Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 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 – 2


 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

1. Economic partnerships could form a central component of our plurilateral platforms of cooperation in the vibrant Indo-Pacific region. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why the question:

The article brings to us the role that industry could play in India’s Indo-Pacific out reach.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way economic partnerships could form a central component of our plurilateral platforms of cooperation in the vibrant Indo-Pacific region.

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:

Briefly talk about India’s stakes in the Indo-pacific region.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss first the evolution of India’s Indo-Pacific strategy. Talk about the 2018 Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, 2019 East Asia Summit, and The Indo-Pacific Business Summit etc.

Elaborate upon the seven pillars of Indo-Pacific strategy.

Explain in what way Economic partnerships could form a central component of our plurilateral platforms of cooperation in the vibrant Indo-Pacific region.

Conclusion:

Conclude that enhanced partnership in Health, Power and Digital platforms can bring in more strength to the Indo-Pacific region.

Introduction

Indo-Pacific region is a multi-polar region, contributing more than half of the world’s GDP and population. Countries falling in the direct hinterland of the vast Indian and Pacific oceanic expanse are termed ‘Indo-Pacific countries’.  The attributes of the Indo-Pacific are also highly appealing. The region comprises at least 38 countries that share 44 percent of world surface area and 65 per cent of world population, and account for 62 per cent of world–GDP and 46 per cent of the world’s merchandise trade.

Body

Importance of Economic partnership:

  • The Indian Ocean economy is expected to account for over 20 percent of global GDP by 2025.
  • India’s economic future in the Indo-Pacific region will largely be defined by its capacity to build on its blue economy potential (ranging across several sectors), regional economic integration (trade agreements to address trade barriers) and connectivity infrastructure to promote intra-inter regional trade (ports and logistics) in the Indian Ocean.
  • At the core of the Indo-Pacific region is a collection of sub-regions of diverse countries, each with different strengths, capabilities and capacities.
  • The countries within these sub-regions are creatively and strategically building the Indo-Pacific narrative.
  • Going forward, India needs a crafted and coherent Indo-Pacific strategy to navigate the competitive, complex and contested region.
  • This is critical to maximise its economic opportunity and maintain its maritime security.

Way forward for India:

  • India can experiment with the ways of alignment (bilaterals, minilaterals and multilaterals with countries in the region), and address existing drivers, barriers and inhibitions within countries or sub-regions in a more focused manner.
  • This will include securing the Indian Ocean, deeper integration with Southeast Asia, strong partnerships with other strategic powers (such as the US, Japan, Australia, France and the UK), managing China, investing in maritime logistics and infrastructure, reducing barriers to trade and investment, and strengthening regional economic governance via regional and bilateral trade agreements.
  • Economic growth in Indo-Pacific countries can only be revived by sound economic (power, water and transport) and social infrastructure (education and health).
  • Connectivity and inclusivity in the region must be based on comprehensive policies (robust legal and regulatory framework, interagency coordination) that can attract investment in infrastructure, build financial systems and shape digital economies — a necessary step to realise the Indo-Pacific trade potential.
  • Private investment in infrastructure must be mobilised.
  • India should prioritise creating a full-fledged Ministry of Blue Economy, with an effective institutional mechanism for coordination and leadership.
  • This will put all components of a blue economy, including security, maritime budgetary allocation, naval acquisitions, maritime trade, energy needs, transportation, connectivity, fisheries and marine exploration, under a single ambit.
  • India will need to develop a multi-layered approach towards cooperation in the region, matching its strengths and priorities with other countries, building inter-trade facilitation centres, with a focus on niche goods and services, and using technology to build responsive processes

Conclusion

The ‘new normal’ economic diplomacy should seek for balance between competition and cooperation, aspirations and the achievable, and regional and global. It should be navigated on the strong foundation of rules-based collaboration. India’s concerted actions in the Indo-Pacific region will determine its evolution as a key player. This requires a Reimagination, reform, resolve and resilience based on trust and transparency. It is no longer about rising India, but how India could lead.

 

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

2. What the Pegasus surveillance scandal means for Indian democracy? Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

‘Pegasus Project’ report produced by the collaborative investigation of journalists from around the world has given rise to speculations of extensive surveillance by the Indian government.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail what the Pegasus surveillance scandal means for Indian democracy.

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 key facts relevant to the question to set the context.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

The Pegasus scandal is a matter of grave concern for Indian democracy. We have to discuss its Implications and future course of action.

