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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. To tackle the water crisis, women’s leadership in water management is crucial. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

A study conducted on water supply projects in Gujarat in 2000 showed that when women were included in technical and decision-making capacities, there was a marked improvement in the impact of projects.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way to tackle the water crisis, women’s leadership in water management is crucial.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some shocking fact on water crisis in the country and around the world.

Body:

In the answer body first depict the crisis and highlight data that supports the alarming water crisis facing the country.

Then explain that the water problem runs deep, and to address it, it is crucial to identify and mobilize the right agents for change. Women constitute 37% of the agricultural workforce — with nearly 100 million involved in the sector. Several studies, as well as our institutional experience, have revealed that women spend twice the number of hours that men do, working on fields in the cropping season.

Women engage with the issue of water in different avatars — as farmers, panchayat members, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers and extension workers. This makes them well-suited to leading water management programmes.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of women leadership and its centrality to managing water crisis in the country.

Introduction:

The NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index (CWMI) said that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history. Taps in Shimla went dry in summer of 2018, posing an unprecedented water crisis in the hill town. According to a forecast by the Asian Development Bank, India will have a water deficit of 50% by 2030. Recent studies also ranked Chennai and Delhi at the top of the 27 most vulnerable Asian cities in terms of low per-day water availability Mumbai and Kolkata follow close.

Body:

Severity of Water crisis:

  • According to the United Nations, over two billion people live in countries experiencing high water stress.
  • India alone has 88 million people who lack access to safe water, placing the nation at the centre of this global problem.
  • Eighty per cent of India’s freshwater is used in agriculture, making it a critical resource for the livelihoods of farmers and the country’s food security.
  • Farmers rely heavily on groundwater through wells and tube-wells.
  • The crisis created by large-scale groundwater extraction needs concerted and scaled-up water management efforts in rural India.

Current representation of women in water management:

  • women’s representation in the overall water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is dismal, from community water groups from local to the national policy level.
  • In 2014, women made up less than 17 percent of the WASH labour force in developing countries.
  • They were particularly underrepresented in technical jobs such as engineers and hydro-geologists, and in leadership roles such as policymakers, regulators and managers.
  • In an increasingly water-stressed world, many countries and regions face the risk of political instability or conflict over water.
  • For this reason, women’s lack of involvement in the water sector is troubling not only for gender equity, but for peace and security as well.

Role of women in water management:

  • when women influence water management, their communities get measurably better outcomes—including better-functioning water systems, expanded access, and economic and environmental benefits.
  • UNDP research on 44 water projects across Asia and Africa shows that when both men and women engage in shaping water policies and institutions, communities use water services more and sustain them for longer.
  • Research also shows that women share water more equitably than men do, especially in times of scarcity.
  • Women engage with the issue of water in different avatars — as farmers, panchayat members, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers and extension workers.
  • This makes them well-suited to leading water management programmes.
  • For instance, apart from their presence in agriculture, women have a significant representation in governance. At least 43% of elected representatives in local bodies such as panchayats, are women. Women’s participation in MGNREGS is high and stands at almost 55%.
  • They have also demonstrated their ability to mobilise funds from the government as illustrated in below case studies.
  • In a project in West Bengal, women influenced the government to release MGNREGS funds to construct water supply structures that created an additional water potential of 7.4 billion litres and benefitted 35,000 women, Unicef’s work in India has also proved women’s prowess at mechanical work.
  • In Jharkhand’s Lava panchayat, women formed a diverse group from across every panchayat to maintain 450 pumps. They even ran their village spare stores and met the domestic water needs of 130 villages.
  • In this endeavour, they were more efficient and were able to resolve issues more quickly than their male counterparts.
  • At the national policy level, women representatives can help design more inclusive policies and raise issues that might have been otherwise neglected.
  • Given that women can be powerful water stewards, it stands to reason that women’s involvement in water management can also reduce water-related risks and conflicts.

