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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 November 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Though local salinity patterns are majorly linked to rainfall and evaporation but globally a number of factors determine the salinity of the oceans. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about to factors which determine the salinity of the oceans.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Explain what is ocean salinity.

Body:

Write about the various factors that determine the salinity of the oceans – Evaporation, Freshwater flow influx, temperature, density, Ocean Currents, Precipitation, Atmospheric pressure and Wind direction. Give examples from across the world.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the above.

Introduction

Salinity refers to the total content of dissolved salts in sea water. It is calculated as the amount of salt (in gm) dissolved in 1,000 gm (1 kg) of seawater. The salinity of ocean water is usually around 35 parts per thousand on an average at zero degrees Celsius. This implies that in the total weight of ocean water, dissolved salts amount to 3.5 percent. Sodium chloride or the common salt is the most common among all the dissolved salts in the sea.

Body

Factors influencing salinity are: Factors affecting the amount of salt in different oceans and seas are called as controlling factors of oceanic salinity.

  • Evaporation: The salinity of water in the surface layer of oceans depend mainly on evaporation. Where the evaporation is greater, the salinity is higher, for example, Mediterranean sea.
  • Freshwater flow influx: Surface salinity is greatly influenced in coastal regions by the freshwater flow from rivers, and in polar regions by the processes of freezing and thawing of ice.
    • Where the freshwater flow into the oceans is greater, the salinity is lower.
    • For instance, at the mouths of rivers such as Amazon, Congo, Ganga etc., the ocean surface salinity is found to be lower than the average surface salinity.
  • Temperature and density: Salinity, temperature and density of water are interrelated. Hence, any change in the temperature or density influences the salinity of an area.
    • In general, regions with high temperatures are also, regions with high salinity.
  • Ocean Currents: They play an important role in the spatial distribution of dissolved salts in ocean waters.
    • The warm currents near the equatorial region push away the salts from the eastern margins of the oceans and accumulate them near the western margins.
    • Similarly, ocean currents in the temperate regions increase the salinity of ocean waters near the eastern margins. For instance, Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic Ocean increases the salinity of ocean waters along the western margins of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Precipitation: Precipitation and salinity share an inverse relationship.
    • In general, regions with higher levels of precipitation have lower levels of salinity. This is the reason why though the equatorial region is as hot as the sub-tropics; it records lower salinity than the sub-tropics since the former receives heavy precipitation in a day.
  • Atmospheric pressure and Wind direction: anti-cyclonic conditions with stable air and high temperature increase salinity of the surface water of oceans
    • winds help is redistribution of salinity, as they drive away saline waters to less saline areas resulting into decrease of salinity in the former and increase in the latter

 

Conclusion

Salinity, along with temperature, determines the density of seawater, and hence its vertical flow patterns in thermohaline circulation. Every year, around 3 billion tons of salt gets added to the oceans from the land. A tiny fraction of this salt is extracted by humans for daily consumption.

 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2. Accounting for horizontal and vertical distribution of Salinity, discuss the regional distribution of salinity in the major oceans across the world. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about horizontal, vertical regional distributions of Salinity.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Give context about variations of salinity with latitudinal variations and depth.

Body:

In the first part, write about the horizontal distributions of Salinity – salinity decreases from equator towards the poles, highest salinity is observed between 20° N and 40° N etc and the reasons for it.

Next, write about vertical distributions of Salinity – increases with increasing depth, draw a small diagram to show the same.

Next, write about salinity varies in major oceans on the planet and reasons therefore.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about the impact of salinity of various climatic phenomenon.

Introduction

Salinity refers to the total content of dissolved salts in sea water. It is calculated as the amount of salt (in gm) dissolved in 1,000 gm (1 kg) of seawater. The salinity of the ocean varies from place to place, especially at the surface. Much of the ocean has salinity between 34 ppt and 36 ppt, but there are places that tend to be higher or lower.

