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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 June 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: French Revolution

1. Explain the impact of the French Revolution on the Spanish colonies in America. (250 words)

Reference:  Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I , part world history.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate upon the impact of the French Revolution on the Spanish colonies in America.

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:

Briefly state what the Revolution was with timelines in the introduction. French Revolution (1789-1799) was a period of social and political upheaval in France resulting in the overthrow of Monarchy and establishing of Republic.

Body:

The French Revolution had a great impact on the French, Portuguese and Spanish colonies in America. The Peninsular War that caused the Napoleonic occupation of Spain made people question their alliance with Spain.

The reign of Charles (1788-1808) coincided with the turbulent French Revolution (1789-1799). The following year France invaded Spain and ravaged its northern provinces, occupying Bilbao and San Sebastian. After initial Spanish resistance, Godoy admitted defeat.

The call for modification of society was influenced by the revolution in France, and once the hope for change found a place in the hearts of the Haitian people, there was no stopping the radical reformation that was occurring.

Conclusion:

Conclude with overall influence and impact.

Introduction:

French Revolution (1789-1799) was a period of social and political upheaval in France resulting in the overthrow of Monarchy and establishing of Republic.

Body

Its causes were multi-dimensional:

  • Cultural: Enlightenment to think rationally, critically led to lowering the status of Church and Monarch, while promotion of secular, scientific and humanistic values.
  • Social: Aspiration of Bourgeois class to be politically equal to Clergy and Aristocratic class.
  • Financial: France’s involvement in the American Revolution leading to increased taxation at home and reduction in privileges
  • Political: Provincial Courts’ opposition to the reduction in their privileges.
  • Economic: Deregulation of grain prices leading to high inflation of bread and bad harvest leading to food shortage provoking the masses to revolt.

Impact on French Society

  • Monarchy was abolished and Republic took its place.
  • Political sovereignty introduced at individual and nation-state level with a centralised government.
  • Serfdom, Feudalism, Slavery were abolished and the influence of Church decreased in personal lives.
  • Idea of separation of public and private realm emerged.
  • The abolition of Slavery after the French revolution was the first move against this repressive system and Britain followed suit in 1833 while the USA banned it in 1865.
  • It led to the destruction of feudalism in France as all laws of the old feudal regime were repealed and lands of the nobles and church were confiscated and redistributed.
  • The Jacobian constitution, which although never came into effect, was the first genuinely democratic constitution. It gave the right to vote to all, and even the Right to Insurrection, which implies the right to revolt or rises against the government.
  • Ending the arbitrary royal rule, the revolution paved the way for rule by law under a constitutional order.
  • Some Shortcomings: Limited suffrage, especially women were excluded, Slavery was reintroduced by Napoleon.

Impact on World

  • Napoleon carried ideals of the Revolution to the rest of Europe: Liberty, Modern Laws, Democratic Rights, protection of private property. This, in turn, gave rise to Modern Nationalism paving way creation of the sovereign nation-state.
  • Liberalism as government form got crystallised in North and South America.
  • It inspired other revolutions: Haitian Revolution, Independence Movements in Spanish and Portuguese colonies in South America. Raja Rammohan Roy and Tipu Sultan in particular and Indian Nationalist Freedom Struggle incorporated ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.

Conclusion

Thus, the importance of the French Revolution laid in laying the foundation of Modern States based on Liberal Democratic ideals. Also, indirectly it laid the groundwork for the growth of Socialism and Communism by providing an intellectual and social environment in which these ideologies could flourish.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. There is a necessity to bring to an end the sedition law on the view that it is used to curb freedom of expression and speech. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

Recently, the Supreme Court decision quashed the sedition charges against a senior journalist. Civil society hailed this as a heartening development, especially in the context of the increasing number of sedition cases filed.

Key Demand of the question:

Account for the view of bringing down the sedition law in the country. 

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 historical background of Sedition Law.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First discuss the historical background in which the sedition law came into action.

Then explain the relevance of sedition law.

Bring out the shortcomings of the law and need to scrap the law.

Conclusion:

Conclude that with Supreme Court has quashed sedition charges slapped on a journalist, we as the citizens of the Indian Republic should demand the quashing of the sedition law in its entirety to fulfill the vision of the Constituent Assembly, which rejected sedition while framing the Constitution.

