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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 May 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Our planet earth is surrounded by a gaseous layer called Atmosphere which is divided into various other layers having its own specific traits and functions. Elaborate. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To how the regions of the atmosphere are divided on the basis of temperature, the explanation of each layer along with the reasons how they are significant for us.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Write about the temperature classification and atmosphere can be divided into troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere and the thermosphere.

Body:

Draw a neat labelled diagram of the layers of atmosphere which will help you save up on words as well as provide an opportunity to mention in more facts and details.

Explain the above layers and how they are significant for us. For instance, flights fly in tropopause to evade turbulence, the significance of ionosphere for radio communication etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the importance of atmosphere.

Introduction

The atmosphere consists of different layers with varying density and temperature. Density is highest near the surface of the earth and decreases with increasing altitude. The column of atmosphere is divided into five different layers depending upon the temperature condition. They are: troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere

Body

 

Layers of atmosphere and their characteristics

  1. Troposphere: The troposphere is the lowermost layer of the atmosphere. Its average height is 13 km and extends roughly to a height of 8 km near the poles and about 18 km at the equator. Thickness of the troposphere is greatest at the equator because heat is transported to great heights by strong convectional currents.
  • All changes in climate and weather take place in this layer.
  • The temperature in this layer decreases at the rate of 1° C for every 165m of height.
  • This is the most important layer for all biological activity.
  • All flights fly in this layer to evade turbulence.
  • Tropopause: The zone separating the troposphere from stratosphere is known as the tropopause. The air temperature at the tropopause is about minus 800C over the equator and about minus 45o C over the poles.
  1. Stratosphere: The stratosphere is found above the tropopause and extends up to a height of 50 km. One important feature of the stratosphere is that it contains the ozone layer.
  • This layer absorbs ultra-violet radiation and shields life on the earth from intense, harmful form of energy.
  1. Mesosphere: The mesosphere lies above the stratosphere, which extends up to a height of 80 km.
  • In this layer, once again, temperature starts decreasing with the increase in altitude and reaches up to minus 100° C at the height of 80 km.
  • The upper limit of mesosphere is known as the mesopause.
  1. Ionosphere: The ionosphere is located between 80 and 400 km above the mesopause.
  • It contains electrically charged particles known as ions, and hence, it is known as ionosphere.
  • Radio waves transmitted from the earth are reflected back to the earth by this layer.
  • Temperature here starts increasing with height.
  • The aurora borealis and aurora australis are sometimes seen here.
  • The International Space Station orbits in the thermosphere.
  1. Exosphere: The uppermost layer of the atmosphere above the thermosphere is known as the exosphere. This is the highest layer but very little is known about it. Whatever contents are there, these are extremely rarefied in this layer, and it gradually merges with the outer space.
  • While there’s no weather at all in the exosphere, the aurora borealis and aurora australis are sometimes seen in its lowest part.
  • Most Earth satellites orbit in the exosphere.

 

Conclusion

The main elements of atmosphere which are subject to change and which influence human life on earth are temperature, pressure, winds, humidity, clouds and precipitation. Although all layers of the atmosphere must be exercising influence on us, geographers are concerned with the first two layers of the atmosphere

 

Value Addition

  • While there’s really no clear boundary between where Earth’s atmosphere ends and outer space begins, most scientists use a delineation known as the Karman line, located 100 kilometers (62 miles) above Earth’s surface, to denote the transition point, since 99.99997 percent of Earth’s atmosphere lies beneath this point.

 

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

2. Museums play a crucial role in preserving our culture and heritage, have the power to create unity on both a social and political level, but also on a local one. Elaborate.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

On the occasion of International Museum Day on May 18, the Ministry of Culture has made admissions to all museums under its ambit free of cost for a week. This not only makes our art and culture accessible to all, but also provides us an opportunity to propagate our civilisational heritage.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of museums.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the aims and objectives of establishing museums.

Body:

First, write about the various aspects of the importance of museums – Learning from the past, Bringing communities together, Standing firm in the face of adversity, Digitalisation, innovation and interaction, Educating future generations etc.

