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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 December 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: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

1. India intervened in the conflict between East and West Pakistan on moral and humanitarian grounds, witnessing the massive humanitarian crisis unfolding in East Pakistan. Examine the causes of Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 and reasons which led to India’s victory in it. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

On December 16, 1971, at precisely 1655 hours IST, Lt Gen AAK Niazi, Commander of the Pakistan Eastern Command, signed the Instrument of Surrender in the presence of Lt Gen JS Aurora, GOC-in-C of the Indian Eastern Command, in Dacca (now Dhaka).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the causes for Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 and to explain reasons for India’s victory.

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 the conflict between east and west Pakistan.

Body:

In the first part, write about the reasons for the outbreak of the war. Ethnic clashes, Economic disparities, Political asymmetry, Language issue and the immediate cause etc.

Next, write about the reasons for India’s involved in the war – opportunity of the century, countering Pakistan, Bengali movement for autonomy and shared heritage, refugee crisis, security threats etc.

Next, write about the reasons for India’s victory over Pakistan.

Conclusion:

Link the outcome to present day and Bangladesh celebrated 50 years of its Liberation movement.

Introduction

On December 16, 1971, at precisely 1655 hours IST, Lt Gen AAK Niazi, Commander of the Pakistan Eastern Command, signed the Instrument of Surrender in the presence of Lt Gen JS Aurora, GOC-in-C of the Indian Eastern Command, in Dacca (now Dhaka).

Bangladesh War of Independence was a revolution and armed conflict sparked by the rise of the Bengali nationalist and self-determination movement in East Pakistan. Bangladesh’s independence has been considered India’s most successful neighbourhood intervention.

Body

The causes that led to the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971

  • Economic Prowess of East Pakistan:
    • Most of the foreign exchange was earned by exports from East Pakistan which was poorly defended when the big war of 1965 with India was fought.
  • Disparity of Governance:
    • Punjab and the Punjabi-dominated army ruled Pakistan soon after the birth of Pakistan.
    • The services were also dominated by Punjabis through quotas but East Pakistan dominated in literacy and high education.
    • Top seats in the civil services exams always went to East Pakistan.
  • Military Rule:
    • General Ayub Khan took over Pakistan in 1958, the East Pakistan’s needs and demands were completely suppressed.
    • Until 1962, martial law continued and Ayub purged a number of politicians and civil servants from the government and replaced them with army officers.
  • Distance factor:
    • Pakistan couldn’t tackle the strange phenomenon of being divided by a thousand miles of India.
  • Six-Point Program discarded:
    • The six point program of Mujib-Ur-Rahman in 1966 for economic and political autonomy of East Pakistan was discarded.
  • Imposition of Urdu:
    • Urdu was made the “National Language” of Pakistan. The requests from East Pakistan and option of Arabic were turned down.
  • Genocides and Refugee Problems:
    • There was a systematic ethnic slaughter which qualified as genocide. There was clear ethnic or religious targeting of the Hindu minority among the Bengalis.
    • By July-August 1971, 90% of the refugees were Hindus concentrated in the border districts of West Bengal with large Muslim populations.
    • The Response of West Pakistan to 1970 cyclone which ravaged East Pakistan was minimal and lacked compassion.
  • Immediate Cause:
    • The Awami League, led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, won a landslide victory in the national elections in 1971 and demanded autonomy for East Pakistan.
    • This victory also gave it the right to form a government, but Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party refused to let the Sheikh become the Prime Minister of Pakistan. This initiated the war.

India was compelled to intervene in the Bangladesh War of 1971 due to various strategic, domestic, economic and humanitarian factors.

  • Strategic:
    • Having a hostile West Pakistan and East Pakistan on both sides of its borders was a strategic concern for India.
    • This was compounded by the strain in Sino-Indian relations which culminated in the war of 1962.
    • Unprovoked military aggression by Pakistan on the North-West India in 1972 needed to be responded in a stringent manner.
    • Therefore, the intervention in 1971 was necessary to safeguard the long term strategic interests.
  • Domestic:
    • The constant influx of migrants from East Pakistan was creating various problems in the Border States.
    • The resources were limited and there was constant struggle between locals and refugees over the use of these resources.
    • Besides there were various other ethnic and social problems due to this inflow of migrants.
  • Economic:
    • The country was spending huge resources to absorb these refugees.
    • Being a closed economy, India was not in a position to continue spending resources for long and hence a long term solution to the problem was needed.
    • Beside, having a hostile East Pakistan was hindering the development of north-eastern part of the country due to limited connectivity.
  • Humanitarian:
    • Lastly the atrocities committed on the people of East Pakistan forced India to intervene in the conflict on humanitarian ground to prevent a large scale crisis.

