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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 December 2020


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


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Earthquakes, Landslide, Floods, Droughts;

1. Though Landslides are caused by Natural factors, but the increase in anthropogenic factors causing Landslides in alarming. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Class-XI NCERT: India Physical Environment.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse the anthropogenic causes of landslides and to account for their increase in the recent past.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly introduce landslide by defining them. Give examples of some major landslides in the recent past.

Body:

Mention the natural factors behind the causes of landslides in India with a few examples. Mention the areas which are most prone to landslides. Draw a small illustrative map showing the same.

Next bring in the instances of human activity induced landslides. Bring forth the anthropogenic factors responsible for causing Landslides. Substantiate with facts and figures regarding the incidence of landslides. For eg:  a 2018 report from Copernicus Publications, which states that 18% of global human-induced landslide casualties occur in India. Mention the stats from recent NCRB report on casualties from Landslides.

Reason as to why the increase in anthropogenic induced landslides is alarming and cause of concern. Give solutions to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Landslides are sudden physical mass movement of soil, rocks and debris down the mountain slope because of heavy rainfall, earthquake, gravity and other factors.

As per recent NCRB report Landslide and cyclones caused 3.2% (264) and 0.4% (33) of the deaths respectively.

2018 report from Copernicus Publications, which states that 18% of global human-induced landslide casualties occur in India

Body:

The various causes of landslides are:

  • Natural causes-
    • Landslides are generally associated with natural calamities like earthquake, volcanic eruptions, floods, cloudburst, etc.
    • Long spell of rainfall
    • Loose soil cover and sloping terrain
  • Anthropogenic causes-
    • Rapid urbanization and changes in land use patterns
    • Rampant deforestation and mining activities like blasting and quarrying, etc.
    • Increased industrialisation leading to climate change and weather disturbances
    • Change in river flow due to construction of dams, barriers, etc.
    • indiscriminate chopping down of trees.
    • slash and burn cultivation technique called ‘JHUM,’
    • fast paced road construction
    • Ever increasing population, grazing, urbanization etc. has destroyed the dense natural evergreen forest cover.
  • Various measures needed to mitigate them are-
    • Hazard mapping by demarcating areas prone to landslides and avoiding stress on those areas for settlement
    • Construction of retention walls to avoid land from slipping
    • Increasing afforestation and vegetation cover
    • Practise measures to check soil erosion like terrace farming, contour ploughing, etc.
    • Implementing surface drainage control works to control the movement of landslide along with rain water and spring flows.
    • Store Excess water in catchments areas to reduce the fury of flash floods, recharge the ground water and improve the environment.
    • Dig runoff collection ponds in the catchments.
    • Grow fuel / fodder trees in all of the common lands.
    • Plantation in barren areas, especially on slopes, with grass cover is an important component of integrated watershed management programme.
    • Grazing should be completely restricted. After the area is completely protected from grazing, better grasses can be planted.
    • The grasses of industrial importance should also be planted so that there is some economic return to the farmers as well.
    • Use the surface vegetative cover to protect the land from raindrop’s beating action, bind the soil particles and decrease the velocity of flowing water.
    • Proper planning of developmental processes following sustainable methods.

FIGURE – LANDSLIDE ZONE MAPPING

 

Topic:  Earthquakes, Landslide, Floods, Droughts;

2. India faces a climate paradox – Rise in average global temperatures have led to a worrying trend of no rain for long periods and then a sudden bout of excessive rainfall, causing extreme weather events. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: Class-XI NCERT: India Physical Environment.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To understand the paradox between two extreme events of droughts and floods which are similar spatially.

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:

Begin the answer by giving context as to how the extreme weather events are on rise in India. Quote relevant examples and facts.

Body:

Elaborate up on the extreme weather events particularly floods and droughts, which took lives, destroyed homes and agricultural yields as well as resulted in huge revenue losses. Give relevant facts to substantiate your points.

Bring out the factors that are responsible for rise in extreme weather events and bring out the impact which can have on our country and the world.

Give solutions so as to overcome this climate paradox of drought and floods.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

According to a recent study on the report “Preparing India for Extreme Climate Events” released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), over 75% of districts in India are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclonesfloodsdroughtsheat waves and cold waves.

