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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 MAY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 20 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: Indian Culture, Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1) The Bhakti movement empowered those on the lowest treads of Indian society and provided impetus for the growth of vernacular literature. Comment. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about discussing the role played by Bhakti movement in the Indian society in terms of addressing the social evils and contributing towards vernacular literature.

Demand of the question:

The answer must explain the significance of Bhakti movement in detail with special focus on two fronts namely the – overcoming of social issues and its contributions to the vernacular literature.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

The answer to the question is direct, one must discuss in detail how the Bhakti movement, which started around the 6th century (AD) and spanned all the way to the 18th century, in many ways broke barriers of gender, class and caste. At the same time, it shattered stereotypes associated with the perception of spiritualism; denounced orthodoxy and the rigid ritualistic practices of worship, and established a more personal and informal connection between the devotee and the divine.

From Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi in Karnataka, Janabai and Tukaram in Maharashtra to Kabir, Tulsidas and Mirabai in North India and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Sarada Devi in West Bengal — these mystics and poets challenged social hierarchy and questioned ‘rules’ of seeking salvation.

Comment on the contributions to the vernacular languages.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance.

Introduction:

Bhakti was accepted as a means to attain moksha along with jnana and karma. The Bhakti Movement originated in the seventh-century in Tamil, South India (now parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala), and spread northwards. It swept over east and north India from the 15th century onwards, reached its peak between the 15th and 17th century CE. The Bhakti Saints moved against the austerities propagated by the Buddhist and Jain schools and professed that ultimate devotion to god was the means to salvation.

Body:

Empowerment of lower treads of Indian Society:

  • The Bhakti movement in many ways broke barriers of gender, class and caste.
  • At the same time, it shattered stereotypes associated with the perception of spiritualism; denounced orthodoxy and the rigid ritualistic practices of worship, and established a more personal and informal connection between the devotee and the divine.
  • During the Bhakti movement, the lower classes rose to a position of great importance.
  • The Bhakti movement gave equal importance to men and women which gave way to the importance of women in society.
  • The Alvars and Nayanars initiated a movement of protest against the caste system and the dominance of Brahmanas or at least attempted to reform the system. This is supported by the fact that bhaktas or disciples hailed from diverse social backgrounds ranging from Brahmanas to artisans and cultivators and even from castes considered “untouchable”
  • Ramananda opposed the caste system and chose his disciples from all sections of society irrespective of caste. His disciples included Kabir, a weaver; Raidasa, he was a cobbler; Sena, he was a barber; thus, emphasizing the equality among people of all occupations and caste.
  • Saint Kabir aided the common people to shed age-old superstitions and attain salvation through Bhakti or pure devotion. He criticized all forms of worship of idols.
  • Guru Nanak condemned caste difference and rituals like bathing in holy rivers. His idea of religion was highly practical and strictly moral.
  • Nathpanthis, Siddhars and Yogis condemned the ritual and other aspects of orthodox religion and the social order, using simple, logical arguments. These groups became particularly popular among “low” castes.

Impetus for growth of vernacular literature:

  • The Bhakti reformers adopted the common language of the people and preached in it instead of preaching either in Sanskrit or in Persian. In this way a great impetus was given to the development of the vernaculars.
  • Tamil: the poetry of the Bhakti movement some of the first being the Nalayira Divya Prabandham (4,000 songs) of the Alwars (Vaishnavite) and the Twelve Thirumurais (comprising 18,426 songs) of the Saivite saints have as their main theme religion and god.
  • Kannada: Veerashaivism greatly contributed. Ex: Basavanna and Akka Mahadevi wrote several Vachanas in Kannada language. The Vira-Saivas contributed the most for the development of Kannada literature. Showing a predominant preference for the prose medium, this sect had over two hundred writers.
  • Telugu: Vaishnavism and Shaivism were the major movements in Telugu literature from the 12th to 15th century. Mallikajurna Pandit’s Siva-Tattva-Saram is an important exposition of this faith. Similarly, Pallukari Somantha wrote important Saiva texts such as the Panditaradhyacharita and Dvipada Basava Purana.
  • Marathi: Gnaneshwar who wrote “Gnaneshwari”, a book on Marathi grammar. Jnanadeva’s literary skills and philosophical depth are aptly reflected in his Bhavartha-Dipika, popularly known as Jnaneshvari, and the Amritanubhava. The poetic compositions of other saints Eknath and Tukarama reached to common people in their own language and left deep imprint onto their thoughts and minds.
  • Assamese and Bengali: Amongst the eastern group of languages. Bengali was used by Chaitanya and by the poet Chandidas, who wrote extensively on the theme of the love of Radha and Krishna. Ballads on events of contemporary interest composed by wandering ministers were equally popular. The whole of Assam passed under the sway of the strong Vaishnava movement during the fifteenth and sixteenth century A.D. Sankaradeva and Madhavadeva were the key architects of the Assamese Vaishnava movement. They made rich contributions to the development of the Assamese literature. The Kirtana-Ghosha of Sankaradeva is known as the Bible of the Assamese Vaishnava literature.
  • Hindi:
  • The phase (1318-1643), namely the Bhaktikala, witnessed wholesome composition of Hindi verses on religious, moral and mystical themes on the lines of two dominant schools of Bhakti saints, viz., the Nirguna and Saguna schools.
  • The Hindi literature during the Bhakti Kala had saint poets of both Nirguna and Saguna schools and Sufi mystics. They composed their verses on religious, mystical and social themes. Kabir composed a number of songs and Verses (Sakhis), which are noted for their literary excellence.
  • Tulsidasa’s Ramacharita Manasa is an epitome of the medieval Hindu culture. Of the Krishna worshipping Saguna group, Surdasa was the most prominent saint poet, whose Sura-Sagra is one of the masterpieces of medieval Hindi literature.
  • Vidyapati, Nandadasa, Hita Harivansa, Mirabai and Rasakhana etc., were some of the other prominent saint poets of this school, whose poetic compositions also made rich contributions to the contemporary Hindi literature.

