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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 6 November 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: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Planning, investment, and community engagement are key to ensuring that cities are not only rapidly urbanizing but also developing in a sustainable and inclusive manner. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The article emphasizes the need for improving the quality of life in urban India. It highlights the challenges of rapid urbanization, such as inadequate infrastructure, housing shortages, and environmental degradation.

Key Demand of the question: 

To understand the main issues in the urban areas as well as mention the necessary steps through planning and administration to boost the quality of life in urban areas.

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.

Introduction: 

Begin by giving an account on how rapidly Indian Urban spaces are growing both in terms of population density as well as growing urban spills.

Body:

First, mention the various issues plaguing urban areas such as a need for affordable housing, issues of urban slums, waste management, poor drainage etc.

Next, mention about the important factors on which policy deliberation needs to take place such as balance of urban population density with economies of scale and infrastructural facilities among others.

Next discuss the importance of mobilising funds other than public funds and also some of the essential components of urban planning to include sustainability, improved mobility etc for a well functioning urban space.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the key components for a functional and effective urban city.

Introduction

Urbanization is one of the most common characteristics of economic development. As the economy grows gradually, the process of urbanization depends on the shift of the surplus population from rural to urban areas along with the growth of some industrial urban centres.

In India, the urban population amounts to 461 million people. This number is growing by 2.3 percent each year.

Body

Issues plaguing the urban areas

  • Dwelling crisis: There is a continuous scarcity of housing as the number of people living in metropolitan areas grows.
    • In India, more than half of the urban households occupy a single room, with an average occupancy per room of 4.4 persons.
  • Overcrowding: Overcrowding, urban congestion is a constant, and it is an element that is growing day by day as more people and immigrants migrate to cities and towns in quest of a better living.
  • Unemployment: Lack of highly skilled jobs is most prevalent in metropolitan areas, especially among educated individuals.
  • Slums: Industrialization is fast-paced but there is a shortage of developed land for housing.
    • There are about 13.7 million slum households in the country sheltering a population of 65.49 million people across the country.
    • As much as 65% of Indian cities have adjoining slums where people live in small houses adjacent to each other.
  • Sewage infrastructure: In most metropolitan areas, insufficient sewage infrastructure is observed concerning the rapid population growth.
  • Health crisis: Communicable illnesses like typhoid, dysentery, plague, and diarrhea eventually can spread rapidly.
    • The COVID-19 pandemic is a live example of how overpopulated cities and medical facilities collapse under the weight of a pandemic.
  • Pollution: The need for transportation increases with the increase in population, resulting in traffic congestion and pollution.
  • Urban Heat Islands (UHI): These are significantly warmer urban areas than their surrounding rural areas due to human activities. Urban Heat Island is a major problem associated with rapid urbanization.
  • City infrastructure across India is in disrepair, and 2017 gave us a series of unfortunate examples in Mumbai: multiple building collapses,

Important factors on which policy deliberation needs to take place 

  • Government’s urban development strategy: There two urban related ministries at the national (GoI) level- the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA).
    • The Government of India’s overarching urban development objectives is to create economically productive, efficient, inclusive and responsive ULBs, by focusing on strategic outcomes: (i) universal access to a minimum level of services; (ii) establishment of city wide frameworks for planning and governance; (iii) modern and transparent budgeting, accounting and FM; (iv) financial sustainability for ULBs and service delivery institutions; (v) utilization of e-governance; (vi) transparency and accountability in urban service delivery and management; (vii) Slum-free cities.
  • Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission launched in 2005 (which was replaced by the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation in 2015). The focus of both these missions has been on urban reforms and massive investment in infrastructures, especially in megacities.
  • Smart City: Another very important program for the urban development, especially of megacities, by the Government of India—accompanied by huge investments in these cities—is the Smart Cities Mission, which aims at making the cities ‘smart’ through:
    • Promoting mixed land-use;
    • housing and inclusiveness;
    • creating walkable localities;
    • preserving and developing open spaces;
    • promoting a variety of transport options;
    • applying smart solutions to infrastructure and services in area-based development.

