Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 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: Theories (continental drift theory, sea floor spreading, plate tectonics theory)

1. What do you understand by the continental drift theory ? Discuss the evidences in support of it and also throw light on the criticism faced by it. (250 words)

Reference: Fundamentals of Physical Geography NCERT class XI

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, section geography.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to elucidate upon the Continental drift theory and discuss the evidences supporting it while presenting the related criticisms.

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:

Continental Drift theory was put forth by Alfred Wegener, a German meteorologist, polar explorer, astronomer, and geologist. He is in fact known as the father of continental drift.

Body:

The answer body must discuss the following aspects –

  • Continental Drift Theory (Alfred Wegener) – the concept in detail with relevant diagrams supporting it.
  • The direction of drift; According to Wegener, the continents drifted in two directions: Towards the equator, towards the west. Explain these too.
  • Evidence in support of the Continental Drift Theory – “Jigsaw” fit, Geological structure, Permo-carboniferous glaciations, Similar Fossil, Paleoclimatic evidence etc.
  • Criticism of Continental Drift Theory – explain that the greatest criticism of this theory was due to the controversial forces which were stated to have caused the drift. Explain the other criticisms in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the theory.

Introduction:

Continental drift was a theory that explained how continents shift position on Earth’s surface. Set forth in 1912 by Alfred Wegener, a geophysicist and meteorologist, continental drift also explained why look-alike animal and plant fossils, and similar rock formations, are found on different continents.

Body:

Continental drift theory:


  • The concept was independently and more fully developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912, but his hypothesis was rejected by many for lack of any motive mechanism.
  • Arthur Holmes later proposed mantle convection for that mechanism.
  • Continental drift theory explained why similar looking animal and plant fossils and similar rock formations are found on different continents.
  • This theory attempted at explaining how continents shift position.
  • He maintained that around 200 million years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea began to split apart and broke into two large continental landmasses, Laurasia in the northern hemisphere and Gondwanaland in the southern hemisphere.
  • Laurasia and Gondwanaland further continued to break apart into the various smaller continents that exist today.

The evidences in support of the continental drift theory:

  • Jigsaw Fit:
    • The similarity in outline of the coastlines of eastern South America and West Africa had been noted for some time. The best fit is obtained if the coastlines are matched at a depth of 1,000 meters below current sea level.

  • Geological Fit:
    • When the geology of eastern South America and West Africa was mapped it revealed that ancient rock outcrops (cratons) over 2,000 million years old were continuous from one continent to the other.

  • Tectonic Fit:
    • Fragments of an old fold mountain belt between 450 and 400 million years ago are found on widely separated continents today.
    • Pieces of the Caledonian fold mountain belt are found in Greenland, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland and Scandinavia. When these land masses are re-assembled the mountain, belt forms a continuous linear feature.

  • Glacial Deposits:
    • Today, glacial deposits formed during the Permo-Carboniferous glaciation (about 300 million years ago) are found in Antarctica, Africa, South America, India and Australia.
    • If the continents haven’t moved, then this would suggest an ice sheet extended from the South Pole to the equator at this time – which is unlikely as the UK at this time was also close to the equator and has extensive coal and limestone deposits.
    • If the continents of the southern hemisphere are re-assembled near the South Pole, then the Permo-Carboniferous ice sheet assumes a much more reasonable size

  • Fossil Evidence:
    • There are many examples of fossils found on separate continents and nowhere else, suggesting the continents were once joined. If Continental Drift had not occurred, the alternative explanations would be:
    • The species evolved independently on separate continents – contradicting Darwin’s theory of evolution.
    • They swam to the other continent/s in breeding pairs to establish a second population. 

Criticism faced by Continental Drift Theory: 

  • Wegener failed to explain why the drift began only in Mesozoic era and not before.
  • The theory doesn’t consider oceans.
  • Proofs heavily depend on assumptions that are generalist.
  • Forces like buoyancy, tidal currents and gravity are too weak to be able to move continents.
  • Modern theories (Plate Tectonics) accept the existence of Pangaea and related landmasses but give a very different explanation to the causes of drift

Conclusion:

It took nearly 60 years for the idea of continental drift to be scientifically confirmed in the form of plate tectonic theory. Ultimately it added new dimension in the understanding of the global distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes and identification of disaster prone areas.

