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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 NOVEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 08 NOVEMBER 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: Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1) Each locale has a unique landscape that creates or modifies the wind. Discuss the impact of local winds on the weather of a particular region by giving suitable examples.(250 words)

 Geography by Majid Hussain

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of Geography portions of GS paper I .

Key demand of the question:

One must explain in detail the impact of local winds on the weather patterns of a region.

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: 

Define Local winds/how they are formed.

Body:

Mention varied impacts due to different types of local winds (also one example of local wind of India).

Explain that Landscapes directly impacts the flow pattern of the wind in the following ways:

  • Resistance provided by the surface
  • Structural formations (mountains) guide the flow (diagram)
  • Stability and instability of the wind is guided by the altitude variation.
  • Local wind is generated due to localized difference in heating and cooling of surface. Difference in pressure gradients eventually gives rise to local winds. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with their overall impact.

Introduction:    

Local winds occur on a small spatial scale, their horizontal dimensions typically several tens to a few hundreds of kilometres. They also tend to be short-lived lasting typically several hours to a day. There are many such winds around the world, some of them cold, some warm, some wet, some dry. There are many hazards associated with the winds.

However, it is important to remember that some of the local winds can have very large dimensions like, Northers of North America, which originate in Arctic Canada and reach as south as the Gulf of Mexico.

Body:

Types and Impact of local winds on the weather:

Periodical winds: The winds originating from diurnal temperature and pressure variation are known as Periodical and they generally complete their cycle in a day/ 24 hour like Land & Sea Breeze and Mountain & Valley Breeze.

Land and Sea Breeze: Land and Sea Breeze is generated by the diurnal variation of pressure. Due to this reason, the Land and Sea Breeze are sometimes known as diurnal Monsoon.

Land Breeze:

  • At night reversal of sea breeze may occur but with somewhat weaker characteristics as the temperature and pressure gradient are less steeper during the night.
  • During night land breeze is established since land cools to a temperature lower than the adjacent water setting up a pressure gradient from land to sea
  • The horizontal and vertical extent of the Land Breeze helps in moderation of temperature of a coastal area during night time as it maintains regular circulation
  • Land Breeze usually attains its maximum intensity in the early morning hours and dies out soon after sunup.

Sea Breeze:

  • The sea breeze develops along seacoasts or large inland water bodies when the land heats much faster than the water on a clear day and a pressure gradient is directed high over the water to low over the land.
  • Impact of Sea breeze rapidly declines landward and impact is limited to 50km.
  • Land- Sea Breeze system is very shallow as the average depth of the land and sea breeze, varies from 1000-2000M in tropical regions and over the lakes, the depth is even lesser.
  • Sea Breeze brings cool marine air and thus help in moderation of coastal temperature and due to the sea breeze, coastal regions record a drop of 5-10 0C in their temperature
  • It also frequently causes late afternoon rainfall in these coastal areas, particularly during summer.
  • Due to the location nearer to the lakes, places experience the Lake Effect like Chicago, due to its location near a lake presents a typical example of lake effect- where lakeside areas are cooler than the much warmer outlying areas in the summer.

Mountain and Valley Breeze: These winds develop over areas with large differences in relief and majorly caused by the temperature gradient that exists between Mountain Slopes and valleys.

Valley Breeze:

  • Due to the intense insolation during the daytime, the slopes of the mountain heat up rapidly but the free atmosphere above the lowlands is not heated to some extent.
  • As the valleys receive comparatively lesser insolation so relatively high pressure sets up in the valleys while along the mountain slopes due to more heating the warm air is uplifted, and low pressure sets up.
  • Thus, the air moves from the Valleys towards the slopes (High pressure to the low pressure) and this upslope movement of air is known as valley breeze.
  • Valley breezes are also known as Anabatic Wind.
  • Weather associated with the Valley Breeze
  • This type of upslope winds in the Mountainous region may cause occasional and afternoon thundershowers on warm and humid days.
  • Sometimes, the valley breezes are also accompanied by the formation of cumulus cloud near mountain peaks or over slopes and escarpments.

