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UPSC Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 4 JUNE 2024

 

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

Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian sub-continent);

1. The current status of water bodies in India is alarming. Fresh water bodies are facing significant challenges due to various anthropogenic and natural factors. Examine. (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 present status of water bodies, major issues affecting their distribution and utilisation.

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 of water resources. Cite statistics.

Body:

First, write about the current status of water resources – current status of water bodies in India, including rivers, lakes, ponds, wetlands, and groundwater resources etc.

Next, write about the various issues in the above – including encroachment and destruction due to urbanization and industrialization, pollution, climate change, and inadequate water management policies.

Next, write about the steps that must be taken in order to overcome the above issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward. 

Introduction

India faces severe water scarcity despite being home to 18% of the world’s population. Paradoxically, it possesses only 4% of the global water resources. The annual utilizable surface water and groundwater resources are estimated at 690 billion cubic meters (BCM) and 431 BCM, respectively. Over the last two decades, per capita water availability has declined by almost 20%, and it is projected to decrease further by 20% by 2050.

Body

Challenges and Issues:

  • Urbanization and Industrialization:
    • Rapid urbanization and industrial growth lead to increased pollution of water bodies, rendering them unfit for consumption.
    • Encroachment on water bodies exacerbates the problem.
  • Groundwater Depletion:
    • Overexploitation of groundwater for irrigation and domestic use has led to its depletion.
    • Tubewell irrigation practices, especially in states like Punjab, contribute to falling water tables.
  • Climate Change Impact:
    • Erratic monsoons due to climate change affect water availability.
    • Increased frequency and intensity of floods and droughts add pressure to water resources.
  • Inefficient Water Management:
    • Lack of effective water management policies and infrastructure.
    • Inadequate rainwater harvesting and mismanagement of water resources.
  • Pollution:
    • Water pollution from industrial effluents, agricultural runoff, and untreated sewage affects both surface water and groundwater quality.

Steps to Overcome Water Challenges:

  • Community-Led Groundwater Management:
    • Programs like the Atal Bhujal Yojana engage communities in understanding water availability and usage patterns.
    • Villagers learn to budget their water use, promoting sustainable practices.
  • Innovative Schemes:
    • In Punjab, the “Paani Bachao, Paisa Kamao” scheme incentivizes farmers to reduce groundwater usage.
    • Cash incentives for electricity savings during irrigation have resulted in water savings without affecting crop yield.
  • Rainwater Harvesting and Efficient Irrigation:
    • Promote rainwater harvesting techniques to recharge groundwater.
    • Educate farmers about efficient irrigation methods (e.g., drip irrigation) to conserve water.
  • Modern Sanitation Policies:
    • Develop sanitation practices that conserve and wisely utilize water resources.
    • Address both urban and rural sanitation needs.

Way Forward:

India must adopt an integrated approach:

  • Policy Reforms: Strengthen water governance, enforce regulations, and invest in infrastructure.
  • Awareness and Education: Educate communities about water conservation and sustainable practices.
  • Research and Innovation: Invest in technology for efficient water use and pollution control.
  • Collaboration: Involve stakeholders, NGOs, and international organizations to address water challenges.

Conclusion

Safeguarding India’s water resources requires collective efforts, innovative solutions, and a commitment to sustainable practices.

Topic: Social empowerment

2. The persistent practice of manual scavenging in India is a stark reminder of the deep-seated social and economic inequalities. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

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 persistent practise of manual scavenging despite being banned and steps needed to stop it.

Directive:

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 reasons for lack of effective implementation of the laws to prevent the practice of manual scavenging – lack of alternative livelihood opportunities for affected communities, political will, resources, and capacity-building of government agencies.

Next, write about the steps we can take in this regard – multi-pronged approach that addresses the root causes of the problem, provides alternative livelihood opportunities, ensures effective implementation of laws and policies, and promotes public awareness campaigns to change societal attitudes etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Manual scavenging refers to the unsafe and manual removal of raw (fresh and untreated) human excreta from buckets or other containers that are used as toilets or from the pits of simple pit latrines.

Indian government is preparing to declare India “manual scavenging-free” by August. However, there are still 246 districts that have not yet self-declared themselves as free from manual scavenging. From March 22 to April 26, 2023, as many as eight people died while cleaning sewers in various parts of the Gujarat, raising concerns about the continuing deaths of manual scavengers despite the fact that the practice has been declared illegal across the country.

Body

Government interventions

  • The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993and employment of manual scavengers was declared unlawful.
  • National Commission for Safai Karamchariswas constituted under the National Commission for Safai Karamcharis Act, 1993, to monitor and recommend specific programs.
  • Nationalaction plan for the total eradication of manual scavenging by 2007.
  • Self-Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers initiated to provide training, loans, and subsidies for alternate occupations in 2007.
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and Their Rehabilitation, Act, 2013.
  • In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in Safai Karamchari Andolan v. Union of Indiathat “entering sewer lines without safety gears should be made a crime even in emergency situations,” and ordered for compensation in cases of death of the worker.
  • The Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan (NBA) was replaced by Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA)in 2014.
  • Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment announced the Draft National Action Plan Framework ‘to eliminate inhuman practicesby 15th August 2022’ and counted sewage cleaning as one such practice.

Reasons for lack of effective implementation of the law

  • Prohibition and Employment of Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013– fails to explain what qualifies as “appropriate safety gear”.
    • It does not mention health as a component of rehabilitationand provides a meagre amount of money to the worker in the name of assistance for alternative occupations, which most manual scavengers remain unaware 
    • Nothing in the act mentions provisions related to the death of manual scavengers.
  • Municipalities choose the compensation routeas they mostly outsource the unsanitary sanitation work.
  • Toilets that were built under SBM are dependent on water and a lot of parts of India are not connected by the sewage systemAlso, Septic tanks have engineering defectswhich means that after a point, a machine cannot clean it.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has remained elusive of the health problems of manual scavengers even though the National Health Policy (2017) calls for action on social determinants of health.

Reasons for the Prevalence of Manual Scavenging in India

  • Delayed Implementation– Manual scavenging was banned 25 years ago but it continues to find practitioners.
  • Insanitary Latrines– According to Safai Karmachari Andolan, the occupation persists mainly because of the continued presence of insanitary latrines. There are about 2.6 million insanitary latrines (dry toilets) that require cleaning by hand.
  • Caste-based notions of stigma and deployment of Dalit workers in these occupations in modern contexts reinforces manual scavenging in India.
  • The policymakers’ have a fragmented and a target driven approach(counting numbers of toilets, length of sewerage, etc.,) to sanitation.
  • Privatization of waste management and acute contractualisationof sanitation work has made fixing legal responsibility and identification of the guilty much more difficult.
  • Gender-based occupation– Manual scavenging is not only a caste-based but also a gender-based occupation with 90 percent of them being women. Households with dry latrines prefer women to clean the excreta instead of men as they are located inside the house.
  • Inadequate Funding 

Way-Forward

  • Adopting technology to end manual scavenging– It is not going to be possible to eliminate manual scavenging unless we create the right technologies.
    • Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Boardis using 70 mini jetting machines that can access narrow lanes and smaller colonies to clear the choked sewer pipes.
    • In Thiruvananthapuram, a group of engineers has designed a spider-shaped robot that cleans manholes and sewers with precision.
  • Proper awareness and sensitization of the authorities: It is essential that the authorities are sensitized to recognize the intensity of the issue and see the system as dehumanizing and unconstitutional.
  • Sensitising Women through a nationwide march to make them aware of their right to live with dignity and assure them of ‘sustainable freedom’, by providing an alternative livelihood option.
  • That the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 and the Supreme Court’s judgment of 2014 should be duly implemented and applied in all cases of sewer/septic tank deaths.
  • Target driven approach to measure the success of the sanitation policy
  • The underlying caste-based attitude to sanitation work and workers should be identified and strong action taken against it.

Conclusion

To eradicate the profession of manual scavenging, it is important to provide these people with alternate professions. The government could start by giving specific training for vocations like plumbing, gardening etc to those involved in manual scavenging.

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

3. Making healthcare in India more accessible and affordable is essential for improving public health, fostering economic stability, and promoting social equity. Discuss. Suggest steps to make healthcare more accessible and affordable. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

As we navigate the dynamic landscape of Indian health care, cost considerations are increasingly influencing every aspect of service delivery and patient care

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of making healthcare more accessible and affordable.

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 context.

Body:

First, write about the various bottlenecks in accessibility and affordability of health care in India.

Next, write about the importance of accessible and affordable healthcare.

Suggest reforms to ensure the that healthcare is accessible and affordable by all.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

With rising health disparities and uneven access to medical services, the need for equitable and sustainable health-care policies has never been more urgent than now. Ongoing discussions about setting rates for medical services are not just bureaucratic exercises. They fundamentally shape how we perceive, access, and deliver health care across India. In this globalised era, we see a variety of responses to similar challenges worldwide, shaped by differing cultural, economic, and systemic factors.

Body

Challenges in Healthcare Accessibility and Affordability:

  • Out-of-Pocket Expenditure (OOPE):India faces high OOPE, where households directly bear a significant portion of healthcare costs. In 2016, India’s OOPE was around 65%, far above the global average of approximately 20%.
  • State-Level Disparities:States like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have OOPE constituting 80% and 75% of total health expenditure, respectively. Even in relatively better-performing states like Karnataka and Gujarat, households still cover nearly half of healthcare costs.
  • Medicine Expenses:Medicines account for a substantial share of OOPE (around 43% in 2015-16). Ensuring affordable access to quality medicines is critical.
  • Impoverishment:Health expenses can push households below the poverty line. Approximately 7% of households experience impoverishment due to healthcare costs.

Importance of Accessible and Affordable Healthcare:

  • Public Health:Improved access leads to better preventive care, early diagnosis, and reduced disease burden. It enhances overall public health and productivity.
  • Economic Stability:Healthy citizens contribute more effectively to the economy. Reduced healthcare costs alleviate financial stress on households.
  • Social Equity:Equal access ensures that vulnerable populations receive necessary care, bridging gaps in health outcomes.

Reforms for Accessible and Affordable Healthcare:

  • Universal Health Coverage (UHC):Implementing UHC ensures that everyone has access to essential health services without financial hardship. It involves expanding insurance coverage and reducing OOPE.
  • Strengthening Primary Healthcare:Investing in robust primary care facilities can address health issues at an early stage, reducing the need for expensive treatments later.
  • Generic Medicine Promotion:Encouraging the use of generic drugs lowers costs. India’s Jan Aushadhi stores provide affordable generic medicines.
  • Telemedicine and Digital Health:Leveraging technology can improve access, especially in rural areas. Teleconsultations, e-pharmacies, and health apps enhance convenience.
  • Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs):Collaborations between government and private sectors can enhance infrastructure, service delivery, and affordability.
  • Health Infrastructure Investment:Building more hospitals, clinics, and health centers ensures proximity to healthcare services.
  • Health Literacy and Awareness:Educating citizens about preventive measures, early detection, and available services empowers them to make informed choices.
  • Regulating Drug Prices:Stricter price controls on essential medicines can curb excessive costs.
  • Community Health Workers:Deploying trained community health workers can improve outreach and awareness.

Conclusion and Way Forward:

  • India must prioritize accessible and affordable healthcare as a fundamental right.
  • Coordinated efforts by policymakers, healthcare providers, and citizens are essential.
  • By addressing bottlenecks, promoting reforms, and ensuring equitable access, India can achieve better health outcomes for all.
  • A comprehensive approach involving policy reforms, infrastructure development, and public awareness will pave the way toward a healthier and more equitable India

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

4. The government must prioritize education, nutrition, and health of children in their policies due to their critical role in fostering socio-economic development and ensuring future well-being. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Children form about 30% of India’s population, but they are invisible during elections.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need for prioritising education, nutrition, and health of children in its policies.

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 context.

Body:

In the first part, write about the importance of child education – enhances human capital, drives economic growth, and promotes social stability.

Next, write about the importance of child nutrition – physical and cognitive development, leading to better educational outcomes and long-term health etc.

Next, write about the importance of child health – boosts productivity, reduces healthcare costs, and improves quality of life. Mentions ways to achieve the above

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Children form about 30% of India’s population, but they are invisibilised during elections. India has the largest child population in the world, yet most political parties turn a blind eye to children’s interests.

Body

Importance of Child Education:

  • Enhancing Human Capital:
    • Education equips children with knowledge, skills, and abilities, enhancing their human capital.
    • Well-educated individuals contribute more effectively to society, the economy, and technological advancements.
  • Driving Economic Growth:
    • A literate and skilled workforce drives economic productivity and innovation.
    • Countries with higher literacy rates tend to experience faster economic growth.
  • Promoting Social Stability:
    • Education fosters social cohesion by promoting understanding, tolerance, and empathy.
    • An educated populace is more likely to engage in peaceful dialogue and democratic processes.

Importance of Child Nutrition:

  • Physical and Cognitive Development:
    • Proper nutrition during early childhood is crucial for physical growth and brain development.
    • Malnutrition can lead to stunted growth, impaired cognitive function, and reduced learning capacity.
  • Educational Outcomes:
    • Well-nourished children perform better academically.
    • Adequate nutrition improves attention span, memory, and overall cognitive abilities.
  • Long-Term Health Benefits:
    • Childhood nutrition impacts long-term health outcomes.
    • Proper nutrition reduces the risk of chronic diseases later in life.

Importance of Child Health:

  • Boosting Productivity:
    • Healthy children are more likely to attend school regularly and actively participate.
    • Good health contributes to better concentration and overall productivity.
  • Reducing Healthcare Costs:
    • Preventive measures, such as vaccinations and regular check-ups, reduce healthcare expenses.
    • Early detection and intervention prevent costly treatments in the long run.
  • Improving Quality of Life:
    • Healthy children experience a better quality of life, both physically and emotionally.
    • Physical fitness enhances their ability to engage in recreational activities and social interactions.

Way Forward:

  • Integrated Approach:
    • Governments, NGOs, and communities should collaborate to address education, nutrition, and health simultaneously.
    • Integrated programs yield better results than isolated efforts.
  • Early Childhood Interventions:
    • Invest in early childhood education and nutrition programs.
    • Target vulnerable populations to break the cycle of poverty and malnutrition.
  • Parental Education:
    • Educate parents on the importance of balanced diets, hygiene, and preventive healthcare.
    • Empower parents to make informed decisions for their children.
  • School Health Programs:
    • Schools can serve as hubs for health education and screenings.
    • Regular health check-ups and awareness campaigns benefit students and their families.
  • Community Engagement:
    • Involve local communities in promoting child health and education.
    • Community health workers can play a pivotal role in disseminating information.

Conclusion

Holistic approach that integrates education, nutrition, and health is essential for nurturing healthy, educated, and productive future generations.

Topic: e-technology in the aid of farmers.

5. Policymakers need to carefully weigh the benefits and risks associated with herbicide-tolerant (Ht) rice and consider alternative sustainable agricultural practices that ensure economic viability for farmers, protect the environment, and safeguard national food security. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has commercialised herbicide-tolerant (Ht) basmati rice varieties, claiming they can control weeds in rice crops while also promoting water-saving direct seeded rice (DSR).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the pros and cons of commercialising herbicide-tolerant (Ht) rice.

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 the need for Ht rice.

Next, write about the advantages it offers – weed control and labor savings, potentially leading to higher yields etc.

Next, write about various risks associated with it – high costs of seeds and herbicides, increased, risk of herbicide-resistant weeds, biodiversity loss, soil health degradation, food security and water pollution etc

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Herbicide-tolerant (Ht) rice refers to genetically modified rice varieties that can withstand specific herbicides. These varieties have gained attention due to their potential impact on agricultural practices.

The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has commercialised herbicide-tolerant (Ht) basmati rice varieties, claiming they can control weeds in rice crops while also promoting water-saving direct seeded rice (DSR).

Body

Need for Ht Rice:

  • Weed Management:Weeds compete with rice crops for nutrients, sunlight, and water. Effective weed control is crucial for maximizing yields.
  • Labor Efficiency:Traditional manual weeding is labor-intensive and costly. Ht rice promises reduced dependence on manual labor.
  • Water-Saving Techniques:Ht rice can be integrated with direct-seeded rice (DSR), promoting water conservation.

Advantages of Ht Rice:

  • Weed Control:Ht rice allows targeted herbicide application, minimizing weed interference. This leads to cleaner fields and better crop growth.
  • Labor Savings:Reduced manual weeding means lower labor costs for farmers.
  • Yield Potential:By minimizing weed competition, Ht rice has the potential to boost yields.

Risks Associated with Ht Rice:

  • High Costs:Farmers must invest in Ht rice seeds and specific herbicides. These costs may outweigh the benefits.
  • Herbicide Resistance:Overreliance on a single herbicide can lead to resistant weeds, rendering the technology less effective over time.
  • Biodiversity Loss:Herbicides affect non-target plants and insects, impacting overall ecosystem diversity.
  • Soil Health Degradation:Frequent herbicide use may harm soil microorganisms and nutrient cycling.
  • Food Security Concerns:If Ht rice becomes dominant, it could reduce crop diversity and threaten food security.
  • Water Pollution:Herbicides can leach into water bodies, affecting aquatic ecosystems.

Way Forward

  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM):Combine Ht rice with IPM practices, including crop rotation, biological control, and diversified cropping systems.
  • Research on Herbicide Alternatives:Explore eco-friendly herbicides or non-chemical weed management techniques.
  • Farmer Training:Educate farmers on responsible herbicide use, emphasizing sustainable practices.
  • Monitoring and Regulation:Regular monitoring of Ht rice adoption and its impact on ecosystems.
  • Balanced Approach:Promote Ht rice alongside other sustainable technologies, ensuring a holistic approach to weed management.

Conclusion

Policymakers must carefully evaluate the benefits and risks of Ht rice. Striking a balance between agricultural efficiency and environmental sustainability is essential for long-term food security.

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

6. The widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) in India faces several key challenges. Addressing these challenges is essential to overcome the barriers to EV adoption and pave the way for a cleaner and more sustainable transportation future in India. Evaluate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Last November, Delhi came up with its Delhi Motor Vehicle Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme, 2023. It mandates licensing and regulatory requirements for aggregators, delivery service providers and e-commerce entities.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the evaluation of India’s move towards electric vehicles (EVs), focusing on progress, challenges in it and government initiatives need to overcome it.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving aa statistics related to EV vehicle adoption for context.

Body:

First, write about India’s progress in transitioning towards electric vehicles (EVs). Highlight the increase in the number of EV sales, the growth of EV charging infrastructure, and the initiatives taken by automakers to introduce EV models in the market.

Next, write about the key challenges hindering widespread EV adoption in India. Discuss issues such as high upfront costs, limited charging infrastructure, range anxiety, and consumer perceptions. Address the need for addressing these challenges through policy interventions and public awareness campaigns.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

An electric vehicle, uses one or more electric motors or traction motors for propulsion. An electric vehicle may be powered through self-contained battery, solar panels or an electric generator to convert fuel to electricity. India is among a handful of countries that supports the global EV30@30 campaign, which aims for at least 30 per cent new vehicle sales to be electric by 2030.

Body

Progress  of electric vehicles in India

  • The Electric vehicle adoption, be it four-, three-, two-wheelers, or buses, has seen a massive uptick over the past year or so.
  • As an example, Hero Electric, India’s pioneering electric two-wheeler manufacturer, clocked its highest ever calendar year volumes in 2022, with more than 1,00,000 units finding new homes across the year
  • As fuel prices skyrocket, there are rising concerns about the steep increase in the cost of running petrol and diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles seem to be coming into their own at last.
  • The Indian electric vehicle market was valued at USD 1,434.04 billion in 2021, and it is expected to reach USD 15,397.19 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 47.09% during the forecast period (2022-2027).
  • The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid & Electric Vehicles in India (FAME I and II) helped create the initial interest and exposure for electric mobility.
  • To promote the domestic electric vehicle industry, the Indian government has provided tax exemptions and subsidies to EV manufacturers and consumers.
  • India’s shift to shared, electric and connected mobility could help the country save nearly one giga-tonne of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.

Potential of EVs in India

  • Help tackle Climate change and air pollution:
    • India has committed to cutting its GHG emissions intensity by 33% to 35% percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
    • As per NITI Aayog’s reportEVs will help in cutting down as much as 1 Gigatonne (GT) of carbon emissions by 2030.
    • Electric vehicles don’t produce emissions that contribute to climate change and smog than conventional vehicles.
    • All-electric vehicles produce zero direct emissions, which specifically helps improve air quality in urban areas.
    • According to a recent study by WHO, India is home to 14 out of 20 most polluted cities in the world. EVs will help in tackling this problem by reducing local concentrations of pollutants in cities.
    • Cost reduction from better electricity generating technologies. This has introduced the possibility of clean, low-carbon and inexpensive grids.
  • Energy security:
    • India imports oil to cover over 80 percent of its transport fuel.
    • Electric mobility will contribute to balancing energy demand, energy storage and environmental sustainability.
    • Electric vehicles could help diversify the energy needed to move people and goods thanks to their reliance on the wide mix of primary energy sources used in power generation, greatly improving energy security.
  • Cutting edge Battery Technology:
    • Advances in battery technology have led to higher energy densities, faster charging and reduced battery degradation from charging.
  • Innovation:
    • EVs manufacturing capacity will promote global scale and competitiveness.
  • Employment:
    • Promotion of EVs will facilitate employment growth in a sun-rise sector.

Challenges in adoption of EVs

  • Despite being the third-largest auto market and several incentives dished out by New Delhi and state governments, India remains a laggard in electric vehicles (EV).
  • The country is a ripe target for EV makers but is slow to catch up with other markets, according to a recent report by S&P Global Ratings.
  • Domestic sales of EVs have more than doubled, but they barely represent 2% of the total light-vehicle sales in the last 12 months.
  • India is technologically deficient in the production of electronics that form the backbone of EV industry, such as batteries, semiconductors, controllers, etc.
  • The lack of clarity over AC versus DC charging stations, grid stability and range anxiety (fear that battery will soon run out of power) hinder the growth of EV industry.
  • India is dependent on countries like Japan and China for the import of lithium-ion batteries.
  • EVs have higher servicing costs and higher levels of skills is needed for servicing. India lacks dedicated training courses for such skill development.
  • Affordability of e-vehicles (EVs) and the range they can cover on a single battery charge.

Various measures taken by the government to promote electric vehicles

  • Most recently, Government think-tank Niti Aayog has prepared a draft battery swapping policy, under which it has proposed offering incentives to electric vehicles (EVs) with swappable batteries, subsidies to companies manufacturing swappable batteries, a new battery-as-a-service business model, and standards for interoperable batteries, among other measures.
  • Government has set a target of electric vehicles making up 30 % of new sales of cars and two-wheelers by 2030.
  • To build a sustainable EV ecosystem initiative like –National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) and Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric vehicles in India (FAME India) have been launched by India.
  • NEMMP was launched with an aim to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in the country.
  • FAME India Scheme was launched with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and manufacturing ecosystem.
  • The Union power ministry categorized charging of batteries as a service, which will help charging stations operate without licenses.
  • Implementation of smart cities would also boost the growth of electric vehicle

Way Forward

  • For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
  • Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
  • Increasing focus on incentivizing electric two-wheelers because two-wheelers account for 76% of the vehicles in the country and consume most of the fuel.
  • A wide network of charging stations is imminent for attracting investment.
  • Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
  • Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  • Addressing technical concerns like AC versus DC charging stations, handling of peak demand, grid stability etc.
  • India needs to leap into EV battery manufacturing.
  • Private investment in battery manufacturing plants and developing low cost production technology is needed.
  • Need for a policy roadmap on electric vehicles so that investments can be planned.
  • Acquiring lithium fields in Bolivia, Australia, and Chile could become as important as buying oil fields as India needs raw material to make batteries for electric vehicles.
  • Providing waiver of road tax and registration fees, GST refunds and free parking spaces for EVs.
      1. What are the options available to Sreekanth?
      2. Critically analyse the above-mentioned actions?
      3. Which actions should Sreekanth choose? Why?
      4. What are the ethical issues in the above case?There is also the task of bringing skilled professionals into the workforce that are knowledgeable about the benefits and advantages associated with electric vehicles.

        Topic: Case Study

        7. Sreekanth is District Magistrate of La La Land. The land is home to diverse communities, living in harmony despite occasional tensions. However, recent events have led to an increase in communal tensions and an atmosphere of distrust.

        Sreekanth’s reputation as a just and fair administrator is well-known. As the District Magistrate, he finds himself in the midst of a delicate situation when he receives a call from both the influential MLA and the Mayor. They request his assistance in demolishing what they claim are illegal constructions linked to the minority community.

        The MLA and Mayor assert that these constructions have been established without proper permits and are a result of the recent riots, which they attribute to the minority community. They claim that these buildings serve as hotbeds of dissent and must be torn down to maintain peace and security in the region.

        Sreekanth is faced with an ethical dilemma. On one hand, he understands the importance of maintaining law and order in the region. On the other, he senses a hidden agenda behind the MLA and Mayor’s request. He knows that blindly complying with their demands could lead to further unrest and fuel division among the communities.

 

Introduction

The case encapsulates the complex dynamics of societal divisions based on religion, ethnicity, or other cultural affiliations. In this context, La La Land, known for its historically diverse and harmonious communities, has recently grappled with escalating tensions. This case epitomizes the intricate challenges of communal issues, demanding thoughtful analysis and a principled approach to preserve unity and justice in the face of mounting discord.

Body

Options available with Sreekanth

  • Comply with the MLA and Mayor’s Request: Sreekanth could choose to go along with the request to demolish the alleged illegal constructions. This may temporarily satisfy the influential political figures, but it could exacerbate tensions and potentially lead to further unrest in the long run.
  • Investigate the Claims: Sreekanth could conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged illegal constructions. This would involve verifying whether the buildings were indeed constructed without proper permits and if they pose a genuine threat to public safety and security. This option allows for a fair and evidence-based decision.
  • Engage in Dialogue: Sreekanth could facilitate a dialogue between the different communities involved, including representatives from the minority community, to address the concerns and grievances. This could help in building mutual trust and finding a peaceful resolution to the situation.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Sreekanth could consult legal experts or seek advice from higher authorities to ensure that any decision he makes is legally sound and in compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.
  • Maintain Neutrality: Sreekanth could choose to remain neutral and avoid taking sides in the dispute. He could emphasize the importance of upholding the rule of law while also ensuring that the rights and interests of all communities are respected.

Critical analysis of the actions

  • Compliance with the Request: While this may provide a short-term solution, it could potentially worsen the situation by deepening mistrust and resentment between communities. It may also violate the rights of the minority community if the demolitions are not based on legitimate legal grounds.
  • Investigation: This is a balanced approach that ensures decisions are based on evidence and legality. However, it may take time and resources to conduct a thorough investigation, and there could be political pressure to act quickly.
  • Engage in Dialogue: This is a constructive approach that seeks to address the underlying issues and build bridges between communities. However, it may be challenging to bring all parties to the table, and finding a mutually acceptable solution could be difficult.
  • Seek Legal Advice: Consulting legal experts is a prudent step to ensure that any decision is legally defensible. However, this may not necessarily address the broader ethical considerations at play.
  • Maintain Neutrality: While important for maintaining the appearance of impartiality, this option may not directly address the immediate concerns raised by the MLA and Mayor.

Course of action to choose

Given the complex and sensitive nature of the situation, Sreekanth should opt for a combination of options. He should initiate a thorough investigation to verify the claims of illegal constructions. Simultaneously, he should work towards facilitating a dialogue between the different communities involved, emphasizing the importance of peaceful coexistence and adherence to the rule of law.

 

Ethical issues in the above case

  • Fairness and Justice: Sreekanth must ensure that any decision made is fair and just, taking into account the rights and interests of all communities involved.
  • Impartiality: Sreekanth must remain impartial and not be swayed by political pressures or personal biases.
  • Rule of Law: Sreekanth must uphold the rule of law, ensuring that any actions taken are in accordance with legal procedures and regulations.
  • Community Relations: Sreekanth must consider the potential impact of his decisions on community relations and work towards fostering understanding and trust among different groups.
  • Transparency: Sreekanth should communicate openly and transparently about the decisions made and the rationale behind them to build trust among the communities.

Conclusion

Ultimately, Sreekanth’s approach seeks not only to address the immediate concerns but also to pave the way for long-term reconciliation and unity among the communities of La La Land. This case serves as a powerful reminder that in the face of communal challenges, principled leadership and a dedication to inclusivity can lead to the restoration of trust, the preservation of harmony, and the flourishing of a more cohesive society.

 

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