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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. While there is no dearth of tributes to India’s great cultural heritage, the blunt truth is that modern India has failed to reclaim that legacy, in this context discuss the challenges in preserving Indian cultural heritage. (250 words)

Reference:  Times of India

Why the question:

The article argues that India is a great civilisation. But no government makes institutional investment protecting its heritage.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the challenges in preserving Indian cultural heritage.

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 brief on India’s rich cultural heritage.

Body:

The answer body must explain in what way modern India has failed to reclaim that legacy of its culture.

Challenges in preserving Indian cultural heritage – Inadequate budget: The ministry of culture (MoC) is inadequately budgeted, and even the meager amount allocated is not fully spent.

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Culture pointed out that in 2010-11, the actual expenditure by the MoC as a percentage of the GDP was as low as 0.017%. These pathetically low spend reduced to 0.012% in 2019-20. The allocation for the MoC in 2021 was Rs 461 crore less than the previous year, a 15% reduction. Institutional neglect: The new Cabinet has no full-time minister of culture. G Kishan Reddy is the minister of tourism, development of the Northeast region, and culture.

It is overrun by bureaucrats who rarely know anything about the culture, and most consider it a punishment posting.

State other reasons too and suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that while there is no dearth of tributes to India’s great cultural heritage, the blunt truth is that modern India has failed to reclaim that legacy.

Introduction

India has a vast basket of living and diverse cultural traditions, traditional expressions, intangible cultural heritage comprising masterpieces which need institutional support and encouragement with a view to addressing areas critical for the survival and propagation of these forms of cultural heritage. Preserving our heritage is enshrined as a Fundamental Duty in our Constitution.

Body:

The term heritage has wide connotations spanning across nature, culture, food and other dimensions. Indian Art heritage primarily refers to the tangible heritage comprising of Paintings and art forms; Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites; Sculptures; Scriptures; Artefacts.

Challenges in preserving Indian cultural heritage:

  • Theft: The incidents of thefts have been observed usually from unprotected monuments, ancient temples. The thefts cases have also been seen in the protected monuments and museums as well. It is due to negligence of security guards in museums, monuments etc.
  • Smuggling: illicit traffic and smuggling in antiquities. Illicit traffic is motivated often by profit and sometimes by the demand for luxuries.
  • Tourism: Unregulated tourism, tourist activities run by touts, private agents have affected the art heritage places. The Culture Ministry of India has reported that up to 24 Indian monuments have been declared “untraceable” or “missing” by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Issues with security of museums: Most of the museums are poorly guarded due to shortage of manpower leading to theft of artefacts, fire accidents etc.
  • Lack of public awareness: This leads to poor maintenance, vandalism, spoiling the monuments artefacts. Replacing the structures or building structures close to the monuments leading to
  • Duplication: Fakes of paintings and art forms leading to threat to livelihoods of artists.
  • Poor Maintenance: The state of the wall paintings in Ajanta caves is continuously getting worse, which can be attributed to humidity as well as to a lack of care.
  • Encroachment of monuments: Another miss from the ministry has been encroachments of monuments. Over 278 centrally protected monuments have been encroached upon or have illegal occupants, as per government data.

Rationale behind safeguarding the art heritage:

  • Evolution of human consciousness is a continuous process: History here serves as a laboratory and the past serves as a demarcation to understand the regional laws and social structures. This understanding helps in our progress towards an ideal society.
  • The art heritage is the identity and pride of our country. It is duty of every citizen to protect, preserve and perpetuate the cultural richness.
  • Tourism potential for art monuments and museums is very high. Tourism generates revenue for the state as well as private artists due to the money-multiplier quality.
  • Infrastructure development takes place in and around the areas. Eg. Hampi despite being a small town has excellent infrastructure.
  • It creates jobs for a lot of people from art industry and tourism industry as well
  • It creates a feeling of oneness and a sense of attachment by enhancing a sense of belonging to a culture or a region.
  • Every historical site has an important story to tell and these stories have inspired many people to strengthen their convictions and commitment to fight injustice and oppression.

Way forward

  • Strengthening Legislations and Initiatives:
    • The Antiquity Act of 1947, Antiquities and Art Treasures Act of 1972 particularly provide for the prevention of smuggling and illegally dealing in antiques.
    • Recent bill to amend The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act which allowed construction within 100m of the protected monuments should be avoided.
    • In 2015, the ministry launched an initiative of e-ticketing services in over 116 monuments under the ASI and launched an initiative to digitise cultural resources.
  • Strengthening institutions:
    • The CAG report on Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiques clearly indicates that the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for this purpose needs to be more proactive and vigilant in its efforts and the ministry needs to develop an aggressive strategy for the same
    • Tapping of the Public —Private Partnership models for sustenance of Arts and Crafts.
    • Setting up at least one museum in each district with different chambers for visual and other forms of art, architecture, science, history and geography with regional flavour.
    • Artistes from the field of architecture, sculpture, painting, handicrafts, puppetry, music, dance, theatre, and literature will be graded by the Centre on the basis of their performance.
  • Cultural awareness:
    • Curriculum modification – Identification and inclusion of heritage as an asset in school, Open departments of Heritage management on the lines of Ahmedabad University
    • Introduction of a compulsory offline and online training for tourism purposes willing to undertake ventures.
    • Heritage depiction and promotion through immersive technology & augmented reality
    • Re-Classify heritage and announce awards for people with exceptional heritage sense.
    • Greater involvement of universities in schemes promoting arts and culture as well as inclusion of Fine Arts as a subject in universities.
  • Adaptive reuse of heritage sites:
    • Restoring the historical sites in the form of festivals and inducing festivity link perceptions.
    • Recognizing ‘cultural heritage tourism’ as an upcoming industry by building cultural resources with an adaptation of scientific and technological knowledge to local circumstances as well as forming partnerships between local and global bodies.