 

Topic: Theories (continental drift theory, sea floor spreading, plate tectonics theory)

2. Discuss the concept of Sea-floor spreading and explain the relationship between underwater ocean ridges and the seafloor spreading theory. (250 words)

Reference: National Geographic

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, section geography.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the concept of Sea-floor spreading and explain the relationship between underwater ocean ridges and the seafloor spreading theory.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining what Sea floor spreading is; Seafloor spreading is a geologic process in which tectonic plates—large slabs of Earth’s lithosphere—split apart from each other.

Body:

Explain the causative factors of the sea floor spreading. Explain the mechanism involved.

Seafloor spreading and other tectonic activity processes are the result of mantle convection. Mantle convection is the slow, churning motion of Earth’s mantle. Convection currents carry heat from the lower mantle and core to the lithosphere. Convection currents also “recycle” lithospheric materials back to the mantle.

Use suitable diagrams to explain the processes involved in sea floor spreading.

In the second half of the answer, explain the relationship between underwater ocean ridges and the seafloor spreading theory.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting how Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics.

Introduction:

Seafloor spreading is a process that occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge

Body:

Concept of Seafloor spreading: 

  • Earlier theories by Alfred Wegener and Alexander du Toit of continental drift postulated that continents in motion “plowed” through the fixed and immovable seafloor.
  • The idea that the seafloor itself moves and also carries the continents with it as it spreads from a central rift axis was proposed by Harold Hammond Hess from Princeton University and Robert Dietz of the U.S. Naval Electronics Laboratory in San Diego in the 1960s.
  • According to this theory, the intense heat generated by radioactive substances in the mantle (100-2900 km below the earth’s surface) seeks a path to escape and gives rise to the formation of convection currents in the mantle.
  • Wherever rising limbs of these currents meet, oceanic ridges are formed on the seafloor and, wherever the failing limbs meet, trenches are formed.
  • Adds new material to the ocean floor while pushing older rocks away from the ridge.
  • New ocean floor forms along cracks in the ocean crust as molten material erupt from the mantle spreading out and pushing older rocks to the sides of the crack.
  • The new ocean floor is continually added by the process of sea-floor spreading.

Relationship between underwater ocean ridges and the seafloor spreading theory. 

  • Mid-ocean ridge:
  • A mid-ocean ridge or mid-oceanic ridge is an underwater mountain range, formed by plate tectonics.
  • This uplifting of the ocean floor occurs when convection currents rise in the mantle beneath the oceanic crust and create magma where two tectonic plates meet at a divergent boundary
  • Spreading center:
  • Seafloor spreading occurs at spreading centers, distributed along the crests of mid-ocean ridges. Spreading centers end in transform faults or in overlapping spreading center offsets.
  • A spreading center includes a seismically active plate boundary zone a few kilometers to tens of kilometers wide, a crustal accretion zone within the boundary zone where the ocean crust is youngest, and an instantaneous plate boundary – a line within the crustal accretion zone demarcating the two separating plates.

Conclusion:

Seafloor spreading is just one part of plate tectonics. Subduction is another, Subduction happens where tectonic plates crash into each other instead of spreading apart. Seafloor spreading creates new crust. Subduction destroys old crust

 


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.  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. Account for specific issues that urban poor face from the perspective of social protection. Also explain in what way giving priority to women would aid to address these issues. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article explains how public works could provide valuable support to the urban poor, especially if women get most of the jobs.

Key Demand of the question:

The question aims to ascertain the specific issues that urban poor face from the perspective of social protection and one has to explain the significance of giving women being given priority to address these issues.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

One should start such answers with some facts/statistics depicting the issues of urban poor.

Body:

Take hints from the article and list down the issues that urban poor face from the perspective of social protection.

Social protection includes: Social assistance – non-contributory transfers in cash, vouchers, or in-kind to individuals or households in need public works programmes; fee waivers (for basic health and education services); and subsidies (e.g. for food, fuel).

Explain the importance of recognising role of women in addressing such issues.

Suggest – Universalizing the Public Distribution System in urban slums would be a step forward (and it can be done under the National Food Security Act), but foodgrain rations do not take people very far. Employment-based support is one way of doing more. It has two major advantages: self-targeting, and the possibility of generating valuable assets or services.

Conclusion:

Conclude with policies of the government in this direction and what more needs to be done.

Introduction:

The latest Periodic Labor Force Survey (2017-18) found that only 47% of urban workers have regular, salaried jobs. Even among workers in formal employment, over 70% do not have contracts, 54% are not entitled to paid sick leave and 49% are do not have any form of social security benefits.