Conclusion:

Bhakti cult was out-of-the-box thoughts on religion. It was mainly against the common religious views, and most importantly, it was strongly against the caste system.


Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development.

2) Malnourishment in India is the next public health emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. Critically analyse the statement and also discuss the significance of food fortification to tackle the issue of Malnourishment. (250 words)

Indianexpress

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the current scenario of malnourishment prevalent in the country. It narrates the compelling reasons for us to think of simpler and effective strategies like fortification of food staples with essential micronutrients like iron and vitamin to deal with the issues of stunting, wasting, anemia etc.

Demand of the question:

The question is about discussing the issue of Malnourishment, its prevalence in India and in what way it has become a public health emergency. One must emphasise on how fortification of food is a way forward to tackle the menace.

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.

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 of the current scenario in the country.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • Highlight how Malnutrition affects Indian population?  – quote facts like; iron deficiency contributes to 20% of maternal deaths and is associated with nearly half of all maternal deaths in India. Malnutrition extends to the children that women with anemia give birth to. They often have low birth weight, are pre-term, and suffer from poor development and lower mental abilities. Lack of essential nutrients in the diet makes growing children weak and make them under nourished etc.
  • Why has it become a public health emergency?
  • Discuss why other missions to tackle malnutrition haven’t been able to succeed fully – National Food Security Act (NFSA), a free Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM), National nutrition mission etc.
  • Discuss what is Food fortification and its importance and relevance to Indian case.
  • Conclude by listing governments efforts in this direction.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

According to WHO, Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients. The term malnutrition covers 2 broad groups of conditions. One is ‘undernutrition’—which includes stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), underweight (low weight for age) and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies (a lack of important vitamins and minerals). The other is overweight, obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer).

Body:

India is home to one of the largest populations of malnourished children in the world. One cannot build a strong building on a weak foundation.

Current Scenario of Malnutrition in India:

  • India is home to over 40 million stunted and 17 million wasted children (under-five years).
  • Despite a fast-growing economy and the largest anti-malnutrition programme, India has the world’s worst level of child malnutrition
  • Though anaemia among children has declined, it affects every second child in the country. There has been no perceptible decline in anaemia among 15 to 49-year old women; it affects around 60 per cent of them.
  • The daily consumption of iron rich dark green leafy vegetables has reduced from 64 per cent to 48 per cent of the population in the last decade.
  • Many, in fact, argue that the NFSA’s focus on wheat and rice has forced millets — traditional source for iron and minerals — out of the market.
  • The government’s iron supplementation programme to overcome IDA has led to only 30 per cent of pregnant women consuming iron and folic acid tablets.
  • Lack of sanitation and clean drinking water are the reasons high levels of malnutrition persists in India despite improvement in food availability

A public emergency:

The scale of malnutrition in India constitutes a public health crisis, which not only violates a fundamental right of humanity, but also undermines significant advances made in economic, social, and cultural indicators.

Failure of Government Schemes:

  • India already has two robust national programmes addressing malnutrition the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) and the National Health Mission but these do not yet reach enough people.
  • The delivery system is also inadequate and plagued by inefficiency and corruption. Some analysts estimate that 40 per cent of the subsidised food never reaches the intended recipients
  • More specifically, the current institutional structure has so far failed to correctly map the time frame for focused intervention, and state spending directed at nutrition and micronutrient supplementation continues to be low.
  • These challenges are compounded by the continued lack of clarity in identifying the nodal ministry from which to coordinate the Government’s various nutrition programmes, including the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
  • With current interventions retaining a focus on addressing malnutrition post-birth, the importance of intervening during the first 1,000 days of a child’s life cannot be over emphasised.

Fortified foods are those that have nutrients added to them that don’t naturally occur in the food. These foods are meant to improve nutrition and add health benefits. For example, milk is often fortified with vitamin D, and calcium may be added to fruit juices.

