Print Friendly, PDF & Email

[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 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: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. The Kashi-Tamil Sangamam serves as a symbolic representation of India’s rich cultural diversity and the unity that underlies within the concept of ‘Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat’ emphasizing the unity of the country despite its linguistic, cultural, and regional variations. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressIndian Express

Why the question:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kashi Tamil Sangamam at Namo Ghat, Varanasi. First held last year, the Kashi Tamil Sangamam seeks to celebrate North and South India’s historical and civilisational connections.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the unity diversity in India and role of Kashi-Tamil Sangamam in highlighting it.

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 giving context of Kashi-Tamil Sangamam.

Body:

In the first part, write in brief about the reasons for the organisation of Kashi-Tamil Sangamam and it connects culturally diverse regions.

Next, write about the vast diversity in India across regions, languages, religions and ethnicities etc and yet how the spirit of Ek Bharat Sreshtha Bharat’ has been upheld.  Cite examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kashi Tamil Sangamam at Namo Ghat, Varanasi. First held last year, the Kashi Tamil Sangamam seeks to celebrate North and South India’s historical and civilisational connections. Last year, Kashi Tamil Sangamam was organised as part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’ to uphold the spirit of ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’.

The vision was to revive the centuries-old bond between Tamil Nadu and Kashi. Over 2,500 delegates from Tamil Nadu, including cultural and folk artists, litterateurs, entrepreneurs, farmers, religious leaders, athletes, and others, attended the Kashi Tamil Sangamam festival in small groups. Apart from Kashi, Tamil Nadu delegations also visited Prayagraj and Ayodhya. Alongside various events in the fields of education, art and culture, literature, sports, and so on, the convention featured exhibitions of art, films, handlooms and handicrafts.

Body

Upholding spirit of unity among Indians

  • India is a geo-cultural country,and the basis of our unity is our cultures.
  • Kashi Tamil Sangamam is a great effort for the rejuvenation of India’s cultural unity in the year of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • Kashi Tamil Sangamam worked to create a new atmosphere of trust and love between the two oldest cultures.
  • This program hashelped create a bridge between the two peaks of India’s culture, to ensure that the distances are erased, and paving a way for the cultural renaissance of India.
  • Kashi–Tamil Sangamam, has become a wonderful platform for exchange of spiritual, cultural, architecture, literature, trade, education, art, dance, music and languages.
  • Through Kashi-Tamil Sangamam, the entire North India and all Indians have come to know that Tamil is one of the oldest languages in the world.
  • The program has been a great initiative to combine many aspects of both the cultures and the effort has given a message to Tamil Nadu.

Unity in diversity: Reasons

  • Religious co-existence: Religion tolerance is the unique feature of religions in India due to which multiple religions co-exist in Freedom of religion and religious practice is guaranteed by the Constitution itself. Moreover, there is no state religion and all religions are given equal preference by the state.
  • Inter-State mobility: The Constitution guarantees freedom to move throughout the territory of India under Article 19 (1) (d), thus promoting a sense of unity and brotherhood among the
  • Other factors such as uniform pattern of law, penal code, and administrative works (eg. All India services) too lead to uniformity in the criminal justice system, policy implementation
  • Economic integration: The Constitution of India secures the freedom of Trade, Commerce and Intercourse within the Territory of India under Article Further, the Goods and Service Tax (GST) have paved way for ‘one country, one tax, one national market’, thus facilitating unity among different regions.
  • Institution of pilgrimage and religious practices: In India, religion and spirituality have great significance. . From Badrinath and Kedarnath in the north to Rameshwaram in the south, Jagannath Puri in the east to Dwaraka in the west the religious shrines and holy rivers are spread throughout the length and breadth of the Closely related to them is the age-old culture of pilgrimage, which has always moved people to various parts of the country and fostered in them a sense of geo-cultural unity.
  • Fairs and festivals: They also act as integrating factors as people from all parts of the country celebrate them as per their own local Eg. Diwali is celebrated throughout by Hindus in the country, similarly Id and Christmas are celebrated by Muslims and Christians, respectively. Celebration of inter-religious festivals is also seen in India.