Firstly, talk about the associated laws and agencies involved in surveillance activities in India.

Then discuss the threat posed by excessive surveillance; while a small amount of surveillance is necessary for national security, excess and arbitrary surveillance is dangerous. Excessive and unaccountable surveillance imperils privacy, freedom of thought, of speech, and has a chilling effect on people’s behaviour.

Discuss the concerns associated with surveillance in India.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the issue and conclude.

Introduction

‘Pegasus Project’ report produced by the collaborative investigation of journalists from around the world has given rise to speculations of extensive surveillance by the Indian government. As per reports of some national and international news agencies there appeared on a leaked list of “potential” or actual targets for spying by the Israeli company NSO’s Pegasus spyware.

As per claims, at least a 1,000 Indian phone numbers are in a list of potential targets of surveillance using the Pegasus spyware sold by Israeli company the NSO Group to “vetted governments” with the approval of the Israeli government.

Body

Implications of Pegasus spyware issue on Indian democracy:

  • Allegations against Supreme Court:
    • There are allegations that the phones of the woman who had complained of sexual harassment against a former Chief Justice, and her family, might have been subject to surveillance.
    • If true, it casts a serious doubt on the sanctity of the Supreme Court’s proceedings.
  • Integrity of democratic institutions: 
    • A system in which political opponents, officials of the Election Commission, and political colleagues could be subject to this kind of surveillance, will inspire less confidence in the democratic institutions too.
  • National security implications:
    • The explosive growth of surveillance technology vendors is a global security and human rights problem.
    • Even if authorized (which is doubtful), the use of Pegasus poses a national security risk. Who else will have access to that information? How much geopolitics is now influenced by these shadowy cyber weapons?
  • Foreign relations:
    • The issue also indicates that surveillance rules in India are not as per global standards.
    • This hinders India’s ability to enter data sharing agreements,which allow government agencies to access data stored overseas when required, with other countries.
    • Surveillance rules in sync with the global standards would allow India to enter into executive data sharing agreementswith countries like the US which require judicial review of surveillance-thereby solving the inequitable present data access scenarios where law enforcement authorities in India have to deal with a long process to access data stored abroad,

Measures needed:

  • Global agreement:
    • It is not primarily China, but democratic states like Israel and UK, that are selling technologies for deepening the surveillance powers of states.
    • There needs to be a global compact, or at least one amongst democratic states, on regulating these technologies.
  • Role of the court:
    • The Pegasus allegations are debilitating in their potential effect on the trust that underpins the pact between government and people.
    • The court must play its role in ensuring that the questions are answered, and due process is followed, no matter where it might lead to.
  • Surveillance reforms: Following reform measures need to be implemented –
    • The review committee consists of officers of the executive branch of the government. The oversight committee, to enable a working separation of powers, must consist of other branches of government, i.e. the legislative and judiciary
    • Neither the IT Act nor the 2009 Interception Rules, provide a grievance redressal mechanismfor surveilled persons. Due to the strict confidentiality provisions, surveilled persons find it impossible to ascertain and prove whether they were being surveilled.
    • Checks and balances on discretionary powers: The law allows for surveillance for reasons including the interest of public safety where it is necessary or expedient so to do in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India” and for “public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence”. This is a lot of discretion here, which often leads to abuse of these powers. Hence, laws should be amended and narrowed by providing an indicative list of what constitutes abuse of surveillance or interception powers, with stringent penal consequences.

Conclusion

The whole incident brought forward the issue of digital security and the ways to achieve it with minimum loopholes. It is necessary to be self-aware about digital security because compromise in that could lead to a situation of total surveillance. Setting stringent cybersecurity standards to protect individuals and institutions of national importance, to make sure that the unity of the nation and the integrity of the individuals stay safe and secure. The largest democracy in the world cannot be at the mercy of a shady, private company.

 

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

3. US has been is taking several trade actions against India in the recent times. In this context, discuss the need for renegotiation of trade deal with US for the betterment of India-US trade relations. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The article suggests that India-US trade relations need a reset.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for renegotiation of trade deal with US for the betterment of India-US trade relations.

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:

Since 2016, the US administration has been increasingly undertaking trade actions against India, including tariff and non-tariff barriers and anti-dumping duties.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First talk about various trade actions against India in the recent times that US has been taking.

