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[ Day 14 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2022 – Geography and Ethics

 

 

 

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.

 

Geography:

Q1. Explain the significance of polymetallic nodules to India. Discuss the concerns associated with its extraction? 15M

Introduction

Polymetallic nodules, also called manganese nodules, are rock concretions formed of concentric layers of iron and manganese hydroxides around a core. In addition to manganese and iron, they can contain nickel, copper and cobalt as well as traces of other valuable metals such as molybdenum, zirconium and REEs. They cover vast areas of the seafloor but are most abundant on abyssal plains at water depths of 4000-6500 meters.

Body

Distribution

 

  • India is the first country to have received the status of a pioneer investor in 1987 and was allocated an exclusive area in the Central Indian Ocean Basin(CIOB) by United Nations (UN) for the exploration and utilization of nodules.
  • India signed a 15-year contract for the exploration of PMNs in the CIOB with the International sea bed authority in 2002. In 2017, it has been extended by five more years.

Significance of polymetallic nodules to India.

  1. Geographical importance – Nodules have been found in all the oceans and even in lakes. However, nodules of economic interest are more found at the centre of the north Indian Ocean which is geographically closer to India.
  2. Commercial and strategic Significance – India has an area of 75000 sq km in the Central Indian Ocean Basin. The estimated polymetallic nodule resource potential in this region is about 380 million tonnes, containing 4.7 million tonnes of nickel, 4.29 million tonnes of copper and 0.55 million tonnes of cobalt and 92.59 million tonnes of manganese.
  • This would open new opportunities for resources of commercial and strategic value, as there is an expanding demand for these resources because of their usage in modern gadgets, hybrid cars, etc.
  1. Presence of Rare earth materials – Rare earth materials are utilised in a wide range of critical products enabling many emerging green energy technologies, high-tech applications and defense systems.
  • China has over time acquired global domination of rare earth. At one point, China produced 90% of the rare earth the world needs. Today, however, it has come down to 60%. The remaining is produced by other countries, including the Quad countries. Exploration of PMNs helps India to expand REEs production.
  1. Minimizes Imports of Copper and Cobalt – India has turned into a copper importer from a net exporter in the last 3 years. Exploration of PMNs which contain a huge amount of tests copper and cobalt can reduce imports of these resources which help India to regain its Net Exporter Status of Copper.
  2. Clean Energy – polymetallic nodules, which contain metals like EV battery metals that are key to manufacturing the low-carbon technologies needed to generate clean energy.
  • It is also envisaged that 10% of the recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.
  1. Economic significance
  • Providing a boost to coastal and national economies and developing the blue economy.
  • Promoting entrepreneurship in new areas of economic activity and new development in the electronics industry.
  • Empowerment of coastal communities and attaining greater social and economic inclusion by providing Employment opportunities, skill-sets and capacities.

Concerns associated with its extraction – The biggest concern is that since the deep sea mining field is unexplored, the repercussions cannot be assumed.

  • Technological issues – The development of specialized drills and exploration technologies like Continuous line bucket systems, Hydraulic mining systems will be a challenge for India, as India is not completely competent in these technologies.
  • High costs: The high cost, difficulty and risks associated with conducting mining operations at depths of the ocean have been barriers to pursuing deep-sea mining.
  • Environmental issues: The most direct impacts at deep mining sites are the destruction of natural landforms and the wildlife they host, compaction of the sea floor, and the creation of sediment plumes that disrupt aquatic life. Nearby impacts include noise, electromagnetic effects, disruption of the larval supply, contamination and fluid flow changes.
  • Long term impacts: The difficulty of deep-sea mining operations also makes accidents, pollution and contamination likely. It may take years for the region to be clean again.
  • Threat to biodiversity: Most of the species living in the deep sea are endemic (not found anywhere else on Earth) and the physical disturbances at a mining site may wipe out entire species.

However, the combination of technological advances in mining equipment and the skyrocketing value of precious metals used in consumer electronics has created an intensifying competition to mine the seas, or what is called the new “underwater gold rush.”

Way forward and conclusion

As private institutions are part of this mission, India needs to frame a proper framework along with private parties to make this mission successful. India needs to be partnered with like-minded countries like the USA, Japan etc to develop technologies for exploration and extractive metallurgy.

 

 

Q2. Why is India lagging behind in electronics manufacturing? Highlight the geographical and social advantages which can help boost high-tech manufacturing in India. 15M

 

Introduction

India being one of the fastest-growing economies in the world is lacking in the electronics manufacturing sector. India’s share in the global electronic systems manufacturing industry is just 3.6% in 2019.

Body

    Out of the country’s total demand for electronics, between 50-60% of the products and 70-80% of the components are imported.

       While the policy initiatives of the government have had a positive impact on the electronics manufacturing ecosystem, problems have persisted by and large. Various challenges are being faced by the industry across qualitative (non-tariff, infrastructure-related) and quantitative (tariff, free trade agreements etc.) aspects.

