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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 APRIL 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 09 APRIL 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:  History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars.

1) Discuss the causes and consequences of Battle of Lion Box during the battle of World War-II. What is its significance as of today?(250 words)

pib

Why this question:

Recently the Platinum Jubilee of the Battle of Kangla Tongbi War was commemorated on 07 Apr 2019 by Army Ordnance Corps at Kangla Tongbi War Memorial near Imphal honoring the valiant brave hearts of Ordnance Personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot who made their supreme sacrifice in the line of duty during the battle of World War-II on the night of 6/ 7 April 1944.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must  discuss in detail the importance of Battle of Kangla Tongbi, cause and consequences it had during world war II.

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:

write a few introductory lines about Battle of Kangla Tongbi.

Body:

Answers must discuss in detail the following points :

  • The background of the Battle – It is considered one of the fiercest battles of World War II. It was fought by Ordnance personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot (AOD) on the night of 6/7 April 1944 against Japanese forces. Japanese forces had planned a three pronged offensive to capture Imphal and the surrounding areas.
  • In their attempt to extend their line of communication to Imphal, the 33rd Japanese Division cut in behind the 17th Indian Division at Tiddim (Myanmar) and establishing themselves firmly on the main Kohima – Manipur highway, started advancing towards Kangla Tongbi.  However, combatant role of AOD personnel shook the enemy and forced the Japanese to withdraw.
  • Significance of the memorial – The Kangla Tongbi War Memorial is a mute testimony to this battle and the unflinching devotion to duty of the Ordnance personnel of 221 AOD, 19 of whom made the supreme sacrifice. It conveys to the world at large that Ordnance personnel, apart from being professional logisticians, are second to none in combat, being equally proficient soldiers, should the occasion demand.

Conclusion –

Conclude with significance even in today’s context.

Introduction:

The Battle of Kangla Tongbi is also known as Battle of Lion Box. It is considered one of the fiercest battles of World War II. It was fought by Ordnance personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot (Allied) force on the night of 6/7 April 1944 against the Japanese (Axis) forces. The Platinum Jubilee (75 years) of the Battle of Kangla Tongbi War was commemorated on 07 Apr 2019 by Army Ordnance Corps at Kangla Tongbi War Memorial near Imphal, Manipur.

Body:

Causes of the war:

  • Japanese forces had planned a three pronged offensive to capture Imphal and the surrounding areas.
  • In their attempt to extend their line of communication to Imphal, the 33rd Japanese Division cut in behind the 17th Indian Division at Tiddim (Myanmar) and establishing themselves firmly on the main Kohima – Manipur highway, started advancing towards Kangla Tongbi.
  • The position of 221 AOD was not at all sound from a tactical point of view.
  • It was exposed to the enemy from all sides and had to rely on its own combatant manpower for its defence.
  • Major Boyd, the Deputy Chief of Ordnance Officer (DCOO) was made in charge of the operations for defence of the Depot.
  • A Suicide squad comprising of Major Boyd, Havildar/ Clerk Store Basant Singh, Conductor Panken and other personnel from the Depot was created.
  • On 06 Apr 1944, orders were received to evacuate 4,000 tons of ammunition, armaments and other warlike stores.
  • On the night of 6/7 Apr 1944, the Japanese mounted a heavy attack on the Depot, rushing downhill into a deep nallah which was used as a covered approach to the Depot.
  • However, combatant role of AOD personnel shook the enemy and forced the Japanese to withdraw.

Consequences of the war:

  • A very well camouflaged bunker had been sighted by the Depot on this approach. The Bren Gun Section in this bunker having spotted an enemy section within range, opened fire. 
  • This shook the enemy and forced the Japanese to withdraw leaving many dead. The Bren Gun was manned by none other than Hav/ Clerk Store Basant Singh.
  • For this act of gallantry, Major Boyd was awarded the Military Cross (MC), Conductor Panken, the Military Medal (MM) and Hav/ Clerk Store Basant Singh, the Indian Distinguished Service Medal (IDSM).
  • This battle is one of those fought during the Battle of Imphal that shook imperialist motives of Japan and made them reconsider.
  • Japanese armies attempted to destroy the Allied forces at Imphal and invade India, but were driven back into Burma with heavy losses.
  • The defeat was the largest defeat to that date in Japanese history with many of the Japanese deaths resulting from starvation, disease and exhaustion suffered during their retreat.

