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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 MAY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 MAY 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:  The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

1) Explain how Rabindranath Tagore catalyzed the progress of Indian national movement in innumerable ways. (250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question:

The article captures the contributions of Rabindranath Tagore to the Indian national movement.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the contributions of Rabindranath Tagore to the Indian national movement.

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:

Brief upon the recent incidences that highlight the inequality prevailing in terms of Women participation in the politics of the country.

Body:

  • Body of the answer should discuss the following aspects:
  • What was the contribution of Rabindranath Tagore?
  • Discuss how Tagore had no illusions about the character of British rule in India. However, he was no political leader himself but the period of the Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon is of importance, when he provided active leadership to the Swadeshi Movement advocating boycott of British goods and promotion of indigenous products.
  • Discuss his multi-pronged approach: on the one hand, he was convinced that unless the sickness that Indian society was suffering from could be overcome mere achievement of freedom would be meaningless. Constructive social work was the crying need of the hour. Reforming education therefore became a cornerstone of his mission for society and nation building.
  • His literary contributions to the national movement – his book Nationalism and others.
  • Explain Tagore’s opposition to the non-cooperation movement of Gandhi and his trenchant criticism of modern nationalism etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting his dedicated contributions to the National movement.

Introduction:

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Romantic poet, novelist, and songwriter who contributed many political ideas to the Indian Independence Movement. Rabindranath Tagore denounced British imperialism, yet he did not fully support or agree with Gandhi and his Noncooperation Movement. He viewed British rule as a symptom of the overall “sickness” of the social “disease” of the public.

Body:

Tagore’s contribution to the progress of Indian national movement:

  • Tagore generally denounced British imperialism and spoke out against it in some of his writings. In his writings, he also voiced his support of Indian nationalists.
  • Tagore was outraged by the British proposal to partition Bengal and argued that instead of partitioning Bengal, what was needed was a self-help based reorganization of Bengal.
  • Rabindranath Tagore wrote the song Banglar Mati Banglar Jol (Soil of Bengal, Water of Bengal) to unite the Bengali population after Bengal partition in 1905. He also wrote the famed ‘Amar Sonar Bangla’ which helped ignite a feeling of nationalism amongst people.
  • He started the Rakhi Utsav where people from Hindu and Muslim communities tied colourful threads on each other’s wrists. In 1911, the two parts of Bengal were reunited.
  • Although he supported nationalism, Tagore did not support the element in Gandhi’s Noncooperation Movement called the Swadeshi movement which was an economic strategy that aimed to remove the British from power in India by using principles of Swadeshi such as boycotting British products, and improving production in India.
  • He wrote many pieces and delivered lectures over his beliefs about nationalism and especially the examples of nationalism that he saw in his extensive travels and the growing nationalism he observed in Germany prior to World War II.
  • His critique of nationalism was that of a wholesome and holistic thinker arguing against discourses couched in essentialism and one-sidedness that champion power and wealth but not soul and conscience, greed but not goodness, possessing but not giving, self-aggrandisement but not self-sacrifice, becoming but not being.
  • Despite voicing his negative opinions about the nature of nationalism, Tagore wrote many songs praising the Indian independence movement.
  • While Tagore had greater sympathy with the Extremists led by Balgangadhar Tilak, Aurobindo Ghosh and others, he was looking for an alternative leadership under the younger generation.
  • He, however, could not reconcile with terrorist extremism as in spite of all his trenchant criticism of imperialist rule he never approved of two things—namely, romantic adventurism and violence born of intolerance.
  • Tagore rejected violence from the British as well and renounced the knighthood that had been given to him in by Lord Hardinge in 1915 in protest of the violent Amritsar massacre in which the British killed at least 1526 unarmed Indian citizens.
  • The cornerstone of Tagore’s beliefs and work is the idea that anti-colonialism cannot simply be achieved by rejecting all things British, but should consist of incorporating all the best aspects of western culture into the best of Indian culture.
  • One of the most important ideas that Tagore contributed is that “freedom” does not simply mean political freedom from the British; True freedom means the ability to be truthful and honest with oneself otherwise autonomy loses all of its worth.
  • Tagore was essentially a universal humanist who believed in the essence of human unity. He saw no contradiction between this universalism and India’s nation-hood and the fulfilment of its own destiny. Tagore’s Shantiniketan was an effort in bringing about a confluence of his universal dream.

Conclusion:

The basic thrust of Tagore’s approach to India’s nationhood and freedom from British rule was his all-pervasive emphasis on root and branch social reform and removal of the gross inequities India’s society suffered from. Tagore’s alternative vision of peace, harmony and the spiritual unity of humankind seems more relevant now than ever.


TopicGeographical 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) Do you think there exists a correlation of an agroclimatic conditions of a region with the strategy for water management practices? Give your opinion with suitable justifications.(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail how the water management practices often are and must be guided by the agroclimatic conditions of a region. It tries to establish the correlation that exists between the two aspects.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must briefly discuss the existence of the correlation  between the agro climatic conditions and methods of managing water of a region and to what extent the correlation is significant in managing water as a critical resource, one has to justify with examples.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

In a few introductory lines explain what you understand by question statement.

Body

The body of the answer has to capture the following aspects:

  • highlight the need for conservation of water and effective management of the same and how it is the need of the hour.
  • Discuss how Around the world, cities are facing huge water-related risks that are aggravated by climate change, rapid urbanization and outdated infrastructure resulting in flooding, water scarcity and rehabilitation costs on a scale that overwhelm the capacities of cities.
  • Explain the challenges that are faced in conservation and management of water resource.
  • Quote examples to justify the correlation – use hints from the article.

Conclusion

Conclude that the need of the hour is to go back to the use of traditional approach and adopt sustainable, cost effective, low maintenance practices. Depending on the agroclimatic region the strategy may be different but the idea is the same — catch water where it falls.

Introduction:

Around the world, cities are facing huge water-related risks that are aggravated by climate change, rapid urbanisation and outdated infrastructure resulting in flooding, water scarcity and rehabilitation costs on a scale that overwhelm the capacities of cities. The city of Cape Town in South Africa, Shimla in India are a few examples where the taps went dry due to mismanagement and paucity of water.

Body:

There definitely exists a co-relation between the agro-climatic conditions of a region and the strategy of water management practices.

  • Many Indian cities, including Delhi and Bangalore, face a water crisis, especially that of freshwater.
  • A World Bank study puts the plight of the country in perspective: 163 million Indians lack access to safe drinking water; 210 million Indians lack access to improved sanitation; 21% of communicable diseases are linked to unsafe water.
  • Cities or regions are geographically well placed in terms of their resources, but due to existing water management practices, our cities suffer. E.g.: enormous concretisation in the name of urbanisation

Challenges that are faced in conservation and management of water resource:

  • Legal and institutional framework
    • The government finance for well digging and pump installation with capital subsidies, massive rural electrification and pervasive energy subsidies all have enabled this process to aggravate.
    • Zero marginal cost of pumping and lack of restriction on volume of water resulted in inefficient and unsustainable use of the resource.
    • Lack of adequate planning, crumbling infrastructure, indiscriminate drilling of borewells, large-scale consumption of water, and a false sense of entitlement in using water carelessly are causing water shortages.
    • No status report or data available to showcase the enforcement of law to implement RWH
    • Lack of coordination between state and nonstate stakeholders
    • Majorly RWH systems are implemented by individual users/owners
    • Technical knowhow of RWH structures and technologies is minimal
  • Policy lacunae:
    • Existing rules on groundwater access that give landowners the right to pump on their land
    • Subsidies on electricity are thought to play a central role in the Indian groundwater crisis. The vast majority of groundwater pumps are unmetered, and if charged, are billed at a flat, non-volumetric, and highly subsidized tariff.
    • In the north western parts of India and southern peninsula, the early and rapid rural electrification, free or subsidised power to the farm sector, large productive farmers and attractive procurement prices for major cereals led to intensive use of groundwater.
  • Urbanization:
    • India’s huge groundwater-dependent population, uncertain climate-reliant recharge processes and indiscriminate land use changes with urbanization are among the many factors that have rendered the Indian groundwater scenario to become a global paradigm for water scarcity, for both quantity and quality.
    • Cities like Bengaluru are losing its capacity to recharge groundwater as the number of water bodies like lakes has reduced by 79%
    • Commercial establishments like shopping malls, hotels, hospitals and high-rise apartments are using borewells in large number to meet the demand for the occupants.
  • Social aspect
    • Documentation of best management practices of RWH systems is absent
    • Lack of research on importance and use of RWH for non-potable purposes.
    • Negligible community involvement/engagement for implementing RWH systems
    • Resistance among people to use harvested rainwater as an alternate source of water
  • Infrastructural aspect
    • Availability of funds is a concern in practising RWH
    • No alternative provision for water supply augmentation
    • Lack of adequate storm water management infrastructures

Way forward:

  • Strong leadership and coordination among state and non-state stakeholders would be necessary for a successful wide-ranging RWH implementation project.
  • In addition, a coordinated educational programme will have to be conducted to dispel myths about stored water and to create the required skills base.
  • The statutes and bylaws regarding water would also have to be reviewed to avoid legal impediments.
  • The multi-layer institutional model requires substantial initial investment and effective communication between organisations, water users and governments should be looked into.
  • An approach like RWH isn’t just a viable alternative to current practices, it also aligns with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, which include clean water, sanitation and sustainable cities, with community involvement.
  • Ecologically safe engineering marvels of water conservation have existed in India for nearly 1,500 years, including traditional systems of water harvesting, such as the bawari, jhalara, nadi, tanka, and khadin. This can be rejuvenated and replicated.
  • They continue to remain viable and cost-effective alternatives for replenishing depleted groundwater aquifers. With government support, they could be revived, upgraded and productively combined with modern rainwater-saving techniques such as anicuts, percolation tanks, injection wells and subsurface barriers.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is to go back to the use of traditional approach and adopt sustainable, cost effective, low maintenance practices. Depending on the agro-climatic region the strategy may be different but the idea is the same — catch water where it falls.

Case study: Rwanda, a sovereign (and landlocked) country in central Africa with a varied geography covering roughly 25,000 square kilometre of land and 1,400 sq km of water. Rwanda receives average annual precipitation of 1,200 millimetre (mm), and the rainfall ranges from as low as 800 mm in Eastern Province to about 2,000 mm in high altitude of north and west. Thus, there is ample scope to practice rainwater harvesting (RWH).

Looking at the urban trend, the country has one of the highest population densities in Africa (483 people/sq km). As per the 2012 census, Rwanda had approximately 12 million citizens and an annual population growth of 2.6 per cent. Around 19.4 per cent of the total inhabitants live in urban areas.

Its capital, Kigali, is a major urban centre with 76 per cent of the population categorised as “urban”. At the same time, Rwanda is also among the countries having the lowest per capita water availability (670 cubic metres per capita per year) and storage capacity in Africa. Besides inadequate per-capita availability, floods accompanied with soil erosion are a common issue in the country.

Bawaris are unique stepwells that were once a part of the ancient networks of water storage in the cities of Rajasthan. The little rain that the region received would be diverted to man-made tanks through canals built on the hilly outskirts of cities. The water would then percolate into the ground, raising the water table and recharging a deep and intricate network of aquifers.

In Himachal Pradesh, kuhls(surface water channels) have been used since ancient times to carry glacial waters from rivers and streams into valley fields. These kuhls need to be desilted and fortified to prevent them from breaking during torrential rainfall.

Another effective traditional water management system is bamboo drip irrigation, practiced in the tribal pockets of the Khasi and Jaintia hills of Meghalaya. In this, a network of bamboo pipes of varying diameters, lengths and positioning is used to harvest water from hill springs or streams. This can be adopted on a larger scale wherever possible.

Nagaland’s Zabo is also a great way of collecting run-off in community tanks/ponds. Rainwater that falls on forested hilltops is led by channels that deposit it in pond-like structures created on the terraced hillsides. The channels also pass through cattle yards, collecting the dung and urine of animals, before ultimately meandering into fields at the foot of the hill.


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

3) The Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in other parts of the world, has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades. Critically Analyse. (250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that two Saudi oil tankers were among vessels targeted in a “sabotage attack” off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, condemning it as an attempt to undermine the security of global crude supplies. The UAE said on Sunday that four commercial vessels were sabotaged near its Fujairah emirate, one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Key demand of the question:

The incidence above necessitates us to analyse the significance of Strait of Hormuz – a vital shipping route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond, has been at the heart of regional tensions for decades.

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:

Begin with brief write up on geographical location of Strait of Hormuz – s a strategically important strait or narrow strip of water that links the Persian Gulf with the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman.

Body:

  • Discussion should include the following aspects –
  • The answer must mainly focus at    analyzing the importance of the Strait of Hormuz.
  • Who controls the Strait of Hormuz? – Iran and Oman are the countries nearest to the Strait of Hormuz and share territorial rights over the waters.
  • Narrate a brief upon the Geographic Importance and History of the Strait of Hormuz.
  • What are the issues/tussle between different countries of the region?
  • How it is a Chokepoint Between Persian Gulf and The Arabian Sea?
  • What are the present situations?
  • What needs to be done?

 

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Strait of Hormuz is the waterway separates Iran and Oman, linking the Gulf to the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea. The Strait is 21 miles (33 km) wide at its narrowest point, but the shipping lane is just two miles (three km) wide in either direction. A third of the world’s liquefied natural gas and almost 20% of total global oil production passes through the strait, making it a highly important strategic location for international trade.

Body:

Background:

  • In a recent incident, four commercial vessels were sabotaged near Fujairah (an emirate of the UAE), one of the world’s largest bunkering hubs lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
  • The incident has come at a time of heightened tensions in the Gulf.
  • The US has deployed an aircraft carrier, bomber planes and defence missiles to the region amid rising tensions with Iran, which has threatened to block oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz if the US succeeds in halting its energy exports.

Significance of Strait of Hormuz:

  • 5 million barrels per day (bpd) of seaborne oil passed through the waterway in 2016. That was about 30 per cent of crude and other oil liquids traded by sea in 2016. About 17.2 million bpd of crude and condensates were estimated to have been shipped through the Strait in 2017 and about 17.4 million bpd in the first half of 2018.
  • With global oil consumption standing at about 100 million bpd, that means almost a fifth passes through the Strait.
  • Most crude exported from Saudi Arabia, Iran, the UAE, Kuwait and Iraq — all members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries — is shipped through the waterway.
  • It is also the route used for nearly all the liquefied natural gas (LNG) produced by the world’s biggest LNG exporter, Qatar.

Current issues regarding the strait:

  • During the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, the two sides sought to disrupt each other’s oil exports in what was known as the Tanker War.
  • The US Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, is tasked with protecting the commercial ships in the area.
  • The fleet ensures that the critical waterway remains open, provocative Iranian military manoeuvres are likely in the immediate offing as is a nuclear restart.
  • Iran agreed to rein in its nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions under a 2015 deal with the United States and five other global powers.
  • Washington pulled out of the pact in 2018. Western powers fear Iran wants to make nuclear weapons. Tehran denies this.
  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia have sought to find other routes to bypass the Strait, including building more oil pipelines.

Possible measures:

  • Infrastructure includes the construction of bypass pipelines avoiding key choke-points and strategic storage.
  • Existing bypass pipelines include SUMED (which avoids the Suez Canal); the Habshan-Fujairah pipeline in the UAE (bypassing Hormuz); and the Saudi Petroline, which runs to the Red Sea, hence offering an alternative to the Gulf and Hormuz.
  • Strategic storage can be held by oil exporters, by importers, or a combination.
  • Institutional approaches include mechanisms to deal with disruptions, such as cooperative sharing arrangements.
  • Organizations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Energy Forum (IEF), Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Gulf Cooperation Council, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) could all have roles in alleviating the concerns.
  • Governments do have a role in protecting the most vulnerable consumers and ensuring sufficient energy for critical services

Conclusion:

The high seas are constituent element of the global commons which belongs to the entire world. Blocking the freedom of navigation goes against the rules based order of the UNCLOS and other inter-governmental agreements. The bilateral tensions should not affect the global trade and in turn the other countries. Issues must be sorted out by discussions between the concerned parties and peaceful solutions are the need of the hour.


Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4) Discuss the various constitutional safeguards for protection of the minority and schemes introduced by the government to empower them.(250 words)

Indian polity by Lakshmikanth

Why this question:

The question is based on the static portions of the syllabus, it aims to analyse the various constitutional safeguards for protection of the minority and schemes introduced by the government to empower them.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine constitutional safeguards for protection of the minority and schemes introduced by the government to empower them.

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 with brief introduction highlighting the significance of the mechanisms to provide for the protection of the minority in the country. Provide for a brief on scenario of minorities in the country – one may quote some facts related to numbers.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • Discuss first how Democracy and minorities are supplementary and
  • complementary in nature and thus require safeguards.
  • Discuss the constitutional safeguards: The Preamble of the ‘Indian Constitution’; The preamble has authoritatively declared that India is a secular county, Part III of the Indian Constitution contains the cardinal part of Indian constitution; In this context following are the fundamental rights that ensure security and safeguard the rights and
  • privileges of minorities of the country – Article 14, Article 15(4), Article 19, Article 28, Article 29, Article 30.
  • DPSP – Article 38, Article 39. Article 46, Article 49, Article 51 etc.
  • Explain how the various schemes and policies apart from the above constitutional safeguards have constantly aimed at providing safety and upliftment of the minorities in the country.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of such efforts in a Democracy.

Introduction:

Minorities are groups of people who do not enjoy a proportionate share of social, economic, or political power in a society. The Constitution of India does not define the word ‘Minority’ and only refers to ‘Minorities’ and speaks of those ‘based on religion or language’, the rights of the minorities have been spelt out in the Constitution in detail.

Body:

According   to   the   Report   of   National   Commission   for   Religious and Linguistic Minorities, 2007, two types of minorities are recognised in India – Religious Minorities and Linguistic Minorities. Religious minorities include: Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist, Parsi (Zoroastrian) and Jain. As regards Linguistic Minorities, there is no majority at the national level and so the minority status is to be essentially decided at the State/Union Territory level.

Constitutional rights and safeguards provided to the minorities in India

The Constitution has adopted several safeguards to protect minorities in the country. Some of these rights are common to all the citizens, including minorities.  These rights are enshrined in the following Articles of the Constitution:

  • Article 15 prohibits discrimination on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
  • Article 16 ensures equality of opportunity in matters of public employment  and  makes  provisions  for  certain  “Classes”  for  employment,  appointment  and  promotion  in  the  services  under the State.
  • Article 25 ensures freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
  • Article 26   ensures      the   right   to   manage   religious   institutions, religious affairs, subject to public order, morality and health.
  • Article 27  ensures  freedom  from  payment  of  taxes  for  promotion of any particular religion
  • Article 28  ensures  freedom  to  attend  religious  worship  in  religious  institution  or  religious  worship  in  certain  educational institutions.
  • Article 29 gives minorities the right to conserve their language, script, and culture.
  • Article 30  gives  the  right  to  minorities  to  establish  and  administer educational institutions.
  • Article 347 allows use of minority languages for official purpose.
  • Article 350 directs the State to allow the use of minority language for redressal of grievances.
  • Article 350A  directs  the  State  to  provide  facilities  to linguistic  minority  groups  for  instruction  in  the  mother  tongue at the primary stage of education.
  • Article 350B provides provision for a special officer for linguistic minorities to be appointed by the President.

Several affirmative actions have been taken for education of minorities.  Articles 29 and 30 in the Constitution of India contain provisions for running of own institutions by minority groups.  In  addition,  National  Commission  for  Minorities  Act,  1992  (NCM)  and  National  Commission  for  Minorities  Educational  Institutions  Act,  2004  (NCMEI)  (modified  in 2006 and 2010) have been enacted under Acts passed by the Parliament.

Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken several significant initiatives such as:

  • Scheme for Providing Quality Education in Madrasas (SPQEM);
  • Scheme for   Infrastructure   Development   of   (Private   Aided/Unaided) Minority Institutions (IDMI);
  • Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA);
  • Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs);
  • Extension of Mid-Day Meal (MDM) Scheme to Madrasas/Maqtabs;
  • Saakshar Bharat;
  • Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS);
  • Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA);
  • Strengthening of the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL);
  • Establishment of the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI);
  • Establishment of  National  Monitoring  Committee  for  Minorities Education (NMCME);
  • Identification of Minority Concentration Districts (MCDs);
  • Girls Hostel Scheme; and
  • Setting up Model Schools
  1. The Ministry of Minority Affairs has taken several initiatives for the educational development of minorities such as:
  • Pre-Matric Scholarship.
  • Post-Metric Scholarship.
  • Merit-cum-Means based Scholarship.
  • Naya Savera (Free Coaching and Allied Schemes).
  • Exclusive new component for meritorious students of Science stream (Coaching Schemes).
  • Nai Udaan – Support for students clearing Prelims conducted by   UPSC,   SSC,   State   Public   Service   Commissions, etc., for preparation of Mains Examination.
  • Padho Pardesh – Interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies.
  • Maulana Azad National Fellowship (MANF).
  • Maulana Azad Education Foundation (MAEF).
  • Minority Cyber Gram (Digital Literacy).
  • Seekho Aur Kamao (Learn & Earn) – Skill Development initiative for minorities.
  • Upgrading Skill and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development (USTTAD).
  • Nai Manzil – A scheme to provide education and skill training to the youth from minority communities.
  • Concessional loans   to   minorities   through   National   Minorities Development & Finance Corporation (NMDFC).
  • Hamari Dharohar – To preserve rich heritage and culture of minorities.
  • Nai Roshni – A scheme for leadership development of minority women.

Conclusion:

India has always embraced diversity, becoming a vast ocean of cultures, religions, ethnicities, beliefs and practices. With such diversity, it becomes necessary to give each community their due, without inciting any conflicts. This plethora of diversity in our democratic nation makes the minority communities at times vulnerable, calling for sturdy laws to protect their rights. Moreover, it becomes the duty of the state to ensure that human rights are available to all citizens, irrespective of caste, colour, or creed.


Topic:  Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

5) What is the basic idea behind initiating the e Choupal?  Discuss how it has proved to be an aggregator of Agricultural Services.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

YC Deveshwar, the man who transformed ITC into a multi-business conglomerate, passed away recently. The e Choupal is a flagship program of the ITC -aimed at linking directly with farmers via the Internet for procurement of products by entering the FMCG space in rural areas.

Key demand of the question:

The answer is straightforward, one must discuss in detail the flagship ITC program of e Choupal and significance of it in proving to be an aggregator of Agri services to the country.

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, highlight the key aspects of e Choupal.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • What is e-Choupal? – the two-decade old initiative from ITC aimed to web-enable farmers to overcome challenges related to information access and procurement.
  • Discuss the salient features of the project.
  • Explain how it catalyzed the protection of farmers from the abuse of the agents? Acted as an agglomerate of agricultural services?
  • The focus of the answer must be on the welfare aspect that the project brought in for the Farmers.
  • Provide for way forward.

Conclusion –

Conclude by reasserting significance of such initiatives of private companies in policy making of the country.

Introduction:

e-Choupal is an initiative of ITC Limited, a conglomerate in India, to link directly with rural farmers via the Internet for procurement of agricultural and aquaculture products like soybeans, wheat, coffee, and prawns. e-Choupal tackles the challenges posed by Indian agriculture, characterized by fragmented farms, weak infrastructure and the involvement of intermediaries. The programme installs computers with Internet access in rural areas of India to offer farmers up-to-date marketing and agricultural information.

Body:

The ITC chose to operate the platform on the following three business principles:

(i) Free information and knowledge which ensures wider participation by the farmers.

(ii) Freedom of choice in transactions (farmers after accessing information at the e-Choupal, are free to transact their own way.)

(iii) Transaction based income, stream for the Sanchalak by tying his revenue stream to the transaction (on a commission basis.)

Implications of e-Choupal:

  • ITC Limited has provided computers and Internet access in rural areas across several agricultural regions of the country, where the farmers can directly negotiate the sale of their produce with ITC Limited.
  • Online access enables farmers to obtain information on mandi prices, and good farming practices, and to place orders for agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilizers. This helps farmers improve the quality of their products, and helps in obtaining a better price.
  • ITC Limited kiosk with Internet access is run by a sanchalak — a trained farmer. The computer is housed in the sanchalak’s house and is linked to the Internet via phone lines or by a VSAT connection.
  • Each installation serves an average of 600 farmers in the surrounding ten villages within about a 5 km radius. The sanchalak bears some operating cost but in return earns a service fee for the e-transactions done through his e-Choupal.
  • The warehouse hub is managed by the same traditional middle-men, now called samyojaks, but with no exploitative power due to the reorganisation. These middlemen make up for the lack of infrastructure and fulfill critical jobs like cash disbursement, quantity aggregation and transportation.
  • Driven by increasing smart phone penetration in the country coupled with declining data costs, the FMCG and hospitality conglomerate plans to launch a mobile version of the programme by middle of 2019.
  • Since the introduction of e-Choupal services, farmers have seen a rise in their income levels because of a rise in yields, improvement in quality of output, and a fall in transaction costs. Even small farmers have gained from the initiative.
  • Farmers can get real-time information despite their physical distance from the mandis. The system saves procurement costs for ITC Limited.
  • The farmers do not pay for the information and knowledge they get from e-Choupals; the principle is to inform, empower and compete. e-market place for spot transactions and support services to futures exchange.
  • There are 6,100 e-Choupals in operation in 35,000 villages in 10 states (Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu), affecting around 4 million farmers. In Uttar Pradesh, the pilot project has reached out to nearly 2, 00,000 farmers.
  • As part of the e-Choupal initiative forward, ITC has also launched a program — ‘baareh mahine hariyali’ — focused on helping farmers multiply their incomes by maximising farm utilisation over 12 months of the year. The programme has been implemented in four districts of Uttar Pradesh including Allahabad, Chandauli, and Ghazipur and Bihar’s Munger district.

Conclusion:

E-Choupal, the two-decade old initiative from ITC aimed to web-enable farmers to overcome challenges related to information access and procurement, is set for a major makeover this year. The new model, called e-Choupal 4.0, will be rolled out in the next couple of months


Topic : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6)  Plastic pollution is a pressing environmental concern that requires our collective action. Discuss this statement in the background of Basel Convention on the control of hazardous wastes which recently was amended to include plastic waste. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

Recently Around 180 governments agreed on a new UN accord to regulate the export of plastic waste. Thus, it is important for us to evaluate the pressing concern that plastic pollution poses on the environment today.

Key demand of the question:

Analyse in detail how Plastic pollution is a pressing environmental concern that requires our collective action. The growing levels of plastic waste are becoming unmanageable, every year, more than eight million tons end up in the oceans. Thus, we have to analyse the causes and consequences of the same.

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 highlight some facts to justify the current menace of plastic pollution.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • Start by stating some facts /reports to justify the current conditions of plastic pollution.
  • Highlight the agreement that was reached recently that took the form of an amendment to the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal, to include plastic waste and improve the regulation of its trade.
  • Identify the Dangers of the Plastic Era – discuss the causes and consequences.
  • Highlight the need for collective action.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the need to curb and control the menace of plastic pollution and the threat it poses on the environment.

 

Introduction:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal was created to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of the inappropriate management of hazardous wastes worldwide. Around 180 governments recently agreed on a new UN accord to regulate the export of plastic waste, some eight million tonnes of which ends up in the oceans each year.

Body:

Key highlights of the accord:

  • The accord members agreed to make global trade in plastic waste more transparent and better regulated and to ensure that its management is safer for human health and the environment.
  • The legally binding framework which amends the Basel Convention.
  • The accord affects products used in a broad array of industries, such as healthcare, technology, aerospace, fashion and food, and beverages.
  • The accord is a crucial first step towards stopping the use of developing countries as a dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste, especially those coming from rich nations.
  • Accordingly, countries will have to figure out their own ways of adhering to the accord.
  • Countries that did not sign the deal like the United States could be affected by the accord when they ship plastic waste to countries that are on board with the deal.
  • The agreement is likely to lead to customs agents being on the lookout for electronic waste or other types of potentially hazardous waste more than before.

Dangers posed by Plastic pollution:

  • The recycling efforts are failing to keep pace with production.
  • Current standard water treatment systems do not filter out all of the microplastics.
  • It is creating an environmental crisis comparable to climate change.
  • Cattle and other animals unknowingly consume some of this plastic material which is not digested, end up with painful death. This will have an impact for the farmers and on the Indian economy.
  • Pollutants also upset primary food production in waterbodies by preventing the entry of sunlight into water.
  • Plastic pollution in beaches also impact tourism.
  • The ban on plastic carry bags below 40 microns in many states has not yielded the desired results

Way forward:

  • ULBs could a take cue from cities like Bangalore where dry waste collection centres have not only been established but also have a self-sustainable business model.
  • Municipalities must develop waste collection plans, coupled with outreach activities, to sensitise citizens on waste segregation.
  • It is imperative to develop a phase-wise implementation of the EPR programme with yearly targets and a system of nationwide offsets and credit to ensure effective implementation of the rules.
  • International examples:
    • The success of imposing a plastic bag fee has also been established in cities like Chicago and Washington, showing that such interventions could be effective in shaping behaviour change.
    • The European Union is mulling new laws to ban some everyday single-use plastic products including straws, cutlery and plates citing plastic litter in oceans as the concern prompting the action.
  • Encouraging plogging:
    • Picking up litter while jogging or strolling was kick-started on a small scale in a small part of Stockholm about an year ago, it has spread across the globe and India can adopt this as well.
  • Countries such as the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands have already put in place regulations to stop the use of microbeads in personal-care products. The sooner India adopts such regulations, the better
  • Recycling has to ensure that wastes are converted into products of the same quality, if not better, compared to the original product.
  • Stop using single use plastic:
    • The Government of the state of Maharashtra has announced an ambitious ban of plastic bags, water bottles and other disposable plastic items in the state after the state civic bodies started facing serious problems on garbage disposing and its management.
    • Fine for violating the ban will be Rs 5,000 for the first offence, Rs 10,000 for the second and Rs 25,000 for the third offence or a three-month jail term or both.
  • With a worldwide crisis due to plastic waste, India has to involve all the stakeholders take the responsibility of ensuring minimisation, reuse and recycling of plastic to the maximum.
  • Sensitise people to stop littering and segregate their waste. Nowadays the most popular eco-conscious effort is participating in beach cleanups.
  • Sanitary napkins made from biodegradable material, menstrual cups should be promoted.