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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 01 November 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: Role of women and women’s organization

1. Patriarchy continues to affect the lives of women by impacting their health and social outcomes through various factors like discriminatory values, norms, beliefs and practices. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

A Bench made up of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli made the observations in an SC order overturning the acquittal of a rape accused in the Telangana High Court October 31, 2022. Chandrachud, who will soon take over as the Chief Justice of India November 9, called the practice ‘patriarchal’ and ‘sexist’. He also ordered the two-finger test to be removed from the syllabus of medical education.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of patriarchy on women.

Directive word: 

Comment– here we must express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining patriarchy.

Body:

In the first part, write about the ways patriarchy is prevalent in the society in terms of discriminatory values, norms, beliefs and practices. Cite examples to substantiate.

Next, write about impact of patriarchy on women – economic dependence, violence, domestication and the peripherals of decision-making.

Next, mention ways to challenge patriarchy and make the society egalitarian.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

Introduction

Patriarchy is a complex and a mystifying institution of power and control in the society. Patriarchy signifies a male dominated structure which has a long history and has existed in every society in the world. It is essentially a system of male domination in diverse aspects of life such as moral authority, social privilege, decision making, control of property, political leadership et al. It has hampered the position of the middle-class working women in India in contemporary times owing to prolonged practices of the past and submissiveness of the females.

Body

Background

  • The Supreme Court (SC) has once again called for a ban on the two-finger test in rape cases nearly a decade after it first did so. It has said those who conduct it would be held guilty of misconduct.
  • A Bench made up of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli made the observations in an SC order overturning the acquittal of a rape accused in the Telangana High Court October 31, 2022.
  • Chandrachud, who will soon take over as the Chief Justice of India November 9, called the practice ‘patriarchal’ and ‘sexist’. He also ordered the two-finger test to be removed from the syllabus of medical education.

Why Patriarchy still persists

Reasons for persistence of patriarchy in our society:

  • The first lessons of patriarchy are learnt in the family where the head of the family is a man/ father. Man is considered the head of the family and controls women’s sexuality, labour or production, reproduction and mobility.
  • In a patriarchal family the birth of male child is preferred to that of a female.
  • Patriarchal societies propagate the ideology of motherhood which restricts women’s mobility and burdens them with the responsibilities to nurture and rear children.
  • Family is therefore important for socializing the next generation in patriarchal values. The boys learn to be dominating and aggressive and girls learn to be caring, loving and submissive. These stereotypes of masculinity and femininity are not only social constructs but also have been internalized by both men and
  • While the pressure to earn and look after the family is more on the man, the women are supposed to do the menial jobs and take care of their children and even other members of the family. It is because of these gender stereotypes that women are at a disadvantage and are vulnerable to violence and other kinds of discriminations and injustices.
  • Systemic deprivation and violence against women: rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, female feticide, infanticide, sati, dowry deaths, wife-beating, high level of female illiteracy, malnutrition, undernourishment and continued sense of insecurity keeps women bound to home, economically exploited, socially suppressed and politically passive
  • Patriarchal constructions of knowledge perpetuate patriarchal ideology and this is reflected in educational institutions, knowledge system and media which reinforce male dominance.
  • Patriarchal constructions of social practices are legitimized by religion and religious institutions as most religious practices regard male authority as superior and the laws and norms regarding family, marriage, divorce and inheritance are linked to patriarchal control over property biased against women
  • Male dominated institutions like church and state also lay down rules regarding women’s reproductive capacity

 

Need of the hour

  • Behavioral Nudge:For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Gender sensitization:Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector.Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation:India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Conclusion

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.

 

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

2. Critically examine the performance of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), 2005. What are the various issues that need addressing to improve the performance of MGNREGA?  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

An internal study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has argued for decentralisation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), allowing for more “flexibility” at the ground level.

Key Demand of the question:

To critically write about the performance of MGNREGA and ways to improve its performance.