Significance as of today:

  • The Kangla Tongbi War Memorial is a mute testimony to this battle and the unflinching devotion to duty of the Ordnance personnel of 221 AOD, 19 of whom made the supreme sacrifice.
  • It conveys to the world at large that Ordnance personnel, apart from being professional logisticians, are second to none in combat, being equally proficient soldiers, should the occasion demand.
  • The spirit of Kangla Tongbi lives eternally in the hearts of all Army Ordnance Corps personnel of the Indian Army and continues to be source of inspiration for all ranks.

Conclusion:

The heroic deeds of the ordnance personnel watered down the imperial spirit of Japanese forces. However, this also put an end to Subash Chandra Bose’s INA which was fighting alongside Japanese to win back India from the grip of Britishers.


Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

2) Discuss the relative contribution of tectonic and thermal influences in the sea level rise.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I and is conceptual and straightforward.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must provide for a detailed discussion on the relative contribution of tectonic and thermal influences in the sea level rise.

Directive :

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

In a few introductory lines explain the current context of sea level rise, provide for an overview.

Body

Discuss the following aspects in the answer:

  • Assert with facts that sea level is rising at an increasing rate.
  • What factor currently makes the greatest contribution to sea level rise? – The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion caused by warming of the ocean (since water expands as it warms) and increased melting of land-based ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets.
  • How has sea level changes due to tectonic activity? – Eustatic sea-level changes are global sea-level changes related either to changes in the volume of glacial ice on land or to changes in the shape of the sea floor caused by plate tectonic processes.
  • Explain the above two points with case studies.
  • Briefly discuss the effects of Sea level rise.
  • What can be done?

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward, role of humans in causing and curing the increasing rate of sea level rise.

Introduction:

Sea level rise is the inevitable result of global warming and coastal areas of intensified human activities, and it affects the sustainable development of society and economy of the coastal areas in the 21st century. Global average sea levels have risen roughly 19 centimetres (7.5 inches) since the 19th century, after 2,000 years of relatively little change. The rate of sea-level rise has continued to increase in recent decades.

Body:

Thermal influence and Sea level rise:

  • The two major causes of global sea level rise are thermal expansion caused by warming of the ocean and increased melting of land-based ice, such as glaciers and ice sheets.
  • The oceans are absorbing more than 90 percent of the increased atmospheric heat associated with emissions from human activity.
  • When water heats up, it takes up more space. That means as oceans warm, sea levels rise. The study says this effect alone could make sea levels rise 30cm (12 inches) by the end of the century.
  • Many large cities around the world, much built on reclaimed land, that are not more than 30cm above sea level. Example: Mumbai, Sydney
  • But on top of that, warming oceans are causing polar ice sheets to melt faster, which will make sea levels rise even more.
  • The combination of melting ice and expanding water could cause sea levels to rise by up to a meter by 2100. Hundreds of millions of people could be forced to be climate refugees.
  • Warmer oceans make tropical storms more intense and longer lasting.
  • Cyclones become worst by unusually warm ocean temperatures.
  • For coastal areas already struggling with rising seas, those storms will bring even more flooding.
  • Warming temperatures also mean changing rainfall patterns. Redistribution of water vapour in the atmosphere takes place. Higher temperatures lead to more evaporation, so parts of the earth will get wetter and parts will get drier.

Tectonics and Sea level rise:

The tectonic processes at work on the Earth influence the size of ocean basins and therefore, sea level in many, complex ways. The following list gives an idea of some of these processes and their interactions and feedback mechanisms:

  • Rifting of tectonic plates at divergent plate boundaries.
  • Assembly of micro-continents, volcanic terrains, continents – especially supercontinents like Rodinia, Pangea, etc.
  • Subduction of tectonic plates at ocean trenches at convergent plate boundaries.
  • Eruption and formation of large igneous provinces that originate from massive extrusions of lava, oceanic plateaus, hotspot volcanic island chains, etc.
  • High rates of volcanism on the seafloor volumetrically displace water out of the ocean basin producing higher sea levels, called transgression of sea level.
  • When rates of volcanism are high, it takes longer for the rocks to cool, and sea level remains higher for longer periods of time after the rate of volcanism subsides.