Conclusion

India is a plural society both in letter and spirit. It is rightly characterized by its unity and diversity. A grand synthesis of cultures, religions and languages of the people belonging to different castes and communities has upheld its unity and cohesiveness despite multiple foreign invasions. National unity and integrity have been maintained even through sharp economic and social inequalities have obstructed the emergence of egalitarian social relations. It is this synthesis which has made India a unique mosque of cultures. Thus, India present seemingly multicultural situation within in the framework of a single integrated cultural whole.

 

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2. What are the various factors that affect the formation of Savanna type of climate? Examine the various threats to Savanna biomes. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

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 write about the various factors favouring the formation of Savanna type of climate and threats to 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: 

Give a brief about Tropical savannas or grasslands that they are associated with the tropical wet and dry climate type.

Body:

First, write about the factors conducive for Savanna type of climate – tropical regions 8° to 20° from the Equator, warm to hot, the dry season is associated with the low sun period etc.

 Next, mention that the Savanna climate provides for a diverse vegetation such as grasslands, hardy weather proofed trees and diverse fauna and mention different Savanna regions such as East African, Llanos, Pampas etc and how they differently impact their ecology.

Next, mention the various threats such as water logging, fire, drought, grazing etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating that in the present context of Climate change it is imperative to address the threats faced by the Savannas and ensure ecological balance.

Introduction

Savanna regions have two distinct seasons – a wet season and a dry season. There is very little rain in the dry season. In the wet season vegetation grows, including lush green grasses and wooded areas. As you move further away from the equator and its heavy rainfall, the grassland becomes drier and drier – particularly in the dry season.

Body

Savanna biomes

Savannas – also known as tropical grasslands – are found to the north and south of tropical rainforest biomes. The largest expanses of savanna are in Africa, where much of the central part of the continent, for example Kenya and Tanzania, consists of tropical grassland. Savanna grasslands can also be found in Brazil in South America.

Various factors that affect the formation of Savanna type of climate

  • Savanna type of climate is located between 5°-20° latitudes on either side of the equator.
  • Thus, savanna climate is located between equatorial type of climate (Af) and semi-arid and subtropical humid climate.
  • In other words, this climate is located between equatorial low pressure belt or rain producing inter-tropical convergence and sub­tropical high pressure belt.
  • The regions of Savanna climate are affected by low and high pressure systems in a year.
  • Due to northward migration of the sun during summer solstice (21 June) the equatorial low pressure belt and doldrum are shifted northward and thus Savanna climate comes under the influence of Inter Tropical Convergence (ITC) which is associated with atmospheric disturbances (cyclones) which yield rains.
  • Due to southward migration of the sun during winter solstice (23 December) Savanna climatic zone comes under the influence of subtropical high pressure belt and thus anticyclonic conditions dominate the weather and bring dry condi­tions.
  • The descending stable winds under anticyclonic conditions cause dry conditions.
  • Besides, the coastal areas are affected by local winds and sea breezes.
  • Eastern coasts are influenced by trade winds. Strong and high velocity tropical cyclones dominate the weather conditions during warm season.
  • It is apparent that the Savanna type of climate is induced due to the introduc­tion of wet summer and dry winter seasons because of northward and southward migration of the sun respec­tively.
  • Since the Savanna climate is located between equatorial wet and tropical dry climates and hence there is gradual variation in weather conditions away from the equator as the aridity increases poleward.

