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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 December 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features.

1. Outline the relief of the ocean floor. Explain the reasons that make continental shelves one of the highly productive ecosystems. (250 words)

Reference: Geography NCERT – Class XI: Fundamentals of Physical Geography. 

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General Studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

 Describing the relief features of the ocean floor and stating the reasons of high productivity of continental shelves. 

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 by briefly mentioning about relief of the ocean floor and its divisions. 

Body:

In the first half of the body, continue by explaining ocean relief. Outline the major divisions of the relief floor and describe them. Use diagrams for better representation purpose. 

Next, Mention the minor relief features of the ocean floor and explain them. 

In the second part of the body, start by mentioning certain figures regarding the productivity of continental shelves with examples. Discuss in detail the reasons for high productivity of the continental shelves like high nuritent loads, vertical stability and shallowness etc. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by further summarising the overall economic importance of continental shelves. 

Introduction:

Water covers 70% of the earth’s surface in which only 3% are fresh water (Of this, 2% is in polar ice caps and only 1% is usable water). Oceans make up around 67 percent of the Earth’s surface. The relief features of the oceans are quite different from the continental features because the Oceanic crust is less than 60-70- million years old whereas continental features are of Proterozoic age which is over 1 Billion years old. The Oceanic relief features are in the form of mountains, basins, plateaus, ridges, canyons and trenches beneath the ocean water. These forms are called Submarine Relief.

Body:

Ocean relief is largely due to tectonic, volcanic, erosional and depositional processes and their interactions. Ocean relief features are divided into major and minor relief features.

Major Ocean Relief Features: There are four major divisions in the ocean relief

  • Continental shelf.
  • Continental slope.
  • Continental rise.
  • Deep Sea Plain or Abyssal plain.

Minor Ocean Relief Features:

  • Fracture zones.
  • Island arcs.
  • Coral reefs.
  • Submerged volcanoes.
  • Sea-scarps.
  • Hydrothermal Vents.
  • Methane seeps.

Factors that make continental shelves one of the highly productive ecosystems: 

  • The continental shelf is geologically defined as the submerged prolongation of the land mass of the coastal State, consisting of the seabed and subsoil of the shelf, slope, and rise. It does not include the deep ocean floor.
  • Despite their small size in both areal extent and volume, the waters over continental shelves are usually rich in nutrients, which in turn make them among the most biologically productive areas of the oceans.
  • Water depth over the continental shelves averages about 60 meters (200 feet). Sunlight penetrates the shallow waters, and many kinds of organisms flourish—from microscopic shrimp to giant seaweed called kelp. Ocean currents and runoff from rivers bring nutrients to organisms that live on continental shelves.
  • Plants and algae make continental shelves rich feeding grounds for sea creatures.
  • Accordingly, about 90% of the world’s fisheries production is harvested over the continental shelves.
  • One of the reasons for this higher productivity is the increased nutrient loads via runoff from the continental landmasses (mostly by rivers), however many shelf areas receive significant nutrients from upwelling of deeper ocean waters.
  • Continental shelf waters also tend to have food chains with fewer trophic levels, and on average support larger fish.

Economic significance:

  • The relatively accessible continental shelf is the best understood part of the ocean floor.
  • Most commercial exploitation from the sea, such as metallic-ore, non-metallic ore, and hydrocarbon extraction, takes place on the continental shelf.

Conclusion:

The Oceanic relief controls the motion of sea water. It influences the oceanic movement in the form of currents and helps in the navigation and fishing. It is a result of the plate tectonics and very little of the ocean floor has been mapped directly due to the vastness, diversity and associated challenges.

 

Topic:   Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features.

2. Explain in detail the mechanism of a Tsunami. How is a Tsunami wave different from a regular wave?  (250 words)

Reference: Geography NCERT – Class XI: Fundamentals of Physical Geography. 

Why the question:  

The question is part of the static syllabus of General Studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain the process of Tsunami and how it is caused. In the later part, to differentiate between a Tsunami Wave and a wind wave.

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:

Define Tsunami and briefly mention a few examples of Tsunamis witnessed.

Body:

Draw a simple illustrative digram and explain the phenomenon of the Tsunami. In the explanation, talk about how the wave is formed, propagates (including Shoaling effect) and the destruction caused by it at the end.

In the second part, differentiate between Tsunami Wave and Normal wave on Wave Speed, Wave period, wavelength, Origin etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by throwing light on Indian preparedness in the early warning mechanism of Tsunamis.

