SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 DECEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 DECEMBER 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 – 2


Topic– Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

1) Discuss the important issues concerning elections in India, which have been highlighted in recent years.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Elections is an essential democratic exercise which expresses the will of the people as well as the authority decided to be the driver of the society for a specified period of time. It is therefore essential to know about the major issues surrounding the largest democratic exercise in the world.

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 discuss in detail about the various issues concerning the elections in India. We have to discuss the most important issues that have been in news in the recent years.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about India being the world’s largest democracy and Indian elections being a magnanimous democratic exercise but still there are several critical issues concerning elections in India.

Body-

Discuss in paragraphs,various issues plaguing the electoral process in India. E.g

  • Criminalization of politics and the recent SC decision on the matter of barring politicians with serious criminal charges from contesting elections etc.
  • Hate speech by politicians
  • EVM tampering issue and the case for VVPATs
  • Issue of electoral bonds introduced in the recent past

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

 Background :-

  • Elections constitute the signpost of democracy. The attitudes, values and beliefs of the people towards their political environment are reflected through these medium.
  • Elections grant people a government and the government has constitutional right to govern those who elect it. Elections are the central democratic procedure for selecting and controlling leaders.

Issues :-

  • Money power:-
    • The increasing role of money power in the form of voter bribery and funding of political parties
  • Paid news:-
    • The manipulation of the media through paid news and other means.
  • Criminalization of politics :-
    • Over the last two decades, the influence of criminals in the political arena has shown a tremendous increase.
    • According to Vohra report the nexus between the criminal gangs, police, bureaucracy and politicians has come out clearly in various parts of the country.
    • Political parties continue to put up criminals as candidates.
  • Misuse of caste and religion for electoral gains :-
    • The use of religion, caste, community, tribe, and any other form of group identity for electoral gain or for gathering political support should not be allowed.
  • Issue of electoral bonds :-
  • Analysts said the move could be misused, given the lack of disclosure requirements for individuals purchasing electoral bonds.
  • Black money :-
    • Electoral bonds make electoral funding even more opaque. It will bring more and more black money into the political system.
  • With electoral bonds there can be a legal channel for companies to round-trip their tax haven cash to a political party.
    • If this could be arranged, then a businessman could lobby for a change in policy, and legally funnel a part of the profits accruing from this policy change to the politician or party that brought it about.
  • These bonds share two characteristics with tax havenssecrecy and anonymity.
  • Electoral bonds eliminate the 7.5% cap on company donations which means even loss-making companies can make unlimited donations.
  • Hate speech by politicians
  • EVM tampering issue and the case for VVPATs
  • Financial transparency in political parties:
    • This is also one of the fundamental deeper political reforms that is a necessary precondition that must be satisfied before any meaningful electoral reforms can actually take place on the ground
  • Ensuring the independence of the ECI:-
    • Independence of the ECI, the manner of appointment of the CEC and ECs was debated.
    • One member proposed ratification of CEC’s appointment by the Legislature, but the Constituent Assembly disagreed and it simply provided for the CEC to be appointed by the President, leaving it to the Legislature to enact a suitable law.

Way forward :-

  • The ECI wants print media to be included in Section 126 of the RP Act. This section currently prohibits publication of ads by political parties in electronic media (TV, radio) and recently added social media48 hours before voting ends.
  • An amendment should be made to Section 125A of the R.P. Act, 1951 to provide for more stringent punishment for concealing or providing wrong information on Form 26 of Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 to minimum two years imprisonment and removing the alternative punishment of assessing a fine upon the candidate
  • The ECI sought amendment to RPAto include specific powers to postpone or countermand polls on the grounds of use of money power.
  • it is strongly recommended that the appropriate regulatory framework be put in place with regard to political parties (provisions ensuring internal democracy, internal structures and maintenance of accounts, their auditing and submission to Election Commission)
  • Political parties should implement CIC’s order and be open for public scrutiny under the provisions of the Right to Information Act, 2005.
  • There should be a ceiling on expenses that can be incurred by political parties during the election period.
  • Regulating political parties:-
    • The Election Commission should progressively increase the threshold criterion for eligibility for recognition so that the proliferation of smaller parties is discouraged.
    • ECI should be authorized to de-register such parties, which do not contest elections.
  • There should be publicly reprimanded for politicians for violating the Model Code of Conduct, postponed/ cancelled elections if their credibility was compromised, intensified supervision of elections, and insisted on action against errant officials.