Body

Variation in salinity:

Salinity distribution in Surface waters

  • Horizontal distribution :
    • On an average, salinity decreases from equator towards the poles. However, it is important to note that the highest salinity is seldom recorded near the equator though this zone records high temperature and evaporation but high rainfall reduces the relative proportion of salt. Thus, the equator accounts for only 35‰ salinity
    • The highest salinity is observed between 20° N and 40° N (36‰) because this zone is characterized by high temperature, high evaporation but relatively low rainfall
    • The average salinity of 35‰ is recorded between 100 -300 latitudes in the southern hemisphere
    • The zone between 40 deg -60 deg latitudes in both the hemispheres records low salinity where it is 31‰ and 33‰ in the northern and the southern hemispheres respectively.
    • Salinity further decreases in the polar zones because of influx of Glacial melt-water. On an average, the northern and the southern hemispheres record average salinity of 35‰ and 34‰ respectively
  • Vertical distribution of salinity:

Vertical Distribution of Salinity

 

    • Salinity changes with depth, but the way it changes depends upon the location of the sea.
    • Salinity at the surface increases by the loss of water to ice or evaporation, or decreased by the input of fresh waters, such as from the rivers.
    • Salinity at depth is very much fixed, because there is no way that water is ‘lost’, or the salt is ‘added.’ There is a marked difference in the salinity between the surface zones and the deep zones of the oceans.
    • The lower salinity water rests above the higher salinity dense water.
    • Salinity, generally, increases with depth and there is a distinct zone called the halocline (compare this with thermocline), where salinity increases sharply.
    • Other factors being constant, increasing salinity of seawater causes its density to increase. High salinity seawater, generally, sinks below the lower salinity water. This leads to stratification by salinity.

Regional distribution of salinity in the major oceans across the world

  • Indian Ocean: The average salinity of the Indian Ocean is 35 parts per thousand . The low salinity is observed in the Bay of Bengaldue to the influx of river water by the river Ganga. On the other hand, the Arabian Sea shows higher salinity due to high evaporation and a low influx of freshwater.
  • Pacific Ocean: The salinity variation in the Pacific Ocean is mainly due to its shape and larger areal extent.
  • Atlantic Ocean: The salinity in the Atlantic ocean varies between 20 to 37 parts per thousand according to the location.
    • For example, Near the equator, there is heavy rainfall, high relative humidity, cloudiness and calm air of the doldrums.
    • Whereas, The polar areas experience very little evaporation and receive large amounts of freshwater from the melting of ice. This leads to low levels of salinity, ranging between 20 and 32 parts per thousand
  • North Sea: In spite of its location in higher latitudes, it records higher salinity due to more saline water brought by the North Atlantic Drift.
  • The Mediterranean Sea:The Mediterranean Sea records higher salinity due to high evaporation. Surface waters average about 38 parts per thousand in this sea
  • The Baltic Sea: Baltic Sea records low salinity due to influx of river waters in large quantity, averaging around 35 parts per thousand
  • The Black Sea: Salinity in the Black Sea is very low due to the enormous freshwater influx by rivers, averaging around 13–23 parts per thousand

Conclusion

However, the effect is greater if the salty water gets cold, as temperature has a greater effect on density than salinity does. A combination of high salinity and low temperature makes seawater so dense that it sinks to the bottom of the ocean and flows across ocean basins as deep, slow currents.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. The field of rare diseases is very complex and heterogeneous with multiple challenges. Critically Analyse National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021 in prevention and management of rare diseases. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The Rare Diseases Policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with increased focus on indigenous research with the help of a National Consortium to be set up with Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as convenor.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about National Policy for Rare Diseases in better management of rare diseases in India.

Directive word:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining rare diseases and give certain examples of it.

Body:

First, write about the issues with respect to rare diseases – Early diagnosis of rare diseases is a major challenge owing to a variety of factors that include lack of awareness among primary care physicians, lack of adequate screening and diagnostic facilities etc.

Next, write about positive changes National Policy for Rare Diseases brings forth – lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with increased focus on indigenous research, local production of medicines, national hospital-based registry, early screening and financial support etc.