Next, write about the various steps taken to preserve and establish museums across India by the government.

Conclusion:

Conclude by Summarising.

Introduction

There has been a transformational shift in our perspectives of our heritage and this can be seen in our approach to preserve and promote it. First, there has been a shift from a museum-centric approach to a cultural spaces approach. Second, we have been able to build museums for specific purposes rather than rely on general purpose museums. And finally, we have looked at museums with a whole-of-government approach to ensure that museums provide a wholesome experience.

On the occasion of International Museum Day on May 18, the Ministry of Culture has made admissions to all museums under its ambit free of cost for a week. This not only makes our art and culture accessible to all, but also provides us an opportunity to propagate our civilisational heritage.

Body

Role of museums in preserving culture and heritage

  • Platform to showcase diverse heritage: Indian history undoubtedly, is one of the richest and varied histories of the world.
    • But history comes in different forms. It could be through art, culture, science or natural objects.
    • History can be understood through esteemed facets, such as paintings, carvings, documents, and weaponry.
  • Foray into economic and social life of Ancient Indians: At the same time, history can also be seen through the prism of daily objects, such as clothing, pots and pans, toys, cutlery and more.
    • Either way history or heritage is preserved through tangible articles and it is a museum that houses these. Eg: National Museum in Delhi has artefacts from Harappan civilisation giving us a feel of life in 3500 B.C
  • Recognizing the contributions of great personalities for posterity: For instance, today, to recognise the role of over 200 tribal freedom fighters across India who participated in about 85 revolts and uprisings against colonial rule, 10 tribal freedom fighter museums are being set up across the country.
    • In tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Statue of Unity in October 2018, which also contains a museum that chronicles the various facets of Patel in great detail.
  • Specific purpose museums: The strategic shift to specific theme-based museums, which have unique content and a definite purpose, also ensures that rich material is on display and the overall experience is wholesome.
    • There have been several other attempts along these lines that are worth mentioning, such as the Biplobi Bharat museum in Kolkata, the arms and armour museum at the Red Fort, a gallery on Gautama Buddha in Delhi, and the museum on Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Spreading awareness: The use of digital technology to enhance user experience is not limited to the use of Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, but to widen public access through modernisation and digitisation of collections and exhibitions.

Way forward

  • Breaking down silos to forge a whole-of-government approach in such a specialised domain requires new skills and perspectives and these are being developed.
  • Human capacities and domain knowledge require continued upgradation, and the new Indian Institute of Heritage that is being set up as a world class university aims to address these challenges.
  • There are also challenges in modernising our traditional museums from display spaces of past glory to making them more interactive, immersive experiences through technology interfaces, innovative curatorial skills and imaginative storytelling.
  • Compared to new museums, successfully repurposing existing museum spaces needs more imaginative thinking and has a different set of challenges.
  • The efforts in digitisation and reprography are painstaking processes that can take several years to complete but must be done.

Conclusion

With this renewed mandate of modernisation, upgradation, and establishment of new museums, we are bringing our institutions closer to international standards of museology in the 21st century. As a firm step in this direction, the Ministry of Culture organised a first-of-its-kind Global Summit on ‘Reimagining Museums in India’ in February this year. The learnings from the summit are being incorporated to devise a blueprint for the development of new museums, nurture a renewal framework, and reinvigorate existing museums. It is said that there is nothing more important than an idea whose time has come. Re-imagining museums in India is such an idea.

 

 

Topic: Effects of globalization on Indian society.

3. Explain the phenomenon of deglobalisation that is being witnesses across the world. What are the causes for it? Are there any positives for the Indian society in deglobalisation? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The phenomenon of “deglobalisation” has its regional implications too. Europe, once seen as a “poster child” for the virtues of regional integration, became the epitome of its limitations, since the “idea of Europe” crumbled quickly under the onslaught of the pandemic.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about deglobalisation, its causes and impact on the Indian society.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining deglobalisation.

Body:

First, in the detail explain the carious facets of deglobalisation – economic and cultural.

Next, write about the various factors leading to deglobalisation – pandemic, nationalism, shortages, lack of basic needs etc.

