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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 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: 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.

1. What was the Cold War? How did it manifest across different dimensions and conflicts around the world? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India

Why the question:

It is time to revisit the sobering lessons of the Cuban Missile crisis (October 1962) during the Cold War that brought the world to the edge of nuclear Armageddon, as the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. engaged in an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation

Key Demand of the question:

There were different arenas (Korea, Vietnam, etc.) of the cold war. Apart from these different arenas, mention the different fields (ex: space race, sports) in which the cold war played out.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin your answer by defining cold war.

Body:

First write about the different fields in which the cold war ended up playing out – diplomacy, espionage, space race and propaganda etc.

Next, write about weaponised aspects of the cold war – weapons race, the different places where the two superpowers technically battled each other (Korea, Vietnam etc.).

Write about the impact of the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by Summarising.

 

Introduction

Cold war was a sequence of events after the World War II (1939-45) till the disintegration of the USSR in 1991, whereby the two super powers, USA and USSR, competed for hegemony in domains of economy, science and technology, politics and military. Each side adopted policies to strengthen itself and weaken the other falling short of an actual war.

Body

Various domains of cold war

  • Ideologies: Nations in theSoviet and Chinese spheres were governed by They also featured command economies, in which production and distribution is rigidly controlled by the government.
    • US-led block was the capitalist block which stood for liberal values of democracy and freedom. They saw communism as a threat to the liberal world.
  • NATO vs Warsaw Pact:US formed NATO (1949) after the West Berlin Blockade because the capitalist bloc found itself unprepared for a military conflict.
    • Warsaw pact (1955) was initiated by USSR in response to NATOadmitting West Germany.
    • It was signed by USSR and all satellite states except Yugoslavia.
    • Under Warsaw Pact, the members promised to defend each other against any attack from outside and the armies of all members came under overall control of Moscow.
  • Arms race began in earnest when USSR developed the Atomic Bomb in 1949.
    • Thereafter, US planned and produced the much more powerful Hydrogen Bomb.
    • By 1953, USSR also caught up and developed the Hydrogen Bomb.
  • Space race:Space exploration served as another dramatic arena for Cold War competition. Russia launched its first satellite in 1957, called Sputnik.
    • In 1959, the Soviet space program took another step forward with the launch of Luna 2, the first space probe to hit the moon.
    • In April 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person to orbit Earth, traveling in the capsule-like spacecraft Vostok 1.
    • December 1968 saw the launch of Apollo 8, thefirst manned space mission to orbit the moon. By landing on the moon, the United States effectively “won” the space race that had begun with Sputnik’s launch in 1957.

Cold War manifestation across the world

  • Berlin Wall erection and blockade: After WWII, Germany wasdivided into the Soviet-occupied, communist East and the Ally-occupied, democratic West.
    • Though this division was initially administrative, the nation split into separate states (West Germany and East Germany) in 1949.
    • Immediately preceding the division of Germany was the year-longBerlin blockade. The aim of the blockade was to starve the West Germans, but this was overcome by Allies through airlifting supplies.
    • Berlin Wall was erected, which was called the descent of the iron curtain and start of cold war.
  • Korean War of 1950- 1953: After World War II, Korea was divided into the Soviet-backed North and US-backed South.
    • A Northern invasion of the South sparked the Korean War (1950-53), in which the South was supported by a US-led UN coalition.
    • Just when this coalition had taken most of the Korean Peninsula, China joined the USSR in support of the North, driving the Americans back southward to the 38th parallel;this line has served as the boundary between the two Koreas ever since.
  • Vietnam War:The most prolonged and destructive Cold War conflict was the Vietnam War (1954-75). Post war the nation was divided into the communist, USSR/China-backed North and non-communist, US-backed South.
    • The US resorted to brutal campaigns ofcarpet bombing (area bombing) and defoliation (destruction of foliage, typically with napalm or herbicides).
    • Yet even these extreme measures failed.
    • The US ultimately withdrewNorthVietnam invaded the South, and the nation was Millions had been killed
  • Cuban Missile Crisis:The apex of Cold War tension was the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the US discovered that Russia was building nuclear launch sites in Cuba.
    • President Kennedy ordered anaval blockade of the island, and for a few days nuclear war seemed imminent. reunited under communist
    • An agreement was reached, however, in which Khrushchev removed the weapons from Cubain exchange for the American removal of warheads in Turkey, as well as a guarantee against future American invasion of Cuba
  • Afghan invasion by Soviet: The foremost conflict of the late Cold War was the Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979-89), in which Soviet forces attempted to defend the reigning communist government of Afghanistan from anti-communist guerrillas.
    • The guerrillas, furnished with weapons and funding provided by the USand sympathetic Muslim nations, maintained a bloody stalemate throughout the conflict (such that this war has been dubbed the “Soviet Vietnam”).
    • The guerrillas toppled the communist government a few years after the Soviet withdrawal.

