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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 March 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: women empowerment

1. What constitutes unpaid work? Is it a woman’s responsibility or an economic activity? Analyse and explain how it is distributed in our present society. (250 words)

Reference:  theguardian.com

Why the question:

On the event of women’s day celebrations across the world today, the question aims to analyse the nature of unpaid work that women do and its distribution in our society.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what unpaid work is, assess whether it’s a woman’s responsibility or an economic activity and analyse how it is distributed in our present society.

Directive:

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

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of unpaid work.

Body:

Unpaid care work constitutes for about 35% of India’s GDP and is equivalent to about 182% of the total government tax revenue.

Explain in detail that the problem of unpaid care work exists predominantly because of the many prevalent patriarchal norms in our society. These norms often involve women doing majority of unpaid care work like looking after children and older family members, cooking and cleaning. This undermines their rights and limits their opportunities, capabilities and choices and thus impeding their empowerment. While it is assumed that a major reason why women and girls face the burden of unpaid care work is illiteracy, in urban households that is usually not the case. For both rural and urban areas, the constant ground on which this happens is discrimination and gender inequality.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Discuss its impact on the society. Hint at the efforts being taken by the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

The government has a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality by ensuring equality of opportunity in public services. However, such solutions will have a limited impact unless the behavioral change of each and every individual is targeted.

Introduction

As per the OECD definition, Unpaid work refers to the production of goods or services that are consumed by those within or outside a household, but not for sale in the market. It is widely recognized that women perform the bulk of unpaid work in households and even in paid labour force. This work is often socially, politically, and economically devalued because “work” is often defined in conventional statistics as paid activities linked to the market.

Body

Issues of unpaid work

  • Balancing paid and unpaid work obligations is taxing on women. Reports of increased stress levels are not uncommon.
  • In fact, women report higher levels of symptoms related to depression and anxiety, including low life satisfaction and subjective well-being.
  • As women increase their paid work time, they do not achieve a corresponding reduction in their unpaid work hours. Nor have men increased their share of unpaid work at the same rate that women have increased their share of paid work.
  • The Human Development Report of 2015 reports that, in 63 countries, 31 percent of women’s time is spent doing unpaid work, as compared to men who dedicate only 10 percent of their time to unpaid work.
  • The double-burden is intensified when women are subjected to poverty and live in communities that lack basic infrastructure.
  • In areas that lack easy access to food and water, household duties are even more time consuming.

Distribution of unpaid work in present society

  • More than 90% of Indian women participated in unpaid domestic work at home in 2019 compared to 27% of men. On the other hand, only 22% of women participated in employment and related activities compared to 71% of men.
  • The time use survey shows that the average Indian woman spends 19.5 percent of her time every day in unpaid work including housework and caregiving as compared to just 2.5 percent of time spent by men.
  • They also do over three times the amount of childcare as men.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately increased the time women spend on family responsibilities, by nearly 30 percent in India.

 Way Forward

  • Existing patriarchal norms pose a significant constraint to the take-up of public or market services.
  • Addressing the issue of childcare and flexible work could help initiate positive social norms that encourage the redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work burden.
  • A huge spectrum of women’s skilled but unpaid work contributes directly to the economy. Yet, its devaluation by not being accounted for ‘work’ weakens women’s status, leading to their vulnerability.
  • Sharing the responsibilities of childcare can be difficult in a culture where parental leave is given only to the mother.
  • This further reinforces the notion that unpaid care work is the sole responsibility of the women.
  • The government has a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality by ensuring equality of opportunity in public services.
  • However, these solutions will have a limited impact unless the behavioural change of each and every individual is targeted.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: The Panchayats, The Municipalities. The Cooperative Societies

2. Analyse the possible role that e-governance can play in upbringing the local self-governments in the country. (250 words)

Reference:  researchgate.net

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper II, part Indian polity.

Key Demand of the question:

The Panchayati Raj Institutions play a major role in the socio and economic development of people at the grassroots level. Thus the question.

Directive:

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

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the current conditions of local self-government in the country.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Firstly explain the significance of Panchayat raj institutions in the country.

Then discuss the major concerns associated with it.

Bring out the possible role that e-governance can play in resolving the inherent issues pertaining to the local self-government system in the country.

Hint at the initiatives of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance.

