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[ Day 36 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2022 – Science & Technology & 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.


Science & Technology


Q1 Amidst the new challenges the growing space industry is facing across the world; discuss the aspects necessary to be considered for India’s space vision.10M

Introduction

With the launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the subsequent beginning of the space age, the progression of Space Technologies has led to the development of hundreds of applications that use satellite data, including devices for everyday use, from satellite televisions to the GPS in our cars.

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Emerging Trends in Global Space Sector

Growing Space-based Economy: According to a Bank of America Report, the $350 billion space market today will touch $2.7 trillion by 2050.

Plummeting Launch Cost: NASA’s space shuttle cost about $54,500 per kg; now, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 advertises a cost of $2,720 per kg. In a decade, the cost could be less than $100 per kg.

Satellite Boom: The satellite communication domain is still by far the largest services market. With ~$130 bn estimated global market for satcoms, 5 Prominent LEO operators Oneweb, Amazon, Telesat, SpaceX, and LEOsat all eyeing services from LEO markets.

Private investors are fuelling growth: Private Investors are showing active interest in the space sector The more private capital there is to fuel space ventures, the faster companies can scale and new innovations can come to market, which in turn, will fuel further growth.

E.g. Space unicorns like SpaceX, Amazon’s Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactica

Public agencies embracing commercial partnerships: Space-related activities in recent years have seen the rise of public-private partnerships. E.g. Dragon 2 (SpaceX and NASA)

Expanding applications of space technologies: Companies such as Planet, Spire Global and Iceye are using orbital vantage points to collect and analyse data to deliver fresh insights in weather forecasting, global logistics, crop harvesting, and disaster response.

Challenges

The space sector is diverse, and driven by complex dynamics that go beyond simple market forces

Space Governance

  • The multilateral framework for space governance is in the process of becoming obsolete.
  • The Outer Space Treaty of 1967 enshrines the idea that space should be “the province of all mankind” and “not subject to national appropriation by claims of sovereignty”.
  • The Rescue Agreement, Space Liability Convention, and the Space Registration Convention expanded provisions of the Outer Space Treaty.
  • However, many treaties such as The Moon Treaty of 1979 were not ratified by major space-faring nations.

Lack of Dispute Settlement Mechanisms and Space Disaster Mitigation:

  • As outer space becomes democratised, commercialised, and crowded, space laws don’t have a dispute settlement mechanism. Laws are silent on collisions and debris, and offer insufficient guidance on interference with others’ space assets.
  • These gaps heighten the potential for conflict in an era of congested orbits and breakneck technological change.
  • g. Starlink, the constellation being constructed by SpaceX to provide global Internet access, plans more than 10,000 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit.

State-Centric Legal Framework

  • The legal framework is state-centric, placing responsibility on states alone.
  • Some states are providing frameworks for resource recovery through private enterprises based on the notion that this is not expressly forbidden for non-state actors.
  • g. U.S. President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources of April 2020
  • The lack of alignment of domestic and international normative frameworks risks a damaging free-for-all competition for celestial resources involving actors outside the space framework.
  • Case in point being, the asteroid named 16 Psyche is so rich in heavy metals that it is worth $10,000 quadrillion. (NASA)

Militarisation of space

  • Militaries around the world are moving away from passive military uses of space for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to active integration of space into conventional military operations, making space extremely fragile.
  • Development of counterspace capabilities is taking place at an accelerated pace, increasing the vulnerabilities due to anti-satellite (ASAT), cyber, electronic warfare, and attacks from Directed Energy Weapons.
  • This violates the Outer Space Treaty or go against guidelines such-as the space debris mitigation guidelines
  • Despite the UN General Assembly’s resolution on Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space since 1982 and The EU’s International Code of Conduct for Outer Space Activities not much progress has been made in addressing space arms race

Commercial Human Spaceflight:

  • A new legal framework is lacking in relation to the insurance of crew members, third-parties, and the registration of the space object (orbit, trajectory…).

 

Laws governing the colonization of celestial bodies (Moon, Mars):

  • The Moon Agreement is set to evolve in order to allow for the installation of permanent lunar bases and should protect the “Lunar Heritage Sites”. This also extends to challenges regarding the regulation of Space Resources Utilization.

Aspects necessary to be considered for India’s space vision

a) Engagement in International Fora: The international community and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) are figuring out norms for responsible behaviour in outer space.