Conclusion

The cold war was a period of hostilities between nations who were aligned with the two blocs. Post-cold-war American supremacy remained for a long time, making it a unipolar world. Today Russia is no longer a major threat to USA. China’s rise in the past two decades is a simmering conflict in the waiting. The friction between USA and China has been touted as the Cold war 2.0

 

 

Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.,

2. Human-caused climate change is affecting hazards now, such as decreasing the frequency of tropical cyclones while increasing their intensity. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

A tropical cyclone has formed in the Bay of Bengal over the weekend and is due to hit the Indian state of Odisha. If the past is any guide, Cyclone Sitrang may bring flooding, destroyed crops, collapsed buildings and loss of life.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the causes for increasing frequency of Tropical Cyclones, and their possible negative effects and role of climate change in 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.

Body:

First, write about the various causes behind the decreasing frequency of cyclones and rising intensity – Surface temperatures intensification of cyclones, conducive wind shear for cyclones, climate change etc.

Next, write about the role of climate change in regards to this Also, write about its impact.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to address this issue.

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. Recently cyclonic storm Sitrang made an early landfall in Bangladesh causing a surprise among meteorologists.

Climate change will have opposite effects on the frequency of strong tropical cyclones along the western and eastern coasts of India by 2050. The frequency will reduce in the Bay of Bengal, traditionally known for its powerful storms, while it will increase in the Arabian Sea, a calmer body of water in this regard, a new study published in Science Advances has estimated.

Body

Impact of Climate change on tropical cyclones

  • Warming of the surface ocean from anthropogenic (human-induced) climate change is likely fuelling more powerful Tropical Cyclones.
  • The destructive power of individual Tropical Cyclones through flooding is amplified by rising sea levels, which very likely has a substantial contribution at the global scale from anthropogenic climate change.
  • In addition, Tropical Cyclones’ precipitation rates are projected to increase due to enhanced atmospheric moisture associated with anthropogenic global warming.
  • The proportion of severe Tropical Cyclones has increased, possibly due to anthropogenic climate change.
  • However, most climate model studies project a corresponding reduction in the proportion of low-intensity cyclones, so the total number of Tropical Cyclones each year is projected to decrease or remain approximately the same.
  • Studies have shown that some 2.1 to 3.1 per cent of the total number of tropical cyclones expected to strike in the near future, could be strong.
  • Globally, the risk of strong tropical cyclones is expected to become more than double by 2050. The Gulf of Mexico is not likely to see the same trend, according to the analysis.
  • The studies associated with temperature suggest that the Indian Ocean is warming, particularly the Arabian Sea, which is doing so at the fastest rate.
  • Previously, tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea were restricted to Gujarat.
  • In the past decade though, Kerala and Karnataka have also become more vulnerable to cyclones. A recent example is ‘Ockhi’.
  • The Arabian Sea is quickly responding to climate change signals, heating rapidly and driving more and more cyclones, and excessive rainfall, although, experts still do not understand how much of a performance climate change must work on Ockhi.
  • The rise in Arabian Sea surface temperature makes it warmer than other seas all through this period.
  • Global warming adds to climate variability and weather changes.
  • A sophisticated climate model to compare the conditions in 2015 to conditions in 1860, keeping in mind the carbon footprints. The findings suggest that 64 per cent of the cyclone risk in the Arabian Sea was due to climate change.
  • The coastal areas surrounding the Arabian Sea are at specific risk since the geographical location offers cyclones nowhere to go but the land.