Next, write about the limitations of the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to holistically address the growing burden o rare diseases.

Introduction

WHO defines rare disease as often debilitating lifelong disease or disorder with a prevalence of 1 or less, per 1000 population. As per an estimate, there are 7,000 known rare diseases with an estimated 300 million patients in the world; 70 million are in India. According to the Organization for Rare Diseases India, these include inherited cancers, autoimmune disorders, congenital malformations, Hirschsprung’s disease, Gaucher disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophies and Lysosomal Storage Disorders (LSDs).

Body

Challenges in dealing with rare diseases

  • The field of rare diseases is complex and heterogeneous. The landscape of rare diseases is constantly changing, as there are new rare diseases and conditions being identified and reported regularly in medical literature.
  • Apart from a few rare diseases, where significant progress has been made, the field is still at a nascent stage.
  • For a long time, doctors, researchers and policy makers were unaware of rare diseases and until very recently there was no real research or public health policy concerning issues related to the field.
  • Moreover, families that have members with rare diseases are either unaware or found helpless in treating them either due to no home-grown expertise or lack of finances to bear the burden.
  • Orphan drugs exist in only few rare diseases and they are exorbitantly priced and beyond the reach of a common man. Eg: Zolgensma for muscular dystrophy costs 16 crore.

National Policy of Rare Diseases 2021

  • The Rare Diseases Policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with increased focus on indigenous research with the help of a National Consortium to be set up with Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare as convenor.
  • Increased focus of research and development and local production of medicines will lower the cost of treatment for rare diseases.
  • The policy also envisages creation of a national hospital-based registry of rare diseases so that adequate data is available for definition of rare diseases and for research and development related to rare diseases within the country.
  • The Policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure such as Health and Wellness Centres and District Early Intervention Centres (DEICs) and through counselling for the high-risk parents.
  • Screening will also be supported by Nidan Kendras set up by Department of Biotechnology.
  • Policy also aims to strengthen tertiary health care facilities for prevention and treatment of rare diseases through designating 8 health facilities as Centre of Excellence and these CoEs will also be provided one-time financial support of up to Rs 5 crores for upgradation of diagnostics facilities.
  • A provision for financial support up to 20 lakhs under the Umbrella Scheme of Rastriya Arogya Nidhi is proposed for treatment, of those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment (diseases listed under Group 1 in the rare disease policy).
  • Beneficiaries for such financial assistance would not be limited to BPL families, but the benefit will be extended to about 40% of the population, who are eligible under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  • Besides, the Policy also envisages a crowd funding mechanism in which corporates and individuals will be encouraged to extend financial support through a robust IT platform for treatment of rare diseases.
  • Funds so collected will be utilized by Centres of Excellence for treatment of all three categories of rare diseases as first charge and then the balance financial resources could also be used for research.

Limitations of the policy

  • As per the National Policy on rare diseases, diseases such as LSD for which definitive treatment is available, but costs are prohibitive, have been categorised as Group 3.
  • However, no funding has been allocated for the immediate and lifelong treatment needs, for therapies already approved by the Drugs Controller General of India.
  • Experts point out that the costs to help already-diagnosed patients might be in the range of ₹80-₹100 crore annually.
  • If the Centre can extend the cost-sharing agreements that it has worked out with Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, with other States too, its share of the annual costs will be halved.
  • The Centre can, however, still set aside a substantial corpus to fund life-saving treatments, even as it rolls out the policy.
  • Doing so will not only complete a job well begun — even if not yet half done — but also cement its commitment towards the welfare of every single citizen in India.

Conclusion

It is binding on a welfare state to take care of every single citizen. Securing the wellbeing of every one, particularly those unable to help themselves, irrespective of whether they constitute a critical mass or not, is important.

 

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

4. AUKUS is a result of like-minded regional powers forging a partnership that will see closer alignment of regional policies as well as greater integration of their defence forces in the Indo-Pacific. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States (AUKUS) continues to be in the news at the COP26.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about objectives and potential outcomes due to the formation of AUKUS.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the formation of AUKUS.

