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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS:26 August 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: population and associated issues,

1. What is ageism? Ageism has serious and wide-ranging consequences for people’s health and well-being. Analyse. What are the ways to combat its negative repercussions on the contemporary society? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

We recently observed International Youth Day on August 12. The objective of this occasion is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind. It will also raise awareness about certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, while having detrimental effects on society as a whole.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about ageism, its consequences and steps required to combat it.

Directive:

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:

Begin by defining ageism and give related statistic in India.

Body:

First, write about the consequences of ageism – Among older people, ageism is associated with poorer physical and mental health, increased social isolation and loneliness, greater financial insecurity, decreased quality of life and premature death.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to combat ageism in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

Ageism is stereotyping and/or discrimination against individuals or groups on the basis of their age. This may be casual or systemic. Every second person in the world is believed to hold ageist attitudes – leading to poorer physical and mental health and reduced quality of life for older persons, costing societies billions of dollars each year, according to a new United Nations report on ageism.

Body

Background

  • Ageism continues as an insidious and an often-unaddressed issue in health, human rights and development, and has bearings on both older and younger populations around the world.
  • In addition, it regularly intersects with other forms of bias (such as racism, sexism, ableism, mentalism) and impacts people in ways that prevent them from reaching their full potential and comprehensively contributing to their community.
  • The recent Global Report on Ageism launched by the United Nations and World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2021 highlights the alarming scenario.
    • Every second person in the world is believed to hold ageist attitudes—leading to poorer physical and mental health and reduced quality of life for older persons, costing societies billions of dollars each year.
  • In sheer numbers, this data amounts to billions of “stereotyped thoughts towards ageing” that creates a global environment unsafe for older people.

Issues/concerns related to ageism

  • Ageism has become a universal phenomenon: from our institutions and relationships to ourselves.
    • Examples of institutional ageism include discriminatory hiring practices or mandatory retirement ages
    • Ageism is in policies that support healthcare rationing by age, practices that limit younger people’s opportunities to contribute to decision-making in the workplace, patronizing behaviour used in interactions with older and younger people, and in self-limiting behaviour, which can stem from internalized stereotypes about what a person of a given age can be or do.
  • Half the world’s population is ageist against older
  • Ageism can change how we view ourselves, can erode solidarity between generations, can devalue or limit our ability to benefit from what younger and older populations can contribute, and can impact our health, longevity and well-being while also having far-reaching economic consequences.
  • Ageism also increases risky health behaviours, such as eating an unhealthy diet, drinking excessively or smoking, and reduces our quality of life.
  • Ageism in India needs to be addressed especially because of its youthful workforce profile.
    • The pandemic has been a pretext for many employers bent on payroll reduction to ease out older employees.
  • In an AARP survey of adults over 45, 61% of respondents said that they had seen or personally experienced age discrimination.
  • A review of academic studies of age bias in hiring and promotion shows that employers may not objectively evaluate job candidates’ potential productivity.

Measures needed to combat ageism

  • Bringing children or young adults and seniors together through planned, mutually beneficial activities and programs is one way to help seniors feel connected to others and provide much-needed stimulation.
  • Examples include older adults serving the young through mentorship programs—seniors volunteering in schools as reading assistants, tutors and resources for career and parenting guidance.
  • There are also examples of programs where younger generations visit senior centers and communities for service learning projects; elementary schools may encourage young students to become pen pals with a local senior, or visit a senior community to hear their stories and learn from them.
  • There are even examples of older adults and the young sharing settings: day care centers that house both adult care and childcare programs are a growing trend.

 

Conclusion

These narratives need to change early and the youth can be the flag-bearers for the same. Intergenerational bonding can go a long way in creating ties within families and respect for values and opinions, thereby fostering age-friendly societies. This will be in line with the ongoing United Nations Decade of Healthy Ageing 2021–2030. The Decade calls for a global battle against ageism and integrated care for older people. International Youth Day every year is thus an occasion and an important reminder to protect the human rights and dignity of older people in our country.

Solidarity across generations is key for sustainable development. As we navigate the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is especially important to nurture societies that we would all like to live in when we inevitably age.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

2. The president is the foremost, most empowered and prompt defender of the constitution, who has pre-emptive power for ensuring constitutionality in the actions of the executive or legislature. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the role of President of India in the Indian executive.

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 brief about president as the head of the Indian state.

Body:

First, write about the role of the president as the defender of the constitution.