Introduction:

According to the Section 124A of IPC, Sedition is an act that brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt, or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India by words, either spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representation, or otherwise. Colonial administrators used sedition to lock up people who criticised the British policies.

Recently, a report by Freedom House — Freedom in the World 2021: Democracy Under Siege — downgraded India’s status from a free country to a partly free country. One of the reasons for the fall is the rise in sedition cases against dissenters.

Body

Background

  • The section 124A of Indian Penal Code is a pre- independence provision, which covers sedition charges against government.
  • Various verdicts by Indian Judiciary have led to re-interpretation and re-examination of ‘sedition’ in light of Article 19 of the Constitution.
  • There has been an effort to strike a balance between right to free speech and expression and power of State to impose reasonable restrictions (Article 19(2)).
  • In 1962, the Supreme Court in Kedar Nath Singh vs. State of Bihar upheld Section 124A and held that it struck a “correct balance” between fundamental rights and the need for public order.
  • The court had significantly reduced the scope of Sedition law to only those cases where there is incitement to imminent violence towards overthrow of the state.
  • Further, the Court held that it is not mere against government of the day but the institutions as symbol of state.

Should sedition be scrapped?

  • Against democratic norms: It stifles the democratic and fundamental right of people to criticize the government.
  • Inadequate capacity of State Machinery: The police might not have the “requisite” training to understand the consequences of imposing such a “stringent” provision.
  • Possibility of Misuse: It has been used arbitrarily to curb dissent. In many cases the main targets have been writers, journalists, activists who question government policy and projects, and political dissenters.
  • The draconian nature of this law as the crime is non-bailable, non-cognisable and punishment can extend for life—it has a strong deterrent effect on dissent even if it is not used.
  • Used to gag press:The press should be protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.

Arguments in favour of Section 124A

  • Not really a draconian law: Now after the Supreme Court directions, its jurisdiction has been narrowed down. It can be applied only on grounds laid down by the court.
  • Application is a part of reasonable restrictions: It is provided under the Article 19 (2).
  • Does not really curb free speech:One can use any kind of strong language in criticism of the government without inviting sedition. However, such dissent should not be turned into some kind of persuasion to break the country.
  • Threats to unity and integrity of nationdue to presence of anti- national elements and divisive Forces such as naxals, separatists who are receiving support from inside and outside the country.
  • Mere misuse cannot be a ground of repeal,rather provisions should be made where such misuse is eliminated.

Conclusion:

The guidelines of the SC must be incorporated in Section 124A as well by amendment to IPC so that any ambiguity must be removed. Only those actions/words that directly result in the use of violence or incitement to violence should be termed seditious. The state police must be sufficiently guided as to where the section must be imposed and where it must not. Need to include provisions where the government can be penalized, if it misuses the section. This will ensure that section 124 A of IPC strikes a balance between security and smooth functioning of state with the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

3. The Covid-19 pandemic has put India’s space activities into suspension, India has to stay competitive enough in order to provide efficient services to its customers. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the effect of Pandemic on the space sector. 

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the impact of pandemic on space sector and that to maximise the impact of reforms, the government must end hibernation of the space launch sector.

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 how the Covid-19 pandemic has put India’s space activities into suspension.

Body:

Such answers are best explained with relevant facts, explain that – competition is stiff; during the pandemic, countries like Iran carried out their first-ever space launches on indigenous launch vehicles. Monaco, Slovenia, Guatemala, Myanmar, Tunisia, Moldova, and Paraguay had their first satellite launches via commercial launch contracts. The major space powers, US and China, went to Mars. China launched the first module of its space station in the low-Earth orbit, and also launched its first 6G satellite. The UAE also went to Mars on a Japanese launch vehicle. Japan received its Hayabusa-2 space capsule that was returned from the asteroid Ryugu.

In comparison, India’s space activities slowed. India’s global share in the total space launches continues to be low at 1.8%. The three launches from the Sriharikota Range took place between November 2020 and February 2021, between the first and second waves of COVID-19 in India.