Significance:

  • Food fortification has been identified by the World Health Organization, the Copenhagen Consensus and the Food and Agriculture Organization as one of the top four strategies for decreasing micronutrient malnutrition at the global level.
  • It helps to address micronutrient deficiencies across populations, countries and regions. For instance, iodine deficiency can have a bearing on children’s cognitive functions, whereas deficiencies in vitamin A and zinc can affect their immunity.
  • Fortification of centrally-processed staple foods is a simple, affordable and viable approach to reach large sections of a country’s population with iron, folic acid, and other essential micronutrients.
  • Adding micronutrients to common staple foods can significantly improve the nutritional quality of the food supply and improve public health with minimal risk.
  • Food fortification is considered an efficient public health strategy because it can reach wider susceptible populations through existing food delivery systems without requiring major changes in existing consumption patterns.
  • It acts as an effective short-term approach to address the nutrition gaps within a population.
  • Compared to other nutrition interventions, food fortification is also more cost-effective, if advantage can be taken of existing technology and large-scale distribution systems such as the MDM Scheme, ICDS, PDS, etc.
  • An effective way to secure micronutrients for beneficiaries is to include fortified foods as an additional supplement to the nutritious meals that are served to them as part of such programmes.
  • According to NFHS 2015-16, every second tribal child suffers from growth restricting malnutrition due to chronic hunger.
  • Such acute food insecurity in tribal households is due to a loss of their traditional dependence on forest livelihood and the State’s deepening agrarian crisis.
  • Adding fortified foods are also useful in lowering the risk of the multiple deficiencies that can result from deficits in food supply or a poor quality diet.

Conclusion:

Boosting nutrition levels across the country is one of the biggest low hanging fruit in the Indian public policy sphere. If we can conquer space, we can conquer malnutrition.


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.

3) Discuss what role Civil society has a to play in restoring institutions that form the bulwark of democracy.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article brings to light various instances where serious loss of credibility of democratic institutions has been witnessed across the world and amidst such conditions it highlights the role played by Civil society in preserving and restoring the tenets of Democracy.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must briefly discuss the role of Civil society in maintaining a true democracy by protecting the institutions that are bulwarks of democracy.

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 what you understand by civil societies.

Body

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

  • Explain few incidences across the world highlighting the erosion of democratic values and its degradation.
  • Discuss how democracy has been protected by civil society- how it has critiqued the faults of various regimes, role played by them in assistance of the government in restoring institutions that form the bulwark of democracy, keep vigil on complicit office-holders etc.
  • Discuss Why is civil society important for democracy?
  • Conclude with how Civil society organizations engage in advocating the public’s rights and wishes of the people, including but not limited to health, environment and economic rights. They fulfill important duties of checks and balances in democracies, they are able to influence the government and hold it accountable.

Conclusion

Conclude by reasserting their importance.

Introduction:

Civil Society Organizations can be defined to include all non-market and non-state organizations outside of the family in which people organize themselves to pursue shared interests in the public domain”.

Body:

Examples include community-based organizations and village associations, environmental groups, women’s rights groups, farmers’ associations, faith-based organizations, labour unions, co-operatives, professional associations, chambers of commerce, independent research institutes and the not-for-profit media.

Need for an active civil society:

  • Citizens have the right to scrutinise the work of their representatives.
  • To publicise acts such as infringement of civil liberties and failure of governments to provide a reasonable standard of life for the citizens.
  • Article 19 of the constitution provides for the democratic right to protest as part of the freedom of expression.
  • The right to participate in an activity should not be restricted to politics and elections alone.
  • Without this right, democracy becomes an illusion.
  • So civil society cannot be conceptualised independent of the state.

Civil society’s functional contribution to good governance

  • Watchdog: against violation of human rights and governing deficiencies.
  • Advocate: of the weaker sections’ point of view.
  • Agitator: on behalf of aggrieved citizens.
  • Educator: of citizens on their rights, entitlements and responsibilities and the government about the pulse of the people.
  • Service provider: to areas and people not reached by official efforts or as government’s agent.
  • Mobilizer: of public opinion for or against a programme or policy.
  • The ways include: Right to Information Act, Consumer Protection Act, Citizens Charters, Whistleblower protection, e-governance, Democratic Decentralisation, Public Interest Litigation, etc

Role of Civil Society:

  • In a large developing country like India, there are numerous gaps left by the government in the development process. These are the gaps that civil societies try to fill in modern India.
  • Supplementing the government effort to provide health care to citizens, and by raising awareness in society about issues like child and maternal malnutrition
  • A number of NGO’s like Childline India Foundation, World Vision, Arambh India have played important role in raising awareness on child sexual abuse.
  • In the last 20 years, a very large number of NGOs in India have been active in the area of environmental protection.
  • The NGOs have often been helped by the judiciary whenever the government of the day has proved unresponsive.
  • The engagement of civil society and the media in educating citizens about the evils of corruption, raising their awareness levels and securing their participation by giving them a ‘voice’.
  • Civil society can influence policy and project formulation through membership of committees and submission of memoranda.

Conclusion:

Pressure groups, NGOs and CSOs form the backbone of democracy. The state must respect the articulation of the politics of voice and not just the politics of the vote. The promises of democracy can only be realised through collective action in civil society. A democratic state needs a democratic civil society and a democratic civil society also needs a democratic state. They mutually reinforce each other.