Next, discuss how he is a titular head – He is the nominal head of the government but the real power lies with the Prime Minister. Discuss article 53, 74, 75 etc.

Next, write about where President’s powers and does not act as a rubber stamp. For Example -Veto powers of president like pocket veto, suspensive veto etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Article 53 reads as ‘The executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers’ subordinate to him’. In spite of the expression ‘directly’ in Article 53 of the Constitution, India’s President merely ‘reigns and does not rule’. The role of president is largely ceremonial in nature. This was the consequence of 42nd Constitutional Amendment that drastically curtailed the President’s powers with respect to the Council of Ministers. Article 74 (1) now mandates the President to act on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers. This prevents the president becoming a power center rivalling that of prime minister.

Body

President’s role in Indian political setup:

  • The President of India is the Head of State and the Chief Executive. The executive powers of the Union are in the hands of the President.
  • The President of India is vested with Legislative, Executive and Judicial powers. But as the advice given by CoM is binding on Indian President, in reality, most of these powers rest with the COM; but decisions are taken in the name of President of India.
  • He exercises these either directly or through officers subordinate to him. However, being the head of a parliamentary system, he is only a constitutional/titular head and exercises nominal power.
  • The President always acts in accordance with the advice of the Council of Ministersand the Prime Minister. All his powers are really used by the Prime Minister and the Union Council of Ministers.
  • The President holds the highest office in India, represents the sovereignty of India, enjoys the highest position and plays a valuable part in the working of the Indian Constitutional system.
  • President is also the supreme commander of armed forces and has powers to prorogue or dissolve the Parliament.
  • He/She further makes appointments to important posts including the PM, state governors and Supreme Court and High Court judges.

By looking at the powers of the President, it becomes quite easy to evaluate the position of the President. At the face value, the powers of the President appear to be very big and formidable. A close review, however, reveals that President of India is a nominal and constitutional executive head who exercises all his powers on the advice of the Prime Minister and his Council of Ministers. The President is always bound to accept the advice of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. However, despite such a provision, the President is neither merely a figure head nor a rubber stamp in the hands of the Ministry.

President’s discretionary powers:

  • Suspensive Veto:
    • The President has discretionary power when he exercises suspensive veto ie. when he returns a bill (not money bill) for reconsideration of the parliament.
    • However, if the bill is passed again by the Parliament with or without amendments and presented again to the President, it is obligatory for him to give his assent to the bill.
  • Pocket Veto:
    • This is not a provision mentioned in the Indian constitution, but this is a possible situation when the President of India can use his discretionary power. In this case, the President neither ratifies nor reject nor return the bill, but simply keeps the bill pending for an indefinite period.
    • As the time limit within which the President has to take the decision with respect to a bill presented to him for assent, has not been mentioned in the constitution, in effect the inaction of the President stops the bill from becoming an act.
  • President can seek information from Prime Minister:
    • Under article 78 the President enjoys the right to seek information from the PM regarding the administration of the affairs of the union.
    • Under the established convention, the President has the right to warn or encourage the Council of Minister (CoM) in the exercise of its power.
  • Case of no sitting of both houses:
    • Under Article 85, the President can summon each House of Parliament to meet at such time and place as he thinks fit, to ensure that six months shall not intervene between its last sitting in one session and the date appointed for its sitting in the next session.
  • Case of no majority:
    • When no political party or coalition of parties enjoy the majority in Lok Sabha, then the President has discretion in inviting the leader of that party or coalition of parties who in his opinion is able to form a stable government.
  • Case of no-confidence with CoM- dissolving Loksabha:
    • It is for the president to decide if he should dissolve Loksabha or not when CoM loses the majority in Lok Sabha. The President can dissolve Lok Sabha only on the advice of CoM but the advice is binding only if the government is a majority government.
  • Case of no-confidence with CoM- dissolving CoM:
    • It is for the president to decide if he should dissolve CoM or not when CoM loses the majority in Lok Sabha.
  • Case of a caretaker government:
    • A caretaker government does not enjoy the confidence of Lok Sabha and hence it is not expected to take major decisions but only to make the day-to-day administrative decisions. It is for the President to decide the day-to-day decisions.