Mountain Breeze:

  • On mountain-sides under the clear night sky, the higher land (upslope land) radiates heat and is cooled and in turn cools the air in contact with it. The cool denser air flows down the mountain slope due to the pressure difference since the valley is warmer and at relatively lower pressure.
  • This flow of the air is termed as Mountain Breeze and they are also known as Katabatic wind.
  • Weather associated with the Mountain Breeze
  • By the morning the mountain breeze produces temperature inversions and valley bottom becomes colder than the Mountain Slopes.
  • Thus, the valley floors are characterised by frost during the night while upper part/ hill-side are free from frost in cold areas.

Non-Periodical winds: Only present during a season and are classified as Hot and Cold Winds.

Hot Local Winds: Hot Local winds are produced generally by the mechanism of downslope compressional heating also known as adiabatic heating. The examples of the Hot Local Winds include Chinook, Harmattan, Foehn, Sirocco, Norwester, Brickfielder, Khamsin, Santa Ana, Loo etc.

  • Chinook:
    • These are warm and dry winds blowing on the eastern slopes (leeward side) of the Rocky Mountain. They are the result of adiabatic heating which occurs due to downslope compression on the leeward side, as the mountain barrier creates frictional drag which tends to pull the air from the higher level down on the leeward and air forced down is heated adiabatically and at the same time its relative humidity is also lowered.
    • The temperature in Chinook is so warm that it can remove the underlying snow cover/ice and sometimes these winds are so dry that in spite of their below freezing temperatures the entire snow cover on the ground disappears, by process of sublimation. Thus, these winds are also known as Chinook, which literally means ‘Snow Eater’.
    • Ordinarily, a Chinook wind is accompanied by the cyclonic activity which produces Cloud and precipitation on the windward side of the Rocky Mountain Range.
    • The latent heat released into the air through the condensation process warms the air and which passes across the mountain range and since the air has lost its moisture it becomes drier.
    • During winter Great Plain of North America are very cold and frozen, Chinook with its arrival increase the temperature and bring relief to the people and at the same time, the rise in temperature due to Chinook also helps in early sowing of spring wheat in the USA.
  • Foehn:
    • Foehn is dry and warm wind resulting due to adiabatic heating on the leeward side of the Mountain range.
    • These winds are more common on the northern side of Alps in Switzerland and with the arrival of these winds, there is a rapid rise in temperature.
    • The low relative humidity and high temperature are due to the adiabatic heating of the down-slope winds
    • The Foehn winds are present throughout the winter and due to the presence of such winds the temperature increases, and valleys of Switzerland are called ‘Climatic Oasis’ during the winter season
  • Harmattan:
    • These hot and dry wind originate from the Sahara Desert and blow towards the Guinea coast of Africa.
    • Due to their journey over the Sahara Desert, these winds become extremely dry and as they pass over the Sahara Desert they pick up more sand especially red sand and turn dusty.
    • As these winds arrive in the western coast of Africa, the weather which is warm and moist before its arrival, turns into pleasant dry weather with low relative humidity, thus bringing great relief to the people. Due to this reason, they are also known as “doctor” winds in the Guinea coast area of Western Africa
  • Loo:
    • It originates from the Thar desert and has north-westerly to a westerly direction.
    • They dominate during early summer in the months of March to May and create heat waves like condition in Northern India and adjoining parts.
    • They have desiccating effects and are considered as environmental hazards.

Cold Local Winds: Cold local winds are dust-laden winds and as they have a temperature below freezing point, they create Cold Wave condition. The examples of Cold Local winds include-Mistral, Bora, Northers, Blizzard, Purga, Laventer, Pampero, Bise etc.

  • Mistral:
    • It is a cold and dry wind which blows in the Spain and France from North-west to South-East direction, mostly occur during winter months.
    • Due to the presence of the Rhome River, these winds are channelized into the Rhome valley due to which they become extremely cold.
    • As they pass through the narrow Rhome Valley, they turn into stormy northerly cold winds
    • Such stormy cold northerly winds cause a sudden drop in temperature to below freezing point.
  • Bora:
    • These are cold and dry north-easterly winds which blow from the mountains towards the eastern shore of Adriatic Sea.
    • Bora is more effective in North Italy since here it descends the southern slopes of the Alps, although due to descend it gets adiabatically heated still its temperature is very low in comparison to the coastal area and these are the typical example of fall winds.
    • Bora has often associated with the passage of a temperate Cyclone and at times the Bora winds themselves attain the hurricane force at the foot of the mountain and may cause disastrous impacts on properties.
  • Blizzard:
    • Blizzard is cold, violent, powdery polar winds (pick dry snow from the ground)
    • They are prevalent in the north and south polar regions, Canada, USA, Siberia etc. Due to the absence of any east-west Mountain barrier, these winds reach to the southern states of USA.

