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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 July 2021

 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 1


 

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

1. Elaborate upon the distinct features of cities of Indus Valley Civilization located in Western India. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains to us what the UNESCO heritage site Dholavira tells us about the Indus Valley Civilisation. Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, received the UNESCO world heritage site tag recently.

Key Demand of the question:

Elaborate upon the distinct features of cities of Indus Valley Civilization located in Western India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with significance of IVC.

Body:

The question is straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate.

Discuss the unique features; The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large, non-residential buildings.

Talk specifically of the cities located in western India.

Give examples and explain the details with supporting maps and diagrams.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

Dholavira, the archaeological site of a Harappan-era city, received the UNESCO world heritage site tag recently. While Dholavira became the fourth site from Gujarat and 40th from India to make the list, it is the first site of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation (IVC) in India to get the tag.

The IVC acropolis is located on a hillock near present-day Dholavira village in Kutch district, from which it gets its name. It was discovered in 1968 by archaeologist Jagat Pati Joshi.

Body

The distinct features of cities of Indus Valley Civilization located in Western India:

  • Dholavira is an exceptional example of a proto-historic Bronze Age urban settlement pertaining to the Harappan Civilization.
  • After Mohen-jo-Daro, Ganweriwala and Harappa in Pakistan and Rakhigarhi in Haryana of India, Dholavira is the fifth largest metropolis of IVC.
  • The site has a fortified citadel, a middle town and a lower town with walls made of sandstone or limestone instead of mud bricks in many other Harappan sites.
  • The configuration of the city with segregated urban residential areas based on differential occupational activities, and a stratified society is an outstanding example of a planned city.
  • It is known for its unique characteristics, such as its water management system, multi-layered defensive mechanisms, extensive use of stone in construction and special burial structures.
  • These characteristics reflect the unique position Dholavira held in the entire gamut of Harappan Civilization.
  • Unlike other Harappan antecedent towns normally located near to rivers and perennial sources of water that facilitated internal as well as external trade to the Magan (modern Oman peninsula) and Mesopotamian regions.
  • The location of Dholavira in the island of Khadir was strategic to harness different mineral and raw material sources such as copper, shell, agate-carnelian, steatite, lead, banded limestone, among others.
  • Thus, during the excavations, artefacts made of copper, stone, jewellery of terracotta, gold and ivory have been found.
  • With extremely rich artefacts, it depicts a vivid picture of a regional centre with its distinct characteristics and contributes significantly to the existing knowledge of Harappan-era as a whole.
  • Unlike graves at other IVC sites, no mortal remains of humans have been discovered at Dholavira.
  • Remains of a copper smelter indicate Harappans, who lived in Dholavira, knew metallurgy.
  • It was also a hub of manufacturing jewellery made of shells and semi-precious stones, like agate and used to export timber.
  • The origin of the Buddhist Stupas in memorials in found in Dholavira.

Conclusion

The multi-cultural and stratified society of Dholavira City flourished for nearly 1,500 years. From 2000 BC, Dholavira entered a phase of severe aridity due to climate change and rivers like Saraswati drying up. Because of a drought-like situation, people started migrating toward the Ganges valley or towards south Gujarat and further beyond in Maharashtra. In those times the Great Rann of Kutch, which surrounds the Khadir island on which Dholavira is located, used to be navigable, but the sea receded gradually and the Rann became a mudflat.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Discuss the pivotal role that the science and technology sector can play in strengthening the Indo-US relations and making them long lasting. (250words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The article highlights in what way Science and technology is central to strong and lasting Indo-US ties.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the pivotal role that the science and technology sector can play in strengthening the Indo-US relations and making them long lasting.

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:

Brief upon the Indo-US background in short from past to present.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Talk about the deepening Indo-US ties; India and the US have come a long way since the 1990s. There is growing political and security cooperation, expanding economic engagement, widening interface between the two societies, and the intensifying footprint of the Indian diaspora in the US.

Then move onto analyse the opportunities in Indo-US relations and how nature of challenges demands shift towards partnering on next gen quantum computers, AI, genome sequencing, affordable designing and building the next generation of airplanes running on clean energy etc.

Explain the significance of the shift towards science and technology and also explain why the focus in the India-US relationship needs to shift to science, technology, and trade.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.  

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.

