Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 April 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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1.  Highlighting the various threats to Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ), discuss its role in conservation of endangered floral and faunal species in its natural habitat. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: the Hindu

Why the question: The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) issued a draft notification to declare an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) that will encompass large swathes of human-inhabited areas around the Neyyar and the Peppara wildlife sanctuaries in Thiruvananthapuram.

Key Demand of the question: To write about role of ESZ in conservation of endangered species and threats to ESZ.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the aims of ESZs.

Body:

First, write about the role of ESZ in conservation of endangered species – minimise the impact of urbanisation and other developmental activities, Shock Absorber’ for the protected area, transition zone, minimise forest depletion and reduce man-animal conflict. Cite examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the various threats to ESZ – Developmental activities and construction, Introduction of exotic species: Exotic species, Climate change etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to protect ESZs from the above threats.

Introduction

Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) or Ecologically Fragile Areas (EFAs) are areas notified by the MoEF&CC around Protected Areas, National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries. The purpose of declaring ESZs is to create some kind of “shock absorbers” to the protected areas by regulating and managing the activities around such areas. They also act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not mention the word “Eco-Sensitive Zones”.

Recently, the MoEF&CC issued a draft notification to declare an Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ) that will encompass large swathes of human-inhabited areas around the Neyyar and the Peppara wildlife sanctuaries in Thiruvananthapuram.

Body

Role of ESZ in conservation of endangered floral and faunal species in its natural habitat

  • ESZs minimise the impact of urbanisationand other developmental activities, areas adjacent to protected areas have been declared as Eco-Sensitive Zones.
  • The purpose of declaring eco-sensitive zones around protected areas is for creating some kind of a ‘Shock Absorber’for the protected area.
  • They also act as a transition zonefrom areas of high protection to areas involving lesser protection.
  • ESZs help in in-situ conservation, which deals with conservation of an endangered speciesin its natural habitat, for example the conservation of the One-horned Rhino of Kaziranga National Park, Assam.
  • Eco-Sensitive Zones minimise forest depletionand man-animal conflict.
  • The protected areas are based on the core and buffer model of management, through which local area communities are also protected and benefitted.

Threats posed to ESZs

  • Infrastructure development activities
    • Activities such as construction of dams, roads, urban and rural infrastructures in the ESZ, create interference, negatively impact upon the environment and imbalance the ecological system.
    • For example, construction of road would lead to cutting down of trees which would further impact upon, soil erosion thereby destroying the habitats of the species preserved under the ESZ.
  • Legislations:
    • By failing to recognize the rights of forest communities and curbing poaching of animal, legislations like Environmental Protection Act 1986, and Wildlife Protection Act 1972, undermine the ESZs in favour of developmental activities.
    • For example – the new draft notification for reducing the ESZs of Bannerghatta National Park.
  • Unsustainable tourism:
    • As the pressure of tourism is rising, the government is developing new sites and gateways to the ESZ.
    • To cater to the increasing demand for eco-tourism, land around parks and sanctuaries is being cleared through deforestation, displacement of local people etc.
    • The tourists leave behind garbage such as plastic bags and bottles etc. which lead to environmental degradation.
  • Invasive Alien Species
    • Exotic species like Eucalyptus and Acacia auriculiformis etc., and their plantations create a competing demand on naturally occurring forests.
  • Climate change
    • Biodiversity and climate change are interconnected, for example, the rise in global temperature has generated land, water and ecological stress on the ESZs.
    • For example, forest fires or the Assam floods which badly affected the Kaziranga National Park and its wildlife.
  • Pressure of Local communities
    • Slash and burn techniques used in agriculture, pressure of increasing population and the rising demand for firewood and forest produce, etc. exerts pressure on the protected areas.

Way forward

  • Afforestation and reforestation of degraded forest, regeneration of lost habitats, reducing climate change impacts by promoting carbon footprints and through education, is needed.
  • Conservation techniques, awareness about overexploitation of resources and its adverse impacts should be propagated among masses.
  • Government, civil societies and stakeholders are largely required to collaborate with each other for balancing sustainable development with development.

