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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 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: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

1. Supreme Court’s judgment in M.K. Ranjithsinh case shall pave way for upholding the biocentric principles of coexistence with adequate intend from Government for stringent implementation, do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court of India has sought to move away from an anthropocentric basis of law. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail in what way the judgment can pave way for upholding the biocentric principles of coexistence with adequate intend from Government for stringent implementation.

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 biocentric approach.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Firstly present an argument of Biocentrism vs. Anthropocentrism.

Explain that the philosophy of biocentrism holds that the natural environment has its own set of rights which is independent of its ability to be exploited by or to be useful to humans.

Biocentrism often comes into conflict with anthropocentrism.

Talk about the recent rulings; the Supreme Court in M.K. Ranjitsinh & Others vs. Union of India & Others, said that in all cases where the overhead lines in power projects exist, the governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat shall take steps forthwith to install bird diverters.

Discuss evolution of right of nature laws in constitutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

The Great Indian Bustard, a gravely endangered species, with hardly about 200 alive in India today, came under the protective wings of the Supreme Court of India in a recent judgment. The Court said, in M.K. Ranjitsinh & Others vs Union of India & Others, that in all cases where the overhead lines in power projects exist, the governments of Rajasthan and Gujarat shall take steps forthwith to install bird diverters pending consideration of the conversion of overhead cables into underground power lines.

Thus, the Supreme Court of India has upheld Biocentrism and sought to move away from an anthropocentric basis of law.

Body

Biocentric approach:

  • The philosophy of biocentrism or ecocentrism holds that the natural environment has its own set of rights, which is independent of its ability to be exploited by or to be useful to humans.
  • Biocentrism often comes into conflict with anthropocentrism.
  • In protecting the birds, the Court has affirmed and emphasised the biocentric values of eco-preservation.
  • A noteworthy instance of the application of anthropocentrism in the legal world is in that of the “Snail darter” case in the United States.
  • The Indian judiciary earlier was inclined towards anthropocentrism. But gradually, it has shifted more towards ecocentrism.
  • Godavarman case, 2012: In this case, the court explained the ecocentric approach and elaborated on the necessary application of the same.
  • Centre for Environment Law, WWFI v. Union of India case, 2013: The court threw light on the intrinsic value of all living beings, irrespective of the fact that they were instrumental for human survival or not.

Need for such a bio-centric approach:

  • About 50 years ago, there were 4,50,000 lions in Africa. Today, there are hardly 20,000.
  • Indiscriminate monoculture farming in the forests of Borneo and Sumatra is leading to theextinction of orangutans.
  • Rhinos are hunted for the so-called medicinal value of their horns and are slowly becoming extinct.
  • From the time humans populated Madagascar about 2,000 years ago, about 15 to 20 species of Lemurs, which are primates, have become extinct.
  • The compilation prepared by the International Union for Conservation of Naturelists about 37,400 species that are gravely endangered; and the list is ever growing.

Way forward:

  • The conversion to ecocentrism overnight is impossible,especially in the developed societies because of their heavy reliance on resources and generation of waste.
  • So, abandoning anthropocentrism is impossible instantly; however, we can distinguish our nature-consumption outcomes and intervene when the need is vital to our survival, and not because it is a desire or interest. For example,
  • Interfering with the environment to build a golf course is unethical because they are hardly essential for survival

Conclusion

In conclusion, if humanity is born with greediness, it is intelligent enough to see that it is only facing a dark future by the following anthropocentrism. Granting a tree, a mountain and a bird its intrinsic value i.e. Right of Nature laws is the first step towards a biocentric world and a better planet. In times like this the Supreme Court’s judgment in M.K. Ranjithsinh upholding the biocentric principles of coexistence is a shot in the arm for nature conservation.

 

Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

2. Explain why the Supreme Court has recently struck down part of the 97th constitutional amendment? Also analyse its impact on federal principles in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The Supreme Court recently struck down certain provisions of the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act, 2011. The Ministry of Co-operation has been newly formed under the Government of India in July 2021.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain why the Supreme Court has recently struck down part of the 97th constitutional amendment and analyse its impact on federal principles in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

The 97th constitutional amendment dealt with issues relating to the effective management of co-operative societies in the country.

