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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 MARCH 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 22 MARCH 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.


TopicRole of women and women’s organization.

1) Evaluate the contribution of contemporary women movement in women empowerment.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of contributions made by the contemporary women for the women movements  held in demand for equal rights, equity, economic and social empowerment etc. Thus the question becomes important from the point of view of GS paper I.

Key demands of the question:

The question envisages us to discuss  the phenomena of contemporary women led movements and the factors responsible for it. One has to track development of a number of feminist activities in various parts of the country justifying the contribution of contemporary women crusade in women empowerment.

Directive word

EvaluateWhen 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Briefly discuss the significance of women empowerment.

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • First explain what exactly constitute women movement?
  • Discuss in short how the role of women in Indian society has evolved over the ages.
  • Discuss the rise of feminist movement in India in 1970s and how women have been empowered through legislations and societal changes.
  • Elaborate on different streams of feminist orientations in India – one on aspects of polity, specific movements for social change in order to effect the revolutionary transformation of society, Radical Feminists, development of feminists etc.
  • Quote case studies from India.

Conclusion

Conclude with few of their achievements made in this direction and suggest upon their crucial role.

Introduction:

Women movement can be described as a prolonged and sustained movement which has clear vision , effective leadership, a set of institutionalized roles and organisation for the upliftment of women’s condition in the society. The contemporary women’s movement in India (1975–present) has played an important role in bringing gender issues to the forefront of development planning and defining feminist politics.

Body:

Many women’s organizations like National Federation of Indian Women (1954)the Samajwadi Mahila Sabha (1559) were  formed to work  for championing the  cause of Indian women. By  1970 the political  atmosphere began to change in India. Many leading political parties realized the importance of including women in their struggle for realising their objectives. It was partly on compassion and partly for securing their ends that they included women as a vanguard force.

The well-known women’s organisations which were formed during this time are the Stree Mukhti Sangkatana, the  Stree Sangharsh and Mahila Dakshata in  Delhi. Vimochana in Chennai, Baijja in MaharashtraPennurumai in Chennai. The Feminist Network in English and Manushi in Hindi were some of the first women’s newsletters and magazines to appear.

The major demands of the contemporary women movements:

  • issues such as child marriage, sex-selective abortions and dowry-related violence.
  • Equality not merely for justice but for development
  • Focus should be on economic empowerment of women
  • Child bearing should be shared as a social responsibility
  • Recognition of household work as national productivity
  • Marriage and motherhood should not be a disability
  • Emancipation of women should be linked to social emancipation
  • Special temporary measures for de facto equality.

The famous Chipko movement which was basically an ecology movement created not only a11 awareness among middle  class and  rural women, but also enunciated a  new theory that  women should be given the right   for self- determination. The Chipko movement also picturised women as being an exploited class along with nature, and any violence against nature began to be identified with violence against women.

There were three different streams of feminist orientations:

  • The Liberal Stream focuses on demanding reforms in those aspects of the polity which specifically affect women.
  • The Leftist Stream situates oppression of women within a holistic analysis of the general structure of oppression and calls for a coming together of specific movements for social change in order to effect the revolutionary transformation of society.
  • The Radical Feminists concentrate on defining the development of feminity and masculinity in society as fundamental polarities, and experimented with reclaiming traditional sources of women’s strength, creativity, and so on.

The New Delhi gang rape in 2012 has become a landmark in the fight for women’s rights and feminism in India, leading to legislative changes and moving gender to the center stage of political debates.

Though the Indian women’s movement has achieved much, activists and scholars say that there is still a long way to go. Meanwhile, the women’s movement is grappling with ever-new problems as vast economic and social changes sweep the country while old mindsets steeped in patriarchy still prevail.

In the early 21st century, millennial Indian women launched a radically new kind of feminist politics that had not been seen before. Inspired by a  vocabulary of rights and modes of protest used by the youth across the world, such as Occupy Wall Street and the Arab Spring, they initiated a series of social media campaigns against the culture of sexual violence.

The earliest campaigns – the 2003 Blank Noise Project against eve-teasing, the 2009 Pink Chaddi (underwear) movement against moral policing and the 2011 SlutWalk protest against victim-blaming – were limited in their scope but set the tone for this new mode of protest. Campaigns such the 2011 Why Loiter project on women’s right to public spaces, the 2015 Pinjra Tod (Break the Cage) movement against sexist curfew rules in student halls and the 2017 Bekhauf Azadi (Freedom without Fear) March resonated with a much larger number of women, turning this social media-led phenomenon into a true feminist movement.

