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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 DECEMBER 2019

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 DECEMBER 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: Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Formal recognition of land rights allows for cleaner cities and better living conditions for slum dwellers. Examine. (250 Words)

Indian Express 

Why this question:

Slums are an omnipresent reality for most of the major cities of India and various efforts have been made by the government to address the issue. In this context it is essential to understand the relationship of India’s slums with its political and economic structure and discuss why the slum development and relocation strategies have not borne the results.

However, Odisha’s slum rehabilitation project is transforming lives. The World Habitat Mission recognised the state government’s Jaga Mission that used drones to survey slums. It is the world’s largest slum land title project. It involves the government surveying and awarding slum dwellers a legal land title.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the importance of how the formal recognition of land rights to the slum dwellers can help in improving the living conditions of slum and in turn lead to sustainable urbanization.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about the growth of urbanization in India and the problems this has led to.

Body:

Discuss the importance of slums from the point of workforce

  • One cannot just remove them. (If we do that) there will be no one (left) to work as domestic staff or in garbage disposal and road constructions — their most common occupations that also happen to be the lifeline of the city. Slums are the pillars of the urban (city) economy. Especially in India, the formal economy runs on the engine of the informal economy.

Discuss about the various challenges faced by the slum dwellers due to lack of recognition of land title and reasons why most slum development strategies have failed in India.

  • g. There are many hurdles, both major and minor. The lack of adequate data and land titles in slums meant expensive, time-consuming delays were common. Failure to take slum dweller representatives on board meant that the informal economic networks underlying the slum economy would be disrupted by the redevelopment. So would the community networks that fill the gaps left by missing social safety nets. Lack of common standards meant that the housing built for slum dwellers was often of execrable quality. As for the problem of slum dwellers selling or leasing the houses and returning to their previous housing, poor quality, unaffordable maintenance costs and disrupted networks often had a role to play here etc.

Using the Odisha’s Jaga mission as an example, substantiate as to how the formal recognition of land title can lead to betterment of living conditions.

What other measures needed to tackle it?

E.g.: After LRC distribution, the focus must shift to individual and public toilets, household tap water supply, LED street lighting, and skill improvement etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Slums are an omnipresent reality for most of the major cities of India and various efforts have been made by the government to address the issue. However, Odisha’s slum rehabilitation project is transforming lives. The World Habitat Mission recognised the state government’s Jaga Mission that used drones to survey slums. It is the world’s largest slum land title project. It involves the government surveying and awarding slum dwellers a legal land title.

Body:

Slums scenario in India:

  • Out of 4,041 Statutory Towns in Census 2011 Slums reported from 2,543 Towns (63%)
  • Largest number of slums reported from Maharashtra (21,359)
  • People who are living in slums increased from 52 million in 2001 to 65.5 million 2011

Urban_Tran_2018

Importance of recognition of land rights of slum-dwellers:

  • More often than not, slums are seen as encroachments and slum dwellers, even if they stay in slums for decades, are not provided with any legal rights over the land.
  • This illegality further condemns slums — which are an urban reality in Indian cities — to unsanitary conditions.
  • Formal recognition of land rights allows for cleaner cities and better living conditions for slum dwellers.
  • slums should be developed because developing slums also trigger local economic development, improve urban mobility and connectivity, and integrate the slums, which are enormous economically productive spheres, into the physical and socioeconomic fabric of the wider city.

Challenges in recognition of land rights:

  • Questions over slum-land ownership: In the absence of systematic land records, non-transparent deals and ownership conflicts between land-owning departments, assessing land ownership is difficult. This in turn delays and hinders implementation of slum rehabilitation schemes.
  • Inadequate formal housing: PMAY aims at housing for all by 2022 mission, but the rate at which informal housing is being destroyed far exceeds the rate at which formal housing is being constructed.
  • Illegal subletting: At many instances, after slum dwellers are provided with free housing and full ownership rights, the free redeveloped units are illegally subleased. In the long run, this is counterproductive to the goal of creating slum free cities.
  • Lack of coherent policy: India lacks a comprehensive policy which define slums or define the desired end-state of slums or what encompasses “slum-free” city.
  • Environmental sustainability: There are concerns about adding additional housing on an already over-constrained municipal system. Without investing in adding capacity to existing civic infrastructure for the city, such policies could put undue burden on the city’s civic amenities such as water and electricity.