Body:

  • This is thefirst time that extreme weather event hotspots in the country have been mapped.
  • CEEWis an independent, non-partisan, one of Asia’s leading not-for-profit policy research institutions, devoted to research on all matters affecting the use, reuse, and misuse of resources.
  • The report comes just after the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) Emissions Gap Report 2020 which warned that the world is heading for a temperature rise of over 3 degrees Celsius this century.
  • The frequency, intensity,and unpredictability of extreme events have risen in recent decades.
  • While India witnessed 250 extreme climate events in 35 years between 1970 and 2005, it recorded 310 such weather events in only 15 years since then.
  • With an unusual spike in extreme events since 2005, these districts are bearing the effects of changing microclimate withloss of property, livelihoods and lives.

The pattern reflects the global changes:

  • Extreme weather events resulting from climate change led to 4,95,000 human deaths across the world in 1999-2018.
  • More than 12,000 extreme weather events led to losses worth USD 3.54 trillion(measured in terms of purchasing power parity or PPP) during this period.
  • Thecurrent trend of catastrophic climate events results from a mere 0.6 degrees Celsius temperature rise in the last 100 years.
  • India is already the 5th most vulnerable country globallyin terms of extreme climate events, and it is all set to become the world’s flood capital.

Cyclones:

  • After 2005,the yearly average number of districts affected by cyclones tripled and the cyclone frequency-doubled.
  • In the past decade, 258 districts were affected by cyclones with hotspot districtsall along the eastern coastline.
  • The east coast’s warming regional microclimate, land-use change,and degrading forests are triggering the region’s cyclonic activity.

Flood Events:

  • The decade 2000-2009 showed a spike in extreme flood events and in associated flood events,which affected almost 473 districts.
  • Events associated with floods such aslandslides, heavy rainfall, hailstorms, thunderstorms, and cloudbursts increased by over 20 times.
  • The compounding effects ofland subsidence, the urban heat island phenomenon, and sea-level rise due to glacial melts are leading to the intensification of cyclonic disturbances, thus increasing the number of flood events experienced during the decade and making it an outlier.
  • While the number of rainy days during monsoon has decreased, single-day extreme rainfall events are increasing,leading to flooding.
  • Six of India’s eight most flood-prone districtsin the last decade, Barpeta, Darrang, Dhemaji, Goalpara, Golaghat and Sivasagar, are located in Assam.

Droughts:

  • The yearly average of drought-affected districts increased 13 times after 2005.
  • Until 2005, the number of districts affected by drought was six, butafter 2005 this figure rose to 79.
  • While theintensity of damage in terms of loss of life has reduced significantly, droughts increase uncertainties related to agriculture and rural livelihoods.
  • Drought-affected district hotspots of India in the last decadewere Ahmednagar, Aurangabad (both Maharashtra), Anantapur, Chittoor (both Andhra Pradesh), Bagalkot, Bijapur, Chikkaballapur, Gulbarga, and Hassan (all Karnataka).

Weakening of Monsoons :

  • The empirical evidence generated from the analysis coincides with the weakening of monsoonsdue to rising micro-temperatures.
  • This further can be validated by the fact that states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh saw severe water scarcity during 2015 due to record-breaking temperatures during summer and weakening monsoons.
  • Swapping of Nature of Extreme Events:
  • The study also found ashift in the pattern of extreme climate events, such as flood-prone areas becoming drought-prone and vice-versa, in over 40% of Indian districts.
  • This swapping hashappened in two ways.
  • In some cases, districts which were flood-prone have now become drought-prone and vice versa.
  • While many districts are facing floods and droughts simultaneously.This trend is both unusual and alarming, and requires further investigation.
  • Coastal southern Indian statesare increasingly witnessing more droughts.
  • Further,floods and droughts coincide during the same season in several districts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu.