Way forward for women in water management:

The number of women working in the water sector as formal participants could be increased through three specific entry points

  • Design, operation, and maintenance of water systems
  • Water distribution, both networked and non-networked
  • Policymaking and regulation

Conclusion:

This heavily-invested, yet relatively unrecognised, demographic of women farmers are likely to power the next frontier of positive change. The idea that diverse leadership teams create better and more innovative outcomes is not new. Several organisations have deployed winning diversity programmes to deliver breakthrough business results, endear themselves to an increasingly conscious set of consumers and attract the best talent. With an already strong presence of driven and aware women in agriculture, the same principles can well be the key to accelerating India’s journey towards water security.

 

Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2. “Women’s unpaid domestic work contributes to overall well-being at the household and national level, yet it is invisible in the national database and policies” , Discuss.  (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article talks about the importance of unpaid work of women and need to recognise it in the national policies.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to elaborate upon the need to recognise unpaid domestic work of women and its contribution to the nation and factor in the need to recognise it in the policies and programs.

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:

Women everywhere carry a disproportionately higher burden of unpaid work, namely, unpaid domestic services as well as unpaid care of children, the old and the disabled for their respective households.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Talk about what constitutes unpaid domestic work; unpaid work can be understood to comprise all productive activities outside the official labour market done by individuals for their own households or for others. Women do this job not necessarily because they like it or are efficient in it, but because it is imposed on them by patriarchal norms, which are the roots of all pervasive gender inequalities.

Explain how unequal division of unpaid work between women and men is unfair and unjust and it deprives women of equal opportunities as men.

Discuss what government needs to do; government should recognise unpaid work in the national database by a sound time-use survey and use the data in national policies. The most obvious and simple measures are data collection, presentation and analysis.

Suggest solutions.

Conclusion:

Therefore, measures have to be taken to give free time to women, so that new opportunities can strengthen their progress.

Introduction:

According to the OECD, 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

A report published by the International Labour Organization in 2018 shows that, globally, women perform 76.2% of total hours of unpaid care work, more than three times as much as men. In Asia and the Pacific, this figure rises to 80%.

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.

Arguments: The value of unpaid housework:

  • Our society has silently decided that household chores belong to the domain of women’s responsibilities and activities.
  • It has also determined that this work shall carry no economic value. But why should that be the case?
  • Why should the enormous household chores and farm labour done by women not be acknowledged in India’s socio-economic policy framework?
  • The government is perpetrating gender bias by not measuring women’s role in making up the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country.
  • India’s census clubs those doing domestic chores together with beggars and students into the non-working population.
  • Census 2011 estimated the number of non-working population at 728.9 million.
  • The authoritative definition says these are the people who had not undertaken work of any nature in the reference time period.
  • Of these, 165.6 million persons’ main work was “discharge of household responsibilities”.
  • They are mostly women—96.5 per cent or 159.9 million. Only 3.45 million men’s main work is homemaking.
  • There is a clear and present need to not only recognise this work but also redistribute it.
  • Household duties should be shared among the members of a family. A study in Uttarakhand, published in 2011 in Mountain Research and Development Journal titled “Women’s Contribution to Household Food and Economic Security: A Study in the Garhwal Himalayas, India”, drives home this point.
  • Women in the mountainous region reported they “did not do any work”. However, when their activities were analysed, it was noticed that while the men in the region worked for nine hours a day on an average, the women were toiling for 16 hours.

Other side views: An unresolved issue:

  • There was disagreement among the women ideologues of the Second Wave on what payment of a wage would actually mean for women.
  • The sociologist,Ann Oakley, who studied the history of housework in her path-breaking books published in the 1970s, was among those who believed that ‘wages for housework’ would only imprison women further within the household, increase their social isolation and dissuade men from sharing housework.
  • Others too argued that the goal of the women’s movement must be, to not ask for wages, but to free women from the daily drudgery of routine domestic chores and enable them to participate fully in all spheres of social life, including paid employment outside the household.
  • The debate around monetary remuneration for housework remained unresolved within the women’s movement, even as the tools to measure the value that women’s unpaid work adds to national economies have grown more sophisticated.
  • However, the underlying issue, which is the disproportionate share of women’s responsibility for the work that sustains human life and reproduces labour power, remains as pressing as ever.