Topic– mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

2) The new law on rights of transgender fail to take into account the lived realities of the lives of transgenders. Discuss.(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question

The bill had been pending since a long time and was recently passed by the Lok Sabha. The provisions of the bill have been criticized on various fronts. It is essential to analyze the bill in detail and bring out its shortcomings.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the details of the bill and examine its shortcomings and how it fails to address the issues in the lives of transgenders.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – write a few introductory lines about the  Transgender people passed by the LS recently. E.g the objectives of the bill includes protecting interests of transgenders, defining of the term ‘transgender’, to give them recognition and setting up of a national transgender council.

Body

  • Discuss the pros of the Bill – The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 seeks to empower the transgender community by providing them a separate identity; The bill proposes to setup a National Transgender Council to look after the interests and grievances of the transgender community etc.
  • Discuss how it ignores the lived realities of transgender people –
    • wever, retained only some of the recommendations and added a host of new problems. For instance, the definition of transgender persons includes intersex persons as well—persons with several variations of sex characteristics, including gonads, chromosomes, etc. The problem is that intersex persons can be comfortable with the gender assigned to them at birth but the new law forces them to be clubbed with transgender persons.
    • The law talks of a National Commission for Transgenders, but has nothing on membership structure, objectives, grievance redressal and other features of the commission.
    • completely negates the concept of self-identification as the touchstone of determining transgender identity, and instead relies on a physical examination for conferring legally recognised transgender identity to an individual.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion about the bill and discuss the way forward.

Background:-

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) conducted the first-ever nationwide survey of the transgender community in India and found that 92% of the people belonging to the community are subjected to economic exclusion.
  • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2016 aims at defining the transgender people and prohibiting discrimination against them. This bill was passed with 27 amendments in the Lok Sabha recently.

Transgender bill :-

  • Definition of transgender :-
    • The new definition terms a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural identities.
  • The Bill aims to stop discrimination against a transgender personin various sectors such as education, employment, and healthcare. It also directs the central and state governments to provide welfare schemes for them.
  • The Bill states that a person will be recognised as transgender on the basis of a certificate of identity issued through the district screening committee. This certificate will be a proof of identity as transgender and confer rights under this Bill.

Constraints in the bill :-

  • Government, however, has refused to address two major issues – decriminalising homosexuality under Section 377 that directly concerns transgenders and reservation for transgender community in educational institutions and government organisations. 
  • The right to self-determination of a transgender has been rightly recognized by the Supreme Court under right to life in Article 21 of the Constitution of India, but the objective means to achieve this has not been focused upon. 
  • The appointment of the District Screening Committee is also against the NALSA judgement which recognized right to self-identity as an inalienable right under Article 21 of the Constitution of India
  • Similarly, the bill is silent in areas of health, affirmative action,and decriminalising activities that marginalised trans communities are compelled to undertake to eke out a living. There are also no penal provisions in the law to guard against the trans community being subjected to atrocities and to protect its members in prisons and juvenile homes.
  • Another shortcoming in the implementation which the Bill will face is lack of mechanism for representation of the transgenders. For example, as we have a National Commission for Women and for lower castes, a similar type of provision ought to be made here too.
  • Although the Bill may come into force, it may still not be effective due to lag in the authorities to act for the rights of the transgenders.
  • Further, some provisions of the Bill are also in conflict with the international conventions on transgenders.
  • Activists had objected to transgender persons not being defined properly and the Bill not having any provision for self-determination of gender.
  • The right of transgender persons to self-identification, instead of being certified by a district screening committee is demanded by activists.
  • The Bill has prescribed punishments for organised begging. Trans community isn’t begging because that’s what they want to do. Trans youth who don’t find jobs join begging due to systematic discrimination in education, job, and healthcare. 
  • The Transgender Bill does not mention any punishments for rape or sexual assault of transgender personsas according to Sections 375 and 376 of the Indian Penal Code, rape is only when a man forcefully enters a woman.
  • The law talks of a National Commission for Transgenders, but has nothing on membership structure, objectives, grievance redressal and other features of the commission
  • Creating awareness ignored:-
    • Further, providing children expressing trans identity safe spaces, and making knowledge and information about the community mainstream via the school curriculum to further understanding and empathy have been ignored in the new law..

