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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 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. Explain how the pandemic has worsened India’s poverty crisis. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains as to how the pandemic has worsened India’s poverty crisis.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how the pandemic has worsened India’s poverty crisis.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some key data justifying your understanding of the question.

Body:

Estimates show that around 150-199 million additional people will fall into poverty this year. It means an overall increase in poverty by 15-20 per cent, making around half of the country’s population poor.

Discuss the key factors that have pushed people into poverty. Lockdown, economic crisis, loss of demand, disruption of supplies etc.

Suggest what needs to be done to overcome it; improvement in effectiveness and efficiency in governance, Changes in consumption patterns of food, energy and water, Global collaboration for climate action, Additional investments in Covid-19 recovery, Need for improved broadband access and technology innovation etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.  

Introduction

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus last year led to mass havoc, fuelling a global health and economic crisis, the death of millions, lockdown of industries, large-scale job cuts, and catastrophic income shocks. It pushed the world into a deep recession, which for the first time after the Great Depression, is creating economic downturns in terms of job, income and consumption loss. Across the globe, millions have been pushed into poverty. India is no exception to this.

Body:

Covid’s impact on poverty crisis in India:

  • In 2019, the UNDP reported that India had succeeded in lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2006 and 2016.
  • However, in the same year, India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, which conducts the National Sample Survey, indicated that for the first time since this type of measurement was available, the percentage of Indians living below the poverty line had begun to rise again, because of the immiseration of the countryside (where about two-thirds of the population still lives).
  • The Covid-19 crisis has amplified this process dramatically.
  • In pre-Covid times, around 35 per cent (265 million people) of the rural population was poor.
  • However, this number is expected to rise to roughly 381-418 million, with the total headcount ratio reaching 50.9-55.87 per cent in 2021-22.
  • Under the same levels of contractions, urban India expects 36 to 46 million additional people to fall under poverty, with the total headcount ratio reaching 39.08- 42.4 per cent.
  • Across social categories, a higher percentage of people from marginalised groups are expected to fall into poverty than the other groups.
  • For instance, at an all-India level, around 13-20 per cent of additional SC/ST people are expected to fall into poverty as compared to 12-16 per cent of upper caste people making total HCR for the group reaching a whopping 60-70 per cent.
  • The Covid-19 induced poverty, therefore, leads to widening disparity between SC/ST and non-SC/ST groups.
  • Across major occupations, our analysis reveals that self-employed agriculture, non-agriculture, and casual labourers bear the highest impact in rural areas. In urban areas, casual labourers disproportionately bear the brunt of the crises.
  • The ongoing farm distress, rural indebtedness, lack of infrastructures, small, marginal scattered landholdings, adverse terms of trade, and corporatisation of agriculture contribute to vulnerability for such labourers in rural areas. In the urban area, it is mostly the informal nature of jobs, depressed earnings, and little to no social security that place the casual workers at the brink of vulnerability.
  • Low-income states (Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Bihar) bear the highest incidence of poverty followed by the middle-income states (Karnataka, West Bengal and Uttarakhand) due to the crises.
  • The marked income inequity in the low-income states will increase post-Covid-19 contractions. In the high-income states (Maharashtra and Gujarat), the brunt of Covid-19 is seen mainly in rural areas, possibly because of the concentration of large populations in the area living near the poverty line, and because the area lacks employment and livelihood opportunities.
  • A rising number of poor can lead to demand shocks in the economy, which will further lead to the contractions in GDP growth.

Measures needed:

  • Immediate support package will need to quickly reach both the existing and new poor.
    • While existing safety net programs can be mobilized to get cash into the pockets of some of the existing poor relatively quickly, this is not the case for the new poor.
    • In fact, the new poor are likely to look different from the existing poor, particularly in their location (mostly urban) and employment (mostly informal services, construction, and manufacturing).
    • the identification of poor and vulnerable groups is need of the hour.
    • India should consider fixing a universal basic income in the post-Covid period through a combination of cash transfers, expansion of MGNREGA, and introduction of an urban employment guarantee scheme
  • Employment generation for the masses:
    • A large fiscal stimulus along with intermediate informal employment insurgency through MGNREGA and other employment generation programmes are urgent to rein the adverse impact of covid-19 on the welfare of the masses.
  • Multilateral global institutions must support the developing nations:
    • Oxfam is calling on world leaders to agree on an Emergency Rescue Package of 2.5 trillion USD paid for through the immediate cancellation or postponement of 1 trillion in debt repayments, a 1 trillion increase in IMF Special Drawing Rights (international financial reserves), and an additional 500 billion in aid.
  • An effective response in support of poor and vulnerable households will require significant additional fiscal resources.
    • Providing all the existing and new extreme poor with a cash transfer of $1/day (about half the value of the international extreme poverty line) for a month would amount to $20 billion —or $665 million per day over 30 days.
    • Given that impacts are likely to be felt by many non-poor households as well and that many households are likely to need support for much longer than a month, the sum needed for effective protection could be far higher.
  • Decision-makers need timely and policy-relevant information on impacts and the effectiveness of policy responses.
    • This can be done using existing, publicly available data to monitor the unfolding economic and social impacts of the crisis, including prices, service delivery, and economic activity, as well as social sentiment and behaviours.
    • In addition, governments can use mobile technology to safely gather information from a representative sample of households or individuals.
    • Phone surveys can collect information on health and employment status, food security, coping strategies, access to basic services and safety nets and other outcomes closely related to the risk of falling (further) into poverty.

Conclusion:

This pandemic is as much a social and economic crisis as it is a humanitarian one. A well-designed fiscal stimulus package, prioritising health spending to contain the spread of the virus and providing income support to households most affected by the pandemic would help to minimise the likelihood of a deep economic recession and poverty experienced by the vulnerable population.

 

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

2. India has entered a demographic sweet spot and now is time for our population stabilization strategies to be adjusted keeping in mind the rights of women. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The progress made by India in sustainable and modern energy has brought several benefits to the people.

Key Demand of the question:

According to research, women have the capability to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health for which they need access to services to make societies are healthier and more productive, Thus explain  the need of population stabilization strategies to be adjusted keeping in mind the rights of women.

 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 facts related to India’s population size. On this World Population Day celebrated on July 11 India has a reason to celebrate as it has entered a demographic sweet spot that will continue for another two to three decades.

Body:

India is currently enjoying what is referred to as a demographic dividend. Half of India’s population is under 29 years of age. This significant proportion of young people in the total population will help drive India’s economic growth.

Talk about the importance of Sexual and reproductive health and rights or SRHR.

Discuss the progress made by India so far.

Explain that however, for India to be able to enjoy the fruits of this demographic dividend the young population must not only be healthy, knowledgeable and skilled but must also be provided with the rights and choices to develop to their fullest potential, including, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

India is projected to become the most populous country in the world by 2027 (currently at 1.37 billion). In 2050, India’s population is projected to be 1.69 billion, which will be higher than that of China. Undoubtedly, India has a population problem, but any strategy to change fertility rates should be carefully thought out. India’s population concern is largely restricted to Bihar, UP, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and MP.

Body:

Current status of population:

  • The National Population Policy 2000 affirmed a commitment to achieve replacement levels of fertility (total fertility rate of 2.1) by 2010.
  • Ten states — Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and Jammu and Kashmir, have achieved this goal, albeit much delayed.
  • Kerala and Tamil Nadu had accomplished it decades earlier. This fertility decline over half of India has cut across all sections of society — the privileged and the poor, those educated or not, and the high and low caste.
  • The National Family Health Survey-4 has shown how TFR has reduced even among illiterate women from all religions in the southern states — even in Kerala and Telangana which have a high proportion of Muslims.
  • India has entered a demographic sweet spot that will continue for another two to three decades. Half of India’s population is under 29 years of age, which means that in this period, a greater proportion of young people will drive India’s economic growth and social progress.
  • So, they must not only be healthy, knowledgeable and skilled but must also be provided with the rights and choices to develop to their fullest potential, including, and especially, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

The problems faced due to burgeoning growth of population:

  • It is indeed a fact that population of India is growing and will continue to grow for the next couple of decades.
  • This is because, as compared to the past, there are a higher proportion of people in the marriageable age group who will produce children, and people are now living longer.
  • In India, the global demand for water in 2050 is projected to be more than 50 per cent of what it was in 2000.
  • The demand for food will double in the year 2050 and even if India manages to feed its expanding population, its growth may not be ecologically sustainable.
  • Women empowerment as people will not favour for sons because of cap of 2 child policy
  • Though China’s one-child policy has been criticized as against human dignity and rights, it has improved and controlled the nation’s population by a possible 400 million people as per the report of East India Forum.
  • If Population control won’t happen, there will be no resources left, and the growing population’s demand will increase to the next level, resulting in increasing death rates increasing in the country.
  • Changing social norms is one of the biggest challenges for India to address the needs of the next generation.

Thus, due to the burgeoning growth of Population it can lead to failure of realization of our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) namely the zero hunger, eradicating poverty etc. and economic aspirations.

Measures needed for population stabilization along with focus on women’s rights:

  • India’s population stabilisation strategy must be adjusted keeping in mind the rights of women and girls. Women must have a greater say in choosing their family size.
  • Prescriptive or coercive methods, such as one- or two-child norms, have rarely worked well anywhere for long. It goes without saying that for women and girls, the empowerment to make choices leads to better health outcomes, such as knowing how to prevent unintended pregnancy or giving birth with the help of a skilled birth attendant.
  • Increasing the basket of contraceptive choices, with greater focus on spacing methods and helping women make informed choices about delaying pregnancy and spacing between children.
  • Addressing social determinants of health such as age at marriage and sex-selective practices.
  • Strengthening quality of care, including counselling services, managing side effects and family planning support.
  • Increasing budgetary allocations for family planning, to align with the unmet needs of India’s young people who constitute nearly 30 per cent of our population.
  • Addressing existing socio-cultural barriers towards contraception by investing extensively in innovative behaviour-change communication strategies.
  • Treating population stabilisation and family planning as a national priority, fostering inter-departmental convergence and ensuring multi-sectoral participation and integration.

Conclusion:

Thus, three important things are needed for population stabilization: Incentivise later marriages and child births; make contraception easy for women and promote women’s labour force participation. This should be substantiated with better education and awareness rather than an iron hand policy to control the population. Government should improve the implementation of poverty alleviation measures which can also help control population.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. “India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of her foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy”, Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  mea.gov.in

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of India’s relations with South Asia.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail in what way India’s relationship with ASEAN is a key pillar of her foreign policy and the foundation of Act East Policy.

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 a brief on what ASEAN is, its conception and motto.

Body:

In the answer body explain that India’s focus on a strengthened and multi-faceted relationship with ASEAN is an outcome of the significant changes in the world’s political and economic scenario since the early 1990s and India’s own march towards economic liberalisation.

India’s search for economic space resulted in the ‘Look East Policy’. The Look East Policy has today matured into a dynamic and action oriented ‘Act East Policy. PM at the 12th ASEAN India Summit and the 9th East Asia Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, in November, 2014, formally enunciated the Act East Policy.

Discuss in detail the strengths and opportunities before India with respect to ASEAN and its relations.

Bring out the challenges before it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

India’s relationship with ASEAN has emerged as a key cornerstone of our foreign policy. The relationship has evolved from the ‘Look East Policy’ enunciated in early 1990s, to Strategic Partnership in 2012. Since 2014, India is espousing ‘Act East Policy’ that has enhanced the partnership further.

India and ASEAN observed 25 years of their Dialogue Partnership, 15 years of Summit Level interaction and 5 years of Strategic Partnership throughout 2017 by undertaking a wide range of over 60 commemorative activities,

