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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 February 2021


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. The caves of ancient and medieval ages give us a glance of different art and architectural styles of different periods and religions. Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the variations in architectural styles according to change in time as well religions.

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:

Write in brief about the various form of cave architecture witnessed right from the Stone Age.

Body:

In detail, chronologically bring out the evolution of cave architecture in ancient and medieval India.

Primitive art of Stone Age and the locations where it is found.

Cave art and architecture of with the start of Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism during the initial period, their features and evolution over period of time. Mention the examples of the same.

The relics, motifs, murals and sculptures of the caves not only enlighten us with a lot of information of those ancient times giving us an impression of various traditions, customs and lifestyles followed by the inhabitants but also illustrate considerable accomplishment with regard to structural engineering and artistry of those times.

Conclusion:

Write about how caves today attract thousands of tourists and architectural enthusiasts round the year.

Introduction:

The earliest caves were natural caves used by people for a variety of purposes such as shrines and shelters. Indian rock-cut architecture is also religious in nature. There are more than 1,500 rock-cut structures in India.

Body:

These caves form a rich part of our cultural heritage and provides an insight into the architectural brilliance and religious developments of the era gone by.

Cave architecture in India

  • The Barabar caves located in the Jehanabad district in the state of Bihar, are the oldest surviving caves in India showcasing rock-cut architecture. Some of these caves, most of which trace back to the 3rd century BC during the rule of the Maurya Empire (322–185 BCE), bear Ashokan inscriptions.
  • Chaityas and Viharas: Other early cave temples were used by Buddhist and Jain monks as places of worship and residence found in western India.
  • Buddhism and cave architecture: Buddhist cave architecture reflected in the form of caves date back from 100 BC to 170 AD. At some places there are traces of wood being used and this indicates imitation of wooden construction of that period.
    • The earliest caves comprising of cave temples that are associated with Buddhism include the Karla Caves, the Kanheri Caves, the Bhaja Caves, the Bedsa Caves and the Ajanta Caves.
  • Hinduism: Kailash temple considered as one of the most colossal age-old rock-cut Hindu temples forms cave temple number 16 of Ellora, which is counted among the largest rock-cut monastery-temple caves complexes of the world and marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Maharashtra, India.
    • Construction of this megalith is attributed to the 8th century king Krishna I of the Rashtrakuta dynasty in 756-773 CE.
  • Jainism and cave architecture: Later caves were associated with Hinduism and Jainism.
    • These can be dated between 6th century AD to 12th century AD
    • Caves are found at different places like Ellora, Elephanta, Badami etc. There are variations in the architectural elements according to the religions.
    • Sittanavasal caves are also examples of Jain caves.

Conclusion:

These caves of ancient and medieval ages give us a glance of different architectural styles of different periods and religions. The relics, motifs, murals and sculptures of the caves not only enlighten us with a lot of information of those ancient times giving us an impression of various traditions, customs and lifestyles followed by the inhabitants but also illustrate considerable accomplishment with regard to structural engineering and artistry of those times

 

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

2. Explain the salient features of Gandhara, Mathura and Amravati schools of art. Do you think the works of these ancient schools are only religious in nature? (250 words)

Reference: Indian art and culture by Nitin Singhania.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about features of the three major schools of ancient art and to comment on the nature of the art.

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:

Begin by mentioning about the development of sculpture and the emergence of the three schools of art.

Body:

Write in detail about the features of Gandhara, Mathura and Amravati schools of art. The regions they covered, the patronage, the important characteristics of their sculpture, the material they used, influences on them and type of images produced.

Next, comment further on the type of images produced. In detail mention about the nature of predominance of religious art but there are evidences of secular art especially images of natural motifs, various patterns of life etc. Cite examples to substantiate your points.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing although it was predominated by religious symbols especially Buddhism but secular art was also produced

Introduction:

Indian art forms have continuously evolved over thousands of years. In ancient India, various art forms like paintings, architecture and sculpture evolved. During the start of Christian era (1st and 2nd centuries), the Buddhism expanded substantially and had stimulated a renewed artistic passion to illustrate the message of Buddha and this lead to the development of three main schools of sculpture in India which had evolved their own styles and distinctions. These were named as the Gandhara, Mathura, and Amaravati school of art, after the places of their prominence.

