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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 JANUARY 2019


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.


Topic– Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc

1) Explain the various landforms associated with volcanic activities?(250 words)

GC Leong – Ch 3

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the various intrusive and extrusive landforms associated with volcanism.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that volcanic activities have a profound influence on the earth’s landform.

Body – Explain the various intrusive igneous landforms associated with volcanoes. Eg lopoliths, phacoliths, batholiths and laccoliths etc.

Explain the various extrusive landforms associated with volcanoes such as lava plains and basalt plateaux.  Draw diagram to explain it in a more Lucie manner.

Conclusion – Emphasize that volcanoes have a huge bearing on the landforms.

Introduction:

                A volcano is a rupture in the crust of a planetary-mass object, such as Earth, that allows hot lava, volcanic ash, and gases to escape from a magma chamber below the surface. The process is called Volcanism and has been ongoing on Earth since the initial stages of its evolution over 4 billion years ago.

Body:

Volcanic landforms are divided into extrusive and intrusive landforms based on weather magma cools within the crust or above the crust. Rocks formed by either plutonic (cooling of magma within the crust) or volcanic (cooling of lava above the surface) are called ‘Igneous rocks’.

Extrusive Volcanic Landforms: These are formed from material thrown out during volcanic activity. The materials thrown out during volcanic activity includes lava flows, pyroclastic debris, volcanic bombs, ash and dust and gases such as nitrogen compounds, sulphur compounds and minor amounts of chlorine, hydrogen and argon.

  • Conical Vent and Fissure Vent :
    • A conical vent is a narrow cylindrical vent through which magma flows out violently. Conical vents are common in andesitic (composite or strato volcano) volcanism.
    • A fissure vent, also known as a volcanic fissure or eruption fissure, is a narrow, linear volcanic vent through which lava erupts, usually without any explosive activity. The vent is often a few meters wide and may be many kilometres long. Fissure vents are common in basaltic volcanism.
  • Composite Cones or Strato volcanoes:
    • They are conical or central type volcanic landforms.
    • Along with andesitic lava, large quantities of pyroclastic material and ashes find their way to the ground.
    • They are accumulated in the vicinity of the vent openings leading to formation of layers, and this makes the mounts appear as composite volcanoes.
    • The highest and most common volcanoes have composite cones.
    • Example: Vesuvius, Mt. Fuji, Stromboli (Lighthouse of the Mediterranean) etc.
  • Shield Volcanoes or Lava domes:
    • These volcanoes are mostly made up of basalt, a type of lava that is very fluid when erupted. They are not steep.
    • They become explosive if somehow water gets into the vent; otherwise, they are less explosive.
    • Example: Mauna Loa (Hawaii).
  • Lava Plains and Basalt Plateaus:
    • Sometimes, a very thin magma escapes through cracks and fissures in the earth’s surface and flows after intervals for a long time, spreading over a vast area, finally producing a layered, undulating (wave like), flat surface.
    • Example: Deccan traps (peninsular India), Snake Basin, U.S.A, Icelandic Shield, Canadian Shield etc.
  • Cinder cone (Tephra cones):
    • Cinder cones are small volume cones consisting predominantly of tephra that result from strombolian eruptions.
    • They usually consist of basaltic to andesitic material.
  • Calderas:
    • After the eruption of magma has ceased from the cones, the crater frequently turns into a lake at a later time.
    • Water may collect in the crater. This lake is called a ‘caldera’.
    • Example: Lake Toba in Sumatra, Crater Lake in Oregon, USA.
  • Mid-Ocean Ridges
    • These volcanoes occur in the oceanic areas. There is a system of mid-ocean ridges more than 70,000 km long that stretches through all the ocean basins. The central portion of this ridge experiences frequent eruptions.
    • The lava is basaltic in nature.
    • Cools slowly and flows through longer distances.
    • The lava here is responsible for sea floor spreading.
    • Example: Mid-Atlantic ocean ridge; extension is seen in the Iceland.

Intrusive Volcanic Landforms: Intrusive landforms are formed when magma cools within the crust. The intrusive activity of volcanoes gives rise to various forms.

