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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 February 2022

 

 

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

Answer the following questions in 150 words:


General Studies – 1


 

1. Tribal languages are a treasure trove of knowledge about a region’s flora, fauna and medicinal plants. However, when a language declines, that knowledge system is completely gone. Suggest steps to safeguard these endangered languages. (150 words, 10 marks)

 

Introduction

According to UNESCO, any language that is spoken by less than 10,000 people is potentially endangered. In India, after the 1971 census, Government decided to not include any language spoken by less than 10,000 in the official list of languages. In India, therefore, all the languages that are spoken by less than 10,000 people are treated by the state as not worthy of mention and treated by the UNESCO as potentially endangered.  According to the People’s Linguistic Survey of India 2013, around 220 languages has been lost in the last 50 years and 197 has been categorised as Endangered.

 

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Endangered tribal languages 

  • Examples of such languages would be Wadari, Kolhati, Golla, Gisari.
  • These are languages of nomadic people in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana.
  • Then there several tribal languages as well, such as Pauri, Korku, Haldi, Mavchi. In Assam, there is Moran, Tangsa, Aiton.
  • There seems to be about 250 languages that disappeared in the last 60 years.
  • There used to be languages called Adhuni, Dichi, Ghallu, Helgo, Katagi.
  • The Bolanguage in Andaman disappeared in 2010 and the Majhi language in Sikkim disappeared in 2015.

 Importance of tribal languages 

  • The primary need to conserve any language is to conserve the cultures associated with them. This includes literature, food habits and lifestyle.
  • As Noam Chomsky put it, “A language is not just words. It’s a culture, a tradition, a unification of a community.”
  • Tribal languages are fundamental to understand the world we live in, our origin, the roots that we all came from and what humans are capable of.
  • An experience of generations is preserved in indigenous languages. Languages serve as the medium of transmitting cultures from one generation to the other.
  • Many tribal areas still follow learning methods wherein the students are needed to repeat the text after the teachers. This is how the transfer of knowledge takes place in these areas.
  • Languages teach us values, respect for others, and respect for ourselves.
  • With a dying language die thousands of stories, millions of lessons, and a lifetime of experience. A language’s death is akin to erasing a part of our history.
  • It is language that distinguishes one ethnic community from another. It is an important tool for mapping out the geographical identity of the speaker particularly in a crisis situation.

 Measures to safeguard these endangered languages 

  • Tribal languages should be endorsed through innovative, cultural and entertainment programmes, suggest linguistic experts.
  • For instance, a local community radio channel called ‘Asur Mobile Radio’ in Jharkhand launched cultural programmes in the Asur language, which has only 7,000-8,000 speakers.
  • There is a need to promote tribal languages as a medium of communication and education in tribal-dominated districts. It can significantly reduce the communication gap and school dropout rate.
  • It is important to integrate indigenous knowledge systems alongside modern sciences in the curriculum of schools.
  • There is a need to create livelihood support for the speakers of the language. If they have livelihood available within their language, nobody would want to switch from their language to any other language.
  • Digital media allows for their documentation in audio-visual formats now. Simply recording audio or video of folk songs/folk tales in different languages can help preserve not just the language/dialect but also the folk culture.
  • In the same manner, the traditional knowledge about sustainable living, medicines, farming and architecture that tribals store in their memories can also be documented for preservation and dissemination
  • There is a need to set up departments in central universities to study the dying languages and work towards their promotion, introduction of these languages as school subjects in areas where they are spoken, and schemes to mobilise communities to continue the language traditions.
  • The proposed language departments in central universities can set up libraries or museums with audio and video material showing the oral traditions of these languages.
  • Such documentation is expected to help preserve these tongues, and the audiotapes could be used as teaching tools within the communities.
  • Institutions like Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) should take lead in studying and preparing materials in as many minority and tribal languages as possible.
  • It should be a special endeavour of CIIL to promote and document the endangered languages of India, which are very much a part of India’s plural cultural heritage.

 Conclusion

The Government of India launched Scheme for Protection and Preservation of Endangered Languages (SPPEL) to document and archive the country’s languages that have become endangered or likely to be endangered in the near future. It is high time for others to appreciate the important contribution of tribal languages in enriching the world’s rich cultural and linguistic diversity. A healthy nexus and coordination between voluntary organisations, linguists, and the government is a must.

 

2. Puppetry is one of the most ancient forms of entertainment that combines all the elements of performing arts as well as visual art such as painting, sculpture, music, dance, drama etc. Elaborate. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

A puppet is one of the most remarkable and ingenious inventions of the man. Puppetry is a type of narrative theatre; at the crossroads between bardic storytelling and theatre plays. Shows include live music, narration and gestures taken from dance. Puppetry throughout the ages has held an important place in traditional entertainment. Like traditional theatre, themes for puppet theatre are mostly based on epics and legends. Puppets from different parts of the country have their own identity. Regional styles of painting and sculpture are reflected in them.

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Puppetry in India

  • The earliest reference to the art of puppetry is found in Tamil classic ‘Silappadikaaram’ written around the 1st or 2nd century B.C.
  • In Sanskrit terminology Puttalika and Puttika means ‘little sons’.
  • Ancient Hindu philosophers have paid the greatest tribute to puppeteers. They have likened God Almighty to a puppeteer and the entire universe to a puppet stage.
  • Srimad Bhagavata, the great epic depicting the story of Lord Krishna in his childhood say that with three strings-Satta, Raja and Tama, the God manipulates each object in the universe as a marionette.
  • Natyashastra, the masterly treatise on dramaturgy written sometime during 2nd century BC to 2nd century AD., does not refer to the art of puppetry but the producer-cum-director of the human theatre has been termed as ‘Sutradhar’ meaning the holder of strings.
  • Stories adapted from puranic literature, local myths and legends usually form the content of traditional puppet theatre in India which, in turn, imbibes elements of all creative expressions like painting, sculpture, music, dance, drama, etc.
  • For instance, theKathputli of Rajasthan is accompanied by a highly dramatised version of the regional music. In Kundhei of Odisha, the music is drawn from the popular tunes of the region and is sometimes influenced by the music of Odisha dance.
  • Almost all types of puppets are found in India. Puppetry throughout the ages has held an important place in traditional entertainment. Like traditional theatre, themes for puppet theatre are mostly based on epics and legends.
  • g.: In Tholu Bommalatta of AP, the music is dominantly influenced by the classical music of the region and the theme of the puppet plays are drawn from the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas. Episodes enacted in Gombeyatta of Karnataka are usually based on Prasangas of the Yakshagana plays. The music that accompanies is dramatic and beautifully blends folk and classical elements.
  • Puppets from different parts of the country have their own identity.
  • g. In Thogalu Gombeyatta of Karnataka, the puppets however differ in size according to their social status, for instance, large size for kings and religious characters and smaller size for common people or servants.
  • Regional styles of painting and sculpture are reflected in them.
  • g.: the traditional glove puppet play is called Pavakoothu. It came into existence during the 18th century due to the influence of Kathakali, the famous classical dance-drama of Kerala, on puppet performances. The face of the puppets are decorated with paints, small and thin pieces of gilded tin, the feathers of the peacock, etc. The theme for Glove puppet plays in Kerala is based on the episodes from either the Ramayana or the Mahabharata.

However, the art of puppetry is dying due to the following reasons:

  • Lack of patronage in the modern age.
  • Competition from Electronic media which is a preferred mode of entertainment. People find it more appealing to watch mythological stories of Ramayan and Mahabharat on electronic media rather than in Puppetry.
  • Puppetry Art is usually confined to only devotional and mythological stories.
  • With changing times, Puppetry does not take up modern social issues.
  • Puppetry lacks modernization in terms of script, lighting, sound and other stage effects.

Conclusion:

Besides traditional puppetry, India is home to a lively contemporary scene. Independent India opened up to artistic exchange, and new forms and techniques affected puppetry, introducing new styles and giving origin to a refined urban puppet theatre. The birth of modern troupes and the opening to the international scene created new contexts for traditional puppetry to flourish. Several festivals organized in the last decades offer the stage to traditional troupes. So far modernity threatened the very survival of traditional puppetry, but a more conscious use of contemporary means and opportunities is actually the key to preserve this rich heritage of India.

 

3. Mughal painting is a style of miniature painting that developed in the northern Indian subcontinent in the sixteenth century and is known for its sophisticated techniques and diverse range of subjects and themes. Comment. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

Mughal  painting  is  the  style  of  miniature  painting  that  developed  in  the  northern  Indian  subcontinent  in  the  sixteenth  century  and  continued  till  the  mid–nineteenth  century.  It  is  known  for  its  sophisticated  techniques  and  diverse range of subjects and themes. The Mughal miniature painting inspired and resonated in subsequent schools and styles  of  Indian  painting,  thereby,  confirming  a  definite position  for  the  Mughal  style  within  the  Indian  school  of  paintings

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Mughal Paintings: Salient features

  • The Mughal pictures were small in size, and hence are known as ‘miniature paintings’.
  • Though the Mughal art absorbed the Indian atmosphere, it neither represented the Indian emotions, nor the scenes from the daily life of the Indian.
  • Hence, Mughal painting remained confined to the Mughal court and did not reach the people.
  • The Mughal rulers brought Persian painters with them. At the same time they patronized Indian painters and the collaboration between these two schools of painters resulted in the synthesis.
  • Apart from Persian books of fables, themes from Mahabharata, Ramayana were also selected.
  • Indian scenes and landscapes came into vogue.
  • Paintings were based upon close observation of nature with high aesthetic merit.
  • Under Jahangir, the Mughal school paintings acquired greater charm, refinement and dignity.
  • The emperor Jahangir had a great fascination for nature and took delight in the portraiture of birds, animals and flowers.
  • Inspired by their overlord, the Mughal courtiers and the provincial officers started patronizing the artists trained in the Mughal technique of painting.
  • The artists who were employed in the Imperial Government were known as the first grade artists. The works accomplished by these first grade artists is known as the Imperial Mughal Painting.
  • Artists available to the provinces were of inferior merit, thus, the works accomplished in the provinces was known as ‘Popular Mughal’ or ‘Provincial Mughal’ painting, which possessed all the important characteristics of the Imperial Mughal painting with some inferior quality.