Introduction

If the Panchayats and municipal bodies are to perform efficiently and effectively all the mandated tasks, which are increasing day by day, extensive use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is needed. Moreover, there is a strong need to build a “digital inclusive society” where large sections of rural population are able to benefit from new technologies; can access and share information and services freely and can participate in the development process more effectively.

Body

Importance of Self-governance institutions

  • A democratic form of government must be sustained by a system of vigorous local self-government institutions.
  • Local government institutions provide an opportunity to the people to participate freely and actively in the governance and policy making which they formulate for their respective areas.
  • These are necessary to encourage and foster initiative, independence, and enterprise on the part of the people.
  • While inaugurating the first local self-government minister’s conference in 1948, our late Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru said “local government is and must be the basis of any true system of democracy. Democracy at the top may not be a success unless built on its foundation from below”.
  • Laski said “local government offers the best opportunity to the people to bring local knowledge, interest and enthusiasm to bear on the solution of their problems.
  • It not only relieves congestion at the centre but it also checks the increasing power of democracy. It stands positively for the distribution and diffusion of power leading to administrative de- concentration and de- centralization. Being closer to the original base, it finds solution for local problems more efficiently (No ‘one size fits all’ approach).

Role of e-governance in Local self-governments

  • Transparency: Government of India formulated E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project for e-enablement of all the Panchayats, to make their functioning more efficient and transparent.
  • Automation of internal workflow processes of Panchayats: PRIASoft – an online cash-based double entry accounting software that implements the Model Accounting System for PRIs, has been a major success with 1.2 lakh Panchayats on board and about 65,000 Panchayats are making online voucher entries during 2011-2012.
  • Budgeting: Cities such as Bangalore and Pune have experimented with citizen budgeting receiving many online budgets. This shows the most important issues that need resources from local bodies.
  • Improving delivery of services to citizens: Citizens can be part of governance and
  • Capacity building of Panchayat/Municipality Representatives and Officials: Online materials and training to Panchayat representatives can go a long way in achieving
  • Social Audit: Social Audit can become much easier, if the information on all the development details are made publicly available.
  • Accountability, Efficiency and RTI compliance of Panchayats: e-governance in local self-government will lead to better utilisation of funds and decrease the discretionary powers of officials. Thereby reducing scope for any misappropriation.

Conclusion

The Panchayats being the basic unit for planning and implementation of a large number of schemes and services, the e-governance initiatives in this sphere, would also go a long way in improving public service delivery through PRIs and municipalities with better outcomes.

 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

3. “No Panchayati Raj is better than bad Panchayati raj”. Discuss in the context of democratic decentralisation in India while weighing its successes and failures. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

73rd and 74th constitutional amendments have often been asked in the exam. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

The question makes an assertion that it is better to have no Panchayati Raj as compared to bad Panchayati Raj because of the faith of people in democratic decentralization will weaken. Hence we have to assess the performance of the Act, shortcomings and suggest way forward.

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:

Briefly talk about the Panchayat Raj act.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss about the PRI act.

Highlights the positives and negatives of the Act.

Suggest reforms to ensure good governance at the grassroots.

Conclusion:

Summarize your answer while highlighting the need for democratic decentralization in India

Introduction

The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act 1992 is a significant landmark in the evolution of grassroot democratic institutions in the country. It transformed the representative democracy into participatory democracy. It is a revolutionary concept to build democracy at the grassroot level in the country.

However, after decades of this historic amendment, Panchayati Raj Institutions have remained laggard in the developmental process.

Body

Success of Panchayati Raj

Gandhiji’s dream of Gram Swaraj and Oceanic Circles of Power were realised through the Panchayati Raj System.

  • The PRIs are the local self-governing bodies that ensure the opportunity for people’s participation and involvement in the formulation and implementation of rural development programmes.
  • The main objective of Panchayat System in India is to strengthen the base of democracy at the grass root level.
  • It was introduced as a real democratic political apparatus which would bring the masses into active political control from below, from the vast majority of the weaker, poor sections of rural India.
  • They play the role of a catalytic agent in integrating development of tribal masses in rural areas.
  • Plan documents of both the central and state governments and various committees have emphasised the importance of these bodies in the polity. Five-year plans have also laid special emphasis on the role of Panchayats in rural developments.
  • Rural Development includes measures to strengthen the democratic structure of society through the PRIs.
  • PRIs have been used to improve the rural infrastructure, income of rural households and delivery systems pertaining to education, health and safety mechanisms. These institutions are to be galvanised to become effective instruments of social and economic change at the local level.
  • Reservation for women (33%) has increased their presence in the public life.