India’s strategy should indicate that it will not only be a participant but also a key stakeholder – it is imperative to put forward India’s concerns around ensuring unrestricted access to use of space by all nations.

b) Greater Space Situational Awareness (SSA): SSA is the awareness of the location and activities of any space object and the impact it can have.

Transparent SSA should also be a priority for India’s strategic publication, as it augments India’s capabilities across the spectrum for defence and deterrence.

c) Space Debris Mitigation: India faced international criticism for its 2019 Mission Shakti, Direct Ascent Anti-Satellite test.

Technologies like self-eating rockets, self-vanishing satellites and robotic arms to catch space debris are an area of push for ISRO.

d) Establishing A Permanent Presence in Space: ISRO has undertaken manned space flight as a key focus area, beginning with the upcoming Gaganyan

India’s future plans are ambitious. These include a landing on the Moon; the first Indian solar observatory; the first crewed orbital spaceflight mission; and installation of a modular space station in 2030. This calendar is designed to establish India as a major space-faring nation by the end of the decade. It is of strategic and scientific significance for India to highlight the value of human space flight missions as well as sustained human presence in orbit and deep space exploration.

e) Space Security: India should also focus on strategic space plan to protect its global space assets, space rescue missions, monitoring and defence against asteroids, debris management and mitigation.

Conclusion

The space environment that India faces requires us to go beyond meeting technical milestones. We need a space legislation enabling coherence across technical, legal, commercial, diplomatic and defence goals. Our space vision also needs to address global governance, regulatory and arms control issues. As space opens up our space vision needs broadening too.

 

Q2. How has the digital transformation of India impacted the everyday life of human beings? Discuss the steps required to ensure that a future powered by the internet is more equitable and prosperous. 10M

Introduction

Digitalization is the integration of digital technologies into everyday life. Such integration is possible by the digitization of information. The digital shifts underway are reshaping the Indian economy and society today and will continue to do so in the future. The ongoing digitalisation holds many promises to spur innovation, generate efficiencies, and improve services throughout the economy.

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Impact of Digital Transformation

Positive Impacts

  • Increased and Cheap Access to information: 6 billion people today use the internet. Indians typically get internet at 4G speeds and at the world’s cheapest rate of about Rs 20 per GB of data. From zero users in 1995, India now has about 600 million internet users — the 2nd highest in the world.
  • New Connections: From Facebook to Twitter, virtual public squares have emerged where people are pilloried and praised. Platforms like Tinder and Truly Madly are helping make new connections in the dating world.
  • eCommerce: The rapid growth of the internet in the world created new categories of businesses and disrupted entire sectors. It has created a new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation. E.g. Amazon and Flipkart are changing the way people shop.
  • Changing consumption patterns: OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu have changed the landscape of media consumption.
  • Mobility Services: Apps such as Uber and Ola Cabs are the emerging giants in mobility servces especially in metro and Tier I cities like Delhi, Bengaluru etc.
  • FinTech: The internet has connected banking businesses to their customers in a reliable way and has lowered the cost of transactions. Notable among them are Paytm and PhonePe.
  • The health sector: Health sector has benefited the masses immensely through digitization and AI-enabled frontier technologies helping to save lives, diagnose diseases and extend life expectancy. g. Arogya Setu (to track covid patients).
  • Education: Virtual learning environments and distance learning have opened up programmes to students who would otherwise be excluded.

E.g.      E-PG Pathshala, SWAYAM (provides for an integrated platform for online courses)

  • Public services: are also becoming more accessible and accountable through blockchain-powered systems, and less bureaucratically burdensome as a result of digitalization. Big data can also support more responsive and accurate policies and programmes.

E.g. Aadhar based welfare schemes, DBT, One Nation One Ration Card.

  • Employment: In India, it is estimated that three to four jobs are created for every job within the business process outsourcing and IT-enabled services sectors.

Negative Impacts

  • Digital divide: High level of digital illiteracy is the biggest challenge in the era of Internet. Only 10% of the Indian population is digitally literate, having the skills needed to take advantage of digital access.
  • Data Security: Digital technology has enabled people to store huge amounts of data. This has led to the increase in possibility of the information being breached, with the increase in cyber threats. In 2013, Yahoo – 3 billion user accounts were compromised after a phishing attempt gave hackers access to the network.
  • Terrorism and Crime: There are many people on the internet, who with the use of the dark web, can do just about anything from selling illegal drugs online to extortion to anything.
  • Terrorists use the internet to create and promote their groups. Islamic State has emerged as one of the most potent users of social media
  • The Concern for Privacy: With the ubiquity of smartphones, it is really easy for anyone to take pictures and videos of literally anything, anywhere, and more so, post it on social media. So people run a risk of their data being stolen or even sold.
  • Manipulation: The information available online has now become easy to edit and manipulate. With smart editing tools, one can edit photographs, videos, audio, etc. With this, the people can very easily spread fake news,
  • Employment and skill: Current estimates of global job losses due to digitalization range from 2 million to 2 billion by 2030. There is great uncertainty, with concerns also about its impact on wages and working conditions.
  • Environmental sustainability: Digitalization has led to the increase in energy consumption, CO2 emission and e-waste generation. India generated 10 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2019-2020, ranking third after USA and China.

