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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 October 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. Harappan civilisation along with its remarkable features of architecture and town planning also has contributions towards India’s diverse maritime heritage. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday evening reviewed the construction of the National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) site at Gujarat’s Lothal via video conferencing. “There are many such tales of our history that have been forgotten,” the PM said. “Lothal was not only a major trading centre of the Indus Valley Civilisation, but it was also a symbol of India’s maritime power and prosperity

Key Demand of the question:

To write Harapan architecture, urban planning and maritime heritage of Harapan civilisation.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by context about Harappan architecture.

Body:

First, write about various remarkable features of Harappan architecture and town planning – urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems etc. Cite examples.

Next, write maritime features of Harappan towns and cities and how they have contributed towards India’s diverse maritime heritage. Cite examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

A flourishing civilisation emerged on the banks of river Indus in the second half of the third millennium BCE and spread across larger parts of Western India. A marked feature if this civilisation was the vivid imagination and artistic sensibilities. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were the two major cities if this civilisation.

Body

Background

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently reviewed the construction of the National Maritime Heritage Complex (NMHC) site at Gujarat’s Lothal via video conferencing.
  • “There are many such tales of our history that have been forgotten,” the PM said.
  • He added that Lothal was not only a major trading centre of the Indus Valley Civilisation, but it was also a symbol of India’s maritime power and prosperity

Features of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Town planning Architecture
    • Layout: The town were laid out in a rectangular grid pattern and the roads ran in North-South and East-West direction cutting each other at right angles.
    • Construction: The big roads divided the city into many blocks and smaller lanes were used to connect housed to the main roads. Harappan used burnt bricks of standard dimension for construction.
    • Types of buildings: Dwelling houses, public buildings and public baths are commonly found.
    • Planning: The city was divided into two parts. An upraised citadel in the western part was used for buildings of large dimensions, such as granaries, administrative buildings and courtyard.
      • The elite class stayed in the citadel part of the town.
    • Granaries had strategic air ducts and raised platforms for storage and protection from pests. Eg: The great granary in Mohenjo-Daro and 2 rows of 6 granaries in Harappa.
  • Public Baths: This is a remarkable feature of the civilisation which indicated the importance given to ritualistic cleansing in the culture. Eg: The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro
    • There are no cracks or leaks in the great bath which shows the engineering acumen of the Harappan people.
  • Drainage system: This is the most striking feature as small drains ran from small houses and were connected to larger drains running alongside the main roads. They were covered loosely to do periodic maintenance. Cesspits were placed at regular intervals.
  • Use of seals:Seals were primarily used for commercial purpose. They were mostly square and rectangle but circular and triangular were also used.
    • Some seals were used as amulets as well as they were found on dead bodies.
    • Pictographic script on seals have been found which might have been used for educational purposes.
    • Eg: Unicorn seal, Pashupathi seal made of Steatite.
  • Bronze casting: There was a wide scale practice of bronze casting. They were made using the lost wax technique or Cire Perdue. Eg: Bronze dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro, broze bull of Kalibangan etc.
  • Pottery: There were plain and painted pottery (Red and Black pottery). They were mainly used for household purposes for storage, decorative purposesand some for straining liquor as they have perforations.
  • Jewellery and clothing: Both men and women wore ornaments like necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger rings. Girdles, anklets were worn only by women.
    • Beads made of amethyst, quartz, steatite etc were quite popular as was evident from excavation on Chanudaro and Lothal.
    • For fabric cotton and wool was used. Spindles and whorls were made from expensive faience as well as cheap clay.

Maritime heritage

  • Dockyard:
    • Lothal in Gujaratis now called Manchester of Indus-Valley.
    • Here ship remains and instruments for measuring angles were also found.
    • Lothal had the world’s earliest known dock, connecting the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river.
    • the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa discovered marine microfossils and salt, gypsum crystals at the site, indicating that sea water once filled the structure and it was definitely a dockyard.

Conclusion

The Indus valley civilization was the largest of all the four civilizations of the time and was contemporary to the Mesopotamian civilisation. The features of Indus-Valley such as the planned network of roads, houses and drainage systems indicate the planning and the engineering skills that developed during those times.

