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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 2 July 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. Although dowry was made illegal decades ago, harassment and deaths over dowry cut across class, financial, educational and religious barriers. Analyse the causative factors and suggest reforms to end this menace. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains why there is a need of mass movement to fight dowry.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way harassment and deaths over dowry cut across class, financial, educational and religious barriers and analyse the causative factors and suggest reforms to end this menace.

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 some key facts showing issues related to Dowry Deaths.

Body:

Explain first how we still live in an age where moral outrage spreads faster over social media than you can blink, and yet a dowry death hardly moves the needle on our moral compass.

Discuss the issues and challenges associated with Dowry.

Explain how accepting dowry should be made a social stigma, and all generations should be addressed.

The larger context for the practice of dowry is the poor presence of women in the workforce, and their consequent lack of financial independence. Women should be supported to take up jobs and have independent incomes. This means we should expand childcare and safe public transport, reduce discrimination in hiring, and create affirming workplace environments. At home, men should share domestic work and care responsibilities.

Suggest solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.  

Introduction

Dowry, a cultural practice deeply rooted in many Indian communities, refers to the money, goods, or property given to a bridegroom’s family along with the bride. Dowry is a social evil in the society, that has caused unimaginable tortures and crimes towards women.  The evil has taken lives of women from all strata of society – be it poor, middle class or the rich. However, it is the poor who succumb and fall prey to it, more due to their lack of awareness and education.

Dowry is illegal in India under the Dowry Prohibition Act of 1961, under which both giving and accepting dowry is offence. Such a practise reflects strong patriarchy social structure and in modern times despite being banned under Dowry Prohibition Act continues to prevail as a matter of right by bridegroom’s side based on social status, employment levels etc.

Body:

Reasons for dowry to be deeply entrenched in our society:

  • Patriarchal nature:
    • Sons are seen as assets.
    • There is a strong preference for male children, which has been blamed for years of female feticide.
    • This has left India with a very unbalanced sex ratio. There are 940 women for every 1,000 men according to 2011 census.
    • India has 37 million more men than women, making it hard for men to find suitable brides.
  • Societal attitude:
    • Instead of being regarded as a crime and a source of shame, dowry has become a matter of pride.
    • It is discussed over coffee at family gatherings.
    • Sons-in-law are often introduced with the price tag they come with.
    • Educated grooms tend to demand higher dowries. Education is reduced to just another factor that determines your market rate.
    • Today, dowries are seen as being directly linked to the brides’ estimation and treatment by her husband, forcing their families to ensure that a substantial amount of dowry is provided.
  • Greed:
    • Owing to expectations of material benefits from the bride’s family, dowry is demanded for, and at times, when the demands are not met, either the marriage is called off, or the bride is exploited leading to domestic violence.
  • Illiteracy:
    • With a literacy rate of 74.04% in the country, it is quite valid to consider it the primary cause for different social evils.
    • The communities that are not knowledgeable about the laws and legislation face several atrocities owing to dowry exchange practices.
  • Lack of Willingness to adhere to laws:
    • The primary reason behind the failure is lack of mass participation.
    • People pay no heed to such laws and make sure to exploit the dowry system to gain material benefits under the veil of a marriage proposal.

Implications of dowry:

  • It is because of the dowry system, that daughters are not valued as much as the sons.
  • In the society, many a times it has been seen that they are seen as a liability and are often subjected to subjugation and are given second hand treatment may it be in education or other amenities.
  • The parents don’t lay enough emphasis on educating their daughters, as they feel that husbands will support them latter.
  • The Poorer sections of society who send their daughters out to work and earn some money, to help them save up for her dowry.
  • The regular middle and upper class backgrounds do send their daughters to school, but don’t emphasize career options.
  • The very wealthy parents who happily support their daughters until they get married and their ability to fork out a high dowry.

Measures to curb dowry:

  • Education & Sensitization:
    • Educate the younger generation of sons and daughters
    • Encourage them to have their own career
    • Teach them to be independent and responsible
    • Treat your daughters equally without any discrimination
    • Do not encourage the practice of giving or taking dowry
  • Mass Media Campaign:
    • Media holds the potential to remove dowry system from the mainstream Indian society.
    • By publishing related news and making the authorities aware of any reported case of dowry related crime, they can keep an effective check upon the prospects.
  • Laws on Dowry in India
    • The Dowry Prohibition Act 1961 deals with dowry in India.
    • This Act prohibits the practice of giving or taking of dowry by either parties to a marriage. This law also punishes demanding and advertising dowry.
    • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:
    • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was passed in order to provide a civil law remedy for the protection of women from domestic violence in India.
    • The Domestic Violence Act encompasses all forms of physical, verbal, emotional, economic and sexual abuse and forms a subset of the anti-dowry laws to the extent it is one of the reasons for domestic violence.
  • Role of voluntary organization:
    • They should make propaganda against the evils of dowry.
    • The workers of these organizations should help the victims of dowry harassment and get them justice.
    • These organizations should make aware of their address to the people through advertisement so that victims can appeal them for their help to get justice.
    • Women’s self-help groups should be systematically oriented about violence against women and the existence of local support systems.
    • By actively spreading awareness and displaying solidarity, women’s self-help groups can play a powerful role in building a more equal society.