Body

Bilateral relations between India and USA:

  • Evolution of the ties:
    • The India-United States (US) strategic partnership started in the second term of the Bill Clinton administration, the defining moment in the relationship was the civil nuclear agreement that the George W Bush administration championed and signed with India.
    • Ties got a further impetus with Barack Obama declaring support for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council and the Joe Biden administration’s push to further the strategic agenda between the two nations.
  • Military ties:
    • A foundational military agreement that allows for the sharing of encrypted communications and equipment (COMCASA- Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement).
    • A change in U.S. export control laws that places India in a privileged category of NATO and non-NATO U.S. allies.
    • The signing of an Industrial Security Annex that will allow for greater collaboration among the two countries’ private defence industries.
  • Strategic ties:
    • A new ‘2+2’ foreign and defence ministers dialogue.
    • The bilateral Strategic Energy Partnership was launched in April 2018 under which India has started importing crude and LNG from the US. Now, the US is India’s sixth-largest source of crude oil imports and hydrocarbons.
    • Inauguration of the first India-US tri-service military exercise and expansion of existing military exercises.
    • Inclusion of India and South Asia in the US Maritime Security Initiative.
  • Fight against terrorism:
    • These intense engagement has helped achieve robust support from the US against terrorism.
    • This was evident after the Pulwama attack, leading to the designation of Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist under UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
    • Also, placing Pakistan on the grey-list of the Financial Action Task Force.
  • US Pivot to Asia:
    • The US under its Pivot to Asia policy views India as an ideal balancer to check the aggressive rise of China. Therefore, the US has formulated the concept of Indo-Pacific to counter China in the South China Sea and the Indian ocean.
    • The US has designated India as an integral part of the Indo-pacificnarrative by the conception of

Role that science and technology sector can play in strengthening the Indo-US relations:

  • India and the US need to jointly establish 100 chair professorships in frontier areas such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), genome technology, nanotechnology, deep ocean exploration, quantum computing, clean energy, and functional materials, and choose their best academics to work in both countries with complete freedom to move, interact and jointly work on those projects.
  • They need to establish a new joint research council with at least $10 billion funding to support such research projects. Funds for the proposed research council may come from public and private entities and individual donors, with a prominent India-American leading the effort.
  • Each of India’s top 20 universities should choose a partner university in the US with a defined budget for research, joint studentships, and a mechanism of free-flowing faculty between them.
  • Research programmes on translational areas useful in critical sectors such as agriculture, services and pharmaceuticals should be established.
  • Discussions on science and technology will not yield dividends unless a robust trade policy is in place.
  • Successive US administrations have indeed wanted to push trade with India to the forefront.

Way forward:

  • For the US, scientific collaborations and selling technology to boost productivity for Indian farmers should take precedence over pushing dairy and other farms produce to the Indian market.
  • India needs to invest heavily in infrastructure, both physical and intellectual, and in technology to authenticate agricultural products to help farmers produce internationally competitive produce.
  • India also needs to open up its services, finance, legal, health care and pharmaceutical sectors to US companies.
  • The 21st century wars will not be fought with boots on the ground or with aircraft carriers or submarines. It is science, technology, and trade that will determine who wins or loses the war.

Conclusion

India and the US can be true partners through joint efforts in making the next generation of quantum computers, achieving breakthroughs in the use of AI, making genome sequencing and analysis affordable, designing and building the next generation of airplanes running on clean energy, and making the first woman pair, one Indian and one American, land on Mars. This is the only way the world is going to believe in the true power of democracy. Therefore, the focus in the India-US relationship needs to shift to science, technology, and trade.

 

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

3. Critically examine the Emigration Bill 2021. Will it be sufficient to protect Indian workers overseas? (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The Emigration Bill 2021 is likely to be introduced in Parliament. Thus the context.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically examine the Emigration Bill 2021. And analyse if it be sufficient to protect Indian workers overseas.

 Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to 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. 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 background of emigrants of India living abroad.

Body:

There has been growing number of reports of exploitative practices like large recruitment charges, contract substitution, and deception, retention of passports, non-payment or underpayment of wages, poor living conditions, discrimination and other forms of ill-treatment of the Indian migrant workers.

Discuss the key features of the new Bill.

Account for the pros and cons of the Bill.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the new Bill though better than the Emigration Act 1983, more reforms are needed to protect Indian workers. The new bill must explicitly recognize the contributions of Indian workers, the unique challenges they face, and uphold the dignity and human rights of migrants and their families.

Introduction

The Ministry of External Affairs has invited public inputs to the Emigration Bill 2021. The Bill presents a long-overdue opportunity to reform the recruitment process for nationals seeking employment abroad. Currently, Labour migration is governed by the Emigration Act, 1983.