Value addition

Activities prohibited around ESZ

Commercial mining, stone quarrying, crushing units, setting up industries that cause pollution, establishment of hydro-electric projects, commercial use of firewood, solid waste disposal or wastewater disposal and many other activities are prohibited or banned around ESZ.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2.  The burden of non-communicable diseases (NCD) is enormous on the health care system of the nation. Analyse the role that AYUSH can play in addressing the issue of burgeoning NCDs. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: the Print

INSIGHTSONINDIA

Why the question: On the Occasion of World Health Day celebrated on Thursday, Ministry of AYUSH organized Yoga Utsav- a health awareness programme for the International Day of Yoga, at Red Fort.

Key Demand of the question: To write about how India can cope up to the huge burden of NCDs and role of AYUSH in this regard.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving statistic regarding NCD’s in India.

Body:

Mention about NCD’s, the burden of NCD’s and the reasons as to why they also need to addressed along with the pandemic. Bring out its impact.

Write the measures that are needed in this hour to tackle NCD’s and the rule AYUSH can play in promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing NCDs. Mention the role it can play in its treatment.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Non communicable diseases (NCDs), also known as chronic diseases, tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behaviours factors. The main types of NCDs are cardiovascular diseases (like heart attacks and stroke), cancers, chronic respiratory diseases (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma) and diabetes.

Body

Burden of NCDs

  • Rise of deaths during productive years (30-70 years)
  • Loss of demographic dividend
  • NCDs can become bigger problem than being malnourished
  • NCDs threaten progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a target of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one-third by 2030.
  • Poverty is closely linked with NCDs. The rapid rise in NCDs is predicted to impede poverty reduction initiatives in low-income countries, particularly by increasing household costs associated with health care.
  • Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people get sicker and die sooner than people of higher social positions, especially because they are at greater risk of being exposed to harmful products, such as tobacco, or unhealthy dietary practices, and have limited access to health services.
  • In low-resource settings, health-care costs for NCDs quickly drain household resources. The exorbitant costs of NCDs, including often lengthy and expensive treatment and loss of breadwinners, force millions of people into poverty annually and stifle development.

Role that AYUSH can play in addressing the issue of burgeoning NCDs

  • Unlike modern medicine, AYUSH follows a more holistic approach, with the objective of promoting overall well-being instead of focussing on curing illness alone.
  • Such an approach assumes greater significance in the case of non-communicable diseaseswhich are difficult to treat once they have developed into chronic conditions.
  • Internationally, greater scientific evidence is becoming available regarding the health impact of alternative systems of medicine, especially Yoga.
  • It has been proved beyond doubt that timely  interventions  in  pre-diabetic  and  pre-hypertensive  conditions  with alternative  medicines  can  result  in  regression of diseases and restoration of health.
  • Yoga is effective not only in prevention and control but also in the treatment of diseases. The whole world today is adopting Yoga for a healthier lifestyle.

Way forward

  • It is important to gather scientific evidence for the safety and efficacy of AYUSH medicines and practices.
  • Work towards capacity building and developing a critical mass of competent professionals in the AYUSH sector through quality education and training at national and international levels.
  • True integration of traditional and modern systems is the need of the hour. This would require a concerted strategy for facilitating meaningful cross-learning and collaboration between the modern and traditional systems on equal terms.
  • The Chinese experience of integrating Traditional Chinese Medicine with Western medicine makes for a good example.
  • An Indian parallel could envision the integration of education, research, and practice of both systems at all levels. This can include training of AYUSH practitioners in modern medicine through curriculum changes and vice versa.
  • Need to ensure substantial groundwork with respect to the prerequisites of an effective integration.
  • Building a strong traditional medicine evidence corpus.
  • Standardizing and regulating AYUSH practices and qualifications.
  • Delineating the relative strengths, weaknesses, and role of each system in an integrated framework.
  • Negotiating the philosophical and conceptual divergences between systems.
  • Addressing the unique issues associated with research into AYUSH techniques.
  • An integrated framework should create a middle path — fusing the two systems, while still permitting some autonomy for each.
  • Accordingly, a medium- and long-term plan for seamless integration should be developed expeditiously in view of the massive drive for achieving universal health care already underway in the country and considering the vast potential of AYUSH to contribute to this cause.

Conclusion

The strategies to tackle the covid pandemic and Non-communicable disease burden need to evolve. Increasing testing and tracing capabilities, lowering the load of the healthcare system; all of us have to play our part and put efforts individually as well as in a community.

