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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 DECEMBER 2019

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 17 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: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

1. What do you understand by the term ‘impeachment’ in Indian Polity? Compare and contrast the process of impeachment of the Presidents of India and the United States of America. (250 words).

The Hindu

Why this question:

Republican Donald Trump is likely this week to become the third U.S. president to be impeached when the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes on charges stemming from his effort to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden.

Key demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to throw light on the impeachment process of President in India and discuss in what way it is different from that in United States.

Directive:

Compare and Contrast – Identify the similarities and differences between two or more phenomena. Say if any of the shared similarities or differences are more important than others.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining the significance of the post of President in India and in US.

Body:

Explain the term impeachment in context of Indian Polity.

ARTICLE 61 provides the procedure for impeachment of the president. The president may also be removed before the expiry of the term through impeachment for violating the Constitution of India by the Parliament of India.

Explain the procedure of impeachment in both the countries; discuss how they are different from each other. Explain the significance of the process in the respective constitution.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of impeachment in a democratic country.

Introduction: 

Part V of the Constitution (The Union) under Chapter I (The Executive) lists out the qualification, election and impeachment of the President of India. Article 61 provides for the Procedure for Impeachment of the President of India.

Body:

The provisions under article 61 include

(1) When a President is to be impeached for violation of the Constitution, the charge shall be preferred by either House of Parliament.

(2) No such charge shall be preferred unless –

(a) the proposal to prefer such charge is contained in a resolution which has been moved after at least fourteen days’ notice in writing signed by not less than one-fourth of the total number of members of the House has been given of their intention to move the resolution, and

(b) Such resolution has been passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House.

(3) When a charge has been so preferred by either House of Parliament, the other House shall investigate the charge or cause the charge to be investigated and the President shall have the right to appear and to be represented at such investigation.

(4) If as a result of the investigation a resolution is passed by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the total membership of the House by which the charge was investigated or caused to be investigated, declaring that the charge preferred against the President has been sustained, such resolution shall have the effect of removing the President from his office as from the date on which the resolution is so passed.

Impeachment is a provision that allows Congress to remove the President of the United States. Under the US Constitution, the House of Representatives (Lower House) has the “the sole power of impeachment” while the Senate (Upper House) has “the sole power to try all impeachments”. The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court has the duty of presiding over impeachment trials in the Senate.

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Grounds for impeachment:

  • The President can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanours”.
  • Essentially, it means an abuse of power by a high-level public official. This does not necessarily have to be a violation of an ordinary criminal statute.
  • Historically, in the US, it has encompassed corruption and other abuses, including trying to obstruct judicial proceedings.

Process of impeachment:

  • It begins with an investigation by a House committee. If they find that there is enough evidence of wrongdoing, it will refer the matter to the full House.
  • House Vote: When the full House votes, if one or more of the articles of impeachment gets a majority vote, the President is impeached. Next, the proceedings move to the Senate.
  • Senate Trial & Vote: The Senate holds a trial, overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The President has defence lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury. If at least two-thirds of the Senators present find the President guilty, he is removed and the Vice President takes over as President.

Conclusion:

No U.S. President has ever been removed from office as a direct result of impeachment and conviction by the Congress. President Nixon quit in 1974 rather than face impeachment. Presidents Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were impeached by the House. But both stayed in office after the Senate acquitted them.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2. PMJAY has a strong potential to empower women to take decisions on their health and wipe out the gender gap in use of health services. Critically comment. (250 words)

Indian Express 

Why this question:

There is a large gap in the use of public services in the country. The “2018 Gender Gap Index” of the World Economic Forum and its sub-index, “Health and Survival” — India ranks 108 in the overall index and 147th out of 149 in the sub-index — shine a light on this challenge.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain how the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY seeks to bridge the gender gap in the use of healthcare services by addressing a key constraint — healthcare costs. The challenges faced in this

Directive:

Critically comment – When asked to comment, 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 ‘comment’ is prefixed, we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief highlight the various problems faced by girls and women in access to healthcare.