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: 

Give brief introduction of aims and objectives of MGNREGA.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the salient features of NGNREGA.

Next, write about the successes and limitations of MGNREGA since its inception. Cite examples and statistics to substantiate.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to overcome the above-mentioned limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction

The MGNREGA was launched in 2006 in order to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed employment to rural households. It is the largest scheme run by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).

An internal study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has argued for decentralisation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), allowing for more “flexibility” at the ground level.

Body

How has MGNREGA fared so far?

  • MGNREGA works have demonstrably strong multiplier effects are yet another reason to improve its implementation.
  • It is a labour programme meant to strengthen participatory democracy through community works. It is a legislative mechanism to strengthen the constitutional principle of the right to life.
  • It has helped in increasing rural household income.
  • It has not only helped in increasing groundwater table in the last one decade, but also agriculture productivity, mainly cereals and vegetables and fodders.
  • The water conservation measures, including farm ponds and dug wells, have made a difference to the lives of the poor.
  • While the scheme was earlier focused on creation of community assets, in the last three years, individual assets have also been emphasised.
  • It has provided goat, poultry and cattle shed as per the need of poor households.
  • One national study found that MGNREGS has created valuable public goods which have augmented rural incomes.
  • Another national study found that, even after deficiencies in implementation, MGNREGS may have improved nutrition outcomes.
  • Even consumption has been shown to improve if MGNREGS is implemented well. A 2018 study of a better-implemented version of MGNREGS in Andhra Pradesh, where there was significantly less leakage or payment delays, estimated that MGNREGS increased income households’ earnings by 13% and decreased poverty by 17%
  • MGNREGS can smoothen food consumption of rural poor by providing them with an alternate source of income during the agricultural lean season.
  • According to a study conducted by New Delhi-based Institute of Economic Growth.
    • there has been an 11 per cent increase in rural household income,
    • 5 per cent increase in cereal productivity and
    • 32 per cent increase in vegetable productivity,

 

Challenges to MGNREGA

  • Low Wage Rate: These have resulted in a lack of interestamong workers making way for contractors and middlemen to take control. Currently, MGNREGA wage rates of 17 states are less than the corresponding state minimum wages. The above study also noted that the MGNREGS wages were far below the market rate in many States, defeating the purpose of acting as a safety net.
  • Case study:At present, the minimum wage of a farm labourer in Gujarat is ₹324.20, but the MGNREGS wage is ₹229. The private contractors pay far more. In Nagaland, the wage is ₹212 per day, which does not take into account the difficult terrain conditions. Similarly, in Jammu and Kashmir, the rate is ₹214 per day. This, the study noted, “is lower than what is offered by private contractors which can go up to to ₹600-₹700 per day”.
  • Insufficient Budget Allocation: The funds have dried up in many States due to lack of sanctions from the Central government which hampers the work in peak season.
  • Payment Delays: Despite Supreme Court orders, various other initiatives and various government orders, nprovisions have yet been worked out for calculation of full wage delays and payment of compensation for the same. The internal study also flagged the frequent delay in fund disbursal, and to deal with it suggested “revolving fund that can be utilised whenever there is a delay in the Central funds”.
  • Case study: In Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh, for example, the surveyors found that because of the delay in the material component the beneficiaries ended up buying the construction material themselves to complete the projects. In Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, the delay in wages was by three or four months and the material component was delayed by six months.
  • Corruption and Irregularities:Funds that reach the beneficiaries are very little compared to the actual funds allocated for the welfare schemes.
  • Discrimination:Frequent cases of discrimination against the women and people from the backwards groups are reported from several regions of the country and a vast number goes unreported.
  • Non-payment of Unemployment Allowance: There is a huge pendency in the number of unemployment allowances being shown in the Management Information System (MIS).
  • Lack of Awareness: People, especially women, are not fully aware of this scheme and its provisions leading to uninformed choices or inability to get the benefits of the scheme.
  • Poor Infrastructure Building: Improper surveillance and lack of timely resourcesresult in the poor quality assets.
  • Non Purposive Spending: MGNREGA has increased the earning capacity of the rural people but the spending pattern of the workers assumes significance because there ishardly any saving out of the wages 
  • Workers penalised for administrative lapses: The ministry withholds wage payments for workers of states that do not meet administrative requirements within the stipulated time period.
  • Too much centralisation weakening local governance: A real-time MIS-based implementation and a centralised payment system has further left the  representatives of the Panchayati Raj Institutions with literally no role in implementation, monitoring and grievance redress of MGNREGA schemes.