Body:

In the first part, write about the reasons behind formation of AUKUS.

Next, elaborate on the security pact and its impact on the Indo-pacific. nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, deterrence to China, enhancing joint capabilities and deeper military interoperability etc.

Next, bring in the impact of formation of AUKUS other countries. – New Zealand, European Union especially with souring of Australia-France relations, ASEAN, possible responses of China. Mention the impact on India.

Conclusion:

Summarise the impact of new geo-political developments on rules based multilateral order.

Introduction

The UK, US and Australia have announced a historic security pact in the Asia-Pacific, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. It is called the AUKUS pact and AUKUS alliance. It is a landmark security pact involving the UK, US and Australia that will allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time with technology provided by the US underscores the rapidly shifting realities of the Indo- Pacific.

Body

Overview on AUKUS pact

  • Under the AUKUS alliance, the three nations have agreed to enhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing, foster deeper integration of security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains.
  • Under the first major initiative of AUKUS, Australia would build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the US and the UK, a capability aimed at promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In recent years, Beijing has been accused of raising tensions in disputed territories such as the South China Sea.
  • Western nations have been wary of China’s infrastructure investment on Pacific islands, and have also criticised China’s trade sanctions against countries like Australia.
  • Australia will be joining a select group of countries, including the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia, that operate nuclear-powered submarines.
  • It will also be only the second nation after the UK with which the US will be sharing its submarine technology.

AUKUS pact: Regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific and beyond

  • Technology transfer to non-nuclear state: In an extraordinary move, the US and UK are willing to export nuclear technology to a non-nuclear powered nation.
    • Regional security concerns have been the main driver behind this ‘Aukus pact’ that is being touted as Canberra’s biggest defence partnership in decades, involving artificial intelligence, cyber and other cutting-edge defence technologies.
  • Indo-Pacific security: It described the pact as a “historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Countering Chinese expansionist policy: For Washington and its allies in the Pacific, a new class of nuclear-powered submarines can be of critical value in challenging Chinese military expansionism.
    • It would also allow the three nations to operate more effectively together undersea across the Pacific.
  • Timing of announcement: The announcement of this major pact comes against the backdrop of a disastrous withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan that had raised widespread doubts across the Indo-Pacific about the credibility of American commitments in the region.
  • Brexit and UK’s projection as global power: Britain aims to play a larger role in the Indo-Pacific, especially after its exit from the European Union.
    • The Boris Johnson administration is keen on projecting the idea of a ‘Global Britain’ as the central narrative of British foreign policy after Brexit, and greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific with like-minded nations is a natural corollary to that.
    • In July, the UK’s new aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, sailed through the South China Sea waters despite denunciations from Beijing.
  • India’s stance: The latest developments are largely favourable from an Indian viewpoint and as our focus now shifts to the Quad meeting, it is clear that like-minded regional powers are trying to evolve a partnership that will see closer alignment of regional policies and actions as well as greater integration of their defence forces.
    • Alongside India’s stated intent to acquire more nuclear-powered submarines, it will amount to a step-change increase in the Quad’s undersea and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Conclusion

The message from Aukus is that while the current churn in the Indo-Pacific may have begun with Chinese actions, it is now other regional players that are willing to set new terms of engagement with Beijing. They can effectively counter Chinese Aggression and their ‘middle kingdom’ agenda alongside the Quad.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: e-technology in the aid of farmers.

5. With technology becoming ubiquitous in the agriculture sector, start-ups are breaking conventional methods to supply inputs, improve quality and demand. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Globally, India is competing with the US and China in the agri-startup space. According to Agfunder, India witnessed an increase in funding from $619 million in H1 2020 to $2 billion in H1 2021, behind the US ($9.5 billion) and China ($4.5 billion)

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the potential of Agritech startups in India.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by writing about the growing trend of Agritech startups in India. Cite statistic to substantiate.