Urbanization must lead to economic development

  • It is estimated that currently (2020), the share of India’s urban population is about 35% of its total population, but the share of total GDP originating from urban areas is about 70-75%.
    • The share of urban areas in India’s total GDP was 45% in 1990, and rose to 63% in 2014
  • It is argued that the rising urbanization will ignite urban consumption, services, and infrastructure, and that the urban focus can put India’s economy on a higher growth path through:
    • Fuelling urban consumption, especially of the premium-end of consumer goods and automobiles;
    • Powering urban services like consumer banking, healthcare, telecom data services, and internet;
    • Driving the infrastructure sector, including civic urban infrastructure services and real estate.
  • Human capital and innovation: Cities are the centres of knowledge, innovation and specialization of production and services. Cities facilitate creative thinking and innovation.
  • Economic Agglomeration: Agglomeration economies are the positive benefits of economic activities that firms obtain from being located in close proximity with those engaged in similar businesses or interests (i.e. agglomerating).
    • It refers to the reduction of business cost as more efficiency and productivity occur because of positive technological and pecuniary externalities arising from the interaction of economic agents located in close spatial proximity due to economies of scale and knowledge spillovers.

 

Conclusion

The point of a city is to facilitate interactions between citizens, businesses, and public institutions. These interactions are what drive economic growth within cities – investments from companies, consumption of citizenry, the city investing in interventions that aid its organic growth, and business activity. These factors work best when they are not mutually exclusive. By investing in the development of sustainable cities, India needs to break away from the myth of the compartmentalized city.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

2.  Do you think Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) system for elections in India can overcome the limitations of first-past-the-post (FPTP) leading to a more balanced representation. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses New Zealand’s voting system and its potential applicability in the Indian context

Key Demand of the question:

To write about MMP system, it advantages over for FPTP, its limitations and applicability in India.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of MMP system for elections.

Body:

In the first part, write about the features of MMP and countries using it.

Next, write about the advantages of MMP system – better representation, reduced regionalism, and better inclusivity etc.

Next, write about the limitations that hinder the applicability of MMP in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion on the above.

 

Introduction

The Mixed-Member Proportional (MMP) system is an electoral system that combines elements of both first-past-the-post (FPTP) and proportional representation (PR) systems. In an MMP system, voters cast two votes: one for a candidate running in their local district (similar to FPTP), and another for a political party or a list of candidates at the national or regional level.

Body

About MMP system

  • The total number of seats in the legislature is divided into two categories: single-member districts and proportional representation seats. The FPTP component determines the winners in the single-member districts, while the PR component is used to allocate seats to parties based on their overall share of the national or regional vote.
  • To ensure proportional representation, parties that receive fewer seats in the FPTP component than their overall vote share would suggest are allocated additional seats from a party list to make up the difference. This helps to correct any disproportionality that may arise from the FPTP component.
  • MMP systems aim to strike a balance between the direct representation of individual constituencies, which is a feature of FPTP, and the proportional representation of political parties, as seen in PR systems. This makes MMP a popular choice in countries seeking to achieve a fairer and more balanced representation of political preferences. Countries like Germany, New Zealand, and Scotland use variations of the MMP system in their respective electoral processes.

 

Advantages of MMP system

  • FPTP Limitations: It can lead to a distortion of representation, favouring larger parties and potentially ignoring diverse political preferences.
  • Balanced Representation: MMP combines single-member districts with proportional representation, allowing for a more accurate reflection of the overall popular vote.
    • This can result in a more balanced distribution of seats in the legislature.
  • Inclusivity and Diversity: MMP provides opportunities for smaller parties and independent candidates to secure representation.
    • This leads to a more diverse and inclusive political landscape, representing a broader spectrum of ideologies and interests.
  • Coalition Building: MMP encourages collaboration and coalition-building among political parties.
    • Parties are incentivized to work together to secure a majority in the legislature, leading to more stable and inclusive governance.
  • Considerations for Implementation: Careful consideration of constituency boundaries, party list systems, and mechanisms to prevent overrepresentation are crucial for the successful implementation of MMP.
  • Voter Education: Voter education is vital to ensure that citizens understand how to effectively utilize their votes in an MMP system.
    • This helps in maximizing the benefits of a proportional representation system.
  • Potential for Stable Governance: A well-implemented MMP system has the potential to lead to more stable and effective governance, as parties are compelled to find common ground and negotiate on policy issues.
  • Ensuring Fairness: Mechanisms should be in place to prevent any manipulation or gerrymandering in the implementation of an MMP system.
    • This is essential for maintaining the integrity and fairness of the electoral process.

