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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 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: Social empowerment

1. What do you understand by gender inequality? The need of the hour is to enact and enforce laws that further promote gender equality in areas such as employment, education, and healthcare to combat gender inequality. Examine. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The G20 Summit in Delhi adopted a Declaration which resolved to set up a “working group on the empowerment of women.” Given the continuing discrimination against women and girls, this is welcome.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the causes for gender inequality and its impact and ways to overcome it.

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: 

Start by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the various causes for gender inequality – historic, educational, economic and social causes.

Next, write about the how the gender inequality impacts the Indian society. Cite examples and statistics to substantiate.

Next, write about the various measures needed to bridge the gender gap. Throw light on the importance of laws in promoting gender equality.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Gender inequality is discrimination on the basis of sex or gender causing one sex or gender to be routinely privileged or prioritized over another. Gender equality is a fundamental human right and that right is violated by gender-based discrimination. Gender disparity starts in childhood and is right now limiting the lifelong potential of children around the world – disproportionately affecting girls.

India ranks 135 among a total of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index, 2022, released by the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report, 2022, says it will now take 132 years to reach gender parity, with the gap reducing only by four years since 2021 and the gender gap closed by 68. 1%. India ranks poorly among its neighbours and is behind Bangladesh (71), Nepal (96), Sri Lanka (110), Maldives (117) and Bhutan (126). Only the performance of Iran (143), Pakistan (145) and Afghanistan(146) was worse than India in South Asia. In 2021, India ranked 140 out of 156 nations.

Body

Causes for Gender inequality in the country

  • High gender divide: The gender gap in the country has widened, with only 62.5% of it closed and especially low gender parity in political empowerment and economic participation and opportunity.
  • Wage gap: Women are paid considerably less than men, with some research showing that the gender pay gap between women and men in the same jobs with equivalent qualifications can be as much as 34%.
  • Labour force participation: India, as of 2020, has the lowest female labour force participation rate among South Asian nations, with four out of five women neither working nor looking for jobs.
  • High Job loss: According to Oxfam, 17 million women in India lost their jobs in April 2020, with their unemployment rate rising far higher than that among men.
  • Lesser opportunities for women: Women were found to be seven times more likely to lose their jobs during the lockdown phases, and if rendered unemployed, were 11 times more likely to remain jobless than their male counterparts.
  • Uneven domestic responsibility: Potential reasons for this include the increased burden of domestic responsibilities that Indian women typically had to bear, in terms of not just household chores but extra time needed for elderly care and children’s studies, with schools shut.
  • Even pre-pandemic, a Time Use Survey conducted by the National Sample Survey Office showed that women spent nearly 4.5 hours on childcare and other care-giving responsibilities, in contrast with the meagre 0.88 hours for men.

Impact on society

  • Pre-natal sex-selective Abortion:The most extreme expression of the preference for sons is female infanticide and sex selective abortion. A study in a Bombay hospital found that 96% of female were aborted.
  • Sexual Harassment at work places: is a harassment of a sexual nature, typically in the work place. Sexual harassment is considered a form of illegal discrimination. Sexual harassment at work place is not an isolated phenomenon but a mainfestaion of the larger gender discrimination in society.
  • Female are malnourished: India has exceptionally high rate of child malnutrition, because tradition in India requires that women eat last and least throughout their lives, even when pregnant.
  • Women are uneducated: Families are far less likely to educate girls than boys and far more likely to pull them out of school, either to help out at home or from fear of violence. So women and girls receive far less education than men both due to social norms and fears of violence.
  • Women are in Poor health: Females receive less health care than males. Many women die in childbirth. The practice of breast feeding female children for shorter periods of time reflects the strong desire for sons.
  • Women are overworked: Women work longer hours and their work is more than the men (agricultural Work).
  • Women are Unskilled: Women have unequal access to resources.
  • Injustice Policy of Reservation in Public office:The women occupy 46% of the Indian population but reservation is given for only 33% where reserved.
  • Women are mistreated:In recent year there has been an alarming rise in atrocities against women in India in term s of rapes, assaults and dowry related murders.
  • Women are Powerless:While women are guaranteed equality under the constitution. But due to lack of power to decide who they will marry and are often married off as children.

