SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 SEPTEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 SEPTEMBER 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 – part of static series under the heading – “peninsular plateau”

1) On the basis of relief features, what are the broad groups in which peninsular plateau be divided, and explain their physiography?(250 words)

NCERT Physical Geography Pg 16

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand. We have to mention the broad divisions of peninsular plateau on the basis of relief and explain their physical features.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the peninsular plateau.

Body – explain the three major division of peninsular plateau on the basis of relief – Deccan plateau, central highlands and north eastern plateau. Explain the distinctive physiography of each of these regions.

Peninsular plateau:-

  • The Peninsular Plateau is a one of the oldest landforms of earth and is roughly triangular in shape with its base coinciding with the southern edge of the great plain of North India.
  • It covers a total area of about 16 lakh sq km.
  • The average height of the plateau is 600-900 mabove sea level (varies from region to region).
  • Most of the peninsular rivers flow west to east indicating it’s general slope.
  • Narmada-Tapti are the exceptions which flow from east to west in a rift (rift is caused by divergent boundary
  • It is a highly stable block composed mostly of the Archaean gneisses and schists{Rock System}.
  • It has been a stable shield which has gone through little structural changes since its formation.
  • Peninsular Plateau is an aggregation of several smaller plateaus, hill ranges interspersed with river basins and valleys.

Broad groups into which peninsular plateau has been divided and their physiography:-

  • Marwar Plateau or Mewar Plateau
    • It is the plateau of eastern Rajasthan. The average elevation is 250-500 m above sea level and it slopes down eastwards.
    • It is made up of sandstone, shales and limestones of the Vindhayan period.
    • The Banas river, along with its tributaries originate in the Aravali Range and flow towards northwest into Chambal river. The erosional activity of these rivers make the plateau top appear like a rolling plain.
  • Central Highland
    • Also called the Madhya Bharat Patharor Madhya Bharat Plateau.It is to the east of the Marwar or Mewar Upland.
    • Most of plateau comprises the basin of the Chambal riverwhich flows in a rift valley.
    • It is a rolling plateau with rounded hills composed of sandstone. Thick forests grow here.
    • To the north are the ravines of the Chambal river
  • Bundelkhand Upland
    • It is the old dissected (divided by a number of deep valleys) upland of the ‘Bundelkhand gneiss’ comprising of granite andgneiss.
    • Average elevation of 300-600 m above sea level, this area slopes down from the Vindhyan Scarp toward the Yamuna River.
    • The area is marked by a chain of hillocks (small hill) made of granite and sandstone.
    • The erosional work of the rivers flowing here have converted it into an undulating (wave like surface) area and rendered it unfit for cultivation.
    • The region is characterized by senile (characteristic of or caused by old age) topography.
    • Streams like Betwa, Dhasanand Ken flow through the plateau.
  • Malwa Plateau
    • The Malwa Plateau roughly forms a triangle based on the Vindhyan Hills, bounded by the Aravali Range in the west and central highlands to the north and Bundelkhand to the east.
    • This plateau has two systems of drainage. One towards the Arabian sea (The Narmada, the Tapiand the Mahi), and the other towards the Bay of Bengal (Chambal and Betwa, joining the Yamuna).
    • It is composed of extensive lava flow and is covered with black soils.
    • This is a rolling plateau dissected by rivers. In the north, the plateau is marked by the Chambal ravines
  • Baghelkhand
    • North of the Maikal Rangeis the Baghelkhand.
    • Made of limestones and sandstones on the west and granite in the east.
    • It is bounded by the Son river on the north.
    • The central part of the plateau acts as a water divide between the Sondrainage system in the north and the Mahanadi river system in the south.
    • The region is uneven with general elevation varying from 150 m to 1,200 m.
    • The general horizontality of the strata shows that this area has not undergone any major disturbance.
  • Chotanagpur Plateau
    • Chotanagpur plateau represents the north-eastern projection of the Indian Peninsula.
    • Flows mostly in Jharkhand, northern part of Chhatisgarh and Purulia district of West Bengal.
    • This plateau is composed mainly of Gondwana rocks.
    • The plateau is drained by numerous rivers and streams in different directions and presents a radial drainage pattern.{Drainage Pattern}
    • Rivers like the Damodar, the Subarnrekaha, the North Koel, the South Koeland the Barkar have developed extensive drainage basins.
    • North of the Damodar river is the Hazaribagh plateauwith an average elevation of 600 m above mean sea level. This plateau has isolated hills. It looks like a peneplain due to large scale erosion.
    • The Rajmahal Hillsforming the north eastern edge of the Chotanagpur Plateau are mostly made of basalt and are covered by lava flows {Basaltic Lava}.
  • Meghalaya Plateau
    • The peninsular plateau extends further east beyond the Rajmahal hills to from Meghalaya or theShillong plateau.
    • Garo-Rajmahal Gapseparates this plateau from the main block.
    • The plateau is formed by Archaean quartzites, shales and schists.
    • The plateau slopes down to Brahmaputra valley in the north and the Surma and Meghna valleys in the south.
    • Its western boundary more or less coincides with the Bangladesh border.
    • The western, central and the eastern parts of the plateau are known as the Garo Hills, the Khasi-Jaintia Hillsand the Mikir Hills.
  • Deccan Plateau
    • It covers an area of about five lakh sq km and has an average elevation of 600 m.
    • It is triangular in shape and is bounded by the Satpuraand the Vindhya in the north-west, the Mahadev and the Maikal in the north, the Western Ghats in the west and the Eastern Ghats in the east.
    • Its general slope is from west to east which is indicated by the flow of its major rivers.
    • Rivers have further subdivided this plateau into a number of smaller plateaus.
    • Maharashtra Plateau
      • It forms the northern part of the Deccan Plateau.
      • Much of the region is underlain by basaltic rocks of lava origin [Most of the Deccan Traps lies in this region].
      • The horizontal lava sheets have led to the formation of typical Deccan Trap topography.
      • The entire area is covered by black cotton soil known as 
    • Karnataka Plateau
      • The Karnataka Plateau is also known as the Mysore plateau.
      • Lies to the south of the Maharashtra plateau.
      • It is highly dissected by numerous rivers rising from the Western Ghats.
      • The general trend of the hills is either parallel to the Western Ghats or across it.
      • The plateau is divided into two parts called Malnad and 
      • The plateau tapers between the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats in the south and merges with the Niligiri hills
    • Telangana plateau
      • The Telangana plateau consists of Archaean gneisses.
      • The southern part is higher than its northern counterpart.
      • The region is drained by three river systems, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Penneru.
      • The entire plateau is divided into Ghats and the Peneplains (a vast featureless, undulating plain which the last stage of deposition process)
    • Chhattisgarh Plain
      • It is a saucer shaped depression drained by the upper Mahanadi.
      • The whole basin lies between the Maikala Rangeand the Odisha hills.
      • The basin is laid with nearly horizontal beds of limestone and shales.
      • The general elevation of the plain ranges from 250 m in the east to 330 m in the west.