Suggest what needs to be done to make India more competitive.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Covid-19 pandemic has put India’s space activities into suspension. Despite many reforms in space sector undertaken in 2019 and 2020, ISRO’s space launch activities have come to a halt. Hit by disruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, among the major projects that have been affected are Chandrayaan-3 and Gaganyaan. Chandrayaan-3, the third mission to Moon, was scheduled later this year. To offset risks and disruptions, it should now become a priority for ISRO to pursue pre-launch automation with greater vigour.

Body:

Current scenario of Indian Space sector:

  • India’s space activities slowed.
  • India’s global share in the total space launches continues to be low at 1.8%.
  • The three launches from the Sriharikota Range took place between November 2020 and February 2021, between the first and second waves of COVID-19 in India.
  • With the new competition, the satellite customer base that India’s commercially successful PSLV enjoyed for 20 years is shrinking considerably.
  • It will take some time for the new start-ups to make an impact.
  • The first demonstrations from India’s space-launch start-ups, Agnikul Cosmos and Skyroot Aerospace, which recently raised $11 million each in Series A investments are a few quarters away.
  • Likewise, the first space launch from Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV), built by ISRO and marketed by the state-owned New Space India Limited (NSIL), is yet to happen.

Space sector scenario across globe:

the pandemic has not stopped other launch vehicle developers like the US-based SpaceX, United Launch Alliance, China’s Long March, ExPace and OneSpace, or New Zealand’s Rocket Lab from testing and providing launch services.

Measures needed:

  • private companies born during the pandemic must have uninhibited access to space testing infrastructure for quick vehicle development.
  • ISRO must urgently acquire SSLV space-proven credentials and make GSLV MK-III fit for its human spaceflight mission, Gaganyaan.
  • Testing and on-field evaluation of reusable space planes for orbital and sub-orbital flights needs to be accelerated. The reusable launch vehicle (RLV-TD), ISRO’s hypersonic space plane, has been awaiting tests since 2016. India now has more launch vehicles in testing and operational phases than ever before.
  • It demands a national policy for commercial sub-orbital, orbital and inter-planetary space transportation. This requires the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to expand its ambit into commercial space transportation—as has the US’s Federal Aviation Administration.
  • Similar to NASA-FAA synergies, a joint DoS-DGCA national strategy can help make India’s space launch centres and spaceports market-oriented and ready for commercial, military, civilian, and experimental space launches.
  • The space launch service providers and space launch technology companies can become partners in this strategy.

Way forward for India:

  • ISRO will need to identify less labour-intensive missions that it can pursue despite the pandemic.
  • ISRO will have to identify missions in the coming weeks and months and adapt itself in pursuing less laborious missions to limit delays and rescheduling, which as of today is not evident.
  • Even in the absence of COVID-19 ISRO was embarked on a roadmap to expand missions both in complexity and numbers, which only underlines why it needs to develop and integrate automation technology in order at least to reduce if not out rightly dispense with human labour and intervention at its ground launch stations.
  • Unlike India, countries such as the US enjoy the benefit of a private sector that can meet the requirements of some launch missions amidst a health emergency limiting the burden on a government driven space enterprise.

Conclusion:

Given the foregoing, to offset risks and disruptions, it should now become a priority for ISRO to pursue pre-launch automation with greater vigour. Although limited pre-launch automation does exist and applied for preparatory tasks by space agencies across the world and the ISRO, it is not extensively developed and used. In the absence of a pandemic as infectious as the current there would be far less incentive to act with urgency on technology related investments. If anything, COVID-19 may and should lend greater alacrity in pursuing opportunities and incentivising investment in the AI sub-fields of Machine Learning (ML) and robotics.

 

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention.

4. Discuss ways and means of guarding civilian targets and critical infrastructure against rising cyberattacks in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article highlights the threat posed by cyberattacks to our critical infrastructure and suggest the ways to deal with the ever evolving threat.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail methods of guarding civilian targets and critical infrastructure against rising cyberattacks 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:

Start with context of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Talk about the Civilian targets of cyberattacks recently witnessed.

Explain what are the challenges; Defending civilian targets, and more so critical infrastructure, against cyberattacks such as ransomware and phishing is almost certain to stretch the capability and resources of governments across the globe.

