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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 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 : Types of Condensation, Precipitation-Forms & Types, Distribution of rainfall, Air Masses and Fronts, Cyclones and anti-cyclones, World Climatic regions

1. Explain the features of tropical cyclones. While mentioning the factors contributing in formation of tropical cyclone differentiate them from extra-tropical cyclones. (250 words)

Reference:  Certificate Physical And Human Geography by G C Leong

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to discuss in detail the tropical cyclones as a concept, their features and the factors contributing in formation of tropical cyclones and differentiate them from extra-tropical cyclones.

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 basic definition; Cyclone is an intense vortex or a whirl in the atmosphere with very strong winds circulating around it in anti-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere. 

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

  • Features of tropical cyclone
  • Factors contributing in formation of cyclones
  • Difference between tropical and extra tropical cyclones

Substantiate the above aspects with relevant diagrammatic demonstrations and give recent examples of cyclonic activities; one can as well add a case study from India.

Discuss the applied aspects, the havoc they create to human life and nature and press on need to mitigate the same.

Conclusion:

Thus, as cyclones carries destructive force there is a need for timely dissemination of warning and increasing preparedness of disaster management authorities.

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 favorable 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.

tropical_strom

    • Non tropical cyclone and differences between tropical and non-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.

 

Topic : Types of Condensation, Precipitation-Forms & Types, Distribution of rainfall, Air Masses and Fronts, Cyclones and anti-cyclones, World Climatic regions

2. What are Air masses? Discuss their classification and thus their influence on the World Weather. (250 words)

Reference: Certificate Physical And Human Geography by G C Leong

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

The answer must detail upon the concept of Air masses, their classification and their influence on the World Weather.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what air masses are; the air with distinctive characteristics in terms of temperature and humidity is called an air mass. It is a large body of air having little horizontal variation in temperature and moisture.

Body:

The answer is pretty much straight forward and must cover the following dimensions –

  • Chief characteristics of Air masses
  • Classification of Air Masses – various types, their characteristics
  • Influence of Air Masses on World Weather

Substantiate the above aspects with relevant diagrammatic demonstrations and explain their influence on World weather with suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such a concept as a key deciding factor in carving the weather system of the World.

Introduction:

An air mass is a large volume of air in the atmosphere that is mostly uniform in temperature and moisture. Air masses can extend thousands of kilometers across the surface of the Earth and can reach from ground level to the Stratosphere -16 kilometers into the atmosphere. Air masses form over large surfaces with uniform temperatures and humidity, called source region They acquire a distinct identity by their humidity, origin and movement.

Body:

  • Classification of Air masses:
    • Latitudinal origination – Arctic, Tropical, Equatorial, Antarctic,etc.
    • Continental air mass/ Oceanic air mass
  • An air mass may sit over its source region for long periods of time, or it may migrate.
  • An air mass on the move begins to transform as it passes over new landscapes, while at the same time retaining enough of its original conditions to alter local weather.
  • Conditions for the formation of Air masses:
    • Source region should be extensive with gentle, divergent air circulation (slightly at high pressure).
    • Areas with high pressure but little pressure difference or pressure gradient are ideal source regions.
    • There are no major source regions in the mid-latitudes as these regions are dominated by cyclonic and other disturbances