 


General Studies – 2


Topic-   India and its neighborhood- relations.

2) Ties between India and Nepal have witnessed a downfall in the recent times  and continue to be a cause for concern. Critically analyze.(250 words) 

The hindu

Why this question

India and Nepal share a long history and close association. However the ties have a witnessed a downfall in recent times. It is important to discuss the reasons behind it and the need to ameliorate the situation.

Directive word

Critically analyze-here we  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.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to delve deep into the issue and bring out the reasons behind the downfall in the Indo-Nepal ties, as witnessed in the recent times. We also have to form a personal opinion on the issue as to how should we proceed in this regard.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the Indo-Nepal relationship- shared culture and long historic ties, open border etc.

Body-

  • Bring out the reasons behind the downfall in the relationship. E.g briefly discuss the Madhesi agitation, the resultant economic blockade and India’s open criticism of the Nepal at that time; mention India’s discomfiture with the volume of Chinese investment in hydropower and infrastructure and transport projects in Nepal; India is also seen as being interfering in Nepal’s internal politics and policy making;  etc.
  • Discuss how should we proceed further. E.g briefly discuss the need to revitalize communication with Nepal; respecting each others’ sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs; restricting diplomatically sensitive statements; Nepal’s decision to join China for a 12-day Mt Everest Friendship Exercise in Sichuan province etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • There have been mutual visits by PM’s of both Nepal and India in 2018.With that the relations have gained some positive vibe and the 2018 statement prioritises cooperation in agriculture, inland water-ways, a survey for a railway line from Raxaul to Kathmandu and increasing air connectivity.

