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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Elucidate the main aspects of the policy of Dhamma as propounded by Ashoka and to what extent are they relevant to present-day India. (250 words)

Reference: NCERT – History of Medieval India class XI

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of the Policy of Dhamma proposed by Ashoka and its relevance as of today.

Key Demand of the question:

One must explain the main aspects of the policy of Dhamma as propounded by Ashoka and explain to what extent they are relevant to present-day India.

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:

Start by explaining what the Policy of Dhamma is.

Body:

Discuss in detail the principles underlying the policy of Dhamma; People should live in peace and harmony. Everyone should practice the principle of ahimsa, i.e. non-violence and non-injury to all living beings. People should love one another and display respect and tolerance towards other religious faiths. Children should obey their elders and elders should treat children with understanding. People should be truthful, charitable and kind to all, even towards servants and slaves.

Explain in points, how the policy of Dhamma was meant to reduce various conflicts and discords present in the Mauryan society at that time. Also draw conclusion as to how that makes it more than ever relevant to today’s times.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Ashoka’s Dhamma can still be an answer to the socio-political needs of the world even today.

Introduction:

Ashoka’s Dhamma was neither a new religion nor a new political philosophy. Rather, it was a way of life, a code of conduct and a set of principles to be adopted and practiced by the people at large. Dhamma related to generalized norms of social activities and behaviors.

Body:

Main aspects of the policy of Dhamma as propounded by Ashoka:

  • Major Rock Edict I: Prohibition of animal sacrifices and festive fathering’s.
  • Major Rock Edict II: Describes the medical missions sent everywhere (land of Cholas, Pandyas, Satyaputras, Keralaputras, Ceylon, Antiochus) for men and animals. Plantation of medicinal herbs and trees and digging of wells along the roads.
  • Major Rock Edict III: On 12 years of his consecration, Yuktas (subordinate officers) rajukas (rural administrators) and the Pradesikas (head of the districts) were ordered to tour every five years and propagate Dhamma. It also mentions about being generous to Brahmans and sramanas and obedient to one’s mother and father, friends and relatives.
  • Major Rock Edict IV: The sound of the drum has become the sound of Dhamma showing the people the divine form.
  • Major Rock Edict V: Mentions about the introduction of the institution of the dhamma-mahammatas, the officers of the Dhamma in his fourteenth year of reign. It also mentions about humane treat­ment of servants by masters and of prisoners by government officials.
  • Major Rock Edict VI: It-makes the relationship between the king and his subjects via the Mahamattas clearer and now the Mahamattas are told to make their reports to the king at any time and place.
  • Major Rock Edict VII: It pleads for toleration amongst all sects.
  • Major Rock Edict VIII: In the tenth year of his reign Asoka went on a visit to Bodh-Gaya, to see the Bodhi-tree. Following this event, he started a system of Dhamma-yatas which is described in this edict. Dhamma-yatas were occasions when he toured the country for the furtherance of Dhamma.
  • Major Rock Edict IX: All ceremonies are useless except Dhamma which includes respect for others and regard even for slaves and servants and donations to sramanas and Brahmans.
  • Major Rock Edict X: In this edict, Asoka denounces fame and glory and reasserts that the only glory he desires is that his subjects should follow the principles of Dhamma.
  • Major Rock Edict XI: It contains a further explanation of Dhamma. Here he refers to the gift of Dhamma, the distribution of Dhamma, the kinship detailed Dhamma.
  • Major Rock Edict XII: It is a direct and emphatic plea for toleration amongst the various sects.
  • Major Rock Edict XIII: It is among the most important document of Asokan history. It clearly states that the Kalinga war took place eight years after his consecration. It mentions about the replacements of bherighosa (sound of war drums) by dhammaghosa (sound of peace), i.e., con­quest through Dhamma instead through war.
  • Major Rock Edict XIV: It is a short edict in which Asoka explains that he has had these edicts inscribed throughout the country in complete or abridged versions.

