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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 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 : GS-1: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

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

1. Analyse in what way redefining urban areas can have far-reaching impact on ease of living and economic development of the people in the country.(250 words)

Reference: Financial Express 

Why the question:

The article explains the need to relook at the definition of an urban area in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse in what way redefining urban areas can have far-reaching impact on ease of living and economic development of the people in the country.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining what constitute urban areas in our country, their definition and existence.

Body:

Explain the importance and definition of urban areas in general and in specific to policymaking and the consequent activities of legislative and executive responses and budgetary allocations.

Analyse the existing definitions of urban areas; discuss the concerns associated with it.

Discuss the need for newly defined urban areas and explain their direct and indirect impact on ease of living and economic development.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to urgently address the concerns associated with definition of urban areas.

Introduction:

An urban area is the region surrounding a city. Most inhabitants of urban areas have non-agricultural jobs. Urban areas are very developed, meaning there is a density of human structures such as houses, commercial buildings, roads, bridges, and railways. “Urban area” can refer to towns, cities, and suburbs.

Body:

Current definition of Urban Areas in India:

In India there are 2 ways to define urban areas:

  • Statutory town
  • These towns are defined by state governmentsand place India’s urbanisation rate at 26.7%.
  • A statutory town includes all places with a municipality, corporation, cantonment board or notified town area committee.
  • Census-based criteria
  • Census adopts three criteria to define what is urban.
  • The three criteria are:
    • a minimum population of 5,000;
    • at least 75% of the male main working population engaged in non-agricultural pursuits, and
    • a density of population of at least 400 persons per sq. km
  • This, coupled with statutory towns, pegs India’s urbanisation rate at 31%.
  • Total number of towns (state and census) stands at 7,933, together constituting a 377-mn population.

The Need for Changing Definition of Urban Areas:

  • There is growing evidence—mostly from satellite imagery—that India isway more urban than the 2011 Census estimate.
  • This is quite plausible because there isa large sum of money allocated for rural development, and it is in the interest of state governments to under-represent urbanisation.
  • Besides, the Census’s stringent definition was first carved out in 1961which do not reflect the realities of the 21st century.
  • India won’t be alone in changing these definitions for Census 2021.
  • Many countries, such as China, Iran, the UK, among others, have changed the definition of ‘urban’from one census to another.

Present Scenario of Urbanization:

  • A more liberal and realistic definition in the upcoming census will present the actual picture of urbanisation.
  • For instance, if we just use the population density criteria like 37 other countries,with the 400 people per sq. km threshold, we will add around 500 mn people to the urban share of the population.
  • This pegs the urbanisation rate at over 70%!

Potential Implications:

  • budgetary allocation will reflect the realityand scales will balance between rural and urban areas.
  • The urban areas will not be governed through rural governance structures of Panchayati Raj Institutions.
  • Basic urban infrastructure like sewerage networks, fire services, building regulations, high-density housing, transit-oriented development, piped drinking water supply.
  • These newly defined urban areas could act as a new source of revenue for funding local infrastructure development.
  • This would ease pressure on state finances.
  • Lastly, the rethink of urban definition would have an impact on theregional and national economy.
  • These newly defined urban areas will open them to new infrastructure such as railway lines, Discom services, highway connectivity, creation of higher education institutes which will together increase the connectivity and resource capability at the local level.
  • This will not only boost the local economy but also ease pressure on bigger cities and help in cluster level development.

Conclusion

A rethink of urban definition in Census 2021, particularly with some degrowth in urban areas due to Covid, will bode well for India for coming decades in more ways than one.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Do you agree that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act could prove calamitous to fundamental rights? Is foregoing liberty for national security acceptable? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

A journalist from Kerala was accused of sedition and various offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA) and arrested on the way to Hathras on October 7. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the crippling effect of sedition and UAPA on dissent in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what UAPA is, explain briefly its background.

Body:

Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India. The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so. Discuss more such details.

Explain the criticisms of UAPA. And discuss the associated concerns. An individual cannot be called a ‘terrorist’ prior to conviction in a court of law, It subverts the principle of “innocent until proven guilty. A wrongful designation will cause irreparable damage to a person’s reputation, career and livelihood.