Conclusion:

Dowry has become an institutionalized and integral part of the Indian marriage. Social and economic realities do little to keep it in check. In such a situation, the need to revise the institutional framework concerning dowry and the need for more research on different forms of dowry and the reasons for its prevalence is the need of the hour.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

2. What do you understand by Gender Self-identification? What is the process for declaring one’s desired sex in India? Analyse the issues associated with it. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article brings to us the dismal picture of gender self-identification in our country and the need to address the concerns associated.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what you understand by self-identification and its process in India while highlighting the issues associated with it.

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 gender self-identification.

Body:

The Spanish government has approved the first draft of a bill that would allow anyone over the age of 14 to legally change gender without a medical diagnosis or hormone therapy.

Self-identification, or ‘self-id’, is the concept that a person should be allowed to legally identify with the gender of their choice by simply declaring so, and without facing any medical tests.

Discuss the associated issues.

Explain the process for declaring one’s desired sex in India.

Explain the issues associated. Discuss what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the problem and conclude.

Introduction

Self-identification, or ‘self-id’, is the concept that a person should be allowed to legally identify with the gender of their choice by simply declaring so, and without facing any medical tests. Self-Identification’ has been a long held demand of trans-right groups around the world, including in India, as prejudice against Trans people remains rampant.

Body

Currently, for someone to change their gender in official records, the law first requires two years of hormone therapy and a psychological evaluation.

Process for declaring one’s desired sex in India

  • In India, the rights of transgender persons are governed by the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019and the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020. Under the Rules, an application to declare gender is to be made to the District Magistrate. Parents can also make an application on behalf of their child.
  • This requirement was omitted in the final Rules, which state that the District Magistrate will get the application processed based on the affidavit submitted declaring the gender identity of any person, without any medical or physical examination – and then issue an identification number to the applicant, which may be quoted as proof of application.
  • There will be no medical or physical examinationfor procedures for issue of certificate of identity/change of gender.
  • In National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) Union of India, 2014 case, the Supreme Court declared transgender people to be a’third gender’.
    The Court interpreted ‘dignity’ under Article 21 of the Constitution to include diversity in self-expression, which allowed a person to lead a dignified life. It placed one’s gender identity within the framework of the fundamental right to dignity under Article 21.
  • Further, it noted that the right to equality (Article 14 of the Constitution) and freedom of expression (Article 19(1) (a))was framed in gender-neutral terms (“all persons”).
  • In 2018, the SC also decriminalised same-sex relationships– Provisions of Section 377of the Indian Penal Code.
  • As per the Rules, state governments have also been directed to constitute welfare boards for transgender persons to protect their rights and interests, and facilitate access to schemes and welfare measures framed by the Centre.

Issues faced in current procedures:

  • The current processes for declaring one’s desired gender are lengthy, expensive and degrading.
  • Trans- people face daily discriminationand it is vital that steps are taken to tackle discrimination and provide the services and support people need.
  • It goes far beyondrespecting people’s right to believe what they want; to dress or act or express their identity as they want.
  • This is a political and social demand thataffects everybody, but in particular women, gay people and transsexuals.

But the medicalization of gender identity has allowed for vital legal recognition and transition-related healthcare for some members of the Trans community.

Countries where Self-ID is Legal:

15 countries around the world recognise self-ID, including Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Malta, Argentina, Ireland, Luxembourg, Greece, Costa Rica, Mexico (only in Mexico City), Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay.

In Hungary, a newly adopted law effectively bans all content about homosexuality and gender change from school curriculum and television shows for children under the age of 18.

Conclusion

Gender identity is considered to be an inherent part of a person which may or may not need surgical or hormonal treatment or therapy and all persons must be empowered to make their decisions affecting their own bodily integrity and physical autonomy.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

3. By underlining the numerous concerns in Indian criminal justice system, examine the role of technology-driven e-governance in improving the efficiency of police force. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express  

Why the question:

The article brings to us insights on the possible role that technology-driven e-governance can play in improving the efficiency of police force.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to discuss the concerns associated with Indian criminal justice system and highlight the role of technology-driven e-governance in improving the efficiency of police force.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the context of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First discuss the concerns associated with in Indian criminal justice system.

