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[Mission 2022] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 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. Define Catchment area, Drainage basin and Watershed. Differentiate between the Himalayan River System and Peninsular River System. (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 the differences between Himalayan river system and peninsular river system.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining Catchment Area, Drainage basin and Watershed. A simple representative diagram maybe used to show the same.

Body:

by defining Catchment Area, Drainage basin and Watershed. A simple representative diagram maybe used to show the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the general importance of the both river systems.

Introduction

The flow of water through well-defined channels is known as ‘drainage’ and the network of such channels is called a ‘drainage system’.

A catchment area is a hydrological unit which refers to all the area of land over which rain falls and is caught to serve a river basin. Each drop of precipitation that falls into a catchment area eventually ends up in the same river going to the sea if it doesn’t evaporate. However, it can take a very long time. Catchment areas are separated from each other by watersheds.

A river drainage basin is an area drained by a river and all of its tributaries. A river basin is made up of many different watersheds.

A watershed is an area of land that drains or “sheds” water into a specific waterbody. Every body of water has a watershed. Watersheds drain rainfall and snowmelt into streams and rivers. These smaller bodies of water flow into larger ones, including lakes, bays, and oceans. Gravity helps to guide the path that water takes across the landscape.

Body

watershed

 

The catchment area of large rivers or river system is called a river basin while those of small rivers, a lake, a tank is often referred to as a watershed. There is, however, a slight difference between a river basin and a watershed. Watersheds are small in area, generally less than 1000 ha.

BASIS FOR COMPARISONHIMALAYAN RIVERSPENINSULAR RIVERS
MeaningHimalayan Rivers are the rivers that originate from Himalayan ranges and flows throughout the year.Peninsular Rivers include those rivers that arises from Western Ghats and receive water only during a particular period.
NaturePerennialNon-perennial
FormDeltaSome rivers form delta while others form Estuary
ShapeMeanderingStraight
RocksBed rocks are soft, sedimentary and easily erodibleBed rocks are hard, resistant and not easily erodible
Fed bySnow and rainRain
Drainage basinLargeSmall
IrrigateNorthern PlainsDeccan Plateau
ValleyV-shaped valley is formedU-shaped valley is formed

Key Differences Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers System

  • Himalayan Rivers are the water bodies that emanate from the north of Himalayan mountain ranges. On the other extreme, Peninsular Rivers include those watercourses that arise from, Western Ghats or Central Highlands.
  • The Himalayan rivers are perennial, i.e. they have water all around the year. As against, Peninsular rivers are seasonal, in the sense that they have water during a particular period only.
  • Big deltas are formed by Himalayan Rivers. On the other extreme, some peninsular rivers like the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery form deltas, while the Narmada and the Tapi form estuaries.
  • While Himalayan rivers form meanders, there is an absence of meanders in case of Peninsular rivers.
  • The bedrocks of Himalayan rivers are soft, sedimentary and easily erodible. Conversely, bedrocks of Peninsular rivers are hard, resistant and not easily erodible.
  • Himalayan rivers get water from snow and rain, whereas Peninsular rivers are fed by rain only.
  • The drainage basin of Himalayan rivers is comparatively larger than the Peninsular rivers.
  • Himalayan rivers water helps in the irrigation of Northern Plains. In contrast, Peninsular rivers irrigate Deccan Plateau.
  • Himalayan rivers form a V-shaped valley, while Peninsular watercourses form valley having a U-shape

Conclusion        

The channel and valley length of the Himalayan River system is larger in comparison to the Peninsular River system. While in case of Himalayan Rivers, water is added by the underground sources also, but in case of Peninsular rivers due to hard lithology, no underground water is added to the river.

 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2. India should draw the world’s attention to the impact of climate change crisis unfolding in the Himalayas and Himalayan River system. Elucidate. (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 the impact of climate change on Himalayan rivers and examine the consequences.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by explaining that Himalayan glaciers feed Himalayan rivers which are under threat.