Conclusion:

Conclude that while none will question the need for stringent laws that show ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism, the government should be mindful of its obligations to preserve fundamental rights while enacting legislation on the subject.

Introduction:

Parliament recently approved an amendment to the anti-terror law – Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act to give powers to the central government to designate an individual as terrorist and seize his properties. Moreover, journalist from Kerala was accused of sedition and various offences under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA) and arrested on the way to Hathras recently.

Body:

Key Features of the UAPA Act:

  • It empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists if the person commits or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, promotes terrorism or is otherwise involved in terrorism.
  • This has been done as it is seen that when a terrorist organization is banned, its members form a new organization to spread terrorism.
  • The bill also empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is being investigated by the agency.
  • Under the existing Act, the investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police (DGP) to seize properties that bear any connection to terrorism.
  • It has been seen that many times a terror accused own properties in different states. In such cases, seeking approval of DGPs of different states becomes very difficult, and the delay caused by the same may enable the accused to transfer properties.
  • It empowers the officers of the NIA — of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • The existing Act provides for investigation of cases to be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
  • No changes being made in arrest or bail provisions. Also, the provision that the burden of proof is on the investigating agency and not on the accused, has not been changed.
  • The International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) has also been added in the Second Schedule through the Amendment.

Impact on Fundamental rights:

  • It allows the central government to name an individual as a terrorist if it “believes” without any formal judicial process, which is against the principles of natural justice.
  • The name of such a person will be included in the ‘Fourth Schedule’ proposed to be added in the parent Act. The only statutory remedy available to such a person is to make an application before the Central Government for de-notification, which will be considered by a Review Committee constituted by the Government itself.
  • An official designation as a terrorist will be akin to ‘civil death’ for a person, with social boycott, expulsion from job, hounding by media, and perhaps attack from self-proclaimed vigilante groups following.
  • The Amendment poses threat to different viewpoints and goes against the freedom of speech and expression of an individual.
  • The law could target minorities or a section of people thereby affecting their cultural rights.
  • Provisions of the UAPA have an extremely wide ambit, which makes it possible to use them against not just criminals and terrorists, but even authors, academics, lawyers for alleged terrorists, and human rights activists.

Indefinite Imprisonment without Trial: Even if the person is eventually acquitted of the charges, the delays in conducting judicial proceedings mean the case may only get heard several years after their arrest – failure to get bail means they have to spend the entire time in jail.

  • The Act also interferes with the privacy and liberty of individuals contravening the provisions which protect against arbitrary or unlawful interference with a person’s privacy and home.
  • The Act allows for searches, seizures and arrests based on the ‘personal knowledge’ of the police officers without a written validation from a superior judicial authority.

Liberty v/s National Security:

  • This law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective is to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India.
  • But there must be a distinction between an individual and an organisation, and it must be kept in mind that the Constitution guarantees the former the right to life and liberty.
  • Benjamin Franklin said: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

Way forward:

  • There is a need to undertake structural changes to provide transparency in the proceedings to make UAPA act more accountable.
  • Proper justification must be provided for the seizure of the properties and assets of an individual.
  • The bill must ensure judicial solutions to the wrongly accused to safeguard the individual’s dignity, freedom and equality in the society.
  • The government must also rethink regarding the issues pertaining to the rights of life and liberty, and to federalism.

Conclusion:

In civilised nations, from whom India has taken its Constitution and its laws, the criminal justice system is about the rights of the accused. That is also the foundation of our justice system. The very idea of the UAPA and the decision to start naming people terrorists without securing a conviction from a court of law, goes against the principles of natural justice.

 

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

3. Analyze the discrimination against people suffering from mental health in the country and discuss the need for community-based mental health services as a long term remedy. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article analyzes the underlying discrimination against people suffering from mental health.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyze the discrimination against people suffering from mental health in the country and discuss the need for community-based mental health services as a long term remedy.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

One can start with facts hinting at the mental health status in India.