The distinction between military and civilian targets is increasingly getting erased and the consequences of this could be indeterminate.

Explain in detail the associated concerns.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Cyber Security refers to protecting cyber space including critical information infrastructure from attack, damage, misuse and economic espionage. Cyber security is a broad spectrum phrase and relates to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to a personal computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a major network like the national banking system or the railway network or a national information technology asset that also has military implications.

Recently, Australia had to stave off its biggest cyber threat with the attack targeting everything from public utilities to education and health infrastructure. India has also been a victim to many such cyber-attacks in the past like WannaCry, Petya ransomware, Mirai botnet etc.

Body:

Incidences of cyber-attacks across globe:

  • Several high-profile cyberattacks were reported from the United States during the past several months.
  • Towards the end of 2020, for instance, a major cyberattack headlined ‘SolarWinds’ — and believed to have been sponsored from Russia — had rocked the U.S. It involved data breaches across several wings of the U.S. government, including defence, energy and state.
  • Before the U.S. could even recover from this breach, thousands of U.S. organisations were hacked in early 2021 in an unusually aggressive cyberattack, by a Chinese group Hafnium, which had exploited serious flaws in Microsoft’s software, thus gaining remote control over affected systems.
  • In quick succession, thereafter, the U.S. has witnessed three more major attacks: an audacious ransomware attack by Russia/East Europe-based cybercriminals, styled DarkSide, on Colonial Pipeline (which is the main supplier of oil to the U.S. East Coast), compelling the company to temporarily shut down operations.
  • Another Russia-backed group, Nobellium, next launched a phishing attack on 3,000 e-mail accounts, targeting USAID and several other organisations.
  • Early this month, JBS SA, the U.S. subsidiary of a Brazilian meat processing company, was the target of a ransomware attack; the company also paid a ransom in millions.

Incidences of cyberattacks in India:

  • In India, too, attacks have been happening with increasing frequency.
  • India’s national airline Air India has said a cyber-attack on its data servers affected about 4.5 million customers around the world. The breach was first reported to the company in February 2021.
  • Nearly 1.16 million cases of cyberattacks were reported in 2020, up nearly three times from 2019 and more than 20 times compared to 2016, according to government data presented in the Parliament on Tuesday. On an average, 3,137 cyber security-related issues were reported every day in 2020.
  • More than 4,000 fraudulent portals emerged within two months, and on a typical day in April 2020, Google alone blocked 240 million spam messages and 18 million phishing scams.
  • In 2016, banks had reportedly announced a leak of personal information of 3.2 million debit cards.
  • In 2018, Pune-based Cosmos Bank lost Rs 94 crore in a malware attack. Last year, the Kudankulam plant was attacked using malware.

Need for an updated cyber-security strategy for India:

  • With the vision of a trillion-dollar digital component, accounting for one-fifth of the $5-trillion national economy, the importance of cyberspace in India would only keep growing as Indians have taken to mobile broadband like fish to water, driven by affordable tariffs, low-cost smartphones and a spurt in availability of audio-visual content in Indian languages.
  • Financial services, payments, health services, etc are all connected to digital mediums; and thanks to Corona, this is expected to increase.
  • CERT-IN has recently issued an advisory that there is a threat of a massive phishing attack.
  • India was one of the few countries to launch a cybersecurity policy in 2013, not much has transpired in terms of a coordinated cyber approach.
  • Unlike the US, Singapore, and the UK where there is a single umbrella organization dealing in cybersecurity, India has 36 different central bodies—most ministries have their own—that deal with cyber issues, and each has a different reporting structure; each state government has its own CERT.
  • Add to this the fact that while the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 was to devise a cyber-readiness roadmap for organisations and the government for cyber-readiness, this is yet to be announced.
  • India is not even a signatory to some of the basic international frameworks on Cybersecurity like the Convention of Cybercrime of the Council of Europe which not only European nations but Japan, US, South Africa have become signatories to, except India.
  • Indian laws are not in tandem with the ever-changing global cyberspace.
    • The laws are old and hence need to be more dynamic in nature to deal with issues like cyber-espionage, data theft and so on.
    • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole law that deals with cyberspace in India and was passed way back in 2000.
  • Also, the Cyber Law of India has been subject to amendments on various occasions but hasn’t served the changing dynamics and the growing threats and manifestations of cyberwar.