Various threats to Savanna biomes

  • Anthropogenic activities
    • Unsustainable water usage and irrigation methods could potentially dry up life-giving rivers and water holes.
    • In regions where indigenous people regularly include bushmeat – wild meat – in their diet, ungulate populations have dropped at noticeable rates.
    • Some savanna wildlife is also hunted as trophies; black rhinoceroses, in particular, are hunted for their valuable horns.
    • Even some plant species are over-harvested due to their commercial value.
    • Carvings made from African Blackwood, a savanna tree, are often sold at tourists’ markets.
  • Agriculture, drought and Heavy Grazing
    • Agriculture is another environmental threat to the savanna. Large areas of land are being cleared to grow crops and farm livestock. The livestock competes with local animals for grazing and can decimate the natural ecosystem.
    • Prolonged, severe drought has a dangerous effect on a savanna ecosystem, with grazing patterns exacerbating this effect.
    • The combination of severe drought and grazing can change a grassland of primarily edible, perennial grasses to a savanna dominated by inedible grasses and plants.
  • Desertification
    • Tropical savannas often border on arid, desert regions, and the spread of desert-like conditions into dry grassland areas is called desertification.
    • This threat to a savanna ecosystem include effects caused by climate change, farming practices, overgrazing, aggressive agricultural irrigation, which lowers the level of the water table away from plant roots, deforestation and erosion.
    • Each year, over 46,000 square kilometers of African savanna becomes desert.
  • Carbon Emissions
    • A 2012 survey attributed large increases in woody plant mass to the “CO2 fertilization effect.” The authors posited that the increase in the rate of woody plant growth was caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
    • A dramatic increase in the amount of trees and shrubs could threaten the entire savanna ecosystem, as these plants use more water than grasses.

Conclusion

While forests are undoubtedly great carbon sinks, grasslands are not all that far behind. Studies reveal that restoring grasslands is an immensely effective and economical way to combat climate change, as these landscapes store large amounts of carbon below ground. When a nuanced and informed understanding of the importance of grasslands filters into conservation and climate change policies, it will be win-win for pastoralists, grassland biodiversity, and the planet.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

3. The insufficient enforcement of the anti-defection law, particularly with the involvement of the speaker in deciding on disqualification proceedings, poses significant challenges to its effectiveness and fairness. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly, Rahul Narwekar, is currently juggling his responsibilities of presiding over the Assembly’s winter session alongside hearing the disqualification petitions against the rival factions of the Shiv Sena.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the shortcomings of the anti-defection law and measures needed to fix 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: 

Write about objectives of anti-defection.

Body:

First, write about various features of anti-defection pertaining to disqualification.

Next, write as to why the anti-defection has been ineffective in preventing defection and horse trading. Substantiate with examples.

Next, suggest measures needed to rectify this.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Defection is “desertion by one member of the party of his loyalty towards his political party” or basically it means “When an elected representative joins another party without resigning his present party for benefits”. The institutional malaise is defection and party-hopping is state- neutral, party-neutral, and politics-neutral.

The Speaker of the Maharashtra Assembly, Rahul Narwekar, is currently juggling his responsibilities of presiding over the Assembly’s winter session alongside hearing the disqualification petitions against the rival factions of the Shiv Sena.

Body

Background

  • For a very long time, the Indian political system was impacted by political defections by members of the legislature. This situation brought about greater instability and chaos in the political system.
  • Thus, in 1985, to curb the evil of political defections,the 52nd constitution amendment act on Anti-defection law was passed and the 10th Schedule was added in the Indian Constitution.
  • The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.
  • The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. However, there are several issues in relation to the working of this law.
  • 91st Constitution Amendment Act-2003was enacted and was aimed at limiting the size of the Council of Ministers to debar defectors from holding public offices, and to strengthen the anti-defection law.

