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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 November 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 : GS-1: Social empowerment, Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

GS-2: 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.

1.  Explain how and why manual scavenging continues to be embedded in the caste system? Discuss the efforts of the government to overcome the ills of manual scavenging in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article explains the new measures by the Centre to end manual scavenging by august 2021.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how and why manual scavenging continues to be embedded in the caste system, also throw light on the efforts of the government to overcome the ills of manual scavenging in the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present few facts about manual scavenging in the country and its association with caste system. 

Body:

Manual scavenging is the practice of removing human excrement from toilets, septic tanks or sewers by hand.

Explain why it is more of a social evil in our country. Discuss the efforts of the government to curb such a system and highlight the lacunae in the measures taken by the government.

Take cues from the article list down measures taken so far by the government and reasons for their partial success.

Suggest solutions to address them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Manual scavenging refers to the unsafe and manual removal of raw (fresh and untreated) human excreta from buckets or other containers that are used as toilets or from the pits of simple pit latrines. Despite a 2013 law prohibiting employment of manual scavengers, a government survey recently has identified 54,130 people engaged in this job as of July 2019.

In India, the inhumane task of manual scavenging is exclusively carried out by the Dalit community of specific sub-castes and is an archetype of the oppressive legacy of the hierarchical Hindu varna system.

Body:

Scenario in India:

  • The SECC-2011 counted over 1.82 lakh families that had at least one member employed in manual scavenging. Rights groups Safai Karamchari Andolan pegs the number of manual scavengers across India at over 7 lakh.
  • Between 2016 and 2018, up to 123 manual scavengers have died on the job, data from the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis (NCSK).
  • Since January 2019, more than 25 sewer workers have died of asphyxiation across the country, including in densely populated cities.
  • More than 375 workers died while cleaning septic and sewer tanks between 2015 and 2019, according to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s data

Government interventions

  • The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 and employment of manual scavengers was declared unlawful.
  • National Commission for Safai Karamcharis was constituted under the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993, to monitor and recommend specific programs.
  • National action plan for the total eradication of manual scavenging by 2007.
  • Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers initiated to provide training, loans, and subsidies for alternate occupations in 2007.
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation, Act, 2013.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Safai Karamchari Andolan v. Union of India that “entering sewer lines without safety gears should be made a crime even in emergency situations,” and ordered for compensation in cases of death of the worker.
  • The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) was replaced by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) in 2014.
  • Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment announced the Draft National Action Plan Framework ‘to eliminate inhuman practices by 15th August 2022’ and counted sewage cleaning as one such practice.

Issues in implementation

  • Prohibition and Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 – fails to explain what qualifies as “appropriate safety gear”.
    • It does not mention health as a component of rehabilitation and provides a meagre amount of money to the worker in the name of assistance for alternative occupations, which most manual scavengers remain unaware of.
    • Nothing in the act mentions provisions related to the death of manual scavengers.
  • Municipalities choose the compensation route as they mostly outsource the unsanitary sanitation work.
  • Toilets that were built under SBM are dependent on water and a lot of parts of India are not connected by the sewage systemAlso, Septic tanks have engineering defects which means that after a point, a machine cannot clean it.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has remained elusive of the health problems of manual scavengers even though the National Health Policy (2017) calls for action on social determinants of health.

Reasons for the Prevalence of Manual Scavenging in India

  • Delayed Implementation – Manual scavenging was banned 25 years ago but it continues to find practitioners.
  • Insanitary Latrines – According to Safai Karmachari Andolan, the occupation persists mainly because of the continued presence of insanitary latrines. There are about 2.6 million insanitary latrines (dry toilets) that require cleaning by hand.
  • Caste-based notions of stigma and deployment of Dalit workers in these occupations in modern contexts reinforces manual scavenging in India.
  • The policymakers’ have a fragmented and a target driven approach (counting numbers of toilets, length of sewerage, etc.,) to sanitation.
  • Privatization of waste management and acute contractualisation of sanitation work has made fixing legal responsibility and identification of the guilty much more difficult.
  • Gender-based occupation – Manual scavenging is not only a caste-based but also a gender-based occupation with 90 percent of them being women. Households with dry latrines prefer women to clean the excreta instead of men as they are located inside the house.
  • Inadequate Funding 