Suggestions:

  • Develop a Climate Risk Atlasto map critical vulnerabilities such as coasts, urban heat stress, water stress, and biodiversity collapse.
  • Develop an Integrated Emergency Surveillance Systemto facilitate a systematic and sustained response to emergencies.
  • Mainstream risk assessment at all levels,including localised, regional, sectoral, cross-sectoral, macro and micro-climatic level.
  • Enhance adaptive and resilience capacityto climate-proof lives, livelihoods and investments.
  • Increase the participatory engagement of all stakeholdersin the risk assessment process.
  • Integrate risk assessmentinto local, sub-national, and national level plans.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Family planning is still the way ahead and not a law to control population in India. Justify. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The NFHS-5 data so far augurs good news for the success family planning initiatives in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

To argue for India to continue on the path of family planning initiatives rather than considering draconian measures like two child policy.

Directive:

Justify –

When you are asked to justify, 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:

Give the context of India’s demographics on how India is India is projected to surpass China to become the world’s most populous country by 2024.

Body:

Mention the need for controlling India’s population such as overburdened resources, high poverty and inequalities, sustainable development etc.

Argue against population control law and the draconian ‘two child policy’ which will not only be against the liberty of Indian citizens but coercive laws can sometimes be counter-productive, leading to age composition imbalance.

Cite the recent data from NHFS-5, how it shows the considerable success achieved in the population control via family planning initiatives. Argue for increased contraception, awareness, better education and incentives etc in order to reduce fertility rates in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced way forward which makes family planning in India more effective.

Introduction:

Family planning services are “the ability of individuals and couples to anticipate and attain their desired number of children and the spacing and timing of their births.

Body:

Family planning in India is based on efforts largely sponsored by the Indian government. From 1965 to 2009, contraceptive usage has more than tripled (from 13% of married women in 1970 to 48% in 2009) and the fertility rate has more than halved (from 5.7 in 1966 to 2.4 in 2012), but the national fertility rate in absolute numbers remains high, causing concern for long-term population growth. India adds up to 1,000,000 people to its population every 20 days

As Per UN Population Projections report 2019 :

  • The world population will reach 11 billion by the end of the century.
  • Half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just 9 countries.
  • This is led by India and followed by Nigeria, Pakistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Indonesia, Egypt and the US.
  • India will overtake China in population growth by 2031.
  • From 2012 to 2019 India has already allocated $2.8 billion for Family Planning as part of FP 2020 commitment. As per Track 20 estimates, the demand satisfied by contraceptives in India is 74.3%.
  • Most initiatives in Family Planning program are focussed on spacing methods. List of Family planning inititiaves is given below:

Initiatives taken by the Government under the Family Planning Programme 

  • Mission Parivar Vikas- The Government has launched Mission Parivar Vikas for substantially increasing access to contraceptives and family planning services in146 high fertility districts with Total Fertility Rate (TFR) of 3 and above in seven high focus states.
  • New Contraceptive Choices- New contraceptives viz. Injectable contraceptive and Centchroman have been added to the existing basket of choices.
  • A new method of IUCD insertion immediately after delivery i.e.post-partum IUCD (PPIUCD) has been introduced.
  • Redesigned Contraceptive Packaging – The packaging for Condoms, OCPs and ECPs has now been improved and redesigned so as to increase the demand for these commodities.
  • Scheme forHome delivery of contraceptives by ASHAs at doorstep of beneficiaries.
  • Scheme forASHAs to Ensure spacing in births.
  • Scheme for provision ofPregnancy Testing Kits in the drug kits of ASHAs for use in communities.
  • Family Planning Logistic Management and Information System (FP-LMIS): A dedicated software to ensure smooth forecasting, procurement and distribution of family planning commodities across all the levels of health facilities.
  • National Family Planning Indemnity Scheme (NFPIS) under which clients are insured in the eventualities of death, complication and failure following sterilization.
  • Ensuring quality of care in Family Planning services by establishingQuality Assurance Committees in all states and districts.
  • Appointment of dedicatedRMNCH+A counselors at high case load facilities.
  • Improved Demand generation activities through a 360 degree media campaign. 

