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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 October 2020


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


General Studies – 1


 

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

1. Critically examine the factors affecting the marine erosion. (250 words)

Reference: The Diplomat

Why the question:

The article talks about the rising menace of marine erosion across the World and discusses the factors responsible for it.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically examine the factors affecting the marine erosion with suitable examples.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to 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. 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:

First briefly explain what Marine erosion is.

Body:

Marine erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment and rocks along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts of storms.

List the factors responsible for marine erosion one by one.

Have a Para on climate change and its huge impact directly on it.

Take hints from the article, present the case study of Sagar islands of India and elucidate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

Marine erosion or Coastal erosion is the loss or displacement of land, or the long-term removal of sediment and rocks along the coastline due to the action of waves, currents, tides, wind-driven water, waterborne ice, or other impacts of storms.

Coastal processes are the most dynamic and hence most destructive. Some of the changes along the coasts take place very fast. At one place, there can be erosion in one season and deposition in another. Most of the changes along the coasts are accomplished by waves. When waves break, the water is thrown with great force onto the shore, and simultaneously, there is a great churning of sediments on the sea bottom. Constant impact of breaking waves drastically affects the coasts. Storm waves and tsunami waves can cause far-reaching changes in a short period of time than normal breaking waves. As wave environment changes, the intensity of the force of breaking waves changes.

Body:

Factors affecting marine erosion:

phy_fact

  • The rock type/geology. Hard rock types are less likely to erode.
    • Presence of Soft Soapstone, sandstone or hard granite stone causes subsequent marine features.
  • The fetch of the wave and the strength of the wind. Powerful winds and a long fetch create the most damaging (erosive) waves.
    • Deeper penetration of the tide into rivers and estuaries and increased saline intrusion, especially during the dry season; this may cause troubles for water intakes and for irrigation and cause changes to the estuarine habitats.
  • The gradient of slope – steep slopes erode more violently and frequently.
    • whether the coast is advancing (emerging) seaward or retreating (submerging) landward.
    • Creation of High rocky coasts – formation of Fjords.
  • Weather conditions: freezing temperatures and heavy rain increase weathering and the rate of erosion.
    • Effect of Thawing and freezing causing Permafrost.
  • The amount of vegetation – the presence of vegetation helps stabilise slopes but also increases the occurrence of biological weathering.
  • The amount of human interference – if there are no man-made structures (eg sea walls) to protect the coast, then the coast is more vulnerable to attack.
  • However, the construction of houses, industry and other man-made structures in the first instance are the reasons why coastal erosion is a concern.
  • Creation of reservoirs for power production and irrigation purposes by the construction of river dams further affect coastal erosion.
  • deepening of navigation channels
    • Development Ports on the coast: interferes with the littoral drift budget and the results are sedimentation and shoreline impact.
  • mining of beach sand:
    • shape and position of the shoreline depends not only on the wave climate, but also on sand supply to the bay.
  • Use of Fast Ferries:
    • If a fast ferry navigates through protected waters, the wake waves are very different from the natural waves along the navigation route. The wake waves affects:
    • by higher wave uprush than that produced by normal waves;
    • by changing the coastal morphological processes in the area. This can result in erosion as well as the formation of a large beach berm;
    • by breaking unexpectedly and violently, the waves can be dangerous for dinghies and for bathers.
  • Creation of Seawall:
    • Beach lowering by enhanced wave energy dissipation at the toe of the seawall. This process is significant in the case of frequent wave attack on the seawall or insufficient sand supply by littoral drift for beach recovering after storm erosion.
    • Enhanced beach lowering and shoreline retreat after storm erosion.

Impact of marine erosion:

  • Coastal areas have been changing with erosion and sand movement for ages
  • Beach erosionoccurs when wind and water remove sand from the beach, and move it to other locations.
  • Severe erosionleads to flooding, building loss, and road damage.
  • Coastalcommunities fight erosion by rebuilding beaches, and by protecting and restoring sand dunes.
  • important natural habitats, coastal settlements and local economies all get affected.
    • For Eg: Affects fishing economy.