Body:

The available data shows that one out of six or seven people in the world have a mental health problem or illness.

Discuss the discriminatory practices in the country such as there are a host of laws that discriminate against people with mental health issues. The marriage laws, whether it is the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, or the Special Marriage Act, 1954, provides for mental illness as a ground for divorce even though other health issues like HIV, leprosy are not considered grounds for divorce. Under the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a person with a mental health problem is denied voting. The legislation says that a person with an ‘unsound mind’ is ineligible. The electoral officers across the country have interpreted that ‘unsound mind’ means mental illness. Talk about the associated stigma.

Suggest solutions to address the above challenges.  Talk about need for the community based management and its importance.

Conclusion:

There is the urgent need to provide more community-based mental health services as they have been found to be more effective, less costly and easily accessible.

Introduction:

According to the World Health Organization, over 90 million Indians, or 7.5% of the population, suffer from mental health issues. Mental health issues are among the leading causes of non-fatal disease burden in India; one in every seven Indian was affected by mental health issues in 2017; Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death has highlighted the issue.

Body:

Status of Mental health in India:

  • According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness makes about 15% of the total disease conditions around the world.
  • The same estimate also suggests that India has one of the largest populations affected from mental illness.
  • As a result, WHO has labelled India as the world’s ‘most depressing country’.
  • Moreover, between 1990 to 2017, one in seven people from India have suffered from mental illness ranging from depression, anxiety to severe conditions such as schizophrenia, according to a study. It is no exaggeration to suggest that the country is under a mental health epidemic.
  • More than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders. According to WHO, by the year 2020, depression will constitute the second largest disease burden worldwide (Murray & Lopez, 1996).

Stigma of mental illness

  • the stigma of mental illness significantly less in Europe, US and some of the developed countries because of the awareness programmes and contrary in developing Asian countries.
  • The major focus is on reducing the stigma of mental illness, mainly on not misunderstanding any psychiatric problem or mental health problem as severe mental disorder or lunacy.
  • People do not accept the fact that that they are suffering from mental illness. This mind-set helps aggravate the health issues related to mental distress.
  • Leading to Social deprivation of mentally challenged citizens
  • People with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are significantly disturbed, danger to self or others, and socially embarrassing. These were referred to as lunacy.
  • Respecting the human rights of the persons who are living with mental illness is important.

Main hurdles in overcoming the problem of mental health in India:

  • Lack of awareness in common people.
  • Stigma related to mental disorders.
  • Delayed treatment-seeking behavior.
  • Lack of low-cost diagnostic test.
  • Limited access and availability to easily available treatment.
  • Over beliefs in traditional medicine and supernatural powers delay diagnosis and treatment.

Need for Community Led Interventions:

  • Increasing the number of psychologists and psychiatrists alone won’t help. Stigma and awareness are two separate issues although interlinked. They need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness.
  • Community Partnership: By forming self-help groups of carers families along with NGO’s which brings community participation and helps reduce the social stigma associated with mental illness.
  • Increase Resources:
  • Increasing mental healthcare facilities and related infrastructure through more resource allocation in the budget.
  • Adequate Mental healthcare professional availability.
  • Empathetic Service delivery: Delivery of services should be sensitive, compassionate and free from stigma and discrimination in public healthcare institutions.

Way forward:

  • Stigma and Awareness need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness in India. If individuals continue to view mental illness with apprehension and resistance, it will remain difficult for people with mental health concerns to seek the support they require due to the fear of being labelled or judged.
  • State mental health institutions, general hospitals, private practice, and NGOs can together help achieve the dream of mental health care for all.
  • WHO says if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally.
  • Need for being kind, compassionate and empathetic towards all. Because Everyone is fighting their own battle, some more silently than others. It’s time to add value and enrich one another’s lives.
  • Mental Illness is real, hard, disabling and needs addressal and treatment. People should seek professional help as soon as the need arises. Early detection and intervention of a psychological condition will allow you to live the life you deserve.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. Reviving private investment in infrastructure will be key in post-Covid recovery. Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article explains how after we emerge out of this pandemic, a focus area for public policy has to be the creation of a modern-day, sustainable and resilient infrastructure.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the importance of reviving private investment in infrastructure will be key in post-Covid recovery.