 

 

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. At Cuba, the Cold war almost blew hot and the confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India

Why the question:

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s veiled threat of using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine marked the first prospect of nuclear “armageddon” since the Cuban missile crisis. A day later, his administration said there was no evidence for this claim.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Cuban missile crisis and its impact on Cold war.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving context of the Cuban missile crisis.

Body:

First, write about the events leading to the Cuban missile crisis.

Next, write about how the Cuban missile crisis could have led to outbreak a full-fledged nuclear war and its possible ramifications.

Next, write about the steps that were taken to diffuse Cuban missile crisis and emphasise on diplomatic solutions.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning the key lessons learnt from the crisis.    

 

 

Introduction

Cuba got involved in the Cold War after Fidel Castro seized power from the USA backed dictator Batista in 1959. In 1961, USA broke diplomatic ties with Cuba which resulted in the relationship between the USSR and Cuba getting better. In 1961, Castro announced that he was a Marxist and Cuba was a socialist country.

Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden said that his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin’s veiled threat of using tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine marked the first prospect of nuclear “armageddon” since the Cuban missile crisis. A day later, his administration said there was no evidence for this claim.

Body

The major reasons for the Cuban Missile Crisis were

  • Cuba was under threat of military invasion from the USA, so the USSR wanted to help as a gesture of solidarity with Cuba which was an ally of the Soviet Union.
  • The USSR lost the lead in developing Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs), so it was looking for an opportunity to encircle the USA from a close range.
  • In 1959, the USA deployed Jupiter missiles in Turkey. It threatened the security of the USSR, hence, Cuba seemed to be an ideal place to initiate counter-strike against the USA.
  • The Soviets felt uneasy about the number of nuclear weapons that were targeted at them from Western Europe and Turkey, and deployment of missiles in Cuba could be used for bargaining with the West.

Despite lasting for a few days, the Cuban Missile Crisis had important consequences

  • The world came to realise how easily a nuclear war can be started.
  • A hotline was introduced between USSR and USA to allow swift consultations.
  • In 1963, the USA, the USSR and Britain signed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, agr eeing to carry out nuclear tests only underground to avoid polluting the atmosphere any further.
  • The Cuba-USSR relationship was extremely cool for several years as Cuba felt betrayed.

Conclusion

The crisis came to an end after an appeal was made by the Secretary-General of the UN. The USSR agreed to withdraw the missiles and destroy the launching sites in Cuba, and in return, the USA agreed not to invade Cuba again.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was an important event in the Cold War era, which made the world realize the threat posed by the weapon race of USA and USSR, and it proved to be a kick-start for the movements to make the world safe from the horrors of a nuclear war.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

3. Analyse the reasons behind low voter turnout in the elections across the country. Suggest steps to improve voter participation in the electoral process and measures that Election Commission of India (ECI) can take in this regard.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Election Commission had signed MoUs with over 1,000 corporate houses undertaking to monitor “electoral participation of their workforce” and publish on their websites and notice boards those who do not vote.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the reasons for the low voter turnout and steps needed to improve it.

Directive word: 

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 and citing statistic.

Body:

First, write in detail about the various reasons behind low voter turnout – lack of willingness, economic compulsions, ideological reasons etc.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to improve the voter turn out and measures that ECI can take in this regard – systematic voter education, registration, ease of access etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

Voter turnout refers to the number or percentage of eligible voters who cast their ballots. A high turnout is indicative of the vitality of democracy, while a low turnout is associated with voter apathy and mistrust of the political process.  The Lok Sabha elections of 2019 registered the highest-ever voter turnout of 67.47%, till date.

Recently, the Election Commission had signed MoUs with over 1,000 corporate houses undertaking to monitor “electoral participation of their workforce” and publish on their websites and notice boards those who do not vote.

