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[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 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

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. Critically analyse the nature and the legacy of the Narmada Bachao Andolan. Do you think it played a part in imparting environmental consciousness to the masses in India?  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on IndiaIndian Express

Why the question:

Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is an Indian social movement spearheaded by native tribals (adivasis), farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against a number of large dam projects across the Narmada River.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the nature and legacy of Narmada Bachao Andolan and its impact.

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 the aims behind the launch of Narmada Bachao Andolan.

Body:

In the first part, write about the major features of the Narmada Bachao Andolan and its participants and major leaders.

Next, write about the nature and legacy of the Narmada Bachao Andolan as an environmental movement and its role in modern politics. Mention the criticism of the movement.

Next, write about the impact of Narmada Bachao Andolan and its role in generating environmental consciousness in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion.

Introduction

The Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) was a mass movement that began in 1985 to protest against the lack of an appropriate resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) policy for the more than 250,000 people who faced submergence during the construction of big dams along the Narmada river. Originally named Narmada Dharangrast Samiti or Committee for Narmada Dam-affected people, the movement was renamed NBA in 1989.

Body

Narmada Dam and Andolan

  • Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) is a social movement consisting of Adivasis, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists against the number of large dams being built across the Narmada River, which flows through the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat is one of the biggest dams on the river and was one of the first focal points of the movement.
  • It is one of the many dams under the Narmada Dam Project.
  • The main aim of the project is to provide irrigation and electricity to people in these states.
  • The ‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ led by leaders like Medha Patkar, Baba Amte etc is one of the most significant protest movement that Independent India has ever seen.
  • The ‘Narmada Bachao’ movement has attracted international attention and many prominent intellectuals of the country have enlisted their support to the movement.
  • The Supreme Court, the highest judicial authority in the country, has already delivered significant judgments on quite a few issues relating to this project.

History

  • The Narmada Valley project was conceived in 1946, but work on it started only in 1978 after the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal (NWDT) gave its final orders including plans for R&R.
  • The plan was to build 30 large dams, 135 medium dams, and 3,000 small dams along 1,312 km of the Narmada from Madhya Pradesh to Gujarat.
  • Except for the Sardar Sarovar, all the dams were in Madhya Pradesh. Its 138.68-metre-high wall would submerge 38,000 hectares of land, and displace 244 villages and 250,000 people.
  • In 1985, the dam faced its first legal challenge when 35-year-old Medha Patkar petitioned the Supreme Court against the project, citing poor R&R.
  • The court stayed work but vacated it in 1998 on condition that permission would be granted after a review of the affected areas.
  • In 2000, the court allowed construction on condition of supervised R&R.
  • By 2004 it stood at 110.64 metres and by 2006 it had permission to rise to 121.92 metres.

Significance of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA)

Socio-cultural-

  • Different sections of society like women, farmers, social activists, environmentalists and human rights activists were united against single cause.
  • Increased awareness- the movement succeeded in increasing the awareness of common people about the human rights, pros and cons of large hydro projects, plight of displaced people etc
  • The movement brought large number of women into the struggle. In fact the movement was led and organized by a women leader.

One of the unintended consequences of the NBA was that it divided the Gujarati society into two groups. One opposing the construction of the dam consists of indigenous and displaced people and the other supporting group of urban people who were expecting the benefits out of such project.

Political-

  • The use of political techniques such as peaceful marches, satyagraha etc of the NBA against the democratically elected government shows the evolution of Indian democracy.
  • Pan-Indian integration- the struggle was not limited to Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh only but the NBA received the support from across the nation and even from other political leaders such as Nitish Kumar.
  • It was one of its kind political struggle in the history of independent India that has aroused the political consciousness of masses and has inspired other such movements against forceful displacement.

Amidst of all these political events, the state government in Gujarat has been accused of mishandling the protest and indulging into human rights’ violations.

Economic-

  • The NBA made World Bank to withdraw its assistance for the project. Thus government had to bear the whole cost of the project resulting into delays in the constructions of the dams.
  • The NBA has brought the issue of sustainable development to the fore and has made government to re-prioritize the various dimensions of constructing large projects.