 

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

 

3. Examine the factors behind increasing cases of farmer suicides. What are the policy measures that are needed to prevent them? (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: new Indian Express

InstaPedia

 

Why the question: Farmer suicides have always been a highly debated issue in the public discourse on agriculture sector performance in India. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, 3,58,164 people engaged in the farming profession have committed suicide in India from 1995 to 2019.

Key Demand of the question: To write about causes of farmer suicides and measures needed to prevent them.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving statistic regarding farmer suicides in India.

Body:

First, write about the causes of farm suicides – Low per capita land, indebtedness, high loan rates, high costs of production and labour, inability to pool up resources, need for hiring labor due to shortage of time, low agriculture products prices and low MSPS, decreasing water tables and increasing  costs of pumping water out, economic exploitation by dealers selling agriculture equipment, seeds, fertilizers etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to prevent farmer suicides.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data reveals that 3,58,164 people engaged in the farming profession have committed suicide in India from 1995 to 2019. Several socio-economic factors have enabled an environment vulnerable to distress in the agricultural belts of the nation. Unable to cope with mounting debt and the inability to take care of their families, many choose to end their lives.

Body

Factors behind increasing cases of farmer suicides

  • Plummeting incomes, mounting debt, and high interest rates (particularly of non-institutional sources) have pushed the peasantry towards deprivation
  • The high debt burdenwas the primary reason behind 75% of farmer suicides.
  • Large chunk of persons were underemployed or disguisedly unemployedduring 2016–17 in Punjab.
  • The mismatch between farm inputs and output prices, crop failures, and unfavourable terms of trade between prices paid and received by the farmers have contributed fairly to declining farm incomes.
  • Cost of cultivation:
    • The MSP of wheat and paddy increased at the rate of 2% per annum while the cost of cultivation increased at the rate of 7.9% during the last one and a half decades.
  • With a growth rate of around 1.6% (during 2012–17) and the stress on natural resources, thefarm sector is trapped in a vicious circle of crisis. Expectedly, small farmers are the worst sufferers.
  • Due to the declining water table, the cost of irrigation structures has increased as the farmershave to replace centrifugal pumps by costly submersible pumps.
  • The farmers are being exploited by tradersand dealers providing them spurious seeds and agrochemicals.
  • Agriculture in Punjab suffers from mono-crop culture of mainly wheat and paddy.With this cropping pattern, farming itself is becoming an unviable occupation, due to rising fixed and variable input costs, and low remuneration leading to falling profit margins.
  • Cost of inputs:
    • Variable costs increase due to rising prices of inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides, diesel etc.
    • Fixed costs like installation and deepening of submersible pumps due to the dipping water table increase the financial woes of farmers.
    • For a small and marginal farmer, it is economically unviable to make such investments, especially by borrowing from informal sources at high rates of interest
  • Data Anomaly:
    • Existing studies have analysed the intensity of farmer suicides in isolation, i.e. without comparing farmer suicides with those by other professionals

Policy measures needed to prevent farmer suicides

  • The “Scheme for Debt Swapping of Borrowers” should be made more effective for converting the non-institutional debt into institutional debt.
  • The AMSCs should be set up at every village to provide custom-hiring services to small farmers on a priority basis.
  • Quality farm inputslike seed, fertilisers, and pesticides must be supplied to the farmers at subsidised prices.
  • Rationalisation of subsidies, especially in favour of small farmers may control appreciating farm costs and making small farming viable.
  • For alternative employment, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme should be effectively implementedby ensuring stipulated annual employment of 100 days, rather than the existing 30 days, to each family in the state.
  • Identifying and developing crop niches that will encourage allied activities in appropriate agro-climatic zones of the state, and developing cooperative primary processingand marketing units for crops and activities in these zones can help improve the economic well-being of the farmers.
  • Effective irrigation facilities should be provided. Drip and sprinkle irrigation should be popularized. Canals should be built to reach deep into villages.
  • Using Information technologies and electronic media (like DD Kisan channel) to spread awareness about government schemes and monsoon predictions.
  • Skill Development of farmers, so that they can develop alternative sources of income. Government should initiate alternative employment generation programmes.
  • Land pooling, where lands of small farmers can be pooled into a larger piece, and benefits can be maximized.
  • Effective implementation of various government schemes like pradhan Mantri Krishi sinchai yojana, pradhan Mantri fasal bima yojana and Soil Health Card scheme

 

 


General Studies – 3


Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

4. Overcoming bottlenecks in development of road infrastructure is key to having a seamless supply chain and reducing cost of logistics. Comment. (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: InstaPedia

 

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

Key Demand of the question: To write about the significance of road development in restructuring India’s infrastructure scenario.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief narrate the importance of Road as a key transport infrastructure.