Way-Forward

  • Adopting technology to end manual scavenging – It is not going to be possible to eliminate manual scavenging unless we create the right technologies.
    • Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board is using 70 mini jetting machines that can access narrow lanes and smaller colonies to clear the choked sewer pipes.
    • In Thiruvananthapuram, a group of engineers has designed a spider-shaped robot that cleans manholes and sewers with precision.
  • Proper awareness and sensitization of the authorities: It is essential that the authorities are sensitized to recognize the intensity of the issue and see the system as dehumanizing and unconstitutional.
  • Sensitising Women through a nationwide march to make them aware of their right to live with dignity and assure them of ‘sustainable freedom’, by providing an alternative livelihood option.
  • That the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the Supreme Court’s judgment of 2014 should be duly implemented and applied in all cases of sewer/septic tank deaths.
  • Target driven approach to measure the success of the sanitation policy
  • The underlying caste-based attitude to sanitation work and workers should be identified and strong action taken against it.

Conclusion:

To eradicate the profession of manual scavenging, it is important to provide these people with alternate professions. The government could start by giving specific training for vocations like plumbing, gardening etc to those involved in manual scavenging.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : India and its neighborhood- relations.

2. Discuss how Brahmaputra presents both a geopolitical opportunity as well as a cause of concern for both India and China to address their water crisis. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The editorial brings to us closer insights of the Chinese dam projects on the Brahmaputra that are posing to be a threat to lives and livelihoods downstream.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how Brahmaputra presents both a geopolitical opportunity as well as a cause of concern for both India and China to address their water crisis.

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:

Talk about the Brahmaputra; a perennial river, with several peculiar characteristics due to its geography and prevailing climatic conditions and its importance to India-China.

Body:

In the answer body explain why it is both a geopolitical opportunity as well as a cause of concern for both India and China.

Talk about the water woes across the India-China borders, the issue of food security, and the impact on the fragile ecosystems around the river flow.

Discuss separately the significance of the river to both India and China.

Explain the issues and conflicts around its usage through damming. Explain what needs to be done to address the issue.

Conclusion:

Both sides must cease new constructions on the river and commit to potentially less destructive solutions. Building a decentralized network of check dams, rain-capturing lakes and using traditional means of water capture have shown effective results in restoring the ecological balance while supporting the populations of the regions in a sustainable manner

Introduction:

The construction of several dams along the Yarlung (Brahmaputra) river on the Chinese side has been a repeated cause for concern for Indian officials and the local people, whose livelihoods and security depend on the river.

Body:

Peculiar characteristics of Brahmaputra River that is cause of concern

  • Two Floods: Inhabitants along the river have to deal with two floods annually, one caused by the melting of the Himalayan snow in summer and the other due to the monsoon flows
  • Dangers of Climate Change: The frequency of these floods have increased and are devastating due to climate change and its impact on high and low flows.
  • Dynamic in nature: The river is in itself dynamic as frequent landslides and geological activity force it to change course very often.

Water Issues of China:

  • Resource Constraints: China, which is home to close to 20 per cent of the world’s population, has only 7 per cent of its water resources.
  • Consequence of Industrialisation: Severe pollution of its surface and groundwater caused by rapid industrialisation is a source of concern for Chinese planners.
  • Regional Imbalance within China: China’s southern regions are water-rich in comparison to the water-stressed northern part. The southern region is a major food producer and has significant industrial capacity as a consequence of more people living there.
  • River interlinking Plans: China has an ambitious plan to link its south (water rich) and north (water stressed) through canals, aqueducts and linking of major rivers to ensure water security
  • International Ramifications: In pursuit of above goals, China, being an upper riparian state in Asia, has been blocking rivers like the Mekong and its tributaries, affecting Southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  It has caused immense damage to the environment and altered river flows in the region
  • Geopolitical Tool: Such projects by China has the potential to significantly change the flow rate during times of standoffs and high tensions. In fact, during the 2018 Doklam border standoff between India and China, China stopped communication of water flow levels from its dams, effectively rendering India blind to floods during the standoff.
  • Hegemonic Attitude:  China sees such projects as a continuation of their historic tributary system as the smaller states have no means of effectively resisting or even significant leverage in negotiations. Chinese projects in the Himalayas have only recently begun to operate amid protests from India.