Failures of democratic decentralisation especially in Panchayats

  • Overwhelming dependency on government funding: Panchayat’s own resource base to raise finances is low and the financial resources are tied to certain schemes and initiatives. When Panchayats do not raise resources and instead depend on external funding, people are less likely to enforce social audit and efficacy of the schemes.
    • Eg: In case of Urban local bodies, majority of municipalities have not increased property tax since many years and have not leveraged the municipal bonds for betterment of city infrastructure.
  • Creation of Parallel Bodies: Parallel Bodies have usurped the legitimate space of local bodies. For instance, Smart City scheme is being implemented in major cities through Special Purpose Vehicles, squeezing the limited space of urban local governance in municipalities.
  • Lack of adequate Devolution: Many states have not devolved the 3F’s of function, funds and functionaries, to enable local bodies to discharge their constitutionally stipulated functions.
  • Excessive control by bureaucracy
    • In many Gram Panchayats, Sarpanches have to spend an extra ordinary amount of time visiting block Officers for funds and/or technical approval. These interactions with the Block staff office distort the role of Sarpanches as elected representatives.
    • Multiple institutions like parastatals, development authorities, public works departments, and ULBs themselves report to different departments of the state government and have been entrusted with overlapping responsibilities.
  • Poor Infrastructure: It is found that nearly 25% of Gram Panchayats do not have basic office buildings. Capacity building of elected representatives is another hindrance in the grass roots democracy. In case of urban local bodies, Mayor position is merely cermonial.

Measures Need to strengthen Panchayats

  • Central Government has started the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyaan. The campaign is undertaken under the name of “Sabka Sath, Sabka Gaon, Sabka Vikas”.
    • It aims to draw up Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) in the country and place them on a website where anyone can see the status of the various government’s flagship schemes.
    • Gram Panchayats have been mandated for the preparation of GPDP for economic development and social justice utilizing the resources available to them.
    • Government of India formulated E-Panchayat Mission Mode Project for e-enablement of all the Panchayats, to make their functioning more efficient and transparent.
  • Social Audit: The power of social audit was proven by Jan Sunwai in Rajasthan. Transparent, third party Social Audit can enable people to hold the representatives accountable.
  • Citizen Participation: In case of Gram Sabhas, their functions and roles must be clearly defined as in the PESA Act, to enable to function effectively.

Conclusion

The need of the hour is to bring about a holistic change in the lives of people among the villagers by uplifting their socioeconomic and health status through effective linkages through community, governmental and other developmental agencies. People’s demands for the sustainable decentralisation and advocacy should focus on a decentralisation agenda. The framework needs to be evolved to accommodate the demand for decentralisation.

 

Topic: GS-1: Social empowerment

GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4. What do you understand by “Gender-based sanitation insecurity” ? account for role that women can play to drive change in achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission in the country . (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article talks about the role of gender in sanitation and hygiene.

Key Demand of the question:

Present the concept of Gender-based sanitation insecurity and account for role that women can play to drive change in achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission in the country.

Directive:

Account – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what is meant by “Gender-based sanitation insecurity”.

Body:

Explain that there is a disproportionate burden faced by women especially shortage of or the non-availability of sanitation facilities that can be also called “Gender-based sanitation insecurity.”

Discuss the associated challenges – The desire for privacy during bathing and defecation is different in the case of girls and women than men. Thus, the non-availability of proper sanitation facilities creates a helpless situation for females and leads to the risk of faucal-orally transmitted diseases, urogenital tract infections, urinary incontinence, and chronic constipation.

Then account for role that women can play to drive change in achieving the goals of the Swachh Bharat Mission in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction

Women face a disproportionate burden of bad sanitation, such as urination-related, defecation-related and menstruation-related concerns and it affects adolescent girls and women more than men. This is called as Gender-based Sanitation insecurity which can have a direct impact on health, physical security and education outcomes of women.