 

Factors that led to India’s victory over Pakistan

  • Timing of war
    • India chose to fight against Pakistan in the winter months when the Himalayan passes were snowbound thus cutting China’s military support to Pakistan.
  • Decisive Leadership
    • Indira Gandhi had been a hawkish leader known for her firm decisions.
    • Her stand didn’t collapse even under US pressure by 7th Fleet Naval mobilization threat.
  • Astute Diplomacy
    • The then Prime minister Indira Gandhi sought international opinion to the cause of Bangladesh and made aware of India’s unbearable burden of refugees.
    • She build a consensus to force a UN resolution condemning the Pakistani atrocities in Bangladesh.
  • Military assistance
    • India not only gave sanctuary to the Bangladeshi government-in-exile but also trained and equipped the Mukti Bahini.
    • Large-scale usage of Indian Air Force compared to 1962 War against China.
    • Success of operations conducted by navy on western fronts by attacking Karachi and blockading of eastern front by naval ships.
  • Mutual cooperation
    • Mutual cooperation between Indian armies and Bangladeshi local population in the East Pakistan making it difficult for Pakistani armies to survive there.
  • Friendship treaty
    • To secure itself against a possible U.S.-China intervention in case events led to war, India signed on August 9 a 20-year Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation.

Conclusion

India played the great role in emergence of independent Bangladesh and was the first country to recognise Bangladesh as separate state. India’s humanitarian intervention in Bangladesh has shaped South Asia, made it a responsible power in the region. India’s links with Bangladesh are civilisational, cultural, social and economic. The shared colonial legacy, history and socio-cultural bonds demand that the political leadership of the two countries inject momentum into India-Bangladesh relations.

 

Topic: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

2. Agglomeration industries have been analyzed in the literature as drivers of economic growth, as these contribute to productivity enhancement. Elaborate on the reasons as to why firms agglomerate? (250 words)

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To bring out the reasons for agglomeration by industries and firms.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin the answer by defining agglomeration industries. Cite few examples of Agglomeration Industries in India such as Diamond Agglomeration of Surat, Transportation Industry of Namakkal etc.

Body:

In the first part of the body, elaborate upon Agglomeration industries as drivers of economic growth. From improved access to market centers to from enhanced intra-industry linkages and inter-industry urbanization economies, which all enhances productivity.

In the next part of the body, bring out in detail, the factors responsible for agglomeration of Industries such as Proximity to Customers and Suppliers, Labor Market Pooling, Intellectual or Technology Spillovers, Natural Advantages, facilities for the development, local trade of specialized inputs and better availability of public intermediate inputs tailored to the technical needs of the industry. Substantiate these with examples from India and across the world.

Conclusion:

Summarize the overall importance of agglomeration industries, especially in their role in urbanization and conclude the answer.

Introduction

Industries based on cheap, bulky and weight-losing material (ores) are located close to the sources of raw material such as steel, sugar, and cement industries. Many industries benefit from nearness to a leader-industry and other industries. These benefits are termed as agglomeration economies.

Body:

Agglomeration Economies as factors of Economic Growth:

Agglomeration economies or external economies of scale refer to the benefits from concentrating output and housing in particular areas.

If an area specialises in the production of a certain type of good, all firms can benefit from various factors such as:

  • Good supply networks
  • Supply of trained workers
  • Infrastructure built specifically for the industry
  • Good transport links.

Due to agglomeration economies, people and firms often concentrate in particular areas. For example, people tend to move to cities where is there is a greater choice of jobs, social activities and specialist services

Examples of Agglomeration Economies:

Silicon Valley. IT setups tend to cluster in similar regions, such as Silicon Valley California, and major cities, like London. The reason is that these areas attract highly skilled IT personnel and it is easier to recruit the right staff. Also, the support infrastructure will surround the areas. There will be a competitive market for designers, software engineers, and proof readers.