There are now multiple operational dams in the Yarlung Tsangpo basin with more dams commissioned and under construction. These constructions present a unique challenge for Indian planners because

  • It will lead to degradation of the entire basin
    • Massive amounts of silt carried by the river would get blocked by dams leading to a fall in the quality of soil and eventual reduction in agricultural productivity.
  • Impact on Ecological Diversity
    • The Brahmaputra basin is one of the world’s most ecologically sensitive zones. It is identified as one of the world’s 34 biological hotspots.
    • This region sees several species of flora and fauna that are endemic to only this part of the world — the Kaziranga National Park houses 35 mammalian species out of which 15 are listed as threatened in the IUCN conservation list.
    • The river itself is home to the Gangetic river dolphin, which is listed as critically endangered
    • Reduction in flow of waters downstream will have negative consequences of the flora and fauna of the surrounding ecosystem
  • Prone to Disasters
    • The location of the dams in the Himalayas poses a risk. Seismologists consider the Himalayas as most vulnerable to earthquakes and seismic activity.
    • Landslides resulting from earthquakes pose a significant threat — the 2015 Nepal earthquake and the resultant landslides wiped out several dams and other facilities.
    • The sheer size of the infrastructure projects undertaken by China increases the vulnerability of the region to earthquakes and landslides
  • Lives & Livelihoods are in danger
    • Close to a million people live in the Brahmaputra basin in India and tens of millions further downstream in Bangladesh.
    • The projects in the Himalayas threaten the existence of hundreds of thousands of people.

Way forward 

  • Both sides must cease new constructions on the river and commit to potentially less destructive solutions.
  • Building a decentralised network of check dams, rain-capturing lakes and using traditional means of water capture have shown effective results in restoring the ecological balance while supporting the populations of the regions in a sustainable manner.
  • It is in the interest of all stakeholders to neutralise this ticking water bomb.

 

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

3. The effects of the lockdown and the resultant economic crisis continue to disproportionately impact the poor and informal sector workers, amidst such a grim situation discuss the need for universalizing PDS system in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article presents the importance of universalizing PDS system in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for universalizing PDS system 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:

Briefly explain how the effects of the lockdown and the resultant economic crisis continue to disproportionately impact the poor and informal sector workers.

Body:

Explain that to cope with reduced income and food insecurity, people have reduced their food consumption and compromised on food quality.

Given that Indian diets are already known to be quite poor on average, such a reduction in consumption of foods is not only a reflection of the current levels of deprivation but also can be expected to have serious health and nutrition effects in the longer term.

The contribution of a well-functioning Public Distribution System (PDS) along with cash-support measures through social security pensions cannot be overstated in this context.

Present the need for universalizing the PDS.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it.

Introduction:

Covid-19 pandemic has created a dilemma of lives vs. livelihood, for governments as well as citizens. But in the absence of basic income and food security, this dilemma may hurt migrant workers the most and will lead to a migrant crisis. This migrant crisis will question the development paradigm, as these workers are the wheel of the urban economy in India. Moreover, according to the 2011 census, there are 45 crore internal migrants who accounted for 37% of the population. In this context, a nationwide One Nation One Ration Card scheme (ONORC) must become a reality now. This scheme will be instrumental in the welfare of migrant workers and play a vital role in averting migrant crisis as it existed today.

Body:

Rationale of ONORC

Currently, ration cardholders can avail their entitlement of subsidised food grains under the National Food Security Act, only from the designated Fair price shop (FPS) within the concerned state.

  • If a beneficiary were to shift to another state, he/she would need to apply for a new ration card in the second state.
  • However, the migration of the poor from rural areas to urban locations is more commonplace.
  • Thus, geographical location is one of the hindrances that migrant workers face in order to claim their quote of grains and subsequently get denied their right to food.
  • To address the grim state of food security in the country and combat the problem of hunger, the government has started the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ facility.

Currently, this scheme is applicable in several states and the central government seeks to implement this across the nation by June 2020.

