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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 May 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: Social empowerment

1. In order to truly empower women, it is imperative for the government to initiate a process of scrutinizing the genuine lived experiences of women, particularly in situations where they face unequal compensation, are assigned menial tasks, and are denied rights over their own thoughts and bodies. This requires addressing deep-rooted biases and prejudices that have persisted over time. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article highlights that even when women are the primary earners in their households, they still bear the majority of domestic responsibilities.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the steps that must be taken for empowering women in a true sense.

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 defining women empowerment in India.

Body:

First, write about unequal pay – its various manifestations and its impact.

Next, write about inferior work – the notions that women agency is not as developed as men, its impact.

Next, denial of rights for women and not involving them in matters that affect them. Write about its impact.

Next, write about the steps required to bridge the above to achieve empowerment in a true sense.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The policy of women’s empowerment is incorporated well into the constitution of India which became effective in the year 1950. Article 14 ensures the right to equality for women; Article 15(1) prohibits gender discrimination; Article 15(3) empowers the state to take affirmative steps in favour of women, to name a few.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 says men and women will have pay equality in 257 years. Of the 153 countries studied for the report, India ranks 112th on the overall Global Gender Gap Index. The economic gender gap runs particularly deep and has gotten significantly wider.

Body

Gender inequality in India

  • India scores quite low in when it comes to gender inequality, according to latest UNDP Human development report, India is ranked 125 of 159 countries in the Gender Inequality Index (GII).
  • Labour participation: In terms of labour participation only 23.3% of women (79.1% men) above 15 years are part of India’s labour force.
  • Wage gap: Research from India’ leading diversity and inclusion consulting firm Avtar Group shows that women are paid 34% less than men for performing the same job with the same qualifications.
  • Lack of Economic Empowerment: Women are underrepresented in senior managerial position and overrepresented in low paying jobs. Oxford Survey shows that globally only 19% firms have a female senior manager.
  • Access to productive capital: It is harder for women to access funds and capital for farming, starting a business or for other developmental works.
  • Secondary Education for women is lower than man in majority of countries while this stands at less than 80% in India.
  • Social norms and stereotypes: Classifying men as “bread winners” and women pursuing jobs as “career women” was reported by Oxford University Survey. It also highlighted that most of the unpaid work is seen as a women’s job.

Measures needed to bridge the gap and empower women

  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Maternity and paternity: An amendment to the Act in 2017 increased paid maternity leave from 12 to 26 weeks. Though well-meaning, this unfortunately fortifies notions of care-giving being primarily the onus of the woman, and thus reinforces and raises the risk of women being subject to the motherhood penalty.
    • An explicit law for mandatory paternity benefits will go a long way towards equalizing gender roles and reducing employer bias
  • Better work conditions: The provision and strengthening of childcare facilities for working mothers are very important.
    • The Maternity Benefit Act mandates the setting up of creche facilities for organizations with over 50 employees.
    • A better policy measure would be to provide mothers in need of childcare with a monthly allowance. This will also help mothers working from home.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Conclusion

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.

 

Topic: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2. Despite the implementation of numerous measures to tackle the problem of solid waste management, the challenge persists as a significant issue in urban regions. One particular concern that remains unresolved is the effective handling of wet waste at its source. Examine. Suggest remedial measures to overcome the aforementioned issue. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article states that in 2022, a total of 6,300 metric tonnes of waste was collected in Mumbai, marking a 15% increase compared to the previous year. This highlights the escalating waste generation in the city and emphasizes the need for effective waste management strategies to tackle the growing problem.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need for Solid waste management and successes and limitations of the various measures aimed towards 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 solid waste management.

Body:

First, write about the need for solid waste management in the country.

Next, write about the various issues in the solid waste management – funds crunch, low sectoral development & lack of know-how.