Flaws of the current Anti-defection law

  • Does not prevent Defection: The Anti-defection law has failed to curb “horse trading” and defection, leading to toppling of governments through machinations of corrupt legislators.
    • Eg: The 17-MLA’s of coalition government resigned in Karnataka, leading to change in government. The 17 MLA’s later contested from the party that formed new government.
  • Wholesale defection: The law prevents individual defections, but not wholesale defections.
    • Eg: Congress government in Madhya Pradesh lost majority due to resignations of MLA’s.
  • Against the true spirit of representative democracy:The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides.
    • However, this law also enforces a restriction on legislators from voting in line with their conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate.
  • Impedes legislative control on government:The anti-defection law impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership.
    • In short, if legislators are not able to vote on laws independently, they would not act as an effective check on the government.
    • The Anti-Defection Law, in effect, dilutes the separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislature – and centralises power in the hands of the executives.
  • Role of presiding officer of the house:The law lays down that legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
    • However, there are many instances when presiding officers play a part with the vested interests of a political party/government in power.
    • Also, the law does not specify a time period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea.
    • The decision thus is sometimes based on the whims and fancies of the presiding officer.
  • Affects the debate and discussion:The Anti-Defection Law has created a democracy of parties and numbers in India, rather than a democracy of debate and discussion.
    • In this way, it does not make a differentiation between dissent and defection and weaken the Parliamentary deliberations on any law.

Steps to be taken

  • To be used for major decision making: Several experts have suggested that the law should be valid only for those votes that determine the stability of the government. e.g. passage of the annual budget or no-confidence motions as recommended by Dinesh Goswami Committee.
  • Non-partisan authority: Various commissions including National Commission to review the working of the constitution (NCRWC) have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.
  • Independent committee for disqualification: Justice Verma in Hollohan judgment said that tenure of the Speaker is dependent on the continuous support of the majority in the House and therefore, he does not satisfy the requirement of such independent adjudicatory authority.
    • Also, his choice as the sole arbiter in the matter violates an essential attribute of the basic feature.
    • Thus, the need for an independent authority to deal with the cases of defection.
  • Intra-party democracy: 170th Law Commission report underscored the importance of intra-party democracy by arguing that a political party cannot be a dictatorship internally and democratic in its functioning outside.
    • Thus, the parties should listen to the opinions of the members and have discussions on the same. This would give the freedom of speech and expression to its members and promote inner-party democracy.
  • Limiting Speaker’s discretion: Recent Supreme Court Judgement ruled that Speaker must decide on disqualification within three months of receiving application. It cannot be the discretion of the Speaker to take no action.

Conclusion

There is a need to prevent unholy defections that lead to instability in the governance system of the nation. The current law is clearly flawed and has not effectively curbed defection due to lure of power and money. There is a need for a more rationalised version of anti-defection laws which will help establish a truly representative democracy.

 

 


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;

4. Agrarian reforms have been considered as important tools of socio-economic change in India. They constitute an important aspect of transforming and modernising Indian agriculture. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Recent interventions by the Indian government distort agricultural markets that are in need of a renewed push for reforms. It’s time to farmers and go for greater market orientation, not less.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the challenges in Indian agriculture and reforms that are needed overcome them.

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 about role of agriculture in Indian economy. Cite statistics to substantiate.

Body:

First, write about the challenges which hinder growth and productivity in the agricultural sector – Instability, Cropping Pattern, Land Ownership, Sub-Division and Fragmentation of Holdings, Land Tenure, Conditions of Agricultural Labourers and lack of mechanisation etc. Cite examples and statistics to substantiate.

Next, write about the various short term and long-term measures that are needed to overcome the above challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

While the 14 volumes of the Dalwai Committee Report on doubling farmers’ income provided a road map for transition from a mere Green Revolution to an Income Revolution for farmers, the country is yet to solve the ‘Riddle of Agriculture distress’.

Background: Need for agrarian reforms

  • Agriculture currently contributes just about 15% to the national output and about 50% of the population directly or indirectly depends on it for employment.
  • Farmer distress is a real and pressing problem, as evidenced by the protests currently taking place in various parts of the country.
  • In the past, Government strategy primarily focused on raising agricultural output and improving food security rather than recognising the need to raise farmer’s income.
  • Low global prices have affected exports and the cheaper imports have hurt domestic prices in the country.
  • Natural disasters and crop loss leading to impoverishment of rural households.
  • Increasing demographic pressuredisguised employment in agriculture and conversion of agricultural land for alternative uses, have drastically reduced the average land holding.