 Body:

Talk about the changes that the amendment brought in.

The three-judge bench of the Supreme Court while upholding the validity of the 97th constitutional amendment has struck down a part related to the setting up and functioning of cooperative societies working within a state.

The Supreme Court judgment was based on the reasoning that the concerned subject matter of co-operative fell in the state list and hence it belongs wholly and exclusively to the State legislatures to legislate upon and any change would require the ratification by at least one-half of the state legislatures as per Article 368(2) of the Constitution which was not carried out for the 97th constitutional amendment.

Cooperative Societies is a State Subject under Entry 32 of the State List of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India.

This development has been hailed by the constitutional experts as a boost to the principle of federalism – part of the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.

Discuss the challenges in the co-operative sector.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The Supreme Court, recently, in a 2:1 majority verdict upheld the validity of the 97th constitutional amendment that deals with issues related to effective management of cooperative societies but struck down a part inserted by it which relates to the Constitution and working of cooperative societies. The judgement struck down part IX B of the Constitution related to cooperative societies but saved the amendment.

Body

97th constitutional amendment Act, 2011:

  • It dealt with issues related to effective management of co-operative societies in the country.
  • It was passed by Parliament in December 2011 and had come into effect from February 15, 2012.
  • It amended Article 19(1)(c) to give protection to the cooperatives and inserted Article 43 B and Part IX B, relating to them.
  • The word “cooperatives” was added after “unions and associations” in Article 19(1)(c) under Part III of the Constitution. This enables all the citizens to form cooperatives by giving it the status of fundamental right of citizens.
  • A new Article 43B was added in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) regarding the “promotion of cooperative societies”.

Reasons for striking down of part of 97th Amendment:

  • Upholding the Gujarat High Court’s 2013 decision striking down certain provisions of the 97th constitutional amendment, the Supreme Court held that the Parliament cannot enact laws with regard to cooperative societies as it is a State subject.
  • Several intervenors have contended that the amendment made a direct in-road into the exclusive domain of states to enact laws with regard to cooperatives.
  • Part IXB, introduced into the Constitution through the 97thAmendment, dictated the terms for running co-operative societies.
  • The provisions in the Amendment, passedby Parliament without getting them ratified by State legislatures as required by the Constitution.
  • It went to the extent of determining the number of directorsa society should have or their length of tenure and even the necessary expertise required to become a member of the society.

Impact on federal principles in India:

  • Legislation on State subject:
    • ‘cooperative societies’ come under Entry 32 of the State List in the Seventh Schedule, the Amendment proposed to create a framework for the functioning of cooperative societies.
    • The States have exclusive power to legislate on topics reserved exclusively to them in the State list.
    • Part IX B,which consists of Articles 243ZH to 243ZT, has “significantly and substantially impacted” State legislatures’ “exclusive legislative power” over its co-operative sector under Entry 32 of the State List.
    • The court pointed out howArticle 243ZI makes it clear that a State may only make law on the incorporation, regulation and winding up of a society subject to the provisions of Part IXB of the 97th
  • Legal infirmity:
    • SC held that the 97th Constitutional Amendment required ratification by at least one-half of the state legislatures as per Article 368(2) of the Constitution, since it dealt with an entry which was an exclusive state subject (co-operative societies).
    • Under Article 368(2), Parliament can amend the Constitution by passing a Bill with a special majority.
    • Since such ratification was not done in the case of the 97th amendment, it was liable to be struck down.
  • Upheld the Validity of Provisions related to Multi State Cooperative Societies:
    • It did not strike down the portions of Part IXB of the Amendment concerning ‘Multi State Co-operative Societies (MSCS)’ due to the lack of ratification.
    • When it comes to MSCS with objects not confined to one State, the legislative power would be that of the Union of India which is contained in Entry 44 List I (Union List).
    • It is declared that Part IXB of the Constitution is operative only insofar as it concerns multi-State cooperative societies both within the various States and in the Union Territories.