Body

Reasons behind low voter turnout in elections across country

  • Widespread disillusionment with politicians and parties alike is one reason given by political observers.
  • In every election, there will be those who do not vote out of conviction or for ideological reasons.
  • More importantly, there are millions of daily wage workers, and many homeless and ill.
  • shifting of polling stations and voters from one division to the other has created considerable confusion, which might prompt a few more to abstain.
  • Non-distribution of voter slips has contributed in an unexpected way. Polling stations of quite a few voters have been inexplicably shifted to other divisions, and due to lack of voter slips, they could not figure it out.
  • A few others choose to remain home rather than travel to the changed polling station.
  • Experts also cite population dynamics and migration as one of the reasons for the low turnout, especially in urban seats
  • Loss of employment in city could be one more prominent reason for the low voter turnout.
  • During Covid times, Covid curbs that advised the elderly to avoid crowded places and the plethora of weddings on Sunday may have also played a role in keeping some people away from the polling booths.
  • Post the COVID-19 pandemic, several business establishments have either shut down, or removed large number of employees from the jobs.
  • Several daily wage labourers voluntarily shifted out of the city, which may have brought down the number of voters, some observers say.
  • IT employees, on the other hand, moved to their native places following the option to work from home, which may explain the very low turnout in rural circles

Measures undertaken

  • Scientific Approach:Voting is not a homogeneous entity. All the people who vote or not vote, don’t have a same reason. ECI has developed a scientific base to research on voting behaviour of people.
    • g. in Jharkhand, two elections back, when certain people didn’t vote, a survey was conducted to find the reason.
  • Addition of ‘NOTA’option has further enabled the people to realise importance of their vote in elections. By choosing NOTA, voters have right to not to choose any nominated candidate.
  • National Voters’ Day:To ensure that new voter or the 18+ who gets registered, finds a way to understand that ‘voting is an important responsibility, and at certain point of time, s/he has to go to vote.
  • ECI is continuously taking care to ensure the access to polling station to Divyangs,people in far-off places and for distant remote placed voters.
  • Model Polling Boothshave been developed to facilitate women, children and old people.
  • Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP):To fill the gaps in the areas where people do not participate, fail to participate or don’t come and join enthusiastically. The program is basically, to educate voters and to ensure their effective participation in elections.
  • Ensuring flexibility in Indian Election System:Whenever people or political parties have a complaint regarding anything, ECI always have a solution for that. Recently, when transparency in EVMs was in question, ECI introduced VVPAT machines.
  • For decriminalization of Indian Elections,ECI and the Court has ensured together that the candidates declare their criminal record and any cases, pending or not.

Measures to improve voter participation

 

  • Some challenges like financing of elections, unfair use of social mediain elections and proxy voting for NRIs are yet to be addressed.
  • Measures should be undertaken by government to facilitate inter-migrantsto vote in the place, where they are living.
  • Employers must be encouraged to create similar facilities in their offices. They are legally obliged to close their establishments on poll day
  • The EC’s consistent assertion that motivation and facilitation, rather than compulsion, are the best ways to address the issue
  • The voter education programme must motivate the youth to participate in democracy by registering as voters, voting in every election and voting ethically —that is, without inducement.
  • It has to involve schools and colleges to take the registration facility to the doorstep by introducing voter clubs, campus ambassadors and youth icons and placing drop boxes in colleges for new applications.
  • Protection of elector’s identity and affording secrecy is therefore integral to free and fair elections and an arbitrary distinction between a voter who casts and a voter who does not cast his vote is violative of Article 14. Thus, secrecy is to be maintained for both categories of persons.
  • Political class and ECI need to come together to find the ways and means to decriminalize the elections.Entry of the criminals into politics should be taken in more serious manner.
  • Indian Democracy will get strengthened, when all political parties, stakeholders including media take their responsibility seriously and help each other in strengthening democratic institutions like Electoral System.

Conclusion

The noble objective of enhanced voter participation can be best achieved through systematic voter education, amply demonstrated by the ECI in elections in all the states and Union territories since 2010 when a voter education division was set up.

 

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

4. Infrastructure has a two-way relationship with economic growth. Infrastructure promotes economic growth, and economic growth brings about changes in infrastructure. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the two-way relationship with economic growth and infrastructure.

Directive word: 

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

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the ways in which infrastructure promotes economic growth – write about forward linkages and backward linkages etc.

Next, write about how economic growth can bring about change in infrastructure – with increase in income levels, the composition of infrastructure changes. Cite examples and facts to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

Introduction

Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. Infrastructure sector includes power, bridges, dams, roads, and urban infrastructure development.

Basic infrastructure facilities in the country provide the foundation of growth. In the absence of adequate infrastructure, the economy operates at a suboptimal level and remains distant from its potential and frontier growth trajectory.

