Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 MARCH 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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.


Topic: Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1) How does the world water crisis affect women and girls? Critically analyse and  How can this disproportionate toll on women be addressed?(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of World Water Day celebrated yesterday across the globe yesterday. The article provides for detailed analysis of the water crisis and its affect on Women and girls across the world.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must bring out that carrying pots might be beautiful and widespread in popular culture, but it is a crime and outrage in the 21st century that women and girls are still carrying 20 litres on their heads for kilometres every day. Answer must examine the serious implications of water scarcity on women and suggest measures to overcome this ill effect.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Briefly discuss the interrelationship between water scarcity and vis-à-vis women’s status and role.

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • First highlight Globally, in eight out of 10 households lacking water provision, it is women and girls who bear this responsibility.
  • the burden of collecting, storing, and managing it usually falls on women and girls in most families around the world.
  • Quote case studies from India- how is it different in rural and urban areas.
  • Discuss – Water scarcity and its serious implications on women’s health; lack of sanitation facilities leading to school dropout of girls.
  • Suggest what should be done – global efforts, policy measures etc.

Conclusion

Conclude that its is unfortunate to see that  water does seem to have gender and the debilitating impact such politics have on women’s lives and livelihoods need deliberation and solutions that are permanent.

Introduction:

Water connects every aspect of life. For a large number of the world’s population, access to clean and safe water remains a major challenge. Even as recently as in 2015, at least 844 million people across the world — 12 percent of the global population — were still lacking basic drinking water services. These people still rely on unprotected wells, rivers and springs or take water directly from surface sources.

Body:

Water Crisis situation across the globe:

  • Globally, in eight out of 10 households lacking water provision, it is women and girls who bear this responsibility.
  • 1 in 9 people lack access to safe water and 1 in 3 people lack access to a toilet.
  • “Day Zero,” when at least a million homes in the city of Cape Town, South Africa, will no longer have any running water, was in July.
  • 200 million hours women and children spend every day finding and collecting water.
  • 266 million hours women and girls spend every day finding a place to go.
  • $18.5 Billion economic benefits each year from avoided deaths if there was universal access to basic water and sanitation

Impacts on Women:

  • For women, the water crisis is personal. They are responsible for finding a resource their families need to survive – for drinking, cooking, sanitation and hygiene.
  • Water scarcity has serious implications on women’s health.
  • When schools fail to provide adequate water and sanitation facilities, one of the reasons girls drop out is the difficulty in maintaining menstrual hygiene.
  • When their homes do not provide access either, girls and women often limit their water and food intake — forced to spend entire days without relieving themselves or awaiting the privacy that darkness provides.
  • When they have to relieve themselves outdoors, they run the risk of contracting diseases like diarrhoea, hepatitis, and cholera which are worsened by under-nutrition.
  • Many-a-time, they may be bound by social norms to not venture out of their domestic spaces. They are also vulnerable to sexual assault when they do.
  • The World Health Organization recommends 20-50 litres of water per person per day for drinking, cooking and washing. That amounts to hauling between 44 and 110 pounds of water daily for use by each household member.
  • Poor women may need to make multiple trips with heavy water pots. The massive number of hours and the labour that these girls and women spend in simply collecting, providing, and managing water for their households/communities distorts their lives, and the labour spent is unaccounted for and
  • In Asia and Africa, women walk an average of 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) per day collecting water. Carrying such loads over long distances can result in strained backs, shoulders and necks, and other injuries if women have to walk over uneven and steep terrain or on busy roads.
  • In India, water crises usually emerge because access to and control over water is differentiated due to caste, gender, and wealth. Thus, the water crisis is a socially mediated one, with water often flowing uphill to money and power.