Chinese clothing manufacturers. China has seen a strong growth in manufacturing industries on the south-east coast. These areas have good transport links for exporting to the rest of the world. Also, the areas have attracted migrant flows from northern China, enabling wage costs to remain low

Factors responsible for the agglomeration of manufacturing industries in India:

  • The most dominant factor of industrial location is the least cost.
    • Cost of obtaining raw materials at site: Manufacturing activity tends to locate at the most appropriate place where all the raw materials of production are either available or can be arranged at lower cost.
  • Cost of production at site: These are influenced by availability of labour, capital, power, etc. Thus industrial location is influenced by the costs of availability of these factors of production.
  • Cost of distribution of production: The distance of industry from market influence the transportation costs. Transportation costs influence the cost of distribution of production.
  • Raw materials:
    • Indeed, the location of industrial enterprises is sometimes determined simply by location of the raw materials.
    • Finished product of one industry may well be the raw material of another. For example, pig iron, produced by smelting industry, serves as the raw material for steel making industry.
  • Power:
    • Regular supply of power is a pre-requisite for the localisation of industries. Coal, mineral oil and hydroelectricity are the three important conventional sources of power.
    • The iron and steel industry which mainly depends on large quantities of coking coal as source of power are frequently tied to coal fields.
  • Transport:
    • Transport by land or water is necessary for the assembly of raw materials and for the marketing of the finished products.
    • The development of railways in India, connecting the port towns with hinterland determined the location of many industries around Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
  • Market:
    • The entire process of manufacturing is useless until the finished goods reach the market. Nearness to market is essential for quick disposal of manufactured goods.
    • It helps in reducing the transport cost and enables the consumer to get
    • Things at cheaper rates.
  • Water:
    • Water is another important requirement for industries. Many industries are established near rivers, canals and lakes, because of this reason.
    • Iron and steel industry, textile industries and chemical industries require large quantities of water, for their proper functioning.
  • Site:
    • Site requirements for industrial development are of considerable significance. Sites, generally, should be flat and well served by adequate transport facilities.
  • Climate:
    • Climate plays an important role in the establishment of industries at a place.
    • Harsh climate is not much suitable for the establishment of industries. There can be no industrial development in extremely hot, humid, dry or cold climate.
  • Capital:
    • Modern industries are capital-intensive and require huge investments. Capitalists are available in urban centres.
    • Big cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Chennai are big industrial centres, because the big capitalists live in these cities.

Additional capacities are being planned to be installed in all the major manufacturing units.

  • Government Policy:
    • Government activity in planning the future distribution of industries, for reducing regional disparities, elimination of pollution of air and water and for avoiding their heavy clustering in big cities, has become no less an important locational factor.
    • A public procurement policy has been proposed incorporating technology along with common facility centres while the Khadi Mark steps has been launched to promote Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • Banking Facilities:
    • Establishment of industries involves daily exchange of crores of rupees which is possible through banking facilities only. So the areas with better banking facilities are better suited to the establishment of industries.
  • Insurance:
    • There is a constant fear of damage to machine and man in industries for which insurance facilities are badly needed.

Conclusion:

Policies in the form of taxation concession, stable policy, cheaper land, administrative ease and good governance facilitates the development of Industrial clusters. In pursuance to this GOI passed the Special Economic Zones Act, in 2005. Further Government has established National Investment and Manufacturing Zones for increasing the manufacturing share in country’s GDP. Governments adopt ‘regional policies’ to promote ‘balanced’ economic development and hence set up industries in particular areas.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

3. The current structure of UN Security Council (UNSC) is often criticized for being undemocratic, as it grants veto power to a select few, giving them disproportionate influence. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The continued US support for Israel has been noted at the UN. It vetoed a resolution of the UN Security Council that called for a ceasefire the previous week.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about key issues in UNSC, various reform proposals, and their potential implications.

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 giving a brief context of UNSC.

Body:

First, write about the primary issues that prompt discussions about UNSC reform, including the Council’s composition and the veto power of its permanent members. Discuss the need for increased representation of African, Asian, and Latin American countries.

Next, write about the various limitations that hinder the above. Challenges and obstacles that have hindered UNSC reform efforts, including differing national interests and concerns about dilution of power.

Conclusion:

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

Introduction

The UN Security Council is the premier global body for maintaining International peace and security. The Security Council, the United Nations’ principal crisis-management body, is empowered to impose binding obligations on the 193 UN member states to maintain peace. The Security Council, the United Nations’ principal crisis-management body, is empowered to impose binding obligations on the member states to maintain peace.

India has time and again criticised the slow pace of UN Security Council reform process and opaque methodologies, non-attribution of assertions and obfuscation of references by the member states which are blocking the early reform of the UN. The continued US support for Israel has been noted at the UN. It vetoed a resolution of the UN Security Council that called for a ceasefire the previous week.