Conclusion

The Sardar Sarovar dam has finally been completed and dedicated to the nation by the honorable Prime Minister of India. However the struggle ensued during the last two decades against the constructions of the dams would stand as an example for the future movements and may ensure the preservation of rights of the affected people while maintaining the pace of the infrastructural development.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

2. The country’s demographic dividend will be wasted if women largely stay out of our labour market. Examine the various impediments for women to participate in the labour force. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint , Insights on India

Why the question:

As the labour market currently stands, our female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) is one of the lowest in the world (by World Bank data). Further, it remains in declining mode, having fallen from 30.5% in 2000 to 21.1% in 2019, and 18.6% in 2020, by International Labour Organisation figures

Key Demand of the question:

To write about economic and social causes for declining female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) and its impact.

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 statistic regarding declining female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) in India despite high growth.

Body:

In the first part, mention the economic causes behind declining female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) – educational enrolment of young women, lack of employment opportunities, effect of household income on participation etc.

Next, mention the social causes behind declining female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) – educational attainment, fertility rates and the age of marriage, social norms, Violence etc.

Next, write about the impact of the above and suggest steps to overcome the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

While gender gaps in education and nutrition have been closing over time the disadvantaged position of women is very visible in the labour market. Women Labour force participation is only 25% in India whereas the global average is 60%, to become world power, we cannot afford women to be out of service.

Body

Reasons for women staying out of labour market

There are non-economic, social and cultural factors over and above the economic factors. When increase in family incomes are there, due to the cultural factors, women leave the work to take care of the family.

  • Deep rooted patriarchy: The cultural baggage about women working outside the home is so strong that in most traditional Indian families, quitting work is a necessary precondition to the wedding itself.
  • Childcare responsibility solely on women: One big factor is maternity. Many women who join the workforce are unable to re-join after having a child. This is because, childcare is mainly seen as a woman’s job.
  • Bias at workplace against women: The landmark legislation, which entitles a woman to 26 weeks of paid maternity leave is becoming a big hurdle.
    • As per a study this increased cost for companies and this may discourage them from hiring women.
    • Mothers are also not given preference because they are seen to take less official responsibilities due to family.
  • Safety: The safety in metropolitan, tier 1 and tier 2 cities is the major issue. Concerns about safety and Harassment at work site, both explicit and implicit.
  • Education: Higher Education levels of women also allow them to pursue leisure and other non-work activities, all of which reduce female labour force participation.
    • When income increases, men allow Indian women to withdraw from the labour force, thereby avoiding the stigma of working (cultural factors).
  • Insufficient availability of the type of jobs that women say they would like to do, such as regular part-time jobs that provide steady income and allow women to reconcile household duties with work.
  • Unpaid work: Social norms about household work are against women’s mobility and participation in paid work. Childbirth and taking care of elderly parents or in-laws account for the subsequent points where women drop off the employment pipeline.

 Measures that are required to overcome this trend

  • Emancipation of women: Creating safe workplaces to bring more women to labor force should take front seat. Better targeting of education and reducing digital divide in post pandemic world should become a priority.
  • Women Empowerment: Through education, women have better access and opportunities in the workforce, leading to increased income and less isolation at home or exclusion from financial decisions.
  • Removing work place bias against working mothers: Pregnancy discrimination, hiring of women based on skill and diversity hiring after career gap, should become a norm.
  • 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. , 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.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Maternity and paternity: . An amendment to the Act in 2017 increasedpaid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks. Though well-meaning, this unfortunately fortifies notions of care-giving being primarily the onus of the woman, and thus reinforces and raises the risk of women being subject to the motherhood penalty.
    • An explicit law for mandatory paternity benefitswill go a long way towards equalizing gender roles and reducing employer bias
  • Better work conditions:The provision and strengthening of childcare facilities for working mothers are very important.
    • The Maternity Benefit Act mandates the setting up of creche facilities for organizations with over 50 employees.
    • A better policy measure would be to provide mothers in need of childcare with a monthly allowance. This will also help mothers working from home.
  • 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 and way forward

  • Existing patriarchal norms pose a significant constraint to the take-up of public or market services.
  • Addressing the issue of childcare and flexible work could help initiate positive social norms that encourage the redistribution of unpaid care and domestic work burden.
  • A huge spectrum of women’s skilled but unpaid work contributes directly to the economy. Yet, its devaluation by not being accounted for ‘work’ weakens women’s status, leading to their vulnerability.
  • Sharing the responsibilities of childcare can be difficult in a culture where parental leave is given only to the mother.
  • This further reinforces the notion that unpaid care work is the sole responsibility of the women.
  • The government has a crucial role to play in promoting gender equality by ensuring equality of opportunity in public services.
  • However, these solutions will have a limited impact unless the behavioural change of each and every individual is targeted.