Conclusion:

The sea level rise caused due to Tectonic movements is out of human control. However, those due to Thermal expansions caused by global warming can be controlled by limiting the greenhouse gas emissions, increasing the green cover on earth, strengthening the scientific research for cleaner fuels and global efforts like Paris deal.


Topic: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including waterbodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

3) Climate, vegetation and soils exist in long preserved active equilibrium and this should also apply to landforms. Explain.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

Landscapes are composed of a diversity of landforms that may be characterized as equilibrium, disequilibrium or nonequilibrium. Equilibrium is a constant relation between input and output or form, toward which a landform tends or around which it fluctuates in time. Because of recent environmental changes and long relaxation times, however, many landforms are not adjusted to present inputs . Thus one has to analyse if this concept is applicable to landforms.

Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the application of dynamic equilibrium processes on landforms just like the equilibrium that exists between Climate, vegetation and soils.

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

The question is straightforward and conceptual , thus there is not much to discuss, one can start by defining what is meant by Equilibrium.

Body

Explain in detail what you understand by Equilibrium. Topography acts as a template for numerous landscape processes that include hydrologic, ecologic, and biologic phenomena. These processes not only interact with each other but also contribute to shaping the landscape as they influence geomorphic processes.

First explain with examples the dynamic equilibrium that exists between Climate, vegetation and soils with examples , then move on to explain how it can be applied to landforms too.

Conclusion

Conclude with a balanced opinion based on the points you present.

Introduction:

An Active Equilibrium is a state where there is a lack of change in a system as inputs and outputs remain in balance. If changes do occur, then feedbacks will allow for correction. The Geomorphological processes on earth are usually in an active equilibrium until and unless any of the causative factors are hampered with.

Body:

Climate affects the soil formation by affecting the microclimate of the region and reflecting effect of climate indirectly, acting through the vegetation existing in that region. The influence of climate on soils is tremendous. The principal climatic elements which influence the soil are temperature, precipitation and wind.

Healthy soils are crucial for ensuring the continued growth of natural and managed vegetation, providing feed, fibre, fuel, medicinal products and other ecosystem services such as climate regulation and oxygen production. Soils and vegetation have a reciprocal relationship. Fertile soil encourages plant growth by providing plants with nutrients, acting as a water holding tank, and serving as the substrate to which plants anchor their roots. In return, vegetation, tree cover and forests prevent soil degradation and desertification by stabilizing the soil, maintaining water and nutrient cycling, and reducing water and wind erosion.

Thus, we see an active equilibrium existing between climate, soil and vegetation. However, as global economic growth and demographic shifts increase the demand for vegetation, animal feed and vegetation by products such as wood, soils are put under tremendous pressure and their risk of degradation increases greatly. A negative feedback loop will in turn lead to effects in every factor.

Landforms are natural features of the landscape, natural physical features of the earth’s surface, for example, valleys, plateaus, mountains, plains, hills, loess, or glaciers. The equilibrium should be maintained for the landforms too. However, increasing population has added to the pressures on the landforms like extensive mining in the mountains, global warming melting down the glaciers, intensive agriculture sucking out all the nutrients in the plains etc.

Conclusion:

Any disequilibrium will affect all the components which are related to each other, thus harming the entire ecosystem. It is imperative for humans to understand and respect this strong yet fragile relationship among the entities of environment.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

4) A Healthcare system without a foundation of primary care is a sure recipe for disaster. Discuss in the context of current Indian healthcare system. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis of Healthcare system in India, it emphasizes on the importance of a robust Primary healthcare system.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of robust Primary healthcare system as a basic necessity to run a successful healthcare system. The answer must evaluate the present conditions of Indian healthcare system, bring out the recent reforms like Insurance facilities, emphasis on tertiary care etc.

Directive:

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:

Briefly discuss  the current Healthcare system in India.