Explain that the resurgence of tariffs as a critical foreign policy tool for the United States (US) is a departure from one of its long-upheld commitments towards free trade.

Suggest what should be India’s stand.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The United States and India have long striven to maintain and deepen bilateral ties, weathering Cold War tensions and antagonisms over India’s nuclear tests to reinvigorate linkages and strengthen cooperation. Today’s modern US-India relationship continues to develop under a broad-based and multisectoral framework nurtured by common strategic interests and an engaged Indian diaspora in the United States, yet advancements in trade relations have faltered in comparison: though US-India trade has grown steadily, from a mere $16 billion in 1999 to a more robust $146 billion in 2019, long-standing disagreements over critical issues and the lack of structural trade agreements between both countries mar attempts to achieve the full perceived potential of the relationship.

Amid these bilateral trade tensions, India’s negotiations to strike a win-win trade deal with the US have been stalled for years. Likewise, negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty have also been unsuccessful due to differences in approaches to investor protection.

Body

Bilateral Trade between India and USA:

  • In 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the USA and India stood at USD 88.75 billion.
  • The USA is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.
  • India’s trade surplus with the USA increased to USD 17.42 billion in 2019-20 from USD 16.86 billion in 2018-19.
  • For the USA, India was the sixth largest supplier of services imports.
  • India’s large market, economic growth, and progress towards development make it an essential market for USA exporters.

US trade actions against India:

  • The resurgence of tariffs as a critical foreign policy tool for the United States (US) is a departure from one of its long-upheld commitments towards free trade.
  • The United States Trade Representative (USTR)’s June 7 announcement regarding a trade action, following its Section 301 investigation of Digital Services Tax (adopted by India, Austria, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom), is a step in this direction.
  • Since 2016, the US administration has been increasingly undertaking trade actions against India, including tariff and non-tariff barriers and anti-dumping duties.
  • Earlier, in June 2019, the US announced the termination of the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) benefits for India, which impacted nearly 10% of India’s exports to the US that year.
  • Market access issues have been vociferously raised by the US against India several times. During the 7th Trade Policy Review at the World Trade Organization, the US urged India to reduce tariffs and remove non-tariff barriers.
  • While the US implemented 1,072 harmful trade interventions affecting India since 2009, India imposed only 381 such measures affecting the US.
  • According to annual reports of US Trade Representative (USTR), India’s recent emphasis on import substitution through the ‘Make in India’ campaign is one the several challenges facing the bilateral trade relationship.

Impacts of actions:

  • An analysis of the 26 products identified by USTR for the 25% tariff hike indicates that these products constituted only 0.2% of merchandise imports by the US from India in 2019.
  • Notwithstanding the low share of these products in the US imports from India, the potential tariff hike could influence India’s price competitiveness across several products where the country holds a significant share in the US market, such as basmati rice, gems and jewellery, marine and wood products.

Need for a renegotiation of trade deal:

  • Currently, India has an untapped merchandise export potential of nearly $25.7 billion in the US market, across a wide array of products, such as jewellery and precious metals (untapped potential worth $6.9 billion), marine products ($354.3 million), processed food ($298.6 million), and furniture ($67.6 million), according to data from the International Trade Centre.
  • Given the significant trade potential and the importance of the US as a strategic partner, there is a need to hold concerted discussions for a trade deal.
  • There is a huge potential to boost bilateral trade between the countries especially on account of increasing anti-China sentiment in both the nations.

Way forward:

  • The time is ripe for India to follow through on discussions for the mini-trade deal with the US and bolster its position in the US market.
  • India could consider focusing on negotiations for tariff relaxations and partial restoration of GSP benefits, in exchange for specific market access commitments, with due consideration to the impact on sensitive sectors such as agriculture.
  • India also needs to dispel its image of being a country with high trade barriers.
  • There is also an urgent need to challenge the narrative for market access concerns raised by the US.
  • Thus, the negotiation should focus on the resolution of various non-tariff barriers and other market access improvements as early as possible.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. How can rooftop solar energy projects offer an opportunity for India to meet its emission reduction targets? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Down to Earth

Why the question:

The article explains to us why rooftop solar and storage offers a viable future for India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss how rooftop solar energy projects can offer an opportunity for India to meet its emission reduction targets.

