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.
Answer the following questions in 150 words:
General Studies – 1
Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur
On September 3, 1939, Britain declares war against Germany and declares India’s support for the war without consulting Indian opinion. Though Indian leaders and nationalists were thoroughly opposed to fascism and Nazism, the British response also exposed their hypocrisy. British were fighting for liberal values including democracy and at the same time denying it to Indians.
Outbreak of World War II and events that followed
- The Congress’ hostility to Fascism, Nazism, militarism and imperialism had been much more consistent than the British record. But the Indian offer to cooperate in the war effort had two basic conditions:
- After the war, a constituent assembly should be convened to determine political structure of a free India.
- Immediately, some form of a genuinely responsible government should be established at the centre.
- The offer was rejected by Linlithgow, the viceroy. The Congress argued that these conditions were necessary to win public opinion for war.
Responses to the War and British stance
Different opinions were voice during CWC Wardha Meeting in September 1939.
- Gandhi advocated an unconditional support to the Allied powers as he made a clear distinction between the democratic states of Western Europe and the totalitarian Nazis.
- Subhash Bose and the socialists argued that the war was an imperialist one since both sides were fighting for gaining or defending colonial territories.
- Therefore, the question of supporting either of the two sides did not arise.
- Instead, advantage should be taken of the situation to wrest freedom immediately starting a civil disobedience movement.
- Nehru made a sharp distinction between democracy and Fascism.
- But he was also convinced that Britain and France were imperialist powers, and that the war was the result of the inner contradictions of capitalism maturing since the end of World War I.
- He, therefore, advocated no Indian participation till India itself was free. However, at the, same time, no advantage was to be taken of Britain’s difficulty by starting an immediate struggle.
- Government response: The Government’s response was entirely negative. Linlithgow, in his statement (October 17, 1939), tried to use the Muslim League and the princes against the Congress.
- The Government refused to define British war aims beyond stating that Britain was resisting aggression;
- It said it would, as part of future arrangement, consult “representatives of several communities, parties and interests in India, and the Indian princes” as to how the Act of 1935 might be modified;
- It became clear that the British Government had no intention of loosening its hold, during or after the war, and was willing to treat the Congress as an enemy.
- Congress ministries resigned in October 1939 after the Second World War and government response.
- Towards the end of 1940, the Congress once again asked Gandhi to take command.
- Gandhi now began taking steps which would lead to a mass struggle within his broad strategic perspective.
- He decided to initiate a limited satyagraha on an individual basis by a few selected individuals in every locality.
Even before the World War II began, the British had realised the futility of holding on to their reign in India. By the time the war ended, Great Britain was bankrupt, unable and unwilling to continue to maintain colonies of the British Empire. WWII acted as a catalyst to India’s fight for independence but not before the British almost lost India to Netaji’s Indian National Army.
General Studies – 2
2. A major area of concern has been the number of pending cases in the courts which not only hampers justice delivery but also has economic costs. Analyse the causes for huge pendency of cases and suggest measures to reduce the burden. (250 words)
Reference: The Hindu
The justice system in any democracy is set up, under the Constitution to serve the public without “fear or favour, affection or ill-will” as far as judges are concerned. The Indian Judiciary plays an increasingly important role in the life and the governance of this country. A measure of the justice delivery system is the pendency of cases in courts across the country. There has been a significant deterioration in this aspect.
Causes for huge pendency of cases:
- Shifting role of SC:
- The key reason for the mounting of pending cases can be attributed to shifting the role of the Supreme Court from adjudicating cases of constitutional significance into a regular court of appeals.
- According to legal experts, most of the cases that the Supreme Court was handling daily are either appeals from various high courts or cases of gross violation of individual’s fundamental rights. But this role was never meant for the apex court.
- Shortage of judges:
- From 1950 to 1921, the number of Supreme Court judges has increased nearly four times. Even then, case pendency has steadily kept rising.
- Around 5,580 or 25% of posts are lying empty in the subordinate courts, which leads to poor Judges to Population Ratio, as India has only 20 judges per million population. Earlier, Law Commission had recommended 50 judges per million.
- Frequent adjournments:
- The laid down procedure of allowing a maximum of three adjournments per case is not followed in over 50 per cent of the matters being heard by courts, leading to rising pendency of cases.
- Low budgetary allocation leading to poor infrastructure:
- India spends only about 09% of its GDP to maintain the judicial infrastructure.
- Infrastructure status of lower courts of the country is miserably grim due to which they fail to deliver quality judgements.
- A 2016 report published by the Supreme Court showed that existing infrastructure could accommodate only 15,540 judicial officers against the all-India sanctioned strength of 20,558.
- Burden of government cases:
- Statistics provided by LIMBS shows that the Centre and the States were responsible for over 46% of the pending cases in Indian courts.