Implementation needs to be the focus:-

  • Issues with the projects:-
    • Only one of the earlier commitments, the 900 MW Arun III hydel project, has progressed
    • Of the four planned Integrated Check Posts, one is now functionalafter over a decade.
    • India has been Nepal’s most significant development partner. Yet the pace of project implementation has been slow, leading to significant time and cost over-runs
    • The idea of four Integrated Check Posts (ICP) on the India-Nepal border to facilitate movement of goods, vehicles and people was mooted 15 years ago and an MOU signed in 2005.
    • While preparation of surveys and project reports moved slowly on the Indian side, acquisition of land by the Nepali authorities got held up leading to delayed construction.
    • As a result, only the Raxaul-Birgunj ICP has been completed .During this time, the cost of the project went up fourfold.
    • Misperceptions about the unequal agreements relating to the Kosi barrage (1954) and Gandak barrage (1959) have grown over the yearspreventing any development in this sector. There are also long-pending hydel projects like Pancheshwar
  • Political:-
    • India’s openly stated reservations on the new constitution in support of the Madhesi cause fuelled resentment.
    • Recent BIMSTEC military exercises :-
      • Disconnect between the two governments was most visible at the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation military exercises
      • After confirming its participation in the exercises , the Nepalese Army was made to withdraw its contingent due to a political decision and it sent only an observer mission at the last hour. 
    • Economic:-
      • Nepal blamed India for imposing an economic blockade which was causing acute shortages of essentials such as petrol, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas and medical supplies. 
      • Difficult issues, including a review of the contentious 1950 Treaty, recruitment of Nepali nationals in the Gurkha regiments of the Indian Army, resolving the fallout of the 2016 demonetisation exercise which has left the Nepal Rastra Bank holding a stock of Indian currency, resumption of the SAARC summit process which remains stalled since 2016.
    • Border:-
      • There are border disputes pending between the two countries at Susta, Kalapani and the ‘tri-junction’ of Lipulekh
    • China factor :-
      • Above Kalapani, there is no demarcation (of the boundary) between India and Nepal till China border. This could lead to problems in the coming time. After Doklam, Bharat is very concerned about Kalapani dispute. It may provide an opportunity for China to flare up the issue along with a Communist government in Nepal.
      • Nepal’s decision to join China for a 12-day Mt Everest Friendship Exercise in Sichuan province, also focussed on anti-terrorism drills, drives the wedge between India and Nepal further.
      • Military:-
        • China invested heavily in Nepal’s security forces, particularly in its police and paramilitary forces. It even opened up a police academy to train the APF, the Nepali paramilitary force deployed to guard the Nepal-Tibet border, in order to check the possible infiltration of “Free Tibet” activists into Nepal.
        • China’s activities have been steadily expanding in Nepal after Kathmandu’s support for OBOR materialized
      • Economic:-
        • Recently 10 agreements were signed between the two countries. The one related to trade and transit and the other on connectivity have attracted international attention for their security implication in the South Asian region.
        • As per the transit treaty with China, Nepal has now secured transit rights for trade with third countries through the Chinese territory
        • China decided to supply petroleum products to Nepal, apart from building petroleum storage facilities in this country.
        • Nepal went ahead recently and finalised an ambitious connectivity proposal that will eventually link Kathmandu to Shigatse by rail. This will give Nepali goods access to Chinese sea-ports at Tianjin, Shenzhen, Lianyungang and Zhanjiang, and land ports in Lanzhou, Lhasa and Shigatse.

Way forward:-

  • Completion of the ongoing process of updating the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship:-
    • India must recognise that as in all other developing economies, Nepal’s aspirational young population is also looking beyond the open Indian border for opportunities, and its  desire to turn his “land-locked” country into a “land-linked” country with a merchant navy must be considered positively. 
  • People-to-people inter-dependence must lead the relationship along with civil society and business-commercial level interactions.
  • India’s major foray should be in innovation and technology transfer, multidisciplinary dialogues, educational and technical institutions, local and global migration management and skills and capacity-building.
  • India needs to finish the infrastructure projects on time for instance Pancheswar project has been pending for over 20 years now. 
  • Nepal could be the fountainhead of climate change knowledge and connect to India’s larger dynamics of the management of the ecology of hills and mountains.
  • Effective delivery on the pending projects, the remaining ICPs, the five railway connections, postal road network in the Terai and the petroleum pipeline so that connectivity is enhanced and the idea of ‘inclusive development and prosperity’ assumes reality.
  • India needs to formulate a comprehensive and long-term Nepal policy.
  • India needs to revitalize communication with Nepal, respecting each other’s sovereignty and non-interference in domestic affairs.

Topic – Separation of powers between various organs

3) Critically examine whether MPLADS has helped in bridging the gaps in provisioning of public services?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article highlights the issues faced by MPLADS scheme, the findings of the performance of this scheme by agencies such as CAG etc and gives suggestions over the future of this scheme. This issue has been discussed in 2nd ARC as well.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the pros and cons of MPLADS scheme in bridging gaps in provisioning of public services and explain whether the scheme needs to be abolished or reformed.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about MPLADS scheme.

Body – Discuss the status quo wrt MPLADS scheme. Highlight the findings of CAG report and 2nd ARC regarding the performance of the scheme. Highlight the pros and cons of what the scheme is trying to achieve and the process followed in achieving those and issues with it. Finally, we need to provide our opinion as to whether the scheme needs to be reformed, or scrapped.

Conclusion – Give your view on the future of the scheme based on reasoned arguments made above.

Background :-

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal to continue the MPLAD Scheme beyond the 12th Plan period (2012-17) up to 2020.

 MPLADS scheme:-

  • The MPLAD and MLALAD scheme was introduced in 1993 to enable legislators to execute small works of a local nature to meet the urgent needs of their constituents.
  • There are three major stakeholders in the entire process: the MP, district authority and the Government of India.
  • MPs recommend works to be undertaken under the MPLADS, based on locally felt needs with preference to certain sectors, including drinking water facility, education, health, sanitation, irrigation, roads etc.
  • Following the recommendation, the district authority is responsible for sanctioning the eligible works, and implementation of the sanctioned ones.
  • As per official guidelines, the district authority shall make the selection of an implementing agency for execution of the recommended works by an MP.
  • The Government of India releases the annual entitlement of Rs. 5 crore in two equal instalments of Rs 2.5 crore each, directly to the district authority.