Conclusion:

Local differences of temperature and pressure produce local winds. Such winds are local in extent and are confined to the lowest levels of the troposphere.


Topic: Geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

 2) Explain the mechanism of sea-floor spreading and briefly mention the characteristic features of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. (250 words)

Physical geography by Savindra Singh

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions and probes upon the phenomena of SFS and the features of Mid-Atlantic ridge.

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: 

Explain the concept of sea floor spreading.

Body:

 Sea floor spreading is an endo-genetic process occurring at divergent plate boundaries. 

Mention details of the characteristic features of Mid-Atlantic Ridges.

Use suitable diagrams to ensure the content is holistically conveyed.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the phenomena in the formation of geographical features.

 

Introduction:    

Seafloor spreading is a process that occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge. The idea that the seafloor itself moves (and carries the continents with it) as it expands from a central axis was proposed by Harry Hess.

Body:

Mechanism:

  • According to this theory, the intense heat generated by radioactive substances in the mantle (100-2900 km below the earth surface) seeks a path to escape, and gives rise to the formation of convention currents in the mantle.
  • Wherever rising limbs of these currents meet, oceanic ridges are formed on the sea floor and wherever the failing limbs meet, trenches are formed.
  • Seafloor spreading is a process that occurs at mid-ocean ridges, where new oceanic crust is formed through volcanic activity and then gradually moves away from the ridge.
  • Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics. When oceanic plates diverge, tensional stress causes fractures to occur in the lithosphere.
  • Basaltic magma rises up the fractures and cools on the ocean floor to form new sea floor.
  • Older rocks will be found farther away from the spreading zone while younger rocks will be found nearer to the spreading zone.

Characteristics of Mid-Atlantic Ridge:

  • The continents bordering the Atlantic Ocean, for example, are believed to be moving away from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at a rate of 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 inch) per year, thus increasing the breadth of the ocean basin by twice that amount.
  • Volcanic eruptions are common all along the mid-oceanic ridges and they bring huge amounts of lava to the surface in this area.
  • The rocks equidistant on either sides of the crest of mid-oceanic ridges show remarkable similarities
  • Rocks closer to the mid-oceanic ridges are normal polarity and are the youngest.
  • The age of the rocks increases as one moves away from the crest.
  • The deep trenches have deep-seated earthquake occurrences while in the mid-oceanic ridge areas, the quake foci have shallow depths.

Conclusion:

Seafloor spreading helps explain continental drift in the theory of plate tectonics. Sea floor spreading proposed the magma as the cause of new crust and subduction of crust at the ocean-continent boundaries. This was further expanded by scholars to propose plates and their movement due to this magma. It is these tectonic plates and not the continents that have been moving since the inception of earth.


Topic:  population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

3) While there is no single solution for tackling climate change and its ill effects, cities across the world must now develop ability and capacity, and the will to take on the challenge. Elaborate. (250 words)

Hindustantimes

 

Why this question:

A study by Climate Central, a US-based climate think tank, said that if spiraling emissions are not brought under control, parts of Mumbai, Surat, Chennai, and Kolkata, will be either underwater or ravaged by recurring floods by 2050. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the need for cities to invest in resilience. Explain the need and significance.

Directive:

Elaborate – Give 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: 

In brief narrate the context of the question.

Body:

Explain the associated issues. With the climate challenge becoming bigger and bigger, it is imperative that cities invest in resilience strategies so that lives, property, and urban infrastructure are not lost due to climate-induced devastations.

Discuss the methods to overcome such challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to overcome.