Discuss the importance of streamlining of delivery mechanism with technology and in what way it can enable police forces to improve efficiency, cut out corruption.

An efficient and well-oiled criminal justice system helps a country politically, socially and economically.

Discuss the aspects of e-governance and its utility in detail with suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Criminal Justice System is an instrument of social control, with an objective to prevent the occurrence of crime, punish the criminals, their rehabilitation, and ensuring justice to the victims.

A recent report, “Crime in India 2019”, published by the National Crime Records Bureau. As per the report, 25,023 cases of assault on women, 11,966 rape cases and 4,197 “dowry deaths” have been pending trial for five to 10 years. This shows the procrastination of criminal justice delivery system in India.

Body

Evolution

  • The appointment of the Vohra Committeewas the very first attempt towards reforming the Criminal Justice System in India. Vohra Committee report (1993) made an observation on the criminalisation of politics and of the nexus among criminals, politicians and bureaucrats in India.
  • In 2000, the government formed a panel headed by Justice V.S. Malimath, the former Chief Justice of Kerala and Karnataka, to suggest reform in the century-old criminal justice system. The Malimath Committeesubmitted its report in 2003 with 158 recommendations but these were never implemented.
  • The Committee felt that the existing system “weighed in favour of the accused and did not adequately focus on justice to the victims of crime.”

Major issues in Indian Criminal Justice System (ICJS):

  • Ineffectiveness:The Indian Penal Code (IPC), the official criminal code of India was drafted in 1860 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was enacted in 1973.
  • Hundreds of outdated laws still exist in India which highlight the colonial legacy of ICJS, making it less effective for the contemporary needs of the society.
  • Pendency of cases:According to Economic Survey 2018-19, there are about 3.5 crore cases pending in the judiciary, especially in the district and subordinate courts, which lead to actualization of the maxim “justice delayed is justice denied.”
  • Huge under trials:India has one of the world’s largest number of under trial prisoners. According to NCRB -Prison Statistics India (2015), 67.2% of our total prison population comprises of under trial prisoners.
  • Poor investigative machinery:Corruption, huge workload of the police department, poor infrastructure of forensic labs, lack of efficient workforce, etc. are few major hurdles in the speedy and transparent investigation of crimes.
  • Investigation: Police is being a front line of the criminal judiciary system, plays a vital role in the administration of justice. Corruption, huge workload and accountability of police is a major hurdle in speedy and transparent delivery of justice.
  • Lack of Intention: Lack of intention from executive, legislative and judiciary to create an effective and efficient system for the speedy delivery of justice of rape and aggravated sexual assaults

Role Technology in Law Enforcement

  • Citizen-Friendly Policing:Most citizens in India are averse to going to a police station. Technology can help make this interaction more pleasant.
  • For Eg: Digital portals could provide an easy and transparent mechanism to the citizens to register their complaints, provide feedback and track their complaint status.
  • Technology can also be used to provide senior police official’s dashboard views for their areas of jurisdiction, identify trends, patterns, outliers and take corrective action.
  • Leveraging Social Media:The social media interaction can be both “push” — alerts are sent to citizens — or “pull” — citizens access the social media page/handle in order to get the desired information.
  • In addition, social media can be used by Law Enforcement Agencies (LEA) to reach out directly to citizens — providing information on traffic jams, how to protect against cybercrime, dispelling rumours, countering fake news.
  • Crime Detection:Technology can effectively help get a digital footprint of the criminal. Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used to match fingerprints, facial images, CCTV footage and recognize vehicle number plates.
  • Big Data can be used to integrate data from multiple sources such as social media tools, financial institutions, travel records, hotel stays, CDRs and criminal records. This can help create a 360-degree view of the criminal and draw linkages between criminal associates.
  • Crime Prevention:Big Data can play a major role as it can be used to identify crime patterns and hot spots. AI can be used to draw correlations between the type of crime, time, and location.
  • Improving Efficiency:Technology can address gaps associated with hiring, training, postings of LEAs, thereby ensuring a more “balanced” and effective organization.
  • Similarly, key performance indicators such as the time taken to file a charge-sheet, types of crimes solved, time is taken to address complaints, and citizen feedback scores can be used to determine an officer’s performance in a more objective manner.
  • Real-time Integration:The five pillars of the criminal justice system are police, courts, prosecution, jails and forensics. Countless man-years are lost in taking physical files from one place to another.
  • Real-time integration between the information technology systems of these pillars will help in reducing duplicate data entry and errors.