Next write about the various positives and negatives of deglobalisation on the Indian society. Specifically highlight the various positives of deglobalisation – reduce income inequality, reduce environmental disequilibrium etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward to address the negatives.

Introduction

The term de-globalisation is used by economic and market commentators to highlight the trend of several countries wanting to go back to economic and trade policies that put their national interests first. These policies often take the form of tariffs or quantitative barriers that impede free movement of people, products and services among countries. The idea behind all this protectionism is to shield local manufacturing by making imports costlier.

Body

Background

  • The COVID-19 pandemic is driving the world economy to retreat from global economic integration.
  • Policymakers and business leaders are now questioning whether global supply chains have been stretched too far.
  • In an environment where alliances are uncertain and international cooperation is absent, they are also asking whether they should reduce their economic interdependence.
  • National security and public health concerns are providing new rationales for protectionism, especially for medical gear and food, and an emphasis on domestic sourcing.

Factors contributing to deglobalisation

  • Right wing politics in West: A surge in populist politics in Europe and the US has ridden a wave of opposition to globalized economies and international institutions such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and NATO.
  • Brexit: Leaving the European Union (EU) is written into the constitutions of populist parties in countries such as Poland and Hungary.
  • Delegitimization of International Organizations: The United Nations (UN) is widely viewed as weak and deadlocked, and populist movements tend to ridicule the notion of belonging to an international community of nations.
    • International organizations have seen their reputations suffer, either condemned as too powerful or too weak.
    • The World Health Organization (WHO) struggled to drive an efficient response to the COVID19 pandemic, in large part due to uncooperative governments.
  • Lockdown of national borders: The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the danger of relying on global supply chains for essential medical supplies, while climate change demands reductions in the enormous carbon footprint of international trade.
    • India came up with self-sufficient ‘Atmanirbharta’ concept and so did many other nations.
    • Nations like Japan and India have joined hands to from SCRI – Supply Chain Resilience Initiative.

Positives of deglobalisation

  • Increased manufacturing: Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan will provide impetus for indigenous manufacturing and becoming self-reliant in products, so that dependency mainly on China is reduced.
  • Reduce income inequality: Deglobalization is successful if the goal is to reduce income inequality (the Gini coefficient falls by .005) and to increase the share of manufacturing in the Indian economy.
    • It also means that more jobs will be available for youth who are entering the work force.
  • India’s share in global trade: India, while protecting its national interests, has an opportunity to redefine the contours of global trade. Companies whose factories and units are in China, can be attracted towards India, which also offers alternative supply chain.
  • Trade agreement with UK and EU: With Brexit, India can renew its attempt to arrive at a free trade agreement with UK and reign in the trade opportunities. Similarly, India and EU have been negotiating a trade agreement that will propel the trade.
    • India, with its much-hyped demographic dividend, offers unparalleled markets to EU investors and an enabling FTA can accrue wide ranging economic gains to all stakeholders.
  • Pharmacy of the world: India stands to gain by becoming generic drug manufacturer, as well as vaccines and become net distributors of the same. India must focus on manufacturing API’s by reducing dependency on China and increase its production.

Negative Impact of deglobalisation on Indian society

  • Impact on food security: Indonesia, the world’s top producer of palm oil which was indicted for driving destruction of its tropical forests, has now sent shock waves as it has banned exports of this cooking oil.
    • Ukraine is a supplier of wheat and the war has led to severe shortage in the globe. Same is the case with sunflower oil.
    • This impacts the food security in India.
  • High energy costs: It is fuelled partly because of the sanctions on Russian oil and gas that are driving the world to leapfrog to wind and solar.
    • But it is a fact that much of the rare earth minerals that will be needed to power this new energy future from petro to electro are controlled by the same countries that are in the non-democracy camp, from China to Russia.
    • India’s antagonism with China makes it harder for India in obtaining Lithium to achieve its FAME targets.
  • Reduced income: While a retreat into protectionism may improve income equality in some countries, it will reduce incomes of both the poor and the rich and poverty headcounts will be increased.
  • Political instability will rise in a majority of countries and the probability of interstate war will increase.
    • These results suggest that it would be far better to deal with the negative aspects of globalization directly by improving trade adjustment assistance, providing more secure access to health care, and negotiating new international agreements that benefit all countries
  • Migration: De-globalisation with respect to the mobility of services and people can impact both the export of services, and the trend of Indians migrating abroad for higher education and jobs.
  • Climate change cooperation impacted: We are closing borders; shutting doors of global trade and, worse, dividing and polarising the world into camps of good versus evil. This, please remember, is happening at a time when climate change needs us to come together to cooperate and act globally.