  • Batholiths:
    • These are huge mass of igneous rocks, usually of granite.
    • These rock masses formed due to cooling down and solidification of hot magma inside the earth.
    • They appear on the surface only after the denudation processes remove the overlying materials and may be exposed on surface after erosion.
    • Example: Wicklow mountains of Ireland; the uplands of Brittany, France.
  • Laccoliths:
    • These are large dome-shaped intrusive bodies connected by a pipe-like conduit from below.
    • These are basically intrusive counterparts of an exposed domelike batholith.
    • Example: The laccoliths of Henry mountains in the Utah, USA.
  • Lopolith:
  • As and when the lava moves upwards, a portion of the same may tend to move in a horizontal direction wherever it finds a weak plane.
  • In case it develops into a saucer shape, concave to the sky body, it is called Lopolith.
  • Example: The Bushveld lopolith of Transvaal, South Africa.
  • Phacolith:
    • A wavy mass of intrusive rocks, at times, is found at the base of synclines or at the top of anticline in folded igneous country.
    • Such wavy materials have a definite conduit to source beneath in the form of magma chambers (subsequently developed as batholiths). These are called the Phacoliths.
    • Example: Corndon hill in Shropshire, England.
  • Sills:
    • These are solidified horizontal lava layers inside the earth.
    • The near horizontal bodies of the intrusive igneous rocks are called sill or sheet, depending on the thickness of the material.
    • The thinner ones are called sheets while the thick horizontal deposits are called sills.
    • Example: Great whin sill of NE England
  • Dykes:
    • When the lava makes its way through cracks and the fissures developed in the land, it solidifies almost perpendicular to the ground.
    • It gets cooled in the same position to develop a wall-like structure. Such structures are called dykes.
    • These are the most commonly found intrusive forms in the western Maharashtra area. These are considered the feeders for the eruptions that led to the development of the Deccan traps. Cleveland Dyke of Yorkshire, England.

Conclusion:

                Volcanic activities have a profound influence on earth’s landforms. Solid, liquid or gaseous materials may find their way to the surface from some deep-seated reservoir beneath.

      


         

Topic-  changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2) Coastal districts of India must continue to take measures to make them more resilient against extreme weather events. Discuss. (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain that coastal areas have become more susceptible to extreme weather events and thus there is a greater need to make them more resilient and discuss the ways in which this can be done.

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 – Explain the report of IPCC etc which has warned about the increased frequency and intensity of such extreme weather events.

Body

  • Explain about the various extreme weather events such as tsunamis, cyclones etc which impact the coastal regions and the kind of devastation it causes with examples of cyclone gaja etc
  • Explain the measures taken by the government to make coastal regions more resilient
  • Discuss what more needs to be down
    • Coastal States must, therefore, focus on reducing the hazard through policies that expand resilient housing, build better storm shelters and create financial mechanisms for insurance and compensation.

Conclusion – Give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

                India has a vast coastline comprising of 53 coastal districts and six union territories, 15% of the total population lives in these areas. About 5770 km of coastline out of a total 7516 km is prone to Cyclone and Tsunami. The IPCC’s “Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C” revealed that the impacts and costs of 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming will be far greater than expected. While changing climate poses challenges to humanity as a whole, the available evidence suggests that the developing countries are particularly vulnerable.

Body:

                India, which is located in the sub-tropics and surrounded by water on three sides, is vulnerable to many weather events. It faces many cyclones every year which are destructive. Approximately 12% (About 40 million hectares of land) is prone to flood and river erosion. The floods caused due to incessant rains in Kerala last year, Cyclones like Gaja, Vardah, Titli are a few instances. The super cyclone of 1999 which made a landfall in Odisha killed more than 10,000 people.  The Tsunami in 2004 wiped out many coastal districts on the eastern coast of India.

                Apart from the damages to human lives, these weather events have an impact on the flora and fauna located on the coastal regions. The Mangrove forests, marine national parks, estuaries are affected. Critical Infrastructure like the nuclear power plants (Ex: Kudankulam), Airports, Seaports, Oil Rigs are at risk too.

The Governments at central and state level Measures taken by Government to reduce the impacts are:

Structural Mitigation measures:

  • Cyclone walls built and Coral reef development promoted.
  • Cyclone Shelters in high vulnerability areas.
  • Natural Bio-shields (Mangroves) and Shelter belt plantations (Casuarinas) are done along the coasts. Maintaining Natural Sand dunes.
  • Public Address systems and SMS service to alert the coastal citizens.

Non-Structural mitigation measures:

  • Integrated Coastal Zone Management is  as  an  essential  institutional  mechanism that can deal with all competing pressures on a coast, including short-, medium-, and long-term 
  • Cyclone zone mapping and Vulnerability index of the zones created.
  • Strict implementation of Coastal Regulations Zone Act – (no development within 500 m of the high tide line with elevation of less than 10m above m.s.l).
  • Land-Use Zoning done in accordance to Coastal Regulation Zone guidelines.
  • The National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project started by the Ministry of Home Affairs should be strengthened to reduce the impact of catastrophic events.