Body

Issues faced by women due to improper sanitation

Inadequate or no access to sanitation affects women and girls in the following ways:

  • Unhygienic (public) toilets and latrines threaten the health of women and girls who are prone to reproductive tract infections caused by poor sanitation.
  • In the absence of sanitary facilities, factors such as cultural norms of female modesty mean that women often have to wait until dark to go to the toilet. To avoid the need for such frequent toilet use, women often drink less, causing severe health impacts (urinary tract infections, chronic constipation and other gastric disorders). Toilet-avoidance dehydration is a particular health threat to pregnant women.
  • When sanitation facilities are available, women often bear cleaning responsibilities and, in many cases, also are responsible for the disposal of human waste (such as “manual scavengers”), often without adequate health protection or equipment.
  • Especially children and old people suffer from WSS related diseases, especially diarrhea. Women usually take care of them, have to stay home and cannot follow productive activities.
  • During menstruation, pregnancy and postnatal stages the need for adequate sanitation becomes even more critical.
  • Girls and women stay at home during menstruation if the school or work place does not provide adequate WSS conditions.
  • Women who are pregnant commonly have greater urgency of urination and need high-standard sanitation facilities to meet their needs.
  • When women and girls use public or open sanitation facilities, they are extremely vulnerable to violence, especially if they have to use those facilities at night.

 Role of Women in achieving goals of Swachh Bharat

  • In Jharkhand, trained women masons built over 15 lakh toilets in one year, and helped the state achieve its open defecation free (rural) target.
  • The India Sanitation Coalition has helped link micro-finance with self-help groups run by women for sanitation needs. Increasingly, interventions with these groups which drive livelihoods can be designed to produce income and well-being impact with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programmes.
  • The government has also very effectively used over 8 lakh swachhagrahis, mainly women, who for small honorariums work to push through behavioural change at the community level.
  • Case Study: Uttara Thakur, a differently-abled panchayat head from Chhattisgarh, was determined to improve sanitation services in her village. She went door-to-door to motivate people to use toilets. Her contagious spirit mobilised the whole village to join hands and become open-defecation free.
  • Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon, a Doordarshan TV series promoted by PFI, used entertainment-education around safe and sustained sanitation practices to improve people’s awareness and promote shifts in social and gender norms around the use and maintenance of toilets. This reached 200 million viewers, nearly 45 per cent of whom reportedly took some action or promised to.

Measures needed to empower women and achieve target of Swachh Bharat

  • A national monitoring and evaluation system to track and measure gender outcomes in SBM is necessary.
  • Several researchers in this space have commented that gender analysis frameworks have a long history in development practice. We can learn from these frameworks to support design, implementation, and measurement that can bridge the gender equality gap in sanitation.
  • SBM’s current focus on the implementation of the infrastructure of water and sanitation could take attention away from the much-needed continuing focus on behaviour change and gender.
  • We will need effective communications and training programmes to build the capacity of stakeholders on gender targeting, both on the supply and demand sides of interventions.

There is no doubt that women can help to drive change and bring about lasting change as the jan andolan for swachhta, health and sanitation gains momentum.

Conclusion

The sustainable development goals (Target 6.2) require India “by 2030, to achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations.”  Ensuring that women and girls have an equal role in the design, management and monitoring of the WASH ecosystem can be a strategic gender-mainstreaming practice that empowers women and girls while improving WASH outcomes.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. In the backdrop of coming of report on digital currencies, assess and account for the implications and threat posed by Crypto currencies to the economy in general and the Indian economy in particular. (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why the question:

High-level inter-ministerial committee on digital currencies submits report, thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the issues and challenges associated with crypto currencies in the world economy in general and Indian economy in particular.

Directive:

Account – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what crypto currencies are.

Body:

A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, to control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership.

Then present India’s stand on Cryptocurrency; The RBI had virtually banned cryptocurrency trading in 2018. The apex bank had certain major concerns over the impact crypto currencies may have on the financial stability in the economy. The Supreme Court had asked the Centre in 2019 to frame policies for crypto, and in 2020, struck down the curbs imposed by the RBI.

Suggest what needs to be done, analyse the pros and cons of it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank. It is based on the blockchain technology.

Union minister Anurag Thakur on Saturday said the government is open to evaluate and explore new technologies, including cryptocurrencies, for improving governance.

Body

A cryptocurrency is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange wherein individual coin ownership records are stored in a ledger existing in a form of computerized database using strong cryptography to secure transaction records, to control the creation of additional coins, and to verify the transfer of coin ownership.

