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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 May 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: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1. Discuss the need to relook at the Imprisonment practices in India while explaining the significance of Open prison system in India.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains that Imprisonment practices in the country need a relook so that the police do not affect unnecessary arrests.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need to relook at the Imprisonment practices in India while explaining the significance of Open prison system in India.

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:

Overcrowding of prisons has been a perennial problem in this country.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss first the Imprisonment practices in India.

Explain why we need prison reforms; the detrimental impact of imprisonment, not only on individuals but on families and communities, and economic factors also need to be taken into account when considering the need for prison reforms.

In the recent years a new form of prison system came into existence known as open or semi open prison system in India. These types of jails are for offenders who are considered low risk to people. Usually they have committed petty offences or were present at a crime scene.

Suggest what reforms need to be taken.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction

If overcrowding of prisons has been a perennial problem in this country, high occupancy levels can only mean bad news amidst a pandemic. The Supreme Court has been intervening from time to time to address this problem, but its latest order directing the interim release of eligible prisoners acquires salience in view of the uncontrolled second surge in the raging pandemic.

Body

Background : Imprisonment practices and pandemic

  • A total of 1,341 prisons were functional in India as on 30th November, 2018. The total population of prisoners in India was 4.68 lakh against total sanctioned strength of 3.83 lakh.
  • From 2016 to 2018, the total prison population in India has increased by 8.2% against an increase of 0.7% in the prison sanctioned capacity.
  • Seven states, namely Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, Meghalaya and Delhi have an occupancy rate of 150%.
  • Last year, the Court had passed such an order quite early — the one of March 23, 2020 came even before the nation-wide lockdown.
  • The Court had then ordered all States to take preventive steps as well as constitute high-powered committees to determine the class of prisoners who could be released on bail or parole for a specified period.
  • In directing this week that besides identifying more prisoners for release, the same set of prisoners be given parole this year too, the Court continues its trend of seeking to protect prisoners as well as those guarding them from getting infected.

Open prisons system in India

An open prison also called as minimum-security prison, open camp, or prison without bars is open in four respects:

  • Open to prisoners: inmates can go out during the day but have to come back in the evening.
  • Open in security: there is absence of precautions against escape, such as walls, bars, locks and armed guards.
  • Open in organization: working is based on inmates’ sense of self-responsibility, self-discipline, and self-confidence.
  • Open to public: people can visit the prison and meet prisoners.
  • In India, the first open prison was started in 1905 in Bombay Presidency and in Uttar Pradesh after independence.
  • Seventeen states are reported to have about 69 functional open jails housing around 6000 inmates with Rajasthan having 29 such prisons, the highest that any state has.
  • Recently India’s first all-women’s open jail was opened in Pune, Maharashtra.

Significance of Open prisons systems

  • Reduce overcrowding: as the occupancy rate in jails was observed to be around 117.4% till December 2014. In wake of pandemic, this will make way for social distancing among those who have finished their term or are under trial for lesser crimes.
  • Rehabilitative approach: Open prisons reward good behaviour and gives them training in self-reliance thus providing a shift from retributive to rehabilitative approach.
  • Economic benefit: They can also provide dependable permanent labour for public works such as dam construction, road building etc. simultaneously providing income to the inmates.
  • Psychological benefits: Openness and freedom in these prisons prevent frustrations, create hope among long-term prison mates, and provides a positive self-esteem, lesser insecurity and guilt, a better adjustment to personal problems and more co-operative attitude toward inmates and authorities.
  • Skill training: They can provide training in agriculture, industry or any other vocational training so that they can find suitable employment after they are released after their term.
  • Suitability for release: They are helpful in examining the suitability of releasing offenders from prisons before the end of their prison term.
  • Lesser Construction and operational costs than traditional jail system as they are relatively easier to construct and maintain.

 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

2. Evaluate the key lessons that India can learn from the recent Ladakh crisis with China. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article accounts in detail the recent Ladakh crisis with China.

Key Demand of the question:

Present a critical assessment of stand-off at Ladakh and how it offers India key lessons in managing strategic competition with China.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of the question’s context.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Present Background on recent India-China relations; Continuing stand-off: After over a year, stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh shows no signs of resolution, disengagement has stalled and talks been fruitless.

Rupture bilateral relationship: Political relations are marked by hostility and distrust. The relationship has been described as conditional on the quietude on the border by Indian External Affairs minister.