- Special leave petition:
- cases in the Supreme Court, currently comprises to 40% of the court’s pendency.
- It is because of frivolous PILs and various government policies which are challenged by the people that takes up most of judiciary’s time
- Judges Vacation:
- Supreme Court’s works on average for 188 days a year, while apex court rules specify minimum of 225 days of work.
- Lack of court management systems:
- Courts have created dedicated posts for court managers to help improve court operations, optimize case movement and judicial time.
- However, only few courts have filled up such posts so far.
- Inefficient investigation:
- Police are quite often handicapped in undertaking effective investigation for want of modern and scientific tools to collect evidences.
- Improving infrastructure for quality justice:
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee which presented its report on Infrastructure Development and Strengthening of Subordinate Courts, suggested:
- States should provide suitable land for construction of court buildings etc. It should undertake vertical construction in light of shortage of land.
- Timeline set out for computerization of all the courts, as a necessary step towards setting up of e- courts.
- Addressing the Issue of Vacancies:
- Ensure the appointments of the judges be done in an efficient way by arriving at an optimal judge strength to handle the cases pending in the system.
- The 120th Law Commission of India report for the first time, suggested a judge strength fixation formula.
- Supreme Court and High Courts should appoint efficient and experienced judges as Ad-hoc judges in accordance with the Constitution.
- All India Judicial Service, which would benefit the subordinate judiciary by increasing quality of judges and help reduce the pendency.
- Timeframe to dispose of cases:
- Having a definite time frame to dispose the cases by setting annual targets and action plans for the subordinate judiciary and the High Courts. The judicial officers could be issued a strict code of conduct, to ensure that the duties are adequately performed by the officials.
- Strict regulation of adjournments and imposition of exemplary costs for seeking it on flimsy grounds especially at the trial stage and not permitting dilution of time frames specified in Civil Procedure Code.
- Better Court Management System & Reliable Data Collection:
- For this categorization of cases on the basis of urgency and priority along with bunching of cases should be done.
- Use of Information technology (IT) solutions:
- The use of technology for tracking and monitoring cases and in providing relevant information to make justice litigant friendly.
- All the courts in the country must switch to a hybrid virtual mode immediately and start disposing cases.
- Process reengineering:
- Involves redesigning of core business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in productivity and quality by incorporating the use of technology in court rules. It will include:
- Electronic filing of cases: e-Courts are a welcome step in this direction, as they give case status and case history of all the pending cases across High courts and Subordinate courts bringing ease of access to information.
- Revamping of National Judicial Data Grid by introducing a new type of search known as elastic search, which is closer to the artificial intelligence.
- Alternate dispute resolution (ADR):
- As stated in the Conference on National Initiative to Reduce Pendency and Delay in Judicial System- Legal Services Authorities should undertake pre-litigation mediation so that the inflow of cases into courts can be regulated.
- The Lok Adalat should be organized regularly for settling civil and family matters.
- Gram Nyayalayas, as an effective way to manage small claim disputes from rural areas which will help in decreasing the workload of the judicial institution.
- Village Legal Care & Support Centre can also be established by the High Courts to work at grass root level to make the State litigation friendly.
The fundamental requirement of a good judicial administration is accessibility, affordability and speedy justice, which will not be realized until and unless the justice delivery system is made within the reach of the individual in a time bound manner and within a reasonable cost. Therefore, continuous formative assessment is the key to strengthen and reinforce the justice delivery system in India.
3. POSHAN Abhiyaan 2.0 has created an enabling atmosphere to tackle hunger and malnutrition. However, its needs to account for the new realities in the covid times to make India malnutrition free. Examine. (250 words)
Reference: Indian Express
Poshan Abhiyan, which vowed to make India free of malnutrition by 2022, repositioned nutrition as central to development and emphasised its multi-factorial and multi-sectoral nature. It was launched to strengthen nutritional content, delivery, outreach and outcome, with renewed focus on developing practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity to disease and malnutrition in the country.
Recently, the Ministry for Women and Child Development inaugurated Poshan 2.0 and urged all Aspirational Districts to establish a Poshan Vatika (nutrition garden) during the Nutrition Month (Poshan Mah) from 1st September.
Poshan 2.0: Overview
- Under Poshan 2.0, several related schemes have been merged to tap the synergies.
- Malnutrition hotspots are being identified and 112 aspiring districts will receive extra attention.
- Poshan Maah: It includes a month-long activity focussed on antenatal care, optimal breastfeeding, Anaemia, growth monitoring, girls education, diet, right age of marriage, hygiene and sanitation and eating healthy (Food Fortification).
- The activities focus on Social and Behavioural Change Communication (SBCC) and are based on Jan Andolan Guidelines.
- Under the current Poshan Maah, the drive to identify children suffering from severe acute malnutrition has been intensified and Anganwadi workers have been asked to refer those having medical complications to health institutions and NRCs.