Conclusion:

Submerging and soft coastal relief of the southern Baltic Sea area is under most threat; the rate of retreat depending on the frequency and strength of the storm surges. The rate of coastal retreat has also increased in recent years due to sea-level rise and loss of beaches. The coastal zones are one of the most dynamic environments in the world, because it is where different geospheres interact. Taking place over a range of timescales, these interactions cause dynamic coastal rebuilding, referred to coastal morphodynamics.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. How does India fare on the different parameters in comparison to other countries on global hunger index (GHI)? Discuss the main cause for such high levels of child stunting and wasting in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Global Hunger Index is a peer-reviewed annual report, jointly published by Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, designed to comprehensively measure and track hunger at the global, regional, and country levels. The article presents to us quick peek into India’s status vis-à-vis Malnutrition.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the main cause for such high levels of child stunting and wasting in India and present an evaluation of how far has India fared on the GHI.

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 basic definition of what constitutes GHI.

Body:

Discuss the methods through which it is calculated. Explain the parameters in detail.

Then explain how India fares on the different parameters in comparison to other countries?

Discuss what the main causes for such high levels of child stunting and wasting in India are.

Suggest solutions – Food insecurity, poor sanitation, inadequate housing, limited access to healthcare — all result in maternal distress that leads to the kind of slow, chronic wasting seen in Indian children.

Although India has overall food security with record levels of foodgrain production in recent years, access to healthy food is still difficult for poor households.

Conclusion:

Conclude that there is no single solution. Every kind of household deprivation that makes life difficult for women needs to be dealt with. The focus needs to be on healthy mother.

Introduction:

India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition, according to the Global Hunger Index 2020.

Body:

Current scenario in India:

  • India ranks 94 out of 107 countries in the Index, lower than her neighbours such as Bangladesh (75) and Pakistan (88).
  • The report put India under serious category with the score of 27.2.
  • The child stunting rate in India was 37.4 %.
  • The child wasting was at 17.3 %.
  • The undernourishment rate of India was at 14% and child mortality at 3.7 %.

According to UNICEF:

  • Stunting, or low height for age, is caused by long-term insufficient nutrient intake and frequent infections. Stunting generally occurs before age two, and effects are largely irreversible. These include delayed motor development, impaired cognitive function and poor school performance.
  • Wasting, or low weight for height, is a strong predictor of mortality among children under five. It is usually the result of acute significant food shortage and/or disease.

India’s much coveted “demographic dividend” might be in jeopardy. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be 484.86 million youth (aged between 15 to 34) in India. Much has been said about its potential for the Indian economy to reap rich harvest in the coming days.

The Causes of Malnutrition:

  • Household food insecurity
  • illiteracy specially in women
  • Poor access to health services
  • Lack of availability of safe drinking water
  • Poor sanitation and environmental conditions and low purchasing power etc.
  • Early marriages of girls
  • Teenage pregnancies resulting in low birth weight of the newborns
  • Poor breastfeeding practices
  • Poor complementary feeding practices
  • Ignorance about nutritional needs of infants and young children and repeated infections further aggravate the situation.
  • Number of other factors such as environmental, geographical, agricultural, and cultural including various other factors have contributive effects resulting in malnutrition.

Consequences of malnutrition

  • Undernourished children have lower chances of survival than children who are well-nourished. They are prone to diseases like diarrhea, measles, malaria, pneumonia, and HIV and AIDS, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
  • The risk of dying increases with the severity of the under-nutrition. For instance, a child suffering from severe acute malnutrition is nine times more likely to die than children who are not undernourished
  • Evidence suggests that children who are stunted often enroll late in school, complete fewer grades and perform less well in school. This, in turn, affects their creativity and productivity in later life.
  • Iodine deficiency is known to affect a child’s Intelligence Quotient (IQ) adversely.

Government Intervention:

  • POSHAN ABHIYAAN: POSHAN Abhiyaan targets to reduce stunting, under-nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively. Although the target to reduce Stunting is at least 2% p.a., Mission would strive to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
  • National Rural Health Mission (NRHM)
    • Reduce in infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate
    • Prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases
    • Upgrading AYUSH (Ayurveda Yoga Unani Siddha and Homoeopath) for promotion of a healthy lifestyle.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The scheme guarantees one meal to all children in government and aided schools and madrasas supported under Samagra Shiksha. Students up to Class VIIIare guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.

Way forward

  • regular annual survey under ICDS on malnutrition rates;
  • Village Health and Sanitation Committee to monitor nutrition programmes through the Village Health and Nutrition Days;
  • introduction of BMI as another index for assessing nutritional status at the Anganwadi level;
  • effective antenatal care and conditional maternity entitlements to reduce incidence of low birth weight babies;
  • focus on health and nutrition of adolescent girls;
  • promoting appropriate infant and young child feeding practices and timely immunization;
  • child specific growth monitoring cards;
  • special focus on severely malnourished children;
  • hot cooked meals and community participation under ICDS;
  • capacity building of the Anganwadi workers;
  • convergence with other programmes etc.