Challenges faced by Agriculture sector

  • Institutional vis-à-vis Non-Institutional Agricultural Credit: Traditionally, rural agrarian credit needs were met primarily through money-lenders, which led to large scale indebtedness.
  • Small land holdings: It is fragmented and 87% of farmers are small farmers doing subsistence farming.
  • Low productivity: Indian farms are smaller (1-2 hectares on average), making it harder to achieve economies of scale.
  • Low mechanization: It is relatively low and Indian farmers do not utilise many high-yield input varieties used in other agri-producing countries.
  • High logistics costs: India’s cost of logistics is currently around 14% of GDP – higher than developed country exporters like the US (9.5%).
  • Limited value addition: India is a more prolific exporter of primary commodities than of value-added agriculture products – the country ranks 10th globally in processed meat, 18th in the export of processed fruits and vegetables and 35th in dairy.
    • Reasons for low value addition include relative lack of private sector investment and adequate incentives.
  • Procurement: 69 to 73% of the rice and wheat produced in 14 years was not procured by FCI/state agencies.
    • Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state government agencies are one of the main platforms available to the farmers for sale of agriculture produce, but these agencies cannot be a wholesome substitute for an efficient marketing system, said the 4th volume of the Dalwai Committee Report on doubling farmers income.
  • Shortage of APMC markets: In 5 statesBihar, Kerala, Manipur, Mizoram and Sikkim—these markets do not exist.
    • Further, there is no APMC market in the UTs of Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman & Diu and Dadra & Nagar Haveli too.
  • Infrastructure shortage: The poor state of infrastructure in these markets is another important aspect which continues to be ignored. Just 15 per cent of the APMC markets have cold storage facilities. Weighing facilities are available in only 49 per cent of the markets.

Reforms suggested

  • ICAR and Saus should develop models of farming system for different types of socioeconomic and bio physical settings combining all their technologies in a package with focus on farm income.
    • This would involve combining technology and best practices covering production, protection and post-harvest value addition for each sub systems with other sub systems like crop sequences, crop mix, livestock, horticulture, forestry.
    • Such shift requires interdisciplinary approach to develop on knowledge of all disciplines.
  • About one third of the increase in farmers’ income is easily attainable through better price realization, efficient post-harvest management, competitive value chains and adoption of allied activities.
    • This requires comprehensive reforms in market, land lease and raising of trees on private land.
  • Agriculture has suffered due to absence of modern capital and modern knowledge.
    • There is a need to liberalise agriculture to attract responsible private investments in production and market.
    • Similarly, FPOs and FPCs can play big role in promoting small farm business.
  • Precision farming: Evidence is growing about scope of agronomic practices like precision farming to raise production and income of farmers substantially.
  • Target markets for export: Identify markets with high export potential for competitive value chains and sign beneficial bilateral or multilateral trade agreements with them, raising sanitary and phytosanitary production levels to meet their quality standards and negotiating with them to remove non-tariff barriers.
  • Solve Value Chain Clusters (VCC) holistically with focus on value addition: The clusters would also serve to converge the government’s spends and schemes, as well as seek any additional funding required, for building the necessary infrastructure at competitive costs for value addition, promoting research and development and promoting “Brand India” in global markets.
  • Similarly, modern machinery such as laser land leveller, precision seeder and planter, and practices like SRI (system of rice intensification), direct seeded rice, zero tillage, raised bed plantation and ridge plantation allow technically highly efficient farming.
    • However, these technologies developed by the public sector have very poor marketability.
    • They require strong extension for the adoption by farmers
  • Technological innovations, along with price support measures and the supply of subsidized key inputs like irrigation, fertilizer, and electricity, have played an important role in the growth of Indian agriculture.
  • A policy shift from price to income support under the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) program is deemed better as it would incentivize farmers as money is transferred to their bank accounts and bring in much needed efficiency in input use

Conclusion

The government should shift its focus from providing only price support to farmers and focus on building better infrastructure, minimizing the gap between farmers and the market, land reforms, policy reforms to increase flow of credit to farmers, establishing food-processing industries for perishable goods, providing better irrigation facilities etc so, that agriculture emerges as a viable means of sustenance.