Body:

First, discuss the significance of road infrastructure and its contributions to the development of the economy.

Next, explain the issues associated in road development and write how these issues can be addressed.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Roads play a very important role in the transportation of goods and passengers for short & medium distances. India has the second-largest road network in the world. There is a total Road Length of 6.4 million km comprising of national & state highways and urban & rural roads.

Body

Bottlenecks in Road infrastructure development

  • Delay in Implementation and execution: While issues around land acquisition and the time required for approvals have seen improvement over the years, India needs to ensure that such problems continue to receive constant attention.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment: Environmental safeguards and guidelines have proven to be one of the major reasons for delay in infrastructure projects, like roads and ports.
  • Given the complexity of infrastructure assets, a “one size fits all” solution will not work. Different models of PPP ownership like Hybrid Annuity, BOT needs to be tried.
  • The capital investments in infra projects are huge, with the NPA crisis seen across public sector banks, credit availability has become difficult. This has in turn lead to twin-balance sheet syndrome with the infrastructure companies also defaulting on their payments.
  • Regulatory issues: Lack of co-ordination between various Government agencies affecting the ease of doing business due to delayed clearances and objections.
  • Absence of a proper dispute resolution mechanism between private players and government agencies leading to pendency of cases in courts as well as the assets in limbo.
  • Poor pre-construction planning: Due to the already adverse effect of various impediments like land acquisition, statutory approvals, delayed financial closure, etc. the pre-construction phase of infrastructure projects is pretty long.
  • Very limited private sector participation in development of new roads and highways. This is driven by the financial profile of the developers, a lack of debt products that can be aligned to revenue models of highway projects as well as by delays in land acquisition, and an uncertain regulatory framework
  • Since most of the projects are to be constructed in remote areas, mobilization of equipment and raw materials would be challenging. A slew of measures such as enhancement of approval limit of projects by the NHAI to Rs 2,000 crore from Rs 1,000 crore, increase in compensation rates to farmers under the new land acquisition policy and digitalization of land acquisitions would expedite projects under Bharatmala
  • Other challenges include Geographical as some regions are unsuitable for infra projects, Ethnic, etc.

Measures needed to tackle the bottlenecks

  • Given the extent of capital commitment and outlay required to augment and maintain the road network over the next few years, there is a need to diversify sources of funds beyond budgetary allocation and borrowings by NHAI.
  • The newly announced DFI too will, hopefully, play a major role in making viable debt available for road network development.
  • Government should also revisit its PPP models (including its HAM model) to attract more private sector investment in new asset development.
  • Implementation of Bharatmala would depend on fast tracking of land acquisitions, clearances from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and other clearances.
  • Timely redressal of disputes by establishing a regulator is also crucial before undertaking such a large-scale project because of possible arbitration issues,

Conclusion

Eventually, strong transport infrastructure is essential to economic growth. A robust road network will be one important pillar in India’s speedy economic recovery and one would hope that the government’s budgetary commitment to strengthening roadway infrastructure is accompanied by attractive private investment opportunities in the sector.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Sagarmala project provides opportunity for improving carrying capacity and developing ports as a key contributor to economic growth. Discuss. (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insightsonindia 

 

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

Key Demand of the question: To write about the reasons poor performance of shipping sector and ports in India and issues that plague them and to write about the scope of Sagarmala in rectifying the above.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by briefly starting the objectives of Sagarmala initiative.

Body:

In the first part, write about the various issues that affect India’s shipping and port sectors – visionless administration, only helps foreign shipping liners, lack of balance between infrastructure onshore and at sea, not optimization of our carrying capacity and lack of regional cargo-specific ports etc.