Body:

Specific issues that urban poor face from the perspective of social protection: 

  • Around a billion urban dwellers live in informal settlements, most of which are affected by:
  • Poor quality, overcrowded housing
  • Risk of forceful eviction
  • Lack of safe, readily available, water supplies
  • Poor provision for sanitation, drainage and solid waste collection
  • Lack of access to healthcare, emergency services and policing
  • Difficulty accessing government schools, and
  • Locations at high risk of disasters and with risk levels increasing because of climate change.
  • Urban poor are exposed to serious contingencies, both individual (such as illness and underemployment) and collective (lockdowns, floods, cyclones, financial crises and so on).
  • There is, thus, a need for better social protection in urban areas.
  • Universalizing the Public Distribution System in urban slums would be a step forward (and it can be done under the National Food Security Act), but food grain rations do not take people very far.
  • Employment-based support is one way of doing more.
  • It has two major advantages: self-targeting, and the possibility of generating valuable assets or services. 

A simple proposal 

  • Possible urban employment guarantee act. we have little experience of relief work in urban areas.
  • Further, it takes some optimism to expect a national urban employment guarantee act to materialize in the current political climate. A stepping stone would help.
  • Urban employment scheme called Decentralized Urban Employment and Training (DUET).
  • The government, State or Union, would issue “job stamps”, each standing for one day of work at the minimum wage.
  • The job stamps would be liberally distributed to approved public institutions such as universities, hostels, schools, hospitals, health centers, museums, libraries, shelters, jails, offices, departments, railway stations, transport corporations, public-sector enterprises, neighborhood associations and urban local bodies.
  • These institutions would be free to use the stamps to hire labor for odd jobs and small projects that do not fit easily within their existing budgets and systems.
  • Wages, paid by the government, would go directly to the workers’ accounts against job stamps certified by the employer.
  • To avoid collusion, an independent placement agency would take charge of assigning workers to employers. 

This approach would have various advantages: 

  • Activating a multiplicity of potential employers
  • Avoiding the need for special staff
  • Facilitating productive work, among others.
  • It would also ensure that workers have a secure entitlement to minimum wages, and possibly other benefits.
  • There is no lack of possible DUET jobs.
  • Further, many States have a chronic problem of dismal maintenance of public premises DUET could provide a first line of defense against it.
  • Some projects may require a modest provision for material expenditure, but that seems doable.
  • To work well, DUET would have to include some skilled workers (masons, carpenters, electricians and such). That would widen the range of possible jobs.
  • It would also help to impart a training component in the scheme – workers could learn skills “on the job”, as they work alongside skilled workers.
  • Roping in skilled workers, however, will take some effort: they tend to get a fair amount of work in urban areas, and to earn relatively good wages. 

Women first: 

  • Here is a variant of DUET that merits special consideration – an absolute priority: as long as women workers are available, they get all the work.
  • In fact, women could also run the placement agencies, or the entire Programme for that matter.
  • To facilitate women’s involvement, most of the work could be organized on a part-time basis, say four hours a day.
  • A part-time employment option would be attractive for many poor women in urban areas.
  • It would give them some economic independence and bargaining power within the family, and help them to acquire new skills.
  • The economic dependence of women on men is one of the prime roots of gender inequality and female oppression in India.
  • Giving priority to women would have two further merits.
    • First, it would reinforce the self-targeting feature of DUET, because women in relatively well-off households are unlikely to go (or be allowed to go) for casual labour at the minimum wage.
    • Second, it would promote women’s general participation in the labor force. India has one of the lowest rates of female workforce participation in the world. According to National Sample Survey data for 2019, only 20% of urban women in the age group of 15-59 years spend time in “employment and related activities” on an average day. 

Experimentation of scheme:

  • This is where there is a big difference between DUET and the “service voucher” schemes that have proved so popular in some European countries.
  • The service vouchers are much like job stamps, except that they are used by households instead of public institutions, for the purpose of securing domestic services such as cooking and cleaning.
  • The service vouchers are not free, but they are highly subsidized, and households have an incentive to use them since that is a way of buying domestic services very cheap.
  • In the DUET scheme, the use of job stamps relies on a sense of responsibility among the heads of public institutions, not their self-interest.
  • The best way to find out is to give the scheme a chance. As it happens, that can easily be done, by way of a pilot scheme in select districts or even municipalities. There is nothing to lose: if DUET does not work, we shall learn from it at least. 