Strategic lessons for India: In a recent study published by the Lowy Institute ‘The crisis after the crisis: how Ladakh will shape, offers India three key lessons in managing the intensifying strategic competition with China: Military strategies based on denial are more useful than strategies based on punishment., China more likely to be deterred with threat of political costs rather than material costs, Indian Ocean Region (IOR) is the key, rather than LAC.

Conclusion:

Conclude that rebalancing India’s strategic priorities will require the central government, through the Chief of Defence Staff, to issue firm strategic guidance to the military services. This will define the ability of the national security apparatus to overcome entrenched bureaucratic and organisational­cultural biases.

Introduction

After over a year, the stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh shows no signs of resolution. Disengagement has stalled, China continues to reinforce its troops, and talks have been fruitless.

Body

Background

In the past few years, India-China relations have gone through a tumultuous phase which include a series of disputes b/w the two countries, including the Doklam standoff, Beijing’s shielding to Pakistan and India’s principled and consistent stand at CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic corridor). On the other hand, India’s acceptance of the USA’s concept of the ‘Indo-Pacific’ and revival of the ‘Quad’ reflects the state of decline in Sino-India relationship.

Ladakh crisis and Galwan Clash

  • The standoff between India and China on the banks of Pangong-tso and the massive build-up of Chinese troops on the other side of the LAC indicated a shift in policy from an ‘inch-by-inch’ intrusion to an all-out aggressive posturing.
  • Infrastructure Development along the LAC: In the past decade, India has worked hard to strengthen its position on the border and its presence along the LAC.
    • India is close to completing a major upgrade of border roads, including a strategic military-use road that connects an airfield at Dalut Beg Oldie in the northern tip of the western sector with the villages of Shyok and Darbuk toward the south.
    • Completed in 2019, this “DS-DBO road” greatly facilitates the lateral movement of Indian forces along the western sector, reducing travel time by 40%.
  • Chinese dominance and deterrence posture in the DBO sector is an effort by the PLA to prevent India from executing its plan for rapid border infrastructure development.
    • It will significantly improve India’s capacity to rapidly deploy in the area near the LAC in Ladakh.
    • This prospect worries China.
  • Since the border has never been clearly demarcated, it leads to contested perspectives.

Lessons learnt for India from Ladakh crisis

  • Indian military’s high-water mark in the crisis was an act of denial — its occupation of the heights on the Kailash Range on its side of the LAC in late August.
  • This action served to deny that key terrain to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and gave the Indian Army a stronger defensive position from which it could credibly defend a larger segment of its front line.
  • A doctrinal focus on denial will give the Indian military greater capacity to thwart future land grabs across the LAC.
  • By bolstering India’s defensive position, rather than launching an escalatory response, such a strategy is also more likely than punishment to preserve crisis stability.
  • Over time, improved denial capabilities may allow India to reduce the resource drain of the increased militarisation of the LAC.
  • The second key lesson of Ladakh is that China is more likely to be deterred or coerced with the threat of political costs, rather than material costs. Admittedly, the Chinese military’s deployment to the LAC was also large and extremely expensive.
  • In contrast, India successfully raised the risks of the crisis for China through its threat of a political rupture, not military punishment.
  • A permanently hostile India or an accidental escalation to conflict were risks that China, having achieved its tactical goals in the crisis, assessed were an unnecessary additional burden while it was contending with the instability of its territorial disputes and pandemic response.
  • The corollary lesson is that individual powers, even large powers such as India, will probably struggle to shift Beijing’s calculus alone.
  • To the extent that China adjusted its position in the Ladakh crisis, it did so because it was responding to the cumulative effect of multiple pressure points — most of which were out of India’s control.
  • Against the rising behemoth, only coordinated or collective action is likely to be effective.
  • Finally, and possibly the hardest to address — is that India should consider accepting more risk on the LAC in exchange for long-term leverage and influence in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • From the perspective of long-term strategic competition, the future of the Indian Ocean Region is more consequential and more uncertain than the Himalayan frontier.

Conclusion

The Ladakh crisis, by prompting an increased militarisation of the LAC, may prompt India to defer long-overdue military modernisation and maritime expansion into the Indian Ocean. To keep its eyes on the prize, New Delhi will have to make tough-minded strategic trade-offs, deliberately prioritising military modernisation and joint force projection over the ground-centric combat arms formations required to defend territory.

 

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

GS-3: Disaster and disaster management.