 

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

3. The new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) has come into operation replacing the earlier law, which was over three decades old.  What are the fundamental differences between the two Acts and will the new law serve the expectations of the consumer better than its predecessor? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Consumer Protection Act, 2019 (CPA), which came into effect on July 24, 2020, is expected to go a long way in serving the interests of consumers at large. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the transformative changes that the CPA underwent and is going to benefit the consumers in a more better and holistic way.

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:

Briefly talk about the CPA 2019.

Body:

Explain that the present law is a generation next statute intending to build upon the old 1986 law. The 1986 law intended to ‘better protect’ the interest of the consumer by providing easy dispute resolution tribunals at district, State, and national levels. 

It also established Consumer Councils – again at district, State, and national levels to work towards consumer welfare. However based on the overall experience gained by the working of the old CPA, a new enactment has been brought forth with greater emphasis on enhanced overall consumer welfare.

The constitution of a CCPA, as envisaged under the new law, is expected to serve consumer welfare in a big way. The authority will be headed by a Chief Commissioner and will have sweeping powers with the investigation wing empowered to carry out search and seize operations and also register cases under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

List down a good comparison of the Act before and now.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Digital Age has ushered in a new era of commerce and digital branding, as well as a new set of customer expectations. Digitisation has provided easy access, a large variety of choices, convenient payment mechanisms, improved services and shopping as per convenience. However, there are also associated challenges related to consumer protection.

Body:

To help address the new set of challenges faced by consumers in the digital age, the Indian Parliament passed the landmark Consumer Protection Bill, 2019 which aims to provide timely and effective administration and settlement of consumer disputes.

Highlights of Act:

   1)Definition of consumer

  • A consumer is defined as a person who buys any good or avails a service for a consideration.
  • It does not include a person who obtains a good for resale or a good or service for commercial purpose.
  • It covers transactions through all modes including offline, and online through electronic means, teleshopping, multi-level marketing or direct selling.

2) Rights of consumers

The following consumer rights have been defined in the Act, including the right to:

  • be protected against marketing of goods and services which are hazardous to life and property;
  • be informed of the quality, quantity, potency, purity, standard and price of goods or services;
  • be assured of access to a variety of goods or services at competitive prices; and
  • seek redressal against unfair or restrictive trade practices.

3) Establishment of Central Consumer Protection Authority

  • The central government will set up a CCPA to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.
  • It will regulate matters related to violation of consumer rights, unfair trade practices, and misleading advertisements.
  • The CCPA will have an investigation wing, headed by a Director-General, which may conduct inquiry or investigation into such violations.

4) Penalties for misleading advertisement

  • The CCPA may impose a penalty on a manufacturer or an endorser of up to Rs 10 lakh and imprisonment for up to two years for a false or misleading advertisement.
  • In case of a subsequent offence, the fine may extend to Rs 50 lakh and imprisonment of up to five years.
  • CCPA can also prohibit the endorser of a misleading advertisement from endorsing that particular product or service for a period of up to one year.
  • For every subsequent offence, the period of prohibition may extend to three years.

5) Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission

  • CDRCs will be set up at the district, state, and national levels.
  • A consumer can file a complaint with CDRCs in relation to: unfair or restrictive trade practices; defective goods or services etc.
  • Complaints against an unfair contract can be filed with only the State and National   Appeals from a District CDRC will be heard by the State CDRC.
  • Appeals from the State CDRC will be heard by the National CDRC.  Final appeal will lie before the Supreme Court.

6) Jurisdiction of CDRCs

  • The District CDRC will entertain complaints where value of goods and services does not exceed Rs one crore.
  • The State CDRC will entertain complaints when the value is more than Rs one crore but does not exceed Rs 10 crore.
  • Complaints with value of goods and services over Rs 10 crore will be entertained by the National CDRC.

7) Product liability

  • Product liability means the liability of a product manufacturer, service provider or seller to compensate a consumer for any harm or injury caused by a defective good or deficient service.
  • To claim compensation, a consumer has to prove any one of the conditions for defect or deficiency, as given in the Act.