Benefits of universalization of PDS:

  • Interoperability of Ration Card:Under the ONORC, the beneficiaries from one state can get their share of rations in other states where the ration card was originally issued.
    • After the scheme gets implemented at the national level, any PDS recipient can use their ration cards at any PDS shop across the country.
    • ONORC seeks to provide universal access to PDS food grainsfor migrant workers.
  • Empowering Consumers:ONORC will also give the beneficiaries the opportunity to opt for the dealer of their choice. If any dealer misbehaves or misallocates, the beneficiary can switch to another FPS shop instantly.
  • Reducing Social Discrimination:ONORC will be particularly beneficial for women and other disadvantaged groups, given how social identity (caste, class and gender) and other contextual factors (including power relations) provide a strong backdrop in accessing PDS.
  • Achieving SDG:This will help achieve the target set under SDG 2: Ending hunger by 2030. Also, it will address the poor state of hunger in India, as highlighted by the Global Hunger Index, where India has been ranked 102 out of 117 countries.

Associated challenges

  • Exclusion Error:The digitisation of this PDS process, through Aadhaar-linked ration cards and smart cards, has been pushed in an effort to reduce leakages. However, there has been a rise of exclusion errors in post-Aadhaar seeding.
    • There are many sections of society who still don’t have Aadhar Card, thereby depriving them of food security.
    • The fears of exclusion are also applied for migrant workers, as the fingerprints of people engaged in construction labour and domestic work may change or fade and may not match with the ones entered in Aadhar.
  • Logistical Issues:An FPS receives the monthly quota of products strictly in accordance with the number of people assigned to it.
    • The ONORC, when fully operational, would disrupt this practice, as some FPSs may have to cater to more numbers of cards even as others cater to less, owing to migration of people.
  • Lack of Data:There is no exact data on the mobility of poor households migrating to work, locating intra- and inter-state destinations and sectors employing the workers.
  • Domicile-Based Social Sector Schemes:Not only PDS, most of the anti-poverty, rural employment, welfare and food security schemes were historically based on domicile-based access and restricted people to access government social security, welfare and food entitlements at their place of origin.

Steps to be taken

  • The Unorganised Sector Social Security Act, 2008, had drawn up a system of documenting informal sector workers through a system of welfare boards.
    • In order to get credible data regarding the migrant workers, this must be implemented in letter and spirit.
  • A dedicated e-commerce platform ONORC may resolve the challenge of logistical issues.
  • Social auditing must be made mandatory to measure the performance of ONORC.
  • NFSA defines food security as nutritional security.
    • Therefore, portability of Integrated Child Development Services, Mid-Day Meals, immunisation, health care and other facilities for poor migrant households can’t be neglected and should be made portable.
  • In the longer run, the PDS system may be replaced by a fool-proof food coupon system or direct benefit transfer, targeting the poor, wherein a Below Poverty Line family can buy rice, pulses, sugar and oil from any Kirana store at the market price, by either paying fully through the coupon or by cash.

Conclusion:

The current migrant crisis should be seen as an opportunity to develop a national migration policy addressing the challenges faced by migrant workers’ productivity, living conditions and social security.

 

Topic : GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

GS-4: Quality of service delivery

4. The true measure of digitalization would be seamless delivery of all citizen services”, analyse the statement in the context of India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The editorial talks about India heading towards becoming a digital nation.

Key Demand of the question:

One must present a detailed analysis of how digitalization would bring smooth delivery of all citizen services in the country.

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:

Briefly talk about the importance of delivery of citizen services.

Body:

The true measure of digital nation is the readiness of governments to use technology to create open, participatory public systems that citizens consider trustworthy.

Explain in what ways and means one can measure the levels of digitalization of the country.

Take hints from the article and present examples. Discuss the sectors which have potential for developing India’s digital governance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Digitalisation is a key instrument to ensure effective and efficient public service delivery in the current era of digital revolution. It is the key for success of Digital India programme, thus forming the backbone of digital infrastructure needed for the other Government Programmes. The digitisation embodied in manufacturing and services improves efficiency, total factor productivity, spill-over effects, transparency and accountability.

Body:

The true measure of digital nation is the readiness of governments to use technology to create open, participatory public systems that citizens consider trustworthy.

According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India and Nielsen report 2019, there are 504 million active internet users in India aged five and above. To provide effective and efficient public service delivery, holistic work needs to be done form local to national level.

