Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 September 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 Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. Overcoming caste discrimination is a complex and ongoing process, but with concerted efforts from society, government, and individuals, it is possible to create a more equitable and inclusive world. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discuses casteism in the Indian society.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ill effects of caste discrimination, reasons for its prevalence and ways to overcome it.

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 background about the caste discrimination in modern India.

Body:

First, write about the reasons for the prevalence of caste discrimination in India and factors behind it.

Next, mention the impact of caste discrimination and how it is affecting contemporary society. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to overcome the above issues and empower weaker sections.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Caste system refers to a broad hierarchical institutional arrangement along which basic social factors like birth, marriage, food-sharing etc are arranged in a hierarchy of rank and status. These sub-divisions are traditionally linked to occupations and decide the social relations with respect to other upper and lower castes.

Recently, 18-year-old Dalit student Darshan Solanki died by suicide at IIT Bombay by jumping from the seventh floor of a hostel building, allegedly because of the caste discrimination he faced.

Body

Caste discrimination is still widely prevalent in the contemporary society because

  • Indian society has been bearing the brunt of this social evil since the post-Vedic times and continues to bear despite Constitutional and Legal measures.
  • Hereditary: An individual’s caste is determined by the caste of the family he is born in. It is generally hereditary. One’s caste is unalterable no matter what his/her social position is. One inherits the membership of a caste by his/her birth.
  • Persistence is that ancient inequities and prejudices are slow to change. The higher castes, which exploited the lower castes for centuries, continue to discriminate against them both socially and economically.
  • Sense of caste prestige: Feeling of own caste superiority over other castes Is the main factor. It is people’s strong desire to enhance caste prestige. Members of a particular caste or sub-caste have the tendency of developing loyalty to their own caste.
  • Caste endogamy: Caste endogamy refers to marriage within the same caste. Caste endogamy is therefore responsible for the emergence of the feeling of casteism.
  • Belief in religious dogmas: Due to illiteracy, people are governed by belief in religious dogmas, blind beliefs and superstitions. Due to the practice of ‘Jati Dharma’ they take interest in their own caste. It leads to caste feeling and casteism.
  • Social distance: Especially in rural areas, people belonging to the higher caste maintain social distance from the lower castes.
    • Dalits in rural villages are forbidden in Hindu temples and disallowed with their shoes on in higher-caste neighborhoods.
    • They maintain it through different restrictions like inter-caste marriages, Inter-dinning etc.
    • The ideology of an individual is associated with his caste norms and values. This has given rise to casteism.
  • Caste reservation in higher education and the government has served to perpetuate a system that would otherwise have withered away.

Impacts of Caste system on Indian society:

  • Segmental division of society:It means that social stratification is largely based on caste. Membership to a caste group is acquired by birth, on the basis of which people are ranked in relative to other caste groups.
  • Hierarchy:It indicates that various castes are categorized according to their purity and impurity of occupations.
  • Civil and religious disabilities:Example, lower caste groups had no access to wells, they were restricted from entering temples etc.
  • Endogamy: Members of a particular caste have to marry within their caste only. Inter caste marriages are prohibited.
  • Untouchability: It is the practice of ostracizing a group by segregating them from the mainstream by social custom.
  • Hindered national unity:The caste system and religion developed a parochial feeling and made the people unduly conscious of their own castes/religion.
    • Many a time caste/communal interests were given priority over national interest.
    • Thus the whole system stood against the very concept of national unity.
  • Hinders democracy: Democracy presupposes human equality, but the caste system believed in inequality and there was a hierarchical arrangement.
    • Today caste has manifested into a subject to gain political benefits, like reservation in educational colleges, government jobs etc.
  • Lowered women’s status: The practice of Sati, child marriage etc  were result of caste system. Women were treated as second-class citizens. This patriarchal behaviour is still prevalent today.
  • Violence and conflict: Dalit atrocities, sexual assault on lower caste women etc are result of such discrimination and exploitation which are in turn a result of caste and communal identities deeply entrenched in Indian society

 

How casteism can be removed?

  • Emotional and intellectual appeal to economic determinism, as was advocated by Karl Marx
  • Awareness about Constitutional values, ethics, ill effects of castiesm etc. by debates, nukkad natak, puppetry,
  • Promote and incentivise inter caste marriages as is already done for marrying a SC ST women in some parts of India.
  • Evaluate the existing customs, rituals etc. on thetouchstone of Human Rights. Here judiciary can play a positive role but with due respect to religious feelings.
  • Implement laws and agreements like ICCPR, Protection of human rights, Prevention of atrocities against SC ST etc. with full letter and spirit.
  • Dalit capitalism, check on extra judicial bodies like Khaps etc.
  • Economic empowerment of Dalit through education and ownership of land and capital.