Next, write about the various measures to tackle it – Solid waste management rules, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 etc. Write their and successes and limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Solid waste management (SWM) refers to the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong to garbage or trash.  In a nascent effort to look beyond toilets and kick off its ODF+ phase — that is, Open Defecation Free Plus — focussing on solid and liquid waste management, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has included the prevalence of plastic litter and water-logging in villages as indicators of cleanliness in its 2019 rural survey.

Body

Current Situation of SWM in India:

  • in 2022, a total of 6,300 metric tonnes of waste was collected in Mumbai, marking a 15% increase compared to the previous year. This highlights the escalating waste generation in the city and emphasizes the need for effective waste management strategies to tackle the growing problem.
  • As per the SBM 2.0 guidelines, the total quantity of waste generated by urban areas in India is about 32 lakh tonnes daily. This adds up to 8 crore tonnes per annum.
  • Of this only about 25% is being processed; the rest is disposed of in landfills every year.
  • Given that the waste dumpsites have been operational since the early 2000s, more than 72 crore tonnes of waste need to be processed.
  • Most cities have confined themselves to collection and transportation of solid waste. Processing and safe disposal are being attempted only in a few cases.
  • The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generatedin the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
  • According to a UN report, India’s e-wastefrom old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.
  • Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.

Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:

  • Absence of segregation of waste at source.
  • Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.
  • Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.
  • Lack of technical expertise and appropriate institutional arrangement
  • Lack of infrastructure and technology
  • Lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations
  • Indifference of citizens towards waste management due to lack of awareness
  • Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions
  • Lack of sewage management plan.
  • About 70% of the plastic packaging products turn into plastic waste within a short period.
  • Unorganized vendors and markets, existence of slum areas and Corruption are other issues plaguing MSWM.

Measures needed

  • State governments should provide financial support to ULBs to improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.
  • Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.
  • The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at source and to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Waste to energy is a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites
  • There is a need to encourage research and development so as to reinvent waste management system in India.
  • The focus should be on recycling and recovering from waste and not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste
  • Public- Private Partnership models for waste management should be encouraged.
  • Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Responsibilities of Generators have been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.
  • Sensitization of citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.
  • International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery project which have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.

Conclusion

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

3. How is poverty still a significant obstacle in India? Analyse the diverse initiatives implemented by the government to attain Sustainable Development Goal-1, which aims to alleviate poverty. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the challenges associated with poverty and to evaluate the performance of various measures taken to alleviate poverty.

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: 

Describe the giving statistic regarding the current status of poverty in India.

Body:

First, write about the various challenges associated with eradication of poverty in India.

Next, giver context about SDG-1: zero poverty. Evaluate the pros and cons of the various poverty alleviation measures in India – Swarnjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), National Social Assistance Programme, Land Reforms, MGNREGA and various PDS initiatives etc.

Suggest measures to overcome the above the limitations of the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

According to World Bank, Poverty is pronounced deprivation in well-being, and comprises many dimensions. It includes low incomes and the inability to acquire the basic goods and services necessary for survival with dignity. Poverty also encompasses low levels of health and education, poor access to clean water and sanitation, inadequate physical security, lack of voice, and insufficient capacity and opportunity to better one’s life.

In India, 21.9% of the population lives below the national poverty line in 2011. In 2018, almost 8% of the world’s workers and their families lived on less than US$1.90 per person per day (international poverty line).