Introduction:    

A study by Climate Central, a US-based climate think tank, said that if spiralling emissions are not brought under control, parts of Mumbai, Surat, Chennai, and Kolkata, will be either underwater or ravaged by recurring floods by 2050. This is because sea levels across the world will continue to rise due to increasing carbon emissions, leading to coastal flooding, higher storm surges, and displacement of people. Air pollution, water crisis, flooding, and waste management issues are the other problems plaguing our cities alongside Climate change effects.

Body:

Challenges faced to build resilient cities:

  • Poor empowerment: India’s cities are still not adequately empowered, despite the 74th Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992, which aims at strengthening democracy at the grass root level through local bodies.
  • Lack of finance and Autonomy: Most Indian cities are not autonomous, with most funds coming from state and central governments.
  • Silo-working: Departments in city governments tend to work in silos leading to poor synergy and lack of co-ordination.
  • Lack of Professionals: There is a lack of trained urban planners, resilience engineers, accountants, amplifying the need to attract the best and brightest to work at the city-level in these functions.

Measures needed:

  • By building accurate risk-based land-use planning and steer future growth away from high-risk areas
  • A low-hanging fruit will be the smarter use of density and transit-oriented development, such as allowing much higher densities around public transport nodes will minimise urban sprawl and carbon emissions.
  • There is a need for the cities to dovetail resilience into their planning process like Pune, Surat, Chennai.
  • Synergy between departments of Government is critical because addressing the climate challenge requires multi-sectoral, coordinated and iterative solutions over a long period.
  • Creating a position for a chief resilience officer (CRO). A CRO is expected to build a culture of collaboration between departments, help the officials to map out a resilience programme, and bring citizens and corporate companies on board.
  • A set of initiatives to address uncontrolled growth, inadequate access to mobility, unemployment under-employment among youth, inward migration and stressed urban environment is needed.
  • Implementation of an adequate public transport system, improved housing that uses building techniques that consume less energy, and a water conservation and monitoring plan.
  • Protecting informal settlements of the underprivileged communities in low-lying coastal areas.
  • an urban resilience unit at the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, to mainstream resilience in urban planning and development of cities in other parts of the country.

Conclusion:

For centuries, cities have been centres of commerce, culture and innovation. While there is no single solution for tackling climate change and its ill effects, cities across the world must now develop the ability, the capacity, and the will to take on the challenge. And Indian cities cannot afford to lag behind and miss the bus.

Case study: Among Asian countries, China leads in building resilience. It has more metro lines than the rest of the world combined. It has the largest electric bus fleet in the world. The government is also building “sponge cities”, the idea is to design urban spaces to catch rainwater where it falls. By 2020, the government wants 20% of the built area of each pilot district to have sponge city functions, meaning at least 70% of Stormwater run-off should be captured, reused, or absorbed by the ground. By 2030, 80% of each city should meet this requirement. Seoul is aiming to add 2,000 km of bike paths and create 250 pedestrian zones. Hanoi plans to generate electricity from its biggest landfill, which will reduce emissions and generate electricity.


Topic:Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

4) To ensure the region’s growth path remains strong and sustainable, new policies and initiatives need to remain mindful of fiscal, financial and environmental risks of the South Asia. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

A newly released paper by the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department finds that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy going forward, in both relative and absolute terms.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss why new policies and initiatives need to remain mindful of fiscal, financial and environmental risks of the South Asia. Highlight the importance of South Asia region and need to focus upon its growth and development.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain the significance of south Asia.

Body:

Explain that South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase over the medium to longer term, while more mature economies decelerate. Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance. 

India in particular has benefitted from the transition from exporting tea and fabrics several decades ago towards a more sophisticated basket of goods and services today.

Conclusion:

Conclude that to build on the strong performance to date and allow for growth to take off in earnest, the countries in the region will need to step up their policy and reform agenda.

Introduction:

A newly released paper by the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department finds that South Asia is poised to play an even bigger role in the global economy going forward, in both relative and absolute terms. Amid a changing global economic landscape, South Asia will need to leverage on all sectors of the economy in a balanced way, supporting improvements in agricultural productivity and a sustainable expansion of manufacturing, while promoting higher-skill services, to achieve this goal.

