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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS:27 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.

 

Answer the following questions in 150 words:


General Studies – 1


 

1. What is a cloudburst? Analyse the reasons for their rising instances across India and its consequences.

Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India

 

Introduction

Cloudbursts are sudden and extreme rainfall events over a limited area in a short span of time. India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines a cloudburst as any event where 100 millimetres of rainfall have fallen in a span of an hour over a region that is 20-30 square kilometres in area.

Over 20 people have been killed in destruction caused by cloudbursts and flash floods in different parts of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand & Ladakh over the last three days. Isolated areas in these two states have reported heavy rainfall during this time, triggering landslides and flash floods that have disrupted rail and road traffic, and resulted in house and wall collapses.

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Reasons for rising instances

  • Several studies have shown that climate change will increase the frequency and intensity of cloudbursts in many cities across the globe.
  • In May 2022, the World Meteorological Organization noted that there is about a 40% chance of the annual average global temperature temporarily reaching 1.5°C above the pre-industrial level in at least one of the next five years.
  • While the hilly terrain and other conditions fuelling cloudbursts have caused such incidents even in the past, the frequency of events such as cloudbursts, flash floods, urban floods are increasing due to climate change and global warming of the planet.
  • Rainfall depends on temperature which impacts wind pattern and cloud formation. With increasing temperatures, such events are on the rise.
  • According to experts with rise in temperature, the atmosphere becomes capable of holding more and more water resulting in a short but very intense rainfall in a region.
  • High temperatures result in increased moisture levels, this moisture content then manifests itself in the form of either pre-monsoon thunderstorms in the Indo-Gangetic Plains or cloud bursts or hailstorms in mountainous regions like Uttarakhand.

Consequences

  • Cloudburst results in flash floods in area.
  • Landslides & land cavings in hilly areas.
  • Intense rainfall events not only lead to disasters like floods and extreme damage but also leads to intense soil erosion, leaching and poses huge problems in recharging of the water table.
  • Sudden outbursts of clouds also harm the standing crop and green vegetation along with resulting in long periods of no rainfall.
  • Households will be affected with loss of lives of humans and animals.
  • Loss of buildings and property damage.
  • Loss of forests and cultivable land.
  • Loss of infrastructure like bridges and flyovers.

Way forward & Conclusion

  • There is no satisfactory techniquefor anticipating the occurrence of cloud bursts because they develop over a small period of time.
  • A very fine network of radars is requiredto be able to detect the likelihood of a cloud burst and this would be expensive.
  • Only the areas likely to receive heavy rainfall can be identified on a short range scale.
  • Much of the damage can be avoided by way of identifying the areas and the meteorological situations that favour the occurrence of cloud bursts.

 


General Studies – 2


 

2. In absence of a data protection framework, any encroachment of the fundamental right to privacy of citizens is sans accountability. Analyse.

Reference: Insights on India

 

Introduction

Data protection is the process of protecting data and involves the relationship between the collection and dissemination of data and technology. It aims to strike a balance between individual privacy rights while still allowing data to be used for myriad purposes. The sheer volume of people’s data on the internet and the advancements in technologies such as Artificial intelligence, Data mining and machine learning poses a threat of abuse and misuse of data.

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Data protection in India

  • Several countries have dedicated law for data protection like Japan’s Act on Protection of Personal Information. European Union has also adopted General Data Protection Regulation 2018.
  • India does not have any dedicated legal framework for data protection. Presently some acts cover the data protection in general.
    • Sec 43A of Information Technology Act 2000 protects user data from misuse but it is applicable to only corporate entities and not on government agency. Also, the rules are restricted to sensitive personal data only — medical history, biometric information among other things.
    • Other acts like Consumer Protection Act 2015, Copyrights Act 1957 among others also attempt to protect the personal information.
  • The need for a more robust data protection legislation came to the fore in 2017 post the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd) v. Union of India that established the right to privacy as a fundamental right.
  • In 2018, a draft version of the bill was prepared by a committee headed by retired Justice B N Srikrishna. Recently, the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Electronics and Information Technology.