Body

Achievements in poverty alleviation over the years

  • Decline in Extreme Poverty: Extreme poverty in India was 3% points lower in 2019 compared with 2011,as poverty headcount rate declined from 22.5% in 2011 to 10.2% in 2019, with a comparatively sharper decline in rural areas.
    • Slight moderation in consumption inequality since 2011, but by a margin smaller than what is reported in the unreleased National Sample Survey -2017.
    • The extent of poverty reduction during 2015-2019 is estimated to be notably lower than earlier projections based on growth in private final consumption expenditure reported in national account statistics.
    • The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than USD 1.90 per person per day.
  • Rural vs Urban Poverty: Poverty reduction washigher in rural areas compared with urban Indiaas rural poverty declined from 26.3% in 2011 to 11.6% in 2019, while in urban areas the decline was from 14.2% to 6.3% in the corresponding period.
    • Rural and urban poverty dropped by 7 and 7.9% points during 2011-2019.
    • Urban poverty in India rose by 2% in 2016, coinciding with the demonetisation, and rural poverty rose by 10% in 2019.
  • Small Farmers: Smallholder farmers have experienced higher income growth.Real incomes for farmers with the smallest landholdings have grown by 10% in annualized terms between the two survey rounds (2013 and 2019) compared to a 2% growth for farmers with the largest landholding.
    • The growth in incomes of smallest landholders in rural areas provides more evidence of moderation in income disparity in rural areas.
    • Smallest landholders comprise a larger share of the poor population.This income includes wages, net receipt from crop production, net receipt from farming of animal farming and net receipt from non-farm business. Income from leasing out land has been exempted.

Various poverty alleviation programs in India since Independence:

  • Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP): It was introduced in 1978-79 and universalized from 2nd October, 1980, aimed at providing assistance to the rural poor in the form of subsidy and bank credit for productive employment opportunities through successive plan periods.
  • Jawahar Rozgar Yojana/Jawahar Gram Samriddhi Yojana: The JRY was meant to generate meaningful employment opportunities for the unemployed and underemployed in rural areas through the creation of economic infrastructure and community and social assets.
  • Rural Housing – Indira Awaas Yojana: The Indira Awaas Yojana (LAY) programme aims at providing free housing to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families in rural areas and main targets would be the households of SC/STs.
  • Food for Work Programme: It aims at enhancing food security through wage employment. Food grains are supplied to states free of cost, however, the supply of food grains from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns has been slow.
  • National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS):This pension is given by the central government. The job of implementation of this scheme in states and union territories is given to panchayats and municipalities. The states contribution may vary depending on the state. The amount of old age pension is ₹200 per month for applicants aged 60–79. For applicants aged above 80 years, the amount has been revised to ₹500 a month according to the 2011–2012 Budget. It is a successful venture.
  • Annapurna:This scheme was started by the government in 1999–2000 to provide food to senior citizens who cannot take care of themselves and are not under the National Old Age Pension Scheme (NOAPS), and who have no one to take care of them in their village. This scheme would provide 10 kg of free food grains a month for the eligible senior citizens. They mostly target groups of ‘poorest of the poor’ and ‘indigent senior citizens’.
  • Sampoorna Gramin Rozgar Yojana (SGRY):The main objective of the scheme continues to be the generation of wage employment, creation of durable economic infrastructure in rural areas and provision of food and nutrition security for the poor.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) 2005:The Act provides 100 days assured employment every year to every rural household. One-third of the proposed jobs would be reserved for women.  The central government will also establish National Employment Guarantee Funds. Similarly, state governments will establish State Employment Guarantee Funds for implementation of the scheme. Under the programme, if an applicant is not provided employment within 15 days s/he will be entitled to a daily unemployment allowance.
  • National Rural Livelihood Mission: Ajeevika (2011):It evolves out the need to diversify the needs of the rural poor and provide them jobs with regular income on monthly basis. Self Help groups are formed at the village level to help the needy.
  • National Urban Livelihood Mission:The NULM focuses on organizing urban poor in Self Help Groups, creating opportunities for skill development leading to market-based employment and helping them to set up self-employment ventures by ensuring easy access to credit.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana: It will focus on fresh entrant to the labour market, especially labour market and class X and XII dropouts.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana:It aimed at direct benefit transfer of subsidy, pension, insurance etc. and attained the target of opening 1.5 crore bank accounts. The scheme particularly targets the unbanked poor.