Body

Highlights of the Bill:

  • The Bill intends to replace the Emigration Act of 1983.
  • The Bill envisagescomprehensive emigration management, institutes regulatory mechanisms governing overseas employment of Indian nationals and establishes a framework for protection and promotion of welfare of emigrants.
  • The bill proposesa three-tier institutional framework:
    • It launches a new emigration policy division in (MEA) which will be referred to as the Central Emigration Management Authority.
    • It proposes aBureau of Emigration Policy and Planning, and a Bureau of Emigration Administration shall handle day-to-day operational matters and oversee the welfare of emigrants.
    • It proposes nodal agencies under a Chief Emigration Officerto ensure the welfare and protection of the emigrants.
  • It permits government authorities to punish workers by cancelling or suspending their passportsand imposing fines up to Rs 50,000 for violating any of the Bill’s provisions.
    • When enforced, it can be used as a tool to crackdown on workers who migrate through unregistered brokersor via irregular arrangements such as on tourist visas.
  • The proposed legislation will also maintain registration of human resources agencies, validity and renewal and cancellation of a certificate.
    • Besides, authorities will be empowered to have certain powers of the civil court.

Rationale behind the Bill:

  • Labour migration is governed by the Emigration Act, 1983which sets up a mechanism for hiring through government-certified recruiting agents – individuals or public or private agencies.
  • The Emigration Act, 1983 enacted in thespecific context of large-scale emigration to the Gulf, falls short in addressing the wide geo-economic, geo-political and geo-strategic impact that emigration has today.
  • Independent investigations into migrant worker conditions, for years, have underlined serious exploitative practicessuch as Large recruitment charges, Contract substitution, Deception, Retention of passports, non-payment or underpayment of wages, poor living conditions, discrimination and other forms of ill-treatment.
  • For instance, in recent months, media reports have highlighted how the majority of migrant worker deaths in the Arab Gulf States/West Asiaare attributed to heart attacks and respiratory failures, whose causes are unexplained and poorly understood.

Pros of the bills:

  • The Emigration Bill 2021 launches a new emigration policy division.
  • It establishes help-desks and welfare committees.
  • It requires manpower agencies to conduct pre-departure briefings for migrants.
  • The Bill also increases accountability of brokers and other intermediaries who are also involved in labour hiring.

Challenges:

  • Lacks Gender Sensitivity:
    • This Bill does not adequately reflect the gender dimensions of labour migration.
    • For instance, women have limited agency in recruitment compared to their counterparts.
    • They are more likely to be employed in marginalised and informal sectors and/or isolated occupations in which labour, physical, psychological, and sexual abuse are common.
    • This is not addressed.
  • Punishing workers:
    • The Bill permits government authorities to punish workers.
    • It can cancel or suspend their passports and impose fines up to Rs. 50,000 for violating any of the Bill’s provisions.
    • The aim is to restrict workers who migrate through unregistered brokers or via irregular arrangements such as on tourist visas.
    • But migrant workers opt for such ways either because they are unaware of the law or under the influence of their recruiters, or simply desperate to find a decent job.
    • So, criminalising migrant workers’ choices runs contradictory to the purpose of protecting migrants and their families.
  • Lacks a Human Rights Framework:
    • The bill lacks a human rights frameworkaimed at securing the rights of migrants and their families.
    • The penal provisions under the law criminalizes the choices migrant workers
    • The choices are done either because they are unaware of the law, under the influence of their recruiters, or simply desperate to find a decent job.
    • Further, migrants in an irregular situation who fear that they could be fined or have their passports revoked, are alsoless likely to make complaints or pursue remedies for abuses faced.
    • Progressive labour regimes do so.
    • For instance, Philippines explicitly recognises the contributions of Filipino workers and the dignity and fundamental human rights and freedoms of the Filipino citizens
  • Not in Sync with International Standards:
    • The Bill permits manpower agencies to charge workers’ service fees, and even allows agents to set their own limits.
    • However, International labour standards and the International Labour organization (ILO) general principles recognise that it is employers, not workers who should bear recruitment payments.
    • The Recruitment fees eat into worker’s savings, force them to take high-interest loans, leave workers in situations of debt bondage — a form of forced labour.