Conclusion:

It is the duty of every citizen to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. The art and culture of our nation are a vast continuum, evolving incessantly since time immemorial. Naturally, preservation and conservation of India’s rich cultural heritage and promotion of all forms of art and culture, both tangible and intangible, including monuments and archaeological sites, anthropology and ethnology, folk and tribal arts, literature and handicrafts, performing art of music-dance-drama and visual arts of paintings-sculpture-graphics is essential and assumes a lot of importance.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Account for India’s future role and policy in Afghanistan, in light of American exit. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains the future course of action for India when it comes to recent events in Afghanistan.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to talk about India’s future role and policy in Afghanistan, in light of American exit.

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 current context – with US and NATO completing their pull-out from Bagram air base and other key locations, the Taliban are making huge advances across the country, capturing districts, seizing key border crossings, and encircling provincial capitals.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Give a brief background of the issue at hand.

Explain what the concerns before India are; the worries are about the violence at the frontiers and the resultant refugee influx, extremism, and support to transnational groups such as al Qaeda, LeT, JeM, ETIM and IMU, as it happened earlier under Taliban rule.

Discuss what should be the policy of India with respect to Afghanistan; Legitimizing Taliban: India must hold on and not rush into any policy action that establishes the Taliban as a legitimate force. Influencing Pakistan’s security establishment and others.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India must be prepared to defend its interests at all costs. This, in turn, needs strategic patience that will help resist the temptation to normalize the Taliban.

Introduction

American troops are set to withdraw from the country by September 11 this year, but the shadow of re-engagement looms, raising security concerns beyond South Asia. The resurgence of Taliban is a huge concern not only for Kabul but for regions in South Asia and beyond.

The Taliban militants have seized dozens of districts in recent weeks and are now thought to control about a third of the country, ahead of the withdrawal of US and Western troops from Afghanistan by September 11.

Body

Background

  • The US signed the Doha agreement in February 2020, dangling a “carrot” of full withdrawal, hoping the Taliban would agree to be part of an interim government.
  • The flawed peace process, which offered a clear, early edge to the Taliban, caused a deadlock in the Doha process.
  • Unlike Iraq, there was clear political support for the US forces to remain in Afghanistan.
  • But the US chose to shed the “occupier” tag and distance itself from grievances against governance and harm to civilians over the past 20 years.

Implications for India:

  • India is wary of the future of the Afghan government without the support of the US military as it will trigger a geopolitical flux in the region.
  • If peace talks do not fall through and there is a reneging of the terms of the Doha Accord by the Taliban then this consequence directly threatens India’s political, security, and economic interests in Afghanistan
  • The withdrawal from Afghanistan will only bring challenges for the Indian Subcontinent as the US military presence kept a check on the radically extremist forces and created the possibility of a conducive environment for India to work with Afghanistan.
  • The withdrawal can lead to a surge in international and regional terrorism, re-emergence of Taliban’s influence on Pakistan and the political instability it will create in the region.
  • India’s larger concerns are about the resurgence of Taliban, which can undoubtedly reassure and incite the extremist elements in Kashmir and other parts of India through India-focused militant groups such as Laskhar- e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, which are believed to have relocated to Afghanistan in large numbers.
  • Unlike the United States, both India and Pakistan share a geographical proximity to Afghanistan, therefore any political instability in the region will affect both the countries.