Worrying Trends Emerging from digitalization of economies and societies

  • New gatekeepers: The world is witnessing the emergence of new gatekeepers from Google to Amazon to Facebook. New technologies have been hijacked by the rich and the powerful.
  • Oligopoly: Vast amounts of internet traffic are controlled by a few platforms, which tend to be dominated by a few creators like Google
  • Limited access to new technologies: While broadband access and basic applications such as websites are common among most firms, more advanced applications, such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and radio-frequency identification (RFID) are used by a much smaller share of firms.
  • Corrosive effects on democracy and public discourse: While social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have given voice to many, scandals like Cambridge Analytica and the inexorable march of fake news are worrying trends.
  • Shifting Power Balance: Caught in totalitarian impulses to gain momentum, governments around the world are trying to wrest control, curb and control tech giants.
  • Digital Surveillance: will surge as both corporates and governments play a tug of war for controlling data. Targeted Micro-Profiling, customized ads etc are the manifestations of such surveillance.
  • Internet – the 21st century turf for economic war: India has banned a number of Chinese platforms and apps (Camscanner, PubG, Tiktok etc) from operating in the country in response to unprovoked Chinese aggression on our border.

Making internet more equitable and prosperous- Way Forward

  • Reduce the digital divide and asymmetry of online platforms: Digitalization is possible only by educating citizens of India about usage and maintains of digital form.

PMGDISHA is a scheme to make six crore persons in rural areas, across States/UTs, digitally literate.

  • Internet war: The 5G gear that will power the internet in the future is now a turf war between the US and its allies on one side, and China on the other. India will judiciously need to play these internet wars.
  • Level playing field: Indian internet entrepreneurs need a level playing field against the bigger internet companies that sometimes unfairly leverage the power of their network externalities. This is required to spur Indian innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Collaboration between software development IT companies and Government is needed for the further update of digitalization/ technology.

Google’s Internet Saathi programme –a messiah for unemployed women in rural areas

  • Development of digital infrastructure: Digitize India – The Digital India scheme includes plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet networks.
  • Subsidies and support by government for IT sectors in development of favourable technologies for the growth of economy.
  • Private sector should be stimulated for development of digital infrastructure in rural and remote areas.
  • Maximum connection with internet with minimum cyber security risks. For this we need a strong anti-cyber-crime team which maintains the database and protects it.

I4C Scheme act as a nodal point in the fight against cybercrime

Conclusion

Digitalization defines the path towards a smart society by providing solutions and assisting sustainable development. Integration of digital technologies have already demonstrated a myriad of benefits. Special attention should be paid to implications of unequal data access that can result in digital poverty and hence increase inequalities instead of reducing the gap.


Ethics


Q3. Would you consider discipline and probity as the backbone of good governance? Give reasons for your argument.  10M

Introduction

According to the World Bank, Good governance is concerned with how power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources for development.

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8 Principles of Good Governance By United Nations

 

To ensure the upholding of these principles, discipline and probity are important in governance. Thus Discipline and Probity as the backbone of good governance.

Probity – It is the quality of having high moral principles and strictly following the same. It is usually regarded as being incorruptible.

Importance of probity in good governance.

  • Builds Trust Probity builds trust in the institutions of the state and the belief that the actions of the state will be for the welfare of the society.
  • Selfless service – It helps in checking the abuse and misuse of power by the various organs of the state.
  • Transparency – It leads to avoidance of corruption in implementing policies and in administration by the public servants.
  • Reduction of politicization of bureaucracy – It addresses nepotism, favouritism and political partnership.
  • Equitable and sustainable development – It is an essential and vital requirement for an efficient and effective system of governance and socio-economic development.
  • It ensures governance accountability.

Discipline in governance can be of two types: Self-discipline and Regulatory discipline.

Importance of these two disciplines in good governance.