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

4) What is an exit poll? And how is it different from an opinion poll?  Reason why in India Election Commission (EC) is opposed to media coverage of opinion polls and exit polls during a multi-phase election? (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

Last evening soon after the last phase of elections were declared to be complete exit polls have been meted out by Media. Thus, it is an important theme from the exam point of view.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate what is the concept of exit poll, how is it different from opinion poll and why ECI is opposed to the media coverage of the two concepts during the period of election process.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with basic definitions of the two.

Body:

Discussion should include the following aspects –

  • Explain What are exit & opinion polls? –
  • An opinion poll is a pre-election survey to gather voters’ views on a range of election-related issues.
  • An exit poll, on the other hand, is conducted immediately after people have voted, and assesses the support for political parties and their candidates.
  • Explain why ECI is opposed to them during the period of ongoing elections?
  • Both kinds of polls can be controversial if the agency conducting them is perceived to be biased.
  • The projections of these surveys can be influenced by the choice, wording and timing of the questions, and by the nature of the sample drawn.
  • Political parties often allege that many opinions and exit polls are motivated and sponsored by their rivals, and could have a distorting effect on the choices voters make in a protracted election, rather than simply reflecting public sentiment or views.

Discuss both pros and cons , explain the other practices across different countries and provide for a brief comparison.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward signifying importance of freedom of speech at the same time the reasoned account of such decisions made by ECI.

Introduction:

Exit poll is a post-voting poll, which is conducted just after a voter walks out after casting his or her vote. Such polls aim at predicting the actual result on the basis of the information collected from voters. It assesses the support for political parties and their candidates. They are conducted by a number of organisations. The basic step to predict exit polls is sampling.

Body:

Differences between Exit and Opinion polls:

  • One key difference between exit polls and opinion polls is the timing. Exit polls are conducted after an election or referendum and survey how people actually did vote. Opinion polls are conducted before elections and survey how people intend to vote.
  • Moreover, opinion polls can ask a much broader range of questions to gauge the mood of the electorate. Examples of opinion poll questions include:
    • If the election were held today, who would you vote for?
    • Do you think the country is moving in the right or wrong direction?
    • Do you approve of the job the president is doing with regards to foreign policy?
  • Another key difference is who does the polling and for what purpose the results are used. Exit polls are typically undertaken by news networks in order to analyse and predict the results of elections directly after voting closes. Opinion polls, on the other hand, are undertaken for analytical and predictive purposes by news networks. They are also regularly used by political parties as a strategic campaigning tool.

The reason why Election Commission of India (ECI) is against these polls:

  • Both kinds of polls can be controversial if the agency conducting them is perceived to be biased.
  • The projections of these surveys can be influenced by the choice, wording and timing of the questions, and by the nature of the sample drawn.
  • Political parties often allege that many opinion and exit polls are motivated and sponsored by their rivals, and could have a distorting effect on the choices voters make in a protracted election, rather than simply reflecting public sentiment or views.
  • Section 126A of the Representation of the People’s Act, 1951, puts a ban on exit polls from the period between the commencements of the poll until half an hour after the closing of the final phase of the poll.
  • Exit polls have often proved unreliable in India. In the past, there had been instances when exit polls had predicted the verdict of an election incorrectly. In 2004, the exit polls wrongly predicted the BJP-led NDA coalition winning again.

Opposition to their regulation:

  • Regulating these polls is seen as a curb on the fundamental freedom of speech and expression.
  • Another criticism is that the voters have the right to know what other people’s views are on critical electoral issues so that they can form an informed opinion before casting their votes.

International practices:

  • Sixteen European Union countries ban reporting of opinion polls, with ban timeframes ranging from a full month to just 24 hours before polling day.
  • Italy, Slovakia and Luxembourg have a ban of more than 7 days.
  • France – The French ban has been reduced to 24 hours ahead of voting day.
  • UK – There are no restrictions on publishing results of opinion polls — however, results of exit polls can’t be published until the voting is over.
  • US – Media coverage of opinion polls is regarded as an integral part of free speech in elections, and publication is allowed at any time.
  • The only restriction that exists — not reporting likely outcomes from exit polls before voting is over on election day — is one that news organisations commissioning the polls voluntarily impose upon themselves.

Conclusion:

Since these polls are an important part of freedom of speech and expression and play an important role in informing voters. The need is to establish an independent regulator to regulate the conduct of these polls in terms of sample space, sampling technique, type and timing of questions etc. Media needs to have proper accountability while conducting exit polls.


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

5) What are space debris? How are they a threat to space operations? Discuss the concerns associated with Mission Shakti with respect to space debris. How far do you think the concerns are just? Comment. (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the significance of mission shakti to India. The question thus is to analyse the concerns of space debris and the issues surrounding and questioning the utility of space mission shakti.

Key demand of the question:

Answer must provide for an analysis of Mission Shakti, its effects on space debris and weigh the merits and demerits of the mission.