Introduction:

Tsunami means a “harbour wave” in literal translation and comes from the Japanese characters for harbour (tsu) and wave (nami). A tsunami also called seismic sea waves, is one of the most powerful and destructive natural forces. It is a series of extremely long waves caused by a large and sudden displacement of the ocean due to earthquake, volcanic eruptions etc. When they reach the coast, they can cause dangerous coastal flooding and powerful currents that can last for several hours or days.

Body:

Characteristics:

  • Tsunamis are giant waves caused by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions under the sea. Out in the depths of the ocean, tsunami waves do not dramatically increase in height.
  • But as the waves travel inland, they build up to higher and higher heights as the depth of the ocean decreases.
  • The speed of tsunami waves depends on ocean depth rather than the distance from the source of the wave.
  • Tsunami waves may travel as fast as jet planes over deep waters, only slowing down when reaching shallow waters.
  • While tsunamis are often referred to as tidal waves, this name is discouraged by oceanographers because tides have little to do with these giant waves.

Causes:

Tsunamis are ocean waves triggered by:

  • Large earthquakes that occur near or under the ocean
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Submarine landslides
  • Onshore landslides in which large volumes of debris fall into the water

Mechanism:

  • The first stage in this formation begins when the tectonic upthrust caused by the quake or impulse event causes massive amounts of ocean water to be displaced almost instantaneously.
  • This action kick-starts a simple series of progressive and oscillatory waves that travel out from the event’s epicentre in ever-widening circles throughout the deep ocean.
  • Due to severe levels of energy propagated from the impulse, the waves build in speed very quickly, reaching up to an incredible 500mph.
  • However, due to the depth of water, the speed of the waves is not visible as they expand to have incredibly long wavelengths that can stretch between 60-120 miles.
  • Because of this, the wave amplitudes (the wave height) are also very small as the wave is extremely spread out, only typically measuring 30-60 centimetres.
  • These long periods between wave crests – coupled with their very low amplitude – also mean that they are particularly difficult to detect when out at sea.
  • Once generated, the tsunami’s waves then continue to build in speed and force before finally approaching a landmass.
  • Here the depth of the ocean slowly begins to reduce as the land begins to slope up towards the coastline.
  • This sloping of the seabed acts as a braking mechanism for the high-velocity tsunami waves, reducing their speed through colossal friction between the water and the rising earth.
  • This dramatic reduction in speed – which typically takes the velocity of the tsunami to 1/10th of its original speed – also has the effect of reducing the length of its waves, bunching them up and increasing their amplitude significantly.
  • Indeed, at this point coastal waters can be forced to raise as much as 30 metres above normal sea level in little over ten minutes.
  • Following this rise in sea level above the continental shelf (a shallow submarine terrace of continental crust that forms at the edge of a continental landmass) the oscillatory motions carried by the tsunami are transferred into its waters, being compressed in the process.
  • These oscillations under the pressure of the approaching water are then forced forwards towards the coast, causing a series of low level but incredibly fast run-ups of sea water, capable of propelling and dragging cars, trees, buildings and people over great distances.
  • In fact, these run-ups are often responsible for a large proportion of the tsunami’s damage, not the giant following waves.
  • Regardless, however, following the run-ups the tsunami’s high-amplitude waves continue to slow and bunch into fewer and fewer megawaves before breaking at heights between five and ten metres over the immediate coastline, causing great damage and finally releasing its stored energy.

Difference from regular wave: 

  • Tsunamis are unlike wind-generated waves, which many of us may have observed on a local lake or at a coastal beach, in that they are characterized as shallow-water waves, with long periods and wave lengths.
  • The wind-generated swell one sees at a California beach, for example, spawned by a storm out in the Pacific and rhythmically rolling in, one wave after another, might have a period of about 10 seconds and a wave length of 150 m.
  • A tsunami, on the other hand, can have a wavelength in excess of 100 km and period on the order of one hour.
  • As a result of their long wave lengths, tsunamis behave as shallow-water waves.
  • A wave becomes a shallow-water wave when the ratio between the water depth and its wave length gets very small.
  • Shallow-water waves move at a speed that is equal to the square root of the product of the acceleration of gravity (9.8 m/s/s) and the water depth – let’s see what this implies: In the Pacific Ocean, where the typical water depth is about 4000 m, a tsunami travels at about 200 m/s, or over 700 km/hr.
  • Because the rate at which a wave loses its energy is inversely related to its wave length, tsunamis not only propagate at high speeds, they can also travel great, transoceanic distances with limited energy losses.