Need for Data Protection in India

India has around 40 cr internet users and 25cr social media users who spend significant time online. The average cost for data breach in India has gone up to Rs. 11.9 crore, an increase of 7.9% from 2017. Moreover, in the KS Puttaswamy case, the Supreme Court has declared Data Privacy as a fundamental right under Article 21. Hence it becomes all the more significant to ensure data protection. The reasons are as follows:

  • Data Export: Most of the data storage companies are based abroad. Especially the e-commerce companies that have exabytes of data on Indians. They also export data to other jurisdiction making it difficult to apply Indian laws.
  • Data Localization: Enforcing data localization has faced backlash from many private entities and their home governments. There hundreds of private players are involved in data dynamics which makes it difficult to apply uniform data protection framework.
  • User Consent: Generally, the application using pre-ticked boxes on consent while asking users regarding the acceptance to the terms and conditions.
  • Privacy Breach: It is usually difficult to trace the perpetrator invading the data privacy.
  • Privacy laws: Currently, the usage and transfer of personal data of citizens is regulated by the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2011, under the IT Act, 2000. However, this are applicable only to private entities and not on government agency.
  • Data ownership: As per TRAI guidelines, individuals own the data, while the collectors and data processors are mere custodians of data who are subject to regulations.

Conclusion

Considering the data privacy as the fundamental right of a citizen and economic downturns of the potential breaches in data, government need to reconsider the above pending issues. A robust Personal data protection law is the need of the hour. Due importance needs to be given on public awareness, better implementation and regulation and efficient grievance redressal as well.

 

 

3. There exists a shield to protect the misuse of this power by Parliament, and that shield is commonly known as the “Doctrine of Basic Structure”. Discuss.

Reference: Insights on India

 

Introduction

The Doctrine of Basic structure, one of the most important examples of judicial activism is the result of the creative interpretation of the constitution by the judiciary. It was given by the 13-judges bench of the Supreme Court in the Keshavananda Bharti case (1973), and was aimed at defining the scope of the amending power of the Parliament. It is a doctrine to examine the constitutional validity of constitutional amendment.

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Interpretation and relevance of Basic Structure Doctrine

  • The emergence of doctrine of ‘Basic structure’ marked asignificant shift in the role of judiciary from practice of constitutional interpretation to a creative role where judiciary go beyond the written provisions of the constitution.
  • As per the Indian constitution, Parliament has been given the constituent power to amend the constitution according to the changing needs & aspirations.
    • Being a dynamic or organic constitution, aimed at achieving a certain goal of social revolution the Indian constitution mentions special procedure for its amendment.
    • It means that there is no explicit limitation on the amending power of the Parliament; expect procedural limitations as given in Art 360.
  • However, in the Keshvananda Bharti Case (1973), on the question whether the amending power of the Parliament isunlimited and absolute, the Supreme Court held that the amending power is limited to the extent that it doesn’t alter the ‘Basic Structure’ of the constitution.
  • The court held that the word ‘amend’ under Art 368 means only changes other than altering the basic features of the constitution,which would amount to making or writing a new constitution.
  • In this way, the Supreme Court, whilegiving primacy to the unwritten feature of the constitution introduced a ‘substantive limitation’ on the amending power of the Parliament.
  • However, the judgment of the Supreme Court inventing a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ has been subjected to intense academic debate.
    • The opponents of the judgement claimsthat the judiciary has gone for the metaphysical approach rather than the legal approach of what is written.
    • They argue that if the government was destroying the constitution, the judiciary has gone to the extent of creating the constitution.
  • On the other hand, the proponents of the decision argue that judiciary has protected the sanctity of the constitution.

Significance of Basic Structure Doctrine

  • The basic structure doctrine is a testimony to the theory of Constitutionalismto prevent the damage to essence of COI by brute majority of the ruling majority.
  • The basic doctrine saved the Indian democracyas it acts as a limitation of constituent power or else unlimited power of parliament might have turned India into a totalitarian
  • It helps us to retain the basic tenets of our constitutionso meticulously framed by the founding fathers of our Constitution.
  • It strengthens our democracy by delineating a true separation of power where Judiciary is independent of other two organs. It has also given immense untold unbridled power to Supreme Court and made it the most powerful court in the world
  • By restraining the amending powers of legislative organ of State,it provided basic Rights to Citizens which no organ of State can overrule.
  • Being dynamic in nature,it is more progressive and open to changes in time unlike the rigid nature of earlier judgements.