Measures needed:

  • Provision of clear, free title to the residents, so that they enjoy the privileges of using property as a tangible asset
  • Instead of forced evictions, authorities should plan an in-situ upgrading approach.
  • Easy financing and loaning options at affordable interest rates for upgrading, building and extension of the existing shelter should be made available.
  • Management of urban environment through redevelopment of slums should take an integrated, inclusive, and participatory approach that primarily needs understanding of capabilities, choices, and willingness of slum dwellers along with strong commitment of governance to create and maintain conductive environment.
  • Management approach must consider location specific all the possible and innovative alternatives for slums redevelopment and future development.
  • To upgrade the infrastructure and services providing water, power, and sewage connections to individual homes, the collection of solid waste, street lighting and neighbourhood security and police support
  • The creation of high-density, low income zoning that allows individual property owners to upgrade their homes without risk, rent out their properties to formal commercial establishments
  • For effective urban planning, housing and population policies based on housing rights and the right to a clean environment must be established at all levels. These policies should be directed at inclusive cities and poverty alleviation

Conclusion:

After land title rights distribution, the focus should be shifted to individual and public toilets, household tap water supply, LED street lighting, and skill improvement. Steps should be taken such that a higher and more stable income be made accessible to slum dwellers through their employment in productive jobs. This is because employment opportunities in urban centres that pay well has the potential to generate a healthy and sustainable lifestyle in the slums.


Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy.

2. The competence, commitment and confidence of the civil services helps make a difference to the governance landscape of our country. Discuss the above statement with respect to the importance of civil services for a democratic country like India. (250 words)

Indian polity by Lakshmikant.

Source

The Hindu Centre

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to write in detail about the role and importance of civil services for a country like India.

Directive word:

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about the Civil services in India.

Body:

Discuss in points the role played by civil services in a democracy and try to connect them with Indian civil services. E.g.

  • Role in Governance
  • Role in provision of public goods and services
  • Economic policy improvement and implementation
  • Role in fiscal sustainability
  • Role in institutional development

Conclusion:

based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Introduction:    

Civil services or Bureaucracy is an administrative body of officials whose roles are determined by written rules. It’s an impersonal system operating on the basis of calculable rules and staffed by full time appointed officials. Civil Services are the bedrock of public administration. Civil services have assumed more important role in democracy to ensure good governance, both in developing and developed countries.

Body:

A number of factors have contributed the increasing importance of civil service in modern day democracy like India:

  • Stability:
    • It is widely recognised that the civil services have contributed to stability in terms of maintenance of peace, the conduct of fair elections, managing disasters and the preservation of the unity of the nation, providing stability and maintaining order in a vast country prone to various conflicts ethnic, communal, regional etc.
  • Facilitating democracy:
    • The civil servants play a vital role in maintaining the democratic ideals by assisting their political heads (Ministers) in policy making function and in implementing the policies made.
  • Governance:
    • A necessary, but not sufficient, condition for good governance is a skilled, motivated and efficient civil service with a professional ethos. By contrast, a bad civil service is a sufficient condition to produce bad governance.
  • Public goods and services:
    • Access to public services and their quantity and quality largely depend on the skills and motivation of the public employees who provide the services or oversee their delivery.
  • Economic policy improvements:
    • Whereas some reforms will require political will but little administrative support, others depend on competent and motivated government personnel. Well-formulated policies have failed without the right personnel to implement them.
  • Management of public expenditure and revenue:
    • The civil service is critical for the responsible management of public expenditure and revenues. In its turn, such responsible management requires the provision of sustainable employment opportunities for competent and motivated personnel.
  • Fiscal sustainability:
    • The civil service can help maintain the sustainability of public finances. A well-chosen combination of measures affecting the number of employees and their salaries can improve the effectiveness of the government apparatus while also reducing its cost.
  • The scientific and technological development:
    • They have led to revolutionary changes in transportation and communication system. The invention of telephone, telegraph, railways and airways has made big government and large scale administration possible.