Possible future role for India in Afghanistan:

  • New Delhi must move swiftly to regain the upper hand in the narrative in Afghanistan.
  • India’s approach has to be within the format of Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation.
  • The following should assure India a leading position in Afghanistan’s regional formulation:
    • India’s assistance of more than $3 billion in projects
    • trade of about $1 billion
    • a $20 billion projected development expenditure of an alternate route through Chahbahar
  • India’s support to the Afghan National Army, bureaucrats, doctors and other professionals for training
  • The Indian government must strive to endure that its aid and assistance is broad-based, to centres outside the capital (Kabul) as well.
  • This should be the case even if some lie in areas held by the Taliban.
  • India must also pursue opportunities to fulfil its role in the peace efforts in Afghanistan.
  • An understanding between Iran and the U.S. on Afghanistan is necessary for lasting peace as well, and India could play a mediatory part.
  • India should also use the UN’s call for a pause in conflicts during the novel coronavirus pandemic, to ensure a hold on hostilities with Pakistan.
  • Above all, New Delhi must consider the appointment of a special envoy, as it has been done in the past, to deal with its efforts in Afghanistan.
  • India’s engagement should be conditional on Taliban joining the mainstream politics.
  • India should not give legitimacy to a government in exile (Taliban’s political office is based in Doha) in its own neighbourhood.
  • New Delhi should, using its regional clout as well as its deep ties with both the U.S. and Russia, strive for what Mr. Jaishankar called “double peace”, both inside Afghanistan and in the region.

Way forward for India:

  • In the unfolding situation, New Delhi will have to quickly reorient its Afghan strategy.
  • At the same time, Delhi must be prepared to discuss what are real and serious differences with key regional and international partners on the Taliban and the future of Afghanistan.
  • To safeguard its own interests, India needs to reorient its policies towards Afghanistan and deal with the changing dynamics of power shift in the region.
  • Despite India’s foreign policy orientation moving more towards the US and the West, the new Afghan strategy will have to be synchronised with an entirely different set of players.

 

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

GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

3. Can the Draft drone rules released recently in India be hailed as progressive? Debate. (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why the question:

Draft drone rules released recently are being hailed as progressive.  Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

One must explain the advantages offered by drones and how a liberal drone rules regime can help India get ahead in this sector.

Directive:

Debate – 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 agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what Drones are, and also comment upon the recently released Draft rules to regulate the same in the country.

Body:

Discuss the benefits and challenges of using Drones.

Explain in what way rules can be seen as progressive.

Drones can serve a wide range of uses across sectors, from farming and mining to e-commerce and vaccine drop-offs. Monitoring of hazardous sites: It is far safer to have a drone monitor a hazardous site, for example, than expose humans to it.

For transporting vital supplies to places that are hard to access.

Utility for state initiatives: Their utility for state initiatives is also very high, like cartographic exercises or for farm surveys and police surveillance.

Conclusion:

While highly sensitive areas must stay off-limits to drones, we should not complicate matters for operators beyond what’s necessary. Yet, we should be ready to adapt our drone rules in response to new learnings and advancements.

Introduction

A Drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), an aircraft without a human pilot aboard. Besides combat use, drones are used for a range of purposes like package delivery, in agriculture (spraying pesticides etc), monitoring environmental changes, aerial photography, and during search and relief operations, among others.

 

Increasing the use of drones in warfare and other areas has brought into focus the potential the use of drones holds and the other issues related to its misuse (Rogue Drones). India has an estimated over 6 lakh rogue or unregulated unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

The ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) recently released the updated draft Drone Rules, 2021 for public consultation, which will soon replace the UAS (unmanned aircraft system) Rules 2021 that was released on 12 March 2021. The rules aim to create a “digital sky platform” as a business-friendly single-window online system for procuring various approvals.

Body

Need for stricter rules and regulations:

  • Recently, Drones were used for the first time to drop explosive devices, triggering blasts inside the Air Force Station’s technical area in Jammu.
  • Over the past two years, drones have been deployed regularly by Pakistan-based outfits to smuggle arms, ammunition and drugs into Indian territory.
  • According to government figures, 167 drone sightings were recorded along the border with Pakistan in 2019, and in 2020, there were 77 such sightings.
  • With the rapid proliferation of drone technology and exponential growth of its global market in recent years, the possibility of a drone attack cannot be ruled out even in the safest cities in the world.
  • Drones are becoming security threats particularly in conflict zones where non-state actors are active and have easy access to the technology.

Highlights of the Draft Drone Rules 2021

  • Digital sky platformshall be developed as a business-friendly single-window online system.
  • No flight permission required upto400 feet in green zones and upto 200 feet in the area between 8 and 12 km from the airport perimeter.
  • No pilot licence required for micro drones (for non-commercial use), nano drone and for R&D organisations.
  • No restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  • Import of drones and drone components to be regulated by DGFT.
  • No security clearance required before any registration or licence issuance.
  • No requirement of certificate of airworthiness,unique identification number, prior permission and remote pilot licence for R&D entities.
  • Coverage of drones under Drone Rules, 2021 increased from 300 kg to 500 kg. This will cover drone taxis also.
  • Issuance of Certificate of Airworthinessdelegated to Quality Council of India and certification entities authorised by it.
  • Manufacturer may generate their drone’s unique identification numberon the digital sky platform through the self-certification route.
  • Maximum penaltyunder Drone Rules, 2021 reduced to INR 1 lakh. This shall, however, not apply to penalties in respect of violation of other laws.
  • Drone corridorswill be developed for cargo deliveries.
  • Drone promotion councilto be set up to facilitate a business-friendly regulatory regime.

