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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 1 June 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

1. Examine the similarities and differences between the drainage systems of the Himalayan region and the Indian subcontinent’s Peninsular region. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference:  Insights on India , Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about differences between Himalayan drainage system and the Peninsular drainage system as well as its similarities.

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 brief about the drainage system of India.

Body:

First, write the differences between the both on the basis of evolution, nature, type of flow etc.

Next, explain some similarities between both the river systems.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The flow of water through well-defined channels is known as ‘drainage’ and the network of such channels is called a ‘drainage system’.

Body

The catchment area of large rivers or river system is called a river basin while those of small rivers, a lake, a tank is often referred to as a watershed. There is, however, a slight difference between a river basin and a watershed. Watersheds are small in area, generally less than 1000 ha.

BASIS FOR COMPARISONHIMALAYAN RIVERSPENINSULAR RIVERS
MeaningHimalayan Rivers are the rivers that originate from Himalayan ranges and flows throughout the year.Peninsular Rivers include those rivers that arises from Western Ghats and receive water only during a particular period.
NaturePerennialNon-perennial
FormDeltaSome rivers form delta while others form Estuary
ShapeMeanderingStraight
RocksBed rocks are soft, sedimentary and easily erodibleBed rocks are hard, resistant and not easily erodible
Fed bySnow and rainRain
Drainage basinLargeSmall
IrrigateNorthern PlainsDeccan Plateau
ValleyV-shaped valley is formedU-shaped valley is formed

Key Differences Between Himalayan and Peninsular Rivers System

  • Himalayan Rivers are the water bodies that emanate from the north of Himalayan mountain ranges. On the other extreme, Peninsular Rivers include those watercourses that arise from, Western Ghats or Central Highlands.
  • The Himalayan rivers are perennial, i.e. they have water all around the year. As against, Peninsular rivers are seasonal, in the sense that they have water during a particular period only.
  • Big deltas are formed by Himalayan Rivers. On the other extreme, some peninsular rivers like the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery form deltas, while the Narmada and the Tapi form estuaries.
  • While Himalayan rivers form meanders, there is an absence of meanders in case of Peninsular rivers.
  • The bedrocks of Himalayan rivers are soft, sedimentary and easily erodible. Conversely, bedrocks of Peninsular rivers are hard, resistant and not easily erodible.
  • Himalayan rivers get water from snow and rain, whereas Peninsular rivers are fed by rain only.
  • The drainage basin of Himalayan rivers is comparatively larger than the Peninsular rivers.
  • Himalayan rivers water helps in the irrigation of Northern Plains. In contrast, Peninsular rivers irrigate Deccan Plateau.
  • Himalayan rivers form a V-shaped valley, while Peninsular watercourses form valley having a U-shape

Conclusion        

The channel and valley length of the Himalayan River system is larger in comparison to the Peninsular River system. While in case of Himalayan Rivers, water is added by the underground sources also, but in case of Peninsular rivers due to hard lithology, no underground water is added to the river.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

2. By removing barriers and creating a level playing field, the country can harness the untapped potential of its diverse population, leading to scientific advancements that benefit society as a whole. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article discusses the importance of achieving full equity in the field of science in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ways to achieve equity in STEM and improve participation.

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 the answer by citing the status of inequality in STEM in India.

Body:

First, write about the barriers leading to inequity in STEM.

Next, write about the steps that are needed – By ensuring equal access to education and opportunities, diverse perspectives and ideas are integrated into scientific research

Next, write about its impact – increased innovation, creative problem-solving, and a more comprehensive approach to societal challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Science, technology, engineering, and medicine –together known as ‘STEM’ fields –suffer from lack of women, especially in India. In school exam results, we hear of how girls have outshone boys, but when it comes to those who take up research in later life, the number of women is minuscule. This means that many of our best brains that showed the maximum potential do not pick research as a career.