 Value addition

Statistics on women issues

  • High gender divide: The gender gap in the country has widened, with only 62.5% of it closedand especially low gender parity in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity.
  • Wage gap:Women are paid considerably less than men, with some research showing that the gender pay gap between women and men in the same jobs with equivalent qualifications can be as much as 34%.
  • Labour force participation:India, as of 2020, has the lowest female labour force participation rate among South Asian nations, with four out of five women neither working nor looking for jobs.
  • High Job loss:According to Oxfam, 17 million women in India lost their jobs in April 2020, with their unemployment rate rising far higher than that among men.
  • Lesser opportunities for women:Women were found to be seven times more likely to lose their jobs during the lockdown phases, and if rendered unemployed, were 11 times more likely to remain jobless than their male counterparts.
  • Uneven domestic responsibility: Potential reasons for this include the increased burden of domestic responsibilitiesthat Indian women typically had to bear, in terms of not just household chores but extra time needed for elderly care and children’s studies, with schools shut.

Even pre-pandemic, a Time Use Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office showed that women spent nearly 4.5 hours on childcare and other care-giving responsibilities, in contrast with the meagre 0.88 hours for men.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. Critically analyse the proposed Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, in safeguarding the privacy of individuals and upholding the right to privacy of the citizens. Compare the proposed bill with the privacy laws of other countries. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintIndian Express

Why the question:

The latest draft of the data protection law — the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 (DPDP Bill, 2022) — has now been made open for public comments and the government is expected to introduce the Bill in Parliament in the budget session of 2023.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyse the proposed Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022, its potential and limitations in upholding right to privacy.

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 writing about the aims and objectives of Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

Body:

In the first part, write about the major provisions of Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

Next, write about the positives of the bill in ensuring adequate safeguards in upholding the right to privacy.

Next, write about the major shortcomings of the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022.

Next, compare the bill with the privacy of laws of the major countries like E.U, China, U.S and suggest major things that can be incorporated from them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The new Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022 released on Friday (November 18) is focused on personal data, as compared to an earlier unwieldy draft.  The personal data protection bill has been in the works for about five years. The first draft of the Bill was presented by an expert panel headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna in July 2018, after a year-long consultation process.

Body

Features of the bill

  • Data Principal and Data Fiduciary: The bill uses the term “Data Principal” to denote the individual whose data is being collected.
    • The term “Data Fiduciary” the entity (can be an individual, company, firm, state etc.), which decides the “purpose and means of the processing of an individual’s personal data.”
    • The law also makes a recognition that in the case of children –defined as all users under the age of 18— their parents or lawful guardians will be considered their ‘Data Principals.’
  • Defining personal data and its processing: Under the law, personal data is “any data by which or in relation to which an individual can be identified.”
    • Processing means “the entire cycle of operations that can be carried out in respect of personal data.”
    • So right from collection to storage of data would come under processing of data as per the bill.
  • Individual’s informed consent: The bill also makes it clear that individual needs to give consent before their data is processed.
    • Every individual should know what items of personal data a Data Fiduciary wants to collect and the purpose of such collection and further processing.
    • Individuals also have the right to withdraw consent from a Data Fiduciary.
    • The bill also gives consumers the right to file a complaint against a ‘Data Fiduciary’ with the Data Protection Board in case they do not get a satisfactory response from the company.
  • Language of information: The bill also ensures that individuals should be able to “access basic information” in languages specified in the eighth schedule of the Indian Constitution.
    • Further, the notice of data collection needs to be in clear and easy-to-understand language.
  • Significant Data Fiduciaries: The bill also talks of ‘Significant Data Fiduciaries, who deal with a high volume of personal data.
    • The Central government will define who is designated under this category based on a number of factors ranging from the volume of personal data processed to the risk of harm to the potential impact on the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • Data protection officer & Data auditor: Such entities will have to appoint a ‘Data protection officer’ who will represent them.
    • They will be the point of contact for grievance redressal.
    • They will also have to appoint an independent Data auditor who shall evaluate their compliance with the act.
  • Right to erase data, right to nominate: Data principals will have the right to demand the erasure and correction of data collected by the data fiduciary.
    • They will also have the right to nominate an individual who will exercise these rights in the event of death or incapacity of the data principal.
  • Cross-border data transfer: The bill also allows for cross-border storage and transfer of data to “certain notified countries and territories.”
    • However an assessment of relevant factors by the Central Government would precede such a notification.
  • Financial penalties: The draft also proposes to impose significant penalties on businesses that undergo data breaches or fail to notify users when breaches happen.
    • Entities that fail to take “reasonable security safeguards” to prevent personal data breaches will be fined as high as Rs 250 crore.
    • As per the draft, the Data Protection Board — a new regulatory body to be set up by the government — can impose a penalty of up to ₹500 crore if non-compliance by a person is found to be significant.