3. The National Task Force (NTF), created by the apex court can shape the response to pandemic and future public health challenge. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The question is based on the recent origin of National task force.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how the National Task Force (NTF), created by the apex court can shape the response to pandemic and future public health challenge.

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 what NTF is.

Body:

The SC has set up a 12-member National Task Force (NTF) to guide the central government allocation of medical oxygen to the states.

The task force will work with NITI Aayog, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Directorate General of Health Services.

Discuss key features of the Task force.

Explain the challenges before it.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the decisions and recommendations of this NTF and how they co-opt members with the right expertise will determine whether India ends up becoming a medicalised care system (which would focus on treating the sick) or a healthcare system that can keep people healthy and respond to future pandemics.

Introduction

In the wake of the oxygen supply crisis in Covid-19 management in India, the Supreme Court has set up a 12-member National Task Force (NTF) to guide, inter alia, the central government allocation of medical oxygen to the states.

Body

About National Task Force

  • The task force will work with senior officials of NITI Aayog, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade as well as the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Directorate General of Health Services.
  • The Supreme Court has also mandated that the task force may constitute more sub-groups on specialised areas or regions to assist in its work and also to consider, if appropriate, seeking the assistance of experts both within and outside government in areas such as critical care, infectious disease modelling, clinical virology and immunology, and epidemiology/ public health.
  • The rationale for setting up the task force has been to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic based upon scientific and specialised domain knowledge.
  • It is hoped that the establishment of the NTF will help the decision-makers with inputs that can enable them to go beyond ad hoc solutions to the unprecedented challenge.

Potential of National Task Force in pandemic response

  • In the 12-point terms of reference (ToR) of the NTF, the first five points focus on oxygen supply, including, deciding on a methodology for the scientific allocation of oxygen to states and facilitating audits (of oxygen supply, distribution and utilisation) by sub-groups within each state and UTs.
  • The task force will also review and suggest measures necessary for ensuring the availability of essential drugs and medicines.
  • The remaining six ToR of the NTF are aimed at the broader pandemic preparedness and response, which include planning and adopting remedial measures to ensure preparedness for present and future emergencies; to facilitate the use of technology; to suggest augmenting the availability of trained doctors, nurses and paramedical staff; to promote evidence-based research and enhance effective response to the pandemic; facilitate sharing of best practices across the nation to promote knowledge about management of the pandemic and to make recommendations in regard to other issues of pressing national concerns.
  • The tenure of the task force shall be six months initially. The Supreme Court’s order to set up the task force is highly significant, considering that India is struggling to mount an effective response to the second wave of the pandemic.
  • It ensures the participation of independent subject experts in policy decisions, which have often been criticised as being overly led by a techno-bureaucratic process.

Conclusion

The decisions and recommendations of this NTF and how they co-opt members with the right expertise will determine whether India ends up becoming a medicalised care system (which would focus on treating sick) or a healthcare system which can keep people healthy and respond to future epidemics and pandemics.

 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

4. The EU and India partnership has been slow-moving and fragmented, struggling to maintain momentum. Identify and explain the challenges and opportunities in India-EU relationship. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The Indian Prime Minister recently participated in the India-EU Leaders’ Meeting with the leaders of all 27 member states of the European Union. India and EU agreed to re-launch the trade talks in a major push to boost ties during the video summit.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the challenges and opportunities in India-EU relationship.

 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 with recent happenings between India and EU.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the various touch points – Free Trade Negotiations, Global Health Preparedness and Resilience, Green growth, Fostering inclusive growth through trade, connectivity, and technology, Indo-pacific region etc.

Then discuss roadblocks in India-EU relations.

Suggest way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude that The India-EU Leaders Meeting will provide fresh direction for implementing the ambitious India-EU Roadmap 2025 that was adopted in the India-EU summit held last year. India and the EU can partner towards diversification of strategic value chains as well as creating opportunities for innovation and growth.

Introduction

Today’s changed circumstances provide the two sides with a new set of opportunities to move forward on the long-stalled agenda of stronger ties between India and European Union.