Body

Background

The infrastructure sector will be the key to overall economic growth and macroeconomic stability, the Survey said emphasising that the year after the crisis (2021-22) will require sustained and calibrated measures to facilitate the process of economic recovery and enable the economy to get back on its long-term growth trajectory.

Role of infrastructure in transformation of economy leading to economic development

  • Foundation for growth:
    • Basic infrastructure facilities in the country provide the foundation of growth.
    • In the absence of adequate infrastructure, the economy operates at a suboptimal level and remains distant from its potential and frontier growth trajectory.
  • Increases employment:
    • Infrastructure development such as road construction, real estate, railway construction, etc. is labour intensive, leading to increase in employment opportunities in formal and informal sectors and thus, fuelling domestic demand.
  • Raises Farmer’s Income:
    • Investment in infrastructure would play critical role in ensuring doubling of farmers income through focus on increased irrigation infrastructure and storage, processing and marketing infrastructure.
  • Health and Well-being:
    • Infrastructure development of superior healthcare facilities, electronic health records and better equipped health infrastructure at primary levels. (Telemedicine)
  • Reduces Logistic Cost:
    • Building world class roads, railways, ports, inland water ways, will cut down logistic costs and improve competitiveness and promote exports.
    • This would bring more revenues to government and may promote socio – economic development.

Major Policies on Infrastructure

  • Government of India has launched National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)in 2019, wherein it has planned to invest about INR 102 lakh crores on infrastructure projects by 2024-25.
  • In 2020, NITI Aayog and Quality Council of India (QCI) launched the ‘National Program and Project Management Policy Framework’ (NPMPF).
  • The government of India has launched the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP),a roadmap for asset monetisation of various brownfield infrastructure assets across sectors.
  • NMP will help in evolving a common framework for monetisation of core assets. The NMP estimates aggregate monetisation potential of Rs 6 lakh crores through core assets of the Central Government, over a four-year period, from FY 2022 to FY 2025.
  • Union budget 2021-22gave a massive push to infrastructure sector by allotting Rs 233083 crore to enhance transport infrastructure and through National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) a Rs 111 lakh crore plan for financial year 2019-25.

Way forward

  • Rs 111 trillion National Infrastructure Pipeline for 2020-2025will be a game-changer for the Indian economy. Sectors like energy, roads, urban infrastructure, railways have a lion’s share in it that will help boost growth.
  • To boost private investment in infra sector, it said the government has set up the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) for appraisal of PPP projects.
  • Revamping of the proposed VGF scheme will attract more PPP projects and facilitate the private investment in social sectors (Health, Education, Waste Water, Solid Waste Management, Water Supply etc.)
  • The Aatmanirbhar Bharat has brought manufacturing at centre stage and emphasized its significance in driving India’s growth and creating jobs.

 

 

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Examine the various obstacles to an energy secure India. How can the government ensure energy security while honouring its net zero commitments? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various obstacles to energy security in India and ways to ensure energy security.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context regarding the energy security in the country.

Body:

First, write about the various impediments to India’s energy security – coal shortages, volatility of crude oil, increasing demand, climate commitments and lack of diversification of resources.

Next, write about ways to balance between clean energy commitments while balancing energy security.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

Climate sustainability is integral to India’s economic policy while energy security also is equally important in this transitional phase. The energy transition will also have far-reaching implications for energy security, and the ripple effects of unfolding events in Ukraine are a sobering reminder of its relevance.

Clean energy appears to be the future for the power needs of humanity across the globe as reliance of fossil fuels continues to diminish. However, the road to clean energy is not straight forward and here is where the government must rely on calculated measure to balance energy security and net-zero commitments.

Body

Background

At the 26th Conference of Parties (CoP26), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a five-fold strategy — termed as the panchamrita — to achieve the feat of clean energy and net-zero emissions by 2070. These five points include:

  • India will get its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 gigawatts (GW) by 2030
  • India will meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030
  • India will reduce the total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now onwards till 2030
  • By 2030, India will reduce the carbon intensity of its economy by less than 45 per cent
  • So, by the year 2070, India will achieve the target of Net Zero.