Since independence, successive governments in India have taken many steps in bringing gender empowerment. However, various developmental indices reflect that still, a lot needs to be done in this regard. One such area of improvement is increasing gender participation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields.

Body

India tops world rankings in producing female graduates in STEM with 43% but employs only 14% of them. In comparison, Sweden produces 35% female STEM graduates and employs 34% of them.

Status of Women in STEM Fields

  • About 43% of STEM graduates in India may be women, which is the highest in the world, but women’s share in STEM jobs in India is a mere 14%.
  • Most of the women STEM graduates in India either pursue another career or do not work at all. Women across the world face the ‘leaky pipeline’ problem in STEM fields.
  • Women leave the workforce, due to the absence of supportive institutional structures during pregnancy, safety issues in fieldwork and the workplace.
  • The STEM field is so perpetuated with gender stereotypes. It has a very strong male-dominated culture. Further, there is a lack of role models for girls and women.
  • Not just societal norms but issues related to poor education and healthcare access are responsible for a lesser number of women in these fields.

However, as per the Department of Science and Technology data, the number of women scientists has gone up in over the past two decades. The findings of a report in August 2022 are as follows

  • Women among researchers: Increased from  9% (2015) to 18.7% (2018)
  • Good number of participation of women till post-graduate level and then there is a drop at the post-doctoral level.
  • Women in Engineering (14.5%) < Women in natural Science (22.5%) < Women in Health (24.5%)

Reasons for this gender gap

  • When highly qualified women drop out of the workforce, it results in considerable depletion of national resources in science and technology.
  • Stereotypes encountered by girls to the family-caring responsibilities.
  • Patriarchal society.
  • Women face bias when choosing a career.
  • Women continue to face the same kind of discrimination at work as they face in society.
  • According to a recent Accenture research report, the gender pay gap in India is as high as 67 percent.
  • Various studies have found that girls excel at mathematics and science-oriented subjects in school, but boys often believe they can do better, which shapes their choices in higher studies.
  • In 2015, an analysis of PISA scores by OECD found that the difference in math scores between high-achieving boys and girls was the equivalent of about half a year at school.
  • But when comparing boys and girls who reported similar levels of self-confidence and anxiety about mathematics, the gender gap in performance disappeared — when girls were more anxious, they tended to perform poorly.

Government Initiatives so far to bridge the gender gap in STEM: 

  • Vigyan Jyoti scheme:
    • Announced in the 2017 budget for the Ministry of Science and Technology.
    • The scheme aims to arrange for girl students of classes 9, 10 and 11 meet women scientists, with the IITs and the Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.
    • It is intended to create a level-playing field for the meritorious girls in high school to pursue Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) in their higher education
    • It also offers exposure for girl students from the rural background to help to plan their journey from school to a job of their choice in the field of science.
  • GATI Scheme:
    • The Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI) will develop a comprehensive Charter and a framework for assessing Gender Equality in STEM.
  • Inspire-MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspiration and Knowledge)
    • Attract talented young boys and girls to study science and pursue research as a career.
  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan programme
    • Launched by the Ministry of Human Resource Development in 2014.
    • Connect India’s elite institutes with local communities and address their developmental challenges with appropriate technological interventions.
  • Indo-US fellowship for women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to participate in international collaborative research in premier institutions in America
  • Women-centric programmes under the Knowledge Involvement in Research Advancement through Nurturing (KIRAN)initiative
  • Bio-technology Career Advancement and Reorientation (Bio-Care)