Conclusion:

India is much safer against tsunami threat than it was in 2004, thanks to the state-of-the-art tsunami early warning system established at Indian National Centre for Ocean Information System (INCOIS).

From absolutely no warning capability or for that matter any public knowledge of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean, we have reached a stage where we can detect large under sea earthquakes in real-time and provide a tsunami warning in 10 – 20 minutes after the earthquake occurrence. However, the best of warning systems could fail, if communities are not prepared, if they do not understand the official and natural warning signs of a tsunami, and if they do not take appropriate and timely response.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

3. Despite the plethora of initiatives taken by the government to curb child marriage, the menace continues unabated. Comment in the light of the findings of the National Family Health Survey-5. (250 words)

Reference: Business Standard

Why the question:

The recently released NFHS-5 has brought to light the shocking findings with respect to child marriage in some states which is covered in the article.

Key Demand of the question:

To bring out the shortcomings of various initiatives to curb child marriage.

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:

Introduce by presenting the context of question, the evil of child marriage, especially in the states of Bihar, West Bengal and Tripura.

Body:

Firstly, mention the various initiatives designed in order to prevent the child marriages in India.

Secondly, mention the shortcomings of the above programmes .

In the final part, comment on the numerous implications of the findings of NFHS-5 on child marriage.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward on how to holistically tackle child marriages in India.

Introduction:

Child marriage usually refers to a social phenomenon practiced in some societies in India, where a young child (usually a girl below the age of fifteen) is married to an adult man. A second form of practice of child marriage is that in which the parents of the two children (the girl and boy) arrange a future marriage. Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA), 2006 defines a child marriage as one in which the girl is below the age of eighteen years and the boy is below the age of twenty-one years.

Body:

Child marriage in India – NHFS-5 findings:

  • High prevalence of child marriages was found in Bihar, West Bengal and Tripura where over 40 per cent women were married before they turned 18, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS).
  • The survey covered 22 states and UTs in the country.
  • Andhra Pradesh (12.6 per cent), Assam (11.7 per cent), Bihar (11 per cent), Tripura (21.9 per cent), West Bengal (16.4 per cent) reported the highest number of women aged 15-19 years who were already mothers or pregnant at the time of the National Family Health Survey-5.
  • Bihar (40.8 per cent), Tripura (40.1 per cent) and West Bengal (41.6 per cent) were among the states where the highest number of surveyed women aged 20-24 years reported to have been married before they turned 18, which is the legal age for marriage.
  • Assam (31.8 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (29.3 per cent), Gujarat (21.8 per cent), Karnataka (21.3 per cent), Maharashtra (21.9 per cent), Telangana (23.5 per cent) and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu (26.4 per cent) were other states and UTs where high number of women aged 20-24 years reported to have been married before they turned 18, the survey said.
  • Meanwhile, men who got married before the legal age of 21 were much lower in nearly all the surveyed states and UTs in comparison to women.
  • Assam (21.8 per cent), Bihar (30.5 per cent), Gujarat (27.7 per cent), Tripura (20.4 per cent), West Bengal (20 per cent) and Ladakh (20.2 per cent) were among states and UTs where comparatively higher percentage of men aged 25-29 years got married before turning 21, the survey said.

Measures undertaken so far to curb Child Marriages in India:

  • The Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929.
    • The object is to eliminate the special evil which had the potentialities of dangers to the life and health of a female child, who could not withstand the stress and strains of married life and to avoid early deaths of such minor mothers.
    • It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir and it applies also to all citizens of India within and beyond India.
  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
    • This Act replaced the Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929 which was enacted during the British era.
    • It defines a child to mean a male below 21 years and female below 18 years.
    • “Minor” is defined as a person who has not attained the age of majority as per the Majority Act.
    • It envisages preventing child marriage with punishments of rigorous imprisonment for two years and/ or fine of Rs. 1 lakh.
    • The Act also provides for the appointment of Child Marriage Prohibition Officer whose duties are to prevent child marriages and spread awareness regarding the same.
  • State Governments are requested to take special initiative to delay marriage by coordinated efforts on Akha Teejthe traditional day for such marriages;
  • Advertisements in the press and electronic media educating peoples about the issue of Child Marriage etc are also being taken up.
  • Platforms such as the International Womens Day and the National Girl Child Day are used to create awareness on issues related to women and to bring to the centre stage issues such as child marriage.
  • Through the Sabla programme of Women and Child Ministry, adolescent girls in the age group of 11 to 18 years are imparted training with regard to legal rights of women which also includes the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.

