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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 NOVEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 NOVEMBER 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 – Modern Indian History.

1) Discuss the impact that World war I had on Indian national movement, its society and economy?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Role of India in world war 1 has received widespread news coverage in the past couple of years. While India’s role in world war 1 is important, also important is the impact that the war had on India’s polity, economy and society. This question would help you to prepare this aspect of world war 1.

Key demand of the question

The question is quite straightforward in its demand. It expects us to discuss the impact that the war had on India’s struggle for independence. It also expects us to discuss the impact of the war on the nation’s economy and polity and how it impacted the national movement.

Directive word

Discuss – here your discussion should bring out the impact world war 1 had on the freedom movement in India. We also need to highlight the impact of the war on India’s society and economy and relate these to the freedom movement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight the magnitude of the war and India’s contribution to it.

Body

  • Discuss the view of political parties on support of India during world war 1. Explain that this was done with hope of getting semblance of self governance, what we got in fact was montague Chelmsford reforms.
  • Discuss the impact on society – rise in literacy, coercion by British for recruitment and resulting anger etc
  • Discuss the impact on economy – Requisitioning of food supplies, particularly cereals, led to rampant food inflation. Exports of cash crops like jute suffered due to the loss of the European market. Meanwhile, rising military demand for jute products compensated for the decline in civilian demand with jute mills in Bengal establishing monopolies; skewed income distribution grew even more so, shifting from jute farmers to capital. And as Amiya Kumar Bagchi has noted in “Indian Economy and Society during World War One”, the drain on the Indian economy in the form of cash, kind and loans to the British government came to about 367 million pounds.
  • Explain how all of this contributed to the freedom movement

Conclusion – Summarize, in your opinion ,the overall impact of war on India.


Background:-

  • The First World War (1914–18) was a momentous event in world history. It also left a deep impact on India, which was then under the British rule.

Impact world war 1 had on India:-

  • Economy:-
    • Negatives:-
      • Requisitioning of food supplies, particularly cereals, led to rampant food inflation.
      • Exports of cash crops like jute suffered due to the loss of the European market.
      • Skewed income distribution grew even more so, shifting from jute farmers to capital.
      • Rising military demand for jute products compensated for the decline in civilian demand with jute mills in Bengal establishing monopolies.
      • The British Government raised taxes, custom duties and income taxes in India to finance the war expenditures.
      • There was a rise the prices of food and other essential things.
      • The war operations in Europe sucked huge quantities of basic commodities like wheat, rice, sugar, tea, coffee etc. The accelerated export of the items from India caused scarcity in the domestic market. Prices rose sharply bringing immense distress to the low and middle class consumers.
    • Positives:-
      • Domestic manufacturing sectors such as cotton benefited from the decline in British goods that had dominated the pre-war market.
      • The steel sector so crucial after independence benefited as well. For instance, the ailing Tata steel mills were handed a lifeline in the form of a contract to supply rails to the Mesopotamian campaign.
      • British investment was rerouted to the UK, creating opportunities for Indian capital. In short, the war economy boosted Indian capitalism in some ways.
      • The conflict caused logistical problems for the British government to maintain the supply lines from Britain to the far-flung war fronts in Africa and elsewhere. This created opportunities for Indian industrialists to set up war goods oriented industries in the country. As a result, a good number of factories sprang up in centres like Bombay. This created employment and benefited the economy.
    • National movement:-
      • The world war ended the myth of invincibility of British Empire in India as the British faced many humiliating defeats during the war
      • The soldiers that returned after war raised the morale of masses.
      • India supported Britain in world war on its promise of fighting for democracy but serving Indian with Rowlatt act immediately after war shattered Indians. This led to the rise of national consciousness and soon Non Cooperation movement was launched.
      • For many Indian troops the war was an experience that broadened their horizons and increased their knowledge of the world – they had been exposed to new geographies, cultures and ideas and this impacted the way they negotiated life in India as well.
      • Formation of USSR also led to the rise of communism in India with the formation of CPI and imparted a socialist tinge to freedom struggle.
    • Society:-
      • Over 74,000 were killed which is five times more than the combined death toll from every war that India has fought since independence and 80,000 were held prisoners.
      • Villagers and farmers were forcefully recruited in the British army.
      • Large numbers of able-bodied young men from the countryside were recruited into the British army. Such induction of Indians disrupted social life in rural areas. Villages experienced shortage of farm hands, carpenters, blacksmiths and other such artisans.
      • Volunteering in the war offered a chance to break through the caste system, because becoming a soldier paid well and meant becoming part of the ‘warrior’ caste, which gave high status. 

General Studies – 2


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

2) Critically analyze the role Swachh Bharat has played in making India open defecation free?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Several reports have analysed the performance of swachh Bharat mission, which is one of the flagship program of the government. Understanding the progress made and drawing lessons from its implementation is important to prepare this topic.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the aims and objectives of swachh Bharat mission, the status quo. Thereafter, we need to critically analyze how far the mission has succeeded in achieving its goal, considering that 2019 is promised to be the year when India becomes open defecation free.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. 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 – highlight that this mission is a  nation-wide campaign in India for the period 2014 to 2019 that aims to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India’s cities, towns, and rural areas.

Body

  • Highlight the status quo such as no of villages and states declared ODF etc
  • Discuss the achievements under the scheme
    • 2017 Swachh Survekshan survey conducted by the Quality Council of India reports that 62% of rural households now have a toilet. This is an increase of over 20 percentage points since 2014.
    • More significantly, the survey concludes that more than 90% of the individuals who had access to toilets were using them. Etc
  • Discuss where the mission was found lacking
    • To truly make India open defecation free requires a sustainable change in societal mindset and behaviour which can be done through behavioural change
    • Focus on increasing number without addressing issues of behaviour change, water availability, waste disposal etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced account of the success of swachh Bharat and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Swachh Bharat Mission is a campaign which was launched on 2 October 2014, and aims to eradicate open defecation by 2019, and is a national campaign, covering 4,041 statutory cities and towns. Its predecessors were the “Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan” and before that the “Total Sanitation Campaign”.
  • Recent Parliamentary Committee report clearly says this programme is unlikely to make India open-defecation free. The rationale of the 51st Standing Committee on Rural Development report is that even a village with 100 per cent household toilets cannot be declared open defecation-free till all the inhabitants start using them.

The success of the scheme has been in the following areas :-

  • A sense of responsibility has been evoked among the people through the Clean India Movement. With citizens now becoming active participants in cleanliness activities across the nation, the dream of a ‘Clean India’ once seen by Mahatma Gandhi has begun to get a shape.
  • Facts:-
    • In the short span of three years, about 50 million toilets have been constructed in rural India, increasing the coverage from 39% to 69% now; another 3.8 million have sprung up in cities and towns and another 1.4 million are presently under construction
    • So far, 248,000 villages have been revived from the disgrace of open defecation; 203 districts, over one-third of the total, have banished open defecation.
    • 24 States have become open-defecation free. The number of toilets built is 8.6 crore. Sanitation coverage has gone up from 39% from four years ago to over 93% today. 
    • 2017 Swachh Survekshan survey conducted by the Quality Council of India reports that 62% of rural households now have a toilet. This is an increase of over 20 percentage points since 2014.
      • More significantly, the survey concludes that more than 90% of the individuals who had access to toilets were using them
    • States:-
      • Five States have declared themselves Open Defecation Free (ODF) in rural areas: Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand and Haryana.
    • SBM is not a campaign to just clean India, but has a much deeper significance:-
      • If successful, this campaign can transform the lives of Indian women, bringing in its scope issues of women’s safety, their access to higher education and will even challenge the caste system.
    • It has addressed centuries-old practices on open defecation, and it has had major health and economic impact. A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report has said that by the time Swachh Bharat ends in 2019, more than 3,00,000 lives would have been saved.
    • The government has been working on developing an army of foot soldiers called swachhagrahis, grass-root level motivators trained in community approaches and they go out to trigger behavioural change. They get their communities to accept responsibility and accountability. 
    • There is also focus on ‘ODF plus’, which is about solid and liquid waste management and swachhata in general.

However many issues and stigma remain:-

  • Purity and pollution:-
    • The key reason for this is that basic latrines that need to be emptied out manually or pumped by simple machines are unacceptable to higher caste Hindus.
    • It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability. So people rather defecate in open than having a toilet at home.
    • It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste.
    • Even if the government builds free toilets without any leakage or corruption, India will at best have 80 million new toilets that a large proportion of Indians do not want to use.
  • Contract labour :-
    • Municipalities began to employ more contractual labourers mostly scavengers forced into the profession by their caste to remove waste.
    • The sanitation campaign burdens the contractual labourer with an ‘exclusive’ right to cleaning public spaces, while making it a voluntary act for the ‘public’ to not defecate, urinate or litter in random spaces. This reinforces the marginalization and stigmatization of such labourers.
  • The Swachh Bharat campaign hardly addresses a reworking of the underground sewerage system due to which many such labourers have died recently while cleaning jammed manholes that open into the sewerage system etc.
  • The rate of open defecation is not decreasing much:-
    • India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP per capita. For example, India has a higher GDP per capita than Bangladesh, but in Bangladesh only 8.4% households defecate in the open, compared to 55% in India.
  • Funds unspent:-
    • Centre has literally forgotten to spend the money earmarked to promote the use of toilets, a concern raised in the State of India’s Environment in Figure: 2018.
    • Centre has also failed to exhaust its budget for Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin. This, despite the fact, that the budget for the scheme has seen a dipover the past year. 
  • Implementation issues:-
    • Sanitation coverage figures seemed to be more on paper but the actual progress at the ground level is very lethargic. Behavioural change is still a distant reality.
  • Quality:-
    • Standing committee has also raised questions over the construction quality of toilets and said that the government is counting non-functional toilets, leading to inflated data. 
  • Unable to reach target:-
    • Access to free toilets has not helped resolve open defecation in India.The programme is unlikely to succeed in its primary task of eliminating open defecation by October 2019

 Suggestions :-

  • Parliamentary Committee recommends the government to review its data time to time and delete the number of defunct toilets from the list to have a real picture of constructed and functional toilets in the country.
  • Concentrating on developing sewage system makes Swachh Bharat a success:-
    • Deeply entrenched cultural contexts must be taken into account for successful policy outcomes. India needs to change perceptions of ritual purity through education and awareness in rural areas. This can be done by investing in sewage systems.
  • Enabling local governments to construct sewage systems will solve the purity issue :-
    • A toilet that flushes away human waste into the sewage and waste management system solves the problem. If there is a functional sewage system, it is relatively low cost for households to build a toilet in every home that is connected to the sewage system. 
    • Developing proper sewage system in village would also have wider impact with water not stagnating any more, lesser vector borne diseases etc so the wider objective of sanitation will be achieved.
    • Modernising the sewer lines and septic tanks and investing money and energy on smart techniques of sanitation
    • Also it would not put stress on manual scavengingand this occupation can slowly fade away giving sense of dignity and equality to the most vulnerable sections.
  • Mohalla toilets:-
    • Villages have very small houses and much clustered places where there is no place to construct toilets. The ideal solution is to have mohalla toilets designated to each house where people will keep their toilet clean by seeing others. One advantage is that when the toilets are outside the home, there will be a peer pressure to keep it clean.
  • There should be a proper databaseabout what are the requirements in a particular area because we cannot force a toilet in a house where there is no place.
  • For India constructing toilets is like a social work and not a development work. Once it is seen as a development work with country’s image, then the thrust will come and the people will realise how important it is and we should not lag behind other countries.
  • In schools it is the responsibility of the teachers and they have to be oriented to ensure that the child knows about hygiene which also includes knowing how to use a toilet.
  • Behavioural change:-
    • Adopt System 2 drivers of change
      • Community led Total Sanitation (CLTS) programmes is one such approach. It promotes the mobilisation of local communities to talk openly about, appraise and analyse their defecation practices.
    • States experience:-
      • Maharashtra with its adoption of the ‘Good Morning Squads’, Indore with its ‘dibba gang’ and Delhi with its Gabbar posters, are all using System 2 drivers to trigger behavioural change. This can be emulated in other states as well.
    • Include System 1 drivers:-
      • Incentive programs for increased latrine use can also issue text message reminders, scheduled and framed to promote latrine usage at the same time and place each day.
      • Strategic timing of key interventions can also go a long way in disrupting behaviour. For example, promoting the use of toilets during the monsoon, when people find it difficult to defecate openly is a way to ensure a new behaviour is developed.

Conclusion:-

  • Pursuit of Swachh Bharat also requires strengthening public health services. Services such as good drainage systems, absence of swamps and ponds that are home to stagnant water, and the supply of safe drinking water all of which reduce exposure to and spread of diseases  are classic examples of public goods and require effective government intervention. 

Topic–  India and its neighborhood- relations.

3) Peace remains elusive but India’s engagement demonstrates commitment to the idea of a stable, independent and peaceful Afghanistan. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Wikipedia

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 of the situation in Afghanistan at present and demonstrate that peace still remains elusive in Afghanistan. It also wants us to bring out India’s  role in Afghanistan and its pursuit for peace and development in the region.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few lines about the India’s engagement with the multiple processes underway on Afghan reconciliation. E.g In a reconciliation process between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities, India was present at the meeting, making it the first time that all stakeholders were present in the same room.

BODY

  1. Discuss as to why peace remains elusive in Afghanistan. E.g The Afghan government controls barely half the country, with one-sixth under Taliban control and the rest contested. Most significant is the ongoing depletion in the Afghan security forces because of casualties, desertions and a growing reluctance to join; The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense – it has also become more complicated; The major challenge is the cooperation of regional players. Peace in Afghanistan and the wider region can only be achieved through a multilateral mechanism involving the US as well as major regional players, including Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, India and Saudi Arabia. But in the end, it will be the dialogue among Afghans themselves which will determine the political future of their war-torn Afghanistan etc.
  2. Discuss India’s role in Afghanistan e.g India was the only South Asian country to recognize the Soviet-backed Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s, its relations were diminished during the 1990s Afghan civil war and the Taliban government. India aided the overthrow of the Taliban and became the largest regional provider of humanitarian and reconstruction aid to Afghanistan; India is the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan and fifth largest donor globally with over $3 billion in assistance. India has built over 200 public and private schools, sponsors scholarships and hosts Afghan students; Build Afghan Parliament building; Salma dam etc

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

Background :-

  • Afghanistan and India share cultural and historical ties. Indo- Afghanistan ties were strengthened by Strategic Partnership Agreement signed between the two countries in 2011.
  • Recently Russia hosted a regional conference on Afghanistan to nudge the reconciliation process between the Taliban and the Afghan authorities. Representatives from Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, the U.S. and India were also present at the meeting, making it the first time that all stakeholders were present in the same room.

Why peace is elusive in Afghanistan:-

  • Continuous attacks :-
    • Recently there has been a spike in violence, with the Taliban carrying out a set of coordinated assaults around Afghanistan, rejecting an offer of a three-month ceasefire by President of Afghanistan and laying siege to Ghazni city. 
    • The violence this year has also put 2018 on course to be the deadliest year for Afghan civilians, with an average of nine people killed every day, according to UN data.
  • Pakistan factor :-
    • The major challenge is the cooperation of regional players. Peace in Afghanistan and the wider region can only be achieved through a multilateral mechanism involving the US as well as major regional players, including Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, India and Saudi Arabia.
    • Despite six months of concerted American punitive actions on Islamabad, the Pakistan establishment is not shutting down support for Taliban fighters.
  • US role:-
    • The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense – it has also become more complicated
    • Situation puts serious doubt on any U.S. plans to draw down troops as US may have envisaged.
    • S. President’s recent South Asia policy aimed at breaking the military stalemate by expanding the U.S. and NATO presence, putting Pakistan on notice and strengthening Afghan capabilities has clearly failed.
  • Iran factor :-
    • US administration’s collision course with Iran is another hurdle to realising its South Asia policy. Iran is a neighbour to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and any action against Tehran will have consequences on the region. 
    • US is also against Iran which is important to give access to the sea to landlocked Afghanistan through Chabahar port- which is in India’s interests etc.
  • Islamic state:-
    • After losing occupied territories in and around Mosul, IS is now slowly enlarging its presence in neighbouring countries, particularly Afghanistan. It is now targeting mainly the Shias and the Hazara minority, joining forces with the Taliban thereby changing the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan.
  • Russia:-
    • Russia proposed an international conference on Afghanistan with the participation of all neighbours of Afghanistan including Iran, Pakistan, and India, but the US did not attend citing possible growing Russian military association with the Taliban. 
  • Control of Afghan government:-
    • The Afghan government controls barely half the country, with one-sixth under Taliban control and the rest contested.
    • Most significant is the ongoing depletion in the Afghan security forces because of casualties, desertions and a growing reluctance to join
    • Afghanistan launched the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation and also made an unconditional dialogue offer to the Taliban. The Taliban rejected his overture, declaring that they were ready to engage in direct talks only with the Americans. 

India’s commitment towards peaceful Afghanistan :-

  • India’s development assistance has been the source of its considerable influence and goodwill among Afghan citizens.
  • Major projects, such as the Salma Dam and Parliament building in Kabul, that began in 2008-09, have now been completed.
  • Current crop of Small Development Projects launched in 2016, encompassing drinking water plans for several cities including Kabul, supply of buses, construction of low-cost housing, and assistance in health and education are important.
  • India inaugurated dam in Herat, which will boost the agricultural and industrial sectors of Herat. India has made long term commitment to Afghanistan’s security and development.
  • New Afghanistan Policy of USA supports India’s greater role in Afghanistan. Apart from that the policy also emphasized that Pakistan should end its support to terror groups who are involved in destabilization of Afghanistan.
  • Last year India and Afghanistan agreed to initiate an ambitious and forward-looking ‘New Development Partnership’, according to which India agreed to take up 116 high-impact community development projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, including in the fields of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure and administrative infrastructure.
  • The new projects are:
    • Shahtoot dam and drinking water project for Kabul that would also facilitate irrigation.
    • Low cost housing for returning Afghan refugees in Nangarhar province to promote resettlement.
    • Road connectivity to Band-e-Amir in Bamyan province that would promote tourism to the national park and economic development.
    • Besides these government-funded projects, Aptech, a private firm, is providing IT training for Afghan youth in the country.
  • India has been giving a lot of non-lethal military assistance. In 2016 four MI 25 attack helicopters were given to Afghanistan.
  • India is the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan and fifth largest donor globally with over $3 billion in assistance.
  • India has built over 200 public and private schools, sponsors scholarships and hosts Afghan students.
  • India has shied away from involving itself in full scale war for the following reasons:
    • Any deeper security co-operation with Afghanistan would have negative impact on Pakistan-India ties.
    • India does not share border with Afghanistan. It poses limitation to physical access to Afghanistan.
    • In past years USA was reluctant to involve India into the war to avoid grating Pakistan’s political sensitivities. Though it did try to promote regional economic cooperation between Delhi, Islamabad and Kabul
  • India does not want to strengthen security cooperation with Afghanistan as that may antagonize Pakistan.

What should India do:-

  • India must focus on assisting Afghanistan in every manner possible to ensure that the country’s elections are as peaceful and participative as possible. 
  • On the military front as well, India must move quickly to provide helicopters as well as engineering/tech support for Afghan hardware. 
  • Indian  government must realise that its consistent undermining of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) because of problems with Pakistan is also weakening Afghanistan’s engagement with the subcontinent, which India had worked hard to foster
  • For regional security there must be closer involvement of regional powers in international efforts to ensure non-interference and a stable Afghanistan; this also requires involvement of the Central Asian Republics, which border Afghanistan. It is important for India to coordinate its efforts with those of Russia and Iran to ensure success.

General Studies – 3


Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “Investment models”

4) Critically analyze the hybrid annuity model which has recently found favour with the government for road construction?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

Here, we first need to explain hybrid annuity model, explain how it differs from the earlier toll model or annuity model. Thereafter, we need to bring out its pros and cons and give a fair and balanced opinion on whether the use of this model would start attracting private capital for road construction purposes.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. 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 – highlight that the government has recently awarded the construction of several road projects on hybrid annuity model.

Body

  • Explain the model – is a mix of the EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) and BOT (build, operate, transfer) models. Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) combines EPC (40 per cent) and BOT-Annuity (60 per cent).
    NHAI releases 40 per cent of the total project cost. It is given in five tranches linked to milestones. The balance 60 per cent is arranged by the developer. Here, the developer usually invests not more than 20-25 per cent of the project cost (as against 40 percent or more before), while the remaining is raised as debt.
  • Discuss the advantages that it offers such as
    • NPA-riddled banks were becoming wary of lending to these projects.
    • spreads the risk between developers and the Government
    • helps cut the overall debt and improves project returns etc
  • Discuss the issues such as it doesn’t take care of the cost and time overruns due to issues of administrative efficiency etc
  • Highlight how the model can be made better with steps such as efficient dispute redressal mechanism, faster environmental clearances etc

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion on hybrid annuity model and discuss way forward for this model.

Background :-

  • In recent years, the government has extensively adopted the public private partnership (PPP) approach in road development. Today, India has the distinction of having the largest PPP programme globally in the roads sector.
  • Private investment in highway projects had been declining in recent years, amid issues such as slow project approvals and cost overruns, but the Indian government’s introduction of the hybrid annuity model (HAM) in 2016 has been a boon.

Hybrid annuity model :-

  • HAM is a mix between the existing two models – BOT Annuity and EPC. As per the design, the government will contribute to 40% of the project cost in the first five years through annual payments (annuity). The remaining payment will be made on the basis of the assets created and the performance of the developer.
  • Here, hybrid annuity means the first 40% payment is made as fixed amount in five equal installments whereas the remaining 60% is paid as variable annuity amount after the completion of the project depending upon the value of assets created.
  • As the government pays only 40%, during the construction stage, the developer should find money for the remaining amount. Here, he has to raise the remaining 60% in the form of equity or loans.
  • There is no toll right for the developer. Under HAM, Revenue collection would be the responsibility of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Why HAM  needs to be adopted:-

  • High costs:-
    • Estimated project costs have significantly escalated in the case of toll projects, hitting the project economics.
  • Toll projects are not sufficiently ready at the time of bidding, hinting at insufficient planning. This results in the private sector assuming or handling much of the pre-development phase risks such as clearances, land acquisition, and so on, leading to increases in cost overruns. 
  • Large number of stalled projects are blocking infrastructure projects and at the same time adding to NPAs of the banking system.
  • HAM arose out of a need to have a better financial mechanism for road development:-
    • The BOT model ran into roadblocks with private players not quite forthcoming to invest.
      • First of all, the private player had to fully arrange for its finances be it through equity contribution or debt.
      • NPA-riddled banks were becoming wary of lending to these projects.
      • Also, if the compensation structure didn’t involve a fixed compensation (such as annuity), developers had to take on the entire risk of low passenger traffic.
    • Advantages of HAM:-
      • HAM is a good trade-off, spreading the risk between developers and the Government. Here, the government pitches in to finance 40 per cent of the project cost which is a sort of viability-gap funding. This helps cut the overall debt and improves project returns.
      • The annuity payment structure means that the developers aren’t taking ‘traffic risk’. From the Government’s perspective, it gets an opportunity to flag off road projects by investing a portion of the project cost.
      • While it does take the traffic risk, it also earns better social returns by way of access and convenience to daily commuters.
      • It gives enough liquidity to the developer and the financial risk is shared by the government. While the private partner continues to bear the construction and maintenance risks as in the case of BOT (toll) model, he is required only to partly bear the financing risk.
      • HAM further reduces heavy dependence on banks for loans as private players can raise the required amount from equity. This helps reduce the proportion of debt and further reduces the risks banks take for non-performing assets (NPA) with longer maturation periods.
      • A change in the financial framework of HAM model has enabled faster disbursement of funds and timely completion of projects. By completing projects within the stipulated time period, developers are able to reduce their construction costs including machinery and labour charges to a great extent. The interest to be paid to lenders during construction is also reduced.
    • The hybrid annuity model (HAM) to award road projects has encouraged investments in the sector according to Moody’s.

Some concerns are raised :-

  • The hybrid annuity model (HAM) for highway construction is not sustainable, particularly given the already existing stress in the sector.
  • Reason behind the HAM being not sustainable was that developers today didn’t have the deep pockets they had 10 years back.
  • Funding is becoming a challenging task for road developers.

Conclusion:-

  • The model can be made better with steps such as efficient dispute redressal mechanism, faster environmental clearances etc.

Topic–  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) Bans and fines can’t stop stubble burning. Do you agree. Also discuss how the issue should be handled. (250 words)

Indian express

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 why it is difficult if not impossible to stop stubble burning by imposing bans and fines. It also wants us to discuss as to what should be the way forward and what measures need to be take while dealing with this problem.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few line about the Stubble burning. E.g  Paddy stubble burning in the months of October and November is a major contributor to Delhi’s air pollution woes, which reached the highest this year, recently.

Body

  1. Discuss why there is a need to stop stubble burning in terms of cons of stubble burning. E.g It causes loss of nutrients,  smoke and particulate pollution that can move over long distance; Damage to electrical and electronic equipment from floating threads of conducting waste; Risk of fires spreading out of control; There is a perception that stubble burning contributes to atmospheric CO2. However carbon dioxide releases are only slightly greater than those from natural decomposition etc. 
  2. Discuss why bans and fines won’t control stubble burning in terms of the pros of stubble burning. E.g It quickly clears the field and is the cheapest alternative; Kills weeds, including those resistant to herbicide; Kills slugs and other pests.Can reduce nitrogen tie-up etc.
  3. Discuss the way-forward e.g. The most efficient technology to counter crop burning at the moment, seems to be the Turbo Happy Seeder (THS); Another use of paddy straw will be as fuel in a power plant; to produce ethanol from paddy straw.

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

Background:-

  • Pollution in Delhi has reached hazardous levels with potentially serious health effects on people, especially on children, the elderly and physically vulnerable people. Besides host of other facts, stubble burning is one of the critical reasonfor the pollution levels.

What is stubble burning?

  • Stubble burning is a common practice followed by farmers in the neighboring states Haryana and Punjab to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.
  • Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such carbon diaoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.
  • Advantages of stubble burning :-
    • It quickly clears the field and is the cheapest alternative
    • Kills weeds, including those resistant to herbicide
    • Kills slugs and other pests
    • Can reduce nitrogen tie-up
  • Need to stop stubble burning :-
    • It causes loss of nutrients,  smoke and particulate pollution that can move over long distance
    • Damage to electrical and electronic equipment from floating threads of conducting waste
    • Risk of fires spreading out of control
    • Burning of agricultural biomass residue, or Crop Residue Burning (CRB) has been identified as a major health hazard. In addition to causing exposure to extremely high levels of Particulate Matter concentration to people in the immediate vicinity, it is also a major regional source of pollution, contributing between 12 and 60 per cent of PM concentrationsas per various source apportionment studies.
    • An increase in finer black carbon (BC) particles and greenhouse gases from crop residue burning (CRB) has made the Indo-Gangetic basin a global hotspot for atmospheric pollutants and a place for recurring winter haze and toxic fog.

Bans are not the solution:-

  • Crop residue burning was notified as an offence under the Air Act of 1981, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 and various appropriate Acts. In addition, a penalty is being imposed on any offending farmer. Village and block-level administrative officials are being used for enforcement.
  • Punjab and Haryana have banned it, and a stiff fine is levied Rs 2,500 for two acres and up to Rs 15,000 for larger areas. Despite this, stubble burning goes on.
  • Stubble burning is fairly common in China too despite a government ban.

Reasons why this menace is still continuing:-

  • Labour intensive process:-
    • There is a very short window of time between harvesting of paddy and cultivation of wheat, at the end of the Kharif season.
    • Removal of the paddy stalk that remains on the field is a labour-intensive process. With labour being unavailable and the time window for preparing the field for wheat cultivation being limited crop residue is burnt in the fields by farmers after harvesting during October–November.
  • The problem becomes severe in winters when large parts of northern India choke on smog and haze triggered by large scale crop residue burning.
  • Technological limitations:-
    • The power generation technology using paddy straw could not become a commercially viable business model due to the fact that it involved high costs of production 
    • National policy on biofuels supports G-2 technology for ethanol production from paddy straw. However an alternative technology of production of methane gas through anaerobic digestion provides 37% more energy compared to ethanol production by fermentation.
    • Governments have been issuing orders to fine those farmers found burning crop residue in accordance with NGT directions but these orders have been largely defied by farmers who find no other alternative to burning. Farmers hold the view that alternatives are costly.
      • For instance Zero tillage technology requires purchase of costly machines beyond their reach. India also lacks skilled personnel but we will also require tractors with higher horsepower to drive the zero-till machines.
    • Policy confusion and failure:-
      • Farmers have to be convinced that their yields will not suffer should they choose to use a Happy Seeder. States have not initiated this crucial first step at least not in desirable numbers.
      • The national policy on biofuels does not cover support to bio-CNG produced from paddy straw in the form of minimum support price for straw
      • Lack of coordination between the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy as policy documents create confusion among the state governments, which are supposed to tackle the issue of paddy straw burning under the directions of NGT. 

What needs to be done?

  • The farmers are willing to avoid paddy straw burning provided they get an assured price for it. The conversion of paddy straw into generation of bio-CNG can be a game changer.
  • A common agency like the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, can play coordinating role better by involving different ministries and experts. The states need to be given a solution acceptable to all the stakeholders.
    • In order to tackle this problem, there is a need to take a relook at the national policy on biofuels, and budgetary allocation of 1,151 crore for machinery subsidy in light of the emergence of new and efficient technologies for bio-CNG, ethanol, and manure production
  • Stronger monitoring and enforcement mechanism through the use of remote sensing technology–use of real-time satellite imagery, along with village-level enforcement teams with the aim of zero incidence rate of crop residue burning, through prevention and penalisation.
  • Policy approaches to be followed:-
    • The Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has also announced a scheme to promote mechanisation of agriculture that envisages proper management of crop residue. The top two decision-making committees dealing with the scheme don’t have any representative from the states. It would be prudent to include a representative from Punjab because two-thirds of the total paddy burning in the country occurs in the state. A practising local zero-till farmer should be included in all district-level committees.
    • The capacity of the KVKs to reach out to lakhs of farmers is very limited. These central government-funded institutions must work under the guidance of state-appointed nodal agencies not vice-versa.
    • A far better alternative would be to invest Rs 5,000 per month for six months on a peer farmer-led person-to-person outreach programme. This programme that will use the services of trained village-level workers should run for two years.
    • Establishment of a larger number of biomass-based power projects utilising greater amounts of paddy straw is needed
    • Effective and greater scope of subsidy provision, so that agricultural implements can be made widely available:-
      • One way forward is to promote the co-ownership model. There are more than 1700 existing cooperative and privately-run Agricultural Machinery Service Centers (AMSC), which can be the focus of such subsidies. It is important that the farmer understands the value of the crop residue and wants to use these implements for extraction and packaging.
    • Creation of a market for paddy straw, along with a mechanism for commercial procurement of paddy straw for use in biomass-based power projects, as fuel in brick kilns and in production of ethanol. Establishment of bio-refineries for utilisation of paddy straw is another viable option.
    • Utilisation of paddy straw in the form of biomass pellet fuel, which can be commercially sold as the main fuel for an industrial boiler, as a replacement for coal. Micro-pelletisation establishments need to be incentivised and local usage promoted.

Topic– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6) Discuss the objective and the essential principles of the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 is an important policy document. It is important to know about the objectives and the principles of the document so that any further discussion can be taken thereupon.

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 objectives of Draft National Forest Policy, 2018 and the essential principles envisaged under it.

Structure of the answer

Introduction: write a few introductory lines about the Draft National Forest Policy, 2018. E.g The main drawbacks of forest policies of 1894, 1952 & 1988 policy prescriptions were reduction in the diversion of forest land, increasing population, industrialization etc which became root cause for formation of Draft National Forest Policy, 2018

Body-

  1. Discuss the objective of the draft policy. E.g The overall objective and goal of the present policy is to safeguard the ecological and livelihood security of people, of the present and future generations, based on sustainable management of the forests for the flow of ecosystem services.
  2. Discuss the essential principles of the policy. E.g Existing natural forests should be fully protected and their productivity should be improved.Management of the natural biodiversity rich forests for maximising the ecosystem services for ecological security of the nation. For conservation of flora, fauna and total biodiversity, the network of national parks, sanctuaries,conservation reserves, community reserves, biosphere reserves and important wildlife corridors and biodiversity heritage sites will be strengthened and extended adequately.

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

Background:-

  • Forests are very important economically, ecologically and even for the survival of the human kind. The new draft policy seeks to replace the country’s 30-year-old national forest policy.
  • In the light of the contemporary challenges like climate change, human-wildlife conflict, intensifying water crisis, increasing air and water pollution and deteriorating environment a new policy is necessary.

Draft national forest policy 2018:-

  • Objective:
    • The overall objective and goal of the present policy is to safeguard the ecological and livelihood security of people, of the present and future generations, based on sustainable management of the forests for the flow of ecosystem services.

Essential Principles of Forest Management pursued in this policy :

  • Existing natural forests should be fully protected and their productivity improved. Adequate measures will be taken to increase rapidly the forest cover on hill slopes, in catchment areas of rivers, lakes and reservoirs and ocean shores and, on semi-arid, and desert tracts.
  • Productivity of the forest plantations will be increased through scientific and technological interventions so as to encourage usage of more timber so that the dependency on other high carbon footprint wood substitutes is reduced.
  • Management of the natural biodiversity rich forests for maximising the ecosystem services for ecological security of the nation.
  • For conservation of flora, fauna and total biodiversity, the network of national parks, sanctuaries, conservation reserves, community reserves, biosphere reserves and important wildlife corridors and biodiversity heritage sites will be strengthened and extended adequately.
  • Afforestation with suitable species will be intensified so as to cater to the needs of the rural population for fuel wood and small timber. Further alternative sources of energy like LPG etc will be promoted in rural areas to reduce dependency on forests.
  • Non-Timber Forest Produce (NTFP) such as medicinal and aromatic plants, oil seeds, resins, wild edibles, fibre, bamboo and grass etc. will be sustainably managed for improving the income of the tribals & other forest dependent populations.
  • Promotion of trees outside forests & urban greens will be taken up on a mission mode for attaining the national goal of bringing one third of the area under Forests & trees cover and also for achieving the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC’s) targets of the country.

Way forward:-

  • A production forestry system in place in the form of Forest Development Corporations (FDC), is needed
    • With close to 1.3 million ha of forestland under their control, FDCs need technical and financial support to improve the productivity of their plantations. The private sector can partner with FDCs and increase the productivity of this land
  • Agroforestry can be further scaled up by removing restrictive regulations and providing incentives and operational support systems. FDCs and agroforestry can meet India’s wood demands.
  • International experiences :-
    • In Brazil and Colombia the deforestation rate has been reported to be two times lower in community controlled forests as compared to those not under community management.
    • The forest departments in these countries have reversed their roles from being owners and regulators of forests to becoming facilitators in community-managed forests. This is the paradigm shift required in India’s forest administration.

Topic – Achievements of Indians in science & technology

7) Highlight the achievements of ISRO as a pioneer in space technology?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The continued success of ISRO in the field of space technology, as demonstrated by yet another success discussed in the article makes ISRO an important organization for mains. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the achievements of ISRO since it’s inception to present date. We can adopt a timeline approach to answer this question.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain about ISRO as an organization.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) was established in 1969. Since its beginning, ISRO has created a niche for itself in the space technology world through continuous low-cost innovations.

Body – Discuss the achievements of isro ranging from launch of Aryabhatta, to INSAT, PSLV, Chandrakant, reusable launch vehicle etc. Emphasize on the achievements of ISRO in launching satellites on a commercial scale and also the frugal technology of ISRO.

Conclusion – Explain what ISRO’s success means for India.

Background :-

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has had many remarkable milestones since their launch in 1969. They have time and again proved that they completely stand by their vision to ‘harness space technology for national development’. Their achievements over the years has created a standard par excellence for other government agencies as well.

Achievements of ISRO as a pioneer in space technology:-

  • Created a world record by launching 104 satellites in single mission, 2017:
    • ISRO created history by lifting off 104 satellites using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), an Indian rocket. It also included the Cartostat-2 series, India’s earth observation satellite.
  • Mangalyaan or MOM, 2014: 
    • India became the first country to successfully reach Mars in its first attempt. ISRO also became one of the only four space organisations to have reached the red planet
    • Mars Orbiter Mission or MOM had a budget of just Rs. 450 crore, making this Mars mission the least expensive till now. The goal of the mission was to collect more data on the atmosphere of the planet.
  • Chandrayaan 1, 2008: 
    • In 2008 a 312 days unmanned lunar mission was launched.
    • It was India’s first mission to moon and was a breakthrough in its space mission as it was one of the only six space organisations to attempt this.
    • The aim of the mission revolved around understanding the entire topography and chemical characteristics.
  • Heaviest Commercial Mission, 2015: 
    • Heaviest commercial mission was taken up by ISRO where they launched 1440 kg of load.
    • Five British satellites were launched as part of the mission using Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle-C28 in
  • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS): 
    • With the operational name, NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation), these group of seven satellites will help India build its own navigation system. This made India one of the five countries to have its own navigation system in place
  • Space Capsule Recovery Experiment (SRE-1), 2007: 
  • It was launched along with three other satellites to display the ability of recovering an orbiting space capsule. The intention was to test other things such as Thermal Protection System, management of communication blackout, navigation, guidance and control, etc.
  • Indian National Satellite System (INSAT), 1983: 
    • Launched by ISRO, INSAT is a series of multi purpose geostationary satellites. It helped with telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology, and search and rescue operations. The satellites built a communication system all across Asia Pacific region. There are nine working satellites in the group.
  • GLSV MK3, 2014: 
    • ISRO launched GSLV-MK3 in 2014, that has an Indian made crew capsule which can carry up to three astronauts to space.
    • India will become a part of the exclusive group of space cruising nations which can take humans to space.
    • It is one of the heaviest rockets and is capable of carrying 4 tonnes of load.
  • Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV):
    • These space shuttles were built at a very low cost of Rs. 95 crores.The intention was to reduce the satellite costs and these are reusable space shuttles.
  • Aryabhatta, 1975: 
    • Aryabhatta is India’s first satellite and has been named after the famous astronomer. It was the spacecraft to be entirely built in the country making a breakthrough in space missions.
  • 2018:-
    • Indian Space Research Organisation has marked a big milestone by successfully testing its heavy-lift launcher while launching an advanced communication satellite (the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle MarkIII (GSLV MkIII) launched GSAT29, an advanced communications satellite, into a geosynchronous transfer orbit )
    • It plans to use this for the Chandrayaan-II moon mission in 2019.

General Studies – 4


Topic– Case study

8) One year after becoming CEO of Starbucks, You are faced with a leadership test when two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks.  The men were waiting to meet a business associate, but they didn’t purchase anything while they were waiting. The store manager asked them to leave, and they refused, explaining that they were there to meet someone. The manager called the police because the men refused to leave, and the police arrested them.

 

Another patron at Starbucks recorded the arrest on her cell phone, and it quickly went viral. In an interview after the arrest, the woman who took the video mentions that she had been sitting there for a while, and she wasn’t asked to leave even though she didn’t order anything.  Additionally, the video shows the business associate of the black men show up during the arrest, and he asks the manager and the police what the men had done wrong. The general public and those who witnessed the arrest labeled it as discriminatory and racist.

 

  1. What should be your response in this matter.
  2. Discuss the ethical issues involved in the incident.(250 words)

Reference

Structure of the answer

Introduction

  1. Discuss the ethical issues at hand. E.g Bias and racism; lack of application of mind and retrieval of facts necessary for action etc
  2. Discuss what would be your response and how will you handle various ethical issues involved in the question.

Take the help of the article attached to the question and frame your answer.

Answer:-

  1. What should be your response in this matter.
  • As the CEO of Starbucks first I would issue a statement of apology to the people who were arrested in the incident due to bias and also apologise to the stakeholders as Starbucks does not have any company policy for asking the customers to leave if they have not bought anything.
  • I would take full responsibility for the actions of my employees, and acknowledge that Starbucks customers were hurt by the arrests.
  • The apology also would have a detailed actionable steps Starbucks leadership would follow to learn from the situation, including meeting with community stakeholders to learn what they could have done better.  
  • I would ensure that employees would receive more training, including about when to call authorities, and ensure that the company would conduct a thorough analysis of the practices that lead to this incident.
  • I would also meet with the two men arrested face to face to involve them in dialogue on what Starbucks needed to do differently.
  1. Discuss the ethical issues involved in the incident.
    • Bias towards certain community:-
      • In this scenario the manager was suspicious just because the men were of particular community.
    • Lack of ability to retrieve facts correctly:-
      • As an organ of law enforcement the police should have found the truth and then take action but they just believed the words of the store manager and made arrests.
    • Even the customers have not made efforts to convince the officers that the men in question have not done anything wrong
    • Lack of clear policy guidelines by Starbucks on which managers need to act before taking any action.