Challenges faced:

  • It has been pointed out that the Civil Service in India is more concerned with the internal processes than with results.
  • The systemic rigidities, needless complexities and over centralization in the policy and management structures within which the civil service functions are too complex and often too constraining.
  • Rigid organization structures and cumbersome procedures.
  • Elitist, authoritarian, conservative outlook
  • Bureaucrats fulfil segmental roles over which they have no control. Consequently, they have little or no opportunity to exercise individual judgment.
  • The requirement that a bureaucrat should follow the principles of consistency and regularity automatically limits his capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • The general rules which may take for overall efficiency produce inefficiency and in justice in individual cases.
  • Civil service difficulty to cope with uncertainty and change is a key limit on its efficiency

Reforms needed:

  • The development work needs some flexibility from a strict observance of rigid rules and regulations. Rigid rule bound bureaucracies should be changed into flexible and action oriented.
  • Reforms are required in the field of recruitment of civil servants so that right people could be recruited who can ensure smooth functioning of democracy.
  • Training of civil servants should be able to bring about behavioural and attitudinal changes.
  • Administrative procedures, rules and regulations need to be simplified so that red tapism could be minimized
  • Adoption of modern management techniques such as management by objectives to elimination of corruption so as to secure clean, honest, impartial and efficient administration creation of new work culture and encouraging creativity.

Conclusion:

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel described Civil Services as the ‘Steel frame of India’. It is widely recognised that the civil services have contributed to stability in terms of maintenance of peace, the conduct of fair elections, managing disasters and the preservation of the unity of the nation, providing stability and maintaining order in a vast country prone to various conflicts – ethnic, communal, regional etc.


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

3. The success of such a huge social scheme cannot be measured in terms of mere distribution of connections without ensuring the transition to clean fuel through sustained usage of LPG. Critically Examine in light of the recent findings of CAG on the government’s marquee Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). (250 Words)

Line Mint

Bloomberg Quint

Why this question:

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has expressed concerns over National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government’s marquee Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in terms of low consumption, diversions and considerable delays in supply of cylinders. This comes in the backdrop of the Ujjwala scheme that provides free cooking gas connections to poor families; hailed as the NDA government’s version of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the significance of behavioural and attitudinal change brought in by the PMUY scheme. However, point out to the challenges faced by the scheme and the measures to overcome the same.

Directive:

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

Body:

Highlight the findings of the CAG report:

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its report on the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), has highlighted the risk of diversion of domestic cylinders for commercial use as 1.98 lakh beneficiaries had an average annual consumption of more than 12 cylinders.
  • The CAG said this level of consumption seemed improbable in view of the BPL status of such beneficiaries.
  • Similarly, 13.96 lakh beneficiaries consumed 3 to 41 refills in a month. Further, IOCL and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) in 3.44 lakh instances issued 2 to 20 refills in a day to a PMUY beneficiary having single-bottle cylinder connection

On the contrary, provide with the significance of Ujjwala scheme and in what way it addresses the behavioural and attitudinal aspects. Explain the need of getting rid of conventional cooking methods, necessity of clean cooking fuel methods.

What needs to be done to address these issues and challenges?

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. India is home to more than 24 Crore households out of which about 10 Crore households are still deprived of LPG as cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung – cakes etc. as primary source of cooking.

 

The PMUY has helped the spread of LPG cylinders predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas with the coverage mostly in middle class and affluent households. It aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel – LPG, so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.

Body:

Achievements:

  • The oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC) estimates that LPG coverage in India (the proportion of households with an LPG connection) has increased from 56% in 2015 to 90% in 2019. There is a significant increase in eastern states, with 48% of the beneficiaries being SC/STs.
  • The government reports show that around 80% of the beneficiaries have been refilling cylinders, with average per capita consumption being 3.28 cylinders.
  • PMUY has resulted in an additional employment of around 1 Lakh and provide business opportunity of at least Rs. 10,000 Crore in last 3 Years to the Indian Industry.
  • The scheme has also provided a boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic.
  • PMUY reduces these ill-effects by providing clean fuel and cutting out on drudgery. Increased use of cooking gas will shrink the incidence of tuberculosis in India, based on the statistics from the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) on TB prevalence.
  • PMUY has helped in reducing the drudgery for women. The time saved can be used in socio- economically productive activities like Self-Help Group activities.
  • The World Health Organisation hailed PMUY as decisive intervention by the government to facilitate the switch to clean household energy use, thereby addressing the problems associated with Indoor Household Pollution.