Way forward

  • India needs to formulate migration centric policies, strategies, and institutional mechanisms in order to ensure inclusive growth and development and reduce distress migration.
  • It should explicitly recognise the contributions of Indian workers, and the unique challenges they face.
  • Importantly, it should uphold the dignity and human rights of migrants and their families.
  • Then it must address the specific provisions that diverge from this purpose.
  • This will increase India’s prospects for poverty reduction and achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

4. Cross-border links between terrorists, organized crime, underscore need for coherent global response. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  news.un.org

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper III, part Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to elaborate upon the Cross-border links between terrorists, organized crime and thus the need for coherent global response.

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 by highlighting in the context of India the case of Cross-border links between terrorists, organized crime.

Body:

Discuss first the reasons that lead to Cross-border links between terrorists, organized crime.

Present the case of India; give examples in support of your discussion.

Explain why it is important to have coherent global response.

Discuss that Collective action and international cooperation are needed now more than ever.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Crime and terrorism are critical issues for security officials and investigators all around the world. Earlier, the problems of organized crime and terrorism were considered as separate phenomena but after horrified incident of September 11th attacks, researchers have started linking these two as terrorized occurrence.

Body

Link between Organized crime and terrorism:

Though mostly both the phenomena are studied differently. Both have different ends. While the organize crime engages in various criminal activities for financial gains, terrorism engages in its violent activities for political gains. But recently, Scholars have stated that there is a strong link between the two. Terrorists are increasingly supporting them through terrorist activities.

  • Terrorism and Drug Trafficking: According to UNDOC (2017), annual trade of illicit drugs is estimated in the range of $426-652 billion, and the proceeds of which generate 1/5thto 1/3rd of the global revenues of organized crime. Approximately 86% of the world’s Opium cultivation takes place in Afghanistan in the regions controlled by the Taliban. The Taliban’s association with the opium economy also indicates a correlation between the trade-in illicit drugs as a criminal activity and terrorism.
  • Terrorism and Arms Trafficking: Terrorists are increasingly using automatic weapons to perpetrate attacks and there is a growing concern about arms trafficking groups supporting terrorism with the provision of advanced arms. The use of weapons by terrorists is evident in several recent attacks and attempted attacks across Europe. For example, in the ISIL inspired terrorist attacks carried out in Paris in November 2015, extremists opened fire with Kalashnikov and other types of assault rifles, which ended up in the criminal market as a result of cross-border trafficking
  • Terrorism and smuggling: Terrorist groups seem to have increasingly taken up trafficking in illicit antiquities and cultural property to fund their operations, support recruits, and acquire weapons. Antiquities are not only a source of revenue generation for terrorists, but they also have symbolic value. By destroying and/or removing symbolic representations of culture, terrorist groups effectively undermine the State/nationalism and attack the morale of local populations/peoples through a type of “cultural cleansing”
  • Terrorism and human trafficking: Trafficking in persons is a lucrative business for armed groups around the world (UNCTED, 2019). Recent actions by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), or Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL), also known as Daesh, and Boko Haram (Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-Jahad) in Nigeria have drawn attention to a growing nexus between terrorism and trafficking in persons
  • Terrorism and kidnapping for ransom: From 1970-2010, kidnapping incidents represented a small portion of all terrorist attacks (6.9%), however, through 2016 the percentage of kidnappings has jumped significantly to 15.8% of all terrorist attacks (Global Terrorism Database, 2018)

How terrorism and organized crime are similar?

  • They both operate in secrecy and try not to come under the radar of national and international law enforcement agencies.
  • Both use violence and most of the times the victims are civilians
  • They work with an ideology of fear to get things done.
  • They use front organizations such as legitimate corporates and national and international NGOs.

How terrorism and organization are distinguishable?

  • Organized crime groups are mainly in criminal activities for money and other material benefits as seen earlier while terrorist groups are engaged in activities for political, religious and other goals.
  • Terrorist organizations that want to topple existing states contest them for legitimacy among the people but organized crimes don’t need to gain legitimacy among the people.
  • Terrorist organizations try to make a statement with their activities and attract media attention but Organized crime works in forever secrecy.
  • Terrorist organizations engage in activities in propaganda but organized crime does not.

Reasons for the increasing nexus between Terrorism and organized crime

  • Both are realizing the complementary nature of each other in achieving their goals.
  • They have a common enemy in national governments and the rule of law.
  • Historically, the end of the cold war ended financial support to many terrorist organizations that led terrorist organizations to link themselves with organized crime for financial support.
  • Increased sophistication in money laundering as corporates engage in tax evasion that helps in the continuous money supply.
  • Issues of mis-governance and lack of governance.
  • The inequalities existing in society are manipulated by these organizations to grow their base.
  • Globalization has its side effects through the communication revolution and its anonymity. The cyberspace and dark web are increasingly being used to coordinate.
  • The outstanding geopolitical issues that are sought to be solved by governments through immoral activities like terrorism and crime penetration.