This will significantly increase the efficiency of our LEAs and, at the same time, drastically reduce the time taken to provide justice.

Conclusion

In the words of Edmund Burke “A bad law is the worst tyranny”. Thus, to uphold the true spirit of ‘Rule of Law’, there is an urgent need to reform the Criminal Justice System in India.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Assess India’s 1991 liberalisation reforms and the lessons it offers in contemporary times. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

In light of the historic economic contraction of the Indian economy induced by the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for economic reforms to revive growth, the article discusses the 1991 economic reforms and the road ahead for India.

Key Demand of the question:

Evaluate India’s 1991 liberalisation reforms and the lessons it offers in contemporary times.

Directive:

AssessWhen 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 brief background of the question.

Body:

Talk first about the pre-reform era. The Indian economy before the 1991 reforms was based on strict regulation and could be characterized as a controlled system. The public sector accounted for a significant proportion of the economy with the so-called critical sectors reserved for the public sector despite their lackluster performance.

Then move on to discuss 1991 Economic Reforms.

Highlight the pros and cons of these reforms.

Explain in what way they are relevant even in today’s times.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Thirty years ago, the liberalization regime launched in 1991 completed its 30 years in 2021. The 1991 was a landmark moment in India’s post-independence history that changed the nature of the economy in fundamental ways.

A severe balance of payments problem triggered an acute economic crisis in 1991. In response, India’s economic establishment launched a multipronged reforms agenda to repair India’s macroeconomic balance sheet and ignite growth.

Three decades later, the country faces another big test due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the two crises differ vastly in content and structure, they are completely comparable in their respective severities.

Body

India’s Post-1990 Economic Strategy

  • It dismantled the vast network of controls and permits that dominated the economic system.
  • It redefined the role of the state as a facilitator of economic transactions and as a neutral regulator rather than the primary provider of goods and services.
  • It led to moving away from a regime of import substitution and to integrate fully with the global trading system.

Effect of Reforms

  • By the first decade of the 21st century, India began to be seen as one of the fastest growing emerging markets.
  • India’s annual average growth rate from 1990 – 2010 has been 6.6 % which is
    almost double than pre reforms era. GDP growth rate surpassed 5% mark in early 1980’s.
  • The 1991 reforms unleashed the energies of Indian entrepreneurs, gave untold choice to consumers and changed the face of the Indian economy.
  • Far from poverty increasing, for the first time, there was a substantial reduction in it.
  • 1991 reforms boosted services sector provided opportunities for individuals to develop their skills.

2021 Pandemic Crisis

  • The pandemic-induced lockdown brought the wheels of economic activity to a grinding halt, triggering a sharp economic contraction.
  • This has resulted in a collapse in production following the disruption caused by the pandemic, which, in turn, has caused a fall in demand.
  • Faced with a collapse in demand, it is appropriate to increase the fiscal deficit. The government allowed the fiscal deficit to expand to 9.6% last year.
  • The economy is shrinking at a rapid pace, with the central government defaulting on its revenue commitments to the states.
  • Unemployment rates are soaring coupled with poverty among masses.
  • Such a centralised approach to reforms may not work now. It can be seen in the protest emanating from three farm laws.

Way Forward

  • Sustaining Public Expenditure:In the short term, sustaining public expenditure is a key to reviving growth.
  • Currently public expenditure is highly desirable for providing more funds for vaccination and to cover expanded demand for the MGNREGA which is proving to be a valuable safety net.
  • Also, there is a need to undertake a credible path for deficit reduction over the next three years and revising revenue targets to a more realistic level.
  • Mutually Supportive Reforms:The 1991 reforms succeeded because they were structured around a core package of mutually supportive reforms.
  • Thus, the need is to move away from a long list of reforms towards a more strategic approach, focussing on the most critical reforms needed immediately.
  • In this context, the power sector, the financial system, governance structures and even agricultural marketing need reforms.
  • Improving Investment Climate:Investment is a key source of aggregate demand and economic growth. In this context:
  • Perceptions regarding growth prospects are key.
  • The policy framework must be supportive of fresh investments so that entrepreneurs are encouraged to take risks.
  • Non-economic factors such as a peaceful environment and social cohesion are also relevant.
  • The government must begin to act on all these fronts.
  • Maruti Model of Disinvestment:The government should reduce its ownership to 26% in each undertaking, including banks, to strategic partners, like it did under the Maruti disinvestment following 1991 reforms.
  • In this context, PSUs like Air India, BPCL, and Concor can be sold within the next six months, with the commitment that two dozen PSUs would be divested at the ‘Maruti model’ every year for the next five years.
  • This will help in generating billions of rupees of investible surplus for the government.
  • Multi-stakeholders Approach:Today’s reforms also require much more discussion and consensus-building. The central government needs to work in tandem with state governments and consult different stakeholders impacted by reform decisions.