  • Personal integrity – Self-discipline is concerned with personal integrity, without which all the decisions in the governance run at the risk of personal gain at the expense of social welfare.
  • Good decisions – Objective decisions in good governance are essential. Self-discipline is the only way the policymakers can prevent falling into the trap of following blindly strategies proposed by the expert committee, without understanding what new activities could do to the overall welfare of the country.
  • Effective implementation of laws – Regulatory discipline by the public servants helps to reach the government schemes to the last mile coverage of beneficiaries.

Effectiveness also tends to use the resources of the community very effectively for maximum output.

  • Prevents red tapism – Regulatory discipline ensures laws are implemented from a human-centric perspective. This helps bureaucrats to interpret laws in a flexible manner rather than strictly following the rules. It ensures recognition of the voice of people especially women, children, elders, and backward classes.

Conclusion

For Mahatma Gandhi, Good Governance meant Sarvodaya – the concept of actions for the common good benefits to all. To achieve “Sarvodaya”, at any cost government and administration need to uphold 8 principles of good governance.

 


Case study 20M


Q4. Sushma is a young, talented, and honest individual. She has got a job as a junior officer in the city municipal corporation. Her role involves verification of documents of the beneficiaries of various social welfare schemes. The city corporation is known for corruption and many officers usually ask for bribes. Being an honest individual Sushma is not ready to accept bribes and she starts doing her work with integrity and honesty. She promptly verifies all beneficiaries and this earns her a good reputation among the public. Irked by her honesty and rising popularity her colleagues try to intimidate her by being rude and arrogant. They stop speaking with her and they are very unfriendly, they complain about every small mistake in her work. Her work life is getting disturbed by such actions. She complains to her seniors but they don’t take any action. Fed up with this, Sushma wants to resign from her job. Finally, the senior officer responds by changing her job profile. Her new role is the digitization of public records, which does not involve public interactions. Sushma is upset as she feels it is a punishment for being honest rather than a solution for her complaints. Reluctantly she continues to work. Now, her colleagues are friendly towards her. She continues to work and finds major discrepancies and multiple entries on the land records which she has to digitize. She reports the issue to her seniors. They ask her to digitize only the recent entries. She comes to know that lands with a lack of clear ownership have been secretly allocated to people who have offered bribes. With no one to resolve the issue within the office, she thinks of leaking the documents to the public through social media. However, she is scared and afraid to do so.

a) Discuss the values displayed by Sushma in this situation and their importance in good governance.

b) When Sushma is not getting any support from any corner, should she wage a war on the system? Justify.

Introduction

The case study highlights how a corrupt system and senior authorities can silence the genuine work of honest public servants by transferring them into new job roles. It also discusses the values to be cultivated by the public servants in promoting good governance.

 

Body

  1. Values displayed by Sushma in the above situation.
  • Honesty: She honestly reported to her seniors about the disturbance caused to her work life by the arrogant and rude behaviour of her colleagues.
  • She also honestly reported to her seniors in the new job role about the discrepancies and multiple entries on the land records before thinking of leaking the same on social media.
  • Integrity: Even though her job role has been changed that involves no public interaction like that in the first job role, she committed to being integral in her work. This can be seen in finding out loopholes and corrupt practices in the allocation of land records.
  • Objectivity and Efficiency: Objectivity and efficiency enabled her to promptly verify all the documents of beneficiaries and also to find errors in land ownership allocations.
  • Impartiality: Even though she knew the city corporation is known for corruption. She honestly worked in both job roles without being partial to bribe givers, senior authorities and corrupt corporations.

Importance of these values in good governance.

 

  1. When Sushma is not getting any support from any corner, she could wage a war on the system.

Justification

  • This will clean the corrupt city corporation and help to do good governance in the upcoming days.
  • Her course of action will act as a preventive measure for the occurrence of corruption, misuse of power, and discrepancies in any plans/projects.
  • Cultivate values like accountability, responsibility, transparency etc in working of city corporation administration.
  • Enable to identify true land owners of land who currently lack clear documents to claim their land, which has been presently grabbed by corrupt people.
  • Reporting discrepancies in social media will strengthen her personal values like Honesty, Integrity, impartiality etc.
  • It will also act as a tool for building a healthy work culture between officials in the city corporation.

Conclusion

Instead of directly publishing documents on social media, she can whistleblow the discrepancies in land records and corruption in administration to the state vigilance commission or concerned state department. This will prevent manipulation of information by the powerful officials in city corporation and bribe givers, who may otherwise manipulate the information published through social media and turn the case against Sushma itself.