Positives :-

  • MPLADS has resulted into creation of various assets which have impacted the social, cultural and economic life of the local communities in one way or the other that the entire population across the country stands to benefit through them.
  • Since its inception till August 2017, 18,82,180 works for Rs 44,929.17 crore have been sanctioned from MPLADS fund
  • In May 2010, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court ruled that there was no violation of the concept of separation of powers because the role of an MP in this case is recommendatory and the actual work is carried out by the Panchayats and Municipalities which belong to the executive organ.

Issues:-

  • In 2002, the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution recommended immediate discontinuation of the MPLAD scheme on the ground that it was inconsistent with the spirit of federalism and distribution of powers between the centre and the state.
  • The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission’s report took a firm stand against the scheme arguing that it seriously erodes the notion of separation of powers, as the legislator directly becomes the executive.
  • Some development projects might cost more than the allocated amount of Rs. 5 crore, which might be one reason for low utilisation of MPLADS funds for the first year in some constituencies.
  • Audits done, in certain cases found that the assets created under the scheme could not be traced.
  • The following instances have been found:-
    • Construction of community halls etc within religious places was in gross violation of guidelines, construction of shopping complexes to promote private enterprise, diversion of computers bought for schools to commercial enterprises, supply of computers to private educational institutions, community centres built with MPLADS funds being commercially let-out by the beneficiary agencies.
  • Unless problems such as poor utilisation of funds, irregular sanction of works, and delay in completion of works are tackled in an efficient manner, the efficacy of the scheme will remain in doubt.
  • As per data from ministry of statistics and programme implementation (Mospi), as of august 2018 ,318 MPLADS accounts from the 15th Lok Sabha (2009-2014) were still ‘active’, or had funds lying unspent. 
    • Mospi data shows that over Rs 12,000 crore lies unspent, with some of it having not been released to lawmakers in the first place. This capital could have been deployed elsewhere for better realisation of the development agenda.

Way forward:-

  • CIC is proposing that the framework make MPs answerable under RTI for MPLADS.
  • The framework, CIC says, should require lawmakers to present comprehensive reports on the number of applications received, works recommended/rejected, progress of works and details of beneficiaries.
  • CIC also recommended that the framework provide for punitive measures for breach

TOPIC: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance-
applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency &
accountability and institutional and other measures.

4) Discuss the draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018. Also examine how the provisions of the draft bill will affect press freedom.(250 words)

Reference

Indian express

Why this question

With the growth of the digital economy and increasing concerns for privacy, data protection measures are much needed. The draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018  has been recently submitted in this regard. However, the draft bill raises several other questions affecting press freedom. It is essential to discuss the bill and its effect on press freedom.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Examine- here we have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the salient provisions of the draft bill. It also wants us to look deeper and examine how the bill will affect press freedom in the country.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about growing digitization of human life and the pressing concerns of data privacy. Also mention that the draft  Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018 has been recently submitted by the Justice BN Srikrishna committee etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the salient provisions of the bill. E.g The report straddles three aspects – citizens, the state and the industry; it notes that “the right to privacy is a fundamental right and it is necessary to protect personal data as an essential facet of informational privacy;  it calls for protecting the autonomy of individuals in relation with their personal data, to specify where the flow and usage of personal data is appropriate, to create a relationship of trust between persons and entities processing their personal data etc.
  • Discuss how the bill is supposed to affect the press freedom. E.g According to section 27 of the Bill, a data principal has a right to prevent data processor or data fiduciary from using such data that has served its purpose for which it was made or which is no longer necessary, or for which consent given earlier has been withdrawn, or if it is contrary to any law; Section 27(2) states that the adjudicating officer can decide on the question of disclosure when he thinks that such disclosure will override the freedom of speech and the right to information of a citizen. In determining this, the adjudicating officer has to consider five factors listed in sub-section (3);  the freedom to criticise public personalities for their public policies based on their past statements and activities will be in jeopardy, and a journalist has to wait for the decision of the adjudicating officer to get permission for writing about it. A citizen seeking access to such information will be confused about whether to approach the Central Information Commission or the Data Protection Authority (DPA). Adjudicating officers are subordinate to members of the DPA etc.

conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Background:-

  • India is one of the few major democracies in the world without a national privacy and data protection framework. The absence of this was noted in the Supreme Court’s famous Puttaswamy ruling which clarified that there is a fundamental right to privacy, and also, that the state has an obligation to protect this right by enacting appropriate legislation.
  • Justice BN Srikrishna Committee’s draft Personal Data Protection Bill 2018 is introducing a new right  the right to be forgotten which is to remove very old, irrelevant and unnecessary information links from social media networks.
  • This concept is prevalent and has been hence reinforced in data protection laws and regulations in the EU, including EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). 
  • Draft Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018, has a section on the Right to be Forgotten. But the proposed bill does not provide right to erasure. 

