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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 December 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: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Solid waste management (SWM) has emerged as one of the most massive urbanisation challenges. Discuss role Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 can play to tackle it. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The recently released Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 guidelines continue to take forward the aims of the SBM launched in 2014, but add an important dimension focused on solid waste management.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the disaster preparedness and management of cyclones 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 defining Solid waste management.

Body:

First, explain the challenges pertaining to SWM in India – infrastructure, sanitation, manual scavenging, lack of disposal, pollution etc.

Next, write about the aims and objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 and how it will help tackle SWM issues in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Solid waste management (SWM) refers to the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong to garbage or trash.  In a nascent effort to look beyond toilets and kick off its ODF+ phase — that is, Open Defecation Free Plusfocussing on solid and liquid waste management, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has included the prevalence of plastic litter and water-logging in villages as indicators of cleanliness in its 2019 rural survey.

Body

Current Situation of SWM in India:

  • As per the SBM 2.0 guidelines, the total quantity of waste generated by urban areas in India is about 32 lakh tonnes daily. This adds up to 4.8 crore tonnes per annum.
  • Of this only about 25% is being processed; the rest is disposed of in landfills every year.
  • Given that the waste dumpsites have been operational since the early 2000s, more than 72 crore tonnes of waste need to be processed.
  • Most cities have confined themselves to collection and transportation of solid waste. Processing and safe disposal are being attempted only in a few cases.
  • The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generated in the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
  • According to a UN report, India’s e-waste from old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.
  • Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.

Role of SBM 2.0

  • The recently released Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 guidelines continue to take forward the aims of the SBM launched in 2014, but add an important dimension focused on solid waste management.
  • This goes beyond the efficient collection and transportation of waste and brings focus on processing all types of waste like plastic, construction and demolition waste, as well as providing budgetary support for remediating old waste disposed in all dumpsites across 4,372 cities in India before March 2023.
  • Its components include source segregation; door-to-door collection of waste; separate transportation of different types of wastes; processing of wet waste, dry waste, and construction and demolition waste.
  • The total funding dedicated for implementation of SBM 2.0 is ₹1.41 lakh crore of which about ₹39,837 crore is set aside for solid waste management.
  • This mission commits to providing financial assistance to set up fresh waste processing facilities and bioremediation projects across all the ULBs.
  • SBM 2.0 allocates funding only to set up waste processing facilities.
  • SBM 2.0 is committing to paying a significant portion of the project cost, the ULBs are likely to take up projects by matching the shortfall with their reserved funds, thereby hoping to achieve the GoI target of waste disposal sites being free from old waste by March 2023.
  • Also, the transformation of waste disposal sites to processing sites is likely to produce 72 lakh tonnes of organic compost per annum from 4.8 crore tonnes of waste generated across all ULBs in the country.

Conclusion

Solid waste management is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

 

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

2. What are the various Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in India? Critically analyse the potential of Draft Mediation Bill 2021 to promote and facilitate mediation for resolution of disputes. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Government of India has released a Draft Mediation Bill 2021 for promotion and strengthening of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact and suggest measures to tackle malnutrition 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 ADR and its significance.

Body:

In the first part, write about various ADR mechanisms in India – Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA) and the International Center for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ICADR), Lok Adalats and Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 etc.

Next, write about various features of Draft Mediation Bill 2021. Evaluate its pros and cons in promoting and facilitating mediation for resolution of disputes.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to improve it.

Introduction

The concept of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism is capable of providing a substitute to the conventional methods of resolving disputes. ADR offers to resolve all type of matters including civil, commercial, industrial and family etc., where people are not being able to start any type of negotiation and reach the settlement. Generally, ADR uses neutral third party who helps the parties to communicate, discuss the differences and resolve the dispute. It is a method which enables individuals and group to maintain co-operation, social order and provides opportunity to reduce hostility.

Body

Various Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in India

  • Arbitration: The dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision (an “award”) on the dispute that is mostly binding on the parties.
  • Conciliation: A non-binding procedure in which an impartial third party, the conciliator, assists the parties to a dispute in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreed settlement of the dispute.
  • Mediation: In mediation, an impartial person called a “mediator” helps the parties try to reach a mutually acceptable resolution of the dispute.
  • Negotiation: A non-binding procedure in which discussions between the parties are initiated without the intervention of any third party with the object of arriving at a negotiated settlement to the dispute
  • Lok Adalat: It roughly means “People’s court”. India has had a long history of resolving disputes through the mediation of village elders. The system of Lok Adalats is an improvement on that and is based on Gandhian principles.