Body

India and UNSC

  • India has adopted a multi-layered strategy to assume the long-awaited permanent seat in the Security Council consisting of two components:
    • Maximising support in the UN General Assembly and Minimising resistance in the UN Security Council.
  • India hopes that its continued engagement at various Global South forums such as G 77 and NAM, African Union would garner much needed numbers in the UNGAThis is reflected in India’s strong defence of the principle of sovereignty and the constant voluble criticism of the “Responsibility to Protect.”
  • India’s growing strategic partnerships with the P5, growing economic strength, including the nuclear deals with US, Russia paints a favourable picture for Indian Explicit public declarations supporting India’s candidature as a permanent member in the Council are reiterated by countries like France, UK.
  • India has also formed the G4 with Brazil, Germany, and Japan, its “coalition of the willing”, and a “collaborative strategy” to negotiate reforms of the Council. The four nations support each other’s bids for permanent seats on an expanded Security Council.

Need for UNSC reforms

  • Membership: The current membership of UNSC reflect post-WWII structure. It doesn’t actually reflect the changes that have occurred in the international system after the end of the cold war.
    • Emerging nations like India, Brazil, South Africa etc needs representation in the UNSC as permanent members.
    • The existing membership reflects a regional imbalance, with no representation from Africa or Latin America and Europe being over-represented in the council.
  • Changed Geopolitics: The Security Council’s membership and working methods reflect a bygone era. Though geopolitics have changed drastically, the Council has changed relatively little since 1945, when wartime victors crafted a Charter in their interest and awarded “permanent” veto-wielding Council seats for themselves.
  • Reforms Long Overdue: It was expanded only once in 1963 to add 4 non-permanent members.
    • Although the overall membership of the UN has increased from 113 to 193 but no change in the composition of the UNSC happened.
  • Inequitable economic and geographical representation: While Europe is over represented, Asia is under represented. Africa and South America have no representation at al
  • Crisis of legitimacy and credibility: Stalled reform agenda and various issues including its Interventions in Libya and Syria in the name of responsibility have put the credibility of the institution in jeopardy.
  • North South Divide: The permanent UNSC membership of portrays the big North-South divide in the decision making of security measures.
    • For instance, there is no permanent member from Africa, despite the fact that 75% of its work is focused on Africa.
  • Emerging issues: Issues such as transnational threats, deepening economic interdependence, worsening environmental degradation also call for effective multilateral negotiations based on consensus yet all critical decisions are still being taken by the veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council.

Way forward

  • The imbalances in power relationships among P5 and the rest of the world needs to be corrected urgently.
  • Also, it is needed to reform the Security Council through an expansion in permanent and non-permanent seats to enable the UN organ to better deal with the “ever-complex and evolving challenges” to the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • India as the current one of the non-permanent members of the UNSC can start by drafting a resolution containing a comprehensive set of proposals for reforming the UNSC.

Value Addition

India’s stature to get permanent membership

  • Founding member of UN.
  • World’s largest democracy and both demographically and geographically holds a significant position.
  • One of the fastest growing large economies in the world.
  • One of the largest contributors to UN peace keeping missions and India suffered highest number of fatalities over the years, which is acknowledged time and again.
  • India is seen as a responsible power, which adheres to rule of law, global norms. India’s elevation will make UNSC more credible, representative.

 

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

4. Examine the factors behind increasing cases of farmer suicides. What are the policy measures that are needed to prevent them? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express ,  Insights on India

Why the question:

The number of suicides by farmers in India continues to be high. Maharashtra, which traditionally held the top slot among all states, reported 2,366 suicides by farmers during the first 10 months of 2023.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about causes of farmer suicides and measures needed to prevent them.

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 statistic regarding farmer suicides in India.

Body:

First, write about the causes of farm suicides – Low per capita land, indebtedness, high loan rates, high costs of production and labour, inability to pool up resources, need for hiring labor due to shortage of time, low agriculture products prices and low MSPS, decreasing water tables and increasing  costs of pumping water out, economic exploitation by dealers selling agriculture equipment, seeds, fertilizers etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to prevent farmer suicides.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The number of suicides by farmers in India continues to be high. Maharashtra, which traditionally held the top slot among all states, reported 2,366 suicides by farmers during the first 10 months of 2023.