Body:

Gandhara School of Art:

  • Stylistically, the Gandhara School sculpture represents Greco-Buddhist art.
  • The important features of this art form are that the sculptors are extremely fine and realistic.
  • The Buddha and Bodhisattva sculptures display quite a sophisticated iconography in an advanced style.
  • The Gandhara sculptures suggest the earliest representations of the Buddha.
  • Many plaques which were the parts of stupa earlier show the scenes of the birth of Buddha, his enlightenment, sermon at the deer park, his death and others.
  • The most important trait of Gandhara sculpture is found in the depiction of Lord Buddha in the standing or seated positions.
  • The seated Buddha is always shown cross-legged in the traditional Indian way.
  • Another typical feature of the Gandhara Art is the rich carving, elaborate ornamentation and complex symbolism.
  • The aesthetic quality of the Gandhara Buddhas is different from that of the Mathura Buddhas.
  • The Buddha and Bodhisattva figures resemble the Greek God Apollo with broad shoulders, halo around the head and these resemble a powerful hero rather than a yogi.
  • The dress of the Buddha is depicted as realistic with many folds.
  • The physical features such as muscles, nails, hair have been done with great detail.
  • The drapery, heavy ornamentation and moustaches featured on the images of Buddha and Bodhisattva were far from the Indian idealism.

Mathura School of Art:

  • Mathura also was a great centre of art and culture during the period of the Kushans.
  • In Gandhara art the Greco-Roman influence is strongly present.
  • In Mathura art, the important religions of India, such as Brahmanism, Jainism and Buddhism are represented.
  • It is believed that the first Buddha images were carved at Mathura at the same time as in the Gandhara School.
  • Mathura has produced Buddha images of various dimensions.
  • The Mathura style evolved with native spirit and elements.
  • There are quite a number of female figures on the railings of the stupas, and these are beautifully attired according to Indian taste.
  • The spirit of Mathura sculpture displays the peaceful atmosphere.
  • The features are naturalistic rather than realistic.
  • The Indian elements derived from the ideal yogi type, namely the lotus feet and the meditative gaze.
  • Mathura artists rejected the Greco-Roman realistic features and chose naturalistic features to create the sculptures.
  • The entire figure clothed with refinement.
  • The workshop of Mathura exported several Buddhist images to various places, such as Sarnath and even as far as Rajgir in Bihar.

Amaravati School of Sculpture:

  • During the Satavahana period, an aesthetic movement of greater magnitude developed in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Several stupas with refined sculptures of exceptional beauty are the contributions of this period.
  • The sculptures belonging to Amaravati school are found in the valley of Krishna on the sites and museums of Jaggayyapetta, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda.
  • The collection of the stupa plaques is found at British Museum, London and Government Museum, Chennai.
  • The Amaravati style is more elegant and sophisticated.
  • The sculptured panels of Amaravati are characterised by delicacy of forms, and linear grace.
  • Numerous scenes of dance and music adorn these reliefs displaying joy of life.
  • The sculptural remains of Amaravati, known as the ‘marbles’ are created by using white limestone.
  • It creates the illusion of marble and is as fresh as when it was carved.
  • As Buddha had chosen the new path of freedom the artists of the   Amaravati School have chosen their own style and freely expressed their artistic abilities.

Conclusion:

All these art schools were mostly inspired by religion and have left behind a rich heritage.  “The Art of India constitutes a unique chapter in the history of human endeavour”. It unveils the deepest recesses of the human mind and offers a mirror to the Indian soul. The spiritual and religious dimensions of India’s creative genius have found full and perfect expression in the myriad aesthetic creations.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure

3. Explain the judicial powers of the president with respect to sentences of any person convicted of any offence. How does the powers of the Governor differ with the respect to that of the President in this regard? What should be the considerations taken in to account while granting clemency to convicts? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has decided that only the President can decide the issue of granting remission to the seven life convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the Power of president to grant pardons, etc., and to suspend, remit or commute sentences and differences with respect to the power of the governor in the same area. Also, to write about considerations that should be undertaken while grant clemency.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by writing about Article 72 of the Indian Constitution.

Body:

In detail explain the judicial powers of the president in this regard and instances where the President can grant clemency. Explain about – Pardon, Commutation, Remission, Respite and Reprieve.

Write about Article 161 and compare the powers of the Governor with respect to those president on the above line.