Limitations of Family Planning in India :

  • Fatalism and religious beliefs which places emphasis on the need to have children in India,
  • Birth control measures are not always acceptable to the people because of their perceived side effects, anaesthetic attributes etc.
  • Methods of family planning are not equally effective. For example, the conventional contraceptives are only 50% effective.
  • Patriarchy also leads to ‘Meta Son Preference’.
  • Gendered Roles – Men care-taker and women is child –bearer and rearer so woman lose control on her reproductive health and adopt family planning measures
  • Domesticity of Woman – Amartya Sen in The Missing Woman’ beautifully presents how economic mobility reduces total population burden but raises ‘selective reproduction through technology
  • Woman’s level of educational attainment makes them aware of family planning.

Way Forward :

  • Effective contraceptive measures and interuterine programs especially targetting families of low income group.
    • For Eg : Title X Family Program of America to provide contraceptive services, supplies and information regarding birth control.
  • Community led interventions to control growing birth rates.
    • For eg :India must learn from Banjar system of Indonesia.
  • Government efforts must be localised through village family groups.
  • Creation of Family welfare assistants to reach remote places and isolated families.
    • For Eg : Bangladesh has achieved the lowest total fertility rate in South Asia through family welfare assistants.
  • By training members of the village community, the government can also create village self-help groups. These groups can educate villagers on available birth control measures.
  • In cities, areas should be identified with low-income families and trained health workers should be sent to spread awareness on other contraception methods.

Conclusion:

The main goal of population control programmes should be that both men and women should make informed choices. With the Supreme Court’s order to shut down all sterilisation camps and urge for a national health policy, it is important for the Indian government to revaluate population control goals.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

4. In order to be self-reliant, India needs sufficient manufacturing depth. Analyse the potential of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in making India self-reliant. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Production Linked Incentive scheme has shown a lot of potential in making our manufacturing sector more robust and making India self-reliant. This article captures that.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the potential of Production Linked Incentive scheme, where its shortcomings are and how can they be corrected to achieve its full potential.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Start by making a case for the need for manufacturing depth to compete globally and be self-reliant.

Introduction:

Body:

Put forward the advantages of having manufacturing depth such as high rate of growth, more employment, security against foreign threats, sustainable competitiveness in international trade; and it provides pathways for wages to rise etc.

In the next part, talk about Production Linked Incentive scheme for ‘AatmaNirbhar Bharat’. Write about its potential for the promotion of an efficient, equitable and resilient manufacturing sector in the country. Growth in production and exports of industrial goods, more foreign competition, further innovation, integration with global supply chains, establish backward linkages with the MSMEs and How it will lead to overall growth in the economy and create huge employment opportunities etc.

Next analyse certain areas which needs to be improved to make Production Linked Incentive scheme more robust and effective. Linking the quantum of incentive with domestic value-addition, determination of PLI incentive, improving R&D etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a how this should serve as learning for Indian policy makers and move towards creating a sustainable and competitive manufacturing policy.

Introduction:

In the past few decades, manufacturing sector has underperformed when compared to other nations, with a meagre share of 16-17% of the GDP. This is much lesser than that of China and Korea, whose manufacturing accounts for 29% of the GDP and 27% in Thailand. Currently, this sector accounts for only 12% of the total employment of the workforce.

Body:

  • India has to promote the sufficient manufacturing depth
    • India has three Ds (Democracy, demography and demand) for the growth of the manufacturing sector.
    • 65% of India’s population is below the age of 35 – an advantage when compared to other counties.
    • Studies have shown that every job created in the manufacturing sector has a multiplier effect in creating 2 to 3 jobs in the service sector.
    • High domestic demand, increasing middle class and young population and high returns make India attractive for the manufacturers.
    • The manpower cost is low when compared to other nations.
  • In order to be self-reliant, India needs sufficient manufacturing depth:
    • Depth in manufacturing provides security against foreign threats; it is the foundation for sustainable competitiveness in international trade; and it provides pathways for wages to rise. India needs all the three and now is the time to address this.
    • China and India are the only two countries in the world with populations of over one billion.
    • These provide a large potential market; also, a large workforce to produce for the world market and for their own.
    • The growth trajectories of the Asian neighbors reveal how far behind India has fallen over the past three decades.
    • In 1990, India’s manufacturing sector was comparable with China’s. Since then, China’s manufacturing sector has grown almost 10 times larger, and its capital goods and machine-tool sectors, 50 times.
    • Not only has China become the factory of the world, selling labor-intensive products across the planet, it has also developed high-tech manufacturing capabilities in electronics, telecom, power equipment and machine tools.
    • It is this depth of its manufacturing capabilities that has made it a threat to the West (and to India, too).
    • Indian policymakers are concerned with sluggishness in the growth of domestic manufacturing and employment.
    • They are alarmed by the inroads of Chinese industries in India’s economy, as well as by China’s troops on the border.
    • An Atmanirbhar policy and ‘Make in India’ have become national-security imperatives.
    • While India is being criticized – by its own economists – for turning protectionist again, other nations have been closing up faster.
    • A Mint report cited earlier ranks countries on a ‘protectionist index’, the difference between their number of restrictive and liberalizing interventions between 2018 and 2020. On top is the US, with 591. Then Canada, 450; Germany, 436; the UK, 272; and China, 209. India 166.
    • More trade is good, as is faster economic growth.
  • Potential of Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme in making India self-reliant:
    • India’s Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme is a thrust in the right direction making India Self-reliant.
    • However, its success in making India more self-reliant would depend on its design.
    • Incentives linked only to volumes of additional production (and exports) will promote simple assembly and other low-value-adding operations.
    • This would not meet India’s strategic need for industrial depth.
    • The incentives must be tied to progressive increases in value addition within the country.
    • The present policy does not explicitly link the quantum of incentive with domestic value-addition.
    • PLI payments should be made to companies in proportion to their domestic value-addition, with a minimum requirement.
    • This way, companies doing assembly/low-level manufacturing will have lower value-addition and hence get less of an incentive.
    • In the current policy, the PLI incentive is determined by the percentage increase in production over a base year.
    • Production in that base year should not be zero (or a very low level) because even small additions will amount to large percentage increases.
    • Therefore, there should be a minimum threshold level. This will also ensure that the company already has some track record of growth and uses the incentives well for further expansion.
    • Domestic research and development (R&D) is essential for the absorption of technology and acquisition of sustainable competitiveness.
    • R&D (including manpower) spend should be seen as a capital investment.
    • Such investment can generate at least a five-times-greater return on investment, compared to other forms of capital investment (plant and machinery, etc.) in knowledge-driven industries.
    • The PLI scheme is intended to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and scale up the domestic industry.
    • To ensure that both are equally promoted (and not one at the expense of the other), perhaps 50% of the PLI incentive should be reserved for domestic companies.
    • The only sustainable competitive advantage a company or a country can have in open markets is an ability to learn faster than competitors.
    • Enterprises in India must become the fastest learners in the world to catch up with their Chinese counterparts, among others.
    • India’s policymakers must also become much faster learners, and not remain stuck in the theoretical paradigm of free trade that has not served India too well.
  • Government initiatives to promote Manufacturing sector
    • Make in India initiative aims to make India the global manufacturing hub. It also aims to increase the sector’s GDP share to 25% from the existing 16%, and create 100 million new jobs by 2022.
    • Skill India aims to create jobs and promote entrepreneurship within India.
    • Sharm Suvidha is a web portal that provides a single platform for all labour law compliances.
    • Other labour reform initiatives include Random Inspection Scheme, Universal Account Number and Apprentice Protsahan Yojana.
    • Defence Procurement Policy (DPP) prioritizes the promotion of indigenous defence technology.
    • National Manufacturing Policy (NMP) provides for Technology Acquisition and Development Fund (TADF) that facilitates the acquisition of clean, green and energy-efficient technology by MSMEs.
    • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) provides loans for small business.
    • Startup India scheme’s objective is to generate employment and promote economic development. It seeks for the development and innovation of products and services and aims to increase the employment rate in India.
    • Standup India aims to promote entrepreneurship among women and SC and ST communities.