Struggle for legislation:

  • In this context, it is worth mentioning that an important campaign on the question of household labour has been taking place in India.
  • This is the ongoing struggle for national legislation for domestic workers. These are predominantly women who perform ‘women’s work’ but in other people’s homes.
  • They are, therefore, uniquely positioned to make this work visible and demand that its conditions be regulated, minimum wages guaranteed, and the workers’ status and rights protected.
  • However, the demand that the state recognise housework is significant and its radical core must not be missed, as the historical experience of the women’s movement shows us.

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

GS-3: Government Budgeting.

3. Critically analyse the risks of economic policy parochialism at the state level in India with respect to Job Quotas. (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why the question:

The article explains in what way State job quotas are symptoms of a bigger unemployment crisis.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the issues arising out of such parochialistic policies by the States and suggest solutions to address them.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of the context of the question.

Body:

First explain the Economic policy parochialism at the level of states. Haryana job reservation legislation: Requires private employers to reserve 75% of new jobs that pay 50,000 or less per month for residents of the state.  Similar measure in move-in Jharkhand and proposals in Tamil Nadu.

Discuss the reasons in detail.

Then discuss the key issues accompanied by such policy parochialism.

Present the policy measures in this direction.

Conclusion:

Union government shall focus on the parlous economic situation and proactively act to realize the scope of optimistic economic growth projections.

Introduction:

Even with a strong Centre, economic policy parochialism at the level of states seems to be on the rise. For instance, Haryana legislated a regulation that requires private employers to reserve 75% of new jobs that pay ₹50,000 or less per month for candidates with a long record of residence in the state, or were born there. Such measures threaten economic stability as wells as social stability in India.

Body:

Economic parochialism in the states and reasons:

  • Recently Haryana government notified its Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020. This bill provides job reservation in the private sector for locals.
  • Prior to Haryana, States such as Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh also tried to provide reservation in private jobs.
  • A similar measure is in the works in Jharkhand, and such proposals are being bandied about in the lead-up to assembly elections in Tamil Nadu.
  • They will create additional uncertainty for business, and act as an added deterrent to new domestic and foreign investment.
  • Vote bank politics leveraging unemployment as an issue. With approximately a million new people entering the workforce every month, there are simply not enough well-paying and productive jobs to which these would-be workers could be matched.
  • The political economy literature also teaches us that, when a few sub-national jurisdictions pursue such policies, others will follow.

Issues with such measures:

  • Delaying Economic Recovery: The pandemic scenario has made it imperative for states to focus on fast and effective economic recovery. However, compulsion on companies to employ locals might compromise quality and delay the recovery phase.
  • Discourages Investment: Compulsions to employ decreases the competitiveness of companies. Apart from that, such measures directly discourage investment potential in a state.
  • Impracticability: The shortage of qualified workers in a state may impact its implementation. And also, the private sector cannot employ outsiders without the permission of concerned authorities. It might lead to the inspector raj prior to 1991 economic reforms.
  • A threat to unity: This step would create friction among locals and non-locals in the implementing states. This will shake the fundamental of Indian democracy (Unity in Diversity) in long run.
  • Against constitutional provisions: These laws are against the spirit of constitutional provisions:
    • Article 14 allows for equality before the law. But the reservations to locals are against that equality.
    • Reservation to locals also violates Article 19(1)(g) is violated by Haryana’s law as outsiders won’t be able to effectively do any job of their choice in the state.
    • Article 16(3) allows reservation based on the residence by a parliamentary law in matters of public employment and not in private employment.
  • Against the reservation ceiling: Giving 75% reservation goes against the Supreme court’s ceiling of 50% for maintaining meritocracy.