Evaluation of the draft rules:

  • The draft rules are based on “trust, self-certification and non-intrusive monitoring”.
  • It cuts down red-tapism due to reduced human interference in approvals.
  • There will be minimal human interface on the digital sky platform and most of the permissions will be self-generated.
  • It reduces the number of approvals needed to register a drone. The number of forms required for manufacturing, importing, testing, certifying and operating drones in India from 25 to six.
  • With the fee reduced to nominal levels and no linkage of fees with the size of the drone would eventually lead to more drones getting registered.
  • The decision reflects a firm determination to foster growth of drones in India even as security forces grapple with ways and means to deal with the asymmetric threat posed by rogue drones in the hands of extremists and non-state actors.
  • The rules will go a long way in facilitating investments in drone technology in India. It facilitates a business-friendly regulatory regime for drones in India, the establishment of incubators for developing drone technologies and organizing competitive events to showcase drones and counter-drone solutions.
  • No pilot licence would be needed for micro drones for non-commercial use, nano drones and for R&D organisations and there would be no restriction on drone operations by foreign-owned companies registered in India.
  • The Centre also plans to set up drone corridors for cargo delivery.

Conclusion

Regulation on use of drones in India should be effectively implemented to foster technology and innovation in the development of drones and improve the ease of doing business, by side-lining unnecessary requirements and creating a single-window process. The government should ensure protection of privacy of citizens by limiting the use of drones for surveillance. It is important to use drones responsibly to minimize negative impacts on wildlife, including birds. Possibilities of drone-related accidents should be minimized by strict enforcement of regulations.

 

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

4. In the light of recent Pegasus attack in India, discuss the need for strengthening data laws to reassure the right to privacy of the individual. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The editorial explains that the proposed legislation related to the personal data protection of citizens fails to consider surveillance.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for strengthening data laws to reassure the right to privacy of the individual.

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 recent incident of Pegasus cyber-attack.

Body:

Pegasus; is a spyware created by NSO Group, an Israeli cybersecurity firm founded in 2010. Pegasus spyware can hack any iOS or Android device and steal a variety of data from the infected device.

Discuss the worrying aspect of Pegasus spyware; how it has evolved from its earlier spear-phishing methods using text links or messages to ‘zero-click attacks.

Discuss how it impacted Journalists; in the absence of privacy, the safety of journalists, especially those whose work criticizes the government, and the personal safety of their sources is jeopardized. Such a lack of privacy, therefore, creates an aura of distrust around these journalists and effectively buries their credibility.

Discuss the need for strengthening data laws to reassure the right to privacy of the individual.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Spyware is software that is installed on a computing device without the end user’s knowledge. Pegasus is spyware that can be installed on mobile devices. It is regarded as one of the “most sophisticated” smartphone spyware. In May 2019, the Pegasus was being used to exploit WhatsApp and spy on potential targets. The spyware named ‘Pegasus’ is developed by the Israeli cyber arms firm NSO in 2016.

According to the ‘Pegasus Project’, it has been reported that Pegasus, the malicious software, has allegedly been used to secretly monitor and spy on over 300 verified Indian mobile telephone numbers. It includes those used by ministers, opposition leaders, journalists, the legal community, businessmen, government officials, scientists, rights activists and others.

Body:

Threats posed by Surveillance on rights:

  • Against Right to Privacy:
    • The very existence of a surveillance system impacts the right to privacy and the exercise of freedom of speech and personal liberty under Articles 19 and 21 of the Constitution, respectively.
    • It creates a “chilling effect on freedom of speech and expression” and curbs individual’s ability to express, receive and discuss unorthodox ideas.
  • Against Due Process:
    • Surveillance, when carried out entirely by the executive, curtails Articles 32 and 226 of the Constitutionas it happens in secret.
    • Thus, the affected person is unable to show a breach of their rights.
    • This violates not only the ideals of due process and the separation of powersbut also goes against the requirement of procedural safeguards as mandated in S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017).
  • Curtails Press Freedom:
    • Surveillance affects press freedom.
    • In the absence of privacy, the safety of journalists, especially those whose work criticises the government, and the personal safety of their sources is jeopardised.
    • The World Press Freedom Indexproduced by Reporters Without Borders has ranked India 142 out of 180 countries in 2021.
    • The lack of privacy and free speech renders the journalists vulnerable against threats of private and governmental reprisals against legitimate reporting.
  • Threatens Separation of Powers:
    • Vesting disproportionate surveillance power with the executive threatens the separation of powers of the government.
  • Promotes Authoritarian Regime:
    • Disproportionate surveillance power promotes spread of authoritarianism in the government functioning since it allows the executive to exercise a disproportionate amount of power on the citizen and impacts their personal lives.