Way Forward

  • Promote gender equality as an explicit human right.
  • Identify and eliminate practices that create systemic and structural impediments to the advancement of women in science.
  • Support the empowerment of women to enable them to flourish in the scientific profession.
  • Identify potential risks and hindrances to women in their pursuit of science and implement strategies to eliminate them.
  • Engage with the Government of India, scientific institutions and the civil society to promote and support gender equality in general, and in science in particular.
  • Replicating ISRO Model:The role of women engineers in the launch of the Indian Space Research Organisation’s second moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 shows that how social shackles pertaining to women are loosening. Thus, there is a need for emulating ISRO’s model in STEM fields.
  • Bringing Behavioural Change:Subdued gender participation emanates from social-economic issues, which can be treated by bringing behavioural change. For this, the contributions of women in the STEM sector should be highlighted in textbooks. This may motivate the next generation of girls to be leaders in the STEM sector.
  • Women’s participation in STEM should be encouraged from primary school level rather only in higher studies.
  • Awareness about gender inequality and its outcome has to be increased and the community should be supportive and understanding of career prospects for women.
  • Companies can provide more internship opportunities for women and give STEM scholarships to meritorious yet economically backward girls.
  • India’s forthcoming Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (STIP) should focus on the thrust on gender equity and inclusion. Digital India too provides an opportunity to impart education in the STEM field to women.

Conclusion

A research report by McKinsey said that narrowing the gender gap in STEM can lead to an increase of $12-28 trillion in the global economy. Thus, India should look at Gender equality as an essential facet of the development perspective.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. Explain the key policy changes recommended by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in its report to achieve net zero emissions by 2070 in India. How can these policy measures contribute to combating climate change and promoting sustainable economic growth? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a report emphasizing the need for urgent policy changes in order for India to achieve net zero emissions by 2070.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the major recommendation of RBI to achieve net zero while balancing growth and steps needed to achieve them.

Directive word: 

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving 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: 

Briefly mention the significance of achieving net zero emissions by 2070.

Body:

First, write about the RBI recommendation to Key Policy Changes for Achieving Net Zero Emissions – Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy, promoting renewable energy sources, Encouraging energy efficiency measures and Supporting electric mobility and clean transportation etc.

Next, write about the contribution of the above to Combating Climate Change and Sustainable Growth – Climate Change Mitigation and Promoting sustainable practices across sectors etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.   

Introduction

In the Report on Currency and Finance, the RBI has highlighted various concerns associated with achieving desired growth rate while controlling the emission targets.

As per the report, if India wants to become a developed country by 2047-48, its GDP growth rate should be 9.6% per annum up to 2047-48.

Body

About RBI report

  • As per the RBI report, India can – a) increase the level of energy efficiency i.e., reduce the energy used per unit of GDP and b) increase the greenness of energy i.e., reduce emissions per unit of energy.
  • At present, India’s energy efficiency has been improving at 2.3% per annum over the last 10 years. However, it needs to be accelerated to 5%.
  • Similarly, the share of green energy in primary energy has to be increased to 70% – 82% of the total by 2070.

Policy recommendation by RBI to achieve net zero emissions by 2070

  • Prioritizing Areas: As per the RBI report, India needs to intervene in some major areas which needs to be implemented over the next 10 years.
    • Shifting power generation away from coal-based thermal power towards solar, wind and other green sources is the one of the priority areas because this will lead to almost half of the reduction in emissions.
  • Phasing down coal-based power plants: As per the RBI report, the govt. should ensure that no new coal-based thermal power plants will be set up after a certain period.
    • Phasing down coal-based power plants may also lead to phasing out coal mines, which can have implications on employment and state finances. India needs to prepare itself for such challenges.
  • Investments: Raising the share of green energy to 70% or 82% of total energy by 2070 will involve massive investments in building electricity generation, storage and transmission capacity and also in developing infrastructure for green hydrogen.
    • Since a large part of investments will be taken by the private sector, there is a need for a policy environment that will encourage such investment.
  • Carbon tax or cap-and-trade system: The RBI report highlights the issue of imposing such a system. The Electricity Amendment Act makes provision for introducing a cap-and-trade system. However, whether an explicit carbon tax would be better needs to be carefully examined.
    • Moreover, either option would raise the cost of coal to users and this would be reflected in the price of coal-based electricity.
    • Such mechanisms might enhance the competitiveness of green electricity without implementing mandatory renewable purchase obligations on discoms.
    • However, despite such concerns, a big advantage of carbon taxation is that it raises revenue.
    • Since both the central and state governments do not have enough fiscal space for the transitions, carbon taxation will provide required resources.

 

Conclusion

Improvements in energy efficiency are critical to reduce emissions. Therefore, there is a need to switch to more energy-efficient systems and implement more energy-efficient building designs.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. What were the factors that drove GDP growth in India during the fiscal year 2022-23.? Examine the role of government policies in the increased GDP growth. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The article discusses the factors that contributed to GDP growth in India during the fiscal year 2022-23.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the factors behind increased GDP growth and role of government policies in its increase.

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 context.

Body:

First, write about the factors that led to increased GDP growth – investment and infrastructure, industry and manufacturing, services and consumption, and international trade.

Next, write about the role of government policies in driving the GDP growth – mention the major polices and its impact. Write about the successes and limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion.

Introduction

In 2022-23 actual gross home product (GDP) growth — which is adjusted for inflation — was at 7.2%, in opposition to 9.1% in 2021-22. This is 20 foundation factors increased than the Reserve Bank of India’s forecast of seven%.

Body

Factors that drove GDP growth in fiscal year 2022-23

  • Trade, resorts, transport, communication and providers associated to broadcasting, which comprised just below a fifth of the GVA, grew by 14%.
  • The building sector, which comprised round a twelfth of the GVA, grew by 10%.
  • Other than this, finance, actual property {and professional} providers, which comprised round 22.5% of the GVA, grew by a good 7.1%.
  • The authorities a part of the GVA, represented by public administration, defence and different providers, grew by 7.2%.
  • Other than this agriculture, forestry and fishing, the mainstay of Indian employment, comprising round 15.1% of the GVA, grew by a good 4%, up from 3.5% in 2021-22.

Role of government policies in increased GDP

  • The FDI policy has been amended to ease the way for overseas investors to access many more sectors including defense and aviation, while also simplifying the clearance process by eliminating the need for a second level of approval in cases where licences have already been procured.
  • Monetary policy revisions and inflation targeting also has led to stable economy.
  • Regulations that require unnecessary and repetitive business licence renewals have been scrapped and the validity period of business licences has been extended from three years to seven years.
  • Foreign investors are also now permitted to invest in construction projects that were earlier reserved for domestic companies.
  • Certain sectors reserved for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have now been opened to larger entities. Revised bankruptcy laws have been implemented to encourage a free flow of capital and more flexibility and options for investment.
  • To get back on the growth path, the Government has announced a stimulus package worth nearly Rs.21 trillion (US$277 billion), equivalent to around 10 per cent of India’s GDP, to aid the sections of the society worst hit by the pandemic and open up new avenues of trade and investment in the post-Coronavirus economy.
  • On the trade front, the cost and time for imports and exports is being reduced significantly. A tribunal to implement the new insolvency and bankruptcy provisions will be fast-tracked. E-courts will be tasked with enforcing contracts in an expedited manner by provided an electronic system to handle complaints, summons, and payments.

Conclusion

The Government of India will continue to focus on its progressive and development-based agenda. With a well-functioning democracy that has the youngest population in the world, high literacy rates and an expanding middle-class, India offers real and exciting opportunities for investors and corporations looking for a welcoming and effective partner.

 

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, Nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

5. Explain the unique properties and applications of graphene. Suggest a strategic approach and increased investment to harness the potential of graphene and ensure India’s participation in this cutting-edge technology. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The article titled “Is India missing the graphene bus?” discusses India’s potential missed opportunities in the field of graphene, a revolutionary material with numerous applications.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the properties, applications and potential applications of Graphene as well as approach needed to maximise its benefits.

Directive word: 

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving 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: 

Start by defining Graphene and its various applications.

Body:

First, with examples, write about the unique properties of graphene, such as its exceptional strength, conductivity, and flexibility.

Next, write about potential applications of graphene in various fields, including electronics, energy storage, healthcare, and water purification.

Next, write about the potential strategy to harness its benefits.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Graphene is a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. It is the thinnest, strongest, and most conductive material in the world, while also being flexible, transparent, and impermeable to gases. It was discovered in 2004, but it has been difficult to produce high-grade large-scale graphene.

Body

Unique properties of graphene

  • Graphene is the world’s thinnest, strongest, and most conductive material of both electricity and heat.
  • It conducts electricity better than copper.
  • It is 200 times stronger than steel but six times lighter.
  • It is almost perfectly transparent as it absorbs only 2% of light.
  • It is impermeable to gases, even those as light as hydrogen and helium.
  • It has the potential to revolutionise electricity, conductivity, energy generation, batteries, sensors and more.
  • Also, when added to other materials, graphene even in small quantities produces composite materials with dramatically transformed qualities.

Applications of graphene

  • Graphene is the most heat conductive found to date. As graphene is also strong and light, it means that it is a great material for making heat-spreading solutions, such as heat sinks or heat dissipation films.
  • This could be useful in both microelectronics (for example to make LED lighting more efficient and longer lasting) and also in larger applications – for example thermal foils for mobile devices. Huawei’s latest smartphones, for example, have adopted graphene-based thermal films.
  • graphene is the world’s thinnest material, it also extremely high surface-area to volume ratio. This makes graphene a very promising material for use in batteries and supercapacitors.
  • Graphene may enable batteries and supercapacitors (and even fuel-cells) that can store more energy – and charge faster, too.
  • Graphene has a lot of promise for additional applications: anti-corrosion coatings and paints, efficient and precise sensors, faster and efficient electronics, flexible displays, efficient solar panels, faster DNA sequencing, drug delivery, and more.
  • Graphene oxide and reduced graphene oxide uses fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) characteristics to work effectively as a biosensor
  • All elements that form part of GO or rGO functional groups can be effectively stored in their sheets and extracted later for use and are also being explored for their applications in hydrogen storage.
  • Graphene has been predicted as a good candidate for the manufacturing of electrostatic audio microphones and speakers due to their lightweight, which provides moderately good frequency response.
  • Graphene can also detect cancer cells in the early stages of the disease. Moreover, it can stop them from growing any further in many types of cancer by intervening the correct formation of the tumor or causing autophagy which leads to the death of cancer cells.
  • Functionalized graphene can be used to carry chemotherapy drugs to tumors for cancer patients.
  • Graphene based carriers targeted cancer cells better and reduced and decreased toxicity of the effected healthy cells.
  • Drug delivery is not limited to cancer treatment, anti-inflammatory drugs have also been carried by graphene & chitosan combinations and yielded promising results.
  • Scientists have discovered that graphene can also be used as a superconductive material.
  • Graphene can also be used as a coating material because it prevents the transfer of water and oxygen. Graphene membranes can be used in food or pharmaceutical packaging by keeping food and medicines fresh for longer time.
  • Micro-sized sensors can be produced thanks to graphene’s unique structure. It can detect whether a molecule is dangerous or not for the environment. These sensors can be used in food industry, especially in crop protection.
  • Graphene is important for defence and aerospace as well. Its exceptional strength makes it promising material for armour and ballistic protection.
  • Graphene has the potential to absorb and dissipate electromagnetic waves, making it valuable for developing stealth coatings and materials that reduce radar signatures and electromagnetic interference.
  • Graphene is highly sensitive to environmental changes, which makes it an excellent candidate for sensing chemical and biological agents, explosives, radiation, and other hazardous substances.
  • Besides, graphene-based materials can also protect us against chemical and biological attacks.
  • Better energy storage and electronics properties make graphene attractive in defence and aerospace as well as in civil and commercial applications.
  • Graphene is a magnificent bactericidal material as it avoids the generation of microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, by damaging their cell membranes between its outer layers.

potential strategy to harness its benefits

  • Graphene, a form of carbon, is thought to be thematerial of the future.
  • However, India’s progress in graphene has been slower compared to leading countries like China and Brazil.
  • The Centre needs to become the nodal point to spur large-scale innovation activity around graphene.
  • India needs to come up with a national graphene mission. A nodal Ministry needs to be entrusted with this responsibility.
  • India needs to be among the leaders in graphene because we may experience the ‘winner takes the most’ situation here.
  • The need of the hour is to give a major fillip for scientific research in Graphene with innovation centers in various parts of India.
  • By investing in research and development, infrastructure, and collaborations with academia and industry, India can work towards developing cost-effective and scalable methods for graphene production.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions

6. The morality of human actions depends on various factors. These factors collectively influence the assessment of whether an action is morally right or wrong. Comment. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To write in detail about the determinants of Morality of human action.

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: 

Begin by saying that Human action is not at free will but determined by various factors.

Body:

Describe how morality of a person’s action varies situationally. Mention various determinants such as object, circumstances such as person/place/time involved and intention(malafide/bonafide) with an example each.

Use a flow chart for better presentation of the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying that there are many obstacles that a person with a fixed moral construct must go through, which may change his action altogether.

Introduction

A human act is one that proceeds from knowledge and free will. If either adequate knowledge or freedom is lacking in the act of a person, then that act is not fully human and therefore, not fully moral.

There are a variety of possible moralities or moral frames of reference, and whether something is morally right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust, etc. is a relative matter—relative to one or another morality or moral frame of reference. Something can be morally right relative to one moral frame of reference and morally wrong relative to another.

Body

Determinants of judging an action

  • Nature of the action: Ethicality depends upon the fundamental nature of action itself. For instance, murder is an unethical act in itself and it cannot be justified by any intention or under any circumstances. On the other hand, acts like polluting the environment are unethical but it can be justified if its within ecological limits and used for good purpose like rural electrification.
  • Intention: Intention behind an action must be ethical and only then, the action can be possible ethical. If intention is wrong, no action can be ethical even if the action is good in itself. For instance, charitydone for vested interests by unscrupulous NGOs is unethical even if its charity. On the other hand, breaking a traffic rulecan be ethical if a policeman does it to catch a criminal.
  • Circumstances: Ethics is dynamic and hence, sometimes circumstances decide whether an action is ethical or not. For instance, democracyand citizen-centric governance is ethical governance but during times of war, martial lawcan be ethically justified and hence, provided under the Indian Constitution. We consider breaking of traffic rulesas highly unethical but if you are taking a sick person to hospital, then the golden hour must not be missed and one cannot comply with traffic rules when a life is at stake.

Conclusion

To be ethically good, a human act must agree with the norm of morality on all three counts; in its nature, its motive, and its circumstances. Departure from any of these makes the action morally wrong.

 

Topic: dimensions of ethics;

7. Environmental ethics seeks to foster a sense of responsibility, stewardship, and reverence for the natural world. It encourages ethical decision-making that considers the long-term well-being of the environment and its inhabitants, both human and non-human. Elaborate. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain environmental ethics and how it has become an important dimension of ethics in the twenty first century.

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:

 Start by describing the anthropocentric nature of the discourse of ethics. Only recently the focus has shifted to environmental ethics.

Body:

Mention the implications of neglect of the environment, varied cultural beliefs surrounding it, the western ideology that environment is for human disposal without regard to the future generations, concept of sustainable development, associating rights of environment to preservation etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by saying that environmental ethics is more relevant now than ever in the context of climate change.

Introduction

Environmental ethics is a branch of ethics that studies the relation of human beings and the environment and how ethics play a role in this. Environmental ethics believe that humans are a part of society as well as other living creatures, which includes plants and animals. These items are a very important part of the world and are considered to be a functional part of human life. Thus, it is essential that every human being respect and honour this and use morals and ethics when dealing with these creatures.

Body

Importance of environmental ethics in current times

  • The main focus of Ethics has been human rights since time immemorial. However, with industrial revolution and increased globalization and burgeoning population, the negative externalities of growth and development are seen on the environment.
  • Present human interference with the non-human world is excessive, and the situation is rapidly worsening.
  • The recently released Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)reveals how human-caused emissions are altering our planet and what that means for our collective future.
  • Global warming, global climate change, deforestation, pollution, resource degradation, threat of extinction of species are few of the issues from which our planet is suffering.
  • New dynamic issues like Environmental Refugees and climate migrants has been on the rise across the planet.
  • Thus, now it’s time to focus on the rights of the environment and its constituent beings other than humans.
  • Environmental ethics, concerned with the issue of responsible personal conduct with respect to natural landscapes, resources, species, and non-human organisms. It is a cluster of beliefs, values and norms regarding how humans should interact with the environment.

How Environmental ethics helps in today’s times

  • Strengthens Human-environment relationship:
    • Environmental ethics focuses on questions concerning how we ought to inhabit the world; what constitutes a good life or a good society; and who, where, or what merits moral standing.
    • Thus, it brings us closer and the help us understand the relationship and strengthens the relationship.
  • Environmental Justice to all:
    • People living in the economically-advanced sections/ parts use greater amount of resources and energy per individual and also waste more resources. This is at the cost of poor people who are resource-deprived.
    • Likewise, there is a need for balance sharing of impacts of environmental degradation among different regions. For instance, island countries of tropical region share the most impacts of Climate Change while contributing least to it.
  • Focuses on vulnerable sections:
    • Consequences of environmental pollution do not respect national boundaries.
    • Moreover, the poor and weaker sections of society are disproportionately affected by negative effects of climate change.
  • Sustainable living and development:
    • Environmental ethics helps provide better quality living to current generation
    • It will help spread awareness among people and thus protect the environment and reminds us of the moral obligation to preserve environment for the future generations to come through regulated use of environment
  • Focus on Biocentrism:
    • Every entity that share the Earth with us have a right to live with dignity and share the Earth’s resources and living space. Humans have no right to reduce this richness and diversity except to satisfy vital needs.
    • Animal welfare is relevant to environmental ethics because animals exist within the natural environment and thus form part of environmentalists’ concerns.
    • It sustains other species as well which is moral responsibility of one species i.e. humankind towards all others.
  • Helps overcome Anthropocentric approach of development:
    • Anthropocentrism refers to an ethical framework that grants “moral standing” solely to human beings.
    • Thus, an anthropocentric ethic claims that only human beings are morally considerable in their own right, meaning that all the direct moral obligations we possess, including those we have with regard to the environment, are owed to our fellow human beings.
  • To tackle global issues:
    • Pandemics like Ebola, Zika, MERS, SARS etc. had alerted human species about the imbalance in relation between humans and Environment.
    • Ignorance causing Covid-19 pandemic has almost stopped the world for human species and has nudged humans to introspect on their relationship with environment.

Human values needed for better environmental ethics:

Human actions and decision-making choice depend on human values. Strong values always help reduce the confusion. If these are coherent with the surrounding environment nature and wildlife, then it will certainly be helpful for sustainable development.

  • Empathy: without empathy for all lives, there will always be selectiveness and selfishness among humans towards different lives. Value of Nurturing and protecting biodiversity. Making way for flora and fauna to co-exist with us.
  • Love: love transcends only human-human interaction. It’s also between other lives and nature’s beauty.
  • Sustainable development: Saving resources for future generation .That is to stop over exploitation of resources specially exhaustible and non-renewable resources.
  • Control over mining, deforestation in the name of “development”
  • Minimalistic living: Sacrificing certain comforts for protecting environment. Example- reduction in use of polluting vehicles for good of all, carpooling, using public transport.

Conclusion

We must realize the biggest value that Earth belongs not only to humans but to other biodiversity too. Further, protecting this environment for future generation becomes our responsibility as part of environmental ethics.

 


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