Body:

Growth story of South Asia:

  • Since the mid-1980s, durable reforms coupled with prudent macroeconomic management have brought steady progress to the South Asia region, making it one of the world’s fastest growing regions.
  • Real GDP growth has steadily increased from an average of about 3 per cent in the 1970s to 7 per cent over the last decade.
  • Although growth trajectories varied across countries, reforms supported strong per capita income growth in the region, lifting over 200 million people out of poverty in the last three decades.
  • In India as an example, important waves of reforms began in earnest in the early 1990s, focused on reducing business regulations and liberalising the trade regime, and continued post-2000 with efforts to promote macroeconomic stability (including the FRBM Act in 2004, the inflation targeting framework for monetary policy in 2015, and the pan-India goods and services tax in 2017).
  • Today, South Asia accounts for one-fifth of the world’s population and, thanks primarily to India, contributes to over 15 per cent of global growth.

Potential of South Asia:

  • South Asia’s contribution to global growth is set to increase over the medium to longer term, while more mature economies decelerate.
  • Under a full liberalisation scenario, South Asia could contribute about a third of global growth by 2040, with real GDP growth surpassing 6.5 per cent, compared to nearly 6 per cent under the current baseline and 5 per cent in a downside scenario where the benefits of the demographic dividend cannot be secured.
  • Greater economic diversification, with an expansion of the service sector, improvements in education, and a still sizable demographic dividend are among the key elements underpinning this performance.
  • India in particular has benefitted from the transition from exporting tea and fabrics several decades ago towards a more sophisticated basket of goods and services today.
  • Based on demographic trends, more than 150 million people in the region are expected to enter the labour market by 2030 — this demographic dividend is most enduring in India and Nepal, where the working-age population is not expected to peak until 2040.
  • This young and large workforce can be South Asia’s strength, if supported by a successful high-quality and job-rich growth strategy.

Measures needed:

  • South Asian economies can further open up to trade and foreign direct investment (FDI), improve governance, and foster financial development to enable more efficient allocation of resources to the private sector and reduce the still significant state footprint in the economy.
  • The region will also need to prepare its workforce for the challenges of the twenty-first century to be able to fully reap the benefits of its demographic dividend.
  • Investing in human capital and addressing the large informal sector — taking significant steps to strengthen women’s economic empowerment and labour force participation and support the youth—would bring sizable economic gains to the region.
  • Clear communication on the benefits of the reforms and prioritisation based on their expected macro-structural impact are key to building reform momentum.
  • Stronger social safety nets are especially important to supporting the most difficult structural reforms, notably to labour markets, minimising their distributional impact on the most vulnerable segments of the population, and promoting strong and inclusive growth.

Measures needed for India in particular:

  • For India, there is a particularly large need for infrastructure investment, including in the areas of (renewable) energy, transport, water, and urban services — land reforms are important to facilitate this investment.
  • Following up on its investment in tertiary education, India should now also increase spending directed at primary education, broadening access to quality education and boosting literacy across the country, including for young girls.

Way forward:

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the platform for regional economic cooperation in this region, has become moribund and remains unsuccessful in promoting regional economic cooperation.
  • If the countries of South Asia, the fastest growing region of the world, can come to a common understanding on regional integration and cooperation in achieving the SDGs, it can unleash a powerful synergistic force that can finally make South Asia converge.
  • A stable and effective balance of power has to be achieved across our eastern shores in South and South-East Asia to meet challenges posed by all types of social, economic and political issues.
  • A convergence towards achieving a common socio-economic agenda gives hope that no one in South Asia will be left behind in the journey towards eradicating poverty and enduring dignity to all.

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.

5) What is online political advertising? Should it be regulated? Discuss the possible role that election commission should play to ensure transparency and accountability in it.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

Explain what online political advertising is and what makes online political advertising different, also discuss the possible role that election commission.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the aspects of online political advertising, the challenges posed by it and role of election commission in regulating it.

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 brief first define what online political advertising is.

Body:

Explain first the salient features of  Online advertising 

  • It allows, especially on social networks, for a kind of targeting that wasn’t possible at the same level before.
  • Invisibility of this kind of advertising etc.

Discuss the pros and cons associated.

Explain the need for its regulation.

What should be the role of election commission?