Reasons behind India’s lag in electronics manufacturing.

 

  1. Lack of rare earth metals – Rare earth materials are utilized in a wide range of critical electronic products. Currently, China dominates the reserves of rare earth metals. 60% of Rare earth metal production is done by China alone.
  2. Lack in Presence of Industries – India lacks a robust ecosystem of companies locally manufacturing components required for electronic products. In the absence of a full-fledged component ecosystem in India, these components are required to be imported, resulting in increased costs and lead time for the manufacturers.
  3. Geographical reason – The factories in China have been set up with a global supply chain that consists of middlemen, wholesalers and distributors. When these factories are planning for a shift in business, they prefer Vietnam over India because of its proximity to China’s manufacturing hub of Shenzhen.
  4. China, Vietnam factorIndia has the highest tariffs on the import of components for electronic products, compared to competing electronics hubs like China and Vietnam. Vietnam and China have more favorable subsidy structures than India does in areas like machinery used for manufacturing, and research & development.
  5. Presence of High tariffs , Inverted duty structure – The electronics sector of India contributes around 3.4% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Lack of Infrastructure, high tariffs and India’s little gain in FTAs, punitive duty structures and tax levies are some of the reasons for hindering electronic manufacturing growth.
  6. Regulatory uncertainty – The cost of starting a business in India has added more restrictions. There are 12 procedures required to start a business in India, whereas only 8 procedures are needed in Vietnam.
  7. Research and development and Innovation are lacking in Indian industries.

Recently, The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology released a 5-year roadmap and Vision Document for the electronics sector, titled “$300 bn Sustainable Electronics Manufacturing & Exports by 2026”.

According to this report, India can reach $300 billion worth of electronics manufacturing and exports by 2025-26 — nearly four times the current $75 billion. India may achieve this target because of the geographical and social advantages it had with respect to the electronics industry.

Geographical advantages –

  • India has a large market base – India has been transforming itself into the Digital marketing industry. Comparative to other regions in the world, India has more than 700 million internet users and roughly 0.5 billion are expected to come.
  • This has already made US giants like Facebook, Qualcomm, and Snapdragon invest in the telecom sector.
  • Push to digitization: Comparative to other regions in the world, India has long been one of the world’s greatest buyers of electronic goods, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. But with the governments digital India push, this demand is ever increasing.
  • Established IT hubs – For instance, places like Bengaluru, and Hyderabad provide skilled manpower, moderate climate conditions, a cosmopolitan atmosphere, lower cost of living, and Transport connections like International airports which enable them to grow as manufacturing hubs.
  • Eg – Tesla picks up Bengaluru as its first Electrical Hub (EV)in India.
  • Central Indian Ocean region – Among the 3 regions, this region is one where Polymetallic nodules are economically localized. India’s contract with the international seabed authority to extract Polymetallic nodules has been extended by 5 more years. This will provide India to extract Copper, Cobalt etc which are the main raw materials for EV vehicles and Batteries.

Social advantages

  • Potential domestic demand-The growing middle-class population, rising disposable incomes, and declining prices of electronics will have a positive impact on domestic demand.
  • Lower Labor Cost – China, with its rising labour costs, will soon not be the global manufacturing hub. This is an opportunity for India.
  • Demographic Dividend – India currently has 62.5% of its population in the age group of 15-59, which is increasing and it will reach around 65% by 2036. India has an advantage over this huge demographic dividend.
  • Skilling initiatives such as Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKK) started by Industries and govt have the potential to generate millions of jobs directly or indirectly.

Conclusion

India already introduced many policies like National Policy on Electronics 2019, Production linked incentive schemes, Modified incentive special package schemes and Electronics Development fund etc. These policies will help not only to replicate the growth story of the software industry in the electronics manufacturing industry but will also make it globally competitive.

 

Ethics:

Q3. Does our attitude towards a particular task determine its outcome? Justify. 10M

Introduction

Attitude refers to feelings, beliefs and behaviour predispositions directed towards people, groups, ideas or objects. Attitude has the capability of determining the actions we choose to take, and the direct result of those actions in our business and personal lives daily.

Body

Yes, Attitude towards a particular task determines its outcome:

Positive attitudes boot the completion of a task

  • Positive attitude– makes you productive, deal with any problem effectively and looks at failures as a means to introspect and improve oneself rather than losing all hope and giving up.
    • Example: Role of Abraham Lincoln in attaining president position;
    • Steps to include transgenders in workforce are effectively carried on by organizations such as Umang which have a positive attitude towards them.
  • Positive values: An individual may have certain values integral to themselves that help shape their attitude.
    • Example: A person with a positive attitude towards protection Indian art and culture, will not damage historical sites.