Way forward

  • It is evident that the jobs under MGNREGS can only be revived through:
    • Adequate allocation of Budget funds
    • Timely payment for workers
    • Complete decentralisation of the implementation
    • Improving entitlements (wages, compensations and worksite facilities)
    • Allocation for a year should include pending liabilities of previous years.
  • It should also respect the idea of the decentralised planning processes through Gram Sabhas across the country and allow adequate fund allotment as per labour budgets provided by each Gram Panchayats.
  • The government should come up with only one delay-payment report that accounts for the entire time taken and delays during the closure of muster roll and wages credited to workers’ accounts.
  • Also, the MGNREGA payment procedures should be simplified to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Better coordination must be ensured among various government departments involved.
  • Better mechanism must be provided to allot and measure work.
  • Gender gap in wages under this scheme must be addressed. In this scheme, women earn 22.24% less than their male counterparts.
  • MGNREGA has been implemented for more than a decade now. It is necessary to understand its performance through output indicators like the number of workers, person days of work generated, quantum of assets completed etc.
  • The data collected can be used to compare inter-state and inter-district differences in performance.
  • In addition, MGNREGA must encompass provision for safe working conditions for the beneficiaries, like temperature checks, masks, hand washing facilities, proper hydration etc.

Conclusion

MGNREGA is playing a critical role in providing economic security for the rural population post the COVID-19 crisis. Therefore, the government must take steps to ensure that it is made use of to its fullest extent to address the current economic problems and bringing the economy back on track.

Value addition

Importance of MGNREGA

  • MGNREGA is vital for addressing India’s current problems.
  • It boosts rural demand and ensure economic development of the rural population
  • It seeks to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor.
  • This Act aims to improve the purchasing powerof the rural population by providing them primarily the semi-skilled or unskilled work, especially to those living below the poverty line.
  • This can help solve rural poverty, farmer suicides, unemployment crisis in rural areas etc.
  • Furthermore, it is a scheme that has the potential to undertake progressive measureslike infrastructure development in rural India, improving agricultural productivity through labour-intensive, supportive projects related to water conservation, drought relief measures, flood control etc.
  • This Act is also highly significant because it allows for grass-root level developmentas it is implemented mainly by the Gram Panchayats. It does not allow the involvement of contractors so that the workers under this scheme are not exploited.
  • It also stands out in its worker-centric legislationwith a high emphasis on transparency and accountability.
  • If the government supports this Act, then it can become the solution to the present-day problems like water scarcity, climate change etc.
  • It is demand-driven wage employment schemethat provides additional 50 days of unskilled wage employment during drought/natural calamities.
  • Section 3(4) of the Act allows states/Centre to provide additional days beyond the guaranteed period from their own funds.

 

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Technology missions;

3. The decision to remove the unscientific ban on Genetically Modified (GM) crops reflects the determination of the government to move towards Atmanirbhar Bharat. It also meets the aspirations of our scientific community and farmers can derive the benefits of innovative technology. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The recent clearance by the government for the release of GM Mustard Hybrid DMH 11 — based on the recommendations of GEAC under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change — is a bold decision in the best interest of our farmers and the nation.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of clearance granted for the cultivation of GM-Mustard.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the needed for GM crops in the country to meet the challenges of food security and make farming commercially viable and tackle challenges posed by climate change.