Conclusion

The 1991 reforms helped the economy stave off a crisis and then bloom. It is time to outline a credible new reform agenda that will not just bring GDP back to pre-crisis levels, but also ensure growth rates higher than it had when it entered the pandemic.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Discuss the challenges in refining core infrastructure and services through Smart City Mission to make Indian cities more liveable, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article is a narration of the achievements and failures of Smart city mission in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the challenges in refining core infrastructure and services through Smart City Mission to make Indian cities more liveable, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable.

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 key data on current status of core infrastructure in the country.

Body:

Discuss in detail what are the challenges that exist in the implementation of smart cities –  technology challenges with coverage and capacity. Digital security. Legislation and policies. Lack of confidence or reluctance shown by citizens (lack of clarity around benefits). Funding and business models, Interoperability etc.

Discuss the above factors in detail and suggest what needs to be done to overcome these problems.

Explain in what way Smart City Mission can be executed to make Indian cities more liveable, economically vibrant, and environmentally sustainable.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

A Smart City would be the one which plans judiciously to meet its aspirations and challenges in a sustainable manner while fostering principles of good governance. These are achieved in a Smart City by utilising the enhanced power of technology, engaging with a more aware and informed citizenry and creating a more competent and capacitated set of people working within an accountable framework.

In a smart city, economic development and activity is sustainable and rationally incremental by virtue of being based on success-oriented market drivers such as supply and demand. They benefit everybody, including citizens, businesses, the government and the environment.

Body

Relevance of smart cities in sustainable urban development:

  • Engines of inclusive economic growth:Of the 121 crore Indians, 83.3 crore live in rural areas while 37.7 crore stay in urban areas, i.e. approx. 32 % of the population.
  • Rapid and haphazard urbanization:Mass movement of people from villages to cities in search of a better life, drawn by the lure of riches and money has resulted in the haphazard urbanisation with increasing slum population.
  • Traffic:With overcrowding in the cities, traffic congestion becomes a problem, increasing the time it takes to commute over even small distances.
  • Share in GDP: Cities contribute to 63 % of Indian GDP. The increasing population has caused extreme stress of urban amenities.
  • Health problems: The concentration of a large population living in squalor in slums in the urban sprawl makes it a haven for the spread of diseases.
  • Environmental concern:Vulnerability to risk posed by the increasing man-made and natural disaster is increasing.

Smart cities have vital role to play in tackling the above urban problems in India and create a sustainable and inclusive urban space. It does so by focusing on following aspects:

  • Establishing an Efficient Urban Management Systems
  • Minimising Conflicts in the Urban Environment
  • Creating Enabling Conditions for Inclusive and Equitable Urbanisation

Challenges faced by smart cities:

  • Finding The Right Model for Smart Cities in India’s Socio-Political Context.
  • Lack of Convergence with Other Urban Sector Programmes. Stress on capturing data and meticulous follow up on the implementation of schemes
  • Lack of funding for Smart Cities.
  • Lack of IT infrastructure (E.g. solar based electrical systems, cloud computing) and capabilities of artificial intelligence (E.g. intelligent transport system, smart communities, e-health, smart grids, smart energy solutions etc.).
  • “Urban space at a rapid pace with the increasing use of technology” is leading to a different kind of concern — of not being participative and democratic.
  • Lack of citizens’ participation in realising how exactly the smart cities could possibly look like in their experience is reflected. The citizens should be encouraged to submit and evaluate ideas for innovation in smart city design.
  • The planners and policymakers of smart cities development lack enabling or transformative technological knowledge that may be needed for smart cities development.
  • Inability of shifting cities toward low carbon trajectory and emission reduction actions.
  • Defining a Roadmap, Process and Scale of the Smart Cities Mission.
  • The Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), ended up bypassing the democratic process.

Way Forward

  • Create a catalogued platform for Smart City knowledge resources
  • Ensure mechanisms for convergence of programme and project.
  • There is no ‘one size fits all’ model for smart cities that can be adopted in India
  • There is a critical need for contextualising various aspects of smart city development, which is an opportunity for India to chart its own path towards smart city development.

Conclusion

It is only with the principles of decentralisation, empowerment of urban local bodies through financial support and autonomy, coupled with participation of its citizenry that a new urban environment can emerge.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

6. Evaluate the importance of cloud computing technology in governance processes in India with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article brings to us importance of cloud computing and its applicability to Governance processes.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to examine the importance of cloud computing technology in governance processes in India with examples.