Reasons for prevalence of child marriages in India:

  • Gender inequality, social norms, perceived low status of girls, poverty, lack of education, safety concerns about girl children and control over sexuality are considered to be reasons for prevalence of child marriages.
  • Social groups follow traditions from previous eras without questioning contemporary relevance. Early marriage allows parents to waiver ‘responsibility’ of settling their children.
  • Economically weak and large families encourage the practice as it helps send-off girl children early, while marriage of a boy brings an additional hand to assist in household and economic activities.
  • Members of communities practicing child marriage tend to have little to no formal education. Belief in religious scriptures and the idea that these contain prescription for early marriage drive families to fulfil this “obligation.”
  • Early marriage ensures full “utilization” of fertility and childbearing capacity.
  • Strong caste ties limit the availability of suitable marital partners. As soon as parents identify a match, they make haste in conducting the marriage.
  • Limited education opportunities, low quality of education, inadequate infrastructure, lack of transport and therefore concerns about girls’ safety while travelling to school significantly contribute to keeping girls out of school and therefore tend to favour child marriage.
  • Girls are often seen as a liability with limited economic role. Women’s work is confined to the household and is not valued. In addition, there is the problem of dowry. Despite the fact that dowry has been prohibited for five decades (Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961), it is still common for parents of girls in India to give gifts to the groom and /or his family either in cash or kind. The dowry amount increases with the age and the education level of the girl. Hence, the “incentive” of the system of dowry perpetuates child marriage.
  • The families and girls who might benefit from social protection programmes are not always aware of them and these schemes are often limited to providing cash transfers without the accompanying messages to address the multi-dimensional nature of child marriage.

Measures needed to curb child marriage:

  • Increase social awareness:
    • Children need to be made aware of their human rights and must be taught to refuse and speak up once such an incident is taking place.
    • The media also needs to adopt a more proactive role in generating awareness towards this heinous ritual.
    • Changing social norms and attitudes towards girls.
  • To transform social norms, programmes must go hand in hand with other interventions to change parents’ attitudes, improve education, incentivise higher level of education, and increase opportunities for girls to learn, work and earn.
  • The values and norms which support the practice of child marriage need to shift.
  • Raise awareness about the harmful consequences of child marriage.
  • A strong legal and policy system can provide an important backdrop for improvements in services, changes in social norms and girls’ empowerment.
  • Imparting value based education to the students in school stressing the importance of education and the ill effects of early marriage.
  • Government could rope in achievers like Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar and PV Sindhu who have achieved great success in their field and parents and students can seek inspiration from their achievements.
  • Inform the respective Child Development Project Officers, who are designated government officials, to stop child marriage.

Conclusion:

In this competitive world all a child need is education, security and opportunities to showcase his/her talents and not marriage which breaks their wings. Let’s give them a safe world to live where they can run behind their dreams and build a healthier and equal future.

 

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

4.  The success of India’s COVID-19 vaccine policy is pertinent on how well it overcomes the vaccine hesitancy among the masses. Analyse and suggest steps that the government can take to address vaccine hesitancy in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

With a vaccine in sight, India now faces the issue of the fear of vaccine itself among the people. This article talks about it and gives a few steps to address it.

Key Demand of the question:

To identify how vaccine hesitancy can hinder the fight against SARS-COV2 and the steps needeed to overcome it.

Directive:

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define Vaccine hesitancy and how India faces a challenge in addressing owing to its large population and diversity.

Body:

start the body by identifying possible causes of vaccine hesitancy among the masses like misinformation, complacency, lack of confidence etc.

In the next part, bring out how vaccine hesitancy and the fear of vaccine itself  will impact our country’s fight against COVID-19 and undo the progress so far.

In the final part, mention steps that the government can take to overcome vaccine hesitancy like confidence building of masses, bringing in transparency on the vaccine-policy and any potential side effects, consulting states and taking them in confidence and steps to prevent misinformation etc.

Conclusion:

Talk about other steps needed apart from overcoming vaccine hesitancy in order to make the COVID-19 vaccine policy successful.

Introduction:

World Health Organization defines Vaccine hesitancy as a delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccines despite the availability of vaccination service. Vaccine hesitancy has been reported in more than 90% of countries in the world.