Difference Between 1986 and 2019 act:

provision

Significance of the Act:

  • Empowering the consumers
  • Inclusion of e-commerce sector
  • Time-bound redressal
  • Responsible endorsement
  • Upholding consumer interests
  • Alternate dispute redressal mechanism

Conclusion:

The new Act would ease the overall process of consumer grievance redressal and dispute resolution process. This will help reduce inconvenience and harassment for the consumers. The enhanced pecuniary jurisdiction and provisions providing statutory recognition to mediation processes, enabling filing of complaints from any jurisdiction and for hearing parties through video-conferencing will increase accessibility to judicial forums and afford crucial protection in times when international e-commerce giants are expanding their base.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

4. The substantial potential offered by rooftop solar PV is still underutilized in the country, discuss the underlying reasons and suggest solutions. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to us detailed analysis of why the idea of rooftop solar isn’t shining in sunny India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the causes that have led to underutilization of Solar PV rooftop and suggest ways to encash these low hanging fruits.

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 some fascinating facts such as – According to the recent BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020, globally, renewables account for 10.4 per cent of power generation. In India, in 2019-20, renewables, excluding large hydro, accounted for around 10 per cent of electricity and within this, solar accounted for 3.6 per cent, contributed mostly by utility scale solar PV such as solar parks, whereas the share of rooftop PV was negligible.

Body:

List down the challenges that are involved in executing the idea of solar rooftop PVs.

Present the underlying challenges in detail.

Discuss the efforts of the Government in this direction.

Suggest suitable solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of solar power for a tropical country like India.

Introduction:

Photovoltaic (PV) cell is an energy harvesting technology, that converts solar energy into useful electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect.

Body:

Solar Energy Scenario in India:

  • Solar power in Indiais a fast developing industry. The country’s solar installed capacity reached 35.12 GW as of 30 June 2020. India has the lowest capital cost per MW globally of installing solar power plants.
  • The Indian government had an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule.
  • In 2015 the target was raised to 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022, targeting an investment of US$100 billion.
  • Rooftop solar power accounts for 2.1 GW, of which 70% is industrial or commercial. In addition to its large-scale grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) initiative, India is developing off-grid solar power for local energy needs.

Challenges:

  • The capital expenditure and technical know-how needed for these processes decreases from the first item to the last.
  • In other words, silicon production is more capital-intensive than module assembly.
  • Most Indian companies are engaged in only module assembly or wafer manufacturing and module assembly.
  • No Indian company is involved in silicon production, although a few are making strides towards it.
  • Uncertainty in weather: The design of a solar power generation system involves either the use of historical weather data or weather forecast methods to predict the future temporal evolution of the solar energy system.
  • Solar irradiance:Solar irradiance is essential in operation of the PV systems and it can have a significant impact on the efficiency and power quality response of the whole system.
  • Initial Cost:The high initial cost of solar PV systems is one of the most significant barriers to PV adoption.
    • As the initial cost of PV system decreases and the cost of conventional fuel sources increases, these systems will become more economically competitive.
  • Lack of easy and cheap funding, and increasing cheap imports from China and Taiwan is hurting the domestic industry.
  • Surplus Power: In India, net metering system is currently not available and thus the surplus power generated from renewable energy sources cannot be sold to the utilities.
  • Transmission & Distribution losses that at approximately 40 percent make generation through solar energy sources highly unfeasible.
  • Manufacturers are mostly focused on export markets that buy Solar PV cells. This could result in reduced supplies for the local market.
  • Energy Storage:Off grid PV systems typically use batteries for storing energy, and the use of batteries could increase the size, cost and complexity of the system.
  • Education:PV systems present a new and unfamiliar technology; few people understand value and feasibility. This lack of information slows market and technological growth.

Way Forward:

  • integrated policies fully supported by States. Industry must get help to set up facilities and avail low cost financing both important elements in China’s rise and be able to invest in intellectual property.
  • Manufacturing of solar cell is dominated by a handful number of countries. India, in order to become a world leader in solar power, need for indigenous development of Solar Cells.
  • There is an immediate necessityto develop the entire value chain ecosystem to become competitive and achieve sustainable growth in the long run.
  • Flexible financing optionsfor individuals to install rooftop solar installations would also support a faster adoption of clean energy.
  • Focus on last mile connectivityin remote areas through small solar installations
  • solar community grids by using a domestically manufactured PV Cells with small power inverters or batteries in every home cam ensure power for
  • Rapid progress requires a strategic shift to aid competitive domestic manufacturing.
  • The government would recognise, the idea of building a domestic solar cell manufacturing industry that delivers increasing volumes of quality photovoltaic cells, modules and associated equipment is long in the tooth.
  • Viewed against the goals set five years ago for the Paris Agreement on climate, of installing 100 GW of solar power by 2022, there could be a sharp deficit.
  • Combined with low domestic cell manufacturing capacityat 3.1 GW last year, and heavy reliance on China, high ambition must now be supported by aggressive official policy.

Conclusion:

Renewable energy, particularly solar, is crucial to India’s future. Due diligence should be exercised while selecting and procuring solar modules, effective development of photovoltaic cells, including verifying the antecedents of the manufacturer, and independent checks on the quality of the modules imported into India.

 

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. Discuss the possible role that Blockchain technology can play in transforming agriculture sector in the country. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents to us insights on the possible role that Blockchain technology can play in transforming agriculture sector.

Key Demand of the question:

On must discuss in detail as to how Blockchain technology can prove to be pivotal in transforming Indian Agricultural sector.

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:

Brief about what Blockchain technology is in general in couple of lines.

Body:

Start by discussing first the importance of Agriculture to Indian setup; Agriculture, along with its allied sectors, is the largest source of livelihood in India with close to 70 per cent of rural households financially dependent on it. India is also one of the top 15 major exporters of agricultural products and clearly has a huge scope to increase employment opportunities across the country.

Discuss then the positives of the Blockchain technology such as Immutability, transparency and efficiency. Relate these features and their importance to agriculture, give examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such technologies to agriculture sector of the country.

Introduction:

Blockchain technology is a structure that stores transactional records (known as the block) of the public in several databases (known as the chain) in a network connected through peer-to-peer nodes. This storage is referred to as a digital ledger. The three key principles of blockchain technology are transparency, decentralisation and accountability.

Body:

blockchain

Need for Blockchain Technology in Agriculture Sector:

  • Innovation combined with advanced technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) offer revolutionary solutions to agriculture.
  • Assimilation of modern technologies takes time but this gap needs to be addressed on an immediate basis so that even small and medium-sized farmers can avail themselves of low-cost technology and benefit from it.
  • With India being an agrarian economy, blockchain technology will clearly be a gamer changer as it can provide tamper-proof, accurate data about the farms, inventory, credit scores and food tracking.

Potential Ways in which Blockchain can help Agriculture:

  • Land ownership, surveying
    • In India, there is still heavy dependence on physical paperwork and files to store land/farmers’ data which is marred with a lot of inconsistencies.
    • Blockchain could provide a systematic, tamper-proof digital ledger of land records in case of farmer/land registrations both in urban and rural regions.
    • customised solutions to farmers based on their individual requirement, which will help promote sustainable farming.
    • Blockchain intervention can also help expedite financial settlements and farmers no longer have to wait for payments endlessly.
    • There are no intermediaries or additional costs involved.
  • Fraud prevention
    • Since the information stored on blockchain is decentralised in nature, it cannot be changed or tampered with once fed into the system.
    • It offers a reliable approach of tracing transactions between anonymous participants.
    • Embracing blockchain could solve challenges in real-time pertaining to information management process across the pre-harvest and post-harvest value chain.
    • Blockchain will promote ease of doing business with increased trust and security. Farm to fork traceability gives confidence to the end-buyer as well.
  • Transparency for customers
    • A blockchain can assist in storing and providing accurate information at every step in the food supply chain.
    • Blockchain can provide reliable information regarding the origin of the food items right from the source to the store.
    • It will help simplify the complicated logistics process, especially in streamlining the deliveries.
  • Blockchain based seed certification
    • This aims to ensure quality check throughout the supply chain of seed distribution so that farmers are provided with the best quality seeds for improved yields.

Concerns / Challenges

  • Obtaining the data uploaded to a blockchain can be very costly, which will be a barrier to the adoption of blockchain technology in the sector.
  • Blockchain does not directly seamlessly integrate with existing database and legacy systems.
  • Building an infrastructure to use the blockchain technology is often time-consuming.

Conclusion:

In a nutshell, blockchain is a revolutionary technology that can provide lasting solutions to the gripping problems faced by the Indian agriculture industry. It has the capability to diminish inefficiencies and will promote optimal utilisation of time, energy and resources in the agriculture value chain. Blockchain is likely to have a significant impact in creating a qualitative agricultural ecosystem in developing backward forward linkages, developing agricultural infrastructure.

