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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 March 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: 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.

1. Throw light of distribution of grasslands in India. What are the threats faced by grasslands? Discuss steps that are needed to protect them. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Since September 2022, India has translocated eight African cheetahs from Namibia and 12 from South Africa. This is part of a long-term conservation plan to re-introduce the wild cat into the country after it became extinct in the 1950s, primarily due to hunting. The aim is to be able to build a self-sustaining population, centred at Madhya Pradesh’s Kuno National Park, which will also contribute to the global survival of the cheetah as a species. Can the cheetahs thrive in India and help India’s grasslands?

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the distribution of grasslands in India, threats faced by them and steps needed to protect them.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the types of grassland in India.

Body:

First, with a small representative map, show the distribution of grasslands in India – Deccan Plateau, Western Ghats, and Himalayan foothills. Mention their major features in brief.

Next, write about the threats faced by grasslands and its impact – conversion into agricultural land, overgrazing by livestock, deforestation, invasive species, climate change, and infrastructure development. These threats are leading to habitat fragmentation, loss of biodiversity, and displacement of wildlife species.

Next, suggest steps that are needed to protect grasslands in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Grasslands are open areas of land where grasses or grass like plants are the dominant species. Other forms of vegetation such as trees are rare in grasslands because they are not suited to thrive in the grassland’s dry environment. Grasslands receive water through rainfall, and when it does occur the grasses use their roots to search for moisture. Grass within this type of environment reproduces by releasing pollen when the winds blow or by producing plants from their roots.

Body

Distribution of grasslands in India

 

  • In India, grasslands are found as village grazing grounds (Gauchar) and extensive low pastures of dry regions of the western part of the country and also in Alpine Himalayas.
  • Perennial grasses are the dominant plant community.
  • In the Himalayan mountains, there are high, cold Himalayan pastures.
  • There are tracts of tall elephant grass in the low-lying Terai beltsouth of the Himalayan foothills.
  • There are semi-arid grasslands in Western India, parts of Central India, and the Deccan Plateau.
  • Patches of shola grasslandsthat occur on hill slopes alongside the extremely moist evergreen forests in South India.
  • In some regions, grasslands also support a variety of other herbaceous plants like sedges, legumes and members of the sunflower family.
  • Grasslands support numerous herbivores, from minute insects to very large mammals.
  • Rats, mice, rodents, deer, elephants, dogs, buffalo, tigers, lions, ferrets are some common mammals of grasslands.
  • In northeast India, the one-horned rhinoceros is amongst the threatened animal of grassland in this region.
  • A large number of avian fauna makes the grassland colourful.

Threats to grassland ecosystem

  • Natural and human disturbances to grassland areas can cause changes within this particular ecosystems environment.
  • Because these ecosystems are relatively dry with a strong seasonal climate, they are sensitive to climatic changes and vulnerable to shifts in climatic regime.
  • Grasslands are threatened by habitat loss, which can be caused by human actions, such as unsustainable agricultural practices, overgrazing, and crop clearing.
  • The biggest impact that humans have on grasslands is by developing open areas for farming or urban development.
  • Not only does the conversion of land into crops change the ecosystem, but so does the farming of livestock.
  • Hunting presents a serious impact on grassland biomes. Poachers likewise kill rhinoceroses for their tusks, and elephants for their ivory on Africa savannas without any regard to protection of the species.
  • Climate changecauses ecological succession, in which the ecosystem of an area develops into another.
  • Climate change impacts to grasslands and prairie bioregions include increased seasonal, annual, minimum, and maximum temperature and changing precipitation patterns.

Conclusion

Humans do not have only a negative impact on grasslands. Some humans do their part to preserve the land and restore it. National parks have been developed around grasslands, and some organizations replant depleted areas. Governments have enacted laws against the hunting of endangered animals. In particular, the U.S. National Parks Service has preserved land to foster the American bison population. While poaching still exists in many areas, there are efforts to stop it.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. What is the “safe harbour” clause in the Information Technology Act, 2000? Enumerate the challenges posed by the clause. Do you think the time has come to reconsider the clause and remove it? Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The Union government on Thursday formally outlined the Digital India Act, 2023 which is a broad overhaul of the decades-old Information Technology Act, 2000. Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology, announced the changes in a presentation in Bengaluru.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about safe harbour clause, challenges associated with the and need to remove the clause.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by explaining about the safe harbour clause and objective behind it.

Body:

First, write about the challenges posed by the safe harbour clause – defining objectionable content, enforcing the law, uneven distribution of responsibility, and differences in international laws.

Next, write about the need to remove the clause and write about the implication it will have on the intermediaries.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion.

Introduction

According to Union IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the government is reviewing the “safe harbour” clause in the Information and Technology Act 2000 which provides legal immunity to platforms against content shared by their users.

Body

About Safe harbour clause

  • Safe harbor refers to a legal provision to reduce or eliminate liability in certain situations as long as certain conditions are met.
  • Safe-harbour Protection can provide protection against liability, it is like an immunity clause.
  • Safe-harbor laws can be understood in the Indian context by comparing with laws like the AFSPA that grant special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in which each act terms “disturbed areas”.
  • Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act provides for the Safe Harbour protection to social media giants.
  • It says that any intermediary shall not be held legally or otherwise liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available on its platform.
  • However, the intermediary should not involve any way in initiating the transmission of the message in question, select the receiver of the transmitted message, and do not modify any information of the transmission.
  • This means that as long as a platform acts just as the messenger carrying a message from point A to point B, it will be safe from any legal prosecution due to the transmission of a message. However, it should be without any interference with its content in any manner.

Challenges posed by the clause

 

  • The government believes there should be no free pass to social media companies and ‘safe harbour’ cannot be an excuse to let harmful posts remain. Experts say safe harbour has often led to a lack of content moderation, inadequate fact-checking, and content violations on platforms.
  • Last year, the government had mandated, through the IT Rules of 2021, that social media platforms must appoint a Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), Resident Grievance Officer (RGO), and Nodal Contact Person.
  • Under the new Digital India law, each intermediary category will be subject to new regulations with a heavy focus on fact-checking to prevent misinformation or misuse of data.
  • These platforms will now be held accountable for any content violations or cybercrimes that occur on their websites.
  • The government says the “weaponisation of misinformation” will not be allowed.
  • That extends to Deep Fakes, which, using artificial intelligence called deep learning, allows one to put words in people’s mouths, star in one’s favourite movie and a lot more. Many point out that Deep Fakes facilitate impersonating someone and violating their privacy.
  • The other practices in focus are Doxxing, a form of online harassment that publicly reveals someone’s personal details, like their name, address and job, and phishing, or online attacks to steal user data, including login credentials and credit card numbers.

New guidelines in India

  • The guidelines had asked all social media platforms to set up a grievance redressal and compliance mechanism.
  • This included appointing a resident grievance officer, chief compliance officer and a nodal contact person.
  • The IT Ministry had also asked these platforms to submit monthly reports on complaints received from users and action taken.
  • A third requirement was for instant messaging apps was to make provisions for tracking the first originator of a message.
  • Failure to comply with any one of these requirements would take away the indemnity provided to social media intermediaries under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act.

Critical analysis

  • The new law should incorporate balancing provisions to ensure that social media and firms with extensive online presence and reach do not misuse the platform for ulterior motives.
  • Issues of deep fakes, doxxing are emerging areas of threat to right to privacy. These are violations of fundamental rights of citizens.
  • That being said, no provisions can stifle right to freedom of speech and expression.

 

Conclusion

India is also working on a complete overhaul of its technology policies and is expected to soon come out with a replacement of its IT Act, 2000, which will look at ensuring net neutrality, data privacy, and algorithmic accountability of social media platforms.

 

Topic: citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

3. Corruption is a serious problem in India, affecting both the public and private sectors. Reducing corruption requires a multi-faceted approach that involves strengthening laws and enforcement mechanisms, promoting transparency and accountability. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The problem of corruption is complex and there cannot be a “one size fits all” solution.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how corruption affects the country and steps needed to reduce it.

Directive word:

Elaborate – 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 giving a brief context.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the causes and impact of corruption – complex regulations, lack of transparency, poverty, and political influence.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to reduce corruption in the country – strengthen laws and enforcement mechanisms, simplify regulations, increase transparency, promote education and awareness, encourage public participation, strengthen anti-corruption agencies, and increase accountability for public officials and politicians.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Corruption is dishonest behavior by those in positions of power. It starts with the tendency of using public office for some personal benefit. Moreover, it is unfortunate that corruption has, for many, become a matter of habit. It is so deeply entrenched that corruption is now considered a social norm. Hence, corruption implies the failure of ethics.

Body

Importance of fighting corruption:

  • Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines rule of law, leads to violations of human rights and allows organized crime to flourish.
  • Corruption in India is not limited to collusive high-level scams.
  • Petty corruption, which affects the delivery of basic services and rights to people, is rampant.
  • Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways. In the worst cases, it costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom, health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
  • On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they’re misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
  • Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
  • Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption. This especially impacts the poor and marginalized, who are most dependent on public provisioning of rations, pensions, health, and education. Serious cases of several big corruptions have surfaced in the last five years, including banking frauds and the Rafale deal. The popular sentiment that helped the incumbent Government in the 2014 general election was resentment against corruption in public life.
  • Environmental degradationis another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction

Measures to curb corruption:

The solution to the problem of corruption has to be more systemic than any other issue of governance. Merely shrinking the economic role of the state by resorting to deregulation, liberalization and privatization is not necessarily the solution to addressing the problem.

  • Adopting effective and coordinated policies against corruption
  • Developing a coherent anti-corruption policy which identifies the causes of corruption and commits to practical, coordinated and effective measures to address these causes is a prerequisite for success.
  • Fair and transparent system of public procurement
  • Establishing a procurement system, built on the principles of objectivity, transparency and competition, is important to both saving public money and to ensuring that the policy and developmental objectives of the government are met.
    • : GeM Government E-market Placeis a step in the right directions. With this, Public Finance Management System also helps in tracking the real-time usage of funds.
  • Strengthened transparency and public reporting
    • An informed society with free access to information is a strong deterrent to corruption.
    • This underlines the importance of transparency, public reporting and access to information in preventing corruption.
    • Right to Information needs to be strengthened to make the public officials and governments more accountable to the citizens.
    • Citizens must be Vigilant: Otherwise, like Plato said “The punishment suffered by the wise who refuse to take part in government, is to suffer under the government of bad men”
  • Institutional monitoring and legislative reforms
    • Prevalent institutional arrangements have to be reviewed and changes made where those vested with power are made accountable, their functioning made more transparent and subjected to social audit with a view to minimize discretionary decisions.
    • Napoleon who said, ‘Law should be so succinct that it can be carried in the pocket of the coat and it should be so simple that it can be understood by a peasant’.
    • The2ndARC recommended that The Prevention of Corruption Act should be amended to ensure that sanctioning authorities are not summoned and instead the documents can be obtained and produced before the courts by the appropriate authority.
  • E-governance
    • The focus should be on e-governance and systemic change. An honest system of governance will displace dishonest persons.
  • Other Reforms
    • All procedures, laws and regulations that breed corruption and come in the way of efficient delivery system will have to be eliminated.
    • The perverse system of incentives in public life, which makes corruption a high return low risk activity, need to be addressed.
    • In this context, public example has to be made out of people convicted on corruption charge

Second ARC guidelines to prevent corruption

  • Vigilance and Corruption:
    • Strengthening pro-active vigilance to eliminate corruption and harassment to honest civil servants including, wherever necessary, limiting executive discretion.
    • Addressing systemic deficiencies manifesting in reluctance to punish the corrupt.
    • Identify procedures, rules and regulations and factors which lead to corruption.
  • Relationship between Political Executive and Permanent Civil Service: Improvements in the institutional arrangements for smooth, efficient and harmonious relationship between civil service and the political executive is needed.
  • Code of Conduct for different organs of Government: This includes Political Executive, Civil Services, etc.

Conclusion

“Rivers do not drink their waters themselves, nor do trees eat their fruit, nor do the clouds eat the grains raised by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others.”

Corruption needs to be rooted out from the very core of our nation, so that there is justiciable distribution of resources in the country leading to inclusive growth and ‘Sabka Vikas.’

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

4. India’s issues with the World Trade Organization (WTO), reflect broader debates about the balance between free trade and development, as well as the role of international organizations in setting global trade rules. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues of India with WTO, reforms that are needed in the WTO.

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 giving the aims and objectives of WTO.

Body:

First, Explain the factors that have led to India’s chequered relationship with the World Trade Organisation (WTO). – disagreements over agricultural subsidies, intellectual property, services trade, special and differential treatment for developing countries, and the functioning of the dispute settlement mechanism.

Next, suggest reforms that are needed to overcome the above – Appellate body reform, clarity on Special and differential treatment and Sustainable Development Goal-oriented trade negotiation etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

WTO as an organization was expected to play larger role for improved living standards, employment generation, trade expansion with increasing share for developing countries and overall sustainable development. Trade liberalization was seen as means for achieving the above-mentioned objectives.

A democratic inclusive WTO however, started showing signs of discontent. The issues came to surface in the very first Singapore Ministerial (1996). Singapore issues spilled over to Seattle, Cancun and finally to Doha Ministerial. The recent trade war between US and China where US is increasing import tariffs is a symptom of the larger rot

Body

India and WTO: A chequered relationship

  • Stalled Doha Development Round negotiations: They focused on reducing important trade barriers in sectors, such as agriculture, industrial goods and services.
    • However, after a decade of talks, it still remains to be concluded.
  • Growing protectionism: Over the past two years, governments have introduced trade restrictions covering a substantial amount of international trade — affecting $747 billion in global imports in the past year alone.
    • WTO has been less affective in addressing them, including US China trade war.
  • New emerging issues: Groups of members are also working towards new rules on a range of issues — electronic commerce, investment facilitation, domestic regulation in services — that aim to make trade more efficient and predictable in cutting-edge sectors of the economy.
    • However, the rising differences among developed and developing countries is delaying any early settlement.
    • India has made it clear that no discussion can go on without settling the question of Peace clause and Doha rounds.
  • Side stepping WTO: Since the launch of the Doha Round, countries have turned to free trade agreements (FTAs) in order to gain significant trade access in new markets and to explore new trade-related issues that are currently not addressed within the WTO.
    • As more FTAs have been concluded, the central role of the WTO in liberalizing trade has been called into question.
  • Limited success in major issues: WTO has played a very limited role in helping address other global issues related to trade, such as food security, climate change and global trade imbalances.

Way forward

  • A vibrant WTO cannot accommodate conflicting economic models of market versus state. All WTO members will have to accept the operative assumption of a rules-based order steered by a market economy, the private sector, and competition.
  • Launch negotiations to address the intertwined issues of agricultural subsidies and market access, while recognising that food security concerns will not disappear.
  • A credible trading system requires a dispute settlement system that is accepted by all.
  • Launch serious negotiations to restore the balance, and we must do so in an open-ended plurilateral manner that cannot be blocked by those who do not want to move ahead.
  • GATT/WTO rules in a number of areas are outdated. New rules are required to keep pace with changes in the market and technology. Rules and disciplines on topics ranging from trade-distorting industrial subsidies to digital trade require updates.

Conclusion

The World Trade Organization remains an indispensable organisation but it requires urgent modernisation. Members have to face the reality that the organisation requires non-cosmetic, serious root-and-branch reform for a WTO adapted to 21st century economic and political realities.

Value addition

Organizational Structure of WTO

  • Ministerial Conference – It Includes all members, meets once in 2 year and the 11th Ministerial Conference was held in Argentina)
  • General Council – It acts a Dispute Settlement Body and Trade Policy Review Body.

 

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

5. While foreign direct investment (FDI) can bring significant benefits to the countries, there are also several challenges associated with it. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Investopedia

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

 Key Demand of the question: 

To write about the role played by FDI in the Indian economy and challenges associated with 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: 

Begin by defining Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

Body:

First, Write the various aspects of FDI – international flows of capital, diversification of lending and investment, global integration of capital markets, allows the transfer of technology and can also promote competition in the domestic input market etc. Substantiate with examples.

Next, regulatory barriers, political risk, cultural differences, economic risk, nationalistic sentiments, infrastructure challenges, and labour issues.

Next, write about the steps that are needed mitigate the above issues maximize the benefits of FDI.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Foreign direct investment (FDI) is when a company takes controlling ownership in a business entity in another country. It is, thus, a purchase of an interest in a company by a company or an investor located outside its borders. For nearly a decade, year after year, India has hit record heights of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow. The latest is the highest ever, $83.5 billion, in the last financial year.

Body

FDI: an important source & force behind economic development of India:

  • Economy:
    • Capital inflows create higher output and jobs.
    • Capital inflows can help finance a current account deficit.
    • Long-term capital inflows are more sustainable than short-term portfolio inflows.
      • For e.g., in a credit crunch, banks can easily withdraw portfolio investment, but capital investment is less prone to sudden withdrawals.
    • Acts as a bridge by filling up budgetary gap, stabilize rupee and improves Balance of Payment situation.
  • Knowledge economy:
    • Recipient country can benefit from improved knowledge and expertise of foreign multinational.
  • Employment generation:
    • creates employment opportunity mainly in service sector and ITEC.
    • Investment from abroad could lead to higher wages and improved working conditions, especially if the MNCs are conscious of their public image of working conditions in developing economies.
  • Infrastructure development:
    • FDI in construction, railways except operation help in developing projects like high-speed train, Freight corridor, etc.
  • Taxation:
    • Increased revenue in the form of corporate tax and for community welfare development as CSR.
  • Enhances Competition:
    • Increase competition among domestic manufacture, may lead to improved quality and services.

FDI: not the sole solution for India’s socio-economic issues:

  • The motive of the foreign investors is only profit not the development of country sothey often shifts their bases in search of high profits so there is more volatility and speculations in capital market. With their sudden exit, there may be unemployment and high inflation.
  • Gives multinationals controlling rights within foreign countries. Critics argue powerful MNCs can use their financial clout to influence local politics to gain favourable laws and regulations.
  • FDI does not always benefit recipient countries asit enables foreign multinationals to gain from ownership of raw materials, with little evidence of wealth being distributed throughout society.
  • Multinationals have been criticized for poor working conditions inforeign factories. e.g., Apple’s factories in China
  • It threatens existing markets that are labour intensive byreplacing with technology as in multi brand retail.
  • FDI favours short term returns over investments in
  • Diffusion of technology in difficult inour country where the state of both human and physical capital is not yet on par with developed countries. so with the increase in technology many unskilled workers lost their jobs.
  • In India, FDI is sector specific likefinance , IT, Banking, Insurance and outsourcing which predominantly employ skilled workers.
  • The capital inflow at times worsen the regional inequalities. It is usually limited to urban and well developed regions like Delhi, Maharashtra etc, and states like Odisha receives around 1% of FDI. This makes richer region more rich and poor regions poorer.
  • FDI may be a convenient way to bypass local environmental laws. Developing countries may be tempted to compete on reducing environmental regulation to attract the necessary FDI.

Way forward conclusion

  • Role of FDI can at most be seen as complementary and qualitative in nature.
  • Government must bring reforms to encourage MSME sector which could boost the rural employment generation.
  • Public expenditurefor investment in capital formation as infrastructure and energy is for long term benefits of spurring economic activity and creating short term demands.
  • Spending on social sectors and India’s pressing issues of poverty, demographic challenge and agrarian stagnation are towards avoiding social unrest and maintain a social security net.
  • Government while continuing to simplify processes to attract FDI must realise it’s limited role and thereby take upon itself to make headway towards strengthening pillars of economic development which are health, education, and employment.

Value addition:

FDI in India

 FDI is an important monetary source for India’s economic development. Economic liberalisation started in India in the wake of the 1991 crisis and since then, FDI has steadily increased in the country. India, today is a part of top 100-club on Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) and globally ranks number 1 in the greenfield FDI ranking.

 Routes through which India gets FDI

  • Automatic route: The non-resident or Indian company does not require prior nod of the RBI or government of India for FDI.
  • Govt route:The government’s approval is mandatory. The company will have to file an application through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal, which facilitates single-window clearance. The application is then forwarded to the respective ministry, which will approve/reject the application in consultation with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce. DPIIT will issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for processing of applications under the existing FDI policy.

Importance of Domestic Resource Mobilization (DRM):

In low-income countries confronting widespread poverty, mobilizing domestic resources is particularly challenging, which has led developing countries to rely on foreign aid, foreign direct investment, export earnings and other external resources. Nevertheless, there are compelling reasons to give much more emphasis to DRM.

  • Greater reliance on DRM is vital to elevating economic growth, accelerating poverty reduction and underpinning sustained development.
  • High-growth economies typically save 20-30 per cent or more of their income in order to finance public and private investment.
  • DRM is potentially more congruent with domestic ownership than external resources.
  • Foreign aid invariably carries restrictions and conditionality.
  • FDI is primarily oriented to the commercial objectives of the investor, not the principal development priorities of the host country.
  • DRM is more predictable and less volatile than aid, export earnings, or FDI

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

6. Forest fires can be caused by both natural and anthropogenic factors. To mitigate forest fires, steps need to be taken to prevent them from starting, detect them early if they do occur, respond rapidly, and manage the forest in a way that reduces their risk and severity. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

Forest fires continue to rage in Odisha after the state recorded 642 large fire incidents from March 2-9, 2023 — the highest in the country during the period, according to the Forest Survey of India (FSI) data.

Key Demand of the question:

 write about natural and anthropogenic causes of forest fires in India and measures need to mitigate them.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining forest fires and statistic regarding rising instances of forest fires in India.

Body:

First, write about the natural reasons of forest fires – lightning strikes, volcanic eruptions, and spontaneous combustion etc.

Next, write about the anthropogenic reasons of forest fires – intentional fires, accidental fires, and climate change etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to mitigate them – prevention measures, early detection, controlled burns, forest management, and collaboration among different agencies and communities.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Forest fires are considered as one of the most widespread hazards in a forested landscape. They have a serious threat to forest and its flora and fauna. Forest fires essentially are ‘quasi-natural’, which means that they are not entirely caused by natural reasons (like volcanoes, earthquakes and tropical storms), but are caused by human activities as well. In India’s case, a combination of hot weather, oxygen and dry vegetation is a potent recipe for forest fires.

Forest fires continued to remain unabated in Odisha after the state recorded 542 such cases in the last seven days making it the highest among all states in the country.

Body

 

Forest fires: A regular phenomenon in India

  • Every year large areas of forests are affected by fires of varying intensity and extent.
  • Since the start of 2021, there has been a series of forest fires in Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland-Manipur border, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, and Gujarat, including in wildlife sanctuaries.
  • At least 5,291 forest fires were recorded in Odisha between February 22 and March 1, 2021 — the highest in the country for the same period, according to FSI biennial report.
  • Telangana recorded the second-highest fires in the country at 1,527 during the same period, followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,507) and Andhra Pradesh (1,292), according to FSI data.
  • Around 95 percent of the forest fires in India are on account of human activity.
  • Around 21 percent of the total forest cover is highly to extremely fire prone, adds the latest forest survey.
  • Based on the forest inventory records, 40% of forests in India are exposed to occasional fires, 7.49% to moderately frequent fires and 2.405 to high incidence levels while 35.71% of India’s forestshave not yet been exposed to fires of any real significance.

Reasons for Increasing frequency of forest fires

  • Forest fires can be caused by a number of natural causes, but officials say many major fires in India are triggered mainly by human activities.
  • Natural: Such as lightning, high atmospheric temperatures, and dryness (low humidity) offer favourable circumstances.
  • Man-made: When a source of fire like naked flame, cigarette, or bidi comes into contact with inflammable material.
  • Emerging studies link climate change to rising instances of fires globally, especially the massive fires of the Amazon forests in Brazil and in Australia in the last two years.
  • Fires of longer duration, increasing intensity, higher frequency and highly inflammable nature are all being linked to climate change.
  • In India, forest fires are most commonly reported during March and April, when the ground has large quantities of dry wood, logs, dead leaves, stumps, dry grass and weeds that can make forests easily go up in flames if there is a trigger.
  • Under natural circumstances, extreme heat and dryness, friction created by rubbing of branches with each other also have been known to initiate fire.
  • In Uttarakhand, the lack of soil moisture too is being seen as a key factor.
  • In two consecutive monsoon seasons (2019 and 2020), rainfall has been deficient by 18% and 20% of the seasonal average, respectively.

Measures to control forest fires

  • Forest fire line:Successive Five-Year Plans have provided funds for forests fighting. During the British period, fire was prevented in the summer through removal of forest litter all along the forest boundary. This was called “Forest Fire Line”.
    • This line used to prevent fire breaking into the forest from one compartment to another.
    • The collected litter was burnt in isolation.
  • Firebreaks: Generally, the fire spreads only if there is continuous supply of fuel (Dry vegetation) along its path. The best way to control a forest fire is therefore, to prevent it from spreading, which can be done by creating firebreaksin the shape of small clearings of ditches in the forests.
  • Forest Survey of India monitors forest fire events through satellites on two platforms– MODIS and SNPP-VIIRS, both in collaboration with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
    • While the SNPP-VIIRS identifies, alerts and tracks fire incidents on real time data at 375X375 sq meter pixel, the older version MODIS detects it in the range of 1kmX1km.
    • Forest fire suppression relies very heavily on “dry” firefighting techniques because of poor water availability.
  • Integrated forest protection: The main objective is to control forest fires and strengthen the forest protection. The works like Fireline clearing,assistance to Joint Forest Managemencommittees, creating water bodies, purchase of vehicles and communication equipment, purchase of firefighting tools, etc., needs to be undertaken.
  • Prevention of human-caused firesthrough education and environmental modification. It will include silvicultural activities, engineering works, people participation, and education and enforcement. It is proposed that more emphasis be given to people participation through Joint Forest Fire Management for fire prevention.
  • Prompt detectionof fires through a well-coordinated network of observation points, efficient ground patrolling, and communication networks. Remote sensing technology is to be given due importance in fire detection. For successful fire management and administration, a National Fire Danger Rating System (NFDRS) and Fire Forecasting System are to be developed in the country.
  • Introducing a forest fuel modification system at strategic points.
  • National Action Plan on Forest Fires (NAPFF): It was launched in 2018 to minimize forest fires by informing, enabling and empowering forest fringe communities and incentivizing them to work with the State Forest Departments.

Conclusion

It is important to prevent the lungs of the nation from ravages of fire. With climate change and global warming on the rise, India must prevent human-made disaster to ensure our carbon sinks are protected.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. Raja had always wanted to become an IPS officer. He was thrilled when he was selected for the job after years of hard work and dedication. He was posted to a small town in his home state and was excited to start his new job.

In the first month of his work, Raja received a phone call from an anonymous caller. The caller informed him that a notorious gangster, who had been terrorizing the town, was planning a major robbery in a few days. Raja was grateful for the information and immediately started to investigate the matter.

Over the next few days, Raja worked tirelessly to gather evidence against the gangster. He interviewed witnesses, analysed surveillance footage, and even went undercover to gather information. Finally, he was able to get a warrant to search the gangster’s hideout.

One day before the raid, he got another anonymous call in which he was threatened with dire consequences to him and his family if he pursued investigating the gangster, who has lot of connections with various powerful ministers.

Raja was faced with a dilemma. He could either cancel the raid and protect his own safety, or he could arrest him and risk his own safety while enforcing the law. Raja was torn between his duty as an IPS officer and his own personal safety.

    1. Identify the ethical issues in the above case.
    2. What are the options available to Raja?
    3. Critically analyse all the above options.
    4. What course of action should Raja take in the above case?

Introduction

The prime duty of the police is to prevent crime and disorder and the police must recognize that the test of their efficiency is the absence of both and not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with them.

Body

Ethical issues in the above case

  • Dilemma of personal safety vs professional duty
  • Fear for family’s wellbeing vs wellbeing of society at the cost of family
  • Greater responsibility than towards self.
  • Selflessness and prudence in decision making
  • Courage and integrity to stand against wring doing

Options available and critical analysis

Option 1: Cancel the raid and protect his own safety

Merits:  Raja will protect his own safety and of his family. There won’t be ill consequences in the aftermath of the raid.

Demerits: Lawlessness will continue to wreak havoc in the town. Robbery of innocent people’s hard-earned money cannot be justified at any cost. Terrorizing the town will continue unabashedly.

Option 2:  Go ahead with the raid

Merits: Finally a menace to the society can be stopped. Working with evidence is bound to lock the gangster for good. Society and people will be safe and there will be peace of mind. Lawlessness will come to an end in the town.

Demerits: Since the notorious gangster is politically well connected, Raja’s safety , career and family might come under the threat.

 

Course of action

Raja has worked hard to get where he is, and it was his dream job. The main motivation factor for any police officer is to work with courage to dispel evils of the society.  As a police officer Raja can protect his family from any harm because after all that’s his job.

He must thus go ahead with the raid and ensure that the gangster and his mob is locked in the jail for good and collect all evidence to ensure they remain in jail. This is what policing is all about. Working without fear and with courage is the hallmark of a good officer. And with law and order, comes threats and they must be handled accordingly. But the main job is to ensure that the wrong doers are punished.

Conclusion

A good police officer is proactive and protects the life and property of the people. He must respond to any call for protection and act without fear in face of danger. Community safety and dealing with anti-social elements is the biggest responsibility and must be handled accordingly.


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