Indian Presidents are not rubber-stamps:

  • While India’s first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad is known to have frequently disagreed with then PM Jawaharlal Nehru, seventh President Giani Zail Singh is known to have a rocky relationship with PM Rajiv Gandhi.
  • K R Narayanan, India’s tenth President, famously told the Parliament that he is ‘not a rubber stamp’ while returning a proposal calling for imposition of President’s rule in UP.
  • Pranab Mukherjee was more assertive than any of his predecessors. Although he is known to have rejected 28 mercy petitions, a record number, he commuted four sentences, in defiance of the government’s wishes and refrained from sending those back to the government for reconsideration.

President can play an effective role:

The President is not a silent institution and his role stands beyond the constitutional provisions and established conventions. The powers of the President flow from the oath he takes under Article 60 to ‘preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and submit himself to the service and well -being of people of India’. Therefore, new norms can be devised and used to preserve the faith and belief of the common man in the system. These norms can be:

  • The Constitution is silent on the limitations on the President’s activities in public affairs. Public speaking of president can initiate the debate in the society.
  • Use of pocket veto in the cases which are considered to be undermining the Constitution.
  • Reaching out to the people of India.

Conclusion

The office of the President should not be conceived as merely a ceremonial post or a rubber stamp. Within the confines of constitution, a president can redefine the activities of his office. The President can declare Emergency, suspend rights, dissolve state Assemblies and declare the government bankrupt.

 

Topic: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3. Debates are the lifeline of Parliament; their absence will diminish the institution, put a question mark on the next set of laws and deepen already hardening fault lines. In the light of recent events, examine the aforementioned statement. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about importance of debates in the parliament for our democracy.

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.

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the importance of parliamentary debates and discussion to our democracy.

Body:

Further elaborate how these debates and deliberations are enriching for our democracy. Cite examples to substantiate your points.

Next, give instances of reduced discussions on debates in key national issues in the parliament.

Next, evaluate the legislative process with respect of debates and discussions. Mention hasty passage of bills, frequent litigations, lack of expertise, bypassing Rajya Sabha, lack of referral to parliamentary committees etc.

Mention the measures that are needed to remedy this situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

In any democracy, the main function of the Parliament is to make laws. Parliamentary debates are regarded as most important since the pros and cons of all the bills are highlighted before it gets converted to law. Indian Parliament was once known for its high-quality debates.

The outgoing Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana had lamented the “sorry state of affairs” of law-making and Parliamentary debate in the country, saying there was “a lot of ambiguity in laws” which was triggering litigation and causing inconvenience to citizens, courts and other stakeholders. 

Body

Debates, discussions and deliberations: Cornerstone of parliamentary democracy

  • Parliament is the crucible of criticism, deliberation and even consensus-making.
  • Democratic accountability demands that the executive decisions be subjected to legislative scrutiny.
  • Debate in the House is important to ensure that every legislation is scrutinized extremely wellon the floor of the House.
  • Debates in Parliament ensures that the views of persons who are adversely affected by a law are heard and actively engaged with.
  • Rushed law-making, rendering Parliament a rubber stamp, sacrifices two core ideals of a constitutional democracy, namely, equal participation and respect for fundamental rights.
  • The debates and discussions are also important because when the courts have to interpret a law, one of the things that they consider is the debate in the House.
  • Debates provide a forum for MPs to express their opinions and concerns, and contribute towards making policy.
  • It allows parliamentarians to voice the interest and issues of the people of their constituencies.

Deteriorating parliamentary productivity in recent times

  • Disruption has become the norm, with the Opposition seeking to use thedebates as a ploy to gain publicity. This is a sad state of affairs as the ruling party with absolute majority is passing the bills without any adequate deliberations or discussions.
  • The basic problem starts with the government’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Opposition and give space to it to express its position on any issue.
  • With the Opposition not falling in line, the government has used its majority to push through important Bills without discussion.
  • The extent to which parliamentary proceedings have degenerated can be seen from the astonishing speed in passing Bills.
  • The Lok Sabha, on an average, took less than 10 minutes to pass a law, and the Rajya Sabha passed laws in less than half an hour. There were 13 Bills in this LS session in which no Member of Parliament spoke, other than the minister in charge of the Bill.
  • the PRS Legislative Research data has shown a significant decrease in the involvement of standing committees in legislative matters. So far, only 17 of the 82 Bills since the NDA government was re-elected in 2019 have been referred to standing committees for review.
  • Passing Bills without debate in the House or scrutiny by a committee reduces Parliament to a clearance window for legislations. This effectively means Parliament was neither fulfilling its function of deliberative lawmaking nor of holding the executive accountable.
  • Ordinary Bills are not so much discussed, either because their texts are handed over to the MPs at the last minute or because there is little time for debates.
  • In order to circumvent Parliamentary debates, the government has often followed the ordinance route.
  • The number of Bills that have been referred to parliamentary committees — the deliberative core of parliamentary work — has shrunk dramatically.