Several socio-economic factors have enabled an environment vulnerable to distress in the agricultural belts of the nation. Unable to cope with mounting debt and the inability to take care of their families, many choose to end their lives.

Body

Factors behind increasing cases of farmer suicides

  • Plummeting incomes, mounting debt, and high interest rates (particularly of non-institutional sources) have pushed the peasantry towards deprivation
  • The high debt burdenwas the primary reason behind 75% of farmer suicides.
  • Large chunk of persons were underemployed or disguisedly unemployedduring 2016–17 in Punjab.
  • The mismatch between farm inputs and output prices, crop failures, and unfavourable terms of trade between prices paid and received by the farmers have contributed fairly to declining farm incomes.
  • Cost of cultivation:
    • The MSP of wheat and paddy increased at the rate of 2% per annum while the cost of cultivation increased at the rate of 7.9% during the last one and a half decades.
  • With a growth rate of around 1.6% (during 2012–17) and the stress on natural resources, thefarm sector is trapped in a vicious circle of crisis. Expectedly, small farmers are the worst sufferers.
  • Due to the declining water table, the cost of irrigation structures has increased as the farmers have to replace centrifugal pumps by costly submersible pumps.
  • According to the Niti Aayog, in 2022-23, of the 21 crore hectares of sown area across India, 11.5 crore hectares had access to irrigation—54.76% against 47.80% in 2013-14.
  • The farmers are being exploited by traders and dealers providing them spurious seeds and agrochemicals.
  • Agriculture in Punjab suffers from mono-crop culture of mainly wheat and paddy. With this cropping pattern, farming itself is becoming an unviable occupation, due to rising fixed and variable input costs, and low remuneration leading to falling profit margins.
  • Cost of inputs:
    • Variable costs increase due to rising prices of inputs like fertilisers, pesticides, weedicides, diesel etc.
    • Fixed costs like installation and deepening of submersible pumps due to the dipping water table increase the financial woes of farmers.
    • For a small and marginal farmer, it is economically unviable to make such investments, especially by borrowing from informal sources at high rates of interest
  • Data Anomaly:
    • Existing studies have analysed the intensity of farmer suicides in isolation, i.e. without comparing farmer suicides with those by other professionals

Policy measures needed to prevent farmer suicides

  • The “Scheme for Debt Swapping of Borrowers” should be made more effective for converting the non-institutional debt into institutional debt.
  • The AMSCs should be set up at every village to provide custom-hiring services to small farmers on a priority basis.
  • Quality farm inputs like seed, fertilisers, and pesticides must be supplied to the farmers at subsidised prices.
  • Rationalisation of subsidies, especially in favour of small farmers may control appreciating farm costs and making small farming viable.
  • For alternative employment, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme should be effectively implemented by ensuring stipulated annual employment of 100 days, rather than the existing 30 days, to each family in the state.
  • Identifying and developing crop niches that will encourage allied activities in appropriate agro-climatic zones of the state, and developing cooperative primary processingand marketing units for crops and activities in these zones can help improve the economic well-being of the farmers.
  • Effective irrigation facilities should be provided. Drip and sprinkle irrigation should be popularized. Canals should be built to reach deep into villages.
  • Using Information technologies and electronic media (like DD Kisan channel) to spread awareness about government schemes and monsoon predictions.
  • Skill Development of farmers, so that they can develop alternative sources of income. Government should initiate alternative employment generation programmes.
  • Land pooling, where lands of small farmers can be pooled into a larger piece, and benefits can be maximized.
  • Effective implementation of various government schemes like pradhan Mantri Krishi sinchai yojana, pradhan Mantri fasal bima yojana and Soil Health Card scheme.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Oil spills pose a severe threat to marine ecosystems. Preventing oil spills through stringent safety measures and regulations remains a crucial aspect of minimizing their impact on the environment. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

Cyclone Michaung, forced the Tamil Nadu government to not only deal with the problem of heavy flooding, but also turn its attention to the wetlands of the heavily industrialised Ennore-Manali region in the northern part of the city where oil had spilled over from the premises of a public sector refinery.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about oil spills and discuss their impact while also discussing methods through which they can be cleaned.

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: 

Define what oil spills are.