Draft bill on data protection:-

  • Rights of the individual: 
    • The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual.  These include: (i) right to obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether its personal data has been processed, (ii) right to seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data, and (iii) right to have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstances.
  • Obligations of the data fiduciary:
    • The Bill sets out obligations of the entity who has access to the personal data (data fiduciary).  These include: (i) implementation of policies with regard to processing of data, (ii) maintaining transparency with regard to its practices on processing data, (iii) implementing security safeguards (such, as encryption of data), and (iv) instituting grievance redressal mechanisms to address complaints of individuals.
  • Data Protection Authority: 
    • The Bill provides for the establishment of a Data Protection Authority. 
      • The Authority is empowered to:
      • (i) take steps to protect interests of individuals
      • (ii) prevent misuse of personal data
      • (iii) ensure compliance with the Bill. 
      • It will consist of a chairperson and six members, with knowledge of at least 10 years in the field of data protection and information technology.  Orders of the Authority can be appealed to an Appellate Tribunal established by the central government and appeals from the Tribunal will go to the Supreme Court.
    • Grounds for processing personal data:
      • The Bill allows processing of data by fiduciaries if consent is provided.  However, in certain circumstances, processing of data may be permitted without consent of the individual.  These grounds include:
        • If necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual
        • If required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement.
        • To respond to a medical emergency, threat to public health or breakdown of public order.
        • For reasonable purposes specified by the Authority, related to activities such as fraud detection, debt recovery, and whistle blowing.
      • Grounds for processing sensitive personal data:- 
        • Processing of sensitive personal data is allowed on certain grounds, including:
          • Based on explicit consent of the individual
          • If necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or, if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual
          • If required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement. 
        • Sensitive personal data includes passwords, financial data, biometric data, genetic data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the Authority. 
        • Additionally, fiduciaries are required to institute appropriate mechanisms for age verification and parental consent when processing sensitive personal data of children.
      • Transfer of data outside India:
        • Personal data (except sensitive personal data) may be transferred outside India under certain conditions. 
        • These include: (i) where the central government has prescribed that transfers to a particular country are permissible, or (ii) where the Authority approves the transfer in a situation of necessity.
      • Exemptions:
        • The Bill provides exemptions from compliance with its provisions, for certain reasons including: (i) state security, (ii) prevention, investigation, or prosecution of any offence, or (iii) personal, domestic, or journalistic purposes.
      • Offences and Penalties:
        • Under the Bill, the Authority may levy penalties for various offences by the fiduciary including (i) failure to perform its duties, (ii) data processing in violation of the Bill, and (iii) failure to comply with directions issued by the Authority. 
        • For example, under the Bill, the fiduciary is required to notify the Authority of any personal data breach which is likely to cause harm to the individual. Failure to promptly notify the Authority can attract a penalty of the higher of Rs 5 crore or 2% of the worldwide turnover of the fiduciary. 
      • Amendments to other laws:  The Bill makes consequential amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000.  It also amends the Right to Information Act, 2005, and to permit non-disclosure of personal information where harm to the individual outweighs public good.

Provisions of the bill about right to be forgotten :-

  • According to Section 27 of the Bill a data principal (for instance, a former minister convicted earlier) has a right to prevent the data processor or data fiduciary (could be a TV, web portal or newspaper) from using such data or information if data disclosure is no longer necessary, the consent to use data has been withdrawn or if data is being used contrary to the provisions of the law.
  • Section 27(2) says the adjudicating officer (bureaucrat) can decide on the question of disclosure, and the circumstances in which he thinks such disclosure can override the freedom of speech and the citizen’s right to information.
  • In determining the above, the adjudicating officer has to consider five factors listed in subsection (3). They are:-
    • (a) the sensitivity of the personal data
    • (b) the scale of disclosure and the degree of accessibility sought to be restricted or prevented
    • (c) the role of the data principal in public life
    • (d) the relevance of the personal data to the public
  • (e) the nature of the disclosure and of the activities of the data fiduciary, particularly whether the data fiduciary systematically facilitates access to personal data and whether the activities would be significantly impeded if disclosures of the relevant nature were to be restricted or prevented.
  • Review provision:-
    • Aggrieved by the order of the adjudicating officer, one can file for a review.
    • If the officer reaffirms the decision, an appeal can be made to the appellate tribunal. This is fine as far as data protection is concerned.

It affects Press freedom:-

  • Bill seeks to introduce a new right  the right to be forgotten, to remove, very old, irrelevant and unnecessary information links from social media networks. This can easily be used against journalists.
  • But when the data principal is a public servant (for instance, a former minister), and the data fiduciary is a newspaper or web journal, the freedom to criticise the public personalities for their public policies based on their past statements and activities will be in jeopardy, and a journalist has to wait for the decision of the adjudicating officer to clear her writing about it.
  • Confusion :-
    • A citizen seeking access to such information will be confused whether to approach the CIC or DPA .These adjudicating officers are subordinate to members of the Data Protection Authority.
  • Press freedom :-
    • Right to be forgotten in the bill might spell a danger to press freedom.
    • The Bill says the rights of the data principal, including the right to be forgotten, are exempted if the purpose of data processing is in the interest of the security of state (Section 42).
  • The Srikrishna Committee did not suggest any draft for these two additional provisions contemplated under Sections 42 and 43. Even for this, Section 4 (right to privacy needs to be respected) and, Section 31 (fair and reasonable processing duties) will apply.
  • Journalistic publication will be dependent upon the opinion of a dealing clerk or adjudicating officer. These are additional pre-publication restrictions on citizens and media which were never contemplated by the Constitution and rejected by the judiciary.
  • Penalty provisions are severe and costly :-
    • Section 74 gives the power to impose a penalty to the adjudicating officer after an inquiry, besides facilitating compensation (Section 75).
    • Failure to adhere to security standards (Section 31) might lead to a penalty of up to Rs 5 crore (Section 69).
    • A penalty of up to Rs 1 crore can be imposed where any person fails to comply with any provision of this Act, for which no separate penalty has been provided in the Act (Section 73). This can easily be used against journalists.
  • Some free speech organisations are warning that the right to be forgotten may be in danger of being transformed into a tool of global censorship.
  • The advocates of human rights believe that this case can threaten free speech. They believe that a country’s regulator should not be allowed to control what users across the world find and search on the web.