Difficulties in tackling the nexus

  • The legal complexities create duplicity of efforts and jurisdictional issues. These delays investigation and often gives unnecessary cooling-off period for groups to regather themselves.
  • The higher echelons of organized crime are insulated from its foot soldiers. Hence it is difficult to dent the structure significantly. There is difficulty in obtaining proof.
  • The main link between these two is network of financial transactions. The rising sophistication in money laundering and corporate greed resulting in tax evasion, unfortunately, helps the network of money laundering.
  • There is a lack of coordination between police departments of different states that makes organized crime and terrorist nexus easy to operate.
  • The criminal-political-bureaucratic nexus helps crime syndicates which indirectly helps in the spread of terrorism.
  • The state support for terrorism and unorganized crime makes it difficult for any international cooperation and consensus-building.
  • Dual criminality and the spread of nexus across the world make it difficult to track due to lack of international and bilateral coordination and cooperation.

Way forward

  • The nexus that is thriving due to complementary nature must be broken down so that it will be easier to tackle them separately.
  • There is a need for fine-tuning of the criminal investigation so as to find and establish links of a crime syndicate with terrorism.
  • Improving coordination and establishing specialized units to investigate. The specialized unit must have competent human resources, finances, technical expertise and appropriate legal backing to work in an unhindered manner.
  • The necessity of legal backing stems from the existence of numerous stakeholders such as state police, border security, financial sector, special units such as narcotics departments.
  • The interstate coordination is necessary and an organization in the lines of the National Counter Terrorism Center to tackle the nexus. It will help in national and international coordination.
  • India must continue to engage the international space for better policy, concerted actions against state-sponsored terrorism, and terrorist financing.
  • The international cooperation can stem from UNSC resolutions and other institutional mechanisms such as FATF.

Conclusion

Member States are rightly focused on tackling the health crisis caused by COVID-19.  “But we must not forget or be complacent about the continuing threat of terrorism”.  In many parts of the world, terrorists are exploiting local grievances and poor governance to regroup and assert their control.  “Collective action and international cooperation are needed now more than ever.”

 

Topic: GS-1: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

GS-3: Disaster and disaster management.

5. What changes have occurred in the climate trends over the Arabian Sea in the recent times? Analyse and suggest way forward to mitigate the change. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article highlights the impacts of Climate Change on the seasons of India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the changes that have occurred in the climate trends over the Arabian Sea in the recent times.

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:

According to a new study published in Climate Dynamics, there has been a 52 percent increase in the frequency of cyclones over the Arabian Sea from 2001 to 2019. Whereas a drop of 8%  over the Bay of Bengal was observed, compared to 1982-2002. The Bay of Bengal has historically seen the most cyclones.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First analyse the causative factors in detail and explain the impact of it.

Extreme events such as bursts of heavy localized rainfall, lengthy droughts, and heat waves are likely to become more common. It emphasizes the importance of good forecasts that can predict such events at least three to five days ahead of time.

Discuss what needs to be done? – Climate-proofing is required in the most vulnerable areas and takes scientific risk assessments seriously. Good forecasts are need of the hour.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

International climate change accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would only help the world in the long run, but what is done now will determine whether we survive or thrive.

Introduction

Introduction

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 cyclones, floods, droughts, heat waves and cold waves.

People around the world have been doubly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and extreme weather events which experts say have been fuelled by climate change.

Body

Recent Extreme Weather Events:

  • 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- 30.
  • The recent floods in Germany that killed over 180 people in the country.
    Floods have also been reported across several Asian countries, in China, India and Indonesia.
  • Cyclones Tauktae and Yaas that hit India’s west and east coasts respectively.