Body:

First, mention according to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment Report, more than a third of the Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2100, even if carbon emissions are dramatically cut and global warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The situation would be even more perilous if governments fail to limit greenhouses gases as promised

Next, Explain the impact of it – HKH glaciers that the major rivers of South Asia and China have their origin. These sustain over 240 million people living in the HKH region’s mountains and hills and some 1.5 billion people living in river basins fed by waters from the HKH’s glaciers. Melting glaciers of the HKH region would therefore impact the lives and livelihoods of almost a fifth of the world’s population. Changes in river flows could not only cause more erosion and landslides in the mountains but also destroy dams and impact hydropower production etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by emphasizing on the seriousness of the threat and discuss a way forward.

Introduction

Hind Kush Himalayan region, the world’s third pole is 3,500 km long spread over 8 countries in South Asia and home to 10 major river basins is under severe threat of climate change. Many big rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra originate from the snow and glacier-covered high mountains, and have abundant seasonal and annual water supply. According to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment Report, more than a third of the Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2100, even if carbon emissions are dramatically cut and global warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The melting of these glaciers will put a threat on 1.9 billion people.

Body

Impact of climate change on Himalayas and Himalayan River system:

  • The Hindukush Himalayan region’s snow is the source of 10 major river systems including the Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra and Mekong in India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China and Myanmar.
    • Large-scale warming could drastically alter the river flows in these countries.
    • The receding glaciers could cause a deluge in the rivers during the monsoon while the flows are likely to plummet during the dry seasons, with serious implications for irrigation, hydropower and ecosystem services.
  • Changes in river flows could not only cause more erosion and landslides in the mountains but also destroy dams and impact hydropower production.
  • A global temperature increase of 1.5ºC could mean at least a 1.8ºC temperature rise in the Hindu Kush Himalayas, the ICIMOD study warns.
  • Rise in global temperatures could destabilise the hydrology of large parts of South Asia, China and Myanmar. This will have a major bearing on the ice-fields, which are the largest repository of permafrost outside the polar regions.
  • The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate found that in the Himalayan ranges, there could be variations in overall water availability, but floods, avalanches and landslides were all forecast to increase.
  • Changes in monsoonal precipitation could also bring more frequent disasters.
  • Environmental experts have attributed the glacial melting to global warming.
  • Glacier melt and permafrost thaware projected to decrease the stability of mountain slopes and increase the number and area of glacier lakes, which in turn increases the chances of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods.
  • The thermal profile of ice is increasing, which means that the temperature of ice that used to range from -6 to -20 degrees C, was now -2 degrees C, making it more susceptible to melting.
  • It was these changing phenomena that made infrastructure projects in the Himalayan regions risky.
  • Moreover, with increased instances of cloudbursts,and intense spells of rainfall and avalanches, residents of the region were also placed at increased risk of loss of lives and livelihood.

Measures needed

  • Cross-border dialogues and cooperation are necessary to put in place an effective cooperative mechanism to find and promote amicable solutions to the climate change induced problems.
  • For instance, In the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu, the SAARC member countries signed a Framework Agreement on Energy Cooperation. This agreement has opened up the energy market in South Asia, and thereby possibilities for cooperation in the climate change related issues too.
  • Integrated water resources management could prove to be a great tool to augment water resources, improve quality of water and bring countries in the Himalayan region together to manage transboundary basins collectively.
  • International experiences: Experiences from the Arctic Council – an intergovernmental panel in the Arctic region and the Alpine convention an international treaty for sustainable development of the Alps need to be shared to provide learnings for the HKH cooperation efforts.
  • Effective flood management requires sharing data and information between the upstream and downstream areas, not only within the country, but also at the trans-boundary level.
  • Technological innovations based on satellite information, in combination with ground-based data, can be transformed into information that can prove vital in saving lives and properties.
  • For example, the Koshi Flood Outlook being developed by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and its national partners in Nepal and India has high potential for saving lives and properties in the basin. Such efforts should be promoted widely in the region.
  • A regional approach is necessary for the protection of the Hindukush Himalaya’s interconnected systems.
  • Regional cooperation should be based on the three pillars of sustainability: economic vitality, environmental integrity and social equity, both at the national and local level.
  • Countries that share the hydrological boundaries must come together to understand the nature of the resource, share data with one another, and contribute to comprehensive planning.