Measures needed

  • Code of Conduct:To curb disorder in Parliament there is a need for strict enforcement of code of conduct for MPs and MLAs.
    • These ideas are not new. For example, the Lok Sabha has had a simple code of conduct for its MPs since 1952. Newer forms of protest led to the updating of these rules in 1989.
    • The Lok Sabha Speaker should suspend MPs not following such codes and obstructing the Houses’ business.
  • Increasing Number of Working Days:Recommended by the 2001 conference, there should be an increase in the working days of Parliament. It resolved that Parliament should meet for 110 days every year and state legislative assemblies for 90 days.
    • In the United Kingdom, where Parliament meets over 100 days a year, opposition parties get 20 days on which they decide the agenda for discussion in Parliament. Canada also has a similar concept of opposition days.
  • Democratic Participation:Not all disruptions in the Parliament are necessarily counter-productive. Thus, the government of the day needs to be more democratic and allow the opposition to put their ideas in free manner.
  • Proposals in Individual Capacity:
    • In 2019, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson mooted an idea of evolving a ‘Parliament Disruption Index’to monitor disruptions in Parliament and state legislature.
    • In the Lok Sabha, some members proposed automatic suspension of members who cause disruptionand rush to the Well of the House.
    • But the proposals are still in a nascent stage.
  • Productivity Meter:The overall productivity of the session also can be studied and disseminated to the public on a weekly basis.
    • For this, a “Productivity Meter” could be created which would take into consideration the number of hours that were wasted on disruptions and adjournments, and monitor the productivity of the day-to-day working of both Houses of Parliament.

Way forward

  • The Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy (PLCP) was instituted in 2014 requiring that every Ministry and Department “proactively” publish every proposed draft legislation or subordinate legislation, its justification, essential elements, financial implications and an estimated impact assessment on rights, lives, livelihoods, environment, etc.
  • The policy also provides that all such information should be put in the public domain for a minimum period of 30 days and the feedback received should also be published on the website of the concerned ministry or department.
  • The policy also provides that the summary of this pre-legislative process should be made available to any Parliamentary standing committeeto which the subsequent Bill may be referred.
  • Thus, the policy envisaged a consultation while the Bill is being drafted and a study and consultation by a Parliamentary committee after it is introduced in Parliament.

Conclusion

The founding fathers of Indian Constitution adopted Parliamentary system of government by considering the fact that it will be more suitable to India’s pluralism and heterogeneity character. But at present healthy debate and discussions, the hall mark of Parliamentary democracy, was overshadowed by disruption, confrontation, forced adjournment of the houses and adopting other non-democratic alternatives.

 

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

    4. The covid-19 pandemic has presented a watershed moment, bringing the world’s healthcare systems to a halt, forcing us to rethink existing healthcare delivery models and embrace the digital transformation of the sector. Discuss. (250 words)

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Reference: Live Mint

    Why the question:

    To actualize long-term goals of augmenting India’s healthcare system, it is imperative to cohesively adopt and implement a healthcare framework with digital technology at its core.

    Key Demand of the question:

    To write about the digital transformation needed in the healthcare system of the country and ways to achieve it.

    Directive:

    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 context.

    Body:

    In the first part, write about the need for having digital transformation as highlighted by the pandemic and the benefits its offers.

    Next, write about the various steps taken in this regard – Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, national Digital health mission etc

    Next, wite about further steps that are needed to achieve a holistic transformation of the sector.

    Conclusion:

    Conclude by writing a way forward.

     

Introduction

The covid-19 pandemic has presented a watershed moment, bringing the world’s healthcare systems to a halt, forcing us to rethink existing healthcare delivery models and embrace the digital transformation of the sector. However, a lot more needs to be done to ensure a conducive environment for digital healthcare to flourish, so health benefits can reach the last mile. For instance, telemedicine became a norm for all those who couldn’t visit hospitals.