Value Addition

Initiatives by the government

  • Per Drop More Crop : Centre set up a Micro Irrigation Fund under NABARD with a corpus of 2000cr and 3000crfor 2019 and 2020 respectively.
    • Assistance to states will be given at concessional rates.
    • The target is to bring 10 million hectares under Micro-Irrigation.
  • Diversification towards high value crops: IFPRI and ICAR are promoting horticulture crops such as pomegranate and mushroom farming with adequate skills training to farmers.
  • Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH): Enhance horticulture production, augment farmers, income and strengthen nutritional security; Improve productivity by way of quality germplasm, planting material and water use efficiency through Micro Irrigation.
  • Soil Health Cards: The objectives of the Soil Health Card (SHC) scheme are to issue soil health cards to farmers every two years so as to provide a basis to address nutritional deficiencies in fertilization practices. Soil testing reduces cultivation cost by application of right quantity of fertilizer. It ensures additional income to farmers by increase in yields and it also promotes sustainable farming.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana:
    • In order to promote organic farming, the government has started the Paramparagat Krish iVikas Yojana (PKVY), under which 2 lakh hectares has been made suitable for organic farming thereby benefitting 5 lakh farmers.
    • It is to to ensure a successful “Organic Farming Revolution” in India on the lines of “Green Revolution” so that the farming community benefits from it.
  • Ensuring Credit availability to enhance productivity
    • Kisan Credit Cards provides agriculture credit to farmers at subsidized rates, with a 2% interest subvention (IS) and Prompt Repayment Incentive (PRI) of 3% so as to make the effective rate of interest as 4%.
    • PM-KISAN: With a view to provide income support to all farmers’ families across the country, to enable them to take care of expenses related to agriculture and allied activities as well as domestic needs, the Central Government started a new Central Sector Scheme, namely, the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)
      • The scheme aims to provide a payment of Rs. 6000/- per year, in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs. 2000/- to the farmers, subject to certain exclusions relating to higher income groups.
    • Minimum Support Price was enhanced to 1.5 times the cost of production for the year 2019-2020.

 

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

5. The ability to easily customize and produce messenger RNA (mRNA) has revolutionized the field of medicine and holds great promise for the development of effective, personalized therapies with potentially fewer side effects. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains the concept of mRNA therapy and their role in the development of effective medicines and therapies.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about mRNA therapy, their potential benefits and challenges and limitations associated with their use.

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 introducing the concept of mRNA therapy and their relevance, especially in the context of recent vaccine developments.

Body:

Firstly, explain the fundamental concept of mRNA therapy, including how they work to stimulate an immune response.

Next, write about the advantages of mRNA therapy, such as their rapid development potential, personalised medicines, versatility against various pathogens, and effectiveness in preventing infectious diseases. Highlight their role in addressing public health emergencies, like the COVID-19 pandemic, through quick vaccine development.

Next, write about the limitations associated with mRNA therapy, such as the need for ultra-cold storage, potential short-term side effects, and the relatively recent nature of this technology.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

mRNA—or messenger RNA—is a molecule that contains the instructions or recipe that directs the cells to make a protein using its natural machinery. To enter cells smoothly, mRNA travels within a protective bubble called a Lipid Nanoparticle. Once inside, our cells read the mRNA as a set of instructions, building proteins that match up with parts of the pathogen called antigens. The immune system sees these foreign antigens as invaders—dispatching defenders called antibodies and T-cells—and training the immune system for potential future attacks. So, if and when the real virus comes along, the body might recognize it—sounding the alarm to help defend against infection and illness.