Next, write about the potential of Sagarmala initiative and other efforts that are needed along with it. Change in the mindset of the authorities and the maritime business community, ‘Make in India’, ship-owning by Indians and consolidating the strength of the coastal youth.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The Ministry of Shipping launched the Sagarmala project in 2015. The Sagarmala project seeks to develop a string of ports around India’s coast. The objective of this initiative is to promote “Port-led development” along India’s 7500 km long coastline. It aims to develop access to new development regions with intermodal solutions and promotion of the optimum modal split, enhanced connectivity with main economic centres and beyond through expansion of rail, inland water, coastal and road services.

Body

Issues with existing port infrastructure and development

  • Inadequacies in Infrastructure: Existing ports have poor road network within port area and inadequate cargo-handling equipment.
  • Lack of modernisation: New machinery, navigational aids, insufficient dredging capacity and lack of technical expertise for port development are issues that bog Indian ports.
    • Eg: Faster customs clearance is limited due to obsolete scanners, requiring manual intervention.
  • Lack of Specialization: In the port sector, instead of creating regional cargo-specific ports in peninsular India, the bureaucracy has repeatedly allowed similar infrastructural developments in multiple cargo-handling ports. As a result, Indian ports compete for the same cargo.
  • Lack of Market determined tariffs: Currently tariffs for Major ports are fixed by Tariff Authority of Major Ports (TAMP) which has no standard methodology in applying tariff regulations to major ports and terminals

Sagarmala as a solution in creating transhipment hubs

It is an initiative Ministry of Shipping and is estimated that Sagarmala could boost India’s merchandise exports to $110 billion by 2025 and create an estimated 10 million new jobs. There are four pillars which will aid in creation of modern transhipment hubs through modern infrastructure.

  • Port modernization & new port development.
  • Port connectivity enhancement through rail corridors, freight-friendly expressways and inland waterways.
  • Port-linked industrialization through CEZs, SEZs and Manufacturing Clusters.
  • Coastal Community development: Coastal communities should be made ship owners. This will initiate carriage of cargo by shallow drafted small ships through coast and inland waterways.
    • All minor ports in peninsular India will emerge as contributing ports to the existing major ports and become transhipment hubs on their own.
    • Old sailing vessel owners should be encouraged to become small ship owners.
  • It includes the establishment of rail/road linkages with the port terminals, thus providing last-mile connectivity to ports.
    • Moreover, with cargo-specific ports and developing Inland waterways (Jal marg Vikas), connectivity to hinterland will become a reality.
  • Sagarmala will help in development of linkages with new regions, enhanced multi-modal connectivity including rail, inland water, coastal and road services. Thus creating a holistic model of port development.

Way Forward

  • With the call for ‘Make in India’ growing louder and with simultaneous multi-folded cargo growth in the country, there is a need for ships to cater to domestic and international trade.
  • Short sea and river voyages should be encouraged.
  • The ship-owning spirit of the Indian merchant marine entrepreneur has to be restored.
  • Shipbuilding and owning should be encouraged by the Ministry.
  • Prevent brain drain as most of the global shipping companies which depend on Indian cargo for their business have Indians as either commercial heads or Indian crew onboard their ships.
  • Sagarmala should concentrate on consolidating the strength of the coastal youth and make them contribute to the nation’s economy with pride.

 

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention.

 

6.  Vulnerabilities in the critical infrastructure can be severely damaging. Hence, building deep technology in cyber security systems becomes very essential. Analyse. (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: the Hindu

 

Why the question: The Union government has confirmed reports that Chinese hackers continue to target Indian power plants, especially those close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even as a U.S. based cyber security firm report claimed that Chinese State-sponsored actors have targeted seven power grid assets, the national emergency response system and an Indian subsidiary of a multinational logistics company since September 2021.

Key Demand of the question: To write about methods of guarding critical infrastructure against rising cyberattacks in India.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving context about attacks on critical infrastructure.

Body:

First, write about the impact that damages to critical infrastructure can have.

Next, explain what are the challenges in protecting critical infrastructure, against cyberattacks such as ransomware and phishing is almost certain to stretch the capability and resources of governments across the globe.

Next, suggest measures to protect and build deep technology in cyber security systems

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Cyber Security refers to protecting cyber space including critical information infrastructure from attack, damage, misuse and economic espionage. Cyber security is a broad spectrum phrase and relates to preventing any form of unauthorized and malafide access to a personal computer, a laptop, a smartphone or a major network like the national banking system or the railway network or a national information technology asset that also has military implications.