Conclusion

Caste system is a terrible anomaly of society which became more prevalent over time. It is the strong enemy of the concept of social justice mentioned in the Indian Constitution and causes economic, social damage to the country from time to time. Undoubtedly, along with the government, it is the responsibility of the common man, religious leaders, politicians, and civil society to resolve this discrepancy as soon as possible.

Value addition

The evil face of Caste System:

  • Manual scavenging: Manual scavenging eventually became a caste-based occupation, which involves the removal of untreated human excreta from bucket toilets or pit latrines. It has been officially abolished by the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act 2013.
  • Caste based violence in India: Increasing trend of caste based violence are related to instances of inter-caste marriage and assertion of basic rights by Dalits including landrights, freedom of expression, access to justice, access to education etc.
  • Dalit violence: Increasing trend of caste-based violence are related to instances of inter-caste marriage and assertion of basic rights by Dalits including land rights, freedom of expression, access to justice, access to education etc.
    • A group of Dalits were attacked in Una, Gujarat when they had participated in the movement for demand of land ownership for the Dalits.
    • Hathras Gang rape of a Dalit womanwas touted as caste based violence.
  • Jati Panchayat: The status of each caste is carefully protected, not only by caste laws but also by the conventions. These areopenly enforced by the community through a governing body or board called Jati Panchayat.
  • The Concept of Purity and Pollution: The higher castes claimed to have ritual, spiritual and racial purity which they maintained by keeping the lower castes away through the notion of pollution. The idea of pollution means a touch of lower caste man would pollute or defile a man of higher caste.
  • Restriction on Food and Drink: Usually a caste would not accept cooked food from any other caste that stands lower than itself in the social scale, due to the notion of getting polluted.
  • The caste system is a check on economic and intellectual advancement and a great stumbling block in the way of social reforms
  • It undermines the efficiency of labour and prevents perfect mobility of labour, capital and productive effort
  • It perpetuates the exploitation of the economically weaker and socially inferior castes, especially the untouchables.
  • Inflicted untold hardships on women through its insistence on practices like child-marriage, prohibition of widow-remarriage, seclusion of women

Caste conflicts are widely prevalent in politics, reservation in jobs and education, inter-caste marriages etc.

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. Jal Jeevan Mission is a critical initiative for ensuring access to safe drinking water for all in India. However, it must adapt to the unique challenges and disparities across states and regions. Elaborate. (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 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the shortcomings of Jal Jeevan Mission and suggest measures to improve its performance.

Directive word:

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the context. You must be defining key terms wherever appropriate and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the aims and objectives of Jal Jeevan Mission.

Body:

First, write about the various achievements of Jal Jeevan Mission. Substantiate with facts and figures.

Next, write about the various shortcomings of Jal Jeevan Mission in ensuring availability of safe drinking water.

Next, suggest ways to overcome the limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

One of the most significant commitments of the current government is to ensure piped water to every rural household by 2024. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, led by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, 10.2 crore rural households, or about 53% of the eligible population, now have tap water access. 

Body

About Jal-jeevan mission

  • The chief objective of the Mission is to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Jal) to all rural and urban households by 2024.
  • It also aims to create local infrastructure for rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household waste water for reuse in agriculture.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission is set to be based on various water conservation efforts like point recharge, desilting of minor irrigation tanks, use of greywater for agriculture and source sustainability.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission will converge with other Central and State Government Schemes to achieve its objectives of sustainable water supply management across the country.
  • The mission ensures:
    • Functionality of existing water supply systems and water connections.
    • Water quality monitoring and testing as well as sustainable agriculture.
    • Conjunctive use of conserved water.
    • Drinking water source augmentation.
    • Drinking water supply system, grey water treatment and its reuse.
  • Implementation: The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
    • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
    • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.