The 2023 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman for their research enabling the development of mRNA vaccines against COVID-19.

Body

How mRNA vaccines works?

  1. To produce an mRNA vaccine, scientists produce a synthetic version of the mRNA that a virus uses to build its infectious proteins.
  2. This mRNA is delivered into the human body, whose cells read it as instructions to build that viral protein, and therefore create some of the virus’s molecules themselves.
  3. These proteins are solitary, so they do not assemble to form a virus.
  4. The immune system then detects these viral proteins and starts to produce a defensive response to them.

Significance of mRNA vaccines:

  • There are two parts to our immune system: innate(the defences we’re born with) and acquired (which we develop as we come into contact with pathogens).
  • Classical vaccine moleculesusually only work with the acquired immune system and the innate immune system is activated by another ingredient, called an adjuvant.
  • Interestingly, mRNA in vaccines could also trigger the innate immune system,providing an extra layer of defence without the need to add adjuvants.

Benefits of mRNA vaccines

  • mRNA vaccines are considered safe as mRNA is non-infectious, non-integrating in nature, and degraded by standard cellular mechanisms.
  • As RNA vaccines are not constructed from an active pathogen (or even an inactivated pathogen), they are non-infectious. In contrast, traditional vaccines require the production of pathogens, which, if done at high volumes, could increase the risks of localized outbreaks of the virus at the production facility.
  • They are highly efficacious because of their inherent capability of being translatable into the protein structure inside the cell cytoplasm.
  • RNA vaccines can be produced faster, cheaper, and in a more standardized fashion (i.e. fewer error rates in production), which improves responsiveness to outbreaks.
  • An additional ORF coding for a replication mechanism can be added to amplify antigen translation and therefore immune response, decreasing the amount of starting material needed.
  • Additionally, mRNA vaccines are fully synthetic and do not require a host for growth, e.g., eggs or bacteria. Therefore, they can be quickly manufactured inexpensively to ensure their “availability” and “accessibility” for mass vaccination on a sustainable basis.

Shortcomings of mRNA vaccines

  • The mRNA strand in the vaccine may precipitate an unexpected immune response. To reduce this, the mRNA vaccine sequence may affect the heredity of mammalian cells.
  • The vaccine’s access to cells is extremely challenging because RNA in the body soon disintegrates.
  • The storage of RNA vaccines needs to be very low temperature. Therefore, it will be stored only in those places where cold storage chain will exist.

Conclusion

According to an article by Thomas Schlake et al, in RNA Biology, RNA as a therapeutic was first promoted in 1989 after the development of a broadly applicable in vitro transfection technique. A couple of years later, mRNA was advocated as a vaccine platform. The refinement of the mRNA platform owes everything to COVID. Rapid advancements within a remarkable period of one year allowed the technology to gain several revolutionary steps ahead, in order for it to be used successfully to drive vaccines that work.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

6. While self-awareness and self-regulation are crucial components of emotional intelligence, understanding and empathizing with the emotions of others are equally important. Explain. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

to develop a link between emotional intelligence and persuasion.

Directive:

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:

Begin by defining emotional intelligence (EI).

Body:

First mention the role of EI in – perceiving emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions.

Next, link the emotional aspect of EI with communication and persuasion – attempting to influence an outcome or followers using – authority, consistency and commitment, liking and reciprocity/reciprocation etc.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by stressing on the implications for leaders and employers in understanding the importance of interpersonal relationships in the organizational context.

Introduction

Emotional intelligence or EI is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, and those of the people around you. Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.