The challenges that the feminist movement now faces stem from the vast diversities within India. Feminism within India is divided along class, caste, sexuality and disability, and as parts of India develop at a faster rate, increased social and economic inequality is giving rise to new problems like sexual harassment at the workplace and in public transport.

Conclusion:

As it deals with the new problems, Indian feminism is still battling with many of the old problems. The recent #MeToo campaign shows the changing face of women’s movements in India.


Topic– population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

2) Regional disparity lies at the heart of social conflicts in India. Explain. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is in the context of rising trends of regional disparity witnessed in India based on social causes. The question is based on the fact that the regional disparities in India are marked by the peculiarity of social conflicts rather than any other cause like economic or political factors, though those factors as well contribute to regional disparity.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the trends of regional disparity owing to social conflicts, one must thus analyse the factors of societal causes that are aggravating and fuelling regional disparity.

Directive word:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start by explaining what you understand by regional disparity in India, list the causes in brief.

Body

Discuss the following aspects –

  • Causes Responsible for Regional Imbalances – Historical Factors, Geographical Factors and most importantly the factors that often lead to social conflicts.
  • Substantiate the responsible factors with specific examples.
  • Suggest what needs to be done to overcome? – policy actions, government efforts, awareness, education ,special privileges to backward regions, affirmative action etc.

Conclusion

Conclude with importance of overcoming such regional disparities for the growth and development of the nation.

Introduction:

The states across India do not show a uniform growth trend. The Economic Survey pointed out that while the health trends across states are converging, the income and consumption pattern shows a sharp divergence. The progress of the country depends on the progress of each of its individual states.

Body:

Causes Responsible for Regional Imbalances :

  • Natural Resources
    • India’s different regions are endowed with different natural and human-based resources.
    • Some states such as West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh etc. are endowed with better mineral resources while others such as Punjab and Haryana have better irrigation facilities
  • Manmade / Historical Reasons
    • Neglect of some regions and preference of other regions in terms of investments and infrastructure facilities.
    • Historical factors that go back to mughal era and became prominent in British Era, have also contributed to regional inequities.
  • Government Polices
    • Faulty planning process inherited from colonial rule in the post-independence era
    • Despite of the pro-backward areas policies and programmes, considerable economic and social inequalities exist among different States
    • Inter-state disparities in growth of GSDP have increased post economic reforms period.
    • Red tapism, corruption, lack of ease of doing of business environment and political and administrative inefficiency
  • Geography
    • Factors like climate, water ways, terrain and soil are important for development
    • For e.g. coastal states have done well due to their developed ports and waterways for trade in comparison to the inland regions.
  • Social factors
    • The poor and illiterate sections of less developed regions has high fertility rate thus growing population
    • Incapacity of the states to harness rich demographic dividend due to less developed job market.
  • Economic factors
    • High input cost due to inadequate infrastructure and lack of demand driven market
    • Infrastructure like robust transport system is inefficient in poorer states.

Regional Disparities and Social Conflicts:

  • In India, the growing threat of left extremism, which has been repeatedly acknowledged as the gravest security threat to Indian state, has its roots in economic deprivation and inequality in access to resources.
  • It has also been recognised that growing social inequality corrodes social cohesion and can destabilise states. Some recent research has found that the likelihood of a country remaining mired in poverty or achieving sustainable growth has a strong relation to the average life expectancy of the citizenry. There, it is argued, that a shorter average lifespan leaves less time to reap the returns on investment in human capital.
  • Inequality also breeds economic inefficiencies and limits productivity. Research by IMF has shown that income inequality slows growth, causes financial crisis and weakens demand. In a recent report, the Asian Development Bank has similarly argued that if emerging Asia’s income distribution had not worsened over the past 20 years, the region’s rapid growth would have lifted an additional 140 million people out of extreme poverty.
  • More worryingly, rising inequality is seen as a contributing cause for the rise of authoritarian leaders, often with a divisive agenda fuelled by sectarianism, xenophobia and nationalism.
  • Rising inequality can lead to conflict, both at social and at national level. Research has shown that in contrast to oligarchic regimes; democracies avoid serious political turbulence only so long as they ensure that the relative level of inequality between the rich and the poor does not become excessively large.
  • Other studies, similarly, indicate that social conflicts are indeed likely to break out in situations where there are large inequalities between different groups. Some studies have concluded that ethnic groups with incomes much lower than a country’s average per capita income are more likely to engage in civil war.