Steps to be taken to mitigate impact of disaster

  • Coastal belt plantation:Providing a cover through green belt sustains less damage as forests act as a wide buffer zone against strong winds and flash floods. Without the forest the cyclone travel freely inland.
  • Hazard mapping: Meteorological records of the wind speed and the directions give the pattern of occurrence of cyclone for particular wind speeds. A hazard map will illustrate the areas vulnerable to cyclone in any given year and estimate the severity of the cyclone and various damage intensities in the region.
  • Land use control: It can be designed so that least critical activities are placed in vulnerable areas. Location of settlements in the flood plains is at utmost risk. Citing of key facilities must be marked in the land use. Policies should be in place to regulate land use and building codes should be enforced.
  • Engineered structures:  This needs to be built to withstand wind forces. Good site selection is also important. Majority of the buildings in coastal areas are built with locally available materials and have no engineering inputs. Good construction practices should be adopted such as:
    • Cyclonic wind storms inundate the coastal areas. It is advised to construct on stilts or on earth mound.
    • Houses can be strengthened to resist wind and flood damage. All elements holding the structures need to be properly anchored to resist the uplift or flying off of the objects. For example, avoid large overhangs of roofs, and the projections should be tied down.
    • row of planted trees will act as a shield. It reduces the energy.
    • Buildings storing food supplies must be protected against the winds and water.
    • Protect river embankments.
    • Communication lines should be installed underground.
    • Providestrong halls for community shelter in vulnerable locations.
  • Flood management:  Torrential rains, strong wind and storm range leads to flooding in the cyclone affected areas. There are possibilities of landslides too. Flood mitigation measures must be incorporated.
  • Improving vegetation cover: The roots of the plants and trees keep the soil intact and prevent erosion and slow runoff to prevent or lessen flooding.
    • The use of tree planted in rows will act as a windbreak.
    • Coastal shelterbelt plantations can be developed to break severe wind speeds.
    • It minimizes devastating effects.
  • Improved early warning systems are a must to ensure preparedness.

Way Forward

  • Develop a Climate Risk Atlas to mapcritical vulnerabilities such as coasts, urban heat stress, water stress, and biodiversity collapse.
  • Develop an Integrated Emergency Surveillance Systemto facilitate a systematic and sustained response to emergencies.
  • Mainstream risk assessment at all levels,including localised, regional, sectoral, cross-sectoral, macro and micro-climatic level.
  • Enhance adaptive and resilience capacityto climate-proof lives, livelihoods and investments.
  • Increase the participatory engagement of all stakeholders in the risk assessment process.
  • Integrate risk assessment into local, sub-national, and national level plans.

Conclusion

Global warming has presented us with new challenges such as rapid intensification of cyclones, which need to be closely monitored at higher resolution and accuracy using on-site platforms such as buoys and moorings. Improving the Indian Ocean Observing System (IndOOS) and incorporating the global warming signals in the weather models can help us tackle the challenges of intense cyclones in the future.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

3. The country is characterised by the coexistence of agricultural bounty and widespread hunger and malnutrition. Examine the reasons for the same and its impact on various socio-economic indicators. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India.

Why the question:

The sensational use of the word hunger is abhorrent given the facts. But there is no denying that in India, nutrition, particularly child nutrition, continues to be problematic. Unlike the GHI, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) does a good job of providing comparative state-level data including the main pointers that determine health and nutrition

Key Demand of the question:

To write about causes of hunger and malnutrition despite agricultural surplus and impact and ways to tackle it.

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 a statistic regarding Hunger and malnutrition in India.

Body:

First, write about the causes of hunger and malnutrition despite agricultural surplus- inequalities, poverty, there are social factors like early marriage etc all of which contribute to the undernourishment, stunting and wasting of children.

Next, describe the impact of hunger and malnutrition in India – status of child mortality, stunting and wasting in India, loss of demographic dividend, extreme poverty etc.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to overcome hunger and malnutrition in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

India has 5,772,472 children below five years affected by severe wasting, the most in the world, alerted UNICEF. It had been reported in 2017 by the National Health Survey that approximately 19 crore people in the country were compelled to sleep on an empty stomach every night.

Underweight is most common among the poor, the rural population, adults who have no education and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Hence it clear that hunger and malnutrition is also a direct consequence of socio-economic status of people in India.

Body

Malnutrition in India

  • India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the world around 195 million.
  • 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.