Body:

Explain in detail as to how PM-JAY scheme aims to empower women healthcare in India

  • Cashless services through PM-JAY are helping to narrow the gender gap in availing healthcare.
  • First, families with no adult male members is one of the deprivation criteria for identifying target beneficiaries, which will help a large number of women.
  • Second, there is no cap on the size of families.

Discuss about the challenges faced in delivering the healthcare

  • there are large gender gaps in the use of cardiology and nephrology-related services. PM-JAY will need to analyse the reasons for this.
  • Some of the variation may be explained by the gender-wise difference in the prevalence of various diseases.
  • Men and women may also have varying incidence of certain diseases because of the degree of exposure to the proximate cause or an individual’s biological disposition.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

PMJAY is a major national health reform to rapidly extend access to hospital care for 500 million poor and vulnerable people. It is touted as world’s largest healthcare scheme. The scheme guarantees eligible families are covered for inpatient expenses of up to Rs. 5 lakh per year in any government or empanelled private hospitals all over India. It will address concerns of expenditure by vulnerable families for secondary and tertiary care.

Body:

Challenges faced by women in access to healthcare:

  • There is a large gap in the use of public services in the country. The “2018 Gender Gap Index” of the World Economic Forum and its sub-index, “Health and Survival” — India ranks 108 in the overall index and 147th out of 149 in the sub-index — shine a light on this challenge.
  • Girl children face discrimination even before they are born and continue to experience bias during their life, including in the provision of nutrition and use of health services.
  • Faced with limited resources, families, in general, prioritise the healthcare, nutrition and other needs of men at the cost of women.
  • Some cultural factors, such as the reluctance of women in some regions to consult male doctors, also constrain their access to healthcare services.
  • The National Family Health Survey (4th round) shows that the main reasons women do not seek healthcare services are because these services are unaffordable, they are not easily available and there aren’t enough women healthcare providers.

PMJAY and its potential for women empowerment:

  • Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY seeks to bridge the gender gap in the use of healthcare services by addressing a key constraint — healthcare costs.
  • Cashless services through PM-JAY are helping to narrow the gender gap in availing healthcare.
  • Families with no adult male members is one of the deprivation criteria for identifying target beneficiaries, which will help a large number of women.
  • There is no cap on the size of families. A cap of five beneficiaries from a family in earlier schemes worked against women. It was observed that large families preferred that their male members be beneficiaries.
  • The packages include a large number of health conditions that exclusively, or primarily, affect women. Of the 1,393 health benefit packages under PM-JAY, 116 are women centric, 64 are for only men while 1,213 are common to both.
  • The initial data for utilisation of services under PM-JAY shows that the use of services is more or less evenly balanced among men and women. Of all hospital admission requests, 52 per cent were for men and 48 per cent were for women.

However, even PMJAY has some constraints:

  • The gender gap in access to scheme starts to show up at only above 50 years.
  • The disaggregation of data on utilisation of major specialty services shows mixed patterns.
  • Use by women patients is higher in 10 specialties — OPD diagnostics, radiation oncology, follow-ups, palliative care, burns management, ophthalmology, paediatric cancer, PHC and surgical oncology.
  • Variations across states: At the national level, 66 per cent of all treatment in orthopaedics were received by men. However, in Kerala, the proportion is 53 per cent while it is much greater in UP and Maharashtra — 70 per cent.
  • Variations at the level of procedures: within orthopaedics, women are the majority users of packages such as total knee replacement — 57 per cent.
  • There are large gender gaps in the use of cardiology and nephrology-related services. PM-JAY will need to analyse the reasons for this

Measures needed:

  • Monitoring the disaggregated service utilisation data will help sensitise implementing agencies and district authorities about possible gender gaps.
  • Gaps, if any, can be addressed by more informed and gender-sensitive planning, including targeted IEC (information, education and communication) campaigns.
  • Women might need to be informed about their eligibility for the scheme so that they can get their e-cards made and seek treatment in time.
  • In addition, tele-consultations with women healthcare providers might be required in case there are cultural barriers in consulting with male doctors.