Way forward: 

  • Improving life in rural areas: In order to control large-scale migrations from rural to urban areas, the current state of rural infrastructure must be addressed.
  • Increasing investment: The government should increase its investment on urban poor in their education, skill building and health infrastructure.
  • The slum-dwellers should be given access to some form of credit and resources, if not the causes of urban poverty will continually wear down on generations to come.
  • Employment opportunities: India should promote small and medium scale industries in rural areas, as well as promoting other income-generating opportunities.
  • The urban poor should be provided skill building training and given opportunities for employment.
  • Better urban planning & slum rehabilitation: Slums are a product of decades, even centuries of neglect and lack of development planning.
  • More efforts are needed towards rehabilitating and upgrading slums with access to clean water, electricity, better jobs (via skills training), and the right to live in their homes.

Conclusion:

Social protection is a human right, grounded in the right to social Security and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). This means that States have an obligation, under international human rights law, to guarantee a minimum level of social protection and that all individuals hold the right to social protection.

 

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

4. Evaluate the role of telemedicine in effective disease management in the country. Also reckon the measures taken by the government in this regard.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the benefits of Telemedicine in effective disease management in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Evaluate the role of telemedicine in effective disease management in the country. Also reckon the measures taken by the government in this regard.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explain how and in what way using tech platforms to treat non-communicable diseases has gained currency during the pandemic period.

Body:

Firstly present the idea of Telemedicine. And then discuss why there is urgent need of telemedicine.

In India, nearly 5.8 million people die from NCDs (heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer, and diabetes) every year. So it becomes critically important to ensure that access to NCD treatments remains uninterrupted, especially during a time where the risk of these conditions has been exacerbated.

Give examples of tele-consultation services — e-Sanjeevani and e-Sanjeevani OPD — that have been used to effectively improve the delivery of health-care services using information and communication technologies in exchange for valid information diagnosis, treatment, and prevention and management of diseases, etc.

Brief upon the measures taken by the government in this regard.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Telemedicine services especially in the health and wellness centres at the grassroots level wherein a mid-level health worker can connect the patients to the doctors through technology in providing timely and best possible care. It is essential to continue to sustain such initiatives post the pandemic as they can help decrease accessibility costs to quality healthcare.

Introduction:

Telemedicine refers to the practice of caring for patients remotely when the provider and patient are not physically present with each other. Modern technology has enabled doctors to consult patients by using HIPAA compliant video-conferencing tools. Most robust and easy to use telemedicine software.

Body:

Role of telemedicine in effective disease management in the country: 

  • As the second-most populous country in the world, India faces an unequal distribution of doctors catering to its population. This gap has become even more evident during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • According to a World Health Organization (WHO) assessment in May, since the COVID-19 outbreak, people living with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become more vulnerable to becoming severely ill or dying from the pandemic.
  • When the lockdown began, in India 30 per cent fewer cardiac emergencies reached rural health facilities in March 2020 compared to previous years.
  • People living with NCDs are at a greater risk of suffering from severe symptoms and mortality from Covid-19.
  • People with diabetes are up to three times more likely to have severe symptoms or even die from Covid-19, and the situation is likely to be worse for people with uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Similarly, a meta-analysis showed that hypertension, cardiovascular, and cerebrovascular diseases increased the odds for severe Covid-19 by 2.3, 2.9, and 3.9 times, respectively.
  • In India, nearly 5.8 million people die from NCDs (heart and lung diseases, stroke, cancer, and diabetes) every year.
  • So, it becomes critically important to ensure that access to NCD treatments remains uninterrupted, especially during a time where the risk of these conditions has been exacerbated.
  • Covid-19 has not only increased the risk of living with NCDs but also diverted resources from other ailments to curbing the pandemic.
  • With hospitals and other primary care centers focused on containing the virus, patients are wary of going to hospitals for other ailments, out of fear of contracting the virus.