Causes of hunger and malnutrition in India

  • Poverty: Poverty restricts the food choices and has been the causative factor of hunger related deaths.
    • If the persistent high prices of food items and the regional disparities in terms of development, especially the backwardness among the hilly and tribal areasalso taken into account, the percentage of people who cannot afford balanced nutrition will be much higher in India.
  • Poor access to safe drinking water: Safe and tap drinking water is still a luxury in many parts of rural India and urban slums/shanties. Unsafe water causes water borne diseases and children are prone to it more than adults.
  • Issues with agriculture:The change from multi to mono cropping systems limits the diversity of agricultural products.
    • Inclinationtowards cash crops and changing food habits result in malnutrition, undernutrition and even micro-nutrient deficiencies.
    • Local cuisine such as millets arenot being consumed causing nutrient deficiencies and anaemia.
  • Food wastage: Food wastage is also an emerging challenge that undermines the efforts to end hunger and malnutrition. According to the FAO, the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 6 billion tonnes of primary product equivalents.
  • Poor health services:The relationship between poverty and access to health care can be seen as part of a larger cycle, where poverty leads to ill health and ill health maintains poverty.
  • Insufficient education and training:In developing countries, children do not have access to basic education because of inequalities that originate in sex, health and cultural identity. It has been revealed in reports that illiteracy and lack of education are common factor that lead to poverty and in turn hunger.
  • Covid-19 impact: The momentum set by this entire nutrition movement wasdisturbed once Covid lockdowns led to the shutting of schools, Anganwadi centres, Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres.
    • Further, frontline workers had to be engaged in Covid-related work that took precedence over their daily duties, which entailed identifying, referring and monitoring children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition among other nutrition-strengthening activities.
  • States tried to cope to the best of their abilities by replacing hot-cooked meals with dry ration or cash transfers.
  • Moreover, indirect forces triggered by the pandemic such as disruption in food systems, dried-up income sources, job losses and consequent financial hardshipsalso mean that access to nutrient-rich food might have reduced among economically vulnerable people.

Measures needed to tackle hunger

  • 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.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme aims to enhance the nutrition of school children by providing a balanced diet in schools.
    • By including milk and eggs in each states’ menu, preparing a menu based on climatic conditions, local foods etc. can help in providing the right nutrition to children in different States.

Conclusion

Welfare measures must continue to reach the most vulnerable population and children and mothers must be at the centre of the focus to target hunger and malnutrition. Achieving zero hunger requires agriculture and food systems to become more efficient, sustainable, climate-smart and nutritionsensitive. It is important to look at the future of food production to achieve the zero-hunger goal. Human resource capacity building is the key as is access to education and health services and empowering the poor through partnerships.

Value Addition

Government welfare measures

  • Eat Right India: An outreach activity organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
  • Food Fortification: Food Fortification or Food Enrichment is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
  • National Food Security Act, 2013:It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
  • Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme:Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services to children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Supplementary Nutrition,
    • Pre-school non-formal education,
    • Nutrition & health education,
    • Immunization,
    • Health check-up and
    • Referral services.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan: Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
  • The Abhiyaan targets toreduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • It also targets to bring downstunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 4% to 25% by 2022.

 

 

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

4.  In the ongoing conflict between the military junta and the resistance in Myanmar, the U.N is pre-occupied with Ukraine, the ASEAN has been ineffectual, and India is treading a fine line. Russia and China have rushed in. Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

ASEAN foreign ministers were meeting in Jakarta on Thursday to discuss their options in Myanmar, where the military is using increasingly violent methods to suppress the armed resistance against its February 2021 takeover.

Directive word: 

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin giving context regarding Indo-Myanmar relations.

Body:

In the first part, mention about the importance of Myanmar to India’s Act East Policy.

Next, write the various options to ensure the return of democracy in Myanmar. Using U.N and ASEAN, Bilateral diplomacy etc. Throw light on the role of Russia and China.

Next, write about the other measures of outreach that must be explored by India for a successful Act east policy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

Myanmar (formerly called Burma) military grabbed power in a coup, third time in the nation’s history since its independence from British rule in 1948. Military (also called Junta and Tatmadaw) has alleged that the general elections held in November 2020 were full of irregularities and that therefore, the results are not valid. This marked the end of Myanmar’s short-lived experience with democracy which began in 2011, when military implemented parliamentary elections and other reforms.

Twenty months on, the junta has not been able to establish full control over the country. Many of Myanmar’s ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) have joined armed civilian groups called People’s Defence Force (PDF), which are allied to the self-declared National Unity Government (NUG) in exile.