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:

The Union government’s target of producing 40 gigawatts of rooftop solar power by 2022 is unrealistic: The country could produce only 4.4 GW rooftop solar energy till March 31, 2021, according to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain what you understand by solar rooftops; A solar photovoltaic (PV) system mounted on a rooftop of a building is a mini-power requirement or feed into the grid.

Discuss the need of solar rooftops.

Explain why it’s a viable alternative and an opportunity for India.

Discuss associated challenges.  Suggest policies in support of solar rooftops in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Photovoltaic (PV) cell is an energy harvesting technology, that converts solar energy into useful electricity through a process called the photovoltaic effect. The Union government has set a target of producing 40 gigawatt of rooftop solar power by 2022. However, the country could produce only 4.4 GW rooftop solar energy till March 31, 2021, according to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Body:

Solar Energy Scenario in India:

  • Solar power in Indiais a fast developing industry. The country’s solar installed capacity reached 35.12 GW as of 30 June 2020. India has the lowest capital cost per MW globally of installing solar power plants.
  • The Indian government had an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule.
  • In 2015 the target was raised to 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022, targeting an investment of US$100 billion.
  • Rooftop solar power accounts for 2.1 GW, of which 70% is industrial or commercial.
  • In addition to its large-scale grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) initiative, India is developing off-grid solar power for local energy needs.

Potential of rooftop solar energy:

  • residential consumers account for less than 20 per cent of the total installed capacity of rooftop system.
  • Solar rooftop power is cheaper than grid-supplied electricity.
  • They help minimise transmission and distribution losses, as the generated power is consumed locally.
  • In large cities, they can act as a back-up, replacing polluting diesel generator sets.
  • Solar rooftop can be harnessed for demand-side management (for example, time-of-day pricing to match household demand with solar generation).
  • With falling solar prices and steadily increasing tariffs of distribution companies (discoms), SRT systems are being seen as financially attractive.
  • According to a 2014 report by The Energy and Resources Institute, a Delhi-based non-profit, the total market potential for rooftop solar photovoltaic cells in urban settlements of India is around 124 GW.
  • Solar rooftop is also a perfect solution for commercial and institutional buildings that operate mostly during the day. Their rooftops can be utilised to generate electricity, and they can, partially or completely, replace diesel generators. This would also help them reduce their electricity bills.

Challenges:

  • The capital expenditure and technical know-how needed for these processes decreases from the first item to the last.
  • In other words, silicon production is more capital-intensive than module assembly.
  • Most Indian companies are engaged in only module assembly or wafer manufacturing and module assembly.
  • No Indian company is involved in silicon production, although a few are making strides towards it.
  • Uncertainty in weather: The design of a solar power generation system involves either the use of historical weather data or weather forecast methods to predict the future temporal evolution of the solar energy system.
  • Solar irradiance:Solar irradiance is essential in operation of the PV systems and it can have a significant impact on the efficiency and power quality response of the whole system.
  • Initial Cost:The high initial cost of solar PV systems is one of the most significant barriers to PV adoption.
  • The total funding requirement for installing 40 GW of SRT systems by 2022 is estimated to be over Rs 2.8 lakh crore ($40 billion). A 30 per cent capital subsidy support from the government does cover a portion of this cost. However, most prospective customers either do not have the savings to cover the upfront costs, or are simply unwilling to invest, given the relatively large amount. Also, most customers do not have access to bank financing.
  • Lack of easy and cheap funding, and increasing cheap imports from China and Taiwan is hurting the domestic industry.
  • Surplus Power: In India, net metering system is currently not available and thus the surplus power generated from renewable energy sources cannot be sold to the utilities.
  • Transmission & Distribution losses that at approximately 40 percent make generation through solar energy sources highly unfeasible.
  • Manufacturers are mostly focused on export markets that buy Solar PV cells. This could result in reduced supplies for the local market.
  • Energy Storage:Off grid PV systems typically use batteries for storing energy, and the use of batteries could increase the size, cost and complexity of the system.
  • Education:PV systems present a new and unfamiliar technology; few people understand value and feasibility. This lack of information slows market and technological growth.