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:    

Online political advertisings are a form of marketing and advertising which uses the Internet to deliver promotional marketing messages to consumers. These are messages intended to reach a large audience through periodicals, sample ballots, web sites, e-mails, text messages, social media, and other online or electronic formats enabling the exchange of communication. Many consumers find online advertising disruptive and have increasingly turned to ad blocking for a variety of reasons. These ad campaigns are used for appealing, directly or indirectly, for votes or for financial or other support in any election campaign.

Body:

Need for regulation:

  • Lack of responsibility: Platforms, particularly Facebook, have been washing their hands of the issue saying they are only intermediaries providing space. The content is being generated by the people to be consumed by the people, and they have no role to play. For instance, Twitter recently announced that it will no longer carry political advertisements as the power of Internet advertising “brings significant risks to politics, where it can be used to influence votes”. On the other hand, Facebook has said it will not fact-check political advertisements as it does not want to stifle free speech.
  • Challenges of micro-targeting: The business model of Facebook, Google, or any of the platforms, clearly provide micro-targeting or allow people to be manipulated for a particular purpose. Online advertising allows, especially on social networks, for a kind of targeting that wasn’t possible at the same level before.
  • Traceability issues: For instance, In the Maharashtra election, it was seen that a lot of advertisements coming out were untraceable.
  • Transparency issue: The ways in which advertisements are displayed and also the money associated with it are not transparent.
  • Regulatory issues: the legislation that apply now for reasonable restrictions and freedom of speech and the freedom of the press also apply to these platforms

Possible role of Election commission of India:

  • Advertising in public domain: The EC should make public the way in which this advertising is being conducted, the money associated with it, and the people who are being reached with it. For instance, there is a mechanism like TRP ratings at TV channels for ads during primetime, which allows them to understand and evaluate the target sections.
  • Reach out to the government: The EC should reach out to the Government of India and look at the departments that are capable of handling this. If they don’t exist, it should start creating infrastructure that will be able to look into all these aspects.
  • Concrete guidelines should be given to these digital platforms. And whatever comes in contradiction, or comes in the way of implementing the RPA, the EC should stop the platforms from doing it.
  • Transparency commitment: What the EC could do is bring the largest platforms together to get transparency commitments from them. Then this information needs to be made publicly available so that the invisibility which happens with targeting gets countered.
  • Geography based advertisement: Given that elections are geographical in nature in India, if you want to engage in advertising, you have to do it on the basis of geography, not on the basis of specific kinds of attributes of a person.

Responsibility of Social Media Platforms:

  • The social media corporations who are responsible for the political advertisements need to be very transparent in the context of elections.
  • They need to bring out all the ways in which advertisements are displayed and also the money associated with it.
  • So, all the legislation that apply now for reasonable restrictions and freedom of speech and the freedom of press also apply to these platforms.
  • These platforms are culpable when the very intent of their business model allows such subversion of the democratic process.
  • They need to be brought in line to ensure that Indian democracy is safe.

Conclusion:

There is a need for transparency and restrictions on various targeting practised on online platforms. This will help in expanding people’s freedom of expression that the Indian constitution ensures.


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

6) Do you think Kyoto Protocol’s emission trading mechanisms could become redundant after 2020? Analyse while presenting your view points on the upcoming challenge of deciding how markets can be deployed in the service of climate.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article discusses that the Kyoto Protocol’s emission trading mechanisms could become redundant after 2020. India needs to plan for the changed scenario.

Key demand of the question:

One must analyse the possibilities of the mechanism becoming redundant and present opinion about what should be the way ahead to deal with the emissions from the industries. 

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief explain that the next climate conference to be held in Madrid in December has the challenge of deciding how markets can be deployed in the service of climate. 

Body:

Discuss first why Most developed countries are strongly opposed to permitting the carryover of CDM projects and their credits into the Paris Pact’s mechanisms.

Explain the stand taken by India.

Explain what does one do to help CDM find a place in the post-2020 markets? 

Conclusion:

Conclude that CDM has been a useful source of finance to industry and we may build a viable domestic carbon market in future on the foundations of industry interest as well as environmental protection.

Introduction:    

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) refers to a market mechanism for achieving greenhouse gas emissions reduction and is defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol – an international treaty for emissions reductions. CDM is a product of the Kyoto Protocol, is one such market instrument that can help industry as well as climate. Along with China and Brazil, India is a leader in CDM since its inception in 2007. 