 

Conclusion

Zia Modi, in her book ‘The Ten Judgments that changed India’, has given following arguments- Although the judiciary was wrong from the academic point of view, but from the practical point of view, it was the need of the time in the Indian context. (ii) It has proved to be a blessing in disguise as it has checked authoritarianism of the government. This has stopped India from going on the path of the other Third World countries.

Value addition

Evolution

  • Origin of debate: The question whetherFundamental Rights can be amended by the Parliament under Article 368 came for consideration of the Supreme Court within a year of the Constitution coming into force.
  • Shankari Prasad case (1951): The constitutional validity of theFirst Amendment Act (1951), which curtailed the right to property, was challenged. The Supreme Court ruled that the power of the Parliament to amend the Constitution under Article 368 also includes the power to amend Fundamental Rights. The word ‘law’ in Article 13 includes only ordinary laws and not the constitutional amendment acts (constituent laws).
    • Therefore, the Parliament can abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights by enacting a constitutional amendment act and such a law will not be void under Article 13.
  • Golak Nath case (1967): The Supreme Court reversed its earlier stand. In that case, the constitutional validity of theSeventeenth Amendment Act (1964), which inserted certain state acts in the Ninth Schedule, was challenged.
    • The Supreme Court ruled that the Fundamental Rights are given a ‘transcendental and immutable’ position and hence, the Parliament cannot abridge or take away any of these rights.
    • A constitutional amendment act is also a law within the meaning of Article 13 and hence, would be void for violating any of the Fundamental Rights.
  • 24thAmendment Act 1971: The Parliament reacted to the Supreme Court’s judgement in the Golak Nath case (1967) by enacting the 24 th Amendment Act (1971). This Act amended Articles 13 and 368.
    • It declared that the Parliament has the power to abridge or take away any of theFundamental Rights under Article 368 and such an act will not be a law under the meaning of Article 13.
  • Kesavananda Bharati case: However, in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973), the SupremeCourt overruled its judgement in the Golak Nath case (1967). It upheld the validity of the 24th Amendment Act (1971) and stated that Parliament is empowered to abridge or take away any of the Fundamental Rights.
    • At the same time, it laid down a new doctrine of the ‘basic structure’ (or ‘basic features’) of the Constitution.
    • It ruled that the constituent power of Parliament under Article 368 does not enable it to alter the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.
    • This means that the Parliament cannot abridge or take away a Fundamental Right that forms a part of the ‘basic structure’ of the Constitution.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

4. By producing solar energy in every famers field, we can have clean energy in rural areas, and double and stabilise farmers’ incomes. Critically Analyse.

Reference: Indian Express 

 

Introduction

There is an increasing renewable energy demand across the globe in the wake of climate crisis and shift to clean and green energy. Solar-cum-agricultural farms will be one such solution to cater it.

Carrying out expansion of solar power capacity as well as for crop farming together is known as solar-cum-agricultural farm. The power produced by the photovoltaic modules installed in the fields can help meet energy needs of the farm operations besides selling the remaining power.

The rainwater falling over the photovoltaic panels can be collected for irrigation, turning it into solar-cum-agriculture-cum-rainwater harvesting farm. Various designs and models of solar farming have been conceived abroad to suit local conditions, particularly the availability of sunlight.

 

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Scope and potential of solar power generation in Indian farms

  • In India, the most suitable and scientifically tried and tested model of agri-photovoltaic system has been evolved by the Jodhpur-based Central Arid Zone Research Institute (Cazri).
  • This system, is ideally suited to the country’s vast western arid zone spanning west Rajasthan, northwest Gujarat and parts of Haryana and Punjab, covering an area of around 32 million hectares.
    • This zone receives copious solar radiation in most part of the year.
  • The crops which do not grow too tall or require too much water are advised to be planted in such a farm.
  • It promotes crop diversity as pulses, vegetable crops can be farmed below the solar panels.
  • Solar-Farming can resolve land availability constraints for setting up solar farms.
  • This model allows gainfully utilising the synergies between the two to boost net returns from the same piece of land.
  • It can contribute to achieving the much-hyped objectives of doubling farm incomes by 2022.
  • The crop cover in between the rows of the solar panels helps check soil erosion to reduce the dust load on the panels.