Measures to tackle spywares:

  • Regular Data Backup: This helps restore the last saved data and minimise data loss. Ransomware also attacks servers; hence it is important to have a backup on a disconnected hard drive or external device on the pre-defined regular basis.
  • To prevent infiltration of malware, having password protected tools to identify and filter certain file extensions like “.exe” or “. Zip”, are essential. Emails that appear suspicious should also be filtered at the exchange level.
  • User awareness: Awareness among users needs to be created to avoid opening the unsolicited attachment. Malware is typically designed to mimic identities of people that users interact with on a regular basis either on a personal or professional level.
  • Regular patch and upgrades: To prevent leaks or vulnerabilities in software, ensure to regularly update the software versions and apply patches released by the vendor. These patches and version are often released to wrestle with known or newly discovered exploits and can prevent known signatures of these malware, Trojans or ransomware to enter the system.
  • Install and run anti-malware and firewall software. When selecting software, choose a program that offers tools for detecting, quarantining, and removing multiple types of malware.
  • The combination of anti-malware software and a firewall will ensure that all incoming and existing data gets scanned for malware and that malware can be safely removed once detected.
  • Keep software and operating systems up to date with current vulnerability patches. These patches are often released to patch bugs or other security flaws that could be exploited by attackers.
  • Be vigilant when downloading files, programs, attachments, etc. Downloads that seem strange or are from an unfamiliar source often contain malware.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to balance the necessity of the government’s objectives of surveillance with the rights of the impacted individuals.
  • The press requires greater protections on speech and privacy.
  • In order to satisfy the ideal of “due process of law”, to maintain an effective separation of powers and to fulfil the requirements of procedural safeguards, there needs to be an oversight from another branch of the government over the executive’s power of surveillance.
  • Such a role can be effectively played by the judiciary.
  • There needs to be greater transparency in the system as in the current system, Government agencies are not accountable to anyone other than the government itself.
  • Reforms in the Indian surveillance regime should incorporate ethics of surveillance which considers the moral aspects of how surveillance is employed.

Conclusion:

Surveillance reform is the need of the hour in India as a comprehensive reform of the surveillance framework is long overdue. This is also the right time across the world, there is an increasingly urgent debate about how to protect basic rights against encroachment by an aggressive and intrusive state, which wields the rhetoric of national security like a sword.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. By highlighting the sources of marine pollution, analyze the impact of marine plastic pollution. (250 words)

Reference:  iucn.org

Why the question:

The COVID-19 pandemic has escalated the problem of plastic waste to colossal proportions and these numbers tell the grim tale. With this tidal increase of plastic waste and lack of effective solid waste management systems, plastic pollution poses significant economic and environmental risks across South Asia.

Key Demand of the question:

One must in detail highlight the sources of marine pollution and analyze the impact of marine plastic pollution.

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 what you understand by marine pollution and give some shocking data related to plastic pollution in the introduction.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Status of Marine plastics to be explained first; Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year for use in a wide variety of applications. Plastic packaging accounts for more than 62% of all items (including non-plastics) collected in international coastal clean-up initiatives. At least 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year, and make up 80% of all marine debris from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.

Discuss the sources of Marine plastics pollution in detail.

Present the case of India.

Highlight the impact of Marine Pollution.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done.

Introduction

Oceans are the largest water bodies on the planet Earth. Over the last few decades, surplus human activities have severely affected marine life on the Earth’s oceans. Ocean pollution, also known as marine pollution, is the spreading of harmful substances such as oil, plastic, industrial and agricultural waste and chemical particles into the ocean. Since oceans provide the home to wide variety of marine animals and plants, it is the responsibility of every citizen to play his or her part in making these oceans clean so that marine species can thrive for a long period of time.

Body:

Sources of marine pollution:

  • Global trade: According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), more than 80% of global trade by volume, and more than 70% by value, travels by ship.
  • The global maritime transport is notably driven by globalization and the rising economic importance of Asia. It has recorded an annual long-term growth rate of about 3 to 4%. When in operation, ships produce fuel oil residue, which is called “slop”. Previously, this residue was discharged into the sea.
  • For instance, a container ship which is powered by a 50 000 horsepower engine generates 1.6 tons of fuel oil residue in the form of sludge, in relation to a daily consumption of 180 tons of fuel.
  • Shipping infrastructure has been more immediately implicated in the diffusion of alien species.
  • One outcome of digging canals is the incidental migration of fish and aquatic plants between formerly remote bodies of water, like the Caribbean and the Pacific via the Panama Canal, or the Mediterranean and Red Seas via the Suez Canal.
  • Of far greater consequence in recent years, the use of ballast water to stabilize ships has led to the introduction of aquatic invasive species like the Chinese mitten crab from Asia to the Thames, the zebra mussel from the Black Sea to North America, and the North American comb jellyfish to the Black Sea
  • The harm done by these species, among many others, has resulted in billions of dollars in damages to municipal infrastructure, native fisheries and coastal habitat.
  • Plastic waste: Historical data tell us that about 75% of coronavirus plastic will likely become waste clogging our landfills and floating in our seas. And the costs are staggering.
  • A recent study found that the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land each year exceeds 4.8 million tons (Mt), and may be as high as 12.7 Mt. The quantities of plastic entering the ocean are growing rapidly with the potential for cumulative inputs of plastic waste into the ocean as high as 250 Mt by 2025.
  • The main sources of marine plastic are land-based, from urban and storm runoff, sewer overflows, beach visitors, inadequate waste disposal and management, industrial activities, construction and illegal dumping.
  • Ocean-based plastic originates mainly from the fishing industry, nautical activities and aquaculture.
  • Under the influence of solar UV radiation, wind, currents and other natural factors, plastic fragments into small particles, termed microplastics (particles smaller than 5 mm) or nanoplastics (particles smaller than 100 nm).
  • In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants in health and beauty products, such as cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and lakes.
  • Plastic particles washed off from products such as synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary plastic that is polluting our oceans.
  • Oil spills: Crude oil lasts for years in the sea and is extremely toxic to marine life, often suffocating marine animals to death once it entraps them. Crude oil is also extremely difficult to clean up, unfortunately meaning that when it is split; it is usually there to stay.
  • Ocean mining in the deep sea is yet another source of ocean pollution. Ocean mining sites drilling for silver, gold, copper, cobalt, and zinc create sulphide deposits up to three and a half thousand meters down into the ocean. The deep-sea mining causes damage to the lowest levels of the ocean and increases the toxicity of the region. This permanent damage dealt also causes leaking, corrosion and oil spills that only drastically further hinder the ecosystem of the region.
  • Littering: Pollution from the atmosphere is, believe it or not, a huge source of ocean pollution. This occurs when objects that are far inland are blown by the wind over long distances and end up in the ocean. These objects can be anything from natural things like dust and sand to man-made objects such as debris and trash. Most debris, especially plastic debris, cannot decompose and remains suspended in the ocean’s current for years

Impact of marine plastic pollution:

  • On Marine Environment:
    • Affects movement of marine organisms:
      • Ghostnets, a term coined to describe purposely discarded or accidentally lost netting, drift through the ocean, entangling whales, seals, and turtles.
      • An estimated 100,000 marine animals are strangled, suffocated, or injured by plastics every year.
    • Direct harm to species:
      • Of the 1.5 million Laysan albatrosses that inhabit Midway, nearly all are likely to have plastic in their digestive system.
      • Approximately one-third of their chicks die, and many of those deaths are due to being fed plastic by their parents.
      • Fish and whales may also mistake the plastic as a food source.
    • Spreading invasive species:
      • Marine plastics also facilitate the spread of invasive species that attach to floating plastic in one region and drift long distances to colonize other ecosystems.
      • Research has shown that this plastic marine debris affects at least 267 species worldwide
    • On Food and Health:
      • Affects Food-chain:
        • Because the garbage blocks sunlight, algae is not growing as it should. With less algae, the entire food chain is experiencing a negative disruption.
        • In addition, the plastics floating in the ocean are leeching harmful chemicals into the water, which are likely entering the food chain. 
  • Indirect harm to species via the food chain:
    • Besides the particles danger to wildlife, on the microscopic level the floating debris can absorb organic pollutants from seawater, including PCBs, DDT, and PAHs.
    • These toxin-containing plastic pieces are also eaten by jellyfish, which are then eaten by fish.
    • Many of these fish are then consumed by humans, resulting in their ingestion of toxic chemicals
  • Bio-magnification:
    • Toxic contaminants accumulate on the surface of plastic materials as a result of prolonged exposure to seawater. When marine organisms ingest plastic debris, these contaminants enter their digestive systems, and overtime accumulate in the food web.
    • The transfer of contaminants between marine species and humans through consumption of seafoodhas been identified as a health hazard, but has not yet been adequately researched.
  • On Climate Change:
    • Plastic, which is a petroleum product, also contributes toglobal warming.
    • If plastic waste is incinerated, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby increasing carbon emissions.
  • On Tourism:
    • Plastic waste damages the aesthetic value of tourist destinations, leading to decreased tourism-related incomes and major economic costsrelated to the cleaning and maintenance of the sites.

Measures needed:

  • Existing international instruments should be further explored to address plastic pollution. The most important are:
    • The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention).
    • The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London Protocol).
    • The 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
  • Recycling and reuse of plastic materials are the most effective actions available to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning that are often practiced to manage domestic waste.
  • Governments, research institutions and industries also need to work collaboratively redesigning products, and rethink their usage and disposal, in order to reduce microplastics waste from pellets, synthetic textiles and tyres.
  • Implement renewable energy sources,such as wind or solar power, to limit off-shore drilling.
  • Limit agricultural pesticides and encourage organic farming& eco-friendly pesticide use.
  • Proper sewage treatmentand exploration of eco-friendly wastewater treatment options.
  • Cut down on the industry and manufacturing waste and contain it into landfillsto avoid spillage.
  • Use of Biotechnology:Bioremediation (use of specific microorganisms to metabolize and remove harmful substances) to treat oil spills.
  • At individual level reduce carbon footprint by adopting a “green” lifestyle.
  • Have a global treatyon banning single-use plastics and collaborated effort to clean up the ocean.
  • Identify chemical pollutants hotspots, control the use and release of chemicals in mining, promote recycling of used oil in urban areas.
  • Increase funding for marine pollution prevention and control by introducing market-based incentives, applying the “polluter pays” principle.
  • Public-private partnerships should also be established to provide financing, improve public awareness and develop innovative approaches to reduce marine pollution.