Next, write about considerations that should be taken in to account while granting clemency. The question of remission should not be a matter of politics and electoral considerations. It should be objective and based up on the facts of the case and on humanitarian considerations. Use examples to substantiate your points.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

The President of India, officially the President of the Republic of India, is the ceremonial head of state of India and the Commander-in-chief of the Indian Armed Forces. The President enjoys judicial powers as well. He has the power to grant pardons, reprieves, suspension, remission or condonation of a punishment or sentence by court martial. The President’s pardon could be sought for any death sentence

Body:

The President of India is vested with the following judicial powers by the Constitution

Article 60:

  • Appointment of Judges: The President also appoints the Chief Justice and other judges on the advice of the Chief Justice.
  • Removal of Judges: The President can also remove a Judge if both Houses of the Parliament, i.e. the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha passed a resolution by a two-thirds majority to that effect.

Pardoning Powers of the President

Article 72 empowers the President to grant pardons to persons who have been tried and convicted of any offence in all cases where

  • Punishment or sentence is for an offence listed under a Central law
  • Punishment or sentence given by a Martial court
  • Death sentence

The President is vested with the following types of pardoning powers under Article 72:

  • Pardon: frees a convict from all charges, i.e., the sentence of the convict is completely removed.
  • Commute: one form of punishment is substituted with another form of punishment, i.e., the nature of punishment is changed. For example, a convict’s death sentence can be commuted to rigorous imprisonment.
  • Remit: the term of punishment is reduced without changing the nature of punishment. For example, a convict’s 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment is remitted to 7 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
  • Reprieve: the execution of a sentence is suspended for a temporary period. For example, a convict’s death sentence is reprieved as his mercy petition is pending with the office of the President.
  • Respite: the sentence is reduced or the nature of the sentence is changed because of a special reason. For example, a convict can be given respite from rigorous imprisonment if he is a terminally ill patient.

Advisory Jurisdiction of Supreme Court

Article 143 empowers the President to refer any matter on any question of fact or law on a matter of public importance and seek its advice. The Supreme Court may or may not tender its advice to the President except if the question is on federal disputes specially those arising out of pre-constitutional agreements. In other words, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to tender advice on all matters related to the federal disputes, when referred by the President. However, the advice tendered by the Supreme Court is not binding on the President, he has complete discretion on whether to consider it or not.

Difference of powers between President and Governor:

The Constitution through Article 161 also empowers the Governor of a state to pardon, commute, remit, reprieve and respite sentences. However, there are several differences between the pardoning powers of the President and the Governor which are listed below:

  • While the President can pardon sentences imposed by a central law, the Governor can pardon sentences imposed under the state law
  • The President can pardon a death sentence, whereas, the Governor cannot pardon a death sentence even if it is imposed under the state law
  • The President can pardon a martial court sentence but the Governor has no such power

Considerations that should be taken in to account while granting clemency:

  • The President while exercising the power under Article 72 can go into the merits of the case notwithstanding that it has been judicially concluded by the consideration given to it by the Supreme Court.
  • The power under Article 72 entitles the President to examine the record of evidence of the criminal case and to determine for himself whether the case is one deserving the grant of the relied falling within that power.
  • He can, on scrutiny of the evidence on record in the criminal case, come to a conclusion different from that recorded by the Court in regard to the guilt of, and sentence imposes on, the accused.
  • In doing so, the President does not amend or modify or supersede the judicial record. The judicial record remains intact and undisturbed.
  • Therefore, there is no interference with the functions of the judiciary.
  • The administration of justice by the courts is not necessarily always wise or certainly considerate of circumstances, which may properly mitigate guilt.
  • To afford a remedy, it has always been thought essential in popular governments, as well as in monarchies, to vest in some other authority than the courts, power to improve or avoid particular criminal judgments.
  • It is only a check entrusted to the Executive for special cases.
  • It is clear that the powers vested in the President of India under Art. 72; in the Governor under Article 161 of the Constitution and in the State Government under S. 401 of the Cr.P.C. are essentially executive powers of mercy which operate in completely different fields.
  • The trial of criminals and the passing of sentences are purely in the domain of the judiciary whereas the execution of sentences is purely with the Executive Government.
  • Thus it is clear that the orders under Article 72 are essentially and basically executive orders in a completely different field.
  • The Head of the Executive exercises his powers of mercy under the Constitution commonly known as ‘mercy jurisdiction’.
  • Since no such powers are vested with any judicial organ; there can be no infringement upon its functions.