- Poshan Vatika: Its main objective is to ensure supply of nutrition through organically home-grown vegetables and fruits simultaneously ensuring that the soil must also remain healthy.
- Plantation drives for Poshan Vatikas would be taken up by all the stakeholders in the space available at anganwadis, school premises and gram panchayats.
Covid and impact on nutrition in India
- The momentum set by this entire nutrition movement was disturbed once Covid lockdowns led to the shutting of schools, Anganwadi centres, Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres;
- Further, frontline workers had to be engaged in Covid-related work that took precedence over their daily duties, which entailed identifying, referring and monitoring children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition among other nutrition-strengthening activities.
- States tried to cope to the best of their abilities by replacing hot-cooked meals with dry ration or cash transfers.
- But understandably, they couldn’t match the intensity of Poshan Abhiyan with Covid surveillance taking over as priority.
- Moreover, indirect forces triggered by the pandemic such as disruption in food systems, dried-up income sources, job losses and consequent financial hardships also mean that access to nutrient-rich food might have reduced among economically vulnerable people.
Streamlining Poshan 2.0 to overcome covid related nutritional challenges
- Community management protocols: For those facing severe acute malnutrition without medical complications, community management protocols should be strengthened, so that they do not go on to develop medical complications in times of the pandemic.
- Adaptation: Fresh waves of Covid cannot be ruled out in the near future, and we must adapt our nutrition interventions to the possibility of such repeated shocks.
- Document Learning: Rising above political differences, it is important to document and learn from states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, which have scaled up Community-based Management of Malnutrition practices in recent times, so that best practices can be adopted and incorporated.
- Revamp health awareness and monitoring: Other activities, such as making new mothers breastfeed for longer, managing childhood diarrhoea, distributing deworming tablets and iron and folic acid diligently while convincing target groups to take these diligently will go a long way in improving the nutrition status of children and new mothers.
- Food fortification to ensure essential micro nutrients reach the body.
Covid-related shocks could lead to an additional 9 million children under the age of five suffering from wasting, of which two-thirds will be in South Asia, predicted research in Nature in August. So it is important to not only renew but multiply our efforts towards Poshan 2.0 with full vigour while practising physical distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene.
- Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
- The Abhiyaan targets to reduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
- It also targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.
Malnutrition in India
- India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the world i.e. around 195 million.
- Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India do not meet their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting.
- 37.9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
- Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
- Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.
General Studies – 3
4. In reference to start-ups, what is a Unicorn? With the right regulatory ambience and local sources of funding, India can create a truly innovative and resilient economy amidst the Unicorn boom of (250 words)
Reference: Live Mint
In the venture capital industry, the term unicorn refers to any startup that reaches the valuation of $1 billion. The term was first coined by venture capitalist Aileen Lee in 2013. Mostly, all the unicorns have brought a disruption in the field they belong to. Uber, for example, changed the way people commuted. Airbnb changed the way people planned their stay while travelling and Snapchat disrupted the usage of the social media network etc.
India currently stands third in the global list of the number of companies that have attained unicorn status.
Challenges faced by unicorns in India
- Capital: For running a company from being startup to unicorn, a significant amount of working capital is required. Many startups, especially at early stages, are bootstrapped, i.e. self-funded through the founders’ own savings, or using capital from friends and family.
- Complex regulatory environment: The government of India has introduced policies that aim to ease the business environment for startups.
- However, the present regulatory framework in which startups/unicorns operate is widely seen as difficult, inefficient and unpredictable.
- Bureaucratic process: Companies in India often feel encumbered by bureaucratic processes, which appear to lack underlying standards.
- They have insufficient possibilities to find information, and there is little planning security about how long processes can take.
- In addition, regulations can suddenly change or startups receive random notices.
- As a result, startups have to find frustrating workarounds, waste valuable time or pivot their business model.
- A further challenge for startups is to take their products to the market as Indian markets appear difficult to penetrate.
- One reason is the competitive landscape: Often, many firms are already present and many more enter the market, including copycats.
- A second reason is that startups are at a disadvantage compared to large companies.
- On the one hand, this is due to the fact that big market players are more capable of dealing with bureaucratic regulations.
- On the other hand, public procurement is seen as weak and government prefers to sign contracts with established companies.
- For many job-seekers, joining a startup as an employee is not an attractive career option, due to the inherent risk that the startup might fail.
Need for proper regulatory mechanism
- The factors enabling the rise of unicorns comprise the availability of private equity funds, increasing Internet penetration and digital payments, more robust infrastructure and the rising pool of skilled talent.
- Considering the focus on creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat, however, the nation’s policymakers, risk-taking corporates and funding agencies need to foster a conducive climate for ensuring easier availability of domestic capita
- As business models get more complex and interlinked, the regulators have to play a more proactive role in formulating appropriate regulations that encourage innovation and support emerging business models rather than hindering innovation.
