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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 JUNE 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 JUNE 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 aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1) Although the contact between the Macedonians and ancient Indians was for a brief period, its impact was fairly wide in range. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Greek invasion of northwest India and contact with the Indian civilization though short lived had a profound impact. The issue is important as far as UPSC mains exam is concerned and is indirectly related to GS 1 syllabus under the following heading-

Salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Key demand of the question.

The question simply wants us to describe at length, the effect of Greek contact with India. We have to dig deep into the issue and describe how the Greek contact affected India’s economy, polity, society etc.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question- what was the impact of Greek contact with India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – briefly discuss the Alexander’s invasion of north-western India and (brief but with significant impact) extension of Macedonian empire.

Body

Discuss in points about the impact of contact between Macedonians and ancient Indians.

E.g  It brought Europe, for the first time, in close contact with India, as routes, by sea and by land, were opened between India and the West. A close commercial relation was also established, Greek writers  left many valuable geographical accounts of this region , it paved the way for political unification of north western India, Gandhara art school developed, making of coins, the date of Alexander’s invasion – 326 BC provides a definite ‘marker’ for arranging the sequence of historical events in India. Etc.

Name the Greeks who have left an account of the period e.g Arrian, admiral
Nearchus, and Megasthenes.

Conclusion– Form a balanced and concise opinion based on your discussion.

Background:-

  • During the fourth century BC, the Greeks and the Persians fought for supremacy over West Asia. The Achaemenid empire was finally destroyed by the Greeks under the leadership of Alexander of Macedon.

Contact between Macedonians and ancient Indians :-

  • When Alexander tried to conquer India north western India had lack of unity and was divided into number of small principalities. So it helped the Greeks to conquer these principalities one after another.
  • Alexander’s army refused to march ahead when they heard about the vast army and the strength of the Nandas of Magadha. He divided his territorial possessions covering parts of eastern Europe and a large area in western Asia into three parts and placed them under three Greek governors.

Impact:-

  • Economic:-
    • Routes established:-
      • Alexander’s invasion brought Europe, for the first time, in close contact with India, as routes, by sea and by land, were opened between India and the West.
    • A close commercial relation was also established. The traders and craftsmen 
      used to follow these routes.
    • The Greek writers have left many valuable geographical accounts of this region for Indians.
  • Political:-
    • Alexander’s invasion paved the way for political unification of north western India by conquering the warring tribes of this region.  
    • It seems that by his campaigns Alexander made Chandragupta Maurya’s work of annexing this area easier.
    • Soon after Alexander’s departure, Chandragupta defeated one of his generals, Seleucus Nikator and brought the whole of north western India upto Afghanistan under his control. 
  • Art :-
    • The influence of Greek art is found in the development of Indian sculpture as well. The combination of the Greek and the Indian style formed the Gandhara School of art.
    • Indians also learnt the art of making well-shaped and beautifully designed gold and silver coins from the Greeks.
    • The Greeks had some influence on Indian astrology as well. 
    • Many valuable information about the social and economic condition of northern and north western India of that time are known from the Greek accounts left by Arrian, admiral Nearchus, and Megasthenes.
      • They speak about the developed condition of many crafts, existence of a brisk trade with the outside world, and about the general prosperous condition of the country.
      • Much has also been said in these accounts of carpentary as a flourishing trade in India
    • World came to know more about India:-
      • Alexander’s adventure also helped the West to know something about the Indian life and thinking.
      • Philosophy:-
        • It has been said that the ideas and notions of Indian philosophy and religion which filtered into the Roman empire flowed through the channel opened by Alexander. 
      • As the Greek writers left dated records of Alexander’s campaign, it helped India a great deal to frame the chronology of ancient Indian history. The date of Alexander’s invasion – 326 BC provides a definite ‘marker’ for arranging the sequence of historical events in India.

Topic– Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2)Discuss how plateaus are classified and also discuss their economic significance.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The question is related to GS-1 syllabus under the following heading –

Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to classify the plateaus of the world and also write in detail about their economic significance.