Next, write about the positive aspect of the lifting the ban on G-Mustard and its impact on the farmers as well as scientific community in the country.

Next, write about the concerns associated with the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

 

Introduction

Genetic engineering aims to transcend the genus barrier by introducing an alien gene in the seeds to get the desired effects. The alien gene could be from a plant, an animal or even a soil bacterium. In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.

The recent clearance by the government for the release of GM Mustard Hybrid DMH 11 — based on the recommendations of GEAC under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change — is a bold decision in the best interest of our farmers and the nation.

Body

Need for the GM Crops other than pest resistance:

  • Food Security:Given the increased growth of global population and increased urbanisation, GM crops offer one of the promising solutions to meet the world’s food security needs.
  • Improved Stress Tolerance: Genes that give greater tolerance of stress, such as drought, low temperatures or salt in the soil, can also be inserted into crops. This can extend their range and open up new areas for food production.
  • Faster Growth: Crops can be altered to make them grow faster, so that they can be cultivated and harvested in areas with shorter growing seasons. This again can extend the range of a food crop into new areas or perhaps allow two harvests in areas where only one is currently practical.
  • More Nutritious Crops: Plants and animals can be engineered to produce larger amounts of essential vitamins and minerals, such as iron, helping to solve nutrition problems in some parts of the world. They can also be altered to change the amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and saturated and unsaturated fats that they contain. This could lead to the production of foods designed specifically for a healthy diet for all consumers.
  • Production of Medicines and Vaccines by Crops: It may be possible to have plants and animals produce useful medicines and even vaccines, so that prevention and treatment of human diseases in some places can be achieved cheaply and efficiently through the diet.
  • Resistance to Herbicides: Crops can be modified to be resistant to specific herbicides, making it much easier to control troublesome weeds. Farmers can simply apply the weed killer to a crop field, killing the unwanted plants and leaving the food crop unaffected. For example, GM oilseed rapeseed – the source of canola oil – is resistant to one chemical that’s widely used to control weeds.
  • Better Tasting Foods: Foods can be engineered to taste better, which could encourage people to eat healthier foods that are currently not popular because of their taste, such as broccoli and spinach. It may be possible to insert genes that produce more or different flavours as well.
  • Economic benefits: GM crops can increase yield and thus income. Genetically modified foods have a longer shelf life. This improves how long they last and stay fresh during transportation and storage.

Positive aspect of the lifting the ban on G-Mustard and its impact on the farmers as well as scientific community in the country

  • It helps to meet our current challenges — over-exploitation of natural resources (soil, water, biodiversity), declining factor productivity, urgency to achieve sustainable development goals, especially ending poverty and hunger, and addressing timely the adverse effects of climate change
  • A major concern of our farmers is that yields of mustard are low and have stagnated for a long time at around 1,260 kg/ha, much lower than the global average of 2,000 kg/ha.
  • Mustard is a very important oilseed crop, grown in 6.0 -7.0 million hectares, mostly in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab and Madhya Pradesh. Thus, the government’s decision to allow the production of GM Mustard hybrids will go a long way in increasing our yields, while reducing the use of pesticides.
  • Allowing the production of GM Soybean and GM Maize going forward will also be a positive step, increasing both the productivity and profitability of these crops and doubling farmers’ income — a goal envisioned by the Prime Minister.

Concerns/Challenges associated with GM Crops:

  • Human Health Risks:
    • Potential impact on human health including allergens and transfer of antibiotic resistance markers.
    • The impact of growing GM crops poses risks to human health as their resistance to antibiotics can turn medicines ineffective and may result in the formation of new toxins and allergens.
    • Toxins produced by GM crops can not only affect non-target organisms but also pose the danger of unintentionally introducing allergens and other anti-nutrition factors in foods.
  • Bio safety concerns:
    • They can reduce species diversity.
    • For example, Insect-resistant plants might harm insects that are not their intended target and thus result in destruction of that particular species.
    • Cross-pollination in GM crops paves the way for herbicide-resistant super weeds that can further threaten the sustenance of other crops and pests because of its uncontrolled growth
    • GM technology could also allow the transfer of genes from one crop to another, creating “super weeds”, which will be immune to common control methods.
    • Viral genes added to crops to confer resistance might be transferred to other viral pathogens, which can lead to new and more virulent virus strains.
  • Implications on Farmers and Consumers:
    • Critics claim that patent laws give developersof the GM crops a dangerous degree of control over the food supply. The concern is over domination of world food production by a few companies
    • National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research’santicipation that Bt brinjal’s high yield and increased shelf life will benefit consumers and farmers owing to cut in retail price of brinjals ignores the scenario that companies might charge premium prices for Bt brinjal seeds, in which case farmers may not benefit at all.
  • Economic Concerns:
    • Introduction of a GM crop to market is a lengthy and costly process. It has not resulted in high yields as promised.
    • For instance, the highest yields in mustard are from the five countries which do not grow GM mustard — U.K., France, Poland, Germany and Czech Republic — and not from the GM-growing U.S. or Canada.
  • Inefficient Regulatory system:
    • Seeing the lapses in the regulatory system and irregularities in the assessment of Bt brinjal (in terms of labelling and unapproved and illegal sowing of GM crops) Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture and the Committee on Science & Technology, Environment and Forests recommended:
    • A thorough probe by a team of eminent independent scientists and environmentalists for commercialization of GM crops.
    • Endorsed labelling GM foods to protect a consumer’s right to know.
  • Ethical Concerns:
    • Violation of natural organisms’ intrinsic values by mixing among species.
    • There have also been objections to consuming animal genes in plants

Way Forward:

  • The government must take decisions on GM technologies on the basis of scientific evidence.
  • Need to start cultivating an environment of openness and transparency to allay genuine fears
  • The government should adopt a participatory approach to bring together all stakeholders to develop regulatory protocols that restore trust in the process.
  • There is a significant uncertainty over their safety, so precautionary principle is that country shall wait till a broader scientific consensus is achieved.
  • Need for better policy, pricing and to rationalize the input costs
  • GEAC needs to be a transparent body. it should put it in the public domain that on what grounds it has approved GM mustard
  • There has to be strong liability laws if there are any environmental hazards or if something goes wrong in future
  • Agriculture is a state subject; therefore, it is important for the Centre to take into consideration the views of State Governments as well.
  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has rightly pointed out in 2004, “Science cannot declare any technology completely risk free. Genetically engineered crops can reduce some environmental risks associated with conventional agriculture, but will also introduce new challenges that must be addressed”.

Conclusion:

Clearly, there can be no credible argument against scientific experiments in agriculture that advance the goal of developing plant varieties that can withstand drought, resist pests and raise yields to feed the growing world population. But this should be done through a transparent regulatory process that is free of ethical conflicts. All this underscores the need for a cautious approach — one that fosters scientific inquiry, allows for scrutiny and is underpinned by regulation. Enacting a comprehensive law that covers all aspects of GM crops should be a priority.

 

 

 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

4. While the intent of central bank digital currency (CBDC) and the expected benefits are well understood, it is important to identify innovative methods and compelling use cases that will make CBDC as attractive as cash if not more. Discuss.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express/Insights on India

Why the question:

The first pilot in the Digital Rupee, Wholesale segment (e₹-W) will commence on November 1, 2022, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a circular.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about CBDC, its potential benefits and challenges associated with 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: 

Start by explaining the emerging concept central bank digital currency (CBDC)

Body:

In the first part, write about potential benefits that India can accrue from CBDC. financial inclusion, the cashless society, decrease the cost of printing, expanding the digital economy and empowering citizens etc.

Next, write about potential challenges with regards to CBDC. User adoption, security, complexity, and scalability etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction

Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or national digital currency, is simply the digital form of a country’s fiat currency. Instead of printing paper currency or minting coins, the central bank issues electronic tokens. This token value is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.

Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) indicated that it will soon commence limited pilot launches of e-rupee (e`), or Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or digital rupee, for specific use cases. It has hinted at two broad categories for the use of e-rupee — retail and wholesale — taking the payment system in the country to a new level where the common people and businesses will be able to use the digital currency seamlessly for various transactions.

Body

Potential of a CBDC:

  • An official digital currency would reduce the cost of currency management while enabling real-time payments without any inter-bank settlement.
  • India’s fairly high currency-to-GDP ratio holds out another benefit of CBDC — to the extent large cash usage can be replaced by CBDC, the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency can be substantially reduced.
  • As the currency in digital form, it can provide an efficient way for financial transaction. Further, digital currency also solves the challenges with Cash and coins. Cash and coins require expenses in storage and have inherent security risks like the recent heist in the RBI currency chest.
  • There are about 3,000 privately issued cryptocurrenciesin the world. According to IMF, the key reason for considering national digital currency is to counter the growth of private forms of digital money.
  • There is a possibility of these companies going bankrupt without any protection. This will create a loss for both investor and creditor. But the National Digital currency has government backing in case of any financial crisis.
  • As the state-backed digital currency can provide investor/consumer protection, the private can confidently invest in the associated infrastructure without any doubts over its regulation. This will improve the services to people.
  • The national digital currency will be regulated by the RBI. So, there will be less volatility compared to other digital currencies.
  • Current RBI’s work on inflation targeting can be extended to national digital currency also. Since India is planning to ban other cryptocurrencies, the RBI can better regulate digital and fiat currency. Thus, upgrading to digital currency and balancing the macroeconomic stability.
  • With the introduction of CBDC in a nation, its central bank would be able to keep a track of the exact location of every unit of the currency, thereby curbing money laundering.
  • Criminal activitiescan be easily spotted and ended such as terror funding, money laundering, and so forth

 

Challenges posed:

  • India is already facing many cyber security threats. With the advent of digital currency, cyberattacks might increase and threaten digital theft like Mt Gox bankruptcy case.
  • According to the Digital Empowerment Foundation in 2018 report, around 90% of India’s population is digitally illiterate. So, without creating enough literary awareness introduction of digital currency will create a host of new challenges to the Indian economy.
  • Introduction of digital currency also creates various associated challenges in regulation, tracking investment and purchase, taxing individuals, etc.
  • The digital currency must collect certain basic information of an individual so that the person can prove that he’s the holder of that digital currency. This basic information can be sensitive ones such as the person’s identity, fingerprints etc.

Conclusion:

There are crucial decisions to be made about the design of the currency with regards to how it will be issued, the degree of anonymity it will have, the kind of technology that is to be used, and so on. There is no doubt that the introduction of National Digital currency prevents the various threats associated with the private-owned cryptocurrencies and take India the next step as a digital economy. But the government has to create necessary safeguards before rolling out. India needs to move forward on introducing an official digital currency.

 

 

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

5. Project Tiger has put the species on an assured course of recovery from the brink of extinction, apart from conserving the floral and faunal genetic diversity in our ecosystem. Analyse. (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 achievements of project tiger in India.

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: 

Start by explaining the aims and objectives behind the launch of project tiger.

Body:

First, write about the crisis in tiger population before the launch of Project Tiger. Mention the steps that were introduced as part of tiger conservation efforts.

Next, evaluate in success in achieving improvements in tiger numbers. Also, mention the various how it also conserved the local flora and fauna of ecosystems.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on the need to keep up the conservation efforts.

 

Introduction

Tigers are at the top of the food chain and are sometimes referred to as “umbrella species” that is their conservation also conserve many other species in the same area.

According to results of the Tiger census, the total count of tigers has risen to 2,967 in 2018 from 2,226 in 2014 which is an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years. The Tiger estimation exercise that includes habitat assessment and prey estimation reflects the success or failure of Tiger conservation efforts.