 

Challenges associated with solar farming

  • Setting up of such integrated agri-photovoltaic farms is typically a cost-intensive proposition, heavy investments may be unaffordable for most Indian farmers.
    • It is advisable to encourage the solar energy entrepreneurs to consider joining hands with the farmers on mutually agreed terms, instead of going in for solo photovoltaic units.
    • This will be mutually beneficial for both of them otherwise, agri-solar farms may not proliferate.
  • Government must incentivise farmers to produce solar energy on field and bringing the majority of farmers who are small and marginal will be herculean task. Hence the proposition must be attractive to small farmers.
  • Operation and maintenance also can be considerably high which may not be viable in the long run for the farmers. Thus, such solar farms must be sustainable by earning revenue to farmers through selling power to the grid.

Conclusion

Therefore, the production of crop by using the method “inclusive growth, green growth” model needs to supplement the solar parks model being developed by entrepreneurs which will help in better utilisation of social capital and powers of mobilization. And it will lead to double and stabilize farmers’ incomes which will help in achieve the purpose of slogan of “Jai Anusandhan” .

 

Value addition

Case Study

  • A pilot in Najafgarh KVK area revealed that farmers can earn additional income of upto `1 lakh/acre, when the capital cost is incurred by another entrepreneur.
  • This concept needs wider validation in different states with good sunshine.
  • This is the ‘inclusive growth, green growth’ model that needs to supplement the solar parks model being developed by big entrepreneurs.

 

 

5. On the one hand, the 5G roll-out is set to enhance efficiency, productivity, and security. On the other hand, the cyber vulnerabilities of 5G technology pose a huge challenge to its successful implementation. Analyse.

Reference: The HindiInsights on India

 

Introduction

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently announced that 5G deployment in India will commence sooner than expected. Reports suggest that the government will launch 5G at the inauguration of the India Mobile Congress on September 29. The long-awaited upgrade from 4G to 5G will allow ultra-fast Internet speeds and seamless connectivity across the country compared to 4G. The implications of the 5G roll-out could be significant, particularly for law enforcement in India.

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Potential benefits of 5G

  • 5G is the next generation of mobile broadbandthat will eventually replace, or at least augment 4G LTE connection.
    • Department of Telecommunication (DoT) in 2017 setup a 5G steering committee headed by AJ Paulraj.
  • The committee submitted the report and suggest important steps. In 2018, India planned to start 5G services but it has not yet materialized.
  • Operate in the millimeter wave spectrum (30-300 GHz)which have the advantage of sending large amounts of data at very high speeds.
  • Operate in 3 bands,namely low, mid and high frequency spectrum.
  • Reduced latencywill support new applications that leverage the power of 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence.
  • Increased capacityon 5G networks can minimize the impact of load spikes, like those that take place during sporting events and news events.

Issues with roll out of 5G

  • Cybersecurity Issues: Deploying 5G when we have a shaky cyber security foundation is like erecting a structure on soft sand. As the previous networks were hardware-based, India could practise cyber hygiene. But 5G is a software-defined digital routing. This makes it susceptible to cyber threats such as botnet attacks, man-in-the-middle attacks, and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) overloads.
  • 5G lacks end-to-end encryption: hackers can plot their attacks more precisely and perpetrate cybercrimes by hacking into systems or disseminating illegal content. The bandwidth expansion due to 5G will enable criminals to embezzle data bases easily. With time, as 5G connects with additional devices, the frequency of attacks could increase.
  • Cyber-bullying: Criminal groups may be able to easily coordinate DDoS onslaughts because of the real-time communication capabilities between multiple criminal groups. They could also hack into Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices and remotely commit crimes.
  • Security issues: Terrorists, too, could benefit from 5G as the high speed would allow them to execute attacks more rapidly and precisely. With 5G, terrorists can plan attacks without having to travel physically or use telephones, which could leave a trail for law enforcement agencies to act on.
  • Risks: Risks associated withincreased data transfers and the proliferation of poorly secured IoT devices that will appear alongside 5G.
    • If the implementation and use of 5G lead to a greater number of connections and a larger amount of data being transferred, it follows that the attack surface area will increase alongside it.
    • Greater use simply brings more opportunities for hackers to find a way in.
  • Privacy: 5G proponents tout the wonder of having all household appliances and systems connected to the internet wirelessly in order to give people remote access via cellphone or computer.
    • What is not considered is the power to eavesdrop on users without their knowledge when there is proliferation of electronic devices connected to internet and collecting data.
  • Huge investment needed:The introduction of 5G will involve a heavy upfront investment and have a long payback period. Thus, the viability of 5G after the introduction is a major challenge.