Directive word

Discuss- we have to provide the classification of plateaus and write in detail about the economic benefits they provide us or hold for us.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief definition of the term plateau and mention that plateaus cover about 18% of the earth’s surface.

Body-

  1. Present the classification of plateaus on the basis of their geographical location and structure of rocks- a) Intermontane Plateaus (b) Piedmont Plateaus (c) Continental Plateaus. Describe the each type, briefly along with examples. You can also draw a diagram for illustration purposes.
  2. Discuss in points, their economic significance.  E.g mineral storehouse, generation of hydel power, cool/ pleasant climate and tourism,  good for agriculture and livestock rearing, polar plateau- Antarctica- storehouse of ice, rich wildlife and biodiversity etc.

Conclusion– Form a fair and a concise conclusion on the overall importance of plateaus.

Background:-

  • The plateaus cover about 18% of the earth’s surface. This landform has a 
    large elevated area on its top unlike a mountain and has nearly even surface out there.

How are plateaus classified :-

On the basis of their geographical location and structure of rocks, the plateaus can be classified as:

  • Intermontane Plateaus :-
    • The plateau which are bordering the fold mountain range or are partly or fully enclosed within them are the intermontane plateaus
    • Vertical movements raise this extensive landforms of nearly horizontal 
      rocks to thousands of metres above sea level.
    • The extensive and over 4500 metres high plateau of Tibet is one such example. It is surrounded by folded mountains like Himalaya, Karakoram, Kunlun, Tien Shah on its two sides.
    • Plateau of Mexico, Bolivia and Iran are all other examples of this type.

  • Piedmont Plateaus :-
    • The plateaus that are situated at the foot of the mountains and are bounded on other sides by a plain or an ocean are called piedmount plateau
    • The plateau of Malwa in India, the Appallachian in U.S.A are their 
    • In their case, the areas once high have now been reduced by various agents of erosion. For this reason, these are also called the plateaus of denudation.
  • Continental Plateaus:-
    • These are formed either by an extensive continental uplift or by the spread of horizontal basic lava sheets completely covering the original topography to a great depth.
    • The volcanic lava covered plateau of Maharashtra in India, Snake River Plateau in North West USA etc
    • These are also, called the ptateau of accumulation. 
    • All continental plateaus show an abrupt elevation in contrast to the nearby lowland or the sea.
    • As compared to other, these plateaus, cover a vast area like the Great Indian Plateau .They may be tilted on one side without any disturbance in the horizontal nature of underlying rock strata as in the case of Great Indian plateau.

Economic significance:-

  • Plateaus are extremely useful to mankind in the following ways: 
    • Storehouse of Minerals 
      • Most of the minerals in the world are found in the plateaus. Besides, the 
        extraction of minerals is relatively easier on plateaus. These minerals are 
        indispensable as raw material for our industries.
      • Gold from the Plateau of Western Australia; copper, diamonds and gold from the Plateaus of Africa and coal, iron, manganese and mica from the Chota Nagpur Plateau in India. 
    • Generation of Hydel-power:-
      • Rivers falling down the edges of plateaus form water-falls. These water-falls provide ideal sites for generating hydel-power. 
    • Cool Climate:- 
      • The higher parts of the plateaus even in tropical and sub-tropical regions have cool climate. Hence they have attracted Europeans to settle there and develop their economy e.g. South and East Africa. 
    • Useful for Animal-rearing and Agriculture :-
      • Plateaus have large grassland areas suitable for animal-rearing specially sheep, goat and cattle.
      • The lava plateaus as compared to all other plateau are richer in agriculture since their soil is very fertile. 
      • However according to studies plateaus are not very useful for agriculture. The hard rocks on plateaus cannot form fertile soil but agricultural activities are promoted where lava soils have developed. 
    • Polar plateau or Antarctica which is the storehouse of ice has rich wildlife and biodiversity etc. This plateau is very important for science because of its profound effect on the Earth’s climate and ocean systems.