Clarifications given by Supreme court regarding the clemency powers of the President:

  • Supreme Court in a catena of cases has laid down the law relating to judicial review of pardoning power.
  • In Maru Ram v Union of India, the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court held that the power under Article 72 is to be exercised on the advice of the Central Government and not by the President on his own, and that the advice of the Government binds the head of the Republic.
  • In Dhananjoy Chatterjee alias Dhana v State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court reiterated its earlier stand in Maru Ram’s case and said that the power under Articles 72 and 161 of the Constitution can be exercised by the Central and State Governments, not by the President or Governor on their own. The advice of the appropriate Government binds the Head of the state.
  • The Supreme Court in Ranga Billa case was once again called upon to decide the nature and ambit of the pardoning power of the President of India under Article 72 of the Constitution. The term “pardon” itself signifies that it is entirely a discretionary remedy and grant or rejection of it need not to be reasoned.
  • Supreme Court once again in Kehar Singh v Union of India reiterated its earlier stand and held that the grant of pardon by the President is an act of grace and, therefore, cannot be claimed as a matter of right. The power exercisable by the President being exclusively of administrative nature, is not justiciable.
  • In a landmark judgment in Epuru Sudhakar caseit was held by the Supreme Court that it is a well-set principle that a limited judicial review of exercise of clemency powers is available to the Supreme Court and High Courts. Granting of clemency by the President or Governor can be challenged on the following grounds:
    • The order has been passed without application of mind.
    • The order is mala fide.
    • The order has been passed on extraneous or wholly irrelevant considerations.
    • Relevant material has been kept out of consideration.
    • The order suffers from arbitrariness.
  • In the Landmark judgment in Shatrughan Chauhan caseSupreme court said that:
    • Delay by the government in taking a decision about the mercy petition of the death row convicts was in fact a valid ground for commutation of their sentence.
    • This judgment came as a relief to as many as fifteen death row convicts, whose sentence was thus commuted to life term. This judgment also included the factor that schizophrenia and mental illness is also a defence against death penalty and such a person cannot be hanged.
    • In this case,the Supreme Court overruled its own verdict in Devinderpal Singh Bhullar’s case in which it had held that delay in deciding mercy plea cannot be a ground for commutation of death sentence.
  • The supreme court laid down the following principles:
    • The petitioner for mercy has no right to an oral hearing by the President.
    • The president can examine the evidence afresh and take a view different from the view taken by the court.
    • The power is to be exercised by the president on the advice of the union cabinet
    • The president is not bound to give reasons for his/her order.
    • The president can afford relief not only from a sentence that he regards as unduly harsh but also from an evident mistake.
    • The exercise of power by the president is not subject to judicial review except where the presidential decision is arbitrary, irrational, malafide or discriminatory.
    • Where the earlier petition for mercy has been rejected by the President stay cannot be obtained by filing another petition.

Conclusion:

Presidential pardon is one of the powers that been given to the executive by the Constitution. The pardoning power of Executive is very significant as it corrects the errors of judiciary. It eliminates the effect of conviction without addressing the defendant’s guilt or innocence. The principles of natural justice should be imbibed in the exercise of clemency powers because firstly, they do not affect the purpose of mercy jurisdiction and secondly, through procedural fairness the scope of bias is reduced.

 

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

4. Universal insurance and Comprehensive primary care are first steps towards achieving universal health care. Analyze India’s strengths and weaknesses in achieving universal health care. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare budget for 2021-22, viz. ₹73,932 crore, saw a 10.2% increase over the Budget estimate (BE) of 2020-21 — a modest increase even nominally.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the Universal insurance and Comprehensive primary care as first steps towards achieving universal health care and India’s strength and weaknesses in this regard.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by describing the universal health care in the Indian context.

Body:

Write about the scope Universal insurance – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY), Large expenditure projections, input-based strengthening of public health etc.

Comprehensive primary care – Health and Wellness Centres, primary health centres and urban primary health centres, greater focus on rural health etc.

Write about India’s strengths and weaknesses in this regard. Increasing allocations, inter-connected hospital networks, improved FDI for insurance, existing schemes etc. Weaknesses – poor budget reliability, ineffective financial protection, under-investing and spreading funds too thinly etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Universal health coverage (UHC) means that all people have access to the health services they need (prevention, promotion, treatment, rehabilitation and palliative care) without the risk of financial hardship when paying for them.

Health accessibility and affordability remain a crucial healthcare problem even in the 21st century. Therefore, World Health Organisation chose “Universal Health Coverage” as the theme for World Health Day 2019. India started working towards the universal problem of affordability and accessibility with the introduction of Ayushman Bharat.