Conclusion:

Up-to-date data available with PM-JAY will help in continuously assessing the gender pattern of health-service use, analysing the reasons for any gender-based discrimination and providing cues for corrective action. Within the deprived and vulnerable population that PMJAY seeks to serve, women constitute a particularly marginalised section. The scheme will be successful only when it can ensure that women and girls receive their due in the use of healthcare services.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

3. India’s concept of Indo-Pacific is inclusive and across oceans. Discuss (250 words)

Ministry Of External Affairs

Why this question:

Indo Pacific is one of the new concepts and approaches thrown up by the changing world. It is a multipolar region, contributing more than half of the world’s GDP and population. The acceptance of the Indo-Pacific as a single strategic construct linking the contiguous waters of the western Pacific and the Indian Ocean has gained currency in the last few years with the shift in the geopolitical center of gravity to this region.

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to write in detail about India’s approach in the Indo-Pacific region, the significance of Indo-pacific region for India, the challenges faced and the way forward.

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 Indo-Pacific region.

Body:

Firstly, discuss in brief about the significance of Indo-pacific region.

Explain how India’s approach towards Indo-pacific has been an inclusive one.

  • Open, integrated and balanced approach.
  • India has emphasized on a few major aspects which reflect India’s policy perspective on Indo-Pacific, which included “inclusiveness”, “openness”, “ASEAN centrality” and that the concept was not directed against any country.
  • The focus of the Indo Pacific initiative is on connectivity, enhancing maritime security, counterterrorism, non-proliferation and cyber issues
  • The government has introduced the concept of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and believes in an Indo-Pacific that is free, open and inclusive, and one that is founded upon a cooperative and collaborative rules-based order.
  • India is also trying to make innovative use of trade and diplomacy as its strategic arsenals.
  • And so on.

Mention the challenges/concerns faced.

What are the measures to overcome the same?

Conclusion:

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

Introduction:  

Indo-Pacific region is a multi-polar region, contributing more than half of the world’s GDP and population. Countries falling in the direct hinterland of the vast Indian and Pacific oceanic expanse are termed ‘Indo-Pacific countries’.  The attributes of the Indo-Pacific are also highly appealing. The region comprises at least 38 countries that share 44 percent of world surface area and 65 per cent of world population, and account for 62 per cent of world–GDP and 46 per cent of the world’s merchandise trade

Body:

India’s concept of inclusive Indo-Pacific region:

  • Indian PM in Shangri-La dialogue had clearly indicated the geographical reach of India’s idea of the Indo-Pacific starting from Africa to the Americas, which covers both the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in tandem with that of Japan.
  • He had also emphasized on a few major aspects which reflect India’s policy perspective on Indo-Pacific, which included “inclusiveness”, “openness”, “ASEAN centrality” and that the concept was not directed against any country.
  • India has gone to great length to highlight China as an inclusive construct for the whole region.
  • The focus of the Indo Pacific initiative is on connectivity, enhancing maritime security, counterterrorism, non-proliferation and cyber issues.
  • A shared commitment to maintain and strengthen a rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific in which all nations are sovereign, strong and prosperous.
  • And shared support for a free, open and inclusive region that fosters universal respect for international law, freedom of navigation and overflight and sustainable development.

India’s concept of Indo-Pacific is across oceans:

  • Indo-Pacific Maritime Cooperation: The major focus of the Indo-Pacific is based on oceans, which is the common thread that connects all. Countries including India, Indonesia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, primarily maritime nations occupy the most important strategic positions in the Indian Ocean.
  • The government has introduced the concept of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region) and believes in an Indo-Pacific that is free, open and inclusive, and one that is founded upon a cooperative and collaborative rules-based order.
  • In continuation of the process of engaging the global strategic community in an annual review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, the second edition of Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) – 2019 was held in New Delhi in March.
  • The first Malabar naval exercise was a joint Indo-US Naval exercise which started in 1992. However, there was a gap from 1998-2002 when the exercise was suspended due to India’s nuclear weapons tests. Since 2002, every year there has been the naval drill and Japan became a permanent participant in 2015.