 


General Studies – 2


TopicFundamental Rights

3)What do you mean by negative and positive rights? Discuss the category in which fundamental rights provided by Indian constitution fall into?(250 words)

The hindu

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward. It expects us to explain what fundamental rights are and assess whether the fundamental rights provided by Indian state fall into the category of negative or positive rights.

Directive word

Discuss – Post explaining what negative and positive rights are, we need to assess and categorise fundamental rights into the aforementioned categories by giving suitable reasons.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Start with the importance of fundamental rights and the kind of empowerment that fundamental rights in India does.

Body – explain what are positive and negative rights. Negative rights are limitations on the action of the state, the occurrence of which would have curbed the freedom that an individual/community enjoys. Positive rights are direct action by the state which improve the ability of the individual/community to live the life they desire.

Thereafter, assess the nature of fundamental rights and categorise them into negative and positive rights.

Conclusion – Mention that for true empowerment of India, both positive and negative rights are important and thus implementation of DPSP is as important as the protection of FRs.

Background:-

  • Constitution of India was enacted for fulfilling the aspirations of the people but not just for the government to rule over people. However, to remove any arbitrariness and establish rule of law, certain privileges were accorded and limitations were imposed. And from here comes the positive and negative right character of the Fundamental Rights.

Negative and positive rights:-

  • Some negative rights (like place limitations on State), while others positive in nature (like conferring certain privileges on the persons). 
  • Negative rights involve freedom from governmental (or private) coercion that would prevent an individual from doing what she is otherwise minded to do
    • They are limitations on the action of the state, the occurrence of which would have curbed the freedom that an individual/community enjoys.
    • On the other hand, if the core of a right lies in the intent to prevent the State from committing any unjustful act towards the citizens and hence, limiting its power, it will be called a Negative Right. For example, Right to Life and Liberty ensures that the State can’t infringe on them.
    • Negative rights are absolute
  • Positive rights requires the government to take action in order to provide an individual something she cannot get for herself
    • Positive rights are direct action by the state which improve the ability of the individual/community to live the life they desire.
    • If the right enables or empowers a citizen to do something, it is a Positive Right. For example, Right to Religious Freedom allows a citizen to believe, practice and profess any faith of choice. It’s existence is independent of any other agent. It emanates simply out of virtue of being a citizen.
    • Positive rights are hedged with restrictions.

Fundamental rights fall under which category:-

  • Rights incorporated in the Indian Constitution are of two types:- Negative and Positive.
  • Negative rights :-
    • For example : Article 14 states that State shall not deny to any person equality before law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India. In this article constitution has put an obligation over state to ensure equality before law and equal protection of law. Thus, it is negative in nature.
    • Likewise Article 17 abolishing untouchability, removes a social evil. It hardly bestows a special privilege on the untouchables.
  • Positive rights:-
    • For example, Right to religious freedom (Article 25) and cultural and educational right (Article 28–30). As these rights confer certain special provision for protection and uplift of minorities. Thus, positive rights.
    • Article 21 of the Indian constitution in its grammatical form, appears to be negative, but, in reality, it has been given a positive effect by judicial interpretation. The right is a fundamental right, enforceable against the state with several positive obligations.
    • There are others, which positively confer some benefits upon the individual (for example the rights to religious freedom, and the cultural and educational rights).
    • Right to freedom, right to acquire, hold and dispose off (Article 19) property and right to religion and cultural and educational rights fall in the category of positive rights.

Conclusion:-

  • Both positive and negative rights are important and thus implementation of DPSP is as important as the protection of Fundamental rights.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4)SCO provides immense opportunities for India provided India understands the dynamics of the region and of individual nations of SCO. Critically analyze the statement in light of the recently held SCO summit.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

With the conclusion of the recent SCO summit, where India and Pakistan participated as full members for the first time, SCO has opened up several opportunities as well as certain risks to be mindful of. Analysing the impact that SCO would have on India’s overall role in central Asian region and relations with member nations of SCO is important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to analyze the opportunities that membership of SCO provides for India. However the question puts a rider that India has to understand the dynamics of Central Asian region and the member countries of SCO. We have to critically analyse this view, by providing arguments in favour of and against the given view. Finally we have to provide our view.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. You need to conclude with  a fair judgement, after analyzing the nature of each component part and interrelationship between them.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Talk about the recent summit of SCO in Qingdao and the other geopolitical developments around the time which will have an impact on SCO and its members.