Changes in Arabian Sea

  • ‘Cyclones’ as a Regular Phenomenon: The cyclones gain their energy from the heat and moisturegenerated from warm ocean surfaces.
  • The BoB has higher Sea Surface Temperature (SST) compared to the Arabian Sea. Some of the reasons for higher SST of Bob are:
    • Slow Flowing Winds:It keeps temperatures relatively high i.e. around 28 degrees around the year.
    • Higher Rainfall:It provides required humidity for cyclone formation.
    • Constant Inflow of Fresh Water:The inflow from the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers makes it impossible for the warm water to mix with the cooler water below, making it ideal for a cyclonic depression.
  • On the other hand, theArabian Sea receives stronger winds that help dissipate the heat, and the lack of constant fresh water supply helps the warm water mix with the cool water, reducing the temperature.
  • Additionally, the tropical cyclones in these seas are a typical feature of the summer months and play a role in aiding the arrival of the monsoon.
  • Unusual Higher Temperature in BoB:
  • In 2020, the BoB has observedrecord summer temperatures due to the global warming from fossil fuel emissions that has been heating up oceans.
  • The cyclone Faniin 2019 was also fuelled by high temperatures in the BoB.
  • For the first two weeks of May, there were maximum surface temperatures of 32-34°C These are record temperatures driven by climate change observed until now.
  • Such unusual warming around India is no longer restrictedto just the BoB but also the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean. It makes storm prediction less reliable as well as disrupting monsoon patterns.

Causes of Extreme Weather Events:

  • Extreme Temperature:
    • Thetemperature of the Earth is rising every year and increasing temperature and extreme sunshine on top of it creates a low-pressure system.
    • Due to which the hurricanes and other tropical storms get their way to start.
  • High Atmospheric Winds:
    • The jet stream is found where thecold air from Earth’s poles meets with warm tropical air.
    • These winds help to continue and control the weather system from west to east in the northern hemisphere and from east to west in the southern hemisphere.
    • Sometimes these winds bring unpleasant weather with them which may lead to the formation of a tornado.
  • When Pressure Systems Meet:
    • When too cold high-pressure systemsmeet with too warm low-pressure systems, the chances of extremely high waves on sea surface
    • The too cold high-pressure systems originate from sub-polar land whereas too warm low-pressure systems originate from temperate seas.
  • Improper Weather Systems:
    • The weather systems (such as air masses, fronts, etc.) keep on moving in a proper way which helps to maintain the weather conditions in a smoother way.
    • When the weather conditions come across any disturbance in between, it creates disasters.
  • Climate Change:
    • The world temperature has increased quite high from the past few decades and even keeps on changing year after year.
    • One of thebig reasons for the increase in Earth’s temperature is the level of CO2.
    • As theCO2 is increasing in the atmosphere, the temperature of the earth is also increasing simultaneously.
  • Global Warming:
    • As the world temperature is increasing due to global warming simultaneously the effects of it are also increasing. Global warming is contributing tointensifying heat waves.
    • Global warming alsoboosts the amount of water vapour in the atmosphere which may lead to causes of severe weather like heavy rainfall, heavy snowstorm, etc.

Concerns

  • The rise in average global temperatureis linked with widespread changes in weather patterns.
    The rising average global temperature is making heavy rainfall more likely.
  • Warmer air carries more moisture,meaning that more water will be released eventually.
  • Extreme weather eventslike heat waves and extreme rainfall are likely to become more frequent or more intense with rising anthropogenic climate change.
  • The Theory of Anthropogenic Climate Changeis that humans are causing most of the current changes to climate by burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.
  • Temperatures at the Earth’s polesare rising at two to three times the temperature at the equator. 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.
  • Also, according to a study, human-induced global warminghas contributed to the increased frequency and intensity of cyclonic storms over the Arabian Sea.

Way Forward

  • Develop a Climate Risk Atlas to 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 stakeholders in the risk assessment process.
  • Integrate risk assessment into local, sub-national, and national level plans.

Conclusion

Reduced particulate matter emissions during the lockdown resulted in fewer aerosols, such as black carbon, that are known to reflect sunlight and heat away from the surface. The increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones over the Arabian Sea can result in a massive loss of lives, livelihood and costal ecology. India should prepare to mitigate and deflect the destruction caused by Cyclones. We need to employ technology, strict following of command structure and most importantly the participation and cooperation of local communities in the affected area.

 

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. Cyber-attacks in India have increased exponentially in recent times; in this context discuss the need for India to develop its cyber competences. (250 words)

Reference:  iiss.org

Why the question:

A recent report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) has placed India in the third-tier country category with respect to cyber warfare capabilities.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for India to develop its cyber competences amidst rising cyber-attack incidences.

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 findings of the report.

Body:

In the report titled ‘Cyber Capabilities and National Power: A Net Assessment’ by IISS, India has been put in the third tier meant for countries that have strengths in some of these categories but significant weaknesses in others. The US was the only country in the top tier.

Discuss the state of India with respect to Cyber-attacks and its readiness.

Talk about the need for developing Cyber Security capabilities.