Mughal paintings involved a diverse range of subjects and themes

Life and times of Mughal rulers:

  • Mughal painting marks a unique blend of Persian and Indian ideas. Mughal painting was essentially a court art, developed under the patronage of the ruling Mughal emperors and began to decline when the rulers lost interest.
  • The subjects treated were generally secular, revolving around themes like battles, court scenes, receptions, legendary stories, hunting scenes, wildlife, portraits, and the likes.
  • Imperial Mughal painting represents one of the most celebrated art forms of India. It arose with remarkable rapidity in the mid-sixteenth century as a blending of three distinct traditions:
    • Court painting of Safavid Iran.
    • Indigenous Indian devotional manuscript illumination.
    • Indo-Persian or Sultanate painting, which is it is a hybrid of provincial Persian and local Indian styles.
  • The result of this merging resulted in paintings of unprecedented vitality, brilliant coloration, and impossibly precise detail, is something dramatically more than the sum of its parts.

Contemporary social and political life of the people:

  • Mughal Court paintings provide an insight into the life and times of rulers of the period. These paintings also reflect the contemporary social and political condition of the people. Social customs and courtly traditions are vividly depicted in these paintings.
  • Mughal painting forms a dramatic episode in the history of India. Its aims and standpoint are secular and realistic: it is interested in passing events and most typically in the exact delineation of individual character in the portraiture of men and animals.
  • It is dramatic rather than static, aristocratic more than surreal and academic rather than vocational.
  • After Mughal, there came “company paintings” in India. But they were not as realistic and detailed as Mughal miniature paintings.

Conclusion

When the Mughal Empire was in decadence, various other schools of painting with Mughal influence emerged in several regional courts, including the Rajput and Pahari paintings.

Value addition

Contributions of Mughal emperors to Painting:

Akbar:

  • Akbar ordered the creation of many paintings and also paid close attention to the final output of all these artworks.
  • He was very particular about the details and the artistic elements involved.
  • Akbar had an impressive number of painters in his court. Between 1560 and 1577, he commissioned a number of massive painting projects.
  • One of the earliest painting projects commissioned by Akbar was ‘Tutinama’ which literally translates to ‘Tales of a Parrot.’ There is Hamzanama as well.
  • Akbar and his successors brought revolutionary changes to painting and sensual illustrations.
  • From this period book illumination or individual miniatures replaced wall painting as the most vital form of art.
  • Akbar also encouraged the art of making portraits.

Jahangir:

  • Much like his father (Akbar), Jahangir too had an inclination toward arts, which proved beneficial for the growth of Mughal art.
  • The Mughal painting continued to grow under his reign.
  • It is generally stated that during Jahangir’s time, the art of painting reached its climax and with him departed its soul.
  • Jahangir was not only interested in painting; he was also its keen judge. He established a gallery of painting in his own garden.
  • Since Jahangir was largely influenced by European painting, he ordered his painters to follow the single point perspective used by European artists.
  • This gave a whole new perspective to the Mughal painting.
  • Jahangir even used European paintings that portrayed the images of Kings and Queens as references and asked his painters to take a leaf out of these paintings.
  • As a result, most of the Mughal paintings commissioned by Jahangir had finer brush strokes and lighter colours.
  • One of the major projects commissioned by him was the ‘Jahangirnama.’
  • It was an autobiography of Jahangir and it consisted of several paintings that included unusual themes, such as fights between spiders.
  • Several individual portraits of Jahangir were also made by his painters.
  • However, he also commissioned many paintings of birds, animals and flowers which were portrayed in a realistic manner.
  • Artists began to use vibrant colours such as peacock blue and red and were able to give three dimensional effects to paintings
  • Overall, the Mughal painting continued to flourish and also continued to evolve under Jahangir’s rule.

Shahjahan:

  • Though Mughal painting continued to expand during the reign of Shah Jahan, the paintings that were displayed in the court became increasingly rigid and formal.
  • However, he commissioned a large number of paintings meant to be his personal collection.
  • These paintings were based on themes like gardens and pictures that gave great aesthetic pleasure.
  • He also ordered many works that portrayed lovers in intimate positions.
  • One of the most important works produced during his reign was the ‘Padshanama.’
  • This work was made to look lavish with generous volumes of gold plating.
  • The ‘Padshanama,’ which narrated the achievements of the King, contained several paintings of the courtiers and servants as well.
  • The work was so elaborate that even servants were painted with amazing details that provided a great individuality to each and every character.
  • While the servants and courtiers were portrayed using the frontal view technique, the king and other important dignitaries were portrayed by adhering to the rules of strict metamodeling.
  • During the reign of Shah Jahan, the aesthetics of Mughal painting were retained which contributed to the growth and development of Mughal paintings.
  • Many of the paintings produced under the leadership of Shah Jahan are now housed at various museums around the world.


General Studies – 2


 

4. The slow march to justice for undertrials must be seen in the context of a criminal justice system in need of an immediate overhaul especially the prison reforms. Elucidate. (150 words, 10 marks)

 

Introduction

The Prisons in India are more than a century-old system which are in dire need of repair. Prisons in India, and their administration, are a state subject covered by item 4 under the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. But they have been in general overlooked and ill maintained.

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Key findings from prison statistics of 2020

  • The prison statistics of 2020 show that more than 70 per cent of such undertrial prisoners are from marginalised classes, castes, religions and genders.
  • It reveals that as compared to 2019, “the release of convicts has declined by 41.2 per cent and the release of undertrials has declined by 19.6 per cent” in 2020.
  • As compared to 2019, the number of undertrial prisoners increased by 11.7 per cent and the number of detenues increased by 11.4 per cent in 2020.
  • As prisons instituted a lockdown on public accountability, the rates of custodial deaths have increased by 7.0 per cent in 2020. So-called unnatural deaths, which include suicides, accidents, and murders in prisons, increased by 18.1 per cent.

Need for Prison reforms

  • Prison reform is necessary to ensure that human rights of prisoners are protected and their prospects for social reintegration are increased.
  • Prisons are not isolated from the society and prison health is public health. It is important to provide adequate health facilities.
  • Overcrowding: During the pandemic, the mass incarceration of undertrials led to a humanitarian crisis in overcrowded prisons. Prison officials struggled to prevent mass contagion among inmates and staff, even as thousands fell ill and many died.
  • According to experts, the main reason for “overcrowding” in our prisons is due to the mass incarceration of pre-trial prisoners. The penal policy of the state has not focussed on de-criminalisation.
  • Instead, it has resulted in a shocking 31.8 per cent increase in the incarceration of the number of undertrial prisoners and increase in imprisonment of detenues by 40.1 per cent from 2015 to 2020 (as of December 31, 2020).
  • Overcrowding of prisons, under trials, custodial violence all are the gross violations of human rights.
  • Prisoners’ health conditions deteriorate in prisons which are overcrowded, where nutrition is poor, sanitation inadequate and access to fresh air and exercise often unavailable.
  • Prison staff is also vulnerable to most of the diseases of which prisoners are at risk.
  • According to the NCRB 1.2% of the prisoners have mental illness and they are being ill treated and discriminated and deprived of their right of good health.
  • The UN’s Bangkok Rules which state that “non-custodial means should be preferred for pregnant women during the pre-trial phase” has been grossly violated.
  • Public interest appeals to the committees to adopt a public health and gender-sensitive classification to decongest the most overcrowded prisons in the country were rejected.
  • Poverty: Many prisoners are unable to execute bail bonds or provide sureties.
  • Little public scrutiny in jails provides the possibility of violation of basic rights.
  • Most of the installed CCTV cameras are not functioning in prisons.

Way forward

  • Governments and courts adopt a public health and gender-sensitive approach to the question of mass incarceration of undertrial prisoners.
  • The participation of prison watchdogs in bringing accountability to these dark custodial spaces must be restored.
  • The decline in the rate of release of undertrials from prison and the increase in custodial deaths must be named as a humanitarian crisis.
  • The bureaucratic approach of the HPCs should be reviewed.
  • Courts must privilege prisoners’ experiences of “lockdown” prisons rather than pay lip service to dead letter reform.
  • Qualified health professionals — independent of the prison administration — are essential to provide services to inmates.
  • Prison and Jail Overcrowding Commission: Should meet regularly and dispose of any prison related issue.
  • Ensuring Accountability of Police – any crime like custodial violence must be fast tracked within specified time period through Independent investigation Agency

Conclusion

                It is time to end the law’s attachment to inflicting cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment on pre-trial prisoners. The mass incarceration of pre-trial prisoners must be abolished. Surely institutionalised indifference to the cruel and inhuman conditions of custody must be abhorrent to any society.

 

5. The transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence in governance must be harnessed to bridge the gap between the state and the citizens as well as to improve service delivery. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science concerned with developing machines that can complete tasks that typically require human intelligence. The growing use of artificial intelligence in public policy is perhaps the most important thing to track about India’s governance.

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Background on India’s artificial intelligence journey

  • India’s National Programme for AI, which was developed by NITI Aayog, defines artificial intelligence for social good (and for all) as its goal.
  • One of its first steps towards this goal has been the development of PARAM SIDDHI AI, the country’s largest High Performance Computing (HPC) supercomputer.
  • This is ranked among the top 100 supercomputers in the world.
  • Some of the key areas where India first wants to deploy artificial intelligence are health, agriculture, education, manufacturing and the financial sector.
  • Thus, the national Jal Shakti Ministry has been using internet of things (IoT)-based sensors to monitor water availability and flow in 6,00,000 villages, and the Tamil Nadu administration has used AI-based screening (through a mobile app called e-Paarwai) to check for cataract problems in patients.