Conclusion

Countries of HKH region should recognise the potential of water resources for sustainable development. These resources can help reduce poverty, improve livelihoods, conserve ecosystems and contribute to flood and drought management in the region. This will not only help us face the present crisis, but also open up avenues to deal with issues of future water availability amid climate and socioeconomic changes.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Discuss the various impacts of Alexander the great’s invasion of India with a special emphasis on sculpture. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Alexander was referred to as “great” by early historians just as several other conquerors and prominent rulers have been called across empires and ages.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various impact of the Greek-Macedonian invasion on 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 by writing in brief about conquests of Alexander.

Body:

Divided the body in to various impacts of Alexander’s invasion – Political, Economic, Social, Cultural and Intellectual impacts and substantiated your point.

Write about the impact of Greek sculpture and Indian arts especially in the north-western part of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the overall impact.

Introduction

Alexander the Great was king of Macedonia from 336 B.C. to 323 B.C. and conquered a huge empire that stretched from the Balkans to modern-day Pakistan.  During his reign, Alexander the Great had a massive impact in his time and sent ripples into the future. Alexander’s triumphs also made him a legendary figure and an inspiration for future generations.

Body

Impact of invasion of Alexander on India

  • In 327 BC, Alexander crossed the Indus, the farthest frontier of the old Persian empire, and began his Indian campaign that lasted about two years.
  • The king of Taxila surrendered to Alexander, but beyond the Jhelum he was challenged by the legendary warrior whom Greek sources have identified as Porus.
  • After the defeat of Porus, Alexander wished to march on into the heartland of the Gangetic basin — but upon reaching the Beas, the last of the five rivers of Punjab, his generals refused to go further. Alexander was forced to turn back.
  • The Greek invasion of India provided scope for such an exchange. India was rich in religion and philosophy at the time of the Greek invasion.
  • Long after Alexander, this influence came to its admirable form in shape of the Gandhara School of Art.
  • The images of Buddha, under this art, showed a remarkable mixture of the Greek and the Indian art of image making.
  • The Greek  initiation  of  sculpting  the  Buddha  in  human  form matured and it became a major part of the Buddhist iconography.
  • The Greeks  also  introduced  their  own  architectural  and  sculptural  forms,  like cupids,  friezes  and  Corinthian  columns  into  the  Buddhist
  • Several Greek mythological   figures   were   incorporated   into   Buddhist   architectural   works, including  Heracles,  who  became  equated  to Vajrapani.
  • Of course, this art perfected itself at the time of Emperor Kanishka who brought sculptors from the Greek settlements of Bactria for the work, and who were far remote from the days of Alexander the Great.
  • The Greek  skills  and techniques  were  endured  till  the  epoch  of
  • Gupta’s realistic anthropomorphic  representations  of  the  Buddha  reflect  the  legacy  of  the  Greek artistic influence.

Conclusion

In  short  the  complex  political  and  undeveloped  social  factors  were  the  reason  of Greek  influence  on  Indian  culture,  art  and  many  other  fields  of  life.  The Temples  of  ancient  India  era  and  particularly  the  Buddhist  stupas  are  ever considered the major and the most important Indian heritage. Thus, in this way the Greek influence in present era is a prominent element of India’s cultural heritage.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

4. In an education system where the outcomes were less than satisfactory even before the pandemic, it is very vital to bridge the ‘learning deficit’ caused by the pandemic. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The percentage of rural children who were not enrolled in school doubled during the pandemic, with Government schools seeing an increase in enrolment at the expense of private schools, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021. Over a third of children enrolled in Classes 1 and 2 have never attended school in person.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of the pandemic on education.

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: 

Begin by highlighting some of the facts with respect to impact of covid-29 on education in India.

Body:

Firstly, mention the progress in education system before the pandemic. Cite a statistic to substantiate your point. Bring out the impact of learning deficit caused by the pandemic in India.

Next, mention the various ways to bridge the learning deficit that has emerged – readmitting dropouts, ensuring access to e-learning, special focus on most vulnerable states etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered educational institutions across the globe. Closure of schools, colleges and universities, shutdown of routine life of students and teachers, disruptions in education and the education ministry remaining incommunicado, have created an unprecedented situation and thrown many unexpected challenges to administrators, educators, teachers, parents and students.