Strategy should include the following:

  • Since a global consensus is unlikely any day soon, India should consider joining or leveraging existing frameworks like the Convention on Cybercrime and the Paris Call. After all, cybersecurity has become a geopolitical issue, as reiterated time and again by the Prime Minister.
  • Security by design, budgeting by default:
    • It is high time that 10% of every IT budget in the government be earmarked for cybersecurity, as recommended by the NASSCOM Cyber Security Task Force, just like 1-3% of every ministry’s budget was set aside for IT in 1998, as recommended by the Prime Minister’s IT Task Force in 1998.
    • The National Cyber Security Strategy (NCSS) 2020 and the data protection framework must be consistent with each other.
    • Exceptions and exemptions must be narrowly crafted, in compliance with the principles of lawfulness, fairness, transparency and proportionality laid down by the Supreme Court in its 2017 privacy judgment.
  • Prevention is better than cure:
    • Nine out of 10 data breaches can be mitigated if we all take care of basic cybersecurity like using licensed and updated software, using different and difficult passwords for different services and devices, multi-factor authentication and strong encryption.
    • We need innovative solutions to scale up awareness as our user base is expected to reach a billion over the next five years, compared to half a billion currently.
  • Bidirectional partnership:
    • The government should share its own assessment back with the private sector to create incentive for the latter to proactively share their intelligence on threat vectors without jeopardizing contractual obligations or intellectual property.
  • Pragmatic, predictable, flexible
    • Underlying principles must go along with the strategic objectives and provide sufficient guidance and flexibility to sector regulators within their respective ecosystem.
    • For example, the cybersecurity guidelines or frameworks issued by RBI, SEBI, IRDAI and PFRDAI can be greatly synergized under the aegis of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC), thereby bringing greater sanity for the regulators as well as the regulated entities.
    • In addition, every regulation must emerge through public consultation and be backed up with a regulatory impact assessment, whether it is about cross-border data flows or restricting encryption.

Measures needed:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organizations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Conclusion:

Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

5. By underlining the biosecurity concerns of synthetic biology, analyse India’s preparedness in the domains of biosafety and biosecurity.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

Against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, the article discusses the national security threat emanating from biological weapons.

Key Demand of the question:

Highlight the biosecurity concerns of synthetic biology, analyse India’s preparedness in the domains of biosafety and biosecurity.

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 Synthetic biology.  Synthetic biology is a revolutionary technology that can help us manipulate biological organisms and processes for human betterment, especially in treating diseases, by re-engineering cells.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain the risks involved; possibility of deliberate misuse of synthetic biology, need to carefully review, especially in the wake of the pandemic, the biosecurity systems in place where such technologies are in use, Accidental leaks of experimental pathogens are another concern etc.

Discuss the mechanism for regulation in existence.

Highlight the concerns for India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions to address the issue.

Introduction:

According to WHO, biosecurity is defined as “institutional and personal security measures designed to prevent the loss, theft, misuse, diversion or intentional release of pathogens and toxins”.

According to FAO (Food and Agricultural Organisation), biosecurity is ‘strategic and integrated approach’ that includes policies and regulations that deal with the risks posed to food safety, animal and plant life and their health and associated environmental risks.

According to WHO, biosafety is “the containment principles, technologies and practices that are implemented to prevent unintentional exposure to pathogens and toxins, or their accidental release”.

