms, winds are not as concentrated near the center of the storm, but can spread out for hundreds of miles from it.
  • Precipitation:
    • It is in a cold core (non-tropical cyclone) can also spread far away from the center of the storm. Most mid-latitude storms are cold core including nor’easters.
    • The precipitation is more intense in tropical cyclone than non-tropical cyclone. Also, precipitation in tropical cyclones are localised while in case of non-tropical cyclone the precipitation is widespread.
  • Shape:
    • Tropical cyclones are nearly symmetric in shape and are without fronts. Mid-latitude (cold core) cyclones are comma shaped and have fronts associated with them.
  • Transition:
    • Hurricanes and tropical storms often transition to cold core cyclones, meaning that it has technically lost many of its tropical characteristics and is more closely related to a mid-latitude (non-tropical) storm.
    • The transition often occurs when a tropical cyclone moves to higher latitudes and interacts with atmospheric features that are more common there.
  • Troughs:
    • Tropical cyclones don’t form troughs whereas non-tropical cyclones form troughs in upper level of atmosphere.

Conclusion:

Despite the differences both these cyclones are destructive in nature and cause irreparable damage to life and property.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

2. The Nepal-India relationship has never been free of controversy as the perspectives of both sides are yet to change, In this context discuss the need for recalibrating their ties. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the Nepal-India relationship and the need to recalibrate their ties.

Key Demand of the question:

Bring fore how Nepal-India relationships have never been free of controversies and that there is dire need of recalibrating their ties.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly elucidate the historical ties between India and Nepal.

Body:

Present a timeline that depicts major events between India and Nepal and highlights the controversies around their relations.

Discuss the underlying factors responsible for unchanging perspectives for each other.

Discuss ties at different levels between the two – people to people ties, government to government ties, the China factor etc.

Explain that there are some fundamentals that we simply cannot forget: geography will not change, the border will remain open as millions of livelihoods on both sides depend on it, and China is going to be a big global player with varied interests in the neighbourhood. Therefore, the India-Nepal relationship has to be recalibrated.

Conclusion:

Suggest the need for a relook at the India-Nepal ties in the changing geopolitical circumstances and conclude.

Introduction:

Over the past few years, we have been witness to the deteriorating India-Nepal relations. Reserves of goodwill which India had accumulated is fast depleting in Nepal. The latest issue over the map is a new addition to the decline in relations.

Body:

Need for the fundamental reset in relations between Indian and Nepal

  • The immediate provocation for the contention is the long-standing territorial issue surrounding Kalapani.
  • It is a patch of land near the India-Nepal border, close to the Lipulekh Pass on the India-China border.
  • However, the underlying reasons are far more complex.
  • Yet, Nepali Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s exploitation of the matter, by raising the banner of Nepali nationalism and painting India as a hegemon, is part of a frequent pattern.
  • Which indicates that relations between the two countries need a fundamental reset.
  • Nepal lies in the middle of India’s ‘Himalayan frontiers’, and along with Bhutan, it acts as northern ‘borderland’ flanks and acts as buffer states against any possible aggression from China.
  • Nepal shares borders with 5 Indian states- Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Sikkim and Bihar and with free movement of people and thereby acting as an important point of cultural and economic exchange in India-Nepal relations.
  • Rivers originating in Nepal feed the perennial river systems of India in terms of ecology and hydropower potential.
  • Many Hindu and Buddhist religious sites are in Nepal making it an important pilgrimage site for a large number of Indians.

 India has ignored the changing political narrative for long

  • India has ignored the changing political narrative in Nepal for far too long.
  • India remained content that its interests were safeguarded by quiet diplomacy even when Nepali leaders publicly adopted anti-Indian postures.
  • Long ignored by India, it has spawned distortions in Nepali history textbooks and led to long-term negative consequences.
  • For too long India has invoked a “special relationship”, based on shared culture, language and religion, to anchor its ties with Nepal.
  • Today, this term carries a negative connotation — that of a paternalistic India that is often insensitive and, worse still, a bully.
  • The 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship which was sought by the Nepali authorities in 1949 is viewed as a sign of an unequal relationship, and an Indian imposition.
  • Yet, Nepali authorities have studiously avoided taking it up bilaterally even though Nepali leaders thunder against it in their domestic rhetoric.