Body:

Significance of UHC:

  • Universal health coverage has a direct impact on a population’s health and welfare.
  • Access and use of health services enables people to be more productive and active contributors to their families and communities.
  • It also ensures that children can go to school and learn.
  • At the same time, financial risk protection prevents people from being pushed into poverty when they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets.
  • Universal health coverage is thus a critical component of sustainable development and poverty reduction, and a key element of any effort to reduce social inequities.
  • Universal coverage is the hallmark of a government’s commitment to improve the wellbeing of all its citizens.

Issues and Challenges:

  • Finance: At about 1.3% of the national income, India’s public healthcare spending between 2008 and 2015, has virtually remained stagnant. This is way less than the global average of 6 per cent. It is a herculean task to implement a scheme that could potentially cost Rs 5 lakh per person and benefit 53.7 crore out of India’s 121 crore citizenry, or roughly about 44% of the country’s population. Over 70 per cent of the total healthcare expenditure is accounted for by the private sector.
  • Crumbling public health infrastructure: Given the country’s crumbling public healthcare infrastructure, most patients are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals. There is a shortage of PHCs (22%) and sub-health centres (20%), while only 7% sub-health centres and 12% primary health centres meet Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) norms.
  • High Out of Pocket Expenditure: Reports suggest that 70% of the medical spending is from the patient’s pockets leading to huge burden and pushing many into poverty. Most consumers complain of rising costs. Hundred days into the PMJAY, it remains to be seen if private hospitals provide knee replacement at Rs 80,000 (current charges Rs 3.5 lakh) bypass surgery at Rs 1.7 lakh (against Rs 4 lakh).
  • Insurance: India has one of the lowest per capita healthcare expenditures in the world. Government contribution to insurance stands at roughly 32 percent, as opposed to 83.5 percent in the UK. The high out-of-pocket expenses in India stem from the fact that 76 percent of Indians do not have health insurance.
  • Doctor-Density Ratio: The WHO reports the doctor-density ratio in India at 8 per 10,000 people as against one doctor for a population of 1,000. To achieve such access, merely increasing the number of primary and secondary healthcare centres is not enough.
  • Shortage of Medical Personnel: Data by IndiaSpend show that there is a staggering shortage of medical and paramedical staff at all levels of care: 10,907 auxiliary nurse midwives and 3,673 doctors are needed at sub-health and primary health centres, while for community health centres the figure is 18,422 specialists.
  • Rural-urban disparity: The rural healthcare infrastructure is three-tiered and includes a sub-center, primary health centre (PHC) and CHC. PHCs are short of more than 3,000 doctors, with the shortage up by 200 per cent over the last 10 years to 27,421. Private hospitals don’t have adequate presence in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and there is a trend towards super specialisation in Tier-1 cities.
  • Social Inequality: The growth of health facilities has been highly imbalanced in India. Rural, hilly and remote areas of the country are under served while in urban areas and cities, health facility is well developed. The SC/ST and the poor people are far away from modern health service.
  • Poor healthcare ranking: India ranks as low as 145th among 195 countries in healthcare quality and accessibility, behind even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • Commercial motive: lack of transparency and unethical practices in the private sector.
  • Lack of level playing field between the public and private hospitals: This has been a major concern as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support. This would dissuade the private players from actively participating in the scheme.
  • Scheme flaws: The overall situation with the National Health Mission, India’s flagship programme in primary health care, continues to be dismal. The NHM’s share in the health budget fell from 73% in 2006 to 50% in 2019 in the absence of uniform and substantial increases in health spending by States.

Steps taken up currently:

  • The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 advocated allocating resources of up to two-thirds or more to primary care as it enunciated the goal of achieving “the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive healthcare orientation”.
  • A 167% increase in allocation this year for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) — the insurance programme which aims to cover 10 crore poor families for hospitalisation expenses of up to ₹5 lakh per family per annum.
  • The government’s recent steps to incentivise the private sector to open hospitals in Tier II and Tier III cities.
  • Individual states are adopting technology to support health-insurance schemes. For instance, Remedinet Technology (India’s first completely electronic cashless health insurance claims processing network) has been signed on as the technology partner for the Karnataka Government’s recently announced cashless health insurance schemes.