AI in public service delivery

  • Reducing fraud and error in the tax and benefits systems: Governments today can benefit from the application of anomaly detection to benefits claims and tax rebates.
  • Examine service delivery processes: Many public services are becoming digital, creating electronic footprints of the business processes in operation.
    • The use of process mining, a technology which uses timestamps to identify workflows, can be used to understand the flows of citizens through public services.
    • This can help understand where there are bottlenecks, where processes are going awry, and where digital services are failing.
  • Efficiently allocate resources: Resource allocation is paramount in delivering effective public services, whether it is the management of intensive-care beds or the maintenance of the road and rail network.
    • Eg: During covid pandemic, bed allocation, detecting outbreak in communities were all modelled using artifical intelligence.
    • The ability to predict need before it occurs allows managers to make better decisions; giving them this capability will become increasingly important in the public sector.
  • Precision farming: Accurate weather prediction, information dissemination on right time to harvest, even identifying any pest infestation using image processing are use cases in Agriculture. Government can provide these services to farmers.

These are just some of the examples of how AI is beginning to impact public services. As governments seek to speed up the pace of implementation, we can look forward to increased benefits because of this approach. Governments that form a clear data strategy, complete with AI implementation guidelines and ethical framework, are well placed to realize these gains and increase public trust. In a time of scepticism towards government around the world, AI is an opportunity to redefine what public services can deliver.

Conclusion

Governments are just starting to explore the potential of AI to transform public services. It is crucial to design systems to capture the right data at the outset, so that AI can be deployed efficiently. This will all be made possible by tailoring systems to the subject matter at hand, with the help of policy-makers, public servants and data scientists, all working together to fully realize the benefits of this technology.

 

6. A new free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the UAE can provide further fillip to the ever-growing relations in trade, diaspora and cultural contacts between the two countries. Analyse. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

India has embarked on a new free trade agreement (FTA) journey with UAE with renewed zeal and vigour. India and UAE signed an FTA which is set to reduce tariffs for 80 per cent of goods and give zero duty access to 90 per cent of India’s exports to the UAE.

The agreement, which is expected to come into effect in about 60 days, is expected to boost annual bilateral trade to $100 billion within 5 years of its adoption, up from about $60 billion currently.

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India-UAE trade relations

  • The India-UAE total trade merchandise has been valued atS.$52.76 billion for the first nine months of the fiscal year 2021-22, making the UAE India’s third largest trading partner.
  • The aim is to boost bilateral merchandise trade to above U.S.$100 billion and services trade to U.S.$15 billion in five years.
  • With India’s newfound strength in exports as the country is on the verge of creating history by reaching the figure of U.S.$400 billion of merchandise export, a trade agreement with an important country such as the UAE would help sustain the growth momentum.
  • As we are witnessing a big turnaround in manufacturing, the UAE would be an attractive export market for Indian electronics, automobiles, and other engineering products.

India-UAE FTA: Benefits

  • Investment flow: A trade agreement is also an enabler for two-way investment flows. The UAE’s investment in India is estimated to be around S.$11.67 billion, which makes it the ninth biggest investor in India.
    • On the other hand, many Indian companies have set up manufacturing units either as joint ventures or in Special Economic Zones for cement, building materials, textiles, engineering products, consumer electronics, etc.
  • Huge market: Many Indian companies have also invested in the tourism, hospitality, catering, health, retail, and education sectors. As both the UAE and India are aggressively pursuing FTAs with several important countries, not only companies from these two countries but also multinational companies from other geographies too would find the UAE and India an attractive market to invest.
  • Strategic location and access: As part of the GCC, the UAE has strong economic ties with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman, meaning the UAE shares a common market and a customs union with these nations. Under the Greater Arab Free Trade Area (GAFTA) Agreement, the UAE has free trade access to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, Palestine, Syria, Libya, and Yemen.
  • Diversifying the economy: Although the UAE has diversified its economy, ‘the hydrocarbon sector remains very important followed by services and manufacturing.

Limitations

  • The UAE tariff structure is bound with the GCC, and the applied average tariff rate is 5%. Therefore, the scope of addressing Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) becomes very important.
  • The reflection of NTBs can be seen through Non-Tariff Measures (NTMs) which have mostly been covered by Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT). The UAE has 451 SPS notifications.
  • Most of the notifications are related to consumer information, labelling, licensing or permit requirements and import monitoring and surveillance requirements.
  • These compliances pose a challenge for Indian exporters.

Conclusion

This FTA with the UAE will pave the way for India to enter the UAE’s strategic location, and have relatively easy access to the Africa market and its various trade partners which can help India to become a part of that supply chain, especially in handlooms, handicrafts, textiles and pharma.

 


General Studies – 3


 

7. Farmers Producers Organisations (FPO’s) play a vital role to enhance productivity through efficient and cost-effective methods ensuring sustainable income-oriented farming. Discuss. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

Farmers’ Producer Organisation (FPO), also known as farmers’ producer company (FPC), is an entity formed by primary producers including  farmers, milk producers, fishermen, weavers, rural artisans, and craftsmen.An FPO can be a Producer Company, a Cooperative Society or any other legal form.FPOs are basically the hybrids of cooperatives and private companies.The participation, organisation and membership pattern of these companies are more or less similar to the cooperatives.

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Background

  • There are a total of 14,213 producer companies on the rolls of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs as on 31.03.2021.
  • Around 11,715 producer companies got registered after 2016–17.
  • The total outlay is to the tune of Rs 3,000 crore to be spent over next three years, bringing together approximately 3 million farmers across the country.

Need for and significance of FPOs:

  • Nearly 86% of farmers are small and marginal with average land holdings in the country being less than 1.1 hectares.
  • These small, marginal and landless farmers face tremendous challenges during agriculture production phase such as for access to technology, quality seed, fertilizers and pesticides including requisite finances.
  • FPOs can engage farmers in collective farming and address productivity issues emanating from small farm sizes.
  • Further, this may also result in additional employment generation due to the increased intensity of farming.
  • FPO can help farmers compete with large corporate enterprises in bargaining, as it allows members to negotiate as a group and can help small farmers in both input and output markets.
  • FPOs help in the collectivization of such small, marginal and landless farmers in order to give them the collective strength to deal with such issues.
  • The FPO can provide low-cost and quality inputs to member farmers. For example, loans for crops, purchase of machinery, input agri-inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, etc.) and direct marketing after procurement of agricultural produce.
  • This will enable members to save in terms of time, transaction costs, distress sales, price fluctuations, transportation, quality maintenance, etc.
  • Social capital will develop in the form of FPOs, as it may lead to improved gender relations and decision-making of women farmers in FPOs.
  • This may reduce social conflicts and improved food and nutritional values in the community.

Challenges faced by FPOs:

  • Liability of newness: New ventures have high probability to fail since they have to battle multiple problems at a time.
  • Lack of distinctiveness: With no novelty to offer, it is often challenging for FPOs to compete in the market.
  • Audience diversity: FPOs need to derive support from different group of stakeholders (farmer, government, buyers, NGOs etc) which is crucial to understand their expectations.
  • Lack of clarity on the market category – FPOs may fail to meet the demand of buyers in terms of quantity requirement leading to a weak inter-organisational relationship.
  • FPOs, often in a hurry, would make unrealistic promises to members to increase their membership which could lead to mismatch in expectations.
  • Multiple thresholds for success: Measuring the success of FPOs varies according to the stakeholder
  • Farmer may be look at receiving timely credit from the FPO as the vital indicator for success while corporate buyer may look upon the quality of the product.

Way forward

  • Collectives must do the requisite homework on issues such as modalities of the conduct of boards meetings, technical expertise for better procurement, identifying potential buyers, etc.
  • Focus on multiple stakeholders including farmers , buyers and regulators can accommodate audience diversity.
  • Need informational clarity regarding the process and market conditions.
  • Collective effort of all stakeholders is crucial for the success of an FPO
  • Appropriate curriculum and career pathways should be designed that would periodically train potential FPO leaders in human resource management, demand-aggregation, logistical planning and financial management.
  • The government should identify reputed institutional partners like IIMs, IRMA, etc., to deliver content and certify successful candidates. This will make the job aspirational for rural educated youth and incentivise their participation in the national project.
  • such a mammoth exercise in social experimentation in the agrarian sector can only succeed if various departments of the Centre and states come together on a common platform.
  • Cutting through departmental silos, orientation and training of key officials manning relevant departments and timely inter-departmental coordination are key to the success of the governmental intervention.
  • A mechanism to ensure integrity of such certificates should be worked out to provide comfort to officers of the Registrar of Companies.

Conclusion

The FPOs as new-age farmer collectives have immense transformative potential for a country like India. If implemented with the right intentions and active involvement of various public and private stakeholders, this will not just boost agriculture productivity but also create an enabling ecosystem for the value chains associated with each agri-commodity. India can thus become an important player in the global food value chain.

Value addition

Government’s Support to Farmers Producers Organisation

  • The government has launched a new dedicated Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs)” with a clear strategy and committed resources to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs to ensure economies of scale for farmers over the next five years. Support for each FPO is continued for 5 years from its year of inception.
  • Small Farmers Agri-business Consortium (SFAC)
  • National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). 
  • States may also if so desire, nominate their Implementing Agency in consultation with DAC&FW. 

8. Enumerate the causes for the rising instances of forest fires in India. What measures are needed to mitigate the adverse impacts of forest fires? (150 words, 10 marks)

 Introduction

Forest fires are considered as one of the most widespread hazards in a forested landscape. They have a serious threat to forest and its flora and fauna. Forest fires essentially are ‘quasi-natural’, which means that they are not entirely caused by natural reasons (like volcanoes, earthquakes and tropical storms), but are caused by human activities as well. In India’s case, a combination of hot weather, oxygen and dry vegetation is a potent recipe for forest fires.