Conclusion:

India’s manufacturing sector needs up-gradation and reforms for becoming globally competitive. Absence of effective, flexible and targeted policy support along with supportive measures like the development of infrastructure and education would mean the stagnation of the sector. The government needs to address the core problems for the landmark initiatives like Make in India and Skill India to work and manufacturing sector to grow.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5. To walk the talk on climate change, the world needs to move towards a uniform carbon tariff regime and plan for climate neutrality. Critically comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Business Standard  , The Hindu 

Why the question:

December 12 marked the five-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, there is a call for uniform carbon tariff.

Key Demand of the question:

To analsye the need of the uniform carbon tariff, its pros and cons.

Directive:

Critically comment –

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 ‘comment’ is prefixed, we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining carbon tariff and its nature. Then write about neutrality.

Body:

Make a case why it is high time for considering carbon tariffs and why it is pertinent for developed and developing countries to plan for neutrality.

Talk about the mechanism of carbon tariffs. Its advantages especially with respect to achieving climate goals. Mention how tariff would play role insubstantially raising the cost of emitting GHGs globally. The revenue from carbon tariffs and taxes can be used to support not only renewable energies but also innovations to reduce the costs of carbon capture and storage.

In the next part, talk about process to achieve climate neutrality. Fostering cooperation, decreasing in the costs of low carbon technologies, a need of a new growth model and roadmap to achieve climate neutrality on lines EU Green Deal etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Carbon tariffs are a tax on carbon-intensive imports, Certain industrialized countries have been advocating the adoption of carbon tariffs on products imported from developing countries, such as China. Promoters of carbon tariffs thus think that taxing such goods at the border will make up for this difference in price and indirectly regulate the associated emissions.

Body:

  • Uniform carbon tariff regime
    • A uniform structure of tariffs on carbon-intensive imports and domestic taxes on CO2 emissions for Europe, North America, China, Japan, and like-minded countries would substantially raise the cost of emitting GHGs globally.
    • The revenue from carbon tariffs and taxes can be used to support not only renewable energies but also innovations to reduce the costs of carbon capture and storage.
    • A carbon tariff would make it more costly for China to walk back on its recent climate commitment, because its carbon-intensive exports would become less competitive.
    • It also would make China more willing to fulfill its pledge, because it would lose less business to other exporting countries that have lower environmental standards.
    • And, of course, without the US and China’s participation in any international carbon tariff system, the scheme would not cover enough global imports and consumption to be effective.
  • Plan for climate neutrality
    • China’s pledge to pursue carbon neutrality by 2060 was followed by a similar pledge from Japan.
    • With these commitments being made at a time when the US has withdrawn from the Paris climate accord, it is easy to interpret them as part of the ongoing geopolitical competition for global leadership.
    • National competition to strengthen ambitions and policies benefits everyone.
    • To bridge the gap between pledges and tangible results, we will need to look in these recent commitments and create incentives for other countries to increase their own climate targets.
  • Reducing emissions in a timely, efficient, and fair manner
    • Over the next 10 years, Americans need to reduce their per capita carbon consumption from about 200 per cent to about 80 per cent above the current Chinese level (from about 18 metric tonnes of carbon per person per year to 10).
    • Similarly, Germany needs to cut its per capita carbon consumption from about 80 per cent above the current Chinese level to below the current Chinese level (from about 10 to six metric tons per person per year).
    • And the Chinese need to cap their per capita emissions before the end of the decade, while also moving toward carbon neutrality.
    • To those accustomed to hearing that China is the world’s largest greenhouse-gas (GHG) emitter, these recommendations may come as a surprise.
    • In terms of annual contributions to atmospheric GHGs, China is indeed the world leader, followed by the United States.
    • But in terms of individual annual contributions, an average German leads a life that is about 80 per cent more carbon intensive than the average Chinese; and the average American’s footprint is about 200 per cent larger than the average Chinese.