Body

Findings of ASER-2021

  • The percentage of rural children who were not enrolled in school doubled during the pandemic, with Government schools seeing an increase in enrolment at the expense of private schools.
  • The report shows a “clear shift” from private to government schools — from 64.3 per cent in 2018 to 65.8 per cent in 2020, to 70.3 per cent in 2021; and a fall in private school enrolment from 28.8 per cent in 2020 to 24.4 per cent in 2021.
  • 52% of the respondents cited financial distress caused by covid-19 pandemic as the reason of increase in enrolments in government school.
  • Over a third of children enrolled in Classes 1 and 2 have never attended school in person.
  • It shows an increase in dependence on private tuitions and an absence of ready access to smartphones.
  • Number of school-going children taking tuition increased by 40% during closure of their schools.
  • There is a stark digital divide, which carries the risk of severely affecting the learning abilities of primary grade students.
  • 4 per cent teachers flagged the problem of children being “unable to catch up” as one of their biggest challenges
  • During the recent National Achievement Survey (NAS)of the central government, teachers and field investigators across the country reported that primary grade kids struggled to make sense of questions to test basic comprehension and numerical skills.

Measures needed

  • Digitization:
    • Create a single-window system for infrastructure and mainstream fund-flows: In Bihar, only around 10 percent of the schools fulfils infrastructure norms. A study revealed that files for renovating schools often go on a two-year journey through various departments.
    • The same can be applied for teacher salaries and school funds. These can be transferred directly from the State to the teachers and schools. There is no need to involve the District or Block in this process.
    • Leveraging the audio-visual edutainment to make education more interesting and easier to understand for the children. This will improve the quality as well as reduce the drop-out rates.
    • Implementing bio-metric attendance for teachers and students for every class can help reduce absenteeism.
  • Empower School Management Committees by using mobile phones:
    • To develop a system that facilitates School Management Committee members by fostering democratic accountability.
    • Social audits should also be carried out for effective functioning.
  • Better pre-service teacher training coupled with transparent and merit-based recruitments is a lasting solution for teacher quality.
  • Improve the quality of teacher education by making teacher training mandatory. Example: National Council for Teacher Education Act amendment bill, Diksha portal to train teachers.
  • Increase the public spending on education to 6% of GDP as recommended by NEP.
  • Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance, while there are recommendations for removal of non-detention policy. The blame is squarely on the children; such an attitude must be wiped out.
  • Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes; It has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education. This needs a change by coming out with NEP.

Conclusion:

Education is the key to upliftment of people from poverty, inequality and oppression. India’s demographic dividend is dependent on quality education at primary, secondary and high school levels. Focus must be on pedagogy and a safe and stimulating environment where wide range of learning experiences are offered to the children. Only when we align incentives of all stakeholders, and enable them while holding them accountable, can we shorten the distance between the nation’s current state of education and its aspirations.

 

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

5. The debate on the working of the collegium of judges, especially on the issue of transfers in the judiciary and lack of transparency, has again come around. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: The HinduIndian Express

Why the question:

The Supreme Court collegium had recommended the transfer of Justice Banerjee, just eleven months after he was appointed the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. Amid protests by advocates, the Centre notified his transfer.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the urgent need of transparency in Judicial transfers.

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 giving context.

Body:

First, explain what constitutes a collegium? What are the debates around it. The procedure followed by the collegium, Discuss the right to recommend transfers of the collegium. Explain the criticisms and suggest measures to improve transparency.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The judges of the Supreme Court and High Court in India are appointed by President as per article 124(2) and 217 of the constitution. In such appointment, the President is required to hold consultation with such of the Judges of the Supreme Court and of the High Courts in the States as he may deem necessary for the purpose.

Body:

current affairs

 

Collegium system:

  • The Collegium System is a system under which appointments/elevation of judges/lawyers to Supreme Court and transfers of judges of High Courts and Apex Court are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.’
  • The collegium of judges is the Supreme Court’s invention. It does not figure in the Constitution, which says judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts are appointed by the President and speaks of a process of consultation.
  • In effect, it is a system under which judges are appointed by an institution comprising judges.
  • After some judges were superseded in the appointment of the Chief Justice of India in the 1970s, and attempts made subsequently to affect a mass transfer of High Court judges across the country, there was a perception that the independence of the judiciary was under threat. This resulted in a series of cases over the years.
  • The ‘First Judges Case’ (1981) ruled that the “consultation” with the CJI in the matter of appointments must be full and effective.
  • The Second Judges Case (1993) introduced the Collegium system, holding that “consultation” really meant “concurrence”. It added that it was not the CJI’s individual opinion, but an institutional opinion formed in consultation with the two senior most judges in the Supreme Court.
  • On a Presidential Reference for its opinion, the Supreme Court, in the Third Judges Case (1998) expanded the collegium to a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior most colleagues.
  • The recommendations of the Collegium are binding on the Central Government, if the Collegium sends the names of the judges/lawyers to the government for the second time.

Procedure followed by the collegium:

  • The President of India appoints the CJI and the other SC judges. As far as the CJI is concerned, the outgoing CJI recommends his successor.
  • For other judges of the top court, the proposal is initiated by the CJI. The CJI consults the rest of the collegium members, as well as the senior most judge of the court hailing from the High Court to which the recommended person belongs.
  • The Chief Justice of High Courts is appointed as per the policy of having Chief Justices from outside the respective States. The collegium takes the call on the elevation. High Court judges are recommended by a collegium comprising the CJI and two senior most judges.

Need for reforms in the Collegium system:

  • Credibility of the SC:
    • Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises doubts about the credibility of the highest court.
    • There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
    • Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticized for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
    • The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
  • The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
  • Nepotism:
    • Unfortunately, in some cases, it has not covered itself with glory. There have been cases where the nearest relative of Supreme Court judges has been appointed as a high court judge, ignoring merit.
    • During the regime of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, judges far lower in the combined All India Seniority of High Court judges were appointed to SC, and the reason assigned was that those selected were found more meritorious.
  • Supreme court is overburdened:
    • The Supreme Court did not realize the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
    • An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
  • Lack of Transparency:
    • The lack of a written manual for functioning, the absence of selection criteria, the arbitrary reversal of decisions already taken, the selective publication of records of meetings prove the opaqueness of the collegium system.
    • No one knows how judges are selected, and the appointments made raise the concerns of propriety, self-selection and nepotism.
    • The system often overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • NJAC, A Missed Opportunity:
    • The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) could guarantee the independence of the system from inappropriate politicization, strengthen the quality of appointments and rebuild public confidence in the system.
    • The decision was struck down by the SC in 2015 on the ground that it posed a threat to the independence of the judiciary.
  • Lack of Consensus among Members:
    • The collegium members often face the issue of mutual consent regarding appointment of judges.
    • The shadow of mistrust between the members of the collegium exposes the fault lines within the judiciary.
    • For instance, recently retired CJI Sharad A. Bobde was perhaps the first chief justice to have not made even a single recommendation for appointment as SC judge due to lack of consensus among the collegium members.
  • Unequal Representation:
    • The other area of concern is the composition of the higher judiciary. While data regarding caste is not available, women are fairly underrepresented in the higher judiciary.
  • Delay in Judicial Appointments:
    • The process of judicial appointment is delayed due to delay in recommendations by the collegium for the higher judiciary.

Reforms needed in the collegium system:

  • The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
    • The collegium members have to make a fresh start and engage with each other.
    • A transparent process adds accountability that is much needed to resolve the deadlock.
    • Individual disagreements over certain names will continue to take place, but care must be taken that the institutional imperative of dispensation of justice does not suffer.
  • The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process.
    • In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges.
    • Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
  • Setting up a constitutional body accommodating the federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
  • There should be a fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
  • As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • New memorandum of procedure:
    • After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
    • The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalized for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.

Conclusion:

Faced with intense public scrutiny and government pressure, the judiciary’s institutional weaknesses are being laid bare. These are not simply the moral failings of one individual or the consequences of the misjudgment of a few. It is another illustration of the institution’s inability to accept its internal infirmities.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. To ensure that air pollution in the NCR region does not turn into a ‘pollution emergency’ urgent measures should be put in place to tackle it as well as end the policy paralysis in the existing mechanisms. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it will take a call on putting in place harsher measures to improve Air Quality Index (AQI) levels in the national capital after November 21, and asked the Centre and the states involved to follow directions issued by the ‘The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas’.