Body

Recent development

  • It has been a long road from the first European Union (EU)-India Summit in 2000 to the virtual India-EU leaders meeting in 2021, which saw Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi interacting with the 27 EU leaders as well as presidents of the European Council and the European Commission last week.
  • The optics could not have been better. This was a special privilege accorded to the Indian PM to underline a new sense of urgency in the EU to get its India policy right.
  • From New Delhi’s perspective, this is also an inflection point in the way it is thinking about its foreign policy priorities;

Opportunities for stronger India-EU ties

  • The EU wants to pivot away from China. It recently signed a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China, which has drawn a lot of flak and its ratification has now been suspended because of diplomatic tensions.
  • The European Parliament remains overwhelmingly opposed to this deal after China imposed sanctions on some of its members, in response to the EU imposing sanctions against China for its treatment of the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region.
  • With the EU being India’s largest trading partner and the second-largest export destination, the economic logic of strong India-EU economic relations is self-evident.
  • The virtual summit saw India and the EU launching an ambitious “connectivity partnership” in digital, energy, transport, and people-to-people sectors, enabling the two to pursue sustainable joint projects in regions spanning from Africa, Central Asia to the wider Indo-Pacific.
  • Exports to EU: India has an untapped export potential of $39.9 billion in the EU and Western Europe. The top products with export potential include apparel, gems and jewellery, chemicals, machinery, automobile, pharmaceuticals and plastic.
  • India benefits from tariff preferences under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for several of these products.
  • In fact, India is among the major beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP, with exports under the GSP valued at nearly $19.4 billion in 2019, accounting for nearly 37% of India’s merchandise exports to the EU.
  • New emerging world order after COVID-19: As EU seeks to move away from a global supply chain that is overly dependent on China, India can emerge as its most natural ally.

Concerns in India-EU ties

  • Stalled EU-India BTIA: It is being negotiated since 2007 and both sides have major differences on crucial issues such as: –
    • EU’s demands: significant duty cuts in automobiles, tax reduction on wines, spirits etc, a strong intellectual property regime, relaxation in India’s data localisation norms, protection to all its items with Geographical Indication etc.
    • India’s demands:Data secure’ status (important for India’s IT sector); Ease norms on temporary movement of skilled workers, relaxation of Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) norms etc.
  • Trade imbalance: India accounts for only 1.9% of EU total trade in goods in 2019, well behind China (13.8%). Trade imbalance is expected to further increase with ratification of the European Union Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU-Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement, which will make Indian exports less competitive.
  • India’s perception of EU: It views EU primarily as a trade bloc, preferring bilateral partnerships with Member States for all political and security matters. This is evident from lack of substantive agreements on matters such as regional security and connectivity.
  • Brexit: It is unclear how U.K.’s withdrawal from EU will affect India’s relation with EU as whole.
  • Human Rights concerns of EU: The European Parliament was critical of both the Indian government’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in 2019 and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Way Forward

  • To translate their common values into common action, EU and India in can work in third countries to consolidate democratic processes and build capacities of transitioning regimes through strengthening electoral and parliamentary institutions.
  • EU can collaborate with India to facilitate connectivity and infrastructure projects in third countries, particularly smaller states in South Asia that often fall prey to power politics and fiscal instability resulting from China’s loans and political influence as part of its BRI.
  • Thus, as highlighted by EU strategy on India, adopted in 2018, India EU should take their relations beyond “trade lens”, recognizing their important geopolitical, strategic convergences

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Compare and Contrast India’s growth crisis of 1991 and 2021. How is 2021 different from the earlier one? Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains in what way not all crises are opportunities for reforms.

Key Demand of the question:

Compare and Contrast in detail India’s growth crisis of 1991 and 2021.

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:

Start with brief context of the crisis India is facing today.

Body:

Explain that the character and consequences of the crisis of 1991 and 2021 are different. In 1991, the crisis of the economy was the product of endogenous factors, that is, factors which were operating within the economic system. The crisis of 2021 is different, as it is the product of a pandemic, which is exogenous to the economic system. The cause-and-effect relations are entirely different in the latter, as the cause originates from outside the economic system and the economy is forced to adjust to this external shock.

Contrast the two crises with suitable backing.

Suggest steps to recover from the current crisis.

Conclusion:

Conclude that all crises do not inevitably lead to possibilities for reforms, even though some do create opportunities for fundamental changes. However, to gauge whether a crisis can be turned into an opportunity for reforms requires an in-depth understanding of the factors that led to the crisis.

 

Introduction

This year marks 30 years of the landmark economic reforms that permanently altered the production and distribution structures of the Indian economy. Swayed by the success of the 1991 reforms, albeit, at the macroeconomic level, there has been a growing clamour from economic commentators for some more doses of reforms in 2021.