Way Forward:

  • One of the quickest ways for the government to introduce solar rooftop in existing buildings would be to promote the replacement of diesel generators with solar rooftop systems in housing societies
  • integrated policies fully supported by States. Industry must get help to set up facilities and avail low cost financing both important elements in China’s rise and be able to invest in intellectual property.
  • Manufacturing of solar cell is dominated by a handful number of countries. India, in order to become a world leader in solar power, need for indigenous development of Solar Cells.
  • There is an immediate necessityto develop the entire value chain ecosystem to become competitive and achieve sustainable growth in the long run.
  • Flexible financing optionsfor individuals to install rooftop solar installations would also support a faster adoption of clean energy.
  • Focus on last mile connectivityin remote areas through small solar installations
  • solar community grids by using a domestically manufactured PV Cells with small power inverters or batteries in every home cam ensure power for
  • Rapid progress requires a strategic shift to aid competitive domestic manufacturing.
  • The government would recognise, the idea of building a domestic solar cell manufacturing industry that delivers increasing volumes of quality photovoltaic cells, modules and associated equipment is long in the tooth.
  • Viewed against the goals set five years ago for the Paris Agreement on climate, of installing 100 GW of solar power by 2022, there could be a sharp deficit.
  • Combined with low domestic cell manufacturing capacityat 3.1 GW last year, and heavy reliance on China, high ambition must now be supported by aggressive official policy.

Conclusion:

Renewable energy, particularly solar, is crucial to India’s future. Due diligence should be exercised while selecting and procuring solar modules, effective development of photovoltaic cells, including verifying the antecedents of the manufacturer, and independent checks on the quality of the modules imported into India.

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

5. There were more frequent extreme weather events across the world in recent years. Do you think climate change as a sole reason for rise in such extreme events? Examine.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article provides a look at some of the extreme weather events across the world in 2021, and whether they are being caused by climate change.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail if climate change is a sole reason for rise in such extreme events.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with key facts related to extreme weather events that have occurred recently.

Body:

Even as countries are grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change remains one of the biggest threats. This year, people around the world have been doubly hit by the pandemic and extreme weather events which experts say have been fuelled by climate change.

Explain how increasing temperatures mean more melting ice, higher sea levels, more heatwaves and other extreme weather.

Suggest that while there can be many other reasons for intense weather events, the trajectory is clear — climate change remains the most significant contributing factor that is causing more powerful heat waves, droughts and bigger storm surges.

Conclusion:

Suggest solutions to address the issue.

Introduction

Even as countries are grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change remains one of the biggest threats. This year, people around the world have been doubly hit by the pandemic and extreme weather events which experts say have been fuelled by climate change.

World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) Secretary-General recently stated that rising temperatures can have far-reaching consequences, including an impact on food security, health, the environment and sustainable development.

Body

Extreme weather events and climate change

  • According to a recent study on the report “Preparing India for Extreme Climate Events”released by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), over 75% of districts in India are hotspots of extreme climate events such as cyclonesfloodsdroughtsheat waves and cold waves.
  • The melting of the Himalayan glaciers that prompted the floods and landslides in Uttarakhand have the fingerprints of global warming.
  • In 2013, glacial flooding caused over 6,000 deaths in Uttarakhand during the monsoon months.
  • The United States has already witnessed many deadly avalanches since the beginning of 2021.
  • Furthermore, as glacier cover is replaced by water or land, the amount of light reflected decreases, aggravating warming — a contributor to the sweltering heat in cities like Delhi and Hyderabad, or the epic floods in Chennai or Kerala.
  • The wildfires of Australia and California were not isolated events, rather a result of Climate change manifesting into extreme heat causing the fires.
  • the unprecedented heat wave that drove temperatures across Canada and parts of the United States to a record high, causing hundreds of deaths between June 25 to 30.
  • the recent floods in Germany that killed over 180 people in the country.
  • Cyclones Tauktae and Yaas that hit India’s west and east coasts, respectively; as well as the floods in New South Wales in March.

The frequency and strength of such weather disasters around the world have raised fresh concerns regarding climate change, with scientists detecting a stronger link between global warming and changing weather patterns.

 Other factors leading to extreme weather events:

  • While there can be many other reasons for intense weather events, the trajectory is clear — climate change remains the most significant contributing factor that is causing more powerful heat waves, droughts and bigger storm surges.
  • several studies have found that a rise in the temperature of the sea surface is related to the changes in the intensity and frequency of cyclones.
  • The Indian Ocean is heating up at a faster pace in comparison to the Pacific or the Atlantic. And in fact, the western parts of the Indian Ocean are warming up even more.
  • Temperatures at the Earth’s poles are rising at two to three times the temperature at the equator. According to a report by Reuters, this weakens the jet stream of the mid-latitudes, situated over Europe. During summer and autumn, the weakening of the jet stream has a causal effect resulting in slower-moving storms. This can result in more severe and longer-lasting storms with increased intensity.