Shortcomings of Jal Jeevan mission

  • Many rural households are not aware of the benefits of having a tap connection or the process of applying for one. They may also lack the motivation or willingness to pay for the service or contribute to its operation and maintenance.
  • The implementation of JJM requires effective coordination and collaboration among various departments and agencies at the central, state, district and village levels.
  • However, there may be gaps in the institutional arrangements, roles and responsibilities, accountability mechanisms, etc., that hamper the smooth functioning of JJM.
  • There may be a shortage of skilled and trained human resources at different levels, especially at the village level, to plan, execute, monitor and maintain the water supply schemes under JJM
  • The quality of water sources may vary across regions and seasons and may be affected by natural or anthropogenic factors. Therefore, appropriate water quality testing, treatment and monitoring systems are required to ensure safe drinking water for rural households.
  • The operation and maintenance of the water supply infrastructure may pose challenges due to a lack of funds, technical expertise, spare parts, etc.
  • There is also a need for regular surveillance and feedback mechanisms to ensure timely detection and resolution of any technical issues.
  • The Government commissions annual surveys to evaluate the success of the scheme. A recent audit, by a private agency, found that around 62% of rural households in India had fully functional tap water connectionswithin their premises.
  • The survey, however, revealed wide disparities in achievement. Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and Puducherryreported more than 80% of households with fully functional connections while less than half the households in Rajasthan, Kerala, Manipur, Tripura, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Sikkim had such connections.
  • About 75% of households received water all days of the week,and only 8% just once a week. On average, households got water for three hours every day.
  • Moreover, the report mentions a problem of chlorine contamination.
  • Though 93% of the water samples were reportedly free of bacteriological contamination, most of the anganwadi centres and schools had higher than the permissible range of residual chlorine.
  • The implementation of JJM requires substantial financial resources from both the central and state governments as well as the rural communities. However, there may be delays or gaps in the allocation, release, utilization and reporting of funds at different levels due to various reasons.
  • There may be issues related to the convergence of funds from different sources or schemes, such as the 15th Finance Commission grants, MGNREGA funds, Swachh Bharat Mission funds, etc. There is also a need for more transparency and accountability in the financial management of JJM.
  • The provision of tap connections to all rural households may face social barriers or challenges due to factors such as caste discrimination, gender inequality, land ownership issues, migration patterns etc.
  • These factors may affect the access, affordability or acceptability of tap water among different sections of rural society. Therefore, there is a need for more social mobilization and empowerment activities to ensure equitable and inclusive participation and benefits for all under JJM.

Way forward

  • Awareness: there is a need for more information, education and communication (IEC) activities to create awareness and demand for JJM among the rural population.

 

  • Capacity building and technical assistance are required for all stakeholders involved in the planning, implementation, operation and maintenance of water supply systems. This includes central and state governments, district and block officials, gram panchayats, village water and sanitation committees, self-help groups, NGOs, private sector partners, and community members.
  • Adopt innovative technologies: The government need to adopt innovative technologies, especially sewage treatment, in-situ combustion/energy production from human excreta, etc. This will reduce the consumption of freshwater to flush tanks, often seen in urban areas.
  • With the massive deployment of sensor-based IoT systemsfor measurement & monitoring of water supply, testing of water samples for quality and dashboard for data integration and analysis will ensure transparency, assured service delivery, and grievance redressal.
  • Water Security for Development: India should work on groundwater replenishing methods without polluting the sources. Further, village communities and users/owners should start water budgeting to understand and improve water-use efficiency by changing water usage patterns, shifting to less water-consuming crops, and/ or switching to micro-irrigation, i.e., drip and sprinkler systems.
  • Even a small reduction in agricultural use will enhance water availability for drinking and domestic purposes, enhancing the longevity and functionality of water supply systems.
  • Convergence with other schemes: To ensure the long-term sustainability of JJM, the mission has to converge with other schemes such as MGNREGSAtal Bhujal YojanaPradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, etc., to dovetail resources at the village level.
  • JJM should develop a comprehensive and reliable data system that captures the status and performance of water supply schemes at various levels. The data should be regularly updated and verified through independent audits and surveys. The data should also be used for evidence-based decision-making, feedback, and learning.

Conclusion

JJM is a game-changer for rural water supply in India. It has the potential to improve the health, hygiene and socio-economic status of millions of rural households. It also has the potential to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to water, sanitation, health, education, gender equality, etc. However, JJM also faces several challenges such as behavioural change, institutional coordination, technical complexity, social inclusion, etc. that need to be addressed through collective action and collaborative efforts of all the stakeholders. JJM is not just a government programme. It is a people’s movement. It is a mission for Jal Jeevan.

 

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

3. Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) was a significant government initiative in India aimed at achieving the goal of making India open defecation free (ODF). Evaluate its performance. (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 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the successes and limitations of Swachh Bharat Mission in making India ODF free.

Directive:

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 giving a brief about aims of Swachh Bharat Mission

Body:

First, in brief, write about the major components of Swachh Bharat Mission

Next, write about achievements of Swachh Bharat Mission – constructing over 100 million household toilets in rural India, providing over 99% of households with access to toilets, raising public awareness about the importance of cleanliness and sanitation, investing in basic sanitation infrastructure etc.

Next, write about the shortcomings of Swachh Bharat Mission – sustainability of the infrastructure and behavioural change it has created, the substantial funding required to construct sanitation infrastructure, limited attention to waste management, an urban-rural divide in achieving its goals etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to overcome the above limitations.