Body – Highlight the importance of SCO for India – focus on the advantages that India can gain in bilateral relations and in the larger Eurasian region. To critically analyze the view expressed in the question, we need to first analyze how understanding the dynamics of the region and of bilateral relations is important for gaining the maximum out of SCO. On the other hand, also point out that the opportunities for India groom SCO is going to be limited because of certain challenges – discuss the challenges. 

Conclusion – provide a fair and balanced viewpoint and way forward.

 

 

Background:-

  • Recently held SCO summit is the first SCO summit attended by India as a full-fledged member

Relevance of SCO to India :-

  • SCO’s relevance for India lies in geography, economics and geopolitics.
  • SCO members occupy a huge landmass adjacent to India’s extended neighbourhood, where India has important economic and security interests.
  • With Pakistan joining the Organisation and Afghanistan and Iran knocking on the doors for membership, the logic of India’s membership becomes stronger.

Immense opportunities for India :-

  • Russia pushed strongly for India to join it, to somewhat balance China’s economic dominance in Central Asia. 
  • India Pakistan relationship :-
    • Harmonious cooperation in the SCO may pave the way for an India-Pakistan rapprochement. SCO membership had facilitated resolution of China’s boundary disputes with Russia and Central Asian countries.
  • Non western perspective on global issues:-
    • Besides expanding opportunities for India in Central Asia, the SCO is a platform for articulating a non-Western as distinct from anti-Western  perspective on global issues. This includes opposition to selective advocacy of regime change, self-serving homilies on human rights and intrusive advice on domestic policies. It suits India that the SCO is not stridently anti-West in its pronouncements.
  • Security is priority:-
    • Qingdao Declaration by the SCO member states leaders calls for prioritising the implementation of the Cooperation Programme to fight terrorism, separatism and extremism for 2019-2021 and speeding up the coming into effect the SCO Convention on Countering Extremism.
    • India is believed to benefit from SCO’s regional anti-terrorist structure that provides key intelligence inputs on terror outfits, cyber security and drug trafficking. Also, counter terror exercises and military drills that Indian army will be exposed to, are likely to infuse more energy into the army.
    • The SCO Anti-Drug Strategy for 2018-2023 and the Programme of Action for its implementation, as well as the Concept for the Prevention of the Abuse of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances adopted at the Qingdao summit, reveal security to be a priority of the SCO.
  • Trade:-
    • The memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding export of non-Basmati rice, earlier denied access on phytosanitary grounds, was signed. The MoU assumes significance in the light of India’s widening trade deficit (which stood at $51 billion in 2016-2017) with China, one of the world’s biggest rice markets.
    • In economic spirit, SCO holds immense opportunities for India to bolster its trade linkages with Central Asia, a resource rich region.
    • SCO membership is also positively linked with development of International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and the Chabahar port, both directed towards expanding transport and reducing costs of trade.
  • Hydrology:-
    • Another MoU signed during the recent summit concerned the sharing of hydrological information on Brahmaputra
    • The agreement enables China to provide hydrological data in flood season from May 15 to October 15 every year.
    • It also enables the Chinese side to provide hydrological data if water level exceeds mutually agreed level during non-flood season.
  • India would be able to seek mutually beneficial partnerships with SCO members in human capital creation, technology, education, and policy convergence in regional trade.

Issues:-

  • India- Pakistan:-
    • SCO will nudge both India and Pakistan to cooperate in sensitive areas. One example is the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the SCO, which coordinates cooperation for security and stability, through intelligence-sharing on criminal and terrorist activities.
    • Defence cooperation : Enhanced linkages between armed forces is an SCO objective. India has agreed to participate in the SCO’s counter-terrorism military exercises in Russia later this year, when Indian and Pakistani troops will operate together.
    • Reconciling Indian and Pakistani perspectives in the SCO’s initiatives on Afghanistan would be yet another challenge.
  • Increasing Chinese dominance of the SCO:-
    • There have been frequent instances of contradictions in the two nations international ambitions like China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a part of which falls into Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir.
    • Another example of China-India disagreement is India’s NSG membership and China’s constant denial of support.