Draft Mediation Bill 2021

Government of India has released a Draft Mediation Bill 2021 for promotion and strengthening of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanisms in India.

Positives of the bill

  • The Bill recognises that mediation needs to be treated as a profession over the part-time honorarium basis it has in the court-annexed mediation schemes.
  • It acknowledges the importance of institutes to train mediators, and service providers to provide structured mediation under their rules. It provides for pre-litigation mediation.
  • If any urgent interim order is needed, there is a possibility to bypass mediation at the first stage and return to it after resolving the interim relief issue.
  • The Bill does away with the confusion arising from the terms “mediation” and “conciliation” by opting for the former in accordance with international practice, and defining it widely to include the latter.
  • It recognises online dispute resolution which came in limelight during the COVID-19.
  • It provides for enforcement of commercial settlements reached in international mediation viz between parties from different countries as per the Singapore Convention on Mediation.

Concerns in the draft bill

  • Status of domestic mediation:
    • The Bill unwisely treats international mediation when conducted in India as a domestic mediation and the settlement under the latter is given the status of a judgment or decree of a court.
    • It will be disastrous when one party is foreign because the Singapore Convention does not apply to settlements which already have the status of a judgment or decree.
    • Conducting cross-border mediation in India will leave out the tremendous benefits of worldwide enforceability.
  • The Council:
    • It has three members including a retired senior judge, a person with experience of ADR law and an academic who has taught ADR but it doesn’t have a single mediator.
    • Since they are full-time members, it is clear that none of them will be active practitioners.
    • This is the field of dispute resolution which is the judiciary’s domain, but has left the Chief Justice of India from the picture for making appointments.
  • Disputes not to be mediated:
    • There is a long list of disputes such as fraud which should not be mediated.
    • In cases involving minors or persons of unsound mind, the law provides for the court to pass orders to protect them.
    • In the case of telecom, there is no provision for manufacturers and service providers and consumers to talk and resolve issues.

Conclusion

ADR has proven successful in clearing the backlog of cases in various levels of the judiciary. However, there seems to be a lack of awareness about the availability of these mechanisms. The National and State Legal Services Authorities should disseminate more information regarding these, so they become the first option explored by potential litigants.

Value addition

Key features of the Draft Mediation Bill, 2021

  • The Draft bill aims to enforce domestic and international mediation settlement agreements, provide for a body for the registration of mediators, encourage community mediation and make online mediation an acceptable and cost-effective process.
  • The draft Bill proposes for pre-litigation mediation and at the same time safeguards the interest of the litigants to approach the competent adjudicatory forums/courts in case an urgent relief is sought.
  • The successful outcome of mediation in the form of Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA) has been made enforceable by law. Since the Mediation Settlement Agreement is out of the consensual agreement between the parties, the challenge to the same has been permitted on limited grounds.
  • The mediation process protects the confidentiality of the mediation undertaken and provides for immunity in certain cases against its disclosure.
  • The registration of Mediation Settlement Agreement has also been provided for with State/District/Taluk Legal Authorities within 90 days to ensure maintenance of authenticated records of the settlement so arrived.
  • It provides for establishment of the Mediation Council of India.
  • It also provides for community mediation.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Even as India and Russia explore new relationships, they continue to remain each other’s all weather friend. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has concluded a short summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, highlighting the “all-weather” partnership between the two countries despite trying global circumstances.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the long term approach with emphasis on rule of law and democracy in Myanmar.

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 giving context of ‘all weather’ friendship between India and Russia.

Body:

In the first part, Highlight the strength of the relationship – Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, a status at par with Japan, the long history, defence partnership, nuclear power plants etc.

Next, bring out the issues in the relationship by dividing them into geopolitical, geostrategic and at bilateral level – Russia-Pakistan, Russia-China, and USA-India, Changes in Afghanistan and issues emanating from them.

Discuss how should India and Russia navigate the tides moving forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude by commenting on their current nature of evergreen friendship.

Introduction

As Russia and India both desire a multi-polar world, they are equally important for each other in fulfilling each other’s national interests. However, due to the changing geopolitical scenario, Russia is growing closer to China and becoming anti-west, while it is vice-versa for India. Despite the changing dynamics, Indo-Russia ties have stood the test of times especially in defence sector.