Measures needed:

  • Access to water is usually linked with unequal social, gender and power relations as well as to distortions in policies, planning and management structures.
  • An initiative like Swatch Bharat Mission which aims to build infrastructure for sanitation and drinking water has become bottom-up and people-driven.
  • Treating the greywater and reusing it needs to be adopted by countries like Israel (upto 85%). It could be used to recharge depleted aquifers and use on crops.
  • Israel has also eliminated water-thirsty crops like cotton and made major improvements in water efficiency to free up more water for population growth.
  • Smart, simple and sustainable solutions like Watercredit, rainwater harvesting, watershed development needs to be driven by the policies of the state.
  • Technologies capable of converting non-drinkable water into fresh, consumable water, offering a potential solution to the impending water crisis are needed. Example: Desalination technologies in Coastal areas, Water-sterilization in polluted water areas.
  • The media has a key role to play in ensuring that conversations and decisions on resources like water include a woman’s perspective.
  • Men and women from all walks of life need to be included in such conversations and, more importantly, governments and political leaders should be held to account for this situation.

Conclusion:

The lack of access to water is a violation of poor women and men’s human rights. Pictures of women carrying pots may be beautiful and widespread in popular culture, but it is a crime and outrage in the 21st century. Women are on the front line of the struggle, and improving the lives of the millions of females impacted by poverty will require a colossal international effort.   


    

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

2) Discuss the issues involved in identification of poor in India. What needs to be done for removing the flaws associated with identifying poor? (250 words)

epw

Why this question:

The question is about recognizing the fact that there are issues involved in identifying poor in India, and this is a major flaw in the system that hinders the benefits that our policies and schemes aim to give the poor of the country.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the issues associated with identification of poor in the country and what measures are required to be taken to do away with.

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

Start by explaining how big a problem identification of poor is in India.

Body

Discuss the following aspects –

  • What are the available concepts in India for identifying poor? – elaborate here on the evolution of poverty line, chronology of events etc.
  • Discuss the Pre-cursor to Official Measurement of Poverty.
  • Poverty Estimation by Dandekar and Rath, various Expert Group to Review the Methodology for Measurement of Poverty.
  • Suggest what needs to be done to overcome? – more focus on research, doing away with obsolete methods etc.

Conclusion

Conclude with importance of methods to identify poor and its relevance in economic and social development of the country.

Introduction:

Poverty refers to a situation when people are deprived of basic necessities of life. It is often characterized by inadequacy of food, shelter and clothes. Absolute poverty is a having a lack of basic resources, and relative poverty is more to do with income inequality. Poverty in India is measured based on consumer expenditure surveys of the National Sample Survey Organisation. A poor household is defined as one with an expenditure level below a specific poverty line.

Body:

The available concepts in India for identifying poor:

  • In 1962, the Planning Commission constituted a working group to estimate poverty nationally, and it formulated separate poverty lines for rural and urban areas – of Rs 20 and Rs 25 per capita per year respectively.
  • VM Dandekar and N Rath made the first systematic assessment of poverty in India in 1971, based on National Sample Survey (NSS) data from 1960-61.They argued that the poverty line must be derived from the expenditure that was adequate to provide 2250 calories per day in both rural and urban areas. This generated debate on minimum calorie consumption norms while estimating poverty and variations in these norms based on age and sex.
  • In 1979, a task force constituted by the Planning Commission for the purpose of poverty estimation, chaired by YK Alagh, constructed a poverty line for rural and urban areas on the basis of nutritional requirements. It was based on expenditure for buying food worth 2,400 calories in rural areas, and 2,100 calories in urban areas.
  • In 2011, the Suresh Tendulkar Committee defined the poverty line on the basis of monthly spending on food, education, health, electricity and transport. According to this estimate, a person who spends Rs. 27.2 in rural areas and Rs. 33.3 in urban areas a day are defined as living below the poverty line. For a family of five that spends less than Rs. 4,080 and Rs. 5,000 in rural and urban areas respectively is considered below the poverty line. This has been criticised for fixing the poverty line too low.
  • According to a committee headed by former Reserve Bank governor C Rangarajan, there were 363 million people, or 29.5% of India’s 1.2 billion people, who lived in poverty in 2011-12. The Rangarajan panel considered people living on less than Rs. 32 a day in rural areas and Rs. 47 a day in urban areas as poor.