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:

Explain the current conditions of the country around the pandemic and the challenges thrown by it.

Body:

Start by highlighting the role of public-private partnerships (PPPs) in India.

Discuss in what way private investments in infrastructure will be key in post-Covid recovery.

Take hints from the article and explain in detail.  Bring out the associated challenges and suggest methods to overcome it.

Conclusion:

After we emerge out of this pandemic, a focus area for public policy has to be the creation of a modern-day, sustainable and resilient infrastructure that not only improves the ease of living for all Indians, but also absorbs a majority of the millions of young people who enter the workforce every year. Designing a fresh approach and creating a stable policy environment that provides comfort and incentives to private investors will be key to attaining this goal.

Introduction:

Private investment in India has always been on lower side. Currently, private financing into the infrastructure sector has declined to around 20 per cent of the total funding. The Covid pandemic has shut the gates of private investment due to fear or non-recovery.

Body:

Reasons for the decline are-

  • thecrisis in the non-banking finance
  • the financial challenges faced by infrastructure companies.
  • the inadequately developed Indian market for infrastructure financing.
  • The Economic Survey 2017-18 has assessed India’s infrastructure financing needsat $4.5 trillion by 2040.
  • Reviving private investment flows into infrastructure to around 40 per centwill be key to attaining this threshold.

Actions need to be taken to revive the private investment in infrastructure

  • The Vijay Kelkar committeehad put out a balanced report in 2015 on overhauling the PPP ecosystem, including governance reform, institutional redesign, and capacity-building.

Ramping up private investments in infrastructure will need action on two fronts:

  • Refreshinginstitutions and policies for channelling financing.
  • Providing a stable, durable, and empowering ecosystem for private players to partner with government entities.

Institutions and policies for channelling financing

  • Due to long-duration profitability cycles of infrastructure projects, successful PPP requiresstable revenue flow assurances and a settled ecosystem to investors over long periods.
  • This could be achieved means of policy stability, assurances possibly secured by law.
  • PPP contracts also need to provide for mid-course corrections to factor in uncertainties including utilisation patterns, as well as the creation of competing infra assets.
  • Government partners in PPP arrangements need to ensure that open-ended arrangement that might entail unforeseeable risk are minimised for the private investor, including aspects such as land availability and community acceptance.

Institution and policies for financing

  • There is a need to change the culture and attitude towards the conjoining of government entities and private partners.
  • Kelkar committee has stated that there needs to be an approach of “give and take” and the Government should avoid a purely transactional approach.
  • Government should avoid trying tominimise risk to themselves by passing on uncertain elements in a project — like the land acquisition risk — to the private partner.
  • This attitudinal change can be achieved byamending the Prevention of Corruption Act to encompass modern-day requirements, including factoring in the need for government agents to take calibrated risks while engaging with the private sector.
  • The private partners also need to be incentivised to focus on project outcomes, with guard-rails in place to discourage rent-seeking behaviour.
  • In sum, risk avoidance by the public entity and rent-seeking by the private partner are the twin challenges that need to be carefully addressed.
  • On the regulatory front, a compelling need would be to promulgate a PPP legislation which can provide a robust legal ecosystem and procedural comfort.

Conclusion

After we emerge out of this pandemic, a focus area for public policy has to be the creation of a modern-day, sustainable and resilient infrastructure. Designing a fresh approach and creating a stable policy environment that provides comfort and incentives to private investors will be key to attaining this goal.

 

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

5. Discuss the biological applications of CRISPR/Cas9 system; explain in what way the gene editing technology has opened newer dimensions in the application of science? Also bring out the associated concerns. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The 2020 Nobel Prizes for Chemistry has been awarded to two women scientists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier “for the development of the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic method for genome editing”.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the biological applications of CRISPR/Cas9 system; explain in what way the gene editing technology has opened newer dimensions in the application of science and also bring out the associated challenges.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining what CRISPR/Cas9 system is.