Body:

A number of small and medium projects in the field of energy efficiency and renewable energy, set up in India in the last two decades, owe their origin to the financing support available from CDM.

Dangers faced by CDM:

  • The situation may change in 2021 when market mechanisms mandated under the Paris Agreement come into operation.
  • Most developed countries are strongly opposed to permitting the carryover of CDM projects and their credits into the Paris Pact’s mechanisms.
  • The credits lying unsold with the CDM projects could lose their economic worth.
  • Besides, the CDM projects will have to go through the process of validation and registration again with the new mechanism.
  • This will involve additional financial and administrative costs.

India and CDM:

  • India has about 250 million Certified Emission Reduction (CER) units under CDM issued by the UNFCCC, the global administrator of Kyoto mechanisms.
  • The number of CDM projects registered in India is 1,376 (out of total 7,979 globally) and 89 per cent of these projects are still active.
  • The demand in EU, which has been the largest market for CDM credits, has declined sharply over the last decade because of regulatory barriers.
  • The unrealised value of CDM credits could be in the range of almost $5 billion — estimated at a very conservative price of US $20 per unit.
  • India stands to lose substantially if the doors on the existing CDM projects and credits are closed in 2020.

Arguments against CDM:

  • CDM has failed to demonstrate environmental benefits in addition to the “business as usual” scenario, or provide technological benefits.
  • Its transition to new mechanisms will have adverse impacts on carbon prices and investor sentiments in future markets.
  • Double counting could compromise global ambition on reducing GHG emissions.
  • The argument that a full-scale transition of CDM credits may flood the market and lead to deterioration in the carbon prices in future markets is also over-stretched.

However, the arguments against CDM are not valid because:

  • Credits for CDM projects are issued after their compliance with internationally approved criteria is ascertained.
  • CDM project proponents should be free to choose available cost-effective technologies as long as the objective of emission reductions is achieved.
  • “additionality” in CDM projects should not be judged solely on the criterion of technology; they are also about investments and overcoming market barriers.
  • Validation and registration of projects under the new mechanism may take at least three years.
  • Assuming that all CDM units available globally till 2020 are traded immediately, they may be fully absorbed by 2024 — as demand for credits for meeting the Paris commitments increases.
  • More than 60 per cent of the credits may be used fully even before 2022 if we take into account the demand from airline operators to meet commitments under CORSIA — an emission reduction scheme for international civil aviation effective from 2021.

Conclusion:

A pragmatic assessment of likely gains and losses from competing approaches to CDM transition into new mechanisms is the need of the hour. CDM has been a useful source of finance to industry and we may build a viable domestic carbon market in future on the foundations of industry interest as well as environmental protection.


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

7) India’s claims to being a legitimate power in cyberspace have come under doubt following two recent revelations – the breach at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant and the recent WhatsApp spyware attack.   Do you think these instances point out to a weakening of India’s cyber sovereignty? Critically analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The recent incidents of cyber security infringement cast serious doubts on the Indian state’s claims to being a legitimate power in cyberspace, both due to the vulnerability of its critical information infrastructure and blatant disregard for the fundamental rights of its citizens online. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One has to critically analyse the context of India’s weakening cyber sovereignty, what has gone wrong and what needs to be done to tackle the situation.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define what cyber sovereignty is.

Body:

Explain first the two recent incidents – The malware attack at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant and the recent spyware attack by Pegasus on WhatsApp. 

Discuss the glaring issues highlighted by these cases.

Explain in what way the apparent absence of robust cybersecurity capability is a serious cause for concern.

Suggest solutions and way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude that If the Indian state plans to leverage offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, which are of course it’s right as a sovereign power, it needs to get serious about cybersecurity.

Introduction:

The two recent incidents of cyber-attacks cast serious doubts on the Indian state’s claims to being a legitimate power in cyberspace, both due to the vulnerability of its critical information infrastructure and blatant disregard for the fundamental rights of its citizens online. In essence, the government has signalled that it has no qualms about weakening the security of civilian digital platforms, even as it fails to secure its strategic infrastructure from sophisticated cyberattacks.