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 what you understand by cloud computing.

Body:

Explain that for public sector organisations that deal with immense volumes of data on a routine basis, hybrid cloud environment offers the dual benefits of security and simplicity as also scalable infrastructure that can easily support heavy workloads.

Discuss the role of technology in better and good governance.

In India, for example, the government has embarked upon the ‘GI Cloud’ or ‘MeghRaj’ initiative. The goal of this programme is to improve the speed with which electronic services are delivered in the country and to optimize Information and Communication Technology (ICT) spending.

The programme will utilize and harness the benefits of cloud computing, boost infrastructure utilisation and speed up the development and implementation of e-government apps.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Cloud computing is the delivery of computing services—including servers, storage, databases, networking, software, analytics, and intelligence—over the Internet (“the cloud”) to offer faster innovation, flexible resources, and economies of scale.

Body:

The Government of India is embracing cloud computing technology for expanding its e-governance initiatives throughout the country. In India, the focus of e-governance is to reduce corruption and ensure the government schemes are reaching people living in rural areas of the country. Further, e-governance services ensure quicker service delivery and eliminate the involvement of middlemen who tend to capitalize on loopholes for quick money by means of exploiting people.

In order to utilise and harness the benefits of Cloud Computing, Government of India has embarked upon an ambitious initiative – “GI Cloud” which has been named as ‘MeghRaj’. This initiative is to implement various components including governance mechanism to ensure proliferation of Cloud in the government. The focus of this initiative is to accelerate delivery of e-services in the country while optimizing ICT spending of the Government.

MeghRaj will ensure optimum utilization of the infrastructure and speed up the development and deployment of eGov applications. The architectural vision of GI Cloud encompasses a set of discrete cloud computing environments spread across multiple locations, built on existing or new (augmented) infrastructure, following a set of common protocols, guidelines and standards issued by the Government of India.

Advantages:

  • Seamless Connectivity: Cloud-based software offers companies from all sectors a number of benefits, including the ability to use software from any device either via a native app or a browser. As a result, users can carry their files and settings over to other devices in a completely seamless manner.
  • Higher Accessibility: Cloud computing is far more than just accessing files on multiple devices. Thanks to cloud computing services, users can check their email on any computer and even store files using services such as Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • Improved Disaster Recovery: Cloud computing services also make it possible for users to back up their music, files, and photos, ensuring those files are immediately available in the event of a hard drive crash.
  • Cost-Saving: It also offers big businesses huge cost-saving potential. Before the cloud became a viable alternative, companies were required to purchase, construct, and maintain costly information management technology and infrastructure.
  • Scalability: can be improvised to cater to increased demand, say in SMART city mission
  • Companies can swap costly server centers and IT departments for fast Internet connections, where employees interact with the cloud online to complete their tasks.
  • The cloud structure allows individuals to save storage space on their desktops or laptops.
  • Increased Collaboration and flexibility: It also lets users upgrade software more quickly because software companies can offer their products via the web rather than through more traditional, tangible methods involving discs or flash drives.
  • For example, Adobe customers can access applications in its Creative Suite through an Internet-based subscription. This allows users to download new versions and fixes to their programs easily.
  • Environmentally friendly: Cloud computing reduces a company’s carbon footprint by minimizing energy consumption and carbon emissions by more than 30%. For small businesses, the decreased energy usage can reach up to 90% = A huge money saver.

Cloud computing in Indian Governance:

  • E-Gram Panchayat
    • The majority of the Indian population lives in villages, and the Panchayats represent the face of governance for these villagers. To improve the quality of governance, the Indian government initiated an e-governance scheme known as ePanchayat to simplify and enhance internal government operations. The module was constructed in 4 phases of e-governance.
  • Indian Railways on Cloud
    • Governed by Central Railway Ministry of India, the Indian railway network is the largest rail network in Asia and second-largest rail network in the world. A research carried by the railway ministry says out of 17 million passengers every day, only 1 million passengers carry confirmed rail tickets. This results in substantial monetary loss. To avoid loss, the Indian government decided to implement cloud technology for Indian railways. Today, the central government maintains the railway data on the cloud.
  • Kisan Suvidha
    • The Indian government came up with portal Kisan Suvidha to help farmers with the relevant information instantly. It delivers farmers with detailed knowledge on weather, market prices, seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, agriculture machinery, dealers, agro advisories, plant protection and IPM practices. It notifies them with extreme weather conditions and the changing market price.
  • DigiLocker
    • DigiLocker is the public cloud-based storage introduced by the Indian government for the citizens of India. It is much more than an online drive where you upload your documents to be accessed depending on your convenience. The documents are digitally verified and signed by the government of India in a few seconds with an authentic seal of DigiLocker verification. With more than 57.13 million users and 4.27 billion issued documents, DigiLocker has proved to be one of the biggest success stories of cloud in the government.
  • eHospital
    • eHospital is the cloud-based healthcare projected implemented by the government of India to ease the process of healthcare management. The system was designed to speed up services like online registration, payment of fees and appointment, online diagnostic reports, checking on the availability of blood online, etc. This hospital model assigns a unique identification number to every patient at the time of registration. The medical history of a particular patient can be accessed using the number.
  • In India, cloud computing has ensured the success of national initiatives and schemes such as Swachh Bharat Mission, e-Hospital, National Scholarship, My-Gov and e-Transport.
  • One of India’s most landmark initiatives, the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) uses a multi-cloud architecture to ensure scalability. Today, the GeM serves over 50,000 buyer organisations and has a listing of over 19 lakh products and more than 80,000 services.
  • NIC’s SaaS-based service, S3WaaS, has empowered district administrators to create, configure and deploy scalable and accessible websites without much effort and technical knowledge.
  • The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), announced last year that it had gone fully digital with the launch of a unique cloud-based and AI-powered big analytics platform. All project documents and correspondences related to NHAI will be stored in a cloud-based data lake, which is linked with GIS tagging and a unique project ID, so that project data can be retrieved easily from any location.
  • The Indian Railways has given the responsibility of deploying open source Hospital Management Information System (HMIS), an integrated clinical information system, for its 125 health facilities and 650 polyclinics across the country for improved hospital administration and patient healthcare, using a cloud platform.

Limitations:

  • With all of the speed, efficiencies, and innovations that come with cloud computing, there are naturally risks.
  • Security has always been a big concern with the cloud especially when it comes to sensitive medical records and financial information.
  • While regulations force cloud computing services to shore up their security and compliance measures, it remains an ongoing issue. Encryption protects vital information, but if that encryption key is lost, the data disappears.
  • Servers maintained by cloud computing companies may fall victim to natural disasters, internal bugs, and power outages, too.
  • The geographical reach of cloud computing cuts both ways: A blackout in California could paralyze users in New York, and a firm in Texas could lose its data if something causes its Maine-based provider to crash.
  • As with any technology, there is a learning curve for both employees and managers. But with many individuals accessing and manipulating information through single portal, inadvertent mistakes can transfer across an entire system.
  • Maintenance costs: While the upfront or capital cost for the cloud-based server is very low compared to traditional hosting, the cloud server requires the same amount to be paid each month to maintain both servers as well as data.
  • Internet connectivity: For cloud-based services, consistent internet connection is important because if any one of the cloud-based service providers loses connectivity, then the company will be out of business until that internet connection returns.
  • A common argument from critics is that cloud computing cannot succeed because it means that organizations must lose control of their data, such as an email provider that stores data in multiple locations around the world. A large regulated company, like a bank, might be required to store data in the United States.

Conclusion:

Cloud computing can further the motive of e-governance (service delivery, transparency, citizen awareness and grievance redressal) by providing a faster, easier and cost-effective platform that can be used by multiple government agencies. Way ahead lies in taking due care of security, interoperability and licensing.

 

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

7. What do you understand by Clean energy? Discuss the prospects of it for  India while highlighting the associated concerns . (250 words)

Reference:  Economic Times

Why the question:

Reliance Industries Limited has announced to invest Rs 75,000 cr in clean energy, build 4 giga factories. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the concept of clean energy and discuss the prospects of it along with associated concerns.

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 definition of clean energy.

Body:

Clean energy is the energy derived from renewable, zero-emissions sources as well as energy saved through energy efficiency measures. To be truly clean the carbon cost of production and storage needs to be zero, and this is where sources such as solar power and wind energy are seen as being truly clean and renewable. A clean energy economy powered by both renewables and energy efficiency is the most sustainable energy planning scenario available.

Differentiate between Clean and Renewable Energy.

Expound upon Current Status of Clean Energy in India.

Discuss in detail why is the entry of Private players in the Clean Energy an inevitability.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions.

Introduction

Clean energy is energy that comes from renewable, zero emission sources that do not pollute the atmosphere when used, as well as energy saved by energy efficiency measures. In other words, it is the energy derived from renewable, zero-emissions sources (“renewables”), as well as energy saved through energy efficiency (“EE”) measures.

Clean energy is energy gained from sources that do release air pollutants, while green energy is energy derived from natural sources. There is a degree of crossover between clean energy and green or renewable energy sources, but they are not exactly the same. The perfect clean energy mix occurs where green energy meets renewable energy, such as with solar energy and wind energy.