Measures and Adopting tech solutions: 

  • Government and industry came to realize that rapid technological adoption was the only way forward for stabilizing the economy despite the disruptions.
  • Among the many innovations and initiatives that emerged, telemedicine has helped ensure that the healthcare system has not reached a breaking point.
  • The Health Ministry and the NITI Aayog released Telemedicine Practice Guidelines in March to ensure that access to medical advice did not become a challenge due to social distancing norms and for the high-risk people living with NCDs.
  • The guidelines, coupled with the tele-consultation services — e-Sanjeevani and e-Sanjeevani OPD – have been used to effectively improve the delivery of health-care services using information and communication technologies in exchange for valid information diagnosis, treatment, and prevention and management of diseases, etc.
  • In April 2020 Punjab became one of the first States to vitalize 500 telemedicine spokes placed out of Health and Wellness centers located within villages and a centrally located telemedicine hub with medical experts and operating through the e-Sanjeevani platform.
  • Soon the number of consultations done per day exceeded 100 and the calls were primarily of people affected with cardiac diseases and Diabetes mellitus.
  • As of September 26, the teleconsultation platforms have been implemented in 23 States and the e-Sanjeevani OPD platform has completed a landmark milestone of 4 lakh teleconsultation. 

Zoom in consultations: 

  • Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a 500 per cent rise in telemedicine consultations, with 80 per cent of the users being debutants.
  • The States that have registered the highest number of consultations include Tamil Nadu (2,03,286), Uttar Pradesh (1,68,553), Kerala (48,081), and Himachal Pradesh (41,607).
  • Several private initiatives to build telemedicine capacities for pre-screening of Covid-19 also emerged.
  • Initiatives such as Cough Against COVID-19 by Wadhwani AI emerged to build artificial intelligence that could distinguish between the coughing patterns of those with COVID-19 and those with other maladies.
  • Other examples such as Project Stepone, which worked closely with State governments of Karnataka, Punjab, Odisha, and Maharashtra, helped in a preliminary screening of people with flu-like symptoms in the early days of the lockdown.
  • The use of digital care for positive health outcomes, especially for people with multiple co-morbidities related to chronic diseases is possible because of the availability of remote monitoring and virtual care tools supported by devices like affordable smartphones and artificial data solutions, are proving to be the next major booming industry in India.
  • In response to the pandemic, many Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) expanded access to telemedicine to maintain essential medical care.
  • New telemedicine-promoting policies and ubiquitous mobile phone access in many LMICs now raise the possibility that telemedicine could help bridge gaps in care for chronic medical conditions going forward.

Conclusion:

Telemedicine services especially in the health and wellness centers at the grassroots level wherein a mid-level health worker can connect the patients to the doctors through technology in providing timely and best possible care. It is essential to continue to sustain such initiatives post the pandemic as they can help decrease accessibility costs to quality healthcare.

 

Topic:GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

5. “Exposure to lead pollution undermines a generation of potential”, Critically analyse the statement in the light of recent incidence of Eluru mystery disease in the country. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Eluru mystery disease: At least 550 people have fallen sick in Eluru town since Saturday evening following an undiagnosed illness. And it has been assessed that it is owing to lead poisoning.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to critically examine in what way lead pollution can undermine a generation of potential.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain the context of the question.

Body:

According to many reports, mining, milling, plating and surface finishing industries are the main sources of heavy metal pollution and the concentration of such toxic metals has increased rapidly over the past few decades. Consequently, concentrations of toxic metals in grains and vegetables grown in contaminated soils have increased at alarming rates. This poses a serious threat to humans and the environment because of its toxicity, non-biodegradability and bioaccumulation.

Correlate in what way such pollution can directly affect the potential demography and thus bearing long term impact over generations.

Give case studies such as that of the Eluru mystery disease and suggest upon its impact.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions both long term and short term to address such issues, hint at the efforts by the government in this direction.

Introduction:

A preliminary report of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, has found traces of heavy metals lead and nickel in at least 10 blood samples collected from patients from different places in Eluru town in West Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh.

The AIIMS team conducted the blood tests after at least 550 people fell sick in Eluru town since Saturday evening due to an undiagnosed illness. The results indicate lead and nickel content in drinking water or/and milk as the possible reason behind people falling ill.

Body:

Exposure to lead pollution undermines a generation of potential: 

  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and international non-profit organization focused on pollution issues; Pure Earth have released a report- “The Toxic Truth: Children’s exposure to lead pollution undermines a generation of potential”.
  • Lead poisoning is affecting children on a “massive and previously unknown scale”.
  • Around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels at, or above, 5 micrograms per decilitre (µg/dL), the amount at which action is required.
  • Nearly half of these children live in South Asia.