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Forest fires: A regular phenomenon in India

  • Every year large areas of forests are affected by fires of varying intensity and extent.
  • Since the start of 2021, there has been a series of forest fires in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland-Manipur border, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, including in wildlife sanctuaries.
  • At least 5,291 forest fires were recorded in Odisha between February 22 and March 1, 2021 — the highest in the country for the same period, according to FSI biennial report.
  • Telangana recorded the second-highest fires in the country at 1,527 during the same period, followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,507) and Andhra Pradesh (1,292), according to FSI data.
  • Around 95 percent of the forest fires in India are on account of human activity.
  • Around 21 percent of the total forest cover is highly to extremely fire prone, adds the latest forest survey.
  • Based on the forest inventory records, 40% of forests in India are exposed to occasional fires, 7.49% to moderately frequent fires and 2.405 to high incidence levels while 35.71% of India’s forests have not yet been exposed to fires of any real significance.

Reasons for increasing frequency of forest fires

  • Forest fires can be caused by a number of natural causes, but officials say many major fires in India are triggered mainly by human activities.
  • Emerging studies link climate change to rising instances of fires globally, especially the massive fires of the Amazon forests in Brazil and in Australia in the last two years.
  • Fires of longer duration, increasing intensity, higher frequency and highly inflammable nature are all being linked to climate change.
  • In India, forest fires are most commonly reported during March and April, when the ground has large quantities of dry wood, logs, dead leaves, stumps, dry grass and weeds that can make forests easily go up in flames if there is a trigger.
  • Under natural circumstances, extreme heat and dryness, friction created by rubbing of branches with each other also have been known to initiate fire.
  • In Uttarakhand, the lack of soil moisture too is being seen as a key factor.
  • In two consecutive monsoon seasons (2019 and 2020), rainfall has been deficient by 18% and 20% of the seasonal average, respectively.

Measures to control forest fires

  • Forest fire line: Successive Five-Year Plans have provided funds for forests fighting. During the British period, fire was prevented in the summer through removal of forest litter all along the forest boundary. This was called “Forest Fire Line”.
    • This line used to prevent fire breaking into the forest from one compartment to another.
    • The collected litter was burnt in isolation.
  • Firebreaks: Generally, the fire spreads only if there is continuous supply of fuel (Dry vegetation) along its path. The best way to control a forest fire is therefore, to prevent it from spreading, which can be done by creating firebreaksin the shape of small clearings of ditches in the forests.
  • Forest Survey of India monitors forest fire events through satellites on two platforms– MODIS and SNPP-VIIRS, both in collaboration with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
    • While the SNPP-VIIRS identifies, alerts and tracks fire incidents on real time data at 375X375 sq meter pixel, the older version MODIS detects it in the range of 1kmX1km.
    • Forest fire suppression relies very heavily on “dry” firefighting techniques because of poor water availability.
  • Integrated forest protection: The main objective is to control forest fires and strengthen the forest protection. The works like Fireline clearing,assistance to Joint Forest Managemencommittees, creating water bodies, purchase of vehicles and communication equipment, purchase of firefighting tools, etc., needs to be undertaken.
  • Prevention of human-caused firesthrough education and environmental modification. It will include silvicultural activities, engineering works, people participation, and education and enforcement. It is proposed that more emphasis be given to people participation through Joint Forest Fire Management for fire prevention.
  • Prompt detection of fires through a well-coordinated network of observation points, efficient ground patrolling, and communication networks. Remote sensing technology is to be given due importance in fire detection. For successful fire management and administration, a National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and Fire Forecasting System are to be developed in the country.
  • Introducing a forest fuel modification system at strategic points.
  • National Action Plan on Forest Fires (NAPFF): It was launched in 2018 to minimize forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivizing them to work with the State Forest Departments.

Conclusion

It is important to prevent the lungs of the nation from ravages of fire. With climate change and global warming on the rise, India must prevent human-made disaster to ensure our carbon sinks are protected.

 

9. Enumerate the steps taken by India to tackle plastic pollution in the country. Do you think a legally binding global treaty on plastics and plastic pollution is the way forward? Critically examine. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

In 2019, the Union government in a bid to free India of single-use plastics by 2022, had laid out a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single-use plastics across the country. In this direction, the Environment Ministry recently issued draft rules that mandate producers of plastic packaging material to collect all of their produce by 2024 and ensure that a minimum percentage of it be recycled as well as used in subsequent supply.

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Plastic waste scenario in India

  • According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), India generates close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic a day and over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected.
  • According to a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)study the plastic processing industry is estimated to grow to 22 million tonnes (MT) a year by 2020 from 13.4 MT in 2015 and nearly half of this is single-use plastic.
  • India’s per capita plastic consumptionof less than 11 kg, is nearly a tenth of the United States of America (109 kg).

 Measures taken so far to tackle plastic pollution

  • India recently released a draft resolution to address plastic pollution, a month ahead of the fifth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 5.2) to be held in Nairobi. India’s framework proposed a voluntary approach rather than a legally binding one, unlike drafts presented by some other countries.
  • In 2019, the Union government in a bid to free India of single-use plastics by 2022, had laid out a multi-ministerial plan to discourage the use of single-use plastics across the country.
  • Currently, the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, prohibits manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags and plastic sheets less than 50 microns in thickness in the country.
  • The Environment Ministry has notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021.
  • These rules prohibit specific single-use plastic items which have “low utility and high littering potential” by 2022.
  • The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September, 2021, and to 120 microns from the 31st December, 2022.
  • At the policy level, the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR), already mentioned under the 2016 Rules, has to be promoted.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban,identify violations, and impose penalties already prescribed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board has reported that 22 States have, in the past, announced a ban on single-use plastic, but this has had little impact on the crisis of waste choking wetlands and waterways and being transported to the oceans to turn into microplastic.
  • So far, 22 States and Union Territories have joined the fight to beat the plastic pollution, announcing a ban on single-use plastics such as carry bags, cups, plates, cutlery, straws and thermocol products.
  • India has also won global acclaim for its “Beat Plastic Pollution” resolve declared on World Environment Day last year, under which it pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022.

Pros of a legally binding global treaty on plastics

  • An uniform set of laws applies to all countries thereby boosting the cumulative effort across globe to tackle plastic pollution.
  • Strengthens the global drive to curb the plastic pollution of all types – land, marine etc.
  • Helps build a financial mechanism to boost the efforts towards fighting plastic pollution.

Cons:

  • Not all countries could be able to abide by the treaty as alternative to plastic may be unaffordable or inaccessible or unavailable.
  • Goes against the common but differentiated responsibilities principle.

Way forward

  • As consumers, we should ensure that all plastic waste leaving our homes is segregated and is not contaminated with food waste.
  • Managing plastic waste requires effective knowledge, not only among those who produce the plastic but also among those who handle it.
  • The brand owner and manufacturer should try and understand the fates a plastic packaging material would meet after its purpose of packaging has been served.
  • Citizens have to bring behavioral change and contribute by not littering and helping in waste segregation and waste management.
  • To encourage innovation in development of alternatives to identified single use plastic items and digital solutions to plastic waste management, the India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021, has been organized for students of Higher Educational Institutions and start-ups recognized under Start-up India Initiative.

Conclusion

The pressure on producers to streamline the collection, recycling and processing of all forms of plastic is bound to grow. Individuals and organizations should now actively remove plastic waste from their surroundings and municipal bodies must arrange to collect these articles. Startups and industries should think of newer ways of recycling plastic.

Value addition

Impact of Plastic Waste

  • Economic Losses:Plastic waste along shoreline has a negative impact on tourism revenue (creates an aesthetic issue).
    • For example, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, are under the plastic threat and facing the aesthetic issue because of the international dumping of plastic wasteat the island.
  • Implications for Animals:Plastic wastes have profoundly affected animals in aquatic, marine, and terrestrial ecosystems.
    • Plastic ingestionupsets or fills up the digestive systems of the animals thus contributing to their death due to intestinal blockage or starvation.
    • Marine animals can also be trapped in plastic wastewhere they are exposed to predators or starve to death.
    • The plastics may also contain toxic chemicalswhich can harm the animal’s vital organs or biological functions.
  • Implications for Human Health:The chemicals leached from the plastics contain compounds, like polybrominated diphenyl ether (anti-androgen), bisphenol A (mimics the natural female hormone estrogen) and phthalates (also known as anti-androgens), impact human health leading to various hormonal and genetic disorders.
    • These chemicals can interfere with the functioning of the endocrine systemand thyroid hormones and can be very destructive to women of reproductive age and young children.
  • Land Pollution:Plastics leach hazardous chemicals on land, resulting in the destruction and decline in quality of the earth’s land surfaces in term of use, landscape and ability to support life forms.
  • Air Pollution:Plastic burning releases poisonous chemicals into the atmosphere impacting general well-being and causing respiratory disorders in living beings.
  • Groundwater Pollution:Whenever plastics are dumped in landfills, the hazardous chemicals present in them seep underground when it rains. The leaching chemicals and toxic elements infiltrate into the aquifers and water table, indirectly affecting groundwater quality.
  • Water Pollution:Many lakes and oceans have reported alarming cases of plastic debris floating on water surfaces, affecting a great number of aquatic creatures. It leads to dreadful consequences to marine creatures that swallow the toxic chemicals. In 2014, United Nation report estimated the annual impact of plastic pollution on oceans at US$ 13 billion.
  • Interference with the Food Chain:Studies determine that the chemicals affect the biological and reproduction process resulting in reduced numbers of offspring thus disrupting the food chain.
    • When the smaller animals (planktons, molluscs, worms, fishes, insects, and amphibians) are intoxicated by ingesting plastic, they are passed on to the larger animals disrupting the interrelated connections within the food chain.
  • Poor Drainage:Drainage system clogged with plastic bags, films, and other plastic items, causes flooding.
  • Impact on Habitats:Seafloor plastic waste sheets could act like a blanket, inhibiting gas exchange and leading to anoxia or hypoxia (low oxygen levels) in the aquatic system, which in turn can adversely affect the marine life.
  • Invasive Species:Plastic waste can also be a mode of transport for species, potentially increasing the range of certain marine organisms or introducing species into an environment where they were previously absent. This, in turn, can cause subsequent changes in the ecosystem of the region. 