Challenges with Crypto currencies to economy

  • Cryptocurrencies are a poor unit of account, as demonstrated by their frequent and high fluctuation in value.
  • They pose several risks, including anti-money laundering and terrorism financing concerns (AML/CFT) for the state and liquidity, credit, and operational risks for users.
  • On the perspective of consumers, issues linked to cryptocurrencies are heightened by the striking paucity of information on their design, use and operation and indications of market manipulation.
  • It is possible that the business models of commercial banks may be seriously disrupted.
  • Bitcoin’s value is astronomical at about $50000, but was much below just a year earlier at $8300, is based on demand for a fixed supply of Bitcoins in the future it cannot exceed 21 million in number, of which 18 million has already been mined.
  • The security offered by encryption of cryptocurrency may be breached by hackers who are always lurking for any point of weakness. This may end up costing investors huge amounts of money because prices are attached to the currencies.
  • Cryptocurrency exists only in essence such that there are no physical coins and notes. As a result, there is, therefore, no central place where the currency can be deposited for safe keeping.
  • Lack of regulation of cryptocurrency means it is not under any control or supervision. This attracts more investors thereby increasing their chances of investing in this technology.

Challenges by digital currency to Indian economy

  • Cryptos are feared not just for their sheer speculative propensities, but also for their capacity to undermine sovereign currencies (the latter is an exaggerated apprehension).
    • This can lead to volatility in the money market and if banks start trading in crypto currencies, the problem of fraud may become more frequent.
  • Virtual currency is being traded anonymously over the Internet and used for a host of antinational and illegal activities, from terror funding to illicit trade of arms and drugs and so on.
    • This threat looms large on India, as there were instances of drug peddling using bitcoins over the dark web in Punjab.
  • The online use of this currency, was without any border restrictions or geographical constraints, resulting in danger to the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.
  • It could dramatically change global monetary policymaking. People will exchange their national currencies for the new digital coin in order to buy and sell the many products that will be priced in it. This will further impact the profit of banks and will put stress on their balance sheet.
  • Governments and policymakers will have reduced ability to control inflation. Usually, when inflation picks up, central banks take steps to control it through various monetary rates. Cryptocurrency will be out of control of the central bank so liquidity control will be an issue.

Conclusion

Rather than impose bans, it would be more pragmatic to institute awareness campaigns to alert investors to specific risks, and to monitor trades for fraud and scams. Fintech industry needs to jointly work with the RBI and the government on a constructive policy framework for cryptocurrencies in India.

 

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

6. How has climate change emerged as an intergovernmental political issue? What are the major International agreements related to climate change? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: files.givewell.org

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of climate change.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way climate change emerged as an intergovernmental political issue and write a note on major International agreements related to climate change.

Directive:

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

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief introduction on the rising effects of climate change using relevant data and facts.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

How did the problem of climate change emerge?

Then explain the politics associated with it.

Then present the history of climate change policy and politics; continuing history of political actions, policies, trends, controversies and activist efforts as they pertain to the issue of global warming and other environmental anomalies. Dryzek, Norgaard, and Schlosberg suggest that critical reflection on the history of climate policy is necessary because it provides ‘ways to think about one of the most difficult issues we human beings have brought upon ourselves in our short life on the planet’.

Explain that in the late 20th and 21st century, climate change policy moved away from attempts to mitigate the impact of global warming and towards adapting to unavoidable changes to the human environment. There has also been a shift towards vulnerability based policy for those most impacted by environmental anomalies. Over the history of climate policy, concerns have been raised about the treatment of developing nations and a lack of gender specific action.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

 Introduction

In the last few years, climate change has become politicised — as a positive force encouraging hopefuls to debate how to address it, as well as a bitter excuse to mock opponents not sufficiently prioritising other ‘pressing’ issues such as job security or poverty. For governments that dismiss climate change — like the United States under Donald Trump — public movements have come up to challenge and hold them accountable.

