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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 04 FEBRUARY 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.


General Studies – 1


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

1) What do you understand by an earthquake swarm. Discuss the reasons behind the earthquake swarms being witnessed across India.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

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

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the meaning and give a brief description of the term earthquake swarm. It also wants us to discuss in detail about the reasons behind the Earthquake Swarms being witnessed across many parts of India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  term earthquake swarm. E.g ‘earthquake swarm’ which is a series of low magnitude earthquakes that occur in a localised region and over a period of time ranging from days, weeks to even months.Body-

  1. Describe the term in detail. E.g  
  • “When seismic energy piles up inside the Earth and is released in small amounts from certain points, such a series of earthquakes can occur,”
  • Sometimes, these rumblings of the Earth are also accompanied by acoustic or sound emissions.
  • The situation cannot be taken lightly as many earthquakes have been preceded by earthquake swarm activity.
  • They come as foreshocks to the main earthquake which could be much greater in magnitude etc.
  1. Discuss the reasons behind earthquake swarms being witnessed across India. E.g
  • Latur and Koyna earthquakes of 1993 and 1967, respectively.
  • Deccan plateau
  • an earthquake swarm near Bamhori village of Seoni district in Madhya Pradesh between February and May, 2000. The swarm consisted of as many as 350 tremors.
  • Rampur area of Himachal Pradesh. This Himalayan swarm was later attributed to low strength of the earth’s crust in the area which could not hold the tectonic energy etc.

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

Earthquake swarm:-

  • Earthquake swarms are generally defined as a sequence of events closely clustered in time and space without a single outstanding shock.
  • There are a series of low magnitude earthquakes that occur in a localised region and over a period of time ranging from days, weeks to even months. When seismic energy piles up inside the Earth and is released in small amounts from certain points, such a series of earthquakes can occur.
  • They are differentiated from earthquakes succeeded by a series of aftershocks.
  • When seismic energy piles up inside the Earth and is released in small amounts from certain points, such a series of earthquakes can occur.
  • Sometimes, these rumblings of the Earth are also accompanied by acoustic or sound emissions.
  • The situation cannot be taken lightly as many earthquakes have been preceded by earthquake swarm activity.

Reasons why earthquake swarms take place :-

  • Swarms are observed in volcanic environments, hydrothermal systems, and other active geothermal areas, according to geophysicists.
  • In India, sequences of low-intensity quakes are common in areas that have been hit previously, like Saurashtra in Gujarat and Koyna in Maharashtra, but they are also seen in areas without a history of seismic activity. 
  • They are the result of seismic activity, hydro-seismicity due to water percolation post-monsoon, or magmatic activity in the region.
  • In the Rampur area of Himachal Pradesh the earthquake swarm was later attributed to low strength of the earth’s crust in the area which could not hold the tectonic energy etc.

General Studies – 2


Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections

2) A mere repeal of the law will not address their need for establishing society-wide changes to gain access to political-social-economic welfare. Analyze the statement in the context of Denotified Tribes in India.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

The interim budget presented recently, announced the creation of a welfare development board for denotified (DNT), nomadic (NT) and semi-nomadic (SNT) tribes. In this context it is important to discuss about the plight of those tribes and problems faced by them.

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 deep into the socio economic conditions of the DNT- NT and SNT and bring out as to why only repealing of the law will not address their need for establishing society-wide changes to gain access to political-social-economic welfare.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  DNT. E.g The term, ‘Denotified and Nomadic Tribes’, can be traced to the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871. The colonial government notified nearly 200 tribal communities to be hereditary criminals, cementing their societal identity as outcasts and subjecting them to constant harassment by the administration. After India gained Independence, these tribes were ‘de-notified’ from the list of Criminal Tribes, and, hence, the term.

Body-

  1. Discuss their history. E.g
  • The CTA allowed for close supervision and control over the mobility of the tribes which were notified by the provincial governments.
  • The Act was amended in 1897, 1908 and 1911 to give sweeping powers to the authorities, some as draconian as allowing the state to remove any child of the age of six and above from its ‘criminal’ parents.
  • By 1924, certain provisions were amended, and the Act was finally applicable to the whole of British India.
  • Along with the introduction of laws such as the Forest Acts and the Salt Tax Act, the British threw a noose around the the lives of DNTs using stringent regulations.
  1. Discuss the problems faced by them and why repealing of the law has not been enough to address their socio-economic political concerns. E.g
  • It is only in independent India that the need was felt to shift the collective burden of criminality to the individual, which led to the CTA being repealed and the Habitual Offenders Act (HOA) being enacted in various States.
  • Not all States enacted it, Currently, a variant of the HOA Model Bill as proposed by the Union Government then stands enforced in 10 States across the country, having been enacted in many more.
  • However, the HOA functioned as a mere extension of the CTA. Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities continued to face harassment at the hands of law enforcement agencies.
  • The NCDNT report clearly recommends repealing the various HOAs. This has also been the constant refrain of community leaders, representatives and civil society organisations — as the Act still casts its shadow of the state on communities etc.