Body:

Illustrations of Vaccine Hesitancy:

  • Globally nearly 4,24,000 children have confirmed measles in 2019, as against a figure of 1,73,000 in the whole of 2018.
  • In India, poor communities of Uttar Pradesh were reported to have taken five times low uptake of oral polio vaccine in the early 2000s.

Reasons for Vaccine Hesitancy

  • The main issue with Vaccine hesitancy is
  • Religious propaganda that the vaccine may contain microbes, chemicals and animal-derived products which is forbidden by religious laws.
  • Social media is used in stirring fear in people by falsely blaming vaccines for unrelated diseases is the bedrock of the Vaccine hesitancy all across the globe.
    • For example, recently some sections in India are refraining from the polio vaccine. This is due to the misconception that the polio vaccine caused illness, infertility and was ineffective.
  • Vaccine-derived diseases: Oral Polio Vaccines (OPV) contains weakened but live poliovirus. This virus from the vaccine is excreted by immunized children which can move from one person to another.
  • This allows the virus to stick around and mutate to a more virulent form, raising the threat of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV).
  • Inconvenience in accessing vaccines is also the leading cause of Vaccine hesitancy.

Steps that the government can take to address vaccine hesitancy in India:

  • Vaccination as the default approach: Some countries have implemented specific sanctions for Vaccine hesitant families.
    • France has made vaccination with 11 vaccines mandatory for children—unvaccinated children cannot be enrolled at nurseries or schools.
    • In Australia, parents of children who are not vaccinated are denied the universal Family Allowance welfare payments.
  • Building trust: Vaccine manufacturer can provide honest information about side effects and reassurance on a robust vaccine safety system.
    • They can also provide vaccination-related FAQ’s, answering questions on benefits, safety, and immunologic aspects of vaccines and links to a number of online resources for physicians and parents.
  • Digital Algorithms: Google, Facebook and other such platforms can be requested to make sure that users only get to see the credible, science-based information about the vaccines.
  • Misinformation need to be Addressed:
    • A striking similarity was seen in India too. A 2018 study found low awareness to be the main reason why 45% of children missed different vaccinations in 121 Indian districts that have higher rates of unimmunized children.
    • While 24% did not get vaccinated due to apprehension about adverse effects, 11% were reluctant to get immunized for reasons other than fear of adverse effects.
    • Thus, much work remains to be done to address misinformation.
  • The influential person or celebrities should come forward to dispel the myths leading to Vaccine hesitancy.

Conclusion:

Vaccine hesitancy is threatening the historical achievements made in reducing the burden of infectious diseases, which have plagued humanity for centuries. A collaborative effort between pediatricians, family doctors, parents, public health officials, governments, the technology sector, and civil society will allow myths and misinformation around vaccination to be dispelled.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. PM-WANI has the potential to transform the digital scenario in India to empower ordinary citizens and open up a plethora of opportunities. Discuss (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article covers the impact the newly launched PM-WANI, the public Wi-Fi data service can have on the citizens as well as the economy.

Key Demand of the question:

To identify how PM-Wani can bring about digital transformation and create new opportunities in education, health and governance etc.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain about PM-WANI and its aims and objectives.

Body:

In the first part, mention about the inadequacies in the digital sector like low penetration, lack of infrastructure, high costs or subscriber fees etc. which hinder the digital transformation.

In the second part, mention as to how PM-WANI aims to overcome the above mentioned issues to achieve a digital transformation.

In the next part, mention the opportunities PM-WANI creates for community organisations, libraries, educational institutions, health panchayats and small entrepreneurs

Conclusion:

Give a way forward that is needed to ensure that PM-WANI can achieve its intended aims and objectives.

Introduction:

Recently, in a bid to fuel broadband internet proliferation across the country, the Government of India launched PM WANI (Prime Minister Wi-Fi Access Network Interface) Scheme. The scheme aims to bring large scale deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots through the country to drive up connectivity options and improve digital access.

The scheme envisages setting up of public Wi-Fi networks and access points by local Kirana and neighborhood shops through public data offices (PDO will be set up on the lines of Public Call Offices (PCOs)) that will not involve any license, fee or registration.

Apart from, Public Wi-Fi being a low-cost option to reach unserved citizens and grow the economy, it can revolutionize the tech world and significantly improve Wi-Fi availability across the length and breadth of India.