Successes:

  • It is an important document of his essential humanity and an answer to the socio political needs of the contemporaneous situation.
  • It was not anti brahminical because respect for Brahmins and sarmanas is an integral part of Dhamma.
  • One of the striking features of Asoka’s edicts talks about father-child relationship between the king and his populace.
  • In spite of his religious eclecticism, Ashoka denounced all useless ceremonies and sacrifices held under the influ­ence of superstition. The first Rock Edict prohibits the ritual of animal sacrifice and festive gatherings.
  • Asoka also started a system of dhammayatas or Yatras whereby be toured the country and preached the Dhamma to the people.
  • Throughout his edicts Ashoka stresses the importance of the family. The emphasis is on respecting elders including religious elders, a humane and just attitude towards servants and slaves and a high degree of social responsibility and civic ethics.
  • Ashoka pleaded for tolerance of different religious sects in an attempt to create a sense of harmony.
  • The policy of Dhamma also laid stress on non-violence, which was to be practiced by giving up war and conquests and also as a restraint on the killing of animals.
  • Ashoka set an example of vegetarianism by almost stopping the consumption of meat in the royal household.
  • Since he wanted to conquer the world through love and faith, he sent many missions to propagate Dhamma. Such missions were sent to far off places like Egypt, Greece and Sri Lanka. The propagation of Dhamma included many measures of people’s welfare.

Shortcomings:

  • His policy of Dhamma failed to achieve the desired goal of reducing social tension.
  • Power of official dhammamahamattas to interfere in the lives of people increased over time. There was resentment against officials.
  • None of Ashoka successors continued the propagation of Dhamma.

Relevance in the current Society:

  • Ashoka’s Dhamma holds good even in the present society.
  • Dhamma is distinguished by several characteristic doctrines and philosophical positions.
  • Tolerance was insisted upon as an absolute duty, which is very much necessary for multi-religious country India.
  • Dhamma is completely cosmopolitan and has universal applicability.
  • It can act as a panacea for the religious and social unrest currently prevailing in India.

Conclusion:

Dhamma being secular in nature and advocates humanitarian approach, making it a very practical solution. Dhamma promotes social equality and is realistic. So, Dhamma is the need of the hour of the present India. Ashoka’s Dhamma has all-time applicability in a divergent Indian society.

 

Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

2. Examine the ideas and ideology of Jyotiba Phule. Can he be termed a radical? (250 words)

Reference: Modern Indian history by Spectrum Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the ideas and ideologies of the famous personality of eighteenth century.

Key Demand of the question:

One must delve into the ideas and ideologies propounded by Jyotiba Phule, his contributions and assess if he could be termed as a radical personality of his times.

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:

Jyotirao Govindrao Phule was an Indian social activist, thinker, anti-caste social reformer and writer from Maharashtra. His work extended to many fields, including eradication of untouchability and the caste system, and women’s emancipation.

Body:

He is mostly known for his efforts in educating women and lower caste people.

Discuss his ideas and ideologies in detail while substantiating his works in the same direction. Phule’s social activism included many fields including eradication of untouchability and the caste system, education of women and the dalits, and welfare of downtrodden women.

In his struggle against the caste system, Jyotiba Phule’s innovation lay in overturning the ideological foundation of what he called Brahmanical order. He sought to transcend the caste-based division to unite the lower castes and untouchables in the category of Sudras-atisudras.

Give your opinion on his radical views; Jyotiba Phule’s radical humanism made him distinct from other nationalist leaders and was emulated by both E V Ramaswamy and Bhimrao Ambedkar. His remarkable legacy could be attested by the fact that a set of social movements in Maharashtra involving women, farmers, Dalits, and environmentalists consider Phule as their forerunner.

Conclusion:

In Phule, thus, we have an intellectual and activist with a global vision seeking to reform his own society.

Introduction:

Jyotirao Govindrao Phule was an Indian social activist, thinker, anti-caste social reformer and writer from Maharashtra. His work extended to many fields, including eradication of untouchability and the caste system, and women’s emancipation.

Body:

Ideas and ideology of Jyotiba Phule:

  • He is mostly known for his efforts in educating women and lower caste people.
  • Phule’s social activism included many fields including eradication of untouchability and the caste system, education of women and the Dalits, and welfare of downtrodden women.
  • In his struggle against the caste system, Jyotiba Phule’s innovation lay in overturning the ideological foundation of what he called Brahminical order. He sought to transcend the caste-based division to unite the lower castes and untouchables in the category of Sudras-atisudras.