 

Negative attitude hinders the completion of a task

  • Negative attitude– is a disposition, feeling, or manner that is not constructive, cooperative, or optimistic. It leads to non-cohesion, low morale and lack of cooperation.
    • Example: A person with a negative attitude towards elders disobeys them;
    • Citizens charters are present but not implemented as officers working have a negative attitude towards accountability.
  • Ego-defensive –This attitude protects us from psychological harm. It acts as defence against the harsh realities of certain truths in life that one may be unwilling to accept.
    • Example: When a senior executive is opposed by an employee junior to him, he/she may be unwilling to accept it even though he/she may be wrong. They won’t correct their mistakes, hindering the task at hand.

No, Usually attitudes can be changed in the following ways:

  • Instrumental conditioning – This type of attitude arises when an incentive or punishment is involved.
    • Announcing bounties for Naxalties lures people who are having a negative attitude toward the police to provide information regarding Naxals.
    • Praise and acknowledgment may nudge a student to study even though he is not interested in studies
  • Classical conditioning: when a person is exposed to a positive and neutral stimulus repeatedly and after some time the response to neutral stimuli becomes the same as the response to positive stimuli.
    • Promoting voting or paying income tax through celebrities can nudge an uninterested person towards the task of voting or paying income tax.

Conclusion

Attitude has a direct impact on how we communicate and collaborate with others, and how we perform our daily tasks and responsibilities. Thus our attitudes should be positive which helps in having a positive society.

 

Case study:

Q4. You are an elected ward councilor; garbage disposal has become a major issue in your ward. Waste collection within your city has been outsourced to a private company. The company has been irregular in collecting waste, these days collection of waste is being done just once a week. This has led to littering and piling up of waste on street corners.  Few residents fed up with the garbage have started a protest against you. You have raised a complaint against the company, but the city Mayor has warned you not to proceed with the complaint, as the company belongs to his son. He has promised the problem would be sorted out within a week. A week has passed and nothing has been done. Meanwhile, many more residents have started protesting and the mayor who is a powerful politician from your party is not responding to you.

In this situation,

  1. What are the options available to you? Discuss their merits.
  2. How would respond to the increasing protests? Does your attitude change while dealing with the mayor compared to the protestors?

Introduction

Political interference is the biggest issue in public service. Service gets delayed and denied due to conflicts of interests and nepotism as seen in this case study.

Facts of case study

  • Waste collection in the city is outsourced to a private company – Public accountability vs outsourcing
  • Company has been irregular in collecting waste, these days collection of waste is being done just once a week – Honesty vs nonperformance of duties
  • Residents started a protest against the elected ward councilor. Grievance redressal vs Mob mentality
  • The company belongs to the City Mayor’s son. Integrity vs conflict of Interest
  • The issue has not been sorted after one week of extension on request- Promise vs performance

Stakeholders

  • Elected ward councilor (me)
  • Private company
  • Residents
  • City Mayor
Options available to me

 

Merits
Ignore the issue·       No tussle between me and the company

·       Harmonious relationship between me and city Mayor

Talking to the Mayor’s son directly·       There is a chance of solving the issue.

·       Harmonious relationship between me and city Mayor.

Taking legal actions against the private company within my limits/ raising a complaint against the company·       A step towards solving the public issue.

·       Condemning the lack of responsibility of private company upholds the integrity of my job.

·       A lesson on accountability to companies interested in future tenders.

·       Mayor may understand the gravity of the situation

·       Being fair and socially responsible helps the common man.

Having an amicable talk with residents who are protesting and promising them to solve the issue earliest possible, holding the company responsible for clean up accountable.·       Rage of protest may be suppressed

·       Upholding integrity and honesty by following  professional ethics

·       Gaining the confidence of residents

·       Being a public servant, having a good relationship with the public is very important

·       Resolving the issue

  1. As an elected ward councilor the people of my ward are important to me. They have every right to protest peacefully in a democracy. I would personally meet people at the forefront of the protest and explain the whole issue to them. Promising them to solve the issue earliest possible.

I would discuss with other senior members within the party and executives of my ward and the municipality about ways of solving the issue. If other wards are also facing similar issues, we would unite to resolve the issue by increasing pressure on the mayor. Mayor should be held accountable and I would raise a complaint within the party on the functioning of the mayor.

Meanwhile, as an immediate step I would utilize the ward development funds to clean up the pile.  I would encourage the residents to separate the wet and dry waste. To improve the processing of waste.

My attitude changes in dealing with the mayor compared to the protestors. As I am required to hold the Mayor accountable and the company accountable; and at the same time should be responsible to my voters. They are suffering with the garbage issue.

While addressing protestors, I should be amicable, calm and composed in my words and behaviour. Because it is my duty to resolve the grievances of my ward.

As the mayor is a powerful politician I should be bound to legal framework, professional ethics, personal ethics and integrity of the job. If the work is not done I should find alternate ways of resolution through seniors at my party.

If the service is still delayed, I would raise a complaint against the company by uniting with other wards.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “ Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm”. I am firm in my decision of providing better services to my ward and would ensure accountability of those responsible for it.

Proper governance generally relies on a system of checks and balances, which in turn depends upon a mutual agreement in which each body of the governing institution submits itself to the authority of the others. The Mayor should submit to the authority of the people.