 

Conclusion

Thus adopting a Mixed-Member Proportional system in India has the potential to address the limitations of the First-Past-The-Post system. It can lead to a more balanced representation, a greater diversity of voices in the legislature, and foster collaborative governance. However, careful planning, implementation, and voter education are crucial for the success of such a transition.

 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes;

3. The government of India has decided to extend the distribution of free ration under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme (PMGKAY) to ensure food security for vulnerable and economically disadvantaged sections of the population. Do you think it is a prudent move or moral hazard? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the Indian government’s decision to extend the distribution of free ration under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for another five years

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the performance PMGKAY and the comment on the decision of its extension.

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 writing about the aims and the objectives of PMGKAY.

Body:

First, in brief, write about the major features of PMGKAY.

Next, write about the achievements of PMGKAY since its inception. Cite statistics to substantiate. Highlight the role of PMGKAY in the pandemic times.

Next, write about the limitations of PMGKAY and suggest ways to improve it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced view on the extension of PMGKAY.

Introduction

The Union government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to provide 5 kg of free foodgrains per month to 81 crore Indians will be extended for another five years.

 

Body

About PMGKAY

  • PMGKAY is a food security welfare scheme announced by the GoI in March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • The program is operated by the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • The scale of this welfare scheme makes it the largest food security program in the world.

Objectives

  • To feed the poorest citizens of India by providing grain through the Public Distribution System to all the priority households (ration card holders and those identified by the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme).
  • PMGKAY provides 5 kg of rice or wheat (according to regional dietary preferences) per person/month and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card.
  • NFSA beneficiaries are entitled to receive food grains at highly subsidised rates.
  • Under the food law, rice is provided at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg, and coarse grains at Re 1 per kg.

Success of the scheme

  • Pandemic mitigation: It was the first step by the government when pandemic affected India.
  • Wide section of beneficiaries: The scheme reached its targeted population feeding almost 80Cr people.
  • Support to migrants: It has proven to be more of a safety net to migrant people who had job and livelihood losses.
  • Food and Nutrition Security: This has also ensured nutrition security to children of the migrant workers.

 

Limitations and challenges

  • Expensive: It’s very expensive for the government to sustain and increases the need for an abundant supply of cheap grains. In 2022, India has had to restrict exports of wheat and rice after erratic weather hurt harvest, adding to pressure on food prices, and rattling global agricultural markets.
  • Increase Fiscal Deficit: It could pose a risk to the government’s target to further narrow the fiscal deficit to 6.4% of gross domestic product.
  • Inflation: The decision on the program could also affect inflation. The prices of rice and wheat, which make up about 10% of India’s retail inflation, are seeing an uptick due to lower production amid a heatwave and patchy monsoon.
  • Corruption: The scheme has been affected by widespread corruption, leakages and failure to distribute grain to the intended recipients.
  • Leakages: Out of the 79.25 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), only 55 crore have so far received their 5 kg.
  • Inaccessibility: Many people were denied their share due to inability to access ration cards.
  • Low consumption: Livelihood losses led to decline in aggregate demand and resulted into lowest ever consumption expenditure by the people owing to scarcity of cash.
  • Resale of subsidized grains: This in turn led to selling of the free grains obtained in the local markets for cash.

 

Conclusion

The objective is to bring people out of poverty and achieve the sustainable development goal. Food security is key part of poverty alleviation, and it can go a long way in achieving economic equality in India.

 

Value addition

NFSA: National Food security Act

  • The NFS Act, of 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to approximately two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
  • It was signed into law on 12 September 2013, retroactive to 5 July 2013.
  • It converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the GoI.
  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • Further, the NFSA 2013 recognizes maternity entitlements.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and the ICDS are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).
  • Pregnant women, lactating mothers, and certain categories of children are eligible for daily free cereals

 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

4. Bhutan’s engagement with India is crucial in the geopolitical landscape of the region, especially given China’s expansionist ambitions and its attempts to resolve border issues with Bhutan. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Times of IndiaIndian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article highlights the conclusion of the Bhutanese King’s visit to Assam and his forthcoming meeting with the Indian Prime Minister in Delhi, focusing on strengthening diplomatic and bilateral ties between the two nations.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the various areas of cooperation between India and Bhutan and their relations in the context of an expansionist China.