Social reforms and key contributions:

  • His work is related mainly to eradication of untouchability and caste system, emancipation and empowerment of women, reform of Hindu family life.
  • Along with his wife, Savitribai Phule, he is regarded as pioneers of women’s education in India.
  • The couples were the first native Indians to open the first indigenously-run school for girls in India in August 1848 at Pune in Maharashtra.
  • Later, the Phules started schools for children from the then untouchable castes such as Mahar and Mang.
  • In 1863, he opened a home for pregnant Brahmin widows to give birth in a safe and secure place.
  • He opened an orphanage home to avoid infanticide. In this regard, he is believed to be the first Hindu to start an orphanage for the unfortunate children.
  • In 1868, Jyotirao decided to construct a common bathing tank outside his house to exhibit his embracing attitude towards all human beings and wished to dine with everyone, regardless of their caste.
  • In 1873, Phule founded the Satyashodhak Samaj, or the Society of Seekers of Truth, for the rights of depressed classes, to denounce the caste system and to spread rational thinking.

His famous works:

  • Tritiya Ratna (1855), Gulamgiri (1873), Shetkarayacha Aasud, or Cultivator’s Whipcord (1881), Satyashodhak Samajokt Mangalashtakasah Sarva Puja-vidhi (1887).

Radical views:

  • Jyotiba Phule’s radical humanism made him distinct from other nationalist leaders and was emulated by both E V Ramaswamy and Bhimrao Ambedkar.
  • His remarkable legacy could be attested by the fact that a set of social movements in Maharashtra involving women, farmers, Dalits, and environmentalists consider Phule as their forerunner.

Conclusion:

In Phule, thus, we have an intellectual and activist with a global vision seeking to reform his own society.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

3. Do you agree that the Covid pandemic and rural distresses are the two prominent reasons behind the current slowdown in the Indian economy? Substantiate. (250 words)

Reference: blogs.worldbank.org

Why the question:

The question aims to assess the contributions of Covid-19 and rural distress in the current slowdown of the Indian economy.

Key Demand of the question:

Directive:

Substantiate – When you are asked to Substantiate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question using suitable case studies or/ and examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Best way is to start your answer with some data/statistics substantiating the stand of the question.

Body:

The answer must discuss two parts of the question; one is the effect of Covid-19 directly on the economy and thus slowdown. Two, it must explain the rural distress that already existed partly and part of the distress that was augmented owing to the pandemic and related lockdown effect and its overall impact on the slowdown of the economy.

Assess the immediate challenges that COVID19 has posed to the farm sector and suggest mitigation measures to ensure a sustainable food system in the post-crisis period.

Give examples wherever possible to substantiate.

Conclusion:

One can conclude with the efforts of the government to undo the slowdown and mitigate the effects of the pandemic and rural distress on the overall economy.

Introduction:

Recently, India resolved that it would be a $5-trillion economy in 2024. However, GDP growth slowed to a six-year low of 5 % during the first quarter of 2019. According to NITI Aayog, the present economic crisis is the worst crisis India is facing since Independence. Reduction in growth automatically leads to hampering of development goals and poor development indices contributes to slow economic development.

Body:

Reasons for Slowdown:

  • The rates of savings and investment in the Indian economy have declined, as also exports and total credit due to Covid pandemic.
  • This has led to a slowdown among the major industries, like the automobiles, diamond, textiles industry, and several Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) experiencing a continuous decline, which has led to the retrenchment of 3.5 lakh workers so far.
  • Agriculture is in crisistoday on account of rising costs of inputs and low prices of produces, and low public investments in this sector.
  • Apart from it, there is income stagnation in rural areas and urban areas due to employment stagnation in Covid.
  • The slowdown in consumptionis the major worry for India’s economic slump (consumption has been the main driver of India’s growth).
  • There is a sharp fall in Private Consumption andas well as Public Expenditure.