Conclusion

The shift from 4G to 5G is not incremental, but transformational. Skipping of 5G is not a choice India can afford. The economic impact of 5G in India is expected to be over $1 trillion by 2035 according to the report of KPMG. The Sooner the deployment of 5G in India is the better for India. India has to work on Indigenous 5G technology. This will also help bring down the cost of 5G technology and benefit the end users especially addressing the security and privacy risks.

 

Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):


General Studies – 1


 

6. The construction of the “new India” which is a gender-inclusive nation, based on the liberal ethos found in our cultural-civilisational values and new ideas for a post-modern world would be crucial women empowerment. Examine.

Reference: Indian Express

Introduction

The Prime Minister in the 75th Independence Day speech marked the creation of a gender-inclusive nation, based on the liberal ethos found in our cultural-civilisational values and new ideas for a post-modern world. He said such a society will achieve the dreams of all its members, the entire nation, by channelling to a greater degree the potential of women. He also underlined the role of women — veeranganas — in our freedom movement.

Gender inequality in India

  • India scores quite low in when it comes to gender inequality, according to latest UNDP Human development report, India is ranked 125 of 159 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII).
  • Labour participation:In terms of labour participation only 23.3% of women (79.1% men) above 15 years are part of India’s labour force.
  • Wage gap: Research from India’ leading diversity and inclusion consulting firm Avtar Group shows that women are paid 34% less than men for performing the same job with the same qualifications.
  • Lack of Economic Empowerment:Women are underrepresented in senior managerial position and overrepresented in low paying jobs. Oxford Survey shows that globally only 19% firms have a female senior manager.
  • Access to productive capital: It is harder for women to access funds and capital for farming, starting a business or for other developmental works.
  • Secondary Education for women is lower than man in majority of countries while this stands at less than 80% in India.
  • Social norms and stereotypes:Classifying men as “bread winners” and women pursuing jobs as “career women” was reported by Oxford University Survey. It also highlighted that most of the unpaid work is seen as a women’s job.

Need for harness the liberal cultural ethos of India for new India for women empowerment

  • Women are known for delivering multiple roles effortlessly per day, and thus, they are considered the backbone of every society.
  • Living in male-dominating societies, women play a wide range of roles, such as caring mothers, loving daughters, and capable colleagues.
  • The best part is that they fit the bill perfectly in every role. Nonetheless, they’ve also stood as a neglected bunch of society in different parts of the world.
  • In turn, it has resulted in women surviving the brunt of unevenness, financial trustworthiness, oppression, and distinct social evils.
  • Women have been residing under the shackles of enslavement for centuries now that impedes them from attaining professional as well as personal highs.
  • Women’s empowerment is valuable for the development and advancement of the family, community as well as the nation.
  • Women empowerment in India is one of the principal terms for society’s overall development.
  • There is nothing erroneous in participating in the development of society. In the world of corporates, women are playing numerous roles in meadows such as medical, engineering, and so on.
  • Apart from taking part in the sphere of technology, they are energetically partaking in security services such as police, navy, military, etc. All these before-mentioned services are taking the community to another level.

New ideas that are needed as part of the post-modern world for women empowerment

  • Giving education to women means giving education to the whole family.Education plays an important role in building self-confidence among women.
  • It is important to assert a feeling of oneness or unity, the foundation for which must be laid in the homes of the common people.
  • Every household must treat its sons and daughters equally.
  • Such a household, particularly in the joint family system, is our cultural heritage.
  • It is this culture that is “cultivated by the daughter and sisters” and holds within it “Nar” and “Narayani”.
  • The rich cultural values of our civilisation, which assert equality through the lens of “divinity” in both male and female forms should be upheld.
  • The mass media performs a crucial role in repairing the attitude and way of conversation of husband and other family members towards women.
  • Women should empower themselves by becoming to be aware of their oppression, indicating initiative, and confiscating chances to bring a shift in their status. Empowerment must come from within the soul.
  • Women need to empower themselves by bringing a major change in their attitude.
  • There is a need to devise, support and promote projects at the lowest level of governance, to bring more inclusivity in governance and improve the status of women in India.