 

Topic : Disaster and disaster management.

6. Examine the role of corporate social responsibility as an emerging avenue in managing disasters. (250 words)

Reference: ndmindia.nic.in

Why the question:

The question is premised on the role and contributions of corporate sector in managing disasters in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to examine the role of corporate social responsibility as an emerging avenue in managing disasters.

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:

Corporates have always played a pivotal role in the post-disaster relief, rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in the affected areas. The Corporate sector has contributed to the developmental work through employee contribution, funds or donations.

Body:

Explain that recognising the importance of integrating the corporate sector in disaster management, govt. of India has included all disaster relief expenditure as part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contribution.

The Corporate sector can play a key role in supporting and building the knowledge, capacity and skills of the community through disaster management activities ranging from mitigation and preparedness to response and recovery.

 Ensuring that existing and upcoming industrial assets and infrastructure are disaster-resistant is also the responsibility of the corporate sector.

Discuss all possible benefits of CSR in disaster management and its importance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is referred as a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare and to promote positive social and environmental change.

Body:

Features of Act:

Under the Companies Act, businesses can invest their profits in areas such as promoting rural development in terms of healthcare, sanitation, education including skill development, environmental sustainability, etc.

Companies are required to spend, in every financial year, at least 2% of their average net profits generated during the 3 immediately preceding financial years.

In India, the concept of CSR is governed by clause 135 of the Companies Act, 2013.

  • India is the first country in the world to mandate CSR spending along with a framework to identify potential CSR activities.
  • The CSR provisions within the Act is applicable to companies with an annual turnover of 1,000 crore and more, or a net worth of Rs. 500 crore and more, or a net profit of Rs. 5 crore and more.
  • The Act requires companies to set up a CSR committee which shall recommend a Corporate Social Responsibility Policy to the Board of Directors and also monitor the same from time to time.
  • The Act encourages companies to spend 2% of their average net profit in the previous three years on CSR activities.
  • The indicative activities, which can be undertaken by a company under CSR, have been specified under Schedule VII of the Act.

To the company

  • Brand and Image building CSR is a tool for companies to support community during disaster.
  • Employee retention and satisfaction improves as CSR initiatives increase employee morale and create a sense of belongingness in them promote disaster management.

To the community

  • The community benefits in coping up with disaster through CSR.
  • Creates social energy in to support manage organise relief effort in coping with disaster.

To the government

  • Reduced pressure on the country s fiscal resources in managing disasters.
  • Aids in achieving welfare obligations of the government as investments are made towards education, healthcare which is most affected during disasters.
  • Bridging of socio-economic disparities post disaster.

Issues related to CSR:

  • Disinterest among the corporates: Many corporates see this as a burden on their manpower and time in a global scenario with tough competition.
  • Nature of the law: More than a dozen amendments in the law since its enactment has hampered its effective implementation. Some anomalies in tax treatment still remain in the law.
  • CSR in monetary value: Companies have been encouraging its employees towards social work which cannot be measured on a monetary scale. Attaching monetary terms would mean companies to reorient their policies to satisfy the monetary norms of the law.
  • Scope of the law: The law mentions activities ranging from eradication of hunger, poverty etc. which account to social spending.
    • companies spend substantial amounts on employee welfare programs like school and hospital which has not been accounted for.
  • Mandated organisation structure: The law mandates CSR committee which may not be in line with the existing structure in many organisations.
    • Companies don’t get the flexibility to carry out welfare programs as the law specifically enumerates the area on which CSR money should be spent.
    • Many companies are already spending more than asked in law but there contribution isn’t counted under CSR as they’re spending in other areas which is not included in law.
    • States or local governments have been slow in tapping CSR potential. For effective CSR the government is supposed to show the vision and activities needed.
  • Ambiguity in taxation: While CSR spends do not qualify for tax deduction, Income tax act provides exemptions on Allowable Business Expenditure (ABE).
    • It opens doors for litigation to decide whether an expenditure falls under CSR or ABE as private sector is motivated to put expenditure under ABE and avoid tax.
  • Independent CSR Board: The requirement to establish independent board to monitor CSR not only creates an extra burden but also creates a new conflict between CEO and board.