Way Forward for India:

  • Economically and strategically, the global centre of gravity is shifting to the Indo-Pacific. If the region’s stakeholders don’t act now to fortify an open, rules-based order, the security situation will continue to deteriorate—with consequences that are likely to reverberate worldwide.
  • With joint military exercises, India will develop interoperability and standard operating procedures, which will help in any joint military operation or even possibly a military alliance in the future.
  • The Quad Security cooperation among Japan, India, the US and Australia is increasingly plausible. The time has come to proactively further this cooperation to ensure prosperity and stability in the whole of Indo-Pacific.
  • Groups like ASEAN and APEC will have to collectively approach China. Standing up to it and physically stopping illegal Chinese construction will gain international attention and the sympathy and backing of major powers.

Conclusion:

India is already assuming her responsibilities in securing the Indo-Pacific region. A strong India-US partnership can anchor peace, prosperity and stability from Asia to Africa and from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific. It can also help ensure security of the sea-links of commerce and freedom of navigation on seas.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

4. The concept of cooperative security is panacea to address threats concerning national security and harmony. Examine with respect to India and her South Asian neighbours. (250 words)

IDSA

Why this question:

In today’s challenging times, security is indivisible. Events in one region of the world have an impact, both positive and negative, on other regions. This highlights the necessity of combining strengths to forge new compacts that can appropriately deal with the emerging challenges.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us talk about the cooperative security scenario in South Asia, the need for such a cooperation. Further, one needs to talk about the measures undertaken in realising the cooperative security in South Asia with India as a forerunner. Then discuss about the challenges faced in achieving the cooperative security and measures needed to tackle the same.

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:

Explain the concept of Co-Operative security. Talk about the lack of co-operative security in South Asian region leading to various security threats.

  • cooperative security implies that countries have, or seek, a degree of convergence with regard to threat perceptions, and challenges and opportunities with a conviction that it is advantageous to their security, stability and prosperity.
  • the South Asian experience in building cooperative security architecture has been mixed.

Body:

Discuss the needs for cooperative security in South Asia.

  • South Asia can truly prosper only when it is free from the scourge of terrorism.
  • The greatest challenge before South Asia is the fight against illiteracy and poverty, climate change and natural disasters, and food and energy security issues.
  • These are indivisible and transcend borders.
  • Cooperation on these issues will ensure the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Discuss about India’s commitments on cooperative security in South Asia.

  • India believes in the ancient Sanskrit saying “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, which means that the entire world is one family.
  • to build   regional   cooperation and   security India’s initiatives are   anchored   in   its ‘Neighbourhood First‘ policy.
  • India has time and again taken efforts to straighten the SAARC initiative.
  • India is   keen   to   strengthen   other regional groupings and partnerships such    as    the    BBIN, BIMSTEC
  • India remains optimistic about the future of South Asia

Explain the challenges faced in achieving cooperative security.

  • The South Asian family, unfortunately, has its own black sheep. The weakest link in the chain continues to be Pakistan, which views security as a zero-sum game, and uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy against its neighbours.
  • The consequences of such a policy pursued in one country in South Asia, aimed at systematically nurturing radical jihadi groups, has been felt in other South Asian countries as well – from Afghanistan to India and from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka.

Provide measures to tackle the challenges posed.

  • One of the measures to improve regional security is to strengthen connectivity linkages.

Conclusion

Give a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

Introduction:

Cooperative security, as a concept, implies that countries have, or seek, a degree of convergence with regard to threat perceptions, and challenges and opportunities with a conviction that it is advantageous to their security, stability and prosperity. Cooperative security may logically begin with neighbours and the region but often transcends locational limitations. Cooperative security can be predicated on shared values, ideologies, religion or economic interests along multiple axes.