 

Conclusion

Globalisation is likely to have peaked amid the rise of populism and protectionism as well as social and environmental challenges. The shifting trend from globalisation to regionalisation/localisation is creating opportunities in regional/local markets including mid- and small-caps. At the same time, deglobalisation also entails more political/geopolitical uncertainty, which could lead to market volatility.

In a world where global trade and commerce is inevitable, protectionist policies of a few nations will only cause severe inequality. A middle ground is the need of the hour and a gated globalization could be the preferred option, with India paving the path for other nations to follow, in the decades to come.

 

Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

4. The institution of the Lokpal is yet to play any significant role in tackling corruption in the country.  Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about limitations of Lokpal and the ways to effective operationalise Lokapal.

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:

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the aims and objectives of Lokpal and Lokayutka in India.

Body:

First, write about the various issues concerning Lokpal in India – government has not made rules prescribing the form for filing complaints to the Lokpal, rules regarding asset disclosure by public servants, inquiry and prosecution wings are yet to be set up, not appointment of the Director of Inquiry or Prosecution etc.

Next, writ about the impact of the above and suggest steps to overcome it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to effectively operationalise Lokpal.

Introduction

In order to meet a long-standing demand to establish a mechanism for dealing complaints on corruptions against public functionaries, including corruption at high places, the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 was enacted.

The Lokpal would deal with complaints against ministers and secretaries at Central and state levels, and the lokayukta (one at the Centre and one in every state) would deal with complaints against other specified higher officials. The ARC kept the judiciary outside the purview of Lokpal and lokayukta.

Body

Salient features of the Act wrt Lokpal

  • Establishes Lokpal as an anti-corruption institution or ombudsman at the centre (union) to inquire into cases of corruption involving public functionaries.
  • The jurisdiction of Lokpal extends to-
    • Anyone who is or has been Pm, minister in union government or a MP as well as officials of the union government under Group A, B, C & D.
    • Any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an act of Parliament or wholly/ partially funded by centre.
    • Anybody that receives foreign contribution above Rs 10 lakh.
  • Exceptions for PM: No inquiry if allegation against PM relates to international relations, ext & internal security, public order, atomic energy & space.
    • No complaints against PM to be probed unless full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rd members approve it.
    • Inquiry against PM to be held in camera.

Reasons for Lokpal not playing a significant role in tackling corruption in the country

  • No suo moto powers: Lokpal cannot suo motu proceed against any public servant. There is more emphasis on form of complaint rather than substance.
  • Fear of punishment: Heavy punishment for false and frivolous complaints against public servants may deter complaints being filed to Lokpal.
  • No anonymous complaints: Anonymous complaints are not allowed. An individual can’t just make a complaint on plain paper and drop it in a box with supporting documents.
  • Legal assistance to public servant is given against whom complaint is filed.
  • Limited time frame: Limitation period of 7 years to file complaints. Many big scams take years to come to fray and the time may exceed 7 years. This limitation hinders in investigating such cases under Lokpal.
  • Exceptions for PM: Very non-transparent procedure for dealing with complaints against the PM.