10. Explaining the diverse applications of semiconductors in India, mention the ways in which the government can create a thriving domestic semiconductor industry, complete with all backward linkages. (150 words, 10 marks)

Introduction

The Union Cabinet’s decision to set aside ₹76,000 crore for supporting the development of a ‘semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem’ is a belated but welcome acknowledgment of the strategic significance of integrated circuits, or chips, to a modern economy.

The Cabinet decision to simultaneously establish an India Semiconductor Mission helmed by ‘global industry experts’ to drive long-term strategies for the sustainable development of the chip and display industry is therefore a step in the right direction.

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Various applications of Semiconductors

  • Semiconductors and displays are the foundation of modern electronics driving the next phase of digital transformation under Industry 4.0.
  • The basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products, the ubiquitous chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets such as refrigerators, and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.
  • Semiconductors are the building blocks of today’s technology. For instance, they control the computers we use, the phones and mobile devices we use to communicate, the cars and planes that get us from place to place, the machines that diagnose and treat illnesses, the military systems that protect us, and the electronic gadgets we use to listen to music, watch movies and play games.

Ways to create a thriving domestic semiconductor industry

  • India Semiconductor Mission:
    • In order to drive the long-term strategies for developing a sustainable semiconductors and display ecosystem, a specialised and independent India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) will be set up.
    • ISM will be led by global experts in the semiconductor and display industry. It will act as the nodal agency for efficient and smooth implementation of the schemes on Semiconductors and Display ecosystem.
  • Production Linked Incentives:
    • Incentive support to the tune of Rs.55,392 crore (7.5 billion USD) have been approved under PLI for Largest Scale Electronics Manufacturing, PLI for IT Hardware, SPECS Scheme and Modified Electronics Manufacturing Clusters (EMC 2.0) Scheme.
    • In addition, PLI incentives to the quantum of Rs.98,000 crore (USD 13 billion) are approved for allied sectors comprising ACC battery, auto components, telecom & networking products, solar PV modules and white goods.
  • Semiconductor Fabs and Display Fabs:
    • It would provide fiscal support of up to 50% of the project cost for setting up semiconductor and display fabrication units.
    • The Union government will work with the States to set up high-tech clusters with the required infrastructure such as land and semiconductor-grade water.
  • Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL):
    • MeitY will take requisite steps for modernization and commercialization of Semi-conductor Laboratory (SCL).
    • MeitY will explore the possibility for the Joint Venture of SCL with a commercial fab partner to modernise the brownfield fab facility.
  • Compound Semiconductors:
    • It will support fiscal support of 30% of capital expenditure to approved units.
    • At Least 15 such units of Compound Semiconductors and Semiconductor Packaging are expected to be established with Government support under this scheme.
  • Semiconductor Design Companies:
    • The Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme shall extend product design linked incentive of up to 50% of eligible expenditure and product deployment linked incentive of 6% – 4% on net sales for five years.
    • Support will be provided to 100 domestic companies of semiconductor design for Integrated Circuits (ICs), Chipsets, System on Chips (SoCs), Systems & IP Cores and semiconductor linked design.

Way Forward

  • Given the long gestation periods and rapid technology changes, India must out-strategize on design and functionality as the end product will be out only after three-four years from the moment work begins, by which point the prevailing chip shortage would have been resolved, while technology would have advanced further.
  • Apart from incentivising more FDI in electronics to deepen our supply chains through incentive schemes, we need to focus on encouraging Indian manufacturers and start-ups to enter and master complex R&D and manufacturing verticals.
  • We can then ensure that valuable Intellectual Property is created and owned by Indian companies.
  • The semiconductor industry is changing fast as new-age technologies require innovation at the design, material, and process levels.
  • Indian engineers have contributed immensely to this area in multinational companies. We must encourage them to set up their design start-ups with handsome government grants and tax incentives.
  • Premier research institutions such as the Indian Institute of Science should also be asked to work aggressively on R&D in chip designing and manufacturing.
  • Further, the government must focus on emerging technologies like LiDAR and Phased Array in which incumbents do not have a disproportionate advantage and the entry barrier is low.
  • By working aggressively in new cutting-edge technologies, India can ensure that it becomes Aatmanirbhar.
  • India needs to push for a Quad Supply Chain Resilience Fund to immunise the supply chain from geopolitical and geographic risks
  • India and Taiwan have started negotiations for a free-trade agreement and setting up a semiconductor manufacturing hub in an Indian city, signalling their resolve to further expand the two-way economic engagement.

Conclusion

The program will usher in a new era in electronics manufacturing by providing a globally competitive incentive package to companies in semiconductors and display manufacturing as well as design. The program will promote higher domestic value addition in electronics manufacturing and will contribute significantly to achieving a USD 1 Trillion digital economy and a USD 5 Trillion GDP by 2025. This shall pave the way for India’s technological leadership in these areas of strategic importance and economic self-reliance.

 

 

Answer the following questions in 250 words:


General Studies – 1


 

11. During the struggle for India’s Independence the artists from Bengal protested against British way of art. They looked towards the eastern culture for their ideas, techniques and inspiration. Elaborate. (250 words,15 marks)

Introduction

Originating in Calcutta and Shantiniketan, the Bengal School of Art promoted a distinctly Indian modernism which blossomed throughout India during the British Raj of the early 20th century. Founded by Abanindranath Tagore, this movement was associated with Indian Nationalism more specifically by the Swadeshi movement as a revolt against the tyranny of the British that posed a threat to Indian sensibilities and to revive traditional art forms. The Bengal school of art paved the way for the Progressive Artists Group which now constitutes a major portion of the Modern Indian artists.

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Characteristic features of Bengal School of art

  • Rooted in the pride of nationalism, the avant-garde movement transformed Indian art by bringing ‘Swadeshi’ values to Indian Paintings.
  • Bengal school in painting was called the Renaissance School as well as the Revivalist School because this movement endeavoured for revival of the Indian ancient and medieval traditions.
  • Led by reformers and artists like E.B. Havell and Abanindranath Tagore, the Bengal School of Art originated in erstwhile Calcutta and Santiniketan, but spread across the country as a voice against western influence.
  • By synthesizing folk art, Indian painting traditions, Hindu imagery, indigenous materials and depictions of contemporary rural life, artists of the Bengal School of Art celebrate humanism and bring a dynamic voice to Indian identity, freedom, and liberation.
  • The paintings were Simple and standard paintings with attractive colour scheme technique. Bright colours were not used in such paintings.
  • The paintings were so evocative and that they bore the potential to draw the viewers right into it immersing them in the story they told.
  • Every painting was unique given the style factor and displayed immense creativity of the painter.
  • The very iconic painting ‘Bharat Mata’turned out to be a complete deviation from earlier representations of India by other artists. Being gentle yet vulnerable and a subjugated figure, this became a symbol of national movement.
  • The Japanese influence of wash technique is apparent from the soft misty quality seen in the paintings which became a trademark.
  • The turned to the inspiration to medieval Indian traditions of the miniature paintings and ancient art of mural paintings in Ajanta Caves. The paintings of Ajanta and Bagh, Mogul, Rajput and Pahari miniatures provided the models.
  • The continuity of earlier traditions was sought to be maintained by borrowing from legends and classical literature like the Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Gita, and Puranas, the writings of Kalidasa and Omar Khayyam.
  • The above experiments called “avant garde” in artist’s parlance, led to the development of the Bengal School of Art. Avant Garderefers to the people or works that are experimental or innovative, particularly with respect to art, culture, and politics.
  • One more immediate reason of rise of such artists was the widespread influence of the Indian spiritual idea to west.
  • The other artists of this group were Gaganendranath Tagore, Asit Kumar Haldar, M.A.R Chughtai, Sunayani Devi (sister of Abanindranath Tagore), Kshitindranath Majumdar, Nandalal Bose, Kalipada Ghoshal, Sughra Rababi and Sudhir Khastgir.

Conclusion

With the spread of modernist ideas in the 1920s, the influence of the Bengal School began to decline. But there is no doubt that the revolutionary movement fuelled artists to look for a distinct Indian identity, and in that sense, the Bengal School was the harbinger of Modern Art in India. Till date, the Government College of Art and Craft in Kolkata and the Viswa Bharati University in Santiniketan continue to train students in the traditional styles of tempera and wash painting, carrying forward the legacy of one of the most significant period in Indian art.

 

12. The sculptural art of the Indus valley shows that artists of that time surely had fine artistic sensibilities and a vivid imagination. Discuss. (250 words, 15 marks)

 Introduction

Sculpture art is one of the most ancient art forms in India. Archaeological studies have confirmed that Indians were familiar with sculptures about 4000 years before. A flourishing civilisation emerged on the banks of river Indus in the second half of the third millennium BCE and spread across larger parts of Western India. A marked feature if this civilisation was the vivid imagination and artistic sensibilities.

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Sculpture art of Indus Valley Civilization:

  • Sculpture representation started with knowledge of Terracotta Deities like bearded man, mother goddess and toy carts, animals were common.
  • Harappan sculptors were adept in chiselling of stones. E.g.: male torso figure in red sandstone and bust of a bearded man in soapstone.
  • Apart from sculpturing in terracotta and stone, ancient Indian artists were masters in bronze sculpting as well.
  • The Lost Wax Technique or the ‘Cire-Perdu’ process has been known from the time of the Indus Valley Civilization itself. This process is in use even today.
  • The statue of the Dancing Girl found from Mohenjo Daro is one of the finest examples of Indus Valley art. It is a bronze statue showing remarkable achievements of the artists of the Indus Valley. The figurine is about 4 inches tall. Datable to 2500 BC. It is said to be in the tribhanga it is one of the oldest bronze sculpture. g.: Bronze dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro, bronze bull of Kalibangan etc.
  • Bronze is an alloy of basically copper and tin. Sometimes zinc was also added although most of the component is copper.
  • The alloy-making process of mixing metals was known to the ancient Indians.
  • Bronze sculptures and statuettes of various icons of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism have been found from various parts of India dating from the 2nd century CE to the 16th century CE.
  • Most of the images were used for religious and ritualistic purposes.
  • The metal casting process was also used for making articles of daily use like utensils.