Body

Rethinking existing healthcare delivery models and embracing digital transformation

  • Prioritizing patients: Say, mortality from Covid-19 is significantly increased by comorbidities or the presence of other underlying conditions like hypertension or diabetes. With digital health records, doctors can prioritise patients based on their test results.
  • Portability of health records: Portability of records fairly eases in a patient with the first hospital visit, or her/his most frequently visited hospital.
    • If she/he wishes to change a healthcare provider for cost or quality reasons, she can access her health records without carrying pieces of paper prescriptions and test reports.
    • People will able to access their lab reports, x-rays and prescriptions irrespective of where they were generated, and share them with doctors or family members — with consent.
  • Easy facilitation: This initiative will allow patients to access healthcare facilities remotely through e-pharmacies, online appointments, teleconsultation, and other health benefits. Besides, as all the medical history of the patient is recorded in the Health ID card, it will help the doctor to understand the case better, and improved medication can be offered.
  • Technology impetus in policymaking: Meanwhile, it is also not just individuals who could emerge beneficiaries of the scheme. With large swathes of data being made available, the government too can form policies based on geographical, demographical, and risk-factor based monitoring of health.

 

Need for digital healthcare services

  • Tackling the Spread of a Pandemic: Once data is recorded and available for analysis, it can help the systems determine both prevalence and genomic data to provide information on disease transmission and geospatial coverage.
    • Innovative use of digital tools such as deep learning and cloud emergency response algorithms has significantly aided emergency room workers during the pandemic to reduce response time.
  • Patient-Friendly Health: The deployment of artificial intelligence tools for all aspects of the health system, including triaging, diagnostics, among others, will substantially reduce delays, and, therefore, the costs associated with healthcare.
    • Digital transformation of healthcare is at the core of addressing issues such as resource limitations, a varied population mix, and an urgent need to increase medical reach.
  • Preventive Care: Emerging technologies not only expedite the development of new drugs but also introduce a completely new class of therapies, such as digital therapeutics (DTx).
    • DTx are software-based solutions that can treat disease or disorder which are linked to lifestyle issues.
    • Thus, digital health has a growing impact on the delivery of care and provides the opportunity to tackle the next frontier in healthcare by shifting the focus from treatment to prevention.
  • Helps in Clinical Trials: Digital health can harness the power of data that can aid in the analysis of samples and images to diagnose as well as drive better clinical decision-making.

 

Conclusion

With an enabling ecosystem, supported by effective policies for digital healthcare and increased innovation, the promise of digital solutions in healthcare is immense. It’s not long before precision healthcare becomes central to the health and well-being of every citizen.

 


  • General Studies – 3


     

    Topic: issues of buffer stocks and food security;

    5. Ensuring food security to the poor is not only essential to protect them from another impending global food crisis, but also important for alleviating distress in our rural economy. Analyse. (250 words)

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Reference: Live Mint

    Why the question:

    The Global Drought Observatory has reported that drought is likely to affect 47% of European soil. The latest EU forecast suggests a decline of 16% for maize to 5% for wheat and 8-10% for edible oil. With parts of Ukraine witnessing lower sowing due to the war, the net impact of global food supply shocks will be felt everywhere.

    Key Demand of the question:

    To write about factors that can lead to a global food crisis and steps needed to safeguard India’s vulnerable.

    Directive:

    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: 

    Begin by giving context.

    Body:

    First, write the concerns associated with a possible impending global food crisis and factors that are leading towards it.

    Next, highlight the vulnerability of India to any possible food crisis and how it will affect the poor and the overall impact.

    Next, write about the steps that are needed this regard to mitigate adverse impact of global food crisis.

    Conclusion:

    Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Hunger levels around the world are at a new high. Around 49 million people in 43 countries are facing emergency levels of hunger. The number of severely food insecure people has doubled in just two years – from 135 million pre-pandemic to 276 million today. The Global Report on Food Crises 2022  finds that some 40 million more people globally experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021 than 2020. Over half a million Ethiopians, southern Madagascar, South Sudanese and Yemenese are suffering from acute food insecurity. Over 193 million people in 53 countries or territories experienced acute food insecurity at crisis or worse levels in 2021.