Measures needed:

  • Government need to follow a Keynesian approach(increasing public expenditure to spur demand).
  • Increase public expenditure in investing in agriculture —in infrastructure, inputs, extension, marketing and storage and training — and in providing profitable prices to farmers.
  • It should also raise funds for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Actto push up demand.
  • Investment in SHE (Skill, Education and Health):Increasing additional jobs for ensuring basic health and good quality education up to the secondary level to all so that any meaningful skill formation is possible should be another aim.
  • It should raise public employmentby filling all vacant sanctioned posts in the Central and State Governments, which would be around 2.5 million jobs.
  • The government should also focus on promoting labour-intensivesectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles and garments and leather goods.
  • The human capital formation will give a big push to start-ups and MSMEs.

Ensuring seamless credit flows in rural areas

  • The RBI should consider Single One Time Window for restructuring business loans, as required, by all banks.
  • There is a high probability that non-performing assets are likely to rise once the prevailing moratorium is lifted by RBI.
  • The government and RBI also urgently need to assure banks, that their business decisions will not be questioned, to encourage credit flows.

Calibrating Make in India

  • The ongoing distrust on Chinese manufacturing amid US-China spat can be very well garnered by India.
  • Making India a global trading hub – devise an incentive regime for companies setting up global trading operations from India.
  • The govt. should think of establishing self-contained “industrial cities” that earmark space for manufacturing, commercial, educational, residential and social infrastructure.

Encouraging sunrise sectors

  • It should also encourage sunrise sectors as part of re-imagining Indian economy such as battery manufacturing (storage systems)/ solar panel manufacturing.
  • The government can also consider giving impetus to “Deep Tech”-leveraged businesses — blockchain, robotics, AI, machine learning, augmented reality, big data analytics, cybersecurity, etc.

Creating an ecosystem to boost startups in rural areas

  • India is amongst the top start-up ecosystems globally. Several of them are in pre-Angel or Angel-Funding stages and are under significant pressure to stay afloat in view of a lack of adequate liquidity.
  • Start-ups not only help drive innovation but also create jobs, which will be very important going forward.
  • The government needs to provide significant support to the start-up ecosystem.

Labour law reforms

  • Reforms in labour laws do not only mean permission to hire and fire.
  • Leeway should be given to strictly enforce discipline within the factory premises and demand higher productivity.
  • The moves by U.P., M.P. and Gujarat are welcome signals.
  • The government should provide health insurance for migrant labourers as experimented by certain States.

Conclusion:

The Indian economy has huge potential, the current slowdown must be dealt with a bottom-up strategy, which may include boosting agriculture, food processing, tourism, MSME, automobiles and pharmaceuticals.

 

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

GS-3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

4. India is moving towards becoming a gas-based economy. In this context discuss the prospects of a potential Blue-flame economy that India is ushering to achieve. (250 words)

Reference: davp.nic.in

Why the question:

The article in the magazine brings to us insights on the efforts of the government in making India a gas based economy in order to usher a blue flame revolution.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the prospects of a potential Blue-flame economy that India is ushering to achieve and highlight the efforts being made by the government in this direction.

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:

First explain what you understand by a Gas-based economy and explain what blue-flame revolution is.

Body:

Start explaining the fact that Natural gas will play a pivotal role in underpinning the world’s fastest-growing major economy as the government grapples with its energy trilemma—to make its supply secure, affordable and sustainable.

Explain in what way blue flame revolution can transform India’s energy landscape.

Discuss the prospects in detail and suggest challenges if any.

Conclusion:

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

Introduction:

Gas-based economy implies gas as the main commercial energy source in the energy mix of an economy. The Indian government is intending to move towards a gas-based economy by increasing the share of natural gas in India’s energy basket from the current 6-7% to 15% by 2022.