Body

Threat faced by Tiger population

  • Less than a hundred years ago, tigers prowled all across India and the sub-continent. But growing human populations, particularly since the 1940s,have contracted and fragmented the tiger’s former range.
  • For over thousand years, tigers have been hunted as status symbol, decorative item such as wall and floor covering, as souvenirs and curios, and for use intraditional Asian medicines.
  • Hunting for sportprobably caused the greatest decline in tiger populations until the 1930s.
  • In the early 1990s, trade in tiger bone for traditional Asian medicines threatened to drive tigers to extinction in the wild.
  • Poaching is the largest immediate threat to the remaining tiger population.
  • Large-scale habitat destruction and decimation of prey populations are the major long-term threats to the existence of the dwindling tiger population in the country.
  • And along with habitat, tigers have also suffered a severe loss of natural preypopulations – in particular ungulates such as deer and antelopes.

Project Tiger: Aims and objectives

More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers and conserve their population. The Government of India launched the Project Tiger with the aim of saving the steadily declining population of tigers in India on 1 April 1973.

  • Objectives: To reduce factors that cause the diminishing of tiger habitats and manage them.
    • Ensure a viable tiger population for scientific, ecological, economic, aesthetic and cultural values.
  • The administrating body for the project is theNational Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
    • The NTCA was formed in 2005 as per the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force. Under the organisation, there are eight Conservations Units each headed by a director who is responsible for his/her reserve area.
  • The reserves are created and functioned on a core/buffer strategy. That is, the core areas have the legal status of a national parkor sanctuary in India.
    • The buffer areas form the peripheral region and are a combination of forest and non-forest lands.
    • The project purposes of adopting an exclusive tiger agenda in the core areas and an inclusive people-centric approach in the buffer regions.
  • The project, apart from preserving the habitats of the tigers in their ecological purity, also does the job ofconducting tiger census in the country. It also combats poaching.
  • The project is in the process of creating a national database of individual tigers with photos so thatseized body parts or dead tigers can be traced.
  • The Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status, or M-STrIPES was launched in 2010and is a software-based monitoring system for tigers.

 

Way forward and Conclusion

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

 

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

6. The wildlife sanctuaries and national parks faces serious threat of habitat loss and fragmentation due to developmental projects and encroachment. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

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 threats faced by the wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in India.

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 mentioning that The Union Government has established a country-wide protected area network for protection of these species and their habitats of threatened flora and fauna under Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

Body:

First, write about the threats to wildlife sanctuaries and national parks from habitat loss. Substantiate with examples. For e.g. Clearance of partis of Valley of flowers for Chardham highway project.

Next, about the other factors affecting wildlife sanctuaries and national parks – Road/Railway lines inside protected areas, Uncontrolled passage of heavy vehicles during night-time, Man-animal conflicts, Threat from invasive species

Next, Discuss the potential solutions to issues such as – involving local communities in decision making, building infrastructure, anti-poaching camps etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

India has around 5% of its geographical area as protected area with 566 existing wildlife sanctuaries and 104 existing national parks in India. Despite being party to CITES and enacting Wildlife protection Act in India, there are many conservation challenges faced by sanctuaries and national parks.