- Besides promoting local funding, the government and corporate entities may need to invest in a big way through leading academic institutions to de-risk start-up investments in the long run.
Benefits of a unicorn
- The Indian start-up ecosystem is nothing short of a revolution with $106-billion worth of value-creation by 44 unicorns, in turn creating 4 million direct and indirect jobs.
- Start-ups have helped women entrepreneurs to contribute immensely to the start-up ecosystem
- It’s increasingly seen as a sign that the Indian economy is reaching a turning point and that its entrepreneurial culture is maturing.
- Ancillary industries rise up creating more avenues of innovation, growth and employment.
- The unicorns like ola, flipkart which are consumer centric have created an alternate gig economy for workers, which gives them much needed flexibility.
- Due to competition among unicorns, consumers are benefited through competitive pricing.
- It has created an ecosystem in cities such as Bengaluru and Delhi, which has paved way for more capital and investments flowing into the nation.
By providing the “minicorns” (a start-up with $1 million-plus valuation) and “soonicorns” (funded by angel investors or venture capitalists and likely to soon join the unicorn club) the right regulatory ambience and local sources of funding, India can create a truly innovative and resilient economy.
Reference: Live Mint
As the incidence of climate variability and extreme weather events increases, urban flooding becomes more and more common. While the untimely heavy rains can be attributed to climate variability, the urban flooding is largely due to an unplanned urbanisation.
Recently, torrential rains that took place in Hyderabad have caused massive urban floods. In many Indian cities, the urban floods have become a frequent phenomenon in recent years. Overburdened drainage, unregulated construction, no regard to the natural topography and hydro-geomorphology all make urban floods a man-made disaster.
- Causes for the rise in urban floods
- Inadequate Drainage Infrastructure:Cities like Hyderabad, Mumbai rely on a century-old drainage system, covering only a small part of the core city.
- In the last 20 years, the Indian cities have grown manifold with its original built-up area.
- As the city grew beyond its original limits, not much was done to address the absence of adequate drainage systems.
- Terrain Alteration:Lasting irreversible damage has been done to the city by property builders, property owners, and public agencies by flattening terrain and altering natural drainage routes.
- Reducing Seepage:Indian cities are becoming increasingly impervious to water, not just because of increasing built up but also because of the nature of materials used (hard, non-porous construction material that makes the soil impervious).
- Lax Implementation:Even with provisions of rainwater harvesting, sustainable urban drainage systems, etc, in regulatory mechanisms like the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), adoption at user end as well as enforcement agencies remains weak.
- Encroaching Natural Spaces:The number of wetlands has reduced to 123 in 2018 from 644 in 1956.
- Green cover is only 9 per cent, which ideally should have been at least 33 per cent.
- Need for Holistic Engagement:Urban floods of this scale cannot be contained by the municipal authorities alone. Floods cannot be managed without concerted and focused investments of energy and resources.
- The Metropolitan Development Authorities, National Disaster Management Authority, State revenue and irrigation departments along with municipal corporations should be involved in such work together.
- Such investments can only be done in a mission mode organisation with active participation of civil society organisations at the metropolitan scale.
- Developing Sponge Cities:The idea of a sponge city is to make cities more permeable so as to hold and use the water which falls upon it.
- Sponge cities absorb the rain water, which is then naturally filtered by the soil and allowed to reach urban aquifers.
- This allows for the extraction of water from the ground through urban or peri-urban wells.
- This water can be treated easily and used for city water supply.
- Wetland Policy: There is a need to start paying attention to the management of wetlands by involving local communities.
- Without doubt, terrain alteration needs to be strictly regulated and a ban on any further alteration of terrain needs to be introduced.
- To improve the city’s capacity to absorb water, new porous materials and technologies must be encouraged or mandated across scales.
- Examples of these technologies are bioswales and retention systems, permeable material for roads and pavement, drainage systems which allow storm water to trickle into the ground, green roofs and harvesting systems in buildings.
- Drainage Planning: Watershed management and emergency drainage plan should be clearly enunciated in policy and law.
- Urban watersheds are micro ecological drainage systems, shaped by contours of terrain.
- Detailed documentation of these must be held by agencies which are not bound by municipal jurisdictions; instead, there is a need to consider natural boundaries such as watersheds instead of governance boundaries like electoral wards for shaping a drainage plan.
- Water Sensitive Urban Design: These methods take into consideration the topography, types of surfaces (permeable or impervious), natural drainage and leave very less impact on the environment.
- Vulnerability analyses and risk assessments should form part and parcel of city master plans.
- In a changing climate, the drainage infrastructure (especially storm water drainage) has to be built considering the new ‘normal’.