Assessment

  • However, none resulted in any radical change in the ownership of assets, process of production and improvement of basic amenities to the needy.
  • Scholars, while assessing these programmes, state three major areas of concern which prevent their successful implementation. Due to unequal distribution of land and other assets, the benefits from direct poverty alleviation programmes have been appropriated by the non-poor.
  • Compared to the magnitude of poverty, the amount of resources allocated for these programmes is not sufficient. Moreover, these programmes depend mainly on government and bank officials for their implementation.
  • Since such officials are ill motivated, inadequately trained, corruption prone and vulnerable to pressure from a variety of local elites, the resources are inefficiently used and wasted. There is also non-participation of local level institutions in programme implementation.
  • Government policies have also failed to address the vast majority of vulnerable people who are living on or just above the poverty line. It also reveals that high growth alone is not sufficient to reduce poverty.
  • Without the active participation of the poor, successful implementation of any programme is not possible

Measures needed

  • Immediate support package will need to quickly reach both the existing and new poor.
    • While existing safety net programs can be mobilized to get cash into the pockets of some of the existing poor relatively quickly, this is not the case for the new poor.
    • In fact, the new poor are likely to look different from the existing poor, particularly in their location (mostly urban) and employment (mostly informal services, construction, and manufacturing).
    • the identification of poor and vulnerable groups is need of the hour.
    • India should consider fixing a universal basic income in the post-Covid period through a combination of cash transfers, expansion of MGNREGA, and introduction of an urban employment guarantee scheme
  • Employment generation for the masses:
    • A large fiscal stimulus along with intermediate informal employment insurgency through MGNREGA and other employment generation programmes are urgent to rein the adverse impact of covid-19 on the welfare of the masses.
  • Multilateral global institutions must support the developing nations:
    • Oxfam is calling on world leaders to agree on an Emergency Rescue Package of 2.5 trillion USD paid for through the immediate cancellation or postponement of 1 trillion in debt repayments, a 1 trillion increase in IMF Special Drawing Rights (international financial reserves), and an additional 500 billion in aid.
  • An effective response in support of poor and vulnerable households will require significant additional fiscal resources.
    • Providing all the existing and new extreme poor with a cash transfer of $1/day (about half the value of the international extreme poverty line) for a month would amount to $20 billion —or $665 million per day over 30 days.
    • Given that impacts are likely to be felt by many non-poor households as well and that many households are likely to need support for much longer than a month, the sum needed for effective protection could be far higher.
  • Decision-makers need timely and policy-relevant information on impacts and the effectiveness of policy responses.
    • This can be done using existing, publicly available data to monitor the unfolding economic and social impacts of the crisis, including prices, service delivery, and economic activity, as well as social sentiment and behaviours.
    • In addition, governments can use mobile technology to safely gather information from a representative sample of households or individuals.
    • Phone surveys can collect information on health and employment status, food security, coping strategies, access to basic services and safety nets and other outcomes closely related to the risk of falling (further) into poverty.

Conclusion and way forward

  • The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index-2018released by the UN noted that 271 million people moved out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16 in India. The poverty rate in the country has nearly halved, falling from 55% to 28% over the ten-year period. Still a big part of the population in India is living Below the Poverty Line.
  • Rapid economic growth and the use of technology for social sector programs have helped make a significant dent in extreme poverty in the country.
  • Despite rapid growth and development, an unacceptably high proportion of our population continues to suffer from severe and multidimensional deprivation. Thus, a more comprehensive and inclusive approach is required to eradicate poverty in India.

 

Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.

4. Discuss the challenges posed by frequent transfers of civil servants as a governance issue. Do you believe that implementing a fixed tenure for civil servants can address these challenges and ensure continuity in administration, ultimately leading to good governance? State your opinion. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on IndiaInsights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issue of frequent transfers of civil servants and if fixed tenure can lead to good governance.

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: 

Start by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the drawbacks and impact associated with the frequent transfer of civil servants.

Next, write about the advantages of having a fixed tenure of the civil servants in a particular posting – continuity, impartial decision making, insulation from pressure, increased efficiency etc.

Next, write about the disadvantages of having a fixed tenure of the civil servants – complacency, shrinking accountability etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by starting your opinion on the above issue and way forward to achieve continuity.

Introduction

An analysis of the executive record (ER) sheets of thousands of IAS officers reveals that the frequent transfers in service are normal. But, frequent transfers have an adverse impact on their morale. This will lead to a decline in productivity and efficacy. Eg: IAS Ashok Khemka has been transferred more than 50 times. Pradeep Kasni has been transferred 65 times.

Body

Frequent transfer of civil servant: Background

  • The Civil Services Survey reportnoted: frequent transfers has been a concern for most respondents as it adversely affected job satisfaction, children’s education, and family togetherness and placed officers at the mercy of corrupt influences.
  • A Central government database on transfers of Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officers who sit atop the bureaucracy in the Centre and in states shows that the average duration of their posting in the last five years was 464 days.
  • The good part about this reading is that over the last 20 years, this number has improved the most in the last five years, and this improvement has been both at the Centre and in states.
  • The bad reading is that a bureaucrat is still averaging only about 15 monthsin a posting, which is a considerable distance away from the standard of three to five years that is commonly spoken of in organizational and human resource contexts.
  • The analysis of the SUPREMO (Single User Platform Related to Employees Online) databaseof the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, shows that the average posting spell of civil servants in India is only about 15 months.
  • Job transfers are a huge matter for governments and their employees, a source of constant worry for employees and apparent satisfaction for governments.

Fixed tenure advantages to civil servants for good governance

  • Many respondents suggested a fixed tenure of at least 2 to 3 yearsfor all civil servants (except officers of suspect integrity) to ensure accountability and maximise their impact on the job.
  • Whilefixed tenures have not materialised, the reduction in the last five years in the number of transfers, and a corresponding increase in average tenures across both Centre and states, is a silver lining.
  • But true, and lasting gains, calls for systemic reforms, and that is not visible at the moment. Theundermining of transfer guidelines has been a major shortcoming of personnel administration in India. The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has highlighted it.
  • The Fifth Pay Commission had recommended that no premature transfer should be allowed and that there should be fixation of a minimum tenure for each post. This would ensure longevity in schemes and reforms and impact at grassroots levelin case of reforms taken.
  • Less transfers also mean, moremotivation to show real progress by civil servants and thus working towards betterment and welfare of people.

Conclusion

Good governance and better administration of development is often offered as a plausible solution to conflict management. At the heart of this solution are public administrators. Civil servants, no matter how dedicated, innovative and efficient they may be, need a stability of tenure to govern well.

A healthy working relationship between Ministers, MPs, MLAs and civil servants is critical for good governance. Therefore, the state needs to take every stakeholder of governance in confidence.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5. The circular economy plays a vital role in addressing plastic pollution by reducing plastic waste, promoting recycling and repurposing, encouraging sustainable alternatives, and fostering innovation. By adopting a circular approach, we can protect marine life, preserve our oceans, and prevent plastic from infiltrating our food chain. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

A recent UNEP report highlights the importance of adopting a circular economy to tackle plastic pollution.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need to tackle plastic pollution by promoting circular economy.

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 giving a statistic regarding the extent of plastic pollution in India and the world.

Body:

First, mention the various sources of plastic pollution and its impact.

Next, write about the steps that have been taken to regulated the manufacture of plastic in India.

Next, write about the role circular economy can play in tackling plastic pollution.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to holistically tackle the issue of plastic pollution.

Introduction

The WEF defines “a circular economy as an industrial system that is restorative or regenerative by intention and design. It replaces the end-of-life concept with restoration, shifts towards the use of renewable energy, eliminates the use of toxic chemicals, which impair reuse and return to the biosphere, and aims for the elimination of waste through the superior design of materials, products, systems, and business models”.

With a growing population, rapid urbanization, climate change and environmental pollution, India must move towards a circular economy.

Body

Need for circular economy for plastics in India

  • A 2019 report by the Center for International Environmental Law suggests that by 2050, greenhouse gas emissions from plastic could reach over 56 gigatonnes, 10-13% of the remaining carbon budget.
  • As much as 3.3 million metric tonnes of plastic waste was generated in India in 2018-19, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report 2018-19. This roughly translated to 9,200 tonnes a day (TPD).
  • The total municipal solid waste generation is 55-65 million tonnes; plastic waste is approximately 5-6 per cent of the total solid waste generated in the country.
  • A 2021 report commissioned by Google, Closing the Plastics Circularity Gap, suggests that unless large-scale global interventions are made, we should expect to mismanage more than 7.7 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste globally over the next 20 years.
  • However, viewed from the angle of livelihoods, post-consumer segregation, collection and disposal of plastics make up about half of the income of 1.5- 4 million waste-pickers in India.
  • Hence, India also needs a long terms solution for its plastic waste problem. And for India, the solution must be

Efforts undertaken to ban plastic

  • Monitoring by CPCB: The ban will be monitored by the CPCB from the Centre and by the State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) that will report to the Centre regularly.
  • Stop raw materials supply: Directions have been issued at national, state and local levels — for example, to all petrochemical industries — to not supply raw materials to industries engaged in the banned items.
  • Directions to industries:SPCBs and Pollution Control Committees will modify or revoke consent to operate issued under the Air/Water Actto industries engaged in single-use plastic items.
  • Fresh licensing required: Local authorities have been directed to issue fresh commercial licenses with the condition that SUP items will not be sold on their premises, and existing commercial licences will be cancelled if they are found to be selling these items.
  • Encouraging compostable plastics:CPCB has issued one-time certificates to 200 manufacturers of compostable plastic and the BIS passed standards for biodegradable plastic.
  • Penalty: Those found violating the ban can be penalised under the Environment Protection Act 1986 – which allows for imprisonment up to 5 years, or a penalty up to Rs 1 lakh, or both.
    • Violators can also be asked to pay Environmental Damage Compensationby the SPCB.

Challenges posed:

  • Petroleum-based plastic is not biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.
  • Plastic in oceans and forests are choking flora and fauna. In fact, plastic trash is expected to exceed the fish population in 2050.
  • Microplastics have ability to enter food chain with the highest concentration of the pollutants.
  • The PWM Rules Amendment, 2018, omitted explicit pricing of plastic bags that had been a feature of the 2016 Rules.
  • Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms remains unaddressed.
  • The fast moving consumer goods sector that uses large volumes of packaging, posing a higher order challenge.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure for segregation and collection is the key reason for inefficient plastic waste disposal.
  • Small producers of plastics are facing the ban, while more organised entities covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility clause continue with business as usual.
  • Lack of consultation with stakeholders such as manufacturers of plastics, eateries and citizen groups: This leads to implementation issues and inconvenience to the consumers.
  • Exemptions for certain products such as milk pouches and plastic packaging for food items severely weaken the impact of the ban.
  • No investment in finding out alternative materials to plug the plastic vacuum: Until people are able to shift to a material which is as light-weight and cheap as plastic, banning plastic will remain a mere customary practice.
  • Lack of widespread awareness among citizens about the magnitude of harm caused by single-use plastic: Without citizens ‘buying in’ to a cause, bans only result in creating unregulated underground markets.
  • No strategy to offset the massive economic impact: Sweeping bans like the one in Maharashtra are likely to cause massive loss of jobs and disruption of a large part of the economy dependent on the production and use of plastic.

 

Circular economy for plastics

  • Plastic packaging can be avoided altogether while maintaining utility.
  • While improving recycling is crucial, we cannot recycle our way out of the plastic issues we currently face. Wherever relevant, reuse business models should be explored as a preferred solution (or ‘inner loop’ in circular economy terms), reducing the need for single-use plastic packaging.
  • Reuse models, which provide an economically attractive opportunity for at least 20% of plastic packaging, need to be implemented in practice and at scale.
  • Innovate to ensure that the plastics we do need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
  • This requires a combination of redesign and innovation in business models, materials, packaging design, and reprocessing technologies.
  • Circulate all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
  • No plastic should end up in the environment. Landfill, incineration, and waste-to-energy are not long term solutions that support a circular economy.
  • Governments are essential in setting up effective collection infrastructure, facilitating the establishment of related self-sustaining funding mechanisms, and providing an enabling regulatory and policy landscape.
  • Businesses producing and/or selling packaging have a responsibility beyond the design and use of their packaging, which includes contributing towards it being collected and reused, recycled, or composted in practice.

Way forward

  • Need for Legislation to promote the circular economy in the country. Several countries have recognised the centrality of the circularity as the new paradigm for sustainable development.
  • Policies like Zero Effect, Zero Defectin manufacturing stage, National Electricity Mobility Mission Plan in consumption stage, and the various Waste Management Rules in disposal stage, if tweaked properly, can be the ideal for integrating circular economy into the fabric of the Indian economy.
  • Ensuring the transition to circular economy call for extensive collaborative efforts between key stakeholders, including regulators, policy makers, corporates, and financial institutions would need to work to adopt circular business models.
  • Adequate financing needed for realization of these newer opportunities through innovative financing instruments, such as green bonds, municipal bonds, SDG-aligned bonds.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

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

“A person of integrity chooses to uplift others instead of pointing out their faults.” ― Anonymous

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Quotes Wednesdays’.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about as to how in the contemporary society people have been accustomed to looking in to faults of others and complaining without them making effort to solve the issue. Write about the impact of such and cite examples to substantiate. Write about how integrity is about uplifting others.

Write the ways to avoid that blame game and steps to improve oneself and others around.

Conclusion:

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

Introduction

“Do things for people, not because of who they are or what they do in return, but because of who you are.” — Harold S. Kushner

Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions. It is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness.

Body

Why small acts of kindness are important?

  • You make a difference: Our words, our energy and our light have the potential to impact another human being’s life in so many ways. Don’t take that power lightly. Be kind.
  • Small actions can have far-reaching consequences:There is no doubt that the human race is connected in more ways than we can quantify. When you do good, you cause a ripple effect on our planet that reaches the masses. Be kind.
  • You can be a voice for someone who doesn’t have one: Acts of altruism speak volumes for those whose voices have been silenced. Speak up for someone who needs it and you will give them to opportunity to learn how to speak on their own behalf. Be kind.
  • Everyone is fighting their own inner battle: although life brings us so many joys and victories, it is undeniable that we each face our own individual struggles within our own minds that nobody knows about. Make every effort to find compassion for others – even when you can’t relate. Be kind.
  • A Random Act of Kindness is giving your best self to others without requests or promise of return on investment. It’s simply doing something nice for someone else, without them asking and without you doing it for anything in return.
  • When you engage in an act of kindness, endorphins (a natural painkiller) are produced in your brain. In addition, it has been found people who are kind have 23 per cent less of the stress hormone cortisolthan the average population.

Examples:

  • Many videos of people giving away money or making someone happy comes up on social media.
  • During the COVID pandemic, Anganwadi worker, Vennilatravelled through dense forests and scary wildlife of Nilgiris to deliver food and ration to migrant workers. She also visited kids at the Anganwadi centre and delivered eggs and rations to their families. She was awarded the ‘Covid Women Warriors, The Real Heroes’ award by the National Commission for Women.

Conclusion

It seems that kindness is steadily fading from modern society. The lack of generosity and friendliness that is evident today is shocking. It’s important to realize the positivity that kindness can produce in our lives. Kindness is ultimately a key contributor to happiness. Acting with kindness is a win-win. Not only can it provide someone with a sense of pride by acting kindly towards others, but it also has the potential to boost the confidence and provoke bliss in those around us.