Topic Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the
performance of these schemes

5) Despite an Act designed specifically for the same purpose, the death of manual scavengers has continued as per data released by NCSK. Examine. (250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question

The article examines the reasons behind the plight of manual scavengers and the reasons behind the same. Despite, an Act designed specifically to ban employment of people as manual scavengers, their continued deaths reflects our apathy and indifference. The question expects us to reflect on these issues, for it is important from GS2 perspective.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the provisions of the Act meant to safeguard the interests of manual scavengers, highlight their status quo and then explain why their status continues to see no improvement. Finally, we have to discuss the way forward.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention about the spate of deaths of manual scavengers in recent past. Explain about the purpose of the the employment of manual scavengers and Construction of dry latrines (prohibition) Act, 2013.

Body

  • Explain the provisions of the Act meant to safeguard the interest of manual scavengers –
  • The new Act looks at manual scavenging from the point of view of restoring human dignity and human rights and talks about rehabilitation
  • Section 7 of the Act which prohibits employment of manual scavengers and prescribes punishment for the same
  • The provisions related to NCSK etc
  • Discuss the status quo – although manual scavenging is illegal, Maharashtra employs 35% of 180,657 Indian families whose livelihood depends on unblocking excreta-packed sewers in those dank lanes, railways is also a huge employer. Moreover, more than 300 people died due to manual scavenging in 2017 alone. Reflects issues with the act and in its implementation
  • Discuss the reasons why the Act is failing – does not spell out the  responsibilities and accountability of the local authorities that will supervise rehabilitation, the law is not being enforced, and there is no fear of penalties, Mechanised cleaning of septic tanks is the prescribed norm. But in spite of a well-funded programme such as the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in operation, little attention is devoted to this aspect of sanitation. The requirements of worker safety and provision of safety gear for rare instances when human intervention is unavoidable are often ignored etc

Conclusion – Give your view on the continued violation of the rights of manual scavengers and discuss the way forward.

 Background :-

  • Manual scavenging was banned 25 years ago with the passing of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993, but it continues to find practitioners. 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, according to Safai Karmachari Andolan.

Measures taken:-

  • The Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act was passed by the parliament in 1993, and set imprisonment of up to one year and a fine of Rs 2,000 for pushing a person to manual scavenging.
  • Self Employment Scheme for Rehabilitation of Manual Scavengers(SRMS), a successor scheme to NSLRS ( National Scheme for Liberation and Rehabilitation of Scavengers and their Dependents), was introduced in 2007 with the objective to rehabilitate remaining manual scavengers and their dependents in alternative occupations, in a time bound manner.
  • Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013, forbids the employment of any person for the task of manual scavenging by any agency or individual.
    • As picking up untreated human excreta is harmful to one’s health and hygiene, the Act seeks to completely ban the practice.
  • Supreme Court issued a slew of directions in 2014 to prevent and control the practice and also to prosecute the offenders.
    • It also directed the government to pay a compensation of 10 lakh rupees to the family members of those killed in acts of manual scavenging since 1993.
  • Also, the right to live with dignity is implicit in the Fundamental Rights guaranteed in Part III of the Constitution. Article 46 of the Constitution, on the other hand, provides that the State shall protect the weaker sections particularly, the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes  from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
  • Apart from these under Swachh Bharat Mission focus has been given on conversion of insanitary latrines into sanitary latrines.