Way forward:-

  • In essence, a zealous partnership with old ally Russia, unexplored Central Asia and growth competitor China will act as a catalyst for India to extend markets, and establish geopolitical relations in extended neighbourhood.

 


General Studies – 3


TopicIndian Economy – Issues

5) Assess the performance of GST regime so far and discuss challenges going forward?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

GST on 1st July will complete a year which makes it the opportune time to discuss about the impact that this taxation system had on our economy and on revenue collections. It is also time to reflect on the challenges posed and how to address them.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the impact of GST on economy and tax collections, the lessons that we should learn from our experience with GST so far and the ways in which we can address these challenges.

Directive word

Assess – The meaning of this word is similar to evaluate. Here we have to analyze the impact of GST.

Discuss – Here we have to discuss the challenges and way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that GST is about to complete a year and the time is ripe for assessing impact and addressing challenges.

Body – Bring out the impact GST has had on tax collection, tax buoyancy, business and commerce, economy in general. Mention the challenges that still remain in smooth implementation of GST regime like poor IT infrastructure – issues with GSTIN, many provisions of GST not yet implemented, delayed refunds etc. Mention ways in which we can address these challenges.

Conclusion – Mention that GST is still in its nascent stage. We have seen what happens when GST is not implemented properly such as in Malaysia where it had to be reversed. Mention your view on its performance and way forward

Background :-

  • The Goods and Services Tax(GST) is a value-added tax levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption.

Performance of GST so far :-

  • Economic:-
    • States are yielding revenue growth of 11.9%, compared with the relevant pre-GST numbers.
    • Tax buoyancy (responsiveness of tax growth to nominal GDP growth) is 1.2, which is high by the historical standards for indirect taxes.
    • GST is boosting revenues of consuming states :-
      • There has been a desirable and equitable shift in revenues towards the consuming states, and this has happened without threatening the revenues of the producing states reflected in the small compensation requirement.
    • Political:-
      • Contribution of states for showcasing ‘cooperative federalism’ in its implementation.
    • IT replaced the inspector:-
      • In the GST scheme, information technology has replaced the inspector. Everything from return to refund is done through online information technology.
    • Check posts gone, logistics benefit
      • The check post has become extinct after the arrival of the GST scheme and the movement of goods has become faster, which not only saves time but is also accruing benefits in the area of logistics. GST is probably the biggest tax reform in the world
    • Impact of GST on Manufacturers, Distributor, and Retailers :-
      • With GST in place, the compliance burden has eased and this sector will grow more strongly.
      • But due to GST business which was not under the tax bracket previously will now have to register. This will lead to lesser tax evasion.
    • E-commerce
      • The e-commerce sector in India has been growing by leaps and bounds. In many ways, GST will help the e-com sector’s continued growth
    • Pharma
      • On the whole, GST is benefiting the pharma and healthcare industries. It will create a level playing field for generic drug makers, boost medical tourism and simplify the tax structure.
    • Telecommunications
      • In the telecom sector, prices will come down after GST. Manufacturers will save on costs through efficient management of inventory and by consolidating their warehouses.
      • Handset manufacturers will find it easier to sell their equipment as GST has negated the need to set up state-specific entities, and transfer stocks. The will also save up on logistics costs.
    • Real Estate:-
      • The sector will see substantial benefits from GST implementation, as it has brought to the industry much-required transparency and accountability.
    • Agriculture
      • One of the major issues faced by the agricultural sector is the transportation of agri-products across state lines all over India. GST will resolve the issue of transportation. 
    • FMCG
      • The FMCG sector is experiencing significant savings in logistics and distribution costs as the GST has eliminated the need for multiple sales depots. 
    • Freelancers
      • With GST, it will become much easier for freelancers to file their taxes as they can easily do it online. They are taxed as service providers, and the new tax structure has brought about coherence and accountability in this sector.