Body:

First, mention the potential of Agritech startups in India – empowering farmers, small agrifood operators, and giving consumers a better deal, growing footprint and reduced wastage etc.

Next, write about bottlenecks faced by these startups – policy issues, funding, regulation etc.

Next, mention the need for a robust policy to ensure there is smooth transition of businesses and employees from the informal to formal sector through upskilling, financing initiatives etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning positive steps that are needed for companies involved in the agricultural ecosystem.

Introduction

Globally, India is competing with the US and China in the agri-startup space. According to Agfunder, India witnessed an increase in funding from $619 million in H1 2020 to $2 billion in H1 2021, behind the US ($9.5 billion) and China ($4.5 billion)

Body

Agri-tech startups in India and their potential

  • High potential in terms of value: An Ernst & Young 2020 study pegs the Indian agritech market potential at $24 billion by 2025, of which only 1 per cent has been captured so far.
  • Supply chain segments: Among various agritech segments, the supply chain technology and output markets have the highest potential, worth $12.1 billion.
    • Currently, it is estimated that there are about 600 to 700 agritech startups in India operating at different levels of agri-value chains.
  • Modern technology to agriculture: Many of them use artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), internet of things (IoT), etc, to unlock the potential of big data for greater resource use efficiency, transparency and inclusiveness. Eg: Ninjacart, Dehaat, and Crofarm (Otipy) are a few of the many startups that are redefining the agrifood marketplace.
  • Establishing an ecosystem: The novelty of startup-led value chain transformation is not limited to empowering farmers but also co-opting local grocery, mom-and-pop, and kirana stores as well as small agrifood businesses that are an integral part of the agri-food ecosystem.
  • Expanding economy around agri economy: At the same time, the start-up network is able to leverage the bigger front-end players who demand bulk quality produce and have challenges in directly linking with farmers.

Issues faced by the startups

  • Government policies: Although government has made a shift in their policies related to agriculture but we still have a long way to go. Today we have Digital India, Make in India, Start-up India, Skill in India but nothing converges at the farm level.
  • Many agtech firms are grappling with their own set of issues. These include rigid business models that are at times difficult to scale up and lack of insights and expertise on the subject matter which is essential in network build-up.
  • Resistant farmers unwilling to adopt technology and most farmers being small and subsistent makes it difficult to introduce technology in agriculture.
  • There are glaring gaps in the supply chain management and also poor last-mile connectivity especially at grass-roots level as well lack of investments to drive the businesses.
  • Farming companies are also impacted by limited traceability and visibility. Agri input companies still struggle with inefficient field force management and operations along with lack of centralised database that causes huge losses along the value chain.

Hence, it becomes imperative for the government, agritech businesses and food supply chain companies to collectively fix these loopholes and create a transparent system which, in the long-term, will benefit all the stakeholders involved including the investors.

Measures needed

  • The startup-FPO partnership can be further strengthened by incentivising the FPOs under the central government’s programme to add 10,000 new FPOs by 2024.
  • Collaboration across sectors: The network of agritech start-ups, incubators, accelerators and investors need to work closely with policymakers, academia, think tanks, and government departments to develop a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of the agrifood sector.
    • This will also enable the government and policymakers to leverage the existing agritech pool and co-create solutions for shared value.
    • If policies, institutions and partnerships can harness the current momentum, the startup ecosystem can be the next-generation technology revolution in the agrifood sector.
  • Experts, agritech entrepreneurs and investors believe that new approaches and new institutions are required which can really pull farmers from lifelong penury. This can be achieved if both private and public companies work together in unison to boost the agriculture space in a massive way.
  • Skilling farmers to infuse technology in agriculture will not only lead to better agri-incomes, it will also make agriculture more efficient. Government aids are available to buy machineries and these can be made available to ensure start-ups can scale their reach to farmers.