Ramping up Climate action

  • A vital step should be explicitly including policies for climate mitigation in the government budget, along with energy, roads, health and education.
  • Specifically, growth targets should include timelines for switching to cleaner energy.
    • Eg: Finalise Rule book under Paris Agreement
  • The government needs to launch a major campaign to mobilise climate finance.
  • For India, the third-largest carbon emitter after China and the United States, a decisive switch is needed from highly polluting coal and petroleum to cleaner and renewable power
  • China has announced carbon neutrality by 2060, Japan and South Korea by 2050, but India is yet to announce a target. The acceleration of hazards of nature should prompt countries to advance those targets, ideally by a decade.
  • The first thing to recognize about climate policy is that any successful efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions today will not have a perceptible impact on the climate for many decades.
  • This of course does not mean that we need not concern ourselves with reducing emissions. To the contrary, it means that to succeed politically and economically we have to develop creative strategies that connect shorter terms benefits of emissions reductions with those benefits expected in the more distant future.
  • India must continue to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and aim higher, to ensure a better future not only for its citizens but people all over the globe.

Way forward:

  • Develop a Climate Risk Atlasto map critical vulnerabilities such as coasts, urban heat stress, water stress, and biodiversity collapse.
  • Develop an Integrated Emergency Surveillance Systemto facilitate a systematic and sustained response to emergencies.
  • Mainstream risk assessment at all levels,including localised, regional, sectoral, cross-sectoral, macro and micro-climatic level.
  • Enhance adaptive and resilience capacityto climate-proof lives, livelihoods and investments.
  • Increase the participatory engagement of all stakeholdersin the risk assessment process.
  • Integrate risk assessmentinto local, sub-national, and national level plans.

Conclusion

Sustainable growth depends on timely climate action. For that to happen, policymaking needs to connect the dots between carbon emissions, atmospheric warming, melting glaciers, extreme floods and storms. Events like Uttarakhand and Texas should be treated as lessons to change people’s minds and for the public to demand urgent action.

 

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

6. A timely green stimulus can address air pollution, generate surplus power, create jobs, do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains in what way a timely green stimulus can address air pollution, generate surplus power, create jobs.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of green stimulus and explain in what way it can address air pollution, generate surplus power, create jobs etc.

Directive:

Comment– here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by Green stimulus.

Body:

Discuss in detail the elements of Green Stimulus.

Talk about the procurement of crop wastes; the burning of rice crop residue in northern India will create an air pollution crisis.  This can be avoided by procuring all the crop waste at a remunerative price. The waste can be converted into briquettes, which can be substituted for coal in thermal power stations. 

Demand for EVs will not pick up till a critical mass of charging infrastructure is available, and the investment in charging stations would not generate returns —a classic chicken and-egg conundrum.

Decentralized solar procurement, decentralized gas-based economy etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such stimulus.

Introduction

With every winter there is news of elevated pollution levels in the national capital. The problem of pollution disrupts not only the NCR area but many other prominent urban areas like Allahabad and Ludhiana which figure above Delhi in the pollution ranking across the world.

Air pollution Scenario in India:

  • According to WHO, of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, the top 14 are Indian cities. These include Kanpur, Faridabad, Varanasi, Delhi, etc.
  • The Environmental Performance Index (released by World Economic Forum) ranked India 178th out of 180 countries in terms of air quality.
  • According to Central Pollution Control Board data, 11 most polluted cities in country are from Uttar Pradesh. Ghaziabad is the most polluted city in the country followed by Gurugram.
  • In a few months from now, around Diwali, the burning of rice crop residue in northern India will create an air pollution crisis.