Directive word:

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 highlight the context of the question.

Body:

  • In brief discuss what you understand by Space debris? – Initially, the term space debris referred to the natural debris found in the solar system: asteroids, comets, and meteoroids. However, with the 1979 beginning of the NASA Orbital Debris Program, the term also refers to the debris from the mass of defunct, artificially created objects in space, especially Earth orbit.
  • Discuss why are they harmful?
  • Salient features of mission shakti.
  • What is the debate of space debris and mission shakti?
  • How are space debris a threat to human life?
  • What needs to be done?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India recently announced that it had carried out a successful anti-satellite missile test (ASAT), Mission Shakti. ASAT is the technological capability to hit and destroy satellites in space through missiles launched from the ground.

Body:

Space Debris:

  • Space debris is a term for the mass of defunct, artificially created objects in space, most notably in Earth orbit, such as old satellites and spent rocket stages.
  • It includes the fragments from their disintegration, erosion and collisions.
  • Sources of space debris are dead spacecrafts, lost equipment, boosters, weapons etc.
  • Space debris has become a pressing issue, with objects in orbit flying out of control, posing a risk to satellites and to astronauts.
  • The drive to keep space debris at bay is growing as more satellites are launched.
  • According to the European Space Agency, there were an estimated 7,50,000 objects of size one cm or above in space.

Threats posed by Space Debris:

  • Space junk is a threat to active satellites, unmanned spacecrafts and spaceships.
  • International space station: Although the ISS uses Whipple shielding to protect itself from minor debris, portions (notably its solar panels) cannot be protected easily.
  • There is also the risk, known as the Kessler Syndrome or Kessler Effect, where one piece of debris breaks off and hits another so that it becomes a cascade, which could end up polluting an entire orbit for satellites.
  • Earth: Although most debris burns up in the atmosphere, larger objects can reach the ground intact. According to NASA, an average of one catalogued piece of debris has fallen back to Earth each day for the past 50 years

Concerns associated with Mission Shakti with respect to space debris:

  • Mission Shakti’s technology is aimed at destroying, if necessary, satellites owned by enemy countries.
  • A satellite that is destroyed by a missile disintegrates into small pieces, and adds to the space debris.
  • g. China carried out its first anti-satellite missile test in 2007, destroying its Fengyun-1C weather satellite. This created more than 2,300 large pieces of space debris, and an estimated 1.5 lakh pieces of objects that were larger than 1 cm in size.
  • Each of them could render a satellite useless on collision, and the debris damaged a functional Russian satellite.
  • But more than that, destroying space infrastructure like satellites is also taboo in the international community, at least till now.
  • Almost every country agrees that space must not be used for wars and has spoken against weaponisation of space.

However, Mission Shakti is justified as:

  • With large number of crucial applications being satellite-based, satellites are extremely critical infrastructure of any country these days.
  • Some of them include navigation systems, communication networks, banking systems, weather forecasting, disaster management, and military applications.
  • Destroying a satellite would render these applications useless.
  • It can thus cripple enemy infrastructure without causing any threat to human lives.
  • None of the international treaty or agreements technically prohibits the kind of test that India presently carried.
  • By government statement, the Indian test was done in the lower atmosphere to ensure that there was no space debris.
  • So whatever debris that is generated will decay and fall back on to the earth within weeks.

Way forward:

  • The issues constraining the process of tackling space debris are financing and international cooperation.
  • The question of who pays for these ‘garbage collection’ missions is also a tricky one.
  • All these issues need resolution but countries need to act immediately to avoid any huge catastrophe due to inaction.
  • Recently, a space mission named Remove Debris was launched to demonstrate various space debris removal technologies.
  • Methods like Net capture, Harpoon Capture, Vision-based navigation, De-orbiting process can be used.
  • Self De-Orbiting Mechanism, which can allow satellite to automatically go out of Earth’s orbit, after it is of no use.
  • Supersonic Laser, which can be use by placing it on Earth only, but it, will burn the space trash. These lasers have been put up in Australia.
  • Space Magnet, which can attract small pieces of debris and throw it out from Earth’s orbit.
  • Space Bombs, which can burn the space junk, without harming any other satellites.

TopicScience and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

6) Discuss the diverse applications of Biotechnology in India and analyse its growth potential with reference to initiatives taken by the government in this direction. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The question is to assess the Biotechnology sector in India, its potential growth and initiatives taken by the government in this direction.

Key demand of the question:

The answer is straightforward and it must narrate upon the biotechnology sector of the country, its potential and significance.

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 on what you understand by Biotechnology.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Quote some facts of Biotechnology sector in India – Indian biotechnology sector has crossed the $ 3 billion milestones and is growing at the rate of more than 30% over the last few years.
  • Potential – India could even achieve the target of attaining $20 billion by 2020.
  • Discuss the notable trends of the sector in India.
  • Explain the benefits of the sector in terms of everyday application in fields of science, Industry, agriculture, animal husbandry, human health etc.
  • Conclude with pros and cons and how the pros should outweigh the cons of the technology.