Conclusion

The Ministry of Cooperation was formed recently, apparently with a view to giving a fillip to the cooperative movement and reforming the functioning of cooperative societies. Until now, the subject was dealt with by the Agriculture Ministry. It administered the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act, 2002. The new Ministry will continue this work. For now, it will not be in a position to compel States to bring their cooperative laws in conformity with the Centre’s vision. Regarding the fate of the constitutional framework for all cooperative societies in the country, the Centre has the option of re-enacting the Amendment with a two-thirds majority in Parliament and obtaining ratification by 50% of the State legislatures.

 

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

3. Discuss the objectives and key features of Essential Defence Services Bill 2021. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article gives us insights on the Essential Defence Services Bill 2021.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the objectives and key features of Essential Defence Services Bill 2021.

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 what the Essential Defence Services Bill 2021 is about.

Body:

Essential Defence Services Bill is aimed at preventing the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on a strike.

The question is straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate. One must explain the key features and objectives of the bill in detail.

It is meant to “provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of nation and the life and property of public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance.

Introduction

The Essential Defence Services Bill, 2021 was recently introduced the in Lok Sabha. The bill seeks to replace the ordinance issued in June 2021. The Essential Defence Services Bill is aimed at preventing the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on a strike by anyone engaged in the essential defence services. The bill allows the central government to prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services.

Body

Objectives:

  • The Bill is aimed at preventing the staff of the government-owned ordnance factories from going on a strike.
  • Around 70,000 people work with the 41 ordnance factories around the country.
  • The Bill mentioned that that it is meant to “provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of nation and the life and property of public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto”.
  • According to the government, “Indian Ordnance Factories is the oldest and largest industrial setup which functions under the Department of Defence Production of the Ministry of Defence. The ordnance factories form an integrated base for indigenous production of defence hardware and equipment, with the primary objective of self-reliance in equipping the armed forces with state of the art battlefield equipment.” as the objective of the bill.

Key features:

  • Essential defence services: 
    • Essential defence services include any service in:
  • any establishment or undertaking dealing with production of goods or equipment required for defence related purposes, or
  • any establishment of the armed forces or connected with them or defence.  These also include services that, if ceased, would affect the safety of the establishment engaged in such services or its employees.
    • In addition, the government may declare any service as an essential defence service if its cessation would affect the:
  • production of defence equipment or goods,
  • operation or maintenance of industrial establishments or units engaged in such production, or
  • repair or maintenance of products connected with defence.
  • Strikes:
    • Under the Bill, strike is defined as cessation of work by a body of persons acting together.  It includes:
  • mass casual leave,
  • coordinated refusal of any number of persons to continue to work or accept employment,
  • refusal to work overtime, where such work is necessary for maintenance of essential defence services, and
  • any other conduct which results in, or is likely to result in, disruption of work in essential defence services.
  • Prohibition on strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs:
    • Under the Bill, the central government may prohibit strikes, lock-outs, and lay-offs in units engaged in essential defence services.  The government may issue such order if necessary in the interest of:
  • sovereignty and integrity of India,
  • security of any state,
  • public order,
  • public,
  • decency, or
    • The prohibition order will remain in force for six months, and may be extended by six months.
    • Strikes and lock-outs that are declared after the issue of the prohibition order, or had commenced before the prohibition order was issued will be illegal.
    • The prohibition will not apply to lay-offs made due to power shortage or natural calamity, or lay-offs of temporary or casual workmen.
  • Punishment for illegal lock-outs and lay-offs:
    • Employers violating the prohibition order through illegal lock-outs or lay-offs will be punished with up to one-year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both. 
  • Punishment for illegal strikes:
    • Persons commencing or participating in illegal strikes will be punished with up to one-year imprisonment or Rs 10,000 fine, or both.
    • Persons instigating, inciting, or taking actions to continue illegal strikes, or knowingly supplying money for such purposes, will be punished with up to two years’ imprisonment or Rs 15,000 fine, or both.
    • Further, such an employee will be liable to disciplinary action including dismissal as per the terms and conditions of his service.
    • In such cases, the concerned authority is allowed to dismiss or remove the employee without any inquiry, if it is not reasonably practicable to hold such inquiry.
    • All offences punishable under the Ordinance will be cognisable and non-bailable.
  • Public utility service:
    • The Bill amends the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 to include essential defence services under public utility services.
    • Under the Act, in case of public utility services, a six-week notice must be given before:
  • persons employed in such services go on strike in breach of contract or
  • employers carrying on such services do lock-outs.