Conclusion

The Indian agriculture industry, pegged at $39.1 billion as on 2019, is poised for huge growth and contribution to the world food trade. Startups have a crucial role to play in helping farmers harness technology, which will increase crop yield and double the income of farmers. With the infusion of technology in the sector, agriculture is set to make big gains and move towards Aatmanirbhar Bharat.

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

6. The Bhopal Gas tragedy was the most devastating chemical accident in Indian history. Examine the legal and institutional framework put in place to prevent such disasters from occurring. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question: 

Abdul Jabbar, a gas victim, waged a lonely and seemingly never-ending battle for the welfare of the survivors of 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy. He will be awarded the Padma Shri posthumously.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Bhopal gas tragedy and the steps that are put in place to prevent such incidents from happening again.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the Bhopal Gas tragedy, the deadliest chemical disaster witnessed in India.

Body:

First, write about chemical disasters and impact of such disasters such as loss of lives, property, harm to surrounding environment etc.

Next, mention the steps that are put in place to prevent such disasters – Explosives Act 1884                                       Petroleum Act 1934, Factories Act 1948, Insecticides Act 1968, Environment Protection Act 1986              Motor Vehicles Act 1988, Public Liability Insurance Act 1991, Disaster Management Act 2005

Next, examine the efficacy of the above in preventing chemical disasters and write about its limitations citing recent examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about a way forward to have robust mechanism to deal with chemical disasters.

Introduction

The Bhopal Gas tragedy has widely been acknowledged as the world’s worst industrial disaster. Leaking toxic gas from the now-defunct Union Carbide factory in Bhopal resulted in the deaths of thousands of people and left lakhs maimed on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. At the time of the Bhopal gas tragedy, the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was the only relevant law specifying criminal liability for such incidents.

Body

The legal and institutional framework to prevent industrial disasters in India

  • Bhopal Gas Leak (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985, which gives powers to the central government to secure the claims arising out of or connected with the Bhopal gas tragedy. Under the provisions of this Act, such claims are dealt with speedily and equitably.
  • The Environment Protection Act, 1986, which gives powers to the central government to undertake measures for improving the environment and set standards and inspect industrial units.
    • Under this, the Centre has notified Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989 and the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 for regulating hazardous substances.
  • The principle of ‘absolute and strict liability’ was formulated by the Supreme Court in a crucial judgment in MC Mehta vs Union of India in 1986, when the court was dealing with the leak of oleum gas at the Shriram Foods and Fertiliser Industries plant in Delhi.
  • Hazardous Waste (Management Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 1989: Industry required to identify major accident hazards, take preventive measures and submit a report to the designated authorities
  • Manufacture, Storage And Import Of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989: Importer must furnish complete product safety information to the competent authority and must transport imported chemicals in accordance with the amended rules.
  • Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996: Centre is required to constitute a central crisis group for management of chemical accidents; set up quick response mechanism termed as the crisis alert system. Each state is required to set up a crisis group and report on its work.
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, which is an insurance meant to provide relief to persons affected by accidents that occur while handling hazardous substances.
  • The Environment Relief Fund (ERF), a central fund under the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, was set up to provide immediate relief to victims of accidents in chemical industries. In March, a study found that a corpus of Rs 810 crore with ERF has remained unutilised for nearly three decades.
  • The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997, under which the National Environment Appellate Authority can hear appeals regarding the restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • National Green Tribunal, 2010, provides for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests.
  • Civil Nuclear Liability Act, 2010 deals with instituting civil liability for nuclear damage and granting prompt compensation to victims of a nuclear incident

Way forward

  • Chemical disasters, like the one in Bhopal, are preventable if risks are identified and addressed early on.
  • It will take the combined effort of competent authorities, private sector and society to prevent tragic environmental events from happening.
  • Developing policies to ensure that industries operate in accordance with technical and safety standards and allocating resources for risk assessment and monitoring.
  • Most of all, it’s important to adhere to environmental norms. Taking environmental safety and public health risks seriously, and promoting do-no-harm industrial development can make a big difference.
  • There is a clear need to promote clean development that innovatively addresses potential negative impacts on the environment.
  • To prevent future environmental disasters, all sectors could also do more to integrate environmental emergency preparedness and response activities into strategies and sustainable development programs.
  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019, which unfortunately, successive governments have not felt it necessary to ratify should be taken up and put into place immediately.
  • There is a need to balance the requirements of worker and employer and is beneficial to both the constituents of the world of work.