Conclusion

Women should be reimagined as architects of India’s progress and development, rather than being passive recipients of the fruits of development. The ripple effects of Women Led Development are undeniable as an educated and empowered woman will ensure education and empowerment for future generations.

 


General Studies – 2


 

7. 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.

Reference: Live mint

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.

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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.

 

8. The developments affecting India’s neighbourhood over the past decade have led India to take a close look at her foreign and security policies. There is a widely shared belief that India has to formulate policy options to secure her national interests, keeping in view the changes occurring in her neighbourhood. Comment.

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

 

Introduction

Recurrent political or economic crises in neighbouring countries draw India back into the subcontinent and constrain its ability to deal with larger regional and global issues. Moreover, adversaries like China seek to keep India tethered in the subcontinent.

“Neighbourhood First” has been a cardinal component of India’s foreign policy. Unless India manages its periphery well in the subcontinent, its pursuit of a more significant role in the Asian region and the world will remain suboptimal.

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Developments affecting India’s neighbourhood

  • Bangladesh: The domestic political rhetoric in India about illegal Bangladeshi migrants and their alleged involvement in communal riots has had a negative resonance in the country and cast a shadow on our relations.
    • It is essential to ensure that the compulsions of domestic politics do not affect India’s foreign policy adversely.
  • Pakistan: With Pakistan too, India has historical adversity dating back to Independence and Partition and also the four wars that the former lost.
    • Even more critical to the restoration of normalcy in bilateral ties is terrorism.
    • Fuelling separatist tendencies in Kashmir and state sponsored terror attacks (Pulwama, Uri) have led to nonstarter of diplomatic relations.
  • Nepal: In the Indo-Nepal ties, the Kalapani boundary dispute is a major issue.
    • In 2019, Nepal released a new political map claiming Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh of Uttarakhand and the area of Susta (West Champaran district, Bihar) as part of Nepal’s territory.
  • Sri Lanka: Despite India’s protests against anchoring of Chinese war-spy ship in Hambantota, Sri Lanka allowed them to anchor. This is a serious breach of trust from Sri Lanka.
    • Killing of Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy is a lingering issue between these two nations.
    • In 2019 and 2020, a total of 284 Indian fishermen were arrested and a total of 53 Indian boats were confiscated by the Sri Lankan authorities.
  • China: After the Galwan valley clash, relations deteriorated including banning Chinese apps, measures to halt Chinese FDI and so on.
  • Other issues: In Myanmar, military coup overthrew the democratic government.
    • Afghanistan’s Taliban takeover will mark one year this August 2023.

The recent political instability in Pakistan, the economic crisis in Sri Lanka, the ’India Out’ campaign in Maldives and China’s growing footprint in Nepal are other major challenges for India.

India’s response to shift in geo-politics

  • A Revised Foreign & Security Policy: Being the largest and most powerful country in the subcontinent, India’s security perimeter goes beyond its national borders, a strong Indian foreign and security policy must ascertain that its neighbourhood remains peaceful, stable, and benign, and no hostile presence can entrench itself anywhere in the subcontinent and threaten India’s security.
    • The challenge for Indian foreign policy lies in creating effective and enduring incentives for our neighbours to remain sensitive to India’s security interests and use India’s more powerful economy to become an engine of growth for them.
    • India shall emerge for its neighbours as a net security provider for the region.
  • Lesser Interventions: To deal with the increasing engagement of the smaller neighbours with external partners India should not clearly articulate red lines with each country as it would openly invite charges of disrespect of the sovereignty of neighbours.
    • A better way would be to intervene less in the internal political affairs of its neighbours and subtly make it known that what India will never accept is the physical presence of a hostile foreign power in a manner that would adversely impact its security especially in a case of open borders.
  • Taking Advantage of Political Shifts: There are significant shifts taking place in the neighbourhood. There is a leadership change in Pakistan, which offers the prospect of reviving the India-Pakistan engagement.
    • The objectives should be modest, these include the resumption of bilateral dialogue in a format similar to the earlier comprehensive dialogue template.
    • It is in India’s interest to promote regional economic integration, and SAARC is the one important available platform for that purpose.
    • BIMSTEC should not be looked upon as an alternative to SAARC but should pursue it on its own merits.
  • Cross-Border Connectivity: To bring into use its proximity with the other countries, India requires efficient cross-border connectivity both in terms of infrastructure and procedures to allow the smooth and seamless transit of goods and peoples.
  • Opening More to Trade: The economic and technological power of India is a vast and expanding market.
    • Even if this market were opened up fully to whatever our neighbours can produce and sell, this would constitute only a small fraction of India’s market but would mean a great deal for them.
  • Transportation: Given its much more developed land and maritime transport system, India should develop its role as the partner of choice for trade and transportation.