Conclusion

The employee unions and associations had threatened to go on strike last year as well, when the government had declared that it will start the process towards OFB corporatisation. Thus, there is a need to provide for the maintenance of essential defence services so as to secure the security of nation and the life and property of public at large and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Critically analyse the viability and concerns over introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The Reserve Bank of India is likely to soon kick off pilot projects to assess the viability of using digital currency to make wholesale and retail payments to help calibrate its strategy for introducing a full-scale central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse the viability and concerns over introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency in India.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with introduction of Central Bank Digital Currency in India.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss first what is the CBDC or National Digital currency? – A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or national digital currency, is simply the digital form of a country’s fiat currency. Instead of printing paper currency or minting coins, the central bank issues electronic tokens. This token value is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.

Explain the need for it.

Discuss the challenges in rolling out National Digital Currency.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or national digital currency, is simply the digital form of a country’s fiat currency. Instead of printing paper currency or minting coins, the central bank issues electronic tokens. This token value is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.

The Reserve Bank of India is likely to soon kick off pilot projects to assess the viability of using digital currency to make wholesale and retail payments to help calibrate its strategy for introducing a full-scale central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Body

According to the Bank for International Settlements, more than 60 countries are currently experimenting with the CBDC. There are few Countries that already rolled out their national digital currency. Such as,

  • Swedenis conducting real-world trials of their digital currency (krona)
  • The Bahamasalready issued their digital currency “Sand Dollar” to all citizens
  • Chinastarted a trial run of their digital currency e- RMB amid pandemic. They plan to implement pan-china in 2022. This is the first national digital currency operated by a major economy.

Need for a CBDC:

  • The growth of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum etc has raised challenges to fiat currencies.
  • Along with their other vulnerabilities made the central bank of each country explore the possibility of introducing their own digital currencies.
  • A 2021 BIS survey of central banks, which found that 86% were actively researching the potential for such currencies, 60% were experimenting with the technology, and 14% were deploying pilot projects.
  • The need for inter-bank settlement would disappear as it would be a central bank liability handed over from one person to another.

Viability of a CBDC:

  • An official digital currency would reduce the cost of currency management while enabling real-time payments without any inter-bank settlement.
  • India’s fairly high currency-to-GDP ratio holds out another benefit of CBDC — to the extent large cash usage can be replaced by CBDC, the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency can be substantially reduced.
  • As the currency in digital form, it can provide an efficient way for financial transaction. Further, digital currency also solves the challenges with Cash and coins. Cash and coins require expenses in storage and have inherent security risks like the recent heist in the RBI currency chest.
  • There are about 3,000 privately issued cryptocurrencies in the world. According to IMF, the key reason for considering national digital currency is to counter the growth of private forms of digital money.
  • There is a possibility of these companies going bankrupt without any protection. This will create a loss for both investor and creditor. But the National Digital currency has government backing in case of any financial crisis.
  • As the state-backed digital currency can provide investor/consumer protection, the private can confidently invest in the associated infrastructure without any doubts over its regulation. This will improve the services to people.
  • The national digital currency will be regulated by the RBI. So, there will be less volatility compared to other digital currencies.
  • Current RBI’s work on inflation targeting can be extended to national digital currency also. Since India is planning to ban other cryptocurrencies, the RBI can better regulate digital and fiat currency. Thus upgrading to digital currency and balancing the macroeconomic stability.
  • With the introduction of CBDC in a nation, its central bank would be able to keep a track of the exact location of every unit of the currency, thereby curbing money laundering.
  • Criminal activities can be easily spotted and ended such as terror funding, money laundering, and so forth

Concerns posed:

  • India is already facing many cyber security threats. With the advent of digital currency, cyberattacks might increase and threaten digital theft like Mt Gox bankruptcy case.
  • According to the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2018 report, around 90% of India’s population is digitally illiterate. So, without creating enough literary awareness introduction of digital currency will create a host of new challenges to the Indian economy.
  • Introduction of digital currency also creates various associated challenges in regulation, tracking investment and purchase, taxing individuals, etc.
  • The digital currency must collect certain basic information of an individual so that the person can prove that he’s the holder of that digital currency. This basic information can be sensitive ones such as the person’s identity, fingerprints etc.