Wrong policy measures and poor implementation of policies leading to Air Pollution in India:

  • Vehicular pollution:Mainly due to trucks, tempos and other diesel run vehicles. These vehicles negate the impact of cleaner fuel and emission technology. Stopping such truck from entering cities, congested areas and policy failure to check health of vehicles led to menace of air pollution.
  • Combustion and burning:Combustion in power plants and industries using dirty fuels, like pet coke, FO and its variants, coal and biomass release hazardous air pollutants. Garbage burning, both in landfills and other places where there is no collection, processing or disposal. Inability to put check on this and corrupt governance, lack of timely inspections lead to air pollution issue in India.
  • Agricultural activities:Use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilisers in agricultural activities release ammonia which is a major air pollutant. Crop residue burning-large-scale burning of crop residues from paddy crop in October-November and then wheat in April in the neighbouring states of Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh contributes significantly to the air pollution in the Delhi NCR Region every year. The climatic conditions during winter aggravate the condition. Inability of government to put a ban on practice of stubble burning and non-procurement of any stubble cause air pollution due to burning.
  • Cold Weather:During the winter, dust particles and pollutants in the air become unable to move. Due to stagnant winds, these pollutants get locked in the air and results in smog. Lack of use of scientific methods like artificial raining in policy measures also made air pollutant stay for a longer time.
  • Mining Operations:During the process of mining, dust and chemicals are released in the air causing massive air pollution. Failure of state to prevent unchecked mining and illegal mining has added to the issue.
  • High dependence on coal for power:share of coal in power generation in India continue to be around 80%. Power plants with poor technology and efficiency continue to be the major source of pollutants like CO and oxides of nitrogen and sulphur. State’s failure to quickly switch over to renewable resources has led to rise in air pollution.
  • Exploitation of resources: Over exploitation of commons like forests, grazing lands and mindless deforestation reduces the natural capacity to absorb pollutants. Inability to punish and catch forest mafias and to check deforestation led to air pollution.
  • Haphazard Construction menace: Unchecked corruption and violation of construction rules, corruption in municipalities added up to air pollution through dust and haze.
  • Poor governance:The issue of environment and pollution is still to get the policy priority it deserves. While agencies liked CPCB and SPCBs continue to be under-resourced and under-staffed, multiplicity of the state authorities at the ground level leads to poor coordination, lax enforcement of rules and lack of accountability as seen in Delhi. Absence of environmental governance continues to be a major challenge.
  • Unplanned urbanisation:Haphazard growth of urban areas has led to proliferation of slums and poor public transport has increased the burden of personal vehicles on the road. Landfills used for waste management also releases pollutants in the air. The rapid urbanization of the recent years if left unmanaged will further exacerbate the problem

Green stimulus helps in combating air pollution along with other positive externalities:

  • Crop residue into usable form of energy:
    • procuring all the crop waste at a remunerative price.
    • The waste can be converted into briquettes, which can be substituted for coal in thermal power stations.
    • NTPC has already done this successfully without adding to the cost of generation, as the cost of briquettes is comparable to that of coal in energy terms.
    • The crop waste can be given for conversion into briquettes to private entrepreneurs.
  • Electric vehicles:
    • A national programme for building charging stations in all cities with a population of over a million is called for.
    • It can be financed fully through a central government guaranteed debt.
    • This would provide a large demand stimulus across the country, generate a sustained surge in demand for EVs and their manufacturing supply chain.
    • The purchase of electric buses for city bus services may also be fully financed through government guaranteed debt.
    • These measures, in addition to creating a demand stimulus, would also lead to substantial improvement in air quality in our highly polluted cities.
  • Feed-in-tariff:
    • An easy way of achieving progress is to have a national policy guidance for the states to get electricity distribution companies to announce a remunerative price (feed-in tariff) at which they would buy solar power in the kw range from the rural areas.
    • Solar power generated in a village would make it much easier to provide electricity in the day to farmers for irrigation. This would also facilitate more efficient use of water. If generating 1 MW from a village is realistic, with 6 lakh villages, there is a potential of 600 GW capacity creation. Such a programme would generate widely dispersed private investment and increased incomes.
    • Germany used a feed-in tariff with great effect to become a global leader in the use of solar power.
  • Converting cow-dung into energy:
    • With highest cattle population in world, India could convert all the cow dung into useful commercial energy. This would be a fit case for a bit of cross-subsidy.
    • Now that all households are getting LPG stoves and cylinders and have already got electricity connections, cow dung is no longer required for cooking.
    • It can be converted in small village-level plants to gas which can be used as a fuel for cooking and transport, or, to generate electricity
    • A government-promoted system for procurement of this gas, or electricity generated from this gas, at a remunerative price would create the right incentives for private investment and income generation across all villages.
    • These are some innovative and affordable pathways for a green stimulus which would create dispersed demand and jobs with large multiplier effects.