Body

India’s growth crisis in 1991 vis-a-vis 2021

  • Both 1991 and 2021 have one thing in common, that is an economy facing a severe growth crisis. The character and consequences of the crisis of 1991 and 2021 are different.
  • In 1991, the crisis of the economy was the product of endogenous factors, that is, factors which were operating within the economic system.
  • The crisis of 2021 is different, as it is the product of a pandemic, which is exogenous to the economic system. The cause-and-effect relations are entirely different in the latter, as the cause originates from outside the economic system and the economy is forced to adjust to this external shock.
  • Further, in 1991, the crisis was limited to the Indian economy, while the present calamity has engulfed most global economies with varying intensities.
  • This makes policy responses very challenging. In the former case, we could have India-specific policies, assuming that there would not be drastic changes in the rest of the world, while in the latter case, India-specific policies will have to be tempered with the dynamics of the rest of the world, as all affected economies are formulating policy responses at the same time.
  • The availability of a semi-fixed template for reforms eased the matter in 1991. The template, which had some generic measures for all the economies experiencing external sector imbalances, was a tried and tested one.
  • This gave policymakers some headroom to anticipate the likely consequences in the post-implementation phase.

Measures to recover from the crisis

  • Investment-Centred Approach: The NSO has given the investment rate in the economy for FY 2020-21 at only 31% of GDP which is a very low rate of investment for any economy as large as India, therefore investment is the right way forward.
    • The FY 2021-22 should be the year of beefing up, strengthening and stepping up the pace of investment in infrastructure and many other projects where India is in the deficit stage.
  • Managing the Elevated Inflation Levels: India is at the risk of inflation, it is at an elevated level which is why the RBI has been conservative; it has projected the growth rate at 10.5% only.
    • India has to walk on a very fine line balancing the growth imperatives and inflation concerns.
    • The RBI has also adopted a policy to support economic growth. It has increased the limit of ways and means advances to the states and has allowed them to borrow more amounts from the RBI.
  • Role of Government Policies: The growth projection also depends upon policies adopted by the government, specially the fiscal policy and monetary policies. India implemented massive economic reforms (Atmanirbhar Bharat) in the year 2020 when the pandemic was at its peak. Also, India has freed up a lot of sectors from the over regulation by the government interference which will be fruitful in better and faster economic growth.
  • Vaccination and Covid-Appropriate Behaviour: India’s vaccination programme is also going on, it is vaccinating nearly 3-4 million people on a daily basis but that is not enough. The need is to build up more capacity and vaccinate more and more people at a faster rate.
  • Even after vaccination, no leniency shall be there in following the basic covid appropriate behaviour of wearing a mask, performing social distancing and following hygiene protocols.

Conclusion

All crises do not inevitably lead to possibilities for reforms, even though some do create opportunities for fundamental changes. However, to gauge whether a crisis can be turned into an opportunity for reforms requires an in-depth understanding of the factors that led to the crisis. Further, all the three clusters of actors who are crucial agents in the policy process — political leaders, policymakers and implementers, and the relevant stakeholders — need to have a shared vision. In 2021, the call for reforms leaves out the stakeholders, which might undermine the very purpose of reforms itself.

 

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

6. The Beema Bamboo can be an excellent choice for making the earth greener and mitigating climate change. Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference:  Down to Earth

Why the question:

The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has designed an ‘oxygen park’ within its premises at Coimbatore with Beema Bamboo.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the significance of Beema Bamboo as an excellent choice for making the earth greener and mitigating climate change.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what Beema Bamboo is.

Body:

Beema or Bheema Bamboo is a superior clone, selected from Bambusa balcooa, a higher biomass yielding bamboo species. This bamboo clone has been developed by the conventional breeding method.

This species is considered to be one of the fastest-growing plants. It grows one-and-a-half feet per day under tropical conditions. It is said to be the best ‘carbon sink’ to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions.

List down its importance and advantages of cultivating it.

Explain how it is an excellent choice for making the earth greener and mitigating climate change.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

In this era of global warming and climate change, it is imperative for humanity to take earnest measures for mitigating human-made disasters. Beema or Bheema Bamboo is a superior clone, selected from Bambusa balcooa, a higher biomass yielding bamboo species. This bamboo clone has been developed by the conventional breeding method. Beema Bamboo has been developed by N Bharathi of Growmore Biotech Ltd, the Agri-Technology company based at Hosur, Tamil Nadu.