Issues with the Poverty Line Concept:

  • Even though based on calorie approach, the poverty line is not a true indicator of malnourishment because of interpersonal variations in good habits.
  • The notion of absolute poverty is inadequate because relative poverty is also an equally important.
  • The poverty line, quantified as a number is reductionist. It does not capture important aspects of poverty — ill health, low educational attainments, geographical isolation, ineffective access to law, powerlessness in civil society, caste and/or gender based disadvantages, etc.
  • The poverty line provides the conceptual rationalization for looking at the poor as a “category” to be taken care of through targeted ameliorative programmes, ignoring structural inequalities and other factors which generate, sustain, and reproduce poverty.
  • Poverty line derived from personal consumption patterns and levels do not take into account items of social consumption such as basic education and health, drinking water supply, sanitation, environmental standards, etc. in terms of normative requirements or effective access.
  • In a country of India’s continental size and diversity, poverty line based on aggregation at all-India level ignores State-specific variations in consumption patterns and/or prices.

Way Forward:

  • Socio Economic Census today actually is a multi-dimensional poverty line and all the poverty line that we had been drawing with before this were single monolithic poverty line and this represents a radical break from the past.
  • The objective is to collect socio economic data and rank the households and state governments can prepare BPL list.
  • There needs to be more focus on research, doing away with obsolete methods.
  • Use of technology like Big Data and data analysis is necessary to find the true levels of poverty in India.

Topic: Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3) With increasing young leaders taking centre stage in the electoral discourse, Do you think the time has come to revisit the minimum age for contesting Lok Sabha elections? Provide your opinion and examine the pros and cons associated.(250 words)

Indian Polity by Lakshmikant, D D Basu

Why this question:

Under Article 84(b) and article 173(b) no one below 25 years of age can become candidates eligible for Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections. However, with youngsters like Hardik Patel, Kanhaiya Kumar and Shehila Rashid etc. gaining the limelight in recent past much before their attainment of the requisite age for election as MP/MLA, the issue has come to the forefront.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the constitutional provisions associated with Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly elections, the facts associated with minimum age provision, explain the interlinkages with rising trends of increased youth participation.

Directive word:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

Introduce by highlighting the known provisions of constitution in this context.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • High spot the increased participation of youth these days in politics.
  • Discuss the pros and cos associated.
  • Explain India is a young country with average age of 27 years while currently that of Parliament members is 63, thus explain how reduction of age will help in plugging the generation gap and to be in sync with the present generation and addressing their issues.
  • Measure the associated issues that can accompany the change in minimum age revision to a lower age.

Conclusion –

Emphasize the importance and suggest a way forward.

Introduction:

In the Indian Constitution, Article 84 (b) provides that minimum age criteria for becoming a candidate for the Lok Sabha is 25 years. For a candidate to the Legislative Assembly, Article 173 (b) prescribes a similar age limit of 25 years. As per recent census figures, more than half our population is under the age of 25. 

Body:

In January 2010, the Supreme Court was confronted with a public interest litigation, which sought to reduce the age limit for contesting Lok Sabha and legislative assembly elections from 25 years to 21. Three decades ago Parliament passed a constitutional amendment bringing down the age for voting from 21 to 18.

Pros of reducing the minimum age criteria:

  • The very concept of establishing a specific minimum age for voting or contesting elections is arbitrary, considering that people mature at different times in their lives.
  • Ideally, an election should determine which candidate presents the best or most convincing idea, the age is immaterial.
  • The average age of MPs in India is 56 years where as 50% of the population is below 25 years of age. Reducing the age would close the generation gap to an extent.
  • 50% of the population is below the age of 25. Reducing the minimum age will widen the pool for the electors.
  • Many developed countries with democracies have a younger age limit for the contesters like Germany (18), UK (18), Israel(21) etc.
  • Young people can understand the problems more effectively of masses of young India and greater representation of youth issues at the policy making level.
  • It will encourage Politics as a career among the youth.
  • Young politicians are more energetic, enthusiastic and passionate which puts them in better position to dedicate themselves for the nation.
  • They possess the capacity of resilience and so they govern their constituency in a systematic way.
  • The Gen Next is much well connected in terms of technology and hence can have better access to the people.

Cons of reducing the minimum age criteria:

  • The main argument supporting the status quo has been that most voters under 18 and candidates under 21 would not be sufficiently mature to use those rights properly, because they would—have insufficient understanding of the issues, be more likely to act irresponsibly, and be more easily influenced by others.
  • In the medical community, the growing consensus is that the brain is not fully finished developing until about age 25. The prefrontal cortex or the part of the brain that deals with controlling impulses and imparting organised behaviour isn’t fully developed.
  • Young people tend to be easily swayed Because of their lack of experience they are likely to be manipulated by others.
  • Youngsters having radical ideologies could create law and order issues harming the peace in the society
  • It might wean away the mind of the youth from their academic goals which would be a loss.
  • The issue of political funding might be a problem for these candidates.
  • Possibilities of conflicts may arise between the old and young politicians.
  • Also, the youth may be too naïve to deal with the older bureaucracy. This would lead to inefficiency in administration.

Other challenges facing Indian politics which might hinder reducing the age limit are intraparty democracy, anti-defection provisions, money power, anonymous corporate funding, and dynasty politics, among others

Way forward:

  • As a society, the whole process of fixing the age limit must depend on the age demographics.
  • The Parliament must sit down and amend the current rules, and come to an agreement which will allow candidates from the age demographic with the highest numbers in this country to find some degree of representation in our temples of democracy.
  • Developing the younger generation by making them participate in events like National Young Leaders Programme, Neighbourhood Youth Parliament can give them a learning of true happenings.
  • Lowering the minimum age to 22 makes more sense atleast in regional elections to encourage better democracy.
  • Innovative solution could be reserving some seats for the people of age lower than 25 and having the rest of the seats for candidates above age of 25.

Topic:  Issues related to health.

4) Discuss what is West Nile Virus; its causes and spread along with Long-Term Outcomes of Human West Nile Virus Infection. Suggest what can be India’s best defence.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article captures stock of the public health measures for controlling West Nile Virus. It reports upon the case study  from Malappuram District of Kerala suffering from West Nile Virus (WNV).

Key demand of the question:

Discuss causes, spread, transmission, symptoms, prevention and treatment of west Nile Virus, discuss what measures should India take to prevent the prevalence of such disease epidemics.

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 stating the current conditions of the prevalence of the virus in India.

Body:

In brief discuss – what is west Nile virus?, origin, causes of the virus manifest. Then discuss its spread , methods of transmission, What is India’s preparedness with respect to it. What should India do to manage such epidemics and mitigate them well within time.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward – suggest steps to overcome.  

Introduction:

Commonly found in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, North America and West Asia, the West Nile Virus (WNV) is a viral infection which is typically spread by mosquitoes and can cause neurological disease as well as death in people. A section of the media has reported that a seven year old boy from Malappuram District of Kerala is suffering from a West Nile Virus (WNV).

Body:

First detected in a woman in West Nile district of Uganda in 1937, the virus was later identified in birds (crows and columbiformes) in Nile delta region in 1953. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the virus is a member of the flavivirus genus and belongs to the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flaviviridae. The largest outbreaks of the virus were recorded in Greece, Israel, Romania, Russia and USA.

Transmission of the WNV:

  • Human infection is most often the result of bites from infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds, which circulate the virus in their blood for a few days.
  • The virus eventually gets into the mosquito’s salivary glands. During later blood meals (when mosquitoes bite), the virus may be injected into humans and animals, where it can multiply and possibly cause illness.
  • The virus may also be transmitted through contact with other infected animals, their blood, or other tissues.
  • A very small proportion of human infections have occurred through organ transplant, blood transfusions and breast milk. There is one reported case of transplacental (mother-to-child) WNV transmission.
  • Horses, just like humans, are “dead-end” hosts, meaning that while they become infected, they do not spread the infection.
  • Symptomatic infections in horses are also rare and generally mild, but can cause neurologic disease, including fatal encephalomyelitis.

India’s preparedness with respect to WNV:

  • It is highly prevalent in India. Febrile illness and encephalitis cases in epidemic form were observed in Udaipur district of Rajasthan, Buldhana, Marathwada and Khandesh districts of Maharashtra.
  • The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and officials from National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has reviewed the Kerala’s preparedness and actions taken to deal with West Nile Fever (WNF).
  • The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is an institute under the Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Kerala has been advised to follow the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme guidelines of personal protective measures to prevent mosquito bite. It has also been recommended to carry out vector surveillance and control measures
  • There is no definite treatment of the disease. Prevention of the disease can be done by preventing mosquito bite, using repellents and wearing full sleeves.
  • There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for the virus but medical practitioners advice that it is important to recognize the disease and manage the symptoms.

Way forward:

  • Health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed WNV infection, or handling specimens from them, should strictly follow standard infection control precautions.
  • The samples taken from people and animals with suspected WNV infection should be handled by trained staff working in suitably equipped laboratories.
  • The PHCs should be aware of such incidences and quickly help in reporting to the higher authorities.
  • ASHAs and ANMs can help in better co-ordination at the grass-roots level.

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

5) Should India jump on the bandwagon of engaging the Taliban or continue to hold arrangements with the government in Kabul? Critically analyse amidst the rising valid concerns. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The India Afghanistan relationship is not a simple bilateral engagement. India’s Afghan policy is driven by many extraneous factors such as its geographical constraints, its search for a transit route to Central Asia through Afghanistan and Iran, its troubled relationship with Pakistan and the growing threat of terrorism in India and Afghanistan and the recent coming of Trump’s policy etc.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must revolve around the need for India’s big role in engaging with Afghanistan and India’s stance towards Taliban. Emphasize that India has a greater role to play in reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan and thus India can not lack ambition in this direction.

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 narration of recent geopolitics involved in Afghanistan’s current government’s engagement with that of other countries excluding India.

Body:

  • Draw a map of the location, mark some relevant information showing geo-political significance of Afghanistan.
  • Then move onto discussing the current relationship between India and Afghan also trace the same historically.
  • Handling Taliban – what should be India’s stand?
  • Then discuss the policy shift of US and its implication on the overall equation of geopolitics in the region.
  • What should be India’s role in current context.

Conclusion:

Conclude by re- asserting India’s significant role in Afghan and Taliban affair.

Introduction:

India’s Afghan policy is driven by many extraneous factors such as its geographical constraints, its search for a transit route to Central Asia through Afghanistan and Iran, its troubled relationship with Pakistan and the growing threat of terrorism in India and Afghanistan and the recent coming of Trump’s policy.

India recently sent two former diplomats as “non-official” participants at the recent “Moscow format” multilateral meeting that included Taliban delegates. Indian government-nominated representatives sharing the table with a Taliban delegation for the first time is notable.

Body:

India’s current relationship with Afghanistan:

  • India’s development assistance has been the source of its considerable influence and goodwill among Afghan citizens.
  • Major projects, such as the Salma Dam and Parliament building in Kabul, that began in 2008-09, have now been completed.
  • Last year India and Afghanistan agreed to initiate an ambitious and forward-looking ‘New Development Partnership’, according to which India agreed to take up 116 high-impact community development projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, including in the fields of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure and administrative infrastructure.
  • India has been giving a lot of non-lethal military assistance. In 2016 four MI 25 attack helicopters were given to Afghanistan.
  • India is the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan and fifth largest donor globally with over $3 billion in assistance.
  • India has built over 200 public and private schools, sponsors scholarships and hosts Afghan students.
  • India has shied away from involving itself in full scale war in Afghanistan.

India’s traditional position with Taliban:

  • India was among the countries that had refused to recognise the Taliban regime of 1996-2001.
  • India watched Taliban’s growth with concern, assessing early that it was being driven by Pakistan’s army and the ISI.
  • The Kandahar hijack of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 forced India to negotiate.
  • At other times, it supported anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan.
  • Throughout the 1990s, India gave military and financial assistance to the Northern Alliance fighting the Pakistan-sponsored Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
  • Meanwhile the 9/11 attacks and the US crackdown leading to the fall of the Taliban regime took place.
  • When the Taliban re-emerged in 2006-07 to once again challenge US forces, India maintained it was not going to talk with the Taliban.

India should engage with the Taliban as there are a host of concerns:

  • USA’s diminishing role:
    • A period of adjustment has become essential following US President unilateral announcement that US is pulling its troops out of the conflict-ridden country.
    • Another development is the “framework” deal between the US and Afghan Taliban after six days of discussions at Doha.
    • The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense – it has also become more complicated
  • Control of Afghan government:
    • The Afghan government controls barely half the country, with one-sixth under Taliban control and the rest contested.
    • Most significant is the ongoing depletion in the Afghan security forces because of casualties, desertions and a growing reluctance to join
    • Afghanistan launched the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation and also made an unconditional dialogue offer to the Taliban. The Taliban rejected his overture, declaring that they were ready to engage in direct talks only with the Americans.
  • Increasing Taliban attacks:
    • Recently there has been a spike in violence, with the Taliban carrying out a set of coordinated assaults around Afghanistan, rejecting an offer of a three-month ceasefire by President of Afghanistan and laying siege to Ghazni city.
    • The violence this year has also put 2018 on course to be the deadliest year for Afghan civilians, with an average of nine people killed every day, according to UN data.
  • Pakistan factor:
    • The major challenge is the cooperation of regional players. Peace in Afghanistan and the wider region can only be achieved through a multilateral mechanism involving the US as well as major regional players, including Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, India and Saudi Arabia.
    • Despite six months of concerted American punitive actions on Islamabad, the Pakistan establishment is not shutting down support for Taliban fighters.
    • The role of Pakistan is going to expand significantly, with the US depending upon it to implement the interim deal. This will be a diplomatic victory for Pakistan.
  • Iran factor:
    • US administration’s collision course with Iran is another hurdle to realising its South Asia policy. Iran is a neighbour to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and any action against Tehran will have consequences on the region.
    • US is also against Iran which is important to give access to the sea to landlocked Afghanistan through Chabahar port- which is in India’s interests etc.
  • Islamic state:
    • After losing occupied territories in and around Mosul, IS is now slowly enlarging its presence in neighbouring countries, particularly Afghanistan.
    • It is now targeting mainly the Shias and the Hazara minority, joining forces with the Taliban thereby changing the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan.
  • Indian interests would be hurt:
    • More fighting and political instability in Afghanistan would be damaging, as much for Indian interests as for regional stability.
    • Delhi is concerned about the vital role that all the powers are giving to Pakistan. Iran and Russia, two of India’s closest allies during the Northern Alliance’s battle against the Taliban regime in the 1990s, seem out of sync with Indian interests.
    • An emboldened Taliban is sure to impinge on security scenario in India’s troubled Kashmir Valley. The outfit seems positioned to emerge as the ideological bulwark of Kashmir’s renewed insurgency.
    • US criticism of India’s Afghan policy and the plans to exit could cast serious doubt on the US’s role as a strategic ally for India.

Way forward:

  • The U.S.’s eventual pullout as Afghanistan’s peacekeeper is inevitable, close bilateral consultations should be made to help Afghanistan according to its own needs.
  • India has always supported for Afghanistan’s democracy. Use of her ‘soft power’ – ranging from telecommunications to education, community development programmes can be pushed forward.
  • India’s best course with Afghanistan remains its own regional strategy, not becoming a part of any other country’s strategy.
  • India must seek to build capacities and capabilities of Afghan nationals and its institutions for governance and delivery of public service, develop socio-economic infrastructure, secure lives and promote livelihood.
  • Inactive SAARC must now be revived to strengthen the regional co-operation in South Asia.
  • Tier-II diplomacy and involving other stakeholders: India, which has been against holding talks with the Taliban for a long time, finally sent two retired diplomats, at the ‘non-official level’, to join them at the Moscow peace talks.
  • India’s participation, however, is crucial, even though it is at a non-official level.
  • Continuing the efforts of implementing mega infrastructure projects, providing military equipments and training to Afghan personnel on the sidelines.
  • Use of regional groupings like SCO to combat the terrorism emanating from Afghanistan.
  • Echoing the Afghan stand, India has been asserting that the peace process must be “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan-controlled.

Conclusion:

Defeatism or a lack of ambition for the India-Afghanistan relationship at this juncture would be much more detrimental to India’s interests than anything the Taliban’s return to Afghanistan’s political centre-stage can do.


Topic:Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

6) India’s water crisis is even more serious than its energy crisis. Discuss in the wake of India’s urban water crisis and what steps are needed to tackle this. (250 words)

The hindubuisnessline

Why this question:

The article is in the backdrop of world water day, the question highlights the situation of water crisis world is facing. With special focus on urban water crisis scenario.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain with necessary justification how India’s water crisis is even more serious than its energy crisis. One has to elaborate the crisis the Indian urban areas are facing and suggest what measures are required to be taken in this direction.

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:

Use some suitable facts to express the current water crisis situation in the country in general and Urban India in particular.

Body:

Explain the following –

  • Crisis of water , why is it different from other energy resource crisis?
  • Highlight the sectors that require water both in rural and urban regions.
  • challenges posed by unsustainable water use and its degradation.
  • Shrinking availability  of water in Urban India – causes and consequences.
  • Measures to tackle the crisis, how to manage the Water and the Economy around it.

Conclusion:

Re-assert the significance of water and importance of saving it.

Introduction:

The NITI Aayog report on Composite Water Management Index(CWMI) said that India is facing its ‘worst’ water crisis in history. Taps in Shimla went dry in summer of 2018, posing an unprecedented water crisis in the hill town. According to a forecast by the Asian Development Bank, India will have a water deficit of 50% by 2030. Recent studies also ranked Chennai and Delhi at the top of the 27 most vulnerable Asian cities in terms of low per-day water availability Mumbai and Kolkata follow close.

Body:

India’s water crisis is more serious that its energy crisis:

  • The water crisis in India is more dire than imagined.
  • The annual per capita availability of water continues to decline sharply from about 5,177 cubic metres in 1951 to about 1,720 cubic metres in 2019.
  • The NITI Aayog in its report on Composite Water Management Index (2018) has underlined that currently 600 million people face high to extreme water stress.
  • Twenty-one cities, including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.
  • Apart from mega cities, many fast-growing small and medium cities such as Jamshedpur, Kanpur, Dhanbad, Meerut, Faridabad, Visakhapatnam, Madurai and Hyderabad also figure in this list.
  • The demand-supply gap in most of these cities ranges from 30 per cent to as much as 70 per cent.
  • About two lakh die every year due to inadequate access to safe water, about three-fourths of the household do not get drinking water at their premise and about 70 per cent of water is contaminated.
  • The rate of groundwater extraction is so severe that NASA’s findings suggest that India’s water table is declining alarmingly at a rate of about 0.3 metres per year.
  • At this rate of depletion, India will have only 22 per cent of the present daily per capita water available in 2050, possibly forcing the country to import water.
  • About 81 per cent of India’s ultimate irrigation potential, estimated at 140 million hectares, has already been created and thus the scope for further expansion of irrigation infrastructure on a large scale is limited.
  • Climate experts have predicted that there will be fewer rainy days in the future but in those days it would rain more.

Measures needed:

  • Structural measures:
    • Putting in place an efficient piped supply system (without leakage of pipes) has to be top on the agenda.
    • Ancient India had well-managed wells and canal systems. Indigenous water harvesting systems need to be revived and protected at the local level. Examples: Karez, Bawli, Vav etc
    • Digging of rainwater harvesting pits must be made mandatory for all types of buildings, both in urban and rural areas.
    • Treating the greywater and reusing it needs to be adopted by countries like Israel (upto 85%). It could be used to recharge depleted aquifers and use on crops.
    • Initiatives such as community water storage and decentralized treatment facilities, including elevated water towers or reservoirs and water ATMs, based on a realistic understanding of the costs involved, can help support the city’s water distribution.
    • Technologies capable of converting non-drinkable water into fresh, consumable water, offering a potential solution to the impending water crisis are needed. Example: Desalination technologies in Coastal areas, Water-sterilization in polluted water areas.

 

  • Non-structural measures:
    • The World Bank’s Water Scarce Cities Initiative seeks to promote an integrated approach, aims at managing water resources and service delivery in water-scarce cities as the basis for building climate change resilience.
    • Groundwater extraction patterns need to be better understood through robust data collection
    • Decentralisation of irrigation commands, offering higher financial flows to well-performing States through a National Irrigation Management Fund.
    • Public awareness campaigns, tax incentives for water conservation and the use of technology interfaces can also go a long way in addressing the water problem. Example, measures such as water credits can be introduced with tax benefits as incentives for efficient use and recycling of water.
    • A collaborative approach like the adoption of a public-private partnership model for water projects can help. Example, in Netherlands, water companies are incorporated as private companies, with the local and national governments being majority shareholders.
    • Sustained measures should be taken to prevent pollution of water bodies and contamination of groundwater.
    • Ensuring proper treatment of domestic and industrial waste water is also essential.

Conclusion:

Primarily water is not valued in India. “People think it is free”. In order to meet the future urban water challenges, there needs to be a shift in the way we manage urban water systems. An Integrated Urban Water Management approach must be adopted which involves managing freshwater, wastewater, and storm water, using an urban area as the unit of management.


Topic:   Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7) Explain the utility of Cooper’s Ethical Decision Model in  Ethical Decision Making in Public services.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why this question:

The question is based on Cooper’s Ethical Decision Model and its utility in public services for ethical decision making. One is expected Bring out the importance of model ethical conduct at workplace.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must first elaborate what is ethical decision making. Then explain in detail the Cooper’s model, its utility in public services.

Directive:

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 with importance of decision making at workplace.

Body:

Discuss how  business ethics address the rights and responsibilities of public administrators, thus ethics in decision making becomes centric to the role played by public/ civil servants. Courses of Action and Consequences of any decision made by an administrator has a larger public taking its affect.

In such a scenario the model by Cooper aids in making decisions ethically.

Discuss in brief the tenets of the model , how to apply etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that according to Cooper, the ideal solution to any ethical problem will be on the balance of four elements.

 

Introduction:

We are often faced with decisions to make about situations that have arisen in our daily work lives.  Ethical dilemmas are circumstances in which we are face with a decision and have more than one possible course of action; however, there may not be a perfect solution.  Terry Cooper designed a model to help work through an ethical dilemma.  His Ethical Decision-Making Model takes us through several steps to determine the best course of action with which to solve an ethical dilemma

Body:

As promoted by Cooper (2001) ethics in public administration is not a transient concept but has proven to be an approach  which  has  shown  a  great  deal  of  sustainability which is fundamental to the area of public administration. Cooper presents an approach that follows a definite procedure in making ethical decisions.

The Descriptive Task: The first step in this approach is ascertaining and giving a description to the facts of a situation including the main participants, their perceptions, the issues and the threats pose by the situation.

Defining the Ethical Issue:  The second step which is the most difficult one involves defining the issue. This step is described as the most difficult because the administrators face a problem in identifying the values and principles at risk.

Identifying Alternative Courses of Action:  The third step in Coopers approach is looking for an alternative once the ethical issues have been ascertained and described. Cooper advises that caution is important in this step because ethical issues have many alternatives.

Projecting the Possible Consequences: The fourth step in coopers approach involves doing a projection of the possible impacts of the alternatives. Although this step is part of an informal decision making process, Cooper advises that it should be conducted consciously and systematically.

Finding a Fit: The appropriate solution or alternative is a balance of four elements

  • Moral Rules: Those basic standards that can be attributed to the alternatives and their consequences.
  • Rehearsal of Defences: The assessment and alignment of alternatives with the accepted norms of the wider professional organization and political communities of which we are a part.
  • Ethical Principles: In assessing the moral rules, it may become clear that certain moral values are competitive. Therefore, it becomes difficult to say that an alternative which support social justice is more correct than the security of an individual or the organization. Here, an administrator assesses alternatives and their moral values under the light of the level of ethical analysis – deciding how the hierarchy of moral rules is structured and ultimately influencing the final decision.
  • Anticipatory Self-Appraisal: Simply put, this analysis of alternatives requires an internal reflection of whether an administrator feels that an alternative fits within what he or she perceives to be their own personality. This is an examination of whether an alternative will meet our need to feel satisfied with the decision.

Conclusion:

By following Cooper’s model of ethical decision-making, a public administrator is able to create a more concrete process by which to assess individual steps that were taken in reaching a decision. This ensures that at each point, an effort was made by the administrator to uphold ethical principles and that fairness and equality were the standard. An administrator’s decision must be able to withstand scrutiny to ensure that there is a continued trust and respect for accountability among employees and the public in the administrator’s ability to conduct his/her duties.

 

Copyright © Insights Active Learning