Way forward :-

  • The Bill must recognise that gender identity must go beyond biological. Gender identity is an individual’s deep and personal experience. It need not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. It includes the personal sense of the body and other expressions such as one’s own personal inducing proceeds.
  • Sensitising the workforcein protecting the rights and dignity of the community. 
  • Leading voices from the community have called for vocational programmes in creative fields, a recommendation made by the Standing Committee too.
  • There is need for a comprehensive surveyon the socio-economic status of the community.
  • Transgender welfare boardsare needed in different States.
  • Transgender persons should take part in the national Census to generate accurate data.
  • Explicit policies on transgender-friendly registration and non-discriminationand healthcare workers need to be trained to provide non-judgmental care.
  • Standing committee recommendations :-
    • Recommended re-drafting the definition of a ‘transgender person’ to make it inclusive and accurate; providing for the definition of discrimination and setting up a grievance redress mechanism to address cases of discrimination and granting reservations to transgender persons. 
  • There is a requirement of special courts which can deal with the offences against transgenders speedily and effectively.
  • The Supreme Court has held that the right to self-identification of gender is part of the right to dignity and autonomy under Article 21 of the Constitution. However, objective criteria may be required to determine one’s gender in order to be eligible for entitlements.

General Studies – 3


Topic -Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

3) It is important for India to widen its direct tax net. Analyze.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

It has been repeatedly highlighted that India has one of the lowest direct tax payer to population ratio. In this context it is essential to discuss why there is a need to increase that base and what are the benefits it will accrue.

Directive word

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 deeper into the issue and bring out as to why there is a need for India to widen its direct tax base- what benefits it will provide and why it is important.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- Write a few introductory lines about the need to widen direct tax base  E.g to end extreme poverty sustainably, the states governing the world’s poor need to be strengthened such that they are both accountable to the needs of the poor and have the capacity to meet those needs etc

Body-

Discuss why there is the need of fiscal deepening of India and also discuss its consequences E.g

  • India is trapped between the very poor countries that get a lot of foreign aid and the wealthy ones with very strong tax collections;
  • the tax collected for every unit of economic output in India was minuscule compared to other countries;
  • the Indian state will be in a better position to perform its key duties without running into repeated fiscal crises;
  • higher direct taxes could provide space for significant cuts in indirect taxes such as the goods and services tax, which in effect means a shift from a regressive to a progressive tax system;
  • a widening tax pool because of formalization means the current perverse system in which efficient firms are taxed at a high rate because inefficient firms manage to slip outside the tax system will end etc.

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

Background:-

  • In the last few years there is a continuous increase in the number of tax filers. The direct tax collection in fiscal 2018, at 6% of GDP, touched a decadal high.