Conclusion –

Conclude with significance of the Industry on economic and social fronts.

Introduction:

Fifteen years after it rose and went limp, the biotech sector, globally, as well as in India has seen a bull run of sorts. In January this year, some 10 healthcare companies went public on the NASDAQ. Meanwhile, India has become the world’s 12th biggest biotechnology economy having the second highest number of USFDA-approved plants. Biotechnology will help developing countries accomplish things that they could never do.

Body:

Indian Biotechnology Scenario:

  • In India, the world’s 12th biggest biotechnology economy and having the second highest number of US Food and Drugs Administration (USFDA) – approved plants, the industry is not only excited at the revival in the US but also about its domestic prospects.
  • The Indian bioeconomy grew to $4.3 billion at the end of the 2013 financial year, up from $530 million in 2003, according to BioSpectrum, a widely-read trade publication in India.
  • Though concentrated in Hyderabad and Bengaluru, there are units sprouting across the country; currently some 350 companies are in operation.
  • The bio-pharmaceutical sector, which includes vaccines, medical devices and stem cells, is the main driver of India’s biotechnology growth, generating close to 63 per cent of the industry’s total revenue in 2013.

Biotechnology has the following relevance in India:

  • Applications of Biotechnology in Medicine
    • Biotechnology techniques are used in medicine for diagnosis and treating different diseases. It gives opportunities for the people to protect themselves from dangerous diseases.
    • The field of Biotechnology, genetic engineering has introduced techniques like gene therapy, recombinant DNA technology and polymerase chain reaction which use genes and DNA molecules to diagnose diseases and insert new and healthy genes in the body which replace the damaged cells
    • Genetic modification in mosquitoes can solve the problems of epidemic diseases such as dengue and malaria
    • Artificial insemination is the artificial introduction of semen into the reproductive tract of a female animal. It is used extensively in breeding animals, such as sheep and cattle
    • Medical researchers believe that stem cell therapy has the potential to dramatically change the treatment of human disease. A number of adult stem cell therapies already exist, particularly bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukaemia.
    • Stem cell transplantation was first used in the treatment of blood disorders and it was a breakthrough. Conventionally known as bone marrow transplan­tation, the stem cells responsible for production of the blood cells reside in the bone marrow
  • Applications of Biotechnology in Agriculture
    • Biotechnology has played major role in agriculture by altering genes, studying and cloning various crops in order to provide better quality products of foods ultimately improving our lives.
    • Hybrid Seeds, Artificial Seeds, Photosynthesis improver, Stress resistant crops and plants, Bio-fertilisers, Bio-pesticides are some of the potential applications.
    • Potential advantages that biotechnology can confer across a wide range of agricultural applications are in areas such as livestock management, storage of agricultural products and sustaining current crop yields, while reducing the use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.
    • Biotechnology offers a very promising alternative to synthetic foods and an improvement on conventional plant-breeding technologies. Combined with other advanced agricultural technologies, it offers an exciting and environmentally responsible way to meet consumer demand for sustainable agriculture.
  • Animal husbandry:
    • The application of biotechnology in this area, in increasing production efficiency through manipulation and control of physiological systems and improving the health and well-being of animals, assumes great significance.
    • Embryo transplantation, used with cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep, aims to increase the number of offspring from a quality female.
    • Cloning embryos to artificially produce genetic duplicates of an animal has also become possible.
    • Direct manipulation and alteration of an animal’s genetic material— genetic engineering—has the potential to produce even more drastic changes in animal breeding. It is believed that genetically altered pigs may one day be able to provide compatible organs for emergency transplantation (xenotransplantation) into humans.
  • Application of Biotechnology in Food Processing
    • Biotechnology has a major application in the food sector.
    • Bread, cheese, wine, beer, yogurt, and vinegar are all made by culturing microorganisms and are really the oldest products of biotechnology.
    • It helps in improving the edibility, texture, and storage of the food; in preventing the attack of the food, mainly dairy, by the virus like bacteriophage.
    • Biotechnologists are also developing tests that will allow the detection of food-contaminating microorganisms and the toxins they produce, which may be present only in minute quantities.
    • Biotechnology also has applications in the detection of mutagens (substances that cause genetic mutations) in individual food products.
    • GM crops which have been approved for use in food items in select countries include corn, maize, soya, tomato, potato and papaya.
    • Latest innovations in biotechnology that fortify major staples with micro nutrients like vitamin A, zinc and iron can be game changers for hunger problem in India.
  • Environment:
    • Biotechnology can be used to tackle environmental issues like deforestation and air pollution
    • Biotechnology can help in finding out the level of Particulate Matter 2.5 in the air,
    • Biotechnology is already providing a clean and renewable alternative to traditional fossil fuels, the burning of which contributes to global warming.
    • The benefit of environmental biotechnology helps us to avoid the use of hazardous pollutants and wastes that affect the natural resources and the environment.
    • Biosensors, which combine a biological component (such as an enzyme) with various electronic components to trigger a circuit when a particular type of chemical is detected. Biosensors are capable of detecting extremely low levels of proteins, hormones, pollutants, gases, and other molecules.

