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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 DECEMBER 2019

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 11 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: Salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. How far the recent discoveries are capable in changing the older perspective of Indus Valley Civilisation? Discuss. (250 Words)

Businessline

Why this question:

The question aims to discuss the impact of recent discoveries with respect to the Indus valley civilisation and vis-à-vis the changing perspectives.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the changing perspectives owing to the discoveries related to the past IVC.

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:

In brief discuss the significance of the IVC.

Body:

One must highlight the fact that history is all about building perspectives and the perspectives are always based upon evidences and thus the changing opinions about a place.

Highlight the recent excavations, evidences that have been revealed.

Discuss in what way they have led to changed and better understanding of the IVC.

Also highlight the specific challenges that are faced in materializing such findings.

Conclusion:

Conclude on a positive note that history at times needs to be put to multiple trials to understand the real truth.

Introduction:

As the ongoing Rann Festival puts the international spotlight on Gujarat’s Thar Desert & Kutch area, researchers from IIT Kharagpur and other institutes have come up with a big archaeological find and analysis that establishes possible human settlement in the area, dating back to 3,000 years in history.

Body:

Map 

Significance of Indus Valley Civilization:

  • The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300-1300 BCE; mature period 2600-1900 BCE) extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India.
  • Along with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilizations of the Old World, and of the three the most widespread It flourished in the basins of the Indus River, one of the major rivers of Asia, and the Ghaggar-Hakra River, which once coursed through northwest India and eastern Pakistan.
  • At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in handicraft (carnelian products, seal carving) and metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin).
  • The Indus cities are noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, and clusters of large non-residential buildings
  • The Indus Valley Civilization is also known as the Harappan Civilization, after Harappa, the first of its sites to be excavated in the 1920s, in what was then the Punjab province of British India, and now is Pakistan.
  • There were earlier and later cultures, often called Early Harappan and Late Harappan, in the same area of the Harappan Civilization. The Harappan civilization is sometimes called the Mature Harappan culture to distinguish it from these cultures.
  • Until 1999, over 1,056 cities and settlements had been found, of which 96 have been excavated, mainly in the general region of the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra Rivers and their tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centres of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Dholavira, Ganeriwala in Cholistan and Rakhigarhi.
  • The Harappan language is not directly attested and its affiliation is uncertain since the Indus script is still undeciphered. A relationship with the Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favored by a section of scholars.

Highlights of the recent excavations:

  • The new evidence points to locales of human habitation that sprang up after the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization, due to climate change and water deprivation.
  • According to researchers from IITK, the Harappan remains found in the Kutch region were limited on rocky islands. The Rann and the Thar, till now, were considered to have been devoid of any sign of continued human settlement.
  • Explorations in the coastal settlement of the Karim Shahi region of the Rann, south of the desert, has unearthed pottery and charcoal, which when dated by means of optically stimulated luminescence and radiocarbon methods, has revealed active human habitation from the Early Iron Age to Early Historic (3100–2300 years) times.
  • Apart from artefacts such as pitchers, jars and bull figurines, numerous animal remains including bones and teeth have also been recovered, which has helped in reconstructing the social subsistence pattern
  • The study involved the analysis of sediments, pollen and oxygen isotopes in fossil molluscan shells, indicating the presence of an active river system and some rainfall that probably sustained human habitation from the Early Iron Age to medieval times.
  • “Both Karim Shahi and Vigakot probably acted as trade centres during this time. In fact, at Vigakot we found a 1,100-year-old Chinese Qingbai porcelain, probably manufactured in Guangdong province of south China, and Sgraffiato pottery of 10th century Persia, suggesting it to be a part of a long-distance trade route between West Asia and China
  • The researchers also referred to the historical travelogue of Al Beruni of 1030 AD, which has mentioned the presence of rivers in Kutch.
  • The Study suggests that the Rann of Kutch and part of Thar Desert were still a hospitable terrain for the sustenance of human settlements from the Early Iron Age till at least medieval times which led to the survival of the civilization under such climate threat situation following the Harappan decline.

Conclusion:

Prof. M.G. Thakkar from Kutch University emphasized the fact that the multidisciplinary study has proven the near-cultural continuity after the Harappans which the experts till now only hypothesized. He also harped on the point that this finding is going to bring Kutch under international limelight.