Measures needed:

  • Measures should be taken to promote voluntary undertaking of CSR initiatives by companies. This can be done by inculcating social and ethical values in youth that join the workforce.
  • Facilitating collaboration between NGOs, Agencies involved in environmental and social work and corporates this will enable better utilization of CSR funds.
  • Assessing impact of CSR initiatives This should be done over a longer period of 3 to 5 years to gauge the full impact of costs incurred.
  • Encouraging corporates to spend in hitherto neglected areas such as sports, conservation of heritage etc.
  • Enabling exchange and sharing of best practices between corporates through CSR summits.
  • Scrutiny of CSR investments so as to prevent fraudulent transactions in the name of social responsibility
  • Rationalizing Corporate Tax: This must be expedited as higher corporate taxes when seen along with CSR compulsions adversely reflect on the business environment in the country.

Conclusion:

National Disaster Management Framework drawn up by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India envisages “involvement of corporate sector in awareness generation and disaster preparedness and mitigation planning” through sensitization, training and co-opting, must be implemented effectively.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. What are the seven norms proposed by Bentham for the measurement of pleasure? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: egyankosh.ac.in

Why the question:

The question is based on the Jeremy Bentham’s theory.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the seven norms proposed by Bentham for the measurement of pleasure.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by referring to the theory of Bentham.

Body:

In measuring pleasure and pain, Bentham introduces the following criteria: Its intensity, duration, certainty (or uncertainty), and its nearness (or farness). He also includes its “fecundity” (more or less of the same will follow) and its “purity” (its pleasure won’t be followed by pain & vice versa).

Then explain the seven norms in detail and their relevance.

In order to measure the extent of pain or pleasure that a certain decision will create, he lays down a set of criteria divided into the categories of intensity, duration, certainty, proximity, productiveness, purity, and extent. Using these measurements, he reviews the concept of punishment and when it should be used as far as whether a punishment will create more pleasure or more pain for a society.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

The principle of utility, or “greatest happiness principle,” forms the cornerstone of all Bentham’s thought. By “happiness,” he understood a predominance of “pleasure” over “pain.

Body:

  • He wrote in an Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation: Nature has placed mankind under the governance of two sovereign masters, pain and pleasure. It is for them alone to point out what we ought to do, as well as to determine what we shall do. On the one hand the standard of right and wrong, on the other the chain of causes and effects, are fastened to their throne. They govern us in all we do, in all we say, in all we think.
  • Bentham’s Principles of Morals and Legislationfocuses on the principle of utility and how this view of morality ties into legislative practices. His principle of utility regards good as that which produces the greatest amount of pleasure and the minimum amount of pain and evil as that which produces the most pain without the pleasure. This concept of pleasure and pain is defined by Bentham as physical as well as spiritual.

Bentham’s way of assessing pleasure:

Bentham immediately saw the difficulty with using the utilitarian maxim as the basis for a normative approach to ethical decision-making. How could pleasure be quantified effectively, let alone ranked according to quality? The measurement of pleasure, pain, happiness or sadness is incredibly difficult and Bentham was aware of this. He suggested various criteria for assessing pleasures. In one essay he listed seven criteria by which to evaluate pleasure produced by an action, namely:

  • Extent (the number of people affected)
    • For E.g.: Death by Hanging for a convict that ensures safety of public at large is ethical.
  • Duration (how long it lasts)
    • For E.g.: Lying on eating a chocolate is not necessarily unethical because its impacts do not last long and will not impact lives drastically.
  • Purity (does pleasure depend on pain in some way)
    • For Eg: Pleasures derived by gaining success involves taking pain of working hard, sacrifices beforehand.
  • Fecundity (the likelihood of producing further pleasures)
    • For E.g.: Hunger is basest of habits, because it is fecund in bringing pleasures.
  • Intensity (how strong a sensation)
    • For E.g.: Intensity of sensation of hunger is the one of the strongest of all desires, which decides our actions thought and behaviours.
  • Nearness / remoteness (how close at hand it is).
    • For E.g.: Availability, accessibility, affordability of fish is more prominent in coastal areas, brings more pleasure than cereals.
  • Certainty (is it definitely going to be this way)
    • For E.g.: People opt out of politics as a career because it is uncertain in bringing pleasure.

Conclusion:

Formulation of “Felicific calculus” provides the basic framework of social interaction by delimiting spheres of personal inviolability within which individuals can form and pursue their own conceptions of well-being that has contributed in various fields like Economy, social issues, politics are exemplary.


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