Way Forward:

  • Co-ordinated working of the National and State Disaster Management Authorities to tackle the issues more efficiently.
  • The recently released National Disaster Management Plan based on the lines of Sendai Plan should be effectively implemented.
  • Coastal States must focus on reducing the hazard through policies that expand resilient housing, build better storm shelters and create financial mechanisms for insurance and compensation.
  • Coastal cities should be retrofitted using the smart cities initiative to make them more resilient.

Conclusion:

Coastal zones are prone to weather events. Therefore, it is upon us to mitigate and adapt accordingly to such catastrophes.


Topic –    changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

3) What could be the effects of warming of ocean waters across the world. 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 possible anticipated effects of warming ocean waters on the planet- on environment and ecology and economy and society.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  warming ocean waters as has being witnessed in recent decades. E.g

Body-

Discuss in points, the effects being witnessed and possibly anticipated in future, due to warming of ocean waters. E.g

  • Rise in sea-levels.
  • Rise in frequency of extreme weather events
  • Threat and loss of Coral reefs
  • Severy food security risks especially in the tropics where fisheries form a significant source of food.
  • Melting of sea ice and threat to biodiversity- like the polar bears, of those areas etc.

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

 

Introduction:

The ocean covers almost three-quarters of the planet. It is divided into five basins: the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Indian, the Arctic and the Southern oceans. Climate and weather systems depend on the temperature patterns of the ocean and its interactions with the atmosphere. Changing temperatures and chemistry, overfishing and pollution have stressed its ecosystems for decades. The ocean stores more than nine-tenths of the heat trapped on Earth by greenhouse-gas emissions.

Body:

2018 was the warmest year on records for the oceans. The Fifth Assessment Report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2013 revealed that the ocean had absorbed more than 93% of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions since the 1970s. This is causing ocean temperatures to rise. As oceans get warmer, there are many ramifications:

  • Rising sea levels:
    • When water heats up, it takes up more space. That means as oceans warm, sea levels rise. The study says this effect alone could make sea levels rise 30cm (12 inches) by the end of the century.
    • Many large cities around the world, much built on reclaimed land, that are not more than 30cm above sea level. Example: Mumbai, Sydney
    • But on top of that, warming oceans are causing polar ice sheets to melt faster, which will make sea levels rise even more.
    • The combination of melting ice and expanding water could cause sea levels to rise by up to a meter by 2100. Hundreds of millions of people could be forced to be climate refugees.
  • Extreme weather gets more extreme:
    • Warmer oceans make tropical storms more intense and longer lasting.
    • Cyclones become worst by unusually warm ocean temperatures.
    • For coastal areas already struggling with rising seas, those storms will bring even more flooding.
    • Warming temperatures also mean changing rainfall patterns. Redistribution of water vapour in the atmosphere takes place. Higher temperatures lead to more evaporation, so parts of the earth will get wetter and parts will get drier.
  • Ocean life under threat:
    • Thermal expansion leads to de-oxygenation. Some areas of Japan, Taiwan and the Baltic Sea are seeing dramatic die-offs of fish because of low oxygen.
    • Coral Bleaching: Coral reefs are especially sensitive to warmer seas. Between 2016 and 2017, half the corals at the Great Barrier Reef were killed by two ocean heat waves.
    • Almost three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs were affected by those heat waves and experts say warmer oceans mean these sorts of die-offs will become much more common.
    • Another problem for sea life is that increased flooding causes more nutrients to be washed into the sea. This leads to plankton blooms and ultimately causes some parts of the sea to be starved of oxygen, making it hard for fish to live there.
  • Food security:
    • Fish species respond to warmer oceans by migrating to cooler areas. But the waters in some parts of the world are getting too warm for any fish — and that could lead to food shortages in those areas.
    • A 2012 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations estimates that marine and freshwater capture fisheries and aquaculture provide 4.3 billion people with about 15% of their animal protein.
    • There is a severe food security risk in the tropics.
  • Melting sea ice:
    • Warmer seas are causing sea ice to melt. Sea ice floats on the ocean surface, so when it melts it doesn’t affect sea levels. But it means there’s less sea ice to reflect heat from the sun back into space, which means the planet gets warmer.
    • It’s bad news for animals that depend on sea ice to survive — including polar bears. But it’s also a problem for some Arctic communities.
    • The Inuit living in Canada, for example, is a culture based on sea ice. They get their food by hunting seals and polar bears from sea ice, or fishing from sea ice. When the sea ice is disappearing that’s not possible, so the whole culture is being lost.
  • Newer threats:
    • Increasing the prevalence of diseases.
    • Mutations leading to more superbugs.