Introduction

As we completed the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022-2023, much can be said about the progress the country has made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) concerning sanitation. Public-private partnerships are building on successes of the first phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission and setting more ambitious goals for the next phase Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0

Body

Issues in sanitation before Swacch Bharat Mission

  • Low coverage: Till 2014, sanitation coverage in India was as low as 39 per cent. Around 55 crore people in rural areas were without a toilet facility before 2014 and this severely affected the health and dignity of our people, especially women and children.
  • Prevalence of diseases: The greatest and perhaps most significant impact of poor sanitation is on health. Exposure to contaminated drinking water and food with pathogen laden human waste is a major cause of diarrhoea and can cause cholera, trachoma, intestinal worms, etc, leading to the “stunting” of huge swathes of our children.
  • Impact on environment: Poor hygiene and waste management practices also impact the environment with untreated sewage flowing directly into water bodies and affecting coastal and marine ecosystems, contaminating soil and air, and exposing millions to disease.
  • Economy suffers: Poor sanitary practices impact the economy adversely. A study by the World Bank states that the absence of toilets and conventional sanitation costs India 6.4 per cent of its GDP in 2006. The economic impact of poor sanitation for India is at least $38.5 billion every year under health, education, access time and tourism.

 

Objectives of Swacch Bharat Mission

SBM 1.0

  • Open defecation Free India: The launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) by the Prime Minister on October 2, 2014, had a unique goal to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to make the country Open Defecation Free (ODF).
  • Toilet construction: By offering financial incentives for building household toilets, as well as community toilets for slums and migrant populations, the government gave a huge fillip to the toilet infrastructure.
  • Behaviour changes programmes: To bring changes to the age old idea that the toilets in the home were unclean, the government ran several programmes with the participation of the private sector and NGOs to educate the population on the benefits of ODF in what is acclaimed as one of the largest behaviours change programmes in the world.
  • From 2014 to 2020, more than 10 crore toilets were constructed. The country declared itself ODF on October 2, 2019.

SBM 2.0

  • All statutory towns will become ODF+ certified
  • All statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become ODF++ certified ,
  • 50% of all statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become Water+ certified
  • All statutory towns will be at least 3-star Garbage Free rated as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free cities
  • Bio-remediation of all legacy dumpsites.

 

Performance of Swachh Bharat Mission

  • Since its launch in October 2014, the SBM, the world’s largest sanitation program, has changed the behaviour of hundreds of millions of people with respect to toilet access and usage.
  • 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open since the SBM began, down from 550 million at the beginning of the programme to less than 50 million today.
  • Over 9 crore toilets have been built across rural India under the Mission.
  • Over 5.5 lakh villages and 615 districts have been declared ODF, along with 30 ODF States and Union Territories.
  • The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) 2018-19, conducted by an Independent Verification Agency (IVA) under the World Bank support project to the Swachh Bharat Mission Grameen (SBM-G), has found that5% of the households in rural India who have access to a toilet use it.
  • The NARSS confirmed the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of 90.7% of villages which were previously declared and verified as ODF by various districts/States.
  • A recent WHO study reports that Swachh Bharat would have led to the saving of 300,000 lives by 2019 and around 150,000 lives would be saved annually thereafter.

 

Critical analysis

  • ODF status: Overemphasis on toilet construction rather than focussing on all parameters. The ODF status has been mainly awarded to the village, district or state only based on the number of toilets built without mention of termination of fecal-oral transmission and absence of visible feces in the environment as major parameters in the SBM guidelines.
    • The ODF status has been questioned by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India in September 2018 report.
  • Data: It has also been alleged that there is over-reporting of government set targets of toilet construction. Independent surveys show open defecation continues even in areas that the government has declared Open Defecation Free.
    • The government’s own data shows only 14% of the constructed toilets have gone through the second round of verification.
    • High levels of coercion have been used to build the toilets and behavioural change has been slow to follow.
  • Construction issues: There are concerns regarding the durability and quality of construction of toilets. It is observed that fall back rate of ODF declared villages in the past was high because of the non-sustainability of toilets.
  • Toilet usage: SBM has been primarily a supply-side measure aims at construction of toilets. Though there has been considerable toilet construction, the toilet usage stays unsatisfactory in several areas. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4), 2016-17 found that open defecation remained fairly high in the rural areas of the BIMAROU states – Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Orissa, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Cultural/social factors: Religion and caste play a crucial role in determining whether a person is likely to utilize toilets. Open defecation stays a common practice in several rural areas because of cultural and societal factors that shape the behaviour towards sanitation