Body:

Prospects of Blue Flame Economy: 

  • Energy Efficient:Natural gas produces more energy than any of the fossil fuels in terms of calorific value.
  • Cleaner fuel:Natural gas is a superior fuel as compared with coal and other liquid fuels being an environment-friendly, safer and cheaper fuel.
  • Economy of use:Natural Gas (as CNG) is much cheaper compared with petrol or Diesel.
  • Emission commitments:India made a commitment to COP-21 Paris Convention in December 2015 that by 2030, it would reduce carbon emission by 33%-35% of 2005 levels.
  • Diverse applications:Natural gas can be used as domestic kitchen fuel, fuel for the transport sector as well as a fuel for fertilizer industries and commercial units.
  • Supply-chain convenience: Natural Gas is supplied through pipelines just like we get water from the tap. There is no need to store cylinders in the kitchen and thus save space.
  • Pacing up the progress line:On the global front, switching to natural gas is bringing commendable results. The latest report released by IEA shows that the electricity produced by natural gas worldwide was more than that of coal for the first time ever.

Various govt. initiatives

  • India’s quest to increase the share of natural gas in the overall energy mix hinges crucially on two factors: (1) Development of pipelines and (2) Hassle free exploration. In this regard, the govt. has taken several measures.
  • The Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) is a policy indicating the new contractual and fiscal model for the award of hydrocarbon acreages towards exploration and production (E&P).
  • The govt. has envisaged developing and expanding the National Gas Grid.At present about 16,788 Km natural gas pipeline is operational and about 14,239 Km gas pipelines are being developed.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga (PMUG) pipeline project currently under will provide connectivity to another flagship project, the North-East Gas Grid.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, which aims to provide free cooking gas connections to poor families is also a roaring success.
  • Moreover, India is constantly moving to revive the 1,814-kilometre-long Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI)transnational gas pipeline which is in shamble for years.

Challenges:

  • Lack of infrastructure:  India has enough storage capacity of the current state of domestic consumption of natural gas. However, to fill the entire energy bucket, we need to increase energy storage.
  • Import dependence: Energy consumption in India is growing at 4.2 per cent per annum, which is the fastest among major economies of the world. Presently 52% of our domestic consumption relies on imported LNG. Moreover, the global disruptions in the import supply-chain can wreak havoc as the general hikes in Diesel prices do.
  • Safety concerns:The global oil and gas market remains vulnerable to a wide range of risk factors, including natural disasters, major technical accidents, and geopolitical tensions among others.
  • Domestic issues and delays:Petroleum including gas falls under the Union List. Pipeline laying has faced land acquisition challenges due to local farmers’ protest and unviable routes causing major project delays.
  • Underutilization:GAIL is getting hit over the scarcity of domestic natural gas leading to underutilization of its 11,500 km of the pipeline network. Its network is operating at an average of 47% capacity.
  • Less-feasible power alternative:Within the power sector, natural gas has received little traction primarily because the per-unit cost of electricity generated by a gas-fired power plant in India is higher than that from fossil fuels such as coal.
  • Ecological concerns:Offshore drilling operations can possibly affect fish, lead to a build-up of heavy water contaminants, disorient whales and sea life that rely on sonar for navigation and exacerbate the risk of oil spills.
  • Energy Trilemma: In order to build a strong basis for prosperity and competitiveness, India must balance the three core dimensions of the energy trilemma: affordability and access, energy security and environmental sustainability.

Measures needed:

  • An integrated national-level energy policy that define and clearly demarcates the role of natural gas in India’s energy mix is needed.
  • The biggest risk for future gas demand is the affordability of gas in the key demand sectors, such as power and fertilizers. Consequently, there needs to be an adequate mechanism to protect these sectors from higher gas prices. In the power sector, an increase in Clean Energy Cess could make gas a more attractive option
  • Development of gas infrastructure is the most critical enabler for transition to a gas-based economy and pipeline and robust LNG infrastructure should be created to act as a facilitator for market development and to ensure wider availability of gas across all regions
  • Increasing domestic gas production is critical to build a gas-based economy. Necessary steps should be taken to increase domestic gas production and reduce reliance on LNG imports.

Way forward

  • A shift to a gas-based economy has to ensure both availability and affordability. Availability may be ensured by increasing production or import, developing the requisite delivery infrastructure — terminals, stations and pipelines.
  • It is evident that clean energy transitions are underway – and it’s also a signal that we have the opportunity to meaningfully move the needle on emissions through more ambitious policies and investments to transform the present gas based economy into blue revolution.