Scope of digitalisation in India: Digitalisation is helping effective service delivery in

  • redistribution of resources via DBT,
  • JAM trinity,
  • providing unique health id for citizen under national digital health mission,
  • one nation one ration,
  • providing education to masses free of cost via swayam portals,
  • Agriculture extension services,
  • providing information to citizens via RTI
  • Ease of doing business via single window clearance mechanism, in paying tolls via RFID and in collecting taxes online without visiting government offices.

Advantages of Digitization

Digital revolution in India is significant as it promises to bring a multi-dimensional metamorphosis in almost all sectors of the society.

  • From digitization in governance to better health care and educational services, cashless economy and digital transactions, transparency in bureaucracy, fair and quick distribution of welfare schemes all seem achievable with the digital India initiative of the present Government.
  • Access to Education: ‘SWAYAM’ scheme provides an opportunity to students to access courses taught in classrooms from ninth standard to post graduation, that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere at any time.
    • This digital scheme not only brings education at the door step of numerous students but also aims to bridge the digital divide as students who cannot join mainstream or formal education can access this application.
    • Another digital scheme is ‘ePATHSHALA’ which disseminates all educational content through website and mobile app.
  • Better healthcare: Digital AIIMS’ a project that aims to create an effective linkage between UIDAI and AIIMS; the ‘e-hospitals’ scheme that is an open source health management system; ‘mRaktkosh’ – a web-based mechanism that interconnects all blood banks of the state into a single network. Such initiatives has been revolutionary for Indian healthcare.
  • Further, it enables collaboration and knowledge-sharing between academia, the business world, NGOs and the vast swathes of the Indian population that will most benefit from it — our farmers, rural entrepreneurs and artisans.

Status of Digital Divide in India

  • Although India has 220 million smartphone users and is the second largest smartphone market in the world, the overall penetration is still just about 30 per cent of the population.
  • There is a huge rural- urban and inter-state digital divide in India.
    • according to statistics, more than 75 per cent of the broadband connections in the country are in the top 30 cities
    • Similarly, many states like north-eastern states, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Assam lag behind other states in the use and development of ICTs.
  • Globally 12 percent more men used the internet than women in 2017, while in India only 29% of total internet users are females.
  • Another important reason of digital divide in India is knowledge divide. Knowledge divide is directly related with digital divide.

Impact of Digital Divide

  • Low female representation: Due to huge digital divide in gender, thousands of Indian girls in these far-flung areas are refused access to Information and Communications Technology (ICTs), which is a primary cause of low female representation in jobs.
  • Denial to information/knowledge: This lack of equal opportunities to access online services and information deprive people of higher/quality education and skill training that could help them contribute to the economy and become leaders on a global level
  • Non-delivery of welfare schemes: As many schemes have started using ICT in their delivery, at the same time due to digital divide it will create more problem.
  • Covid-19 case study: India’s deep digital divide is in ever-sharper focus with most physical means of carrying out business and governance rendered dysfunctional.
    • For instance, most emergency permits being issued by various government authorities are e-passes, which must be applied for and received digitally.
    • As such, the exigencies of the unlettered and the digitally deprived must, by default, languish behind the great divide.
    • We cannot underestimate the disproportionate burden of the lockdown, both psychological and material, being borne by them.

Need of the hour

The way to lighten this burden is through an aggressive bridging of the digital divide.

  • A national network of decentralized virtual call centers could be operated in local languages and dialects for the purpose of accessing e-governance.
  • Digitally empowered citizens, remotely serving as “digital volunteers” could be equipped with the relevant helpline numbers, website addresses and URLs for accessing public services.
  • The digitally disconnected could seek help through a simple phone call, which would be queued in the system.
  • A digital volunteer could then connect with the caller in her language, understand her requirement, and initiate the necessary procedures.
  • Similarly, leveraging India’s vast mobile phone penetration, an artificial intelligence-powered Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mechanism of placing automated calls could be harnessed for proactive dissemination of area-based vital information.
  • Such digital inclusion is essential for the reassurance of India’s teeming millions that the state is in their service and won’t let them languish without an anchor.

Conclusion

Promotion of telecommunication infrastructure in rural India is the most important condition for bridging the rural-urban digital divide and Indian government can play a significant role in creating the IT infrastructure in rural India. A special expenditure should be marked for bridging the digital divide in rural India. Government should come up with innovative schemes for giving technology access to rural areas.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. What are ‘data centre parks’?  Why are they being identified as a potential risk to climate sustainability? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The article talks about making data centres greener in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what data centre parks are and account for their susceptibility to the potential risk of climate sustainability.