 Challenges ahead :-

  • In the Economic Survey, it was argued that confusion reigns in understanding GST performance because of focusing on one or more of the bewildering sub-categories of the GST (CGST, SGST, IGST, and the cess.) Having four tax rates and three rates of cesses should have been avoided
  • There are very few states where there is a significant decline in the post-GST share compared to the pre-GST share.
  • There has been considerable concern with the new tax, both in its structure and operational details, including the ease of paying the tax and filing returns
  • Trade and industry have been grappling with the problem of payment, filing the returns and claiming input tax credit, and exporters have been facing liquidity crises.
  • It enormously complicates the technology platform to ensure input tax credit mechanism
  • GST Network, is struggling to keep pace with the millions of invoices and returns being filed electronically by businesses across the country.
  • For Exporters, because of delayed timelines for filing GST returns, no refunds can be expected before mid-November on input taxes paid in advance and the integrated GST levied on goods they imported.
  • 65,000 crore of working capital will get blocked, cramping their ability to ramp up capacity and raw material procurement in time for festive season orders from around the world.
  • Several revisions in deadlines, tax and cess rates, rules, clarifications and tweaks later, the GST regime is turning out to be neither simple nor friendly for taxpayers.

Way forward:-

  • Problems of transition to a major tax reform are unavoidable and most countries go through this
  • It appears desirable to move immediately towards three slabs with the final goal of reducing the slabs to two and to fix the threshold at Rs.50 lakh
  • Further simplifying the rate structure, widening the base to include currently exempted sectors, and streamlining procedures for filing and refunds. 

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

 6) Offshore wind generation offers several benefits over onshore wind energy generation but there are many challenges involved. Discuss.(250 words) 

Economic times

Reference

Why this question

The central government has recently revealed its aim to build 30 GW of offshore wind energy. Offshore wind energy offers several benefits over onshore wind energy. But there are also several challenges involved in exploitation of such energy. The issue is related to GS 3 syllabus under the following heading-

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to describe the benefits of offshore wind energy generation in general and also vis a vis onshore wind energy generation. It also wants us to enlist and describe the challenges involved in harnessing offshore wind energy in India.

Directive word

Discuss- This is an all-encompassing directive. We have to write in detail about both the key demands of the question-  Opportunities i.e benefits as well as challenges involved in harnessing offshore wind energy.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention that India has a long coastline, high economic growth rate, high energy demand, increasing pollution which necessitates exploitation of all economically feasible renewable energy generation methods.

Body-

  1. Discuss in points the benefits of offshore wind energy generation over onshore wind energy generation. E.g more area available, lesser turbulence, less visual impact, more consistent and stronger winds, closeness to load centres, lower gestation period etc.
  2. Discuss in points the challenges involved. E.g lack of bathymetric data and wind resource maps, high initial costs, need for policy and regulatory support in the form of a dedicated mission on the lines of JNNSM etc.

Conclusion- Bring out a fair, concise and a balanced opinion on the overall scope of onshore wind energy generation in India.

 

Background:-

  • In order to beef up its clean energy portfolio, the government wants to build 30 GW offshore wind capacity by 2030, a move which may bring India in the list of leading markets in the segment.
  • Given India’s coastline of 7,600 km, the country has enormous potential for offshore wind energy and it can potentially repeat the success achieved in onshore wind energy 
  • India has an estimated 127 gigawatts (GW, or 1,000 MW) of offshore wind power potential, mostly off the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra.

Off shore and on shore wind energy generation:-

  • Offshore wind power or offshore wind energy is the use of wind farms constructed in bodies of water, usually in the ocean on the continental shelf, to harvest wind energy to generate electricity.
  • Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to generate electricity
  • Onshore wind refers to turbines located on land, while offshore turbines are located out at sea or in freshwater.