Body:

According to Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped to popularize emotional intelligence, there are five key elements to it:

Self-awareness:

  • The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.
  • Hallmarks of self-awareness include self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humour.
  • Emotional awareness: This deals with knowledge of one’s emotions and their effects. People having this competency are more aware of their feelings and performance.
  • Accurate self-assessment: This involves being aware of one’s strengths and weaknesses. One is open to feedbacks, new viewpoints, etc.
  • Self-confidence: This relates to complete affirmation of one’s worth and abilities. They are usually more confident and are able to make sound decisions despite any uncertainties or pressures

Self-management:

  • Ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting. Hallmarks include trustworthiness and integrity; comfort with ambiguity; and openness to change.
  • Adaptability: This involves flexible attitude towards change. People with this competency find it easy to handle changing routines, multiple roles and even shifting priorities.
  • Innovativeness: This involves getting easy with and open to new information and ideas. People who possess this are able to gather new ideas from multiple sources, set challenging roles and are able to take calculated risks. They evolve original solutions to various problems.

Social Awareness:

  • The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.
  • Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion. Empathy can be ‘used’ for compassionate or cruel behaviour. Serial killers who marry and kill many partners in a row tend to have great emphatic skills.
  • A passion to work for internal reasons that go beyond money and status -which are external rewards, – such as an inner vision of what is important in life, a joy in doing something, curiosity in learning, a flow that comes with being immersed in an activity

Relationship management:

  • Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport.
  • Hallmarks of social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams.

Conclusion:

Governance in modern times is becoming increasing complex with affective components of behaviour having a major role to play. Intelligence quotient alone can’t solve majority of problems an administrator faces, use of emotional intelligence is a must for better public service delivery as well as redressal.

 

Topic: laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance

7.  Common good which is embodied in law, is authorized by popular consent. Debate. (150 Words)

Difficulty Level: Tough

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about common good which is part of the law whether or not it has a popular consent.

Directive word: 

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by defining common good.

Body:

Write about instances where in common good is established in the law of the country. Cite examples. Mention whether of not the process of common getting enshrined in law has the popular consent. Debate on both sides of the argument with examples.

Conclusion:

Give a concise summation of your views to conclude the answer.

Introduction

In ordinary political discourse, the “common good” refers to those facilities whether material, cultural or institutional—that the members of a community provide to all members in order to fulfill a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common. Some canonical examples of the common good in a modern liberal democracy include: the road system; public parks; police protection and public safety; courts and the judicial system; public schools; museums and cultural institutions; public transportation; civil liberties, such as the freedom of speech and the freedom of association; the system of property; clean air and clean water; and national defence. The term itself may refer either to the interests that members have in common or to the facilities that serve common interests

Body

Common good that is embodied in law is usually in existence because there is popular consent and support. For instance, RTI law, Motor vehicles Act, Air pollution Act, Medical Termination of Pregnancy and such other laws were passed because there was a necessity as well as support of the general public.

However, in a democracy there are multiple interests and consolidating it into one is not possible. Sometimes, majoritarian interests may impinge upon minority interests, or what may seem as a viable law for welfare is not viewed from the same angle. For instance, Farm laws in the country had to be repealed because of huge protests by farmers who were directly impacted by it.

Likewise, when the Indian government passed the CAA/NRC bill, there was huge protests all over the nation especially by minority community. Hence laws do not always get popular consent and sometimes those laws without consent also gets passed. Over and above all this, there is an apex court that can invalidate any law and acts as a checks and balance for the welfare of the society.

Conclusion

The common good is an important concept in political philosophy because it plays a central role in philosophical reflection about the public and private dimensions of social life. When citizens face various questions about legislation, public policy or social responsibility, they resolve these questions by appeal to a conception of the relevant facilities and the relevant interests. That is, they argue about what facilities have a special claim on their attention, how they should expand, contract or maintain existing facilities, and what facilities they should design and build in the future.

Sometimes relevance for one group may conflict with others and in such cases, there must be a middle path to placate all interests in the view of greater good of all.


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