Need of the hour

  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Gender sensitization: Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Way forward

  • Learning from the Nordic region, noteworthy participation of women in politics, institutions and public life is the catalyst for transformational change.
  • Women need to be equal participants in the labour force to pioneer the societal changes the world needs in this integral period of transition.
  • Every effort must be directed towards achieving gender parallelism by facilitating women in leadership and decision-making positions.
  • Social protection programmes should be gender-responsive and account for the differential needs of women and girls.
  • Research and scientific literature also provide unequivocal evidence that countries led by women are dealing with the pandemic more effectively than many others.

Conclusion

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women.

 

Topic: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

2. The partition of India had far-reaching consequences, impacting the socio-economic, political, and cultural dimensions of both nations. The scars of partition continue to shape the historical narrative and the complex relationships in the region. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Chapter-1 – NCERT XII – Politics in India since Independence

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 impact of Partition on 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 mentioning how transfer of power happened hastily resulting in a massive humanitarian crisis.

Body:

In detail, bring out the various issues that were caused due to abrupt and unplanned partition. Communal clashes, refugee crisis, minority issues, threat of administrative breakdown etc.

Mention how the leaders responded to Partition and write about its present-day impact.

Conclusion:

Write about the bitter lessons learnt that made India to evolve into an inclusive and a secular democracy.

Introduction

“Partition” – the division of British India into the two separate states of India and Pakistan on August 14-15, 1947 – was the “last-minute” mechanism by which the British were able to secure agreement over how independence would take place. At the time, few people understood what Partition would entail or what its results would be, and the migration on the enormous scale that followed took the vast majority of contemporaries by surprise.

Body

Impact of Partition on India:

Social impacts

  • Huge number of refugees belonging to religious minorities crossing over the border
  • In terms of human resource, the loss was enormous as it received about 16 million uprooted, homeless refugees who had to be rehabilitated at
  • Demographic changes due to migration and overcrowding in border districts, towns and cities
  • Emergence of ethno-cultural, ethno-religious minorities leading to inter-ethnic conflict
  • Influx of people in the metropolis of Kolkata resulting to over-urbanization
  • Logistics of rehabilitation of refugees
  • Rise in the number of unemployed
  • Later bouts of communal tension generated further movement, with a trickle of people still migrating as late as the 1960s.

Economic impacts

  • West Punjab and Sind traditionally formed a great source of food supply so much so that they were called the granary of undivided India.
  • But since the two regions came to belong to Pakistan after the partition, India was hit hard so far as food production was concerned.
  • The industrial sector suffered considerably from the impact on agriculture, for reasons of the traditional linkage of industries with the agricultural sector for deriving raw materials produced in the agricultural regions. Eg cotton grown in Pakistan and industries in India.
  • In addition the riots  that ensued after the partition led to  a  massive  migration  of  skilled  labour  from India to Pakistan. A majority of the skilled workers and artisans were incidentally the people of the Muslim community.
  • The biggest calamity in the jute sector arose from the fact that nearly 80% of jute production went to east Pakistan because of the partition.

Geographical impacts

  • Loss of territorial resources, i.e. fertile agricultural land, in this case an extensive area under jute crop, forest lands, loss of huge mangrove forests in the deltaic region of Sunderbans
  • Sharing of water resources between upper and lower riparian states
  • Border disputes related to demarcation of boundary running through riverine delta areas and flat alluvium plains
  • Inadequate transport and communication network system between newly created independent nations
  • Inadequate infrastructure for inter and intra-regional trade and commerce
  • Enclaves on either side of the border

Geopolitical impacts

  • The geopolitical situation is a direct impact of unwise partition of territories the implication of which is far- reaching.
  • To achieve a lasting peace in the sub-continent a pragmatic foreign policy and settlement of unresolved issues such as sharing of water, border management, settlement of border disputes, disbanding of terrorist outfits are of prime importance.