Way forward:

  • Enhanced Expenditure on Education: Government must increase expenditure to 6% of GDP and ensure better learning outcomes.
  • Skills Training: Skill India program launched in 2015 has an objective of enabling a large number of Indian youths to take up industry-relevant skill training that will help them in securing a better livelihood.
  • India needs to learn from technical and vocational training/education models in China, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Singapore, who had similar challenges in the past, along with learning from its own experiences to adopt a comprehensive model that can bridge the skill gaps and ensure employability of youths.
  • There are number of labour-intensive manufacturing sectors in India such as food processing, leather and footwear, wood manufacturers and furniture, textiles and apparel and garments. Special packages, individually designed for each industry are needed to create jobs.
  • Public investment in sectors like health, education, police and judiciary can create many government jobs.
  • Decentralisation of Industrial activities is necessary so that people of every region get employment.
  • Development of the rural areas will help mitigate the migration of the rural people to the urban areas thus decreasing the pressure on the urban area jobs.
  • Concrete measures aimed at removing the social barriers for women’s entry and their continuous participation in the job market is needed.
  • Government needs to keep a strict watch on the education system and should try to implement new ways to generate skilled labour force.

Conclusion:

Certain phases in history that have seen the greatest social disharmony and internecine conflict are those that were characterized by economic stagnation. Economic growth, by contrast, tends to foster great social harmony, especially when the fruits of it are shared relatively equitably. This essentially means that narrow economics such as nativist laws should not be entertained in India.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Explain what is fiscal policy in India? Fiscal policy and it’s relationship with monetary policy Discuss its objectives while differentiating it with monetary policy. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian economy by Dutta and Sundaram , Financial Express

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper IV, part Indian economy.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what fiscal policy is and its relationship with monetary policy and draw the differences and comparison.

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:

Fiscal policy is the guiding force that helps the government decide how much money it should spend to support the economic activity, and how much revenue it must earn from the system, to keep the wheels of the economy running smoothly.

Body:

Discuss the concept of fiscal policy in detail.

Discuss its objectives.

Draw a comparison of it with that of monetary policy.  Suggest in detail its relationship.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction:

Fiscal policy refers to the use of government spending and tax policies to influence economic conditions, especially macroeconomic conditions, including aggregate demand for goods and services, employment, inflation, and economic growth. In simple terms, it is an estimate of taxation and government spending that impacts the economy. It is the guiding force that helps the government decide how much money it should spend to support the economic activity, and how much revenue it must earn from the system, to keep the wheels of the economy running smoothly.

In India, the Union finance minister formulates the fiscal policy. Expansionary fiscal policy & Contractionary fiscal policy are the 2 types of fiscal policy.

Body:

Objectives of Fiscal Policy:

Some of the key objectives of fiscal policy are

  • economic growth and stability: Fiscal policy helps maintain the economy’s growth rate so that certain economic goals can be achieved.
  • price stability: It controls the price level of the country so that when the inflation is too high, prices can be regulated.
  • full employment: It aims to achieve full employment, or near full employment, as a tool to recover from low economic activity.
  • optimum allocation of resources: The objective of economic growth and development can be achieved by Mobilisation of Financial Resources. The central and state governments in India have used fiscal policy to mobilise resources.
  • Balanced Regional Development: there are various projects like building up dams on rivers, electricity, schools, roads, industrial projects etc run by the government to mitigate the regional imbalances in the country. This is done with the help of public expenditure.
  • Reducing the Deficit in the Balance of Payment: some time government gives export incentives to the exporters to boost up the export from the country. In the same way import curbing measures are also adopted to check import. Hence the combine impact of these measures is improvement in the balance of payment of the country.
  • accelerating the rate of economic development
  • encouraging investment
  • capital formation and growth.

Fiscal policy tools are used by governments that influence the economy. These primarily include changes to levels of taxation and government spending. To stimulate growth, taxes are lowered and spending is increased, often involving borrowing through issuing government debt. To put the dampers on an overheating economy, the opposite measures would be taken.