Measures needed to strengthen the existing state of Health infrastructure in the country are:

  • There is an immediate need to increase the public spending to 2.5% of GDP, despite that being lower than global average of 5.4%.
  • The achievement of a distress-free and comprehensive wellness system for all hinges on the performance of health and wellness centres as they will be instrumental in reducing the greater burden of out-of-pocket expenditure on health.
  • there is a need to depart from the current trend of erratic and insufficient increases in health spending and make substantial and sustained investments in public health over the next decade.
  • A National Health Regulatory and Development Framework needs to be made for improving the quality (for example registration of health practitioners), performance, equity, efficacy and accountability of healthcare delivery across the country.
  • Increase the Public-Private Partnerships to increase the last-mile reach of healthcare.
  • Generic drugs and Jan Aushadi Kendras should be increased to make medicines affordable and reduce the major component of Out of Pocket Expenditure.
  • The government’s National Innovation Council, which is mandated to provide a platform for collaboration amongst healthcare domain experts, stakeholders and key participants, should encourage a culture of innovation in India and help develop policy on innovations that will focus on an Indian model for inclusive growth.
  • India should take cue from other developing countries like Thailand to work towards providing Universal Health Coverage. UHC includes three components: Population coverage, disease coverage and cost coverage.
  • Leveraging the benefits of Information Technology like computer and mobile-phone based e-health and m-health initiatives to improve quality of healthcare service delivery. Start-ups are investing in healthcare sector from process automation to diagnostics to low-cost innovations. Policy and regulatory support should be provided to make healthcare accessible and affordable.

Way forward:

  • For UHC to become a reality, it is important to expedite steps beyond infrastructural interventions to include water, sanitation, nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. The challenge is to incentivize wellness-seeking behaviour.
  • An encouraging aspect of India’s commitment to UHC has been the active and participatory role of the government.
  • From Poshan Abhiyaan, which aims to eliminate the malaise of malnutrition, to the Prime Minister’s call for a Fit India Movement, new emphasis has been given to multi-stakeholder engagements.
  • India has to align the vision of medical education with the vision of “one nation, one healthcare sector”.
  • The National Medical Commission (NMC) 2019 Bill recognizes the much-needed reforms in medical education.
  • The challenge of building capacity of people in a short time needs to be addressed through more transformational public-private partnerships (PPPs), presenting another opportunity to develop and adopt e-learning models.
  • Digital health has emerged as a game-changer in achieving UHC goals. India has taken rapid strides here and digital health is bringing healthcare within reach of 70% of our population residing in rural and remote areas.
  • With the use of digital technology, India is positioned to not only bridge gaps in our healthcare delivery but also to have the capability to contribute to global UHC goals through its telemedicine and digital health tools.
  • India’s healthcare providers are already working on new frontiers of digital technologies.
  • Machine learning, blockchain and AI will continue to strengthen India’s ability to engage effectively with other geographies towards achieving global UHC targets.
  • Regional disparities in terms of resources and institutional capabilities must be addressed. This diversity, nevertheless, can be a powerful source of policy innovation and creativity.
  • A collaborative approach aligning patients, payers and providers, along with innovative partnerships, will hasten efforts to mitigate risks, drive impact, forge stronger social returns and achieve sustainable UHC targets.

Conclusion:

India needs a holistic approach to tackle problems in healthcare industry. This includes the active collaboration of all stakeholders’ public, private sectors, and individuals. Amore dynamic and pro-active approach is needed to handle the dual disease burden. A universal access to health makes the nation fit and healthy, aiding better to achieve the demographic dividend.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Disaster and disaster management.

5. What is Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding? Examine the vulnerabilities of hydro power projects in the Himalayan eco-sensitive region and suggest measures to overcome the same. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The death toll in the Nanda Devi “glacier burst” in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district went up to 26 on Monday, even as operations continued for the second day to rescue about 35 labourers trapped inside the 2.5-km-long Tapovan hydel project tunnel filled with slush and debris.

Key Demand of the question:

A straightforward question to write about the vulnerabilities of hydro power projects in the Himalayan region and suggest measures to overcome them.

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 by defining the concept of Glacial Lake Outburst Flooding.

Body:

In body further elaborate upon how glaciers and glacial lakes form and how the glacier bursts and the reasons therefore.

Next, write about various ecological frailties in the Himalayan eco-sensitive zone to hydro power projects of that region. Dam-induced microseismicity, potential earthquake impacts, monsoonal aberrations, severe biodiversity loss and siltation.

Finally, suggest measures to overcome the same – Focusing more on run of the river projects rather than large projects, thorough environmental impact assessment, disaster preparedness and tackling climate change etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

A glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF) is a release of meltwater from a moraine- or ice-dam glacial lake due to dam failure. GLOFs often result in catastrophic flooding downstream, with major geomorphic and socioeconomic impacts.