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 a brief history of India Bhutan relations.

Body:

In the first part, write about the various areas of cooperation between India and Bhutan – Treaties and Agreements, Economic Cooperation, Security Cooperation, Cultural Ties, People-to-People Contacts etc. Substantiate with facts and examples.

Next, write about the rise of an expansionist China and its impact of Indo-Bhutanese relations. Write about the ways to manage it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the importance of Indo-Bhutanese relations.

Introduction

The emergence of an assertive and expansionist China has brought about profound shifts in the geopolitical landscape of South Asia. This transformation has rippled through neighboring nations, notably impacting the close ties between India and Bhutan. As China’s territorial claims and assertive behavior have escalated, Bhutan, nestled between two regional giants, finds itself at the forefront of a complex strategic dynamic.

Body

Areas of cooperation between Bhutan and India

  • Hydro-power projects: Three hydro-electric projects (HEPs) totalling 1416 MW, (336 MW Chukha HEP, the 60 MW Kurichu HEP, and the 1020 MW Tala HEP), are already exporting electricity to India.
  • Trade and Commerce:  India is Bhutan’s largest trading partner. India and Bhutan have signed an Agreement on Trade, Commerce and Transit in 2016, which provides for a free trade regime between the two countries aimed at boosting the bilateral trade for mutual benefit.
  • Security Cooperation: During Doklam crisis the two nations stood firmly against the Chinese encroachment strategy.

Importance of Bhutan

  • Bhutan in a buffer state between India and china. Bhutan shares a 470 km long border with China.
  • Strategic importance: The Chumbi Valley is situated at the trijunction of Bhutan, India and China and is 500 km away from the “Chicken’s neck” in North Bengal, which connects the northeast with rest of the country.
  • To contain insurgency in North-East: Bhutan has in the past cooperated with India and helped to flush out militant groups like United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) from the Himalayan nation.

Assured by India for its distinct identity and autonomy since India’s independence Bhutan has been in the good book of India since the very beginning. There has arisen a need to revisit the India’s Bhutan policy and address issues that have come up in the past few years.

 

Rise of expansionist China and impact on India-Bhutan relations

  • India’s concerns: India’s most serious concern with regard to Bhutan normalising relations with China is strategic.
    • Currently, India’s immediate worry is the prospect of Beijing forcing Thimphu to acquiesce to Chinese pressure and give away access or even control over the Doklam plateau.
    • It is pertinent to pay attention to the speed with which China and Bhutan have made surprising success in their border settlement talks.
    • In mid-January this year, the two countries held a fresh round of border talks in the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming – bordering the northeastern Indian state Assam.
  • Challenges for Bhutan: Bhutan faces the challenge of balancing its relations with both India and China. It seeks to engage constructively with both countries, taking into consideration its own interests and national security concerns.
  • Territorial Disputes: China’s territorial claims and assertive behavior in the South China Sea and along its land borders have raised concerns not only for neighboring countries like India but also for Bhutan. Bhutan has a longstanding border dispute with China, primarily focused on the Doklam plateau.

 

Conclusion

The rise of an expansionist China has significantly influenced India-Bhutan relations. Bhutan’s close ties with India serve as a strategic counterbalance to China’s growing influence in the region. While Bhutan aims to maintain its strategic autonomy, it must navigate a complex geopolitical landscape, balancing its relationships with both India and China. The evolving dynamics in this region will continue to shape the future of India-Bhutan relations.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Addressing man-animal conflicts requires a multi-pronged approach that involves conservation, public awareness, and the use of technology-based solutions. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on IndiaInsights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain the major causes for rising cases of man-animal conflict and steps that are needed control 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 with what you understand by Man-Animal conflicts.

Body:

First, write about the reasons for the increase in man-animal conflicts – habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change, human activities, and urbanization.

Write about the various government policies and programmes in this direction. Also, write about the steps that are needed to tackle it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

According to data from the Union environment ministry, more than 1,608 humans were killed in human-wildlife conflict cases involving tigers, leopards, bears and elephants between 2013 and 2017. At least 91 people have lost their lives since 2019 due to elephant attacks in Karnataka. The conflict has resulted in at least 38 unnatural elephant deaths in the same period. A deadly conflict is underway between India’s growing masses and its wildlife, confined to ever-shrinking forests and grasslands, with data showing that about one person has been killed every day for the past three years by roaming tigers or rampaging elephants.