Vanishing

Findings of the CAG:

Cost issues:

  • In a Performance Audit Report, the government’s audit watchdog said that encouraging the sustained usage of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) remains a big challenge as the annual average refill consumption of PMUY consumers on 31 December 2018 was only 3.21.
  • Low consumption of refills by 0.92 crore consumers who had availed loans, hindered recovery of outstanding loan of Rs1234.71 crore.
  • Consumers were paying market price for refills till the loan repayment for stove and first refill was made. This led to some consumers not going in for such refills.
  • Economic Burden: The increased monthly expenditure has shied many consumers away from LPG and lured them back to firewood and cow-dung cakes.

Administrative issues:

  • laxity in identification of beneficiaries was noticed as 9,897 LPG connections were issued against Abridged Household List Temporary Identification Numbers (AHL TINs) where names of all family members and the beneficiary were blank in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC)-2011 list.
  • Lack of input validation check in the IOCL software allowed issue of 0.80 lakh connections to beneficiaries aged below 18 years.
  • issuance of connections to unintended beneficiaries.
  • inadequacies in the de-duplication process: Out of 3.78 crore LPG connections, 1.60 crore (42%) connections were issued only on the basis of beneficiary Aadhaar which remained a discouragement in de-duplication.
  • 59 lakh connections were released to beneficiaries who were minor as per the SECC-2011 data, which was in violation of PMUY guidelines and LPG Control Order, 2000.

Logistic issues:

  • Lack of LPG cylinder bottling plants near rural areas and connectivity issues especially in the tribal areas.
  • Last-mile connectivity and delivery still poses a great challenge.
  • Delay of more than 365 days was noticed in installation of 4.35 lakh connections against stipulated time period of seven days.
  • Adequate efforts were not made in distributing the small 5-kg cylinders for encouraging usage.

Safety and Behavioural issues:

  • Safety has been another concern about distribution of LPG connection, especially to BPL families. Lack of awareness and safety amenities in beneficiary households have increased the likelihood of accidents.
  • Cow-dung cakes lying around the house all the time. Hence, LPG cylinders are used on special occasions or during some kind of emergency or when it’s entirely too hot to burn wood.
  • The CRISIL report also noted that 37% of households in rural areas procure cooking fuel or free.
  • Agency: Most rural women do not have a say in determining when a refill is ordered, even though the connection is in their name.

Way Forward:

  • The Economic Survey released in July this year had also suggested a strategy tweak for improving the scheme’s efficacy by maintaining a centralized list of names of those who had given up their subsidies, independent of the gas company, and displaying their photographs.
  • Entering Aadhaar numbers of all adult family members of existing as well as new beneficiaries to make de-duplication effective and appropriate measures in distributors’ software to restrict issuance to ineligible beneficiaries.
  • Cases of high consumption of refills should be regularly reviewed to curb diversion.
  • As the target of releasing PMUY connections has been broadly achieved, PMUY beneficiaries in nil/low consumption category need to be encouraged for sustained usage.
  • Increase Affordability: A case in point is state-run fuel retailers introducing a 5kg refill option to make purchases affordable.
  • Increase Accessibility: Gas Agencies should be set up within 10km radius, especially in the rural and remote areas to increase accessibility.
  • Increase Availability: Alternatives like Gas-grid and piped connections in cities and areas near the bottling plants can free up the cylinders for other areas.
  • Promote ‘Give it up’: The initiative of the government to persuade the well-off to give up the LPG subsidies has added to the corpus of PMUY. Similar initiatives can be promoted.
  • Encourage Private Players to set up LPG franchises at rural areas.
  • Sensitization and Education of safe use of LPG though LPG Panchayats, NGO’s etc.

Conclusion:

PMUY is a novel scheme having twin benefits of women empowerment as well as environmental conservation. Ironing out the implementation issues can reap the envisioned benefits and lead to a sustainable future in energy consumption.


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

4. The Supreme Court has asked government to look into the feasibility of hydrogen-based tech to deal with vehicular air pollution in capital. In light of the above statement, Discuss the hydrogen fuel cells technology and its applications. Also evaluate India’s preparedness to adopt it. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

Supreme Court has asked government to look into the feasibility of hydrogen-based tech to deal with vehicular air pollution in capital. India is looking closely at Japan, which has made progress in this field. The article provides deep insight into hydrogen fuel cell technology which are going to become the preferred mode of transportation in the days and years to come.