Body

India-ASEAN relations

  • Free Trade Agreement:India signed a FTA in goods in 2009 and an FTA in services and investments in 2014 with ASEAN.
  • Apart from this, India has a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with various countries of the ASEAN region which has resulted in concessional trade and a rise in investments.
  • India’s investment in ASEAN during the same period has been more than $40 billion.
  • Trade between India and ASEANstood at $65.04 billion in 2015-16 and comprises 10.12 per cent of India’s total trade with the world.
  • Connectivity is another important issue of convergence, with India working toward formalizing its transit agreements and establishing better connectivity infrastructure with this region through land, water, and air, example- India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Kaladan Multimodal Project.
  • Security: ASEAN platform allows India to discuss non-traditional security issues in Indian Ocean Region (IOR) like piracy, illegal migration, and trafficking of drugs, arms, and human, maritime terrorism, etc. which can only be resolved on a multilateral level.
  • India has also scored several diplomatic successes at ARF,including maintaining ties after its nuclear test of 1998, isolating Pakistan during the Kargil War, and lobbying against Pakistan’s entry in the forum till 2002.
  • The aggressive rise of China, both economically and militarily, has caused suspicion among the countries in the region. This provides an opportunity to India which seeks to balance China and gain cooperation in the region.

India’s actions under Act East policy:

  • The Objective of ”Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region
  • Relations with ASEAN have become multi-faceted to encompass security, strategic, political, counterterrorism, and defence collaboration in addition to economic ties.
  • India has been an active participant in mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), in ASEAN-led frameworks like the East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, the ASEAN Regional Forum as well as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and the Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor.
  • India has also been convening the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium, in which the navies of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) participate. India has boosted its engagements with Australia and New Zealand and has deepened its cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
  • Through the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, India is stepping up its interactions with the Pacific Island countries. India’s growing partnership with Africa can be seen through the convening of mechanisms like the India-Africa Forum Summits.
  • India’s multi-layered engagement with China as well as strategic partnership with Russia underlines its commitment to ensuring a stable, open, secure, inclusive and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
  • In addition to reviving the economic partnership, India has focused on promoting connectivity with other ASEAN states through Myanmar and Thailand.
  • AEP has imparted greater vigour to India’s ties with ASEAN.
  • AEP has sought to significantly expand its geographical coverage beyond ASEAN alone, to include other countries like Japan, Australia, Pacific Island nations, South Korea, and Mongolia.
  • India’s partnership with Japan has witnessed the most dynamic growth.
  • India’s AEP has also impacted relations with the United States.
  • By aligning India’s Act East Policy with the U.S. pivot to Asia, India seeks to expand its geo-strategic space to contend with China’s growing assertiveness and foster balanced relations.

Enhancing India-Asean relation further

  • The recent loss of US market by the ASEAN nations can be compensated with the domestic demand in India which has been increasing with the rise of middle class in the country.
  • In terms of security challenges, both ASEAN and India are faced with grave vulnerabilities with regard to terrorism and it is in their common interest to work together to build peace and security in the region.
  • With the withdrawal of US troops from strategic locations in the region, ASEAN countries justifiably perceive India, with the largest Naval forces in the Indian Ocean and nuclear capabilities, a strategic partner to balance China’s growing power in the region.
  • While East Asia is on the verge of entering a phase of lower share of working age population India is entering a phase with a higher share of working age population which can prove to be a human resource base for East Asia.
  • Along with East Asian specialization in manufactures, India’s strength in services could result in a formidable strategic combination which may be mutually beneficial for both the sides.
  • India has welcomed the Indo-Pacific document by ASEAN and is pushing for early conclusion of code of conduct on South China Sea by ASEAN and China.

Conclusion

The region has become strategically important for India due to its growing importance in the world politics. And for India to be a regional power as it claims to be, continuing to enhance its relations with ASEAN in all spheres must be a priority.

 

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

5. Elucidate upon the regional aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and analyse the barriers and opportunities in the current scenario. (250 words)

Reference:  tribuneindia.com

Why the question:

The Prime Minister held an all-party meeting involving leaders of mainstream political parties from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to discuss the prevailing situation and the future course of action in the region. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the regional aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and analyse the barriers and opportunities in the current scenario.

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 the recent agenda of the meeting; first outreach initiative from the Centre since the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A – that bestowed special status to J&K and privileges to its residents – and split the state into two union territories: J&K and Ladakh.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain the situation in J&K since 2019 and explain how the time is ripe to review the policy approach towards J&K.