Body

Concerns associated with a possible impending global food crisis and factors that are leading towards the same

  • Conflict:
    • The Russia Ukraine Conflict has forced elements of Ukraine witnessing decrease sowing due to the struggle, the web impression of global food provide shocks might be felt in every single place.
  • Weather Extremes:
    • The Global Drought Observatory has reported that drought is probably going to have an effect on 47% of European soil. The newest EU forecast suggests a decline of 16% for maize to 5% for wheat and 8-10% for edible oil.
    • While China has seen warmth waves and drought in a number of elements of the nation, the US can also be struggling a dry season with excessive warmth and poor rains.
    • Similar circumstances have affected Brazil, with its agricultural worth output declining by 8% within the first quarter, main to excessive food inflation.
    • With most massive food producers reporting drops in manufacturing, there seems to be a powerful chance that the approaching months will see global provide shortages for many farm commodities.
  • Economic Shocks:
    • Over 30 million people in 21 countries / territories suffered acute food insecurityin 2021 due to economic shocks, down from over 40 million people in 17 countries / territories in 2020.
  • Crop diseases
    • With experiences of the standing paddy crop in main rice-producing states witnessing a thriller dwarfing illness in India, the web decline in paddy manufacturing may very well be anyplace at 15-20% in contrast to regular ranges.

Vulnerability of India to any possible food crisis

  • India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the world around 195 million.
  • India has high undernourishment (about 16% of the population), wasting (about 17%),stunting (about 31%) and low exclusive breastfeeding practice (only 58%)
  • Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India do not meet their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting.
  • 9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
  • Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

 

Measures needed to ensure food security in India

  • Agriculture-Nutrition linkage schemes have the potential for greater impact in dealing with malnutrition and thus, needs greater emphasis.
    • Recognising the importance of this link, the Ministry for Women and Child Development launched theBharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh in 2019.
    • There is a need to promote schemes directed to nutrition-agriculture link activities in rural areas. However, implementation remains the key.
  • Early fund disbursement: The government needs to ensure early disbursement of funds and optimum utilisation of funds in schemes linked to nutrition.
  • Underutilisation of Resources:It has been pointed out many a times that expenditure made under many nutrition-based schemes is considerably lower than what was allocated under them. Thus, emphasis needs to be on implementation.
  • Convergence with other Schemes:Nutrition goes beyond just food, with economic, health, water, sanitation, gender perspectives and social norms contributing to better nutrition. This is why the proper implementation of other schemes can also contribute to better nutrition.
    • The convergence of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission with schemes pertaining to nutrition,will bring holistic changes to India’s nutrition scenario.

Way forward for other countries

  • Investing in Development: As per the UN, it requires just $300 million — just 0.1 per cent of the overseas development aid spent in a year.  To put that figure into perspective, 62 new food billionaires have been created in the past two years.
  • Stabilize the global market: We must stabilize global markets, reduce volatility and tackle the uncertainty of commodity prices. We must restore fertilizer availability, especially for smallholder farmers now.
  • Food is a fundamental human right: We must alleviate immediate suffering through humanitarian assistance and by investing in social protection systems.  Invest in a long-term vision of a food systems transformation, (committed last year at the United Nations Food Systems Summit)
  • Country-specific responses: In Yemen, for example, the focus is on identifying key inefficiencies in the political economy of the food system. In Haiti, the emphasis is on diversification of the economy, improved livelihoods for women and youth, and strategic partnerships for agriculture and fisheries.
  • FAO solution: The international community calls for a shift towards better prevention, anticipation, and targeting to address the root causes of food crises 

     

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

    6. In the near future, there would be more severe irreversible repercussions if the necessary efforts to reduce these increased human-wildlife conflicts were not adopted. It has become important to reduce the growing conflicts between humans and wild animals in light of this serious economic and environmental issue. Examine. (250 words)

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

    Why the question:

    Wild elephants in Odisha face imminent danger from live electric wires. Several tuskers have fallen prey to low-hanging naked wires and even traps with live conduction by poachers, raising a serious question regarding their safety.

    Key Demand of the question:

    To write about factors that can lead to a global food crisis and steps needed to safeguard India’s vulnerable.

    Directive:

    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 defining human-animal conflict and statistics related to it.

    Body:

    First, discuss what the main causes of man wildlife conflict are – The cause of human wildlife conflict was human settlement, agricultural expansion, illegal grass collection, over grazing by livestock and deforestation in national park.

    Next, write about its consequence – As a result, local communities disliked wildlife inhabiting in and around their surroundings. human population growth and expansion, habitat degradation and fragmentation, land use transformation and increasing densities of livestock grazing in protected areas are considered as major causes of man-carnivore conflicts.

    Next, Write about the various government policies and programmes in this direction. Also, write about the further steps that are needed in this regard.