Conclusion

Today, the two countries’ relationship is far from healthy. Kashmir remains a flashpoint; both countries are nuclear-armed. Indian Muslims are frequently suspected of harbouring loyalties towards Pakistan; non-Muslim minorities in Pakistan are increasingly vulnerable thanks to the so-called Islamisation of life since the 1980s. Seven decades on, well over a billion people still live in the shadow of Partition.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3. Nurturing and encouraging debates in parliamentary proceedings is essential for effective governance and ensuring a healthy democracy. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The 18-day winter session of Parliament that was adjourned sine die on December 21 marked a new low in India’s parliamentary democracy as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party refused to engage with the Opposition, evaded executive accountability and passed a battery of Bills with far-reaching consequences for the country while a majority of the Opposition members remained suspended.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about importance of debates in the parliament for our democracy.

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.

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the importance of parliamentary debates and discussion to our democracy.

Body:

Further elaborate how these debates and deliberations are enriching for our democracy. Cite examples to substantiate your points.

Next, give instances of reduced discussions on debates in key national issues in the parliament.

Next, evaluate the legislative process with respect of debates and discussions. Mention hasty passage of bills, frequent litigations, lack of expertise, bypassing Rajya Sabha, lack of referral to parliamentary committees etc.

Mention the measures that are needed to remedy this situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

In any democracy, the main function of the Parliament is to make laws. Parliamentary debates are regarded as most important since the pros and cons of all the bills are highlighted before it gets converted to law. Indian Parliament was once known for its high-quality debates.

The 18-day winter session of Parliament that was adjourned sine die on December 21 marked a new low in India’s parliamentary democracy as the ruling Party refused to engage with the Opposition, evaded executive accountability and passed a battery of Bills with far-reaching consequences for the country while a majority of the Opposition members remained suspended.

In the past, the previous Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana had lamented the “sorry state of affairs” of law-making and Parliamentary debate in the country, saying there was “a lot of ambiguity in laws” which was triggering litigation and causing inconvenience to citizens, courts and other stakeholders. 

Body

Debates, discussions and deliberations: Cornerstone of parliamentary democracy

  • Parliament is the crucible of criticism, deliberation and even consensus-making.
  • Democratic accountability demands that the executive decisions be subjected to legislative scrutiny.
  • Debate in the House is important to ensure that every legislation is scrutinized extremely wellon the floor of the House.
  • Debates in Parliament ensures that the views of persons who are adversely affected by a law are heard and actively engaged with.
  • Rushed law-making, rendering Parliament a rubber stamp, sacrifices two core ideals of a constitutional democracy, namely, equal participation and respect for fundamental rights.
  • The debates and discussions are also important because when the courts have to interpret a law, one of the things that they consider is the debate in the House.
  • Debates provide a forum for MPs to express their opinions and concerns, and contribute towards making policy.
  • It allows parliamentarians to voice the interest and issues of the people of their constituencies.

Deteriorating parliamentary productivity in recent times

  • Disruption has become the norm, with the Opposition seeking to use thedebates as a ploy to gain publicity. This is a sad state of affairs as the ruling party with absolute majority is passing the bills without any adequate deliberations or discussions.
  • The basic problem starts with the government’s refusal to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Opposition and give space to it to express its position on any issue.
  • With the Opposition not falling in line, the government has used its majority to push through important Bills without discussion.
  • The extent to which parliamentary proceedings have degenerated can be seen from the astonishing speed in passing Bills.
  • The Lok Sabha, on an average, took less than 10 minutes to pass a law, and the Rajya Sabha passed laws in less than half an hour. There were 13 Bills in this LS session in which no Member of Parliament spoke, other than the minister in charge of the Bill.
  • the PRS Legislative Research data has shown a significant decrease in the involvement of standing committees in legislative matters. So far, only 17 of the 82 Bills since the NDA government was re-elected in 2019 have been referred to standing committees for review.
  • Passing Bills without debate in the House or scrutiny by a committee reduces Parliament to a clearance window for legislations. This effectively means Parliament was neither fulfilling its function of deliberative lawmaking nor of holding the executive accountable.
  • Ordinary Bills are not so much discussed, either because their texts are handed over to the MPs at the last minute or because there is little time for debates.
  • In order to circumvent Parliamentary debates, the government has often followed the ordinance route.
  • The number of Bills that have been referred to parliamentary committees — the deliberative core of parliamentary work — has shrunk dramatically.

Measures needed

  • Code of Conduct:To curb disorder in Parliament there is a need for strict enforcement of code of conduct for MPs and MLAs.
    • These ideas are not new. For example, the Lok Sabha has had a simple code of conduct for its MPs since 1952. Newer forms of protest led to the updating of these rules in 1989.
    • The Lok Sabha Speaker should suspend MPs not following such codes and obstructing the Houses’ business.
  • Increasing Number of Working Days:Recommended by the 2001 conference, there should be an increase in the working days of Parliament. It resolved that Parliament should meet for 110 days every year and state legislative assemblies for 90 days.
    • In the United Kingdom, where Parliament meets over 100 days a year, opposition parties get 20 days on which they decide the agenda for discussion in Parliament. Canada also has a similar concept of opposition days.
  • Democratic Participation:Not all disruptions in the Parliament are necessarily counter-productive. Thus, the government of the day needs to be more democratic and allow the opposition to put their ideas in free manner.
  • Proposals in Individual Capacity:
    • In 2019, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson mooted an idea of evolving a ‘Parliament Disruption Index’to monitor disruptions in Parliament and state legislature.
    • In the Lok Sabha, some members proposed automatic suspension of members who cause disruptionand rush to the Well of the House.
    • But the proposals are still in a nascent stage.
  • Productivity Meter:The overall productivity of the session also can be studied and disseminated to the public on a weekly basis.
    • For this, a “Productivity Meter” could be created which would take into consideration the number of hours that were wasted on disruptions and adjournments, and monitor the productivity of the day-to-day working of both Houses of Parliament.

Way forward

  • The Pre-Legislative Consultation Policy (PLCP) was instituted in 2014 requiring that every Ministry and Department “proactively” publish every proposed draft legislation or subordinate legislation, its justification, essential elements, financial implications and an estimated impact assessment on rights, lives, livelihoods, environment, etc.
  • The policy also provides that all such information should be put in the public domain for a minimum period of 30 days and the feedback received should also be published on the website of the concerned ministry or department.
  • The policy also provides that the summary of this pre-legislative process should be made available to any Parliamentary standing committeeto which the subsequent Bill may be referred.
  • Thus, the policy envisaged a consultation while the Bill is being drafted and a study and consultation by a Parliamentary committee after it is introduced in Parliament.

Conclusion

The founding fathers of Indian Constitution adopted Parliamentary system of government by considering the fact that it will be more suitable to India’s pluralism and heterogeneity character. But at present healthy debate and discussions, the hall mark of Parliamentary democracy, was overshadowed by disruption, confrontation, forced adjournment of the houses and adopting other non-democratic alternatives.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

4. What obstacles hinder inclusive growth in India, and what strategies can be employed to surmount them in the present context? Explain. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

Insufficient jobs and incomes are the Achilles heel of India’s economy.

Key Demand of the question: 

To explain about inclusive growth, impediments to it and measures needed to overcome them.

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 inclusive growth and its key components.

Body:

In the first, in detail write the impediments for inclusive growth – Poverty, lack of adequate employment opportunities, lack of adequate education and skill development and governance deficit, especially in backward regions etc. Mention the impact of covid-19 pandemic on inclusive growth efforts.

Suggest measures and solutions to address these issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

India has achieved impressive economic growth in recent decades, but it faces significant challenges in ensuring that this growth translates into improved lives for all its citizens. According to Oxfam, the richest 1% control over 40.5% of India’s wealth. This means a very small segment of the population holds a disproportionately large share of the country’s resources.

Body

Obstacles that hinder inclusive growth

Socioeconomic Disparities:

  • Poverty: Despite poverty reduction efforts, over 22% of Indians live below the national poverty line, lacking access to basic necessities.
  • Unequal distribution of wealth: The richest 1% of Indians own over 40% of the country’s wealth, creating a stark income gap.
  • Gender inequality: Women face discriminatory social norms and limited access to education and employment, hindering their economic participation.
  • Caste and religious disparities: Socially disadvantaged groups and religious minorities often face discrimination in access to resources and opportunities.

Inadequate Infrastructure and Services:

  • Rural-urban divide: Rural areas lag behind urban centers in terms of infrastructure, healthcare, education, and job opportunities.
  • Poor quality of education and skill development: The education system struggles to provide quality education for all, leading to skill gaps and unemployability.
  • Inefficient healthcare system: Limited access to quality healthcare, especially in rural areas, affects overall well-being and productivity.
  • Deficient infrastructure: Inadequate roads, electricity, and sanitation hinder economic activity and development.

Governance Challenges:

  • Corruption and red tape: Bureaucratic hurdles and corruption can discourage investment and limit access to services, particularly for marginalized groups.
  • Ineffective policy implementation: Government policies and programs often lack proper implementation and monitoring, leading to limited impact.
  • Land acquisition issues: Difficulties in acquiring land for infrastructure projects and industrial development can slow down economic growth.

Environmental Concerns:

  • Climate change: India is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, threatening agricultural productivity, water resources, and coastal communities.
  • Environmental degradation: Pollution and resource depletion pose challenges to sustainable development and long-term growth.

 

Strategies for Inclusive Growth

Despite these challenges, there are strategies India can employ to promote inclusive growth:

Investing in social sectors:

  • Education: Prioritize quality education for all, including vocational training and skill development, to improve employability.
  • Healthcare: Increase access to affordable and quality healthcare services, particularly in rural areas.
  • Social safety nets: Strengthen social safety nets and targeted programs to assist the most vulnerable populations.

Addressing inequality:

  • Empowering women: Implement policies and programs to improve women’s education, healthcare, and economic opportunities.
  • Affirmative action: Implement effective affirmative action programs to address historical disadvantage faced by marginalized groups.
  • Inclusive policies: Design policies and programs that consider the needs and perspectives of all segments of society.

Improving infrastructure and services:

  • Rural development: Invest in rural infrastructure, sanitation, and agricultural development to bridge the rural-urban divide.
  • Public-private partnerships: Leverage private sector participation to improve infrastructure development and service delivery.
  • Decentralization: Empower local governments to better address local needs and ensure efficient resource allocation.

Enhancing governance:

  • Tackling corruption: Implement anti-corruption measures and improve transparency in government processes.
  • Effective policy implementation: Strengthen monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to ensure effective implementation of policies and programs.
  • Land reforms: Streamline land acquisition processes to facilitate infrastructure development and industrial growth.

Sustainability and environment:

  • Green growth: Promote sustainable development practices and investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • Climate adaptation: Build resilience to climate change impacts through infrastructure development, resource management, and early warning systems.

Promoting inclusive business practices:

  • Corporate social responsibility: Encourage businesses to adopt responsible practices that contribute to social and environmental development.
  • Fair trade practices: Ensure fair wages and working conditions for all workers, including those in informal sectors.
  • Supporting small and medium enterprises: Foster an enabling environment for small and medium enterprises to contribute to job creation and economic growth.

 

Conclusion

These strategies, when implemented cohesively, can contribute to overcoming the obstacles and fostering inclusive growth in India. It requires a multi-faceted approach involving government, private sector, and community collaboration.

 

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.

5. Regular updates to regulations, effective enforcement, and continuous improvement in safety standards are necessary to prevent chemical disasters from occurring in the country. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question: 

A leak of ammonia gas from an underwater pipeline supplying to an industrial unit near Periyakuppam in Ennore led to hundreds of residents rushing out to the roads complaining of difficulty in breathing, eyes going cold, burning of and face.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the steps needed to prevent Chemical disasters in the country.

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.

Body:

First, write about chemical disasters and impact of such disasters such as loss of lives, property, harm to surrounding environment etc.

Next, mention the steps that are put in place to prevent such disasters – Explosives Act 1884                                       Petroleum Act 1934, Factories Act 1948, Insecticides Act 1968, Environment Protection Act 1986              Motor Vehicles Act 1988, Public Liability Insurance Act 1991, Disaster Management Act 2005

Next, examine the efficacy of the above in preventing chemical disasters and write about its limitations citing recent examples.

Next, write about the furthers steps that are required to prevent chemical disasters.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing about a way forward to have robust mechanism to deal with chemical disasters.

Introduction

Chemical disaster simply implies a disaster caused by chemical hazards. A chemical disaster being essentially a massive industrial accident involving chemical agents, fits into the basic definition of a disaster, i.e., it needs external help for affected people to cope-up and recover from the effects of such disasters.

A leak of ammonia gas from an underwater pipeline supplying to an industrial unit near Periyakuppam in Ennore led to hundreds of residents rushing out to the roads complaining of difficulty in breathing, eyes going cold, burning of and face.

Body

Impacts of Chemical Disasters

  • Physical Damage
    • This includes damage or destruction of structure and infrastructure.
    • A transportation accident may damage the means of transport used for transporting hazardous material viz. vehicle, rail etc. Industrial fires, if not contained, may affect large areas.
  • Casualties
    • Chemical disaster may result in large-scale casualties.
    • While quick medical relief is essential to save lives, immediate disposal of dead bodies will also need planning.
  • Environmental Damage
    • Chemical disasters affect the environment because of likely contamination of air, water supply, land, crops, vegetation and animal life. In some cases, certain areas may become uninhabitable for humans and animals.
    • The possibility of mega scale migration/evacuation/resettlement could loom large.

The legal and institutional framework to prevent industrial disasters in India

  • Bhopal Gas Leak (Processing of Claims) Act, 1985,which gives powers to the central government to secure the claims arising out of or connected with the Bhopal gas tragedy. Under the provisions of this Act, such claims are dealt with speedily and equitably.
  • The Environment Protection Act, 1986,which gives powers to the central government to undertake measures for improving the environment and set standards and inspect industrial units.
    • Under this, the Centre has notified Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989and the Hazardous Wastes (Management, Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2008 for regulating hazardous substances.
  • The principle of ‘absolute and strict liability’was formulated by the Supreme Court in a crucial judgment in MC Mehta vs Union of India in 1986, when the court was dealing with the leak of oleum gas at the Shriram Foods and Fertiliser Industries plant in Delhi.
  • Hazardous Waste (Management Handling and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 1989:Industry required to identify major accident hazards, take preventive measures and submit a report to the designated authorities
  • Manufacture, Storage And Import Of Hazardous Chemicals Rules, 1989:Importer must furnish complete product safety information to the competent authority and must transport imported chemicals in accordance with the amended rules.
  • Chemical Accidents (Emergency, Planning, Preparedness and Response) Rules, 1996: Centre is required to constitute a central crisis group for management of chemical accidents; set up quick response mechanism termed as the crisis alert system. Each state is required to set up a crisis group and report on its work.
  • The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991,which is an insurance meant to provide relief to persons affected by accidents that occur while handling hazardous substances.
  • The Environment Relief Fund (ERF),a central fund under the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, was set up to provide immediate relief to victims of accidents in chemical industries. In March, a study found that a corpus of Rs 810 crore with ERF has remained unutilised for nearly three decades.
  • The National Environment Appellate Authority Act, 1997,under which the National Environment Appellate Authority can hear appeals regarding the restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or processes or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall be carried out subject to certain safeguards under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • National Green Tribunal, 2010,provides for the establishment of a National Green Tribunal for effective and expeditious disposal of cases related to environmental protection and conservation of forests.
  • Civil Nuclear Liability Act, 2010deals with instituting civil liability for nuclear damage and granting prompt compensation to victims of a nuclear incident

Way forward

  • Chemical disasters, like the one in Bhopal, are preventable if risks are identified and addressed early on.
  • It will take the combined effort of competent authorities, private sector and society to prevent tragic environmental events from happening.
  • Developing policies to ensure that industries operate in accordance with technical and safety standards and allocating resources for risk assessment and monitoring.
  • Most of all, it’s important to adhere to environmental norms. Taking environmental safety and public health risks seriously, and promoting do-no-harm industrial development can make a big difference.
  • There is a clear need to promote clean development that innovatively addresses potential negative impacts on the environment.
  • To prevent future environmental disasters, all sectors could also do more to integrate environmental emergency preparedness and response activities into strategies and sustainable development programs.
  • The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019, which unfortunately, successive governments have not felt it necessary to ratify should be taken up and put into place immediately.
  • There is a need to balance the requirements of worker and employer and is beneficial to both the constituents of the world of work.

Conclusion

India’s push to transform itself into a $5 trillion economy is commendable but it is worth considering the dear cost unhindered investment into infrastructural growth could come at, as this relates to the loss of human life and ecological damage resulting from poor planning and maintenance of industrial infrastructure. In the present situation, it has become extremely important to check the grey practices of Indian industry those were previously overlooked as ‘little compromises’. After all, no amount of ease of doing business is more valuable than human life.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions;

6.  A person’s moral decision of what is right and wrong is not the sheer application of a mathematical principle. Many variables come into play when examining how to conduct a person’s life. Discuss. (150 words)

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 timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the ways to strengthen moral character among civil servants.

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 mentioning about moral relativism.

Body:

Write about the various determinants that are involved in deciding whether an action is moral right or wrong. Write about the variation or relativity of moral actions across time and space. Substantiate wit examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Morality concerns the fundamental reason why some actions are good and others are evil. It is a test to find out what acts are good and what acts are evil. It is a search for criteria to assess the goodness or badness of human action. There are several schools of thought on this issue.

The factors that define morality of human actions are diverse, but all factors unite when a person makes a final decision on how to act. While the reasons are diverse, they are not difficult to understand.

Body

Factors affecting morality of human action:

  • Actors and Situation involved: A course of action can range from best to worst depending on the actors and situations involved
    • Example:Giving Shelter to a person running to save his life is considered right but the same goes wrong when applied to help a criminal/ terrorist
  • Individual personality traits:An individual’s values and morals will also influence his or her ethical standards.
    • Example:King Ashoka was a compassionate ruler after the Kalinga war and this was evident in his treatment of his subjects.
  • Family influences:Individuals start to form ethical standards as children in response to their perception of their parent’s behaviour and are likely to adopt high ethical standards if they see that their family members adhere to high ethical standard.
    • Example:The respect given to female members of family will be imbibed in the minds of the children. They treat other women in the same way.
  • Peer influences: Peers are colleagues who are always around us in conducting our daily work. The behaviours and attitudes of peers influence an individual’s decisions in their life.
    • Example: A person learns to be industrious when he sees his colleague being felicitated for the good work.
  • Life experiences: Individual’s life experiences analyse key ethical concepts such as “right”, “wrong,” and “permissible.” It lets us explores possible sources of moral obligation such as God, human reason, or the desire to be happy. It seeks to establish principles of right behaviour that may serve as action guides for individuals and groups.
    • Example: Dr. Ambedkar’s school experiences made him strong enough to fight against the heinous treatment meted out to untouchables and lower caste people.
  • Social Norms or Culture:The culture or social norms, in which an individual is based, influence one’s ethical decisions or behaviour. All cultures differ in values and morals. What may be ethical in one culture may not be ethical in other countries.
    • Example: In western culture, one may walk into place of worship with their footwear, but the same is offensive in temples in India.
  • Legal Interpretations or Laws:The need to control, legislate and regulate, the ethical conduct at the government, individual, and corporate levels have its roots back to the ancient world.
    • Example:one of the earliest law codes developed, the Code of Hammurabi, made Bribery a crime in Babylon during the eighteenth century B.C.; Sharia law is the code which guides many Islamic nations.