China Factor in Indo-Nepal Relations

  • In the past, Chinese interest in Nepal was to ensure that Nepalese territory is not used by Tibetans for the breeding of discontent.
  • However, in recent times, China has made inroads into Nepal in infrastructure, education and health sectors. Also, Nepal wants to take advantage of the BRI project built by China.
  • India feels that the Chinese inroads into Nepal are necessarily to counterbalance the Indian influence in Nepal. However, Nepal has asserted that its relationship with China is purely economic and will not be hurting the Indian strategic interests in any way.
  • Also, India is of the view that the rising Nepal and China cooperation would undermine Nepal’s distinction of buffer state between India and China.

Way Forward

Although the people-to-people relationship between India and Nepal is unmatched, in recent times the not so good government-to-government relationship has curated many issues. In this context:

  • India should stop looking at Nepal purely through a security prism, and at bilateral relations only as transactional and part of a zero-sum game with China.
  • Focus on working towards multifaceted relationshipsto the advantage of both nations.
  • Negotiate diplomatically to resolve the boundary dispute with Nepal under the aegis of International law on Trans-Boundary Water Disputes.In this case, boundary dispute resolution between India and Bangladesh should serve as a model for this.
  • India should maintain a policy of keeping away from the internal affairs of Nepal, while at the same time, in the spirit of friendship, India should guide the nation towards a more inclusive democracy.

Conclusion:

Boundary disputes are common ground for countries that have an ancient history and shared borders, and the India-Nepal border issues one such dispute. Thus, the two neighbouring countries should not let the war of maps deteriorate their historical ties.

The urgent need today is to pause the rhetoric on territorial nationalism and lay the groundwork for a quiet dialogue where both sides need to display sensitivity as they explore the terms of a reset of the “special relationship”. A normal relationship where India can be a generous partner will be a better foundation for “neighbourhood first” in the 21st century.

 

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.  Discuss briefly the various measures taken by the government in protection of rights of disabled person in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

There has been much outrage expressed over the denial of a sipper and straw to Father Stan Swamy. Thus the article brings us insights on measures taken by the government in protection of rights of disabled person in India.

 Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the measures taken by the government in protection of rights of disabled person in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly give the background of the question; one good way can be by highlighting the recent case and discussing the issues around it.

Body:

The question is pretty much straightforward one has to list down various measures taken by the government in protection of rights of disabled person in India.

Disabled persons have the right to live with their families or with foster parents and to participate in all social, creative or recreational activities. Disabled persons shall be protected against all exploitation and treatment of a discriminatory, abusive or degrading nature.

Discuss laws, policies and other aspects that focus to ensure protection of rights to the disabled persons in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with lacunae if any and that there is much needed to be achieved in this direction yet.

Introduction:

According to Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, “Person with disability” means a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.

“Person with benchmark disability” means a person with not less than forty per cent. of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.

Body:

population

The various measures taken by the government in protection of rights of disabled person in India:

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) states that the State shall make effective provision for securing right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, within the limits of its economic capacity and development.
  • The subject of ‘relief of the disabled and unemployable’ is specified in the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution.

Governmental Provisions:

  • Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016:
    • It becomes the duty of the Union, states as well as Union Territories to take up the matter.
    • It is also important to ensure that all government buses are disabled friendly in accordance with the harmonized guidelines.
    • Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
    • The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21. The act added mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, speech and language disability, thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinson’s disease which were largely ignored in earlier act. In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
    • It increases the quantum of reservationfor people suffering from disabilities from 3% to 4% in government jobs and from 3% to 5% in higher education institutes.
    • Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education.
    • Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education.
    • Stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildingsin a prescribed time frame along with Accessible India Campaign.
    • The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies, monitoring implementation of the Act.
    • A separate National and State Fundbe created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities.
  • Accessible India Campaign:Creation of Accessible Environment for PwDs:
    • A nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
    • The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication ecosystem.
  • Deen Dayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to Persons with Disabilities, like special schools, vocational training centres, community-based rehabilitation, pre-school and early intervention etc.
  • Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP):The Scheme aims at helping the disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.
  • National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities (RGMF):
    • The scheme aims to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education.
  • Under the Scheme, 200 Fellowships per year are granted to students with disability.
  • Schemes of the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.