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:

A ‘data centre park’ is a facility housing multiple data centres that cater for the operational and organizational needs of data-driven companies. Data centres are physical warehouses responsible for the storing and dissemination of data for information services.

Body:

Explain more about the data centre parks, their functions, significance and purpose.

Discuss what are the issues associated with their functioning; data centres consume vast amounts of electricity, storing digital data is set to account for 14% of the world’s CO2 emissions by 2040, with emissions currently on par with the airline industry. Moreover, data centres often rely on water-powered cooling towers to achieve efficient power usage etc.

Explain that this overwhelming reliance on natural resources, coupled with increased greenhouse gas emissions has led to data centres being identified as a potential risk to climate sustainability.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the problems, take cues from the article.

Introduction:

A ‘data centre park’ is a facility housing multiple data centres that cater for the operational and organizational needs of data-driven companies. Data centres are physical warehouses responsible for the storing and dissemination of data for information services.

Body:

Functions:

  • Data centres are an integral part of the enterprise, designed to support business applications and provide services such as:
  • Data storage, management, backup and recovery
  • Productivity applications, such as email High-volume e-commerce transactions Powering online gaming communities
  • Big data, machine learning and artificial intelligence
  • Data center architectures and requirements can differ significantly. For example, a data center built for a cloud service provider like Amazon satisfies facility, infrastructure and security requirements that significantly differ from a completely private data center, such as one built for a government facility that is dedicated to securing classified data.

Significance and purpose:

  • Most of the things in every segment of human activity such as energy, lighting, telecommunications, internet, transport, urban traffic, banks, security systems, public health, entertainment and even our physical integrity are controlled by data centres.
  • It promotes digital economy.
  • It helps in Data localization and Data protection

Issues of data centres:

  • Electricity consumption: Extensive infrastructure to power and cool these systems, data centres consume lot of electricity.
  • Water consumption: they use water- powered cooling towers to achieve power usage. data centres in the United States are expected to consume 660 billion gallons of water in 2020, according to a study commissioned by the US Department of Energy.
  • Carbon emissions: digital data is said to emit 14% of world’s carbon emissions by 2040 with emissions on par with airline industry.
  • Heat: vast amount of heat is produced from data centres which increases the Heat budget and leads to Global warming.
  • Cooling: Due to their continuous working conditions, data centres cool themselves but these coolant contains hazardous materials.
  • Data centres use electricity to run these coolant, which takes almost 40% of energy used by data centres.

Measures needed:

  • Renewable energy should be used to power data centres.
  • Reutilise the waste heat generated by data centres.
  • Uses of carbon capture technology.
  • Uses of cloud computing infrastructure services like AZURE of Microsoft and Amazon web services.
  • Green data centres: Google has made its one data centre in cold region, Finland, where they are using sea water and even rain water as cooling purpose. This will decrease the power consumption by these data centres.
  • Apple has become first private player which has approximately generated 100% of power for data centre from solar panels.
  • In the budget presentation 2020, finance minister put forward the policy for private companies to regulate data centre. MEITY also give the concept of data centre at state level as a part of national e governance plan.

Conclusion:

The draft data centre policy 2020 should address the environmental impact of data centres as India have promise to reduce the emission intensity by 30 to 35% by 2020 under nationally determined contribution of Paris agreement. Therefore, building a green data centre in India which has a potential to grow is the need of the hour.

 

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

6. For India to aim of becoming a green energy superpower it must choose and tread the path of disruptive solutions to handle the renewables. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article explains how India needs to press ahead with developing disruptive solutions in renewables to enable the country to become a green energy superpower.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for India to tread the path of disruptive solutions to handle the renewables.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Present a brief background of India’s energy sector.

Body:

India’s per capita energy needs will almost double by 2050 and India’s population is also projected to increase. With a population of 1.4 billion and one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, India’s energy demand is projected to increase.

Account for the increasing energy demands of the country.  Present for both renewable and non-renewable energy demand and overall need.