 

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

2. Citizenship law amendment goes against non-discriminatory norms in the Constitution. Critically analyse. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

Home Minister Amit Shah moved Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 in the Lok Sabha recently  amid stiff resistance from the opposition parties that called it unconstitutional as it excludes Muslims from three neighboring countries – Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh – where Islam is the state religion from taking advantage of relaxed rules for obtaining Indian citizenship.

Key demand of the question:

One has to present a critical analysis of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019 and debate upon its constitutionality.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When 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:

Briefly discuss the coming of Citizenship Amendment Bill 2019.

Body:

Explain first the basic features of the bill.

Then move onto present the following aspects –

  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill explicitly seeks religious discrimination into law, against our secular constitutional ethos.
  • The Bill, will be the first time that religion or ethnicity will be made the basis of citizenship that would do damage to the very idea of India as an inclusive and diverse polity, where religion has no bearing on who can become a full member of society.

Discuss what needs to be done to overcome the challenges posed by the law to the secular fabric and the constitution; the law of the land.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to refine the laws and ensure the constitutional validity of the same.

Introduction:

The protests erupting across India since the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) are a testament to the centrality of secularism as the foundational principle that binds the country together and holds the key to India’s survival as a nation. The deathly blow that the CAA has delivered to secularism threatens the foundations of India’s plural social fabric. When secularism is threatened, India is weakened. This is the lesson from the passage of the CAA, and the unrest it has unleashed.

Body:

India’s unique model of secularism:

  • Secularism in India refers to the equal status and treatment of all religions.
  • Secularism in India is a positive, revolutionary and comprehensive concept which takes within its sweep all the communities in India following several religions.
  • Indian secularism recognizes the importance of religion in human life.
  • Diversity can only be effective with secularism as a foundational value.
  • India’s survival as a multi-religious, multilingual, multiracial, multicultural society will depend on how successful it is in working its secularism
  • Indian Secularism equally opposed oppression of dalits and women within Hinduism. It also opposes the discrimination against women within Indian Islam or Christianity and the possible threats that a majority community might pose to the rights of the minority religious communities.
  • Indian Secularism has made room for and is compatible with the idea of state- supported religious reform. For example- Indian constitution bans untouchability under Article 17. There is also abolition of child marriage and lifting the taboo on inter-caste marriage sanctioned by Hinduism.
  • Indian Secularism deals not only with religious freedom of individuals but also with religious freedom of minority communities i.e. individual has the right to profess religion of his /her choice. Likewise, religious minority also have a right to exist and to maintain their own culture and educational institutions.

How The Citizenship Amendment Bill explicitly seeks religious discrimination into law, against our secular constitutional ethos:

  • The first is that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is against the letter and spirit of our Constitution. Articles 5 to 11 of the Constitution deal with citizenship, and the Citizenship Act, 1955, lays down criteria for citizenship based on birth, descent, registration, naturalization, and citizenship by incorporation of territory.
  • By setting new criteria, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act goes against the premise of common citizenship regardless of differences of caste, creed, gender, ethnicity and culture.
  • Further, Article 14 of the Constitution lays down that the “State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India”.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act is divisive, deeply discriminatory and violative of human rights.
  • Our national unity was won through struggle; the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is one of the many threats to its survival. Our hard-won Constitution recognizes individual and social differences, and that we must weave the cord of unity by creating a sense of belonging and inclusiveness for all.
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act attempts to create and deepen communal division and social polarization in the country.
  • The Act gives eligibility for citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014, and specifically excludes Muslims from that list.
  • In granting citizenship on the basis of religion, it discriminates against Muslims and rejects the basic concept of secularism.
  • That the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is discriminatory and violative of human rights has been recognized by those who have come out on the streets in many States, in opposition to the Act.
  • The agenda of Hindutva and its ultimate goal of establishing a “Hindu Nation” underlie the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, is well established both by past experience and the present actions of the BJP-Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
  • In the days since the passage of the CAA, multiple protests across north and Northeast India last week. Ironically, these protests are themselves expressions of India’s overlapping multi-religious, multi-ethnic character that the CAA seeks to undermine.
  • The mobilizations in the Northeast are about anxieties of ethnicity, culture and language as much as religion while the protests in Delhi, Aligarh and Lucknow are chiefly about religious identity and discriminatory exclusion of Muslims from the CAA.