Body

Geo-strategic significance of Myanmar for India

  • Geopolitical interests:Myanmar sits at the intersection of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East’ policies, and therefore is an essential element in India’s practice of regional diplomacy in the Indo-Pacific, and serves as a land bridge to connect South Asia and Southeast Asia.
  • Strategic location:It serves as a buffer between India and China. Myanmar has coastal access to the Bay of Bengal. It connects Bangladesh, China and the restive North-eastern states of India. It is also close to India’s Nicobar archipelago.
  • National security:Myanmar-China border has become the epicentre of local armed separatist groups operating on Myanmar soil, and Indian groups, ranging from ULFA in Assam to the NSCN (IM) in Nagaland.
  • Economic interests: India has interests in natural resources of Myanmar and also developing certain projects like India–Myanmar–Thailand trilateral highway and Kaladan multi-modal project which is to link India’s landlocked north-eastern States to the Myanmar Port of Sittwe, located in the Bay of Bengal. Instability in Myanmar will be a roadblock to these ambitions.
  • Countering China:A weakened Myanmar falling into the clutches of China as a satellite state will pressurize India to do Beijing’s bidding in regional affairs.

Approach to be taken by India

  • India faces the most challenging dilemma on how to respond to the military coup in Myanmar. India supports the process of democratic transition in Myanmar.
  • Though India has expresseddeep concern over recent developments in Myanmar, cutting off from the Myanmar military is not a viable option as India has significant economic and strategic interests in Myanmar and its neighbourhood.
  • The dual power centres of the military and the civilian government that existed in Naypyitaw until recently, suited India.
  • While India’s national interests clearly lie in dealing with whoever is in power in Myanmar, India would find it difficult to openly support the junta given the strong western and American stance.
  • On the other hand, it can ill-afford to offend the juntaby actively seeking a restoration of democracy there.
  • India should continue to engage with the present regime in Myanmarworking towards mutual development of people of both the countries while it should support sharing experiences in constitutionalism and federalism to assist Myanmar in resolving the prevailing stalemate.

Conclusion

India is left with very few clear policy options. And yet, it must continue to maintain relations with the government in power in Myanmar while discreetly pushing for political reconciliation in the country. In the meantime, the focus must be on improving trade, connectivity, and security links between the two sides.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. The electronic waste, or e-waste, is becoming major a domestic and a global issue. Discuss the steps that must be taken to ensure safe disposal of e-wate in the country. (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 mention the cause for the exponential growth of e waste across the world and effective measures to check it.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving few facts regarding the rising number of e waste production every year.

Body:

Firstly, highlight the various factors leading to high amount of e waste generation such as low product life cycle, technology getting redundant very quickly, low opportunities for repairs and recycles etc and impact of this on developing countries like India wand environment.

Next, suggest various measures to control and minimise the cause of e waste production, highlight some of the provisions of e waste management rules,2016 and also the benefits of recycling e waste.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on the need for a quick and effective approach by the government highlighting the fact that recycling is a great way to extract precious metals and also curb burning of hazardous materials in the landfills.

 

Introduction

E- Wastes are discarded and end- of- life electronic products ranging from computer, TV and other electronic equipment and their electronic components. India is the third largest E-waste generator, after USA and China. E-waste is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30% in the country.

According to an ASSOCHAM-EY report on electronic waste management, India is estimated to have generated five million tonnes of e-waste in 2021, ranking only behind after China and the USA. India is now planning a shift to two standard chargers across mobile phone brands and portable-electronic devices.

Body

Issues with handling e-waste

  • E-waste Generation in India: According to the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB), India generated more than 10 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2019-20, an increase from 7 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Against this, the e-waste dismantling capacity has not been increased from 82 lakh tonnes since 2017-18.
  • Unsafe disposal:In 2018, the Ministry of Environment had told the tribunal that 95% of e-waste in India is recycled by the informal sector and scrap dealers unscientifically dispose of it by burning or dissolving it in acids.
  • Gap in collection:National Green Tribunal noted gaps in collection targets, as the amount of e-waste collected in 2018-19 was 78,000 tonnes against a target of 1.54 lakh tonnes. There are clear governance deficits on the subject.
  • Involvement of Child Labor: In India, about5 lakh child laborers in the age group of 10-14 are observed to be engaged in various E-waste activities and that toowithout adequate protection and safeguards in various yards and recycling workshops.
  • Hazardous: E-waste contains over 1,000 toxic materials, which contaminate soil and groundwater.
  • E-waste Imports: Cross-border flow of waste equipment into India- 80% of E-waste in developed countries meant for recycling is sent to developing countries such as India, China, Ghana and Nigeria.