Measures to tackle marine plastic pollution:

  • Local actions are required for mitigating plastic pollution, using mechanisms such as bans on plastic bags, maximum daily limits for emissions into watersheds, and incentives for fishing gear retrieval.
  • Countries should come together to establish measurable reduction targets for plastic waste. A meaningful international agreement—one with clearly defined waste reduction targets is the need of the hour.
  • Effective policies must take into account all stages of the lifecycle of plastic—connecting producers to users and ultimately to waste managers.
  • Nonprofits like 5 Gyres are now pushing an agenda toward public awareness, corporate responsibility and the idea of a circular economy — an economy that focuses on keeping waste to a minimum while maximizing materials’ use.
  • Fossil fuel subsidies incentivise the plastic market. Hence, Countries should end fossil fuel subsidies. Annually, 4–8% of oil is used to produce raw plastic.
  • India has a major problem dealing with plastics, particularly single-use shopping bags that reach dumping sites, rivers and wetlands along with other waste.
  • The most efficient way to deal with the pollution is to control the production and distribution of plastics.
  • Banning single-use bags and making consumers pay a significant amount for the more durable ones is a feasible solution.
  • Enforcing segregation of waste will retrieve materials and greatly reduce the burden on the environment.
  • Waste separation can be achieved in partnership with the community, and presents a major employment opportunity.
  • Eco-friendly substitutes (cloth/paper/jute bags, leaves/areca leaf plates, paper straws) should be developed. For this, scientific and financial support (soft loans and subsidies) is required.

Conclusion

Marine plastic pollution is a “planetary crisis,” and we should hope for a “Paris-style” global treaty aimed at tackling it. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. In this context, ocean health must be treated as a global issue and all nations should act in concert to implement Sustainable Development Goal 14 i.e. to conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. We cannot transform our world into a ‘plastic planet’. What is needed is collective public effort to stop plastic pollution and safeguard our ecosystem/biodiversity.

 

Topic: Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

7. What is the linkage between development and spread of extremism? Illustrate with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  idsa.in

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to throw light upon the linkage between development and spread of extremism with suitable illustrations.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by extremism.

Body:

Left Wing Extremism or Naxalism (as it called in India, because of its origin from a village called Naxalbari in West Bengal) is an ideology based on far left radical thoughts. It drives its thoughts from communism and emphasizes advancement of people’s social and economic life by establishing classless society through armed revolution.

Discuss briefly the Genesis and evolution of extremism in India.

Then explain the linkage between development and spread of extremism; underdevelopment often creates the conditions for insurgency and spread of extremist ideologies among the people, who perceive that their needs are not being taken care of by the government. While it has been the policy of governments around the world today to emphasize on “inclusive development”, there are always groups in every state who feel alienated because they perceive that they are left out of the developmental efforts. Such perceptions coupled with inefficient and corrupt governance create an ideal condition for extremism and militancy.

Suggest solutions to address these concerns.

Point at the policies and programmes in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Extremism can be defined as any ideology considered to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of a society or to violate common moral standards. It means an ideology deflected from the mainstream of common moral standards which can be perceived as good or bad depending upon the political and philosophical values. Improvement in standard of living is something that everyone craves for and deserves it too. It involves, apart from decent food clothing and shelter, quality education and health and also dignified living.

Body:

Without development processes, there is no organic end to the causes of discontent, unrest and extremism. Development and security together lay the foundations for sustainable peace. According to theory, experience or practice, they form a triangle with justice.

It is a truism that underdevelopment often creates the conditions for insurgency and spread of extremist ideologies among the people, who perceive that their needs are not being taken care of by the government. While it has been the policy of governments around the world today to emphasise on “inclusive development”, there are always groups in every state who feel alienated because they perceive that they are left out of the developmental efforts. Such perceptions coupled with inefficient and corrupt governance create an ideal condition for extremism and militancy. More than lack of development, it is the perception of injustice, misgovernance and inability of the system to engage the disaffected lot that lead people to violence and extremism.

Developmental issues related to rise and spread of extremism: Developmental issues which pertain to the spread of extremism are linked to lack of access to basic resources to sustain livelihood.