Conclusion

Their artistic versatility showed in the range of materials they used and the forms they made out of it. The patterns, motives and designs found on the articles shows the creativity that existed and judging from the excavated evidences, one can only conclude the people of Indus civilization were indeed true art patrons.

 

13. Examine the reasons as to why the Indian handicrafts that had made the country famous, collapsed under the colonial rule. (250 words, 15 marks)

 Introduction

The systemic ruin of Indian handicraft industries at the expense of Industrially revolutionizing Britain in which political force was misused to cause economic misery via discriminatory taxation, forceful coercion of artisans and market capturing via mercantalistic policies caused the demise of traditional Handicraft industries. Paul Bairoch, the economic historian estimated that India’s share of manufacturing output in the world was as high as 19.7% in 1800. In a span of 60 years, it plummeted to 8.6% (in 1860) and to 1.4%  in 1913.

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Reasons for collapse of Indian handicrafts during colonial rule

  • Impact of Industrial Revolution: Machine made textile goods of Britain, did the great damage to this Indian industry since 1750. Consequent upon industrial revolution in textile industry there had been massive growth of British imports in India and the domination of British cloth in the Indian market did the havoc; it created large scale unemployment as well as unbelievable drop in wages among the spinners and weavers. Cotton industry, jute handloom weaving of Bengal, woolen manufactures of Kashmir, silk manufacture of Bengal, hand-paper industry, glass industry, lac, bangles, etc.
  • Raw Material Shortage: The process of de-industrialization of India began with the gradual disappearance of raw material for Indian artisans which was taken away to feed English machines and consequently moving manufactured products from the list of India’s exports and the remarkable growth of manufactures in the list of her imports mainly from Britain. That is why it is said that Britain “inundated the very mother country of cotton with cottons”, thereby eclipsing India’s traditional handicraft industries.
    • For example the British exported raw materials, like cotton, indigo for the textile industries in Lancashire. As a result, the prices of the raw materials soared high and cost of the handicrafts increased.
  • Discriminatory Taxation: C. Dutt held that the tariff policy pursued by the British Government as the leading cause or ‘the first among equals’ towards the decay of handicrafts. This tariff policy came to be known as ‘one­-way free trade’ policy which preached that what was good for England was considered to be good for India. To put her manufacturing industries on a sound footing at home, England pursued the policy of protection through the imposition of import duties. But for India, she preached the gospel of free trade.
    • g.: British manufacturers were levied an 85% tax for importing Indian hand woven calico (chintz) and 44% for importing Indian muslin under the British Raj. On the other hand, British textiles were only imposed with a 5% import tax in India.
  • Loss of Native states: The main source or rather the entire source of demandfor the products of these handicrafts came from the royal courts, and the urban aristocrats. With the abolition of the royal court, one source of demand for the products of these crafts dried up. The new ‘aristocracy’ preferred imported goods.
  • Competition from machine-made goods: In terms of quality, though machine-made goods could not compete in quality with the products of the urban weaver, in the matter of lower priceand deep respect for goods bearing foreign trademark (i.e., change in tastes) he was hopelessly beaten by machine-made goods.
  • Price fixing and buyer monopolies:They bound local weaver into contracts and that made them sell exclusively to British. The prices were low and exploitative and artisans could recover only 80% cost of production. It pushed the artisans toward indebtedness and eventual poverty.
  • Coercing the artisans:The services and the labour of the craftsmen were hired at very low wages. It was impossible for the craftsmen to adopt their traditional profession. So they were force to abandon those crafts. The worst affected were the weavers of Bengal and textile industry of Bengal was virtually closed. It was said that the thumbs of the weavers were cut off. Actually it meant that thousands of weavers were made jobless due to closure of weaving industry.
  • Acceleration of ruin by railways: Introduction of railways opened a new era for the transport system in India. But the railways served the political and economic interest of the British to a larger extent. Through railways the machine products of Britain found it much easier to enter into the rural India.
  • No efforts to re-industrialise India:There was no attempt for growth of modern industry to take the place of the cottage Industries. As a result, the handicraftsman and artisans had no scope to find suitable employment according to their skill. Rather, they were compelled to switch over to agriculture for employment.

The above mentioned factors point to the nature of British rule and their mercantilist policies which caused the ruining of industries in India. However there are others factors as well that led to their decline such as:

  • No efforts were made to explore markets for products. India’s foreign trade was in the hands of foreigners. This meant that the Indian artisans and producers were at the mercy of foreign merchants so far as sales or demand propagation in overseas markets were concerned.
  • Guild organization in India was definitely very weak. Finally, she did not possess a class of industrial entrepreneurs.

Conclusion

Though there are some internal factors the led to de-industrialization of India, but the Indian economy had been systematically slaughtered by the British Government and in the process, traditional handicraft industries slipped away to their demise and the process of de-industrialization proved to be a process of pure immiseriation for the several million persons. The only bright side to it was that the ruin coupled with other miseries heaped upon India led to the emergency of economic nationalism India and economic critique becomes a potent weapon in the arsenal of the nationalists.

 


General Studies – 2


 

14. The Fundamental Duties serve as a reminder that while the Constitution conferred certain Fundamental Rights, it also requires citizens to observe certain basic norms of democratic conduct and democratic behaviour. In the light of this statement, should fundamental duties be enforced? Critically examine. (250 words, 15 marks)

 

Introduction

In 1976, the Congress Party set up the Sardar Swaran Singh Committee to make recommendations about fundamental duties, the need and necessity of which was felt during the operation of the internal emergency (1975–1977). The committee recommended the inclusion of a separate chapter on fundamental duties in the Constitution.

Government enacted the 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976. This amendment added a new part, namely, Part IVA to the Constitution. This new part consists of only one Article, that is, Article 51A which for the first time specified a code of ten fundamental duties of the citizens.

 

Body 

Need for enforcing fundamental duties 

  • Fills legal vacuum making them obligatory: If the existing laws are inadequate to enforce the needed discipline and behavioural change among citizens, the legislative vacuum needs to be filled. This could call for strategies such as making fundamental duties enforceable.
    • In M.C. Mehta v. Union of India, the Supreme Court introduced compulsory learning of lessons on protection and improvement of the natural environment in all the educational institutions of the country as a part of Fundamental duty under Article 51-A (g).
  • Promote patriotism: The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.
    • For instance, to uphold and protect sovereignty, unity and integrity of India, to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so and to disseminate a sense of nationalism and to promote the spirit of patriotism to uphold the unity of India.
    • These fundamental duties assume significance after the emergence of China as a superpower.
  • Legislative potentials like DPSP: At times, Directive Principles Of State Policy (DPSP) has taken precedence over Fundamental Rights and some of them have found their way into statute books
  • Guide the elected representatives: The fundamental duties enjoined on citizens under Article 51-A should also guide the legislative and executive actions of elected or non-elected institutions and organisations of the citizens including the municipal bodies.
  • Enables judiciary to examine legislative reasonableness: There have been certain situations, where the Courts have been called upon to examine the reasonableness of any legislative restriction on the exercise of a freedom, the fundamental duties are of relevant consideration. 

Drawbacks of enforcing fundamental duties 

  • Provides opportunity to implant political propaganda: To attain vested interests under the garb of fundamental duty like protecting the culture, tampering with curriculum is facilitated.
    • For example, omitting and tampering with school curriculum.
  • Redundant when suitable legislative actions are available: For example fundamental duty to protect and improve the natural environment including forests and wildlife only repeat what the existing environment protection laws prescribe for.
  • Futility of legal enforcement without will and aspirations of citizens: Out of the ten clauses in Article 51A, five are positive duties and the other five are negative duties.
    • Clauses (b), (d), (f), (h) and (j) require the citizens to perform these Fundamental Duties actively. It is said that by their nature, it is not practicable to enforce the Fundamental Duties and they must be left to the will and aspiration of the citizens.
  • Difficulty in determining scope: Fundamental duty such as ‘to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture’ leaves the scope of such duties open ended.
    • Such ambiguity enables unscrupulous elements for moral policing.
    • Example recent lyching by cow vigilantes.
  • Voluntary obedience more suitable: Making fundamental duties may facilitate compulsory allegiance of citizenry obligations but that’s not democratic. Even Gandhiji always believed in moral persuasion rather than forceful adherence.
  • Lack of adequate awareness: For the proper enforcement of duties, it is necessary that it should be known to all. This should be done by a systematic and intensive education of people that is by publicity or by making it a part of education.

 Conclusion

The inclusion of fundamental duties has helped to strengthen democracy. The moral value of fundamental duties would be not to smother rights but to establish a democratic balance by making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights’. The provisions for enforcement of fundamental duties should be made considering the multiculturalism and pluralism of India.

 

15. India’s carefully calibrated policy towards Indo-pacific is centred on two pillars of strengthening engagement and stronger partnerships with likeminded countries. Elaborate. (250 words, 15 marks)

 Introduction

Tide of international politics has shifted to Asia in general, and the Indo-Pacific in particular, with the economic rise of countries like India, China, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia among others. The Indo-Pacific is a geopolitical construct which represents an integrated theatre that combines the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, and the land masses that surround them.