Positives of the current Bill

  • Gender neutrality: Significantly, and for the first time in the country’s legislative history, the terms ‘her’ and ‘she’ have been used irrespective of an individual’s gender. This, as per the draft, is in line with the government’s philosophy of empowering women.
  • Imbibes best global practices: To prepare it, best global practices were considered, including review of data protection legislations of Australia, European Union (EU), Singapore, and a prospective one of the USA.
  • Comprehensiveness: The draft has outlined six ‘Chapters’ and a total of twenty-five points. The ‘Chapters’ are: ‘Preliminary,’ ‘Obligations of Data Fiduciary,’ ‘Rights and Duties of Data Principal,’ ‘Special Provisions,’ ‘Compliance Framework,’ and ‘Miscellaneous.’
  • Special emphasis for child protection: If personal data is likely to cause harm to a child, its processing will not be allowed.
  • Widening the scope of data: Narrowing the scope of the data protection regime to personal data protection is a welcome move, as it resonates with the concerns of various stakeholders.
  • Harnessing economic potential: Now non-personal data could be used to unlock social and economic value to benefit citizens, businesses, and communities in India with appropriate safeguards in place.
  • Doing away with aggressive push for Data localisation: Relaxing data localisation provisions to notify countries to which data can flow, could aid India in unlocking the comparative advantage of accessing innovative technological solutions from across the globe, which in turn helps domestic companies.
  • Free flow of data: In addition, the free flow of data will help startups access cost-effective technology and storage solutions, as our research shows.
  • Allowing data transfers: This will also ensure that India is not isolated from the global value chain, helping businesses stay resilient in production and supply chain management and fostering overseas collaboration.

Issues with the current Bill

  • Wide-ranging exemptions to the Centre and its agencies with little to no safeguards, and reduced independence of the proposed Data Protection Board are among the key concerns flagged by experts.
    • It is also worth noting that the new Bill has just 30 clauses compared to the more than 90 in the previous one, mainly because a lot of operational details have been left to subsequent rule-making.
  • The central government can issue notifications to exempt its agencies from adhering to provisions of the draft law for national security reasons.
    • In an explanatory note accompanying the proposed legislation, the government argued that “national and public interest is at times greater than the interest of an individual”, while justifying the need for such exemptions.
  • The draft law leaves the appointment of the chairperson and members of the Data Protection Board entirely to the discretion of the central government. While the Data Protection Authority was earlier envisaged to be a statutory authority (under the 2019 Bill), the Data Protection Board is now a central government set up board.

Privacy laws of other countries

  • China model : New Chinese laws on data privacy and security issued over the last 12 months include the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL), which came into effect in November 2021.
    • It gives Chinese data principals new rights as it seeks to prevent the misuse of personal data.
    • The Data Security Law (DSL), which came into force in September 2021, requires business data to be categorized by levels of importance, and puts new restrictions on cross-border transfers.
    • These regulations will have a significant impact on how companies collect, store, use and transfer data, but are essentially focused on giving the government overreaching powers to collect data as well as to regulate private companies that collect and process information.
  • US Model: Privacy protection is largely defined as “liberty protection” focused on the protection of the individual’s personal space from the government. It is viewed as being somewhat narrow in focus because it enables collection of personal information as long as the individual is informed of such collection and use.
    • The US template has been viewed as inadequate in key respects of regulation.
  • GDPR EU: The GDPR focuses on a comprehensive data protection law for processing of personal data.
    • It has been criticised for being excessively stringent, and imposing many obligations on organisations processing data, but it is the template for most of the legislation drafted around the world.

Conclusion

The reworked version of the data protection Bill, released three months after the Govt withdrew an earlier draft, eases cross-border data flows and increases penalties for breaches. But it gives the Centre wide-ranging powers and prescribes very few safeguards. A thorough stakeholder consultation is required before the Bill is tabled.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

4. Anti-microbial resistance (AMR) has been recognised as a ‘silent pandemic’ and is a global public health threat with India’s ability being limited to fight it. Evaluate the role of one health approach in dealing with growing AMR? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

Antibiotics in food animals play a significant role in human health, making antimicrobial resistance (AMR) an essential environmental and public health issue.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about concerns surrounding AMR, its causes, measures to deal with it and role of one health approach in this regard.