- Tools such as predictive precipitation modelling can help do that and are also able to link it with the adaptive capacity of urban land use.
These can all be delivered effectively through an urban mission along the lines of the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), National Heritage City Development and Augmentation Yojana (HRIDAY) and Smart Cities Mission. Urban Flood management will not just help control recurring floods but also respond to other fault lines, provide for water security, more green spaces, and will make the city resilient and sustainable.
Answer the following questions in 250 words:
General Studies – 1
Reference : Insights on India
The Great Depression was the worst economic downturn in the history of the industrialized world, lasting from 1929 to 1939. It began after the stock market crash of October 1929, which sent Wall Street into a panic and wiped out millions of investors.
Over the next several years, consumer spending and investment dropped, causing steep declines in industrial output and employment as failing companies laid off workers. By 1933, when the Great Depression reached its lowest point, some 15 million Americans were unemployed and nearly half the country’s banks had failed.
Background: Causes and aftermath of Great Depression
- Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt won an overwhelming victory in the presidential election of 1932.
- During Roosevelt’s first 100 days in office, his administration passed legislation that aimed to stabilize industrial and agricultural production, create jobs and stimulate recovery.
- In addition, Roosevelt sought to reform the financial system, creating the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to protect depositors’ accounts and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to regulate the stock market and prevent abuses of the kind that led to the 1929 crash.
New Deal by Roosevelt: Overview
- Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) : Among the programs and institutions of the New Deal that aided in recovery from the Great Depression were the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), which built dams and hydroelectric projects to control flooding and provide electric power to the impoverished Tennessee Valley region.
- Works Progress Administration (WPA), a permanent jobs program that employed 5 million people from 1935 to 1943.
- Social security: In 1935, Congress passed the Social Security Act, which for the first time provided Americans with unemployment, disability and pensions for old age.
- Recovery: After showing early signs of recovery beginning in the spring of 1933, the economy continued to improve throughout the next three years, during which real GDP (adjusted for inflation) grew at an average rate of 9 percent per year.
- A sharp recession hit in 1937, caused in part by the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase its requirements for money in reserve.
- Though the economy began improving again in 1938, this second severe contraction reversed many of the gains in production and employment and prolonged the effects of the Great Depression through the end of the decade.
Role of World War-II in the recovery of the U.S. economy
- With Roosevelt’s decision to support Britain and France in the struggle against Germany and the other Axis Powers, defence manufacturing geared up, producing more and more private sector jobs.
- The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 led to America’s entry into World War II, and the nation’s factories went back in full production mode.
- This expanding industrial production, as well as widespread conscription beginning in 1942, reduced the unemployment rate to below its pre-Depression level.
- More people were needed to produce the food and weapons for the men on the front lines.
- The new jobs were taken by many who had been out of work for several years.
- As more men were sent away to fight, women were hired to take over their positions on the assembly lines.
- Before World War II, women had generally been discouraged from working outside the home.
- Now they were being encouraged to take over jobs that had been traditionally considered “men’s work.”
- Existing companies changed their lines from consumer goods to war materials, and new plants were constructed strictly for the creation of products for the war
- The Great Depression had ended at last, and the United States turned its attention to the global conflict of World War II.
The New Deal and the outbreak of world war II, did eventually reform the American economic system. Roosevelt’s leadership preserved the country’s faith in its democratic political system. It also established him as a leader of democracy in a world threatened by ruthless dictators.
General Studies – 2
7. Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission is the coming together of technological initiatives to enhance high quality healthcare across the nations. Analyse its potential and limitations to achieve interoperability within the digital health ecosystem. (250 words)
Reference: Live Mint
The Prime Minister launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission. Under this, a unique digital health ID will be provided to the people, which will contain all the health records of the person. The pilot project of the National Digital Health Mission was announced by the prime minister from the ramparts of the Red Fort on August 15, 2020.
- The key components of this scheme, which is also called the National Digital Health Mission or the PM Digital Health Mission, are a health identity card for every citizen, a healthcare professionals registry, and healthcare facilities registries.
- It will also help ensure security, confidentiality and privacy of health-related personal information.
- The health ID for every citizen will also work as their health account, to which personal health records can be linked and viewed with the help of a mobile application.
- Healthcare Professionals Registry (HPR) and Healthcare Facilities Registries (HFR) will act as a repository of all healthcare providers across both modern and traditional systems of medicine.
- Currently, the project is being implemented in the pilot phase in six Union Territories.
- The nationwide rollout of the project coincides with National Health Authority (NHA) celebrating the third anniversary of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
Potential of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
- The mission will enable access and exchange of longitudinal health records of citizens with their consent.
- Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will play a big role in eliminate problems in medical treatment of poor and middle class.
- The new programme will help create interoperability within the digital health ecosystem, similar to the role played by the UPI in revolutionising the payments.