Body

Incidences of cyberattacks in India:

  • In India, too, attacks have been happening with increasing frequency.
  • The Union government has confirmed reports that Chinese hackers continue to target Indian power plants, especially those close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even as a U.S. based cyber security firm report claimed that Chinese State-sponsored actors have targeted seven power grid assets, the national emergency response system and an Indian subsidiary of a multinational logistics company since September 2021.
  • India’s national airline Air India has said a cyber-attack on its data servers affected about 4.5 million customers around the world. The breach was first reported to the company in February 2021.
  • Nearly 1.16 million cases of cyberattacks were reported in 2020, up nearly three times from 2019 and more than 20 times compared to 2016, according to government data presented in the Parliament on Tuesday. On an average, 3,137 cyber security-related issues were reported every day in 2020.
  • More than 4,000 fraudulent portals emerged within two months, and on a typical day in April 2020, Google alone blocked 240 million spam messages and 18 million phishing scams.
  • In 2016, banks had reportedly announced a leak of personal information of 3.2 million debit cards.
  • In 2018, Pune-based Cosmos Bank lost Rs 94 crore in a malware attack. Last year, the Kudankulam plant was attacked using malware.

Need for an updated cyber-security strategy for India:

  • With the vision of a trillion-dollar digital component, accounting for one-fifth of the $5-trillion national economy, the importance of cyberspace in India would only keep growing as Indians have taken to mobile broadband like fish to water, driven by affordable tariffs, low-cost smartphones and a spurt in availability of audio-visual content in Indian languages.
  • Financial services, payments, health services, etc are all connected to digital mediums; and thanks to Corona, this is expected to increase.
  • CERT-IN has recently issued an advisory that there is a threat of a massive phishing attack.
  • India was one of the few countries to launch a cybersecurity policy in 2013, not much has transpired in terms of a coordinated cyber approach.
  • Unlike the US, Singapore, and the UK where there is a single umbrella organization dealing in cybersecurity, India has 36 different central bodies—most ministries have their own—that deal with cyber issues, and each has a different reporting structure; each state government has its own CERT.
  • Add to this the fact that while the National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 was to devise a cyber-readiness roadmap for organisations and the government for cyber-readiness, this is yet to be announced.
  • India is not even a signatory to some of the basic international frameworks on Cybersecurity like the Convention of Cybercrime of the Council of Europe which not only European nations but Japan, US, South Africa have become signatories to, except India.
  • Indian laws are not in tandem with the ever-changing global cyberspace.
    • The laws are old and hence need to be more dynamic in nature to deal with issues like cyber-espionage, data theft and so on.
    • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act 2000) is the sole law that deals with cyberspace in India and was passed way back in 2000.
  • Also, the Cyber Law of India has been subject to amendments on various occasions but hasn’t served the changing dynamics and the growing threats and manifestations of cyberwar.

Measures needed:

  • A Defence Cyber Agency could be the first step the government plans to for critical infrastructure and military networks that are increasingly becoming dependent on the Internet, thus increasing vulnerabilities.
  • The Defence Cyber Agency will work in coordination with the National Cyber Security Advisor. It will have more than 1,000 experts who will be distributed into a number of formations of the Army, Navy and IAF. According to reports, the new Defence Cyber Agency will have both offensive and defensive capacity.
  • Equally important is cyber propaganda. During the Doklam conflict, China tried its best to unleash cyber propaganda on India and indulged in complex psy-ops
  • Critical cyber infrastructure needs to be defended and the establishment of the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre(NCIIPC) is a good step in this direction
  • Individual ministries and private companies must also put procedures in place to honestly report breaches. It is only then that the NCIIPC can provide the requisite tools to secure these networks. This partnership must be transparent and not mired in the usual secrecy of intelligence organizations.
  • The upgrading of the Defence Cyber Agency to a Cyber Command must be implemented at the soonest.
  • A robust ecosystem must be built to secure India from acts of state and non-state actors, including protocol for grievance redressal in international forums.
  • Better capabilities must be built to detect and deflect attacks.
  • The computer emergency response team (CERT) must be strengthened and aligned with military and foreign affairs operations.
  • Building a joint task force between the government and key technology players will be crucial.
  • The government should push for the creation of a global charter of digital human rights.
  • A national gold standard should be created, which ensures that Indian hardware and software companies adhere to the highest safety protocols
  • Impart cybercrime investigation training and technological know-how to the various law enforcement agencies.
  • Cyber awareness must be spread and there should be multi-stakeholder approach- technological inputs, legal inputs, strengthening law enforcements, systems and then dealing with transborder crime involves lot of international cooperation.