Body:

First, write about the impact of oil spills – environmental, economic, and social impacts. Cite facts and examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the measures that are required to mitigate the impact of oil spills.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

OECD defines an oil spill as oil, discharged accidentally or intentionally, that floats on the surface of water bodies as a discrete mass and is carried by the wind, currents and tides. Oil spills can pollute land, air, or water, though it is mostly used for oceanic oil spills. This can result from various sources in the oil and gas value chain from mining to transportation as seen in events like Deepwater Horizon and Exxon Valdez spills.

Cyclone Michaung, forced the Tamil Nadu government to not only deal with the problem of heavy flooding, but also turn its attention to the wetlands of the heavily industrialised Ennore-Manali region in the northern part of the city where oil had spilled over from the premises of a public sector refinery.

Body

Oil spill: An Environmental Hazard

When an oil spill occurs, many elements of the environment may be affected. Depending on the magnitude of the spill and its location, the effects can vary, ranging from minimal to serious ones.

  • Ecosystem Destruction:Oil spills can have a major impact on the temporary animal and fish loss of habitat. Heavy oils may affect several organism functions like respiration, feeding, and thermo-regulation.
    • At the same time, the entire ecosystem can change temporarily because of the chemical components and elements of the spilled oil that are toxic to the environment.
    • If an aquatic oil spill is substantial enough (such as in the case ofExxon Valdez 1989 spill or the April 2010 BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico from offshore drilling) then the effects on marine life, birds, humans and ecosystems (including marshes and wetlands, as well as shorelines or gulf coasts) could be serious.
  • There are immediate effects on humans, fish, animals, birds and wildlife in general, mainly due to:
    • direct contact with the spilled oil including breathing of volatilized oil components (hydrocarbons) from the spill;
    • direct contact with the environment polluted with spilled oil components (some of which may persist a long time), such asdrinking polluted water or breathing polluted dust particles;
    • consumption of polluted food – at any level within the food chain, with a higher risk for food pollution at the higher levels of the food chain, i.e. humans and animals.
    • If the oil washes into coastal marshes, mangrove forests, or other wetlands, fibrous plants and grasses absorb oil, which can damage plantsand make the area unsuitable as wildlife habitat.
      • : Despite massive clean-up efforts following the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, a 2007 study conducted by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that26,000 gallons of oil were still trapped in the sand along the Alaska shoreline.
    • Although some organisms may be seriously injured or killed very soon after contact with the oil in a spill, other effects are more subtle and often longer lasting.
      • For example, freshwater organisms are at risk of being smothered by oil that is carried by the current, or of being slowly poisoned by long-term exposure to oil trapped in shallow water or stream beds.
    • On Marine Organisms: Oil spills frequently kill marine mammals such as whales, dolphins, seals, and sea otters.
      • Oil can clog blowholes of whales and dolphins, making it impossible for them to breathe properly and disrupting their ability to communicate.
      • Oil coats fur of otters and seals, leaving them vulnerable to hypothermia.
      • Marine mammals that eat fish or other food exposed to an oil spill may be poisoned by oil and die or experience other problems.
      • Oil spills often take a deadly toll on fish, shellfish, and other marine life, particularly if many fish eggs or larvae are exposed to oil.
      • Eg: Fisheries impacted by the Exxon Valdez took over three decades to recover.
    • On Birds: Oil spills also damagenesting grounds, potentially causing serious long-term effects on entire species.
      • The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, for example, occurred during prime mating and nesting season for many bird and marine species, and long-term environmental consequences of that spill won’t be known for years.
      • Oil spills can disrupt migratory patterns by contaminating areas where migrating birds normally stop.
      • By coating feathers, oil not only makes flying impossible but also destroys birds’ natural waterproofing and insulation, leaving them vulnerable to hypothermia or overheating.
      • As birds frantically preen their feathers to restore their natural protections, they often swallow oil, which can severely damage their internal organs and lead to death.
    • On Economy:
      • If beaches and populated shorelines are fouled, tourism and commerce may be severely affected.
      • The power plants and other utilities that depend on drawing or discharging sea water are severely affected by oil spills.
      • Major oil spills are frequently followed by the immediate suspension of commercial fishing.

Methods through which oil spill can be cleaned:

  • Oil spills can be partially controlled by chemical dispersion, combustion, mechanical containment and adsorption.
  • Containment Booms: Floating barriers, called booms are used to restrict the spread of oil and to allow for its recovery, removal, or dispersal.
  • Skimmers: are devices used for physically separating spilled oil from the water’s surface.
  • Sorbents: Various sorbents (e.g., straw, volcanic ash, and shavings of polyester-derived plastic) that absorb the oil from the water are used.
  • Dispersing agents: These are chemicals that contain surfactants, or compounds that act to break liquid substances such as oil into small droplets. They accelerate its natural dispersion into the sea.
  • Bio-agents: Nutrients, enzymes, or microorganisms such as Alcanivorax bacteria or Methylocella silvestris that increase the rate at which natural biodegradation of oil occurs are added.