 

Topic : Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

5. Discuss the importance of agro-forestry, social forestry and natural forests in supplementing the income of farmers. (250 words)

Reference: geographyandyou.com

Why the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to discuss the importance of agro-forestry, social forestry and natural forests in supplementing the income of farmers.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the importance of agro-forestry, social forestry and natural forests in supplementing the income of farmers.

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 first what agro-forestry, social forestry and natural forests are.

Body:

Agroforestry is the cultivation of trees and shrubs as crops or for animal rearing with a view towards the environment, their utility or other social benefits. Social forestry refers to the management of forests for the benefits of local communities. It includes aspects such as forest management, forest protection, and afforestation of deforested lands with the objective of improving the rural, environmental, and social development.

Discuss the existing policies on both agro and social forestry in our country. Discuss what the lacunae are; the problem in both agro n social forestry is a lack of policy outreach, and is borne from the transition from traditional ways of living in rural communities to modern forms of agriculture and livelihood. There is thus a lack of participation from local communities with respect to policy, that has not yet assimilated the traditional methods and ethos of agro n social forestry. While social forestry is invaluable to conservation efforts towards forests and ecosystems, agro forestry opens up certain tree-species to production processes.

Likewise also discuss in what way natural forests can as well contribute to the farmers income.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need to recognise the importance of these three policies in augmenting the income of farmers in the country.

Introduction:

Agroforestry is a collective name for sustainable land-use systems involving trees combined with arable crops and/or livestock on the same unit of land, either spatially or temporally. Agroforestry can be classified into Agrosilvicultural systems, Silvipastoral systems and Agrisilvipastoral systems.

The Union Finance minister had envisioned India was on track to becoming a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

Body:

Features of Agroforestry

  • It has more than one crop at a time in which atleast one crop must be tree crops
  • It produces multiple outputs such as food, fodder, fuel and timber.
  • Crops are arranged in a multi-storey in such a way that it reduces competition among plants

Economic Impact Agro-Forestry, Social Forestry, natural forests:

  • Family income: With the adoption of agroforestry farmers started getting more income by selling the fruits and timber every year. Subsidiary activities like mat weaving, basket making, honey collection, sheep / goat rearing etc. are also taken up as an integral part of agroforestry which also intern contributed to the increased family income.
  • Employment status: Farmers who used to migrate to other areas in search of employment were reduced to maximum extent as a result of employment generation due to agroforestry which ensure employment throughout the year.
  • Livestock possession: Agroforestry ensured good and cheap fodder, which intern increased the number of livestocks.
  • Supplementary income: One of the uniqueness of integrated farming system in general and agroforestry in particular is the promotion of traditional subsidiary occupation. This is due to the availability of raw materials for these activities. As a result, farmers started many subsidiary ventures like basket making, mat weaving, bamboo crafts etc. These subsidiary occupations, naturally added to the total family income generated from the farmers.
  • Farm expenditure: The expenditure incurred by the farmers on the farming has increased marginally.

Challenges faced by Agroforestry in India

  • There is lack of uniformity in the policies and regulations relating to felling and transporting farm-grown timber and other products in different states.
  • The agroforestry produce is lacking coverage under agricultural insurance schemes and are finding it difficult to marketing support.
  • The banks are also reluctant towards granting loans to farmers for agroforestry.
  • The non-availability or scarcity of saplings of suitable tree species required for agroforestry.
  • There is seasonal occurrence of plant and animal diseases and inadequate compensation for damaged crops.
  • There is lack of knowledge regarding agroforestry among the stakeholders and farmers use inadequate harvesting and processing techniques.
  • Rally for Rivers, launched by Sadhguru, founder of Isha Foundation, in 2017, and recommended by Niti Aayog for implementation across India, offers a well-defined roadmap for farmers to successfully switch partially to agroforestry to address the multiple challenges they face.