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: 

Define AMR and its causes.

Body:

First, write about the why there is global cause of concern – Superbug, Multi drug resistance to bacterium and viruses, Increased cost of treatment, prolonged hospitalisation, increased mortality and less effective inoculation.

Next, write about the various initiatives to tackle AMR – Global Action Plan on AMR, World Anti-microbial awareness week, Delhi Declaration on AMR, National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance etc. Evaluate its efficacy.

Next, write about the one health approach and the initiatives it offers in dealing with AMR.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

Antibiotic resistance is specifically related to bacteria resisting an antibiotic against it while treating a bacterial infection.

 Body

Reasons for growing antimicrobial resistance

  • Effluent from pharma companies: Direct emissions from the pharma industry are a hotspot of antibiotic residues since they are discharged in larger concentrations than other indirect sources.
  • Antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, but misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process. Poor infection prevention and control further accelerate it.
  • While in humans’ antibiotics are primarily used for treating patients, they are used as growth promoters in animals, often because they offer economic shortcuts that can replace hygienic practices.
  • In their quest for survival and propagation, common bugs develop a variety of mechanisms to develop antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
  • The indiscriminate use of antibiotics is the greatest driver in selection and propagation of resistant bugs. It has the potential to make fatal even minor infections.
  • Wrong diagnosis: Doctors sometimes prescribe antimicrobials “just in case,” or they prescribe broad-spectrum antimicrobials when a specific drug would be more suitable. Using these medications in this way increases the risk of AMR.
  • Inappropriate use: If a person does not complete a course of antimicrobial drugs, some microbes may survive and develop resistance to the drug. Also, antibiotics recommended by quacks or pharmacist contribute to magnify the issue.

 

Impact of Anti-microbial resistance

  • Antibiotics have saved millions of lives till date. Unfortunately, they are now becoming ineffective as many infectious diseases have ceased to respond to antibiotics.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) occurs when bacteria develop the ability to defeat drugs which have been specifically designed to kill them.
  • Infections caused by such resistant germs are very difficult and often impossible to treat and it can affect humans at all stages of life.
  • AMR is occurring across the globe and is severely affecting the treatment of infectious diseases.
  • Even though antimicrobial resistance is a natural process, the misuse of antibiotics in humans and animals is accelerating the process.
  • A large number of infections such as tuberculosis, pneumonia and gonorrhoea are becoming very difficult to treat since the antibiotics used for their treatment are becoming less effective.
  • Globally, use of antibiotics in animals is expected to increase by 67% by 2030 from 2010 levels. The resistance to antibiotics in germs is a man-made disaster.
  • Irresponsible use of antibiotics is rampant in human health, animal health, fisheries, and agriculture.
  • Complex surgeries such as organ transplantation and cardiac bypass might become difficult to undertake because of untreatable infectious complications that may result post-surgery.

 

Conclusion

Antimicrobial resistance is a global crisis that threatens a century of progress in health and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Unless the world acts urgently, antimicrobial resistance will have disastrous impact within a generation.

 

Value Addition

Global and local efforts and measures

  • The World Health Organization is also coordinating a global campaign “Handle with care” to raise awareness and encourage best practices for antibiotic use.
  • In India, the government has launched a National Action Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance (NAP-AMR) as well.
  • India’s NAP- National Action Plan to combat Antimicrobial Resistance goes hand in hand with the World Health Organization’s Global Action Plan (GAP) for AMR.
  • The Union health ministry’s Anti-Microbial Resistance awareness campaign urges people not to use medicines marked with a red vertical line, including antibiotics, without a doctor’s prescription.
  • In 2012, India’s medical societies adopted the Chennai Declaration, a set of national recommendations to promote antibiotic stewardship.
  • The government has also capped the maximum levels of drugs that can be used for growth promotion in meat and meat products.

On July 19, 2019, the Central Government banned the manufacture, sale and distribution of Colistin and its formulations for food producing animals, poultry, aqua farming and animal feed supplements with immediate effect to prevent AMR.

 

Topic: money laundering and its prevention.

5. Cryptocurrencies can make it easy to obscure the source of criminal proceeds and are increasingly becoming the preferred currency because cryptocurrency offers a combination of anonymity, ease of use and the ability to circumvent international borders and regulations, in essence, to launder the ill-gotten proceeds. Examine. (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 how cryptocurrency has facilitated money laundering and measures needed to prevent it.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving context regarding the challenges posed by cryptocurrency.