Body:

CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats.

The CRISPR are a part of bacteria’s immunological systems that help them in recognising threatening viruses. When they detect a virus, the bacteria produce customized RNA, which contains Cas (CRISPR-associated) genes that are used to produce enzymes such as Cas-9. These enzymes are used to chop the DNA of the virus and destroy them.

List the advantages/significance of this technology.  Also suggest upon its applications.

Discuss the concerns and challenges involved in practicing the technology.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a positive note that the technology can be game changer in the field of science with varied applications concerning health.

Introduction:

CRISPRs (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) are sections of DNA, while CAS-9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) is an enzyme. Often described as “a pair of molecular scissors,” CRISPR is widely considered the most precise, most cost-effective and quickest way to edit genes.

The 2020 Nobel Prizes for sciences announced this week made history of sorts when one of it was exclusively shared by two women. Scientists Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier bagged the Nobel Prize for Chemistry “for the development of a method for genome editing”. The discovery of “one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors” will lead to the emergence of novel biological applications by making it easier to edit genes, and “may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true”.

Body:

CRISPR technology is basically a gene-editing technology that can be used for the purpose of altering genetic expression or changing the genome of an organism. The technology can be used for targeting specific stretches of an entire genetic code or editing the DNA at particular locations. CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops.

Working of CRISPR-CAS9 Technology:

  • CRISPR-Cas9 technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information.
  • The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or “edited”, is identified on the DNA strand, and then, using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, that location is cut off from the strand.
  • A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself.
  • Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process, supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.

But editing the genes using CRISPR-CAS9 raises grave safety, social, and ethical concerns.

  • Study by Stanford University, U.S., found that the CRISPR-Cas9 system introduces unexpected off-target (outside of the intended editing sites) effects in mice. The fear that the CRISPR system is being prematurely rushed for clinical use lingers. Three recent reports have exacerbated this fear even further.
  • Studies highlighted that CRISPR-Cas9-edited cells might trigger cancer.
  • P53 protein:
    • CRISPR-Cas9 system induced activation of a protein called P53. This P53 protein acts like a gatekeeper or guardian in the cells to keep them healthy and prevents them (the cells) from turning cancerous. In many cancers, cells lose their ability to repair deleterious genetic changes due to an impaired P53 function.
    • In cells where editing is adequate, the cell’s P53 protein may be dysfunctional. Therefore, a functional pP53 protein is good for the cells to be healthy but makes the Cas9-mediated editing process less effective.
  • The impending danger of mosaicism, in which some cells inherit the target mutation, while others don’t.
  • Scientists are far from understanding how exactly individual genes influence phenotypes, or the visible traits of people.
  • Every gene likely influences multiple traits, depending on the environment it interacts This makes it hard to predict the ultimate outcome of an embryo-editing exercise without decades of follow-up.
  • Every gene influences trade-offs, which scientists barely understand today. Example: while protecting against HIV, a deactivated CCR5 gene can also make people more susceptible to West-Nile Fever.
  • Editing human embryos to repair disease-causing genes is far more controversial.
  • Issue of Designer babies: The eyes of the mother, the hair of the father, the complexion from the maternal side and a cute little dimple from the paternal is what makes the kid loved by one and all. Designing the babies to look like celebrities might get the kids to thank you later in life but might loosen the bond that is supposed to be the significant part of the relationship.
  • There are prospects of irreversible harms to the health of future children and generations, to concerns about opening the door to new forms of social inequality, discrimination, and conflict.
  • Such living experiments are done in secret, outside of any formal institution, and apparently without any independent scrutiny or review by the scientific fraternity.
  • Bioethicists fear abuse of gene editing, not just by misguided governments hoping to create a ‘superior’ race.