Explain what can be done to develop cyber security capabilities?

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.

Introduction

A cyber or cybersecurity threat is a malicious act that seeks to damage data, steal data, or disrupt digital life in general. Cyber threats include computer viruses, data breaches, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and other attack vectors. Cyber threats also refer to the possibility of a successful cyber-attack that aims to gain unauthorized access, damage, disrupt, or steal an information technology asset, computer network, intellectual property or any other form of sensitive data. Cyber threats can come from within an organization by trusted users or from remote locations by unknown parties.

Body:

Extent of cyber threats across globe:

  • According to a despatch by The New York Times, in the lead-up to the India-China border clashes, Recorded Future had found an increase in malware attacks targeting the Indian government, defence organisations and the public sector.
  • the October 2020 blackout in Mumbai was directly linked to this cyber-attack. State authorities in Maharashtra attributed the blackout to the attack by the Chinese cyber group
  • At least 10 Indian distinct power sector organisations are said to have been targeted, in addition to two Indian ports.
  • What adds verisimilitude to these revelations is the identification of the network infrastructure viz., AXIOMATICASYMPTOTE, whose servers are known to be used by RedEcho, a China-linked activity group, that targets India’s power sector, and facilitates the employment of a malware known as ShadowPad.
  • Very recently in 2021, several thousands of U.S. organisations were hacked in an unusually aggressive Chinese espionage campaign. The Chinese group, Hafnium, which has been identified as being responsible for this breach, exploited a series of flaws in the Microsoft software, enabling attackers to gain total remote control over affected systems.
  • Headlined SolarWinds, the late 2020 breach is a prime example of the damage that can be caused by a cyber-attack.

India’s Vulnerability in cyber space:

  • India remains vulnerable to cyber-espionage and cybercrime.
  • With the growing adoption of the Internet and smart-phones, India has emerged “as one of the favourite countries among cyber criminals.”
  • There is growing threat from online radicalization.
  • Lack of coordination among different government agencies.
  • Attackers can gain control of vital systems such as nuclear plants, railways, transportation or hospitals that can subsequently lead to dire consequences.
  • The attacks can be more tangible causing damage to physical or digital infrastructure.
    • This includes a country’s water system or electric grid.
    • Cyber tentacles can spread to political parties, universities and private businesses and Citizens.
    • Potentially worrisome cyber incidents include interference in political affairs, leaks and espionage and the compromising of critical national infrastructure.
  • A 2017 study conducted by Symantec found that India ranked fourth in online security breaches, accounting for over 5 per cent of global threat detections. In the beginning of 2017, the newly launched Bharat Interface for Money application (BHIM app) reportedly faced spam threats.
  • The real danger to India lies in targeted cyber-attacks coming from adversarial nation states.
    • Countries like China can bring immense assets to bear in carrying out sophisticated cyber-attacks. The success of Stuxnet, which damaged the Iranian centrifuge facility at Natanz is an example.
  • Cyber warfare is characterized by an absence of clarity.
    • India can never be certain about the capability of the other side and also the chances of success if we launch a cyber-counterstrike.
  • There is a push towards greater digital dependence with demonetization a cashless system is being propagated. Aadhaar and the wider platforms such Digital India and Smart Cities will push things further along. India is the world’s second largest digital nation with more than 350 million Indians are online and millions more will be getting connected in the years to come.
  • India is not even a signatory to some of the basic international frameworks on Cybersecurity like the Convention of Cybercrime of the Council of Europe which not only European nations but Japan, US, South Africa have become signatories to, except India.
  • Indian laws are not in tandem with the ever-changing global cyberspace.
    • The laws are old and hence need to be more dynamic in nature to deal with issues like cyber-espionage, data theft and so on.
    • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole law that deals with cyberspace in India and was passed way back in 2000.
    • Also, the Cyber Law of India has been subject to amendments on various occasions but hasn’t served the changing dynamics and the growing threats and manifestations of cyberwar.

Measures needed:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organizations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with trans-border crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Conclusion:

Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker, the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

7. Adoption and Promotion of renewable energy is a precondition to meet India’s targets of economic growth and development. Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Down to Earth

Why the question:

The article explains in what way the adoption and promotion of renewable energy in India from an economic and sustainability perspective, using qualitative and quantitative frameworks and empirical data, is the need of the hour.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way Adoption and Promotion of renewable energy is a precondition to meet India’s targets of economic growth and development.

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 some key facts with respect to the context of the question.