air_mass

  • Air Masses: influence on the World Weather
    • Most of the migratory atmospheric disturbances such as cyclones and storms originate at the contact zone between different air masses and the weather associated with these disturbances is determined by characteristics of the air masses involved.
    • Low windspeeds let air remain stationary long enough to take on the features of the source region, such as heat or cold.
    • When winds move air masses, they carry their weather conditions (heat or cold, dry or moist) from the source region to a new region.
    • When the air mass reaches a new region, it might clash with another air mass that has a different temperature and humidity. This can create a severe storm.
    • The properties of an air mass which influence the accompanying weather are vertical distribution temperature (indicating its stability and coldness or warmness) and the moisture content.
    • The air masses carry atmospheric moisture from oceans to continents and cause precipitation over landmasses.
    • Frontal Precipitation – when warn air mass and cold air mass come in contact frontal precipitation occurs. It is widely witnessed in temperate region.
    • The Air masses when pass through warm water or currents acquire their moisture and cause rainfall in coastal regions.
    • The climates of most regions worldwide are affected by air masses.
    • For example, maritime-tropical air sourced over warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, primarily between 10 and 30 degrees north of latitude, is the main contributor of precipitation for much of North America east of the Rocky Mountains.
    • They transport latent heat, thus removing the latitudinal heat balance.
    • Desertification:
      • They cause arid conditions when dry air mass is present in a region. Sahel region of Africa is impacted by this.
    • Cyclonic and Anticyclone conditions:
      • When these continental air masses move towards pole side and polar air masses move towards equatorial side both of them form fronts.
      • These cyclonic fronts are responsible for cyclonic storms at temperate regions
    • Stormy cyclones form near the air-mass fronts.
    • The temperate cyclones occur in the mid latitude of both the hemisphere. These cyclones are born along the polar front, particularly in the region of Icelandic and Aleutian sub –polar low-pressure areas in the northern hemisphere.
    • A continental polar air mass originating from the tundra of northern Canada may push southward during the winter.
    • It brings frigid temperatures to the central United States, even as it warms up somewhat on its journey across lower latitudes.
    • While dry in its source region, such an air mass often picks up substantial moisture during an early-winter transit of the Great Lakes, allowing it to dump so-called lake effect snow on leeward coasts
    • Also helps in creation of an occluded front

Conclusion:

Air masses spread across massive region up to 1600 km or more. They exercise a considerable influence on the climatic conditions of the region over which they lodge and carry with them distinctive climatic features of their source region.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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

3. India has invested significantly in monitoring air pollution, however, it is important to move ahead in the direction of finding context-specific solutions to solve the problem, Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article explains to us as to how monitoring air pollution alone isn’t enough; India needs context-specific solutions to tackle the problem.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain why monitoring air pollution alone isn’t enough; and that India needs context-specific solutions to tackle the problem in detail with suitable arguments.

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:

Start with some key fact setting the context of the question, say; According to the 2019 World Air Quality Report released by the pollution tracker IQAir and Greenpeace, India accounts for two-thirds of the world’s most polluted cities — 21 of the most polluted 30 cities.

Body:

Discuss first the optimistic picture, India’s progress in tackling air pollution deserves praise, this progress starts from identifying the perils of air pollution and taking measures to tackle it. Air pollution for long was not considered a health hazard and this has changed.

Then move onto explain the public policies in this direction. Discuss the positives and negatives associated with it.

Suggest solutions to address the issue at hand – discuss the dimensions of research and development, leveraging technology etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that there needs to be a shift in approach when it comes to tackling air pollution, there is a need to come up with situation-specific solutions to tackle air pollution.

Introduction:

9 out of 10 people everywhere in the world breathe dirty air. India has made significant progress in monitoring air pollution. There are more than 250 continuous ambient air quality monitoring stations and more than 800 ambient air quality monitoring stations operating across the country. There has been a tremendous effort in improving awareness of citizens through campaigns around air pollution and its adverse impact on health and environment. However, while these efforts need to amplify, it is equally important to have systemic changes at the policy and strategy levels.

Body:

  • Positive policy interventions:
    • Public policy is already responding positively. The budget allocation for air pollution increased substantially in 2020-21 from what it was in 2018-19 to ensure cleaner air in cities having populations above one million.
    • The establishment of the Commission for Air Quality Management with penal provisions against polluters in the NCR and adjoining areas is a welcome move.
    • India has jumped from BSIV to BSVI vehicles.
    • Increased focus on e-mobility.
    • Through Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, there has been an effort to reduce indoor air pollution in rural areas by increasing LPG coverage.
    • While these measures will have a major impact in the long term, India needs innovations to deliver on the promise of cleaner air in the immediate future.
  • Need of finding context-specific solutions to solve the problem
    • There are many institutions involved in developing solutions.
    • The Indian Agricultural Research Institute’s PUSA Bio Decomposer, which turns crop residue into manure in 15-20 days, could become a cost-effective alternative to tackle stubble burning.
    • UNDP is also promoting startup-led innovations such as a filter-less retrofit device for cutting particulate matter at source in industries and vehicles, and a nature-based solution to amplify air purification through breathing roots technology for improving indoor air quality.
    • Air pollution in India has numerous sources that are spread across vast geographies, which is a challenge for environmental regulators with limited capacity and manpower.
    • In such conditions, it is imperative to leverage advance digital technologies, such as geospatial technology and AI, to upgrade our capacities to identify, monitor, regulate and mitigate air pollution hotspots.
    • For instance, the GeoAI platform for brick kilns, developed by UNDP in partnership with the University of Nottingham, is supporting environment regulators to identify non-complaint brick kilns from space.
    • The platform has already mapped over 37,000 brick manufacturing units across the Indo-Gangetic plains.
    • Given the complexity and magnitude of air pollution, India needs context-specific innovations not only in the technological but also in the economic, social, legal, educational, political and institutional domains.
    • It is important for it to develop a single window online platform for showcasing innovations with the potential to mitigate the challenges of air pollution.
  • Way Forward:
    • The need of the hour is providing an enabling ecosystem for innovations to address context-specific air pollution challenges.
    • There needs to be significant government support for enterprises to come up with scalable pollution abatement technologies.
    • Resources need to be allocated to support testing, certifying and scaling of innovative solutions and also to extend support for intellectual property rights protection.
    • It is equally important to mobilize private sector participation.
    • Businesses and enterprises need to innovate their operations and functioning, building in emission and pollution controls and reducing institutional carbon footprint to the lowest possible levels.
    • The private sector has strong potential to develop commercially viable products to combat air pollution and boost the innovation ecosystem.
    • Also, if one quantifies the impact of interventions that reduce air pollution with healthcare cost, disability-adjusted life years, or economic cost, it could lead to diversification of funding sources for that intervention.

Conclusion:

Citizen participation and the media are vital for sharing the message on pollution and health, using data such as those from the Central Pollution Control Board. It is a matter of prioritizing people’s health and a brighter future

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: GS-1: 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.

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

4. The Himalayas are the primary drivers of the Asian climate”. In this context discuss the measures to be taken to mitigate the negative impact of development activities in the region. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The editorial brings to us in detail the insights of how by planning hydropower projects, India and China are placing the region at great risk.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to discuss the relevance and importance of Himalayan system as a key driver of the Asian climate and present measures to be taken to mitigate the negative impact of development activities in the region.

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 fact the China’s major hydropower project as a part of its 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25), on the Yarlung Zangbo River, in Mêdog County in Tibet.

Body:

Explain first the statement – “Himalayas are the primary drivers of the Asian climate”. Substantiate it with suitable examples and illustrations in the first half of the question.

Discuss what are the issues of concern owing to the developmental activities in the region. Present each of the issue and its impact.

Explain how developmental activities disturb both physiography and the demographic parameters of the region.

Give suggestions and solutions to address the problems.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

The mountains are one of the most sensitive as well as an important part of our environmental ecosystems. The mountains, due to its source to rivers can impact people even living far from it. In recent years due to rapid development, the ecosystem is undergoing existential threats.

Being ecologically fragile, the region calls for special kinds of safeguards in order to preserve their sensitive character at a time of want of rapid development, and the need to face threats of climate change and imminent environmental damage.

Body:

  • Himalayas are the primary drivers of the Asian climate:
    • The Himalayan range is a transnational mountain chain and is the chief driver of the Asian climate.
    • It is a source for numerous Asian river systems and glaciers which are now under the threat of degradation and retreat due to global warming; these river systems provide water for billions of people.
    • This legacy of humanity has now become highly contentious with territorial disputes between two nuclear powers – India and China.
    • The ongoing low-level military confrontations between these two countries have led to demands for further infrastructural development on both sides, including all-weather roads, much to the peril of regional biodiversity and the livelihoods of the indigenous population.
  • Major Threats to Himalayan ecosystems:
    • Over the past 20 years, both China and India have been competing with each other to build hydroelectric dams in this ecologically fragile and seismically vulnerable area.
    • There are two hydropower projects in the works in Arunachal Pradesh on the tributaries of the Brahmaputra: the 600 MW Kameng project on the Bichom and Tenga Rivers and the 2,000 MW Subansiri Lower Hydroelectricity Project.
    • On the other side of the border, China has already completed 11 out of 55 projects that are planned for the Tibetan region.
    • In executing these hydroelectric projects at a maddening pace, the two countries overestimate their economic potential and grossly underestimate the earthquake vulnerability of the region.
    • To take a more recent example, the 2015 Gorkha earthquake of magnitude 7.8 in central Nepal resulted in huge losses in the hydropower sector. Nepal lost about 20% of its hydropower capacity consequent to the earthquake. About 30 projects with a capacity of 270 MW, mostly located along the steep river valleys, were damaged.
    • The cost of physical damage is calculated to be about $200 million.
    • The study published in a 2018 paper in Geophysical Research Letters, by Wolfgang Schwanghart and others, for example, is quite revelatory on the earthquake-borne damage sustained by hydropower projects in Nepal.
    • The main mechanisms that contributed to the vulnerability of hydropower projects were found to be landslides, which depend on the intensity of seismic ground shaking and slope gradients.
    • Heavy siltation from giant landslides expected in the project sites and headwater region from future earthquakes will severely reduce the water-holding capacity and life expectancy of such dams.
    • Even without earthquakes, the steep slopes made of soft rocks are bound to slide due to deforestation and road-building.
    • These activities will get intensified as part of the dam-building initiatives.
    • Desilting of dams is not an economically viable proposition and is technologically challenging. From these perspectives, the northeast Himalayan bend with its deep gorges is the most unsuitable locale within the Himalayas for giant dams.
    • Climate Change: It is a well-accepted fact that climate change is the main factor contributing to the accelerated glacier retreat observed in the mountainous regions.
    • Encroachment: The increasing population pressure and intensified greed of human beings push them to usurp the forests, mountain regions, and even ecological sensitive areas.
    • Infrastructure Development: The competition to develop the economy, increasing urbanization, attaining energy security, connecting remote areas intrudes massively in the natural ecosystem of the Himalayan region.
    • Waste Disposal: Human populations, their habitat, discharge from the industries in mountainous regions give rise to unimaginable non-biodegradable wastes and toxins.
  • Measures to restore Himalayan ecosystem from the negative impact of development and tourism:
    • Declaring Ecologically Sensitive regions: so as to save it from the damage of developmental activities.
    • Ecotourism: Making tourism sustainable by adopting an ecotourism model where pressure on natural resources would be the least.
    • Citizen participation: In order to make a rapid reversal of exploitation of the ecosystem, there is a need for the citizens to come together. Citizens can ensure that ample care is taken to implement government decisions on protecting the ecosystem.
    • Suitable industries: Industries that cause the least damage to the natural environment can be promoted here. For example, the service sector instead of the manufacturing sector. The Northeast BPO promotion scheme seeks to achieve the said objective.
    • Sustainable development: The major solution to the problem of negative impact is through sustainable development. The infrastructure, as well as tourism, needs an approach in which the activities do not result in exploitation. Ex: Reduce the use of items such as plastics and petroleum fuels. This can reduce pollution up to a certain extent.
    • Awareness campaigns: By educating the locals about the impact of damage caused by activities such as rampant tourism, irresponsible constructions, and pollution, locals can be actively involved in conservation activities.
  • Way Forward:
    • In a recent article in Nature, Maharaj K. Pandit, a Himalayan ecologist, says in recent years, the Himalayas have seen the highest rate of deforestation and land use changes.
    • He suggests that the upper Himalayas should be converted into a nature reserve by an international agreement.
    • He also says the possibility of a Himalayan River Commission involving all the headwater and downstream countries needs to be explored.

Conclusion:

Rather than engaging in unsustainable dam-building activities, India and China, the major players in the region, would be well advised to disengage from military adventurism and seek ways of transforming this ‘roof of the world’ into a natural reserve for the sake of humanity. Carbon neutrality should not be at the expense of the environment.