Issues and Challenges

  • Health:
    • A large number of disabilities are preventable, including those arising from medical issues during birth, maternal conditions, malnutrition, as well as accidents and injuries.
    • However, the health sector especially in rural India has failed to react proactively to disability
    • Further there are lack of affordable access to proper health care, aids and appliances
    • Healthcare facilities and poorly trained health-workers in rehabilitation centres is another concern.
  • Education:
    • The education system is not inclusive. Inclusion of children with mild to moderate disabilities in regular schools has remained a major challenge.
    • There are various issues such as availability special schools, access to schools, trained teachers, and availability of educational materials for the disabled.
    • Further, reservations for the disabled in higher educational institutions has not been fulfilled in many instances
  • Employment:
    • Even though many disabled adults are capable of productive work, disabled adults have far lower employment rates than the general population.
    • The situation is even worse in the private sector, where much less disabled are employed
    • Accessibility: Physical accessibility in buildings, transportation, access to services etc still remain a major challenge.
  • Discrimination/Social Exclusion:
    • Negative attitudes held by the families of the disabled, and often the disabled themselves, hinder disabled persons from taking an active part in the family, community or workforce.
    • Differently-abled people face discrimination in everyday life. People suffering from mental illness or mental retardation face the worst stigma and are subject to severe social exclusion.
  • Inadequate data and statistics: The lack of rigorous and comparable data and statics further hinders inclusion of persons with disabilities. The major issues with collection of data and measuring disability are:
    • Difficult to define disability
    • Coverage: Different purposes require different disability data
    • Reluctance in reporting disability as disability is considered to be a stigma in many places/societies
  • Poor implementation of policies and schemes hinders the inclusion of disabled persons.
    • Though various acts and schemes have been laid down with an aim to empower the disabled, their enforcement face many challenges.

Way Forward:

  • Prevention:
    • Preventive health programs need to be strengthened and all children need to be screened at a young age.
    • Kerala has already started an early prevention programme. Comprehensive New-born Screening (CNS) programme seeks early identification of deficits in infants and reduce the state’s burden of disability.
  • Awareness:
    • People with disabilities need to be better integrated into society by overcoming stigma
    • There should be awareness campaigns to educate and aware people about different kinds of disability
    • Success stories of people with disabilities can be showcased to inculcate positive attitude among people
  • Employment:
    • Disabled adults need to be empowered with employable skills
    • The private sector needs to be encouraged to employ them.
    • Better measurement: The scale of disability in India needs to be better understood by improving the measurement of disability.
  • Education:
    • State-wise strategies on education for children with special needs need to be devised.
    • There should be proper teacher training to address the needs of differently-abled children and facilitate their inclusion in regular schools
    • Further there should be more special schools and ensure educational material for differently-abled children
  • Access:
    • Safety measures like road safety, safety in residential areas, public transport system etc, should be taken up
    • Further, it should be made legally binding to make buildings disabled-friendly
  • Policy Interventions:
    • More budgetary allocation for welfare of the disabled. There should be a disability budgeting on line of gender budget.
    • Proper implementation of schemes should be ensured. There should be proper monitoring mechanisms and accountability of public funds.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

4. Discuss what gaps need to be addressed so as to ensure cheaper solar power generation in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

Explain the importance of cheaper solar power generation in the country. The article brings to us the gaps that exist in achieving the same.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the gaps need to be addressed so as to ensure cheaper solar power generation in 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:

Body:

Explain that cheap solar generation cannot by itself fix most of the multi-faceted stresses facing the power system, unless issues of market structure, discom finances, timely payment of generators and contractual sanctity are addressed.

Discuss the concerns in detail, take hints from the article. Until issues of market structure, discom finances, timely payment of generators and contractual sanctity are addressed, the occasional salve of cheap intermittent power will remain just that: temporary relief.

Explain what needs to be done to achieve cheaper solar power, how the gaps can be fixed.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Solar energy means harnessing of radiant light and heat from the Sun using different evolving technologies such as solar heating, solar thermal, Photovoltaics, etc. Solar energy is the cleanest and most abundantly available source of energy to the Earth. There are two ways in which solar energy is used to produce electricity: photovoltaics and Solar-thermal.

Body:

Solar energy potential of India:

  • With solar energy of about 5000 trillion kWh per year incidence, India has the potential to generate 35 MW/km2 using Solar PVs and solar thermal energy.
  • The National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) estimates the potential of solar power in India to be around 750 GW with Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir (before bifurcation), and Maharashtra to be top states with the highest solar potential.
  • India’s reservoirs with a cumulative surface area of 18000 square km have the potential to generate 280 GW of solar energy through floating solar PVs according to a report produced by The Energy and Resource Institute (TERI).
  • Urban area provides huge potential for solar rooftop sector with cities like Bengaluru taking initiative to harness this potential already.