Impediments to moral actions:

  • Ignorance: Not knowing what is right or wrong in a particular situation
    • Example:Angulimala’s ignorance led him to pursue inhuman activities until enlightened by Gautam Buddha
  • Habits: continuous practice of any virtue/ vice would have an impact in our day to day activities
    • Example: A person who is habituated to lie would resort to lie in any given difficult situation whether small or huge.
  • Greed: Selfish needs and self-centred behaviour satisfying one’s own requirements regardless of the needs of others
    • Example:Corruption
  • Cultural Prejudices
  • Stereotypes
  • Fear

Conclusion

Ethics, whether in an entire society, or in a social sub-system, evolves over a long period of time. Different institutions impact the ethical behaviour of individuals in different manner. Thus, value based education, good governance, self-realization, just laws, code of ethics and code of conducts are essential to build an ethically just society and state.

 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion

7. Attitudes play a crucial role in influencing behavior, and when shaped in a positive and constructive manner, they can contribute to achieving favorable outcomes. 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 (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

to develop a link between changing your attitude and changing your behaviour.

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

In the introduction, define attitude and behaviour. Mention the difference between attitude and behaviour.

Body:

With relevant examples elaborate on how attitude can be change and that change in the resultant behaviour.

How behavior and attitude affect us and the need to adopt behaviours which are of empathy, compassion, fortitude and integrity.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by stressing how changing to right behaviours and attitude can impact our life positively.

Introduction

Attitude is a person’s mental outlook, which defines the way we think or feel anything. It has a strong impact on our decisions, actions, stimuli, etc. Behaviour is an individual’s reaction to a particular action, person or environment. It is the manner of acting or controlling oneself towards other people.

Body:

Relationship between attitude and behaviour:

  • One’s attitude and behaviour are closely related to each other.
  • Attitude actually influences one’s behaviour. However, one is not aware of it when this is happening.
  • Everyone has attitudes which are vastly shaped by past experiences in their life.
  • Everyone experiences different situations and are influenced by different kinds of people compared to others.
  • As a result, everyone’s attitude is shaped differently and everyone seems to act differently in a particular situation.
  • Our attitude also influences those around us and vice-a-versa.
  • Having a positive attitude makes you productive, deal with any problem effectively and look at failures as a means to introspect and improve oneself rather than losing all hope and giving up.
  • Whereas having a negative attitude will have a completely opposite effect compared to above.
  • However, it has been observed that there is more than one kind of attitudes each influencing our behaviour in a particular way.
  • For example, if a person might have an attitude to help poor people, but his/her behaviour may not be in the direction.
  • On the other hand, if a person has a negative attitude towards some other person, he may not express it directly, rather he may not show any interest to join him in a party, or to share a common platform- with that person.

Conclusion:

Dalai Lama says that “If you can cultivate the right attitude, your enemies are your best spiritual teachers because their presence provides you with the opportunity to enhance and develop tolerance, patience and understanding.” Our attitude is what influences all our actions. It is only the right attitude, which gets us good results.


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