Factors contributing to lead poisoning: 

  • Informal and substandard recycling of lead-acid batteries.
  • Increase in vehicle ownership, combined with the lack of vehicle battery recycling regulation and infrastructure.
  • Workers in dangerous and often illegal recycling operations break open battery cases, spill acid and lead dust in the soil.
  • They also smelt the recovered lead in crude, open-air furnaces that emit toxic fumes poisoning the surrounding community.

How lead affects: 

  • Lead is a potent neurotoxin that causes irreparable harm to children’s brains.
  • It is particularly destructive to babies and children under the age of 5 as it damages their brain before they have had the opportunity to fully develop, causing them lifelong neurological, cognitive and physical impairment.
  • Childhood lead exposure has also been linked to mental health and behavioral problems and an increase in crime and violence.
  • Older children suffer severe consequences, including increased risk of kidney damage and cardiovascular diseases in later life.
  • Childhood lead exposure is estimated to cost lower- and middle-income countries almost USD $1 trillion due to lost economic potential of these children over their lifetime. 

Need of the hour:

  • A coordinated and concerted approach across the following areas:
  • Proper Monitoring and reporting: WHO has identified lead as 1 of 10 chemicals of major public health concern.
  • Prevention and control measures.
  • Management, treatment and remediation.
  • Public awareness and behavior change.
  • Legislation and policy.
  • Global and regional action: WHO has joined with the United Nations Environment Programme to form the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint.

Conclusion:

It is clear from evidence compiled that lead poisoning is a much greater threat to the health of children than previously understood. Although much more research needs to be conducted, enough data have recently emerged for decisive action to begin – and it must begin now.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

6. What are the cognitive approaches to persuasion? Discuss with examples.(250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Persuasion and the approaches to it.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the cognitive approaches to persuasion.

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 the definition of Persuasion.

Body:

One can explain the approaches proposed by thinkers and philosophers like Aristotle proposed three approaches to changing another’s mind: Ethos – appealing to ethics. Logos – building a logical case. Pathos – enlisting emotions or imagination.

Cognition refers to mental activity including thinking, remembering, learning and using language. When we apply a cognitive approach to learning and teaching, we focus on the understanding of information and concepts.

Give examples to explain better.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviors. Cognition refers to mental activity including thinking, remembering, learning and using language.

Body:

  • Anthony Greenwald: cognitive response model of persuasion
    • The cognitive response model of persuasion locates the most direct cause of persuasion in the self-talk of the persuasion target, rather than the content of the message.
    • The cognitive response model shows that learning our cognitive responses to persuasion provides a basis for understanding the persisting effects of communication.
    • Greenwald’s theory states that we remember our cognitive responses better than actual information presented to us.
    • Simply put, we are better at remembering our thoughts about an argument during the argument, rather than the actual argument itself
    • Two types of cognitive responses exist: direct and indirect. Direct responses are relevant to the material being presented and can increase persuasion.
    • For example, when presented with the fact, “9 out of 10 college students drink alcohol”, and your cognitive response is, “Yeah, I would say most of the people at my school are drinkers”, you would be having a direct response.
    • Indirect responses have nothing to do with the material at hand and do not increase persuasive effects. If presented with the same fact, “9 out of 10 college students drink alcohol”, and your cognitive response is, “I wonder what I am doing this weekend”, you would have an indirect response
  • Aristotle proposed three approaches to changing another’s mind:
  • Ethos – appealing to ethics.
    • “It’s the right thing to do.” Ethos is ultimately an appeal to what some consider humans’ “higher nature,” the part that cares strongly for fellow beings and nature, seeking to rise above the fray of petty jealousies, greed, and small-mindedness.
    • Ethos persuaders often try to reach Executives, managers, and other leaders by urging (sometimes even “guilting”) them to be better than who they previously were, to more fully support safety, and to become more trustworthy.
    • The desired result might be these leaders’ providing a higher level of resources or leadership or be willing to underwrite a different approach, intervention, tool, etc.
    • This persuasion method also may be directed toward inducing workers to adopt new ways that help increase profits or the safety record, to better support peers (e.g., becoming their “brother’s keeper”), use personal protective equipment as a default in order to serve as a role model to others, or because everyone should just adhere to policies and procedures.
  • Logos – building a logical case.
    • “It makes sense.” Those who enlist Logos champion logic, efficiency, strategy, reason, intelligence, and reducing shortsightedness.
    • Their appeal is to think, then act with greater wisdom than in the past.
    • A Logos argument might include cost-benefit analysis, awareness of negative consequences of current methods, how to put odds in favor of avoiding injury, logical consequences of actions on future results (e.g., what will happen in 30 years from failure to wear hearing protection), how approaching Safety strategically as a leader will strengthen the company, etc.
  • Pathos – enlisting emotions or imagination.
    • “Here’s how this affects you.” Pathos helps people see that changing the way they think and act can better get them what they want. Pathos emphasizes changing energy and motivating personally.
    • Pathos persuaders strongly employ interaction and involvement.
    • They usually tell stories to make points and to expand others’ imagination of what’s possible, rather than just appealing to morality or logic.
    • They’re usually more personal in their approach than are Logos or Ethos advocates, tending to discuss lessons learned and portraying their own limitations.
    • Compared to the other two styles, Pathos most strongly emphasizes action rather than just mindset, planning, or consideration.
  • By artfully blending your own mix of these three persuasive powers, you can better shift others’ outlook and then their actions.
  • Rich Petty and John Cacioppo: Elaboration likelihood model (ELM) of persuasion.
    • According to the ELM, there are two cognitive routes to persuasion.
    • The central route is taken when the topic is of high interest or importance and when there is plenty of time to analyze things.
    • When we process things by the central route, we pay attention to the details.
    • Things such as the quality of the argument and the soundness of the logic matter.
    • We will be more persuaded when the details hold together than when they fall apart.
    • In contrast, the peripheral route is taken when the topic is of little relevance and there is little time.
    • When we process things by the peripheral route we don’t pay attention to details.
    • Instead, we are persuaded by superficial cues. Perhaps we recognize the celebrity endorser, or feel good as the attractive model seductively reminds us of the products’ name.