Solutions:

  • Encourage and expand tree plantation in complementarity and integrated manner with crops and livestock to improve productivity, employment, income and livelihoods of rural households, especially the small holder farmers.
  • Protect and stabilize ecosystems, and promote resilient cropping and farming systems to minimize the risk during extreme climatic events.
  • Meet the raw material requirements of wood based industries and reduce import of wood and wood products to save foreign exchange.
  • Supplement the availability of agroforestry products (AFPs), such as the fuel-wood, fodder, non-timber forest produce and small timber of the rural and tribal populations, thereby reducing the pressure on existing forests.
  • Complement achieving the target of increasing forest/tree cover to promote ecological stability, especially in the vulnerable regions.
  • Effective implementation of National Agricultural Policy.

Way Forward:

To realize the vision of doubling farmers’ income (DFI) by 2022, agro-forestry can play an extremely supportive role by improving livelihoods of poor communities.

 

Topic : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Basics of cyber security.

6. What do you understand by Deepfakes? Critically analyse the threats posed by them and suggest solutions to address them. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article discusses the threats posed by the use of Deepfakes and analyzes possible solutions.

Key Demand of the question:

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 what Deepfakes are.

Body:

Deepfakes are the synthetic digital media content (video, audio, and images) manipulated using Artificial Intelligence. Deepfakes use a form of artificial intelligence called deep learning to make videos/images of fake events, hence the name deepfake. Deepfakes leverage powerful techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence to manipulate or generate visual and audio content.

Discuss then the concerns posed by them. Deepfakes can be and have been weaponised to inflict harm. Deepfakes can inflict damage to individuals, institutions, businesses and democracy.

Explain methods to overcome the challenges posed by it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward that to counter the grave threat posed by deepfakes there is the need for a multi-stakeholder and multi-modal approach.

Introduction:

Deepfakes are a new tool to spread computational propaganda and disinformation at scale and with speed. Access to commodity cloud computing, algorithms, and abundant data has created a perfect storm to democratize media creation and manipulation. Deepfakes are the digital media (video, audio, and images) manipulated using Artificial Intelligence. This synthetic media content is referred to as deep fakes.

Body:

About Deep Fake:

  • Deep fakes or deep nudes are computer-generated images and videos. Cybercriminals use AI softwares to superimpose a digital composite (assembling multiple media files to make a final one) onto an existing video, photo or audio.
  • Using AI algorithms, a person’s words, head movements and expressions are transferred onto another person in such a seamless way that it becomes difficult to tell that it is a deep fake, unless one closely observes the media file.
  • Deep fakes first came into notice in 2017 when a Reddit user posted explicit videos of celebrities. After that several instances have been reported.

Threats posed by Deepfakes:

  • Undermining democracy:
    • A deep fake can also aid in altering the democratic discourse and undermine trust in institutions and impair diplomacy.
  • False information about institutions, public policy, and politicians powered by a deepfake can be exploited to spin the story and manipulate belief.
  • A deep fake of a political candidate can sabotage their image and reputation.
  • Leaders can also use them to increase populism and consolidate power.
  • Deepfakes can become a very effective tool to sow the seeds of polarization, amplifying division in society, and suppressing dissent.
  • Another concern is a liar’s dividend an undesirable truth is dismissed as deep fake or fake news.
  • Damage to Personal Reputation of personalities:
    • Deepfake can depict a person indulging in antisocial behaviors and saying vile things.
    • These can have severe implications on their reputation, sabotaging their professional and personal life.
    • Even if the victim could debunk the deep fake, it may come too late to remedy the initial harm.
    • Further, Deepfakes can be deployed to extract money, confidential information, or exact favors from individuals.
    • A deepfake could act as a powerful tool by a nation-state to undermine public safety and create uncertainty and chaos in the target country.
    • Nation-state actors with geopolitical aspirations, ideological believers, violent extremists, and economically motivated enterprises can manipulate media narratives using deepfakes.
    • It can be used by insurgent groups and terrorist organizations, to represent their adversaries as making inflammatory speeches or engaging in provocative actions to stir up anti-state sentiments among people.
  • Concerns regarding deep fake images:
    • The technology becomes vulnerable because deep fake images, audio and videos are very realistic and can be used by cybercriminals to spread misinformation to intimidate or blackmail people, seek revenge or commit fraud on social networking and dating sites.
    • It has become one of the modern frauds of cyberspace, along with fake news, spam/phishing attacks, social engineering fraud, catfishing and academic fraud.
    • It can be used to create fake pornographic videos and to make politicians appear to say things they did not, so the potential for damage to individuals, organizations and societies is vast.
    • With the improvement in technology, deep fakes are also getting better.
    • Initially, an individual with advanced knowledge of machine learning and access to the victim’s publicly-available social media profile could only make deep fakes.
    • Development of apps and websites capable of such editing became more frequent and easily accessible to an average user.