Way Forward:

  • India’s current regulatory architecture for approving novel treatments is ambiguous and assigns overlapping functions to different governmental bodies. This framework needs to be restructured to optimize trial approval time while addressing safety requirements.
  • A two-step model wherein the government works with industry and research groups to accelerate clinical research is recommended. This model consists of a national apex committee working in collaboration with existing institutional ethics committees and independent accreditation agencies.
  • It is envisaged that, India will emerge as a significant contributor to the world bioinformatics market and position itself as a global hub for bioinformatics.
  • Indian bioinformatics sector has numerous strengths and competitive advantages to make bioinformatics sector a sunrise industry of India.
  • With the improvements in the IPR regime, increasing support from the government and continuing efforts of the private sector companies, it is very much likely that India could repeat its IT success story in bioinformatics too.
  • Much research on animal models and isolated human cells should be conducted before any full-scale routine application in humans.

Conclusion:

CRISPR technology is indeed a path-breaking technology, to alter genes in order to tackle a number of conventional and unconventional problems, especially in the health sector. However, experiments and tests to validate its use must be subjected to appropriate scrutiny by the regulators, and their use must be controlled to prevent commercial misuse.

 

Topic : basics of cyber security. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

6. “Cyber warfare is both cheap and anonymous because the nature of the game has changed radically over the past two decades. “in the context of the question analyse the growing threat of cyber warfare world is facing today. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of cyber warfare.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the statement in detail and analyse the growing threat of cyber warfare world is facing today.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain what cyber warfare is.

Body:

Cyber warfare is a strategic competition conducted between adversaries in cyberspace. It allows countries to conduct covert operations on a large scale, cheaply, and anonymously. These latter three attributes are particularly important to understand.

Cyber warfare is broad because it can occur in at least five different spaces — economic, societal, cultural/intellectual, military, and political.

Explain how it is both cheap and anonymous. Give examples to substantiate (Take cues from the article)

Discuss the question of combatting Cyberwarfare. Suggest solutions to address it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Cyberwarfare is here and given that it poses a fundamental threat to both institutions and individuals, there has to be a concerted government-driven long-term strategy to counter it.

Introduction:

Cyber warfare is computer- or network-based conflict involving politically motivated attacks by a nation-state on another nation-state. In these types of attacks, nation-state actors attempt to disrupt the activities of organizations or nation-states, especially for strategic or military purposes and cyber espionage.

Body:

It involves the actions by a nation-state or international organization to attack and attempt to damage another nation’s computers or information networks through, for example, computer viruses or denial-of-service attacks.

Global vulnerabilities to cyber threats:

  • The United States (US) department of defence (DoD) last week exposed an information-stealing malware, SlothfulMedia, which they said was being used to launch cyberattacks against targets in India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia and Ukraine.
  • While the DoD did not identify the cyber actor responsible for this particular malware, certain countries — China, Russia, North Korea, Iran — have consistently been accused of cyber warfare.
  • The most notorious example is, of course, that of the misinformation campaign conducted by Russian bots during the 2016 US presidential elections, a campaign that is said to be active again in the upcoming US elections.
  • Economically, in the US, 85% of cyberattack targets are in the private sector — small banks, for example, can face over 10,000 attacks per day.
  • US government agencies recently released a joint advisory warning that BeagleBoyz, a North Korean hacking group, has once again started robbing banks worldwide, including in India, through remote internet access to fund Kim Jong-Un’s cash-strapped regime.
  • Societally, sowing disinformation through social media disinformation is also cyberwarfare. Russia has been particularly savvy in this field but recently, China has stepped up its game. Intellectual property (IP) rights are another avenue of strategic competition — in 2014, the US justice department indicted five Chinese military hackers and accused them of stealing secrets from US Steel, JP Morgan, Alcoa, Westinghouse Electrical Co., SolarWorld and United Steelworkers.
  • Military cyberattacks are perhaps the most associated with cyberwarfare — the “Sandworm Team”, a group associated with Russian intelligence, has conducted attacks on government sectors in the US, Ukraine, Poland, and on the European Union and NATO.
  • A well-documented and game-changing cyberattack occurred in 2010 when a malware “Stuxnet” was released that was designed to damage Iran’s nuclear capability by making Iranian scientists and government think there were a series of internal engineering mishaps at their enrichment facility.