Body:

The discussion should have the following points :

  • What are the major problems of Health sector in India? – healthcare infrastructure, understaffed and under-financed, insufficient health care facilities in rural areas, India has one of the lowest per capita healthcare expenditures in the world. The high out-of-pocket expenses in India stem from the fact that majority of Indians do not have health insurance etc.
  • Discuss the primary health care system and its status in India, why is it important? Take hints from the article.
  • Provide for a comparison with steps taken by government , why and how they have failed due to lack of a standard primary healthcare system.
  • Suggest a way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward and re-assert the significance of robust primary healthcare system.

Introduction:

Primary healthcare, similarly defined, is healthcare provided to all, especially the most marginalised, with their participation and for their needs. If the primary healthcare system of a country is not functioning well, it is symptomatic of problems in its democracy itself.

Body:

Importance of Primary health care:

  • Primary Health Care (PHC) is the heart and soul of medicine. It is the foundation of every health care system: the first contact and ongoing link between people and their health providers.
  • PHC is how individuals and families connect with the health care system throughout their lives, for everything from prenatal checkups and routine immunizations to the treatment of illness and the management of chronic conditions.
  • When PHC works, people are able to get the care they need to stay healthy. The vast majority of a community’s health needs can be met by a well-functioning primary care system.
  • PHC explicitly ensures a focus on equity, accessibility and quality of care. PHC is people-focused: organized around people rather than diseases, and encompassing the full range of interventions that foster good health.
  • The principles of the PHC approach of the Alma Ata declaration (1978) such as healthcare closest to home and appropriate technology that is effective, safe, cheap, and simple to use, need to be applied to the healthcare system as a whole. The PHC-infused-UHC could facilitate such a shift.

The major challenges faced by healthcare system in India are:

  • Finance: At about 1.3% of the national income, India’s public healthcare spending between 2008 and 2015, has virtually remained stagnant. This is way less than the global average of 6 per cent. It is a herculean task to implement a scheme that could potentially cost Rs 5 lakh per person and benefit 53.7 crore out of India’s 121 crore citizenry, or roughly about 44% of the country’s population. Over 70 per cent of the total healthcare expenditure is accounted for by the private sector.
  • Crumbling public health infrastructure: Given the country’s crumbling public healthcare infrastructure, most patients are forced to go to private clinics and hospitals. There is a shortage of PHCs (22%) and sub-health centres (20%), while only 7% sub-health centres and 12% primary health centres meet Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) norms.
  • High Out of Pocket Expenditure: Reports suggest that 70% of the medical spending is from the patient’s pockets leading to huge burden and pushing many into poverty. Most consumers complain of rising costs. Hundred days into the PMJAY, it remains to be seen if private hospitals provide knee replacement at Rs 80,000 (current charges Rs 3.5 lakh) bypass surgery at Rs 1.7 lakh (against Rs 4 lakh).
  • Insurance: India has one of the lowest per capita healthcare expenditures in the world. Government contribution to insurance stands at roughly 32 percent, as opposed to 83.5 percent in the UK. The high out-of-pocket expenses in India stem from the fact that 76 percent of Indians do not have health insurance.
  • Doctor-Density Ratio: The WHO reports the doctor-density ratio in India at 8 per 10,000 people as against one doctor for a population of 1,000.To achieve such access, merely increasing the number of primary and secondary healthcare centres is not enough.
  • Shortage of Medical Personnel: Data by IndiaSpend show that there is a staggering shortage of medical and paramedical staff at all levels of care: 10,907 auxiliary nurse midwives and 3,673 doctors are needed at sub-health and primary health centres, while for community health centres the figure is 18,422 specialists.
  • Rural-urban disparity: The rural healthcare infrastructure is three-tiered and includes a sub-center, primary health centre (PHC) and CHC. PHCs are short of more than 3,000 doctors, with the shortage up by 200 per cent over the last 10 years to 27,421. Private hospitals don’t have adequate presence in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities and there is a trend towards super specialisation in Tier-1 cities.
  • Social Inequality: The growth of health facilities has been highly imbalanced in India. Rural, hilly and remote areas of the country are under served while in urban areas and cities, health facility is well developed. The SC/ST and the poor people are far away from modern health service.
  • Poor healthcare ranking: India ranks as low as 145th among 195 countries in healthcare quality and accessibility, behind even Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • Commercial motive: lack of transparency and unethical practices in the private sector.
  • Lack of level playing field between the public and private hospitals: This has been a major concern as public hospitals would continue receiving budgetary support. This would dissuade the private players from actively participating in the scheme.
  • Scheme flaws: The overall situation with the National Health Mission, India’s flagship programme in primary health care, continues to be dismal. The NHM’s share in the health budget fell from 73% in 2006 to 50% in 2019 in the absence of uniform and substantial increases in health spending by States.

Steps taken up currently:

  • The National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 advocated allocating resources of up to two-thirds or more to primary care as it enunciated the goal of achieving “the highest possible level of good health and well-being, through a preventive and promotive healthcare orientation”.
  • A 167% increase in allocation this year for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) — the insurance programme which aims to cover 10 crore poor families for hospitalisation expenses of up to ₹5 lakh per family per annum.
  • The government’s recent steps to incentivise the private sector to open hospitals in Tier II and Tier III cities.
  • Individual states are adopting technology to support health-insurance schemes. For instance, Remedinet Technology (India’s first completely electronic cashless health insurance claims processing network) has been signed on as the technology partner for the Karnataka Government’s recently announced cashless health insurance schemes.

Measures needed to strengthen the existing state of Health infrastructure in the country are:

  • There is an immediate need to increase the public spending to 2.5% of GDP, despite that being lower than global average of 5.4%.
  • The achievement of a distress-free and comprehensive wellness system for all hinges on the performance of health and wellness centres as they will be instrumental in reducing the greater burden of out-of-pocket expenditure on health.
  • There is a need to depart from the current trend of erratic and insufficient increases in health spending and make substantial and sustained investments in public health over the next decade.
  • A National Health Regulatory and Development Framework needs to be made for improving the quality (for example registration of health practitioners), performance, equity, efficacy and accountability of healthcare delivery across the country.
  • Increase the Public-Private Partnerships to increase the last-mile reach of healthcare.
  • Generic drugs and Jan Aushadi Kendras should be increased to make medicines affordable and reduce the major component of Out of Pocket Expenditure.
  • The government’s National Innovation Council, which is mandated to provide a platform for collaboration amongst healthcare domain experts, stakeholders and key participants, should encourage a culture of innovation in India and help develop policy on innovations that will focus on an Indian model for inclusive growth.
  • India should take cue from other developing countries like Thailand to work towards providing Universal Health Coverage. UHC includes three components: Population coverage, disease coverage and cost coverage.
  • Leveraging the benefits of Information Technology like computer and mobile-phone based e-health and m-health initiatives to improve quality of healthcare service delivery. Start-ups are investing in healthcare sector from process automation to diagnostics to low-cost innovations. Policy and regulatory support should be provided to make healthcare accessible and affordable.

Conclusion:

India needs a holistic approach to tackle problems in healthcare industry. This includes the active collaboration of all stakeholders public, private sectors, and individuals. Amore dynamic and pro-active approach is needed to handle the dual disease burden. A universal access to health makes the nation fit and healthy, aiding better to achieve the demographic dividend.


Topic : Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

5) What do you understand a Service Voter? how can he cast vote? Discuss  significance and challenges associated.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

Recently the soldiers of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were the first to cast their vote for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Arunachal Pradesh as Service Voters. Thus it is important from the point of examination for us to learn who is a service voter and what are its significance.

Key demand of the question:

The question is upfront on the concept of service voter and its importance.

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:

In a few introductory lines state the background of the context of question.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • Who is a service voter? – Service voter is a voter having service qualification. According to the provisions of sub – section (8) of Section 20 of Representation of People Act, 1950, service qualification means:
  • Being a member of the armed Forces of the Union ; or
  • Being a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), have been made applicable whether with or without modification ;
  • Being a member of an Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside that state; or
  • Being a person who is employed under the Government of India, in a post outside India.
  • How is a service voter different from an ordinary elector?
  • Are members of all Armed Forces / Para Military Forces eligible to be enrolled as service voters?
  • The process of registering as a service voter – who is eligible?
  • Challenges if any
  • Way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such tools in a democracy.

Introduction:

Service voter is a voter having service qualification. According to the provisions of sub – section (8) of Section 20 of Representation of People Act, 1950, service qualification means:

  • Being a member of the armed Forces of the Union ; or
  • Being a member of a force to which provisions of the Army Act, 1950 (46 of 1950), have been made applicable whether with or without modification ;
  • Being a member of an Armed Police Force of a State, and serving outside that state; or
  • Being a person who is employed under the Government of India, in a post outside India.

Body:

The voting procedure for a service voter is as follows:

Postal Ballot:

  • When elections are announced, Returning Officer of the constituency shall send service voter the postal ballot.
  • He must record his vote by placing clearly a mark opposite the name of the candidate of his choice on the ballot paper.
  • The voter must not sign or give any of his identity on the ballot paper.
  • Sign the declaration in Form 13A also sent herewith in the presence an officer appointed by the Commanding Officer of the Unit, ship or establishment.
  • The officer will attest your signature and return the declaration to you;
  • The declaration and the ballot paper must be put in a cover and must ensure that the cover reaches the Returning Officer before the specified date.

Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System:

  • To reduce the transit time for sending a postal ballot, ECI has now introduced ETPB whereby the postal ballot is sent electronically to the Service Voter.
  • When there is an election announced, the Returning Officer of the concerned constituency sends the ballot electronically to the Service Voter with the voters’ details already filled in.
  • A One Time Password (OTP) is also provided to enable the voter to download the ETPB. Along with ETPB, the Service Voter gets the declarations form (Form 13A), Form 13B and Form 13C.
  • The ETPB has to be filled up in the same manner as the conventional postal ballot and sent by post back to the Returning Officer.

Classified Service voter:

  • Service voter belonging to Armed Forces or forces to which provisions of Army Act, 1950 are applicable, has option of either voting through postal ballot or through a proxy voter duly appointed by him.
  • A service voter who opts for voting through a proxy is called Classified Service Voter (CSV).
  • A service voter may appoint (by applying to Returning Officer in Form 13 F of Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 – Form available at the website of Election Commission) any person as his / her proxy to give vote on his / her behalf and in his / her name at the polling station.
  • The proxy shall have to be ordinary resident of that constituency. He need not be a registered voter but he / she must not be disqualified to be registered as a voter.
  • The provision for voting through proxy is valid till the person making the appointment is a service voter.

Challenges faced by Service voters:

  • Under the existing law, this facility is available only to the wife of a male service voter and is not available to the husband of a female service voter.
  • A son / daughter / relative / servant etc. residing ordinarily with a service voter cannot be enrolled as service voter.
  • The issue of proxy voter remains – proxy shall have to be ordinary resident of that constituency. One thing to note here is that he or she need not be a registered voter but he or she must not be disqualified to be registered as a voter. The chances of fake voting increases.
  • The logistics is a major challenge – There are roughly 30 lakh service voters including defence and paramilitary forces who (in many cases with families at family stations) will cast their votes through service voter facility.

Conclusion:

The use of ICT can be made use for providing an opportunity for the Service voters to cast their votes. The proxy voting can be strengthened with stronger KYC norms and use of Aadhar to link the service voters to proxies.


Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

6) Problems in Indian cotton need ecological understanding, not biotechnology. Critically analyse.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article captures the  problems surrounding the Indian cotton Industry specifically at the crop level and emphasizes on how the issue is more related to ecological factors than the Biotechnological ones.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must cover a detailed discussion on  the current situation of cotton growing areas and the problems facing them in India. One has to provide detailed critical analysis of the subject.

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:

Highlight the havoc of regional outbreaks of secondary pests, namely the American bollworm, that was induced by the ecological disruption and the subsequent dip in cotton production.

Body:

Discussion should have the following dimensions :

  • highlight the trends of cotton yields and production currently in India.
  • Discuss the ecological disruption factor leading to low yields.
  • Explain other factors that are mostly ecological and not much related to BT cotton issues.
  • Discuss what needs to be done?
  • Take cues from the article to substantiate your answer with backing of facts.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India is the only BT cotton-growing country facing the problem of pink bollworm infestation. Losses caused by the pink bollworm infestation have raised questions about the sustainability of GM cotton, which accounts for over 90% of all cotton grown in the country.

Body:

Trends of cotton yields and production currently in India:

  • Between 2003-04 and 2011-12, India’s cotton output more than doubled — from 14 million bales (of 480 pounds or 218 kg each) to 29 million bales, 302 kg per hectare in 2002-03 to 566 kg in 2013-14.
  • There was an expansion in crop area from 7.67 million hectares to 11.96 million hectares during this period, and an initial reduction in insecticide use with BT technology.
  • The introduction of hybrid Bt cotton led to an initial reduction in insecticide use, but by 2012, insecticide use was at pre-2002 levels, and now targeted still newer induced secondary pests (for example, whitefly, mealy bugs, jassid).
  • Resistance to insecticides and to BT toxins was developing in pink bollworm and American bollworm — quite likely other pests as well. Indian cotton farmers were now riding both the insecticide and biotechnology treadmills in the face of stagnant yields.

Reasons for low yield are mostly Ecological:

  • Improved Indian F1 hybrid long season cotton varieties began to be introduced in the 1970s. They required increases in fertiliser and insecticide to protect against the native pink bollworm.
  • As insecticide use grew, regional outbreaks of secondary pests, namely the so-called American bollworm, were induced by the ecological disruption.
  • They caused havoc and suppressed yields.
  • The use of long season varieties and the high cost of Indian hybrid BT seed that lead to sub optimal planting densities — this sets the ceiling on yield.
  • In addition, yields are affected by inter-seasonal differences in rainfall, induced pest outbreaks and, the effects of increasing pest resistance to insecticides and to the BT technology.
  • Most of central and south Indian cotton is rainfed, and low-density long season cottons are simply inappropriate, and further encourage late season build-up of pests and greater insecticide use.

However, Biotechnology also has its share in low yields.

  • There was no substantial difference found between Bt and non-Bt cotton for germination and vigour, indicating that there is no substantial difference between transgenic Bt and control non-Bt cotton with regard to their weediness potential.
  • Bt cotton hybrids do not have any toxic effects on the non -target species such as sucking pests. The beneficial insects remained active in both Bt and non Bt varieties.
  • The growing number of farmers committing suicides in some cotton growing states has re-ignited the protests against the Bt Cotton.
  • Bt hybrids:
    • Farmers in rain-fed regions were / are compelled to choose from a long list of Bt hybrids, most of which are late maturing, sucking pest-susceptible hybrids, that are unsuitable for rain-fed region.
    • Problem is with late maturing hybrids that do not perform well owing to the late-season moisture deficit in shallow soils, especially when they are sown late.
  • High cost of Bt cotton seeds as compared to non Bt cotton seeds.
  • Effectiveness up to 120 days, after that the toxin producing efficiency of the Bt gene drastically reduces.
  • India is the only country whose intellectual property laws have never prevented its farmers from either saving or selling seeds.
  • Over 70 countries that are members of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, for example, allow farmers to reuse seeds from a protected plant variety, but not to sell them.
  • Hybrids lose their genetic stability when their seeds are replanted. This compels farmers to repurchase seeds each year, protecting corporate revenues.
  • Normal cotton seed is largely unavailable to Indian farmers because of Monsanto’s control of the seed market.

Measures needed:

  • Planting rainfed short season high density (SS-HD) cotton as developed at CICR, Nagpur, and other institutions — cotton that could double yields, avoid pink bollworm infestations and hence reduce insecticide use.
  • One view is that the solution to the problem may be to move swiftly to short-duration varieties i.e. Monsanto’s first-generation Bollgard.
  • Government must take decisions on GM technologies on the basis of scientific evidence.
  • Government should adopt a participatory approach to bring together all stakeholders to develop regulatory protocols that restore trust in the process.

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

7) The recent storm related to demand for more transparency by means of reinforcing the social audit mechanisms holds widespread importance but it may also lead to overlap in priorities. comment. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The question is about analyzing the ethical angle involved in social auditing mechanisms that are meant to provision for greater transparency and accountability in the system of welfare policies and provisions.-

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the importance of social auditing mechanisms and their role in ensuring transparency in the system and one has to also bring out how it may lead to overlap of priorities.

Directive:

Commenthere we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines write about social auditing mechanism and their importance in public administration.

Body:

Answer to such questions are best explained with case studies and example , one can explain it with policies such as MGNREGA and the respective social auditing associated with it. What are the challenges faced by it ? how can it be overcome? What needs to be done? Why is it often known to jump priorities? Its association with bringing transparency and accountability in public administration.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such mechanisms and need for a balanced approach.

Introduction:

Social auditing is a process by which an organization / government accounts for its social performance to its stakeholders and seeks to improve its future social performance. A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality; and between efficiency and effectiveness. It allows us to measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of any government effort or organization.

Body:

Recent steps by legislature and judiciary:

  • Legislature:
    • Right to information Act, 2005: This is also a key pillar of support for Social Audit system in India. This was enacted by Parliament of India to provide for setting out the practical regime of the right to information for citizens.
    • National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005\ (NREGA): Section 17 of this Act provides for regular “Social Audits” so as to ensure transparency and accountability in the scheme.
    • Meghalaya became first state in country to operationalize The Meghalaya Community Participation and Public Services Social Audit Act, 2017, a law that makes social audit of government programmes and schemes a part of government practice.
  • Judiciary:
    • The Supreme Court has recently passed a series of orders to give social audits the robust infrastructural framework they need.
    • Citing the statutory requirements in the MGNREGA and the National Food Security Act, the court has ordered that the CAG-formulated Social Audit Standards be applied to set up truly independent state-supported State Social Audit units.
    • It has also ordered that social audits be conducted of Building and other Construction Workers Cess, and the implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Impediments to institutionalising social audits in India:

  • Lack of support from government machineries has side-lined social audits:
    • The lack of adequate administrative and political will in institutionalising social audit to deter corruption has meant that social audits in many parts of the country are not independent from the influence of implementing agencies.
    • Social audit units, including village social audit facilitators, continue to face resistance and intimidation and find it difficult to even access primary records for verification.
    • Most Indian states have delayed conducting social audits, despite these being in place since 2006. They are held back by a lack of political will and entrenched vested interests.
  • There has been no delivery on legal accountability frameworks such as the Lokpal Bill and the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill
  • Lack of any legal proceedings for not following social audit principles: Unless there is a stringent penalty on authorities for not implementing social audit, they will not give up control because it reduces their kickbacks and authority
  • Lack of education among the common masses: Since common people are not that educated, they do not know their rights.
  • Untimely transfer of functionaries makes it difficult to have appropriate responsibility fixation
  • Lack of people participation: Most of the people still think themselves as being ruled by the politicians, while politicians think that they are the rulers. Due to this reason, common people do not get involved in the developmental activities
  • Timely meetings are not held.
  • No follow up: The analysis of administrative data on social audit findings in Andhra Pradesh suggests that follow-up and enforcement of punishments was weak
  • Corruption has not reduced: It hasn’t led to reduced corruption and improved MGNREGA delivery
  • Analysis of data from official audit reports of almost 100 mandals during 2006-10, however, shows that repeated social audits of MGNREGA projects did not reduce the number of corruption-related labour complaints, while there was a substantive rise in material-related complaints.
  • The impact of audits on other programme outcomes like employment generation, targeting of the SC/ST population was absent.
  • Failure of the social audit process to deter leakage of programme fund
  • Systematic and regular audits with beneficiary participation have not taken off in other parts of the country.
  • Problem of difference in work culture.

Way forward:

  • The system of social audits needs synergetic endorsement and a push by multiple authorities to establish an institutionalised framework which cannot be undermined by any vested interests.
  • Citizens groups need a campaign to strengthen social audits, and make real progress in holding the political executive and implementing agencies to account.
  • Organization of a mass campaign to increase public awareness about the meaning, scope, purpose and objectives of social audit.
  • Establishment of a team of social audit experts in each district who are responsible for training social audit committee members (stakeholders).
  • Implementation of training programmes on social auditing methods conducting and preparing social audit reports, and presentation at Gram Sabha.

Conclusion:

In an age where phrases such as open data and open government are used in any conversation around governance, social audits should serve as a critical point of reference. An open and transparent system involves the presence of real platforms for people to be informed by official statements and records, with an opportunity to compare that with ground realities.