Body

India’s Preparedness

  • The key ministries tackling biosecurity in India are the ministries of health and family welfare, science and technology and the environment ministry.
  • The various aspects of biosecurity in India are managed by ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) and DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organization).
  • Biosecurity is considered as a health and agriculture matter in India- hence it is largely dealt with by the states. The centre issues guidelines which the states modify to suit their local needs.
  • In 2004, the National Farmers Commission headed by M S Swaminathan had recommended the establishment of a National Agricultural Biosecurity Program.
  • In 2013, the Agricultural Biosecurity Bill sought to set up an ‘Agricultural Biosecurity Authority’– a high powered body to cover 4 sectors: animal health, plant health, marine organisms and agriculturally important microbes. However, this is still waiting for approval.
  • The import of invasive pests and weeds are curbed by the customs department. The Plant Quarantine Order of 2003 categorized species as restricted, prohibited, etc. with respect to their import into India. The categorization under CITES is also adhered to for controlling the species’ introduction.
  • The ICMR manages several bio-safety level (BSL) labs in India. There are 30 labs of BSL-3 and BSL-2+ that are operational. There are 2 BSL-4 (highest safety level) labs- one at Pune (National Institute of Virology) and another at Bhopal (National Institute of High-Security Animal Diseases).
  • India is a signatory to the Biological and Toxins Weapons Convention (BTWC) of 1972 the first multilateral treaty to ban an entire class of weapons. It has also ratified the treaty. The convention makes use of ‘confidence-building measures’ like consultations among the parties, complaints to the UNSC, assistance to victims, etc.

Concerns associated

  • The implementation of biosecurity measures in India is not uniform as it’s under the purview of individual states.
  • The fact that India is already susceptible to pest invasions implies that even detecting an act of agro-terrorism (bioterrorism directed towards agricultural sector), let alone tracing its origin is difficult.
  • The import of potentially invasive pests and biological agents is to be curbed by the customs officials, who have been criticised for lacking training in the area. Eg: identification of a potentially invasive species’ seed among the baggage of incoming travellers.
  • Quarantine officers have been rendered essentially toothless as Destructive Insects and Pests Act of 1914 and the Livestock Importation Act of 1898 are only subsidiaries to the Customs Act of 1962. This is one of the aspects the 2013 Biosecurity Bill sought to change.
  • The biosecurity bill drafted in India has been pending approval since 2014. Also, it does not take zoonoses (like Coronaviruses) into account.
  • Unlike many conventional threats to national security, novel biological agents like the SARS CoV 2 cannot be effectively anticipated.
  • There is also a significant time lag in coming up with a potent treatment/ vaccine, which makes the issue even more dangerous.
  • Biological agents like viruses show a higher level of mutations and there is also the issue of latency period- which impedes the disease detection and control measures.
  • Such biological attacks (intentional/ accidental or natural) poses double jeopardy to the defence forces of the country- the armed forces may get affected and weakened by the biological agent and their capacity to handle the conventional threats of terrorist attacks and WMDs is diluted as resources are diverted for the domestic response- thus posing a security challenge.
  • In light of the discussion and accusations about the role of Wuhan Institute of Virology in the COVID-19 crisis, the challenge of differentiating between offensive (or aggressive) and defensive (or peaceful) purposes of such biological agents have come into focus and posing a challenge.
  • Even local mismanagement of a biosecurity threat has the potential to expand and cause an effect on an international scale. This calls for international level cooperation characterised by transparency, credibility and timely action.
  • Lack of verification regime under the BTWC. Any nation with a developed enough pharmaceutical sector can potentially develop a biological WMD which makes the framing of a verification regime a difficult task.
  • Development of such a verification regime is further complicated by the consideration that a non-state actor may develop a bioweapon.
  • The ability to detect and conclude such non-compliances is affected by how quickly an international investigation team is launched (as fresh forensic evidence are vital) and full access to the affected area by the investigating team. Eg: the 1981 investigations into an accusation by the US of the Soviet’s use of mycotoxins were inconclusive.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 crisis has not only affected India and the world nations, but also the country of origin. It has shown that every country would become a victim in case of a biological war- without any victors. The crisis should serve as a reminder of the importance of the doctrine of universal bio-deterrence. India, for its part, should strengthen its biosecurity system while mobilizing international cooperation to strengthen international biosecurity.

 

 


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.

6. Moral and ethical values change from time to time along with advancement in human life. Elucidate with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question is based on the importance of Moral and ethical values.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way Moral and ethical values change from time to time with progress in human life.

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 general importance of moral and ethical values in human life.  

Body:

Morals are the prevailing standards of behavior that enable people to live cooperatively in groups. Moral refers to what societies sanction as right and acceptable.

While some moral principles seem to transcend time and culture, such as fairness, generally speaking, morality is not fixed. Morality describes the particular values of a specific group at a specific point in time.