Conclusion:

There are crucial decisions to be made about the design of the currency with regards to how it will be issued, the degree of anonymity it will have, the kind of technology that is to be used, and so on. There is no doubt that the introduction of National Digital currency prevents the various threats associated with the private-owned cryptocurrencies and take India the next step as a digital economy. But the government has to create necessary safeguards before rolling out. India needs to move forward on introducing an official digital currency.

 

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

5. Marine life is facing threats from human-induced pollutants, in this context discuss what are Ghost Nets? and why they require urgent action? Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  Times of India

Why the question:

The article explains how ‘ghost nets’ threaten marine life and human beings.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what Ghost nets are and why they require urgent action.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain first that the presence of plastic in the world’s seas is growing exponentially. The IUCN estimates that at least 8 million tons of plastic are discarded in our oceans each year.

The impact of such debris on marine life, which ingests it or gets caught in it, is enormous. Ghost nets increase this problem even more. These are discarded fishing nets cluttering up land and sea.

Body:

Discuss that Ghost nets put severe stress on marine species, which threaten their survival. A reduction in marine species is in turn worrisome for humans as it would reduce the oxygen level in oceans which currently holds 70% of the world’s oxygen.

Explain the menace of Ghost nets.

Talk about the initiatives taken to solve the problem of ghost net.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Ghost nets are any fishing nets that have been abandoned, lost or discarded (ALD), at sea, on beaches or in harbours. They are a major factor of the bigger problem of ghost gear, which refers to all types of fishing gear, including nets, lines, traps, pots or fish aggregating devices (FADs), that are no longer actively managed.

The presence of plastic in the world’s seas is only growing by the day. In March 2018, fishermen hauled 400 kg of fishing nets out of the sea in a few locations off Kerala’s south coast. It covers the regions off India’s coasts, ranging from Tamil Nadu to Maharashtra.

Body

Stats about Ghostnets:

  • 10% of all ocean garbage/marine debris is from ghost gear
  • More than 640,000 tons of ghost gear is left in our oceans each year.
  • More than 136,000 seals, dolphins, whales, turtles and other sea animals get trapped/entangled in ghost gear each year.
  • Ghost gear can take up to 600 years to decompose.
  • Since July 2013, the Olive Ridley Project has physically removed more than 10 tons of ghost gear from the Indian Ocean
  • There are documentations of more than 1,000 turtle entanglements in the Maldives (as of May 2021)

Dangers posed by Ghostnets:

  • Each year, ghost gear is responsible for trapping and killing a significant number of marine animals, such as sharks, rays, bony fish, sea turtles, dolphins, whales, crustaceans and sea birds.
  • They can cause further destruction by smothering and damaging coral reefs, devastating shorelines, and damaging boats.
  • The deadly effects of ghost nets can be felt far from their point of origin. Ghost nets drift with ocean currents for years, or even decades. As they travel huge distances, they continuing to catch and kill marine animals in a process called “ghost fishing”.
  • Entanglement in ghost nets can lead to exhaustion, suffocation, starvation, amputations of limbs, and, eventually, the death of a marine animal. Entangled fish often act as bait, attracting larger predators such as turtles, sharks, and dolphins, which may themselves become entangled.
  • A drifting ghost net might eventually become so heavy due to its catch that it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
  • On the seabed, smaller ocean dwellers start feeding on the entangled marine animals, which, along with natural decomposition, reduces the weight of the net to the extent that it floats back up to the surface.
  • Once the ghost net is again drifting with the ocean currents, it starts its cycle of ghost fishing, sinking and floating back up all over again.
  • Due to the durability of modern fishing nets, this circle of devastation can continue for decades.