Explain that before making any assessment of the underlying reasons for current discussions of possibility of statehood to J&K, it is important to, first, recognise a paradox of the Kashmir policy.

Discuss the challenges in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting solutions to address the issues.

Introduction

The Prime Minister’s all-party meeting on June 24 in context of Kashmir, attended by the important political stakeholders of the troubled Union Territory, has renewed expectations of the revival of the democratic process.

Body

Background: Repeal of Article 35A and reorganisation of Jammu & Kashmir

  • President of India in “concurrence” with the “Jammu and Kashmir government” promulgated Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 which states that provisions of the Indian Constitution are applicable in the State.
  • This effectively means that all the provisions that formed the basis of a separate Constitution for Jammu and Kashmir stand abrogated. With this, Article 35A is scrapped automatically.
  • Along with this, a statutory resolution was approved by the Parliament which – invoking the authority that flows from the effects of Presidential Order – recommended that the President abrogate (much of) Article 370.
  • Also, Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament. Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) was re-organised into two Union Territories – J&K division with a legislative assembly and the UT of Ladakh without having an assembly.

Challenges and regional aspirations in Kashmir

  • Many steps have been taken for maintaining peace in the state; but political instability, separatism and Pakistan-sponsored terrorism continue to surround the erstwhile state of J&K.
  • Jammu and Kashmir is one of the living examples of plural society and politics. Not only are there diversities of all kind (religious, cultural, linguistic, ethnic, tribal) but there are also divergent political aspirations.
  • Unfortunately, from the perspective of the youth of Kashmir, there is a growing trust-deficit.
  • Not only does Jammu and Kashmir have more people than the rest of country 0-14 age-group, its youth population (15-34 years) also has a bigger employment problem.
  • The lack of quality jobs may be one reason for the frustration of Kashmiri youth.
  • Years of armed conflict and the heavily militarized environment has taken an emotional toll on the state’s population.
  • It’s a hard reality that Jammu and Kashmir never functioned like other Indian states since its accession to India. It had given higher autonomy initially, however it got eroded in practice.
  • Urgent steps should be taken to bridge the gaps of trust deficit in the minds of Kashmiri youth. All Kashmiris should get the due share in the growth story of India.
  • Economic development through investments can be a game changer for Kashmir.

Opportunities in current scenario

  • The youth in the valley will need particular attention as they are more vulnerable to being radicalised. Employment through growth in the region is the right way forward.
  • Schools, colleges and other vocational institutes must start functioning at the earliest apart from their number being increased as part of immediate development of the newly formed UT.
  • Local Police must be trained and made more effective to allow other para military forces to recede to the background in due course.
  • Army’s presence within towns and cities too must be reassessed and reduced to bare minimum without compromising security needs against militancy and terrorism.
  • These will be good signals to win the confidence of local populace.

Conclusion

With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor turning into a subcontinental military arc, India needs effective governance in J&K, not a garrison state. Kashmir needs development with a healing touch that creates good jobs and reduces trust deficit in the valley.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. “Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is a precondition to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”.In this context account for the progress made in India on this front. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article emphasizes on the fact that India must show global leadership on climate crisis by adopting a holistic approach to energy.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the progress made by India in achieving SDGs related to access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the relevant details of the SDGs related to access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy.

Body:

First explain how sustainable development goals ensure access to affordable reliable sustainable and modern energy to all.

Discuss then the importance of Energy for Development in general.

Establish the link between energy and sustainable development.

Account for the progress made by India so far in this direction; example – Various schemes like PAHAL (Pratyaksh Hanstrantit Labh), Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana; Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga have improved the access and provided better sources of energy to the people, thereby relieving them from the unsustainable and harmful use of firewood and kerosene.

Conclusion:

The progress made by India in sustainable and modern energy has brought several benefits to the people. With aforementioned schemes / initiatives; Government of India is targeting to ensure universal access to affordable energy (SDG goal 7) by 2022.

Introduction

The government has set a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from biomass and 5 GW from small hydropower projects. India’s renewable energy (RE) capacity had crossed 84-gigawatt (GW) mark by the end of November 2019, fresh data released by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) showed.