  • Forest policy:
    • In the name of development, habitat of principal adivasi communities were declared reserve forests & in accordance with Forest conservation Act 1980, no forest land can be diverted to non-forest use without permission
    • Rights of primitive forest dwellers were restricted resulting in losing access to land.
    • Mass resentment leading to extremist activities.
    • For instance, in the name of development, the habitat of Adivasi communities were declared reserve forests and in accordance with the forest conservation act 1980. The rights of primitive forest dwellers were restricted resulting in losing access to land. This gave rise to extremist activities.
  • Land alienation:
    • 40% of rural households have no land or less than half of acre of land, increased marginal landholdings, no land reforms, insecurity and exploitation of tenants and unrest leading to extremism.
    • Land acquisition for SEZ again deprived the poor of their lands. Also led to the loss of revenue in the form of taxes. Loss of food production as a huge block of productive lands acquired for SEZ; major impact in livelihood resource, leading to conflict.
  • Displacement & rehabilitation:
    • Displacement/ forced eviction of people occurs due to developmental projects such as irrigation, industrial projects, mining projects, power plants etc. It can be physical, emotional or cultural.
    • Tribal people are most prone to displacement because tribal areas are rich in mineral resources such as Orissa, Jharkhand. This impacts multidimensional trauma on them leading to serious consequences.
  • Labour, unemployment and wages:
    • Unemployment and insecurity of livelihood are growing source of dissatisfaction and anger among youth, both in urban and rural areas.
    • Minimum wages for agriculture work are not implemented, increased share of unorganized workers in unorganized sector, no effective coverage of labour welfare laws.
    • Hence this multifaceted form of exploitation in the absence of any developmental propaganda forms the major cause of spread of extremism.
  • Moreover, tourism industry in this development scenario is posing a great threat to the existing tribal life which is interwoven with ecology. The introduction of foreign influence and commercialisation is triggering the process of disintegration of tribal society leading to extremist activities.

Thus, the above causes show that underdevelopment and socio-economic lacunae lead to extremism.

  • Effective implementation of legislation:
    • PESA, MNREGA, Scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers acts must be implemented effectively.
  • Land Related Measures:
    • A serious effort must be made to continuously implement the land ceiling issues for distribution amongst the most vulnerable section of the landless poor.
    • Land should be acquired by government for SEZ by paying proper compensation to the farmers.
    • Land tribunals or fast track courts must be set up for speedy disposal of land ceiling cases. The loopholes in the respective state ceiling laws must be corrected.
  • Basic amenities and Infrastructure:
    • Failure to provide infrastructure and services as per national norms is one of the much discriminatory manifestations of governance in extremism affected areas. Basic services to standards among the people in these areas to be given top priority.
  • Governance Issues:
    • Areas in central India where unrest is prevailing covers several states like Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand and parts of Maharashtra are manually administered.
    • State interventions both for development and for law and order are fairly low. Local populations present in the tribal areas are being exploited by the armed and rich people. Government should take necessary action in protecting these people.
    • The basic steps required in the direction include establishment of credibility and confidence of government, keeping a continuous vigil for fulfilment of people’s vision, effective protection, peace and good governance sustainable development with equity in tribal areas will make extremism low in tribal areas.
  • Livelihood Security:
    • should strengthen the subsidiary and supportive activities in horticulture, poultry, fisheries, animal husbandry under the strict guidelines of ministry of agriculture through establishment of quality infrastructure & efficient market linkages at the village level.
    • Universalize basic social services to standards amongst the people of extremist affected areas so that the discriminatory manifestations of governance can be removed.
  • Institutional arrangements for centre-state cooperation:
    • Since problems in formulating a counter-Extremist policy as well as in dealing with the issue on a day-to-day basis are sourced to the lack of centre-state cooperation, a permanent institutional mechanism in the form of a coordination centre can be established to thrash out emerging differences.
    • A coordination centre does currently exist within the MHA, but requires the active participation of state representatives to ensure smoother coordination

Conclusion:

Inequalities between classes have increased over the years which act as source of unrest. Indian Constitution in article 39 mandates states to prevent concentration of wealth in few hands but policy makers often ignore this resulting into two dimensions: BHARAT and INDIA. Only when adivasis and marginalized groups are taken care of both these worlds won’t merge. Structural violence causes much of violence. While not condoning radical violence, an honest response to extremism therefore must begin by ameliorating the structural violence in the society.

Way forward:

  • Land reforms in letter and spirit granting right of land to the tiller can root out long standing dissatisfaction among the tribals.
  • Enhance communication and connectivity, infrastructure improvement for better integration of the region with the mainland.
  • Stringent law and fast criminal justice system for quick disposal of insurgent’s attack cases.
  • Greater coordination between central forces and state forces for better tactical response.
  • Greater cultural interaction with the rest of the country and socio-economic development that includes a holistic inclusive development.
  • Decentralization with alertness, improving administrative efficiency, pro-people governance and coping up with regional aspirations must be the immediate need of the hour.
  • Strengthening of local self govt with additional financial and decision making power would promote development by making them stakeholders in development.
  • Apart from this, discrimination related to residence, food, clothing, marriage and employment must be removed.
  • Roping in more NGOs and other groups that work with these tribals to help them get more skills and opening new vistas of employment based on their skills can help nip alienating feeling among them.

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