Body:

Recent incidents of cyber-attacks in India:

  • On October 28, a user on VirusTotal identified a DTrack data dump linked with the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant — indicating that a system (or more) in the plant had been breached by malware. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) confirmed the breach, doing a volte-face after an initial denial.
  • Separately, WhatsApp sued the Israel-based NSO Group for the use of its ‘Pegasus’ spyware on thousands of WhatsApp users in the lead-up to the general elections.

Yes, it points to India’s weakening of cyber-security due to the following issues:

  • Contrary to what the NPCIL may claim, air-gapped systems are not invulnerable. Stuxnet crossed an air gap, crippled Iran’s nuclear centrifuges and even spread across the world to computers in India’s critical infrastructure facilities.
  • It is also not enough to suggest that some systems are less important or critical than others — a distributed and closed network is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • With the Indian military announcing that it will modernise its nuclear forces, which may include the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence and other cyber capabilities, the apparent absence of robust cybersecurity capability is a serious cause for concern.
  • The surveillance of Indian citizens through WhatsApp spyware in the lead-up to the general elections highlights the vulnerability in the field of cybersecurity.
  • It is in line with the government’s ceaseless attempts at enforcing the “traceability” of end-to-end encrypted messages on WhatsApp. A backdoor, once opened, is available to any actor — good or bad.
  • To use it without oversight belies reckless disregard for the integrity of electronic information.

However, Government has taken up multiple steps to secure the cyber-space:

Information Technology Act, 2000

  • The act regulates use of computers, computer systems, computer networks and also data and information in electronic format.
  • The act lists down among other things, following as offences:
  • Tampering with computer source documents.
  • Hacking with computer system
  • Act of cyber terrorism i.e. accessing a protected system with the intention of threatening the unity, integrity, sovereignty or security of country.
  • Cheating using computer resource etc.

Strategies under National Cyber Policy, 2013

  • Creating a secure cyber ecosystem.
  • Creating mechanisms for security threats and responses to the same through national systems and processes.
  • National Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) functions as the nodal agency for coordination of all cyber security efforts, emergency responses, and crisis management.
  • Securing e-governance by implementing global best practices, and wider use of Public Key Infrastructure.
  • Protection and resilience of critical information infrastructure with the National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC) operating as the nodal agency.
  • NCIIPC has been created under Information Technology Act, 2000 to secure India’s critical information infrastructure. It is based in New Delhi.
  • Promoting cutting edge research and development of cyber security technology.
  • Human Resource Development through education and training programs to build capacity.

Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative: It was launched in 2018 with an aim to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments.

National Cyber security Coordination Centre (NCCC): In 2017, the NCCC was developed. Its mandate is to scan internet traffic and communication metadata (which are little snippets of information hidden inside each communication) coming into the country to detect real-time cyber threats.

Cyber Swachhata Kendra: In 2017, this platform was introduced for internet users to clean their computers and devices by wiping out viruses and malware.

Training of 1.14 Lakh persons through 52 institutions under the Information Security Education and Awareness Project (ISEA) – a project to raise awareness and to provide research, education and training in the field of Information Security.

International cooperation: Looking forward to becoming a secure cyber ecosystem, India has joined hands with several developed countries like the United States, Singapore, Japan, etc. These agreements will help India to challenge even more sophisticated cyber threats.

Way forward:

  • Real-time intelligence is required for preventing and containing cyber-attacks.
  • Periodical ‘Backup of Data’ is a solution to ransomware.
  • Using Artificial Intelligence (AI) for predicting and accurately identifying attacks.
  • Using the knowledge gained from actual attacks that have already taken place in building effective and pragmatic defence.
  • Increased awareness about cyber threats for which digital literacy is required first.
  • India needs to secure its computing environment and IoT with current tools, patches, updates and best known methods in a timely manner.
  • The need of the hour for Indian government is to develop core skills in cyber security, data integrity and data security fields while also setting stringent cyber security standards to protect banks and financial institutions.

Conclusion:

India must plan to leverage offensive and defensive cyber capabilities, by getting serious about cybersecurity. There must not be piecemeal approach: The security of a billion hand-held devices is of equal strategic value to the country’s nuclear assets.