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About Indo- Pacific

  • It has gained relevance in the recent times due reasons such as presence of important sea lines of communication, maritime security concerns, rise of Asian Economy and China’s aggressive military and foreign policy.
  • Several regional and extra regional countries like India, Japan, USA, Australia, France etc have released policies focused on the Indo-Pacific acknowledging the strategic shift towards the region and to strengthen relations and to expand cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries

India’s calibrated policy towards Indo-Pacific

  • Peace and security in the Indian Ocean: Nearly 50% of India’s trade is centred in the Indo-Pacific Region and the Indian Ocean carries 90% of India’s trade and its energy sources.
    • India wants to assure freedom of navigation, secure choke points, resolve conflicts peacefully and address non-traditional security threats in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region): A holistic policy that aims to pursue and promote India’s geo-political, strategic and economic interests on the seas, particularly in the Indian Ocean.
  • Geo-political aspirations: To expand its own presence in the region, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia and maintain its role as a net security provider.
    • It is also teaming up with like-minded nations to contain China’s domination.
    • QUAD was formed with USA, Japan, Australia to ensure that China’s
  • Countering China: Ensuring that China does not gain a significant strategic foothold in the region.
  • Enhancing Trade and Investment Cooperation: by encouraging greater flow of goods, services, investment and technology between India and other countries in the region.
  • Promoting sustainable development: In the coming times, climate change is set to adversely affect India. Thus, India favours sustainable development of the region through development of blue economy.

Steps taken by India towards Indo-Pacific

  • Strengthening and preserving traditional roles in IOR o Security Provider: India has been the primary security provider for and strategic partner to most of its smaller neighbours like Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, and Sri Lanka.
  • First Responder: India’s navy is among the first to reach nations requiring humanitarian assistance or medical aid in times of crisis and disasters. E.g., Operation Vanilla at Madagascar.
  • Foreign Policy and Initiatives: Establishment of Indo-Pacific Division in 2019, involving in regional groupings like BIMSTEC, Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), Mekong Ganga Cooperation and Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation for collaboration on multitude of subjects, and partnerships with countries through platforms like QUAD, ASEAN etc.
    • Initiatives like Indo Pacific Oceans’ Initiative, Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (increase maritime cooperation), Asia Africa Growth Corridor (for development and cooperation projects; quality infrastructure and institutional capacity) were taken up.

Challenges India face in the region

  • Limited Naval Capacity and Lack of military bases: With a meagre allocation of 15 percent of India’s military budget.
  • Slow pace of developments:g. since the release of the AAGC, there has been very little movement on this initiative. Challenges to trade due to tariff and non-tariff measures, poor infrastructure etc.
  • Balancing Continental and Maritime Strategies: Overemphasizing the Indo-Pacific runs the risk of antagonizing China. While the US and Australia are physically distant from China; India has to secure its continental margins with China and suitably allocate resources for the same.
  • Barriers to fruitful partnerships in the region: This includes lack of definitional consensus and differences in priorities with each nation having different political appetite and available resources for the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

Way forward

  • Enhancing engagements with non-traditional players: India should now look to other non-traditional players with great potential such as Micronesia to address shared interests in the region. E.g. Pacific island nations.
  • Strategic use of Island Territories: India in collaboration with its Indo-Pacific partners, must utilize the potential of island territories to extend its reach etc.
  • Innovative mechanisms such as QUAD+: g. Recent Quad Plus talks with South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand, convened to address challenges brought about by the COVID-19 crisis in the Indo-Pacific region, are a step in the right direction

 

16. Ties between India and Germany have been strengthening over the years but there is still vast potential that remains untapped which can be mutually beneficial for both the countries. Comment. (250 words, 15 marks)

 Introduction

India was one of the first countries to grant diplomatic recognition to the Federal Republic of Germany; this March, the two countries celebrated 70 years of diplomatic relations.

For the first time in 16 years, Germany has a government without the Christian Democratic Union. India must seek continuity and expansion of ties from the new government.
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Indo-German relations

  • Bilateral Trade: Despite the pandemic, Indo-German trade increased by 19% in the first 11 months of 2021 over 2020. Germany is India’s 6th largest trade partner.
    • Among the significant Indian exports to Germany are chemicals, textiles, apparel and machinery.
    • Important German imports to India include machinery, vehicles and chemicals. Bilateral ties are on the upswing in almost every area.
    • Germany’s role in reviving the India-EU free trade talks i.e. Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) will be very crucial.
  • Terrorism: India and Germany have shown their firm commitment to fight against the terrorism.
    • Germany supports India led movement for the adoption of Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
  • Connectivity projects: Germany is keen to implement connectivity projects, through the European Union, to counter China.
    • In this, the EU-India connectivity partnership announced at the EU-India leaders meeting in May 2021 is acknowledged.
  • Green Tech partnership: There is much green content in the Indo-German engagement at present, including in the fields of solar power, transportation, smart cities, metros and the Namami Gange.

Untapped potential in Indo-German ties

  • Trade relations
  • IGCC believes that Germany will soon emerge among India’s top three trade partners.
  • The exchange of know-how and talent, especially, is expected to deliver transformational change, propelling greater growth.
  • Various programmes have been set up to facilitate business opportunities in India, such as the Fast-Track-System for German companies or the Make-in-India Mittelstand programme.
  • Technology
  • Technology expertise has always been the hallmark of German companies, with top brands like Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Bosch and Siemens and more.
  • Both countries are poised to drive further cutting-edge innovation.
  • The High Technology Partnership Group plays a major role in developing international supply chains and boosting cyber security, both vital to growth. 
  • Cultural relations
  • Indians are wowed by the open-air concerts, exhibitions, architecture and heritage walks of Germany, Bollywood is among India’s biggest cultural exports to the EU country.
  • Traditional healing practices appeal to people in both countries. Germany and India have pacts to promote ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (Ayush).
  • According to a study by market research institute Gesellschaft für Konsumforschung, there are over 3 million yoga practitioners in Germany.
  • Education
  • German universities already attract the highest number of Indian students among European countries.
  • Besides world-class education, Indian students have multiple work opportunities in an ecosystem that welcomes diversity and encourages critical thinking.
  • Tourism
  • Germany offers a host of activities for Indian travellers, more than 25,000 castles, assorted nature trails, harbour towns, and a wide range of culinary and hospitality experiences.
  • Technology expertise has always been the hallmark of German companies, with top brands like Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, BMW, Bosch and Siemens and more. Both countries are poised to drive further cutting-edge innovation. The High Technology Partnership Group plays a major role in developing international supply chains and boosting cyber security, both vital to growth.

Measures to reinvigorate Indo-German ties

  • India and Germany must realise the cooperative goals of the IP guidelines. These must involve businesses.
  • German companies must be encouraged to use the liberalised PLI scheme to establish manufacturing hubs in India, which can export to ASEAN and Africa.
  • The two nations may also initiate an Africa vaccine production facility. Germany has committed 250 million euro in loans to Africa for this.
    • If implemented with India, as in the Quad initiative, such a facility can be established in the underserved East African region.
  • India and Germany must think afresh to engage more closely in areas of complementarity.

Conclusion

In multipolar world order, convergence of India and Germany will be a win-win situation for both the countries due to uncertainties created by US policies and increasing assertiveness of Sino-Russian political axis. Post Brexit, Germany will become a more important player in European Union. Therefore, engaging Germany is not just about India’s bilateral relations with it. It is about collaborating with the Germany led EU as a whole.

 


General Studies – 3


 

17. The fallout from the Ukraine crisis will directly and indirectly impact the Indian economy. Analyze. What steps are needed to protect the Indian economic interests? (250 words, 15 marks)

 

Introduction

As Russia declares war on Ukraine, the impact will also be on the recovering economies around the world, including India, which is still struggling with the pandemic. India’s trade with Russia has not yet been severely impacted by the rising tensions in the border region of Russia and Ukraine, but there is looming prospect that it could be impacted if wider sanctions on Russia are announced.

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Impact on Indian economy

  • Erosion of household savings: The crisis will send cooking gas, petrol and other fuel bills soaring for Indian households and businesses.
    • Crude prices could remain above $100 per barrel in the near to medium term unless the Opec decides to increase output materially.
  • Inflation: Retail inflation quickened to 01% in January, breaching the upper tolerance level set by New Delhi. And for the 10th straight month, wholesale inflation remained in double digits, coming in at 12.96% for January.
    • The war will put more pressure on already high inflation.
  • Fiscal calculations: Depending on how long global oil prices remain elevated, the tensions could put a question mark on the RBI’s credibility in making inflation projections and upset the government’s budget calculations. Fiscal deficit will widen largely.
  • Investment climate: For investors, the world markets are already taking a knocking, and an all-out war will freeze investment and growth.
  • India’s defence requirements: Though India has cut back on Russian arms imports, Moscow is still at the top.
    • Curtailing of defence supplies will impact India’s ability to respond to China.

Measure to be taken to mitigate the crisis

  • Diversifying crude basket: India must diversify its crude oil basket and try to reach our to Latin American nations which are not a part of OPEC cartel.
  • Reducing taxes: Governments both Central and State must cut the VAT on fuel to ease pressure of rising prices on households.
  • Diplomatic trust: As both Russia and Ukraine are reaching out to India, India can take a lead in making the nations negotiate peace terms without a full-fledged war.
  • Reducing fiscal deficit through disinvestment: Governments must achieve their targets of disinvestment by strategic sale of government companies. Government has no business in doing business as per the Prime Minister himself.
  • Trade helpdesk: This has already been done by DGFT to ensure smooth movement of cargo between India-Russia and India-Ukraine.

Conclusion and way forward

  • By ordering a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia might be planning a unilateral restructuring of Russia’s external environment, focused squarely on Ukraine.
  • If Russia can succeed in dismembering and destabilizing Ukraine, it might emerge from this war satisfied that Russia has been made somewhat more secure, powerful, and feared across Europe.
  • Russia may still be determined to impose a wide-ranging settlement on the West that includes its maximalist goals of limiting NATO deployments and barring future expansion.
  • Today, the balance of power is once again in flux, and as China develops a strategic partnership with Russia, the future of the West-led global order will be defined by how effectively it responds to the crisis in Ukraine.

 

18. India faces new and growing national security threats and challenges as space-based assets became hubs of controlling terrestrial, underwater and aerial combat leading to weaponization of space. Examine. (250 words, 15 marks)

Introduction

Delhi’s new strategic interest in outer space is based on a recognition of two important trends. One is the centrality of emerging technologies in shaping the 21st-century global order. The other is about the urgency of writing new rules for the road to peace and stability in outer space.