Government initiatives to boost the sector:

  • The Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India and RIKEN, Japan’s largest research organisation have signed memorandums of understanding (MoU) to launch joint research programs in the fields of biology, life sciences and material sciences.
  • UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the Association of Biotech Led Enterprises (ABLE) have signed a MoU to encourage and develop collaborative opportunities between Indian life sciences organisations and the UK.
  • The Drugs Controller General of India has approved Biocon Ltd to market its biosimilar ‘Trastuzumab’ developed jointly with the US drug-maker Mylan, for treating breast cancer. “This is a major milestone for both partners as it is the world’s first biosimilar trastuzumab to be accorded regulatory approval,” said Ms Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon.
  • The Government of India plans to set up National Institute of Biotic Stress Management for addressing plant protection issues will be established at Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

Conclusion:

Every new drug discovery or drug approval not only draws cheers from millions of victims of debilitating diseases but also adds value to biotechnology companies. In a complex play of scientific progress and market forces, the biotechnology industry is recording growth that can rival the information technology industry boom of the 1990s. India with its young workforce and a potential market for the end-products can look out for a bright future in the biotechnology sector.


Topic  Role of media and social networking sites

7) Discuss the effects of social media on Democracy. How does it play a key role to be an enabler of transparency and democracy?  (250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail how social media influence democracy.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must debate that there are several positives that social media brings to the table, including affordable access to information, voicing voter concerns, and adding another communication channel between voters and politicians. But social media has just as many pitfalls — some that are already being addressed, others that both social media companies and governments continue to examine. thus users of social platforms, it is becoming increasingly important to be aware of these pitfalls.

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 explain the role of social media in general.

Body:

  • Highlight why social media is important to a democracy?
  • How does media strengthen democracy?
  • What is the relationship between media and democracy in general? Discuss the specific case of social media.
  • What are the issues associated?
  • Explain how can one handle these issues, explain what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

Democracy provides opportunities to enhance the role of people in collective decision-making so that it is inclusive, equitable, transparent, accountable and justiciable. In this respect, social media has had a significant contribution towards making democracy even stronger than before. It started with the electronic media becoming its fourth pillar in 2000s and culminated with the growing role of internet in the form of social media. After legislature, executive, Judiciary, Media and Common Man, the sixth pillar of the democracy is touted to be ‘Social Media’. All these pillars have the capacity to change the status-quo and undone wrongdoing.

Body:

The social media is a recent additive. It works on a virtual space almost without any constraint. The main platforms are Facebook, whatsapp and Twitter. The capacity of online activism through these platform is immense.

Social media has drastically changed the landscape in democratic polity in following ways:

Public’s outreach to Government:

  • Greater mass involvement in decision-making, providing input to policies, sharing of ideas and innovative governance methods
  • Faster complaint registration and grievance redressal;
  • Time and resource management with online execution of most formalities
  • In Iceland, for example, when someone moves to a new neighbourhood, the first thing they often do is join their community’s Facebook group. They tag their representatives in posts and push for the issues they want taken to Parliament. Conversations like these are quietly reinvigorating local governance around the world.

Government’s outreach to the public:

  • Timely delivery of services: For eg, twitter has been a tool for the passenger of railways to redress their specific grievances.
  • Spreading awareness on its policies and schemes using facebook and twitter. Most political leaders, in government or opposition employ social media to interact with people.
  • Gauging public mood and response on its recent initiatives so as to modify it accordingly. It thus provides a platform to address the elitism that has crept in politics due to dislink with the public.

Public’s outreach to public:

  • Act as vanguard of democracy: It is a tool of mobilisation so that protests against unfair policy decisions of govt or against any undemocratic and unconstitutional move can be held. Anna Hazare agitation was one such instance.
  • It allows to maintain a critical environment that questions on the doings and undoings. Hence it enriches public discourse.

Social media media’s impact on democracy is that it amplifies human intent — both good and bad. At its best, it allows us to express ourselves and take action. At its worst, it allows people to spread misinformation and corrode democracy.

 Pros:

  • The hashtag activism empowers people to speak up injustice without fear. Some recent examples are #not in my name, #MeToo.
  • Social media provide solidarity and sense of companionship to those unable to reach government or raise their voice.
  • It has long been observed that when people discuss the news, they’re more likely to be involved in their community, whether by volunteering or reaching out to elected officials. There is growing evidence that this is also true for social media — especially among young people.
  • Social media platforms are driving people not just to learn about issues but to take action. For e.g.: During the 2016 US election alone, the voter registration efforts on Facebook led more than 2 million people to register to vote.