21st annual India-Russia summit was held recently under the leadership of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Alongside, the inaugural 2+2 ministerial meeting was also held. The meeting saw the signing of 28 agreements across sectors from defence to energy to space exploration, science and technology, heavy engineering, to trade and investment.

Body

Indo-Russia relations: Crucial Significance for India

  • Defence: The relations between India and Russia are one of “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” and the ongoing military contracts between the two sides will be maintained as the defence minister reiterated the same.
    • Russia is the key and principal supplier of arms and armaments to the Indian armed forces accounting for over 60% of weapons.
    • It comprises the whole gamut covering the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy. India recently inducted the S-400 Triumf missile systems.
    • Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft, T-90 tanks, and the Talwar and the Krivak class stealth frigates are key weapons in the armoury of the Indian armed forces.
    • The India-Russia defence cooperation has evolved from a buyer-seller model to new areas of military-technical collaboration.
    • The BrahMos missile system was a successful collaboration of joint research, development, and production. Science and technology, nuclear, energy, space have been key driving forces.
  • Nuclear: Russia is an important partner in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and it recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable non-proliferation record.
    • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is being built in India with Russian cooperation.
  • India and Russia are also working on building nuclear plant in Bangladesh.
  • Rooppur nuclear plant in Bangladesh will be constructed jointly with help of India.
  • Maritime corridor: Chennai Vladivostok Maritime Corridor is a sea route covering approximately 5,600 nautical miles, or about 10,300 km, aimed at increasing bilateral trade between India and Russia.
  • Despite India-China border aggression, be it during Doklam or Galwan clash, Russia never once made a statement against India despite their closeness to China. In all fairness, Russia would never want to play second fiddle to China.
  • Make in India initiative has welcomed Russian companies from the public and private sectors. Russian firms have shown a willingness to invest in India in construction, major infrastructure projects such as dedicated freight corridors and industrial clusters, smart cities, and engineering services, sharing technologies and skills.

Glitches in India Russia relationship

  • India’s growing proximity to the United States: Rapidly expanding ties and growing defence relationship between India and US and, India joining quadrilateral group led by the US has led to a strategic shift in Russia’s foreign policy.
    • For Russia it has been a period of great hostility with West, thus pushing it to align with China.
  • One-dimensional trade: Trade has been one-dimensional i.e. defence based. India-Russia trade was valued at the U.S.$10.11 billion in 2019–20, but is not a true reflection of the potential that can be harnessed.
  • Leaning with China: Increasing strategic military relations between Russia China also impacted India Russia relations. Russia has sold advanced military technology to Beijing, endorsed China’s One Belt One Road.
    • There has also been concern about Moscow leaning toward Beijing in forums like the BRICS.
  • Distance and language barriers: With Afghanistan turmoil, the future of INSTC is in limbo. Easier routes to Russia can elevate energy cooperation. There is also language barrier that exists which hinders better partnership in energy and renewables.

Conclusion

Russia with its global status and presence presents a win-win situation for deeper cooperation. This relation between both countries has evolved with time, deepening the integration and widening the breadth of the relation. Finally, Buddhism can be an area where both countries can expand their interaction, where peace and sustainability can act as a balm in this turbulent world.

Value addition

Historical ties

  • Even as India is diversifying its defence trade partners, Russia still dominates the Indian defence inventory to the tune of about 60 per cent.
  • Russia remains the only partner that is still willing to give India critical technologies, such as a nuclear submarine.
  • Russia also reaffirmed its “unwavering support” to India for a permanent seat in an expanded UN Security Council.
  • Russia expressed its support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • Both countries have mutual benefits in supporting struggle against terrorism, Afghanistan, climate change; organisations like SCO, BRICS, G-20 and ASEAN.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

4. Compare and contrast the optical communication technology with radio frequency communication technology. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

NASA launched its new Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) — the agency’s first-ever laser communications system — from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. The LCRD will help the agency test optical communication in space.

Key Demand of the question:

To Compare and contrast the optical communication and radio frequency communications

Directive word: 

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context about growth of optical communications.

Body:

Compare both optical and radio frequency communications on the basis of data transmission, speed, bandwidth, attenuation losses, cost, infrastructure, compatibility etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning the need to build up towards optical communication technologies.

Introduction

Optical communication is communication at a distance using light to carry information. It can be performed visually or by using electronic devices. In radio communication systemsinformation is carried across space using radio waves.