Current Status:

  • As of April 2020, India has an installed solar capacity of 35 GWwhich is very low when compared with the target of 100 GW by 2022.
  • Still, the solar power capacity has increased by more than 11 times from 2.6 GW five years back.
  • In 2019, India installed 7.3 GW of solar power across the country, establishing its position as the third-largest solar market in the world.
  • India has the 5thlargest installed capacity of solar power in the world.
  • The share of renewables in India’s total energy mix has increased to 26% according to the Central Electricity Authority this year (though mainly due to sluggish demand).

Gaps that need to be addressed:

Despite the solar sector getting major policy support by the government and great enthusiasm by the private sector, some issues are stopping the required growth.

  • Lack of large domestic manufacturing base
    • India has a very small domestic manufacturing. The domestic cell manufacturing in 2019 was meagre 3.1 GW in 2019.
    • Without a huge domestic manufacturing base, we cannot be world leaders in the solar energy sector.
  • Import Dependence
    • India’s solar capacity is largely based on imported items, heavily dependent on China for PV cells, modules, and other associated products.
  • Domestic Content Requirement (DCR) issues
    • Though India had added the DCR in its bid to improve the local manufacturing ecosystem, the WTO litigation and unsuccessful attempt to protect it is making the flowering of local manufacturing more difficult.
  • Land availability
    • The High population density doesn’t allow more land to be given away for solar projects.
  • Skilled Workforce
    • The skilling requirement for the sector is very high and India is not keeping up the pace.
  • Absence of proper finance mechanism
    • As the rate of return (RoR) for the solar project is very low, the already pressurized banking sector is not enthusiastic enough in investing in solar capacity.
  • The cost-effectiveness of solar energy
    • Though technological advancements have reduced the per kWh price of solar energy, it is still higher than the conventional electricity supply. It makes it difficult for the diffusion of solar equipment and makes it a less profitable business.
    • The renewable power repurchase arrangement for DISCOMs are not fulfilled due to the already stressed conditions of DISCOMs itself.
  • Decline in power sector demand
    • There is a decline in power demand in the last few years making the conventional coal-based power plants to run below their capacity.
  • Dearth of indigenous R&D
    • Lack of indigenous R&D in the solar sector makes further development difficult as India has to be dependent on international cooperation for technology.
  • Solar energy and COVID-19
    • The ongoing solar projects have been haltedand the developers are concerned about the cost escalations due to domestic lockdown and production cuts in China.
    • As 80% of its requirement are covered through imports from China, the trade restrictions are hampering the imports making further development difficult.
    • Almost 85% of the labour in solar projects are migrants. Hence the solar sector is looking at a massive labour shortage due to lockdown.
    • The impact of COVID-19 on the supply chain has also been a cause for the rising demand for cancellation of Power purchase agreements apart from the fact that there are no new takers for new Power supply agreements and auctions.

Way Forward:

  • Strong financial measures are required to finance the solar projects, innovative steps like green bonds, institutional loans and clean energy fundcan play a crucial role.
  • Promotion of research and development in renewable energy sector, especially in storage technology.
  • Proper mechanism should be provided to tackle China’s dumping of solar equipments.
  • Framework to avoid unnecessary delays in policy decision making and implementation.
  • India needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy.

Conclusion:

As the PM declared in 2015 that we have to think in GW as against MW in the past. This intent along with consequent thrust on solar energy nationally and internationally showcases India’s seriousness about making solar energy a prime mover in the energy sector. Though halted due to pandemic, the pandemic itself is a critical opportunity for India to plan is own green deal on the lines of the European Union. Solae energy sector is a solution to most of our pressing issues such as equitable and sustainable development, social sector, employment generation, etc.  It forms an important component of the quest for Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

 

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

5. Do you think Paris agreement can prove to be a panacea for all the environmental issues? Analyse and present your views with suitable arguments. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the Paris agreement that has been in news for various reasons.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain if in your viewpoint Paris agreement can prove to be a panacea for all the environmental issues.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Discuss first, briefly the background of the question.

Body:

At first, briefly discuss the past efforts of environmental protection.

Talk about – Stockholm Conference (1972), Rio Conference (1992), adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) etc.

Then move on to discuss the Paris Agreement and in what way it can prove to be a panacea ; discuss the associated shortcomings, merits etc.