Functioning of Lokpal in India

  • Non appointment for several years: For more than five years, the chairperson and members of the Lokpal were not appointed.
    • The government had claimed that since no one could be recognised as the Leader of the Opposition (LoP) after the 2014 general election, the committee responsible for selecting members of the Lokpal could not be constituted.
  • Amending the law: This malady could have been easily remedied by either recognising the leader of the single largest party in Opposition in the Lok Sabha as the LoP, or by amending the Lokpal law to allow the leader of the largest Opposition party to be a member of the committee in the absence of a recognised LoP (this was done for the selection committee of the CBI Director). However, neither recourse was taken.
  • Delay in appointment: The chairperson and members of the Lokpal were appointed only in March 2019 after a contempt petition was filed in the Supreme Court following the failure of the government to comply with the 2017 ruling of the court to initiate the process of making appointments.
  • Selection of Chairperson: The four-member selection committee, having a preponderance of representatives of the ruling party with an inherent bias towards recommending candidates favoured by the government, selected the Chair and members of the Lokpal.
    • The manner in which the appointments were made raised doubts about the independence of the Lokpal even before it became operational.
  • Non-starter: Despite the fracas over appointments, many had hoped that once constituted, the Lokpal would nevertheless be a significant oversight body to check corruption and the arbitrary use of power by the government
    • More than 10 months later, however, evidence suggests that the Lokpal is a non-starter.
    • Till date, the government has not made rules prescribing the form for filing complaints to the Lokpal.
    • The Central government has also failed to formulate rules regarding asset disclosure by public servants.
  • No formulation of regulations: Regulations which the Lokpal was obligated to make under the law are yet to be made, including those specifying the manner and procedure of conducting preliminary inquiry and investigation.
  • Cases disposed: The website of the Lokpal states that it scrutinised 1,065 complaints received till September 30, 2019 and disposed of 1,000.
    • Since necessary procedures to operationalise, the law is yet to be put in place, the legal veracity of the decisions of the Lokpal could potentially be challenged in a court of law.

Way forward

  • There is a need for a mechanism that provides for simple, independent, speedy means of delivering justice by redressing the grievances of the people without succumbing to the clutches of the executive.
  • The issue of Leader of Opposition in the Selection committee must be resolved by amending the act.
  • The jurisdictions must be clear so that there is no overlap in the powers.
  • Any new piece of legislation even when implemented becomes lengthy and time consuming and stretched over years.
  • The Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) recommended the enacting of the Office of a Lokpal, convinced that such an institution was justified, not only for removing the sense of injustice from the minds of citizens, but also to instil public confidence in the efficiency of the administrative machinery.
  • It is rightly said by Publius Cornelius Tecitus that “the more corrupt the state, the more laws”.

 

Conclusion

Looking at the low ranking of India in Corruption on global level, there is a need to check the corruption by strong institutions. Creation of the institution of Lokpal and Lokayuktas by forming its members to function has come up as a welcome step. But it must function independently of any political influence so that a proper system of checks-and -balance is maintained in the federal and democratic system of India.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Dams, and riverine barriers at large, lead to the loss of habitat for species belonging to riverine ecosystems and severely impact the routes of migratory fish. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

At least 239 barriers – a record figure – were removed from rivers across 17 countries of Europe, the 2021 Dam Removal Progress report has revealed. This is a 137 per cent increase from the previous year.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the drawbacks of barriers and threats it poses to various ecosystem services.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the purpose of creating dams and barriers.

Body:

First, write about various negative impact of dams and barriers on ecosystem services – probabilities of a flash flooding and local landfalls, extinction of many fish and other aquatic species, the disappearance of birds in floodplains, huge losses of forest, wetland and farmland, erosion of coastal deltas and the issue of local land acquisition etc.

Next, write about the needs of dams and barriers for socio-economic purpose of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing balanced opinion regarding dams and barriers.

 

Introduction

On the face of it, dams fragment rivers and streams, but their effects are far-reaching. Dams, and barriers lead to the loss of habitat for many species especially those in riverine ecosystems and severely impact the routes of migratory fish. A 2020 analysis by the World Fish Migration Foundation found that migratory freshwater fish in Europe have declined by 93 per cent.

Body

Background: Issues of Dams and reverine barriers

  • High sedimentation in older dams is a threat to their structural integrity and can lead to floods and other threats to life.
  • In some rivers, the loss of income from fishing is larger than the value of power produced by hydroelectric dams.
  • All riverine barriers eventually outlive their utility and no longer serve any economic purpose.