Body

Progress of Renewable energy market in India

  • As on April 30, 2020, the installed renewable energy capacity stood at 87.26 GW, of which, solar and wind comprised 34.81 GW and 37.74 GW, respectively.
  • Biomass and small hydro power constituted 9.86 GW and 4.68 GW, respectively.
  • By December 2019, 15,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power projects were issued, of which, projects of 12,162 .50 MW capacity has already been awarded.
  • Power generation from renewable energy sources in India reached 127.01 billion units (BU) in FY20.
  • In 2019, India installed 7.3 GW of solar power across the country, establishing its position as the third-largest solar market in the world.
  • With a potential capacity of 363 GW and with policies focused on the renewable energy sector, Northern India is expected to become the hub for renewable energy in India.

Importance of renewable energy source in achieving SDG:

There is a strong growth of renewables in India, which now accounts for almost 23% of the country’s total installed capacity.

  • The country’s demand for energy is set to double by 2040, and its electricity demand may
  • Indian oil consumption is expected to grow faster than that of any other major economy (including China). This makes further improving energy security a key priority for India’s economy.
  • India’s oil demand is expected to reach 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2024 from 4.4 million bpd in 2017, but its domestic production is expected to rise only marginally, making the country more reliant on crude imports and more vulnerable to supply disruption in the Middle East.
  • India’s oil refining capacity is expected to rise to 5.7 million bpd by 2024, making it a very attractive market for refinery investment.

Efforts of the government

  • National Solar Mission aims to increase the share of solar energy in the total energy mix. The cumulative targets under the mission for Grid Connected Solar Power Projects consists of 40 GW Grid connected Rooftop projects and 60 GW large and medium size land based solar power projects.
    • A cumulative 32.5 GW of solar electric generation capacity has been installed.
  • Inter State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and losses for inter-state sale of solar and wind power shall also be waived for renewable projects commissioned by December 2022.
  • Government is facilitating developers by allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of up to 100% through the automatic route.
  • National Offshore Wind Energy Policy framework: For offshore wind energy, India has a very vibrant policy which came up in October 2015, known as National Offshore Wind Energy Policy framework.
    • The objective is to develop the offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along the Indian coastline.
  • Sustainable rooftop implementation of Solar transfiguration of India (SRISTI) scheme to promote rooftop solar power projects in India.
  • International Solar Alliance: The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. T
    • he primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
    • This initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister in a speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium.
  • Scheme for Development of Solar Parks and Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects:  Nearly Rs. 20 lakhs/MW or 30% of the project cost including Grid- connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be provided by the government.
  • The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is a Non-Banking Financial Institution under the administrative control of this Ministry for providing term loans for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
  • With Fame-I and Fame-ll policy, impetus us given to electric vehicles market in India. By 2030, at least 30% vehicles will be electric vehicles.

Challenges in the way:

  • While substantially increasing RE, India is also expanding fossil fuel extraction and use.
  • In the middle of the pandemic, the government has auctioned 60 new coal mining blocks, and several new thermal power stations are being considered. This includes mining in some of the most biodiverse forests in Central India.
  • In effect, total carbon emissions, which is what impacts climate, will keep going up even as RE’s share rises.
  • While public transportation has been given more investment in the 2021 budget, there is no discouragement of private cars, and fossil fuel use continues to rise.
  • India includes mega-hydropower in RE, despite the ecological and social havoc it causes. The recent Uttarakhand tragedy is a case in the point.
  • RE production is mostly of the mega-park type. In late 2020, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said that 10,000 sq km in seven states are available for such parks.
  • These projects have serious ecological and social impacts but do not even need an environmental impact assessment, under the faulty assumption that RE is necessarily “clean” and eco-friendly.
  • About 60,000 hectares of Kachchh’s ecologically fragile grassland-desert ecosystem have been allotted to energy mega-parks.
  • A shift from petrol-diesel to electric cars, for instance, would significantly expand devastating mining across the world. This is also a consequence of thinking of climate and ecological crises only from a carbon perspective, ignoring biodiversity loss and pollution.
  • Unless luxury and wasteful consumption is eliminated, unsustainability and people’s displacement are inevitable.