Conclusion:

The IPCC report acknowledges that “the pathways to avoiding an even hotter world would require a swift and complete transformation not just of the global economy but of society too”. This will only be possible if the world rejects nationalism and parochialism and adopts collaborative responses to the crisis. The Paris Agreement falls short of that imperative.

Introduction:

Paris agreement (also known as the Conference of Parties 21or COP 21) is a landmark environmental accord that was adopted in 2015 to address climate change and its negative impacts. It is the continuation of the Kyoto Protocol which was an earlier agreement to deal with climate change and comes to end in 2020.

Body:

Past efforts for environmental protection

  • Stockholm Conference (1972) and the time of the Rio Conference (1992).
  • Scientific evidence about role anthropogenic emission in global warming led to political initiatives to harmonise development and environment.
  • The historic consensus in Rio led to the adoption of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
  • A distinction was made between the “luxury emissions” of the developed countries and the survival emissions of the developed countries, which were allowed to increase.

Aims of Paris accord: To reduce global GHG emissions in an effort to limit the global temperature increase in this century to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, while pursuing means to limit the increase to 1.5°C by 2100.

It includes:

  • Addressing the financial losses vulnerable countries face from climate impacts such as extreme weather.
  • Raising money to help developing countries adapt to climate change and transition to clean energy.
  • This part of the deal has been made non-legally binding on developed countries.

Before the conference started, more than 180 countries had submitted pledges to cut their carbon emissions (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions or INDCs).

  • The INDCs were recognised under the agreement, but are not legally binding.
  • India also reaffirmed its INDCs commitments to meeting the goals under the Agreement in order to combat the climate change.

Making emission reduction voluntary

  • The Paris Agreement moved away from the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
  • All countries were placed on an equal footing by making reduction of greenhouse gas emissions voluntary.
  • It requires all parties to put forward their best efforts through nationally determined contributions (NDCs)

Shortcomings in Paris Agreement

  • The NDCs so far submitted will not result in the desired objective of limiting increase of global warming to below 2°C.
  • The Paris Agreement requires that all countries — rich, poor, developed, and developing — slash greenhouse gas emissions.
  • But no language is includedon the commitments the countries should make.
  • Nations can voluntarily set their emissions targetsand incur no penalties for falling short of their targets.
  • Further temperature rise, even of 1.5°C, may result in catastrophic and irreversible changes.
  • Even a 1°C hotter planet is not a steady state, says a report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Conclusion:

The IPCC report acknowledges that “the pathways to avoiding an even hotter world would require a swift and complete transformation not just of the global economy but of society too”. This will only be possible if the world rejects nationalism and parochialism and adopts collaborative responses to the crisis. The Paris Agreement falls short of that imperative.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

6. Privacy and RTI are often labeled as the two sides of same coin. In this context what are the practical challenges in RTI implementation? Also propose the management of conflicts that arise while upholding the both. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Recently, in a case involving activist Saket Gokhale, the Bombay high court ordered the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to remove Mr Gokhale’s contact details from its website. Thus the question context.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss how Privacy and RTI are often interconnected and thus making it challenging for the RTI implementation. Also discuss the issues involved in the management of conflicts that arise while upholding the both.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First discuss the link between privacy and RTI.

Body:

List down the issues and challenges posed by such interlinkages between privacy and RTI.

Explain in what way as RTI Act is related to our fundamental right of speech right to expression and right to life. On the other hand, Privacy is now a fundamental right. So, cooperation among these rights is the need of the hour.

Discuss how such a conflict between the two can be resolved. One can present case studies/examples to justify the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The right to information (RTI) and the right to privacy (RTP) are two important rights upheld by the Supreme Court of India. For the most part, they are two sides of the same coin. They complement each other in giving Indian citizens the rights they value highly and holding the government accountable to the people.

Many presume that when citizens invoke the RTI, then government bodies can seek shelter under the RTP. This is a myth that was recently exposed by the Supreme Court when it ruled that even the Chief Justice of India’s office will come under the Right to Information Act.

The apex court stated that public interest should be upheld while disclosing any information under that law.

Body:

Conflict between the RTI act and privacy:

The government stores a lot of personal information on individuals. This ranges from income tax returns and driving licence details to census data and medical information. When an application is made under the RTI Act for disclosure of some information on an identifiable individual, there is a conflict between the RTI and the RTP.

Personal information can be denied if it infringes an individual’s privacy. A good example is our medical records. Such information, the disclosure of which would invade someone’s privacy, is exempt from the RTI requirements.