Why is it important for India to widen direct tax net :-

  • Better management :-
    • The overall boost to tax collections means that the Indian state will be in a better position to perform its key duties without running into repeated fiscal crises.
    • For developing countries like India, tax is more than just a source of revenue. It not only helps in building up the economy of a country but also makes the government accountable to its taxpayers. From a government’s perspective, it helps in better planning and budgeting of a fiscal year, as the tax revenues are relatively predictable.
    • It is a well settled principle of economics that tax collections help governments to plan their public expenditure better i.e.., better education, better healthcare, better roads, basic needs such as food and shelter for most of not for all.
  • Higher direct taxes could provide space for significant cuts in indirect taxes such as the goods and services tax, which in effect means a shift from a regressive to a progressive tax system.
  • A widening tax pool because of formalization means the current system in which efficient firms are taxed at a high rate because inefficient firms manage to slip outside the tax system will end.
  • Helps in infrastructure:-
    • The advent of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will help formalise the economy and have a positive spillover effect on income tax compliance. That’s critical to improve the government’s ability to fund social and physical infrastructure.
    • Sustained improvement in tax collections can translate into improved infrastructure, social services and quality of life.
    • A steep rise in number of tax filers and eventual increase in tax revenue results in greater spending by the government and a rise in government expenditure is often directly linked with the health of macro-economic variables like infrastructure, employment, defense etc.
  • Voluntary tax compliances by the taxpayers pave the way for the government to relax its anti-tax evasion measures and even trim the income tax rates, which again proves to be beneficial for the taxpayers and builds a sense of confidence in the government.
  • Better socio-economic fabric leads to decrease in crime rates and productive communities leading to overall prosperity and economic growth.
  • The Indian state will be in a better position to perform its key duties without running into repeated fiscal crises.

Topic: Climate Change

4) At Katowice, the Paris accord didn’t die—and that, however meagre a success in the larger scheme of things, is significant. Critically analyze. (250 words)

Financialexpress

Financialexpress

Why this question

The outcome of the recent summit at Katowice has come out with a rulebook for creating a framework for implementing the Paris accord. It is important to analyze how far this rulebook would go in keeping the catastrophic impacts of climate change at bay.

Key demand of the question

The question basically expects us to analyze how far the rulebook coming out of Katowice would be successful in mitigating the impact of climate change. IPCC report has painted a really bleak picture of the future scenario and we need to examine whether the framework agreed at the cop24 summit can be considered as a success or not. We need to provide a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

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 – Explain about the Katowice summit and what it intended to achieve.

Body

  • Discuss about the major agreements reached upon in the rulebook.
    • The rulebook provides what kinds of financial flows — loans, concessions, grants — can be classified as ‘climate finance’, which developed countries are supposed to provide to developing countries to help them deal with climate change. It also specifies how they should be accounted for, and the kind of information about them needed to be submitted.
    • details on funding and building capacity have been postponed. References to “equity” in the draft rule book were erased by the U.S. delegation.
  • Critically analyze how far the rulebook can be considered a success. Highlight that issues related to equity, loss and damage etc have been put on the backburner, India and many other developing countries rued the fact that the “balance” that they would have liked to see in the agreement was missing etc
  • Discuss that it provides a basic framework on which to work upon to highlight the meagre success the agreement provides.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced conclusion about how far the process at COP24 has been a success and what more needs to be done.

Background:-

  • The 1.5 Degree Report, which was produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2018, showed that the earth is close to a climate catastrophe.

 

Paris accord is diluted:-

  • The Paris rulebook is completely inadequate to contain the worst impacts of climate change. CoP24 could not start a process to increase the ambition of countries to cut emissions.
  • The top-down elements are those where countries are bound by the rules of the treaty—countries are bound by the rules on reporting requirements, stocktaking of the collective action, design of the carbon market and finances. Some of these top-down rules have been significantly diluted.
  • Reporting and transparency:
    • Under the Paris Agreement, countries must report on their progress on NDCs. At Katowice, a certain flexibility was given to developing countries which have lower capacity to collect and analyse information to provide less rigorous information.
    • But developing countries will have to provide “self-determined” time frames to improve the quality and quantity of reporting. Overall, while developing countries agreed to the overall transparency framework, developed countries diluted the framework of their financial contributions.
  • Financial contribution:
    • In the Paris Agreement, developed countries had agreed to provide $100 billion each year by 2020 to developing countries. The rulebook had to define what constituted finance, and how it would be reported and reviewed. At Katowice, rules on finance were significantly diluted.
    • Developed countries now have the freedom to “self-determine” the kind of financial resources they want to give and do this without any strong mechanism of accountability.
  • Global stocktake (GST) :-
    • GST was the most important top-down element in the Paris Agreement to increase ambition of countries. It was supposed to measure global progress, identify barriers and give recommendations.
    • However, the GST rulebook has been watered down to a non-policy prescriptive process. A lot of technical information will be collected without any clear recommendation to increase ambitions of mitigation or finance.
  • Carbon market:
    • The Paris Agreement allows emissions trading markets between two or more countries as well as a unified market for all countries . But, in Katowice, there was virtually no progress made on non-market mechanisms, while all big countries, developed and developing, seemed to have great interest in trading carbon credits.
    • The rulebook has different rules for different markets, which is non-transparent and makes emissions reductions unverifiable. Similarly, trading has been allowed for sectors which are not covered in a country’s emissions targets. This will dilute the overall mitigation effect.
  • UNFCCC is now simply a platform to collect and synthesise information. It doesn’t have the tools to drive global collective action to combat climate change.
  • The US, the world’s worst polluter historically, has walked out of the Paris deal. 

Paris accord is not diluted :-

  • World now has a rulebook for implementing the Paris accord a way to see if countries are on track to meet the emission cut targets they have set when the deal comes into force in 2020.
  • The Paris Rulebook, agreed at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland, gives countries a common framework for reporting and reviewing progress towards their climate targets.
  • The world will now be able to see how much the world is lagging behind on the necessary climate action.
  • A key element of the Paris Agreement is the Global Stocktake  which is a five-yearly assessment of whether countries are collectively on track to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals to limit global warming. The new rulebook affirms that this process will consider “equity and best available science”.
  • The new rules allow a degree of flexibility for the most vulnerable countries, who are not compelled to submit quantified climate pledges or regular transparency reports. All other countries will be bound to report on their climate action every two years, starting in 2024.
  • Finance:-
    • The new rulebook defines what will constitute “climate finance”, and how it will be reported and reviewed.
    • Developed countries are now obliged to report every two years on what climate finance they plan to provide, while other countries in a position to provide climate finance are encouraged to follow the same schedule.
  • Katowice rules  perform several important functions :-
    • They seek to instil discipline in a process governed by “national determination”. The rules now require them to provide detailed information of their actions.
    • The rules flesh out the obligations of states identified in the Paris Agreement, and make them meaningful.
      • For instance, the Paris Agreement contained a general obligation for developed countries to report biennially on their provision and mobilisation of climate finance.
    • The rules operationalise the key processes established by the Paris Agreement i.e.. ,a “global stocktake” and a compliance regime that seek to impose accountability and facilitate implementation.
      • The transparency framework requires states to report on indicators for measuring progress in achieving their targets, which is significant as the Paris Agreement does not impose a binding obligation on states to achieve their targets.
      • The rules allow developing countries to self-determine the reporting flexibility they need. Developing countries, with capacity constraints, can choose both how often and in what detail to report. They will also be provided support in addressing these capacity constraints.

Conclusion:-

  • Countries are now on their own to mitigate, adapt as well as pay for the costs of climate impacts. But this self-determined framework cannot keep the global temperature rise below 2°C. So, there is a need to quickly find ways to bridge the gaps that the Paris Agreement has created.

Topic-Part of static series under the heading – “Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation”

5) A strong political will is required to come out with strict regulations to manage e waste in India. Increased public awareness is the need of hour. Examine the issues surrounding e-waste management and suggest the steps that need to be taken?(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the problem of e-waste management, examine the reasons why they exist, discuss the impact of e-waste and give suggestions for improvement.

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 – Give a brief overview of the status of e-waste management in India. In India, e waste accounts for 4% of global e-waste and 2.5% of global GDP  – so it has a higher share of e-waste than its share of gross domestic product (GDP).

Body

  • Discuss the issues surrounding e-waste management –
    • The producers/manufacturers do not have adequate information on their website regarding e waste management.
    • Customer care representatives do not have inkling about any take back or recycling programme and even if they have set up collection centres, they are simply not enough for a geographically vast country like India.
    • India being a vast country, setting up collection mechanism is a big challenge. If any of the brands try individually to reach out to all corners of the country, it will economically not be sustainable or feasible.
    • Improper enforcement of the existing laws is another hurdle.
  • Discuss the impact that improper management of e-waste had on health, environment etc
  • Give suggestions as to what needs to be fine – Along with digitalisation plans, our nation needs a matching ewaste plan to contain the e-mess, an advance type of planning rather than a post-facto approach. The first big step is to recognise that the ewaste monster is being created right now.Besides, manufacturing processes in India have to adopt better technology so as to generate less waste. Discuss the Norway model of dealing with e-waste

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss the way forward.

E-waste problem in India:-

  • In recent years, India’s e-waste has grown faster than earlier anticipated. The Greenpeace study found e-waste growing at 15% annually and projected it to go up to 800,000 tonnes by 2012. But it stood at 1.7 million tonnes in 2014, the fifth highest in the world, according to a UN study.
  • In India, e waste accounts for 4% of global e-waste and 2.5% of global GDP (2014 figures) – so it has a higher share of e-waste than its share of gross domestic product (GDP). For China, the two ratios are about the same. The US, on the other hand, accounts for a lower share of global e-waste than its share of GDP.
  • According to a 2011 Rajya Sabha secretariat study, e-waste accounts for 70% of Indian landfills. If penetration of electronics and electrical products in India by 2030 have to grow even to today’s average world capita which leads to e waste of 6 kg per capita, the absolute e waste generation for India will grow five times the current level to 9 million tonnes in 2030.
  • Hard-to-recover substances from e-waste like mercury make their home in landfills and keep leaching into ground water.

Issues surrounding E- waste management :-

  • The producers/manufacturers do not have adequate information on their website regarding e waste management.
  • Customer care representatives do not have inkling about any take back or recycling programme and even if they have set up collection centres, they are simply not enough for a geographically vast country like India.
  • India being a vast country, setting up collection mechanism is a big challenge. If any of the brands try individually to reach out to all corners of the country, it will economically not be sustainable or feasible.
  • Improper enforcement of the existing laws is another hurdle:-
    • As per the E-Waste Management Rules, which were notified in 2016, manufacturers of electric and electronic equipments must facilitate their collection and return it to authorised dismantlers or recyclers. However, even one and a half years after the law was passed, there is little evidence that it is being implemented.
    • There is no government data on e-waste generated in the country.
    • The 2016 law tasks the state pollution control boards (SPCBs) to make the estimates, but no SPCB has done that as yet.
    • In the first year of its implementation, though all companies claimed to have met their targets, there is no mechanism to verify their claims. The law states that CPCB and SPCBs have to conduct random checks on those who have been granted authorisations, but CPCB did not respond to Down To Earth on the number of checks it has conducted so far.
    • The law also says that the responsibility of producers is not confined to waste collection, but also to ensure that the waste reaches the authorised recycler/dismantler. But the annual returns filed by the producers are silent on this. Since there is no monitoring system, there is no guarantee that the waste collected by producers does not go to unauthorised recyclers. 
  • Import issues:-
    • Though India’s ministry of environment and forest has made import of ewaste illegal, a fair amount of ewaste is still illegally imported into India. Currently, majority of ewaste handled in India is through informal sector using rudimentary practices.
    • Informal sector’s recycling practices magnify health risks. For example, primary and secondary exposure to toxic metals, such as lead, results mainly from open-air burning used to retrieve valuable components such as gold. According to many studies, about 95 per cent of India’s e-waste is recycled in the informal sector and in a crude manner. 
    • Combustion from burning e-waste creates fine particulate matter, which is linked to pulmonary and cardiovascular disease.
  • Health risks:-
    • These chemicals are not biodegradable. As per a WHO study, children are especially vulnerable to the health risks that may result from ewaste exposure and, therefore, need specific protection. 
  • Environmental impact:-
    • The process includes manual dismantling, separation and shredding; unsafe removal and collection of solder by heating; acidic extraction of metals; and, burning of waste to remove combustible plastics and isolating metals. These cause severe pollution in air, water and soil and severely affects the worker’s health.
  • The nodal agency, the Central Board of Excise and Customs, lacks the human resource and the infrastructure to distinguish between a second-hand product and e-waste.

Way forward:-

  • India needs a matching e-waste plan to contain the e-mess, an advance type of planning rather than a post-facto approach. 
  • Manufacturing processes in India have to adopt better technology so as to generate less waste.
  • Norway model: India has a lot to learn from Norway in this matter:-
    • Norway has e-waste take back system in place for more than a decade now, whereas, India notified these rules very recently.
    • The take back companies in Norway need to get an approval from the Norwegian Environment Agency. The approval process includes a verification of nearly about 50 criterions besides third party having to certify them. The process includes providing a plan detailing how they will collect e-waste and treat it in an environmentally sound way.
    • They also need to ensure that they will collect all e-waste from their market share which is determined by how much of electronics is put into the market by their members.
    • Huge amount of recycling and recovery of e-waste in Norway has only been possible due to the presence of efficient take back system and the collective interest of the producers to comply with the legislations. In a stark contrast, the formal collection mechanisms in India are able to capture only five per cent of the end of life EEE and a huge chunk lands in the informal sector putting a question mark on the recycling and recovery of e-waste
  • In order to tackle the issue of e-waste handling and management in an effective and meaningful manner, the government may consider the desirability of bringing a separate legislation on e-waste instead of handling it under the Environment Protection Act.
    • Such legislation may call for establishing a central authority or a central public sector undertaking having experts from IT field and other technical domains possessing knowledge of e-waste disposal, management and recycling techniques and its own e-waste collection centre/ recycling plants with state-of-art technologies, in all major cities of the country.
    • The law should make it mandatory that the e-waste generated from various government departments all over the country as well as by entities and individuals, big or small industrial houses, educational institutions shall be deposited at the designated collection centres.

Topic– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation,

6) Building standards need to evolve to reflect the urgency for more resilient buildings in the face of climate change and extreme weather events. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Building sector is one of the major, rapidly growing and largely neglected sectors responsible for climate change and environmental degradation. It is essential to underline its importance in our efforts to combat climate change and environmental degradation.

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 about the importance of building standards in the face of climate change and extreme weather events. We have to express our opinion, with sufficient arguments in support of our opinion, as to why/ why not there is a need to evolve building standards in the face of climate change and extreme weather events.

Structure of the Answer

Introduction– mention that the 2018 Global Status Report – Towards a Zero-Emission, Efficient and Resilient Buildings and Construction Sector, highlights that emissions from buildings and construction may have peaked in the past few years.

Body

Discuss the role of buildings in climate change and environmental degradation. E.g Buildings are a key driver of energy demand, and developments within the sector such as the growing uptake of air conditioners are having a big impact on energy and environmental trends at the global level; If we don’t make buildings more efficient, their rising energy use will impact us all, whether it be through access to affordable energy services, poor air quality or higher energy bills; The number of new buildings is likely to grow rapidly in the coming years, especially in Africa and Asia. This rapid growth will challenge the target of a 30 percent energy intensity improvement in buildings by 2030, needed to put the sector on track to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement; Energy use for ‘space cooling’ has already increased 25 per cent since 2010 and there are now more than 1.6 billion air conditioning units in buildings globally etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g building standards need to evolve to reflect the urgency for more resilient buildings in the face of climate change and extreme events like storms, floods, high wind speeds and soaring temperatures.

Background :-

  • Buildings sector is  a huge engine of the global economy  that still accounts for a significant 39 percent of total energy-related CO2 emissions and 36 percent of final energy use.

Building standards need to evolve :-

  • Buildings are a key driver of energy demand, and developments within the sector such as the growing uptake of air conditioners are having a big impact on energy and environmental trends at the global level.
  • Number of new buildings is likely to grow rapidly in the coming years, especially in Africa and Asia. This rapid growth will challenge the target of a 30 percent energy intensity improvement in buildings by 2030, needed to put the sector on track to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
  • If we don’t make buildings more efficient, their rising energy use will impact us all, whether it be through access to affordable energy services, poor air quality or higher energy bills; 
  • Energy use for ‘space cooling’ has already increased 25 per cent since 2010 and there are now more than 1.6 billion air conditioning units in buildings globally etc.

Way forward:-

  • There are many ways to deliver cooling in buildings, and the entry into force of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer could provide a boost to one of them, the global penetration of air conditioners that use climate-friendly gases. This needs to go hand in hand with efforts to achieve much higher levels of efficiency.
  • The scaling-up of national climate action plans known as Nationally-Determined Contributions (NDCs) represents a key opportunity to address a wide range of issues, by addressing policy gaps and unleashing a more committed decarbonisation of the buildings and construction sector.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic– Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics

7) The key assumption in normative ethics is that there is only one ultimate criterion of moral conduct, whether it is a single rule or a set of principles. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the theories of normative ethics and bring out as to how they assume that there is only one ultimate criterion of moral conduct.

Structure of the answer

Write a few introductory lines about the normative ethics. E,g Normative ethics involves arriving at moral standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. In a sense, it is a search for an ideal litmus test of proper behavior. The Golden Rule is a classic example of a normative principle: We should do to others what we would want others to do to us.

Body

Discuss the most commonly appealed normative principles in applied ethics E.g

  • Personal benefit: acknowledge the extent to which an action produces beneficial consequences for the individual in question.
  • Social benefit: acknowledge the extent to which an action produces beneficial consequences for society.
  • Principle of benevolence: help those in need.
  • Principle of paternalism: assist others in pursuing their best interests when they cannot do so themselves.
  • Principle of harm: do not harm others.
  • Principle of honesty: do not deceive others.
  • Principle of lawfulness: do not violate the law.
  • Principle of autonomy: acknowledge a person’s freedom over his/her actions or physical body.
  • Principle of justice: acknowledge a person’s right to due process, fair compensation for harm done, and fair distribution of benefits.
  • Rights: acknowledge a person’s rights to life, information, privacy, free expression, and safety.

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

Answer:-

  • Normative ethicsis the study of ethical action. It is the branch of philosophical ethics that investigates the set of questions that arise when considering how one ought to act, morally speaking. Normative ethics is distinct from meta-ethics because it examines standards for the rightness and wrongness of actions.
  • Virtue, deontological, and consequentialist (utilitarianism, for example), theories are all instances of normativeethical theories. These theories aim to arrive at standards or norms of behavior, and in doing so provide a framework for ethical thinking. 
  • Normative ethics addresses such questions as “What should I do?”, thus endorsing some ethical evaluations and rejecting others. They examine the rightness and wrongness of actions. In a sense, it is a search for an ideal litmus test of proper behavior.
  • Single rule :-
    • The Golden Rule is a classic example of a normative principle:
      • We should do to others what we would want others to do to us.
      • For instance since I do not want my neighbor to steal my car, then it is wrong for me to steal her car.
      • The Golden Rule is an example of a normative theory that establishes a single principle against which we judge all actions. Other normative theories focus on a setof foundational principles, or a set of good character traits.
    • The most commonly appealed normative principles in applied ethics for instance :-
      • Personal benefit: Acknowledge the extent to which an action produces beneficial consequences for the individual in question.
      • Social benefit: acknowledge the extent to which an action produces beneficial consequences for society.
      • Principle of benevolence: help those in need.
      • Principle of paternalism: assist others in pursuing their best interests when they cannot do so themselves.
      • Principle of harm: do not harm others.
      • Principle of honesty: do not deceive others.
      • Principle of lawfulness: do not violate the law.
      • Principle of autonomy: acknowledge a person’s freedom over his/her actions or physical body.
      • Principle of justice: acknowledge a person’s right to due process, fair compensation for harm done, and fair distribution of benefits.
      • Rights: acknowledge a person’s rights to life, information, privacy, free expression, and safety.