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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 February 2023

 

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: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent);

1. Given an account of the fisheries sector in India. Examine the constraints faced by this sector and measures needed to make the sector commercially profitable. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the fisheries sector, constraints faced by it and measures needed to overcome it.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving context of the fishing sector. Cite statistics.

Body:

First, mention the major features, types, extent of fisheries sector of the country.

Next, write about the various constraints faced by this sector – untapped water resources, lack of new technologies, lack of cold storage and marketing etc.

Next, write about the steps that must be taken in order to overcome the above constraints.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward. 

Introduction

Fisheries is a fast-growing ‘Sunrise Sector’ in India, which provides nutrition and food security to a large population and employment to over 28 million people. It occupies an important place in socio-economic development and has witnessed an average annual growth of ~11% since 2014-15.  The sector has reached record fish production of 142 lakh tons in FY 2019-20, making India the second largest fish-producing (7.56% of global production) country, contributing over 7.28% to the agricultural GVA. The sector has immense potential for growth and it has been instrumental in sustaining the livelihoods, especially of vulnerable communities.

Body

Current status of Indian fisheries

  • India is the world’s second-largest fish producerwith exports worth more than Rs 47,000 crore.
  • Fisheries are the country’s single-largest agriculture export, with a growth rate of 6 to 10 per cent in the past five years.
  • Its significance is underscored by the fact that the growth rate of the farm sector in the same period is around 2.5 per cent.
  • It has a marine fisher population of 3.5 million; 10.5 million people are engaged in inland fishery and fish farming.

 

Constraints faced by Fisheries Sector in India

It is a matter of great concern that India is able to exploit only a fraction of the aquaculture potential available to it. India uses only about 40% of the available ponds, tanks and other water bodies for freshwater aquaculture and 15% of total potential of brackish water resources.

  • High input cost: The cost of inputs per unit of fish weight is higher than in extensive farming, especially because of the high cost of fish feed. Netting involves regular and labour-intensive cleaning.
  • Social problems: Norms and religious values excluded women or other groups from participation in certain activities. Lack of family encouragement considering lower prestigious occupation.
  • Lack of data: There are lack of reliable database relating to aquatic and fisheries resources in India as well as lack of suitable policies of government and inefficiency of an enforcement agency to monitor the supply of good quality seeds and feeds.
  • Lack of finance: Lack of adequate financial support and proper transport and marketing facilities for the products.
  • Inadequate family labour: Multiple use of pond water especially domestic purposes restrict the commercial fish farming. Multiple ownership of land is the cause of dispute and opinion diversification. Disputed ownership of water areas.
  • Technological problems: Lack of value addition for enhancing profit margin. The market for processed fish is limited in the domestic market and is restricted to fish pickles, cutlets etc. Fish production technology is a complex technology. Lack of timely availability of inputs nearby, lack of quality feed in local market, lack of location specific improved technology, inadequate knowledge and skill about scientific fish farm management.

Steps taken in this regard

  • Blue Revolution 2.0/ Neel Kranti Mission: The focus of the Blue Revolution 2.0 is on development and management of fisheries. This covers inland fisheries, aquaculture, marine fisheries including deep sea fishing, mariculture and all activities undertaken by the National Fisheries Development Board
  • The National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB) was established in 2006 as an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, to enhance fish production and productivity in the country and to coordinate fishery development in an integrated and holistic manner. The Program has certain objectives which includes:
    • Transforming the fisheries sector as a modern industry with special focus on new technologies and processes.
    • Doubling the income of fishers and fish farmers with special focus on increasing productivity and better post-harvest marketing infrastructure including e-commerce and other technologies and global best innovations.
    • Ensuring inclusive participation of fishers and fish farmers in the income enhancement.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana: The Scheme is aimed to turn India into a hotspot for fish and aquatic products through appropriate policy, marketing and infrastructure support.
    • With the Scheme, the government intends to bring all fishermen under the ambit of farmer welfare programmes and social security schemes.
    • Through this scheme, the Department of Fisheries will establish a robust fisheries management framework. This will address a critical gap in the value chain including infrastructure modernisation, traceability, production, productivity, post-harvest management and quality control.
  • Financial Allocation: The government has allocated 804.75 crore rupees for the fisheries sector in the current fiscal.
    • Its aim is to augment fish production to achieve its target of 15 million tonnes by 2020 under the Blue Revolution and raise it thereafter to about 20 million tonnes by 2022-23.
  • Initiative Taken under the MGNREGA: The government under the MGNREGA has started to develop the farm ponds, where pisciculture is taking place.

Conclusion

India’s long coastline has the potential of becoming the strength of the economy particularly through the exploitation of the Blue Revolution. India can grow to the extent of 10 trillion-dollar economy as against 2.7 trillion dollars today with the help of the Blue Economy. India needs to develop more scientifically its fishing system and other related aspects such as freezing, packaging, etc.

 

Topic: geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2. Interlinking of rivers for transferring water from surplus basins to water-deficit basins is of national importance and has been taken up on high Priority. Critically analyse its feasibility. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

to analyse if interlinking of river in India is a sustainable water management practice.

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 the answer by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.

Briefly present the history behind River Interlinking in the country. Present the scope of the project and then critically evaluate the concerns posed by it as well as its benefits.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction

The river interlinking project aims to link India’s rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals that will allow for their water capacities to be shared and redistributed. Some experts claim that this is an engineered panacea that will reduce persistent floods in some parts and water shortages in other parts besides facilitating the generation of hydroelectricity for an increasingly power hungry country.

Many projects like Ken-Betwa,  Bedti-Varada rivers in Karnataka, Damanganga-Pinjal, Par-Tapi-Narmada, Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar, Pennar-Cauveri are in the offing in India.

Body

Opportunities arising out of River linking projects

  • India receives most of its rain during monsoon season from June to September, most of it falls in northern and eastern part of India, the amount of rainfall in southern and western part are comparatively low. It will be these places which will have shortage of water. Interlinking of rivers will help these areas to have water throughout the year.
  • This will cut farmers dependence on monsoon rains by bringing millions of hectares of cultivatable land under irrigation.
  • Crop productivity would increase and so would revenues for the State.
  • Even one bad monsoon has a direct and debilitating economic impact.
  • The river linking project will ease the water shortages in western and southern India while mitigating the impacts of recurrent floods in eastern India.
  • The Ganga Basin, Brahmaputra basin sees floods almost every year. In order to avoid this, the water from these areas has to be diverted to other areas where there is scarcity of water. This can be achieved by linking the rivers. There is a two way advantage with this – floods will be controlled and scarcity of water will be reduced.
  • Simultaneous floods and droughts continue to wreak havoc, destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions.
  • India needs clean energy to fuel its development processes, and river water can be leveraged for this.
  • Fulfilling water needs impact socio-economic life of people which will help end poverty.
  • Need for interlinking of rivers to prevent inter-state water disputes.
  • Potential benefits to transportation through navigation, as well as broadening income sources in rural areas through fishing.

Challenges posed

  • The idea that river linking would allow us to cope with flood in the north east and shortage of water in the Deccan is the positive aspect as pointed earlier but misleading one too.
  • This floods come at the time when most parts of the country run short of water, we need to hold the water somewhere to use it in dry season but the amount of flowing in the short period of time in Brahmaputra and Ganga is so huge to store and use it later.
  • Variability in rainfall is high which is the main source in the country, flood and drought simultaneously within the states of Bihar and Maharashtra.
  • Irrigation potential from interlinking rivers will have limited impact. The net national irrigated area from big dams has decreased and India’s irrigated area has gone up primarily due to groundwater.
  • Interlinking of rivers is a very expensive proposal. The amount required for these projects is so huge that government will have to take loans from the foreign sources which would increase the burden on the government and country will fall in a debt trap.
  • The river interlinking project will adversely affect land, forests, biodiversity, rivers and the livelihood of millions of people.
  • The Ken-Betwa link threatens about 200 sq. km of the Panna tiger reserve.
  • Interlinking of rivers will lead to destruction of forests, wetlands and local water bodies, which are major groundwater recharge mechanisms.
  • Less than positive experience that other countries have, like diversion of Amu Darya and the Syr Darya or the Australia’s experiments in its Murray Darling basin.
  • It causes massive displacement of people. Huge burden on the government to deal with the issue of rehabilitation of displaced people.
  • Due to interlinking of rivers, there will be decrease in the amount of fresh water entering seas and this will cause a serious threat to the marine life.
  • The Shah committee pointed out that the linking of rivers will affect natural supply of nutrients for agricultural lands through curtailing flooding of downstream areas.

Way forward

  • To look at water as a strategic resource for development.
  • Environment is one issue where anyone of us should be concerned about.
  • Best practices done by China and neighbouring countries needs to be looked upon.
  • The biggest, cheapest, most benign, possibly fastest and most decentralized storage option for India is the groundwater
  • Invest in water conservation, more efficient irrigation and better farm practices.
  • Recycling of water for internal usage as that of Israel.
  • We need a mandatory enforceable river policy aimed at treating rivers as national treasure.
  • Accumulation of silt in huge quantities, particularly the Ganga and its tributaries. These rivers need to be desilted.
  • River linking in the south and other parts which was undertaken in the past has been going well so such model needs to be taken forward.
  • Planting trees on the river banks is one way of bringing life back to the rivers.
  • Forest catchments will need to be restored, wastewater from industries and towns will need to be treated, sand mining need to be stopped.
  • Need to build the responsibility, capability and accountability in our water management institutions to revive our rivers.
  • The judicious use of canal water, growing crops that are appropriate to a region, encouraging drip irrigation and reviving traditional systems such as tanks.

Conclusion

The river linking project is a great challenge and an opportunity to address the water issues arising out of climate change. The long-term solution to water scarcity lies in making the IRL project work by building a network of dams and canals across the length and breadth of the country. However, interlinking has to take place after a detailed study so that does not cause any problem to the environment or aquatic life.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. In order to deal with the problem of child marriages, do you think awareness and education is a better option than a criminal law to arrest people facilitating child marriages? State your opinion. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

More than 4,000 FIRs have been filed and close to 2,500 people have been arrested in Assam in the past four days. Sarma has asserted that the crackdown will continue till the 2026 elections to the state assembly.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the effective ways of dealing with child marriages – education or criminal law.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by citing a statistic regarding child marriage in India.

Body:

First, write about the efficacy of education and awareness in dealing with the issues of child marriage – social change, respecting the law, voluntary change etc. Mention the limitations of the same.

Next, write about the role of criminal law in dealing with child marriages – deterrent, punishing rule breakers, setting precedent. Mention the limitations of the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion on the issue of child marriages.

Introduction

Recent analysis by UNICEF points out that one in three of the world’s child brides live in India. It has also warned India against the increase in child marriages owing to the adversaries of COVID-19.

Body

Background

  • NFHS Findings about Child Marriage: Data from the fourth round of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS4) in 2015-16 shows that pre-Covid, one in four girls in India was being married before 18.
  • Around 8% of women aged 15-19 years were mothers or pregnant at the time of the survey.
  • As per reports, more child marriages have been noticed during the Covid pandemic.
  • The first phase findings of NFHS5 (2019-20) also do not show any substantial improvements towards ending child marriage.

 

Continued prevalence of child marriage in India

  • Lack of education: A big determinant of the age of marriage is education. Around 45% of women with no education and 40% with primary education married before the age of 18, according to NFHS-4.
  • Seen as a Burden: Economically, child marriages work as mechanisms that are quick income earners. A girl child is seen as a leeway to a large dowry, to be given to her family upon her marriage.
  • Poverty: In terms of economic status, women from poor households tend to marry earlier. While more than 30% of women from the lowest two wealth quintiles were married by the age of 18, the corresponding figure in the richest quintile was 8%.
  • Social background: Child marriages are more prevalent in rural areas and among Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • Trafficking: Poor families are tempted to sell their girls not just into marriage, but into prostitution, as the transaction enables large sums of money to benefit the girl’s family and harms the girl. There is apathy towards their girls and the money by selling their girls is used for the benefit of their sons

 

More effective ways of preventing child marriage

Awareness and education along with criminal prosecution is needed in a country like India to curb the menace of child marriages.

  • Policy Interventions: Legislation is one important part of the approach towards eliminating girl-child marriage from India.
    • Karnataka amended the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act in 2017, declaring every child marriage void ab initio, making it a cognisable offence, and introducing a minimum period of rigorous imprisonment for all who enable a child marriage. Similar can be done at the central level.
  • Governmental Action for Social Change: Field bureaucrats across multiple departments, including teachers, anganwadi supervisors, panchayat and revenue staff, all of whom interact with rural communities, should be notified as child marriage prohibition officers.
    • Moreover, decentralising birth and marriage registration to gram panchayats will protect women and girls with essential age and marriage documents, thus better enabling them to claim their rights.
  • Drivers of Social Change to Play a Fundamental Role: These include expansion of secondary education, access to safe and affordable public transport, and support for young women to apply their education to earn a livelihood.
    • Expansion of education goes far beyond mere access to it. Girls must be able to attend school regularly, remain there, and achieve.
      • States can leverage their network of residential schools, girls’ hostels, and public transport, especially in underserved areas, to ensure that teenage girls do not get pushed out of education.
    • Regular gender equality conversations need to be held with high school girls and boys to shape progressive attitudes that will sustain into adulthood.
  • Empowerment Measures: Empowerment measures, too, are required to end child marriage, such as community engagement through programmes like Mahila Samakhya.
    • Children’s village assemblies in the gram panchayats across India can provide a platform for children to voice their concerns.
  • Economic Growth, Essential for Prevention of Child Marriage: Ensuring later marriage for girls requires India to evolve not only culturally but also economically.
    • Some of this has happened, as Indians have become more prosperous, and as extreme poverty levels have declined, decline in child brides has been witnessed.
    • Economic growth will save Indian girls from child marriage. Combined with educational and cultural awareness against a sex preference, which no doubt will take longer; economic success a lasting solution.

Way forward

  • Religious heads and temple authorities should put up information board with the message that “the temple authorities do not support child marriage” to discourage people against this social aberration.
  • In Odisha, the Department of Women and Child Development and Mission Shakti has sought intervention of Panchayati Raj and Law departments in framing guidelines and issuing appropriate instructions prohibiting religious institutions like temples and marriage mandaps from solemnisation of such weddings.
  • Despite modern times and a massive awareness programme, child marriages continue to take place in Odisha. ActionAid, an international voluntary organisation, and UNICEF have come forward to support the initiative of these brave children.
  • Workshops, seminars and legal awareness camps needs to be organized to bring attitudinal changes to prevent child marriage.
  • SABLA, a Scheme for empowering adolescent girls by improving their nutritional and health status, upgrading various skills and building awareness on various issues.
  • The Government has used cash incentives (such as the Dhan Laxmi scheme and the Apni beti apna dhan programme), and awareness-raising to induce behaviour change.

Conclusion

Drivers for social change like education, legal provisions and initiatives for creating awareness have still a lot to cover with respect to eliminating girl child marriage. Moreover, it is a change that has to come from within.

 

Topic: Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

4. Civil society is like a social fabric that provides stability to a society. It provides critical functions such as monitoring of the state and the private sector, advocating for citizens’ rights, and promoting alternatives to the existing mainstream. Elucidate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Civil society must go beyond the nation-state to renew the idea of the Earth as an imagination. The ideas of the Earth, ethics and the Anthropocene have to be woven together.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of civil society.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning about civil society in a democracy.

Body:

Write about the importance of civil society – Civil society organizations perform important research to help Governments understand and respond to problems and needs on the ground. They monitor the work of courts to ensure that victims’ voices are heard and the rights of all are respected. They can empower community members with knowledge of the law, including laws that are essential to protecting the environment, preventing corruption, and upholding human rights. Cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Civil Society Organizations can be defined to include all non-market and non-state organizations outside of the family in which people organize themselves to pursue shared interests in the public domain”.

Examples include community-based organizations and village associations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’ associations, faith-based organizations, labour unions, co-operatives, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit media.

Body

Civil society’s functional contribution to environmental consciousness

  • Watchdog: against violation of human rights and governing deficiencies.
  • Advocate: of the weaker sections’ point of view.
  • Agitator: on behalf of aggrieved citizens.
  • Educator: of citizens on their rights, entitlements and responsibilities and the government about the pulse of the people.
  • Service provider: to areas and people not reached by official efforts or as government’s agent.
  • Mobilizer: of public opinion for or against a programme or policy.
  • The ways include: Right to Information Act, Consumer Protection Act, Citizens Charters, Whistle-blower protection, e-governance, Democratic Decentralisation, Public Interest Litigation, etc

Role of Civil Society:

  • In the last 20 years, a very large number of NGOs in India have been active in the area of environmental protection.
  • Across urban India, civil society groups are bravely and innovatively rising to protect their city’s treescape, even courting arrest. They use every tool at their disposal: protests, petitions, judicial activism, social media campaigns, and the Right to Information Act.
  • The NGOs have often been helped by the judiciary whenever the government of the day has proved unresponsive.
  • The engagement of civil society and the media in educating citizens about the evils of corruption, raising their awareness levels and securing their participation by giving them a ‘voice’.
  • They indulge in protecting interests and livelihood of primitive owners of land viz. tribals and forest dwellers.
  • They help in overcoming the short term objectives of government and show case long term effects due to certain projects. Ex: Dam construction in Uttarakhand along Ganges.
  • CSOs are fighting for reversing climate change and also in implementation of Paris Climate Accord.
  • CSOs are fighting for clean air to breathe or else every city in India will rank in Worst air quality index list.
  • CSOs highlight about the need for sustainable development.
  • CSOs help in preserving indigenous practices and varieties of flora and fauna especially against onslaught of corporates promoted GMO and Hybrid crops.
  • Civil society can influence policy and project formulation through membership of committees and submission of memoranda.

Some case studies

  • In the summer of 2019, a group of 15 people who call themselves ‘Nature Lovers of Hyderabad’ came together to save an irreplaceable tract of local heritage: nearly 1,000 banyan trees, many a century old, slated to be felled for a highway widening project on a 46-km stretch between Hyderabad and Manneguda.

 

  • Back in 2018, when Karnataka proposed an amendment to the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act of 1976, adding to the list 50 more species of trees that could be felled without permission — including gulmohar and mango — a group called Heritage Beku organised a ‘pre-emptive strike’.

They called their campaign ‘Kill Bill’, which, as the name implies, was designed to end this bill. The legislation could have ‘technically’ wiped out 85% of city trees. So the CSO started initiatives like a  change.org petition, and ‘Greys for Greens’:. The idea was that the city was going grey, that the citizens were going grey; grey was the colour of concrete. It was reminiscent of the Chipko Movement.

 

  • ‘Save Aarey’ campaign, comprising thousands of people who are pushing back on a proposed Metro Rail car depot project that is going to cost scores of trees in the 3,000-acre Aarey forest in the middle of the city.

Way Forward:

  • A National Accreditation Council consisting of academicians, activist, retired bureaucrats should be made to ensure compliance by NGOs.
  • There should be better coordination between Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance in terms of monitoring and regulating illicit and unaccounted funds.
  • A regulatory mechanism to keep a watch on the financial activities of NGOs and voluntary organizations is the need of the hour.
  • Citizens today are keen to play an active role in processes that shape their lives and it is important that their participation in democracy go beyond the ritual of voting and should include promotion of social justice, gender equity, inclusion etc.
  • The government should frame guidelines for their accreditation, the manner in which these organizations should maintain their accounts and the procedure for recovery in case they fail to submit their balance sheets.
  • Avoid tussle between Home Ministry and Finance Ministry by bringing the regulation of NGOs under one head.
  • General Financial Rules, 2005 have mandated a regulatory mechanism for the NGOs and a comprehensive law in line with these rules should be framed in no time.

Conclusion

NGOs, Pressure groups and CSOs form the backbone of democracy. Democracy does not just revolve around elections but how rights of the citizens are protected and are allowed to hold power holders accountable. The state must respect the articulation of the politics of voice and not just the politics of the vote. The promises of democracy can only be realised through collective action in civil society. A democratic state needs a democratic civil society and a democratic civil society also needs a democratic state. They mutually reinforce each other.


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  basics of cyber security;

5. The Internet exposes children to a wealth of opportunities, but also risks that may have a detrimental impact on their rights and well-being. Analyse. How can internet be made a safer platform for children? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

Findings of a study conducted by CRY and CNLU published days ahead of the Safer Internet Day found that the online perpetrators made the most of children’s increased exposure to the internet during COVID times 

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the opportunities and risks associated with internet for children and steps needed to make internet a safe avenue for children.

Directive word:

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by citing a statistic regarding the cybercrimes committed against children and their nature.

Body:

First, mention the opportunities which the internet offers for children.

Next, write about various threats posed by the internet – cyberbullying, online grooming, cybercrime and online sexual violence. Mention its impact on the rights and well-being of children.

Next, write about the steps that must be take in order to protect the children from cybercrimes.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The surge in online activity by children becomes apparent as out of India’s 749 million internet users, 232 million are children. Findings of a study conducted by CRY and CNLU published days ahead of the Safer Internet Day found that the online perpetrators made the most of children’s increased exposure to the internet during COVID times 

The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) dubbed 2021 as the worst year on record for child sexual abuse online as lockdowns saw younger and younger children being targeted “on an industrial scale” by internet groomers. School closures and the shift towards online education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to a surge in young people’s online activities.

Body

Online threats to the safety of children:

  • Cyber-bullying:Cyberbullying often leaves children and teenagers with lowered self-esteem, less interest in school and low academic achievement. They might also feel alone, lonely and isolated.
  • Cyber Predators:These days sexual and other predators often stalk children on the internet, taking advantage of their innocence, lack of adult supervision and abusing their trust.
  • Posting Private Information:Children do not yet understand social boundaries. They may post personally identifiable information online that should not be out in public.
  • Phishing:Phishing is what cyber security professionals call the use of emails that try to trick people into clicking on malicious links or attachments. These can be especially difficult for kids to detect.
  • Falling for Scams:Cyber criminals can use sites popular with children to identify potential victims and then promise prizes in return for what they want.

 

Online Child Sexual abuse on the rise

  • Child safety experts say younger children have been relying more and more on the internet during the pandemic, and that spending longer online may be leaving them more vulnerable to communities of criminals who are looking to find and manipulate children into recording their own sexual abuse on camera. The footage is then shared among other criminals on the open internet.
  • The past decade has witnessed notable growth in internet usage in not only India but also the world at large. In January 2021, India had 624 million internet users with over 8 percent growth over the previous year.
  • According to a UNICEF report, one in three internet users globally is a child. And while we don’t know the exact numbers, a significant number of Indian users also include children.
  • Risky online behaviour, lack of parental guidance, the proliferation of cybercrime and inadequate safeguards are laying the ground for an increase in online child sexual exploitation and abuse in India.
  • Broadly, such abuse and exploitation include online grooming, making and circulating child sexual abuse material, and live-streaming abuse.
  • Other related activities include cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment, cyber-stalking, and exposure to harmful content. Another prevalent form of abuse is when explicit photos, shared with consent among two people, are circulated in public without consent.

Prevention of child abuse in India

  • Laws: India’s Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act of 2012 (POCSO) and Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act have been recently strengthened in their aim of fighting child rights violation.
    • There has also been a corresponding increase in the number of child abuse cases filed, due to awareness about legal recourse, translating to an increase in a number of convictions.
    • In 2016, the National Crime Records Bureau also spoke about the relationship of victims and accused in rape cases.
  • Reporting of incidents: The Ministry of Women and Child Development’s ‘e-box.’ is an online reporting system children enabling children to report incidents of inappropriate touching and molestation, anonymously if they choose.
    • These reports are received by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
  • Report it to police: Police officers are legally bound to address child abuse complaint. Further, the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act makes it illegal to witness and not report suspected child abuse and not report it.
    • The POCSO Act has increased cases brought to trial.
  • The role of parents: Parents must educate children about sexual advances or threats and protect them from abuse through the concept of unacceptable “bad touch”.
    • This communication must be constant, friendly, and frank, and teach children how their sexuality works so they don’t unknowingly harass others.

Conclusion and way forward

  • To create safe digital spaces for our children and adolescents, policymakers, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations, communities, the private sector, and experts need to come together.
  • Safer access to the internet is concerned with the freedom and choice of children and overall democratization in learning as recognized in the Convention on the Rights of Child (CRC)—an international agreement signed by countries in 1989.
  • Experts and agencies have recommended including digital parenting, parental mediation, education and training of children in schools, and robust information-technology laws and regulations.
  • Internet-safety rules and practices should be included in the school curriculum and teachers’-training programmes, and parents should be made aware of them.
  • The children too need to be reached out to. They need to be provided with resources and platforms to seek support when required.
  • The government needs to introduce comprehensive sexuality education in the school curricula.
  • This will create a safe, positive, non-judgmental space for children, adolescents, and young people to access information in an age-appropriate manner, based on evidence rather than morality.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

6. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise.” ― Sigmund Freud

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about the importance of being honest with oneself. Being honest makes one person aware of the strengths and limitations, virtues and vices and by doing so they can try and improve their character. Cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

We have been taught from a very young age that honesty is the best policy. We are taught to be honest in all our dealings, big or small. We are schooled never to lie. We are told repeatedly that honesty is the most important of all ethics. However, what people tend to forget to teach us is the importance of self-honesty.

Body

Being true to yourself is very important. You can be honest with the world, but as long as you are not honest with yourself, you are not being fair. Give the most importance to what you think of yourself rather than what others think of you. You can justify to the world why you did what you did, but as long you are not honest with yourself, it can be difficult to find peace.

For example, an individual might treat someone unfairly to gain something that was not rightfully theirs in order to be looked well upon by others. But deep down, the person may know what they did was wrong.

If we can’t gather up the courage to be honest with ourselves, we may continue to exhibit the same behaviours. Self-honesty is a trait that holds immense importance.

When you are honest with yourself, you accept your weaknesses and flaws. You may know what some of those are. You may know what you are capable of and what you aren’t capable of. With enough self-knowledge, people’s judgments about you can become less important.

Conclusion

Being honest with yourself can make life easier, less complicated, and a lot more beautiful. You become less dependent on others and more dependent on yourself. You start loving yourself with all your flaws, and that’s the turning point toward contentment and inner peace.

 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

7. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” ― Rosa Parks

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about when one is doing a right act, one should never be afraid of doing it or the consequences of doing it. Mention the importance of courage in doing virtuous acts and cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

Introduction

We often hear about how important it is to do the right thing, and make good decisions. Sometimes doing the right thing is clear and simple. Other times, doing the right thing might not feel so easy. It can take courage to do the right thing. Being brave and having courage is often misunderstood as being fearless. It is perfectly normal to be nervous or afraid in certain situations. What makes a person brave is to stand up for what is right even when you are afraid because it’s the right thing to do.

Body

When faced with deciding on how to act, sometimes the toughest part is figuring out how to do the right thing. Of course, how you view the right thing, what you think of as the right thing, makes all the difference. And this is often not clear. You may experience conflicting emotions, feel ambivalent about potential choices, or strongly for or against certain action — whether you are convinced that it either is or isn’t the right thing to do.

Standing up for what’s right can inspire others to take similar action, to step out of their comfort zone and act in accordance with core beliefs and values. While you may initially feel alone in choosing the course of action you firmly believe is the right thing to do, your example may encourage others to follow your lead. First one, then another, then a few more may do the right thing. Your action can precipitate contagious behaviour. Yet, even if it doesn’t, you are content with your decision, knowing that you acted with integrity and followed through to do the right thing. You can lead by example, even if others decide not to emulate your behavior.

Doing the right thing is the most admirable trait one can have. One should not worry about whether other people notice it or not- that’s not why you are doing it. You’re doing it because it’s the right thing to do; because it positively benefits not only you but it’s good for the world too. When in doubt, do the right thing and you won’t lose sleep over it.

Conclusion

There is also a bright side of doing the right thing, however, taking action that others don’t expect, and that is the opportunity for them to see you in a different light, to rethink their perception of you. When you do the right thing, you’re also giving yourself a boost in self-esteem. Knowing what’s right and doing it are the hallmarks of personal integrity.


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