Way forward:

  • Union and State Governments should adopt a formula for Block-wise devolution of funds targeted at more backward areas.Co-operative and Competitive Federalism must be promoted.
  • Governance needs to be particularly strengthened in more backward areas within a State. Aspirational Districts Program is a step in the right direction.
  • The concept of Special Category States was introduced in 1969 (Fifth Finance Commission) for providing special assistance to disadvantaged states with a low resource base, difficult terrain, low population density, inadequate infrastructure and non-viable state finances.
  • The Planning Commission also adopted an area-specific approach in its planning strategy and introduced multiple centrally sponsored programmes.
  • The Tribal Development Programme, the Hill Area Development Programme, the Western Ghats Development Programme were initiated, catering to geographically homogeneous and backward regions.
  • The mandate and role of the Niti Aayog should be redefined and enhanced to evolve models aimed at balanced regional development.
  • Implementation of GST will reduce disparities among the state’s leading to more “convergence”.
  • Business friendly environment in terms of single window clearances, transparency in regulation, tax benefits and providing adequate infrastructure.
  • Given the constraints of fiscal space, seeking greater engagement of multilateral agencies, both traditional and non-traditional, like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the New Development Bank as well as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would be helpful.
  • Special infrastructure programmes designed for the more backward states will have multiplier benefits.
  • Solving problems specific to backward region –Naxalism; patriarchy; discrimination based on sex and caste
  • By increasing the literacy levels and also providing basic health amenities, to a certain extent the disparities could be reduced.
  • Female literacy is the best antidote to rising total fertility rate (TFR) and female labour participation an effective way to boost per capita inc
  • Scientific and technological developments -Prudent interlinking of rivers; internet access through innovative projects like project loon; prospect of cloud seeding in drought prone areas; e-education; e-health etc
  • Skill development –less than 5% of labourers in India have any skill certification; more attention to skill development particularly in less developed states

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3) ‘Despite  various efforts for eradication of Leprosy by the government in India, India still accounts for 60% of new leprosy cases annually’. Explain by giving reasons. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article centers on the inadequacies in our bout against leprosy, which we often assume is a challenge that has been dealt with. The article doles out with a foremost health crisis that impacts the most vulnerable section of our society.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss leprosy as major health challenge still persistent in India. We need to reflects the poor state of affairs with respect to eradication of the program, the steps taken so far in dealing with leprosy, how they have managed to improve the situation from the past till present, and the new challenges that have arisen, and our view on tackling the leprosy problem.

Directive word:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Briefly highlight the leprosy challenge the country is facing and highlight the observation mentioned in the article regarding the growing incident of leprosy cases amongst the socially marginalized.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Highlight the steps taken by the government such as the National Leprosy Eradication Programme, National Health Policy, multi drug therapy treatments etc., trace from past to present.
  • Present the problems faced by leprosy patients, along with the deficiencies in government’s strategy.
  • Point out the flawed policy regime, discriminatory laws etc.
  • Discuss what needs to be done, suggest way forward – improved nationwide Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC), multi drug therapy (MDT), significance of Personal Laws Amendment Bill, 2018 etc.

Conclusion –

Emphasize that leprosy’s persistence reflects poorly on a country aspiring to become a world power, thus its high time to focus on the issue with all vigor and make efficient efforts to resolve.

Introduction:

India accounts for 60% of all new cases reported annually, with over 1.3 lakh new cases in the year 2016-17, according to the National Leprosy Eradication Programme (NLEP). India figures among 22 nations considered to have a ‘high burden’ for leprosy according to according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Body:

Present Status in India:

  • One person is diagnosed with leprosy roughly every four minutes in India, accounting for 60% of all new leprosy cases annually
  • Leprosy was officially declared eliminated as a public health concern in India in 2005 when new cases fell to less than 1 per 10,000.
  • Yet India still accounts for the largest number of leprosy affected people in the world.
  • Official data says that the number of new Leprosy cases detected during2016-17 is 135485 and the prevalence Rate per 10000 population as on March 2017 for India is 0.66.
  • The current global prevalence is estimated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to be 0.23 per 10000 population.
  • In 2017, India along with Brazil and Indonesia are the only countries where more than 10000 new cases are reported per year.
  • Two out of three new global Leprosy cases are detected in India, according to official data.

Reasons for continued high burden:

  • Major concerns include undetected new cases, problems with leprosy integration, the presence of leprosy in children, and paucity of education and training for livelihoods.
  • It is highly unlikely that India achieves elimination of Leprosy at the state or district levels any time soon.
  • Leprosy is becoming more of a disease of most marginalized and underserved populations in far-flung areas.
  • In the Adivasi community the percentage of Leprosy patients have increased from 13.3% in 2009, to an alarming 18.8%.
  • The earlier gains in containing the disease have stagnated and we are at risk of a re-emergence of Leprosy as a public health problem in substantial areas of the country.
  • Rampant stigma against the disease prevents patients from seeking medical treatment.
  • A large number of leprosy affected fall in the category of persons with disabilities as they hesitate to come forward for

Government Interventions

  • India is currently running one of the largest leprosy eradication programs in the world, the National Leprosy Eradication Program (NLEP).
  • The National Health Policy 2017 (NHP) has elimination of Leprosy as a national level target.
  • Leprosy Case Detection Campaign (LCDC) is being implemented by the Union Health Ministry.
  • SPARSH Leprosy Awareness Campaign (SLAC) was launched on 30th January 2017 to promote awareness and address the issues of stigma and discrimination.
  • Since 1984, leprosy has been completely curable at any stage with multi drug therapy (MDT)—a combination of Rifampicin, Dapsone and Clofazimine—for a period of six months or one year depending on the severity of the disease
  • The Lok Sabha passed the Personal Laws Amendment Bill, 2018, removing leprosy as a ground for divorce.
  • A public interest litigation filed by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy has challenged 119 statutory provisions that continue to provide legal sanction to discrimination against people affected by leprosy.

Way forward:

  • The emphasis must shift to more policy level changes and sustaining quality of services.
  • The government must implement the key recommendations of the Law Commission on rights and special privileges.
  • To reduce the burden, it is important to develop a multi-pronged approach that includes public education campaign, sustainable livelihood programmes, skill training workshops and generate employment, identify interventions to dispel stigma and mainstream the affected people.
  • Continued training of medical officers, nurses, physiotherapists, and paramedical workers about quality diagnosis and treatment of leprosy must also be given prime focus.
  • Public education on the fact that leprosy can be cured and is not to be feared is imperative.
  • Those who have been cured at an early stage and can work often need to given opportunities to learn skills and trades that would enable them to work.

Conclusion:

Mahatma Gandhi had an enduring concern for people afflicted with leprosy. His vision was not just to treat them, but also to  bring them to mainstream to our society. India, which is among the endemic countries, has been advised to include strategic interventions in national plans to meet the new targets, such as screening all close contacts of persons affected by leprosy; promoting a shorter and uniform treatment regimen, and incorporating specific interventions against stigmatisation and discrimination.


Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

4) The recognition of the disputed area of Golan Heights would mark a major shift in US policy. Critically analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The question is in the recent move of US President Trump backing Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights, a long-disputed piece of territory. Thus the recognition of the disputed area would mark a major shift in US policy, thus it becomes important for us to understand the nitty-gritties of the situation from geopolitical angle.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must revolve around the significance of Golan heights, Israel had captured much of the Golan from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed it, this move was not endorsed internationally. And amidst such a situation the marked policy shift of US around the Israeli Prime Minister’s re-election campaign calls for evaluation of the significance.

Directive word:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, 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, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with quoting the locational facts of Golan heights.

Body:

  • Draw a map of the location, if possible mark some relevant information showing geo-political significance of the region.
  • Then move onto discussing strategic importance of Golan heights. Presently 2/3rd area of Golan Heights is under the control of Israel. Remaining part is under control of Syria.
  • Importance of Golan Heights: It provides strategic significance to Israel as Damascus (Capital of Syria) is clearly visible from Golan Heights. The Soil of Golan Heights is so fertile that it is useful to cultivate Vine yards and Orchards.
  • Then discuss the policy shift and its implication on the overall equation of geopolitics in the region.

Conclusion:

Conclude with possible consequences and realignment of global powers.

Introduction:

The Golan Heights, a rocky plateau in south-western Syria, has a political and strategic significance which belies its size. Israel seized the Golan Heights from Syria in the closing stages of the 1967 Six-Day War. Most of the Syrian Arab inhabitants fled the area during the conflict. An armistice line was established and the region came under Israeli military control. Almost immediately Israel began to settle the Golan.

US President Donald Trump said recently it was time to back Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

Body:

The recognition of the disputed area of Golan Heights would mark a major shift in US policy.

  • Southern Syria and the capital Damascus, about 60 km (40 miles) north, are clearly visible from the top of the Heights.
  • The heights give Israel an excellent vantage point for monitoring Syrian movements. The topography provides a natural buffer against any military thrust from Syria.
  • The area is also a key source of water for an arid region. Rainwater from the Golan’s catchment feeds into the Jordan River. The area provides a third of Israel’s water supply.
  • The land is fertile, and the volcanic soil is used to cultivate vineyards and orchards and raise cattle. The Golan is also home to Israel’s only ski resort.

Challenges posed by the recognition:

  • Combined with last year’s Jerusalem declaration, the decision could encourage Israel to begin annexing territory in the West Bank. This would permanently extinguish any remaining possibility for a two-state solution.
  • United Nations Resolution 242 passed immediately after 1967 war and unanimously to endorse a “land for peace” agreement that would exchange Arab peace and recognition of Israel for a return of occupied territory. Neither side wanted to act first. As a result of the diplomatic stalemate, Israel continued the occupations and began building Jewish settlements on the newly controlled lands.
  • Syrians in the occupied Golan face calculated Israeli efforts to restrict their building and land use, destroy their enterprises, cleanse their Arab culture, manipulate their Syrian identity, and suffocate their freedom of movement
  • The decision(to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to relocate the American embassy to the contested city) reversed decades of consistent U.S. policy that encouraged negotiations as the avenue to resolving territorial disputes, including on the status of Jerusalem.
  • Palestinian leaders have since refused to meet with American officials, meaning that their voices will be notably excluded from Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan.
  • Russian President may use this as a pretext to justify Russia’s annexation of Crimea. China is already claiming South China Sea. Their actions may be emboldened.
  • It may also encourage Pakistan to take similar action in PoK region in India

Conclusion:

Thus, the shift in American policy would harm the Middle Eastern peace and put an end to the two-state solution. It also goes against the rule-based order of the world threatening world harmony. The possible changes in the geopolitics make it imperative for India to deal more diplomatically with the Middle East nations.


Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate./ Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) Discuss the significance of resolution for sustainable nitrogen management led by India in the United Nations Environment Assembly. (250 words)

Reference

why this question:

In a significant first, India piloted resolutions on two important global environment issues relating to Single-use Plastics and Sustainable Nitrogen management at the fourth session of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) which was held in Nairobi recently. Thus the question is important to ponder upon from the exam point of view.

Key demand of the question:

The global nitrogen use efficiency is low, resulting in pollution by reactive nitrogen which threatens human health, eco system services, and contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. Thus the answer must appreciate the significance of such a step by providing facts to justify the need for sustainable carbon management.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

Introduce by appreciating India’s initiative to lead such an initiative and that too on a global platform.

Body:

In brief discuss the following points :

  • What do you understand by Sustainable Nitrogen management?
  • Discuss the salient features of Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management – recognizes the multiple pollution threats resulting from anthropogenic reactive nitrogen, acknowledges the benefits of nitrogen, notes the initiatives like the Global Partnership on Nutrient Management (GPNM), International Nitrogen Management System as a science support system for policy development across the nitrogen cycle and the initiatives taken by South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) etc.
  • Indian scenario; efforts India is taking in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such a step and way forward.  

Introduction:

Nitrogen is found in all living organisms. In fact, it is like carbon and is indispensable for survival of life on Earth. The resolution for sustainable nitrogen management in the United Nations Environment Assembly-4, which for the first time was led by India, has made experts believe that it can help establish an international coordination for nitrogen similar to what exists for carbon.

Body:

Rationale behind the Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management:

Nitrogen is essential to all life on Earth as it forms an important component of life-building and propagating biochemical molecules like proteins. But overuse in agriculture in the form of fertilisers and other fields have made this important element more bane than boon. This is why many scientists have called nitrogen the “new carbon”.

Situation in India:

  • India is under the grip of nitrogen pollution, finds the country’s first assessment on the impacts of the nutrient.
  • The nitrogen (N) being used for agricultural purposes is rampant but also increasing emissions from the transport boom in the country.
  • India consumes 17 Mt (million tonnes) of nitrogen fertiliser annually as per the data of the Fertiliser Association of India.
  • 67 per cent remains in the soil and seeps into the surrounding environment causing a cascade of environmental and health impacts.
  • India as a country was using and emitting huge amount of nitrogen, and its related toxic components.
  • The India Nitrogen Assessment found that nitrates not only affected surface water but also polluted groundwater sources.
  • Nitrogen in the form nitrous oxide (N2O) is also a greenhouse gas (GHG) and a fast rising contributor to global climate change.

The salient features of Resolution on Sustainable Nitrogen Management:

  • The resolution titled, ‘Sustainable Nitrogen Management’ , recognizes the multiple pollution threats resulting from anthropogenic reactive nitrogen, with adverse effects on the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments and contributing to air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and highlights ways to better manage nitrogen.
  • The resolution supports exploring options for better management of the global nitrogen cycle to achieve the SDGs, including through the “sharing of assessment methodologies, relevant best practices and guidance documents and emerging technologies for recovery and recycling of nitrogen and other such nutrients.”
  • The resolution recognised the threats of pollution due to human emissions of reactive nitrogen on “the terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments”.
  • It also acknowledged the benefits of nitrogen use for food and energy production.
  • It noted that global use of reactive nitrogen is extremely inefficient as 80 per cent of all nitrogen used is lost to the environment creating a cascade of impacts, from pollution affecting human health and ecosystem services to green house gas emissions which lead to climate change and also ozone depletion.
  • The UNEA resolution did recognise the various initiatives taken by organisations around the world on nitrogen pollution including the South Asia Cooperative Environment Programme(SACEP) and the International Nitrogen Management System.
  • The member states will “report on the progress achieved in the implementation of this resolution in UNEA-6.”

Steps taken in India to curb Nitrogen pollution:

  • Indian government might have inadvertently taken certain steps like mandating neem-coated urea production which can abate a crisis.
  • Neem-coated urea releases nitrogen at a slower pace giving plants time to absorb it, hence leading to an optimal usage.
  • Reducing the use of nitrogen fertilisers and increasing that of recycled manures offers the prospect for Indian farmers to produce food more securely and profitably, while saving the government a huge amount of money.
  • One of the most prominent ways of doing this is so-called ‘precision agriculture’, which uses hi-tech approaches to apply just the right amount of nitrogen at just the right time for the plant’s needs.

Way forward:

  • The establishment of “an intergovernmental coordination mechanism on nitrogen policies, based primarily on existing networks and platforms and consider the case for developing an integrated nitrogen policy”.
  • A coordinated effort from various UN organisations like the Food and Agricultural Organization for better management of the nitrogen cycle on the planet.
  • This would mean sharing of methodologies, practices and technologies for recycle and recovery of nitrogen and other such nutrients to ensure the Sustainable Development Goals are met.
  • Global bodies should coordinate on data sharing and calculating the benefits of successful nitrogen management.
  • member countries must take all the necessary national and regional initiatives to support this global initiative to prevent further accumulation of reactive nitrogen compounds that damage our health, biodiversity and climate

Conclusion:

The International Nitrogen Initiative (INI) which has been at the forefront on the subject of nitrogen pollution welcomed the UNEA4 resolution for Sustainable Nitrogen Management. It further “appreciated the Indian leadership and South Asian unity for global action on this very important global topic.”


Topic:  Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

6) Terrorism emanating from Pakistan and the China-Pakistan axis working against India are two of the major geo-political challenges facing the country. Discuss(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article is in the backdrop of recently placed hold on the listing of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)’s leader Masood Azhar at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) by China.

Key demand of the question:

The question must explain the dichotomy that in India there is no stomach for any kind of dialogue with Pakistan. And yet with China, every time there is a pushback and this is pretty much when China refuses to list Masood Azhar despite the kind of push India has made diplomatically after the Pulwama attack. Thus in such a background one is expected to analyse geopolitics amidst the current situation and threats of terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

Directive word:

DiscussThis 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:

Re- assert the importance of TB elimination in India.

Body:

Explain Terrorism emanating from Pakistan and the China-Pakistan axis working against India are two of the major geo-political challenges facing the country, then move onto explain the other geo-political challenges to India including the uncertainty around the incoming Donald Trump-led US administration’s policies vis-a-vis China, Pakistan and India. Discuss how Bilateral ties between India and Pakistan are rock-bottom and explain the need to change it by imposing economic and political sanctions. Then discuss what should be India’s stand in such context.

Conclusion:

While India’s geo-political challenges will have to be dealt with by itself primarily, it would help if there is clarity on position of China and US vis-à-vis India and Pakistan.

Introduction:

China again placed a hold on the listing request for Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM)’s leader Masood Azhar at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The JeM has carried out many terrorist attacks on Indian soil with the most recent being Pulwama attack where more than 40 jawans were martyred.

Body:

  • Terror from across the north-western borders:
    • Terrorism emanating from Pakistan and the China-Pakistan axis working against India are two of the major geo-political challenges facing the country.
    • The increasing terror attacks on Indian military forces bases like the Pathankot air force station in Punjab and the Indian army’s garrison in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir is guided from the terrorist base camps set up in the PoK region.
    • Other geo-political challenges to India include the uncertainty around the incoming Donald Trump-led US administration’s policies vis-a-vis China, Pakistan and India.
    • Pakistan is devolving into a lesser challenge given that it was a “derived power”, that is most of its heft – economic and political – is derived from China.
  • China’s support to Pakistan:
    • Pakistan has been given military and nuclear arms support by China in the past besides economic support.
    • With the major investment in terms of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor being announced, China is only underlining its support for Pakistan.
    • China is supplanting the US as the biggest supporter of Pakistan.
    • China has also been making inroads into India’s neighbourhood like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka besides the Maldives, with investments.
    • Beijing’s increasing cooperation with Russia, seen as a stalwart partner of India till recently is also a concern to India.
  • India-Pakistan relations:
    • The bilateral relations between India and Pakistan has hit rock-bottom with India denying talks until Pakistan state stops state-sponsored terrorism.
    • The recent moves of India to cancel MFN Status to Pakistan and impose duties upto 200% have virtually choked the economic ties too.
    • Bilateral relations stalled in 2016 following the Pathankot and Uri attacks.
    • The inaction of Pakistan towards the non-state actors on its soil has further added to the mistrust between neighbours.
    • With the rampant use of high calibre weapons such as mortars and even artillery in the borders in Jammu and Kashmir, civilian casualties and the destruction of their habitats have risen steadily.
    • Pakistan has violated the ceasefire over 600 times so far this year, the highest in the last one decade.
    • In September 2016, India launched ‘surgical strikes’ as retaliation for the Uri attack but this has not reduced infiltration.

Way forward:

  • Managing the discontent and law and order problems in Kashmir, would give Pakistan less scope to interfere and cause problems.
  • India should seek global co-operation in cornering Pakistan and forcing it to take action against terror breeding grounds. Moves from FATF to blacklist Pakistan, USA’s wrap against misuse of F-16s etc.
  • India should use its bilateral goodwill with other permanent members in the UNSC to push China to blacklist Mazood Azhar.
  • The India-China dialogue which has terror on board should be used to explain and convince China to stop vetoing the proposal.
  • Other common forums like BRICS, SCO where China is also a member-partner should be used to put pressure on China to act against Global Terrorism.
  • This must be bolstered with Dialogues at the highest level to track 2 diplomacies with Pakistan
  • More avenues for people to people contact need to be encouraged between India and Pak.

Conclusion:

There is a need to embrace an overarching strategic stability regime and to shun aggressive security doctrines to reduce the possibility of a nuclear conflict. The problems of terrorism and Non-State Actors need to be addressed jointly through institutionalised mechanisms. Indeed, India should focus on a different type of a surgical strike; it’s a strike that could push Pakistan out of its terror past and military dependency.


Topic:   Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker sections.

 7) It is often said that poverty leads to corruption. However there is no dearth of instances where affluent and powerful people indulge in corruption in a big way. What are the basic causes of corruption among people? Support your answer with examples.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why this question:

The question is based on debate of direct linkage between poverty and corruption vs the rich and corruption. The question revolves around corruption; its causes and consequences.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail the dimensions of corruption, causes and consequences. You must state your opinion and debate on the question with suitable examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with importance of virtues such as honesty, integrity.

Body:

Discuss how the fact that poverty leads to corruption is often seen through a myopic lens as evidences suggest that there is no direct linkage between poverty and corruption. A poor person can lead his life with honesty and integrity. On the other hand, an affluent person can indulge in corruption because of greed. The scams made by politicians , the rich and affluent, example Nirav Modi and PNB scam, Vijay Mallya etc are some examples to aid your opinion. Justify how basic cause of corruption is not lack of resource, rather it is lack of virtues. Conclude with consequences of corruption.

Conclusion:

Re-assert  the importance of virtues in leading a corrupt free life.

Introduction:

India ranks 78 out of 180 countries in the “Corruption Perceptions Index 2018” prepared by global watchdog Transparency International. Not only has it held the economy back from reaching new heights, but rampant corruption has stunted the country’s development.

Body:

Corruption is a result of both politico-administrative issue as well as an issue of ignorance of the citizens. The basic causes of corruption are:

  • Lack of Political will: Many politicians owe their careers and status to corruption and few of them, if any, will take a stand against it, either for fear of upsetting their own careers or the political status quo generally.
  • Use of black money in elections: According to various studies, a Lok Sabha election candidate ends up spending at least 30 Cr. as against the legal limit of only Rs. 70 lakh. In the last 10 year the declared expenditure has increased by more than 400% for the LS elections while 69% of their income came from unknown sources.
  • Criminalization of politics: More than 30% of the legislators in the country have pending criminal cases against them. When law breakers become the law makers, rule of law is the first casualty.
  • Monopoly of government controlled institutions on certain goods and services delivery. Example: Railways, PDS
  • Lack of transparent laws and processes: Complex laws, delayed judicial processes add to the woes.
  • Poor salaries to Bureaucrats: low wages in the civil service encourage petty corruption, and the imbalance between the supply of, and demand for, public services likewise creates opportunities for corruption.
  • Colonial bureaucracy: The bureaucracy essentially remains colonial in nature characterized by 19th century laws e.g. Police Act 1861, complex rules, wide discretion, secrecy, moral responsibility devoid of legal accountability and the ivory tower attitude
  • Failure of education system: The value education has failed miserably in India to inculcate the value of empathy, compassion, integrity, equity etc. in the young generation. The lifestyle changes induced by the globalization have further degraded the moral fabric of the society. The low level of education found in underdeveloped countries maintains citizens in a state of ignorance of their rights, barring them from participating in political life.
  • Social discrimination: The poor and marginalized due to their lack of awareness and high dependence on the state become the easy target of exploitation by corrupt officials
  • Changes in lifestyle: Increasing shift towards individualization and materialism has led to increased penchant for a luxurious lifestyle. To earn more money people are willing to adopt even the unethical means with no consideration of others.

Way forward:

  • Strengthening the institutional and legislative framework including the Prevention of Corruption Act, an independent Central Vigilance Commission, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Judges (Inquiry) Act, the Lok Pal and Lok Ayukta Act 2013, Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2011, Prevention of Money /Laundering Act, Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act which cover a number of areas of criminalization and bribery.
  • Accurate, publicly available information is essential. Example: Implementation of Right to Information Act in its true letter and spirit.
  • E-governance initiatives: e-gov apart from advancing the good governance objectives of accountability and transparency also seeks to reduce the manual interface between state and citizen thus preventing the incidences of bribery.
  • Citizen Charters and Public Service delivery and Grievance Redress Acts in states: Many states like Karnataka (SAKALA initiative) and Rajasthan have enacted such acts to make bureaucracy legally accountable for delivering quality service within stipulate time periods. Bihar is the only state to have a Grievance Redress Act covering all departments.
  • Electoral reforms: Banning the cash donation to political party and imposing limits on the overall expenditure of the political parties. Empowering ECI by giving legal force to MCC and making paid news a criminal offence
  • Bottom-up coalitions work, and work better than individual resistance. Example: Anna Hazare movement – India against Corruption.
  • Social sanctions and economic incentives work better than legal action. Example: Rewarding those who report corruption.