Swachh Bharat mission 2.0

  • The second phase of the project, which commenced in 2020 and is expected to run till 2025, has set even more ambitious targets.
  • Safe sanitation: SBM(Urban) 2.0 envisions to make all cities ‘Garbage Free’ and ensure grey and black water management in all cities other than those covered under AMRUT, make all urban local bodies as ODF+ and those with a population of less than 1 lakh as ODF++, thereby achieving the vision of safe sanitation in urban areas.
  • Solid waste management: The Mission will focus on source segregation of solid waste, utilizing the principles of 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), scientific processing of all types of municipal solid waste and remediation of legacy dumpsites for effective solid waste management. The outlay of SBM-U 2.0 is around Rs.1.41 lakh crore.
  • The Lighthouse Initiative (LHI):
  • Commissioned by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is to be implemented through PPP, across villages in 75-gram panchayats in 15 states in Phase1.
  • LHI is based on the principle of inclusive sanitation and leaving no one behind.
  • LHI aims to effectively implement solid and liquid waste management structures by employing a participatory and consultative approach through mobilisation of the village communities, corporate, district and block administration and gram panchayat officers. Joint ownership and accountability between local governments, communities and corporates will ensure the success of the initiative.
  • Public private partnership: The India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) is a multi-stakeholder platform that creates meaningful collaborations. These stakeholders include the private sector, government, financial institutions, civil society groups, media, donors, etc. Today, ISC is recognised as the official intersection between the government and the private sector for engagement in helping build solid and liquid waste management infrastructure sustainably.
  • CSR Funding: The private sector will supplement this through CSR funding. Going forward, the ISC will continue to focus on the government’s position with regard to the thematic inter-linkages between WASH and sectors such as health, education, gender, nutrition and livelihoods

 

Conclusion

Sanitation is linked with health, environment and economy. Swachh Bharat mission 2.0 has noble intention. It has to become the citizen’s movement to replicate the success of phase 1 of the mission.

 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

4. Critically analyse India’s potential to become the ‘voice of the Global South,’ given its economic growth, geopolitical influence, cultural reach, and technological capabilities. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article discusses how India played a crucial role in transforming the G20 summit into a forum that better represents the interests of developing countries. India’s efforts led to a more inclusive G20, with a focus on issues important to the Global South, such as development, trade, and climate change, making it a platform that includes more countries from the Global South than the European Union (EU).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the potential and limitations of India to become the capital of global south.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

In the first part, write about the potential of India to be the leader of the global south – strategic location, large population, and growing economy etc. Write about how India can shape the global south. Cite data from recent G20 summit to substantiate.

Next, write about the limitations of India to be the voice of the global south – economic inequality, infrastructure challenges, foreign policy challenges, and environmental issues etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion on the above issues.

Introduction

India is playing an increasingly important role on the international stage due to its growing population and sheer economic might. Today the world is fragmented, torn by crosscurrents, contradictions, and multivalent forcefields, not singular visions. Internal political pressures generated by social divides drive domestic political dominance over addressing global existential imperatives. A close look reveals that the world is one in which the values of the West will continue to have relevance in public discourses and civilizational dialogues. And, today’s world is also one in which voices and perspectives of other cultures will drive differentiation and excellence, not universalism and emulation.

India has staunchly followed strategic autonomy as the only foreign policy measure to not side with any superpower or powerbloc be it either China or USA. Even during Russia-Ukraine war, amidst hycpocritical criticism by the European powers and USA, India did not bow down to the pressure from any quarters neither did it openly support Russia.

Body

Background: Why India can be voice of Global South

  • The Voice of the Global South summit in January 2023 marked an important effort by India to make global governance work for the developing nations, whose concerns tend to get a short shrift in international forums.
  • The forum was also about India reconnecting with a global group of nations that had fallen off the Indian foreign policy radar since the end of the Cold War.
  • Over the last three decades, Indian diplomacy’s focus has been on reordering its great power relations, bringing stability to the neighbourhood and developing regional institutions in the extended neighbourhood.
  • That 120 odd nations attended the meeting underlines the willingness across the Global South to support Indian leadership on addressing the global challenges that have had a massive impact on the condition of the many developing countries.
  • The twin crises produced by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russian war in Ukraine have had a devastating and disproportionate impact on the Global South.

Issues affecting the global order

  • The Russia-Ukraine war is having an outsized impact on the global supply chain impeding the flow of goods.
    • Fuelling dramatic cost increases and product shortages.
    • Creating catastrophic food shortages around the world, particularly acute in low-income countries in Africa. Given that Ukraine and Russia were generally viewed as the granaries of the world.
  • Foreign exchange crisis: Apart from this, nations do face several other problems as well, including, in some cases, a foreign exchange crisis.
    • Many of these problems may have existed earlier but have been aggravated by the ongoing conflict.
  • Churn in West Asia: The Abraham Accords in 2020, which brought about the entente between the United Arab Emirates and Israel, has been the harbinger of certain new trends in the tangled web of relationships among countries of West Asia.
  • Iran as fulcrum: China and Russia are continuously trying to firm their relation with West Asia and with Iran in particular, even when U.S.’s relations with Arab nations appear to weaken.
  • No unity of purpose in Asia: Unlike the unity and the strength displayed by European nations — backed by the U.S. and NATO — to checkmate Russia, there is no evidence of any such unity of purpose in the event that China was to launch a conflict with Taiwan.
  • China-Russia relation: China and Russia appear to have further cemented their relationship and the situation is shifting towards a formal alliance.
  • China’s growing influence in the Pacific region, including in the Indo-Pacific, is further strengthened by the alliance with Russia.