Way Forward

  • Viable alternatives have been demonstrated across the world.
    • The Delhi government is supporting 150 government schools to generate rooftop solar energy, helping them save Rs 8.8 crore on electricity and earn Rs 8.5 crore from selling power back to the grid.
    • A study in the US shows that rooftop solar can create 30 times more jobs than mega-solar parks.
    • Integrated power micro-grids can provide adequate power for entire villages and urban neighbourhoods, and be locally managed.
  • Alternatives to energy-guzzling sectors like urban construction and privatised transportation exist. Groups like SECMOL in Ladakh and Hunnarshala in Kachchh have shown how sensitive architecture can dramatically reduce electricity use.
  • Strong financial measures are required to finance the solar projects, innovative steps like green bonds, institutional loans and clean energy fund can play a crucial role.
  • Promotion of research and development in renewable energy sector, especially in storage technology.
  • Framework to avoid unnecessary delays in policy decision making and implementation.
  • India needs to delink grid development with energy generation.
  • There is a merit in developing solar and wind in a complementary manner. From grid security perspective, as compared to solar, wind is better in monsoon and night. Also, such a system will require a lower investment.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. Do you think that ethical principles are universal in nature? Justify your answer with relevant examples. (250 words)

Reference:  researchgate.net

Why the question:

The question is about evaluating the universal nature of ethical principles.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss if ethical principles are universal in nature with suitable examples.

Directive:

Justify – When you are asked to justify, 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 using suitable case studies or/ and examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by ethical principles.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Firstly, talk about the concept of ethical universalism. It believes in universal and immutable ethical values i.e. there are some ethical principles that are always true, that these principles can be discovered and that these principles apply to everyone.

Ethical principles are used to decide the rightness or wrongness of an action. But what is ethical under a given circumstance may itself be a subject of debate.

Then discuss the concept of ethical relativism. It believes that ethical principles keep changing depending on the circumstances and sociocultural factors. Ethicality of an act depends on the different cultures or different periods in history. For example, homosexuality has been de-criminalized recently in our country.

Provide relevant examples for both – universalism and relativism.

Conclusion:

Conclude based on the arguments written in the answer.

Introduction

A universal ethical principle is a moral system that applies universally to all of humanity, and thus transcends culture and personal whim. The source or justification of this system is variously claimed to be human nature, a shared vulnerability to suffering, the demands of universal reason, common themes among existing moral codes, or the mandates of religion.

Body

However, moral or ethical relativism says that moral propositions do not reflect objective and/or universal moral truths, but instead make claims relative to social, cultural, historical or personal circumstances.

For instance, thieving or stealing may be morally and lawfully wrong and may even be universal. But consider an instance where a child steals food from a vendor because of hunger. In such situations, the moral rule may not apply.

Likewise, consider the debate between west and the east regarding the Human Rights issue. The South East Asian Countries contended that Human Rights is a western construct and cannot be universally applied as they believe in Asian Values such as respect for authority, discipline rather than seeing individual liberty as supreme. Thus, many believe in Ethical relativism.

Ethical relativism is the position that there are no moral absolutes, no moral right and wrongs. Instead, right and wrong are based on social norms. Such could be the case with “situational ethics,” which is a category of ethical relativism.

At any rate, ethical relativism would mean that our morals have evolved, that they have changed over time, and that they are not absolute. One advantage of ethical relativism is that it allows for a wide variety of cultures and practices.

It also allows people to adapt ethically as the culture, knowledge, and technology change in society. This is a good and valid form of relativism. The disadvantage of ethical relativism is that truth, right and wrong, and justice are all relative. Just because a group of people think that something is right does not make it so. Slavery is a good example of this. Two hundred years ago in America, slavery was the norm and morally acceptable but was outlawed.

Thus, one can say that cultural and social context will apply when ethical principles are considered.

Conclusion

For morals to be truly universal and absolute, they would have to have a universally unquestioned source, interpretation and authority, which critics claim is an impossibility. The sheer diversity of moral opinions which exists between societies (and even within societies) in the world today suggests that there cannot be a single universal morality.


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