- It will ensure ease of doing business for doctors and hospitals and healthcare service providers.
- Furthermore, the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission Sandbox, created as a part of the mission, will act as a framework for technology and product testing that will help organisations, including private players to be a part of the National Digital Health Ecosystem to become a health information provider
- The mission still does not recognize ‘Health’ as a justiciable right. There should be a push draft at making health a right, as prescribed in the draft National Health Policy, 2015.
- One of the biggest concerns is regarding data security and privacy of patients. It must be ensured that the health records of the patients remain entirely confidential and secure.
- Potential misuse of information by the insurance companies can affect, people’s ability to buy insurance.
- The companies may charge high premium if health details are known or even deny in few cases.
- In addition, the failure of a similar National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom must be learnt lessons from and the technical and implementation-related deficiencies must be proactively addressed prior to launching the mission on a pan India scale.
The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission would be playing a huge role in solving the issues faced in medical treatment by different classes of Indians, mainly the poor. It can be done by connecting people via technology that is connecting the healthcare workers, hospitals to patients etc. This has a revolutionary potential like never before for the health sector, but caution must be taken that the information is not inadvertently shared.
Value Addition: Ayushman Bharat
- Launched as recommended by the National Health Policy 2017, to achieve the vision of Universal Health Coverage (UHC).
- This initiative has been designed on the lines as to meet SDG and its underlining commitment, which is “leave no one behind”.
- Aim: to undertake path breaking interventions to holistically address health (covering prevention, promotion and ambulatory care), at primary, secondary and tertiary level.
- Includes the on-going centrally sponsored schemes – Senior Citizen Health Insurance Scheme (SCHIS) and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY).
- Ayushman Bharat adopts a continuum of care approach, comprising of two inter-related components, which are:
- Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs).
- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).
Key Features of PM-JAY:
- The world’s largest health insurance/ assurance scheme fully financed by the government.
- It provides cover of 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empanelled hospitals in India.
- Coverage: Over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) are eligible for these benefits.
- Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service.
- No restrictions on family size, age or gender.
- All pre–existing conditions are covered from day one.
- Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
- Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country.
- Services include approximately 1,393 procedures covering all the costs related to treatment, including but not limited to drugs, supplies, diagnostic services, physician’s fees, room charges, surgeon charges, OT and ICU charges etc.
- Public hospitals are reimbursed for the healthcare services at par with the private hospitals.
8. Outer space is becoming an extension of the terrestrial geopolitical competition. Interventions led by U.N Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space are urgently needed, so that domain of space is used only for peaceful purposes. Examine (250 words)
Reference: Indian Express
India recently signed an outer space cooperation with Quad members and USA. Delhi’s new strategic interest in outer space is based on a recognition of two important trends. One is the centrality of emerging technologies in shaping the 21st-century global order. The other is about the urgency of writing new rules for the road to peace and stability in outer space.
There is proliferation of space exploratory missions today, raising issues of space debris, weaponization and also space dominance turning space into tragedy of commons problem.
Outerspace: Extension of geopolitical competition
- Astropolitics: The US has traditionally dominated outer space in the commercial domain. Its military competition with Russia set the norms in the security field.
- China’s emergence as a major space power — in both civilian and military is reshaping astropolitics.
- China factor: The dramatic expansion of Chinese space capabilities and Beijing’s ambition to dominate outer space have lent a new urgency for democratic powers to come together to secure their national interests as well as promote sustainable order in the skies above.
- No global rules: Space is a commons, where any nation’s decision to test an anti-satellite weapon, in the process creating gobs of junk, is unpunishable.
- Multiple entities and debris: Both private and government satellite owners have an incentive to protect their equipment while it’s operating—but not thereafter.
- Space junk is pollution, and as we have learned on earth there must be a clear line of responsibility for pollution, or public spaces will be ruined.
- National and commercial interests are increasingly tied to space in political, economic and military arenas.
- Beyond fanciful notions of solar energy satellites, fusion energy and orbiting hotels, contemporary political issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, cybersecurity and human rights are also intimately tied to outer space.
International rules and space governance
- In 1959, the UN General Assembly established the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) in Resolution 1472 (XIV). This committee identified areas for international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space
- Outer Space Treaty of 1967: India is a party to the Outer Space Treaty.
- The treaty prohibits countries from placing into orbit around the Earth “any objects carrying nuclear weapons or any other kinds of weapons of mass destruction”.
- It also prohibits the stationing of such weapons on celestial bodies, like the moon, or in outer space.
- The moon and other celestial bodies shall be used by all state parties to the treaty exclusively for peaceful purposes.
- Although these treaties ban the placement of weapons of mass destruction in space, they do not prevent states from placing other types of weapons in space.
- As a result, many states argue that existing treaties are insufficient for safeguarding outer space as “the common heritage of mankind.”