India’s vulnerabilities to cyber-threats:

gov

Measures needed for India:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organisations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Way forward:

  • To build relationships of trust between the government and private sector.
  • Governments must maintain priority investments in technology, science, and research and development (R&D) in the cyber sector.
  • Innovation is of paramount importance given the increasing complexity and sophistication of the attacks — the US has been investing heavily in new Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to be able to automatically identify cyber threats and also launch cyberattacks against adversaries.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

7. “Good governance and anti-corruption measures as central to its poverty alleviation mission.” Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  ppp.worldbank.org

Why the question:

The question is premised on the concept of Good governance and anti-corruption measures and their possible role in poverty alleviation mission.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of Good governance and anti-corruption measures and their centrality to poverty alleviation mission.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining that poor governance and corruption undermine the economies of developing countries as well as the World Bank’s core mission of poverty reduction and disproportionately affect the poor.

Body:

Start by defining what Good governance is.

Explain the importance of anti-corruption measures in general and more so specific to poverty alleviation programs. Such questions are best answered using examples.

Good governance has become the explanation for the failure of the structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) to deliver economic growth and poverty reduction. The link between good governance and poverty eradication is premised on the presumption that good governance promotes economic growth and development.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Twenty years ago, the World Bank took up the fight against corruption as an integral part of reducing poverty, hunger, and disease. The decision was ground-breaking then and remains valid today. Corruption diverts resources from the poor to the rich, leads to a culture of bribes, and distorts public expenditures, deterring foreign investors and hampering economic growth.

Anti-corruption must be paired with efforts to enable governments to govern openly and fairly, to provide services and security to their citizens, and create an environment that fosters jobs and economic growth.

Body:

Primary Reason for Existence of Poverty:

Chronic mismanagement and corruption that demoralizes citizens and undermines their trust in the state; corruption deepens poverty, leaving the poor vulnerable to exploitation and bribery in return for services such as health care and education; denying citizens participation in their governments stunts their full potential.

The attributes of good governance and effective institutions that enhance Poverty Alleviation:

Institution-building:

  • Prosperity and the quality of a country’s institutions typically go hand in hand. Governments with well-run, accountable institutions are better able to deliver public goods and support an environment that can generate jobs and growth.
  • Public sector performance is particularly important to the world’s poorest people, who rely disproportionately on government services, and improving service delivery is essential to leaving poverty behind.
  • Need to provide expertise and training to governments to strengthen public administration and public financial management — systems that are the key to ensuring fiscal resources are spent efficiently, effectively, and accountably.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, 50 million people in the poorest countries gained access to better water services, 413 million people received essential health services, and 102,000 kilometers of roads were constructed or improved.

Help countries mobilize the resources necessary for delivering services:

  • Fifty percent of low-income countries raise less than 15% of their gross domestic product in taxes. By contrast, the OECD average is about 34%.
  • The reason for this discrepancy is that poorest countries grapple with a wide range of problems: businesses — both foreign and domestic — that avoid paying taxes, large numbers of informal businesses that aren’t on the books, weak revenue administrations, poor governance, lack of international tax cooperation and the public’s mistrust.

Promoting tax reforms:

  • designing tax systems that are fair and accountable and don’t hinder economic growth.
  • For E.g.: From 2012 to 2014, Mauritania increased the amount it collects in taxes by nearly 50 percent through reforms to improve public resources management.

Promote transparency and accountability:

  • Openness about the use of public resources builds trust between citizens and their governments. It can make public spending more targeted and effective. This is why we work with governments to make their budgets and the way resources are used more transparent, this also reduces fraud and corruption, and makes citizen voices heard.
  • In Moldova, more than 2,200 public servants and other employees received e-government training. People can now access more than 880 government datasets and 131 electronic public services.
  • three-pronged approach of improving institutions, raising more domestic resources, and engaging citizens is the closest thing to a development silver bullet.

Conclusion:

Poverty eradication should not be the goal of the government but goal of the government policies should be to create prosperity. Good governance is an ideal which is difficult to achieve in its totality. Very few countries and societies have come close to achieving good governance in its totality. However, to ensure sustainable human development, actions must be taken to work towards this ideal with the aim of making it a reality.


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