    Conclusion:

    Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Man-animal conflict is an existential crisis not only for the animals, but for human beings as well with data showing that about one person has been killed every day for the past three years by roaming tigers or rampaging elephants. India is a unique country with respect to wildlife conservation. Despite a billion people we still have most of our large wildlife species. Compared to relatively lower human density countries in south-east Asia, India today has the largest population of the tiger, Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, gaur and many others.

Wild elephants in Odisha face imminent danger from live electric wires. Several tuskers have fallen prey to low-hanging naked wires and even traps with live conduction by poachers, raising a serious question regarding their safety.

Body

Major causes of man animal conflict

  • Unsustainable development:
    • Tiger reserves, national parks and sanctuaries exist only as islets in a vast sea of human, cattle and unsustainable land use.
    • People are increasingly encroaching into the country’s traditional wild spaces and animal sanctuaries, where people compete with wildlife for food and other resources.
    • These conflicts have increased as elephants increasingly find their usual corridors blocked by highways, railway tracks and factories
    • Urbanisation and growth agendas alter landscape dynamics, which has a cascading effect on the ecological dynamics of wildlife. This results in ecological dislocation of sorts, wherein endangered wild animals like tigers either cause distress or land themselves in trouble
  • Failure of government measures:
    • ‘Human-Wildlife conflict mitigation’ said most of the measures are dysfunctional, haphazardly implemented and therefore not effective
    • Elephants are used to travelling long distances, most of which fall outside the protected areas.
    • Wildlife experts claim that territorial animals do not have enough space within reserves and their prey do not have enough fodder to thrive on. This is forcing the wild animals to move out and venture close to human habitation in search of food.
  • Primary reason for the increasing human-animal conflicts is the presence of a large number of animals and birds outside the notified protected areas. Wildlife experts estimate that 29 per cent of the tigers in India are outside the protected areas.
  • Road kill of wild animals is the new enemy to India’s wildlife
  • There is no proper land use planning and management, cumulative impact assessments or wildlife management
  • There is no buffer zone between wildlife and human settlements
  • Monkeys along with grey langurs have adapted to urban habitats over the years.
  • Continued destruction and divergence of forest lands.

Government Initiatives to reduce the man-animal conflicts are:

  • Awareness programmesto sensitize the people about the Do’s and Don’ts to minimize conflicts
  • Training programmes for forest staffand police to address the problems of human wildlife conflicts
  • Approach by wildlife protection act, 1972is that the model of conservation enshrined in is premised on creating human-free zones for the protection of rare species based on the erroneous notion that local people are the prime drivers of wildlife decline. This approach has been successful in protecting certain species, not all species.
  • Providing technical and financial supportfor development of necessary infrastructure and support facilities for immobilization of problematic animals.
  • Providing LPG to villagers: LPG should be provided to those villagers who frequently go to the forest areas specially wildlife habitats to fetch fuel wood for their chullahs so that they may stop penetrating into forest and stop inviting Man- Animal Conflicts.
  • State governments:
    • Assistance to state government for construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks
    • Supplementing the state government resources for payment of ex gratia to the people for injuries and loss of life in case of wild animal attacks
    • Encouraging state government for creation of a network of protected areas and wildlife corridors for conservation of wildlife.
    • Eco development activities in villagesaround protected areas to elicit cooperation of local community in management of the protected areas.
    • Supporting involvement of the research and academic institutions and leading voluntary organisations having expertise in managing human wildlife conflict situations.
    • To control poaching: Poaching of wild animals should be stopped so that the no of wild animals can stabilize at its carrying capacity which would reach equilibrium in the ecosystem and this equilibrium between the numbers of prey animals and predators in the forest ecosystem would be maintained.
  • Technology:
    • Information technology like radio collars, GPS, satellite uplink facilities are used by research institutions to monitor the movement of wild animals
    • Centrally sponsored schemes of project tiger, project elephant and integrated development of wildlife habitats
    • Solar Fencing around agriculture fields:Agriculture fields situated near wildlife habitat/forest areas can be protected by stone fencing or solar fencing. Solar fencing has been tried with quite good effect in Wardha District of Maharashtra.