 Cons:

  • Online abuse, hate speech and harassment is perpetuating with anonymity. Policing the content at a global scale is an open research problem since it is hard for machines to understand the cultural nuances of political intimidation.
  • The unbridled exercise of power on online platform is out of government regulation.
  • It has become a medium to influence youth by the terror outfits
  • The spreading of fake news which hampers peace and tranquillity of a nation is rapid and complete.
  • One of the most common criticisms of social media is that it creates echo chambers where people only see viewpoints they agree with — further driving us apart.
  • While foreign meddling, misinformation, echo chambers and hate speech get the headlines, it is also worrisome that how social media can distort policymakers’ perception of public opinion.
  • The 2016 US presidential election brought to the fore the risks of foreign meddling, “fake news” and political polarization. The effect of social media on politics has never been so crucial to examine.
  • If politicians mistake the views of a few with the views of many, that can make for bad public policy. Vulnerable populations could end up ignored, and fringe groups could appear mainstream.

Conclusion:

In short, social media is a potent tool, and may be a revolutionary one, to further strengthen the ethos and principles of democracy in novel ways. The use of social media for political activities influences peoples’ political efficacy, political knowledge, and political participation. Social media must be submitted to the same rules that are established for other media such as clear accountability and transparency. This would probably require new international laws. Moreover, the big companies should continue looking for ways to prevent the abuse of their media.


Topic:  ethical concerns and dilemmas

8) On one hand there are people who think the law should let women decide whether to have abortions called pro-choice and on the other hand are People who are pro-life; who believe that all humans, including the unborn, have a right to life. What in your view point is ethical and justified?  Is the belief that abortion is wrong and that it is murder correct? Critically analyse and give your opinion with suitable justifications.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

Recently in the United States, the Alabama Senate has passed a bill banning abortion. The legislation bans any termination of pregnancy and punishing doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison. The state Senate yesterday approved the law by 25 votes to six, rejecting exemptions for cases of rape or incest.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must debate about the ethical angle involved in the above decision on abortion, the answer must argue the merits and demerits associated with such a judgement.

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:

In a few introductory lines explain the context of the question.

Body:

  • Highlight the current scenario – discuss the Alabama human life protection act.
  • Salient features of the bill –
  • It places a near-total ban on the termination of pregnancy — even in cases of rape and incest.
  • Abortions would only be legal if the life of the mother is in danger or the fetus has a fatal condition.
  • Performing an abortion is a crime that could land doctors who perform it in prison for 10 to 99 years.
  • Unlike the doctors carrying out the procedures, women who undergo abortions would not be prosecuted.
  • Then move to discuss what are the ethical issues involved, debate the women rights of reproduction vs freedom to choose to live of the unborn.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

In the United States, the Alabama Senate has passed a bill banning abortion. The legislation bans any termination of pregnancy and punishing doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison. The law even rejects exemptions for cases of rape or incest. The Court’s present conservative majority has some Republicans wanting it to overturn a landmark 1973 ruling that recognised women’s right to abortion.

Body:

Whereas some communities see abortion as an ethical and moral issue, other communities view it as unethical and immoral.

Pro-Choice arguments:

  • Abortion is an act of terminating a pregnancy before the natural delivery of by any available means such as operations.
  • Many people and communities accept the fact that abortion is ethical and moral. In other communities, there are efforts to make them legal.
  • On of the basis on which they make their argument is that during rape and incest then a person may seek for adoption.
  • In such a case, the proponents for the reasons for the abortion practice assert that such a kind need to be aborted and reduce shame and trauma.
  • The other reasoning for abortion according to those who are for it, is believe that abortion could possibly be a means of reducing the population
  • The proponents of the reasons for abortion also assert that it is ethical and moral as the woman is allowed to decide on the events she would like to happen within her body.
  • For instance, if the woman wants to give birth she may do so since she has all the rights as well.
  • They also believe that abortion is not murder as it only removes and disintegrate the various body cells incapable of living on the own outside the womb without the aid of other technological devices within the healthcare service provision.
  • According to them, it is wrong to bring up a child of unwanted pregnancy and in order to avoid this the persons involve should abort

Pro-Life arguments:

  • In supporting the reasons against the act of abortion, it is believed that it is murder denying the unborn child the chance to live.
  • Every individual has a fundamental right to life and no one should ever take it no matter the circumstances.
  • Fundamental right to life is global basic human rights need to be upheld at all cost.
  • Aborting the unborn child would mean that the basic right and freedom is infringed and these amounts to gross ethical and moral standards.
  • The morality and ethics of the world requires that the basic rights of a person to be taken into consideration and this help in achieving the good and harmonious existence of the individuals.
  • Abortion is wrong since it denies the unborn the chance and the fundamental of human rights and contradicting the sanctity of life.
  • Under no circumstance does a community in the world gives another person a right of living of the others. It is believed that God created every human being and it is only Him who gives and takes away life of individuals.

Conclusion:

It is clear that there is a division between those supporting the abortion concept and those against the concept. The various reasoning of both sides of the debate gives a final verdict that it is true that the debate on the side for the actions of abortion is weaker than the side of the shooting. While many scholars have attempted to change the views of abortion by calling it ethical and emotional others believe that the aspect of abortion are complex and in real sense obtained from the various aspects of the government or a given community. It is therefore true without any doubt that abortion, from the discussed issues is unethical and immoral after all they deprive someone of the right of living.