Parts of Uttarakhand recently witnessed massive flooding after a chunk of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Josh math in Uttara hand’s Chamois district. Bringing back haunting memories of the 2013 Kedarnath calamity, the glacier break caused large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalaya. As per the available information, over 150 labourers working at a power project in Tapovan-Reni are missing.

Body:

Glacial lakes form when a glacier retreats, leaving the debris mass at the end of the glacier – the end moraine – exposed. The moraine wall can act as a natural dam, trapping the meltwater from the glacier and leading to the formation of a lake. The moraine dams are composed of unconsolidated boulders, gravel, sand, and silt. As with landslide dams, they can eventually break catastrophically, leading to a glacial lake outburst flood or GLOF.

GLOFs have three main features:

  • They involve sudden (and sometimes cyclic) releases of water.
  • They tend to be rapid events, lasting hours to days.
  • They result in large downstream river discharges (which often increase by an order of magnitude).

The following direct causes of glacial lake outburst floods were documented:

  • Rapid slope movement into the lake
  • Heavy rainfall/snowmelt
  • Cascading processes (flood from a lake situated upstream)
  • Earthquake
  • Melting of ice incorporated in dam/forming the dam (including volcanic activity-triggered jökulhlaups)
  • Blocking of subsurface outflow tunnels (applies only to lakes without surface outflow or lakes with a combination of surface and subsurface outflow)
  • Long-term dam degradation
  • Global warming: Given that the thawing of ice cores is expected to accelerate in the future due to global climate change, it is almost certain that other glacial lake outburst floods will happen all over the Indian Himalaya.
  • Unsustainable development process: It is important to note that not all glacial lake outbursts have catastrophic outcomes. It largely depends on urban planning, the size of the lake, the distance between the lake and affected villages, the valley section etc. The unsustainable development process in these areas will only increase the hazard potential of glacial lake outbursts.

The vulnerabilities of hydro power projects in the Himalayan eco-sensitive region:

  • India is heavily invested in dam development and growth of hydropower, largely in the Himalaya region — specially to cut carbon emissions.
  • According to an estimate, if the national plan to construct dams in 28 river valleys in the hills is realised in a few decades, the Indian Himalayas will have one dam for every 32 km, among the world’s highest densities.
  • The projects face serious risk from seismic activity and sediment mobilisation.
  • The projects will be vulnerable to extreme weather events and shrinking glaciers in the Himalayan region.
  • the extreme hydrological events are likely to increase in future due to the increase in global temperature, it is important to study in detail the “dynamics of the glacial fed Himalayan rivers for their carrying capacity (both in terms of water discharge and sediment load).
  • the frequency of extreme precipitation events in the Himalayan region is increasing and plays an important role in the overall sediment transport. The flash flood of June 2013 in Uttarakhand is the most recent example of such an event that led to large-scale sediment mobilisation and aggradation in the lower valleys.

Measures needed to stop GLOF:

  • The NDMA guidelines say that risk reduction has to begin with identifying and mapping such lakes, taking structural measures to prevent their sudden breach, and establishing mechanism to save lives and property in times of a breach.
  • Potentially dangerous lakes can be identified based on field observations, records of past events, geomorphologic and geotechnical characteristics of the lake/dam and surroundings, and other physical conditions.
  • NDMA has recommended use of Synthetic-Aperture Radar imagery to automatically detect changes in water bodies, including new lake formations, during the monsoon months. It has said methods and protocols could also be developed to allow remote monitoring of lake bodies from space.
  • To manage lakes structurally, the NDMA recommends reducing the volume of water with methods such as controlled breaching, pumping or siphoning out water, and making a tunnel through the moraine barrier or under an ice dam.

Way forward:

  • Early warning system: There is an urgent need to use multiple methods for better risk assessment and early warning. It is important to regularly monitor lake development and dynamics. This approach could help limit the damages caused by the glacial lake outburst events.
  • Better land planning: Further development processes in these ecologically fragile areas should be guided by better land-use planning.

Conclusion:

Equally, glacial lakes are an important potential natural resource for water supply, which has yet to be effectively investigated. Glacial lakes may offer considerable benefits to local community. They can provide a natural storage facility for water as water supplies becoming increasingly scarce, they are a focus for tourist activities, and they often have a high cultural significance. Thus they need to be looked after and managed in a controlled way that reduces any threat while helping the potential benefits to be realised.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. To promote good governance and social justice, civil servants must be professional, uphold the highest standards of ethics and integrity, and exhibit qualities of adroitness and compassion. Discuss. (150 words)

Reference: Ethics 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 write about how civil service values play a part in achieving good governance and social justice.