Body

Comparison between Optical fiber and Radio communication

  • Bandwidth
    • Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. The amount of information that can be transmitted per unit time of fiber over other transmission media is its most significant advantage.
    • Radio waves cannot propagate above the horizon, earth curvature prevents radio waves to propagate above the horizon on frequencies above 30 MHz
    • To have reliable radio link above 30 MHz over the horizon using troposcatter there is a need for expensive large parabolic antennas and very powerful amplifiers
    • Radio waves at the frequencies below 30 MHz can propagate above the horizon, but this propagation is not stable and changes during the day.
  • Power Loss
    • An optical fiber offers low power loss, which allows for longer transmission distances. In comparison to copper, in a network, the longest recommended copper distance is 100m while with fiber, it is 2km.
    • Radio waves lose strength with distance and need repeaters/boosters to strengthen the signals.
    • Broadband reliable radio wave links above the horizon require repeaters, ground or satellite or wired/fiber optical extensions
  • Interference
    • Fiber optic cables are immune to electromagnetic interference. It can also be run in electrically noisy environments without concern as electrical noise will not affect fiber.
    • Radio waves are bad in penetrating matter
  • Size
    • In comparison to copper, a fiber optic cable has nearly 4.5 times as much capacity as the wire cable has and a cross sectional area that is 30 times less.
    • Radio waves enable mobility, you can drive your car and listen to the FM radio
  • Weight
    • Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires. They also occupy less space with cables of the same information capacity.  Lighter weight makes fiber easier to install.
  • Security
    • Optical fibers are difficult to tap. As they do not radiate electromagnetic energy, emissions cannot be intercepted. As physically tapping the fiber takes great skill to do undetected, fiber is the most secure medium available for carrying sensitive data.
  • Flexibility
    • An optical fiber has greater tensile strength than copper or steel fibers of the same diameter. It is flexible, bends easily and resists most corrosive elements that attack copper cable.
    • Radio waves enable mobility, you can drive your car and listen to the FM radio
  • Cost
    • The raw materials for glass are plentiful, unlike copper. This means glass can be made more cheaply than copper.
    • Radio communication is cheaper to send information using radio waves than to send information using atoms

Conclusion

                Optical communications systems are smaller in size, weight, and require less power compared with radio instruments. Currently, most NASA spacecraft use radio frequency communications to send data. Optical communications will help increase the bandwidth 10 to 100 times more than radio frequency systems.

 

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

5. What are characteristics of the grassland ecosystem? Examine the impact of various natural and human disturbances to grassland ecosystem. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the characteristics of grassland ecosystems and the impact of various threats to it.

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 mentioning the spread of various grassland ecosystems across the world.

Body:

First, write about the characteristics of grassland ecosystems –  limited annual rainfall, dry climate, Lack of nutrients, Frequent fires, vegetation growth dominated by grasses.

Next, write about the impact of various natural and human disturbances to grassland ecosystem – Landslides, flash floods, wind storms, harvesting, planting and hunting are activities that have affected the organisms and landscapes within this type of ecosystem. Animals that graze in grasslands can also help to erode the territory if they overfeed. Urban development, agricultural production and invasive plants are all factors that work to destroy grasslands.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning various measures taken to tackle to protect grasslands.

Introduction

Grasslands are open areas of land where grasses or grass like plants are the dominant species. Other forms of vegetation such as trees are rare in grasslands because they are not suited to thrive in the grassland’s dry environment. Grasslands receive water through rainfall, and when it does occur the grasses use their roots to search for moisture. Grass within this type of environment reproduces by releasing pollen when the winds blow or by producing plants from their roots.

Body

Characteristics of the grassland ecosystem

  • Limited annual rainfall
    • Grasslands ecosystem receives quite limited rainfall annually, and it covers almost 25% of the total land surface of the Earth.
    • Limited rain causes no forest growth in this region.
    • Grassland ecosystem is also prone to drought and uncertain precipitation.
  • Temperature
    • The temperature varies a lot throughout the year. In summer season the temperature of temperate grasslands becomes too hot up to 38 degrees Celsius, whereas in winter seasons it reduces up to -40 degrees Celsius making it too cold.
  • Regular fire in the grassland ecosystem
    • Fires in grasslands are one of the important characteristics.
    • Due to dry climate and flash lighting, the dry grass catches fire quite easily.
    • Regular fire in grasslands increases the growth of grasses in fields, but it restricts the growth of trees.
  • Lack of nutrients in the soil.
  • Poor vegetation
    • It is also a vital characteristic of the grassland ecosystem.
    • Very few numbers of trees is found in acres of grassland areas.
    • The dry climate and less rainfall is a major reason for poor vegetation in a grassland ecosystem.
  • Diversity in animal species
    • Grasslands are home for a huge variety of animal species.
    • They provide a big treat for grazing animals.