Measures undertaken to tackle Ghostnets so far:

  • To tackle this global issue, World Animal Protectionfounded the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI), a cross-sectoral alliance committed to driving solutions to the problem of ghost gear worldwide.
  • OliveRidley project, a UK NGO, works with fisheries to prevent ghost nets from entering the Indian Ocean in the first place and to develop ways to minimise ghost gear and encourage the reuse fishing gear.
  • Scientists at Kochi’s Indian Council of Agricultural Research ­Central Institute of Fisheries Technology studied ghost nets in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
  • According to the scientists, the government is also currently preparing anational ghost net management policy.

Further actions needed to curb the Ghostnet menace:

  • Avoid single-use plastics– any form of plastic, no matter how small, can cause harm and suffering to marine life like birds, fish and turtles when they eat it or become entangled in it. Bring your own grocery bags, carry a reusable water bottle and skip the straw.
  • Cut looped plastics– anything that forms a circle, like 6-pack beverage rings, plastic bag handles or packing straps from shipping boxes pose a threat to curious birds, seals and sea lions who can become entangled.
  • Encourage Plogging: Pick up 5 items of trash every time you go to the beach or shore– if we got a chance to visit a beach or lake, pay back the favour and keep trash out of the bellies of seabirds.
  • Don’t release balloons– after fishing gear, the most common material found entangled on marine life is balloons, especially those released in bunches!
  • Report it if you see an entangled animal or lost fishing gear– A global network is ready to help. Contact the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to report an entangled animal.

Way forward:

  • The level of ghost gear has increased in recent years and is likely to grow further as fishing efforts intensify, creating wide-ranging problemsfor the marine environment and costing governments millions of dollars in clean-up expenses.
  • India can emulate innovative solutionsfrom across the world to tackle the problem of ghost gear.
  • More efforts to make the process more organisedacross the over 7,500 km of India’s coasts, as well as inland water bodies, are the need of the hour.

 

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.

6. What are the threats posed by communication networks to the internal security of India? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:   idsa.in

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III, part internal security.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the threats posed by the communication networks to the internal security of India.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what communication Networks are.

Body:

Communication networks are defined as “the computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which, shall have a debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety” in the IT Act, 2000. They form a part of our critical information infrastructure.

Explain the importance of communication networks.

Discuss the key Security threats to communication networks.

Highlight the policies and programs in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Communication networks are a part of our critical information infrastructure which was defined in the IT Act, 2000 as “the computer resource, the incapacitation or destruction of which, shall have debilitating impact on national security, economy, public health or safety.”

Communications networks are crucial to the connectivity of other critical infrastructure, viz. civil aviation, shipping, railways, power, nuclear, oil and gas, finance, banking, communication, information technology, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, space, defence, and government networks.

Body:

Threats posed by communication networks to the internal security of India:

  • Used by terrorists – Due to the easy availability and widespread use of communication networks, most of the terrorists use this medium to achieve their goals. Around 90% of the organized terrorism on the Internet takes place through the social media. The terrorist groups spread their messages through the sites like You Tube, Twitter or Facebook and recruit people via them. For example, the terrorist group of ISIS spreads their messages and activities through the social media.
  • International users – The other national and international users such as the political parties, NGO’s, hackers pose a serious threat using the communication networks. For example, during the civil turmoil in the Arab Spring Uprising, the various governments were threatened through the social media.
  • Communal Violence – With the help of social media, people have started attacking each other’s religion on this platform. Sensitive tweets regarding religion are becoming a common phenomenon. Circulation of certain pictures through communication networks also creates a panic among the masses. This is a threat to the internal security of the nation as it disturbs the communal harmony.
  • Threat to internal security – With the advent of social media, issues like economics, media and science are open to all. Uploading information related to these fields on the social networking sites can be a threat to the internal security.
  • Revolution – Some countries in the world feel threatened by the fact that social media can bring the people together and thus, create a revolution. This in turn can cause political instability.
  • Virtual Community: Popular communication networks websites are another means of attracting potential members and followers. These types of virtual communities are growing increasingly popular all over the world, especially among younger demographics. This can build Anti-national Sentiments among Society.
  • Hacking: Hackers write or use ready-made computer programs to attack the target computer. By using communication networks hackers breach the national security and steal important data of defence or other strategic sectors. This can kneel the whole country without using Arms and Ammunition.