Body:

PM WANI: transform the digital scenario in India

  • Instead of redundant networks by ISPs to compete for top users, PM WANI allows them to interoperate and focus on connecting the last user.
  • It is built on unbundling 3 As – access, authorization and accounting.
  • There are two dimensions along which PM-WANI has broken away from the past — regulatory and technology.
  • PM-WANI has liberalized the resale of bandwidth. PM-WANI allows to resell internet to its customers without a license and without fees by installing a wireless router, they can get on the PM-WANI network and start selling connectivity. These small vendors will be called Public Data Offices (PDOs), in a deliberate hark back to the Public Call Offices of yore. PCOs became centres of economic activity, providing small businesses with a steady trickle of clients that they could then sell other sachet-sized products.
  • PM-WANI builds on Digi locker and Aadhar to authenticate its users. This architecture also allows a central data balance and central KYC, that users can use inter-operably across all PDOs. The network operators then settle accounting between them.  The end result is unlike other countries, Indians can log in once and enjoy access on all available Wi-Fi networks. Having such a public network also allows international travelers to take advantage of India’s connectivity, without paying exorbitant roaming charges to their home networks.

Intended Benefits of PM WANI

  • New Wave of Internet Users: PM WANI will be able to connect a new wave of users not just to commercial and entertainment options, but also to education, telehealth and agriculture extension, and bring greater accountability to the government by boosting transparency and interactivity.
  • Enabler for Digital India: The scheme would enable small shopkeepers to provide Wi-Fi service. This will boost incomes as well as ensure youth gets seamless internet connectivity.
    • It can also strengthen the Digital India mission.
  • Cutting the Red Tape: Through PM WANI, the government is hoping that by cutting through layers of bureaucracy and eliminating licenses and fees, it can make it easy even for a tea shop owner to register online as a service provider, opening up new income avenues.
  • Domino Effect on Economy: According to the TRAI report, public Wi-Fi system on the WANI architecture can lead to a 10% rise in net penetration which in turn can lead to a 1.4% increase in GDP.
  • Bridging the Digital Divide: PM WANI can result into a rapid scale-up of the Internet in rural India, which will be transformative, given the low level of penetration — 27.57 subscribers per 100 populations in 2019.
    • Wi-Fi linked to broadband fiber service can be the fastest route to bridging the existing gap.
  • Low-Cost Alternative: Upcoming mobile technologies such as 5G may provide good quality data, but they involve high investment in the new spectrum, connectivity equipment and regular subscriber fees.
    • The WANI system offers a way forward to connect low revenue consumers.

Issues Regarding PM WANI

  • Security Risks: A public Wi-Fi network has several security issues. That’s because several people access the network at the same time on the same spot.
    • Thus, public Wi-Fi is at a high risk of sending out confidential data (like passwords, pins etc.) over the network.
  • Low Speed: As public Wi-Fi network is usually accessed by several people at the same time, it results in a considerable loss of bandwidth resulting in a slow network speed
    • It is due to this fact, Google and Facebook’s attempts to provide public Wi-Fi got shut down earlier this year.
  • Cheap Mobile Data: As per TRAI in 2019, India now has among the cheapest mobile data per GB in the world, with mobile data prices having reduced by 95% in the last five years.
  • As 4G has become cheap and widely accessible, is there still a need to drive Wi-Fi in this manner, rather than the “leapfrogging” of technology that people have frequently talked about in the context of India

Way Forward

  • Strong Cyber-Security Architecture: What the citizen expects is robust service, protection of data integrity, transparency on commercial use of data, and security against cyberattacks.
  • PM WANI should ensure the public data is protected and safe. In this context, the enactment of the public data protection bill, 2019, is the need of the hour.
  • Ensuring Competition: The government must also ensure true unbundling of hardware, software, apps and payment gateways in the WANI system, as advocated by TRAI, to prevent monopolies.
  • Also, increased competition will address the low data speed issue.

Conclusion

If executed properly, the public data offices (PDOs) of PM WANI can do what the PCOs did for phone calls, going well beyond ‘ease of doing business’ to genuinely empower citizens and providing “ease of living”.

 

Topic:  indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

6. Time has come to regulate crypto currencies not resist it. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Business Standard

Why the question:

Bitcoin’s rally in 2020, rising 1.5 times so far this year, has piqued investors’ and financial services providers’ interest. And Indian banks are taking note as the crypto currency nears its all-time high of $20,000.

Key Demand of the question:

To argue for enhanced utilisation of crypto currencies in the banking sector.

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:

Define crypto currencies and give the context where the performance of Bitcoin in 2020 has piqued the interests of Indian financial service providers.

Body:

Cite facts and figures that encompass the good performance of crypto currencies and the benefits it can accrue to the Indian financial sector.

Mention the developments so far in India with respect to crypto currencies: the revocation of banking ban in March 2020.

State reasons why India should to be more accepting of crypto currencies and the need to move to regulate the sector than resisting.

Bring out the potential challenges in implementation of large scale crypto currency based assets. Also, highlight the inadequacies in the Indian financial system pertaining to crypt currencies.

Conclusion:

Conclude with balanced way forward.

Introduction:

Bitcoin’s rally in 2020, rising 1.5 times so far this year, has piqued investors’ and financial services providers’ interest. And Indian banks are taking note as the crypto currency nears its all-time high of $20,000.

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank. They run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, which is a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders. The most common cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin.

Body:

Current state of Cryptocurrencies:

  • Experts and central banks across the world are slowly arriving at the conclusion – written about in various research papers but not yet implemented in policy – that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
  • The world’s premier cryptocurrency is within sniffing distance of $9,000 apiece, and investors still seem bullish on it.
  • The current value – at $8,918 on 29 May – is below its peak of $19,600-plus in late 2017, which was achieved after an exponential rise all through that year.
  • That ascent took online traders by storm and stoked fears of a tulip mania-like “bubble” just before it crashed dramatically; by the end of 2018, it had slid to about one-fifth of its peak value.
  • Bitcoin’s market capitalization is now over $150 billion, reportedly.
  • India banned crypto-currencies in 2018, shortly after a Chinese clampdown.

Benefits of legalizing the crypto market:

  • Proper regulation of these currencies will “promote” a formal tax base, while keeping a tab on their use for illegal activities such as money laundering, terror funding and drug trafficking.
  • Trading of bitcoins would be brought under the stock market regulator, Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • Bitcoins can be traded on registered exchanges which will promote a formal tax base. Returns from investment in Bitcoins would be taxed.
  • Use of bitcoins for illegal activities such as money laundering, terror funding and drug trafficking can be checked.
  • If any foreign payment is made through Bitcoins, it would fall under the purview of Foreign Exchange Management Act,
  • Cryptocurrencies have gained popularity in the last few years. Currently, they are neither illegal nor legal in many countries including India. The market cap for all crypto-currencies has just crossed $100 billion, with most of the increase coming in the past few months.
  • Banning will give a clear message that all related activities are illegal and will disincentivise those interested in taking speculative risks.
  • Regulating the currency instead would signal a boost to blockchain technology, encourage the development of a supervision ecosystem (that tracks legal activities and may also assist in tracking illegal activities) and promote a formal tax base.

Cryptocurrency is a disrupter to traditional notions of currency:

  • The government is wary that regulation will provide legitimacy to “what is currently ambiguous,” and may lead to further rise in its valuation and end up contributing “to the investment bubble”.
  • A currency that is not based on any real economic activity, unlike a sovereign currency whose value is based on the relative value of a tradeable basket of goods and services, cannot prima facie inspire much comfort.
  • Bitcoin’s value, astronomical even now at about $8,300 but much below January 2018’s stratospheric levels, is based on demand for a fixed supply of Bitcoins in the future it cannot exceed 21 million in number, of which 18 million has already been mined.
  • The security offered by encryption of cryptocurrency may be breached by hackers who are always lurking for any point of weakness. This may end up costing investors huge amounts of money because prices are attached to the currencies.
  • Cryptocurrency exists only in essence such that there are no physical coins and notes. As a result, there is, therefore, no central place where the currency can be deposited for safe keeping.
  • Lack of regulation of cryptocurrency means it is not under any control or supervision. This attracts more investors thereby increasing their chances of investing in this technology.
  • Cryptos are feared not just for their sheer speculative propensities, but also for their capacity to undermine sovereign currencies (the latter is an exaggerated apprehension).
  • Virtual currency is being traded anonymously over the Internet and used for a host of anti-national and illegal activities, from terror funding to illicit trade of arms and drugs and so on.
  • The online use of this currency, was without any border restrictions or geographical constraints, resulting in danger to the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
  • However, it does not make sense to go overboard and criminalize merely adventurous crypto speculators. There are no official or other data available that point towards misuse of cryptocurrencies for illegal ends

Advantages of cryptocurrencies:

  • One of the reasons why cryptocurrencies have gained global appeal is because of their secure nature. Cryptocurrencies are encoded into a database.
  • Cryptocurrency trading draws its legitimacy from the unanimity of the participants in its network. It has gained global approval by most leaders as a legal medium of payment.
  • No transaction fees are usually charged for transactions involving cryptocurrency.
  • Cryptocurrency does away with the need for a regulator.
  • By making everything public, cryptocurrency negates the need for a middleman.
  • According to bitcoin.org, no individual or organization can manipulate Bitcoins because it is cryptographically secure and do not contain customers’ personal information.