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:

Begin by developing a link between good governance and upholding highest ethical standards.

Body:

The promotion of ethics and moral values in good governance implies legality of government action, rationality in policy and decision making, evolving a sense of responsibility, ensuring accountability, strengthening work commitment, creating excellence, facilitating spirit of individual and organizational goals, developing responsiveness, showing compassion, protecting the national interests, safeguarding the spirit of justice, bringing transparency and elevating integrity.

Conclusion:

Summarize the overall importance of the above.

Introduction:

“You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person,” says Warren Buffett. “Intelligence, energy, and integrity. And if they don’t have the last one, don’t even bother with the first two.

Body

Good governance is synonymous to good civil servants who have utmost integrity, compassion to resolve suffering of the people and to be innovative and adroit. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching. As civil servants, there is greater power of discretion and greater resources at disposal. As Kautilya says, it is difficult to not taste honey that is kept on the tongue. Exercising this authority for the benefit of public and nation leads to an efficient government.

Secondly, without empathy and compassion, one cannot comprehend the pain and suffering of fellow human beings. As civil servants work for the welfare of the greater interest of public, they must be compassionate and responsive to the needs of the people. For instance, IPS officer Atul Kulkarni opened a Bharosa Cell to ensure women come forward to report domestic violence and assault without any fear. Without understanding the core problems, it is impossible to solve the issues. And the key to that is compassion and empathy.

Lastly, good governance and social justice can be ensured when the civil servants are skilful, innovative and adroit. For instance, IAS officer Rubal Agrawal came up with Gudda Guddi digital board to increase sex ration at birth which was awarded under Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign.

Conclusion

Guidelines of public behaviour arising from integrity, compassion and ethics can play a crucial role in creating trust between the public functionaries and common public. Therefore, any person who is privileged to guide the destiny of the people must not only be ethical but must be seen to practice these principles of public life.

 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics;

7.A typical problem in technological ethics arises because there is a policy vacuum about how technology should be used. Analyze. (150 words)

Reference: Ethics 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 write about the policy vacuum faced in developing technology regulating ethics.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Write about the exponential growth witnessed in technology, the difficulties in regulating it.

Body:

Analyze the reasons the reasons the policy vacuum and cite examples to substantiate.  Tech provides us with new capabilities and these in turn give us new choices for action. Often, either no policies for conduct in these situations exist or existing policies seem inadequate.

Bring out the ramifications of the same. Cite steps need to be taken in this regard.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Emerging and disruptive technologies enable tremendous opportunity for organizations to become smarter, more agile, more flexible, and more responsive. However, how the technology is put to use and for what purpose demands a greater scrutiny. Cambridge Analytica episode of user profiling is a good example in this regard.

Body

Technology Ethics

Technology ethics is the application of ethical thinking to the practical concerns of technology. The reason technology ethics is growing in prominence is that new technologies give us more power to act, which means that we have to make choices we didn’t have to make before. While in the past our actions were involuntarily constrained by our weakness, now, with so much technological power, we have to learn how to be voluntarily constrained by our judgment: our ethics.

In technology we speak of ethics in two contexts; one is whether the pace of technological innovation is benefiting the humankind or not, the other is either severely empowering people while choking others for the same. Technology is also widening the existing inequalities, dividing the world once again into haves and have-nots.

Elaborating on the controversial USA elections of 2016 and user profiling through Facebook information, reveals the loopholes in privacy of individual’s data. Also, as to how companies put this data into use. Big technological companies such as Google, Facebook were accused of breaching privacy and displaying anti-competitive practices.

Take another examples of CRISPR CAS-9 technology that can edit human genes in the embryo. And the case of a Chinese scientist who did this and became controversial. Without a policy or law regarding the use of such innovation will lead to eugenics and what is called ‘designer babies’. There is enormous scope for unintended effects that may permeate into future generations.

It is important to ensure that policies and laws must not be technology specific, rather abstract and will apply to new innovations ensuring moral duties on the inventors or entrepreneurs.

Conclusion

Ethical tech depends on leaders making it a priority, molding it into the culture of their organizations, and developing ethical decision-making processes that are considered, thoughtful, and driven by technological experience and a diversity of input. By embracing an ethical technology mindset, organizations can anticipate and respond to ethical challenges that emerge over time.


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