Historically, morality has been closely connected to religious traditions, but today its significance is equally important to the secular world. For example, businesses and government agencies have codes of ethics those employees are expected to follow.

Give relevant examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Values are elements of life that we hold as important or desirable. They are standards of conduct and guide of human behaviour. Values give meaning and strength to a person’s character by occupying a central place in his life. Values reflect one’s personal attitude and judgments, decisions and choices, behaviour and relationships.

Body:

Values can be relative as well as absolute.

Relative values:

These are based on individual and societal standards, their likes, dislikes, social norms, tradition, for instance Indian traditional values of ‘Vasudev Kutumbakam’, universal brotherhood, tolerance may contradict with western values of liberalism, individualism and utilitarianism.

  • Values evolve to bring order in the society and are culture specific. They evolve along with the cultures.
  • For Eg: The present generation of Indian society is more ambition sensitive showing more assertiveness, instead of Indian traditional values of sacrifice and selflessness
  • The norms of nuclear family and even live-in relationships are more socially accepted today.
  • People’s values tend to change over time as well. Values that suited you as a child change as you become a young adult, which may further change as you become an old person.
  • They change because we want them to; or sometimes they change even if when we didn’t mean them to. We may have believed that something is wrong but now we might not be so sure that it’s true. We may have believed that we’d never do something; but then we do it and we decide that it’s okay to do it.
  • Over a period of time, new ethical issues have arisen and values have changed.
  • New knowledge about existing problems or techniques and completely new areas of work has also led to change in values.
  • There are a series of core values around which most people would agree. However even those are changing at least in the intensity.
  • For Eg: say if we believe that that human life is sacred, but we do not feel the same intensity of this value when judging a terrorist who has killed thousands of innocent people.

“The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.” – English poet William Blake.

We can often see resistance from parents and society as we are growing up. Our changing values sometimes conflict with our parents’ values, or our culture’s values and leads to this resistance. For example, women working at par with men, etc.

Absolute values:

Universal values like truth, gratitude, peace, non-violence, sympathy, are considered beyond time and space. They are core values and are fundamental. They do not change and remain stable.

  • The standards of conduct differ from person to person, society to society but there can be some values which can be considered universal.
  • For Eg: Murder is a crime in every society and hence a universal norm.
  • Immanuel Kant considered human dignity as a universal value and one of his categorical imperatives. Similarly, justice for Rawls is an architectonic principle.
  • Over the time, repeated positive engagement of values is likely to strengthen them. Our lives provide continual opportunities for the growth of certain values. Our lives also sometimes put constraints on certain values.
  • Values as such do not change. Only their expression changes depending on circumstances and situations. In some cultures, as well as different circumstances, the priorities assigned to values change.
  • We can find values like peace, kindness, hard work, perseverance, etc. still relevant to the same degree as from age old times. They will still remain relevant even after we die.
  • Values are essential to build ourselves. We build ourselves to survive in the world and create a society. Since values needed to build a good society are constant or similar, values can be said to be constant, similar or universal as each of us tries to build a good society.
  • “Open your arms to change but don’t let go of your values.” – The 14th Dalai Lama. This tells us that good values are not supposed to change. They are eternal.

Conclusion

Thus, values can be either universal, relative or dynamic which keeps changing with time. As Einstein once rightly remarked, “Try not to become a man of success but try to become a man of values”. Values influence our thoughts, feelings and actions. They guide us to do the right things. Values give direction and firmness to life.

 

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

7. What do you understand by scientific temper and spirit of enquiry? As a responsible citizen of the country how would you fulfill your fundamental duty to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform? Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is premised on the importance of scientific temper and spirit of enquiry.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain what scientific temper and spirit of enquiry are and their importance for a citizen to be responsible and be able to contribute to the nation.

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:

Define scientific temper and briefly explain its meaning.

Body:

A scientific temper refers to an open, questioning, seeking mind. A mind that seeks truth and accepts it when proven. A mind that is ready to consider that an alternative viewpoint could have merit.

Explain the importance of it; A person of scientific temper experiences indirectly an internal strength that orders life. Order results from internal strength than from external induction. Spiritualists call it Self-realization. It is the Scientific Temper that helps in developing Secularism, Humanism & Spirit of enquiry and reform.