Body

Clean energy Sources:

  • Sunlight
  • Wind power
  • Hydro or water power
  • geothermal power
  • Biomass

Clean energy works by producing power without having negative environmental impacts, such as the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. A lot of clean energy is also renewable, including wind power, some hydro resources and solar powered energy generation.

Prospects for India:

  • Clean energy provides a variety of environmental and economic benefits, including a reduction in air pollution.
  • NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) have released Towards a Clean Energy Economy: Post-Covid-19 Opportunities for India’s Energy and Mobility Sectors report.
  • The report states that India’s transport sector can save 1.7 gigatonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions.
  • It can also avoid about 600 million tonnes of oil equivalent in fuel demand by 2030.
  • A diverse clean energy supply also reduces the dependence on imported fuels and the associated financial and environmental costs this incurs.
  • Renewable clean energy also has inherent cost savings, as there is no need to extract and transport fuels, such as with oil or coal, as the resources replenish themselves naturally.
  • Other industrial benefits of a clean energy mix is the creation of jobs to develop, manufacture and install the clean energy resources of the future.
  • There are financial benefits related to clean energy, not least due to the creation of work to improve the infrastructure, manufacture clean energy solutions and install and maintain them.
  • Renewable and clean energy are growth sectors as the world begins to move away from fossil fuels, meaning that more opportunities will arise in areas ranging from eMobility to power generation and storage.
  • The expertise that comes with developing these next generation power solutions can be of benefit of those that attain it, offering work and contracts to those who are slow to take up clean energy.

Challenges:

  • Availability of Power: One of the biggest concerns in the field of renewable energy is power generation depending on natural resources that are uncontrollable by humans. For example, solar powered electricity is generated only when sunshine is available and turns off at night; wind energy also depends on the availability of wind, so if the wind speed is very low, the turbine will not turn, and this result in zero power flow to the grid. The uncertainty in energy production in renewable energy technologies is making integration more complex.
  • Power Quality Issues: Consistently high power quality is needed to ensure stability and high efficiency of the network. It can lead to high costs and equipment failure. Power quality problems include frequency disorder, voltage/current harmonics, low power factor, voltage variation and transmission lines transits.
  • Resource location: Most renewable energy plants that share their energy with the grid require large areas of space. In most cases, renewable energy sources are dictated by location which can be off-putting to users. Firstly, some renewable energy sources are simply not available in different regions. Secondly, the distance between the renewable energy source and the grid is a major aspect in term of cost and efficiency.
  • Information Barrier: While this area is improving, there is a lack of information and awareness about the benefits and need of renewable energy. Investment and capital allowances have been made available for the implementation of renewable energies.
  • Cost Issue: The high initial cost of installation is one of the major hurdles in the development of renewable energy. Although the development of a coal plant requires about $6 per megawatt, it is known that wind and solar power plants also required high investment. In addition to this, storage systems of the generated energy is expensive and represents a real challenge in terms of megawatt production.

Way forward for India:

  • India needs to identify strategic opportunities for economic recovery in the short, medium, and long terms that can translate challenges posed by the pandemic into clean energy transition opportunities.
  • Opportunities in the transport sector include making public transport safe, enhancing and expanding non-motorized transport infrastructure, reducing vehicle kilometres travelled through work-from-home where possible, supporting national strategies to adopt electric vehicles in the freight and passenger segments, and making India an automotive export hub.
  • In the power sector, opportunities include improving the electricity distribution business and its operations, enabling renewables and distributed energy resources, and promoting energy resilience and local manufacturing of renewable energy and energy storage technologies.
  • To support growing clean energy, the expansion of transmission infrastructure, for both intra and inter-state should be strengthened.
  • It should be carefully assessed to ensure that domestic content requirement does not hinder the growth of solar capacity.
  • Investment in R&D programmes, as well as human resource development is necessary in addition to local content requirements
  • Strengthen the institutional structure to facilitate effective flow of central financial assistance. It is also important to strengthen institutional structure to monitor implementation of Government policies and programmes.
  • The government also needs to ensure that India’s distribution companies have the capacity to continue to purchase renewable electricity, especially if bid prices level off or rise.

Conclusion

Clean energy appears to be the future for the power needs of humanity across the globe as reliance of fossil fuels continues to diminish. As the drive towards clean, green and renewable energy continues to advance, the cost will fall and work will be created to develop and install these new power solutions. More and more people are recognising the environmental, societal and economic benefits of clean energy and, as more cities, states and nations sign up to a green power agenda, this will continue to advance.


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