Then move onto discuss what disruptive solutions are; Low carbon technologies would require breakthroughs in new energy sources such as green and blue hydrogen. Carbon recycle tech, energy innovations in energy storage etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the synergy between the energy revolution and the fourth industrial revolution should be harnessed to move towards more robust energy data and policy governance.

Introduction:

India is among the first countries to take the climate change seriously from Stockholm summit in 1972 to the recent Paris climate deal. In this regard, it started national mission for green India in 2008 under national action plan for climate change.

Currently, 28% of India’s energy need is met through renewable resources such as wind, solar, hydro, etc. India has targeted to produce 175GW of energy through renewables by 2022.

Body:

India’s per capita energy needs will almost double by 2050 and India’s population is also projected to increase. With a population of 1.3 billion and one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies, India’s energy demand is projected to increase.

Disruptive solutions:

  • Carbon neutrality: Ensuring carbon emission balances out with carbon sequestration i.e. carbon storage.
  • Carbon tax: Taxing industries and nations on the basis of carbon generated.
  • Emission trading: Industries must come into emission trading contracts where companies generating lesser carbon footprints trade with companies generating carbon beyond prescribed limits.
  • Low carbon technologies:
    • Blue and green hydrogen: Hydrogen is a cleaner fuel than carbon and has high calorific value.
    • Carbon recycling technologies.
    • Carbon storage which can be utilise for other purposes.
  • E-Vehicles should be promoted to reduce carbon footprints.
  • Emphasis on solar wind hybrid project where possible gridding of smaller 25MW hydro projects as renewable to make access funding easy.
  • Bio fuels should be promoted.

Government initiatives:

Government has launched various projects and schemes in this regard, such as national mission for Green India, National solar mission, cesses on coal, launching of GRIHA and rating schemes by BEE, FAME India scheme for electric vehicles etc.

Conclusion:

The synergy between the energy revolution and the fourth industrial revolution should be harnessed to move towards more robust energy data and policy governance.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Case study

7.  A judge of the Supreme Court has been part of a judgment. Now the matter has been referred to a five judge bench in which she is also a member. The judge is known for her honesty and integrity. But there is immense pressure on her to recuse herself as her presence brings potential conflict of interest. But she refuses to do so.

In your view, what should be the most appropriate conduct in this situation? Give adequate reasons for the justification of your view. (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is a case study that is premised on the virtues of honesty and integrity.

Key Demand of the question:

One must present the case study, evaluate the ethical issues involved and express your opinion of what will be the most ideal solution to address such a situation ethically.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly present the scenario before the Judge, explain the ethical conflicts involved.

Body:

Discuss the various aspects involved such as – principle of natural justice, Institutional integrity vs. personal integrity etc.

Explain and present whether the Judge should recuse from the bench, if so what should be her stand.

Present your views with suitable backing.

Conclusion:

Judge should recuse himself from this bench so as to protect judicial integrity and maintain discipline. She needs to uphold the institutional integrity rather than personal integrity. Recusing in such case by judge sets a right judicial precedent and upholds judicial accountability.

Introduction:

Justice should not only be done; it must be seen to be done. In this context, above case study shows the ethical dilemma of a judge whether to recuse herself from a particular case or not.

the following ethical conflicts: personal integrity vs institutional integrity; and being steadfast vs. bowing to external pressure.

Body:

Dilemma to recuse or not to.

Why should she recuse?

  • As noted by the Supreme Court in the NJAC judgment, a judge may be required to step down in cases of presumed bias.
  • Her absence will erase any concerns of bias that her new judgement may be influenced her old judgement.
  • Justice will be done fairly (since her earlier decision has not been accepted at large, as it has been referred to larger bench)
  • Institutional integrity will be maintained. Faith of common man in institutions be continued.

Why should she not recuse?

  • She will judge honestly, and the bench will benefit from her honesty.
  • She will be taking independent decision and not bow to pressure.
  • Conflict of interest will not jeopardize the justice as the judge is famous for her honesty and integrity.

However,

  • It would signal wrong precedence as it means prioritizing personal integrity over institutional integrity.
  • there will be loss of public trust.

Conclusion:

To conclude, As the pros of recusing outweigh the cons, (alternatively, the cons of not recusing outweigh the pros) she should recuse, so as to protect judicial integrity and maintain discipline. It would set right judicial precedent and uphold judicial accountability.


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