Impact of various natural and human disturbances to grassland ecosystem

  • Natural and human disturbances to grassland areas can cause changes within this particular ecosystems environment.
  • Because these ecosystems are relatively dry with a strong seasonal climate, they are sensitive to climatic changes and vulnerable to shifts in climatic regime.
  • Grasslands are threatened by habitat loss, which can be caused by human actions, such as unsustainable agricultural practices, overgrazing, and crop clearing.
  • The biggest impact that humans have on grasslands is by developing open areas for farming or urban development.
  • Not only does the conversion of land into crops change the ecosystem, but so does the farming of livestock.
  • Hunting presents a serious impact on grassland biomes. Poachers likewise kill rhinoceroses for their tusks, and elephants for their ivory on Africa savannas without any regard to protection of the species.
  • Climate change causes ecological succession, in which the ecosystem of an area develops into another.
  • Climate change impacts to grasslands and prairie bioregions include increased seasonal, annual, minimum, and maximum temperature and changing precipitation patterns.

Conclusion

Humans do not have only a negative impact on grasslands. Some humans do their part to preserve the land and restore it. National parks have been developed around grasslands, and some organizations replant depleted areas. Governments have enacted laws against the hunting of endangered animals. In particular, the U.S. National Parks Service has preserved land to foster the American bison population. While poaching still exists in many areas, there are efforts to stop it.

 

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

6. What are the causes of desertification in India? There is an urgent need for sustainable land management for combating desertification and land degradation. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain the causes for desertification and steps need to wards sustainable land management.

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 citing statistic regarding the desertification in India.

Body:

First, write about the natural and anthropogenic causes of desertification in India.

Next, write about the need for sustainable land management – to halt and reverse land degradation for ensuring food, water, environment and livelihood security in the country.

Next, write about the various steps taken in this regard and what further can be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Desertification is the degradation of land in arid, semi-arid and dry sub-humid areas. It is caused primarily by human activities and climatic variations. Desertification does not refer to the expansion of existing deserts. It occurs because dryland ecosystems, which cover over one-third of the world‘s land area, are extremely vulnerable to overexploitation and inappropriate land use. Poverty, political instability, deforestation, overgrazing and bad irrigation practices can all undermine the productivity of the land.

The Punjab Vidhan Sabha committee, constituted to study water table depletion, has recently said that the state will turn into a desert in the next 25 years if the present trend of drawing water from underground aquifers continues.

Body

Main reasons that cause desertification in India are:

  • Water erosion (10.98 per cent).
  • Wind erosion (5.55 per cent).
  • Human-made/settlements (0.69 per cent).
  • Vegetation degradation (8.91 per cent).
  • Salinity (1.12 per cent).
  • Others (2.07 per cent).

Need for sustainable land management for combating desertification and land degradation

  • Drought:
    • By 2025, 1.8 billion people will experience absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world will be living under water-stressed conditions.
    • A complex and slowly encroaching natural hazard with significant and pervasive socio-economic and environmental impacts to cause more deaths and displace more people than any other natural disaster.
    • India has witnessed increase in the level of desertification in 26 of 29 states between 2003-05 and 2011-13, according to the State of India’s Environment (SoE) 2019 in Figures.
    • More water is being drawn than it is being replenished. g.: The rate of water extraction in Punjab is 1.66 times against the rate of replenishment.
    • Because of the adoption of a faulty cropping pattern. Paddy crop hampers water recharging because of the puddling method used to prepare fields for transplanting.
  • Human Security:
    • By 2045 some 135 million people may be displaced as a result of desertification.
    • Achieving land degradation neutrality -by rehabilitating already degraded land, scaling up sustainable land management and accelerating restoration initiatives- is a pathway to greater resilience and security for all.
  • Climate:
    • Restoring the soils of degraded ecosystems has the potential to store up to 3 billion tons of carbon annually.
    • The land use sector represents almost 25% of total global emissions. Its rehabilitation and sustainable management are critical to combating climate change.