Body

Reasons for rise in Man-Animal Conflicts

  • Unbridled Development: The existing space for Tigers, Elephants and other big wild animals is shrinking due to encroachment of wildlife habitats. Unsustainable land use is the biggest problem in this regard.
    • Animals are increasingly finding their usual corridors and pathways blocked by roads, rail tracks and industries.
    • The Ken-Betwa River interlinking project will submerge 100 sq. km of Panna Tiger Reserve.
  • Urbanization: Urbanization and growth agendas alter landscape dynamics, which has a cascading effect on the ecological dynamics of wildlife.
    • Eg: In the area of Gwal Pahari on the Gurugram-Faridabad Road, for example, the district town and country planning department has issued change of land use permissions
    • Recent relaxations in norms to allow for a widening of highway and railway networks near these protected areas are the new threats
  • Primary reason for the increasing human-animal conflicts is the presence of a large number of animals and birds outside the notified protected areas.
    • Wildlife experts estimate that 29 per cent of the tigers in India are outside the protected areas
  • Poor Enforcement of laws: No buffer zone is maintained between critical wildlife habitats and human settlements.
  • Climate Change and Biodiversity: With the food chain undergoing rapid changes and pool of species declining, the forage is decreasing for wild animals. Hence, they come in search of livestock in fringe areas of human settlements.
  • Less Protected Area: Only 5% of India’s geographical area is in the protected area category. This space is not enough to have a full-fledged habitat for wild animals.
    • A territorial animal like a male tiger needs an area of 60-100 sq km. But the area allocated to an entire tiger reserve, like the Bor Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra, is around 140 sq km.
    • The territorial animals do not have enough space within reserves and their prey does not have enough fodder to thrive on.

Government Initiatives to reduce Man-Animal conflict

  • A network of Protected Areas namely viz., national park, Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves and Community Reserving covering important wildlife habitat have been created all over the country under the provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 to conserve wild animals and their habitat.
  • Wildlife corridors: Wildlife corridors have been developed in many parts of the country.
    • For example: In 2017, to protect elephant habitats, the Odisha government had identified 14 corridors.
    • Tiger corridor around Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserves is built.
  • “Plan Bee”: Indian Railways launched ‘Plan Bee’ to prevent elephantsgetting hurt on rail tracks, thereby reducing the elephant death toll.
    • Nearly 50 buzzing amplifiers have been deployed as part of “Plan Bee” at a dozen “elephant corridors” in the vast forests of Assam, home to nearly 6,000 elephants, 20% of the country’s total.
  • State governments:
    • Assistance to state government for construction of boundary walls and solar fences around the sensitive areas to prevent the wild animal attacks
    • Supplementing the state government resources for payment of ex gratia to the people for injuries and loss of life in case of wild animal attacks.
    • Encouraging state government for creation of a network of protected areas and wildlife corridors for conservation of wildlife.
  • Provisions under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 empower concerned authorities take necessary steps to handle problematic wild animals.
  • Standard Operating Procedures for the management of major problematic animals like tiger, elephant, leopard, rhino etc. are being used by the respective state governments
  • Controlling population: In January 2018, the Environment Ministry has approved “immune-contraception” method to address man-animal conflicts.
    • The immuno-contraception is non-hormonal form of contraception. It causes production of antibodies which in turn prevents conception in animals.
    • Ministry sanctioned over Rs 10 crore for ‘immunology contraception’ of wild boars, Rhesus monkeys and elephants.

Way Forward

  • Community Participation: Local volunteers should be trained to handle with human-wildlife conflicts and organize locals for immediate initial steps till the wildlife rescue team arrives
  • Rescue Teams:Wild Life Rescue Teams equipped with adequate personnel, equipment and communication systems should be present in potential areas of human-animal conflict.
  • Awareness campaign:
    • Hunting of prey animals, such as deer and pig, needs to stop as they form the base for growth of tiger and other carnivore populations.
  • Identifying regular movements corridors of large wildlife, and adequate publicity/awareness to avoid disturbances
  • Compilation of data on conflicts, reasons for such conflicts, best practices of response. Identify hotspots of conflict and keep extra vigil in such areas.
  • Insurance programs for damage due to wildlife.
    • Crop insuranceshould be provided in the event of destruction by wild animals.
    • Livestock insuranceand its scope must be explored.
  • Help locals in constructing barriers, and develop scaring away methods.