 

Topic : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Awareness in the fields of IT

5. Examine the role of 5g mobile technology in empowerment of people in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us importance of 5g mobile technology in the Indian context.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the role of 5g mobile technology in empowerment of people in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with a fact like  – India’s National Digital Communications Policy 2018 highlights the importance of 5G when it states that the convergence of a cluster of revolutionary technologies including 5G, the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics, along with a growing start-up community, promise to accelerate and deepen its digital engagement, opening up a new horizon of opportunities.

Body:

Briefly first discuss the concept of 5G.

Explain that in the case of India, 5G networks could improve the accessibility of services such as mobile banking and healthcare, and enable exponential growth in opportunities for unemployed or underemployed people to engage in fulfilling and productive work.

Discuss briefly the vision of India with respect to 5G technology. Explain the hurdles before India in realizing the full potential of 5G technology.

Conclusion:

Conclude by throwing light on what aspects India need to focus to ensure full benefit of 5G technology in India.

Introduction:

India’s National Digital Communications Policy 2018 highlights the importance of 5G when it states that the convergence of a cluster of revolutionary technologies including 5G, the cloud, Internet of Things (IoT) and data analytics, along with a growing start-up community, promise to accelerate and deepen its digital engagement, opening up a new horizon of opportunities. According to a separate report by telecom gear maker Ericsson, 5G-enabled digitalization revenue potential in India will be above $27 billion by 2026.

Body:

  • Role of 5g mobile technology in empowerment of people:
    • Faster Data Speed – Currently 4G networks are capable of achieving the peak download speed of one gigabit per second. With Fifth Generation (5G) the speed could be increased up to 10Gbps.
    • Ultra-low latency – Latency refers to the time it takes for one device to send a packet of data to another device. In 4G the latency rate is around 50 milliseconds but 5G will reduce that to about 1 millisecond.
    • A more Connected World – 5G will provide the capacity and bandwidth as per the need of the user to accommodate technologies such as Internet of Things. Thus, will help to incorporate Artificial Intelligence in our lives. It can also support Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality services.
  • As per the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Committee on Digital Economic Policy, 5G technologies rollout will help in increasing GDP, creating employment and digitizing the economy.
    • In agriculture, Fifth Generation (5G) can enable improvement in the entire value-chain, from precision farming, smart irrigation, improved soil and crop monitoring, to livestock management.
    • In manufacturing, 5G will enable use of robotics for precision manufacturing, particularly where humans cannot perform these functions safely or accurately.
    • In the energy sector, ‘smart grids’ and ‘smart metering’ can be efficiently supported. With the rise of renewable and storage technologies, low latency communications will be critical to manage these grids.
    • In health-care, Fifth Generation (5G) can enable more effective tele-medicine delivery, tele-control of surgical robotics and wireless monitoring of vital statistics.