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

Background:-

  • Recently Union Government has decided to form Welfare Development Board for Denotified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DNT/ NT/ SNT) communities and committee under NITI Aayog to identify them. In this context it is essential to analyse the plight of these communities.

Denotified tribes:-

  • Fifteen crore individuals, better known as the Denotified Tribes (DNT) of India, continue to be considered ‘criminal by birth’.
  • The term, ‘De-notified and Nomadic Tribes’, can be traced to the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA) of 1871. The colonial government notified nearly 200 tribal communities to be hereditary criminals, cementing their societal identity as outcasts and subjecting them to constant harassment by the administration.
  • After India gained Independence, these tribes were ‘de-notified’ from the list of Criminal Tribes.

Mere repeal of the law will not address the needs of denotified tribes :-

  • More reforms needed:-
    • The repeal of the Habitual offenders Act has to be accompanied by a slew of legal reforms to address the multitude of issues Denotified Tribes communities face.
  • Their unique lifestyle requires positive affirmation and development policies that cater to their long-standing and overlooked needs.
    • It should be the duty of the government to be proactive and reach out to the DNTs since the latter would understandably refrain from seeking state help.
  • Discrimination faced by Denotified tribes is at societal level :-
    • Nomadic and semi-nomadic communities continued to face harassment at the hands of law enforcement agencies.
    • The mere repeal of the criminal tribes act could not change the mindset of government officials or members of society.
    • Lack of identity:-
      • Given their centuries-old tradition of constant movement, they often do not possess any residential proof, which leaves them out of the majority of the government’s developmental schemes.
      • Those deemed eligible for such schemes were randomly grouped under the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes or Other Backward Classes categories. As a result, most members of the DNTs continue to be out of the orbit of steps being taken to end discrimination.
    • Lack of data :-
      • lack of enumeration of DNTs is the biggest hindrance to them being brought into the mainstream .
      • Lack of documentation further aggravates their problems as they cannot prove which community they belong to

Way forward:-

  • There is a need for establishing society-wide changes for DNTs to gain access to political-social-economic welfare.
  • Their unique lifestyle requires positive affirmation and development policies that cater to their specific needs.
  • So the repeal of the law has to be accompanied by a slew of legal reforms, addressing the multitude of issues that DNTs face.
  • Government can provide employment opportunities for nomadic tribes by providing loans for small enterprises. Some of those practicing traditional occupations, including street performers, are struggling due to changes in laws and need to be revived. 
  • Ration cards, Aadhar cards, other identity cards and documents should be prepared so that nomadic tribes have an identity and the ability to gain access to government programmes which provide food, health, education and other basic needs, as well as to other social protection mechanisms.
  • It is important to understand their framework and not apply any external framework on them.

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

3) The announcement of Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi is an indicator that India is now seriously toying with the idea of targeted cash transfers. Critically analyze the effectiveness of targeted cash transfers?(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

This article discusses the form that direct income transfer scheme will take in a country like India and analyzes such a scheme for its effectiveness in tackling inefficiencies in welfare delivery channels.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the form that direct income transfer has taken in the country by explaining about Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi. Thereafter , we need to discuss the pros and cons of such a measure and give our view on its effectiveness.

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 that India has discussed about universal basic income and direct income transfer is thought to bring about efficiencies in welfare delivery mechanism.

Body

  • Explain about the scheme
    • Vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support of ₹6,000 a year
  • Discuss the pros and cons of such direct income transfer mechanisms
    • inefficiencies of existing social security interventions  is sought to be replaced with direct cash transfers
    • Highlight that such income transfers are also riddled with inefficiencies
    • Moreover, the state still has to invest in strengthening the basic infrastructure related to health etc

Conclusion – Give your view on the effectiveness of such a measure and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Recently the general budget announced a scheme, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, under which vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land up to 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support of ₹6,000 a year

Pradhan Mantri kisan Samman Nidhi:-

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi will provide assured income to small and marginal farmers.
  • The amount will be transferred directly into their account in 3 equal installments.
  • The complete expenditure of Rs 75000 crore for the scheme will borne by the Union Government in 2019-20.
  • Over 12 crore farmer families will be benefitted under the scheme.