Body:

Need for cooperative security in South Asia:

  • South Asia has a common history and celebrates its great cultural and linguistic overlap. South Asian nations came into their own at about the same time with the lifting of the colonial shadow.
  • South Asia can truly prosper only when it is free from the scourge of terrorism.
  • The greatest challenge before South Asia is the fight against illiteracy and poverty, climate change and natural disasters, and food and energy security issues. These are indivisible and transcend borders.
  • Cooperation on these issues will ensure the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

India’s commitments and actions on cooperative security in South Asia:

  • India attaches great importance to strengthening cooperative security.
  • India’s initiatives over the last five years to build regional cooperation and security are anchored in its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy.
  • India’s initiative to launch a South Asia Satellite to improve communication and disaster response, India remains committed to its neighbourhood.
  • India has always been the first off the block to provide relief in the wake of tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters.
  • India has emphasised the importance of shared prosperity with our neighbours through his clarion call of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas”, the essence of which roughly translates as “Collective Effort, Inclusive Growth and Mutual Trust”.
  • India remains optimistic about the future of South Asia at a time when it has emerged as one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world. India is the proverbial rising tide that can lift all boats in the region.
  • India is keen to strengthen other regional groupings and partnerships such as the BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) and BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) that includes Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
  • India is also committed to greater connectivity and cooperation with the ASEAN region through its ‘Act East’ policy.
  • India has also expanded its cooperation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) and the East Asia Summit (EAS) in the extended neighbourhood.
  • As one of the biggest regional donors to Afghanistan’s reconstruction efforts, India has overcome hurdles and established an air and a maritime corridor with Afghanistan to strengthen bilateral ties.
  • India trains the largest number of Afghan army officers, over a hundred annually, and gives thousands of scholarships to the Afghan youth for studying and pursuing vocational training in India.

Challenges to cooperative security in South Asia:

  • The South Asian experience in building cooperative security architecture has been mixed.
  • South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the world.
  • The South Asian family, unfortunately, has its own black sheep. The weakest link in the chain continues to be Pakistan, which views security as a zero-sum game, and uses terrorism as an instrument of state policy against its neighbours.
  • The consequences of such a policy pursued in one country in South Asia, aimed at systematically nurturing radical jihadi groups, has been felt in other South Asian countries as well – from Afghanistan to India and from Bangladesh to Sri Lanka.

Way forward:

  • South Asian countries need a bolder approach to cooperative security than has been the case so far.
  • Disaster management authorities, finance ministers, health misters, environment ministers can meet regularly to discuss the ways and means to meet the common challenges of disaster mitigation, economic cooperation, public health issues and environmental security.
  • India, which has borders with most SAARC countries, can set up cooperative mechanisms for better regulation of orders.
  • Defence cooperation can also be an excellent way of building confidence and reducing tensions.
  • Maritime security and coastal security should be given higher priority.
  • What is required is political will to implement a cooperative security approach.
  • South Asia ‘minus one’ has achieved some measure of progress in strengthening regional cooperation.
  • It is also hoped that the ‘minus one’ country will change its mind set, eschew terrorism and come around one day for the good of all in South Asia.
  • India‘s roadmap   for   regional security, is   known   by   its   acronym ̳SECURE‘, its  every  letter  is full of meaning.
    • S stands   for Security of   our citizens,
    • E stands for Economic development for all,
    • C stands   for Connecting   the region,
    • U stands for Uniting our people,
    • R stands for Respect for Sovereignty and Territorial Integrity, and
    • E stands for Environmental protection.

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

5. India needs to formally come up with its national strategy on synthetic biology — both policy and regulatory. Discuss. (250 words)

The Hindu Business line

Why this question:

India established the Department of Biotechnology during the late 1980s to harness the emerging science to the benefit of the country. However, there has been a long-standing lack of clarity and consensus among scientists, policymakers, industry, farmers and civil society organisations on how India needs to deal with synthetic biological methods like the genetic modification technology in areas like agriculture.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the concept of Synthetic biology. Thereafter, we need to highlight the pros and cons of technology, its possible applications. Further we need to analyse India’s need to come up with a policy to regulate the affairs in synthetic biology. And finally give a fair and balanced view regarding the kind of policy needed.