Various measures needed to control and safely dispose e-waste

  • E-waste clinic:India’s first e-waste clinic for segregating, processing and disposal of waste from household and commercial units has been set-up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is needed to come up with a strategy to engage with informal sector workersbecause doing so will not only go a long way in better e-waste management practices but also aid in environmental protection, improve the health and working conditions of labourers and provide better work opportunities to over a million people.
    • This will make management environmentally sustainable and easy to monitor.
  • The need of the hour is to generate employment, which can be done throughidentifying and promoting cooperatives and expanding the scope of the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 to these cooperatives or the informal sector workers.
  • Effective implementation of regulations is the way ahead to managing the e-waste that is yet to be regulated in at least 115 countries.

Conclusion

There are various start-ups and companies in India that have now started to collect and recycle electronic waste. We need better implementation methodologies and inclusion policies that provide accommodation and validation for the informal sector to step up and help us meet our recycling targets in an environmentally sound manner. Also, successfully raising collection rates required every actor to be involved, including consumers.

 

 

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

6. India faces major environmental challenges associated with waste generation and inadequate waste collection, transport and its treatment. Evaluate the various measures that are aimed at tackling it. (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 need for Solid waste management and successes and limitations of the various measures aimed towards it.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining solid waste management.

Body:

First, write about the need for solid waste management in the country.

Next, write about the various issues in the solid waste management – funds crunch, low sectoral development & lack of know-how.

Next, write about the various measures to tackle it – Solid waste management rules, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 etc. Write their and successes and limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

Solid waste management (SWM) refers to the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong to garbage or trash.  In a nascent effort to look beyond toilets and kick off its ODF+ phase — that is, Open Defecation Free Plus — focussing on solid and liquid waste management, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has included the prevalence of plastic litter and water-logging in villages as indicators of cleanliness in its 2019 rural survey.

Body

Current Situation of SWM in India:

  • As per the SBM 2.0 guidelines, the total quantity of waste generated by urban areas in India is about 32 lakh tonnes daily. This adds up to 8 crore tonnes per annum.
  • Of this only about 25% is being processed; the rest is disposed of in landfills every year.
  • Given that the waste dumpsites have been operational since the early 2000s, more than 72 crore tonnes of waste need to be processed.
  • Most cities have confined themselves to collection and transportation of solid waste. Processing and safe disposal are being attempted only in a few cases.
  • The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generatedin the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
  • According to a UN report, India’s e-wastefrom old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.
  • Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.

Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:

  • Absence of segregationof waste at source.
  • Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.
  • Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.
  • Lack of technical expertiseand appropriate institutional arrangement
  • Lack of infrastructure and technology
  • Lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations
  • Indifference of citizens towards waste managementdue to lack of awareness
  • Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions
  • Lack of sewage management plan.
  • About 70% of the plastic packaging products turn into plastic wastewithin a short period.
  • Unorganized vendors and markets, existence of slum areas and Corruption are other issues plaguing MSWM.

Measures needed

  • State governments should provide financial support to ULBsto improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.
  • Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.
  • The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at sourceand to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Waste to energyis a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites
  • There is a need to encourage research and developmentso as to reinvent waste management system in India.
  • The focus should be on recycling and recovering from wasteand not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste
  • Public- Private Partnership modelsfor waste management should be encouraged.
  • Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Responsibilities of Generatorshave been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.
  • Sensitizationof citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.
  • International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery projectwhich have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.

Conclusion

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. Pawan is working as an officer in the State Government for the last ten years. As a part of routine transfer, he was posted to another department. He joined in a new office along with five other colleagues. The head of the office was a senior officer conversant with the functioning of the office. As a part of general inquiry, Pawan gathered that his senior officer carries the reputation of being difficult and insensitive person having his own disturbed family life. Initially, all seem to go well. However, after some time Pawan felt that the senior officer was belittling him and at times unreasonable. Whatever suggestions given or views expressed by Pawan in the meetings were summarily rejected and the senior officer would express displeasure in the presence of others. It became a pattern of boss’s style of functioning to show him in bad light highlighting his shortcomings and humiliating publically. It became apparent that though there are no serious work-related problems/shortcomings, the senior officer was always on one pretext or the other and would scold and shout at him. The continuous harassment and public criticism of Pawan resulted in loss of confidence, self-esteem and equanimity. Pawan realized that his relations with his senior officer are becoming more toxic and due to this, he felt perpetually tensed, anxious and stressed. His mind was occupied with negativity and caused him mental torture, anguish and agony. Eventually, it badly affected his personal and family life. He was no longer joyous, happy and contented even t home. Rather without any reason he would loose his temper with his wife and other family members. The family environment was no longer pleasant and congenial. His wife who was always supportive to him also became a victim of his negativity and hostile behaviour. Due to harassment and humiliation suffering by him in the office, comfort and happiness virtually vanished from his life. Thus it damaged his physical and mental health.