Challenges remain :-

  • However, the dehumanising practice of manual scavenging, arising from the continued existence of insanitary latrines and a highly iniquitous caste system, still persists in various parts of the country. 
  • Design:-
    • Septic tanks are designed badly. They have engineering defects which means that after a point, a machine cannot clean it.
  • Under the Swacch Bharat Mission, millions of septic tanks are being built in rural India
    • By 2019, some 30 million septic tanks and pits would have been dug along the Ganga. If the Central, state and local sanitation programmes do not take up faecal sludge management as a priority, the onus will shift to the lowest rung of the society to clean millions of dry toilets.
  • Sewage issues :-
    • Many cities do not have sewerage that covers the whole city. Sometimes, sewage lines are connected to storm water drains which get clogged and demand human intervention.
  • Open drains:-
    • Open drains are also badly designed, allowing people to dump solid waste into them, which accentuates the problem. Improper disposal of sanitary napkins, diapers etc clog the drains, which machines cannot clear.
  • Manual scavenging is not only a caste-based but also a gender-based occupation with 90 per cent of them being women.
  • Irony of Swachh Bharat Mission :-
    • On the one hand it aims at protecting dignity of women by providing them with private sanitation spaces, and on the other, it is perpetuating humiliation of women manual scavengers as they are the ones who clean human excreta from dry-pit latrines.
  • Legislative failure:-
    • In 2013, the ‘Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act came into force. However this law leaves people helpless.
    • In the earlier Act, the district magistrate had the power to solve all the cases, but that’s not the case with the current one. If the assigned public official isn’t doing his duty of identifying manual scavengers and processing their rehabilitation, there is no mechanism to pull them up
    • The Act does not address critical aspects of provisions like the rehabilitation of those who were liberated from manual scavenging before passing the law in 2013.
    • Liberated manual scavengers regularly face brutal atrocity and violence.
    • The law enjoins upon the government to provide Rs 10 lakh to the families of those who die inside sewers. However, data presented by the Central Monitoring Committee in 2017 said only seven states had paid compensation for such deaths in the past 25 years.
  • Safety issues:-
    • Requirements of oxygen cylinder, torches, and constant monitoring of workers through computers etc. are not mentioned in the act and hence are not provided to the cleaners.
  • Lack of education:-
    • Low level of education, awareness about their rights, laws and low self esteem force them to take such work.
  • National Safai Karmachari Commission which was mandated to implement the act has not been functioning properly. Its website has not been updated about recent developments and new initiatives.
  • Lack of credible data:-
    • One big obstacle before evolving policies for the welfare of sewage and septic tank workers is the lack of credible data.
    • There are no official numbers available on those employed in sewer and septic tank cleaning as opposed to those engaged in the relatively less hazardous cleaning of dry latrines, open drains and single pit toilets.
  • Biggest reason why the mechanised cleaning of septic tanks, the prescribed norm, remains only on paper, is lax implementation by enforcement agencies.

Way forward:-

  • It is a social and gender issue and can be eradicated by sensitising people about its ills.
  • The implementation of these laws and provisions should be ensured by appointing people who can make sure that these are being followed, and that anybody who does not follow the rules and regulations is punished.
  • Entire process of the liberation of scavengers includes not just talks about value conflicts or rehabilitation and the few changes in their means of livelihood. The liberation of these people is also closely associated with the change in their social status and the ‘mould’ of their social relationships. All these aspects of liberation can be achieved only when dry latrines are not used at all. 
  • Swachh Bharat Mission may be used to actively target conversion of insanitary latrines on priority basis. Liberated manual scavengers must be linked to social security and other welfare schemes to ensure that they are not dependent on this inhuman work for their survival. 

 


General Studies – 3


TopicConservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6) Examine the factors behind the high levels of pollution in Indian rivers. What can be done to protect our rivers from degradation and slow death. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Rivers are the lifeline of any society and these lifelines have been subjected to pollution, overexploitation to the levels that many of them are beyond restoration. In this context it is important to discuss the state of the major rivers in India and discuss the strategy needed to prevent them from being degraded and dead.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the state of the major rivers in India- their pollution levels, encroachment and major issues affecting them. It then wants us to discuss the strategy needed to prevent them from being degraded and dead.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the importance of rivers for agriculture, domestic use, industry etc. Mention some of the schemes formulated for river conservation- Namami Ganga; AMRUT; National River Conservation Plan etc. mention that most of the rivers in India are in bad health, highly polluted etc.

Body-

  • Discuss the state of indian rivers. Mention the findings of some authentic reports and studies e.g A Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report of 2015 brought out the fact that 61,948 million litres of urban sewage is generated on a daily basis in India. But the cities have an installed sewage treatment capacity of only 38 percent of this. In reality more than this amount goes untreated into the rivers or water bodies as the treatment capacity of major sewage treatment plants (STPs) in the country is around 66 per cent of the installed capacity as per CPCB findings of 2013. As a result, more than 38,000 million litres of waste water goes into the major rivers, water bodies and even percolates into the ground every day. Over and above this there is industrial effluent. The data on the raw sewage from rural areas is not available; The top five states showing maximum number of polluted stretches are Maharashtra, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal. Estimated polluted riverine length is 12,363 km, which is almost five times the length of Ganga main stem etc.
  • Discuss the strategy needed to protect the rivers in India. E.g building adequate no. of STPs; creating awareness about the importance of the rivers and involving civil society in conservation programmes; Decentralized In-situ treatment is simple and easy-to-operate and does not require major modification of the drain; On the industrial side, the plan to bring all liquid effluent discharge from textile units and tanneries to zero has to be pursued vigorously, giving industries the assistance to help them choose the best technologies for the recovery of wastewater for reuse etc.

Conclusion– sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Background:-

  • Rivers are increasingly being treated as lifelines to an ever-growing population, the realisation of which is still to sink in as far as India is concerned.
  • More than half the rivers in India are polluted, with the developing economic power unlikely to meet demand for fresh water from its still-growing population .

Factors behind high pollution of rivers :

  • According to the recent finding of the Central Pollution Control Board that the number of critically polluted segments of India’s rivers has risen to 351 from 302 two years ago is a strong indictment of the departments responsible for environmental protection.
  • The data show that the plethora of laws enacted to regulate waste management and protect water quality are simply not working.
  • The study by CPCB also underscores the failure of many national programmes run by the Centre for river conservation, preservation of wetlands, and water quality monitoring. 
  • The failed efforts to control pollution are all too evident in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Assam, which account for a third of the degraded river segments. Their problems are worsened by the poor infrastructure available in a large number of cities and towns located near rivers.
  • Managing sewage requires steady funding of treatment plants for all urban agglomerations that discharge their waste into rivers, and also reliable power supply
  • A primary cause is the quantity of sewage generated by cities and townsalong polluted stretches .
  • Country’s waterways have also suffered badly in recent years, with vast quantities of municipal and industrial waste discharged into them every day.
  • Relentless dumping of waste and release of untreated effluentsis posing a serious threat to the over 50 rivers in the country. 
    • Ganga has been dammed, over-drained and sullied by sewageas well as industrial waste from the numerous towns and cities which dot the river bank.
  • Government  has  focussed on cleaning the Ganges but there has been little progress so far on a project which has defeated successive administrations, despite substantial funding.

Way forward:-

  • CPCB should be reporting more frequently on pollution, and carrying out intensive measures through State Pollution Control Boards to eliminate pollutants, starting with sewage and industrial effluents.
  • Low priority accorded to enforcement of laws by the SPCBs and Pollution Control Committees. So the immediate plan should be to expand the supply of treatment plants. Sustained civil society pressure on governments is vital to ensure that this is done in a time-bound manner.
  • On the industrial side, the plan to bring all liquid effluent discharge from textile units and tanneries to zero has to be pursued vigorously, giving industries the assistance to help them choose the best technologies for the recovery of waste water for reuse.
  • These measures are urgently needed to revive India’s many dying rivers, protect its agriculture, and prevent serious harm to public health from contaminated water.
  • All state governments must make it mandatory to have rain water harvesting techniques in government as well as private buildings and make roof water and surface harvesting mandatory.
  • Include embankments, embankment roads, and roads on either side of the river need to be developed as greenways, with walkways, cycle paths and recreational centres to facilitate the link between citizens and the river.
  • Rejuvenation of wetlands:-
    • These wetlands can store millions of gallons of flood water and recharge ground water and also enhance the river flow during lean period
  • Reforestation and protection of forested catchments:-
    • Forested catchments reduce soil erosion and siltation of the river, they regulate stream flows and micro climate. A protected catchment automatically means lesser silt in rivers
  • Vegetated and protected riparian banks.These protect the river banks, reduce erosion and maintain water quality.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic– Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.

7) What do you understand by Tolerance and why is it an important value. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the meaning of the term tolerance and also discuss in detail as to why it is an essential value.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a simple definition of tolerance- e.g Simply stated, tolerance is “recognizing and respecting others’ beliefs and practices ,without sharing in them”.

Body-

  • Discuss the meaning of the term further in detail. E.g Tolerance is respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty, it is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance, the virtue that makes peace possible, contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace etc.
  • Discuss why the value is important. E.g Being tolerant of each other and caring for each other is what makes us human.  By teaching tolerance, we allow individuality and diversity while promoting peace and a civil society; Being kind and accepting of others, regardless of their race, religion, culture, gender, or economic background is at the heart of every philanthropic act. Being tolerant of others is acting for the common good etc.

Conclusion- sum up your discussion in a few lines and form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Tolerance is a prerequisite to exercising the liberties of free speech and freedom of religion. Tolerance preserves the dignity of each person as it accommodates and explores a rich diversity in ideas, cultures, and beliefs through civil discourse and dialogue.

Tolerance promotes learning because, as John Stuart Mill tells that received opinion may be wrong and the heretic right. Adopting an open mind represents a commitment to the pursuit of knowledge through dialogue.

Tolerance is the virtue that makes peace possible:-Tolerance allows people the liberty and personal freedom of self-determination. Toleration promotes the free exchange of ideas, including criticism and debate of public policy in the interest of the people. Despite India being a culturally diverse country multiple religions live harmoniously.

Vigorous deliberation of disagreement and moral evaluation is promoted by tolerance and moves us toward a common understanding of the good .Tolerance does not extend to aggressive intolerance ,the coercive suppression of other points of view.  Tolerance provides the space for a culture of dialogue, where we can all benefit.

Tolerance respects context .For instance If your grandmother makes a racial slur at a family gathering we can tolerate it as a reminder of the progress made during her lifetime. If a politician makes a racial slur at a town hall meeting, it is intolerable.

Tolerance is vital because it promotes the receiving or acknowledging of new ideas and this helps to break the status quo mentality. Tolerance is particularly needed in large and complex societies comprising people with varied beliefs, as in India. This is because readiness to tolerate views other than one’s own facilitates harmonious coexistence.