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 the term Synthetic biology and need to come up with a policy on the same in India.

  • Synthetic biology is a field of science that involves redesigning organisms for useful purposes by engineering them to have new abilities. This technology, of developing new life forms, is being pursued by industry despite there being no regulatory framework in place

Body

Explain the concept in detail.

Discuss the various applications of the technology.

  • genetic modification technology in areas like agriculture
  • Cloning technologies
  • In less than nine years, synthetic biology has caught the imagination of scientists and the industry’s market of $11 billion in 2016 is expected to grow to $100 billion by 2025.

Discuss the pros and cons of Synthetic biology.

Finally, talk about need for India to come up with a policy on synthetic biology.

  • The lack of policy is a cause of serious concern after decades of work in this area compromising research, investments and decision-making.
  • In the absence of India undertaking a proactive approach to this technology, there is ample chance that we will end up having the same, if not more, contentious debates about synthetic biology organisms and products as those on genetically modified organisms.

Conclusion

Give your opinion on what kind of policy should India come up with respect to synthetic biology.

Introduction:

Synthetic biology is a field of science that involves redesigning organisms for useful purposes by engineering them to have new abilities. Synthetic biology combines chemical synthesis of DNA with growing knowledge of genomics to enable researchers to quickly manufacture catalogued DNA sequences and assemble them into new genomes. Synthetic biology researchers and companies around the world are harnessing the power of nature to solve problems in medicine, manufacturing and agriculture. This technology, of developing new life forms, is being pursued by industry despite there being no regulatory framework in place.

Body:

Some examples of what scientists are producing with synthetic biology are:

  • Microorganisms harnessed for bioremediation to clean pollutants from our water, soil and air.
  • Rice modified to produce beta-carotene, a nutrient usually associated with carrots, that prevents vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency causes blindness in 250,000 – 500,000 children every year and greatly increases a child’s risk of death from infectious diseases.
  • Yeast engineered to produce rose oil as an eco-friendly and sustainable substitute for real roses that perfumers use to make luxury scents.
  • Biosensors: an engineered organism that is capable of reporting some ambient phenomenon such as the presence of heavy metals or toxins.
  • Cell transformation: Cell transformation is used to create biological circuits, which can be manipulated to yield desired outputs. i.e., make antimalarial drug by modifying yeast molecules.
  • Space exploration: Synthetic biology could help to produce resources for astronauts from a restricted compounds sent from Earth.
  • Access to food: Synthetic biology was viewed initially by the public as a tool to tackle food scarcity. But concerns exist that large corporations could patent developments, create monopolies and leave developing countries dependent on the West.

Need to come up with national strategy on Synthetic biology:

  • India established the Department of Biotechnology in 1986 to harness the emerging science to the benefit of the country. However, there has been a long-standing lack of clarity and consensus on how India needs to deal with genetic modification technology in areas like agriculture.
  • Potential of synthetic biology:
    • It was the Craig Venter Institute, US, that created the first artificial life form and called it ‘Synthia’ in 2010.
    • In less than nine years, synthetic biology has caught the imagination of scientists and the industry’s market of $11 billion in 2016 is expected to grow to $100 billion by 2025.
  • The scope of technology foresight comprises not only technologies and their applications but also public policies and societal challenges.
  • Involvement of Private sector:
    • It is surprising to note the number of interventions the private sector is undertaking to focus on product development using synthetic biology in India.
    • Currently, there is no consolidated information on who does what, how, for how much, and when the technology will be commercialised with what policy prescriptions.
  • Global policy-making favours treating synthetic biology products and organisms on similar lines as living (read genetically) modified organisms.
  • There is ample chance that we will end up having the same, if not more, contentious debates about synthetic biology organisms and products as those on genetically modified organisms.
  • Projects that propose to synthesize entire genomes raise important ethical questions about potential harms and benefits to society.