Key demand of the question :

The question expects us to explain how hydrogen fuel cells battery work. Thereafter, we need to highlight the pros and cons of technology, its possible applications. Further we need to analyse India’s steps to accept and adopt the technology to combat the pollution issues. And finally give a fair and balanced view regarding the future of these technologies.

Directive word

Discuss – This 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:

Explain that electric vehicles are the way forward because of threats of climate change

Body:

Explain how hydrogen fuel cell batteries work

At the heart of the fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process. Put simply, the fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only by-product. Like conventional batteries under the bonnets of automobiles, hydrogen fuel cells to convert chemical energy into electrical energy. From a long-term viability perspective, FCEVs are billed as vehicles of the future, given that hydrogen is the most abundant resource in the universe.

Discuss the pros and cons of HFC technology

Discuss the various applications of the technology.

Finally, talk about how far is India ready to adopt the FCEV technology.

Conclusion:

Give your opinion on which technology is the future and what should India do.

Introduction:

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) is a device that uses a source of fuel, such as hydrogen, and an oxidant to create electricity by an electrochemical process. Put simply, the fuel cell combines hydrogen and oxygen to generate an electric current, water being the only by-product. Supreme Court has asked government to look into the feasibility of hydrogen-based tech to deal with vehicular air pollution in capital. India is looking closely at Japan, which has made progress in this field.

Body:

Hydrogen-Fuel Cells:

  • Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that convert chemical energy in fuels into electrical energy directly.
  • A fuel cell produces electricity, water, and heat using fuel and oxygen in the air.
  • An electrochemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, catalysed by platinum, to produce energy.
  • Water is the only emission when hydrogen is the fuel.

How_it_works

Advantages:

  • A fuel cell operating on pure hydrogen emits zero emissions at the source.
  • Fuel cells provide a much longer operating life than a battery, and since fuel cells have a higher energy density, they are lighter than an equivalent battery system.
  • Fuel cells create energy electrochemically, and do not burn fuel, they are fundamentally more efficient than combustion systems.
  • They do not require recharging and is a renewable source of energy.
  • Hydrogen can be produced from domestic resources, eliminating the need to import foreign oil. It gives energy security.
  • Fuel cells are modular, and can be scaled up depending on the power needs of a facility. Larger fuel cells can be linked together to achieve multi-megawatt outputs

 

Challenges:

  • While widely available, hydrogen is expensive. it takes a lot of time to separate the hydrogen element from others.
  • The transport and storage of hydrogen is deemed impractical.
  • Since it is a very powerful source of fuel, hydrogen can be highly inflammable.
  • Other non-renewable sources such as coal, oil and natural gas are needed to separate hydrogen from oxygen. As a result, carbon dioxide is also emitted in the air and makes global warming worse.

Global scenario:

  • China, far and away the world’s biggest auto market with some 28 million vehicles sold annually, is aiming for more than 1 million hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) in service by 2030. That compares with just 1,500 or so now, most of which are buses.
  • Japan, a market of more than 5 million vehicles annually, wants to have 800,000 FCVs sold by that time from around 3,400 currently.
  • South Korea, which has a car market just one third the size of Japan, has set a target of 850,000 vehicles on the road by 2030. But as of end-2018, fewer than 900 have been sold.

Progress in India:

  • In India, so far, the definition of EV only covers BEVs; the government has lowered taxes to 12%.
  • At 43%, hybrid electric vehicles and hydrogen FCEVs attract the same tax as IC vehicles.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, under its Research, Development and Demonstration (RD&D) programme, has been supporting various such projects in academic institutions, research and development organisations and industry for development.
  • Fourteen RD&D projects on hydrogen and fuel cells are currently under implementation with the support of the Ministry. Between 2016-17 and 2018-19, eight projects were sanctioned and 18 completed.
  • The Ministry of Science and Technology has supported two networked centres on hydrogen storage led by IIT Bombay and Nonferrous Materials Technology Development Centre, Hyderabad. These involve 10 institutions, including IITs, and IISc, Bangalore.

Conclusion:

The FAME India is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan whose main thrust is to encourage electric vehicles by providing subsidies. India must however make a concerted attempt to incentivize both EVs and FCEVs.


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

5. The Wular lake, once Asia’s largest freshwater lake but today little more than a big pond. In the light of above statement, discuss the challenges faced in safeguarding the lake ecosystem and provide measures. (250 words)

The Wire

Why this question:

Wular lake, once Asia’s largest freshwater lake but today little more than a big pond. It once occupied an area of 272 sq. km but has since shrunk to 72 sq. km, with only 24 sq. km of open water left.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the various reasons for degradation of the lake ecosystems in India and provide the measures for safeguarding the same.