- The international community has been debating for the need to introduce transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities (TCBMS).
- In this regard, European Union has also prepared a draft code of conduct (CoC).
- However, major powers are yet to agree on the idea of establishing a CoC conduct.
- Another important idea that has been put on the table jointly by Russia and China is the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space (PPWT) instead of only Weapon of Mass Destruction which is resisted by US and the EU.
As outer space becomes a location for lucrative business as well as a site of military competition between states, the salience of space cooperation needs to increase in the coming years. The scale of the challenges and opportunities in outer space, however, demand more urgent and sweeping reform. That can only be mandated by the highest political level.
Space must be used only for peaceful purposes and any weaponisation of Outer Space cannot be tolerated in the larger interest of people. The safety and security of space based assets should be ensured through international cooperation.
Evolution of space exploration journey
- Only the United States has sent people beyond low Earth orbit, but experts say U.S. pre-eminence in space could be challenged.
- China became the third nation to independently launch a human into orbit in 2003 and its capabilities have since grown.
- The People’s Liberation Army is seen as a driver of the Chinese space program, the ambitions of which include sending people to the moon and building a space station.
- Meanwhile, India launched its first unmanned mission to Mars in late 2013, and its probe entered Mars’s orbit in September 2014.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation has since reached an agreement with NASA on subsequent explorations of Mars.
- China and the United Arab Emirates successfully sent spacecraft to orbit Mars in February 2021, the same month that NASA landed its rover there; the Chinese mission includes its own robotic explorer.
General Studies – 3
9. The ever-growing uncertainty of crude oil prices and geopolitical instability surrounding its supply, make it imperative for India to approach alternative fuels which are cleaner and cheaper on a mission mode. Critically Analyse. (250 words)
Reference: Live Mint
The recent surge in crude oil prices prompted both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and federal think tank NITI Aayog to flag the need for the Centre and states to contain input cost pressures on businesses. A further surge could put pressure to cut taxes, which may impact revenues and spending.
Crude oil prices and uncertainty: Impact on India
- Covid and Volatile prices: Oil prices have witnessed sharp volatility in the past.
- The price of India’s basket of crude oil that represents the average of Oman, Dubai, and Brent plunged to $19.90 in April last year during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Increased taxes: Last year, when crude prices slumped, Centre raised its taxes which remains in place till date. Any further rise in crude prices will burn the consumer’s pockets further as they have reached more than Rs 100.
- Trigger events cause price rise: Crude rallied in the backdrop of hurricane Ida impacting US Gulf Coast production and a fall in US inventories. This comes at a time when global oil demand is rising.
- Stock markets are also dependent on such instances and events which have an impact on the Indian economy.
- Underinvestment in the global oil and gas sector could lead to tighter supplies at a time when demand is set to recover.
- Whilst that might be beneficial to oil producers in the short term, it also means significant costs to the global economy which is in nobody’s long-term interest.
- OPEC-cartel: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies still have a cap on oil production, while a lack of investment has limited output from the group’s top two African producers.
Various alternative fuels in India: Advantages
- Solar energy: The country has set an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, which includes -power. 100 GW from solar, 60 GW from wind, 10 GW from bio-power and 5 GW from small hydro.
- Wind energy: India is likely to install 54.7 GW of wind capacity by 2022 against the 60 GW target set by the government.
- India is a country having around 7,500 km long coastline and in all of its exclusive economic zones, it has enough opportunity to harness wind energy.
- It is found by the National Institute for Wind Energy (based in Chennai) that western states have larger potential in terms of a stable, steady and a speedy windflow starting from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
- Bio-diesel: It is ultra-low Sculpture diesel, which is also an alternative fuel produces even low pollution comparing to CNG.
- Bio-CNG: Bio-CNG vehicles with 20% blending in petrol is also a target the government has been chasing.
- Conversion of energy from Biomass is a considerable option as it will clean the cities as well as reduce our energy dependence.
- Hydrogen: Recently, the government has launched the National Hydrogen Energy Mission (NHEM) in Budget 2021. The NHEM proposes a roadmap for using hydrogen as an energy source and augmenting India’s growing renewable capacity with the hydrogen economy.
- India’s electricity is heavily coal-dependent. Hydrogen will replace fossil fuels, address pollution, and oil-price rise.
Limitations of alternative fuels and their challenges
- Reliability: By their very nature, solar and wind energy are variable in availability both spatially as well as geographically.
- They are not available on-demand, unlike thermal or nuclear energy.
- Therefore, they have to be supplemented with other sources of energy, to maintain the base load.
- Creation of storage infrastructure: To overcome the variable nature of renewable sources of energy, it is vital to invest in affordable batteries of large capacity.
- This would require adequate commitment from the government side to inspire confidence in the private sector.