There is proliferation of space exploratory missions today, raising issues of space debris, weaponization and also space dominance turning space into tragedy of commons problem.

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Challenges due to increasing space-based assets

  • Astro politics: The US has traditionally dominated outer space in the commercial domain. Its military competition with Russia set the norms in the security field.
    • China’s emergence as a major space power — in both civilian and military is reshaping Astro politics.
  • China factor: The dramatic expansion of Chinese space capabilities and Beijing’s ambition to dominate outer space have lent a new urgency for democratic powers to come together to secure their national interests as well as promote sustainable order in the skies
  • No global rules: Space is a common, where any nation’s decision to test an anti-satellite weapon, in the process creating gobs of junk, is unpunishable.
  • Multiple entities and debris: Both private and government satellite owners have an incentive to protect their equipment while it’s operating—but not thereafter.
    • Space junk is pollution, and as we have learned on earth there must be a clear line of responsibility for pollution, or public spaces will be ruined.
  • National and commercial interests are increasingly tied to space in political, economic and military arenas.
    • Beyond fanciful notions of solar energy satellites, fusion energy and orbiting hotels, contemporary political issues such as nuclear non-proliferation, economic development, cybersecurity and human rights are also intimately tied to outer space.

Need for space legislation in India

  • India has invested enormous resources in its space programme through the Indian Space Research Organisation.
  • More importantly, our space assets are crucial for India’s development.
  • The proposed involvement of private players and the creation of an autonomous body IN-SPACe for permitting and regulating activities of the private sector are welcome efforts.
  • However, the space environment that India faces requires us to go beyond meeting technical milestones.
  • We need a space legislation enabling coherence across technical, legal, commercial, diplomatic and defence goals.

Conclusion

As outer space becomes a location for lucrative business as well as a site of military competition between states, the salience of space cooperation needs to increase in the coming years. The scale of the challenges and opportunities in outer space, however, demand more urgent and sweeping reform. That can only be mandated by the highest political level.

Space must be used only for peaceful purposes and any weaponisation of Outer Space cannot be tolerated in the larger interest of people. The safety and security of space-based assets should be ensured through international cooperation.

 

19. Distributed renewable energy projects have greater scalability and offer substantive livelihood benefits. Comment in the light of Draft Policy Framework for developing and promoting Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) Livelihood Application. (250 words, 15 marks)

Introduction

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) released a draft policy framework February 14, 2022 for DRE livelihood applications. The ministry intended to achieve its objective of a decentralised and distributed renewable energy supply in the country, particularly for rural populations with little or no access to power.

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About Decentralised Renewable energy

  • Distributed renewable energy (DRE) systems like power, cooking, heating and cooling systems that generate and distribute services independently of any centralised system, in both urban and rural areas of the developing world.
  • They already provide energy services to millions of people, and numbers continue to increase annually.
  • DRE systems can serve as a complement to centralised energy generation systems, or as a substitute.

Draft Policy Framework for developing and promoting DRE Livelihood Application

The objective of Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) framework is to develop an enabling market ecosystem to ensure widespread adoption of DRE for sustainable livelihood creation in the country. It has following objectives: –

  • Enable a market-oriented ecosystem to attract private sector for development and deployment of DRE based livelihood applications.
  • Unlock easy access to end user finance to increase adoption of DRE based livelihood solutions by linking DRE to existing financing schemes or through new innovative financial instruments.
  • Leverage quality control standards and a strong monitoring and evaluation framework to ensure long-term performance sustainability of DRE based livelihood solutions and to assess their impact on different populations including marginalized groups and women.
  • Promote skill development for strengthening the service infrastructure at the local level. Encourage innovation and RD to develop efficient and cost-effective DRE livelihood applications.
  • Collaborate with other ministries to include DRE based livelihoods applications in their programmes.
  • Support creation of livelihood opportunities in technology innovation value chain of DRE applications.
  • Support and incentivize adoption of DRE livelihood technologies among women and other marginalized sections such as Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes.

Advantages of Decentralized Renewable Energy framework

  • DRE and its downstream applications offer an opportunity to not only meet India’s climate and energy access targets, but also provide attractive returns to financial investors.
  • It also provides pathways for India to reduce import-dependence on crude oil as well as create economic growth and jobs in the long run.
  • In addition, addressing existing policy and financing gaps would not only allow for better targeting and risk-hedging of government spending programs, but would also allow capital to be recycled efficiently, thereby enhancing both the duration and magnitude of the impact.

Limitations of DRE

  • Lack of Technology: In order to use renewable energy in their livelihoods, people need access to technology and financing, which are not available to most rural households in India despite the existence of several technology options to deploy small-scale renewable energy-based livelihood applications.
    • Local communities in the villages often find it difficult to pay upfront for these innovations.
  • Unique Challenge for Women: Microbusinesses, under-represented groups and women face unique challenges when it comes to acquiring assets.
    • As a result, businesses that use operating expense-based financial models, such as pay-as-you-go or leasing, may be eligible for credit facilitation.
  • Others: Lack of proper financing channels, consumer awareness, consumer affordability and quality products / standards are some of the major challenges facing DRE in India.

Conclusion and way forward

  • End-user and Corporate Financing: Financial institutions may consider developing financing options that do not require collateral. Other state nodal agencies such as the state rural livelihood missions might use their existing institutional architecture to give financial assistance to the members of women self-help groups.
  • Considering both Upstream and Downstream Livelihoods: Upstream livelihoods affect local manufacturing and technical service providers to design, install and maintain DRE systems. This leads to differentiating between DRE technologies to see what can actually be manufactured locally and providing capacity-building services to both newcomers and existing service providers.
  • Promote Awareness: Awareness campaigns will help in increasing trust and adoption of these products by end-users and financiers, as these technologies are new for many consumers.

 

 

20. What is Quantum Key Distribution? What are the various applications of Quantum Technology? Evaluate the steps taken to promote Quantum technology in India. (250 words, 15 marks)

Introduction

Quantum computing refers to a new era of faster and more powerful computers, and the theory goes that they would be able to break current levels of encryption. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) works by using photons — the particles which transmit light — to transfer data. QKD allows two distant users, who do not share a long secret key initially, to produce a common, random string of secret bits, called a secret key. Using the one-time pad encryption this key is proven to be secure to encrypt and decrypt a message, which can then be transmitted over a standard communication channel.

Recently, a joint team of experts from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi demonstrated the Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link for a distance of over 100 kilometres.

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Current Affairs

Significance of QKD

  • QKD is essential to address the threat that rapid advancement in Quantum Computing poses to the security of the data being transported by various critical sectors through the current communication networks.
  • It will enable security agencies to plan a suitable quantum communication network with indigenous technology backbone.

Applications of Quantum technology

Applications:

  • Secure Communication:
    • China recently demonstrated secure quantum communication links between terrestrial stations and satellites.
    • This area is significant to satellites, military and cyber security among others as it promises unimaginably fast computing and safe, unhackable satellite communication to its users.
  • Research:
    • It can help in solving some of the fundamental questions in physics related to gravity, black hole etc.
    • Similarly, the quantum initiative could give a big boost to the Genome India project, a collaborative effort of 20 institutions to enable new efficiencies in life sciences, agriculture and medicine.
  • Disaster Management:
    • Tsunamis, drought, earthquakes and floods may become more predictable with quantum applications.
    • The collection of data regarding climate change can be streamlined in a better way through quantum technology. This in turn will have a profound impact on agriculture, food technology chains and the limiting of farmland wastage.
  • Pharmaceutical industry:
    • India’s interest in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry is huge.
    • Quantum computing could reduce the time frame of the discovery of new molecules and related processes to a few days from the present 10-year slog that scientists put in.
    • For instance, tracking protein behaviour or even modelling new proteins with the help of quantum computers could be made easier and faster.
    • Tackling chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart ailments is a big possibility of the technology.
  • Augmenting Industrial revolution 4.0:
    • Quantum computing is an integral part of Industrial revolution 4.0.
    • Success in it will help in Strategic initiatives aimed at leveraging other Industrial revolution 4.0 technologies like the Internet-of-Things, machine learning, robotics, and artificial intelligence across sectors will further help in laying the foundation of the Knowledge economy.

Steps taken to promote Quantum technology in India

  • In 2018, the Department of Science & Technology unveiled a programme called Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST)and committed to investing Rs. 80 crore over the next three years to accelerate research.
  • The government, in its Budget 2020, had announced a National Mission on Quantum Technologies & Applications (NM-QTA) with a total budget outlay of Rs 8000 Crore for a period of five years to be implemented by the Department of Science & Technology (DST).
  • In December 2021, the Indian Army, with support from the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) established the Quantum Lab at Military College of Telecommunication Engineering, Mhow to spearhead research and training in this key developing field.
  • In 2021, Government also inaugurated C-DOT’s Quantum Communication Laband unveiled the indigenously developed Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) solution.
  • The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said Wednesday that a joint team of scientists and engineers from DRDO and IIT Delhi successfully demonstrated Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link for a distance of over 100 km between Prayagraj and Vindhyachal in Uttar Pradesh.

 

Way forward 

  • Both private funding and philanthropic funding should be attracted towards quantum computing. For example, Funds can be used to attract and retain high quality manpower and to build international networks.
  • Connections with Indian industry from the start would help quantum technologies to become commercially successful.
  • Investing manpower and retaining them as quality human resource is very mobile.
  • Participate in development of global standards and requirements for quantum computers.

 

Conclusion

It would be prudent to develop a regulatory framework for quantum computing before it becomes widely available. It will be better to regulate it or define the limits of its legitimate use, nationally and internationally before the problem gets out of hand like nuclear technology. Further, connections with Indian industry from the start would also help quantum technologies become commercialised successfully, allowing Indian industry to benefit from the quantum revolution. We must encourage industrial houses and strategic philanthropists to take an interest and reach out to Indian institutions with an existing presence in this emerging field.

 


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