Spirit of inquiry is a persistent sense of curiosity that informs both learning and practice. As per the values of Indian family system, children are told right from our childhood to accept whatever has been told to them.

Give examples to justify points.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a nation can thrive without producing any literature worth a mention (think Singapore), but will rarely do so in the long run if it puts superstition above reason. Therefore, for individual development and national prosperity, there is need of developing scientific temper and spirit of inquiry among children.

Introduction:

Scientific temper is a way of thinking and acting which uses a method, including observing physical reality, questioning, testing, hypothesizing, analysing and communicating. It involves the application of logic and the avoidance of bias and preconceived notions in arriving at decisions, and becomes particularly valuable while deciding what is best for the community or the nation.

Spirit of inquiry is a persistent sense of curiosity that informs both learning and practice. A spirit of inquiry in civil servants engenders innovative thinking and extends possibilities for discovering novel solutions in both predictable and unpredictable situations. An individual with spirit of inquiry would raise questions and seek creative approaches to problem-solving. A spirit of inquiry suggests, to some degree, a childlike sense of wonder.

Body:

Importance of scientific temper & Spirit of inquiry:

  • Elements of fairness, equality and democracy are built-in in scientific temper.
  • Twin features of internal pluralism and external receptivity have been woven into the development of Indian thought over the ages.
  • This richness of the tradition of argument has shaped India’s social world and the nature of Indian culture. It has deeply influenced Indian politics and the development of democracy in India and emergence of its secular priorities.
  • To weed out the ignorance. E.g.: Even literate and well-educated people believe in superstitions and follow those.
  • To reduce the intolerance in the society. E.g.: Killing of rational thinkers like Narendra Dabholkar, MM Kalburgi etc.
  • To curb the fake news, rumours and wrong influence of Social Media. Instead of thinking rationally and researching about something, people blindly follow what social media propagates.
  • Improve the status of women. E.g: Issues like temple entry during menstruation, child marriages, triple talaq etc. which are not based on rational thinking.
  • Scientists are hitting the street because they feel the climate of scientific enquiry in India is at threat of being compromised by political and religious interference by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and associated groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
  • Scientists are now concerned that instead of ring-fencing the Indian scientific community, the government has allowed intrusions that threaten to distract from areas of research that need the urgent attention of researchers, including in fields directly related to Indian economic development.
  • For instance, the elite Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, has been told by the ministry of science and technology to conduct “verifiable scientific research to establish the benefits”—reportedly, medicinal and other—derived from Panchagavya, a concoction of cow dung, cow urine, cow milk, curd and clarified butter (ghee) that is used in some traditional Hindu rituals.
  • We are seeing an increasing intrusion of theology into science. The influence of a variety of godmen and miracle makers is increasing alarmingly.
  • In an age when man has travelled to the moon and returned safely, astrological predictions based on the movements of planets or the lines of one’s palm or the number of alphabets in one’s name, are widely believed. Food fads, irrational health practices are on the increase.

Public culture needed to inculcate Scientific temper:

  • In such a situation of social and cultural malaise, a major role of Scientific Temper is to revive confidence and hope and to dispel fatalistic outlook.
  • The campaign to promote Scientific Temper must inculcate values like equality and dignity of all human beings, distributive justice, dignity of labour, and social accountability of one’s actions.
  • Although big science (space probes, cosmic ray physics, etc.,) has served India well, the nation must also look at areas that are less eyeball-grabbing, such as water resources, agriculture and the environment, he said, requesting anonymity because he is not allowed to talk to the press.
  • science and scientists must have a position of pride in society which can influence many young students to move into scientific fields.
  • A nationwide science policy which should be able to anticipate problem areas, devise course correction.
  • Better funding of Science and Technology initiatives which would help in development of the society.
  • All these are essential for bringing about social, economic and cultural transformation of our country.

Conclusion:

Scientific temper and Spirit of Enquiry needs to be promoted across all sections of the society systematically, using tools like National Knowledge Network. Public and political understanding of science should be based on evidence and debate with open mind. Article 51A of the Constitution lists the fundamental duties of citizens, which include development of scientific temper, humanism and spirit of inquiry and reform. It means the Indians must have an open mind to learn new things.


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