Impact of Dams and barriers in species and ecosystem

  • Extinction of migratory fish: Free-flowing rivers are the freshwater equivalent of wilderness areas. They’re home to a diverse array of species, and provide food and water for animals and people.
    • Dams divide rivers, creating upstream and downstream habitats. But migratory fish, such as sturgeon, Irrawady dolphins depend on the whole river.
    • Large dams have led to the extinction of many fish and other aquatic species,
  • Impact on birds: Egrets, along with other wetland birds, depend on healthy river systems for food and shelter.
    • They make their nests in the steep banks of rivers or floodplain thickets. Dams prevent the natural highs and lows of rivers.
    • They can also reduce the breeding ground of migratory fish a key food source for egrets and cloud the waters, making it harder for egrets to spot their prey.
  • Impact on riverine species: Poorly planned dams often reduce dolphins’ food supply, change water quality and destroy habitats.
    • As dams are constructed, the dynamite and noise can harm river dolphins.
    • Once the dam is up, increased boat traffic can lead to more injuries and deaths from collisions.
  • Ecosystem damage: A dam also holds back sediments that would naturally replenish downstream ecosystems. When a river is deprived of its sediment load, it seeks to recapture it by eroding the downstream river bed and banks (which can undermine bridges and other riverbank structures, as well as riverside woodlands).
    • Riverbeds downstream of dams are typically eroded by several meters within the decade of first closing a dam; the damage can extend for tens or even hundreds of kilometres below a dam.
  • Impact on local species: Typically, local fish species will not be adapted to the new environment that is present after a dam is built and do not survive, leading to the extirpation of local populations.
    • Many factors impact their survival, including the blockage of migration routes, a disconnection from the river’s flood plain, changes in a river’s flow, changes in temperature, turbidity, dissolved oxygen, and changes in local plant life.

Measures and solutions: Road ahead

  • To reduce the impact of dams, they should be constructed with a design for fish passage
    • The fish could be attracted to specified point which is further down river, which would allow them to migrate.
    • Another solution could be to trap them in tanks (called fish lifts or transport systems known as trucking) and release them upstream.
  • Upstream passage tech such as pool type fish pass, denil type (or baffle type) fish pass, nature like bypass channels, fish locks and fish lifts, transportation and collection facilities would help to reduce the impact of the way dams affect fish.
  • In 2020, a study led by French scientist Barbara Belletti found that around 15 per cent of the 1.2 million barriers on rivers and streams in Europe are obsolete.
    • In most cases, costs of demolition are lower than costs of repair for such obsolete barriers.
    • Such obsolete barriers must be identified by survey and government must plan to remove such barriers.

Conclusion

Realizing the environmental damage that dams have caused, perhaps humanity will one day innovate even further and bring forth the restoration of these natural river ecosystems and meet the challenges of our irrigation and electricity needs in much more sustainable ways.

 

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

6. The health impacts of pollution remain enormous, and low- and middle-income countries bear most of the brunt of this burden. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Pollution caused nearly nine million deaths in 2019, or about one in six deaths worldwide. This number had effectively unchanged since the last such analysis in 2015 by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, according to a report published in The Lancet Planetary Health

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of pollution on health, especially on the low- and middle-income countries.

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 giving a statistic regarding the impact of pollution on health.

Body:

First, write the about the impact of pollution on health – Exposure to high levels of pollution can cause a variety of adverse health outcomes. It increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease and lung cancer. Both short- and long-term exposure to pollutants have been associated with health impacts etc.

Next, write about the disproportionate impact of pollution on health of people of low- and middle-income countries.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to tackle the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Pollution caused nearly nine million deaths in 2019, or about one in six deaths worldwide. This number had effectively unchanged since the last such analysis in 2015 by the Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, according to a report published in The Lancet Planetary Health.

A report by The Lancet in 2019, said that noxious air killed 1.67 million Indians in 2019, accounting for 18% of all fatalities. Despite its enormous health, social and economic impacts, pollution prevention is largely overlooked in the international development agenda.