 Conclusion

Human life is vital and so is a thriving wildlife that sustains the ecosystem. Harmony between humans and wildlife can ensure protection of both. Conservation and Development must go hand in hand to combat man animal conflict, which in turn will lead to sustainable development.

 

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

6. What are invasive alien species? Analyse their impact on the ecosystem and ways to prevent their spread. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the threats posed by invasive alien species and ways to tackle their spread.

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: 

Start by explaining the term invasive alien species.

Body:

First, Explain the various threats posed by them. Provide examples and present the scenario of harm posed by invasive species in India – threaten cultivable land and wildlife habitats alike, may lead to the conversion of marshy wetlands into dry land. E.g.: water hyacinth, spread into the forests through the corridors created by landslides, affect the soil and destroy the microhabitat of that area

Next, Write about the various government policies and programmes in this direction and ways to prevent their spread.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Invasive alien species are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health. In particular, they impact adversely upon biodiversity, including decline or elimination of native species – through competition, predation, or transmission of pathogens – and the disruption of local ecosystems and ecosystem functions. Examples: Needle Bush, Goat weed, Prickly Poppy, Black Mimosa.

Since the 17th century, invasive alien species have contributed to nearly 40% of all animal extinctions for which the cause is known (CBD, 2006).

Body

Factors leading to Invasive alien species thriving in non-native areas

Intentional Causes of Invasive Species Introduction: Intentional causes are listed below with a brief description.

  • Controlling Pests:Exotic species are introduced in an area to control pests that are ruining the standing crops.
  • Import Pets: Some people import various kinds of animals and keep them as pets. These imported animals are nonnative and often considered alien species.
  • Trading Alien Species:This point represents the economic situation. People are intentionally involved in the international trade of animals, plant species for economic benefits.

Unintentional Causes of Invasive Species Introduction: Unintentional causes also include human activities.

  • Natural Migration:This is also included among many other reasons. Invasive species migrate to new environments where they don’t have competitors/predators.
  • International Trade of Goods:Trading goods inside or outside has also resulted in invasive species introduction.
  • Transportation Vehicles: Transportation vehicles carry invasive species such as ships. They carry aquatic invasive species to new environments.
  • Soil microbial activity Scientists have found that soil microbial activity plays an important role in making invasive species flourish in non-native regions.
  • A recent study published in NatureISME Journal indicates that the plant species considered as invasive in non-native regions, use characteristics to survive and flourish that are different from the ones in their native regions.

Impact of invasive alien species

  • Ecological Impacts: Invasive species can outcompete native species for resources such as food, water, and habitat, leading to a decline or extinction of native species.
  • Some invasive species may become predators of native species, causing declines in prey populations.
  • These disruptions can have far-reaching consequences for ecosystem stability and resilience.
  • Economic Impacts: The annual costs of invasive alien species have quadrupled every decade since 1970. In 2019, the global economic cost of these species exceeded a staggering USD 423 billion annually.
  • Species like Zebra mussels can clog water pipes and infrastructure, leading to expensive repairs and maintenance.
  • Impact on Food Supply: The reduction of food supply is the most common consequence of alien invasive species.
  • Examples include the Caribbean false mussel damaging fisheries in Kerala.
  • Health Implications: Invasive species like Aedes albopictus and Aedes Aegypti spread diseases like malaria, Zika, and West Nile Fever, impacting human health.
  • Water hyacinth in Lake Victoria led to the depletion of tilapia(fish), impacting local fisheries.

 

Measures to control IAS

  • The most cost-effective measure to address the impacts from IAS is to prevent their introduction.
  • This can be achieved by establishing effective and well-resourced biosecurity measures to manage priority pathways of introduction, supported by early warning systems and rapid eradication capacity.
  • Control, containment and – where feasible – eradication, also need to be undertaken to mitigate the impacts from established IAS, including those whose impacts are likely to increase due to climate change.
  • It is essential that a cross-sectoral approach is taken in IAS prevention and management measures. This needs to include the environment, human health, agriculture, fisheries, customs and transport government departments, along with key private sector bodies and civil society.
  • Governments, donors and agencies that fund and implement projects, including projects supporting the SDGs, must ensure that current and potential impacts of IAS are understood so that relevant prevention and management measures can be incorporated into projects.