Measures needed:

  • Governments the world over have banned cryptocurrencies as a medium of exchange, and India is no exception.
  • Yet in India, an estimated 30 lakh Bitcoins are reportedly in circulation. From a value of a little over ₹60,000 at the start of 2017, the Bitcoin now commands a value of nearly ₹6 lakh, with a global market cap of $10.2 trillion. Cryptos are recognized in the US as an asset class.
  • Firms like PayPal, Uber, Visa and MasterCard have all signed up as part of the consortium to control it. Each has invested $10 million.
  • Criminalizing possession of cryptocurrencies will impact such investments.
  • Bankers and investors now consider the cryptocurrency market at par with derivatives. The NYSE plans Bitcoin futures through a platform called Bakkt.

Conclusion:

Underlying the crypto movement is a libertarian belief: Cryptos are an alternative asset to fiat currencies; controlled by none, they cannot be manipulated by governments with vested interests. Legalizing the crypto market can help beneficiaries emerge from the shadows and make productive investments in an economy witnessing a digital transformation. Crypto conduct calls for regulation, but not outright criminalization.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world to the concepts of morality

7. “The greatest wealth is to live content with little ” – Plato. Elucidate.  (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications 

Why the question:

The question explores Plato’s philosophy of being content with the minimum.

Key Demand of the question:

 To analyse to what extent the given quote is valid in the present context.

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:

Explain the quote briefly.

Body:

Present detailed analysis of the quote with relevant examples from across the world such as Gandhi, Thoreau etc.

State the reasons for indulgence in excessive materialism and its impact on us.

Bring out how minimalist mind set and simple life can bring about positive changes at individual, societal, national and a global level

Conclusion:

Conclude with a positive note that surmises -To be simple is to be great.

Introduction:

The above quote signifies the importance of non-materialistic happiness. Plato one of the greatest philosophers in the history of mankind, I am very wealthy. Too often we are chasing the material things in life that having an abundance of money can buy, but do these things really make you happy? if you are not happy or content with your life, then you are actually really poor.

Body:

  • Every one of us dreamed to become rich. Everyone wants to have a perfect life
  • And some of us define this perfect life like you have that everything, you have all the money, you can buy anything you want, you can go anywhere, you have a lot of cars, and a big house.
  • But is that really a perfect life? Even though you are very rich what if there is other aspect of your life is missing. For me when you are very rich your life is always in danger.
  • Why? Because you would not know if you go outside then someone tried to do bad things about you. When you have an abundance of material possessions, for sure you will need to protect them and worry over them.
  • You will experience a stressful life. What if someone entered to your house and get all your things that are so expensive and the things that really capture their eyes and there is a chance that they will also kill you.
  • So, for Plato living in a simple life is better.
  • Simple in a way that you have enough money to support yourself or your family, you can give some things not to the point that you are going to spoiled yourself or your family
  • You can use your money but not in too much. As they always say “too much is also bad”
  • It is a very important thought that we should put in our hearts and minds. If you are contented it means your life is less complicated and less stress.
  • If you are living in a simple life you will know how to value every single thing.
  • Because you know how to identify what is important in your life like you would first consider the thing that you need rather than what you want. If you are living in a simple life for sure it will lead to a happy home and spend quality time with each other
  • When you have this kind of life it seems like you don’t want to die because you also feel that you are rich not because of the extravagance things in your life but because you know how to live simply and be contented of what you have.
  • Contentment is also simplicity. A simple life that you can relaxed and a life that is filled of happiness and contentment.

What makes you happy in your life?

  • If it always involves having lots of money, then you will never be wealthy and you will never be happy and will remain ultimately poor.
  • Learn to be content with little and grateful for what you have and you will become happy and wealthy for the rest of your life.

Conclusion:

We people need to be thankful for what we have. We should always think that there are people who have nothing. Always be generous and satisfied! living simple that is the essence of the greatest wealth to live content with little.


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