Obstacles to an energy secure India

  • The country’s demand for energyis set to double by 2040, and its electricity demand may
  • Indian oil consumption is expected to grow faster than that of any other major economy (including China). This makes further improving energy security a key priority for India’s economy.
  • India’s oil demandis expected to reach 6 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2024 from 4.4 million bpd in 2017, but its domestic production is expected to rise only marginally, making the country more reliant on crude imports and more vulnerable to supply disruption in the Middle East.
  • India’s oil refining capacity is expected to rise to 5.7 million bpd by 2024,making it a very attractive market for refinery investment.

Ensuring energy security while honouring its net zero commitments

  • Focus on Energy Efficiency: Will need energy efficient buildings, lighting, appliances and industrial practicesto meet the net-zero goal.
  • Increased usage of Biofuels: Can help reduce emissions from light commercial vehicles, tractors in agriculture.
    • In aviation, the only practical solution for reducing emissions is greater use of biofuels, until hydrogen technology gains scale.
  • Transition towards Electric vehicles: This will further help curb the carbon emissions and move towards cleaner fuel. Vehicular emissions are one of the biggest sources of GHG.
  • Carbon Sequestration: India willhave to rely on natural and man-made carbon sinks to soak up those emissions. Trees can capture 0.9 billion tons; the country will need carbon capture technologies to sequester the rest.
  • Carbon Pricing:
    • India, which already taxes coal and petroleum fuels, should consider putting a tax on emissions to drive change.
  • Deploying lower-carbon Energy: There are four main types of low-carbon energy: wind, solar, hydro or nuclear power. The first three are renewable, which means these are good for the environment – as natural resources are used (such as wind or sun) to produce electricity.
    • Deploying lower carbon energy would help address both domestic and international climate challenges while simultaneously improving the economic well-being of India’s citizens.
  • Mainstreaming Renewable energy: India’s energy mix is dominated by coal powered electric generation stations as of now.
    • The need of the hour is increasing the share of renewable energy in this energy mix.

Conclusion and way forward

  • Given the massive shifts underway in India’s energy system, we would benefit from taking stock of our actions and focusing on near-term transitions.
  • This will allow us to meet and even over-comply with our 2030 target while also ensuring concomitant developmental benefits, such as developing a vibrant renewable industry.
  • We can start putting in place the policies and institutions necessary to move us in the right direction for the longer-term and also better understand, through modelling and other studies, the implications of net-zero scenarios before making a net-zero pledge.
  • It would also be in India’s interest to link any future pledge to the achievement of near-term action by industrialised countries.
  • That would be fair and consistent with the principles of the UNFCCC and also enhance the feasibility of our own actions through, for example, increasing availability and reducing costs of new mitigation technologies.

There appears to be no turning back on the path of decarbonized economic growth for India. The recent Union budget has made this sufficiently clear. The scale of the challenge is also balanced by an opportunity. It’s the execution that will now determine the pace at which we proceed along that path.

Value addition

India on path to achieve carbon neutrality

  • Exceeding the NDC commitment:India is on track (as reports/documents show) to meet and exceed the NDC commitment to achieve 40% electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based sources by 2030.
  • Reduction in emission intensity of GDP:Against the voluntary declaration for reducing the emission intensity of GDP by 20%-25% by 2020, India has reduced it by 24% between 2005-2016.
  • More importantly, we achieved these targets with around 2% out of the $100 billion committed to developing nations in Copenhagen (2009),realised by 2015.
  • Renewable energy expansion: India is implementing one of the most extensive renewable energy expansion programmes to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 450 GW by 2030.
  • Investment in green measures: As part of the fiscal stimulus after the pandemic, the Government announced several green measures, including:
  • $26.5-billion investment in biogas and cleaner fuels,
  • $3.5 billion in incentivesfor producing efficient solar photovoltaic (PV)
  • and advanced chemistry cell battery, and$780 million towards an afforestation programme.
  • India’s contribution to global emissions is well below its equitable share of the worldwide carbon budget by any equity criterion.

 

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

6. Risk reduction rather than emergency response, with an emphasis on timely evacuation of population with proper warning periods, sheltering in fortified structures and emergency communications is key to mitigation. Discuss. (250 words) 

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

The Odisha government has ramped up preparation for evacuation and emergency services in the state’s coastal districts in the face of Cyclone Sitrang that is expected to make landfall on the Odisha coast October 23-23, 2022.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need of a long-term mitigation measures for cyclones.