5g

  • Challenges:
    • Huge Investment Required: India needs a massive Rs 5 lakh crore ($70 billion) investment to bring in 5G.
    • Expensive spectrum: Indian spectrum prices are some of the highest in the world and the allocated quantity is well below global best practices, while 40% of the spectrum is lying unsold.
    • Lack of uniform policy framework: Delays due to complex procedures across states, non-uniformity of levies along with administrative approvals have impacted telecom service providers in rolling-out Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) and telecom towers.
    • Local Regulatory Issues: Many of the local rules and regulations are prohibiting the rapid and cost-effective roll-out of small cells in city centres where Fifth Generation (5G) is initially expected to be most in demand.
    • Debt scenario in the industry: According to ICRA, the collective debt of telecommunications service providers (TSPs) stands at Rs 4.2 lakh crore.
    • Low optical fibre penetration: India lacks a strong backhaul to transition to 5G. Backhaul is a network that connects cells sites to central exchange. As of now 80% of cell sites are connected through microwave backhaul, while under 20% sites are connected through fibre.
    • High Import of Equipments: Imports account for a 90 per cent of India’s telecom equipment market. However due to lack of local manufacturing and R&D, Indian telecom providers have no option other than to procure and deploy 5G technologies from foreign suppliers.
    • Security: According to the Global Cyber Security Index released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), only about half of all the countries had a cybersecurity strategy or are in the process of developing one. The index, which was topped by Singapore at 0.925 saw India at 23rd position.
    • Possibility of increased digital divide: Initial deployment of 5G networks in dense urban areas could left behind rural areas due to commercial viability, may led to increase the digital divide.
    • Human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: There has been concern about the said impact of these frequencies on health of human as well as on animals.
  • Way Forward:
    • Spectrum Policy: India’s spectrum allocation for public wireless services should be enhanced significantly. Also, the cost of spectrum relative to per capita GDP is high and should come down.
    • Create a Fifth Generation (5G) Program Office within Department of Telecommunications and an Oversight Committee.
    • New civil infrastructure like highways, roads, canals and utilities (gas, electricity, water) lines should be mandated to provide Common Telecom Infrastructure resources such as ducting and power junction boxes to support 5G infrastructure.
    • Security audits, a prerequisite for importing of equipment before deploying in Indian networks, needs to be simplified.
    • Favorable Taxation Policy: Reducing taxation and regulatory fees on revenues could contribute to further evolution of the tax framework.
    • Fifth Generation (5G) Pilot: Policy-makers may consider encouraging 5G pilots and test beds to test 5G technologies and use cases and to stimulate market engagement.
    • Support Fifth Generation (5G) investment: Indian government and regulators should ensure the long-term sustainability of the industry and its ability to fund the significant investment required for 5G network deployments.
    • Policy-makers may consider the use of licensed, unlicensed and shared spectrum to create a balanced spectrum ecosystem – one that encourages investment, makes efficient use of spectrum and promotes competition.
    • Where market failure has occurred, governments may consider stimulating investment in fibre networks and passive assets through setting up PPPs, investment funds and offering grant funds, etc.

 


General Studies – 4


 

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.

6. Adhering to high standards of transparency is often in conflict with the duty towards maintaining confidentiality.  With examples, Deliberate on the problems faced by public servants in effective discharge of duties during such situations. (250 words)

Reference: oecd.org

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service with respect to adherence of transparency as one of the high standards.

Key Demand of the question: 

Explain in what way adhering to high standards of transparency is often in conflict with the duty towards maintaining confidentiality.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining what transparency is and its importance.

Body:

Discuss how adhering to high standards of transparency is often in conflict with the duty towards maintaining confidentiality, one has to quote relevant examples from day to day life to substantiate this fact.

Explain how it often conflicts with confidentiality of the public servants.

Deliberate on the problems faced by public servants in effective discharge of duties during such situations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable solutions.

Introduction:

Transparency, as one of the basic principles of good governance, implies the public insight in the work of Public Administration Bodies. Citizens should be enabled to inspect the work of the public administration as well as the availability of instruments for monitoring the decision-making process.

Body:

  • OECD Guidelines reflect policies and practices that have proved effective in OECD countries, and are intended to:
    • Help government institutions and agencies to develop an effective conflict of- interest policy that fosters public confidence in their integrity, and the integrity of public officials and public decision-making.
    • Create a practical framework of reference for reviewing existing solutions and modernising mechanisms in line with good practices in OECD countries.
    • Promote a public service culture where conflicts of interest are properly identified and resolved or managed, in an appropriately transparent and timely way, without unduly inhibiting the effectiveness and efficiency of the public organizations concerned.
    • Support partnerships between the public sector and the business and nonprofit sectors, in accordance with clear public standards defining the parties’ responsibilities for integrity.
    • Public officials should avoid private-capacity action which could derive an improper advantage from “inside information” obtained in the course of official duties, where the information is not generally available to the public, and are required not to misuse their position and government resources for private gain.
    • Public officials should not seek or accept any form of improper benefit in expectation of influencing the performance or non-performance of official duties or functions.
    • Public officials are expected not to take improper advantage of a public office or official position which they held previously, including privileged information obtained in that position, especially when seeking employment or appointment after leaving public office.
  • Supporting transparency and scrutiny:
    • Public officials and public organizations are expected to act in a manner that will bear the closest public scrutiny. This obligation is not fully discharged simply by acting within the letter of the law; it also entails respecting broader public service values such as disinterestedness, impartiality and integrity.
    • Public officials’ private interests and affiliations that could compromise the disinterested performance of public duties should be disclosed appropriately, to enable adequate control and management of a resolution.
    • Public organizations and officials should ensure consistency and an appropriate degree of openness in the process of resolving or managing a conflict-of-interest situation.
    • Public officials and public organizations should promote scrutiny of their management of conflict-of-interest situations, within the applicable legal framework.
  • Set clear rules on what is expected of public officials in dealing with conflict-of-interest situations
    • Dealing with conflicting private interests – Public officials should be required to accept responsibility for identifying their relevant private interests. An organization’s policy statement should make it clear that the registration or declaration of a private interest does not in itself resolve a conflict. Additional measures to resolve or manage the conflict positively must be considered.
    • Resolution and management options – Options for positive resolution or management of a continuing or pervasive conflict can include one or more of several strategies as appropriate, for example:
      • divestment or liquidation of the interest by the public official;
      • recusal of the public official from involvement in an affected decision-making process;
      • restriction of access by the affected public official to particular information;
      • transfer of the public official to duty in a non-conflicting function;
      • re-arrangement of the public official’s duties and responsibilities;
      • assignment of the conflicting interest in a genuinely “blind trust” arrangement;
      • resignation of the public official from the conflicting private-capacity function; and/or
      • resignation of the public official from their public office.
    • Recusal and restriction – Where a particular conflict is not likely to recur frequently, it may be appropriate for the public official concerned to maintain their current position but not participate in decision-making on the affected matters, for example by having an affected decision made by an independent third party, or by abstaining from voting on decisions, or withdrawing from discussion of affected proposals and plans, or not receiving relevant documents and other information relating to their private interest. The option of re-assigning certain functions of the public official concerned should also be available, where a particular conflict is considered likely to continue, thereby making ad hoc recusal inappropriate. Particular care must be exercised to ensure that all affected parties to the decision know of the measures taken to protect the integrity of the decision-making process where recusal is adopted.
    • Resignation – Public officials should be required to remove the conflicting private interest if they wish to retain their public position and the conflict of interest cannot be resolved in any other way (for example by one or more of the measures suggested above). Where a serious conflict of interest cannot be resolved in any other way, the public official should be required to resign from their official position. The conflict-of-interest policy (together with the relevant employment law and/or employment contract provisions) should provide the possibility that their official position can be terminated in accordance with a defined procedure in such circumstances.
    • Transparency of decision-making – Registrations and declarations of private interests, as well as the arrangements for resolving conflicts, should be clearly recorded in formal documents, to enable the organisation concerned to demonstrate, if necessary, that a specific conflict has been appropriately identified and managed. Further disclosure of information about a conflict of interest may also be appropriate in supporting the overall policy objective, for example by demonstrating how the disclosure of a specific conflict of interest was recorded and considered in the minutes of a relevant meeting.

Topic : Citizen’s Charter

7. “Good Governance is the Technology, Citizen’s Charter is the Tool” Elucidate the Indian experience of citizen’s charter in the context of the above statement.(250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications  

Why the question:

The question is premised on the concept of Citizen’s charter and its importance and Indian experience.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the statement in question and elucidate the Indian experience of citizen’s charter.

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:

Define what good governance is and citizen’s charter implies.

Body:

Citizens’ Charters initiative is a response to the quest for solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with the organisations providing public services.

Explain how it has been recognized the world over that good governance is essential for sustainable development, both economic and social. The three essential aspects emphasized in good governance are transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the administration. The “Citizen’s Charters initiative” is a response to the quest for solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with organisations providing public services.

Discuss how the basic objective of the Citizen’s Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

Present the case of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A Citizen’s Charter is a set of commitments made by an organisation regarding the standards of service which it delivers. It covers not only the Central Government Ministries/ Departments/ Organizations but also the Departments/ Agencies of State Governments and UT Administrations. As an instrument, it is propagated to make an organization transparent, accountable and citizen friendly.

