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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. The Harappan civilization was an advanced society with a rich artistic and cultural heritage, characterized by its geometric precision, sophistication, attention to detail, and abstract designs. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

A seminar on ‘Art in the Indus Civilization’ was recently held in Chennai. Why art? Because the unverifiable readings of the Indus script are a major impediment, art becomes the most reliable source of information. This Bronze Age civilisation covered a vast area, from Balochistan in the west to Western UP in the east, from Afghanistan in the north to Gujarat in the south, the largest ‘empire’ of the ancient world.

Key Demand of the question:

To write Harapan architecture, urban planning and art of Harapan civilisation.

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 context about Harappan architecture.

Body:

First, write about various remarkable features of Harappan architecture and town planning – urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems etc. Cite examples.

Next, write about the various features of Harappan art – Pottery, Metallurgy, Paintings and Religious symbols.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

A flourishing civilisation emerged on the banks of river Indus in the second half of the third millennium BCE and spread across larger parts of Western India. A marked feature if this civilisation was the vivid imagination and artistic sensibilities. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were the two major cities if this civilisation.

Body

Features of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Town planning Architecture
    • Layout: The town were laid out in a rectangular grid pattern and the roads ran in North-South and East-West direction cutting each other at right angles.
    • Construction: The big roads divided the city into many blocks and smaller lanes were used to connect housed to the main roads. Harappan used burnt bricks of standard dimension for construction.
    • Types of buildings: Dwelling houses, public buildings and public baths are commonly found.
    • Planning: The city was divided into two parts. An upraised citadel in the western part was used for buildings of large dimensions, such as granaries, administrative buildings and courtyard.
      • The elite class stayed in the citadel part of the town.
    • Granaries had strategic air ducts and raised platforms for storage and protection from pests. Eg: The great granary in Mohenjo-Daro and 2 rows of 6 granaries in Harappa.
  • Public Baths: This is a remarkable feature of the civilisation which indicated the importance given to ritualistic cleansing in the culture. Eg: The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro
    • There are no cracks or leaks in the great bath which shows the engineering acumen of the Harappan people.
  • Drainage system: This is the most striking feature as small drains ran from small houses and were connected to larger drains running alongside the main roads. They were covered loosely to do periodic maintenance. Cesspits were placed at regular intervals.
  • Use of seals:Seals were primarily used for commercial purpose.They were mostly square and rectangle but circular and triangular were also used.
    • Some seals were used as amulets as well as they were found on dead bodies.
    • Pictographic script on seals have been found which might have been used for educational purposes.
    • Eg: Unicorn seal, Pashupathi seal made of Steatite.
  • Bronze casting: There was a wide scale practice of bronze casting. They were made using thelost wax technique or Cire Perdue. Eg: Bronze dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro, broze bull of Kalibangan etc.
  • Pottery: There were plain and painted pottery (Red and Black pottery). They were mainly used for household purposes for storage, decorative purposesand some for straining liquor as they have perforations.
  • Jewellery and clothing: Both men and women wore ornaments like necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger rings. Girdles, anklets were worn only by women.
    • Beads made of amethyst, quartz, steatite etc were quite popular as was evident from excavation on Chanudaro and Lothal.
    • For fabric cotton and wool was used. Spindles and whorls were made from expensive faience as well as cheap clay.
  • Dockyard:
    • Lothal in Gujaratis now called Manchester of Indus-Valley.
    • Here ship remains and instruments for measuring angles were also found.
    • Lothal had the world’s earliest known dock, connecting the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati river.
    • the National Institute of Oceanography in Goa discovered marine microfossils and salt, gypsum crystals at the site, indicating that sea water once filled the structure and it was definitely a dockyard.

Conclusion

The Indus valley civilization was the largest of all the four civilizations of the time and was contemporary to the Mesopotamian civilisation. The features of Indus-Valley such as the planned network of roads, houses and drainage systems indicate the planning and the engineering skills that developed during those times.

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2. What do you understand by net zero waste? Evaluate the challenges and opportunities in implementing sustainable practices in order to achieve net zero waste from housing societies and commercial complexes in urban areas. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

All upcoming housing societies and commercial complexes in the country will soon mandatorily have to ensure net zero waste and have their liquid discharge treated, as part of the government’s push for reforming and modernising the sewage disposal system.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about net zero waste, challenges and opportunities in achieving it.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining net zero waste.

Body:

In the first part, write about the advantages of net zero waste – reducing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, promoting resource efficiency and cost savings, enhancing public health and well-being, contributing to sustainable communities etc.

Next, write about the challenges in having net zero waste – including limited infrastructure and technology, limited public awareness and participation, high upfront costs, regulatory barriers, and a lack of collaboration among businesses, governments, and communities etc.

Next, write about the opportunity for India in being net zero waste.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

All upcoming housing societies and commercial complexes in the country will soon mandatorily have to ensure net zero waste and have their liquid discharge treated, as part of the government’s push for reforming and modernising the sewage disposal system.

Achieving net zero waste means reducing, reusing, and recovering waste streams (sludge) to convert them to valuable resources so that zero solid waste is sent to landfills.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will be sending a directive, likely by the end of March, to all State governments to make this part of the building by-laws and ensure implementation.

Body

Advantages of net zero waste

  • Zero net waste means no by-products of manufacturing are sent to landfills. Zero waste conserves resources and minimizes pollution.
  • A zero waste approach can build community capacity, support marginalized communities and protect community health.
  • Community-based zero waste strategies like composting at a community garden, tool sharing and skills sharing to reuse and repair, build capacity to reduce waste and costs.
  • A zero waste approach also protects the health of communities by reducing pollution in the air, water and soil by keeping toxics and waste out of landfills and incinerators.
  • Greenhouse gases from landfills will be reduced considerably and thereby contributing to lesser global warming.
  • While the government’s intent is to end manual scavenging, with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment estimating 400 people have died while cleaning sewers and septic tanks since 2017, experts believe a mechanised sewage system coupled with the mandatory zero net waste clause for housing and commercial complexes was important for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well.

Challenges in implementation

India currently generates 72,368 million litres per day of urban wastewater of which only 28% is treated, as per the ministry in data from 2023. This implies that 72% of untreated wastewater may be entering rivers, lakes, or groundwater.

  • Limited infrastructure: Currently there are not many green technologies that are readily available for use by big communities.
  • Public awareness: People will not voluntarily contribute to the idea as it ll add their out-of-pocket expenditure and maintenance cost will go high.
  • High upfront cost: Cost of setting up the machinery and infrastructure can lead to high upfront costs and encouraging people to do it will be an uphill task.
  • By-laws: Legal mandate to implement the net zero waste policy can take a long time.
  • Consumerism: The fast-paced consumerism leads to added difficulty in achieving net zero waste as people buy one time use commodities.

Way forward

  • Government must explore the potential of commercial use of processed sludge as fertiliser and empanelling all agencies providing sanitation services in both the organised and unorganised sectors.
  • Indian standards for mechanised cleaning equipment should be reviewed and governments must consider differential tariffs rates for residential and commercial de-sludging.
  • A Make in India start-up for promoting low-cost technological solutions like mechanical spades as well as sensor sticks for gas detection is needed.
  • Integrating septic tank design into the building by-laws and adherence to standard specifications, geo-tagging all septic tanks and manholes for proper tracking and reducing GST on mechanised cleaning vehicles.
  • Impose a legal penalty if buildings do not adhere to the bylaws and standard operating procedures.

Conclusion

The United Nations SDG 6.3 aims at “halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increase recycling and safe reuse globally” by 2030. Sustainability is not a choice anymore rather a necessity for survival.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

3. The AUKUS partnership has significant implications for global security and the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is heading to San Diego on March 12, 2023 to finalise the AUKUS deal — a trilateral security partnership between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. that will provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of formation of AUKUS.

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 writing about the formation of AUKUS.

Body:

In the first part, write about the reasons behind formation of AUKUS.

Next, elaborate on the security pact and its impact on the Indo-pacific. nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, deterrence to China, enhancing joint capabilities and deeper military interoperability etc.

Next, bring in the impact of formation of AUKUS other countries. – New Zealand, European Union especially with souring of Australia-France relations, ASEAN, possible responses of China. Mention the impact on India.

Conclusion:

Summarise the impact of new geo-political developments on rules based multilateral order.

Introduction

The UK, US and Australia in September 2021 announced a historic security pact in the Asia-Pacific, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. It is called the AUKUS pact and AUKUS alliance. It is a landmark security pact involving the UK, US and Australia that will allow Australia to build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time with technology provided by the US underscores the rapidly shifting realities of the Indo- Pacific.

AUKUS is on the horizon, with implications for Australia’s plans to operate a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines within the next decade. U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is heading to San Diego on March 12, 2023 to finalise the AUKUS deal — a trilateral security partnership between Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. that will provide nuclear-powered submarines to Australia.

Body

Overview on AUKUS pact

  • Under the AUKUS alliance, the three nations have agreed toenhance the development of joint capabilities and technology sharing, foster deeper integration of security and defence-related science, technology, industrial bases and supply chains.
  • Under the first major initiative of AUKUS, Australia would build a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the US and the UK, a capability aimed at promoting stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • In recent years, Beijing has been accused of raising tensionsin disputed territories such as the South China Sea.
  • Western nations have beenwary of China’s infrastructure investment on Pacific islands, and have also criticised China’s trade sanctions against countries like Australia.
  • Australia will be joining a select group of countries, including the US, UK, France, China, India and Russia, that operate nuclear-powered submarines.
  • It will also be only the second nation after the UK with which the US will be sharingits submarine technology.

AUKUS pact: Regional security architecture in the Indo-Pacific and beyond

  • Technology transfer to non-nuclear state: In an extraordinary move, the US and UK are willing to export nuclear technology to a non-nuclear powered nation.
    • Regional security concerns have been the main driver behind this ‘Aukus pact’ that is being touted asCanberra’s biggest defence partnership in decades, involving artificial intelligence, cyber and other cutting-edge defence technologies.
  • Indo-Pacific security: It described the pact as a “historic opportunity for the three nations, with like-minded allies and partners, to protect shared values and promote security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Countering Chinese expansionist policy: For Washington and its allies in the Pacific, a new class of nuclear-powered submarines can be of critical value in challenging Chinese military expansionism.
    • It would also allow the three nations to operate more effectively together undersea across the Pacific.
  • Timing of announcement:The announcement of this major pact comes against the backdrop of a disastrous withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan that had raised widespread doubts across the Indo-Pacific about the credibility of American commitments in the region.
  • Brexit and UK’s projection as global power: Britain aims to play a larger role in the Indo-Pacific, especially after its exit from the European Union.
    • The Boris Johnson administrationis keen on projecting the idea of a ‘Global Britain’ as the central narrative of British foreign policy after Brexit, and greater engagement in the Indo-Pacific with like-minded nations is a natural corollary to that.
    • In July, theUK’s new aircraft carrier, Queen Elizabeth, sailed through the South China Sea waters despite denunciations from Beijing.
  • India’s stance:The latest developments are largely favourable from an Indian viewpoint and as our focus now shifts to the Quad meeting, it is clear that like-minded regional powers are trying to evolve a partnership that will see closer alignment of regional policies and actions as well as greater integration of their defence forces.
    • Alongside India’s stated intent to acquire more nuclear-powered submarines, it will amount to a step-change increase in the Quad’s undersea and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

Conclusion

The message from Aukus is that while the current churn in the Indo-Pacific may have begun with Chinese actions, it is now other regional players that are willing to set new terms of engagement with Beijing. They can effectively counter Chinese Aggression and their ‘middle kingdom’ agenda alongside the Quad.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy.

4. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) plays a crucial role in promoting international monetary cooperation and in helping to ensure the stability and growth of the global economy. Elucidate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write roles and responsibilities of the IMF. 

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 giving a brief about aims of the World Bank.

Body:

Write about the major aspects of global economy that IMF deals with – promoting international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and sustainable economic growth. The IMF provides financial assistance and policy advice to member countries experiencing economic difficulties, promotes international economic cooperation and coordination, and works to establish international economic rules and standards. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by Summarising.

Introduction

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an international financial institution, headquartered in Washington, D.C. Its stated mission is “working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.” IMF was formed in 1944, at the Bretton Woods Conference and came into formal existence in 1945 with the goal of reconstructing the International Monetary system. India became a founder member of IMF in December 1945 even before Independence.

Body

Role of IMF

  • IMF financial assistance to member countries with balance of payments problems ( E.g. India during 1991), the IMF lends money to replenish international reserves, stabilize currencies and strengthen conditions for economic growth. Countries must embark on structural adjustment policies monitored by the IMF.
  • IMF oversees the international monetary system and monitors the economic and financial policies of its 190 member countries.
  • IMF also undertake Capacity building of Low Income Countries.
  • Capacity Building typically focuses on how LICs can boost domestic revenues, manage public finances and monetary policy, regulate their financial system, and develop statistical systems.
  • Capacity building helps IMF member countries to design and implement sound policies and to advance toward the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
  • As part of this process, which takes place both at the global level and in individual countries, the IMFhighlights possible risks to stability and advises on needed policy adjustments.
  • IMF provides technical assistance and training to central banks, finance ministries, tax authorities, and other economic institutions.
  • This helps countries raise public revenues, modernize banking systems, develop strong legal frameworks, improve governance, and enhance the reporting of macroeconomic and financial data.
  • The IMF also serves as a forum for international economic cooperation and coordination, bringing together policymakers from member countries to discuss global economic issues and develop policies to address them.
  • The organization also conducts research and analysis on various economic issues and publishes reports and data on global economic developments.

Way forward

  • While reforms in countries are happening in different stages, the global institutions have remained the way they have been for the last several decades
  • Going further, there is a desperate need for all IMF to be more transparent, representativeand speak for countries which don’t get adequate representation
  • The IMF should focus on lower income countries and support other developing countries’ market funds raising activities, as its Article IV consultation reports are utilised by credit rating agencies, impacting the fund raising capacity of countries like India
  • With a continuing trend of emerging markets increasing their share in global output or GDP over the years, many experts have called for alignment of quotas and the accompanying lending windows of the IMF to reflect the changed economic positions of countries.

Conclusion

IMF definitely will have strong competition from emerging institutions in coming days and it needs to be nimble-footed to adapt to current dynamics. However to write it off as irrelevant will be not appropriate.

 

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy

5. Critically analyse the performance of World Bank in reducing poverty and promoting sustainable economic development around the world. What reforms are needed in it to make it more effective? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write a critique of World Bank and suggest possible reforms in it.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of role of World Bank.

Body:

First, write in detail about the significant contributions to development efforts, to reduce poverty and promote sustainable economic development in the country. Cite examples and statistics.

Next, write about the various shortcomings of the IMF – lacking accountability, causing social and environmental harm, promoting neoliberal policies, imposing harsh conditions on developing countries, and contributing to the global debt crisis.

Next, write about the possible reform to make it more effective.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The World Bank is an international organization dedicated to providing financing, advice, and research to developing nations to aid their economic advancement.

The bank predominantly acts as an organization that attempts to fight poverty by offering developmental assistance to middle- and low-income countries.

The World Bank was created in 1944 out of the Bretton Woods Agreement, which was secured under the auspices of the United Nations in the latter days of World War II

Body

Success of world bank in reducing poverty and promoting development

  • In 1971, the World Bank built a worldwide network of agriculture research centers resulting in the creation of a scientific partnership and massive increases in agricultural production via technology adoption. This initiative allowed countries to better fulfill their growing populations’ nutritional needs.
  • With projects like the long-standing water deal signed by India and Pakistan and the establishment of the International Development Association, the World Bank started focusing on a ‘basic-needs’ approach to development. Pursuant projects included helping subsistence farmers (1973) and eradicating River Blindness in 1974 allowing more people to participate in the development of their communities and nations.
  • Milestone projects include the 1984 donations for food-for-drought victims through the World Food Program for sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Other note-worthy initiatives include stopping ozone damage (1989) and protecting forests (1991) through which the World Bank implemented the Montreal Protocols on the environment and halted all financing to commercial logging in primary tropical forests such as the Amazon.
  • The World Bank also played a role in developing job-creating projects under Nelson Mandela in South Africa in 1991. The World Bank joined the post-conflict reconstruction team after the war in Yugoslavia in 1995.
  • In 2000 and 2001, the World Bank declared war on HIV/AIDS and the next year started delivering vaccines through the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.
  • 1997 marked the beginning of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries initiative, which eventually led to the Jubilee Drop the Debt campaign to relieve poor countries of crippling debts.

 

Criticism on working of World Bank

  • Structural under-representation of the Global South
    • One of the central criticisms of the World Bank relates to the political power imbalances in their governance structures where, as a result of voting shares being based principally on the size and ‘openness’ of countries’ economies, poorer countries – often those receiving loans from World Bank – are structurally under-represented in decision-making processes
  • Undermining democratic ownership
    • The issue of political power imbalances is exacerbated by another long-standing critique of the Bank: that the economic policy conditions they promote – often attached or ‘recommended’ as part of loans, projects, technical assistance, or financial surveillance – undermine the sovereignty of borrower nations, limiting their ability to make policy decisions and eroding their ownership of national development strategies
  • Weak ability to learn from past mistakes
    • The World Bank created the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) in 2006, integrating several individual accountability mechanisms, and was charged with evaluating the activities of the entire World Bank Group and determining what works, what doesn’t and why.
    • However, the Bank has been criticised for failing to implement the recommendations
  • Restricting the macroeconomic environment for human rights
    • At the macroeconomic level, following on from the original Washington Consensus, the Bank continues to push a particular set of macroeconomic policy prescriptions across their member countries.
      • Most typically, these are fiscal consolidation measures (or austerity), and include reducing the public wage bill, introducing or increasing VAT and other indirect regressive taxes in particular, labour flexibilisation, rationalising (cutting) and privatising social services, and targeting social protections and subsidies, while maintaining low levels of inflation, corporate taxation rates and trade tariffs.
    • This ‘pro-cyclical’ approach has been criticised for leading to a decline in economic activity, leading to lower consumption, lower public revenues, lower investment in vital public services, and higher levels of inequality, which in turn also lowers growth
    • Further, Labour unions, for instance, have long opposed the World Bank’s systematic weakening of labour rights either directly through conditionality or indirectly through policy advice in flagship reports, such as the World Bank’s 2018 World Development Report
  • Growth-based model unsustainable
    • The growth-based approach to poverty reduction that the World Bank and IMF both promote has immense environmental consequences, as is evidenced by the deepening climate crisis.
    • While the Bank has increasingly tried to account for environmental and climate factors in their work over recent decades, these efforts have largely been limited to attempting to integrate these concerns into a growth-based development model
  • Focus on mega-projects
    • Since 2015, there has been a particular emphasis on promoting ‘infrastructure as an asset class’, in order to crowd in institutional investors
    • This policy initiative is highly dependent on mega-infrastructure projects, and currently lacks a framework for aligning such mega-projects with the Paris Climate Agreement or the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

 

Conclusion and way forward

  • Use independent organisations to identify the issues better
    • The Bank has been very effective at large scale implementation and at leveraging resources to take forward clearly defined reform programmes. However, it has not always been good at responding flexibly and adaptively to problems and opportunities as they arise, particularly in fragile states.
    • Hence, the need to engage independent organisations who have the experience and the flexibility to play this role
  • Harness strengths from different specialist areas
    • The Bank’s internal reorganisation is largely complete. It now needs to demonstrate it can connect and harness different professional groups in addressing problems, identifying bottlenecks and advancing innovative solutions
  • Prevent creating monolithic reform programmes as these can stifle complementary initiatives
    • Co-ordination is vital, but there may still be some functions or aspects of reform that bilateral and other agencies are better placed to take forward. If these are well co-ordinated, they will improve the functioning and implementation of the larger reform programmes
    • Hence, while funding large scale initiatives, World Bank must ensure that it doesn’t stifle others who may be better placed to support discrete initiatives
  • Banks should maintain engagement at Different levels
    • Discussions and agreements with ministers and senior staff are essential as authorisation is needed to take forward reform, but this does not make change happen by itself.
    • In this perspective, the Bank needs to ensure that it undertakes multi-layered engagement to secure practical traction and change

 

Value addition

The World Bank Group : Roles and Responsibilities

  • International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)provides loans, credits, and grants.
  • International Development Association (IDA)provides low- or no-interest loans to low-income countries.
  • TheInternational Finance Corporation (IFC) provides investment, advice, and asset management to companies and governments.
  • The Multilateral Guarantee Agency (MIGA)insures lenders and investors against political risk such as war.
  • The International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)settles investment-disputes between investors and countries.
  • Responsibilities
  • The purpose of its creation is to provide grants and loans to the governments of Low income countries for developmental purposes to harness capital projects.
    The main function of the WBG is to provide long term financial assistance to developmental projects like irrigation, agriculture, water supply, health and education.
  • It stands for war devastating countries as the key source of financial aid for reconstruction activities.
  • It also provides economic, monetary and technical advice to its member countries.

 

 

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

6. Disaster prevention requires a proactive and comprehensive approach to reducing the risk of disasters. However, effective emergency response can help save lives and reduce the impact of a disaster. Analyse. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

It is clear from the rigorous work of many scientists today that, going forward, even if we drastically improve our dealings with nature, at least a few generations to come are likely to experience natural disasters with a frequency, intensity, and complexity far greater than the generations before them.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the complementary nature of disaster prevention and emergency response during a disaster.

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 disaster prevention.

Body:

First, write about role of disaster prevention in mitigating the impact of disasters – identifying potential hazards, assessing the risk they pose, and taking steps to reduce the likelihood of a disaster occurring.

Next, write about the importance of emergency response – search and rescue, medical assistance, shelter and basic needs, communication and coordination, and damage assessment.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

A disaster is a result of natural or man-made causes that leads to sudden disruption of normal life, causing severe damage to life and property to an extent that available social and economic protection mechanisms are inadequate to cope.

It is an undesirable occurrence resulting from forces that are largely outside human control. It strikes quickly with little or no warning and requires major efforts in providing statutory emergency service.

 

Body

India’s vulnerability profile

  • India is vulnerable, in varying degrees, to a large number of disasters. Around 59% of the landmass is prone to earthquakes of moderate to very high intensity.
  • About 12% (over 40 million hectares) of its land is prone to floods and river erosion.
  • Close to 5,700 kms, out of the 7,516 kms long coastline is prone to cyclones and tsunamis.
  • 68% of its cultivable area is vulnerable to droughts; and, the hilly areas are at risk from landslides and avalanches.
  • Moreover, India is also vulnerable to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies and other man-made disasters.
  • Disaster risks in India are further compounded by increasing vulnerabilities related to changing demographics and socio-economic conditions, unplanned urbanization, development within high-risk zones, environmental degradation, climate change, geological hazards, epidemics and pandemics.
  • Clearly, all these contribute to a situation where disasters seriously threaten India’s economy, its population and sustainable development.

 

Impact of disaster

  • Disaster impacts individuals physically (through loss of life, injury, health, disability) as well as psychologically.
  • Disaster results in huge economic loss due to destruction of property, human settlements and infrastructure etc.
  • Disaster can alter the natural environment, loss of habitat to many plants and animals and cause ecological stress that can result in biodiversity loss.
  • After natural disasters, food and other natural resources like water often becomes scarce resulting into food and water scarcity.
  • The disaster results in displacement of people, and displaced population often face several challenges in new settlements, in this process poorer becomes more poor.
  • Disaster increases the level of vulnerability and hence multiply the effects of disaster.

 

Prevention and preparedness

  • Disaster risk reduction is the concept and practice of reducing disaster risks through systematic efforts to analyse and reduce the causal factors of disasters.
  • Pre-Disaster risk reduction includes-
    • Mitigation: To eliminate or reduce the impacts and risks of hazards through proactive measures taken before an emergency or disaster occurs.
    • Preparedness: To take steps to prepare and reduce the effects of disasters.
  • Post-Disaster risk reduction includes-
    • Rescue: Providing warning, evacuation, search, rescue, providing immediate assistance.
    • Relife: To respond to communities who become victims of disaster, providing relief measures such as food packets, water, medicines, temporary accommodation, relief camps etc.
    • Recovery: This stage emphasises upon recovery of victims of disaster, recovery of damaged infrastructure and repair of the damages caused.

Conclusion

Disaster management must be implemented at all levels of society and must have a bottoms up approach. Every disaster can be mitigated if there is preparedness and risk reduction should be first step to reduce the impact of a disaster.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7. Plato believed that virtue was not innate, but rather something that could be learned through education and practice. Do you agree? (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: plato.stanford.edu

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question: 

write about the nature of virtues – if they are innate or they can be learnt.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving context of Plato’s view of Virtues.

Body:

First, write that virtues are not innate but can be learned through education, reflection, and practice. He believed that individuals must be taught and trained to develop virtues, and that the development of virtues required a lifelong process of education and reflection.

Next, write a counter view to the above – the innate nature of virtues.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced view on the above issue.

Introduction

Virtues are points of judgement that people make of you. When people see you as being virtuous, they assume that your values are congruent with your virtues.

The question of whether virtue can be taught has been a subject of debate among philosophers for centuries. Some argue that virtue is innate, while others contend that it can be learned.

Body

Virtues are of two types. They are intellectual virtues and moral virtues. Intellectual virtues are that which can be taught and learnt. Prudence is one such virtue. We can easily learn from others as to how to be prudent. Moral virtues can be achieved by repeatedly doing an action that becomes a habit. These cultivated habits lead to achieving ultimate happiness.

The habitual or regular doing of good deeds or actions in changing situations develops a good life or moral life. A man’s character and behaviour are inextricably linked. A man’s behaviour is an expression of his character in a variety of situations. On the other hand, a person’s moral character is formed when he consistently and persistently performs good actions.

Virtues, also known as character-values, can be cultivated in this way. Because virtues can be cultivated, they can also be described as a virtuous person’s acquired dispositions. As a result, virtues denote human character excellence, whereas vices denote character flaws. In other words, these virtues refer to a person’s inner qualities. As a result, they make up morality of being, whereas duty and good deeds refer to morality of doing.

Plato, believed that virtue could be taught through the education of the soul. He argued that individuals could be taught to recognize the difference between good and evil and to develop virtuous character traits through philosophical inquiry and dialogue.

In more recent times, some psychologists have explored the concept of “character education,” which involves teaching children virtues such as honesty, kindness, and respect. Research in this area suggests that character education can be effective in promoting positive character traits.

One approach to teaching virtue is through moral education. This involves instilling virtues such as honesty, kindness, and courage in individuals from a young age through various forms of instruction, including formal education, moral exemplars, and practice in real-life situations.

Another approach is through role modeling, where individuals observe and learn from virtuous behavior displayed by others around them. This can include parents, teachers, mentors, and other individuals in positions of influence.

Conclusion

There is evidence to suggest that education and practice can play a role in developing virtuous character traits. It is also important to note that while virtue can be taught, it is ultimately up to the individual to cultivate and practice these virtues in their daily lives. Therefore, a combination of both external guidance and personal effort is necessary for the development of virtuous character.


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