Benefits:-

  • Offshore wind turbines are being used by a number of countries to harness the energy of strong, consistent winds that are found over the oceans.
  • Greater area available for setting up large projects:
    • One primary reason for moving towards off shore projects is the lack of suitable wind turbine sites on land.
  • Higher wind speed than onshore locations:
    • Wind speeds are significantly higher at off shore locations. An increase of about 20 per cent some distance away from the shore is not uncommon.
    • Offshore winds tend to blow harderand more uniformly than on land.
    • Wind speeds of only a few miles per hour can produce a significantly larger amount of electricity. 
  • Lower turbulence intensities:
    • Wind is less turbulent at sea than over land which results in lower mechanical fatigue load and thus longer lifetime for the turbines.
  • More consistent wind speed:
  • Less visual impact:
    • As these sites are located far from land they have less visual impact which helps with public acceptance issues.
  • Close to load centres:
    • The off shore wind farms are usually located near to the cities and load centres and thus transmission losses are minimised.
  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be faster than on land.
  • Offshore wind speeds tend to be steadier than on land. A steadier supply of wind means a more reliable source of energy.
  • Many coastal areas have very high energy needs. Building offshore wind farms in these areas can help to meet those energy needs from nearby sources.
  • These support larger wind turbines and so generate higher amounts of power. Given their location, these facilities face minimal space constraints and physical obstructions to wind flow.
  • Offshore wind farms have many of the same advantages as land-based wind farms.
    • They provide renewable energy
    • They do not consume water
    • They provide a domestic energy source
    • They create jobs
    • They do not emit environmental pollutants or greenhouse gases.
  • Steps taken by Indian government to harness offshore wind energy :-
    • More recently, in 2018, government said it was exploring options to set up a small government-owned offshore wind farm near the Pamban island off the Tamil Nadu coast. The idea is to have four or five windmills with a capacity to generate 6 MW of power each.
    • Meanwhile, one of India’s largest windmill manufacturers, Suzlon, has set up its own offshore met station off the coast of Gujarat to collect wind data and study the region’s potential
    • The government-owned research and development agency, National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), has sought expressions of interest  from wind power companies to set up an offshore wind farm with a capacity of around 1,000 megawatts (MW) in the Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat
    • Development of offshore wind is a timely progression for India. The resource offers much higher PLFs that position it closer to base load generation, and now with larger sized turbines it is much more viable.

Limitations:-

  • Cost: ­
    • The capital cost of such projects is very high as compared to onshore wind power projects. Not much has been done in the offshore wind field in India as the capital cost of such projects is very high and the necessary supply chain is also not established.
    • Offshore wind farms can be expensive and difficult to build and maintain.
    • The production and installation of power cables under the seafloor to transmit electricity back to land can be very expensive.
  • DATA: ­
    • The data required for the calculation of o‑ shore wind potential and identification of suitable sites is not available.
  • Bathymetric Data: ­
    • This data gives the information about the sea depth at various positions. At present there is no such data available for the Indian sub-continent and no such data was available from any other source.
  • Transmission losses:-
    • Wave action, and even very high winds, particularly during heavy storms or hurricanes, can damage wind turbines.
  • Effects of offshore wind farms on marine animals and birds are not fully understood.
  • Local protests:-
    • Offshore wind farms built within view of the coastline may be unpopular among local residents, and may affect tourism and property values.
  • Another major constraint is grid. As there is no clarity on how to make transmission lines available.
  • Short gestation period:
    • A mega size and ultra mega size thermal or hydro power project may have a gestation period of 3-6 years whereas as an off shore wind project has a gestation period of 1-2 years, depending upon depth and distance from shore.
  • Issues with manufacturing or procuring equipment:-
    • Offshore wind farms typically have larger turbines of around 6 MW capacity (as against the average of 2.5 MW machines used onshore) and longer windmill blades.
    • But most firms in India don’t yet make such high-capacity machines, so components will have to be imported.
    • The factories’ configuration has to be changed. In terms of logistics, putting larger blades on Indian roads is next to impossible. That’s the reason wind blades on average are smaller in India than in China as the roads are smaller here. This might dampen investor interest.