- Funding: As already stated, renewable energy requires setting up large projects to harness the economies of scale.
- This requires a large initial investment, which can be a deterrent at the beginning of the project.
- 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.
- Huge investment is required to change today’s petrol and diesel running vehicles to adopt such technologies.
- Cultivation of Jathropa and other types of biodiesels will require land which is very necessary for food crops cultivation.
- Hydrogen is explosive and problem of storage is there also.
India is looking at private investment to raise domestic oil and gas production, which has stagnated for the last few years. A well planned road map is needed, for which NITI Aayog is coming up with Energy Vision 2035 to achieve India’s clean energy goals. Diversified energy mix is what India needs to focus on, no doubt solar and wind have a lot of potential, Hydrogen would be a game changer in Indian energy transition space. India should be working on areas like investment in infrastructure, capacity building and better integration in the near and immediate future.
Stats on India’s renewable energy
- As of July 2021, India had 96.96 GW of renewable energy capacity, and represents 25.2% of the overall installed power capacity, providing a great opportunity for the expansion of green data centres.
- The country is targeting about 450 Gigawatt (GW) of installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 – about 280 GW (over 60%) is expected from solar.
- Installed renewable power-generation capacity has increased at a fast pace over the past few years, posting a CAGR of 15.51% between FY16 and FY21. India had 94.4 GW of renewable energy capacity in FY21.
- In July 2021, installed capacity of hydro projects in India reached to 46.3 GW, while capacity of small hydro plants reached to 4.8 GW.
- By December 2019, 15,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power projects were issued, of which, projects of 12,162.50 MW capacity have already been awarded2. Power generation from renewable energy sources in India reached 127.01 billion units (BU) in FY20.
- With a potential capacity of 363 GW and with policies focused on the renewable energy sector, Northern India is expected to become the hub for renewable energy in India.
10. The Naga peace process continues to be a stalemate and despite the Naga Peace Accord of 2015 the obstacles and differences between stakeholders are yet to be resolved to achieve finality. Discuss. (250 words)
Reference: Live Mint
The NSCN (IM) entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in 1997 and the two have been holding talks since then, while a conglomerate of seven different Naga national political groups (NNPGs) also got into separate talks with the Centre since 2017. The Centre signed a “framework agreement” with NSCN (IM) in 2015, and an “agreed position” with the NNPGs in 2017. However, the NSCN (IM)’s demand for a separate Naga flag and constitution has been a delaying factor in signing a final deal on the protracted Naga political issue.
Naga Peace Accord and deadlock
- Enlarged Peace Talks: Talks were expanded in 2017 by including other Naga groups under the banner, the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs)
- Bilateral to Multilateral Negotiations: The Framework Agreement envisaged a bilateral truce between two entities, but today it is seen to be a multilateral one with involvement of seven prominent Naga groups
- Deadlock in Talks Since October 2019: The deadlock was on the insistence for a separate flag and constitution by the NSCN(IM) to make way for India and Nagaland to be independent allies in a shared-sovereignty federal relationship
- Differences within Naga Groups: The NSCN (I-M) still insists on a “Greater Nagalim”. However, most of the NNPGs based in Nagaland have sought to settle the issue without disturbing the State boundaries while keeping the “Greater Nagalim” question in abeyance.
Other issues in the peace process
- The agreement released by the NSCN-IM in August 2020 stated “sharing the sovereign power” and provide for an “enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities”.
- The NSCN-IM claims that the word ‘new’ is politically sensitive as it goes to define the meaning of peaceful co-existence of the two entities (two sovereign powers) and it strongly indicates outside the purview of the Constitution.
- The position of NSCN (IM) has been “with India, not within India”.
- Conceding to this demand, especially after the abrogation of Article 370, seems improbable for the Government.
- In November 2017, N Ravi signed an agreement with seven groups who had come together under the banner of the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs), which did not include the NSCN (IM).
- The IM, which considers itself the principal representative of Naga aspirations, has been a rival of many of the NNPG groups. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2020, the IM accused Ravi of attempting to “segregate the Naga civil society”.
- The NSCN-IM had claimed that the interlocutor Mr. Ravi, “craftily deleted the word new from the original” to justify his own narrative and circulated to the other Naga groups including NNGPs.
- NSCN-IM was also angered by Mr. Ravi’s letter to Nagaland CM, alleging the collapse of law and order and that armed gangs who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation” were engaging in “blatant extortion”.
- The government has roped in former IB officer Mishra as the new pointsperson for talks.
- It is important to understand that there cannot be an accord without the NSCN(IM). It continues to get young recruits and wields considerable influence in the region.
- The idea is to slowly bring them to accept what India can give.
- One of Mishra’s tasks would also be to delicately close the gap between the IM and NNPGs, which shared a good relationship with Ravi.