Key Demand of the question:

To suggest measures to tackle air pollution in the NCR region.

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 stating statistic about the ‘severe’ air quality in NCR region which has promoted some drastic steps like school and office closure.

Body:

First, bring out the impact of worsening AQI on health, weather and environment.

Next, mention the inadequacies in the current handling of the pollutions crisis – lack of coordination, absence of effective measures, lackadaisical implementation of policy, Blame game etc.

Next, write about urgent practical measures that must be taken to abate the crisis and prevent the crisis from happening again.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The pollution woes of Delhi and NCR are making people remain indoors these days. Due to the increasing pollution levels in Delhi and NCR, the schools and colleges have been shut down in Gautam Buddh Nagar until further notice. The Supreme Court lashed out at the Centre and the states for their failure to do anything to improve the quality of air in national capital Delhi.

Body

Air pollution in Delhi and the whole of the Indo Gangetic Plains is a complex phenomenon that is dependent on a concoction of natural and anthropogenic factors.

Policy paralysis in the existing mechanisms

  • The recurrent tragedy of addressing the problem of air pollution in Delhi is that it invariably descends into a blame game.
  • The Centre blames the Delhi government, because it belongs to a different political dispensation, which in turn quite conveniently blames farmers in Punjab.
  • What is never addressed head-on is that the air pollution crisis is not a problem that can be solved overnight.
  • While there is an official ban on crackers, except so-called ‘green crackers’ that are not widely available, the additional smoke from all of these add to the bad air, spiking air quality meters into the ‘very poor’ and ‘severe’ categories.
  • National capital shares its border with the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. One of the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop residue burning by the farmers in these states, despite a ban by Supreme Court.
  • Investing less on public infrastructure is another reason of air pollution. In India, investment in public transport and infrastructure is low which leads to congested roads, and hence air pollution.

Immediate measures needed

  • Short term measures should be accompanied by measures that increase the forest cover of the land and provide farmers with an alternative to burning the remains of their crops.
  • An innovative approach could be to use climate change funds to turn farm residues into a resource, using technological options such as converting them into biofuels and biofertilizers.
  • Proactive engagements are necessary to persuade and reassure farmers.
  • It is important to find other uses for stubble such as biomass, which may encourage farmers to look for alternative sources of income.
  • India should at least now give high importance to the WHO warning about air pollution being the new tobacco. Sharply escalated, deterrent parking fees can be implemented.
  • From an urban development perspective, large cities should reorient their investments to prioritise public transport, favouring electric mobility.
  • Incentives for adoption of alternate mobility technologies should be promoted.
  • The World Bank has said it is keen to enhance its lending portfolio to tackle air pollution, opening a new avenue for this.
  • Governments should make the use of personal vehicles in cities less attractive through strict road pricing mechanisms like Congestion tax, Green-house Gas tax
  • Need to speed up the journey towards LPG and solar-powered stoves.
  • Addressing vehicular emissions is within India’s grasp but requires a multi-pronged approach. It needs to combine the already-proposed tighter emission norms (in form of BS VI), with a push for shared mobility and public transport and adoption of alternate mobility technologies.
  • NCAP should take precedence from emerging practices in the country—pollution cess in Delhi on truck entry, big diesel cars, and diesel fuel sales and the coal cess—to generate dedicated funds to finance clean air action plan.
  • Tackle road dust by mechanised sweeping and water-sprinkling but what would be more beneficial is if the sides of the roads could be paved or covered with grass that holds the soil together and stops the production of the dust in the first place.
  • Attention to non-technological aspects such as urban planning, to reduce driving, and to increase cycling, walking, and use of public transport are needed.

Conclusion

India has 12 out of 14 cities which are high levels of air pollution.  Involvement of Supreme Court in this issue is a significant moment in India’s battle for clean air, emphasising the need for a comprehensive plan presenting systemic solutions and reminding governments that a plan can be executed successfully only if all stakeholders work in tandem. This template should also be adapted for other Indian cities that suffer appalling air quality. Air pollution extracts an enormous price in terms of health, particularly of children. Combating it must become a governance priority.