According to section 8(1) (j) of the RTI Act, if the information is personal and would cause an unwarranted invasion of privacy and serves no public interest, then it cannot be disclosed, unless the central public information officer or the state public information officer, or any other appellate authority, is of the opinion that the disclosure of this information would serve a larger public interest.

Challenges in implementation:

  • Huge level of pendency of cases both in national and state levels
  • Non-imposition of penalties- data supplied by 20 commissions shows that penalty was imposed in just2.4% of the cases disposed of.
  • More than 40 RTI activists had been killed in the process of exposing the wrong doing
  • Laxity by public authorities in public information
  • The RTI Act, did not give adequate authority to the information commissions to enforce their decisions.

It is still possible to demarcate the extent to which personal information may be disclosed in the general interest. As of now, there is no line of demarcation for disclosure and non-disclosure. This is a bridge that could resolve at least part of the RTI-RTP paradox.

Conclusion:

Thus, together, the RTI and RTP present us a paradox. While the two rights frequently look irreconcilable, they can, as stated earlier, act in complementary ways to confer individual rights and promote greater government accountability and transparency. However, this would require the country to work on reconciliation of the two. There needs to be common definitions and internal consistency within the entire framework to limit conflict and establish a balance. Since this exercise involves specific legal provisions, it might even call for legislative efforts.

 

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

7. Law is nevertheless an indispensable part of the picture. It is a necessary complement to both morality and ethics. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is amidst the link between law and ethics and in what way both go hand in hand.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way law being indispensable has to necessarily complement both morality and ethics.

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:

Briefly define law and ethics in the introduction.

Body:

Law is defined as ordinance of reason to achieve common good. Law is reason based and fact based. It has objective standards. Law is generally made by State especially legislature. They deal with various aspects of human affairs. Law becomes the basic for regulating human affairs.

Ethics is a branch of moral philosophy that guides people about the basic human conduct. It sets a standard of how a person should live and interact with other people. It envisages Common Good approach.

 Explain with examples, the role of law for ethical conduct in society.

Then explain how law complements both morality and ethics wherein decision is taken in common interest of the society.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Ethics come into picture specially when law is not able to ensure common good due to its limitation however that does not mean ethics undermines of law.

Introduction:

Laws are rules of conduct that government creates and requires people to obey whereas ethics refers to human conduct based on a set of established standards. Law and Ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive for civilized social existence. Laws and ethics both serve similar purposes of guiding human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence. They enforce a sense of right and wrong.

Body:

Both are derived from certain common sources like religion, community values, cultural context, sense of justice, etc. However, ethics can also be a result of one’s own evolution, personal experiences, personal choices, etc.

While laws apply uniformly to all, ethics can vary from person to person and they change more frequently than laws. In case of a breach of law, the state is within its right to punish. Hence, they work as a medium of retributive justice. On the other hand, ethics are not enforceable.

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

While laws carry with them a punishment for violations, ethics does not. In ethics everything depends on the person’s conscience and self-worth. For example, driving carefully and within the speed limit because a person not wanting to hurt someone is ethical, but if one drives slowly because he/she see a police car behind, this suggests fear of breaking the law and being punished for it.

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

For example, take the case of the death penalty. Everyone knows that killing someone is wrong, yet the law punishes people who break the law with death.

Furthermore, laws play role as a punitive tool towards ensuring ethical conduct in humans in a civilised society. Child labour acts in statute books around the world are a case in point where ethical behaviour of not employing child labours is ensured through legislations for the same.

At the same time, it is important to remember that following law doesn’t always ensure ethical conduct for humans. An illegal act may be deemed more ethical than when following law to the book. For example, the act of whistleblowing to bring out information important for the society can be seen as illegal but many consider it an ethical conduct. The case of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange clearly demonstrates this phenomenon.

Rigid implementation of laws also cannot serve the purpose of ethical conduct as is evident from the recent Supreme Court judgement with respect to Forest Rights Act for tribals in India. Here, many tribals have been ordered to vacate their traditional dwelling places owing to SC’s interpretation of archaic laws.

In a rules based society, laws serve the important function of regulating society towards a harmonious existence without which there would be chaos and anarchy, ‘matsyanyaya’ as has been termed in ancient Indian texts.

Conclusion:

Thus, it can be seen that laws can ensure ethical conduct provided that the law making procedure is guided by ethical thinking while also realising that ethical conduct of an individual has many inspirations where internal human conscience is the most important one driving the ethical behaviour of humans.


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