Directive:

Discuss – This 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:

One can start off with the importance of lakes in a given environment. Further substantiate it with the context of the Wular lake itself.

Body:

Discuss the challenges faced in safeguarding the lake ecosystem?

  • Encroachment and increasing stress on the lake boundaries
  • Dumping of the solid waste, sewerage etc.
  • Industrial and residential effluents from the cities that discharge into the lake
  • spread of the invasive alligator weed is slowly destroying the beneficial vegetation growing in the lake
  • Increasing siltation etc.

       How can this be overcome?

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:   

Lakes are kind of wetland which are areas where water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. Healthy lakes and their shores not only provide us with a number of environmental benefits but they influence our quality of life and they strengthen our economy. Wular lake, once Asia’s largest freshwater lake but today little more than a big pond. It once occupied an area of 272 sq. km but has since shrunk to 72 sq. km, with only 24 sq. km of open water left.

Body:

Challenges to the lake ecosystem:

  • Lakes or wetlands near urban centres are under increasing developmental pressure for residential, industrial and commercial facilities. For e.g.: There are 42 villages with over nine lakh people living near Wular lake which has led to increased dumping of waste into the water, including detergents and other.
  • Vast stretches of wetlands have been converted to paddy fields. Construction of a large number of reservoirs, canals and dams to provide for irrigation significantly altered the hydrology of the associated lakes.
  • There is growing concern about the effect of industrial pollution on drinking water supplies and the biological diversity of lakes. For e.g.: Industrial and residential effluents from the cities that discharge into the Wular lake has deteriorated.
  • Increased air temperature; shifts in precipitation; increased frequency of storms, droughts, and floods; increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration; and sea level rise could also affect lakes.
  • The removal of material from a wetland or river bed. Dredging of streams lowers the surrounding water table and dries up adjacent lakes.
  • Water is drained from wetlands by cutting ditches into the ground which collect and transport water out of the lakes. This lowers the water table and dries out the lakes.
  • Indian lakes are threatened by invasive alien species – exotic introduced plant species such as water hyacinth and salvinia. They clog waterways and compete with native vegetation. E.g.: Invasive alligator weed is slowly destroying the beneficial vegetation growing in the lake
  • Over withdrawal of groundwater has led to salinization of the lakes.
  • Administrative logjam: For e.g.: Since Kashmir is a conflict zone, anything Baba wanted to do first required him to secure permissions from the army, the navy, the Central Reserve Police Force and the local police, as well as from the Water Conservation and Management Authority set up in 2012 to clean up the lake. Wular is the only lake in India to be guarded by the national navy.

Measures to safeguard the lake ecosystem:

  • Dredging of dried lake beds and tank beds in the drought affected areas.
  • Implementation of Wetland Conservation measures as per Ramsar Convention.
  • Digging deep trenches surrounding the lakes to avoid waste dumping, especially in urban areas.
  • Exclusive missions of various state governments like Mission Kakatiya of Telangana for rejuvenating lakes, ponds and tanks.
  • Rejuvenation works taken up under MGNREGA, PMKSY etc.
  • New Municipal and Solid Waste Management Rules mandates segregation, recycling and reuse of waste, and emphasis on waste treatment before discharging.
  • The green tribunal incentivised the states to act against polluters in a “polluter pays” model.
  • Hefty fines, for lax state and local governments as well as private sector polluters, will go a long way in ensuring action against pollution.

Conclusion:

Without making the citizens aware of the importance and benefits of lakes and wetlands in their lives, it is extremely difficult to implement laws effectively. Stakeholder participation and capacity building must be used as an important instrument for better management of urban waterbodies


Topic: Role of civil services in a democracy; Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections

6. Integrity compels individuals to be socially conscious and to welcome both personal and professional responsibility. Analyse the reasons for a decline in civil service integrity and suggest solutions. (250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The question is because of the rising cases of corruption in the civil services, declining dutifulness, delayed decision making due to various societal, political pressures faced by the civil servants.

Key demand of the question:

The question is about analysing the importance of integrity for civil servants and analysing the reasons for the declining trend of integrity in civil services.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines define what is integrity.