Benefits of targeted cash transfers:-

  • Past experiences:-
    • Success of cash transfers for cooking gas, food and the rural jobs scheme also seem to have convinced the government on adopting the mechanism for agriculture.
  • Poverty reduction:-
    • Cash transfer programmes have become an important tool of social protection and poverty reduction
    • It has immediate impact on reducing hunger and rural poverty.
    • They can help households to overcome credit constraints and manage risk.
  • Better use :-
    • This can increase productive investment, increase access to markets and stimulate local economies.
    • Income support can be used to make a repayment or at least activate a bank account which can then receive a loan.
    • It can increase investment in agricultural inputs, including farm implements and livestock
  • Rural development:-
    • It can serve as an important complement to a broader rural development agenda, including a pro-poor growth strategy focusing on agriculture.

 Criticism:-

  • Cash transfers are not greatly superior in terms of leakages compared to other schemes of in-kind transfer such as the public distribution system (PDS). Uncertainties in receiving uniform and periodic cash payment would reduce the validity of the scheme as income. Targeting errors are also likely.
  • The real issue with the approach of a targeted cash transfer scheme is that it envisions the role of the state to only providing cash income to the poor. This kind of approach seeks to absolve the state of its responsibility in providing basic services such as health, education, nutrition and livelihood.
  • Does not eradicate poverty:-
    • It may address certain aspects of inequality by ensuring a basic income, they will not eradicate poverty. Poverty is measured as deficits in income or consumption, but the underlying causes of these shortages are linked to human capabilities and access to resources. 
  • Cash transfer scheme such as PMKSN cannot be substituted for subsidies and other institutional support systems such as the National Food Security Act-powered public distribution system. In fact, such cash transfer schemes could be counterproductive and may lead to more distress.
  • Cash transfers do not solve the following problems which are the reason for the current agrarian crisis
    • The Agrarian crisis is not just of low incomes in agriculture. The genesis of the current crisis lies in the faulty and ad hoc export-import policy, lack of infrastructure and cartelisation and collusion in agricultural markets, which have prevented farmers from realizing the market prices for agricultural produce.
    • Cash transfers do nothing to resolve any of these, nor are they any guarantee of protection against unforeseen events, whether natural or policy induced.
    • Cash transfer is neither a substitute for the structural reforms needed in agriculture, nor does it adequately compensate the farmer for the risks and uncertainty of crop cultivation.
  • Regressive:-
    • Except for the Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation scheme , which offers some relief to the sharecroppers and landless labourers most other schemes are regressive with amount of transfer proportional to the land owned.
  • Finding beneficiaries is tough :
    • In sugarcane and cotton, much of the ground-level work is organised and in the hands of cooperatives, where the person who has the operational holding of land is well identified. But in crops where the ownership holding is different from the operational holding, it might be
  • In the absence of proper tenancy records, it will also benefit the absentee landlords.
  • It is no substitute for the lack of investment in agriculture, which has declined at 2.3% per annum in real terms
  • By taking away precious fiscal resources, it makes the farmer more vulnerable to both market as well as non-market induced risks.
  • Fiscal constraints to states:-
    • The income transfer scheme will further erode the fiscal capacity of states.

Way forward :-

  • For a long-term solution, the government should first implement existing schemes, like it should give assured procurement and marketing of all commodities having MSP.
  • The Swaminathan Committee in 2004 had recommended farmers be allowed to fix the price for their produce on their own (cost of production plus 50% as profit), keeping local factors in mind.
  • Greater focus is required on enhancing farmer loan repayment capacity via smooth supply and value chains, and better price realisations.
  • The government must focus on three things: crop insurance, better irrigation and subsidised seed and fertilisers.

General Studies – 3


Topic- Linkages between development and spread of extremism

4) Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country. Briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenges posed by LWE.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to talk about the status quo with respect to threats posed by left wing extremists to the country. Thereafter, we need to highlight the steps taken by the country to deal with such threats and discuss the way forward.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about left wing extremism – term officially used to describe Maoist insurgency in selected states of Central and Eastern India.

Body

  • Highlight the status quo of the threat posed by left wing extremists to the security of the country.
  • Discuss the steps taken by the government to deal with this threat
    • Discuss the Samadhan doctrine launched by MHA – Controlling arms supply to Maoist usiing GPS trackers and Unique Identification number (UID) for Gelatin sticks and explosives manufacturers. Each CRPF battalion deployed in the Maoist hotbed is given atleast one UAV. More helicopter support for operations, including private helicopter services. Joint Task Forces along inter-State boundaries, better inter-state coordination and intelligence sharing. Stricter implementation of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to choke funding to LWE groups.
    • Developmental approach such as through Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojana for holistic development of the tribal people by targetting their education, employment, healthcare, infrastructure and connectivity; Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act was amended to setup District Mineral Foundation (DMF). Through this fund, all mining districts receive portion of the mining royalties. The money is spend on the development activities decided by the local people etc
  • Analyze the impact of this two pronged strategy

Conclusion – Give your view on the impact of the governmental measures and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Left Wing Extremism (LWE) movement has its roots in the Naxalbari area W.Bengal in the 1960’s.These Maoists insurgents started running a parallel system of administration in parts of central and Eastern India. They kill civilians, destroy public buildings and extract ransom from businessmen. In the recent years, however, LWE movement is showing decline, because of the shift in the approach of the successive Governments

 

Indian approach to counter the challenges passed by LWE:

  • Government approach on security front:-
    • Government would try to bring the insurgents on negotiation table, and offer ceasefire. But the insurgents would misuse the ceasefire to mobilize more weapons and troops.
    • Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) would conduct “Area domination exercises”, But when insurgents feel strong presence of CRPF, they would simply vanish, and the moment CRPF retreated, they would come back in the area.

Because of the above constraints government changed the strategy. Instead of offering ceasefire or conducting area domination exercises, it focused on (surgical) strikes based on hard intelligence. As a result, many of the key leaders have been arrested or eliminated, and the armed insurgent camps have been decimated.

  • Government’s surrender schemes for Maoists is also dwindling their manpower.
  • Special Infrastructure Scheme (SIS) to construct fortified police stations.
  • 2016’s demonetization drive also affected the LWE-funding
  • Further, in 2017, Home Ministry launched ‘SAMADHAN’ doctrine. It involves:
    • Controlling arms supply to Maoist using GPS trackers and Unique Identification number (UID) for Gelatin sticks and explosives manufacturers.
    • Each CRPF battalion deployed in the Maoist hotbed is given atleast one UAV.
    • More helicopter support for operations, including private helicopter services.
    • Joint Task Forces along inter-State boundaries, better inter-state coordination and intelligence sharing.
    • Stricter implementation of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to choke funding to LWE groups.
  • Government approach on Development front:-
  • In 2014: Ministry of Tribal Affairs launched Vanbandhu Kalyan Yojanafor holistic development of the tribal people by targetting their education, employment, healthcare, infrastructure and connectivity.
  • In 2015: Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act was amended to setup District Mineral Foundation (DMF). Through this fund, all mining districts receive portion of the mining royalties. The money is spend on the development activities decided by the local people.
  • Civic Action Plan: Each CRPF company is given Rs.3 lakh for holding medical camps, sanitation drives, sports meets, distribution of study material to children, minor repairs of school building, road, bridges to build confidence among the locals.
  • Media Action Plan: Each district is given Rs.7 lakh to advertise Government schemes.
  • Union Government is organizing extensive training and capacity building programs for of the state service officials for implementation of Forest Rights act and PESA Act.
  • Additional Central Assistance’ (ACA) for LWE affected districts for creating public infrastructures and services such as school, hospital, road and rail connectivity, mobile connectivity, and electricity network.
  • Schemes employment, skill development, ITI construction etc. have special funds earmarked for LWE with Key Performance Indicators (KPI).
  • Union Government implemented the 14th Finance Commission report due to which LWE State Governments have more funds at their disposal to carry out tailor-made developmental schemes as per their requirements.
  • In order to holistically address the LWE problem in an effective manner, Government has formulated National Policy and Action Plan adopting multi-pronged strategy in the areas of security, development, ensuring rights & entitlement of local communities etc.

Conclusion:

  • As a result of the aforementioned initiatives on the security and development fronts, the number of violent incidents from LWE insurgency has declined in the present decade.

Topic – Role of external state and  non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

5) What challenges do external non state actors pose to India’s security?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain who external non state actors are and thereafter explain about the multifaceted threat that they pose to India’s security.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that India has been facing internal security threats from various external and internal state and non state actors since independence.

Body

  • Explain about external non state actors – Non-state actors are individuals or organizations that have powerful economic, political or social power and are able to influence at a national and sometimes international level but do not belong to or allied themselves to any particular country or state. They include NGOs, MNCs, religious outfits, Drug Cartels, Mafias, terrorist groups etc. they may work in tandem for the peace, stability and development of a country or they may work against the State.
  • Discuss the threat that they pose to internal security in India such as insurgency, terrorism, cyber security , communalism, counterfeit currency etc
  • Discuss how should India deal with such challenges

Conclusion – Highlight the risk profile of the country based on these threats and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • India has been facing challenges on the front of internal security since independence from various state and non-state actors. Politico-social and economic sphere of sovereign state has been controlled by the popular elected government. But peace and security can be disturbed by some external and non-state actor, through various means and ways.
  • Countries surrounding India have been active in exploiting the volatile situation presented by the turmoil in the northeast. Not only countries such as China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, but also smaller powers such as Bhutan and Nepal have been involved in the region. Through political backing, economic assistance, logistic support, military training or arms supplies these countries have varyingly contributed to the ongoing violence in this region.

Non-state actors:  

  • Non-state actors are individuals or organizations that have powerful economic, political or social power and are able to influence at a national and sometimes international level but do not belong to or allied themselves to any particular country or state.
  • They include NGOs, MNCs, religious outfits, Drug Cartels, Mafias, terrorist groups etc. they may work in tandem for the peace, stability and development of a country or they may work against the State.

Challenges posed by non state actors for the Indian internal security:

  • Insurgency
    • North-East suffers from violent movements based upon ethnic identities leading to clashes. China is alleged to support such acts for instance . ULFA members of Assam was given shelter by China.
  • Terrorism
    • Pakistan has been a major exporter of terrorism to India. Non-state actors like terrorist groups for instance Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad are a continuous threat.
    • Non state actor -sponsored terrorism, often motivated by fundamentalist ideologies, backed by secretive but efficient financial networks, use of IT, clandestine access to chemical-biological and nuclear materials, and illicit drug trafficking, has emerged as a major threat to international stability.
    • These groups aim to not only create instability in states like J&K, they also have a larger aim of destabilising the country. This is done through sporadic terrorist strikes, which spreads terror and panic. This could also adversely affect the ability of the Indian state to pursue economic modernisation.
  • Naxalism
    • Left wing extremism affects states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • Drug smuggling: 
    • Inter and Intra state trafficking takes place, through golden crescent and golden triangle routes. Drugs from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran has affected Punjab.
  • Human-trafficking: 
    • Child and women trafficking takes place via Bangladesh and Nepal.
  • Counterfeit currency:
    • It corrodes economy from inside, by facilitating black money and money laundering activities as well as funding terrorism, which itself creates a demand for fake currency, thereby creating a positive feedback loop. This is the issue arising especially from Pakistan.
  • Communalism:
    • Propagandas are run and funded by enemy country and other non-state actors to destabilize India by damaging the socio-religious fabric and ensure riots.
  • Cyber Security: 
    • Recent cyber-attacks by Legion, ATM skimming are examples. Pakistani hackers often hack government websites.
  • They can also incite people for regionalism thus demanding their separate state which further increases secessionist tendency

Conclusion:

  • Both state and non-state factors from outside have created problems in our internal security framework. Hence while it is imperative to guard our borders and strengthen our diplomacy, on the other hand, we need to check the various non-state actors who come in hidden forms.

Topic- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

6) The impact of climate change falls disproportionately on the poor. Analyze and also highlight India’s risk profile due to climate change. (250 words)

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Why this question

The article examines the disproportionate impact of climate change on the poor. With the impact of climate change now taking myriad forms, it is a necessity to take steps to address the impact of climate change on the poor population.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain how there is a disproportionate impact of climate change on the poor population. Thereafter we need to bring out the risk profile of India with respect to climate change and the measures required to address this vulnerability.

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 a recent report of IPCC has belief the belief that climate change is a gradual, slow moving phenomenan.

Body

  • Explain about the impacts of climate change and how it falls disproportionately on the poor
    • food, resulting in increased competition to access these basic necessities. This increases the chances of the intensification of existing conflicts and also creates new ones.
    • Frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change lead to food shortages and rise in food prices. This causes ­hunger and malnutrition, the effects of which are felt most strongly by the poor. According to the World Food Programme’s 2018 Global Report on Food Crises, “climate disasters triggered food crises across 23 countries, mostly in Africa, with shocks such as drought leaving more than 39 million people in need of urgent assistance.” etc
  • Analyze India’s risk profile
    • India ranks fifth globally for the losses it has experienced due to climate change. Around 800 million people in the country live in villages and depend on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. With at least 50% of the farmlands in the country being rain-fed, changes in the pattern of the monsoons will affect their livelihoods the most.
  • Discuss steps that are required to mitigate the risk

Conclusion – Explain that the risk is real and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Climate change is an emergency that has been affecting the planet and its inhabitants, human, plant, and animal, in big and small ways. However, it has affected the poor disproportionately and has had a greater impact on the poor and developing nations.

How climate change impacts poor:-

  • Food shortages leading to hunger and malnutrition :-
    • With climate change, people face shortage of water and food, resulting in increased competition to access these basic necessities. This increases the chances of the intensification of existing conflicts and also creates new ones. 
    • In the Democratic Republic of Congo, shifts in the timing and patterns of rainfall have led to lower food production and greater competition on arable land, increasing ethnic tensions and conflicts in the country. Such conflicts affect the poor the most, and further lead to an increase in poverty and displacement, pushing people into a vicious trap.
    • Frequent floods and droughts caused by climate change lead to food shortages and rise in food prices. This causes ­hunger and malnutrition, the effects of which are felt most strongly by the poor.
    • Floods and droughts brought on by climate change threaten food production and supply. As a result, the price of food increases, and access becomes more and more limited, putting many at higher risk of hunger.
    • Rising sea levels, extreme weather events and prolonged drought force millions of people to move away from home every year in search of food, water and jobs.
  • Refugees problem:-
    • Climate refugees can be found all over the world, displaced by coastal flooding in Dhaka, by hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, or due to the desertification of Lake Chad in West Africa. It is estimated that the number of people seeking asylum in the European ­Union due to climate change would see a 28% increase by 2100.
  • The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires and droughts threaten food supplies, drive people from their homes, separate families and jeopardize livelihoods. And all of these effects increase the risk of conflict, hunger and poverty.
  • Three out of four people living in poverty rely on agriculture and natural resources to survive. For these people, the effects of climate change – limited water and food sources and increased competition for them are a real matter of life and death. 
  • Farmers :-
    • Gradual changes brought on by deforestation, overgrazing and drought slowly transform pastures to dust, destroy crops and kill livestock, effectively challenging the livelihoods of millions of farmers. 
  • Health issues:-
    • poor communities already have higher rates of many adverse health conditions, are more exposed to environmental hazards and take longer to bounce back from natural disasters. These existing inequalities will only be exacerbated due to climate change, 
    • Heart and lung disease, heat stroke and bacterial infections are just a few of the health consequences associated with climate change. Low-income populations typically have less access to information, resources, institutions, and other factors to prepare for and avoid the health risks of climate change.

India’s risk profile due to climate change:-

  • India ranks fifth globally for the losses it has experienced due to climate change
  • Around 800 million people in the country live in villages and depend on agriculture and natural resources for their livelihoods. With at least 50% of the farmlands in the country being rain-fed, changes in the pattern of the monsoons will affect their livelihoods the most.
    • There has been a recorded decline in monsoon rainfall levels since 1950. And it is suspected that 2°C rise in world’s temperature will make India’s monsoon even more unpredictable. Change in Monsoon could flood certain states in India, while some other states may witness frequent droughts.
  • Climate change will make the existing problems of poverty, malnutrition, and farmer suicides worse.
  • Due to climate change, 15% of India’s groundwater resources are damaged, and falling water table is suspected to deal a severe blow in progress of agriculture. 
  • Rising sea-level and surges of storm would also impact agriculture, degrade groundwater quality, increasing the risk of contamination in water, and giving rise to diarrhoea and cholera. Kolkata and Mumbai, are suspected to be affected by sea level rise.
  • Also rising carbon dioxide levels due to global warming is suspected to shrink down the amount of protein in crops like rice and wheat, which are primary food source for majority of the population in the drought leaving populations at risk of malnutrition, low immunity and raising the risk of diseases affecting the population severely.
  • Economic:-
    • India will be among the worst hit countries that may face wrath of calamities like floods and heatwaves, and reduced GDP.
  • There will be manifold increase in the severe heatwave frequency and population affected in India if the global mean temperature rises to or beyond 1.5 degree by the end of the century.

Way forward:-

  • India needs to focus on improving air quality which can deliver returns in health and productivity as well as the recovery of monsoon.
  • The efforts should include reforestation which would reduce the impact of extreme events fuelled by warming of the surrounding oceans and neighbouring lands.
  • To limit global warming, countries will have to change policies in sectors like land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and urban development.
  • Limiting global warming to 1.5 degree compared with 2 degree would reduce challenging impacts on ecosystems, human health and well-being, making it easier to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Topic-Challenges to internal security through communication networks

7) Evaluate whether India is adequately prepared to handle the threat posed by emerging disruptive technologies?(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question

The article examines the new age security challenges posed by emerging disruptive technologies and analyzes the effectiveness of the measures taken by India to deal with such challenges. This question would enable you to understand the changing nature of threats as a result of technological advancements along with India’s response to it.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the changing nature of threat posed by emerging disruptive technologies, examine the steps taken by India to deal with such challenges and evaluate their effectiveness.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – highlight that technological advancements have transformed the nature of security threats.

Body

  • Explain about the new age security threats
    • current focus in military thinking across the world is increasingly moving away from traditional heavy-duty military hardware to high-tech innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, satellite jammers, hypersonic strike technology, advanced cyber capabilities and spectrum denial and high-energy lasers
    • Strategic stability in the contemporary international system, especially among the nuclear weapon states, depends on several age-old certainties, the most important being the issue of survivability of a state’s nuclear arsenal and its ability to carry out a second strike after a first attack.
    • Once accuracies get better, hypersonic glide vehicles replace conventional delivery systems, real time tracking and surveillance make major strides, and AI-enabled systems take over, survivability of nuclear arsenal, which lies at the heart of great power stability, could take a severe beating.
    • Disruptive new technologies, worsening relations between Russia and America and a less cautious Russian leadership than in the cold war have raised fears that a new era of strategic instability may be approaching
  • Highlight India’s response to such challenges
    • Government decided to set up three new agencies — the Defence Cyber Agency, the Defence Space Agency and the Special Operations Division — in order to address the new age challenges to national security
  • Discuss issues involved
    • The issue of coordination
    • The issue of their relative importance in the pecking order of defence planning
    • China factor etc

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

Background:-

  • There is a revolution in military affairs with the current focus in military thinking across the world is increasingly moving away from traditional heavy-duty military hardware to high-tech innovations such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, satellite jammers, hypersonic strike technology, advanced cyber capabilities and spectrum denial and high-energy lasers.

How these emerging technologies can escalate conflicts :-

  • Affects strategic ability:-
    • The arrival of these technologies might deeply frustrate strategic stability.
    • Once accuracies get better, hypersonic glide vehicles replace conventional delivery systems, real time tracking and surveillance make major strides, and AI-enabled systems take over, survivability of nuclear arsenal, which lies at the heart of great power stability and this could take a severe beating.
  • Drones:-
    • The next generation of drones could include everything from hypersonic drones to Nano drones, in any range of forms with any type of weapons system that can be mounted on them.
    • Impact of deep sea drones:-
      • There is an assumption that the naval leg of a nuclear triad is the most survivable part since it is hidden away in the depths of the ocean away from the adversary’s gaze. However, the potential ability of deep-sea drones to detect ballistic-missile armed nuclear submarines or SSBNs may make this assurance a thing of the past thereby frustrating traditional calculations.
    • Fight amongst countries:-
      • Both China and Russia fear that new American long-range non-nuclear strike capabilities could be used to deliver a disarming attack on a substantial part of their strategic forces or decapitate their nuclear command and control. 
      • Some analysts believe that Beijing is in the lead position in emerging technologies with potential military applications such as quantum computing, 3D printing, hypersonic missiles and AI. If indeed, Beijing continues to develop hypersonic systems, for instance, it could potentially target a range of targets in the U.S. their potential to increase the risks of intentional and inadvertent nuclear use.
      • India might, in turn, consider developing some of these technologies which will create dilemmas for Islamabad. The cascading strategic competition then looks unavoidable at this point, and that is worrisome.
    • Many analysts believe that the utilization of AI and robotics will utterly revolutionize warfare, much as the introduction of tanks, airplanes, and nuclear weapons transformed the battlefields of each world war. 
      • some of the weapons now in development, such as unmanned anti-submarine wolfpacks and the TBG system, could theoretically endanger the current equilibrium in nuclear relations among the major powers, which rests on the threat of assured retaliation by invulnerable second-strike forces, by opening or seeming to open various first-strike options.
      • Not only are AI-equipped machines vulnerable to error and sabotage, they lack an ability to assess the context of events and may initiate inappropriate or unjustified escalatory steps that occur too rapidly for humans to correct. 
    • Hypersonics:-
      • Anti-missile systems that may work against existing threats might not be able to track and engage hypersonic vehicles, potentially allowing an aggressor to contemplate first-strike disarming attacks on nuclear or conventional forces while impelling vulnerable defenders to adopt a launch-on-warning policy.
      • The development of hypersonic weaponry poses a significant threat to the core principle of assured retaliation, on which today’s nuclear strategies and arms control measures largely rest. The development of hypersonic munitions also introduces added problems of proliferation.
    • Cyberspace:-
      • Warfare in cyberspace could also threaten nuclear stability by exposing critical early-warning and communications systems to paralyzing attacks and prompting anxious leaders to authorize the early launch of nuclear weapons.
    • Autonomous weapons:-
      • The introduction of these and other such weapons on future battlefields will transform every aspect of combat and raise a host of challenges for advocates of responsible arms control.
      • The use of fully autonomous weapons in combat, for example, automatically raises questions about the military’s ability to comply with the laws of war and international humanitarian law, which require belligerents to distinguish between enemy combatants and civilian bystanders. .

 

 Way forward:-

  • Mapping out the implications of the new technologies for warfare and arms control and devising effective mechanisms for their control are a mammoth undertaking that requires the efforts of many analysts and policymakers around the world.
  • More importantly, it is essential to consider how combat in cyberspace might spill over into the physical world, triggering armed combat and possibly hastening the pace of escalation.
  • As the weaponization of the pivotal technologies proceeds, it will also be useful to consider how existing agreements might be used as the basis for added measures intended to control entirely novel types of munitions.
    • The CCW can be used as a framework on which to adopt additional measures in the form of protocols controlling or banning the use of armaments, such as autonomous weapons systems, not imagined at the time of the treaty’s initial signing in 1980.
    • Some analysts have suggested that the Missile Technology Control Regime could be used as a model for a mechanism intended to prevent the proliferation of hypersonic weapons technology.

General Studies – 4


Topic – Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders.

8) In your opinion what are the qualities that a good leader should possess. Illustrate with examples from lives of great leaders of the past.(250 words) 

The hindu

Why this question

Being a leader requires a different set of values which are discussed in this article. The question will help us learn important examples from the lives of great leaders and understand what it means to be a good leader.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the qualities that manifest in a great leader and illustrate that with the help of examples from the lives of others great leaders.

Directive word

Illustrate – Here your discussion on what makes a great leader should contain examples from the lives of others great leaders.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that leadership role requires a person to imbibe in themselves a distinct set of values

Body

  • Discuss the qualities that are found in great leaders –
    • responsibility to take care of the interest of each person of the entire group. This often entails putting collective interest before her own interest or that of her preferred group.
    • The ability to accept and learn from their mistakes
    • Good communication skills etc
  • Illustrate with examples from lives of other great leaders to show that they imbibed these qualities too

Conclusion – Give your view on the state of leadership around the world and the qualities that they lack or do not lack.

Background:-

  • Leadership has been defined as a process through which a person influences and motivates others to get involved in accomplishment of a particular task. All great leaders had something unique about them and yet they were bound by greatness that helped them to lead masses to innovation and new ideologies.

 

Qualities a good leader possesses are:-

  • Responsibility:-
    • Responsibility to take care of the interest of each person of the entire group. This often entails putting collective interest before her/his own interest or that of her/his preferred group.
    • Good leader knows that nothing can be achieved without the collective expertise and wisdom of a support team.
  • Open to criticism:-
    • Great leaders don’t hold grudges, are not vindictive and do not care if they have been wronged in the past by anyone .Magnanimity isn’t just a personal moral quality but a necessary political virtue.
    • Abraham Lincoln, was exemplary in this matter. The man he appointed as his Secretary of War was earlier his superior in legal practice and had on occasion even humiliated him
    • His leadership exemplified determination and is a reminder that great leaders must remain persistent, even when others do not believe in your vision as a leader.
  • Gandhi and Nelson Mandela :-
    • Their commitment to justice and peace, is a reminder that great leaders must often sacrifice their personal comfort to accomplish their goals.
  • Good leaders have a knack of appointing persons best suited to his team who have proven ability, understand the purpose of the job, can speak their mind, and are able, without fear, to disagree with the leader if need be. Above all, they must understand the inclusive public philosophy that guides the nation. 
  • Clarity:-
    • They are clear and concise at all times–there is no question of their vision and what needs to be accomplished. This gives others the opportunity to digest their goals and decide whether or not they will support their cause.
  • Decisiveness:-
    • Once they have made up their mind, they don’t hesitate to commit–it’s all hands on deck. They show great consistency with their decisions, rarely backing out or changing their minds unless it is absolutely necessary. Being decisive shows commitment, a quality very high in demand for a great leader.
    • What made Washington great was his foresight, vision, strategic planning and his ability to lead people to success.
  • Passion:-
    • There’s nothing more inspirational than seeing someone who cares about what they do–the best leaders exhibit boundless energy and passion for what they do.