Conclusion

Pollution and its health burden are inevitable in the near future. Therefore, it is necessary to equip public healthcare systems with adequate resources for facing this emerging challenge and shield poor from catastrophic healthcare expenditures. Coherent environmental policies are needed. Since air pollution knows no boundaries, states and centre have to harmonise their strategy to deal with it. Platforms like inter-state council apart from serving this objective can also help resolve pollution related disputes among states.

 

Topic: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security

7. Is a state actor more powerful than a non-state actor or is a non-state actor more powerful than a state actor? Deliberate. (250 words)

Reference:  en.wikipedia.org

Why the question:

The question aims to differentiate the State and Non-state actors and in what way one is powerful than the other.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain if a state actor is more powerful than a non-state actor or is a non-state actor more powerful than a state actor.

Directive:

Deliberate – 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 you understand by State and Non-State actors.

Body:

State actors are governments or their agencies of foreign countries and non-state actor are individual/ organisation who have social, political and economic power to influence national/international policies but they are not allied with any particular country such as NGOs, Inter- Govt. organisations, Terrorist outfits.

Difference b/w state and non-state actors are converging as state actors support non state actors whose ideologies converge with that of state actor. For example Pakistan using LeT and JeM against India. Sometimes non state actors also influence state policies like IMF’s condition to open India’s economy during balance of payment crisis of 1980s.

Discuss what needs to be done to overcome the threat of the two.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.

Introduction

India has been facing challenges on the front of internal security since independence from various state and non-state actors. State actors refer to those entities which have formal backing of a sovereign state for carrying out any intended action. Non-state actors on the other hand, have a considerable power of influencing international events but they do not have formal state backing. Examples of state actors are the governments or their agencies of foreign countries like army, bureaucracy, intelligence agencies etc. whereas non-state actors would be corporations, media organizations, business magnates, people’s liberation movements, lobby groups, religious groups, aid agencies, and violent non-state actors such as paramilitary forces.

Body

State actors and Non-state actors: A comparison of strength:

  • Non-state actors can aid in opinion building in international affairs, such as the Human Rights Council. Formal international organizations may also rely on non-state actors, particularly NGOs in the form of implementing partners in the national context.
  • Non-state actors are fundamental agents in helping to achieve both national and international development goals, such as those around climate change. Actions by non-state actors contribute significantly towards filling the greenhouse gas emissions gap left by unambitious or poorly executed national climate policies, Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).
  • Another example that shows the importance of non-state actors in peace-building is the contribution of ICBL (International Campaign to Ban Landmines) to the international prohibition on the use of landmines. ICBL is a global network of NGOs that has operated in over 90 countries since 1992. Its primary goal is to make a world free of anti-personnel landmines. Their passionate advertising appealing for global cooperation drew Diana, Princess of Wales to become an ardent advocate. Together, they brought the issue to the United Nations General Assembly.
  • Non-state actors also have a role in governance. While NSAs are incredibly useful in advancing international peace, monitoring human rights violations, and lobbying for socio-political issues like climate change, they also play a role in non-traditional governance. Many fragile states rely on non-state actors for protection and administration.
  • The importance of this is that in the last 20 years non-state actors have acquired legal recognition due to their heavy involvement in the international order. Their growing presence as an alternative governmental presence also holds them accountable to international law.
  • On the other hand, State actors are far more powerful.
  • They are sovereign countries formed under national consciousness, which then called as Nation State. In a nutshell “state actors” represent official government policy of a nation-state.
  • They have far larger resource pools from which to draw in terms of both money, people, and connections.
  • This allows States to accumulate wealth much quicker than non-state organizations and groups, as well as create power arsenals that would be un-affordable to non-state groups.
  • Not just the volume of weapons (number of tanks, planes, etc) but even the quality of the weapons or the sheer destructive power of the weapons (nuclear weapon, prohibitively expensive to non-state groups, but just need one to ruin everyone’s day)
  • Then there’s the alliances that diplomacy allows. There’s so many ways for states to mingle with other states. There’s no question friendships and partnerships can be made much easier than when you don’t have ambassadors or embassies.

Conclusion

Both state and non-state factors from outside have created problems in our internal security framework. Hence while it is imperative to guard our borders and strengthen our diplomacy, on the other hand, we need to check the various non-state actors who come in hidden forms. There is a need for a national internal security doctrine to deal with various challenges.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos