SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 APRIL 2018
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 time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 1
Topic: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Effects of globalization on Indian society Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
Why this question
The question is related to the GS-1 syllabus under the following heading- Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Effects of globalization on Indian society Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.
Key demand of the question
The question is straightforward. We have to discuss the role of Indian women in socio-religious reform movements of 19th century India. The key demand here is to give examples of Indian women, women organizations, movements in which women participated.
Discuss- we have to write in detail about the socio-religious reform movements of 19th century India and discuss how Indian women contributed to them. We have to be descriptive and provide as many examples as possible.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- you can introduce your answer by briefly discussing how the advent of colonialism fuelled the socio-religious reform movements in India and role of pioneer Indian men.
Body- describe the prominent Indian women and women organizations who worked for social religious reform. Be as exhaustive as possible in describing the contribution and the related area. Also, give as many examples as possible. e.g Pundita Ramabai, Arya Mahila Sabha, Banga Mahila Samaj, Aghorekamini Nari Samiti etc.
Conclusion- you can conclude your answer by mentioning that growing nationalism increasing the participation, demands and role of women in Indian politics and reform movements.
comprehensive and integrated planning for defence matters
- In nineteenth century, the women question was center of all socio-religious reform movements. The reformist and renaissance ideals of the enlightenment in Europe have usually been cited by historians as the inspiration for social reforms initiated in nineteenth century India
- Under socio-religious reform movements reformers raised their voice against the evil practices towards women of Indian societies such as sati, child marriage, prohibition of widow remarriage, polygamy, dowry and devadasi system. Educated women who were now becoming conscious of their natural rights, also came forward to liberate the rest of the women
Role of Indian women in socio religious reform movements of the nineteenth century:-
- Pandita Ramabhai:-
- Many woman reformers such as Pundita Ramabai also helped the cause of women’s upliftmen
- She advocated women’s education and shed light on the plight of child brides and child widows.
- She founded the Arya Mahila Sabha, which is known as the first feminist organisation in India. Its aim was to provide a support network for newly educated women
- She set up Mukti Mission for young widows, and Krupa Sadan and Sharda Sadan in 1889 for destitute women
- She founded the Sharda Sadan, a school for widows. Her greatest legacy was her effort, the first in India, to educate widows.
- Novelists like Nirupama Devi and Anurupa Devi :-
- They started getting referred to in the Bengali literary circles and were even given memberships of literary clubs which were dominated by men.
- Swarnakumari deb:-
- Imitating Ramabai’s Arya Mahila Samaj, elite women formed similar sectarian and local organizations. In 1886, Swarnakumari Debi Rabindranath Tagore’s sister, started Sakhi Samiti (Women’s Friendship League)to spread knowledge among women and widows.
- Lilabati Mitra helped Bidyasagar in 1890s to perform widow re-marriages by sheltering willing grooms.
- Kamini Roy was active in the Ilbert Bill agitation, organising girls at the Bethune School to hold meetings and wear badges supporting the Bill. She worked with Banga Mahila Samiti in their social reform projects.
- She was a feminist at an age when merely getting educated was a taboo for a woman.
- Savitrabhai phule along with her husband founded the first girls school in Pune run by native Indians at Bhide Wada in 1848.She worked to abolish discrimination and unfair treatment of people based on caste and gender
- Gowri laxmi Bayi:-
- In Kerala by a Royal Proclamation in 1812 she abolished the purchase and sale of all slaves and granted them independence excepting those attached to the soil for agricultural purposes.
- Castes like the Ezhavas, Kaniyans etc. were given independence from their Lords. A restriction put on the Sudras and others regarding the wearing of gold and silver ornaments was removed.
- Women’s organisations:-
- The primary goals of most women’s associations were to improve women’s literacy and health by abolishing child marriage, enforced widowhood, and purdah.
- By the late nineteenth century several women’s organisations began to be formed in several parts of India such as the Banga Mahila Samaj and the Aghorekamini Nari Samiti in Bengal, the Satara Abalonnati Sabha in Maharashtra, the Mahila Seva Samaj in Bangalore etc.
- Some of these were practical social reform movements and others were discussion platforms for women .
- Education was foremost on their list, followed by child marriage and the problems of widows and dowry.
- Aghorekamini Nari Samiti was based on the principle of self help and trained women to attend the sick and spread education amongst themselves.
- Aghorekamini Nari Samiti mobilised opinions against the ill-treatment of women workers by the tea planters.
- Banga Mahila Vidyalaya(Bengali Women’s College) :-
- It was the first women’s liberal arts college in India. Established at Kolkata in 1876, by the liberal section of the Brahmo Samaj, it was successor of Hindu Mahila Vidyalaya (School of Hindu Women) set up in 1873 by Annette Akroyd.
- Banga Mahila Vidyalaya was merged with Bethune College in 1878.
- Therefore women played a significant role in bringing out social reforms when the society was still largely conservative. Slowly more women got included in the movement and ultimately participated in huge numbers in the Indian freedom struggle as well.
Topic: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country
Key demand of the question
The focus should be on listing down the various manifestations of protest during NCM and a brief commentary on their impact and shortcomings
Discuss – We have to list down the various manifestations of protest during NCM, their reach, impact and shortcoming.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Mention that NCM was the 1st mass movement and list down the sections of society who took part in it including Khilafat Movement. Also mention that NCM represented mass usage of Gandhian tools for the first time
- Discuss the various forms of protest such as Kisan Sabha Meetings, picketing, lawyers giving up practice wtc
- Discuss how successful and widespread each of these protests were
- If you feel, there were shortcomings in the form of protests mention those. For instance the Kisan Sabha protests turned violent especially in UP etc
Conclusion – Mention that NCM was the first test of Gandhian tools of freedom struggle, essence remained the same later as well but forms of protest varied slightly.
- Non-Cooperation Movementwas a significant phase of the Indian independence movement from british rule. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre. It aimed to resist British rule in India through nonviolent means.
Forms of protest:-
- The programme of non-cooperation included within its ambit the surrender of titles and honours.
- Boycott of government affiliated schools and colleges
- Boycott of law courts
- Picketing of shops selling foreign cloth was also a major form of the
- Boycott could be extended to include resignation from government service and mass civil disobedience including the non-payment of taxes.
- National schools and colleges were to be set up
- Panchayats were to be established for settling disputes
- Hand-spinning and weaving was to be encouraged
- People were asked to maintain Hindu- Muslim unity, give up untouchability and observe strict non-violence.
- Kisan sabhas:-
- In the Avadh area of U.P., where kisan sabhas and a kisan movement had been gathering strength since 1918 and with Non-cooperation propaganda it became difficult to distinguish between a Non cooperation meeting and a kisan meeting.
- In Malabar in Kerala, Non cooperation and Khilafat propaganda helped to arouse the Muslims tenants against their landlords.
- Charkhas were popularized on a wide scale and khadi became the uniform of the national movement.
- Defiance of forest laws became popular in Andhra.
- Peasants and tribals in some of the Rajasthan states began movements for securing better conditions of life.
- Akali movement:-
- In Punjab, the Akali Movement for taking control of the gurudwaras from the corrupt mahants (priests) was a part of the general movement of Non-cooperation, and the Akalis observed strict non-violence in the face of tremendous repression.
- The most successful item of the programme was the boycott of foreign cloth.
- Volunteers would go from house to house collecting clothes made of foreign cloth, and the entire community would collect to light a bonfire of the good.
- The value of imports of foreign cloth fell from Rs. 102 crore in 1920-21 to Rs. 57 crore in 1921-22.
- Picketing of toddy shops:-
- Government revenues showed considerable decline on this count.
- The educational boycott was particularly successful in Bengal, where the students in Calcutta triggered off a province-wide strike to force the managements of their institutions to disaffiliate themselves from the Government.
- Movement was spread almost to all parts of India.
- It was a truly mass movement where lakhs of Indians participated in the open protest against the government through peaceful means.
- It shook the British government who were stumped by the extent of the movement.
- It saw participation from both Hindus and Muslims thereby showcasing communal harmony in the country.
- This movement established the popularity of the Congress Party among the people.
- As a result of this movement, people became conscious of their political rights. They were not afraid of the government.
- Hordes of people thronged to jails willingly.
- The Indian merchants and mill owners enjoyed good profits during this period as a result of the boycott of British goods. Khadi was promoted.
- The boycott of law courts by lawyers was not as successful as the educational boycott.
- The movement in Kerala unfortunately took on a communal colour.
- In Assam, labourers on tea plantations went on strike. When the fleeing workers were fired upon, there were strikes on the steamer service, and on the Assam-Bengal Railway as well.
- Non cooperation movement was the first mass movement which revolutionalised the masses. This movement acted as a stepping stone for future movements where the forms of struggle slightly varied but the principles and essence remained largely same as this movement.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Why this question
Recently the law commission recommended The Law Ministry to bring BCCI under the purview of RTI act. BCCI and issues related to sports administration have been in news for a long time. So the question is important for mains exam and is related to GS- 2 syllabus under the following heading- Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.
Key demand of the question
The question wants to know our opinion on the issue of bringing BCCI under the purview of RTI act. Whether we are in favor of the recommendation or not, and why.
Comment- we have to form an opinion on the given issue and give reasons/ justifications/ arguments in favor of our opinion.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- you can start your answer by mentioning that BCCI is originally a body registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act and that Supreme Court has already declared BCCI to be a public body.
Body- present your opinion on the issue and then discuss in points in favor of your opinion.
e.g BCCI is a public body, is ruled by the SC, The BCCI nominates cricketers to the Arjuna Award, BCCI and international relations, BCCI being a national sports Federation etc.
Conclusion- present your conclusion along with briefly discuss in 1-2 lines, what are the difficulties faced in implementing this order/ recommendation.
- Supreme court and Lodha committee already highlighted that BCCI is a public body .Law commission viewed it an agency or instrumentality of State, under Article 12 of the Constitution, thereby making it amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the Supreme Court under Article 32.
Why BCCI needs to be brought under the ambit of RTI act:-
- The Law Commission has recently recommended that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) be brought under the Right To Information (RTI) Act because it exercises state like powers. Law commission’s recommendation was a reiteration of the 2016 Supreme Court order in the BCCI vs Cricket Association of Bihar case.
- National instances:-
- Reports say that the BCCI secretary has gone to the Northeast for the first time to scout for talent This is the first time in the last 60 years. There is no accountability or transparency.
- The uniform of the players of the Indian team contains the national colours and their helmets display the Ashok Chakra.
- BCCI nominates cricketers for Arjuna awards.
- BCCI’s role is monopolistic in regulation of the game of cricket and has resulted in the Board avoiding public scrutiny, encouraged an environment of opacity and non-accountability.
- The Supreme court has also reaffirmed that BCCI is the approved national level body holding virtually monopoly rights to organize cricketing events in the country.
- Public functions:-
- Nature and the character of the functions performed by BCCI are public. With respect to regulation of cricket in India no such legislation exist. BCCI regulates the game and makes laws to that effect.
- The BCCI’s memorandum of association also states that its objects and purposes are to control ,improve quality and lay down policies pertaining to the game of cricket in India as well as to select teams to represent India at International level. So law commission thus concludes that the BCCI should also be treated as public authority in terms of the RTI act.
- Government does exercise control over BCCI activities and functioning:-
- The BCCI, falling in line with the foreign policy of India, did not recognise a player from South Africa due to their practice of apartheid
- The cricket matches between India and Pakistan in view of tense international relations were made subject to Government approval.
- It has received substantial financing from appropriate governments over the years (in the form of tax exemptions, land grants etc) within the existing legal framework So it can still be termed as a ‘public authority’ and be brought within the purview of the RTI Act.
- Since all other sports bodies which are listed as national sports federations are covered under the RTI Act, it is inconceivable as to why BCCI should be an exception
- Like other sports federations BCCI undertakes activities of organization of national/ international tournaments in the country, selection of sportspersons/ teams, sending them for training and participation in international tournaments abroad.
- In relation to cricket, BCCI exclusively undertakes these activities in as well as on behalf of India thereby operating and functioning as the National sports federation for cricket.
Concerns with the recommendations are:-
- Recommendations of law commission are merely advisories
- Supreme court did not consider BCCI as state
- Until such time as any legislation is brought into force or the courts decide that BCCI is state under article 12 of the constitution of India or comes within the purview of RTI act ,the BCCI will neither be considered state or come under RTI act.
- Therefore the benefits of bringing BCCI under RTI act is vast as it increases transparency and accountability of BCCI functioning which was the objective of the Lodha committee report.
TOPIC: Topic – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education
WHy this question
RTE is a very important initiative of the government and thus needs to be prepared in depth
Key demand of the question
The question demands us to highlight the implementation challenges of RTE. The issue has to be examined in depth including reasons for the challenges, ways of addressing it and the impact those challenges have on successful implementation of RTE
Critically Examine – Focus should be on going deep into the issue by answering the parts of the question highlighted above and providing a fair and balanced opinion in the end.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Discuss the long history of RTE in brief to bring out that several changes have happened in RTE over the years, and several more need to happen for ensuring that RTE is successful
- Bring out the implementation challenges in RTE
- Learning outcomes
- Debate over the implementation of RTE in case of private unaided schools etc
- Each issue that you discuss also needs to contain
- Why the challenge persists
- How those challenges are hindering the attainment of overall objective of RTE
- WHat more can be done to address it
Conclusion – Highlight the importance of education for addressing the problem of India’s demographic bulge. Also provide your opinion on whether you think RTE in its current form would be able to address the challenge. Bring out that commitment and resolved is required for successful implementation of RTE.
- Right to education act 2009 changed the phase of education in India. Based on the 2017 ASER survey the 14-year-olds are among the first to have benefitted from the RTE Act’s provisions of no-detention and free and compulsory education.
- As the ASER report shows, a direct consequence of the RTE has been that most tend to continue to stay within the formal education set-up, even after the Act folds up at age 14.
RTE’s implementation challenges:-
- Issue with notification regarding admissions under RTE:-
- Five States (Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim and Telangana) have not even issued notifications regarding admissions under the RTE.
- Private schools:-
- Section 12(1)(c) of the Act mandates private unaided schools to reserve 25% of seats for children from economically weaker sections (EWS), in the age bracket of six to 14 years. This enabled economically marginalised communities to access high quality private schools, at the expense of the State but this was not implemented properly.
- States have to notify per-child costs to pay the private schools, on behalf of the children admitted under this provision. However, out of 29 States and seven Union Territories, only 14 have notified their per-child costs.
- There is no data to record the number of students being admitted in private schools under section 12(1)(c) of the act .So poor children might not even be benefiting under this Act.
- Centre-state issues:-
- In 2017-18, of the 15 States which submitted their reimbursement claims to the Central government, only six were approved. Many of the claims of the States were not provided funds by the Centre, as they had not notified the per-child costs.
- Schools are refusing to admit children under the RTE provision, citing non-payment of dues by State governments.
- Discrimination of caste and gender:-
- A large number of Dalits, Adivasis and girls discontinue education because of discrimination in schools. And more than 60 per cent of urban primary schools are overcrowded,
- Quality of education deteriorated:-
- About 50 per cent of Indian students cannot do basic mathematics or read a short story when they complete elementary education.
- Also due to no detention policy children learning outcomes are getting compromised.
- Poor infrastructure despite strict norms
- Quality of teachers is also not good.
Measures needed to improve RTE are:-
- The Government must insist on fixing teachers’ accountability in public schools and learning outcome-based recognition for all schools, be it public or private schools.
- Proper rules should be framed to implement the RTE Act in consultation with all stakeholders, including community leaders, teachers, and school managements. The government should ensure complete transparency in the functioning of private schools
- Public expenditure increase:-
- Among Asian countries, the ratio of per student public expenditure in tertiary relative to primary education is less than four in Malaysia, two in Indonesia and one in Thailand and Korea. In India, it is over nine.
- Teachers quality:-
- Teachers have very less limited accountability i.e.., to the education department bureaucracy.
- Teachers are rarely reprimanded for non-performance. So this needs change
- TSR Subramanian committee recommendations are as follows:
- Government should establish Indian Education Service (IES) as an all Indian service with officers on permanent settlement with state governments, but cadre controlling authority vested in HRD Ministry.
- Education has been given comparatively low priority by both the Central and State governments, judged by the budgetary support provided thus far. This must change if anything of significant value is to be achieved. Without further wait, the outlay on education should be raised to at least 6% of the GDP.
- Minority schools should be made to reserve 25% seats for candidates of economically weaker sections (EWS).
- There should be restrictions on Campus politics.
- Focus needs change:-
- Education policy in India is focused on inputs rather than learning outcomes
- Education policy has a strong elitist bias in favour of higher education as opposed to primary or secondary education.
- The intrinsic value of a sound education system in enabling the citizenry to enjoy fulfilling lives and participate in robust democratic processes is important. For both its intrinsic value as well as its instrumental value, reforming Indian dysfunctional education system is of paramount importance.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Why this question
India as a hostile neighborhood, diverse strategic interests and more importantly the aspirations being a developed nation. Thus it is an important question for a country like India. The question is related to GS3 syllabus under the following heading- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment. Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
It is also related to GS2 syllabus under the following heading- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health,
Education, Human Resources.
Key demand of the question
The question wants us to analyze whether developing countries like India should increase their defence budget even when they have a paucity of funds for development. We also have to see the implications of our opinion.
Critically examine- we have to probe deeper into the issue, form a judgment and examine the implications of our judgment.
Structure of the answer
Introduction- you can introduce your answer by quoting India’s Defence budget and compare it to other countries, mention the trend in its allocation etc.
Body- divide the body the answer into two main parts.
In one part, briefly discuss the need to have more funds for development but at the same time reiterate the need for a robust defense system for a country like India.
In the other part, discuss in points, why India’s Defence budget should be increased.
e.g need for modernization, low budget vis a vis other countries, high revenue expenditure leaving less space for capital expenses etc.
Conclusion – briefly present your conclusion along with a few suggestions, like rationalization of Manpower, employing Technology, private sector participation etc.
- India is a country located in a dangerous neighbourhood and facing both internal and external threats. Comprehensive national security helps a nation attain its aspirations, and robust security is a subset of that
Yes, military budget needs to be increased:-:-
- Modernisation of equipment:-
- 68% of Indian military equipment was in the bad state, and two, with the new budget allocation of 1.47% of GDP, the sustenance of at least 24 capital projects is in jeopardy.
- More funds are required:-
- The Army received Rs. 268.2 billion for modernisation as against its demand for Rs. 445.7 billion.
- Security issues led to diversion of the funds:-
- With the Doklam crisis and the necessity of mobilising the Siliguri-based Corps, along with other priority resources from many other sectors to make up existing deficiencies and optimise the Corps capability, the Army expended almost its entire allocation of the transportation budget.
- Revenue budget:-
- The revenue budget amounts to a little over 80%, leaving little for capital expenditure through which modernisation is to be executed.
- Military power is meant not only for fighting wars but also for deterring them.
- A strong military enhances international credibility and strengthens a country’s position in bilateral and international negotiations. It enables a country’s leader to impose his will on the adversary.
- With China –Pakistan increasingly focussing on defence spending India needs to be prepared
No, there are other priorities that need focus :-
- India’s defence budget is the fifth-largest in the world, and military expenditure certainly impacts on development programmes which are aimed at lifting India’s 224 million people out of poverty.
- India needs to focus on development on human resources like health, education to utilise the demographic dividend .These areas are already under funded. So more military budget will only increase the strain on these.
- India is already facing challenges with hunger, malnutrition and obesity ,caste discrimination etc these need immediate focus.
The following areas need improvement:-
- Rational strategy is needed:-
- Lack of a national security strategy, a national strategic culture and a transformational approach towards its military capability prevent it from obtaining optimum benefit from its defence expenditure.
- Defence manufacturing indigenously need to take place emphasising on quality to reduce the costs of imported equipment.
- Efficient and skilled manpower need recruitment along with good incentives
- Involve private sector as well as government is already strained with monetary resources and have different social commitments.
Topic – Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.
WHy this question
In a significant defence policy reform notified on April 18, 2018, the government has revamped the existing defence planning system by establishing a Defence Planning Committee (DPC) under the chairmanship of the National Security Adviser (NSA). The new measure, arguably the boldest defence reform in decades, is likely to have a far reaching consequence on the way defence planning is undertaken and on defence preparedness.Hence the topic is important
Key demand of the question
The focus is on analyzing the formation of DPC and whether it represents a break from the past or whether its old wine in a new bottle. The objectives, pros and cons have to be mentioned.
Examine – Get deeper into the formation of DPC, analyze its objectives, benefits, and potential impacts
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Explain what a DPC is and whether such a body existed in the past
- Highlight the objectives with which the DPC has been formed as well as other details about DPC – such as role, tenure etc
- Highlight how DPC will address the lacunae in policy making architecture
- Greater coordination
- Will lay down security doctrines missing in India so far
- Chief of Defense Staff – a long standing demand
- Highlight how DPC is not pathbreaking and will fail to alter the status quo
- Not a lot of interface with think tanks etc
Conclusion – Mention your opinion on DPC and whether it will help transform policymaking keeping India’s national security in mind.
- In a significant defence policy reform the government has revamped the existing defence planning system by establishing a Defence Planning Committee (DPC) under the chairmanship of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
Defence planning committee:-
- A permanent body, comprising the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), service chiefs, Defence Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Secretary (expenditure) in the Finance Ministry
- It will prepare a draft national security strategy besides undertaking a strategic defence review and formulating an international defence engagement strategy.
Problems with defence planning at present which makes proper defence planning important are :-
- The extant system of defence planning resulted in
- The provision of less than adequate resources to meet numerous security challenges
- Chasing goals that were not of immediate priority:-
- Very high emphasis on acquisitions.
- Duplication and wastage of scarce resources
- Giving less than required focus on new technological advancements while pursuing manpower driven military modernisation
- A defence R&D and manufacturing base losing its sight on self-reliance.
- There is little coordination between ministries, and the bureaucracy and the military are often not on the same page. This leads to situations as witnessed recently where the military submitted to the parliamentary standing committee on defence that this year’s defence budget barely made room for modernisation.
- In all cases before there was usually strong disagreement in discussions on what constituted national security. So the future of the formulation of a National Security Strategy (NSS) remained doubtful.
Why defence planning committee is needed?
- The DPC is a permanent institutional mechanism with a specified charter which means that it not only can make recommendations, but can also follow up on their implementation.
- The DPC has top bureaucrats from three important ministries, and is chaired by the NSA .
- The composition of the committee reflects its goal of bringing both military and civilian components of defence planning on one platform. This is absolutely vital for a modern defence strategy that is nimble and adaptable to changing security realities.
- This committee should help the armed forces prioritise their procurement plans to reflect diplomatic and financial realities.
- The DPC would also give the armed forces an institutional role in higher policy formulation, which has been lacking so far.
- It is intended to facilitate a comprehensive and integrated planning for defence matters which is a vital ingredient in defence preparedness, which was conspicuously missing in earlier mechanisms .
- The defence planning process is expected to become more rational as well as provide a much needed boost to defence preparedness.
- DPC would clearly articulate the key national security/ defence/ military goals as well as prioritise defence and security requirements as per the likely available resources
- At the same time it can provide adequate focus on emerging security challenges, technological advancements, and establishing a strong indigenous defence manufacturing base.
- There’s a yawning gap between the expectations of the armed forces and the diplomatic priorities and financial capacity of government. The new committee is expected to bridge these various needs, and refine recommendations for defence procurement by taking a long-term view of security.
- Realisation seems to be finally dawning that defence preparedness isn’t solely about buying the most advanced aircraft or warship. It also entails strategic diplomacy and prudent resource allocation based on available financial capacity. The new committee should get all stakeholders in India’s defence to pull in one direction.
- Past record of the reports of government appointed committees on national security are not implemented by the government so this move is bound to be met with scepticism.
- Overdependence on this committee also carries the danger of over-centralisation of national security initiatives in one official, the NSA. This personality-centric decision-making may not be healthy in a democratic system where the government is accountable to the citizens through Parliament.
- While the setting up of the committee is a welcome development, this cannot be a substitute for a virtual top down restructuring of the institutions and ministries involved in defence and security planning.
Topic – Disaster and disaster management.
Why this question
The recent wildfire tragedy in TN, in which 20 trekkers lost their lives, once again brings into focus forest fires in India. Over the past few years, we have realised that these fires are not spontaneous; human beings set off fires. Forest fires are a natural disaster which hasn’t received the kind of attention it deserves.
Key demand of the question
The question is quite pointed in what it demands in the answer.
Discuss – Go through the details of the demands of the question and examine each aspect in depth from multiple perspectives. While discussing approaches, evaluate its efficacy as well.