Way forward:

India’s policy and regulatory framework needs to focus on the following:

  • defining what constitutes the science of synthetic biology;
  • what kinds of research and development priorities will be made for public sector;
  • guidance for private sector in synthetic biology research in the future that considers all relevant policy frameworks, including those in intellectual property rights;
  • how India will regulate the development and use of this technology, considering issues related to environment and socio-economics.

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

6. If climate change is the defining issue of the century, the UN conference in Madrid failed miserably in galvanising action to address it. Elaborate.(250 words)

The Hindu

The Wire

Why this question:

At COP 25 in Madrid, the countries party to the Paris Agreement failed to agree on rules and procedures to govern a global carbon market, on finance for losses caused by extreme weather events, on meeting the commitments made before the agreement and on raising their ambitions. The final declaration was desultory, merely expressing serious concern at the emissions gap in seeking to limit temperature increase to 1.5° C.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the reasons for failure of the COP25 meeting and the implications of failures of the talks on the planet Earth as well as the developing and small nations.

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:

One can start off with the quoting the various facts of climate change using the scientific reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning of near-certain catastrophic consequences of inaction, and an analysis from the UN Environment Programme on the gap between current greenhouse gas emissions and the limit over the coming decade.

Body:

Discuss in brief the challenges faced due to climate change effects.

  • the real losses from extreme weather events that climate-vulnerable countries, India included, are facing with frightening regularity.
  • even insured losses worldwide during 2017 and 2018 together stood at a record $225 billion

       Now, discuss the various reasons for the failure of the COP25 talks.

  • unproductive wrangle over establishing a market system to trade in carbon credits earned through reductions in emissions, with some countries eager to cash in on poorly audited emissions savings from the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol that preceded the Paris pact
  • the divergence between the developed and developing countries grew over the course of two weeks as the developed world – led by the US – blocked any attempt at a compromise using a ‘take it or leave it approach’.
  • Developed countries also refused to relent on the question losses suffered by developing countries due to climate impact.

       What are the implications of the failure of talks?

       What are the measures needed to overcome?

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference (COP25) was held from 2 to 13 December 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Despite extending the meeting for 2 days, the outcome is disappointing. The countries party to the Paris Agreement failed to agree on rules and procedures to govern a global carbon market, on finance for losses caused by extreme weather events, on meeting the commitments made before the agreement and on raising their ambitions.

Body:

Outcomes of the COP25:

  • This year’s UN talks focused on narrow technical issues such as the workings of the global carbon markets, a means by which countries can trade their successes in cutting emissions with other countries that have not cut their own emissions fast enough. However, no agreement has been reached and the issue will be resolved next year.
  • The developed and the developing worlds had opposite views on each of these was clear from the beginning of COP25, but the divergence only grew over the course of two weeks as the developed world – led by the US – blocked any attempt at a compromise using a ‘take it or leave it approach’.
  • The US was blamed for refusing to agree to developing countries’ demands under what is known in the UN jargon as the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM).
  • At COP25, the developed world didn’t honour CBDR, instead pushing back against any decision, often with strong language, on the provision of finance to developing countries to help them mitigate, adapt and deal with losses due to climate change.
  • It also blocked any commitments to meet its emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, the outgoing climate regime to be replaced by the Paris Agreement next year.
  • Developed countries also refused to relent on the question losses suffered by developing countries due to climate impact.
  • Weary negotiators wrangled over the wording of provisions for “loss and damage”, by which developing countries are hoping to receive financial assistance for the ravages they face from climate breakdown.
  • Climate negotiators might have tossed the more intractable questions — raising $100 billion a year from 2020 for developing countries, creating a strong framework to address loss and damage from climate events and transferring technology to poorer countries on reasonable terms
  • Few countries came to this year’s talks with updated plans to reach the Paris goals, though the EU finally agreed its long-term target of reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
  • A “high ambition coalition” made up of the EU and many smaller developing countries pressed for a resolution to ask all governments to formulate stronger national plans on cutting carbon. However, no substantive decision on future emission cuts was made.
  • After two extra days and nights of negotiations, delegates finally agreed a deal that will see new, improved carbon cutting plans on the table by the time of the Glasgow conference next year.

India’s stand on the COP25:

  • India played a strong role in critiquing the developed world’s continuing poor record on climate action.
  • It argued that unless a stocktaking exercise of the fulfillment of various pre-2020 commitments by developed countries (such as those made at Copenhagen, Cancun and Kyoto) showed that they were making significant progress, India would not raise its climate ambition for its next round of Paris Agreement targets due in 2020.
  • It is entirely appropriate for countries such as India to insist on not taking on an even more unfair share of the global mitigation burden unless developed countries deliver on the minimal parameter of fulfilling their existing promises.
  • India also took a lead in calling for more finance for developing countries for climate action, with the minister emphasising that “not even 2 per cent” of the promised “$1 trillion in the last 10 years” had been delivered.

Way forward:

  • All parties will need to address the gap between what the science says is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change, and the current state of play which would see the world go past this threshold in the 2030s.
  • As India prepares to face calls for higher ambition in 2020 and beyond, India has to involve its States in mitigation and adaptation efforts.
  • It is crucial that India continue to push developed countries in this fashion as the entire global climate action framework has been put in jeopardy by the inaction of big polluters.

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships; Human Values

7. “With rising intolerance and polarization in today’s world, forgiveness and compassion are much needed values.” Examine. (250 words).

Ethics by Lexicon

Why this question:

The increasing incidents of hatred, violence against women, communal violence and other such grave incidents makes it important for individuals to respect, uphold and practice the human values of forgiveness and compassion.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the relevance of these values in the age of rising intolerance and polarization the world is witnessing.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must 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:

In brief narrate what are values and their importance in general.

Body:

Explain that to forgive, we must be ready to let go of our anger and resentment toward someone or something. However, the meaning of forgiveness that I prefer is simply “letting go.” The act of compassion is the desire to alleviate the suffering of others. In other words, it is showing care for others while understanding that they are fully responsible for their actions.  It doesn’t mean that we are justifying their behavior; instead, by being compassionate, we are making space for others to have their experiences without attaching our reactions to them.

Use suitable case studies to justify how these values play crucial role in today’s rising intolerance and polarized world.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of compassion and forgiveness for the humanity.

Introduction:  

A person who practices compassion and forgiveness has great inner strength, whereas aggression is usually a sign of weakness. – Dalai Lama

Forgiveness is an action of excusing someone or stop feeling resentful towards someone who has done wrong. Forgiveness can be one of the most liberating acts of self-love one can commit.

Compassion is the willingness to relieve the suffering of another. It is the sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. It motivates people to go out of their way to help the physical, mental, or emotional pains of another and themselves.

Great personalities like Gandhiji, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela are great examples of personalities with forgiveness and compassion.

Body:

The nature of forgiveness is to muster up whatever compassion you have left for the person that has wronged you. If you cannot do this — if you cannot be compassionate toward that individual, anger may eat away at you and then give birth to bitterness.

If you’ve ever experienced bitterness and resentment, then you know that it is not something worth carrying around all the time. It becomes a heavy burden that weighs us down and isolates us. Forgiveness takes this away. Forgiveness kills bitterness and resentment.

The relevance of forgiveness and compassion in today’s times:

  • Increasing crimes related to vengeance like mob lynching, rapes, acid attacks etc.
  • Intolerance and hatred among communities, states and countries.
  • Rising communalism, racism, refugee crisis.
  • Incidents of terrorism in the name of religion.
  • Rising inequality between the rich and the poor.
  • Declining environmental values and compassion for the wild animals.
  • Unequal treatment of women, third gender etc.
  • Climate change and rising sea levels submerging many small island nations.

Conclusion:

We must learn to forgive and be compassionate beings. These take a few moments of our life and give us back immense peace and a relation free of grudge. This is applicable for self too, it is truly said “you will begin to heal, when you let go of past hurts, forgive those who have wronged you and learn to forgive yourself for your mistakes”.