Steps that India must take

  • India has the capabilities to take adequate care of its national interests and play a central role in ensuring peace, prosperity and security around the world.
  • From the era of non-alignment to bilateral strategic partnerships to memberships of multilateral groupings such as SCO, BRICS, QUAD and now I2U2, Indian diplomacy has smartly engineered its move to achieve its national economic and strategic objectives.
  • Under its Neighbourhood First Policy, India has been supplying power to Bangladesh and Nepal while championing a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation electricity grid.
  • Besides, India has been liberal in extending aid to its neighbours whenever required.
  • India must work to a well thought out strategy to achieve its well-deserved place in the emerging world order.
  • India can make a collective call for reforms in the UNSC. If not, then efforts must be taken to make UNGA ultimate authority to decide on international security.
  • India’s presence in Indian ocean and being net security provider in the region is already noted by littoral states and India must go on to leverage this to stop Chinese dominance.
  • Bilateral tie-ups with Japan in Asia-Africa Growth Corridor must come into fruition. Quad can counter Chinese narrative in the South China Sea.
  • India can use its closeness to Russia to negotiate a peace deal with Ukraine.

 

Conclusion and way forward

  • The way to manage the global agenda in a multivalent world order is to accept complexities, contradictions, and contrariness as realities
  • Delink issues from one another to prevent singular difference from overwhelming other functional relations.
  • Decentralize global negotiating forums from one another; devise diverse ways to work on issues that are distinctly different.
  • Encourage varying clusters of country officials to lead on different issues; nurture plurilateral leadership groups by rotating their composition from issue to issue
  • Embrace variety and avoid blocs; invite innovation; focus on substance; and dial back on polemics.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Major crops-cropping patterns in various parts of the country, – different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

5. Analyse the factors contributing to the decline in cotton production in India and propose effective measures to reverse this trend, ensuring sustainability and livelihood security of cotton farmers. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article highlights concerns regarding India’s declining cotton production. It discusses how cotton is a crucial cash crop for India and the textile industry, providing income to millions of farmers.

Key Demand of the question:

To evaluate the reasons for the decline in cotton production and provide practical measures to address the issue, focusing on sustainability and livelihood support.

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 of recent decline in cotton production.

Body:

First, write about the factors responsible for the decrease in cotton production, such as pest infestations, climate change, outdated farming practices, and market challenges etc.

Next, write about the measures to Overcome the Decline – Adoption of pest-resistant cotton varieties, Strengthening of market linkages and access to fair pricing for farmers etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Cotton is a versatile crop known for its white fluffy fibre, oil-rich seeds, and protein-rich seed cake. Cotton in India provides food, feed, and fibre, making it a crucial crop for agriculture and the textile sector.

Cottonseed oil is the third-largest domestically produced vegetable oil in India, following mustard and soyabean. It also ranks second in feed cake production, with soybeans leading. Textile Dominance: Cotton is the dominant fibre in India’s textile industry, accounting for about two-thirds of the total consumption.

Body

Stats about Cotton Industry

  • India is one of the largest consumers and producers of cotton and jutein the world. 95% of the world’s hand-woven fabric comes from India.
  • It is the 2nd largest employment provider after agriculture. India is 2nd largest manufacturer of PPE and producer of polyester, silk and fibrein the world.

Reasons for the decline of cotton Production in India:

ReasonImpact on Cotton Production in India
Development of Pink Bollworm (PBW) Resistance to Bt CottonInitially, Bt cotton protected against pests like the American bollworm and pink bollworm. But by 2014, pink bollworms developed resistance to Bt proteins, causing widespread infestations and yield reductions.
Shift from Non-Bt Cotton CultivationDecreased diversity in cotton varieties increased the scale of infestation.
Pest Infestation Discouraging FarmersFarmers in some states, like Punjab, avoid cotton cultivation.
Ineffectiveness of Traditional InsecticidesConventional insecticides had limited efficacy against PBW larvae, affecting lint quality and yields.

Government initiatives for the Cotton sector in India:

Measures needed to strengthen the cotton crops and industry

  • Mating Disruption as a Solution: “Mating disruption” uses synthetic versions of pheromones to confuse male PBW moths, preventing them from mating with females.
  • Products like PBKnot and SPLAT were approved for this purpose.
  • The Government of India along with the export promotion council has set a long-term target of US$ 100 billion for textiles industry exports by 2025-26 and growing productivity from the current level of around 450 Kg lint per hectare to at least 800-900 Kg lint per hectare.
  • The focus continues to adopt the latest innovative technologies and global best farming practices to enhance productivity and achieve sustainable quality cotton output.
  • For achieving these goals, the emphasis remains to motivate cotton farmers through awareness meetings, timely advisories, and transfer of technology from the lab to the field in the most effective manner by using natural methods and adopting modern scientific farm practices.
  • There needs to be a fundamental change in cropping pattern to the pricing of seeds, along with a host of policy measures to revive as well as to make the cotton industry profitable.