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 providing context and the increasing frequency of cyclones in India.

Body:

In first part, cite the data and write the reasons for increasing frequency of cyclones on both the eastern and western coast of India. Increasing sea surface temperatures in the northern Indian Ocean and the changing geo-climatic conditions in India etc.

Next, bring out the economic costs and human costs as a result of devastation caused by the severe cyclones.

Mention the measures that are needed – installing a disaster warning system in the coastal districts, and construction of evacuation shelters in cyclone-prone districts etc. Mention long term measures – Embankments that are resilient to storm surges, improved prevention of flooding from swollen rivers and coastal mangrove habitats regeneration etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

Cyclone is a region of low atmospheric pressure surrounded by high atmospheric pressure resulting in swirling atmospheric disturbance accompanied by powerful winds. They occur mainly in the tropical and temperate regions of the world.

The Odisha government has ramped up preparation for evacuation and emergency services in the state’s coastal districts in the face of Cyclone Sitrang that is expected to make landfall on the Odisha coast October 23-23, 2022.

Body

Increasing incidence of cyclones

  • India has a coastline of about 7,516 km, 5,400 km along the mainland, 132 km in Lakshadweep and 1,900 km in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Although theNorth Indian Ocean (NIO) Basin (including the Indian coast) generates only about 7% of the world’s cyclones, their impact is comparatively high and devastating, especially when they strike the coasts bordering the North Bay of Bengal.
  • On an average, five to six tropical cyclones form every year,of which two or three could be severe.
  • More cyclones occur in the Bay of Bengal than the Arabian Sea and the ratio is approximately 4:1.  This is now changing due to impact of climate change.
  • Research evidence shows more cyclonesforming over the Arabian Sea when compared to the Bay; overall there were eight storms of concern to India in 2019, and five last year, Amphan being a super cyclone.
  • India has faced 170 storms since 1970, which is the fourth highest after the United States, the Philippines and China in the same duration.

Challenges posing the Cyclone Management in India

  • India has a coastline of about 7,516 km, 5,400 km along the mainland, 132 km in Lakshadweep and 1,900 km in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • On an average, five to six tropical cyclones form every year,of which two or three could be severe.
  • More cyclones occur in the Bay of Bengal than the Arabian Sea and the ratio is approximately 4:1.  This is now changing due to impact of climate change.
  • There is an over-emphasis on a total evacuee figure, particularly in states such as Odisha.

 

  • There exists an inadequate focus on response aspects other than evacuation, such as measures to minimise crop damage, assistance for quick harvest, adequate relief and timely distribution of post-cyclone assistance such as for damaged houses, etc.

Way forward

Short term measures:

  • provide cyclone forecasting, tracking and warning systems
  • Construction of cyclone shelters, cyclone resistant buildings, road links, bridges, canals, drains etc.
  • Establishing Early Warning Dissemination System (EWDS), and Capacity building for coastal communities.
  • Mock drills, and training of local population and police by NDRF and SDRF
  • Plantations of strong rooted trees, canopies, mangroves and proper vegetation cover which act as first line of defence.
  • Proper drainage system throughout the city to discharge the water as soon as possible to avoid flood like conditions
  • Use of NAVIC and RESOURCESAT-2 for disseminating coastal information and helping in disaster management.
  • Implementation of National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project

Long term measures:

  • The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP)should be implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank
  • The NDMAhad come up with its National Guidelines of Management of Cyclones in 2008. The basic premise of these guidelines is that the mitigation has to be multi-sectoral.
  • Developing Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) frameworksfor addressing the sustainability and optimal utilisation of coastal resources as also cyclone impact minimisation plans.
  • Ensuring cyclone resistant design standards are incorporated in the rural/ urban housing schemes in coastal areas
  • Implementing coastal flood zoning, flood plain development and flood inundation management and regulatory plans.
  • Coastal bio-shieldsspread, preservation and restoration/ regeneration plans.
  • There is a need for private sector participationin designing and implementing policies, plans, and standards.
  • Need of Disaster Management programto be inclusive including women, civil society, and academia.

Conclusion

Cyclone Disaster Management encompasses mitigation and preparedness measures for cyclones. Installing disaster-resilient power infrastructure in the coastal districts, providing concrete houses to poor and vulnerable households, and creating massive community awareness campaigns are essential.

