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
Answer the following questions in 150 words:
General Studies – 1
1. Explain the process of tropical cyclogenesis with an emphasis on the main factors responsible for tropical cyclogenesis.
Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India
Tropical Cyclone is any large system of winds that circulates about a centre of low atmospheric pressure in a counter-clockwise direction north of the Equator and in a clockwise direction to the south. Cyclonic winds move across nearly all regions of the Earth except the equatorial belt and are generally associated with rain or snow.
With the cyclonic storm ‘Mandous’, brewing over the Bay of Bengal, likely to hit north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts around December 10, intense rain lashed many districts of Tamil Nadu since Thursday. The IMD in its forecast On December 9, predicted intense rain with intense spells of rain likely to occur at a few places over Tiruvallur, Chennai, Chengalpattu and Kancheepuram districts, it said.
Mechanism of formation of a tropical cyclone:
- The energy that intensifies the storm comes from the condensation process in the towering cumulonimbus clouds, surrounding the centre of the storm.
- With continuous supply of moisture from the sea, the storm is further strengthened. The more time they spend over the seas, the stronger they become.
- On reaching the land the moisture supply is cut off and the storm dissipates. The place where a tropical cyclone crosses the coast is called the landfall of the cyclone.
- The cyclones, which cross 20oN latitude generally, re-curve and they are more destructive.
- A mature tropical cyclone is characterized by the strong spirally circulating wind around the centre, called the eye. The diameter of the circulating system can vary between 150 and 250 km. The eye is a region of calm with subsiding air.
- Around the eye is the eye wall, where there is a strong spiralling ascent of air to greater height reaching the tropopause. The wind reaches maximum velocity in this region, reaching as high as 250 km per hour. Torrential rain occurs here.
- From the eye wall rain bands may radiate and trains of cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds may drift into the outer region.
Conditions favourable for the formation of a tropical cyclone:
- Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27° C;
- Presence of the Coriolis force;
- Small variations in the vertical wind speed;
- pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation;
- Upper divergence above the sea level system.
Warming of the surface ocean from anthropogenic climate change is likely fuelling more powerful Tropical Cyclones. The destructive power of individual Tropical Cyclones through flooding is amplified by rising sea levels, which very likely has a substantial contribution at the global scale from anthropogenic climate change. Thus, adaptive and mitigative measures must be taken at the earliest to reduce the damages caused.
2. The substitution of caste by economic criteria will not only reverse the modest gains made in affirmative action so far but also deepen structural inequality. Critically examine.
Reference: The Hindu
The Constitution (103 Amendment) Act, 2019 was enacted which provides 10% reservation in jobs and educational institutions to the economically weaker sections in the general category. Recently, the Supreme Court has upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which provides 10% reservation for the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) among forward castes in government jobs and colleges across India. The SC said that EWS quota does not violate equality and the basic structure of the constitution. Reservation in addition to existing reservation does not violate provisions of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court of India’s recent decision, upholding the constitutional validity of the law granting 10% reservation to Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) of the upper castes, has ignited much debate. Some pundits have affirmed the judgment marks the death knell of caste as a factor in reservation, while others argue that it underscores its perpetual relevance.
Reservation leads to casteless and classless society:
- The 10% quota law is a step towards a classless and casteless society, the Union government has indicated in the Supreme Court.
- The Centre referred to the court’s past decisions that called for the “attainment of economic equality as the final and only solution to the besetting problems” of the country. The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, 2019, was meant to benefit the economically weaker sections of society who were not covered by the existing schemes of reservation.
- It said the law was meant to benefit a large section of the population of 135 crore people, who are mostly lower middle class and below the poverty line.
- The government quoted the 2010 report of the Commission for Economically Backward Classes, chaired by Major General S.R. Sinho (retired), which said 18.2% of the general category came under the below poverty line (BPL).
- The Government took support of the 13-page affidavit quoted from a 1985 Constitution Bench judgment in K.C. Vasanth Kumar vs Karnataka, which quotes Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi to drive home the point that the economy of a family, and not its caste, should be the determining factor of social and educational backwardness.
- Article 15(6) and Article 16(6) are enabling provisions for advancement of the economically weaker sections and are, in fact, in conformity with the principle of reservation and affirmative action, It argued that a “mere amendment” to an Article would not violate the basic structure of the Constitution.
- Furthermore, the 50% ceiling applied to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes. The new provision dealt with the economically weaker sections. “The limit of 50% is only applicable to reservation under Articles 15(4), 15(5) and 16(4) and does not apply to Article 15(6).”
The pros of the reservation Act are:
- Alleviation of Poverty: It is expected to help the needy among the higher castes.
- Reduces ghost beneficiaries: In some cases, it is expected to eliminate the desperation of those who, in the past, would resort to obtaining fake Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST)certificates that were used to seek entry into professional courses.
- Removes Prejudice: The reservation will prevent these higher castes from holding reservations responsible for national disintegration and perpetuation of casteism, as they widely believe.
- Reduces Unwanted Adoptions: The legislation is also expected to keep savarna-caste aspirants from seeking adoption into SC/ST families in order to procure SC/ST certificates.
- No deceptive self-characterisation:Ironically, the 10% quota can help these savarnas retain their authentic caste identity. In this way, they can now avoid facing humiliation in courts of law on account of being exposed as fake caste certificate holders.
The cons of the reservation are:
- Discredits the moral foundation of the principle of social justice:
- The principle of social justicecalls for ‘equal treatment of equals’ and ‘affirmative action for less advantage sections’.
- Constitution outlines special provisions for only four classes– SCs, STs, Backward Classes and Anglo Indians in the Articles 330-342 under Part 16.
- The provision is clearly mentioned as reservation is explicitly for ‘social exclusion and discrimination’. Notably, the “socially and educationally backward classes” was the target group in quotas for OBCs.
- Unfairness or an element of injusticeis rooted in the practice of untouchability, whereas pure economic backwardness is rooted in the systemic inability to provide jobs to the higher castes.
- The lack of opportunities is not due to untouchability, but due to the inability of the state and the market to provide enough jobs for the qualified and the needy.
- The new reservation policy has transformed from a policy meant to provide a level playing field for those suffering from historical discrimination and those who are weaker sections of the society to a policy meant as a dole for those sections of society who are poor and lack jobs.
- The Indira Sawhney casehad further held that social backwardness cannot be determined only with reference to an economic criterion.
- Violation of DPSP:
- The Article 46, which is a non-justiciable Directive Principle, says that the state shall promote educational and economic interests of “weaker sections”, in particular SCs and STs, and protect them from “social injustices” and “all forms of exploitation”.
- While the 103rd Amendment mentions Article 46 in its statement and objects, it seems the government overlooked the fact that upper castes neither face social injustice nor are subjected to any form of exploitation.
- Moreover, the Constitution makes provisions for commissions to look into matters relating to implementation of constitutional safeguards for Scheduled Castes (Article 338), Scheduled Tribes (338A) and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (339),but has not created any commission for the economically backward classes.
- Unavailability of Data:
- The Union or state governments have no such data to prove that ‘upper’ caste individuals, who have less than Rs 8 lakh annual income, are not adequately represented in government jobs and higher educational institutions. There is a strong possibility that they are actually over-represented in these places.
- Arbitrary Criteria:
- The criteria used by the government to decide the eligibility for this reservation is vague and is not based on any data or study.
- Even the SC questioned the government whether they have checked the GDP per capita for every State while deciding the monetary limit for giving the EWS reservation.
- Statistics show that the per capita income in states differs widely – Goa is the state having the highest per capita income of almost Rs. 4 lakhs whereas Bihar is at the bottom with Rs.40,000.
- Sincerity of the Government
- Centre did not give enough time for discussion on it before it was tabled in Parliament for its final approval.
- Lack of objectivity
- an objection is raised about the procedure that the government adopted in order to fix the criteria for educational and economic backwardness. The government arrived at the figure of 10%, without any proper and thorough documentation by a duly constituted commission.
Thus, the quota for the economically poor among the upper castes has been seen essentially as a poverty alleviation move dressed up as reservation. It is high time now that the Indian political class overcame its tendency of continually expanding the scope of reservation in pursuit of electoral gains, and realised that it is not the panacea for problems.
Instead of giving reservation based on different criteria, the government should focus on quality of education and other effective social upliftment measures. It should create a spirit of entrepreneurship and make them job-givers instead of a job seeker.
General Studies – 2
3. Examine the various issues in India’s fundamental right to religion. How can the issue of “forced” or “deceitful” conversions be addressed?
Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India
Article 25(1) of the Constitution guarantees the “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion”.
It is a right that guarantees a negative liberty — which means that the state shall ensure that there is no interference or obstacle to exercise this freedom. However, like all fundamental rights, the state can restrict the right for grounds of public order, decency, morality, health and other state interests.
- Freedom of conscience: Inner freedom of an individual to mould his relation with God or Creatures in whatever way he desires.
- Right to Profess: Declaration of one’s religious beliefs and faith openly and freely.
- Right to Practice: Performance of religious worship, rituals, ceremonies and exhibition of beliefs and ideas.
- Right to Propagate: Transmission and dissemination of one’s religious beliefs to others or exposition of the tenets of one’s religion.
Issues with fundamental right to religion
- Essential religious practices: In 1954, the SC held in the Shirur Mutt case that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practises “integral” to a religion. The test to determine what is integral is termed the “essential religious practises” test.
- The test, a judicial determination of religious practises, has often been criticised by legal experts as it pushes the court to delve into theological spaces.
- Example, Sabarimala issue where women in menstruating age are banned from entering. The verdict created a furore.
- Banning of hijab: Recently, six students were banned from entering a college in Karnataka’s Udupi district for wearing a hijab (a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women).
- The issue throws up legal questions on reading the freedom of religion and whether the right to wear a hijab is constitutionally protected.
- Issue of forced conversion: The Hadiya case is an example of one extreme where even voluntary conversion is disputed. At the other end there are forceful conversions through manipulation and deceit.
- Public display of religious practices: In several instances, the court has applied the essential practices test to keep certain practises out.
- In a 2004 ruling, the SC held that the Ananda Marga sect had no fundamental right to perform Tandava dance in public streets, since it did not constitute an essential religious practice of the sect.
- While these issues are largely understood to be community-based, there are instances in which the court has applied the test to individual freedoms as well.
- For example, in 2016, the SC upheld the discharge of a Muslim airman from the Indian Air Force for keeping a beard.
- Armed Force Regulations, 1964, prohibits the growth of hair by Armed Forces personnel, except for “personnel whose religion prohibits the cutting of hair or shaving of face”.
- The court essentially held that keeping a beard was not an essential part of Islamic practices.
Addressing forceful conversions
- About the regulation of Conversions in India: In 1954, Parliament took up for consideration the Indian Conversion (Regulation and Registration) Bill.
- Six years later, another law, the Backward Communities (Religious Protection) Bill, 1960, was proposed to stop conversion.
- Both were dropped for want of support.
- State Laws: There are a few states (Arunachal Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand) which have enacted upon anti-conversion law in India.
- There is a need for uniformity: Article 18 of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights mentions everyone has the right to freedom of religion including changing their faith.
- Since it is a state subject, the Centre can frame a model law like Model law on contract farming etc.
- States while enacting anti-conversion laws should not put any vague or ambiguous provisions for the person who wanted to convert of his own will.
- The anti-conversion laws also need to include a provision to mention the valid steps for conversion by minority community institutions.
- People also need to be educated about the provisions and ways of Forceful conversions, Inducement or allurement, etc.
Every person is the final judge of his/her choice of religion or who their life partner should be. Courts cannot sit in judgment of a person’s choice of religion or life partner. Religious faith is a part of the fundamental right to privacy. The Constitution Bench judgment has already upheld inviolability of the right to privacy, equating it with the rights to life, of dignity and liberty.
General Studies – 3
4. What are Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)? How do they impact the environment and human health? Evaluate the various measures taken by the government to combat Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
Reference: Down to Earth , Insights on India
In 1995, the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) called for global action to be taken on POPs, which it defined as “chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate through the food web, and pose a risk of causing adverse effects to human health and the environment”.
Extra information about POPs
- Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are among the most dangerous chemicals that humans release into the environment. While POPs have been in use for decades, the world has only recently learned about their more deadly qualities. So there is a need to effectively curb their effects.
- POPs are organic chemical substances toxic to both humans and wildlife which once released into the environment remain intact for years on end
- They become widely distributed throughout the environment as a result of natural processes involving soil, water and air, and accumulate in the fatty tissues of living organisms including humans.
- Because of human activities, POPs are widely distributed over large regions of the world including areas where they were never used
- POPs are recognized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as Group 1 carcinogens or cancer-causing substances.
- The 12 initial POPs under the Stockholm Convention: Initially, twelve POPs have been recognized as causing adverse effects on humans and the ecosystem and these can be placed in 3 categories:
- Pesticides: aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, hexachlorobenzene, mirex, toxaphene;
- Industrial chemicals: hexachlorobenzene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); and
- By-products: hexachlorobenzene; polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDD/PCDF), and PCBs.
Impacts of POPs
- On wildlife
- Reproductive impairment and malformations
- Immune system is sensitive
- Altered liver enzyme function
- Increased risk of tumours
- High levels of DDE (a metabolite of DDT) in certain birds of prey caused their eggshells to thin so dramatically they could not produce live offspring.
- On Humans
- Contact may cause skin rashes, swelling of eyelids, hyper-pigmentation headaches, or vomiting.
- Specific effects of POPs can include cancer, allergies and hypersensitivity, damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems, reproductive disorders, and disruption of the immune system.
- Extended high-level exposure has resulted in cases of chloracne. The worst incident of human exposure was the 1968 Yusho incident: 1200 people (in Japan) consumed rice oil heavily contaminated with PCBs over 20 to 190 days.
- These people had reproductive dysfunction, visual disturbances and respiratory problems etc
- Female victims tend to have disorders of the reproductive organs, and also an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Infants born to women who had been exposed to these exhibited neurobehavioural deficits and lower overall age-adjusted developmental scores were reported among the exposed children.
- On Environment
- POPs work their way through the food chain by accumulating in the body fat of living organisms and becoming more concentrated as they move from one creature to another. This process is known as “biomagnification.”
- They persist for long periods of time in the environment and can accumulate and pass from one species to the next through the food chain.
- DDT is practically only being sprayed in the houses of the poor. But the risk of improper use of DDT is high and can have serious consequences for the agricultural sector.
Measures undertaken by Government to tackle POPs
- India ratified the Stockholm Convention in 2006 as per Article 25(4), which enabled it to keep itself in a default “opt-out” position such that amendments in various Annexes of the convention cannot be enforced on it unless an instrument of ratification/ acceptance/ approval or accession is explicitly deposited with UN depositary.
- The Union Cabinet, in 2021, approved the Ratification of seven chemicalslisted under the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
- The Cabinet has also delegated its powers to ratify chemicals under the Stockholm Convention to the Union Ministers of External Affairs (MEA) and Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in respect of POPs already regulated under the domestic regulations.
- Considering its commitment towards providing a safe environment and addressing human health risks, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) had notified the ‘Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules, in 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- Promotion of non-POP alternatives
- Insecticide Act, 1968 – Banning of use, manufacture and import of most of the listed POPs under Stockholm Convention into India Insecticide Act, 1968
- India submitted its National Implementation Plan (NIP) on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2011.
In the current scenario especially when the survival of the earth is on the brink efforts need to be made towards sustainable development and the new rules are step in the right direction.
5. Evaluate India’s scope and opportunities in the solar energy sector. What are the various measures taken by the government to promote solar energy in the country?
Reference: Down to Earth , Insights on India
Since 2011, India’s solar sector has grown at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 59%. From less than 10 MW in 2010, India has added significant solar PV capacity over the past decade, achieving over 50 GW by 2022. By 2030, India is targeting about 500 GW of renewable energy deployment, out of which 280 GW is expected from solar PV.
Current status of Solar Energy in India
- The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), also known as the National Solar Mission (NSM),which commenced in January 2010, marked the first time the government focused on promoting and developing solar power in India.
- Under the scheme, the total installed capacity target was set as 20GW by 2022. In 2015, the target was revised to 100GW and in August 2021, the government set a solar target of 300GW by 2030.
- India currently ranks fifth after China, U.S., Japan and Germany in terms of installed solar power capacity.
- As of December 2021, the cumulative solar installed capacity of India is 55GW, which is roughly half the renewable energy (RE) capacity (excluding large hydro power) and 14% of the overall power generation capacity of India.
- Within the 55GW, grid-connected utility-scale projects contribute 77% and the rest comes from grid-connected rooftop and off-grid projects.
Scope & Opportunities
- India, being a tropical country is endowed with plenty of solar energy; hence, exploitation of solar energy becomes an important component of renewable energy sector
- India is endowed with vast solar energy potential.
- About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energyis incident over India’s land area with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq. m per day
- Karnataka leads India’s list of states producing solar energy, with a total installed solar power capacity of about 7,100MW; followed by Telangana, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat
- Also, India is now the fourth-largest solar power producer in the world
- India’s Bhadla Solar Park is the largest solar power park in the world, which contribute to an operational capacity of 2245MW.
Government Initiatives towards promotion of Solar Energy
- National Solar Mission (NSM): The 100 GW solar ambition at the heart of the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme
- International Solar Alliance:In pursuance to enhance Solar Energy production, India along with France launched the International Solar Alliance with the aim to promote solar energy in 121 member countries and to mobilize over $1 trillion of investment for the deployment of solar energy at affordable costs.
- 100 GW target: The target set by India, for installed solar energy capacity is 100 GW by March 2023 — 40 GW rooftop solar and 60 GW ground-mounted utility scale
- Under ‘One sun One World One Grid’, India seeks to replicate its global solar leadership by encouraging the phased development of a single globally connected solar electricity grid to leverage the multiple benefits (Low cost, Zero pollution) of solar energy.
- India has pledged to mobilize more than US $ 1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy.
- India’s solar energy development is largely built over imported products.
- India is facing challenge to balance Prioritising domestic goals and WTO commitments.
- India is dependent on Chinese imports for solar equipment, such as solar cells, panels, etc.
- The dumping of products is leading to profit erosion of local manufacturers.
- Land availability in India for solar plant is less due to high population density.
- China’s strong manufacturing base is giving stiff challenge to domestic manufacturer.
- India’s solar waste is estimated to be around 1.8 million by 2050, which needs to be tackled.
- There is little fiscal space for large public investment in renewables, while private investment in renewables at scale is just starting.
- The willingness of developed countries to make available adequate low-cost finance and required technologies remains uncertain.
- Strong financial measures are required to finance the solar projects.
- Innovative steps like green bonds, institutional loans and clean energy fund can play a crucial role.
- Promotion of research and development in renewable energy sector, especially in storage technology.
- Along with prioritizing designing microgrids, public policy attention is needed for developing battery technologies at scale for local applications.
- India needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy.
India’s bid to play a leadership role in setting up a World Solar Bank is laudable. It could galvanize domestic efforts and give the country a global voice in the push for a clean planet.
6. What is regionalism? Do you think the border disputes among various Indian states are an outcome of sub-state actors that become increasingly powerful and undermine national integration? State your opinion.
Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India
Regionalism is a feeling or an ideology among a section of people residing in a particular geographical space characterized by unique language, culture etc., that they are the sons of the soil and every opportunity in their land must be given to them first but not to the outsiders. It is a sort of Parochialism. In most of the cases it is raised for expedient political gains but not necessarily.
One of the most high profile and legally challenging border disputes in the country till date, the contentious issue of whether Belgaum district should belong to Karnataka and Maharashtra has continued since India’s independence.
Regionalism in India
- Roots of regionalism is in India’s manifold diversity of languages, cultures, ethnic groups, communities, religions and so on, and encouraged by the regional concentration of those identity markers, and fueled by a sense of regional deprivation.
- For many centuries, India remained the land of many lands, regions, cultures and traditions.
- For instance, southern India (the home of Dravidian cultures), which is itself a region of many regions, is evidently different from the north, the west, the central and the north-east.
- Even the east of India is different from the North-East of India comprising today seven constituent units of Indian federation with the largest concentration of tribal people.
- A host of factors ranging from Geographical, Historical, Linguistic, Religious, political, Economic and Ethnic factors influence the Regionalism in India
Border disputes among various Indian states are an outcome of sub-state actors that become increasingly powerful and undermine national integration
- At ground zero, it is the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) for Maharashtra and pro-Karnataka organisations like Karnataka Rakshana Vedike for Karnataka which have been keeping the issue alive.
- The recent incident occurred when the activists of Karnataka Rakshna Vedike (KRV), headed by its state president Narayanagowda, tried to enter Belagavi via Hirebagewadi toll plaza on Tuesday morning.
- While it had some presence in Karnataka, in 2005, the Vedike hit national headlines and became a household name in the state when its activists smeared black paint on the face of then Belagavi corporation mayor Vijay More, after he passed a resolution to include Belagavi in Maharashtra.
- One of the frequent targets of the KRV is the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES), a Belagavi-based socio-political committee that is at the forefront of the demand from the opposite side that the district be included in Maharashtra.
- There are other pro-Kannada movements in the state, largely led by Kannada Chaluvali Paksha (now it is called Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha) of Vatal Nagaraj. The Gokak movement fought for first language status to Kannada in the 1980s, with Kannada film actors including stalwart Rajkumar and several writers and poets part of it.
- The essential claim of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti and pro-Marathi groups is that Belagavi is a largely Marathi-speaking region with many parts being exclusively Marathi speaking and that the region should be a part of Maharashtra instead of Karnataka which is a Kannada-speaking state.
- The MES and other groups claim that nearly 45 percent of the district is Marathi speaking while pro-Kannada groups argue that the Marathi population is only around 35 per cent which is on par with the Kannada-speaking population of the region.
- The MES enjoys the support of pro-Marathi political parties in Maharashtra like the Shiv Sena and also the Congress party. Chief Ministers of Maharashtra have often backed the integration of Belagavi with Maharashtra.
- But the ones taking the brunt of the frequent protests and acts of violence are—like always in such disputes—the common people, irrespective of the language they speak.
Other reasons for border disputes
- The states reorganization:
- When India started carving out states in 1953, the States Reorganisation Commission said “territorial readjustments between (states) should not assume the form of disputes between alien powers.” Yet, it is the panel’s 1955 report that, political scientists say, most inter-state disputes in the country trace their roots to.
- Several inter-state border disputes have their roots in the reorganisation of states in the 1950s (which) was primarily based on language. As a result, there is a border dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, and so on.
- Language and British era maps as a basis:
- State identity was linked to language. So, if a pocket that spoke the majority language of, for instance, Maharashtra, was clubbed with Karnataka, it opened up the possibility of a future conflict.
- Besides, many of these state demarcations were based on district boundaries created by the British. Not village boundaries. Borders are tied to maps. If a map does not lay out in excruciating detail where the administrative border lies, it can lead to a dispute.
- Yet, most states are carved out of host states on the basis of colonial cartographies. They seldom acknowledge the socio-cultural liminality of borders.
- Inter-state border disputes can be resolved by the states themselves or by the Centre through dialogue and political settlements.
- Commissions (are) appointed by the Centre. (In the past, they) have given their report but one state or the other has not accepted it.
- Disputes can also be settled by the Supreme Court. For instance, Assam may soon approach it regarding the current row (with Mizoram) and seek status quo.
- The Sundaram Commission recommended a border between Assam and Nagaland, but Nagaland rejected the report. In 1988, Assam filed a case in the Supreme Court. It did the same over its dispute with Arunachal Pradesh, in 1989. Both remain pending.
- With this in mind, the Setalvad Study Team on Centre-State Relationships had in 1968 recommended an inter-state council. It said, “Inter-state disputes need to be settled quickly and impartially otherwise they become festering sores which create friction, prevent development, give a perverse direction to the energies of people and governments and generate hard feelings on all sides.” It was never done.
The central government has consistently taken the position that inter-State boundary disputes can only be settled amicably with the willing cooperation of the State Governments involved, and that its role in the process is limited to acting as a facilitator for a settlement that promotes mutual accommodation and understanding.
General Studies – 2
7. India has the opportunity to use its G-20 chairmanship to promote ‘Gandhian’ approach as solutions to global issues and give true meaning ancient Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam. Elaborate.
Reference: The Hindu , Live Mint
India’s Presidency of the Group of 20, UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2022, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2023 when major powers are not even talking to each other and India alone, now the fifth largest economy, is interacting with each of them, presents a historic opportunity.
Current issues faced by the world
- Breakdown of multilateralism: The COVID-19 pandemic was a weak moment for UN’s multilateralism. It highlighted the UN’s institutional limitations when countries closed their borders, supply chains were interrupted and almost every country was in need of vaccines.
- WHO was accused of catering to developed nations bidding, especially China by acting slow and not blaming China.
- Developing nations stepping up: Countries of the global South, including India, which stepped up through relief efforts, drug distribution and vaccine manufacturing, have created space for a more inclusive UN, particularly through its Security Council (UNSC) reform.
- World Bank and IMF are puppets of USA and the European nations. This led to China establishing alternatives for the two institutions.
- Wars in 21st century: Second,N.-led multilateralism has been unable to provide strong mechanisms to prevent wars.
- Eg: The shadow of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war has loomed large over several deadlocks in U.N.S.C. resolutions since the war broke out in February this year.
- Paralysis in decision making: With the West boycotting Russia, the veto provision of the U.N.S.C. is expected to reach an even more redundant level than in the past. As such, a reformed multilateralism with greater representation could generate deeper regional stakes to prevent wars.
- WTO has been stalled for many years now over Doha development agenda.
- Chinese dominance: Finally, China’s rise, belligerence, and aggression which has been on display through its actions in the South China Sea, the Indo-Pacific region, and now increasingly globally, have also underscored the limitations of the U.N.-style multilateralism.
- China’s growing dominance could lead it to carve its own multilateral matrix circumventing the West, economically and strategically.
- The international isolation of Russia and Iran as well as increasing the United States’ Taiwan-related steps could usher in these changes more rapidly than expected.
- China’s control of multilateral organisations, including the U.N., is only increasing — most recently seen in the unofficial pressure China exerted on the former U.N.’s human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, to stop the release of a report by the U.N. Human Rights Council on the condition of Uyghurs in China. Moreover, China’s unabashed use of veto power against India continues at the U.N
- Eg: In the most recent case, it blocked a joint India-U.S. proposal at the U.N. to enlist Sajid Mir, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operative involved in directing the 2008 Mumbai attacks, as a ‘global terrorist’.
- Despite the G7 having accepted the need for transfer of funds at Rio in 1992, the promise made in 2009 to provide at least 100 billion dollars per year in climate finance remains unfulfilled.
- Coalition of the world– There divide between the Atlantic powers and the Russia-China is deepening.
India’s historic opportunity
- Just as the ‘Rio principles’ continue to guide climate change, vasudhaiva kutumbakam, or ‘world as one family’, focusing on comparable levels of wellbeing can be the core of a set of universal socio-economic principles for a dialogue between the states.
- To the current global consensus around equitable sustainable development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has added a clearer societal purpose to flesh out a universal civilisational principle.
- He emphasised ‘Lifestyle for Environment’ seeing climate change as a societal process and combating it devoid of trade-offs characteristic of the Climate Treat
- He has also offered India’s payments and linked digital ID technology without IPR restrictions.
- Redefining ‘common concerns’ in terms of felt needs of the majority rather than interests and concerns of the powerful will shift the focus of a much slimmed down United Nations squarely to human wellbeing, and not as an add-on.
- Indian approach to multilateralism: NORMS: NORMS stands for New Orientation for a Reformed Multilateral System.
- India will work constructively with partners to bring innovative and inclusive solutions to foster development and for greater involvement of women and youth to shape a new paradigm.
- A first and vital step is the reform of the United Nations Security Council. It must reflect contemporary realities to be more effective.
Conclusion and way forward
- There is no easy way out for immediate consensus-building among nations over the limitations of these multilateral institutions.
- For this, non-alignment or ad-hoc coalitions could never be the answer.
- Issues-based coalitions are the best answer and Health is the easiest framework to work upon.
- Lastly, there are many mini-laterals that should unite for a global commonality.
8. Do you think that the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India was a much more efficient and transparent body than the existing collegium system?
Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India
National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) is a body responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India. NJAC Bill sought to replace the collegium system of appointing the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts with judicial appointments commission wherein the executive will have a say in appointing the judges.
On 16 October 2015, in a 4-1 majority verdict, the Supreme Court held that both the Constitution (Ninety-ninth Amendment) Act, 2014, and the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act, 2014, were unconstitutional as it would undermine the independence of the judiciary. The majority said the two laws affect the independence of the judiciary, and judicial appointments, among other things, should be protected from executive control.
There is no proposal at present to reintroduce a bill on National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC), Rajya Sabha was informed recently.
NJAC: a missed opportunity
- According to the proponents of NJAC, the enactment of the 99th Amendment was intended at redressing the imbalance created by the verdict of court in second judges case.
- NJAC would have been a more broad-minded forum, providing a genuine chance to participate and influence the selection of our higher judiciary — not merely to the Supreme Court and the executive, but also to laypersons (eminent persons) outside the constitutional framework.
- National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) could guarantee the independence of the system from inappropriate politicization, strengthen the quality of appointments, enhance the fairness of the selection process, promote diversity in the composition of the judiciary, and rebuild public confidence in the system.
Issues with collegium
- It is opaque and lacks transparency, with its members working as if in a cabal. Its recent decision to appoint Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, by retracting and superseding earlier selections of fine judges in their own right, is especially concerning.
- The Collegium is not accountable to any other authority. The lack of a written manual for functioning, the absence of selection criteria, the arbitrary reversal of decisions already taken, the selective publication of records of meetings are some of the evidence.
- The decision to create a Collegium in the first place was fraught with concerns. Justice Krishna Iyer described this judgment as “an egregious fraud on the Constitution”.
- No one knows how judges are selected, and the appointments made raise the concerns of propriety, self-selection and nepotism.
- Supreme Court could have amended the NJAC Act to have safeguards that would have made it constitutionally valid and reorganized the NJAC to ensure that the judiciary retained majority control in its decisions.
- Until a better mechanism is evolved, the Supreme court can take steps to make collegium more transparent and accountable to make its functioning democratic.
About NJAC and the Act:
NJAC is a body responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India. NJAC Bill sought to replace the collegium system of appointing the judges of Supreme Court and High Courts with judicial appointments commission wherein the executive will have a say in appointing the judges.
A new article, Article 124A, (which provides for the composition of the NJAC) was to be inserted into the Constitution.
The Bill provided for the procedure to be followed by the NJAC for recommending persons for appointment as Chief Justice of India and other Judges of the Supreme Court (SC), and Chief Justice and other Judges of High Courts (HC).
According to the bill the commission will consist of the following members:
- Chief Justice of India (Chairperson, ex officio)
- Two other senior judges of the Supreme Court next to the Chief Justice of India – ex officio
- The Union Minister of Law and Justice, ex-officio
Two eminent persons (to be nominated by a committee consisting of the Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister of India and the Leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha or where there is no such Leader of Opposition, then, the Leader of single largest Opposition Party in Lok Sabha), provided that of the two eminent persons, one person would be from the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes or OBC or minority communities or a woman. The eminent persons shall be nominated for a period of three years and shall not be eligible for re-nomination.
General Studies – 3
9. Evaluate the performance of the monetary policy committee in achieving its stated objective of containing inflation in the prescribed bandwidth. How will the recent the move to increase the benchmark interest rate by 35 basis points affect the Indian economy?
Reference: Insights on India
The repo rate hike of 35 basis points (bps) was in line with market expectations, but the finer points in Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das’s speech were more hawkish. Controlling inflation within the RBI’s defined comfort level of 4%-6% continues to be the prime driver of decision making by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
With the December 7 move, the total increase in the repo rate has reached a level of 225 basis points in this financial year. One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. RBI’s decision was guided by retail inflation that is above the upper bound of 6% although the Consumer Price Index-based inflation moderated to 6.8 percent (Y-o-Y) in October 2022 from 7.4 percent in September 2022. The MPC said that it is banking on further calibrated monetary policy action to keep inflation anchored within its comfort zone.
Performance of MPC
- Beginning in May 2022, when it held an unscheduled meeting, the MPC has raised interest rates in every meeting to tackle inflation.
- MPC increased this rate from 4% in April 2022 to 4.4% in May 2022, to 4.9% in June 2022, to 5.4% in August 2022, and to 5.9% in September 2022.
- Now in December, RBI raised the repo by 35 basis points.
- But since January this year, inflation has remained above the upper threshold of the RBI’s inflation targeting framework, as the RBI is mandated to keep inflation at 4 plus/minus 2 per cent.
- Inflation targeting has been successful till 2019 on the grounds that the inflation rate has remained within the band agreed to between the government and the RBI, and whether it has been achieved by “anchoring inflation expectations”.
- However, Inflation in India entered the prescribed band of 2% to 6% two years before inflation targeting was adopted in 2016-17.
- In fact, inflation had fallen steadily since 2011-12, halving by 2015-16.
- The MPC has mostly continued with the accommodative policy stance, where the balance of the growth-inflation dynamic has tilted more towards growth.
- Post-pandemic, the accommodative policy stance was needed given the rough ride because of the pandemic and is consistent with the overarching objective of the RBI to maintain price stability keeping in mind growth.
- Trend inflation had fallen from above 9% before flexible-inflation targeting (FIT) to a range of 3.8-4.3 % during FIT, indicating that 4% is the appropriate level of the inflation target.
- However, NPAs have grown since 2016, and the cases of IL&FS, PMC Bank, PNB, and YES Bank suggest that poor management and malfeasance in the financial sector could escape scrutiny when the central bank hunkers down to inflation targeting.
- Macroeconomic impact of raising the Repo Rate on economy
- Borrowing becomes costly: Expensive bank loans discourage the borrower from availing credit. This reduces the money supply in the market and thereby stabilizes the liquidity in the system.
- Consumption, Expansion and production also take a downfall with the lesser money supply.
- Expensive credit hinders economic development and GDP growth even though inflation rate comes under control.
- Growth and GDP reduced: Reduced borrowing results in lower consumption demand which will lead to economic slowdown that hinders the growth of GDP for the short term. As the consumption demand reduces, profitability of every sector in the economic system takes a hit.
- Low economic expansion by corporates: Corporate loan buyers get discouraged to avail credit with the hike in repo rate. As the availability of business capital becomes expensive, production and expansion plans of corporate take a backstop.
- Investments may reduce: Companies may not invest in India due to reduced demand and higher rate of borrowing.
- Higher rate of loans for customers: Low interest has been one of the major drivers behind home sales across the country since the pandemic began. The rise in interest rates will ultimately impact overall acquisition cost for homebuyers and may dampen residential sales to some extent.
- After analysing the cost of funds and liquidity position, banks may begin to pass on their interest rate burden to its end customer in the form of elevated lending rates.
- That means higher equated monthly instalment for existing borrowers and higher rate of credit for new borrowers.
- Reduced liquidity: Lower money supply will lead to reduced consumption and hence the market consumption in general will be reduced. This spells doom for an economy that is recovering from sluggish growth due to pandemic.
A looming economic recession in many parts of the world, geopolitical tensions, policy rate hikes across world to control unprecedented inflation, and commodity price fluctuations are bound to catch up at some stage and impact India. So far, we have navigated the external threats through smart fiscal and monetary policy moves. The price of crude oil and currency depreciation are two added variables that India has to navigate.
10. Protecting forests and grasslands can help slow climate change by promoting carbon storage in soil and plants. Elaborate. Throw light on the potential of 30×30 initiative in conserving and protecting at least 30 per cent of Earth’s surface, on land and at sea, by 2030.
Reference: Down to Earth
The 30×30 target implies protection of at least 30 % the of world’s land and ocean by 2030. The 30×30 target is a global target that aims to halt the accelerating loss of species and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of our economic security.
High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People was formed in 2021 to promote an international agreement on 30×30 target. India officially joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People in 2021. India has proposed to establish Sustainable Coastal and Ocean Research Institute (SCORI) to meet the needs and aspirations of the Pacific Island Countries (PIC).
Protecting forests and grasslands can help slow climate change by promoting carbon storage in soil and plants
- Grasslands, wetlands, forests and other ecosystems naturally absorb and store carbon.
- Studies have shown that protecting and preserving these features of the natural world could allow for the annual absorption of one-fifth of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions – the equivalent to emissions from all U.S. vehicles.
- Tall grasses and prairie plants, and these landscapes are well-known for their ability to absorb and store carbon in roots and soil.
- Maintaining grasslands near agricultural fields can boost crop production because grasslands promote biodiversity, support pollinators and host predators that can help suppress potential pests. They also help improve biodiversity, soil health and water quality.
- Forest not only have a role in maintaining biodiversity but also their ability to fix large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and thereby mitigate climate change.
- Forest cover also alter hydrological cycles (reduce stream flow), decrease albedo (a measure of solar radiation reflected from the earth’s surface) which can contribute to warming, and lead to loss of unique biodiversity.
Potential of 30×30 initiative
- In order to address both the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis, there is growing scientific research that half of the planet must be kept in a natural state. Some papers have suggested that the number should be even higher, and some have suggested slightly lower.
- Despite this, experts agree that a scientifically credible and necessary interim goal is to achieve a minimum of 30 per cent protection by 2030.
- There is a wealth of scientific data documenting the need for increased spatial targets in order to help achieve goals related to biodiversity conservation, which help justify the 30×30 target both at a global level and a regional level.
- When the Aichi Targets were established in 2010, roughly 13 per cent of the world’s terrestrial areas were protected while very few protections existed in the ocean.
- Currently, an estimated 15 per cent of the world’s land and 7 per cent of the ocean are protected. In order to achieve the goal of protecting at least 30 per cent by 2030, we will need to double the current land protections and more than quadruple current ocean protections.
- First, protected areas should meet both conservation needs and human needs.
- Second, in creating newly protected areas, researchers and managers should consider how they will interact with adjacent areas.
- Third, researchers and officials should assess how newly protected areas will interact with areas far away — including in other countries.
- We should be guided by a metacoupling framework, which is an integrated way to study and manage human-nature interactions within and between different places.
- It recognizes that human and natural systems in a given place can be affected for better or worse by people, policies and markets both nearby and far away.
30 X 30 target
- In the spirit of Stockholm+50, to build on 50 years of multilateral environmental action to achieve the urgent action needed to secure a healthy planet, the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People is taking concrete steps towards moving into a new phase to support implementation of the global goal to protect at least 30 per cent of the world’s land and at least 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030.
- The 30×30 target is a global target, which aims to halt the accelerating loss of species, and protect vital ecosystems that are the source of our economic security.
- The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, which is now supported by nearly 100 countries, is evolving into a new phase to support implementation of the global goal.
- The High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People was officially launched in January 2021 at the One Planet Summit (OPS) on biodiversity. The coalition is currently co-chaired by France and Costa Rica, with the United Kingdom as ocean co-chair.
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