Conclusion:

Ultimately, the severity of environmental damage caused by an oil spill depends on many factors, including the amount of oil spilled, type and weight of oil, location of the spill, species of wildlife in the area, timing of breeding cycles and seasonal migrations, and even the weather at sea during and after the oil spill.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

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

“In civilized life, law floats in a sea of ethics”. Earl Warren.

Difficulty level: Difficult.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of Mission-2024 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving a simple understanding of the meaning of the quote.

Body:

Mention the relationship between laws and ethics. Write that law needs a proper process and is support and supplemented by ethics. Write about law as a source of ethical guidance. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Laws refer to the set of codified norms which are enforced by the state. They act as external obligations. On the other hand, ethics refer to the set of norms which guide our internal compass and judgements. Laws and ethics both serve similar purposes of guiding human conduct so as to make it conducive to civilized social existence. They enforce a sense of right and wrong.

Body

The quote implies that there is a foundation of ethical values for the law. In performing our legal duties, we are also satisfying our ethical obligations. While in an uncivilized society, enactments of tyranny or barbarism may motivate an obligation to obey the law. But in a civilized society, the obligation to act ethically is not a result of supposed obligation to obey alone, but a result of the binding ethical values that have informed the content of the law.

It is well known that those nations of the world, which are deemed civilized and well-constrained by the rule of law, may be governed by laws that are not ethically sound. For instance, Slavery, apartheid, and torture, have been perpetuated pursuant to the laws of many civilized countries.

Western liberal regimes of property, contract and tort law include doctrines and principles, the applications of which result in predictable hardship for the poor and the vulnerable. Laws that permit environmental degradation, capital punishment of the innocent and political corruption are hardly ethical waters for any ship of state.

However, Laws can never be so exhaustive to cover each and every scenario possible. Hence, there will always be scope for discretion. In such scenarios, ethical behaviour should come from within. There are many scenarios where laws cannot exist. E.g. we cannot have strict laws to scrutinize every small act of corruption. Even with laws, some unethical practices continue to exist. E.g. laws for violence against women have existed for ages. But that hasn’t caused such acts to end.

Conclusion

Laws and ethics have their own unique position. Both are equally important and go hand in hand.

 

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

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

“The highest result of education is tolerance” ― Helen Keller


Difficulty level: Easy

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of Mission-2024 Secure.

Directive word: 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the quote in your word.

Body:

Write about tolerance and the ways it is developed. Mention the role of education in developing tolerance and how it helps us overcome our biases and prejudices. Write about the limitations of education in achieving tolerance. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by emphasising on the importance of tolerance in the world.

Introduction

Education in its very essence means bringing out what is best in a person and providing him/her an opportunity to realize his /her complete potentiality and giving rational touch to his feelings and thoughts. Education is meant neither exclusively for employment nor entertainment and not even for mere living but it is for life. So education cannot be an end in itself but it is only a means to an end since end of education is character and tolerance.

Body

The more education an individual receives education, the more he/she realizes how much you do not know. This then, becomes quite humbling. The uneducated are usually intolerant of others because they live “self-centred” lives. They simply do not possess the knowledge to give them perspective of the actual facts.

With the onset of globalisation and urbanisation, the diversity is increasing in all the societies and countries all over the world. In any given region or society on earth we can easily find people belonging to various religion and caste at any given moment. This being the case, tolerance is a much needed ideology today.

Tolerance is the acknowledgement that no one person is the centre of the universe; that we are mortal here in this world; that we are as infallible as anyone else; that we all make mistakes and fall far short of perfection. So we find that Education is a great leveller. And this is what we call tolerance.

Conclusion

Mahatma Gandhiji’s concept of Nayee Talim about education too had connection with tolerance as he said the function of Nayee Talim is not to teach an occupation but through it to develop a complete man.’ Thus here he brings in the concept of brotherhood of man.

So education must take up this task of cultivating the seeds of love and tolerance from the very beginning as the child develops into complete man. Aristotle said ‘Educating the child without educating the mind is no education at all.’ So true to his words education must be for transformation and not just for information.


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