Value addition

India’s preparedness to handle cyclones

  • National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has responsibility of formulating National Guidelines for Management of Cyclonesand India Meteorological Department (IMD) is the nodal agency for providing cyclone warning services to communities and important officials in affected areas.
  • The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project (NCRMP), to be implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank, is envisaged to have four major components:
    • Component A: Improvement of early warning dissemination system by strengthening the Last Mile Connectivity (LMC) of cyclone warnings and advisories.
    • Component B: Cyclone risk mitigation investments.
    • Component C: Technical assistance for hazard risk management and capacity-building.
    • Component D: Project management and institutional support.
  • These components are highly interdependent and have to be implemented in a coherent manner.
  • Itsaim is to undertake suitable structural and non-structural measures to mitigate the effects of cyclones in the coastal states and UTs of India.
  • The NDMAhad come up with its National Guidelines of Management of Cyclones in 2008. The basic premise of these guidelines is that the mitigation has to be multi-sectoral.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: ethics – in private and public relationships;

7. Conflict of interest can lower overall morale and productivity. What are the various ways to overcome conflict of interest in public service? (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ways to overcome conflict of interest.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Write about how there is a conflict of interest between private and public relationships during day-to-day administrative work.

Body:

Bring out the various facets of integrity, impartiality and nonpartisan ship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections that an administrator must consider before taking any actions in case of conflict.

Mention certain principles, theories and benchmarks one can take the right decision especially when faced with a conflict or dilemma.

Conclusion:

Complete by summarizing the need for doing the right thing especially for those who are in power.

 

Introduction

A “conflict  of  interest”  involves  a  conflict  between  the  public  duty  and  private  interests  of  a  public  official,  in  which  the  public  official  has  private-capacity  interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities.

Body

In such a situation, judgement of an individual could be impaired. A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations. Conflict of interest is seen  as a moral issue and not strictly a legal one accompanied by criminal culpability in India so it is hardly surprising that blatant violations are virtually seen every day.

Example: a public official whose personal interests conflict with his/her professional position. Instances of the largest shareholder appointing himself as CEO, deciding his salary and then appointing his son to a key post and higher royalties to the parent company are some of the serious conflict of interest issues in India which don’t  receive necessary attention.

A judge giving judgement in a case involving his own family member is a case of conflict of interest.

Public servants faces Conflict of Interest due to the nature of their work-

  • Personal vs Professional
    • This is the most common type of conflict of interest arising due to the conflict between personal and professional life.
    • Say, if a public servant is in charge of giving out contracts for a certain project and one of the applicant is relative or friend.
  • Conflicting Responsibility
    • Sometimes public servants are given additional charge, which might sometimes create a conflict of interest with the original line of duty.
  • Conflicting Organisations
    • Sometimes public servants are part of two separate organisations with apparently conflicting objectives and this might put them in certain conflict of interest.
    • Many public servants also volunteer for NGOs during their service. NGOs and governmental organisation sometimes come at odds with each other.

Getting into a situation of conflict of interest is sometimes unavoidable and not a crime in itself if properly handled:

  • Transparency
    • Declaring one’s conflict of interest to the concerned authorities is the best way.
    • It helps civil servant to come clean and concerned authorities can decide further.
  • Assure integrity
    • The concerned authority should be assured of integrity and willingness to serve no matter what the decision is made on the declaration.
  • Maintain objectivity
    • If given the chance to continue working on that case, work with objectivity.
  • Reduce discretion and codify procedure
    • There is a need for legislation to make non-disclosure of a conflict of interest punishable.
    • A private member’s bill (The Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest Bill, introduced in 2012), the legislation ought to cover all arms of governance, including the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.
    • The recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Department of Personnel and Training, calling for early retirement if interested in post-retirement private service is established, needs to be implemented, besides increasing the mandatory cooling period to five years so that no undue influence can be exerted by the retired bureaucrat.
    • Also, the reasons for declining their requests for joining such firms need to be laid out clearly, to limit political concerns.
    • An open, public data platform enlisting all post-retirement appointments of civil servants will increase transparency

Conclusion

The priority must be to frame a modern law relating to conflict of interest, along the lines of what exists in the statute of the other countries like the United States and also ensure them to their work ensures ethical governance.

 

 


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