Body

Impact of various kinds of pollution

  • Air pollution: Some 570,000 children under age five die from respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, attributable to indoor and outdoor air pollution, and second-hand smoke each year.
    • In addition to the impact on human health, other air pollutants cause climate change and affect ecosystems, such as short-lived climate pollutants including black carbon and ground level ozone.
  • Land and soil pollution: Leachates from mismanaged landfills and uncontrolled dumping of waste from households, industrial plants and mine tailings can contain heavy metals, such as mercury and arsenic, as well as organic compounds and pharmaceuticals.
    • Thus humans and wildlife living near former industrial sites and some reclaimed lands are at potential risk of continued exposure to pollution if sites are not decontaminated properly.
    • Land and soil pollution is an increasing concern with the growth in demand for land for food production, housing and nature conservation, against a limited supply.
  • Water Pollution: Polluted water is also more likely to host disease vectors, such as cholera-causing Vibrio and parasitic worm transmitted schistosomiasis, also known as bilharzia.
    • The main impacts are changes to habitats and ecosystems, especially wetlands; the loss of aquatic biodiversity; changes in species composition, ecosystem functioning and service provision, including water quality improvement.
    • The spread of waterborne diseases; changes in the productivity of food chains; and contamination and blockage of drainage by plastics and other improperly managed solid waste are also main issues.
  • Marine and coastal pollution: Nutrient loads into coastal areas rose by between 10 per cent and 80 per cent between 1970 and 2000, increasing eutrophication and hypoxia, hindering tourism, and negatively impacting economic livelihoods. The associated harmful algal blooms can cause acute poisoning as well as liver and colorectal cancers.
    • At least 500 dead zones have been recorded in coastal areas around the world.
    • Oil from spills nearshore can have locally devastating impacts on the environment, with the clean-up introducing further chemicals into the ocean.
    • Radioactive waste leaked into the ocean is also an important source of pollution.

Disproportionate impact on health of people of low- and middle-income countries

  • Lack of expertise: Many low and middle-income countries lack basic information about the location, severity and potential risks of “pollution hotspots”.
    • Without such information, it is difficult to prioritize challenges, allocate resources and implement (often very costly) solutions to protect drinking water supplies and farmland.
    • High-income countries have robust programmes to identify, assess and remediate soil contamination, the problem persists with significant economic implications.
  • Children affected: Lead is one of the most harmful heavy metals, especially to young children, because it can build up in the body over time and cause severe, long-term effects.
    • The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has estimated that in 2013 lead exposure accounted for 853,000 deaths due to long-term effects on health, with the highest burden in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Mortality cost: Mortality costs from outdoor air pollution are projected to rise to about US$ 25 trillion by 2060 in absence of more stringent measures.
    • In Africa, welfare costs of premature deaths were estimated at over US$ 450 billion representing 7.9 per cent of Gross Domestic Product, with a larger share attributed to indoor than outdoor air pollution.
    • In South and South-East Asia, India had the highest share of welfare costs from mortality of about US$ 220 billion out of a combined total of US$ 380 billion (2015 prices).
  • Pollution transfer: Nations have exported their wastes to low-income nations in the garb of recycling.
    • The amount of rubbish exported by developed countries was revealed after China, which had imported the bulk of it for years, introduced a ban on “foreign garbage
    • Eg: The Philippines had sent tonnes of rubbish back to Canada, after a weeks-long diplomatic spat.