Conclusion:-

  • The government needs to allow incremental tariffs as the cost of setting up an offshore wind project is way higher.
  • Regulatory and policy framework :-­
    • The Electricity Act 2003 defines various sections like, sec. 3, sec. 61 and sec. 86 (1)(e) which mandate the policy formulation and optimal use of all resources including renewable sources of energy.
    • Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) is a dedicated framework for the promotion of the solar energy. Similarly “India Hydrocarbon Vision-2025” is a strategical model for oil exploration in the Indian sedimentary basins. The offshore wind also needs such dedicated frameworks and policies for its promotion and to establish a presence in the Indian power market.
  • ­The need of the hour is a clean and sustainable energy source and o‑ shore wind power can play a significant role. In India off shore wind power still remains untapped and given the power deficit in the country this huge potential needs to be tapped.

General Studies – 4


Topic: Case Studies

7) In 2003, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) launched a new campaign, named “Holocaust on Your Plate,” that compares the slaughter of animals for human use to the murder of 6 million Jews in WWII. The campaign centers around the power of emotion, and Lisa Lange, the vice president of PETA communications, stated that “The idea for the effort came from the late Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, who wrote: ‘In relation to them [animals], all people are Nazis; for them it is an eternal Treblinka’ — a death camp in Poland”

Is “Holocaust on Your Plate” ethically wrong or a truthful comparison? Critically Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The question forms a part of case studies portion/ aspect of GS 4 syllabus/ question paper.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the issue and analyze the ethical issues involved in it. We have to form a personal opinion on the issue based on our discussion.

Directive word

Critically Comment- We have to look at both the aspects of the act- Why it is right and why it is wrong. We have to argue in favour of both of them. Based on our discussion, we have to form a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that such ethical dilemmas are common in our world and sometimes we are enticed to go through any means to achieve something of value to us.

Body

  1. Discuss why the act is right- e.g it will achieve the noble end of protecting animal rights and life, save them from cruelty, motivate people more emotionally and better  etc.
  2. Discuss why the act is wrong- wrong means for right ends is not always justified, it makes the issue proportionately much more emotional thereby liable to exploit rather than guide human behaviour, sets a wrong precedent, etc.

Conclusion- Form a fair, concise and a balanced conclusion based on your discussion.

Answer :-

 

Animal rights, also referred to as animal liberation, is a concept based on the idea that the basic interests of animal species should be given equal importance like the basic interests of humans.

PETA argues that it is making its argument based upon principles of truth. PETA essentially claims that its campaign uses a comparison relating the murder of Jews and animals in a truthful and justified manner

 

Treatment of animals within the food industry resembles a form of slavery, and everything that usually accompanies it: murder, torture and abuse. Female cows are forcibly impregnated on a routine basis, and separated from their newborns. When they can no longer produce milk they’re then disposed of, which is at a relatively young age. 

PETA’s campaign is protected under freedom of speech and ethically sound since it is rooted in fact and historical data, both from the Holocaust and slaughter house records. The comparison between the murder of Jews and animals is justified, due to the inherent and quantifiable nature of the slaughtering of innocent lives.

 

However, when considering the case by applying the principles of deontology the mass murder of millions of humans cannot be compared to an animal. While PETA’s claims may be justified, and the comparison between the murder of humans and animals deemed quantifiable, the harm caused by the campaign overrides the intended message.

 

The mass-murder of millions in a catastrophic historical event is better not be utilized as a communication tool to gain support for one’s organization. The comparison, while arguably similar in quantifiable terms, looks insensitive and takes advantage of others suffering to make a point.

The whole point of veganism is that animals are equal to humans, after all but it’s hugely offensive and insensitive to co-opt another group’s history of brutal oppression.

 

Meat is a huge part of many cultures and religions and it is very hard to move away from that. It’s important to keep in mind that comparing Holocaust with animal slaughter will only insult and hurt a lot of people. What vegan activists can do is tell people directly what the issues at stake are. Society cannot ignore the fact that animal cruelty is a horrible part of modern life. The world should be able to fight against it without exploiting the wounds of holocaust, and the horror that it inflicted .