Conclusion

As a crop cultivated in some 12.5 million hectares predominantly by smallholders – and a source of all three Fs – cotton’s importance to India’s agriculture and textile sector is obvious to anybody. While Bt technology gave a huge impetus to production during the first decade-and-a-half of this century, the yield gains from it have been somewhat eroded by the emergence of new dominant pests, especially PBW. The threat of pest infestation has also discouraged farmers in states like Punjab from growing cotton. It only highlights the central role that new technologies – whether GM, next-generation insecticides or mating disruption – will have to play in sustaining the cultivation of this fibre, food and feed crop.

 

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6. While nuclear energy can play a significant role in India’s clean energy ambitions, relying too heavily on it may not be advisable due to the significant risks involved. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the debate surrounding nuclear energy in India. It acknowledges nuclear energy’s clean attributes but emphasizes the risks associated with it, particularly in the context of India’s nuclear expansion plans.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about potential and limitations of nuclear energy in India.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with prospects of Nuclear energy in general.

Body:

First, write about the potential of nuclear energy in India and India’s progress so far with respect to it as well its role in energy security of India.

Next, write about risks associated with nuclear energy and highlight with examples why we shouldn’t depend completely on nuclear. Cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion about nuclear energy.

Introduction

Nuclear Energy plays a critical role in achieving sustainable economic and social development. Modern civilization heavily depends on energy for daily activities. Energy is like a lifeline for the sustenance and progress of the entire world. Nuclear energy plays a vital role in the world economy by generating jobs, income and facilitating trade on a massive scale.

Recently, India issued a joint statement with France that envisioned the co-development of modular nuclear reactors, the kind with interchangeable parts meant for rapid assembly at scale.

Body

Some nuclear disasters across globe:

  • In 2011, multiple reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant suffered severe accidents after an earthquake and a tsunami.
  • The Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine in 1986 is the worst nuclear power plant accident ever in terms of death toll and cost.
  • The Kyshtym Nuclear disaster was a radiation contamination incident that occurred on 29 September 1957 at Mayak, a Nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the Soviet Union. It measured as a Level 6 disaster on the INES, making it the third most serious Nuclear disaster ever recorded behind the Chernobyl Disaster and Fukushima Daiichi Disaster (both Level 7).

Potential of nuclear energy as a source of clean energy:

  • Thorium and Uranium reserves: India has vast reserves of Thorium that can fuel India’s nuclear energy provided appropriate technology. India’s thorium deposits, estimated at 360,000 tonnes, and natural uranium deposits at 70,000 tonnes. The country’s thorium reserves make up 25% of the global reserves.
  • Energy poverty: Although India is the 3rdlargest producer of electricity, about 20 % of the population of the country does not have access to electricity today. The per capita consumption of electricity is very low at about 1,181 kWh per annum, about half of the world average and way below that of advanced countries. There exist shortages in energy and peak power in the range 10-15%.
  • Energy demand: Nuclear energy is a critical part for India’s future energy security. As we know India’s annual energy demand is expected to rise to 800 GW by 2032, it is very important to consider every source of energy in the optimum energy mix.
  • Energy efficiency: Quantities of nuclear fuel needed are considerably less than thermal power plants. For instance, 10000 MW generation by coal will need 30-35 million tons of coal, but nuclear fuel needed will be only 300-350 tons.
  • Economic growth:Rapid economic growth is also critical to achieve developmental objectives and poverty alleviation. A sustained economic growth of about 8 to 10% is needed over the next few decades. As electricity is a key driver for economic growth, it is necessary that there is a massive augmentation in electricity capacity, apart from transmissions and distribution systems.
  • Decrease in Energy Supply:Energy supply has been negatively affected by changing weather patterns. As water reservoirs decreases due to lower precipitation and increased evaporation, capacity for electricity production from hydropower and other water-intensive generation technologies may decline.
  • Climate change:Due to its emission-free nature, nuclear energy can contribute to global efforts under the Paris Agreement. India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has outlined goals to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of its economy by 33-35% by 2030 as well as increase the clean energy electricity capacity to 40% of the total installed capacity in the same period.

Vulnerabilities of nuclear energy and nuclear reactors:

  • In the case of Nuclear Reactors, there is a concern over their safety. The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident in Japan is a testimony to the havoc that can be created by a nuclear leak.
  • A nuclear disaster might leave large swathes of land uninhabitable — as in Chernobyl — or require a prohibitively expensive clean-up — as in Fukushima, where the final costs may eventually exceed $600 billion.
  • Nuclear power generation is not as clean as it is often considered. This is demonstrated in the case of Kudankulam. People have been protesting for decades as they worry that the hot water dispatched from the plant will affect the marine life of the surrounding water sources and subsequently their livelihood.
  • Nuclear power plants are capital intensive and recent nuclear builds have suffered major cost overruns. An illustrative example is the V.C. Summer nuclear project in South Carolina (U.S.) where costs rose so sharply that the project was abandoned — after an expenditure of over $9 billion.
  • Also, to build nuclear reactors, it requires huge amounts of land. This would displace local communities who may not want to leave. Further, it is not easy to rehabilitate them and provide them with appropriate compensation.
  • Pursuant to this, the nuclear industry came to a standstill except in Russia, China and India. However, a revival was seen with global warming becoming ever more apparent.
  • In 2020, a windstorm caused the Duane Arnold nuclear plantin the U.S. to cease operations. The frequency of such extreme weather events is likely to increase in the future.
  • The commercial nuclear supply can lead to proliferation of Nuclear weapons. The fast breeder reactors have a risk of the turning of inert uranium to plutonium, and then using the plutonium as fuel. However, plutonium is a nuclear explosive which can be used for developing a bomb.
  • The recent reports that China is building two more fast reactors have immediately provoked international concerns about China’s possible weapons plutonium production.

Conclusion

Nuclear power can help to improve energy security. For a rapidly developing economy such as India, it can make a vitally important contribution to growth. Besides, nuclear power can also reduce the impact of volatile fossil fuel prices and mitigate the effects of climate change. India needs to come up with a durable energy strategy to meet present and future energy demands of its population and industries.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Work culture, Quality of service delivery,

7. What do you understand by ethical behaviour at the workplace? Recognizing and rewarding ethical behaviour can reinforce a culture of ethics. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about components of ethical workplace culture and ways to build it.

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 describing an ethical work culture.

Body:

Write about the major factors that create and maintain a culture of ethical behaviour – leadership, organizational structure, policies and procedures, training and communication, rewards and recognition, organizational values, and industry norms and regulations.

Next, write about ways to build ethical workplace culture and environment.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Work Culture or Organization Culture is set of collective beliefs, values, rules and behaviour which organisation as whole conforms to. In a layman approach it is culture that a group as an organisation follows. Culture varies with family, region, social class and hence in work environment.

Body

Components of an ethical workplace culture and environment

  • Priority to employee rights
  • Fair procedures and treatment
  • Equity in pay and promotion,
  • Promotes tolerance, compassion, loyalty and honesty in the treatment of customers and employees.

Ways to build ethical culture at workplace

  • A clear expectation for behaviour among all members of an organization is the first step towards a more ethical organizational culture.
  • Organizational leaders must be mindful of their actions as others in the organization will likely follow their lead when it comes to ethical behaviour and attitudes.
  • Offering opportunities for recognition, awards, and social reinforcements for desirable ethical behaviors’ can go a long way to promote the types of ethical culture desired in any organization.
  • Workshops, easy to use reference materials, ongoing and readily available consultation from peers or mentors are just some of the many ways institutions can assist in training students and staff to best use the tools that are available to them to participate in better and more thoughtful ethical decision making.
  • Ethical ambiguities can be reduced by creating and disseminating an organizational code of ethics. It should state the organization’s primary values and the ethical rules that employees are expected to follow.
  • The organization needs to provide formal mechanisms so that employees can discuss ethical dilemmas and report unethical behaviour without fear of reprimand. This might include creation of ethical counsellors, ombudsmen, or ethical officers.

Measures I would take to make workplace more ethical

  • Lead by example:a leader leads from the front. We should be able to do what we preach and is the best way to motivate our subordinates. e.g. SAM MANEKSHAW, valor of Alexander
  • Persuasion:Senior can persuade the subordinates by making them informed about values and output they would create if they perform better. If subordinate understand what tangible their efforts would lead, they get motivated and work toward achieving that goal.
  • Fairness:we should be fair in the task allocation and should treat all our subordinates in a fair manner irrespective of their background. e.g. without any differences of caste or creed
  • Transparency:a public servant should be transparent in his working and should be open to suggestions.
  • Flexibility:we should be flexible, open to suggestions and should hear suggestions from experienced subordinates. this would give them recognition and at the same time would be beneficial for the organization.
  • Recognition:give recognition to the employees who have worked on the ground will motivate them to work even harder the next time. e.g. mayo hawthorne experiment
  • Incentivization:Incentives whether financial or awards create an atmosphere of competitiveness among subordinates and therefore they get motivates and improve their performance.
  • Employee engagement:in various constructive activities will help them to channelize their energies in the right direction. e.g. doing some activities with the employees
  • Grievance redressal:keeping some part of the day especially for hearing and solving grievances will help them to be self-motivated. e.g in armed forces officers have daily some time for the grievance redressal of the jawans.
  • Adopting physical fitness and healthy lifestyle culture, yoga-meditation so that people can be physically and emotionally fit to perform their duties. Making motivational courses intrinsic part of training.

Conclusion

A self-motivated worker will work his heart out for the betterment of the organizations and leaders should strive their best to achieve it.


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