Conclusion

India’s immediate neighbourhood directly impacts it geopolitically, geo-strategically and geo-economically because of its vicinity. Thus, working with them is important for India to rise as a superpower. Emphasis must be on sustainable and inclusive development. India’s neighbourhood first policy, SAGAR initiative etc. are critical for this.

 


General Studies – 3


 

9. 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.

Reference: Live Mint 

 

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

 

10. The debate regarding the relationship between socioeconomic development and natural disasters remains at the fore of global discussions, as the potential risk from climate extremes and uncertainty pose an increasing threat to developmental prospects. Critically examine.

Reference: The Hindu

 

Introduction

India is more vulnerable to natural disasters because of its unique geo-climatic condition, having recurrent floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, and landslides. As India is a very large country, different regions are vulnerable to different natural disasters. Monsoon rain patterns are being disrupted leading to a rise in cloudburst-like events as well as a rise in the frequency of high-energy cyclones and droughts.

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Background

  • Monsoon rainfall over India is 8% more than what is usual for this time of the year.
  • While this might bode well for agriculture in some regions, it also means floods and concentrated downpours with devastating consequences.
  • At least 25 people were killed over the weekend as torrential rains triggered flash floods and landslips in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
  • A recent report released by Himachal Pradesh’s Department of Environment, Science and Technology underlines that mountain areas are highly vulnerable to natural disasters, where development over the years has compounded the problem by upsetting the ecological balance of various physical processes.

Impact of Natural disaster on Socioeconomic development

  • Primary ramifications is in the form of death and damage to property.
  • Secondary effects with long-term downstream impact include Schools and transport facilities, for instance, are immediately put out of action, leading to loss of productive hours.
  • Cattle and saplings are left to perish, which in turn destroys livelihoods, debilitates family finances and strains the finances of the state exchequer.

Development prospects vis-à-vis climate vagaries

  • While the inherent risks of infrastructure development in hills and unstable terrain is well understood, these are often elided by authorities in the name of balancing the demands of the people for better infrastructure and services.
  • The increased risk and cost to such projects and infrastructure should be factored in when they are tendered out by the government, and scientific advice regarding development ought to be strictly adhered to.
  • The India Meteorological Department now provides fortnightly, weekly and even three-hourly weather forecasts to districts. Within these are integrated warnings about flash floods and lightning.

Way forward

  • Frame good macroeconomic policies before and after shocks.
  • Provision in the budget for emergency spending helps crisis mitigation and resolution, insurance coverage and low public debt bolster government spending flexibility if reconstruction needs arise.
  • Public investment in risk reduction.
  • Improvement in government policy frameworks to better manage risk and mitigate economic and social costs.
  • Estimate the probability of shocks and identify local vulnerabilities and integrate into plans for contingencies, investing in risk reduction, insurance, self-insurance, and disaster response.
  • Tax and spending policies need to be flexible, to allow rapid redeployment of spending when needed.
  • Coordination with foreign partners before disaster strikes could mobilize external assistance for risk reduction, which is likely to earn.
  • NDRF needs to be better equipped with technical equipment and personnel training and emphasis should be laid on deploying young men in the response force.
  • Need to have better coordination between NDMA and MHA for achieving an international standard response mechanism in India.
  • Emergency medical response & preparedness for mass casualty management should acquire priority in the education curricula of medical nursing.
  • The need and importance of priority attention to be accorded to training of personnel and procurement of modern equipment’s.
  • The government should create an online software for the management of the onsite data which could be updated without getting in to protocols.

Conclusion:

Disaster is a catastrophic situation in which normal pattern of life and or ecosystem has been disrupted and extraordinary emergency interventions are required to save and preserve lives and or environment. The best strategy is to be Proactive rather than reactive in tackling natural disasters and in mitigating the disasters in case of natural or man-made disasters.


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