Body

Threats faced by wildlife sanctuaries and national parks

  • Habitat loss: Due to flood and siltation, size of water bodies inside the park are shrinking. Siltation also affects the grazing areas of herbivorous animals.
  • Invasive species such as water hyacinth and Mimosa are great threats to Kaziranga. Water hyacinth clog water bodies and depletes oxygen in the water.
    • It threatens underwater life and shrinks the size of water bodies.
    • Exotic leguminous species Mimosa was introduced in Tea gardens of Assam.The species have a poisonous amino acid (Mimosin). So, they are harmful for herbivorous
  • Man-animal conflicts: No park exists in isolation, and that fact is becoming increasingly clear as the areas surrounding parks are developed for living space, agriculture, mining, forestry, and more.
    • The iconic species protected inside the parks don’t recognize boundaries and must often move in and out of the parks to feed, mate, or migrate.
    • Avani Tigress was killed due to public backlash.
  • Roads through sanctuaries:Experts found as many as 85 roadkills in the past six months within the sanctuary limits.
    • There is uncontrolled passage of heavy vehicles during night-time threatening biodiversity.
  • Poor conservation infrastructure:The rangers and frontline staff deployed in many parks and sanctuaries lacks modern weapons, advanced communication systems and efficient means of transportation. There is also lack of proper camps and watch towers.
  • Human interference:Illegal livestock grazing, illegal fishing, unplanned tourism infrastructure, highway traffic, tourism pressure, crop raiding, etc.
    • Mining, petroleum prospecting,clear-cut lumbering, and other developments are generally prohibited inside parks—but they still pose serious threats to water quality, clean air, and other vital aspects of the park environment.

Need of the hour

  • WWF-India Eco-development project aims to develop a model programme that can be used all over the country to help resolve this conflict.
  • Involve local communities in decision making like Critical tiger habitats Gram Sabha is given importance similar to the forest rights act.
  • Implementing the Gadgil committee and K Kasturirangan committee and not to water down the original recommendations.
  • Patrolling and wildlife monitoring had to be taken up on a priority basis and scientific studies to ascertain the status of key species have been undertaken with the help of research organizations.
  • Participation of local communities: The participation of local youth has been actively sought for the management of Manas and its buffer regions.
    • These youth were employed as conservation volunteers on a monthly stipend and ration.
    • They assisted the forest department in surveillance and patrolling activities.
    • With the help of national and international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), some of the youth were alsotrained to act as nature guides for small ecotourism enterprises.

Conclusion

The wildlife sanctuaries and national parks are established to provide protection to the endangered species. It is relatively hard to always relocate the animals from their natural territory, therefore, conserving them in their normal setting is advantageous. On of wildlife has major impact on entire human race and therefore must be taken up on war footing.

Measures and interest need to be channeled towards regrowing trees and increasing the land cover for forests. Reforestation and afforestation need to be promoted throughout the world. Proper forest management bodies need to be enforced to monitor wildlife actions and update on the latest. Care and habitation need to be provided to extinct species and efforts need to be taken to save them from becoming extinct.

 

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service

7. what do you understand by a ‘efficient civil servant’? Identify the five essential traits of a efficient civil servant. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the essential traits of efficient civil servant.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by describing a efficient civil servant.

Body:

Elaborate on five essential traits of a efficient civil servant. Cite examples to substantiate how those traits make him efficient.

Conclusion:

Complete by mentioning the importance of civil servants being efficient.

 

Introduction

An efficient civil servant is one who as a policymaker – practices considering the changing needs, wishes, and claims of citizens, the degree to which policymakers alter the public administration and policy positions and spends in accordance with change in public opinion.

Body

Five essential traits of a efficient civil servant

  • Integrity: It is the highest level of honesty which is displayed even in the thought process of an individual.  It also helps a civil servant to be courageous as he is on the right side of the justice.
  • Objectivity:Makes a civil servant impartial and non-partisan to take decisions based on merit without any sort of personal bias;. It ensures fairness in action and tolerance towards opposing views.
  • Transparency and Accountability: It is the answerability and taking up responsibility by the civil servants for their acts of commission and omission. It makes administration transparent and public oriented, by building public trust and deterring the unethical conduct.
  • Commitment and dedication towards service: It ensures that an administrator is totally in line with the needs of the people and service delivery oriented.
  • Compassion and empathy: This is mostly towards the vulnerable and needy section of the society who need an innovative solution and effective resolution of the problem by not compromising on the high standards of objectivity.

Conclusion

Ethics in Civil Services essentially plays an important role as it is helps in constant improvement in the quality of decision making. They ensure that there is management of the government affairs, it deals with the system of governance and helps in managing the affairs effectively.

 


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