Body

Beema Bamboo and potential in mitigating climate change

  • The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has designed an ‘oxygen park’ within its premises at Coimbatore with Beema Bamboo.
  • This species is considered to be one of the fastest-growing plants. It grows one-and-a-half feet per day under tropical conditions.
  • It is said to be the best ‘carbon sink’ to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. A fully-grown bamboo tree may generate over 300 kilograms of oxygen annually and it may be sufficient for one person for one year.
  • A four-year-old bamboo may absorb over 400 kg of carbon dioxide per annum from the surrounding areas.
  • Bamboo raised on one acre can sequester 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.
  • This clone is thorn-less and sterile. The plants developed through tissue culture are free from pest and disease, vigorous and superior and they can grow in the field for more than hundred years without any replanting.
  • Beema Bamboo is not a product of genetically modified organisms. In this case, new culms only grow around the mother shoot and hence it is non-invasive. A culm is the hollow stem of a grass or cereal plant, especially that bearing the flower.
  • As it is sterile, this bamboo does not produce any seed and does not die also for several hundred years and keeps growing without death. As a result, this particular bamboo species can be able to establish permanent green cover.
  • Since the plants are produced through tissue culture, the culms grow almost solid and adapt to different soil and climatic conditions. After every harvest cycle, it re-grows and does not require replanting for decades.

Conclusion

A two-year-old Beema Bamboo, when planted in the soil, grows at a speed of 1.5 foot per day and reaches a maximum height of 30 feet in 4 weeks. The Beema Bamboo can be an excellent choice for making the earth greener and mitigating climate change.

 

 


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. The right to healthy life is a moral minimum, and to find a rational basis to deny it is deeply offensive to the idea of life itself. Discuss how health cannot be held hostage to profit. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains to us in what way health cannot be hostage of profit and the right to healthy life is a moral minimum that needs to be acknowledged.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the ethical aspects associated with ensuring health as a right of moral minimum.

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 the example that in an ethically conscious move, the US government declared support for a patent waiver on Covid-19 vaccines.

Body:

Explain that in democratic forums of the world, we can elevate health as a human right, or a constitutional right, but the truth of the matter is that this right is hostage to patent rights of innovators.

Discuss the need for the world to take note of how profits, innovation and greater global good can still be combined.

Gove examples of recent vaccination issues related to covid-19. Give ethical backing to support your answer.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address such issues and conclude.

Introduction

India and the world are in the middle of a huge medical disaster. Vaccines have been developed, but their rollout defies equitable distribution. Right to life is a human right, yet the most developed nations that have technology to develop vaccines, are denying the same right that they wrote to poor nations.

Body

Right to healthy life is a moral minimum

  • The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.
  • The right to health for all people means that everyone should have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without suffering financial hardship.
  • No one should get sick and die just because they are poor, or because they cannot access the health services they need.
  • Good health is also clearly determined by other basic human rights including access to safe drinking water and sanitation, nutritious foods, adequate housing, education and safe working conditions.
  • The right to health also means that everyone should be entitled to control their own health and body, free from violence and discrimination.
  • When people are marginalized or face stigma or discrimination, their physical and mental health suffers.
  • Discrimination in health care is unacceptable and is a major barrier to development.
  • But when people are given the opportunity to be active participants in their own care, instead of passive recipients, their human rights respected, the outcomes are better and health systems become more efficient.

However, with the pandemic and even before, health of people was held hostage to profit of big pharma companies.

Health cannot be held hostage to profit

  • Consider the example of an infant child named Teera Kamat who suffers from spinal muscular atrophy, which is a neurological condition. The only drug for this is Zolgensma which costs 16cr if it is to be imported in India.
  • It is understandable that the drug is the only cure, but what about those poor and marginalized that suffer due to this and cannot afford to buy the medicine. Should the children have no hope for life, or are their rights not upheld.
  • Same is the case with the covid-19 vaccines being developed. India itself was denied raw materials needed to manufacture the vaccine.
  • Moreover, poor nations have to completely depend on aid to procure vaccines. Bigger nations are hogging the vaccine supplies, completely leaving the poor nations to fend for themselves.
  • In India, there were many cases of black marketing remdesivir, oxygen cylinders and other drugs. It is unfortunate that people make profit out of someone else’s misery. This denies right to health of a person.

It is thus imperative that states, nations and other individuals must not take advantage or hold health hostage for handful of extra alms. It goes against the principle of justice as well as human dignity.

Conclusion

“The right to the highest attainable standard of health” implies a clear set of legal obligations on states to ensure appropriate conditions for the enjoyment of health for all people without discrimination. The right to health is one of a set of internationally agreed human rights standards, and is inseparable or indivisible and inalienable human right.


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