Way Forward:

  • Limiting greenhouse gas emissions: There is an urgent need to achieve the mitigation targets set by the Paris Agreement on climate change and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
  • Protecting marine and coastal ecosystems: Well-managed protected areas can help conserve and protect ecologically and biologically significant marine habitats. This will regulate human activities in these habitats and prevent environmental degradation.
  • Restoring marine and coastal ecosystems: Elements of ecosystems that have already experienced damage can be restored. This can include building artificial structures such as rock pools that act as surrogate habitats for organisms, or boosting the resilience of species to warmer temperatures through assisted breeding techniques.
  • Improving human adaptation: Governments can introduce policies to keep fisheries production within sustainable limits, for example by setting precautionary catch limits and eliminating subsidies to prevent overfishing. Coastal setback zones which prohibit all or certain types of development along the shoreline can minimise the damage from coastal flooding and erosion. New monitoring tools can be developed to forecast and control marine disease outbreaks.
  • Strengthening scientific research: Governments can increase investments in scientific research to measure and monitor ocean warming and its effects. This will provide more precise data on the scale, nature and impacts of ocean warming, making it possible to design and implement adequate and appropriate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

Conclusion:

Thus, a global effort is imperative to reduce the effects of warmer oceans. Mitigation and Adaptation measures will help us more resilient against extreme weather events.


Topic– Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4) Discuss the provisions of right to disconnect Bill and analyze its need?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

 

Why this question

This private member Bill has been introduced with a purpose of making work life balance easier. The provisions of the Bill along with with other issues in the Bill needs to be discussed.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the key provisions of the bill, discuss the provisions of the Bill and examine the reasons why the Bill is needed and issues involved therein.

Directive word

Discuss – Here your discussion should bring out the key provisions of the Bill.

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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention that the Bill is a private member Bill aiming to improve the work life balance.

Body

  • Discuss the provisions of the Bill
    • Aim: The Right to Disconnect Bill aims at “reducing stress and ease tension between an employee’s personal and professional life.”
    • The Bill gives employees the right to not respond to calls or any kind of communications from the employers after office hours.
    • Bill requires the setting up of an Employee Welfare Authority, which will publish reports related to the impact employees have from prolonged use of digital tools beyond office hours etc
  • Highlight the need and significance of the bill
    • Work life imbalance leads to stress, anxiety and many mental health issues etc
    • traditional service sector has to often deal with unreasonable work hours, working overtime without extra compensation, or carrying their work home.
    • Right to Disconnect Bill 2018, if passed, will help people strike work-life balance and lead a better life.
  • Give example of other countries who have already adopted such laws

Conclusion – give your view on the utility of the Bill and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

        The Right to disconnect bill is a Private Member’s Bill which has been introduced in Parliament. It aims to confer the right on every employee to disconnect from work related telephone calls and emails beyond work hours and on holidays and right to refuse to answer calls and emails outside work hours. Such laws are present in France, Germany etc. and many MNCs have it as a policy.

 

Body:

Article 42 of our constitution provides for just and humane work conditions under the DPSP. The bill strives to strike a balance between work and personal life in line with the above article. The provisions of the Bill are

  • The Right to Disconnect Bill aims at “reducing stress and ease tension between an employee’s personal and professional life.”
  • The Right to Disconnect is a proposed human right where a person will have a right to disconnect from his/her work or one can say no to engagement in work related communications i.e. emails, calls, and messages during non-working hours.
  • In case an employee refuses to reply any call during out-of-work hours, such employee shall not be subject to any disciplinary action by the employer.
  • Bill requires the setting up of an Employee Welfare Authority, which will publish reports related to the impact employees have from prolonged use of digital tools beyond office hours.
  • Employers under the “Right to Disconnect” Bill can negotiate on out-of-work hours with employee.
  • It also seeks to provide employees with counselling for work-life balance, digital detox centres for “reasonable personal use of digital and communication tools”.

 

Rationale for the bill:

  • Anxiety Disorder: The first ever nationwide survey on mental health covering 28 states in 2015- 2016 gives us a better idea about the prevalence of anxiety disorders in India. The survey indicates that the total prevalence of anxiety disorders in India amount to 3.1 percent of the population.
  • Overworked: A UBS report said “UBS assessed 77 cities around the world on a number of parameters including average annual working hours”. Mumbai leads the list of cities across the world with people working an average of 3,314 hours a year.
  • Weakening Social relations: Relations can be built only through communication and spending time with people around you. And when one is not able to give much needed time to family and close ones, the relationship starts weakening.
  • Lack in Performance: People can only perform best when there is a proper balance between work and private life. Until and unless there is high work pressure they are not capable of performing to their best capability.
  • Increasing lifestyle disorders: NFHS-4 revealed the trend of lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and coronary diseases due to sedentary lifestyle. An overworked person is definitely prone to such diseases. It in-turn has a cost on the country.
  • Employers’ overpower employees: Corporate culture in India is famously dismissive of employees’ personal time and space, often making a virtue out of this fact.

Challenges remain:

  • These expectations might be untimely as it’s a private member’s bill, and no such bill has turned into an Act since 1970.
  • This is a labour law issue and industrial lobbies might oppose as the labour cost becomes expensive for them.
  • This can in turn lead to contractualization of labour.
  • Further, the bill concentrates mostly on the organized sector. The lack of inclusivity still puts about 85% of workforce at the mercy of the employers.

Way forward:

  • The governments at the union and state level needs to recognize the issue and work on it as labour is a concurrent subject.
  • Strengthening of the labour unions and codification of the labour laws.
  • Taking cue from the global examples like France. Companies in Germany, even without formal laws, have been implementing this idea.
  • Importance to private member’s bill must be given as they are also duly elected representative of the people.

Conclusion:

The bill has the right intent to strike a balance between an employee’s personal and professional life. However, there is a need in the attitudinal and behavioural changes of the employers and employees. To reap the demographic dividend, India needs a composed, healthy, active workforce which the bill aims at.


Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

5) India has made a lot of progress in reducing plastic waste but a lot more still needs to be done. Comment.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

India has resolved to end single-use plastics by 2022 and in this connection it has also released the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. In this context it is important to discuss what has been achieved and what more needs to be done.

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 India’s fight against plastic use and express our opinion as to why still more needs to be done in this regard.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines highlighting India’s efforts to reduce plastic waste. E.g India has resolved to beat plastic pollution by eliminating single-use plastics by 2022.

Body-

Discuss what India has achieved in this direction. E.g

  • 22 States and Union Territories have announced a ban on single-use plastics such as carry bags, cups, plates, cutlery, straws and thermocol products. Puducherry will implement a ban from March 1.
  • Voluntary initiatives are having an impact in many States, as citizens reduce, reuse and sort their waste.
  • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 are clear that producers, importers and brand owners must adopt a collect-back system for the plastic they introduce into the environment etc.
  • Discuss what more needs to be done. E.g
  • Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms remains unaddressed.
  • Local bodies should consult manufacturers or importers to assess the problem. Delaying such a measure has created the anomalous situation of small producers of plastics facing the ban, while more organised entities covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility clause continue with business as usual.
  • Cities and towns need competent municipal systems to achieve this.
  • The fast moving consumer goods sector that uses large volumes of packaging, posing a higher order challenge.

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

 

Introduction:

        India has won global acclaim for its “Beat Plastic Pollution” resolve declared on World Environment Day last year, under which it pledged to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022. So far, 22 States and Union Territories have joined the fight to beat the plastic pollution, announcing a ban on single-use plastics such as carry bags, cups, plates, cutlery, straws and thermocol products. Puducherry will implement a ban from March 1.

 

Body:

 

        It is estimated that with the growing population and rising consumerism, the world’s plastic bottle consumption will increase to half a trillion annually by 2021. According to Plastic Infrastructure Report, 2017, India consumes close to 12.8 million tonnes of plastic per annum, of which, close to 5 million tonnes is rendered as waste every year. It is about 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste generated every day. The residues can stain the environment and natural resources for hundreds of years. Plastic toxicity is known for its enduring adverse effects on territorial and aquatic life.

 

India has made progress in its efforts to reduce plastic waste:

  • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 are clear that producers, importers and brand owners must adopt a collect-back system for the plastic they introduce into the environment.
  • Voluntary initiatives are having an impact in many States, as citizens reduce, reuse and sort their waste.
  • In 2016, Sikkim banned usage of packaged drinking water in government offices and government events. Second, it banned the use of Styrofoam and thermocol disposable plates and cutlery in the entire state.
  • A Bengaluru waste collective estimates that the volume of plastic waste that they collect dropped from about two tonnes a day to less than 100 kg.

The ubiquitous plastic has made humans so dependent that it is virtually impossible to live without it. As a result, a lot needs to be done in this direction to completely eliminate single-use plastics.

  • Amendment issues:
    • The PWM Rules Amendment, 2018, omitted explicit pricing of plastic bags that had been a feature of the 2016 Rules. This comes as a surprise as the pricing of the bags was beginning to bring about a change, albeit gradually.
  • Packaging material:
    • Waste plastic from packaging of everything from food, cosmetics and groceries to goods delivered by online platforms remains unaddressed.
    • The fast moving consumer goods sector that uses large volumes of packaging, posing a higher order challenge.
  • Implementation issues:
    • Lack of adequate infrastructure for segregation and collection is the key reason for inefficient plastic waste disposal.
    • The Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, mandate ULBs to set up facilities for processing sorted dry waste. However, the implementation has been rather bleak, owing to available land/space concerns.
  • Collect-back system:
    • The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 are clear that producers, importers and brand owners must adopt a collect-back system for the plastic they introduce into the environment. However, not much has been done to take the process forward.
  • Extended Producer Responsibility clause:
    • Small producers of plastics are facing the ban, while more organised entities covered by the Extended Producer Responsibility clause continue with business as usual.

 

Way Forward:

  • The success of imposing a plastic bag fee has also been established in cities like Chicago and Washington, showing that such interventions could be effective in shaping behaviour change.
  • Promoting the use of biodegradable plastics, khadi bags, cotton bags would also go a long way in managing plastic waste in India.
  • Monetise the waste: Incentivising collection is the key to Plastic Waste Management. Example: In supermarkets of Germany (pfand system), consumer pays extra for the plastic bottle and gets back the money when he returns bottle to recycling centre in supermarket.
  • “Polluter pays”: Governments must start charging the producers for their waste, which will lead to recovery and recycling.
  • Local bodies should consult manufacturers or importers to assess the problem. Cities and towns need competent municipal systems to achieve this.
  • Developing a circular economy of plastics requires the participation of everyone across the entire value chain and the long term commitment of businesses, governments, and communities. Example: The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), comprising about 30 companies, pledged over $1 billion to eliminate plastic waste across the world. They aim to invest $1.5 billion over the next five years for the same.

 

Conclusion:

 

The indiscriminate disposal of plastic has become a major threat to the environment. In the absence of a suitable alternative, it is impractical and undesirable to impose a blanket ban on the use of plastic all over the country. The real challenge is to improve plastic waste management systems. Our policies must promote collection, recycling and monetising of waste.


Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

6) COP-24 held at Katowice in Poland, brings little cheer on the climate front for developing countries. Discuss.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Our future is in a precarious situation. Globally the effects of climate change are being felt with more intensity and severity with each passing year. COP-24, the latest of the climate change negotiations under the Paris Pact framework have been widely criticised for being inadequate in addressing the issue. In this context it is important to discuss the outcomes of the conference, particularly for the developing countries.

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 the COP- 24 brings little cheers for the developing countries. We have to discuss the outcomes of the conference in terms of it’s underachievements and limitations.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  COP-24. E.g mention its relation with the Paris agreement and mention its key outcome- the rulebook for Paris agreement.

Body-

Discuss in points as to how/ why COP-24 brings little cheer on the climate front for developing countries. E.g

  • substantial rollback of differentiation between the global North and South in climate action, with uniform standards of reporting, monitoring and evaluation for all countries.
  • While all developing nations are ostensibly allowed flexibility in these reporting requirements, the concession has been hedged in with a number of conditions, with the intention of forcing them to full compliance in short order.
  • the requirement of reporting as little as 500 kilo tonnes or 0.05% of national emissions per country has little scientific significance.
  • a smaller percentage of the emissions of a large emitter will be a larger quantity in absolute terms compared to the larger percentage of emissions of a small emitter.
  • As the “rulebook” stands today, private sector flows or loans, which will increase the indebtedness of developing countries, are to be considered adequate fulfilment of developed country obligations under the UNFCCC etc.

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

 

Introduction:

        The 24th Conference of the Parties (COP-24) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held at Katowice in Poland. Negotiators from 196 countries finalised a rulebook for the 2015 Paris Agreement. The finalisation paves the way for implementation of the Paris Agreement, which is supposed to replace the existing Kyoto Protocol in 2020. Several countries and NGOs feels that the deal reached in Katowice, though welcome, was not enough.

Body:

The highlights of the Katowice Rulebook are:

  • Mechanism: The Paris Agreement requires every country to have a climate action plan. This must be periodically updated and submitted to the UNFCCC. The rulebook now specifies what actions can be included in the action plan, how and when to submit them.
  • Stocktaking: The Paris Agreement requires every member nation to submit information about their greenhouse gas emissions every two years. The rulebook now specifies which gases to measure, what methodologies and standards to apply while measuring them and the kinds of information to be included in their submissions.
  • INDC implementation: Article 4 of Paris Agreement mandates nationally determined contributions (NDCs) by countries. The rulebook specifies that support shall be provided to developing countries for the implementation of INDCs. Parties shall provide the information necessary for clarity, transparency and understanding as applicable to their NDCs.
  • Finance: The Paris Agreement demands developed countries to provide “climate finance” to developing countries and submit an account of this. The rulebook specifies the kinds of financial instruments (loans, concessions, and grants) which can be classified as climate finance. It specifies how they should be accounted for and the kind of information about them needed to be submitted.

However, COP-24 brings little cheer on the climate front for developing countries.

  • Against the Common but Differentiated Responsibilities principle:
    • The Katowice COP it was agreed that all countries (developed, developing) have uniform standards of reporting, monitoring and evaluation for all countries.
    • The real targets of this uniformity are not the poorest nations, who have been provided exemptions, but the larger developing nations.
    • Example: Both USA and Tuvalu islands have the uniformity in reporting requirements.
    • Although the developing nations are apparently allowed flexibility in these reporting requirements, there are a number of conditions, with the intention of forcing them to full compliance in short order.
  • Finance:
    • Developing countries have for long demanded that the bulk of climate finance must be from public sources.
    • In contrast, the developed countries have succeeded in putting other sources of finance, including FDI and equity flows.
    • The private sector flows or loans will increase the indebtedness of developing countries.
    • Much of the pressure exerted by developed countries at Katowice had the active backing and instigation of the U.S.
  • Mitigation:
    • There is lack of initiative by the developed countries in taking the lead in climate mitigation.
    • All developed countries continue to invest in fossil fuels either through direct production or imports.
    • Some countries are downgrading their nuclear energy (Example: Germany) due to domestic political pressures, while others are weaning themselves off coal by shifting to gas (Example: USA).
    • Overall, the use of fossil fuel-based electricity generation continues to rise for OECD countries.

India, despite its articulation of the need for equity in climate action and climate justice, failed to obtain the operationalization of these notions in several aspects of the “rulebook”. Even though it pushed for equity, particularly in the benchmarks for the periodic review of the Paris Agreement, it failed to press home its point. Successive dispensations in New Delhi have fallen short of doing the needful in this regard.

Conclusion:

        Katowice Rule book was a success in its roll out of a rule-book. However, the climate equity and climate-justice is still at bay for the developing and island countries.


  

Topic-  Ethical issues in corporate governance

7) Analyze how corporates are dealing with the scourge of climate change?(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question

The issue of climate change has taken centre stage off late and everyone is doing or is expected to do their bit to deal with the impacts of climate change. Corporate ethics require the corporates as well to put in efforts to mitigate climate change and this question enables you to examine the issue.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain why is it ethical for companies to contribute to the cause of climate change and the way in which they are doing so.

Directive word

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.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that climate change has become a pressing issue and everyone needs to do their bit to tackle the problems associated with climate change.

Body

  • First, discuss why is it necessary for corporates to deal with the issue of climate change –
    • Converting national climate plans into reality is a complex process that requires contribution from everyone—it needs a public-private partnership. Governments and industries must work together to ensure successful implementation of Paris Agreement commitments.
    • Sustainability is no longer a buzzword; it’s a core component of business strategy. It’s an approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organisation operates in ecological, social and economic environments. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies foster company longevity.
  • Discuss the steps taken by corporates to deal with climate change

Conclusion – give your view on the necessity of this contribution and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

         Climate change has taken centre stage, with scientific reports pointing to serious effects of climate change and global warming. The urgency for global climate action cannot be overemphasised. Corporate ethics require the corporates as well to put in efforts to mitigate climate change.

Body:

        It is necessary for the Corporates to deal with the climate change issues.

  • Trusteeship: Corporates are a part of the society. They make use of the national resources for their progress. They are members of the society and have the duty to safeguard the climate as other citizens do.
  • Responsibility: With industrialisation on the rise, there has been rise in corporates who are the major contributors of Green house gases. The Corporates have a responsibility to mitigate the climate change effects. Example: CSR is a form of responsibility on part of corporates.
  • Combined Effort: Converting national climate plans into reality is a complex process that requires contribution from everyone—it needs a public-private partnership.
  • Sustainability: Sustainability is built on the assumptions that developing such strategies foster company longevity. It’s an approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organisation operates in ecological, social and economic environments.
  • Credibility: The efforts will increase the public faith in the corporates. This is a win-win for both corporates as well as climate change reduction efforts.
  • Transparency and Accountability: As expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency becomes more prevalent, companies need to act on sustainability. The corporates must further be accountable to the citizens about the externalities.

The corporates have been proactive and at times instructed to take steps to deal with climate change. Some of them are:

  • Sustainable Raw materials: Corporates can source raw materials from the sustainable sources. This can be done by working with farmers to reduce environmental harm. Example: Unilever is currently following this. It has also agreed to eliminate single use plastic packaging in the United Kingdom, where possible, by 2025
  • Recycling the Goods: Patagonia makes clothes using organic cotton and recycled fabrics, including polyester, nylon and wool. Patagonia pledges 1% of sales to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment.
  • Renewable Energy Generation: The Swedish retailer IKEA has invested €1.7 billion ($2 billion) into renewable energy projects. It plans to build 416 wind turbines and has already installed around 750,000 solar panels on IKEA buildings.
  • Business Policies: The electric-car maker TESLA has a code of conduct for suppliers, which includes a pledge to work to avoid harm to the environment, responsible management of all waste and efficient use of water and energy resources.
  • Climate safe technologies: A number of the world’s biggest oil-and-gas companies are ramping up their investments in low-carbon technologies like renewables and electric vehicle infrastructure. Example: Shell: In late 2017 the company pledged to cut the “net carbon footprint of its energy products by around half by 2050,” with an interim reduction goal of 20% by 2035.

Conclusion:

The way forward is by integrating Sustainable Development Goals into corporate strategies. Businesses need to commit themselves to the future by investing in the next generation of climate-friendly solutions. Those who adopt sustainability into their business will be better placed. Sustainable companies are more successful companies.


Topic–  Right to Information.

8) Participation of people is sine qua non of any democratic form of government in achieving the ideal of good governance and RTI is a measure step towards this goal. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

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 relationship between RTI and good governance, and express  our opinion as to how RTI promotes citizen participation and good governance.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  RTI. E.g There is very close link between right to information and good governance. Right to Information is the tool of achieving the goals of good governance.

Body-

Discuss how RTI promotes citizen participation and good governance. E.g

  • People who have access to information and who understand how to make use of the acquired information in the processes of exercising their political, economic and legal rights become empowered, which, in turn, enable them to build their strengths and assets, so as to improve the quality of life. And ultimately this is only the aim of good governance.
  • An informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance and make the government more accountable to the governed.
  • One of the brilliant features of RTI is that it makes public authorities answerable to the general public, which strengthen the participatory democracy. Every public authorities is required to provide reasons for its administrative and quasi judicial decisions to the affected persons.
  • The transformation from mere governance to good governance is possible only if the citizens of the country have right and access to information of and participation in the governance. The good governance is the governance in which people are served by their representatives not ruled by their representatives etc.

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

 

 

Introduction:

        Democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning and also to contain corruption and to hold governments and their instrumentalities accountable to the governed. The Right to Information Act (RTI) acts as a “Master key to good governance”. Right to Information is the tool of achieving the goals of good governance.

Body:

RTI promotes citizen participation and good governance in the following ways:

  • Upholds Dignity of Life: People having access to information understand how to make use of the acquired information. This empowers them in the processes of exercising their political, economic and legal rights. And enables them to build their strengths and assets, so as to improve the quality of life. It assures the right to freedom and speech of an individual by the right to know/ask for information.
  • Accountability & Transparency: An informed citizen is better equipped to keep necessary vigil on the instruments of governance. It makes public authorities answerable to the general public, which strengthen the participatory democracy. Every public authority is required to provide reasons for its administrative and quasi judicial decisions to the affected persons. There would be increase in efficiency in delivery of public services.
  • Credibility: The transparency of the government in decision-making increases its trust with the people. This leads to the credibility of the governance structure. Government can gain the necessary social capital by making functioning more citizen centric.
  • Weeds out corruption: The RTI act has the capability to curb the corruption that is rotting the system. The authorities are made answerable to public, this makes them more responsible. The citizens become participatory and act as second vigilance after the vigilance authorities.

Steps to strengthen RTI:

  • Repealing of the Official Secret Act.
  • Introducing an oath of transparency.
  • To use of multi-media campaigns in local languages for awareness.
  • Opening up the working of parliamentary standing committees for public access.
  • Use of Government portals like MyGov for suo-moto disclosure of information.

Conclusion:

         RTI as a whole is a great step in a democratic set up like India.  It  is  a  powerful  tool  that  can  deliver  significant  social benefits.  It  can  provide  a strong  support  to  democracy  and  promote  good  governance  by  empowering  citizen’s ability  to  participate  effectively  and  hold  government  officials  accountable  rather  than just an information provider.