Conclusion

India’s push to transform itself into a $5 trillion economy is commendable but it is worth considering the dear cost unhindered investment into infrastructural growth could come at, as this relates to the loss of human life and ecological damage resulting from poor planning and maintenance of industrial infrastructure. In the present situation, it has become extremely important to check the grey practices of Indian industry those were previously overlooked as ‘little compromises’. After all, no amount of ease of doing business is more valuable than human life.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;

7. By placing a moral compass, we create a clear vision of the mental processes that point us in an ethical direction. Elaborate. (150 words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

Using the metaphor of the moral compass to describe conscience, our inner sense of right and wrong offers a framework to guide our actions.

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 by describing what you understand by moral compass (conscience) which governs the actions you take in day to day life.

Body:

Elaborate on how the moral compass aids in deciding what right from is wrong. Use examples to substantiate your points.

One way is to treat others the way you want to be treated.

Next way, to use Rights Theory that obligates us to respect the rights of others and live up to our obligations towards them.

Another way is to utilitarian perspective to do maximum good for maximum people.

Conclusion:

Completed the answer by bring out how the moral compass prevents us acting purely from self-interest and helps us live a life of integrity.

Introduction

Moral compass is a term used to describe our inner sense of right and wrong offers a framework to guide our actions. Conscience is inner moral sense of a person which guides him/her to regulate his behaviour. Voice of conscience corresponds to an inner voice that judges your behaviour. Voice of conscience is the source of ethical decision making for many.

Body

Conscience can be defined as something within each of us that tells us what is right and what is wrong. Therefore, if one uses his/her conscience when making decisions it would be guided by what is the right thing to do and what is wrong.

The traditional test is to apply ethical decision-making methods such as Rights Theory that obligates us to respect the rights of others and live up to our obligations towards them. Another approach is to evaluate the possible benefits and harms of alternative courses of action on stakeholders who may be affected by our possible actions and choose the one that maximizes net benefits.

  • Our conscience is our inner guide and it helps you figure out how to make good choices. As we grow up, we learn right from wrong. Our conscience is the thought and feeling we have that tells us whether something is a right or wrong thing to do or say. Thus voice of Conscience is a consistent guide to ethical decision making.
  • A person can prepare himself/herself to heed to the voice of conscience by:
  • Pausing and thinking about the dimensions of issue.
  • Practicing the power of silence.
  • Meditating and prayer.
  • Freeing oneself from external influences and selfish interests.
  • A human being always comes across ethical dilemmas in the decision making the process. Voice of Conscience acts as the guide for taking correct decisions when we have to choose between competing sets of principles in a given, usually undesirable or perplexing, situation. Example: Helping accident victim on your way to an interview.
  • The voice of conscience of an individual help in analysing the situation from different perspectives and help in taking the right decision.
  • Voice of Conscience helps in avoiding Conflicts of interest for better decision making. It can help in deciding between personal gains and public welfare.
  • Voice of Conscience is our ability to make a practical decision in light of ethical values and principles.
  • Voice of Conscience is a person’s moral compass of right and wrong as well as the consciousness of one’s actions. Expressions such as ‘gut feeling’ and ‘guilt’ are often applied in conjunction with a conscience.
  • The voice of conscience might suggest different principles and different behaviours to different situations. But it for a moment help individual from not doing wrong based on universal values.

Conclusion

Acting purely from self-interest, at best, keeps us parallel to the original position and can turn our compass south if our actions do harm to others. We avoid going in that direction by living a life of integrity. We also need to understand and appreciate why we should consider the needs of others before acting. We could simply go back to The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. None of us, presumably, wants to be disrespected so we should treat others respectfully.


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