Conclusion

Ecosystems need to be prioritized according to their vulnerability to climate change and IAS, making it possible to establish measures that will prevent IAS introduction. This should include establishing effective biosecurity measures to manage priority pathways of introduction, supported by early warning and rapid eradication to tackle alien species before they become invasive.

 

Value Addition

International conventions on Invasive alien species

  • Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (2022): Governments have committed to reducing the rate of introduction and establishment of invasive alien species by at least 50% by 2030.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD – 1992): Adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it recognizes invasive alien species as a major threat to the environment, second only to habitat destruction.
  • Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS – 1979): This intergovernmental treaty aims to conserve migratory species and includes measures to control or eliminate invasive alien species already present.
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES – 1975): Focuses on ensuring international trade does not threaten the survival of wild animals and plants; it also considers the impact of invasive species involved in trade.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. Socrates’ emphasis on virtue, morality, and the pursuit of eudaimonia laid the groundwork for subsequent ethical philosophies in the Western tradition. Explain. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: newworldencyclopedia.org

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question: 

write about detailed description of the concept of Eudaimonism, its proponents, few examples and its applicability.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining Eudaimonism

Body:

Detailed description of eudaimonia – a state of happiness and fulfilment. Socrates argued that this could only be achieved through living a virtuous life, which he defined as a life that is guided by reason and governed by ethical principles. Cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Socrates, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived in the 5th century BCE, played a crucial role in shaping Western ethical philosophy. He emphasized the importance of virtue, morality, and the pursuit of eudaimonia, which can be understood as a state of flourishing or living a fulfilling life.

Socrates’ approach to ethics was primarily focused on questioning and examining beliefs and values through a method known as the Socratic method or elenchus. He believed that through rational inquiry and dialogue, individuals could arrive at a deeper understanding of moral concepts and lead a more virtuous life.

 

Body

  • Emphasis on Virtue: Socrates believed that the ultimate goal of human life was to achieve moral excellence or virtue. He argued that a virtuous person is one who possesses qualities like wisdom, courage, temperance, and justice. Socrates thought that by cultivating these virtues, individuals could lead more meaningful and fulfilling lives. He believed that true happiness and well-being are intrinsically tied to the development of moral character.
  • Emphasis on Morality: Socrates was deeply concerned with questions of right and wrong, good and bad. He believed that morality was not simply a matter of following societal norms or religious decrees, but rather a matter of rational inquiry and introspection. He encouraged individuals to critically examine their own beliefs and actions in order to arrive at a clearer understanding of what is morally right and just.
  • Pursuit of Eudaimonia: Eudaimonia, often translated as “flourishing” or “the good life,” was a central concept in Socrates’ philosophy. He argued that the ultimate aim of human existence was to achieve a state of eudaimonia, characterized by a sense of fulfillment, purpose, and well-being. Socrates believed that eudaimonia could be attained through the cultivation of virtue and the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom.
    • Unlike some contemporary notions of happiness, which may be associated with fleeting pleasures, eudaimonia for Socrates was a deeper and more enduring state of well-being that arises from living a life in accordance with one’s highest ideals and moral principles.

Socrates’ approach to ethics was characterized by his method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or elenchus. This involved engaging in dialogues with individuals, asking probing questions, and challenging their assumptions and beliefs. Through this process of questioning and critical thinking, Socrates aimed to lead his interlocutors to a deeper understanding of moral concepts and the nature of the good life.

 

Conclusion

Socrates’ ideas were further developed and expanded upon by his students, most notably Plato and Xenophon. Plato’s dialogues, in particular, provide detailed discussions on various ethical topics, often featuring Socrates as the main interlocutor.

Later philosophers, such as Aristotle, built upon Socratic ideas. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, for example, offered a systematic exploration of virtue, moral character, and the pursuit of eudaimonia. He argued that living a virtuous life was essential for achieving true happiness and fulfillment.


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