    1. What are the options available with Pawan to cope with the situation?
    2. What approach Pawan should adopt for bringing peace, tranquillity and congenial environment in the office and home?
    3. As an outsider, what are your Suggestions for both boss and subordinate to overcome this situation and for improving the work performance, mental and emotional hygiene?
    4. In the above scenario, what type of training would you suggest for at various levels in the government offices?

(250 words) (UPSC 2021)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving the context. Bring out the key stakeholders in the above case study.

Body:

In the body, Write about the various options available to Pawan and their pros and cons.

Next, Write about the measures that Pawan can take to ensure cordial atmosphere at home

Next, write about your suggestions as an outsider to rectify the above-mentioned issues.

Next, write about type of training that are needed in government offices for the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on the importance of kindness and compassion in such cases.

Introduction

A Government servant is bound to be transferred and the thin workforce in government offices. The above case study exhibits the case of abuse of authority, lack of emotional intelligence, poor work culture and inability to demarcate between personal and professional life.

Body

(a) Following options are available to Pawan to cope up with the situation:

  • Address the root cause of the problem and talk with his senior about issues he is facing.
  • He may take leave from office, discuss the issue with his colleagues in other services and then re-join. This will give a short respite to Pawan, but the problem will continue.
  • He may seek transfer to another department, which might be an administrative decision, with little control of Pawan over it.
  • Ignore his senior at work, which will affect his coordination and quality of work. This may also show him as incompetent.
  • The last resort may be to resign from his current position. This will highlight his attitude of escapism and lack of courage. His personal responsibilities would also suffer.

(b) Approach Pawan should adopt

  • At office:
  • He should introspect his behaviour, as to whether his actions are annoying his senior and what is the behaviour of his senior towards other newly transferred colleagues. This will give him a thought clarity.
  • Pawan should try talking to his seniors (boss’ colleagues) and explain his actions and at the same time understand his boss’ temperament. This will give opportunity for course correction to Pawan and his senior.
  • If both the above suggestions do not work out, then Pawan should lodge a written complaint to his boss’ senior and make the superior boss aware of all the happenings.
  • At home:
  • Pawan should try segregating his professional and personal life. He should evolve his emotional intelligence quotient.
  • He should talk to his family members, wife about the issues he is facing at the workplace. The family members should try to understand and support him through his difficulties. This will bring peace, tranquillity, and a congenial environment both at his office and at home.

(c) As an outsider, my suggestion

  • To boss:
  • One should act and behave as a leader and represent himself/herself as an example. Developing emotional intelligence in this aspect is very necessary.
  • Subordinates are the working force behind every organisation. As an authority/senior, one must respect the subordinates or the juniors.
  • Constructive criticism goes a long way in shaping an organisation or one’s life. Belittling someone to show oneself as superior always gives out a bad example.
  • Appreciating good work is not only ethically warranted but also creates positive energy amongst team members.
  • To subordinates:
  • Do not let the professional and personal life merge. Work related issues should not hamper the personal space and vice-versa.
  • Nothing comes above self-respect. Constructive criticism is welcomed, but not demeaning. When at workplace, one should work with utmost dedication and commitment.

(d) Following types of training can be given to the officers in government offices:

  • Sensitivity Training:Officials should be sensitised about how their actions impact people around them. Mental health issues should be kept in mind.
  • Role-playing Training:To be a people’s officer or a successful bureaucrat, one must investigate the situation from other’s perspective and understand their problems and constraints. This will always provide a constructive decision in decision making.
  • Assertiveness Training:Officials should exercise authority without being condescending to others. They should build team spirit and foster cooperation.
  • Communication Training:Using verbal and non-verbal cues for effective communication. The motive of this is to increase positivity in outlook, promote inclusiveness and make work culture conducive for performance.

 


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