Body:

The question is straightforward, thus doesn’t require much deliberation, one must discuss the concept of integrity in detail, its importance for civil services and relevance in Indian democracy.

Discuss the reasons for the declining integrity among the civil services.

  • The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life.
  • Increasing trend of political executive involving in the administrative matters.
  • Rising quid-pro-quo between political and permanent executive.
  • Loss of neutrality and increasing bias towards a particular political parties.

Provide the various measures needed to rebuild and follow the path of integrity.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of integrity in good governance.

Introduction:  

Integrity is the practice of synchronisation of thought, words and actions. It can be correlated to honesty but unlike honesty it’s more a professional value. It’s related to institution. It advocates sacrifice of personal gains in favour of organisational objectives

Body:

Integrity in its bare-bones essence means adherence to principles. It is a three-step process:

  • Choosing the right course of conduct
  • Acting consistently with the choice even when it is inconvenient or unprofitable to do so
  • Openly declaring where one stands.
  • Accordingly, integrity is equated with moral reflection, steadfastness to commitments, trustworthiness.

Reasons for decline in civil service integrity:

Historical Causes:

  • In India, corruption has its roots in the colonial rule of the past. British administration was not interested in the overall development of the country.
  • After World War II, scarcities led to many types of controls.
  • It gave added opportunities to these low paid employees to resort to corrupt practices.
  • Then it became habitual. It was during World War I1 that corruption reached the highest mark in India.
  • The climate for integrity which had been rendered unhealthy by wartime controls and scarcities was further aggravated by the post-war flush of money and the consequent inflation.

Environmental Causes:

  • The second important cause of corruption in public service is ‘fast urbanisation and industrialisation where material possessions, position and economic power determine the status and prestige in the society.
  • Since salaries are low and inflation is unabated, poor civil servants fall easy prey to corrupt practices in order to maintain status in the society.

Economic Causes:

  • Inadequate remuneration of salary scales and rising cost of living is probably one of the important causes of corruption.
  • In recent years, the fast rising cost of living has brought down the real income of various sections of the community, particularly the salaried classes.
  • The urge to appear prestigious by material possessions has encouraged those who had the opportunities to succumb to temptations.

Lack of Strong Public Opinion Against the Evil of Corruption:

  • People do not report to government against corrupt officials.
  • Instead they offer bribes to get their illegitimate claims accepted. People must fight against corruption and build a strong public opinion against corruption.

Complicated and Cumbersome Procedures and Working of Government Offices:

  • It is alleged that the working of certain government departments, e.g., the Customs and Central Excise, Imports and Exports, Railways, Supplies and Disposals, Police, Income Tax, etc., is complicated, cumbersome and dilatory.
  • This has encouraged the growth of dishonest practices like the system of ‘speedy money’.

Inadequate Laws to Deal with Corruption:

  • Indian Penal Code and other laws which deal with corruption cases are outmoded and provide insufficient penalties.
  • It takes too much time to get a corrupt officials punished under the laws.
  • Summary trials and stricter punishments should be awarded to end corruption.
  • Therefore, the laws will have to be changed accordingly.

Undue Protection Given to the Public Services in India:

  • Article 311 of the Indian Constitution which provides protection to civil servants, as interpreted by our courts, made it difficult to deal effectively with corrupt public servants.
  • Reluctance of higher officials to take disciplinary action against corrupt officials due to their collusion with them has further aggravated the situation.

Collusion of Commercial and Industrial Magnates and Others to Serve their Individual Interests:

  • Big businessmen, dishonest merchants, suppliers and contractors, bribe the civil servants in order to get undue favours from them.
  • Sometimes they share a portion of their ill earned profit with the government servants.

Pressure Groups:

  • Pressure Groups like Indian Chamber of Commerce, ‘Trade Associations, State Chambers of Commerce, are said to help in breeding corruption through their activities of getting favours for their communities.
  • They influence ruling elite through dinners, parties, luncheons. Etc.

Measures needed:

  • Raising of pay, consequently, is a basic means to wipe-out the widespread bribery in the civil services
  • Delays must be prevented and officials made fully responsive to the needs of all the people.
  • the elimination of corruption requires a widespread and steadfast opposition to it, coupled with the courage to act against it.
  • High Officials having considerable discretionary powers must be thoroughly disciplined to refuse gifts, invitations and other favours.