Body

Climate change merging as an intergovernmental political issue

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1988 to “reassert governmental control” over the scientific process that had been driven by UNEP and scientific activists.
  • At the same time, climate emerged as a genuine global political problem. Between 1988 and 1990 there were five major political events: the UN General Assembly debated the issue, seventeen heads of state attended a summit in the Hague, large ministerials were held in Noordiwjk and Bergen, and the Second World Climate Conference in 1990 (unlike the First in 1979) was well attended.
  • After this, states institutionalized negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (1992) which produced the Kyoto Protocol (1997).
  • The issue of Common But Differentiated Principle was also outcome of giving political angle to Climate Change and holding developed nations accountable.
  • Developed countries were exhorted to provide finance to least developed countries that were the most affected by climate change and global warming. The historical emissions of the developed nations were responsible for this. Eg: The setting of the target for developed countries to provide 100 billion dollars for climate finance projects in developing countries under Paris Agreement.
  • In recent times, the USA pulling out of Paris Agreement under Trump and Joe Biden re-entering it on first day of office show the politicised nature of climate change.

Major International agreements related to climate change

  •  UN Climate convention: The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), agreed in 1992, is the main international treaty on fighting climate change. Its objective is to prevent dangerous man-made interference with the global climate system.
  • Kyoto Protocol: Before 2020, the world’s only legally binding instrument for cutting greenhouse gas emissions is the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
    • The Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties, including the EU and its member countries. However, because many major emitters are not part of Kyoto, it only covers about 12% of global emissions.
  • Paris Agreement: The Paris Agreement adopted by all UNFCCC Parties in December 2015 is the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate agreement.
    • Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Conclusion

Climate change is happening. This should be accepted and not politicised. International cooperation to address climate change is vital to mitigate the adverse impact. Additionally, mitigation must be complemented with climate change-related adaption since mitigation alone cannot address the adverse effects we are facing right now. An international level comprehensive plan of action is necessary for inclusive and sustainable growth of the global community.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7. Examine the reasons behind morality having little effect in regulating the attitude of nations towards one another? (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is about assessing the interlink between morality and its effect on attitude of one nation towards another.

Key Demand of the question:

One must examine the reasons behind morality having little effect in regulating the attitude of nations towards one another.

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:

Ethical decision-making can be more challenging for international relations than local operations. It means morality has little effect in regulating the attitude of nations.

Body:

The answer body must present the reasons for the assertion in question such as –

Formulating foreign policies is the responsibility of governments. Thus moral consideration in the foreign policy depends on the government, not on an individual or the citizenry at large (though in well-functioning democracies the will of the people is usually expressed by the government).

The government is an agent, not a principal. Its primary obligation is to ensure the interests of the society it represents, not to the moral impulses that individual elements of that society may experience.

Nation states are usually concerned with their military security, territorial unity and integrity, and the well-being of their people. With these and other priorities, morality usually takes a backseat.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.  

 Introduction

Realism, the dominant perspective in global politics, assumes that international relations are fundamentally conflictual and guided by national self-interest rooted in power. According to this tradition, morality is not an essential consideration in governmental action. Rather, what motivates and guides diplomats are the vital interests of states.

Body

According to Thucydides, “Strong do what they can and weak suffer what they must”. This quote summarizes the relation between states in the international context. Hans Morgenthau, a noted Realist scholar said that nations do not give heed to universal acceptance of their action or judge their moves through a moral lens. National interest reigns supreme. Like, how man is a self-centric being, even nations are inward looking. Ultimately all nations look for national interest.

Eg: USA-China Trade war was detrimental to global trade, but the two nations still retaliated economically to show their hegemonic tendencies and power.

Another example is China’s policy of aggression against its smaller neighbours like Vietnam, Philippines, Taiwan. Its claim to south china sea is refuted by all, yet China’s heft had subdued them all. Pakistan’s policy of state sponsored terrorism against India tells us that there is no morality in international relations.

The United Nations failed to intervene effectively in the Syrian war and Yemen civil war because the nations involved, especially the P5 had divergent interest. And neither of them thought from humanitarian perspective or moral perspective with respect to human rights. This shows that, nations were acting selfishly for materialist gains in middle-east.

As opposed to this view, idealists believe foreign policy involves the pursuit of moral ideals, such as peace, human rights, and global justice. According to this view, the goals and means of foreign policy should be based on morality. Because idealists assume a benign view of human nature and an optimistic approach to political life, they believe peace and prosperity can be advanced when statesmen are rational and cooperate toward common goals. Eg: UDHR in 1948, policies on refugees, collective security under UN are examples of this.

Conclusion

Nations view their foreign policy as zero-sum game which leads to narrow thinking and destructive consequences. Morality must play a role in every aspect of human life, including international relations. Human rights and their dignity can be protected only when relations between nations become ethical and moral.


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