  • Green recovery
    • The science is irrefutable: for future prosperity, we must invest in greening the global economy. We cannot afford not to do so. Post-COVID-19 recovery needs to be a green recovery.
    • European Commission launched the European Green Deal – a new growth model and roadmap to achieve climate neutrality in the EU by 2050.
    • Our- “Next Generation EU” recovery package and our next long-term budget earmark more than half a trillion euros to address climate change.
    • To reach climate neutrality by 2050, EU leaders unanimously agreed on the 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% compared to 1990 levels.
    • This will further accelerate the fast decrease in the costs of low carbon technologies.
    • The cost of solar photovoltaics has already declined by 82% between 2010 and 2019.
    • Achieving the 55% target will even help us to save €100 billion in the next decade and up to €3 trillion by 2050.
  • Way Forward:
    • We need both new pledges and new sticks and carrots.
    • For starters, all rich countries should aim to achieve carbon neutrality on the consumption side, not just on the production side, no later than 2050.
    • Those that can reach this target sooner should of course do so.
    • Moreover, all of today’s middle-income countries should aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
    • Because the carbon intensity of developing countries’ exports is often higher than that of their imports, a net-zero emissions pledge is a taller order on the production side than it is on the consumption side.
    • The international community needs to provide technical and financial assistance to low- and lower-middle-income countries, conditioned on their efforts to achieve near-carbon neutrality by 2075.
    • We can do better than relying just on national pledges and voluntary compliance.
    • No government can tackle climate change alone. We will pursue all avenues to foster cooperation with partners from all around the world. India is a key player in this global endeavor.
    • The rapid development of solar and wind energy in India in the last few years is a good example of the action needed worldwide.

Conclusion:

With climate neutrality as our goal, the world should mobilize its best scientists, business people, policymakers, academics, civil society actors and citizens to protect together something we all share beyond borders and species: our planet. Good public policies are indispensable but not sufficient. We will also need to foster small individual actions to attain a big collective impact.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. With one example from your own life and experience, describe an event/incident which made you realize the importance of compassion. (150 words)

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To describe an incident which made you understand compassion and its importance in life.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by mentioning about compassion or a quote about compassion from a great personality.

Body:

This is a very open ended questions and need you to describe an incident in life which made you more compassionate. The incident you mention must be relevant to compassion. Be mindful not to come across as condescending and patronizing in this answer. Answer to the point and with utmost humility.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by underscoring the need for more compassion in the world, especially in these testing and trying times.

Introduction:

Compassion is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. The Dalai Lama in his teachings said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Body:

  • Incident which made me realize the Importance of compassion:
  • When I was travelling in Delhi metro daily, I use to see an old lady who sleeps on the platforms of the road. I use to go as usual to my work without asking anything about her. One day I felt so bad about myself because being a social animal if you are not in a position to show compassion towards the sufferings of the fellow being then what is the use of living in the society. One day I spoke with that lady and asked why you are sleeping on the platform? She replied me by saying I do not have anyone, I am orphan. Then I felt compassionate about her and helped in relieving the sufferings of the lady by joining her in the old age home and made a regular visit, whenever I was free. This incident gave me self-satisfaction of helping her.

Importance of compassion as a human value:

  • Action based empathy: Compassion offers the possibility of responding to suffering with understanding, patience, and kindness rather than, say, fear and repulsion. It is a readiness to help or to want to do something ourselves about another person’s situation.
  • Example: Mother Theresa has often been referred to as an embodiment of compassion. Her selfless work for the poor and destitute till date is inspiring and spoken of.
  • Promotes fraternity and harmony among all: A needy would always be happy to get help. It would not only help him face the situation but will generate a blissful feeling of being noticed and cared by others.
  • Holistic mental health: Compassion allows oneself to have a feeling of self-satisfaction and self-contentment of helping others whether an animal, human or even a plant. Such a feeling will help reduce stress, improve mental and physical health. Thus, a person would naturally feel happy and will contribute to the society efficiently with a healthy mind-set.
  • Self-actualization and societal growth: When such a society evolves having compassion for others and helps others in need, each individual is taken care of by the society and in turn he also helps the society.
  • Strong social capital: Strongly integrated social capital grows with a co-operative and co-existing ecosystem, resulting in reduced toxic or criminal outbreaks and instances.
  • Example: Popularly known as ‘Collector Bro’, a civil servant from Kozhikode started the ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ and ‘Compassionate Keralam’, winning the trust and volunteer help from the locals to successfully clean ponds, feed the hungry, help and improving lives after the recent floods and involving youth in the betterment of the society.