Way Forward:

  • Forest corridorslinking protected areas must be maintained where they exist.
  • Existing habitats have to be surveyed and improved to provide food for the elephants
  • Local communitiesneed to be educated to have reduced stress levels in elephants during conflict mitigation, no fire, no firecracker and no mob crowds.
  • There is a need for a monitoring mechanismwhich will record and disperse information on such conflicts
  • Experts suggest the other way to reduce the man-animal conflict is to increase the population of wild ungulates, namely hares and the wild boars, both of which are prolific breeders, as a prey for wild carnivores. Separate big enclosures can be made in the jungles to breed them. The excess stock can be released in the jungles at regular intervals for the wild carnivores to prey upon.
  • The draft National Forest Policywill be an overarching policy for forest management. Also there is a proposal for National Community Forest Management (CFM) Mission which will be launched soon.
  • In order to be truly effective, prevention of human-wildlife conflict has to involve the full scope of society: international organizations, governments, NGOs, communities, consumers and individuals. Solutions are possible, but often they also need to have financial backing for their support and development

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  Case Study

7. One of the scientists working in the R&D laboratory of a major pharmaceutical company discovers that one of the company’s bestselling veterinary drugs has the potential to cure a currently incurable liver disease which is prevalent in tribal areas. However, developing a variant of the drug suitable for human being entailed a lot of research and development having a huge expenditure to the extent of Rs. 50 crores. It was unlikely that company would recover the cost as the disease was rampant only in poverty stricken areas having very little market otherwise.

If you were the CEO, then

(a) Identify the various actions that you could take

(b) Evaluate the pros and cons of each of your actions (250 Words) (20 M) (UPSC 2015)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving the context. Bring out the key stakeholders in the above case study and major ethical dilemmas present.

Body:

In the body, write about the various course of action available for you as the CEO.

Next, give valid arguments for the both the above-mentioned courses of action that you can take. Evaluate its pros and cons in detail

Conclusion:

Write about the course of action you will take.

Introduction

The above case presents a scenario where the private drug company has developed a potential cure to an incurable liver disease, prevalent among tribals. The case presents a dilemma of a CEO who has to ensure the profitability of the drug company meanwhile being compassionate and trustee of the society in which the company is located too.

Body

The various actions which can be taken by me as CEO are:

  1. to adhere to my obligations and professional ethics, which is to serve my company and to garner its maximum profit.
  2. Taking support of Government by the Viability gap funding.
  3. Raising money through finance market.
  4. Collaborating with foreign company
  5. appealing to public through media and NGO’s for collaboration and funds through sale of products

Evaluation of the options:

  • Option 1:to adhere to my obligations and professional ethics, which is to serve my company and to garner its maximum profit
    • Merits:
      • Professional Loyalty to the company.
      • this would not be contradictory to my personal ethics which derives from my societal obligations and my conscience.
    • Demerits:
      • Company will lose the public goodwill and do a bigger harm.
      • Against the trusteeship factor of the company.
    • Option 2:Taking support of government by the Viability gap funding.
      • Merits:
        • It will solve the funding issue.
        • Poor people will benefit. Justice will be done to them.
        • Government machinery can be utilized for better service delivery.
      • Demerits:
        • It will put Subsidy burden on government.
        • Company’s ownership of product will be diluted
      • Option 3:Raising money through finance market
        • Merits:
          • It will solve the problem temporarily.
          • Poor people will benefit
          • Corporate Social Responsibility will be fulfilled
        • Demerits:
          • Investors may lose money in future.
          • My company might come under severe financial stress.
        • Option 4:collaborating with foreign company
          • Merits:
            • Not just poor of India, but of whole world will benefit.
            • The problem can be solved in holistic manner.
          • Demerits:
            • Issues of Intellectual property rights may hamper this collaboration.
            • foreign company may sell the drug at higher prices.
          • Option 5:appealing to the public through media and NGO’s for collaboration and funds through sale of products
            • Merits:
              • Pool for social activities will be created
              • Good publicity of company will be done.
              • Increase in sales and profits which then are transfer to the project
            • Demerits:
              • It may also decrease the sale as price of company’s products will be increased.
              • may take a long time to collect necessary funds

Conclusion

In the above scenario, I would go in for the combination of options 2 and 5 along with pitching in with some of my company’s CSR funds. This would ensure public goodwill for my company as well as ensure an easy, affordable access of the drug to the tribals. Compromises have to be struck between the profit motive of my company and the public good in a way that both benefit from each other in a complementary manner. This will also set a precedent for others to follow who are faced with such a dilemma thus increasing social capital and trust in society.


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