Structure of the answer
Introduction – Describe what is a forest fire and point out the growing incidents of forest fire
- Discuss causes of forest fire – natural causes as well as the reasons behind man made causes
- Discuss how we deal with forest fire and the lacunae
- Discuss the way ahead – cover multiple perspectives such as immediate response, addressing the economic angle etc
Conclusion – Summarize the challenge that forest fire throws from disaster management and why we should focus on addressing this challenge asap.
- In India, states where forest cover is thick, like Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand, and the North-East, are often prone to forest fires.
- They pose a threat not only to the forest wealth but also to the entire regime to fauna and flora seriously disturbing the bio-diversity and the ecology and environment of a region.
- According to NDMA report in 2012, about half of India’s forests were prone to fires.
Causes behind forest fires:-
- Natural causes:-
- Natural causes such as lightning which set trees on fire. High atmospheric temperatures and low humidity offer favourable circumstance for a fire to start.
- Man made causes:-
- In most of the cases in India, due to heavy population, human habitations have often gone closer to thick forest, resulting in forest fires.
- The problem has been aggravated with rising human and cattle population and the increase in demand for grazing, shifting cultivation and Forest products by individuals and communities.
- Type of forests:-
- The bulk of forest fires in India occurs in the tropical dry forests of India an umbrella category encompassing scrub, savanna grassland, dry and moist-deciduous forests. Almost 70% of forests in India are composed of these types.
- No fire forest policy:-
- The roots of India’s current fire crisis lie squarely in the blanket implementation of a no-fire forest policy. This ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach of fire protection is perhaps incompatible with the ecology of India’s tropical dry forests.
- Invasive species:-
- Supply of fuel by ample invasive species present in the forests also aid the spread of forest fires. Authorities have failed in preventing the spread of such species.
- Burning forest lands is an environment management practice carried out by villagers in order to enhance their livelihoods. This gives the villagers easy access to many forest resources that can be turned into income.
- An example is the gucchi (Morchella Esculenta), a mushroom with a very high selling price, which is known to grow well on burnt forest land.
- Ownership of forests:-
- Villagers believe that the future of the forests is in the hands of government officers and not their own.
Approaches used to fight forest fires and their lacunae:-
- Helicopters or aeroplanes or ground-based personnel spray fire retardant chemicals, or pump water are utilised to fight the blaze. This is very expensive and usually not practiced in India.
- Contain the fire in compartments bordered by natural barriers such as streams, roads, ridges or fire lines.
- A fire line isa line through a forest which has been cleared of all vegetation. Once the blaze has burnt out all combustibles in the affected compartment, it vanishes out and the neighbouring compartments are saved.
- Set a counter fire:-
- The counter fire rushes towards the wildfire, leaving a stretch of burnt ground. As soon as the two fires meet, the blaze is extinguished.
- To have enough people with leafy green branches to beat the fire out. This is mostly practised in combination with fire lines and counter fires.
- Traditional methods of fire prevention are not proving effective and it is now essential to raise public awareness on the matter, particularly among those people who live close to or in forested areas.
Measures needed are:-
- Increase the number of fire fighters as well as equip them properly with drinking water bottles, back-up supplies of food and water, proper shoes or boots, rakes, spades and other implements, light, rechargeable torches, and so on.
- Seasonal labour could be contracted during the fire season. With adequate training, they would serve to fill gaps along the line.
- In case of forest fires, the volunteer teams are essential not only for fire fighting but also to keep watch on the start of forest and sound an alert.
- Adopt safe practices in areas near forests factories, coalmines, oil stores, chemical plants and even in household kitchens.
- Arrange fire fighting drills frequently.
- Extra funds should be used for hiring more Forest Department field staff to put out fires during the fire season and to patrol the forests during other times.
- With the help of mobile applications, SMS or through the website, citizens can help track forest fires whenever they occur and bring them to the attention of local authorities.
- Discontinuing the claimed ‘forest plantations’ would help control forest fires, which in turn would help rejuvenation of fire-stressed forest ecosystems. This would help indigenous forests grow back.
- Villagers have to be informed about innovative practices and technologies that can take them away from intentional forest fires without having to substantially increase their work.
- There is no need for paved paths or tourist ‘facilities’ within reserve forests as these are not tourist attractions