Various measures undertaken to prevent the threats:

National Cyber Security Policy, 2013:

  • The Government of India took the first formalized step towards cyber security in 2013, vide the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Department of Electronics and Information Technology’s National Cyber Security Policy, 2013.
  • The Policy is aimed at building a secure and resilient cyberspace for citizens, businesses and the Government.
  • Its mission is to protect cyberspace information and infrastructure, build capabilities to prevent and respond to cyber-attacks, and minimize damages through coordinated efforts of institutional structures, people, processes, and technology.

Strategies adopted by the Policy include:

  • Creating a secure cyber ecosystem through measures such as a national nodal agency, encouraging organisations to designate a member of senior management as the Chief Information Security Officer and develop information security policies.
  • Creating an assurance framework.
  • Encouraging open standards.
  • Strengthening the regulatory framework coupled with periodic reviews, harmonization with international standards, and spreading awareness about the legal framework.
  • Creating mechanisms for security threats and responses to the same through national systems and processes. National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) functions as the nodal agency for coordination of all cyber security efforts, emergency responses, and crisis management.
  • Securing e-governance by implementing global best practices, and wider use of Public Key Infrastructure.
  • Protection and resilience of critical information infrastructure with the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre operating as the nodal agency.
  • To promote cutting edge research and development of cyber security technology.
  • Human Resource Development through education and training programs to build capacity.

Cyber Swachhta Kendra’ (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre)

  • To combat cyber security violations and prevent their increase, Government of India’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) in February 2017 launched ‘Cyber Swachhta Kendra’ (Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre) a new desktop and mobile security solution for cyber security in India.

Collaboration with industry partners:

  • Development of Public Private Partnerships is an important strategy under the National Cyber Security Policy 2013. Pursuant to this aim, under the aforementioned Cyber Swachhta Kendra initiative, antivirus company Quick Heal is providing a free bot removal Tool.

International Cooperation Initiatives:

  • Information sharing and cooperation is an explicit strategy under the 2013 Policy.
  • Consequently, as an answer to the increasing international nature of cybercrime, the Indian government has entered into cyber security collaborations with countries such as the USA, European Union and Malaysia.
  • The government is drafting guidelines that will bind companies such as Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube and Facebook to respond to complaints over content in a “few hours” as against the current norm of 36 hours.

Existing regulations on communication networks:

  • In India, social media platforms already come under the purview of the Information Technology (IT) Act, the ‘intermediary’s guidelines’ that were notified under the IT Act in 2011 and the Indian Penal Code.
  • Under existing laws, social media channels are already required to take down content if they are directed to do so by a court or law enforcement.
  • There are also reporting mechanisms on these platforms, where they exercise discretion to ascertain whether a reported post is violating community guidelines and needs to be taken down.
  • These, however, have been reported to be arbitrary – many posts on body positivity and menstruation, for instance, have been taken down in the past while other explicit imagery continues to be allowed.
  • Many of the existing regulations themselves are “dangerously close to censorship and may have a chilling effect on freedom of speech, which is why cases are being fought on those in courts.”
  • Another problem of a lot of regulatory measures is the vagueness of language which is exploited by state agencies to behave in a repressive way.

Conclusion:

Experts have suggested the setting up of a National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) to address cyber security issues and improve implementation at a national level. Such an agency is suggested to be equipped with staff that is technically proficient in both defensive and offensive cyber operations, to encrypt platforms and collect intelligence. Another proposed measure is setting up of a National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC) as a cyber-security and e-surveillance agency, to screen communication metadata and co-ordinate the intelligence gathering activities of other agencies.

 

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

7. By explaining the features of European Union’s new Green House Gas(GHG) emission laws, examine its implications on Indian industry. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains the implications of EU’s new GHG emissions law for Indian industry.

Key Demand of the question:

By explaining the features of European Union’s new Green House Gas(GHG) emission laws, examine its implications on Indian industry.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the context of the question. The European Union introduced new legislation, Fit for 55, to cut its GHG emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050.