Body:

  • Principles of Service Delivery
    • Quality – improving the quality of services
    • Choice – for the users wherever possible
    • Standards – specifying what to expect within a time frame
    • Value – for the taxpayers’ money
    • Accountability – of the service provider (individual as well as Organization)
    • Transparency – in rules, procedures, schemes and grievance redressal
    • Participative- Consult and involve

key_principle

  • Good Governance is the Technology; Citizen’s Charter is the Tool:
    • Citizen Charter increases participation of common man in efficient working of an organization by making the citizens aware of the aims and goals of the organization.
    • It helps in reducing corruption through transparent provisions and thus, ensures accountability
    • It leads to citizen friendliness and citizen convenience and raises efficiency and effectiveness in public delivery system.
    • It reduces cost, prevents delay and red tapism and thus promote good governance.
    • Citizen Charter set standards of service, allowing high expectations from an organization, pushing them to work diligently.
    • It encourages access and promote choice and thus, treat all fairly.
  • Citizen’s charter in India:
    • In 1996, the Centre organised a Conference of Chief Secretaries of States and Union Territories on “Effective and Responsive Administration”.
    • The conference inter alia recommended the adoption of citizens’ charters for all public service organisations.
    • This recommendation was approved by the Centre, states and union territories in the Conference of Chief Ministers held in 1997.
    • Since 1997, when the scheme was introduced in India, the various ministries, departments, directorates and other agencies of the Central Government, state governments and union territory administrations have formulated a number of citizens’ charters.
  • Shortcomings of Citizen’s Charter in India:
    • Devoid of participative mechanisms – in a majority of cases, not formulated through a consultative process with cutting edge staff who will finally implement it.
    • Poor design and content: lack of meaningful and succinct CC, absence of critical information that end-users need to hold agencies accountable.
    • Lack of public awareness: only a small percentage of end-users are aware of the commitments made in the CC since effective efforts of communicating and educating the public about the standards of delivery promise have not been undertaken.
    • Charters are rarely updated: making it a one-time exercise, frozen in time.
    • End-users, Civil society organizations and NGOs are not consulted when CCs are drafted: Since a CC’s primary purpose is to make public service delivery more citizen-centric, consultation with stakeholders is a must.
    • Measurable standards of delivery are rarely defined: making it difficult to assess whether the desired level of service has been achieved or not.
    • Little interest shown by the organizations in adhering to their CC: since there is no citizen friendly mechanism to compensate the citizen if the organization defaults.
    • Tendency to have a uniform CC for all offices under the parent organization. CC have still not been adopted by all Ministries/Departments. This overlooks local issues.
  • Reforming Citizen’s Charter to make them Effective:
    • One size does not fit all: formulation of CC should be a decentralized activity with the head office providing only broad guidelines.
    • Wide consultation process: CC be formulated after extensive consultations within the organization followed by a meaningful dialogue with civil society.
    • Firm commitments to be made: CC must be precise and make firm commitments of service delivery standards to the citizens/consumers in quantifiable terms wherever possible.
    • Redressal mechanism in case of default: clearly lay down the relief which the organization is bound to provide if it has defaulted on the promised standards of delivery.
    • Periodic evaluation of CC: preferably through an external agency.
    • Hold officers accountable for results: fix specific responsibility in cases where there is a default in adhering to the CC.
    • Include Civil Society in the process: to assist in improvement in the contents of the Charter, its adherence as well as educating the citizens about the importance of this vital mechanism.
  • Way Forward
    • A Citizens’ Charter cannot be an end in itself, it is rather a means to an end – a tool to ensure that the citizen is always at the heart of any service delivery mechanism.
    • Drawing from best practice models such as the Sevottam Model (a Service Delivery Excellence Model) can help CC in becoming more citizen centric.

Conclusion:

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) in its12th Report entitled ‘Citizen Centric Administration – Heart of Governance” has recommended for making the Citizens’ charters more effective as a document for interacting with citizens. This recommendation has been accepted by Government of India. All Central Ministries/Departments have been requested to review their Citizens’ Charters to make them more effective as a tool for interacting with the citizens. It must be implemented in the true spirit.


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