Solutions to address Deepfakes:

  • To defend the truth and secure freedom of expression, we need a multi stakeholder and multimodal approach.
  • Media literacy for consumers and journalists is the most effective tool to combat disinformation and deepfakes.
  • Media literacy efforts must be enhanced to cultivate a discerning public.
  • As consumers of media, we must have the ability to decipher, understand, translate, and use the information we encounter.
  • Even a short intervention with media understanding, learning the motivations and context, can lessen the damage.
  • Improving media literacy is a precursor to addressing the challenges presented by deepfakes.
  • Meaningful regulations with a collaborative discussion with the technology industry, civil society, and policymakers can facilitate disincentivizing the creation and distribution of malicious deepfakes.
  • We also need easy-to-use and accessible technology solutions to detect deepfakes, authenticate media, and amplify authoritative sources.

Way forward:

  • To counter the menace of deepfakes, we all must take the responsibility to be a critical consumer of media on the Internet, think and pause before we share on social media, and be part of the solution to this infodemic.
  • To defend the truth and secure freedom of expression, there is a need for a multi-stakeholder and multi-modal approach.
  • Collaborative actions and collective techniques across legislative regulations, platform policies, technology intervention, and media literacy can provide effective and ethical countermeasures to mitigate the threat of malicious deep fakes.

 

 


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. In what way the concepts of love and moral percepts aid in building an ethical society? Discuss with examples. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the importance love and moral percepts in building an ethical society.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way the concepts of love and moral percepts aid in building an ethical society.

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 concept of Love and moral precepts in general.

Body:

Discuss first the importance of having an ethical society.

Explain then the need for love and moral precepts in achieving an ethical society.

One must give examples or present case studies to better substantiate such questions.

Quote philosophers and propounders who assert that concepts of love and moral percepts aid in building an ethical society.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Love is the basic moral activity. To recognize human inter-relatedness as the immediate ontological foundation of the moral order and to act accordingly can be expressed in terms of love. Love is therefore the existential basis of the moral order.

For Eg : a good samaritan believes in having faith to heal the wounds of the harmed through caring and helping, which is expression of love, healing societal accidents.

Body:

Primary intuitively grasped demand that human person realizes himself as a human person is particularized and concretized in moral precepts. This too can be expressed in terms of love. Universal love is particularized and concretized – it is objectified – in the moral precepts.

For Eg: The idea of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam is based on notion of universal humanism where entire world is considered a single family and therefore act of love in family has to be naturally found promoting community oriented harmony.

Hence as love not just one moral virtue among others but the form of all of the moral virtues, so too love is not just one moral precept among others but it is the form of all of them. It is what makes moral precepts moral precepts.

For Eg: Mahatma Gandhi had once said “To have faith in Truth Force is equal to having faith in Love Force.” Promoting self-reliance leading to autonomy of societal forces.

If love is the form of the moral precepts and if love – like human moral consciousness – is a progressive affair this means that acting according to the moral precepts is acting according to love but that this awareness admits of degrees. This means that love can also be considered to be not only the beginning of the moral life but also its end. And if it is in love that human person perfects himself as human, it is in this fully mature and fully conscious morality that he/she does so.

Love is an existential relation involving whole of existence. For Eg: the idea of universal altruism that Mother Teresa envisioned has its basis on higher human moral consciousness in pursuit of attaining true selfless love making society trust force of love.

Conclusion:

one cannot develop himself/herself as a human person without developing the core of his/her being namely his/her love and this is not achieved by mere study and reflection, but active participation in societal processes and being compassionate to social problems.


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