Body:

India’s current population is 1.35 billion, which is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2035. The country’s population grew at a rate of 2.52 per cent annually from 1980 to 2020. The demand for energy has steadily increased in India, given the increasing population.

With suitable data highlight the demand of energy in India.

Explain that energy is an important economic sector that creates jobs and value by extracting, transforming and distributing energy goods and services throughout the economy. Energy is the input for nearly every product and service in the economy and supports economic activities across each of its productive sectors.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need for Adoption and Promotion of renewable energy.

Introduction

The economic and social disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic is devastating. Millions of enterprises face an existential threat. Informal economy workers are particularly vulnerable because the majority lack social protection and access to quality health care and have lost access to productive assets and demand in the economy. India is faced with challenges on the path to development. It has to consume energy to grow economically and at the same time, has to mitigate carbon emissions. In other words, it has to develop sustainably.

Body

Importance of Energy Sector

  • India is the third-largest consumer of electricity in the world, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Its annual consumption in 2019-20 was 1,389.21 terawatt hour. This is roughly one-third of the world’s average consumption.
  • India’s per capita electricity consumption grew at a compound annual growth rate of 5.8 per cent between 1980 and 2020. 
  • India’s current population is 1.35 billion, which is expected to reach 1.5 billion by 2035. The country’s population grew at a rate of 2.52 per cent annually from 1980 to 2020. The demand for energy has steadily increased in India, given the increasing population.
  • India has witnessed rapid economic growth in the last three decades, with Gross Domestic Product growth rate averaging around six per cent.
  • The economic development has been majorly driven by the development of industries and infrastructure at the macro-level.
  • The upliftment of individuals’ living standards at the micro-level has been driven by improved access to transportation, cooking fuel, comfort heating or cooling and access to modern energy services. Energy and energy services have invariably played a major role at both, the macro and micro levels.
  • Energy is an important economic sector that creates jobs and value by extracting, transforming and distributing energy goods and services throughout the economy.
  • Energy is the input for nearly every product and service in the economy and supports economic activities across each of its productive sectors.

Focus on Green Energy for Boosting Economic Growth

  • Crop Residue and Electricity Generation:Around Diwali, the burning of rice crop residue in northern India creates 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.
  • NTPChas 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.
  • Boost Investment:The crop waste can be given for conversion into briquettes to private entrepreneurs. Dispersed private investment for conversion would take place, creating demand for the conversion equipment, labour and transport. Also, Air pollution would be reduced without any cost to the government.
  • Electric vehicles (EVs): EVsSuch as cars, three and two-wheelers are available in the market. They do not cause air pollution. They are also considerably cheaper to run on a life cycle per km basis. But demand is not rising because of the lack of charging infrastructure.
  • 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 theirmanufacturing 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 creatinga demand stimulus, would also lead to substantial improvement in air quality in our highly polluted cities.
  • Renewable Energy Infrastructure:India has shown admirable ambition in going well beyond its commitment under the Paris agreement to aim for 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030. 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.
  • Income Generation at Village: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.
  • Livestock Wealth:India has the largest cattle population in the world and the goal should be to convert all the cow dung into useful commercial energy. This would be a fit case for a bit of cross-subsidy. Cross-subsidy was used to get the National Solar Mission going. Costs have since fallen dramatically.

Challenges with Renewable Energy

  • Integration with the Main Grid:Integrating the renewables with the main grid is the area India needs to work upon. To accelerate the uptake of renewables, storage and battery solutions is needed in large quantities.
  • Cost factor:Renewable resources are slightly more expensive than conventional sources.
  • 24*7 Power Supply:Sustainable, round-the-clock power supply along with the storage system is a big challenge ahead.
  • Agricultural Sector:Much power is consumed in the agricultural sector. The challenge is to provide sufficient power and energy to every household and to the agricultural sector as well.

Way Forward

  • Identification of areas:Renewable resources especially wind cannot be set up everywhere, they require specific location. Identification of these specific locations, integrating them with the main grid and distribution of powers; A combination of these three is what will take India forward.
  • Exploration:More storage solutions need to be explored.
  • Agriculture subsidy:Agricultural subsidy should be rectified in order to ensure that only the required amount of energy is consumed.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell based vehicles and Electric vehicles:These are the most suitable options when it comes to shifting towards renewable sources of energy, that’s where we need to work upon.

Conclusion

The adoption and promotion of renewable energy in India from an economic and sustainability perspective, using qualitative and quantitative frameworks and empirical data, is the need of the hour.


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