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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 SEPTEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 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 – “Islands”

1) Explain the origin of the two major islands of India and highlight their salient features?(250 words)

NCERT India Physical geography pg 18

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out how the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands were formed and highlight their salient features such as the tribes there, the climate, their importance for India, the vegetation etc

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep islands are the two major island chains of India.

Body

  • Explain the origin of Andaman and Nicobar Islands – volcanic in nature and recognised as the extensions of Himalayas.
  • Discuss the salient features of ANI such as
  • It gives strategic edge for India in terms of security, maritime trade and extended reach to Indian ocean
  • These islands are home to primitive tribes like Jarawas, Santhalis, Ongos etc
  • Volcanic soils and geographic location, subject these islands to both S-W monsoons and N-E monsoons and gives the one of the most pristine ecosystems of the world with rich diversified flora and fauna.
  • Equatorial climate with tropical evergreen forests.
  • group of 204 islands and lies as an elongated strip
  • Habitat for one of the pristine coral reefs in the world.
  • Highlight the origin of Lakshadweep islands – are of coral origin and explain the symbiotic relationship through which such islands are formed
  • Discuss the salient features of Lakshadweep islands
  • Originated as coral islands and agricultural productivity is low due to infertile soil
  • Existence of atolls, corals etc., made it as one of the tourist destination
  • Know for coconut, palm cultivation etc

Origin of two major islands in India :-

  • The major islands groups of India are Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago (A chain of islands similar in origin) in Bay of Bengal and Lakshadweep islands in Arabian Sea.
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands were formed due to collision between Indian Plate and Burma Minor Plate
  • The Andaman and Nicobar islands have a geological affinity with the tertiary formation of the Himalayas, and form a part of its southern loop continuing southward from the Arakan Yoma.
  • The entire group of islands is divided into two broad categories:
    • The Andaman in the north, and
    • The Nicobar in the south
  • Lakshadweep Islands are coral islands. These islands are a part Reunion Hotspot volcanism.The entire island group is built of coral deposits.

Features of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • This archipelago is composed of 265 big and small islands.
  • The Andaman islands are divided into three main islands i.e. North, Middleand 
  • Among the Nicobar islands, the Great Nicobaris the largest. It is the southernmost island and is very close to Sumatra island of Indonesia. The Car Nicobar is the northernmost.
  • Most of these islands are made of tertiary sandstone, limestone and shale resting on basic and ultrabasic volcanoes
  • The Barren and Narcondam islands, north of Port Blair, are volcanic islands
  • Habitat for one of the pristine coral reefs in the world.
    • Some of the islands are fringed with coral reefs. Many of them are covered with thick forests. Most of the islands are mountainous.
  • It gives strategic edge for India in terms of security, maritime trade and extended reach to Indian ocean
  • These islands are home to primitive tribes like Jarawas, Santhalis, Ongos etc
  • Volcanic soils and geographic location, subject these islands to both S-W monsoons and N-E monsoons and gives the one of the most pristine ecosystems of the world with rich diversified flora and fauna.
  • Equatorial climate with tropical evergreen forest
    • These islands receive convectional rainfall and have an equatorial type of vegetation.
    • These islands have a warm tropical climate all year round with two monsoons.

Features of Lakshwadweep islands:-

  • All are tiny islands of coral origin {Atoll} and are surrounded by fringing reefs.
  • Most of the islands have low elevation and do not rise more than five metre above sea level (Extremely Vulnerable to sea level change).
  • Their topography is flat and relief features such as hills, streams, valleys, etc. are 
  • These consist of approximately 36 islands of which 11 are inhabited.
  • These islands have calcium rich soils- organic limestones and a scattered vegetation of palm species and coconut cultivation.
  • One typical feature of these islands is the formation of crescentic reef in the east and a lagoon in the west.
  • The Islands of this archipelago have storm beaches consisting of unconsolidated pebbles, shingles, cobbles and boulders on the eastern seaboard
  • Agricultural productivity is low due to infertile soil
  • Existence of atolls, corals etc., made it as one of the tourist destination.

General Studies – 2


Topic – Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

2) With two out of five children in the country stunted, India needs to direct focus on this problem. Discuss how POSHAN attempts to tackle the problem malnutrition in India? (250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The article directs focus towards the problem of malnutrition in the country and explains the initiatives taken by the current government in dealing with the challenge of malnutrition. The initiatives of the government designed to address the problem of malnutrition needs to be prepared in detail.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to answer the following points

  • Examine the problem of malnutrition in India
  • Explain how POSHAN attempts to deal with the problem of malnutrition
  • Discuss the opportunities and threats in POSHAN
  • Give your view on what should be the way forward

Directive word

Discuss – Here in your discussion , you need to bring out the details of POSHAN and how it would help deal with the problem of malnutrition.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Discuss the problem of malnutrition in the country with facts and figures. Explain that the government has indicated that it is willing to address this challenge on a mission mode.

Body

  • Explain that The Union Government has signed $200 million loan agreement with World Bank for National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) for 315 districts across India. The loan proceeds will be used for reducing stunting in children 0-6 years of age from 38.4% to 25% by 2022 under POSHAN Abhiyaan
  • Discuss the working of POSHAN
  • aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children
  • targets to reduce level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition related schemes
  • targets stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and low birth rate. It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available
  • Mention about the National council on India’s nutritional challenge which is meant to design a policy response to these issues
  • Highlight the reasons why problem of malnutrition persists in India – underweight mothers, prevalence of Anaemia, socio economic factors etc.
  • Discuss how POSHAN can help deal with this challenge

Conclusion – Emphasize on the need to address the malnutrition problem of India and highlight the importance of POSHAN for the same.

Background :-

  • India has historically fared poorly on child nutrition indicators and has been plagued by periodical waves of malnutrition-related deaths in tribal areas. 
  • With 17 per cent of the world’s population, India is home to a quarter of the world’s hungry. The dismal health of Indian women and children is primarily due to lack of food security. 
  • Overall, India accounts for more than three out of every 10 stunted children globally.

Reasons for stunting :-

  • More underweight babies born to more underweight mothers.
    • Mothers are underweight because there is a high level of anaemia among women (55 per cent). Indeed, 33.6 per cent of Indian women are chronically undernourished
    • They are married early, they produce children at an early age, there is not enough spacing between children, there is a high dropout rate from school etc .
    • Women mostly eat only left over food.
  • Viewing nutrition as an issue concerning only food is one reason.
  • Lack of quality food, poor care and feeding practices and inadequate water, sanitation and health services in the country.
  • India already has two robust national programmes addressing malnutrition :-
    • The Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and the National Health Mission  but these do not yet reach enough people. 
  • Significant cause of malnutrition is also the deliberate failure of malnourished people to choose nutritious food
  • The problem of malnutrition is inter-generational and is dependent on multiple factors which 
    include optimal infant and young child feeding practices, immunization, institutional delivery, early childhood development, food fortification, deworming, access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation, dietary diversification and other related factors. 

Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme For Holistic Nourishment) Abhiyan (POSHAN Abhiyaan):-

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) was launched in in March 2018. It aims to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
  • The programme aims to ensure service delivery and interventions by use of technology, behavioural change and lays down specific targets to be achieved over the next few years. 
  • To ensure a holistic approach, all 36 states/UTs and districts will be covered in a phased manner. More than 10 crore people will be benefitted by this programme. 
  • Ministry of Women and Child Development is the nodal ministry for anchoring overall 

How POSHAN abhiyan tackles malnutrition:-

  • Complete approach towards malnutrition:-
    • The programme through use of technology, a targeted approach and convergence strives to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anaemia and low birth weight in children, also focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers, thus holistically addressing malnutrition. 
  • It targets to reduce level of under-nutrition and other related problems by ensuring convergence of various nutrition related schemes and provide performance based incentives to states and community nutrition and health workers, facilitating a focus on results.
  • It will monitor and review implementation of all such schemes and utilize existing structural arrangements of line ministries wherever available.
  • Its large component involves gradual scaling-up of the interventions supported by ongoing World Bank assisted Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Systems Strengthening and Nutrition Improvement Project (ISSNIP) to all districts in the country by 2022.
  • Union Government has signed $200 million loan agreement with World Bank for National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan) for 315 districts across all states and union territories.
    • The World Bank loan will be used for improving coverage and quality of ICDS nutrition services to pregnant and lactating women and children under 3 years of age.
    • It will be also used for project in improving skills and capacities of ICDS staff and community nutrition workers, instituting mechanisms of community mobilization and behaviour change communication, strengthening systems of citizen engagement and grievance redress.
    • It will be also used for establishing mobile technology based tools for improved monitoring and management of services for better outreach to beneficiaries during critical 1,000 day window for nutrition impact.
  • POSHAN Convergence Matrix looks at deploying a multi-pronged approach to mobilise the masses towards creating a nutritionally aware society. 
  • Community based events at anganwadi centres to engage the beneficiaries and their families towards nutritional awareness; sustained mass media, multimedia, outdoor campaigns; mobilisation of all frontline functionaries; SHGs and volunteers towards nutrition are the methods to be adopted. The aim is to generate a Jan Andolan towards Nutrition
  • Thus the POSHAN Abhiyan is to bring all of us together, put accountability and responsibilities on all stakeholders to help the country accomplish its desired potential in terms of its demographic dividend. 

Issues with poshan scheme :-

·         Possible problems with implementation

o    The scheme provides hope that the problems arising due to malnutrition could be curbed in the next three years. However, this will only occur with effective implementation of the schemes that are aimed at tackling the problem.

·         Issues with monitoring:-

o    The recent scheme merely establishes a real-time monitoring system for the schemes that are currently in place. A large number of these schemes have been in existence for over a decade, and yet have failed to reduce malnutrition in India significantly.

o     A monitoring system would indeed help in the better implementation of these schemes on the grass-root level. However, it will not solve the pre-existing problems in those schemes which make them ineffective.

·         Financial issues:-

o    Many schemes in India, including those tackling malnutrition, fails because states do not utilise funds allocated for the scheme. Although the states under will be provided with funds and technology for the new nutrition scheme, the effective use of these funds cannot be guaranteed.

·         The scheme however is most likely to suffer from the same implementation defects as the previous schemes. The government has however, set very ambitious goals to be achieved, which are unlikely to be met in merely three years.

Way forward :-

  • Package of basic measures like including programmes to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their children for up to six months, fortifying basic foods with essential minerals and vitamins, and increased cash transfers with payments targeted at the poorest families can turn the tide.
  • Universal access to infant and young childcare, including ICDS and crèches, provisions to provide biannual critical nutrient supplements and programmes aimed at deworming children need to be implemented effectively.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic– Indian economy : Issues

3) What are NRI bonds? Examine how they can help in arresting the slide of rupee against dollar?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The slide of rupee against dollar is leading to several economic issues, and intellectuals on one hand have talked how this is rupee correcting itself, and on the other hand have talked about how this slide needs to be attested soon. The article explains how NRI bonds can be used by RBI to stabilise rupee.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out what NRI bonds are, the theory behind how bonds of such nature can help in stabilizing the value of rupee and in practicality how it would pan out. We should also suggest some alternatives or complimentary steps that can be taken to arrest the slide in value of rupee.

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 – Start with explaining the current situation about rupee and how RBI is looking at ways to deal with this situation.

Body

  • Explain that one of the step RBI is considering is issuing NRI bonds.
  • Explain what NRI bonds are – These are bonds issued by the Reserve Bank of India to non-resident Indians who are interested in investing their money in India. Since these bonds offer higher returns than other similar investments, they can be used as a tool to attract capital during times when other domestic assets fail to attract the interest of foreign investors. Many investors view them as a safe investment as these bonds are issued by the Indian central bank.
  • Discuss in theory how it would impact the demand of dollar vs rupee, direct investment in India and help in stabilizing the value of rupee
  • Highlight why the step is a smart move in this time – the limited or in some cases the adverse impact of some other steps like raising duties, interest rates etc. Explain the benefits of this move and past example when such bonds were used – NRI bonds can help raise $30-35 bn,  and are preferable over a RBI rate hike. NRI bond issuances—in 1998, 2000, 2013—have always stabilised the rupee.

Conclusion – Give your view on the effectiveness of NRI bonds and some other alternatives which can form the way forward.

Background:-

  • The sharp slide in the value of the rupee has led to speculation that the RBI might opt to issue NRI bonds worth $30-35 billion in order to help attract dollar investment into the country. 

NRI bonds:-

  • These are bonds issued by the Reserve Bank of India to non-resident Indians who are interested in investing their money in India.
  • Since these bonds offer higher returns than other similar investments, they can be used as a tool to attract capital during times when other domestic assets fail to attract the interest of foreign investors.
  • Many investors view them as a safe investment as these bonds are issued by the Indian central bank.

Benefits:-

  • NRI bonds could theoretically help increase demand for the rupee and stabilise its value against the dollar. The actual effect of these bonds on the rupee, however, will depend on how attractive they are to NRIs.
  • Past experiences:-
    • In 2013, when the rupee witnessed a fall of about 25% in just four months following the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to taper down its bond-purchase programme, the RBI was able to collect more than $30 billion worth of foreign capital.
    • NRI bonds were also issued in 1998 and 2000 to help curb the slide of the rupee. 
    • These bonds can provide temporary assistance to the rupee by encouraging capital inflows into the economy.
  • Facts:-
    • Bank of America Merril Lynch said in a report that issuance of NRI bonds could help whip up $30-35 billion in the December quarter.
  • Bonds have been highly successful among NRIs because they get higher returns than what they would get in overseas banks.

Issues:-

  • They may not address the fundamental economic issues that are causing the fall of the rupee. 
  • The most important is the LIBOR movement. USD LIBOR in 2018 is much higher than it was in 2013. This means the NRI deposit scheme if announced today would turn out be a far more expensive proposition.
  • Interest rates are around 2% in USA, and will be minimum 9% in India under the scheme. That’s a minimum 7-8% arbitrage and so it is not a good time to introduce the scheme.
  • The higher Libor rate coupled with lower interest rates in countries like the USA is why government is not keen to announce the NRI deposit scheme.

Way forward:-

  • Until the RBI can rein in domestic inflation and the government can take steps to boost exports and curb imports, emergency measures like the issuance of NRI bonds can only offer temporary respite to the rupee.
  • Allowing oil companies to buy dollars through a special window and not in currency markets can ease some pressure on the rupee. The RBI can also offer to buy bonds from oil firms, giving them dollars or other currencies in return that they can use to purchase crude oil from global markets.
  • The RBI can use moral suasion to persuade banks and financial institutions to raise cheaper dollar-denominated funds from overseas markets and then lend these to domestic borrowers in the form of rupee loans.
  • Another way the RBI can explore is by curbing imports and boosting exports. RBI can decide to make import payments in a staggered to prevent a persistent drain on forex reserves. 

Topic-Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

4) The debate on data localisation must not be reduced to a simple binary of whether data localisation is good or bad. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

There have been talks and some policy suggestions towards data localization not only in India but also in other big economies. The article provides an insight into the various dimensions of the issue and how data should be treated.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding on the issue of data protection and data localization and form an opinion as to why it is wrong to view data protection measures by assuming that either data localization is good or bad.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the growing digitisation of the global economy and society, which creates huge amount of data. Also mention the growing concerns for data protection.

Body-

Discuss your points in favour or against the statement- The debate on data localisation must not be reduced to a simple binary of whether data localisation is good or bad.  E.g

  • Discuss the importance of data. E.g Data, and digital intelligence derived from it, are universally acknowledged as the key economic resources in the digital society. Who owns, controls and accesses data determines who gets what piece of the overall economic cake; A lot of privately held digital data are needed for policymaking and governance;digital societies and economies get ruled globally by the most powerful corporations and governments, which work in a mutually reinforcing manner. Data localisation attempts to bring back the rule of law to our digital and ‘datafied’ existence. etc.
  • Discuss the diversity of data and hence a varied approach towards data localization. E.g Data are of many kinds — there is news and information; personal, community and corporate data; data concerning common business activities, military, banking, health, education and agriculture; and so on. Some of these data are very sensitive, some are needed for effective regulation, some for governance and policymaking, and some for economic development, infrastructure and sharing. It is therefore a matter of what kind of data requires what kind of regulatory regime – localisation, global free flow, or various shades of grey in-between etc.

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

Background:-

  • Data localisation or the collection, processing and storage of all data that originate within its own national boundaries is gaining momentum in India.

Need for Data Localisation 

  • For securing citizen’s data, data privacy, data sovereignty, national security, and economic 
    development of the country. 
  • Recommendations by the RBI, the committee of experts led by Justice BN Srikrishna, the draft e- commerce policy and the draft report of the cloud policy panel show signs of data localisation. 
  • The extensive data collection by technology companies, has allowed them to process and monetise Indian users’ data outside the country. 
  • To curtail the perils of unregulated and arbitrary use of personal data. 
  • Digital technologies like machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things  (IoT) can generate tremendous value out of various data. 
  • It can turn disastrous if not contained within certain boundaries.
  • For maintaining law and order. 
  • With the advent of cloud computing, Indian users’ data is outside the country’s boundaries, leading to a conflict of jurisdiction in case of any dispute.

Why data localization debate should not be reduced to discussion whether it is good or bad  :-

  • Data has often been referred to as the new oil, an economic resource, which is fuelling the fourth industrial revolution. Consumer habits can be studied and policies can be framed which would then be in line with the need of the hour. 
  • Government needs data for better implementation of social programmes and statistics collection. 
  • Cross-border data flows contributed $2.8 trillion to the global economy in 2014, which is expected to touch $11 trillion by 2025.
  • Massive amounts of data generated by cities can be used to improve infrastructure and transport systems as Singapore has done.
  • A lot of privately held digital data are needed for policymaking and governance
  • Digital societies and economies get ruled globally by the most powerful corporations and governments, which work in a mutually reinforcing manner.
  • Data localisation attempts to bring back the rule of law to our digital and ‘datafied’ existence.

Way Forward 

 

  • Varied approach is needed for data localization because
    • Data are of many kinds like there is news and information, personal, community and corporate data, data concerning common business activities, military, banking, health, education and agriculture and so on.
    • Some of these data are very sensitive, some are needed for effective regulation, some for governance and policymaking, and some for economic development, infrastructure and sharing. It is therefore a matter of what kind of data requires what kind of regulatory regime
  • Data localisation needs to integrate a wide range of social, political and economic perspectives. 
  • Adequate infrastructure in terms of energy, real estate, and internet connectivity also needs to be made available for India to become a global hub for data centres. 

Topic– Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

5) With its loose language and ambiguous words, the UAPA creates a climate in which the focus shifts from individuals and crimes to groups and ideologies. Critically analyze.(250 words) 

The hindu

Reference

Why this question

UAPA has been severely criticized for its draconian provisions, which have been used recently to arrest several persons across the country for their alleged links with naxalism. It is therefore important to understand the act and its provisions.

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 dig deep into the UAPA and bring out why it has an ambiguous language and how that shifts the focus from individuals and crimes to groups and ideology. Based on our discussion we have to form an integrated opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about UAPA and article 19 of the Indian constitution – e.g when it was enacted and any amendments etc. Mention that the UAPA has been criticized for having a loose language and ambiguous words, which creates a climate in which the focus shifts from individuals and crimes to groups and ideologies.

Body-

  • Discuss how the act has an ambiguous language. E.g There is no definition of terrorism that has been provided. Terrorist Act has been defined under Section 15 and according to Section 2(k), the definition of a terrorist has to be construed according. This has a huge logical fallacy as this provides for a wide scope of interpretation which can be used and abused by the Government of the day; Under subsection 1 of section 3, chapter 2, if the central government is of the opinion that an activity is unlawful then it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare it so etc.
  • Discuss how the act shifts the focus from individuals and crime to groups and ideologies. E.g The wording of the UAPA, with references to “any combination of persons”, is vague and unhelpful. Second, the UAPA uses a number of broad terms that overlap with each other. Section 20 criminalises “membership” of a terrorist organisation; Section 38 uses the terms “associating” or “professing to be associated” with a terrorist organisation; and Section 39 criminalises “support” to a terrorist organisation, and includes “inviting” support as well as organising a “meeting” to support the terrorist organisation; the UAPA punishes both “unlawful activities” and “terrorist acts”, but the definitions tend to overlap etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. e.g laws and statutes allowing wide discretion to state agencies and to judges should be interpreted narrowly, and judicial doctrines marking the line between criminal conduct and the permissible exercise of fundamental rights should be clear etc.

Background :-

  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 is India’s anti-terrorism law. The UAPA, along with the National Security Act, 1980, are the two swords of the law that are used to combat terrorism. 
  • The UAPA was introduced in 1967 as a legislation to set out reasonable restrictions on the fundamental freedoms under Article 19(1) of the the Constitution, such as freedom of speech, right to assemble peacefully and right to form associations. These restrictions were meant to be used to safeguard India’s integrity and sovereignty.
  • Recently five individuals were arrested ostensibly for instigating the riots at Bhima-Koregaon in early 2018 .They have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
  • The UAPA authorises the government to ban unlawful organisations and terrorist organisations (subject to judicial review), and penalises membership of such organisations.
  • As many as 22 of 33 cases (67 per cent) under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (UAPA) ended in acquittal or discharge in 2016, compared to 18 per cent of cases that ended similarly under special and local laws (SLL), a category of laws applicable nationwide and which encompasses the UAPA, according to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.

UAPA Act and how it undermines individuals :-

  • The problems begin with the definitional clause itself:-
    • The definition of unlawful activities includes disclaiming or questioning the territorial integrity of India, and causing disaffection against India. These words are staggeringly vague and broad.
  • Membership of unlawful and terrorist organisations is a criminal offence, and in the latter case, it can be punished with life imprisonment. But the Act fails entirely to define what membership entails.Chargesheets under the UAPA often cite the seizure of books or magazines, and presence at meetings, as clinching evidence of membership.
  • Terrorist acts defined in Section 15 of the UAPA, refer to any violent acts meant to threaten the security of India, or to strike terror in people in India or abroad.
  • Indefinite Imprisonment Without Trial
    • Even if the person is eventually acquitted of the charges, the delays in conducting judicial proceedings mean the case may only get heard several years after their arrest – failure to get bail means they have to spend the entire time in jail. 
  • Being a member is a crime:-
    • The UAPA punishes the commission, funding and support of “unlawful activities” and “terrorist acts” its most controversial aspect has come to be the declaration of certain organisations as “unlawful associations”, “terrorist gangs” or “terrorist organisations”. Once any organisation has been declared by the government to fall within one of these categories, even being a member of it becomes a criminal offence.
  • Provisions of the UAPA have an extremely wide ambit, which makes it possible to use them against not just criminals and terrorists, but even authors, academics, lawyers for alleged terrorists, and human rights activists.
    • For instance, under Section 2(o) of the UAPA, questioning the territorial integrity of India is an unlawful activity.
    • Similarly, it is also an unlawful activity to cause “disaffection against India”. With no definition of disaffection in the UAPA itself, this becomes a provision that is ripe for misuse. 
  • There is no definition of membership in the UAPA, which has allowed investigating authorities to use excuses to book people as members of unlawful associations or terrorist organisations from possession of books and pamphlets, to expressing sympathy for members of the organisation or the aims of the organisation.
    • For instance, when investigating links to Naxal or Maoist groups, articles about revolutionary movements, even copies of the Communist Manifesto, have been used as “evidence”
  • Supreme court ruling was neglected:-
    • According to SC,mere membership of a banned organisation will not make a person a criminal unless he resorts to violence or incites people to violence or creates public disorder by violence or incitement to violence.
    • Even after this ruling, this has not meant that those charged with membership on flimsy grounds have been able to get justice from the courts.
  • The UAPA has become a weapon of choice to use against dissidents not just because of its ambiguous substantive provisions, but also its draconian procedural provisions, which allow the state to keep people in custody for extended periods of time without bail.
    • Section 43D(2) of the UAPA doubles the amount of time one can be remanded to police custody (to 30 days), and allows 90 days of judicial custody even for offences which would otherwise only allow up to 60 days.
    • If a person is charged with an offence under the UAPA, they cannot get anticipatory bail even if released by the police, and getting bail is almost impossible. This is because Section 43D(5) states that a court cannot release someone on bail if the case against them is prima facie true.
    • The bail provision is particularly problematic since it basically allows for nearly indefinite imprisonment even without conviction of the accused, without even any concrete proof – the prosecution/police/state version just needs to indicate a criminal offence on the face of it.
  • No sunset clause:-
    • The dangerous thing about UAPA is that both Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, or TADA, and POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) had a sunset clause which UAPA does not,
    • Under a “sunset” provision, a law will cease to have effect after a fixed point of time. The UAPA is a permanent statute. Both TADA and POTA, because of the sunset clause, had a time limit of two years after which they had to be sent to the Parliament for a new lease of life.
  • The burden of proof in usual matters falls on the police but under UAPA, the burden is now on the person accused to prove his innocence.

Way forward:-

  • The Act needs to be amended, in order to ensure a constitutional functionary who is independent from the Executive, be in charge of sanctions for prosecutions and investigations under this Act. Maybe a High Court Judge could be designated for this purpose.

TopicDisaster and disaster management.

6) Critically examine the factors that led to the  recent devastating floods across different cities of India.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Floods have become a more common phenomenon in the wake of the climate change and unorganised urban development has worsened the situation. In this light it is important to examine the factors behind the recent spate of floods across the country and form an opinion thereupon.

Directive word

Critically 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 find out the causes behind the recent floods which paralyzed life in various cities in India. Then we have to form an opinion on the issue as to what should be the way-forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention about the recent spate of floods across the country- e.g the latest one in Kerala, in Chennai; Assam, Bihar etc. Mention that all these floods have several common factors behind them.

Body-

Discuss in points the factors responsible for these incidents of floods. E.g roads, railway lines and housing colonies being laid and built without regard for natural waterway; emergency releases from dams that were full. Despite forecasts of more rain, there were no controlled releases; Deforestation and loss of vegetation; lack of elaborate flood management plans like underground flood basins and spare riverbeds etc.

Conclusion– Discuss what should be done to prevent such situation or manage it in a better way. E.g improved hydromet systems and weather forecasts, robust modelling of catchment water flows with simulations of different climate-related scenarios, international norms for safety factors and building codes; flood management plans and infrastructure; awareness and education etc.

Background:-

  • Recently incessant rains in the past couple of weeks has caused massive flooding across Assam, Bihar, Kerala and Tamil Nadu

Common Factors which led to recent devastating floods are:-

 

  • Mismanagement of dams:-
    • For dams to truly tame floods, experts say dam reservoirs need to be relatively empty before the onset of rain. This was not the case in many states.
    • Local officials have been blamed for exacerbating the situation by failing to gradually open the dams dotting the state’s complex river network, waiting instead until they were already full before unleashing the excess water. 
    • More flooding was caused by emergency releases from dams that were full. Despite forecasts of more rain, there were no controlled releases.
    • World Bank analysis while preparing the National Hydrology Project (NHP) in 2015 showed that although weather forecasts are more accurate now, dam managers (especially bureaucrats) are reluctant to authorise advance controlled releases.
  • Roads, railway lines and housing colonies being laid and built without regard for natural water ways, but with formal planning permission.
    • The State Department of Inland Waterways focusses on large waterways while district and local panchayats have no mandate or interest in maintaining these to reduce flood risk.
    • The State Disaster Management Agency also ignores them.
  • Despite India being a signatory to the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, little has changed on the ground.
  • Most modern cities have elaborate flood management plans .But India cannot even protect known flood-plains, tank foreshores and lakes peripheries from encroachment and illegal construction.
  • More than average rainfall:-
    • India’s western coast has received above-average rainfall on account of sustained low-pressure conditions.
  • Land use:-
    • Injudicious use of land is responsible for making states more prone to floods and landslides.
    • However, other factors such as a change in land use patterns and climate change could have contributed to the situation on the ground.
  • Deforestation :-
    • Unfettered development activity had increased the chances of landslides, a major cause of casualties during the floods. 
  • Wetlands have been lostto development projects, construction of roads, and buildings at places too close to rivers.
  • Other issues mentioned such as deforestation, encroachment and unplanned construction are self-evident priorities when development is viewed using the lens of climate-resilient water management (CRWM). 

Way forward:-

  • River-basin specific flood inundation modelling with climate change simulations is a necessary first step to understand the full impact of potential unprecedented flooding. This includes worst-case scenarios such as twice the maximum historical rainfall, as was recently done by a Department for International Development, U.K.-supported project for the Mahanadi in Chhattisgarh.
  • The second is for the local community to co-manage water resources with the government (by planning intermediate storage, drainage and emergency responses).
  • There must be massive awareness generation, to ensure that airports are not extended into river floodplains ,that road culverts let storm water through without hindrance, and that excess water is not blocked but allowed to saturate the soil strata so that it does not cause mudslides
  • Need to use the best-available information for decision-making. This means improved hydromet systems and weather forecasts, robust modelling of catchment water flows with simulations of different climate-related scenarios, international norms for safety factors and building codes.
  • Must prioritise buffers, flexibility and adaptability. This includes reviewing safety criteria of dams and canals, re-building these with higher safety factors, creating new intermediate storages, and introducing dynamic reservoir management.
  • Flood control can be effected through an Integrated Dam Management System, which is totally computerised and automated, the only exception being lifting and lowering of shutters which has to be done manually. This system which can be called IDMS, has to be evolved and developed independently. 
  • Integrated approach to managing floods requires a sound understanding of the patterns that rivers such as the Ganga and its tributaries display during the monsoon. Governmental understanding of the problem generally relies not so much on advanced techniques such as mapping based on satellite imagery and Geographic Information Systems, but on ground-level surveys and anecdotal reporting. This needs to change.

General Studies – 4


TopicPart of series on Ethics Case studies.

7) Epimetheus was particularly proficient at recognizing music, advertisements and human voices. Unlike previous apps using dynamic sound identification, Epimetheus was also adept at picking up subtle auditory signals and sorting through environmental noise in order to accurately identify natural phenomena, such as the changing tides. This functionality was meant to benefit scientific researchers who could employ Epimetheus as a tool to track ecological change in remote locations. It also proved popular among students and casual hobbyists who enjoyed the app’s educative and informative capabilities. In addition to identifying sounds with a high degree of accuracy, Epimetheus incorporated a machine learning algorithm that adapts to new inputs and provides users with useful information about the sounds being processed. For example, the app might identify personal information about those speaking, links to websites selling a product being advertised on television, encyclopedic entries about bird calls in the wild and other relevant resources.

One company, Cronus Corp., was especially impressed by these demos, and was eager to acquire Epimetheus and incorporate its sensing technology, databases and information provisions into its own products.

You are the Head Ethics Officer of Cronus Corp. What questions will you have regarding such a deal.

What do you think are the possible issues involved here. 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 as to what questions would you think are appropriate and sufficient to come at a decision about the desirability of the project.

Structure of the answer

Form the questions that you think are required to come at the decision about the project,in the form of points and discuss about each  question briefly. E.g

  1. The company should show what they have done as much as reasonably possible to “minimize” the risk of unanticipated harms. While developers cannot predict everything, they should be able to anticipate common discriminatory harms; What are examples of such harms? What might companies do to minimize these risks?
  2. how inclusive is the project in term of its accessibility to people.

Answer :-

  • The Cronus Corp can alert the Epimetheus team to several ethical dilemmas they thought the company ought to consider prior to any sort of major expansion or buy-out as low margins of error that may have seemed fine initially may no longer be acceptable when Epimetheus is scaled up and out.
  • These centered around questions of cultural insensitivities, concerns about the act of categorization, itself, and the lack of control over Epimetheus’s uses once it had been made publicly available.
  • Cultural Insensitivity :-
    • Epimetheus identification of sounds and subsequent labeling had been well trained on American cultural norms and the subtleties of the English language. However, this training would not necessarily translate to non-Anglophone societies and different cultures.
    • While privacy laws had been mapped around the world and were taken into account when processing the sounds, the researchers had not foreseen every culturally specific ethical issue at play.
  • Categorization as Harm
    • Beyond causing offense when categorization goes wrong, the mere act of sorting people and ideas into groups can struck some reviewers as wrong.
    • Where these categorization schemas are used to inform decisions or actions within a larger, more complex information system, the results can be real material harm. 
  • Unforeseen Uses:-
    • Epimetheus’ engineers had designed the app to do good. But there are chances that bad actors might want to use the technology for more nefarious purposes.
  • Neutrality:
    • By choosing certain categories rather than others, and by defining those categories in particular ways, Epimetheus is implicitly making value judgments about what is good, right and possible.
    • For example, to categorize one sound as “music” and another as “noise” indicates something about what Epimetheus believes both those ideal types represent. These kinds of value judgments may then go on to influence the values of those humans who use Epimetheus, creating a self-reinforcing pattern.
  • Downstream Responsibility:
    • Once a system has left the hands of the original engineers, they may not have much say in how their technologies are used. Sometimes, this means systems that were designed to produce positive social ends get coopted to negative purposes, such as facial recognition software being used by authoritarian regimes to identify and persecute political dissidents.