Importance of fiscal policy:

  • Fiscal policy is a crucial part of the economic framework. In India, it plays a key role in elevating the rate of capital formation, both in the public and private sectors.
  • The fiscal policy helps mobilise resources for financing projects. The central theme of fiscal policy includes development activities like expenditure on railways, infrastructure, etc. Non-development activities include spending on subsidies, salaries, pensions, etc. It gives incentives to the private sector to expand its activities.
  • Fiscal policy aims to minimise income and wealth inequalities. Income tax is charged on all salaried persons directly proportioned to their income. Likely indirect taxes are also more in the case of semi-luxury and luxury items than that of necessary consumable items. In this way, the government generates a good amount of revenue and that also leads to a reduction in wealth inequalities.
  • A prudent fiscal policy stabilises price and helps control inflation.
  • Fiscal policy planning gives the larger chunk of funds for regional development so as to achieve a balanced regional development. It aims to reduce the deficit in the balance of payment.

Relationship of Fiscal policy with Monetary policy and the differences:

  • Fiscal policy, along with monetary policy, plays a crucial role in managing a country’s economy.
  • The government uses both monetary and fiscal policy as macroeconomic tools to meet the county’s economic objectives and manage or stimulate the economy.
  • Monetary policy is concerned with the management of interest rates and the total supply of money in circulation. It is generally carried out by the RBI.
  • Fiscal policy, on the other hand, estimates taxation and government spending. It should ideally be in line with the monetary policy, but since it is created by lawmakers, people’s interest often takes precedence over growth.
  • Monetary policy seeks to spark economic activity, while fiscal policy seeks to address either total spending, the total composition of spending, or both.
  • Monetary policy is more of a blunt tool in terms of expanding and contracting the money supply to influence inflation and growth and it has less impact on the real economy.
  • Both fiscal and monetary policy play a large role in managing the economy and both have direct and indirect impacts on personal and household finances.

Conclusion:

Fiscal policy is an important constituent of the overall economic framework of a country and is therefore intimately linked with its general economic policy strategy. Monetary policy and fiscal policy together have great influence over a nation’s economy, its businesses, and its consumers. Thus, they must complement each other for a stable and growing economy of a country.

 

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

5. Restoration and sustainable management of forests can help address climate change and biodiversity crisis. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains importance of International Day of forests and why it is celebrated.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the role of restoration and sustainable management of forests in addressing climate change and biodiversity crisis.

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:

This year’s theme, ‘Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being’, emphasizes on how restoration and sustainable management of forests can help address climate change and biodiversity crisis.

Body:

The United Nations observes March 21 as the International Day of Forests, commemorating the green cover around the world and reiterating its importance. The theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.

Discuss in detail the importance of Restoration and sustainable management of forests.

Explain the policies and programs of India in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The United Nations observes March 21 as the International Day of Forests, commemorating the green cover around the world and reiterating its importance. The theme of the International Day of Forests for 2021 is “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being”.

The biennial India state forest report -2019 released by Forest Survey of India defines Forest Cover as all lands more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10% irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such lands may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. It also includes orchards, bamboo and palm.

The total forest cover of the country is 21.67% of the total geographic area of the country. Madhya Pradesh has the largest forest cover in the country followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Maharashtra.

Body:

Restoration and sustainable management of forests can help address climate change and biodiversity crisis:

  • Healthy forests provide critical ecosystem services important to people and economies such as habitat for biodiversity, provision of drinking water, water and climate cycle regulation, erosion prevention, crop pollination, soil fertility, and flood control.
  • Forests provide a critical carbon sink to slow climate change
  • According to a new study, locking up the carbon from the atmosphere in trees, ground vegetation and soils is one of the safest ways with which to remove carbon.
  • Green cover will improve water quality, store water in wetlands, prevent soil erosion, protect biodiversity, and potentially provide new jobs.
  • Allowing land to be converted into forests naturally will sequester 42 times the carbon compared to land converted to plantation.
  • The restoration of 150 million hectares of degraded and deforested lands in biomes around the world will create approximately USD 84billion per year in net benefits that could bring direct additional income opportunities for rural communities.
  • Achieving the 350-million-hectaregoal will generate about USD170 billion per year in net benefits from watershed protection, improved crop yields and forest products.
  • Creation of livelihood opportunities in remote areas by linking villages to markets for sale of non-timber forest products

Other Importance of improving the forest cover:

  • Forests and terrestrial ecosystems more broadly are critical not only to flora and fauna but also to communities that depend on them, contributing to poverty reduction, economic growth and employment.
  • They provide ecosystem services that are critical to human welfare. These include:
    • Absorbing harmful greenhouse gasses that produce climate change. In tropical forests alone, a quarter of a trillion tons of carbon is stored in above and below ground biomass
    • Providing clean water for drinking, bathing, and other household needs
    • Protecting watersheds and reducing or slowing the amount of erosion and chemicals that reach waterways
    • Providing food and medicine
    • Serving as a buffer in natural disasters like flood and rainfalls
    • Providing habitat to more than half of the world’s land-based species.
  • Forest goods provide an important “hidden harvest” for rural populations, keeping many people out of extreme poverty.
  • Forests support rural economies in many countries and create jobs and wealth for populations with few alternative off-farm employment options.

Various efforts undertaken by Government:

  • National Afforestation Programme (NAP) scheme, National Mission for a Green India (GIM) and Forest Fire Prevention & Management Scheme (FFPM) under the MoEF&CC.
  • Green India Mission: It has the broad objective of both increasing the forest and tree cover by 5 million ha, as well as increasing the quality of the existing forest and tree cover in another 5 million ha of forest/ non-forest lands in 10 years.
  • National Agroforestry Policy (NAP): A dynamic ecologically based concept which integrates woody perennials in the agricultural landscape, diversifies and sustains production.
  • Promoting urban forestry through Nagar Van Scheme, which involves creation of 200 Nagar Van, on forest land by adopting a collaborative approach, involving various agencies like forest and other departments, NGOs, Corporate Bodies, Industries etc
  • Landscape based catchment treatment of 13 major rivers
  • LiDAR based survey of degraded forest areas for soil moisture conservation projects
  • Launch of National Transit Portal to facilitate smooth movement of Forest produce.
  • School Nursery scheme which aims at involving school students from the young age in nursery and plantation operations was also elaborated and discussed during the course of the four-hour long meeting.
  • Joint forest management (JFM): It is the concept of developing relationships between fringe forest groups and forest department on the basis of mutual trust and jointly defined roles and responsibilities for forest protection and development.
  • Funds under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA): In a major boost to promoting afforestation and achieving “green” objectives of the country, the Centre handed over Rs 47,436 crore of Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds to various States.

Other measures needed:

  • India must review the programmes that it has been pursuing to revive forests, and move away from monoculture plantations that are favoured by even forest development corporations in many States.
  • Scientific reforms to bring true nature back are needed.
  • The latest assessment categorises more than 300,000 sq. km of area as open forests with a tree canopy of 10-40%. These lands provide the opportunity to bring back diverse, indigenous trees.
  • Such a measure, combined with a policy against allowing open cast mining, can bring about a renaissance.
  • Dedicated efforts will be required to protect the precious forests of the Northeast.
  • The forest policy must be prepared by involving the stakeholders viz. people along with the state.
  • Community-led initiatives have successfully regenerated forests by adopting sustainable- use practices, regeneration through traditional knowledge of forests and species, guarding and penalizing poachers, among others. These must be promoted.
  • Innovative solutions like Tree Ambulance in Tamil Nadu must be emulated across the country.
  • Identify and reduce the dependency. For instance, fuel wood via LPG connections and promoting fast growing timbers in forest fringes, grazing via stall feeding or rotational grazing, controlling commercial exploitation of forests, adopt zero-tolerance to fires setting targets to reduce fires by 50%, 25% to 10% etc.
  • Increase surveillance and setup legal cell in forest department to follow-up on court cases

Way forward:

  • While there is enormous potential in mitigating climate change through forest restoration, the amount of carbon stored depends on the type of forest restoration carried out.
  • The most effective way is through natural forest regeneration with appropriate institutions to facilitate the process.
  • A collaboration “between government agencies, local civil society organisations as well as the local communities on restoration initiatives.”
  • Increase in carbon sink can be achieved by afforesting wastelands; agro-forestry; through green corridors, plantations along railways, canals, other roads, on railway sidings and rivers; and via urban green spaces.
  • Trees selected for the plantations must not deplete the aquifers.
  • India must ensure that deforestation is curtailed to the maximum extent.
  • Restoration of impaired and open forests and wastelands should be focussed on natural forests and agroforestry.
  • Involving local people and planting indigenous tree varieties.
  • Growing food forests managed by local communities would have additional co-benefits.
  • Protecting and nurturing public lands while preventing their private enclosure is paramount.
  • Active forest management by local people has a long history in India and needs to expand to meet climate, environment and social justice goals.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. What are the various sources through which humans can judge the rightness of their actions? In the context of public life discuss how these sources are vital in offering a clear and practical direction. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is about the significance of sources of ethics in human life.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the various sources through which humans can judge the rightness of their actions and discuss their vitality in decision making of public life.

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:

Laws and conscience are the two sources of guidance by which human beings can judge the morality of their actions. These sources are particularly important to public administrators in offering a clear and practical guidance.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

  • Discuss rules, regulations and conscience as sources by which humans can judge the correctness of their actions.
  • Discuss their role in public life.
  • Highlight their importance using some example/real life case study.

Conclusion:

Conclude by emphasizing the desirability of these sources in ethical decision making.

Introduction:

Before the creation of State, man was considered to be in a hypothetical state of nature where every individual was power seeking due to which it was a state of anarchy and of war. However, with civilisation, there emerged States which had rules and laws obeyed by its citizens. The rightness of human actions and its judgement has been through a process of evolving values that we conform to, today.

Body:

Sources determining rightness of human actions:

  • Societal values: Various societies have their own unique yardstick to judge human actions. In the west, individuality is more significant. For instance, it is looked down in west if children of age are still staying with parents while in India, it would be called abandonment.
  • Religion: Gandhiji believed that Religion was the biggest source of morality and that every religion taught us the path of righteousness.
  • Traditions: Practices that are handed over from generation to generation become part of societal standards.
  • Laws of the nation: Sometimes, certain standards are imposed on the society through laws, which over time are accepted by society and forms part of its ethical system. For instance, Sati was banned in India in 1829, even though it was a part of societal norm.
  • Rules and Regulations: Today’s world works on rules and legal procedures. Every aspect of life, starting from registration of birth to death and in many nations, social aspects such as marriages are also governed by rules and regulations.
  • Code of Conduct in workplace: Every organization can determine its own set of values and rules to be followed by its employees. For instance, an environment NGO can find it unacceptable that one of its employees is littering and using plastic bags. Every behaviour, action can be judged upon through code of conduct.
  • Conscience: Ultimately, not every action can be governed by law or rules. It is our conscience that will keep us from doing immoral acts. For example, sanctity of marriage can be kept intact by practicing fidelity.

Significance in public life:

  • Laws, can help to lesson corruption, nepotism and profit seeking behaviour. Thus, provoke them to act in benevolence of society at large and uphold the Constitution and its principles.
    • In another context, laws keep the society from breaking down in terms of crimes, law and order etc. It regulates the conduct of people with each other and enables us to respect each other’s rights.
  • Regulation creates, limits, constrains a right, creates or limits a duty, or allocates a responsibility. Regulations are intended for providing a detailed and intricate framework for making the laws work.
    • The example of Maradu construction and its demolition, judiciary had to take the extreme step and order its demolition as per regulation. Thus, regulations provide a clear path and direction, in public life.
  • Codes of conduct are designed for specific situations, similar to customs but have immense importance because there is usually a punishment related with them.
    • Example, a public servant cannot ask for favours in return for doing a work that is expected out of him.
  • Conscience is the intrinsic intuitive capacity to discriminate between right and wrong. “Inner Voice” is important especially in democracy as it has various participants such as citizens, NGOs, corporates to be administered by the politicians who are elected by them only.

Conclusion:

In the modern society, laws and rules are immensely important to ensure peace and stability in social life. Even more so, they help in navigating the public life smoothly, controlling vicious tendencies of human conduct. Thus, sources of righteousness like morality and ethics have transformed human societies from barbarianism to civilisation.


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