Conclusion:

Thus, Persuasion is one form of social influence on attitude; in fact, it represents the intersection of social thinking and social influence of everyday life. Understanding these shortcuts and employing them in an ethical manner can significantly increase the chances that someone will be social influenced and persuaded by the public policy.

 

Topic : Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7. Explain the factors which determine an employee’s dedication to public service. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of dedication to public services.

Key Demand of the question:

One must explain the factors which determine an employee’s dedication to public service.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of Dedication in general; it  is the quality of being dedicated  or committed to a task or purpose, thought or action.

Body:

Explain that among the factors that determine a civil servant’s dedication to public service, ‘genuine regard for public good’ and ‘strength of character’ to follow through on that commitment are most important while personal morality is the anchor on which this commitment rests. This work ethos is what drives a dedicated civil servant, no matter what the odds.

However, this work ethos in public servants is sadly an exception and not the norm. It is easy to disregard public service, when officers use their positions of authority as only a means to serve other ends like personal benefits or a higher social status. For public service to be an end in itself, it is important to establish a meritocracy that values strength of character and personal morality, above all.

Conclusion:

Conclude that to work for common good is the greatest good.

Introduction:

“Public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation”- Margaret Chase. Dedication means quality of involving oneself completely or applying one’s attention, time to a particular activity, cause or a person. It suggests voluntary commitment rather than rigidity.

Body:

Importance of Dedication in public service:

  • Dedication in public service is required as civil servants in India, a developing country need to perform the regular administrative and also play an important role in socio-economic development of the nation.
  • In carrying out these activities he may be faced with several obstructions like social opposition against any Programme which is against their deep-rooted belief, lack of support from political executive.
  • Schemes for promoting family planning are generally opposed in rural as they consider contraceptives as taboos here dedication is required to fulfil the goal of healthy society.
  • One’s employees and superiors may be involved in corruption. These obstacles can only be overcome when one has perseverance and dedication.
  • Public service is not a goal but journey which may be non-exciting and unwanted at times, only a dedicated civil servant can remain motivated in such situations.
  • Dedication would make sense of duty an end in itself, which will be independent of assignment.

Factors influencing dedication: 

  • Personal experiences of the public servants.
  • Empathy of the public servant.
  • Altruism
  • Benevolence
  • Tolerance and Compassion towards weaker Section
  • Fearlessness and Courage
  • Spirit of Service and Sacrifice
  • Institutionalization: This happens especially in case of Police and Army forces. Here a new recruit is so deeply institutionalized to deliver their duty through training/drills that it makes them ready for “Call of Duty”.

Conclusion:

Bhagavad-Gita expounds the concept of Karamanye vadhikarste ma phalesu kadachana. We should perform our duties diligently and piously, but without expectation of what the results will be.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos