Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 August 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 literary heritage of ancient India holds immense significance and has shaped various aspects of Indian culture and society. Explore the rich tapestry of ancient Indian literature, discussing its key features and the profound impact it has had on the country’s cultural and social fabric. (250 words)

Difficulty Level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General Studies paper – 1 and is mentioned as part of the Mission-2024 Secure timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To provide an elaborate analysis of the importance and notable characteristics of ancient Indian literature and its impact.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Write about the diversity of ancient Indian literature.

Body:

First write about the Diverse Genres of ancient Indian literature: Epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, Religious texts including Vedas, Upanishads, and Puranas, Poetry, drama, and philosophical treatises, Sangam literature showcasing regional diversity etc.

Next, write about the Key Themes: Exploration of religious concepts like dharma, karma, and moksha, Depiction of moral and ethical values, Representation of historical events and legends etc.

Next, write about the Impact on Society: Influence on cultural practices and traditions, Shaping of social norms and values, Contribution to the development of art forms like music, dance, and drama etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Ancient Indian literature spans a variety of literary forms, including epics, songs, dramatic and didactic poetry, narrative and scientific writing, as well as oral poetry and music. It has been a high point of Indian civilization, showcasing the vast array of talent and expertise displayed by the masters themselves. Perhaps no other part of the world has produced such a vast body of knowledge and wisdom literature. Sanskrit dominated India’s literary tradition for more than 300 years, first in its Vedic form and then in its classical form.

Body

Diversity of Indian literature

  • Vedas: Most ancient Indian texts contain religious themes and these are known as Vedas. They are assigned to c. 1500–500 B.C.
    • The early Vedic Society represented human equality and simplicity at their best. It was a society of high moral standards.
    • It showed an advanced civilisation, a settled life, and an organised human relation.
    • The women held a high position in the Aryan society. This started slowly deteriorating with time.
  • Great Epics: Ramayana and Mahabharata are two epics from ancient Indian literature.
    • These have evolved into their current shape over millennia and hence embody the Indian people’s ethnic memory.
    • They were passed down orally throughout time by singers and storytellers, and they were most likely written down about the 2nd century BCE.
    • The Ramayana is made up of 24000 verses that are divided into seven volumes called Khandas.
    • It’s written in the manner of poetry, and it’s meant to entertain as well as educate. It is Rama’s narrative, and it explains how to attain the fourfold goals of human existence (Purushartha), namely Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha.
    • The Mahabharata is the world’s longest poem, consisting of one lakh lines distributed across 10 books.
    • It is known as the Itihasa Purana, or Mythical History
  • Post-Vedic literature:In the post-Vedic period ( i.e. after BC600) we have recorded a large number of ritual literature on moral values called Sutras.
    • Grand public sacrifices to be performed by rulers are recorded in Shrautasutra while domestic rituals connected with birth, naming, sacred thread ceremony, marriage, funerals etc. are prescribed in Grihyasutras.
    • This literature was compiled between c. 600–300 B.C
  • Puranas: They contributed to the evolution of early Vedic religion into Hinduism. The term “Purana” literally means “to revive the old” in Sanskrit.
    • The Puranas were most likely written between the third and tenth centuries AD.
    • The Puranas’ literature is extensive and covers a wide range of themes, including but not limited to Cosmology, Genealogy, Medicine, Astronomy, Gods and Goddesses, Grammar, Demigods, Heroes, Sages
    • They were composed to demonstrate to the people the reality of the Vedas. Puranas use popular folklore and mythical stories to teach philosophical and religious truths.
  • Buddhist literature: The earliest Buddhist texts were written in Pali. They are called Tripitakas (three baskets) viz. Suttapittaka, Vinayapitaka and Abhidhammapitaka.
    • Of the most important non-religious Buddhist literature are the Jatakas.
    • They contain the stories of the previous birth of the Buddha. It was believed that before he was actually born as Gautama, the Buddha passed through over 550 births. Each birth story is called a Jataka.
    • These stories throw invaluable light on the social and economic conditions of the period between the fifth and second centuries BC.
  • Jain literature: They are called Angas and contain the philosophical concepts of the Jainas.
    • They show how common people came into the fold of Jainism and led austere life based on principles of the Thirthankaras.
    • It always shows how vibrant the trading community was in those times.
  • Sanskrit Literature: Arthasastra of Kautilya provides rich material for the study of Indian economy and polity of the Mauryan period.
    • Vishakadatta’s political intrigue Mudrarakshasa, which was written in the sixth century CE, is set in an intriguing era of Indian history.
    • Kalidasa wrote the Sanskrit play Malavikagnimitram.It is his first play, and it is based on a number of incidents that took place under Pushyamitra Shunga.
    • Kalidasa also wrote the play Vikramorvasiyam, literary masterpiece Raghuvamsa,
    • Works on grammar are also sometimes useful for historical reconstructionThe earliest and the most important work on grammar is theAshtadhyayi written by Panini, which is dated by scholars to around 700 B.C
  • Sangam literature: The Sangam Period in South India (the area south of the Krishna and Tungabhadra rivers) runs roughly from the 3rd century B.C. to the 3rd century A.D.
    • Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Malayalam are four Dravidian languages that evolved their own script and literature and were used to write ancient Indian texts in Southern India.
    • Eminent intellectuals gathered at the sangams to act as censors, and the best writing was rendered in the form of anthologies.
    • The first examples of Dravidian literature were these literary works.

Key features

  • The Vedas and epics are merely a small part of ancient Indian literature; there is much more to comprehend and learn from them.
  • Dharmashastras, which clearly outline a person’s obligations and how a person should evolve in character, are also explained in ancient literature. Science and mathematics were covered in shastras.
  • The Sanskrit book Arthashastra by Kautilya deals with government and economic policy.
  • In addition, Buddhist literature in Pali language grew in popularity. It contains Buddhist literature such as poetry, philosophy, and some grammatical works.
  • The literature of ancient India is both beautiful and difficult to read and comprehend.
  • The Vedas, Shastras, and Upanishads all aid in the development of a person’s character and the pursuit of happiness.
  • Love, nature, panegyric, moralising, and narrative were the main topics of traditional Sanskrit poets.
  • When it comes to love, the ancient poets speak passionately of bodily love; they viewed nature in relation to man, rather than for its own sake.
  • In Kalidasa’s writings, the Sanskrit Kavya reaches unequalled excellence and perfection.

Conclusion

Religious literature provides information for the period between the beginning of the Aryans into India and Alexander’s invasion into India. The Vedic, Buddhist, Jain and other contemporary literature are the religious literary sources of Ancient Indian History. It is important to interpret these works in the context of the society of ancient India.

 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. What are the key features and significance of modern Indian paintings in the contemporary art scene? (150 words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General Studies paper – 1 and is mentioned as part of the Mission-2024 Secure timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the key features and significance of modern Indian paintings in the context of contemporary art.

Introduction: 

Write briefly about the background of modern Indian paintings.

Body:

Write about the fusion of traditional Indian art forms with contemporary techniques in modern Indian paintings. Discuss the use of vibrant colors, bold brushstrokes, and diverse subject matters in these paintings.

Next, mention prominent artists such as Raja Ravi Varma, Amrita Sher-Gil, and M.F. Husain and their contributions to modern Indian art. Discuss the global recognition and influence of modern Indian paintings.

Conclusion:

Summarize the key features and significance of modern Indian paintings.

Introduction

The modern Indian art movement in Indian painting is considered to have begun in Calcutta in the late nineteenth century. The old traditions of painting had more or less died out in Bengal and new schools of art were started by the British. Initially, protagonists of Indian art such as Raja Ravi Varma drew on Western traditions and techniques including oil paint and easel painting. A reaction to the Western influence led to a revival in primitivism, called as the Bengal school of art, which drew from the rich cultural heritage of India. It was succeeded by the Santiniketan school, led by Rabindranath Tagore’s harking back to idyllic rural folk and rural life.

Body

Key features of modern Indian paintings

  • A certain freedom from invention
  • The acceptance of an eclectic approach which has placed artistic expression in the international perspectiveas against the regional
  • A positive elevation of technique which has become both proliferous and supreme
  • The emergence of the artist as a distinct individual.
  • It is product of Indian Renaissancethrough heavy influence of west on traditional Indian art.
  • It used western ideas and realism to depict Indian themes and in due course, got delinked from Indian tradition and went closer to international trends and modern abstractionism.
  • A major characteristic of contemporary Indian Painting is that the technique and method have acquired a new significance.
  • Formcame to be regarded as separate entity and with its increasing emphasis it subordinated the content in a work of art

significance of modern Indian paintings

  • The painter has gained a great deal on the visual and sensory level: particularly in regard to the use of colour, in the concept of design and structure, texture, and in the employment, of unconventional materials.
  • Form was not regarded as a vehicle for content. In fact the position was reverse.
  • And the means, inspired and developed on extraneous elements, rendered technique very complex and brought in its train a new aesthetique.
  • A painting stood or fell in terms of colour, compositional contrivance or sheer texture.
  • Art on the whole acquired an autonomy of its own and the artist an individual status as never before.

Conclusion

Contemporary Indian art has travelled a long way since the days of Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore and his followers and even Amrita Sher-Gil. Broadly, the pattern followed is this. Almost every artist of note began with one kind of representational or figurative art or the other tinged with impressionism, expressionism or post-expressionism.

Eventually, the modern school came to be characterised by an international aesthetic of abstract form, emphasis on the individual’s sensory perception of colour, form, structure and medium. These were explored by artist like Amrita Shergill and later by Tyeb Mehta, Jamini Roy, MF Hussain etc.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

3. By prioritizing gender-sensitive policies and initiatives, India can enhance its efforts to combat hunger and malnutrition more effectively. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the issue of hunger in India and suggests that addressing this challenge requires a focus on gender-sensitive economic growth.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of malnutrition and suggest measures to tackle malnutrition in India and role of gender-sensitive policies in doing so.

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 giving statistic regarding malnutrition in India based on NFHS-5.

Body:

In the first part, write about the consequences of malnutrition – which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).

Next, write about how women play a crucial role in ensuring food security and nutrition within families, and their empowerment can have a significant positive impact on reducing hunger.

Next, suggest measures needed to tackle hunger and malnutrition in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to achieve SDG-2.

Introduction

In malnutrition, the body becomes deficient in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients required to maintain healthy tissues and organs. It occurs in people who are either undernourished or over nourished.

As per NFHS-5 (2019-21), 32 per cent of children were underweight, 35 per cent stunted, and 19 per cent wasted. Although India made reasonably good progress in reducing infant mortality from 57 per 1,000 in 2005-06 to 35 per 1,000 in 2019-21, the progress on other indicators of malnutrition is not very satisfactory.

Body

Malnutrition in India

  • India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the worldaround 195 million.
  • Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India do not meet their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting.
  • 9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
  • Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
  • Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.

Consequences of malnutrition

  • Malnutrition results in a reduced ability to work and increased susceptibility to disease, and depending on the nutrients lacking: anaemia, blindness, mental retardation, or death.
  • Undernutrition increases the risk of infectious diseases like diarrhoea, measles, malaria and pneumonia.
  • Chronic malnutrition can impair a young child’s physical and mental development. Cognitive impairment resulting from malnutrition may result in diminished productivity in academic performance.
  • As per estimates of World Bank, childhood stunting may result in a loss of height among adults by 1%, which may further lead to a reduction in individuals economic productivity by 1.4%
  • Undernutrition puts women at a greater risk of pregnancy-related complications and death (obstructed labour and haemorrhage).
  • Widespread child undernutrition greatly impedes a country’s socioeconomic development and potential to reduce poverty.
  • India loses 4% of its GDP annually due to malnourishment.

Gender sensitive policies to tackle malnutrition

  • Incentivise and improve the access and quality of education for women through liberal scholarships, especially after 10th grade to Master’s level. This can give high returns, limiting family size and contributing significantly to the nation’s growth story.
  • There is a direct correlation between the nutritional status of children and their mothers’ education is a further stroke for the case of women’s education.
  • It demonstrated that with higher levels of schooling for a mother, her children received better diets.
  • The recently released Health Ministry survey that showed a direct correlation between the nutritional status of children and their mothers’ education is a further stroke for the case of women’s education.
  • Development economists have long studied the role that education of girls plays in enabling them to emerge as agents of change.
  • Empirical work in recent years, Nobel laureate Amartya Sen reasons, has clearly shown how the relative aspect and regard for women’s wellbeing is strongly influenced by women’s literacy and educated participation in decisions within and outside the family.
  • On two counts, meal diversity and minimum acceptable diet, and in terms of bolstering food with micro nutrients, the children of mothers with better education did well.Next focus on improving productivity in agriculture while making food more nutritious and the food system more climate resilient.
  • This will require doubling or even tripling R&D expenditures in agriculture to make abundant food available at reasonably competitive prices.
  • The Punjab Agriculture University which played a yeoman’s role in spreading the Green Revolution, and still ranks at the top, can be roped in to usher in a new revolution of sustainable growth and more nutritious food in agriculture.

Other measures needed to tackle malnutrition

  • Agriculture-Nutrition linkage schemes have the potential for greater impact in dealing with malnutrition and thus, needs greater emphasis.
    • Recognising the importance of this link, the Ministry for Women and Child Development launched theBharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh in 2019.
    • There is a need to promote schemes directed to nutrition-agriculture link activities in rural areas. However, implementation remains the key.
  • Early fund disbursement: The government needs to ensure early disbursement of funds and optimum utilisation of funds in schemes linked to nutrition.
  • Underutilisation of Resources:It has been pointed out many a times that expenditure made under many nutrition-based schemes is considerably lower than what was allocated under them. Thus, emphasis needs to be on implementation.
  • Convergence with other Schemes:Nutrition goes beyond just food, with economic, health, water, sanitation, gender perspectives and social norms contributing to better nutrition. This is why the proper implementation of other schemes can also contribute to better nutrition.
    • The convergence of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission with schemes pertaining to nutrition, will bring holistic changes to India’s nutrition scenario.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme aims to enhance the nutrition of school children by providing a balanced diet in schools.
    • By including milk and eggs in each states’ menu, preparing a menu based on climatic conditions, local foods etc. can help in providing the right nutrition to children in different States.

Conclusion

Educating a woman serves a larger ameliorative purpose. As former American First Lady Michelle Obama said, “Because we know that when girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous.” No other task can assume greater urgency for a nation striving to improve its performance on all fronts.

Value Addition

Government welfare measures

  • Eat Right India: An outreach activity organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
  • Food Fortification: Food Fortification or Food Enrichment is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
  • National Food Security Act, 2013:It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
  • Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme:Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services to children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
    • Supplementary Nutrition,
    • Pre-school non-formal education,
    • Nutrition & health education,
    • Immunization,
    • Health check-up and
    • Referral services.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan: Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
  • The Abhiyaan targets to reduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
  • It also targets to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 4% to 25% by 2022.

 

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

4. India needs to strike a balance between its multipolarity rhetoric and its foreign policy actions within the BRICS group, especially in a rapidly evolving global landscape. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses India’s position within the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) and examines the effectiveness of India’s pursuit of a multipolar world order.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the issues among the BRICS countries in the present day and need for India to strike balance regarding its multipolarity rhetoric.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context regarding BRICS.

Body:

In the first part, write about the various issues among the BRICS member countries which has brough them at a crossroad. Mention the current limitations of the BRICS bloc and hindrances to achieve its potential.

Next, write about – India has consistently advocated for a multipolar world and emphasized its commitment to strategic autonomy, its foreign policy choices within the BRICS framework have often aligned with major powers like the United States. This raises questions about India’s ability to maintain true multipolarity while also cooperating closely with dominant global players.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward and diplomatic steps needed to be taken in this regard.

Introduction

BRICS is the acronym coined for an association of five major emerging national economies that have similar economic development. The five countries are Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Together, BRICS accounts for about 40% of the world’s population and about 30% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), making it a critical economic engine. It’s an emerging investment market and global power bloc. For India, BRICS is strategic especially in times where there is lot of geopolitical flux.

The 15th BRICS summit will be held from August 22-24, 2023 and Indian Prime Minister will attend it. It will be the first in-person BRICS Summit after three consecutive years of virtual meetings owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Body

Challenges within BRICS

  • Varied Political Structures and values:While Brazil, India and South Africa are democratic, China and Russia are not.
    • Structure of financial systems, levels of income, education, inequality, health challenges also differ substantially within BRICS which makes it hard for them to speak with a unified voice and to co- ordinate action.
  • Different geopolitical agenda: The Brasilia declaration notes shared perceptions on global economic and financial governance. However, their interpretation by each country depends on its national interest in specific circumstances.
    • on expansion of the UN Security Council, BRICS exposed its disunity yet again by sticking to the formulation that refuses to go beyond China and Russia supporting the “aspiration” of Brazil, India and South Africa “to play a greater role in the UN”.
    • Also the China-Pak axis will always be a hindrance for India to fully cooperate with China. China’s rejection of NSG membership to India is an example.
  • Diverging long-term economic goals of member countries:Though the five nations have greatly increased their combined economic heft since the turn of the century, the share is imbalanced.g. Brazil, Russia and South Africa’s shares of global output have actually shrunk since 2000.
    • Despite their combined population accounting for 40% of humanity, intra-BRICS trade still makes up just 15% of world trade.
    • Brazil also took India to WTO dispute resolution wrt sugar production.
  • Ukraine crisis with Russia: The primary agenda of BRICS was rebalancing an international system dominated by the West.
    • However, the Ukraine crisis could act as a distraction from that primary agenda.
    • The geopolitical considerations of its members can come in the way of attaining the grouping’s original goal.

Overcoming the problems

  • Create institutional arrangement: Challenging the economic might of the West in the near future might be close to impossible. Despite the group comprising China, India and Russia, intra-BRICS trade accounts for less than 20 per cent of global trade.
    • BRICS is far from having its own payment mechanisms, international messaging systems or cards.
    • The Ukraine crisis should drive home the need to create institutional arrangements that can cushion against similar financial turbulence in the future.
  • Recalibrate structure and expand: BRICS requires a recalibration of its structure and agenda. Creating financial mechanisms and technological institutions could turn BRICS into a G20 for developing nations.
    • It’s time to revisit the idea of expanding the grouping by inviting new members.
    • This could also impart new vigour to the BRICS’s developmental goals.
  • Economic cooperation between India and China: Economic cooperation between India and China is vital for the success of any future BRICS endeavour. The border conflict has created a mistrust of China in India.
  • South-south cooperation:We need to expand south-south cooperation to share experiences on food and agriculture production and make expanded efforts to share India’s experiences for countries in Africa and Asia.
  • In the current situation, New Delhi is unlikely to take an anti-West stance.
  • India, unlike China, is neither a UN Security Council member nor does it have major sticking points with the West. At the same time, India is not a part of the Western camp.
  • That does open up the possibility of New Delhi taking a more proactive position in BRICS.The two powers need to come together for the sake of global governance reform.

Conclusion

The Ukraine crisis could be an occasion for the leaders of BRICS nations to commit themselves to the original goal of the bloc. It’s an opportunity they shouldn’t let go of. A significant amount of convergence on economic issues is required for BRICS to work as a strong multilateral body that will have a significant effect on global governance.

Value Addition

About BRICS and areas of cooperation

  • Economic Cooperation: There are rapidly growing trade and investment flows between BRICS countries as well as economic cooperation activities across a range of sectors.
    • Agreements have been concluded in the areas of Economic and Trade Cooperation; Innovation Cooperation, Customs Cooperation; strategic cooperation between the BRICS Business Council , Contingent Reserve Agreement and the New Development Bank.
  • Reform of multilateral institutions: BRICS was founded on the desire to end the domination of the western world over institutions of global governance (IMF, World Bank, UN) and strengthen multilateralism.
  • Combat Terrorism: Terrorism is an international phenomenon impacting all parts of the world. Recent developments in Afghanistan stress the need to bridge the gap between rhetoric and action.
    • In this context, BRICS is attempting to shape its counter-terrorism strategy by crafting the BRICS Counter-Terrorism Action Plan.
    • It contains specific measures to fight radicalisation, terrorist financing and misuse of the Internet by terrorist groups.
  • Promoting technological and digital solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals: This will help to improve governance and will also prove beneficial in the current situations e.g. Global pandemic response.
  • Expanding people-to-people cooperation: This will improve gradually once all the travel restrictions are eased.

Significance of BRICS

  • Economically, militarily, technologically, socially and culturally, BRICS nations represent a powerful bloc.
  • 40 per cent of the world’s population: They have an estimated combined population of 3.23 billion people, which is over 40 per cent of the world’s population.
  • 25 per cent of global GDP: They account for over more than a quarter of the world’s land area over three continents, and for more than 25 per cent of the global GDP.
  • Two fastest growing large economies: The grouping comprises two of the fastest-growing nations, India and China.
  • It has proved its mettle to an extent by establishing the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement (CRA).

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Highlight the potential applications of generative Artificial intelligence (AI). Evaluate the challenges posed generative AI. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article discusses the growing influence of large language models in the field of artificial intelligence and their impact on the generative AI market.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about generative AI, changes introduced by it and opportunities and threats posed by 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 generative AI.

Body:

First, write about the changes introduced by generative AI as chatbot which has brought in new aspects to conversational AI.

Next, write about the advantages it brings in various domains such as – education, journalism, search engines, art etc.

Next, write about the limitations of generative AI and adverse effect it can cause in the existing industry.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Generative Artificial Intelligence refers to the capability of artificial intelligence-enabled machines to use existing text, audio files, or images to create new content. The software uses complex machine learning models to predict the next word based on previous word sequences, or the next image based on words describing previous images. “Large language model” – LLMs began at Google Brain in 2017, where they were initially used for the translation of words while preserving context.

Since then, large language and text-to-image models have proliferated at leading tech firms including Google (BERT and LaMDA), Facebook (OPT-175B, BlenderBot), and OpenAI, a nonprofit in which Microsoft is the dominant investor (GPT-3 for text, DALL-E2 for images, and Whisper for speech).

Body

Potential of Generative AI

  • Create realistic images and animations
    • Text-to-image programs such as Midjourney, DALL-E and Stable Diffusionhave the potential to change how art, animation, gaming, movies and architecture, among others, are being rendered
  • Generative AI can be used to compose music and create art
  • Create brand logo: E.g. many startups are exploring services like DALL.E2, Bing Image Create, Stable Diffusion, and MidJourney to create their brand logo
  • Generate text messages ChatGPT to generate news articles, poetry, and even code.
  • AI-assisted drug discovery
  • Generative AI can be used to design and control robotic systems
  • Automate things e.g. Microsoft-owned GitHub Copilot, which is based on OpenAI’s Codexmodel, suggests code and assists developers in autocompleting their programming tasks.

 

Issues Associated with Generative AI:

  • Governance: Companies such as OpenAI are self-governing the space through limited release strategies, and monitored use of models, however, self-governance leaves chances for manipulation
  • Fear of Job losses: automation of tasks that were previously done by humans, such as writing news articles or composing music.
  • Reduced need for human cognition: young children who will see AI as their friend to do their homework.
  • Fear of Societal Biasbeing replicated by AI
  • Issues surrounding intellectual property and copyright: The datasets behind generative AI models are generally scraped from the internet without seeking consent from living artistsor work still under copyright
  • Fear of Misinformation and Mistrust by manipulation of information, creating fake text, speech, images or video
  • Fear of Concentration of Power in the hand of a few companies
  • Risks for national security using automated troll bots, with advanced capabilities

Measures needed

  • Regulation is necessary but not sufficient: A broader approach should be considered to improve Internet safety and integrity.
    • Recent research at the Harvard Kennedy School(Identity assurance framework): Identity assurance ensures trust between interacting parties
    • It verifies the authenticity of the involved entities, enabling them to have confidence in each other’s claimed identities.
  • Regulatory proposal: All digital assistants (aka ‘bots’) to self-identify as such, and to criminalize fake media.
  • Need to make generative AI models more transparent, so that the public can understandhow and why the model is making certain decisions
  • Use of diverse training data, as well as techniques like fairness constraints or adversarial training to mitigate bias.
  • Privacy: Ensuring the privacy of people
  • Accountable governance esp.of BigTech companies using a designated “AI ethicist” or “AI ombudsman”
  • Designing a system wherein humans make the final decisionand AI can be used as a support system
  • Collaboration with civil society and policymakers: To mitigate the impact of Generative AI on -the disruption of labour markets, legitimacy of scraped data, licensing, copyright and potential for biased or otherwise harmful content, misinformation, and so on.
  • Established companies may ensure their AI bots self-identify, and only publish valid information.
    • However, bad actors will simply disregard the rule
      • capitalizing on the trust created by compliant companies.
    • There is a need for a more conservative assurance paradigm,whereby all digital entities are assumed to be AI bots or fraudulent businesses unless proven otherwise.

Way forward

  • As we consider rebalancing between Information integrity and identity assurance: We must recognise that each nation’s values differ and their appetite for different risks will be different.
    • But these differences are manageable within a larger framework.
  • It is the responsibility of global leaders to guarantee the secure and safe deployment of Generative AI.
  • We need to reimagine our safety assurance paradigmand build a trust framework to ensure global identity assurance and information integrity.
    • Beyond regulation,we need to engineer our online safety.
  • We must add rigor and responsibility to developing AI technology, enforce ethical guidelines, conduct regular audits for fairness, identify and address biases, and protect privacy and security.

.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions.

6. Conflict of interest have the potential to erode trust, compromise decision-making processes, and undermine ethical standards. Examine. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Conceptual Tuesdays’ in Mission-2024 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about conflict of interest entails and how its impact.

Directive:

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:

Start the answer by defining conflict of interest.

Body:

Write about the nature of a conflict of interest, emphasizing that it arises when an individual’s personal interests or relationships potentially compromise their objectivity, impartiality, or fiduciary duty. Discuss how conflicts of interest can impact decision-making processes, potentially leading to biased or compromised choices that prioritize personal gain over the greater good. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning ways to overcome the above.

Introduction

“conflict  of  interest”  involves  a  conflict  between  the  public  duty  and  private  interests  of  a  public  official,  in  which  the  public  official  has  private-capacity  interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities.

Body

In such a situation, judgement of an individual could be impaired. A conflict of interest can exist in many different situations. Conflict of interest is seen  as a moral issue and not strictly a legal one accompanied by criminal culpability in India so it is hardly surprising that blatant violations are virtually seen every day.

Example: a public official whose personal interests conflict with his/her professional position. Instances of the largest shareholder appointing himself as CEO, deciding his salary and then appointing his son to a key post and higher royalties to the parent company are some of the serious conflict of interest issues in India which don’t  receive necessary attention.

A judge giving judgement in a case involving his own family member is a case of conflict of interest.

Public servants faces Conflict of Interest due to the nature of their work-

  • Personal vs Professional
    • This is the most common type of conflict of interest arising due to the conflict between personal and professional life.
    • Say, if a public servant is in charge of giving out contracts for a certain project and one of the applicant is relative or friend.
  • Conflicting Responsibility
    • Sometimes public servants are given additional charge, which might sometimes create a conflict of interest with the original line of duty.
  • Conflicting Organisations
    • Sometimes public servants are part of two separate organisations with apparently conflicting objectives and this might put them in certain conflict of interest.
    • Many public servants also volunteer for NGOs during their service. NGOs and governmental organisation sometimes come at odds with each other.

Getting into a situation of conflict of interest is sometimes unavoidable and not a crime in itself if properly handled:

  • Transparency
    • Declaring one’s conflict of interest to the concerned authorities is the best way.
    • It helps civil servant to come clean and concerned authorities can decide further.
  • Assure integrity
    • The concerned authority should be assured of integrity and willingness to serve no matter what the decision is made on the declaration.
  • Maintain objectivity
    • If given the chance to continue working on that case, work with objectivity.
  • Reduce discretion and codify procedure
    • There is a need for legislation to make non-disclosure of a conflict of interest punishable.
    • A private member’s bill (The Prevention and Management of Conflict of Interest Bill, introduced in 2012), the legislation ought to cover all arms of governance, including the judiciary, the legislature and the executive.
    • The recommendation of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Department of Personnel and Training, calling for early retirement if interested in post-retirement private service is established, needs to be implemented, besides increasing the mandatory cooling period to five years so that no undue influence can be exerted by the retired bureaucrat.
    • Also, the reasons for declining their requests for joining such firms need to be laid out clearly, to limit political concerns.
    • An open, public data platform enlisting all post-retirement appointments of civil servants will increase transparency

Conclusion

The priority must be to frame a modern law relating to conflict of interest, along the lines of what exists in the statute of the other countries like the United States and also ensure them to their work ensures ethical governance.

 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. The virtue of integrity serves as a guiding light that shapes decisions, actions, and interactions in ways that promote authenticity, trust, accountability, and a sense of shared values. Analyse. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Conceptual Tuesdays’ in Mission-2024 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how integrity influences personal growth, ethical conduct, and the overall welfare of individuals and society.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start the answer by defining integrity.

Body:

Write about and explain how integrity fosters personal growth by promoting self-awareness, accountability, and consistency between one’s values and actions. Discuss the role of integrity in ethical behaviour, emphasizing how it cultivates honesty, trustworthiness, and respect for others.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Integrity refers to the quality of being honest, having strong moral principles, and consistently acting in accordance with those principles, even when faced with challenges or temptations. People with integrity are known for their reliability, trustworthiness, and adherence to ethical standards. They are guided by a strong sense of personal and professional ethics, and their behavior reflects their inner values, regardless of external influences. In essence, integrity involves being true to oneself and upholding moral virtues in all aspects of life.

 

Body

Contribution of Integrity

  • Personal Growth: Integrity is crucial for personal growth as it involves self-reflection and aligning one’s actions with their values. When individuals consistently act with integrity, they develop a sense of self-respect and build a strong character. By upholding their principles, they become more self-aware and gain a deeper understanding of their own beliefs and values. This self-awareness allows them to make choices that are in line with their authentic selves and fosters personal development and growth.
  • Ethical Behavior: Integrity is closely linked to ethical behavior. It forms the foundation of moral decision-making and guides individuals to act in an honest, fair, and just manner. When people possess integrity, they are more likely to adhere to ethical principles and standards, even in challenging situations. Their actions are consistent with their moral compass, and they prioritize doing what is right over personal gain or societal pressures. This commitment to ethical behavior enhances trust and respect within relationships, organizations, and society as a whole.
  • Overall Well-being of Individuals: Acting with integrity contributes to an individual’s overall well-being. When people live in alignment with their values, they experience a sense of harmony and authenticity. They don’t have to grapple with the internal conflict that arises from behaving in ways that contradict their beliefs. This internal congruence promotes psychological well-being, self-confidence, and inner peace. Additionally, individuals with integrity tend to build stronger relationships and connections with others, fostering a supportive and trustworthy social environment, which further enhances their well-being.
  • Overall Well-being of Society: Integrity is crucial for the well-being of society. In a society where individuals prioritize honesty, fairness, and accountability, trust is established. People can rely on one another, leading to stronger social cohesion and cooperation. Ethical behavior becomes the norm, resulting in a just and harmonious community. Moreover, leaders who exhibit integrity inspire others to follow suit and create positive role models. Integrity helps to prevent corruption, injustice, and unethical practices, which are detrimental to the progress and well-being of society.

 

Conclusion

In summary, the virtue of integrity is essential for personal growth, ethical behavior, and the overall well-being of individuals and society. It fosters self-awareness, moral decision-making, psychological well-being, and the establishment of trust and cooperation. Upholding integrity leads to a more harmonious and just society where individuals can thrive and contribute positively to their communities.


Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE

Please subscribe to Our podcast channel HERE

Subscribe to our YouTube ChannelHERE

Follow our Twitter Account HERE

Follow our Instagram ID HERE

Follow us on LinkedIn : HERE