Body:

First, explain in detail as to how crypto can facilitate money laundering and challenges it poses for the enforcement agencies to tack and analyse it.

Next, write about the measures that are needed to ensure this growing technology is regulated and challenges associated with it are overcome.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Cryptocurrencies can make it easier for fraudsters to obscure the source of criminal proceeds and are increasingly becoming the preferred currency of cybercriminals, from purchasing illicit goods using Bitcoin as a payment method to ransomware attacks where payments by Bitcoin are demanded. This trend is more prevalent because cryptocurrency offers a combination of anonymity, ease of use and the ability to circumvent international borders and regulations, in essence, to launder the ill-gotten proceeds.

Body

 

Cryptocurrency as a source of criminal activity

  • Criminals open online accounts with digital currency exchanges, which accept fiat currency from traditional bank accounts. Then, they start a ‘cleansing’ process (mixing and layering), i.e., moving money into the cryptocurrency system by using mixers, tumblers, and chain hopping (also called cross-currency). Money is moved from one cryptocurrency into another, across digital currency exchanges — the less-regulated the better — to create a money trail that is almost impossible to track.
  • According to the “Cryptocurrency Anti-Money Laundering Report,” criminals also use theft and gambling to launder cryptocurrencies.
  • Creation of Dark Web or Dark Market which cause it to exploit users through hacking.
  • With a market capitalization of $350 billion, bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency in the world. A distinctive feature of bitcoin is that a record of all transactions is held in a public ledger maintained simultaneously across thousands of computers. As per bitcoin proponents, the latter are prone to manipulation or hacking.
  • Cryptocurrency does not have any legal tender. So, it cannot be authorized and can be subscribed by anyone which results in money laundering.
  • Since it doesn’t have regulatory authority, it is easy to trade between countries and can cause money laundering in disguise of trading.

Cryptocurrency shielding criminal activity

  • Layering: Cryptocurrencies can be purchased with cash (fiat) or other types of crypto (altcoin). Online cryptocurrency trading markets (exchanges) have varying levels of compliance with regulations regarding financial transactions. Legitimate exchanges follow regulatory requirements for identity verification and sourcing of funds and are Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliant. Other exchanges are not as AML compliant. This vulnerability is where most transactions related to bitcoin money laundering take place.
  • Hiding: Crypto-based transactions can generally be followed via the blockchain. However, once a dirty cryptocurrency is in play, criminals can use an anonymizing service to hide the funds’ source, breaking the links between bitcoin transactions. This can be accomplished both on regular crypto exchanges or by participating in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), where using one type of coin to pay for another type, can obfuscate the digital currency’s origin.
  • Integration: The point at which you can no longer easily trace dirty currency back to criminal activity is the integration point – the final phase of currency laundering. Despite the currency no longer being directly tied to crime, money launderers still need a way to explain how they came into possession of the currency. Integration is that explanation. A simple method of legitimizing the illicit income is to present it as the result of a profitable venture or other currency appreciation. This can be very hard to disprove in a market when the value of any given altcoin can change by the second.
  • Tumblers: Mixing services, known as “tumblers,” can effectively split up the dirty cryptocurrency. Tumblers send it through a series of various addresses, then recombine it. The reassembly results in a new, “clean” total (less any service fees, which can often be substantial.
  • Unregulated Exchanges: Another avenue through which criminals can undertake bitcoin money laundering is unregulated cryptocurrency exchanges.
  • Peer to Peer: To lower bitcoin money laundering risk, many criminals turn to decentralized peer-to-peer networks which are frequently international. Here, they can often use unsuspecting third parties to send funds on their way to the next destination.
  • Gaming site: Online gambling and gaming through sites that accept bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies is another way to conduct a crypto money-laundering scheme. Crypto can be used to buy credit or virtual chips which users can cash out again after just a few small transactions.

 

Conclusion and way forward

  • Regulation is the Solution: Regulation is needed to prevent serious problems, to ensure that cryptocurrencies are not misused, and to protect unsuspecting investors from excessive market volatility and possible scams.
    The regulation needs to be clear, transparent, coherent and animated by a vision of what it seeks to achieve.
  • Clarity on Crypto-currency definition: A legal and regulatory framework must first define crypto-currencies as securities or other financial instruments under the relevant national laws and identify the regulatory authority in charge.
  • Strong KYC Norms: Instead of a complete prohibition on cryptocurrencies, the government shall rather regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies by including stringent KYC norms, reporting and taxability.
  • Ensuring Transparency: Record keeping, inspections, independent audits, investor grievance redressal and dispute resolution may also be considered to address concerns around transparency, information availability and consumer protection.
  • Igniting the Entrepreneurial Wave: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology can reignite the entrepreneurial wave in India’s start up ecosystem and create job opportunities across different levels, from blockchain developers to designers, project managers, business analysts, promoters and marketers.

 

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security;

6. What are the major challenges to India’s cyber security? How have emerging technologies complicated the existing challenges? How can they be addressed? (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 India’s traditional cybersecurity challenges as well challenges posed by emerging technology and ways to address them.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of the cyber security scenario in India.

Body:

First, write about the major cyber security challenges of India – cyber-attacks, lack of infrastructure, digital illiteracy etc.

Next, write about how emerging technologies such as 5G, IoT, cryptocurrency, Metaverse etc have complicated the cyber-security scenario in the country.

Mention the steps that can be taken in the above regard to address the above-mentioned challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Cyber security or information technology security are the techniques of protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation. It protects cyberspace from damage, sabotage and economic espionage.

According to Symantec Report, India is the 5th most vulnerable nation to cybersecurity breach.

Body

Major challenges to India’s cyber security by emerging technologies

  • Spyware: Pegasus, a spyware was in news and according to WhatsApp, the spyware was deployed on at least 1,400 targets, including lawyers, activists, dissidents and diplomats. The Pegasus spyware is also known to have been used against several Indian journalists and activists.
    • Sensitive information was extracted from the target users’ phone.
  • Denial of Service: Saposhi Malware is capable of taking over electronic devices and turning them into bots (device taken over by malware) which can then be used for any purpose, including DDoS attacks which, with enough firepower, can cripple entire industries.
    • It overloads the server, rendering it non-responsive.
  • Ransomwares: It is a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system or personal files and demands ransom payment in order to regain access. Eg: WannaCry, Petya
    • This can have a serious harm to critical government infrastructure and its data security.
  • Hacking: It can occur through phishing, spam mails that mask virus as executables or exploiting a badly written code in the software
    • Using old Operating Systems: Eg : ATMs with windows XP became vulnerable to network spoofing.
    • Cyber-warfare leading to states attacking the information systems of other countries for espionage and for disrupting their critical infrastructure.
      • Monitoring web to trace people in touch with terror operatives is needed for national security. Eg : Operation Chakravyuh by IB
      • Targeting nation’s nuclear installations. Eg: breach in Kundakulam nuclear power plant.

     

    India’s cyber-security strategy and redressal of cybercrimes

    National initiatives

    • CERT-IN is the national nodal agency to respond in crisis situation.
    • CERT-fin has also been launched exclusively for financial sector.
    • CERT-in is also operating Cyber Swachhta Kendra, a Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre
    • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) to battle cyber security threats in strategic areas such as air control, nuclear and space.
    • A new Cyber and Information Security (CIS) Division has been created to tackle internet crimes such as cyber threats, child pornography and online stalking.
      • Under this, Indian cyber- crime coordination centre (I4C) and Cyber Warrior Police force has also been established.
    • Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative to strengthen Cybersecurity ecosystem in India. It is first public private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity.
    • National cyber coordination centre (NCCC) to scan internet traffic coming into the country and provide real time situational awareness and alert various security agencies.
    • Cyber Forensic Lab set up in Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata in collaboration with NASSCOM.

    Laws/Policies determining cybersecurity

    • Information Technology Act, 2000 has a legal framework for electronic transactions, for data access for cybersecurity etc. The important provisions are:
      • Section 43: Data protection
      • Section 66: Hacking
      • Section 69: Cyberterrorism
    • National Cyber Security Policy 2013:
      • Set up different bodies to tackle various levels of threats, along with a national nodal agency to coordinate all cybersecurity matters.
      • Create a workforce of around 500,000 trained in cyber security.
      • Provide fiscal benefits to businesses to adopt best security practices.
      • Set up testing labs to regularly check safety of equipment being used in the country.
      • Create a cyber ecosystem in the country, developing effective public-private partnerships and collaborative engagements through technical and operational cooperation.
      • Build indigenous security technologies through research.
    • The Personal Data Protection Bill is under consideration by the Parliament.

    International coordination

    • Cyber Diplomacy : For Eg India-US Cyber Relationship Framework.
    • The 5th GCCS (Global conference on cyberspace was held in India) bringing together policy makers, leaders, experts, cyber wizards etc.
    • India is considering signing of Budapest Convention: It is the only binding international instrument that addresses computer crime. It harmonizes national laws and investigative techniques.

     

    Measures required to counter the above in policy making

    • Strong laws: Data Protection Bill 2019 must be enacted at the earliest. Privacy of user data and regulating the collection of data (bare minimum data) is the need of the hour.
    • Data Localization: A copy of user data must also be locally stored in India, especially sensitive information such as on health and finance.
    • Enhancing capabilities: India must build capabilities in AI and Machine Learning to accurately predict and identify digital attacks. Eg : Cyber Swachhata Kendra, a Botnet Cleaning and Malware Analysis Centre
    • Strengthening the Cybersecurity ecosystem in India.
    • Digital Literacy program at all India level on the lines of Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan must be launched.

     

    Conclusion

    India must develop core skills in data integrity and data security fields, to ensure protection of user data as well as security of critical infrastructure. Expertise of the private sector must be leveraged to build capabilities. Meanwhile user awareness is equally necessary to prevent them from becoming victims of cybercrime.

    New foundation for a global law on cybersecurity must be laid. It will help in guiding national legislation or policy against cybercrimes. Cyber-Deterrence must be ingrained in the policy on cybersecurity with both defensive and offensive approach.

    Rapid capacity building and Skill development in cyber space is required considering the fact that India’s IT segment accounts for 51 percent share of the IT-BPM sector (2018-19).

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour;

7. Altruism is acting to help someone else at some cost to oneself. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: plato.stanford.edu

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.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define altruism.

Body:

Elaborate, Everyday life is filled with small acts of altruism, from holding the door for strangers to giving money to people in need. News stories often focus on grander cases of altruism, such as a man who dives into an icy river to rescue a drowning stranger or a donor who gives thousands of dollars to a local charity.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of altruism in present day and the need to use it for positive outcomes.

Introduction

Altruism is defined as acting in the best interests of others rather than one’s own. When a person’s behavior is motivated by a desire to help someone other than oneself, it is referred to as altruistic behavior.

Ethical altruism is an ethical doctrine that states that people have a moral obligation to help, serve, or benefit others, even if it means sacrificing their own interests. To put it another way, an action is morally right if the consequences of that action are more favorable than unfavorable for everyone except the agent.

 

Body

Altruism and criticism

  • Friedrich Nietzsche held that, the idea that it is virtuous to treat others more important than oneself is degrading and demeaning to the self.
  • He also believed in the idea that others have a higher value than oneself hinders the individual’s pursuit of self-development, excellence, and creativity. Eg: America’s decision to abandon Afghanistan and letting Taliban takeover etc.
  • He maintained that it was an ideology fabricated by the weak for the weak, and masks self-poisoning resentment about individual and collective powerlessness.
  • Ayn Rand said that most problems in the world come from the doctrine of Altruism, and argues that there is no rational ground for asserting that sacrificing yourself in order to serve others is morally superior to pursuing your own self-interest.
  • Furthermore, if the state were to enforce Altruism as a moral ideal, this could ultimately result in the state forcing everyone into a collectivist political system.
  • Others have argued that actions formerly seen as altruistic are in reality just a form of enlightened self-interest.

Nonetheless, most moral philosophers hold altruistic actions in high regard and believe they play a role in morality. Mildly altruistic moral principles, on the other hand, may be rejected by altruistic principles that require extreme personal sacrifices.

People’s moral judgments are often driven by emotion. And empathy for others seems to encourage altruism. Another emotion, called “elevation,” appears to inspire altruistic behavior, too. We feel elevation when we see another person act virtuously, such as by helping someone in need. Altruism also builds social connections. For example, studies show that people who are altruistic tend to be happier, to be healthier, and to live longer. So, while altruism leads us to do what’s best for others, it also makes us good human beings.

Conclusion

Altruism is a vital component of a good society precisely because one cannot anticipate all the occasions on which people may need to be helped, and therefore cannot formally assign duties to help. In a dog-eat-dog world where there is cut throat competition to survive or gain power over others, expectations of altruism personally or between nations is a distant dream. Yet, humans need to find better ways of sharing the burden of altruism so that everyone helps sometimes, and no one is required to sacrifice himself completely to altruistic causes.


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