Steps needed the tackle the pollution

  • Multilateral agreements: A number of multilateral environmental agreements address different types of pollution. For example, the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change will be a major step forward in tackling air pollution, as the root causes of global warming and air pollution largely overlap.
    • The Convention on Biological Diversity’s Aichi Biodiversity Targets call for a decrease in pollution and demands specific actions on excess nutrients.
  • Increase public awareness of air pollution. Educate and inform people about what they can do to reduce air pollution. Put out public health messages on the metro, buses, billboards, and radio to help change public behaviour.
  • Raise and enforce emission standards: India is still on Bharat III and IV emission standards for our vehicles and fuels.
    • This is 10-15 years behind the West, where vehicles spew one-tenth of our emissions or less.
  • Improve public transportation and traffic management: Expand the fleet of CNG buses. Implement BRT the right way.
    • Build, repair, and reclaim the sidewalks for pedestrians – not for parking and vending – so people can walk more often, including to nearby bus stops and metro stations.
  • Penalize big and non-compliant polluters: Like Beijing, ban the sale and registration of all new private diesel vehicles in Delhi.
    • Provide 24×7 power across the NCR to minimize genset use; ban diesel gensets and promote CNG gensets.
    • Spot-check fuel pumps for adulteration.
    • Move coal-fired brick/pottery kilns out of the NCR.
  • Reduce road and construction dust: The problem of dust plagues the entire Indo-Gangetic plain. It can be mitigated by changing how our urban surface infrastructure is built.
  • Reduce domestic sources of pollution, improve waste management. According to the 2011 census, over ten percent of Delhi’s households still use biomass for cooking.

Conclusion

Pollution is still the largest existential threat to human and planetary health and jeopardises the sustainability of modern societies. Preventing pollution can also slow climate change — achieving a double benefit for planetary health. There is a need for a massive, rapid transition away from all fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy.

Value addition

Statistics

  • Of the nine million pollution-attributable deaths in 2019, air pollution (both household and ambient) remains responsible for the greatest number of deaths at 6.67 million worldwide.
  • Water pollution was responsible for 1.36 million premature deaths. Lead contributed 900,000 premature deaths, followed by toxic occupational hazards at 870,000 deaths.
  • Excess deaths due to pollution have led to economic losses totalling $4.6 trillion in 2019, equating to 6.2% of global economic output.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

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

“Be content with what you have, rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” ― Lao Tzu

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote and highlighting its core meaning about inaction.

Body:

Write about the importance of contentment. Mention the when humans seek to desire more, it leads to greed and ethics and moral are violated for the gratification of the greed. When we have contentment in life, we enjoy whatever we have. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

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

Introduction

This quote is about self-realisation that everything which is important in life or to us, we already have all that we need. Perhaps not all that we want, but all that is necessary. And in that, we have all that matters in the world. The idea behind the quote is the importance of being content with ourselves. The attitude of gratitude helps anchor us and to be happy with everything we own, be it health, wealth, family or friends.

Body

As human beings we focus on what we do not have, and overlook or even ignore what we do have. Many people today think life is a race where you must be the best at everything. We might want a fancier car, a bigger house, a better-earning job, or more money. The moment we achieve one thing, the race for the next thing starts. Rarely do many individuals spare a minute to be grateful for all they have achieved. Instead of looking back at the distance they have covered, they stretch themselves to cover the distance that remains. And in some cases, this is when ambition becomes greed.

There is often a fine line between ambition and greed. People may think that when they have achieved all they need for their dream lifestyle, they will be satisfied with what they have—but this is rarely the case. Even after you have ticked off all the achievements from your list, you still don’t feel at ease. There may remain an uneasy feeling that something is still missing. That missing element is gratitude and contentment.

Contentment brings peace of mind and positivity that can facilitate growth and self-improvement. This does not mean one can’t have dreams and aspirations. One can accept the present and still wish for a better future. Contentment only means to be at peace with the present, not complacent.

When one is grateful, only then they are able to manifest more abundance into life. It opens up the mind to see all the good things that one already has. Sometimes we take things for granted and forget to be thankful for them and for all that it was needed to have them in our life. We often see what is lacking or what we haven’t achieved yet. This will only make us bitter

Contentment means to be happy with what we have, who we are, and where we are. It is respecting the reality of the present. It is appreciating what we do have and where we are in life. Contentment does not mean the absence of desire; it just means we are satisfied with the present, and we trust that the turns life takes will be for the best.

Conclusion

If one wishes to feel the essence of contentment, it’s important to practice gratitude, be aware of the fact that nothing is permanent, understand that material things do not often promote long-term happiness, and realize that life is not a race or competition: it is about self-sustenance. The more thankful we are in the present, the happier we may be.

Gratitude is a state of mind. When we realize that nothing is missing from our life, we will see that we have everything. “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for”

 


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