Conclusion

Most of the Indian banking industry and financial institutions have embraced IT to its full optimization. Reports suggest that cyber-attacks are understandably directed toward economic and financial institutions. With innovative, technology led programmes such as AADHAAR, MyGov, GeM, Digital Locker the new India is the land of technological prowess and transformation. Government and the private sector jointly have to give cyber security some priority in their security and risk management plan.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study.

7.

A fresh engineering graduate gets a job in a prestigious chemical industry. She likes the work. The salary is also good. However, after a few months she accidentally discovers that a highly toxic waste is being secretly discharged into a river nearby. This is causing health problems to the villagers downstream who depend on the river for their water needs. She is perturbed and mentions her concern to her colleagues who have been with the company for longer periods. They advise her to keep quite as anyone who mentions the topic is summarily dismissed. She cannot risk losing her job as she is the sole bread-winner for her family and has to support her ailing parents and siblings. At first, she thinks that if her seniors are keeping quiet, why should she stick out her neck. But her conscience pricks her to do something to save the river and the people who depend upon it. At heart she feels that the advice of silence given by her friends is not correct though she cannot give reasons for it. She thinks you are a wise person and seeks your advice.

 (a) What arguments can you advance to show her that keeping quiet is not morally right?

(b) What course of action would you advise her to adopt and why? (250 words)

 

Difficulty level: Moderate

 

Why the question: The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Case Study Fridays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Give a brief introduction regarding the facts of the case

Body:

Cite the facts of the case and ethical values involved.

  1. In detail, argue reasons as to being silent and moral inaction is a not right in this above scenario. Justify with ethical theories, examples and thinkers.
  2. Draw out a detailed course of action to right the wrong that have been committed. Emphasis should be holding the guilty accountable and solving the issue holistically in the long run.

Conclusion:

Mention long term solutions.

Introduction

The theme of the case study is centered around the negative externalities of modern day industrialization on environment and people living around the industry premises. Also a moral issue is raised whether to lose position in a reputed industry and ultimately lead to unemployment which is another issue of concern in our society. My suggestions to the young employee would be as below for her dilemma

Body

  • Arguments in favour of not keeping quiet are as follows:
  • Working in a reputed industry is a matter of great honor and it also provides her a platform to execute what she has learned during her academic period.
  • But it is not justified if she is unable to put her opinions and suggestions frankly.
  • ‘Business without morality’ is the most important point to be kept in mind so the secretive discharge of highly toxic waste must be made public.
  • As a citizen with civic responsibilities, she must keep in mind the right of life of the villagers compelling her to speak.
  • Keeping quiet on an issue which is not only impacting the nearby environment and inhabitants but also it can harm company employees and workers in long run.
  • Usually people join such voices/movements against injustice and all that they need is a trigger, in this case the villagers need a spokesperson.
  • So her approach to the higher authority must not be complaining rather it should be suggestive so that it will be in favor of her company.
  • Staying quiet is not going to benefit none and keeping environment and health of dwellers at stake is unethical.
  • The course of action I would suggest to her is as follows:

 

  • Moral persuasion should be the first step. She should consult her colleagues one more time. It is likely that would still not budge but again there is a possibility that she might be able to conscience even one of them.
  • The residents of the villages must be made aware about their right to life which includes a healthy life.
  • After some ground work like talking to villagers, the health problem faced by them, testing the level of toxicity of rivers a report must be made. She can show this report to her immediate senior to remind the company of the environment laws as well as corporate social responsibility.
  • Since profit is the sole aim of the company, she can present a case study where companies lost business due to loss of confidence of people.
  • She can take the assistance of the local NGO as well as media to create pressure on the company as well other big industries working on similar lines.
  • She can inform the district administration of the same wrongdoing and seek their help.
  • As a last resort she can file public interest litigation on behalf of the villagers as the toxic level of discharge and take head of the whistleblower’s act.

Conclusion

There is high chance of her losing the job, so simultaneously she can start looking for a new job since even if the complains go unheard she might not continue in the company on moral grounds.

 


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos