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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 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


 

1.Why is conducting census important? Analyse the impact of delay in conducting decadal census.

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Introduction

A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. Census provides information on size, distribution, socio-economic, demographic and other characteristic of countries population.

The Census was first started under British Viceroy Lord Mayo in 1872. It helped in framing new policies, government programs to uplift areas of improvement in the community. The first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Every ten years: Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.

The decennial census exercise has been postponed till September 2023. The government informed States that the date of freezing of administrative boundaries has been extended till June 30.

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Importance of Census

  • Utility in Administration and Policy
    • The population census provides the basic data for administrative purposes. One of the most basic of the administrative uses of census data is in the demarcation of constituenceis and the allocation of representation on governing bodies. Detailed information on the geographic distribution of the population is indispensable for this purpose. The Census also gives information on the demographic and economic characteristics of the population at the district level.
  • Utility of Census data for Research Purposes:
    • The population census provides indispensable data for scientific analysis and appraisal of the composition, distribution and past and prospective growth of the population.
  • Utility of Census data in Business and Industry:
    • The census data has many important uses for individuals and institutions in business and industry. It is very difficult to make a full assessment of the multiplicity of ways in which trade and business make use of the census data.
  • Census as frame for Sample Surveys:
    • The rapidity of current changes in the size and other characteristics of populations and the demand for additional detailed data on social and economic characteristics which are not appropriate for collection in a full-scale census, have brought about the need for continuing programmes of intercensal sample surveys to collect current and detailed information on many topics which are usually investigated at ten-year intervals in the population censuses.
  • Utility of Census data in Planning:
    • The census data is indispensable for social and economic planning of the Country. The Planning Commission utilises the Census data on the distribution of population by age, sex classified by rural and urban regions, cities, town areas and social groups to analyse the growth of consumer demand and savings in the process of development.
  • Utility of Population Census to Electoral Rolls:
    • Some countries have taken advantage of the enumeration for a population census to collect, at the same time, information needed for the establishment of electoral rolls. This procedure is not generally advisable because of the deleterious effect the secondary purpose might have on the quality of the census results.
  • Utility of Population Census to other types of Censuses:
    • Certain information collected as part of a population census, or incidential to it, can be most useful in conducting and/or utilizing the results of housing, agricultural or establishment censuses taken at about the same time or near about as the population census.
  • Utility of population census to civil registration and vital statistics:
    • Census data serve as denominators for the computation of vital rates, especially rates specific for characteristics normally investigated only at the time of the census.

Impact of delay in conducting decadal census

  • Surveys have limitations and cannot be used to find answers to how many villages have literacy rates below 75% or which tehsils have a low percentage of people getting protected water supply.
  • In case of panchayats and municipal bodies, reservation of seats for SCs and STs is based on their proportion in the population.
    • There is no other source that can provide this information.
  • Delay in the Census means that the data from the 2011 Census would continue to be used.
  • Rapid changes in the composition of the populationover the last decade.
    • This means that either too many or too few seats are being reserved.
  • The rural-urban distribution of populationhas been rapidly changing over the years.
    • For example: Areas under the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike grew by 3(forty nine point three)% during 2001-11etc
  • The pandemic; It resulted in deaths among adults and the aged relatively more than children.
    • It would give indirect estimates of the number of deaths.

Way forward

  • The existence of numerous faiths and languages as well as the expansion or extinction of such communities will be known only via population Census.
  • A regular Census at the national and sub-national levels has been a matter of pride for India.
  • It has to be continued until India achieves a fool-proof civil registration system and a dynamic National Population Register.
  • Census is necessary since it forms the basis of all the plans and programmes that the government wants to implement.
  • Postponing the Census has immediate and long-term negative consequences for India.
  • Separate census from NPR: It is advisable to separate these two and disassociate the Census from a politically sensitive issue.
  • This would help complete the Census as early as possible and maintain reliability of data.

Conclusion

Census is a major pillar for development and hence, Centre, States as well as local bodies must help for smoother process of Collection of data.

 

2 . What are Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics? Evaluate the potential of draft Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance) Bill, 2022 in conservation of the natural wealth possessed in Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics.

Reference: The HinduIndian Expres

Introduction

Geo-heritage refers to the geological features which are inherently or culturally significant offering insight to earth’s evolution or history to earth science or that can be utilized for education.

Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the parent body which is making efforts towards identification and protection of geo-heritage sites/national geological monuments in the country.

Geo-relic is defined as “any relic or material of a geological significance or interest like sediments, rocks, minerals, meteorite or fossils”. The GSI will have the power to acquire geo-relics “for its preservation and maintenance”.

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Background

  • The Geological Survey of India (GSI, established in 1851, comes under the Ministry of Mines) investigates and assesses coal and other mineral resources of the country through regional-level exploration.
  • It declares geo-heritage sites/ national geological monuments and along with the respective state governments takes necessary measures to protect these sites.
  • The 32 geo-heritage sites are spread across 13 states and despite identifying these sites, there are concerns over their preservation, including Fossil Parks (e.g. Siwalik Fossil Park, Himachal Pradesh); Geological Marvels (e.g. Lonar Lake, Maharashtra), Rock Monuments (e.g. Peninsular Gneiss, Karnataka) etc

Features of Geo-heritage Sites and Geo-relics (Preservation and Maintenance) Bill, 2022

  • It would authorise the Central Government to declare a geoheritage site to be of national importance.
    • This would be under the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (RFCTLARR Act).
    • Through a public notification in the Official Gazette, the government would spell out what areas were to be acquired by it, and objections to this can be raised within two months.
  • Provision is made for compensation to the owner or occupier of land who incurs loss or damage from the land due to the exercise of any power under this Act.
    • The market value of any property will be ascertained in accordance with the principles set out in the RFCTLARR Act.
  • The Bill imposes a prohibition on construction, reconstruction, repair or renovation of any building within the geoheritage site area or utilisation of such area in any other manner, except for construction for preservation and maintenance of geoheritage site or any public work essential to the public.
  • Penalties for destruction, removal, defacement or contravention of any direction issued by the Director General, GSI in the geo-heritage site are mentioned.
    • There is a penalty of imprisonment which may extend to six months or fine which may extend to Rs.5 lakh, or both.
    • In the case of a continuing contravention, additional fine of upto Rs.50,000 for every day of continuing contravention may be imposed.

Criticisms

  • The need for the preservation of such sites, and particular laws for them, has been felt for long. But as a Science article points out, there are concerns over the distribution of power as mentioned in the Bill.
  • Guntupalli V R Prasad, a paleontologist at the University of Delhi who was recently leading the team that discovered titanosaur nests in Madhya Pradesh, told Science, “The GSI has been given sweeping powers.”
  • It points to how the GSI has the authority to acquire any material of geological significance, including sediments, rocks, minerals, meteorites, and fossils, as well as sites of geological importance.
  • The issue of land acquisition for the purpose of safeguarding these sites could also lead to issues with local communities.

Conclusion

The experts call for the creation of a more inclusive body, akin to a National Geoheritage Authority, that can more democratically decide locations of “geohistorical” significance and how best to preserve them.

 


General Studies – 2


 

3. A constitution’s preamble is the first portion of the introduction of the document. It usually includes the country’s history, fundamental ideas and goals, and a declaration of the country’s intentions. Elaborate.

Reference: Insights on India

Introduction

Preamble to a constitution is the window to what is there inside the constitution. It is a resolution of Indian people to establish a sovereign, socialist, secular and democratic republic. In this republic, people will have justice – social, economic and political; liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship; and equality of status and opportunity; this will promote fraternity among them and assure the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation.

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Background:

  • The preamble was written after the Constituent Assembly had written the whole constitution.
  • It emerged from the Objectives Resolution which was introduced by Jawaharlal Nehru on the fifth day of the inaugural session of the Constituent Assembly debates.
  • In the Keshavananda Bharati Case in 1973, Preamble was held as an integral part of the Constitution.
  • The original Preamble did not mention “Secular”, “Socialistic”, and “and Integrity”. They were inserted in it through the 42nd Constitutional Amendment.

Significance of Preamble

  • The Preamble embodies the basic philosophy and fundamental values—political, moral and religious —on which the Constitution is based.
  • It contains the grand and noble vision of the Constituent Assembly, and reflects the dreams and aspirations of the founding fathers of the Constitution.
  • In the Berubari Union 16 case (1960), the Supreme Court said that the Preamble shows the general purposes behind the several provisions in the Constitution, and is thus a key to the minds of the makers of the Constitution.
  • Further, where the terms used in any article are ambiguous or capable of more than one meaning, some assistance at interpretation may be taken from the objectives enshrined in the Preamble.
  • The Preamble contains the fundamentals of constitution. It serves several important purposes, as for example
    • It contains the enacting clause which brings the Constitution into force.
    • It declares the basic type of government and polity which is sought to be established in the country.
    • It declares the great rights and freedom which the people of India intended to secure to its entire citizen.
    • It throws light on the source of the Constitution, viz., the People of India.
    • The Preamble can also be used to shed light on and clarify obscurity in the language of a statutory or, constitutional provision.
    • The preamble acts as the preface of the constitution of India and lays down the philosophical ideas.
    • It also states the objects which the constitution seeks to establish and promote.
  • Preamble as Projector of ‘Desired Established State’
    • The Preamble proclaims the solemn resolution of the people of India to constitute India into a ‘Sovereign socialist secular democratic republic’.
  • Preamble as Interpreter of Legislation and statutes:
    • The Constitution of India starts with a preamble which contains the spirit of the constitution. Every legislation framed is in conformity with the spirit of the preamble and thus the constitutionality and objects of the statutes are tested.

Views of stalwarts about the Preamble

  • In the words of Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Iyer, a member of the Constituent Assembly who played a significant role in making the Constitution, ‘The Preamble to our Constitution expresses what we had thought or dreamt so long’.
  • According to K M Munshi, a member of the Drafting Committee of the Constituent Assembly, the Preamble is the ‘horoscope of our sovereign democratic republic’.
  • Pandit Thakur Das Bhargava, another member of the Constituent Assembly, summed up the importance of the Preamble in the following words: ‘The Preamble is the most precious part of the Constitution. It is the soul of the Constitution. It is a key to the Constitution. It is a jewel set in the Constitution. It is a proper yardstick with which one can measure the worth of the Constitution’

Conclusion

Preamble shows the vision of India and strives for the values enumerated in it, for the people of India. Both in ideas and expression it is a unique one. It embodies the spirit of the constitution to build up an independent nation which will ensure the triumph of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity. However, it is non-justiciable and is neither a source of authority or prohibition on powers of Parliament. Yet it epitomises the very idea of India as an Independent nation.

 


General Studies – 3


 

4.Compare and contrast wholesale price inflation (WPI) and consumer price inflation (CPI). Discuss the measures that are needed to contain core inflation in the economy?

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Introduction

The wholesale price inflation (WPI) and consumer price inflation (CPI) are two commonly used terms to determine inflation in the country.

WPI is an indicator that determines the average changes in the price of goods that are sold in bulk in a wholesale market. This index is useful in calculating the change in commodity prices at different stages before it reaches the retailer.

CPI is a measure of change in the price of goods and services, which are sold in retail directly to the consumer. It can also be defined as the price that a consumer needs to shell out to purchase goods or services over a given period.

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Differences between WPI and CPI

  • CPI captures price change at the consumer level, WPI captures the production side.
  • WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services, CPI does.
  • WPI gives more weight to manufactured goods, CPI gives more weight to food items.
  • WPI uses Financial Year as a reference, CPI uses the calendar year.
  • WPI measures the initial or first stage of a transaction, CPI is the final or last stage of a transaction

 

Similarities between CPI and WPI

  • Both WPI and CPI are used to calculate the inflation rate.
  • Monetary policyprimarily focuses on price stability, which can be achieved by controlling inflation which can be tracked and measured by WPI and CPI.

Measures to tackle inflation

  • Monitory Policy : Monetary policy is one of the most commonly used measures taken by the government to control inflation. It uses tools like – Bank rate, Repo Rate, Open market operations, etc.
  • Fiscal Policy : The two main components of fiscal policy are government revenue and government expenditure. In fiscal policy, the government controls inflation either by reducing private spending or by decreasing government expenditure, or by using both. It reduces private spending by increasing taxes on private businesses. When private spending is more, the government reduces its expenditure to control inflation. However, in present scenario, reducing government expenditure is not possible because there may be certain on-going projects for social welfare that cannot be postponed.
  • Price Control : In this method, inflation is suppressed by price control, but cannot be controlled for the long term. The historical evidences have shown that price control alone cannot control inflation, but only reduces the extent of inflation.

Way forward to tackle core inflation

  • Monetary policy Measures: Maintaining price stability is the foremost objective of the monetary policy committee of RBI. However, during the pandemic, growth has taken centre stage and RBI has rightly cut interest rates.
  • Commodity prices: GoI needs to remove supply side bottlenecks. For example, GoI can immediately offload 10-20% of its pulses stock with NAFED in the open market.
  • Policy measures: Navigating out of this will need a fiscal stimulus to shore up consumer spending, an investment revival to increase the productive capacity of the economy, and a careful management of inflationary expectations.
  • Concomitantly, the government will also need to pursue redistribution of income to reduce the widening disparity.
  • This also calls for fiscal prudence to cut wasteful spending, find new revenue through asset sales, mining and spectrum auctions, and build investor confidence.

Conclusion

With the rise in inflation amidst a second wave, the balancing acumen of the MPC will now be sorely tested. Factors like rising commodity prices, supply chain disruptions are expected to raise overall domestic inflation. Government and RBI need to chalk out a fiscal plan to ensure that the inflation doesn’t burden the common man in the country

 

5.The development of infrastructure along India’s Borders with its neighbours is crucial for strategic and security reasons. Analyse.

Reference: The Hindu

Introduction

India shares its border with seven different countries. Most of these borders are man-made and do not follow any natural barrier. India’s vast coastline and island territories also make it open to attacks and infiltration. In addition, politcial instability, cultural radicalism and patronage of mafia and terrorism in the few neighbouring countries make border management an important aspect to guard India’s sovereignty.

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Background

At an unscheduled briefing during a Parliament session this week, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar released details of the government’s projects on border infrastructure and connectivity. It focused on initiatives in the north and east along India’s 3,488 km border with China (Line of Actual Control or LAC), including ramping up infrastructure on the Indian side in Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim, and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as projects connecting India to “friendly” neighbouring states such as Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar.

Importance of Border Infrastructure

  • Strategic reasons: Successive skirmishes with the Chinese PLA in Chumar in 2014, Doklam in 2017, and the Galwan clashes in 2020.
  • Border preparedness: To update the quality of structures, the technology involved and their maintenance.
  • Resilience against security threats: Border infrastructure helps in dealing with transnational issues like cross-border terrorism, infiltration of armed militants and insurgents, narcotics and arms smuggling; illegal migration; left-wing extremism and separatist movements fuelled by external powers.
  • Better trade relations: Robust border infrastructure helps in building ties with the neighbouring countries. Example: Border Haats with Bangladesh.
  • Inclusive growth: Border road infrastructure plays a significant role in the overall development of the region, especially in harsh terrains such as Desert (Rajasthan), extreme hilly area (northeast) and Cold desert (Jammu Kashmir and Leh Ladakh).
  • Unravel tourism: Proper road infrastructure would help in promoting tourism in the lofty Himalayas.
  • Maintaining peace and stability: Border road infrastructure helps in maintaining peace and stability in the border areas.
  • Disaster management: Better border infrastructure in the difficult and harsh terrains of Indian borders will make the country prepared and self-sufficient to handle the wide range of disasters.

Way forward & Conclusion

  • Improving the functionality and efficiency of BRO: with Manageable Workload, Greater Financial Autonomy, Delinking Pay and Allowances, Higher Incentives and changes in the organisation structure in order to meet the deadlines.
  • Leveraging technology: Integrated command and communication centres, scaling up of CIBMS, use of AI and moving a step closer to smart border management as recommended by Madhukar Gupta committee.
  • Cross-border cooperation (CBC):The core principle of cross-border cooperation (CBC) is the information sharing and collaborative approach between neighbouring countries for border security threats like human trafficking arms smuggling, terrorist threats, etc.
  • Given the volatile situation on LAC, emphasis must be on quick completion of existing projects because border Infrastructure not only gives us security but it could strengthen regional connectivity, thereby boosting economic linkages at a sub-regional level. The benefits that can accrue to the border regions from trade cannot be overlooked.

 

Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):


General Studies – 1


 

6. Discovery of lithium deposits in Jammu and Kashmir can be crucial to cut dependence on imports of lithium. Write a note on potential distribution of lithium deposits in India and importance of lithium as a strategic mineral.

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Introduction

Lithium is a soft, silvery-white metal. Under standard conditions, it is the lightest metal and the lightest solid element. It is highly reactive and flammable, and must be stored in mineral oil. It is an alkali metal and a rare metal.

Geological Survey of India (GSI) has for the first time established Lithium inferred resources of about 6 million tonnes in the Salal-Haimana area of the Reasi District of Jammu & Kashmir (UT). 51 Mineral Blocks including Lithium and Gold were handed over to State Governments.

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Potential distribution of lithium deposits in India

  • Preliminary surveys on surface and limited subsurface by Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD) have shown presence of Lithium resources of 1,600 tonnes in the pegmatites of Marlagalla – Allapatna area, Mandya district, Karnataka.
  • Mica beltsin Rajasthan, Bihar, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Pegmatite(igneous rocks) belts in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • Brines of Sambhar and Pachpadrain Rajasthan, and Rann of Kachchh in Gujarat.

Importance of lithium as a strategic mineral

  • India imports almost all of its need for rare earth metals and of lithium, Cobalt (mostly from China)
  • India’s demand for these critical resources has risen 6 fold in the last five years as it tries to be the electronic and solar manufacturing hub
  • Thus, the current find helps to reduce the need for imports
  • Boost to the manufacture of rechargeable batteries: Lithium is one of the key components of Li-Ion batteries and taking into consideration the financial impact of obtaining Lithium, the new discovery is significant.
  • The recent discovery of this sizable lithium deposit in India may be able to assist the nation in supplying its expanding domestic metal demand, which has been driven up recently by the popularity of electronic gadgets and electric vehicles.

 

  • The finding of this significant lithium deposit in India may help the nation become a significant player in the global lithium marketin addition to satisfying domestic demand
  • Improve employmentopportunities and gives a Boost to the Economy
  • Push for India’s Clean Energy targets: Lithium is a key component in batteries for electric vehicles and renewable energy storage systems

Conclusion

The thermonuclear application makes Lithium a “Prescribed substance” under the Atomic Energy Act, of 1962 which permits AMD to the exploration of Lithium in various geological domains of the country.

Value addition

Applications of Lithium:

  • Batteries: Lithium is widely used in batteries due to its high electrochemical potential and low weight.
  • Glass and Ceramics: Lithium is added to glass and ceramics to improve their thermal stability, transparency, and strength.
  • Aerospace: Lithium is used in the production of lightweight alloys for the aerospace industry.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Lithium is used in the treatment of bipolar disorder due to its ability to stabilize mood swings.
  • Lubricants:Lithium is used as a lubricant in high-temperature and high-vacuum environments.

 


General Studies – 2


 

7. It is crucial to prioritize addressing the inter-state disparities in providing safe and sufficient drinking water under the Jal Jeevan Mission, and to establish sustainable infrastructure to achieve this goal. Analyse.

Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India

Introduction

One of the most significant commitments of the current government is to ensure piped water to every rural household by 2024. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, led by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, 10.2 crore rural households, or about 53% of the eligible population, now have tap water access. 

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About Jal-jeevan mission

  • The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.
  • It also aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission is set to be based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
  • The mission ensures:
    • Functionality of existing water supply systems and water connections.
    • Water quality monitoring and testing as well as sustainable agriculture.
    • Conjunctive use of conserved water.
    • Drinking water source augmentation.
    • Drinking water supply system, grey water treatment and its reuse.
  • Implementation: The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
    • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
    • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.

Inter-state disparities in access to safe drinking water

  • The Government commissions annual surveys to evaluate the success of the scheme. A recent audit, by a private agency, found that around 62% of rural households in India had fully functional tap water connections within their premises.
  • The survey, however, revealed wide disparities in achievement. Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Puducherry reported more than 80% of households with fully functional connections while less than half the households in Rajasthan, Kerala, Manipur, Tripura, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim had such connections.
  • About 75% of households received water all days of the week, and only 8% just once a week. On average, households got water for three hours every day.
  • Moreover, the report mentions a problem of chlorine contamination.
  • Though 93% of the water samples were reportedly free of bacteriological contamination, most of the anganwadi centres and schools had higher than the permissible range of residual chlorine.

Way forward

  • Adopt innovative technologies: The government need to adopt innovative technologies, especially sewage treatment, in-situ combustion/energy production from human excreta, etc. This will reduce the consumption of freshwater to flush tanks, often seen in urban areas.
  • With the massive deployment of sensor-based IoT systems for measurement & monitoring of water supply, testing of water samples for quality and dashboard for data integration and analysis will ensure transparency, assured service delivery, and grievance redressal.
  • Water Security for Development: India should work on groundwater replenishing methods without polluting the sources. Further, village communities and users/owners should start water budgeting to understand and improve water-use efficiency by changing water usage patterns, shifting to less water-consuming crops, and/ or switching to micro-irrigation, i.e., drip and sprinkler systems.
  • Even a small reduction in agricultural use will enhance water availability for drinking and domestic purposes, enhancing the longevity and functionality of water supply systems.
  • Convergence with other schemes: To ensure the long-term sustainability of JJM, the mission has to converge with other schemes such as MGNREGSAtal Bhujal YojanaPradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, etc., to dovetail resources at the village level.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the progress of the scheme but with the economy now close to pre-pandemic levels, it is likely that the challenges of labour and material have softened somewhat to aid the progress of the scheme. The Centre should liaise better with States that are falling behind in targets and ensure that the infrastructure created as part of the scheme is long lasting and not merely to meet election targets.

 

8.Our constitutional makers longed for an independent judiciary, which is uninfluenced by executive. However, the desire of a post-retirement job influences pre-retirement judgments. Critically analyse.

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Introduction

The edifice of constitutional governance rests on the separation of powers. The legislature is popularly elected where the sovereignty of the people resides; the executive is accountable to the legislature; and the judiciary is the upholder of the Constitution and, along with its other duties, provides a check against executive excesses, arbitrariness, and unlawful steps.

Being Guardian of Constitution, the judiciary has to be independent — insulated from pressures and inducements.

 

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Issue of post-retirement post for judges

  • The clear demarcation between the judiciary and executive got blurred as many judges over the years began to accept posts offered by the government.
  • A few years ago, a former Chief Justice of India (CJI) was made a Governor by the ruling party.
  • Now, we have the case of a former CJI, Ranjan Gogoi, being nominated by the President to the Rajya Sabha and taking oath as Member of Parliament.
  • Pre-retirement judgements under cloud: During his tenure as CJI, Justice Gogoi presided over important cases such as Ayodhya and Rafale where all the decisions went in favour of the government.
    • This gave rise to the impression that his nomination was a reward for these ‘favours’.
    • Thus his appointment — and that too within a few months of his retirement — not only raised eyebrows but came in for severe condemnation from varied quarters.
  • Loss of confidence: People are fast losing confidence in the so-called independent judiciary.
  • In 2013 Arun Jaitley, who was also a senior Advocate, ironically said that legislature was creating post-retirement avenues for Judges in every legislation.
    • He also said that post-retirement job influences pre-retirement judgements.
    • It is in this context that the appointment of Mr Gogoi has to be perceived.

 

Impact of post-retirement job influencing judgements

  • The immediate appointments suggest that decisions regarding their post-retirement assignments were already taken by the government.
  • Immediate post-retirement appointments of the judges create a cloud over the sanctity of their judgments, irrespective of their merits.
  • Judges accepting jobs under the Executive certainly creates situations of conflicts of interest.
  • It tends to undermine public faith in judicial independence.
  • In the ‘master of roster case,’ the Supreme Court reiterated that public confidence was the greatest asset of the judiciary.
  • Judiciary and executive should remain mutual watchdogs than mutual admirers

Way forward

  • If post-retirement appointments are going to undermine confidence in the judiciary and in a constitutional democracy.
  • Enact law or amend Constitution: It is time to have a law in place either by way of a constitutional amendment or a parliamentary enactment barring such appointments.
  • This is the only way to secure the confidence of the people and prevent post-retirement appointments.
  • Increase pension: Judges can be compensated by being given their last drawn salary as a pension.
  • Retirement age can be increased: Also, the age of retirement for judges can be increased by a year or two.
  • This will undo the damage caused by post-retirement jobs.

 

Conclusion

The appointments of persons who have held constitutional office will undermine the very constitutional values of impartiality in the dispensation of justice. So, enacting a law to bar such appointments or amendment to the Constitution would be the step in the right direction.

Value addition

Examples of judges accepting post-retirement jobs

  • Retired judges have been appointed to political office since independence.
  • In 1952, Justice Fazl Ali was appointed the Governor of Orissa, shortly after retiring from the Supreme Court.
  • In 1958, Chief Justice M C Chagla resigned from the Bombay High Court in order to become India’s Ambassador to the US at Prime Minister Nehru’s invitation.
  • In April 1967, Chief Justice Subba Rao resigned from the Supreme Court to contest elections for President.
  • In more recent times, Chief Justice P Sathasivam was appointed the Governor of Kerala.

 

9. In modern economies, exports play a crucial role in driving a nation’s growth as they provide individuals and businesses with access to numerous markets for their products. This makes exports extremely valuable. However, Indian exports are declining and thereby increasing the trade deficit. Analyse.

Reference: Live MintInsights on India 

Introduction

According to the Ministry of Commerce, India’s goods exports dipped 6.6% from a year earlier to $32.91 billion in January, according to government data released on Wednesday. This is the third decline in four months. Imports also fell last month by 3.6% year-on-year to $50.66 billion.

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Reasons for decline in exports

  • Engineering goods (the backbone of India’s merchandise exports previously), fell by 21%. The Engineering Export Promotion Council of India attributed the slowdown to –
    • High inflation in developed regions,
    • Falling demand in China,
    • The slowdown in the EU and the U.S. and
    • The Russia-Ukraine war.
  • In October, a decline of $2 billion worth of exports was seen in steel and allied products.
    • Due to the export duty levied on these products to help increase local availability.
    • The government has since removed this duty.
    • The Diwali festive season prompted workers to take leave, thus impacting output.
  • Inflation: Inflation has been driven up more by local factors, including higher food prices, than imported reasons and that those pressures are set to dampen thanks to easing international commodity prices and the arrival of Kharif crop.
    • Retail inflation has been consistently above 7% these past few months, but stood at 6.8% for October, 2022.
  • Fall in Oil and other Export:
  • Oil export growth fell to -11.4% y-o-y from 43.0% in September 2022, partly reflecting lower global crude oil prices, while non-oil exports plunged -16.9% y-o-y, with the decline broad-based across iron ore, handicrafts, textiles, some agricultural goods, plastics, gems & jewellery, engineering goods, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and leather goods.
  • Rising Global Trade Tension:
    • Recent trade war between the US and China and other global trade wars has impacted growth all over the world.
    • It has impacted manufacturing and exports in different parts of the world, including the Indian economy too.
  • Weaker Global Demand:
    • The global economic growth is decelerating sharply in the wake of persistently high inflation across developed countries and, as a result, as sharp tightening of monetary policy .
    • With growth contraction across the board — UK and US are set to see recession while the euro area is likely to stall even as China struggles to grow — the demand for Indian goods has plummeted. That is why exports have contracted.

Way forward

  • The weakness in India’s exports is likely to sustain because global growth is likely to remain weak. Weaker exports, in turn, will have a dampening effect on the growth of India’s gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The government urgently needs to bring out a revised foreign policy to address both our historical trade imbalance, and the slowing of exports, rather than wait out the tumult as it intends to, having again deferred the new policy release till April next.
  • The government should take appropriate measures to improve the credit cycle through investment and savings and promotion of foreign investment will bring the economy from slowdown in future.

 

Conclusion

Going forward, the weakness in India’s exports is likely to sustain because global growth is likely to remain weak. Weaker exports, in turn, will have a dampening effect on the growth of India’s gross domestic product (GDP). A revised foreign trade policy can give much needed impetus and boost to exports so that manufacturers in India try for export trade.

10. Explain the concept of Anti-microbial resistance (AMR). What are the causes for AMR? Critically evaluate various health interventions initiated to tackle growing AMR? (250 words))

Introduction

The WHO defines antimicrobial resistance (AMR) as a condition wherein microbes survive when exposed to the drug which would have normally caused them to die. It is the resistance acquired by any microorganism like bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasite, etc. against antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarial, and anthelmintic) that are used to treat infections and is regarded as a major threat to public health across the globe.

Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance are sometimes referred to as “superbugs”. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

Body

Reasons for the spread of AMR:

  • Antibiotic consumption in humans
    • Unnecessary and injudicious use of antibiotic fixed dose combinations could lead to emergence of bacterial strains resistant to multiple antibiotics.
  • Social factors
    • Self-medication.
    • Access to antibiotics without prescription.
    • Lack of knowledge about when to use antibiotics.
  • Cultural Activities
    • Mass bathing in rivers as part of religious mass gathering occasions.
  • Antibiotic Consumption in Food Animals
    • Antibiotics which are critical to human health are commonly used for growth promotion in poultry.
  • Pharmaceutical Industry Pollution
    • The wastewater effluents from the antibiotic manufacturing units contain a substantial amount of antibiotics, leading to contamination of rivers and lakes.
  • Environmental Sanitation
    • Untreated disposal of sewage water bodies – leading to contamination of rivers with antibiotic residues and antibiotic-resistant organisms.
  • Infection Control Practices in Healthcare Settings
    • A report on hand-washing practices of nurses and doctors found that only 31.8% of them washed hands after contact with patients.

Global steps to AMR:

  • Netherlands and Thailandhave decreased their usage by almost 50%.
  • In China, the consumption of antibiotics in the agricultural sector has fallen substantially.
  • The use of antibiotics in healthy animalsto boost growth has also been reduced in the last decade in many countries.

Efforts to control AMR in India:

  • Burden of infectious disease (Bacterial infections) is high and healthcare spending is low.
  • The National Health Policy 2017 highlights the problem of antimicrobial resistance and calls for effective action to address it.
  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) identified AMR as one of the top 10 priorities for the ministry’s collaborative work with WHO.
  • In 2012, India’s medical societies adopted the Chennai Declaration, a set of national recommendations to promote antibiotic stewardship.
  • India’s Red Line campaign demands that prescription-only antibiotics be marked with a red line, to discourage the over-the-counter sale of antibiotics.
  • National Policy for Containment of Antimicrobial Resistance 2011.
  • National Action Plan on AMR resistance 2017-2021.
  • India has instituted surveillance of the emergence of drug resistance in disease causing microbes in programmes on Tuberculosis, Vector Borne diseases, AIDS, etc.
  • Since March 2014 a separate Schedule H-1 has been incorporated in Drug and Cosmetic rules to regulate the sale of antimicrobials in the country.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) banned the use of antibiotics and several pharmacologically active substances in fisheries.
  • The government has also capped the maximum levels of drugs that can be used for growth promotion in meat and meat products.

Way forward

  • The rapidly rising AMR rates need an accelerated, multi-sectoral, global and national response.
  • G-20 president, and as a country vulnerable to this silent pandemic: India’s role is critical in ensuring that AMR remains high on the global public health agenda.
  • G-20 health summits spread through 2023offer an opportunity for India to ensure that all aspects of AMR are addressed and countries commit to progress.
  • Some key areas for action are:
    • surveillance of both phenotypic and genotypic — of priority pathogens
    • Sharing of data, including through WHO’s GLASS platform
    • Regulatory and policy action to stop use of antibiotics that are important for human health in animals;
    • No use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals
    • More government investmentin research and innovation for new antibiotics
    • Explore use of vaccinesto prevent certain infections due to AMR organisms in humans and animals.
    • Special focus on combating TB and drug-resistant TB.

 

Conclusion

Anti-Microbial Resistance is not a country specific issue but a global concern that is jeopardizing global health security. Antimicrobial resistance is one of the major public health problems. Reducing the incidence of infection through effective infection prevention and control.  As stated by WHO, making infection prevention and hand hygiene a national policy priority is need of the hour.

Value addition

International Efforts

  • A multi-sectoral $1 billion AMR Action Fund was launched in 2020 to support the development of new antibiotics.
  • Peru’s efforts on patient education to reduce unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions.
  • Australian regulatory reforms to influence prescriber behaviour.
  • Denmark’s reforms to prevent the use of antibiotics in livestock have not only led to a significant reduction in the prevalence of resistant microbes in animals, but also improved the efficiency of farming.
  • India proposed laws to curb the amount of active antibiotics released in pharmaceutical waste

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