Body:

Explain that the EU has had a carbon emission trading system since 2005, with a current market price of 50 euros per ton of carbon. With Fit for 55, the EU will bring more sectors into this trading scheme and tighten its allocation of permits. The EU’s carbon price is likely to go up as a result, making its domestic products more expensive than imports from countries that do not have such rules. The new CBAM is meant to level the playing field between domestic and imported products.

Discuss that it opens new markets for Indian industry, for example for electric vehicles. However, it also introduces a potentially adverse policy called the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM).

Suggest impact on India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The European Union introduced new legislation recently called Fit for 55, to cut its GHG emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. This is a welcome step for climate action since it turns the EU’s announcement into law, protecting it from the winds of political change.

The new package attempts to deliver the NDC and carbon neutrality goal through proposed changes that would impact the economy, society and industry, as well as ensure a fair, competitive and green transition by 2030and beyond. It claims to achieve a balance between “regulatory policies” and market-based carbon pricing to avoid the pitfalls of each.

Body

Key features of package:

  • Vehicular Carbon Emissions must be cut by 55% by 2030 and by 100% by 2035, which means a phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2035.It also includes some provisions that benefit the auto industry.
  • It has set a target to enhance the EU’s sink capacity to 310 million tonnes of CO equivalent, which it hopes will be achieved through specific national targets by member countries.
  • It proposes to increase the binding target of renewable sources in the EU’s energy mix to 40% (from 32% earlier) and improve energy efficiency by 36% (from 32.5% earlier) by 2030.
  • Public funds will be used to help build charging stations every 60 kilometres, on major highways, a move that will encourage sales of electric cars.
  • It will also help finance a network of hydrogen fuelling stations.
  • It calls for the creation of an Emissions Trading System (ETS) for buildings and road transport, separate from the EU’s current ETS, to become operational from 2026
  • To help low-income citizens and small businesses adjust to the new ETS, the EU proposes the creation of a Social Climate Fund, which will take various forms ranging from funding for renovation of buildings, and access to low carbon transport, to direct income support.
  • Among other market-based mechanisms, the EU is proposing a carbon-border adjustment mechanism, which will put a price on imports from places that have carbon-intensive production processes.

Impacts on India:

Positives

  • It opens new markets for Indian industry, for example for electric vehicles

Negatives:

  • Carbon-Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) has been deemed to have a small impact on global carbon dioxide emissions by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and could instead have negative impacts on developing countries
  • The new CBAM is meant to level the playing field between domestic and imported products.
  • CBAM will require foreign producers to pay for the carbon emitted while manufacturing their products. Adding the price of carbon is meant to discourage consumers from buying carbon-intensive products and encourage producers to invest in cleaner technologies.
  • A UNCTAD study released on July 14 predicts that India will lose $1-1.7 billion in exports of energy-intensive products such as steel and aluminium — India’s goods trade with the EU was $74 billion in 2020.
  • The plan outlines that the sale of all fossil fuel guzzling cars, including hybrid vehicles, will be halted from 2035 onwards.
  • Apart from the automotive industry, the commercial airline industry will also be forced to adapt. Jet fuel is one of the bigger contributors to carbon emission and the new plan envisages that airlines shift to cleaner fuels.
  • Cargo ships may not be able to dock in ports like Rotterdam, Netherlands, or Hamburg, Germany, unless they run on cleaner fuels.
  • Steel producers and cement makers will pay for every ton of carbon dioxide their factories emit.

Way forward for India:

  • India should enter clean technology partnerships with European industry.
  • For example, India exports semi-finished and flat-rolled products of iron or non-alloy steel, but such partnerships can help enhance the competitiveness of its high-technology stainless or alloy products.
  • Indian companies should invest in more renewable electricity and energy efficiency.
  • They can adopt science-based targets for emission reduction and internal carbon pricing to incentivise low-carbon choices.
  • The government can extend the perform-achieve-trade scheme to more industries and provide finance to MSMEs to upgrade to clean technologies.
  • India can try to diversify its exports to other markets and products. For instance, it could increase its market share of crude steel compared to more emission-intensive producers like China, Russia and Ukraine

 


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