Measures needed

  • UNCCD 2018-2030 Strategic Framework: It is the most comprehensive global commitment to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) in order to restore the productivity of vast expanses of degraded land, improve the livelihoods of more than 1.3 billion people, and reduce the impacts of drought on vulnerable populations to build.
  • Setting up of an Intergovernmental Panel on Land and Soil will be very helpful in speeding up efforts to check desertification.
  • Farmers must be incentivised to choose cropping patterns that require less water, and go for drip irrigation or other water management mechanisms to save our only available deeper aquifers.
  • Developing countries need to integrate their poverty eradication programmes with strategies to fight desertification.
  • Lessons from the world:
    • In Africa, several countries have come together to form a 12,000 sq.km “great green wall” extending from Senegal to Djibouti with the participation of local communities.
    • People’s participation is crucial in reclaiming lands. China’s “great green wall” project is on a massive scale and is now starting to show results.
  • The techniques include agro-forestry and farmer-managed natural regeneration. Small community initiatives like
    • Closure of degraded lands for grazing
    • Curtailing farming
    • Growing fast-growing plants
    • Raising tall trees that serve as a barrier against winds and sandstorms are very effective.
  • National governments could consider building large green belts, prioritise forestry programmes and launch projects of fixing and stabilising sands.

Conclusion

Desertification is being accentuated by climate change. Thus, a comprehensive sustainable developmental approach is needed by the countries.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

7. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“Bhakti in religion may be a road to salvation of the soul. But in politics, ‘Bhakti’ or hero-worship is a sure road to degradation and to eventual dictatorship.” –Dr B.R Ambedkar

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about bhakti in religion in the context of liberal and progressive bhakti movement in India.

Next, write about hero-worship in politics. Mention the consequences of such worship. Cite examples across the world.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

Hero worship can be defined as a feeling of extreme admiration for someone, imagining that they have qualities or abilities that are better than anyone else’s. Hero worship is endemic in our country and personality cult flourishes. A strong democracy is built on strong institutions. Individual political leaders may have great achievements and great claims regarding their actions but lacks the checks and balances built in democratic processes. It is in this context the Ambedkar warned against Bhakti or hero worship of individual in politics and emphasized the institutional democracy.

Body

Harmful effects of Hero worship:

  • Reduces Accountability: In democratic system accountability of leaders is important; however hero worship of a leader reduces the willingness and ability of people to question the leader. Any reasonable question is seen as disrespectful to leader personally effectively undermining the checks and balances built in through rule of law.
  • Subversion of institutions: John Stuart Mill argued “not to lay their liberties at the feet of even a great man, or to trust him with power which enables him to subvert their institutions”. A powerful leader who is blindly trusted by his follower can effectively subvert the institutions like judiciary, civil services, independent election machinery without raising eyebrows because of blind trust the followers put in him. This situation leads to dictatorship.
  • Compromise the role of opposition: Opposition in democracy is axiomatic, without opposition true democracy cannot exist; this is true in case of opposition with in parliament as well as opposition in form of dissent by civil society or individuals through free speech. Hero worship threatens role of opposition. Any opposition to venerated leader is met with threats harming role of opposition and dissent.
  • Absolute power corrupts absolutely: Absolute power wielded by an individual enjoying the blind faith of follower leads to corruption as the institutional checks are missing and accountability is not fixed for the actions of venerated leader.
  • Threat to internal party democracy: Inner party democracy is essential for larger democratic process in a democracy e.g. individuals with right credentials may get to contest election if there is inner party democracy. On the other hand an unquestionable leader is likely to make those people contests the election, which will perpetuate his rule, the public good will not be on his priority.

However, personality cult has sometimes been effective:

  • It led to the inception of several path breaking schemes like the Mid-Day meal scheme introduced by M.G Ramachandran in Tamil Nadu.
  • Leads to the government providing many items which would have otherwise not reached the poorest strata, like the free laptops and cycles given by the TN government.
  • Also leads to combating of poverty and increased food security a process seen with the opening up of canteens to provide subsidized meals in various cities of TN.

Conclusion

Therefore, hero-worship, though good in moderation to ensure social justice and economic empowerment, should not be allowed to become all-encompassing and overarching the constitutional and ideological planks on which elections were designed to be fought. There is need to make voters aware about their role in parliamentary democratic setup to choose the right candidate to govern them based on rationality and reason.


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