Conclusion:

It takes character and integrity to be the one who is willing to step up and make a difference. To feel sympathy for someone is not enough. We must also be willing to take action. That is why compassion requires courage. Together they are one of the most dynamic combinations in the world. It is impossible to know how much good can come from a single act of compassion.

 

Topic:  Utilization of public funds;

7. The best way to maximize the utility of public of funds is by achieving total transparency and accountability in its utilization. Elaborate. (150 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain how transparency and accountability associated with utilization of public funds of the country will improve it efficacy.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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:

Discuss the importance of transparency and accountability in public funds.

Body:

Explain the lacunae in the country with respect to utilization of public funds such as corruption, nepotism, incomplete works, bad quality work, siphoning funds etc.

Discuss the significance of Transparency and efficiency as tools for monitoring and supervising distribution of public fund.

Explain various mechanisms through which it can be done – Public Fund Management System, Auditing agencies – CAG, Budgeting – Outcome based budgeting, zero base budgeting, Participation and transparency – Social Auditing, Financial Prudence etc.

Conclusion:

Summarize of this will aid in the developmental process of the country as well as reduce corrupt practices.

Introduction:

‘Public money ought to be touched with the most scrupulous conscientiousness of honour. It is not the produce of riches only, but of the hard earnings of labour and poverty.’ – Thomas Paine

Body:

  • Four principles underpin trust in the public finances:
    • Transparency −accurate records that show where money is raised and spent.
    • Assurance − figures and processes are checked by independent experts.
    • Accountability −decision makers are clearly identified and subject to strict rules and review of performance and outcomes.
    • Objectivity − policies are based on accurate information and rigorous analysis
  • The question of utilization of public funds has different aspects.
    • The first aspect relates to accountability and efficacy
    • The second aspect concerns the manner of fund utilization.
    • The third aspect relates to the outputs and outcomes which result from the fund use.
    • The fourth aspect is the source of funds.
    • Finally, any fund utilization or expenditure has to meet the audit requirements.
  • Reasons for under-utilization and mis-utilizations of funds
    • Corruption
      • The large sum of money earmarked for public activities are taken away by officials as well as politicians in form of bribes. This results in funds not able to contribute towards development.
      • Ex: Money allocated for construction of houses for poor is consumed by corrupt officials.
    • Political rivalry
      • Sometimes political class indulges in act of vendetta where they do not cooperate in allocation or release of funds to their opposition. They hope to reap the anger against their opponents for their political gains.
      • Ex: Government in power not allocating developmental funds to opposition MLAs.
    • Diversion
      • The funds allocated to one activity is diverted to another in order to meet strict control over finances.
      • Ex: Funds allocated to road repair is diverted to giving freebies.
    • Red Tapism
      • Colonial bureaucratic attitude sometimes acts as hinderance in carrying out developmental activities. They complicate the process due to which funds are not properly utilized.
    • Need to obey principles of transparency and accountability:
      • It is vital to uphold the ‘social contract’. Citizens must be confident that they are protected by the law and that public institutions and servants will act in accordance with it.
      • Public institutions with operational independence from political control are more likely to be trusted to act in the public interest.
      • A well-informed population is far more likely to be confident about investing for the future. This means both providing appropriate information in ways that are accessible and easy to understand, and educating citizens as well as inviting them to participate in decision making.
      • Effective public financial management requires that decision-makers, citizens and other stakeholders, are able to ‘follow the money’ to see how taxes were raised, why decisions to spend it were made, how the money was actually spent and what was bought.
      • Where government plans and activities are measured against expected outputs and outcomes, citizens and other stakeholders will be able to judge the performance of government. This, in turn, provides the basis for feedback and continuous improvement mechanisms.
      • For the public to believe that public officials will do the right thing, a range of controls to promote integrity and ethical behaviour and to tackle fraud and corruption are required.
      • Most importantly, the public must believe that individuals will be held responsible for their actions, no matter who they are.
      • A climate for investment is created when investors believe a state is stable, well run and that political and fiscal risks will be managed effectively.

Conclusion:

It is important for citizens to trust that the government will act in their interest, if they are to invest their own private resources and so create economic activity and employment.


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