Value addition

Government efforts in dealing with air pollution:

  • The government acknowledged air pollution as a pan–India problem with the drafting of the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), which was intended to build and strengthen the institutional capacity to monitor air quality across India, carry out indigenous studies to understand the health impacts of air pollution and create a national emission inventory.
  • Banning the use of private vehicles from November 1 onwards in Delhi, although drastic, will definitely not be enough to curb pollution.
  • Odd-even schemes and, recently, the allowance by the Supreme Court (SC) for only green or zero-emission firecrackers, are the episodic measures that have been used, and still continue to be, to combat this methodical pollution.
  • There have also been instances of ban on construction activities.
  • States have got nearly Rs.650 crores to help farmers buy subsidised equipment such as Happy Seeder, Paddy Straw Choppers and Zero Till Drill.
  • There is a 50% subsidy to farmers, and a 75% waiver to cooperative societies, agencies that rent out equipment, farmers’ interest groups or gram panchayats to buy such machines.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance;

7. Should there be a total ban on liquor in India? Debate. (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 ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To debate on the pros and cons of total ban on liquor in India.

Directive:

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by stating that concept of prohibition is mentioned in DPSP’s of our constitution.

Body:

Live Law

Next, write the cons – escalation to bootleg and hooch, loss of revenue, restriction on freedom of people

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating you opinion on the issue of prohibtion.

Introduction

India has a long history of various states experimenting with various laws on liquor, ranging from total prohibition to restricted sale of alcohol to phased closure of liquor shops. As liquor contributes sizeable revenue to the exchequer, it has never been an easy decision for any state government to impose the prohibition. It is evident that the problem is complex and there can be no easy solutions, especially one that fits all. Alcohol addiction and its ill-effects may affect the poor more.

Body

Is total ban on alcohol justified

YES

  • The Constitution places a responsibility on all state governments to “at least contain, if not curtail, consumption of alcohol” (Article 47).
  • Strict state regulation is imperative to discourage regular and excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Alcohol denudes family resources and reserves and leaves women and children as its most vulnerable victims. A social stigma at least as far as the family unit is concerned is still attached to the consumption of alcohol.
  • Vulnerable persons, either because of age or proclivity towards intoxication or as a feature of peer pressure, more often than not, succumb to this temptation.
  • According to the Alcohol and Drug Information Centre of Thiruvananthapuram, 44% of Kerala’s road accidents, 19% of stays in government hospitals and 80% divorces are linked to alcohol abuse.
  • The drinking age is dangerously coming down. This clearly indicates alcohol has become a social sickness and we have to treat it.
  • Alcoholism does also critically impacts the household budgets of the poor and may lead to domestic violence.

NO

  • Banning food and beverages is neither desirable nor feasible. It puts unnecessary fetters on freedoms
  • Historical evidence shows that prohibition does not encourage or enable people to quit drinking. Rather, prohibition tends to drive the trade underground and creates a market for spurious liquor.
  • This policy is just a populist decision impelled by factional politics within the ruling party.
  • The policy may only help to shift the drinking space from bar to home or other private spaces.
  • Prohibition has criminalized certain societies where drinking is a social norm.
  • Prohibition may lead to widespread smuggling and illegal sale of liquors, thus defeating the very purpose.
  • The massive profits from the illicit liquor trade would act as the launchpad for a parallel economy with tentacles in everything from prostitution to gambling and terror.
  • Prohibition will increase the sale of spurious liquor which has adverse health impacts.

Way Forward

The principal reason why a lot of prohibition strategies fail is because they seem to be based on the simplistic assumption that cutting off the supply impacts effective demand for alcohol.

  • State governments should have to be prepared to deal rapidly with the management of man-made disasters such as liquor tragedies.
  • Increase legal age of drinking and bring about uniformity in the same across all the states.
  • Ban marketing and advertisement of all kinds so as to contain its reach and spread.
  • The medical fraternity needs to be educated in rapidly responding to and treating victims of liquor tragedies.
  • Governments could consider linking de-addiction centres with primary health centres in rural areas.
  • Invest in creating better awareness among citizens about the negative impact of alcohol consumption.
  • Document good practices tried and tested by NGOs and other institutions for managing alcohol problems not only within the country but also outside the country.
  • Civil society should demand from its political parties a comprehensive policy that addresses all the related issues instead of uncritically demanding or accepting proclamations of prohibition.

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