Measures to safeguard the secular fabric in India:

  • Since secularism has been declared as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution, governments must be made accountable for implementing it.
  • Define the word “minority”. The concept of secularism is based on recognition and protection of minorities. The two cannot be separated.
  • Setting up of a commission on secularism for ensuring adherence to the constitutional mandate on secularism.
  • Separation of religion from politics. It is of such urgency that no time should be wasted in bringing this about.
  • It is the duty of the secular and democratic forces to rally behind those political forces that really profess and practice secularism.
  • In a secular state, religion is expected to be a purely personal and private matter and is not supposed to have anything to do with the governance of the country.

Conclusion:

The real challenge that protests and resistance to the CAA face today is that they are bereft of a vocabulary to defend secularism’s cause even though it is the threat to secularism that sparked these protests. India urgently needs to wrest and reclaim secularism, anchoring it in a new vocabulary that redeems its credibility. Our collective ability to do so will determine whether India will reclaim itself or stay firm on its current path toward a re-imagination of its foundations.

 

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

3. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a study done to produce comparable data on education policy and outcomes across countries. What is the aim of the test and how has India performed so far? Analyse while presenting the positives and negatives of such a scheme. (250 Words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the pros and cons of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Key demand of the question:

One must analyse the utility of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in detail.

Directive:

Analyze – When 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:

Initiated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization with 36 member countries, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a study done to produce comparable data on education policy and outcomes across countries.

Body:

  • Explain in brief about the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
  • The test is set by educational experts from across the world. Until now, experts from more than eighty countries have contributed towards framing the test questions, mostly from countries that have already participated in the test.
  • Unlike conventional tests and exams, the PISA test does not assess students on their memory, but attempts to evaluate whether students can apply the knowledge they have gained through primary and secondary education.
  • Discuss the aim of the test.
  • Provide for a brief evaluation of India’s performance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) was initiated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental economic organization with 36 member countries, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is a study done to produce comparable data on education policy and outcomes across countries.

Body:

Background:

  • It is an international assessment that measures 15-year-old students’ reading, mathematics, and science literacy every three years.
  • First conducted in 2000, the major domain of study rotates between reading, mathematics, and science in each cycle.
  • PISA also includes measures of general or cross-curricular competencies, such as collaborative problem solving.
  • PISA is coordinated by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), an intergovernmental organization of industrialized countries, and is conducted in the United States by NCES.

Uniqueness of PISA:

  • PISA is the only international education survey to measure the knowledge and skills of 15-year-olds, an age at which students in most countries are nearing the end of their compulsory time in school.
  • PISA is also unique in the way it looks at:
  • Public policy issues.
  • Lifelong learning.

Utility of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA):

  • The test is set by educational experts from across the world. Until now, experts from more than eighty countries have contributed towards framing the test questions, mostly from countries that have already participated in the test.
  • The test is set by educational experts from across the world. Until now, experts from more than eighty countries have contributed towards framing the test questions, mostly from countries that have already participated in the test.
  • Apart from subjects like math, reading comprehension and science; since 2015 the test also includes an optional section on innovative subjects such as collaborative problem-solving and financial literacy.
  • Further, it evaluates whether students can solve mathematical problems or explain phenomena through scientific thinking or interpretation of text. The test is taken in the language of instruction that the students are familiar with.
  • There is no hard and fast rule on who can apply to take the test and who cannot. Countries usually volunteer to take the test. In case, making all 15-year-olds in the country take the test is not feasible, regions are identified within the country where the test can be conducted
  • Within the region, individual schools are chosen which are approved by the PISA governing board and evaluated using stringent criteria. These schools represent the country’s education system.

Aim of the test:

  • The aim of the test is not to rank the countries which volunteer to participate in the evaluation, but to give a comprehensive analysis of how education systems are working in terms of preparing its students for higher education and subsequent employment.
  • After collecting results from across the world, experts translate these results into data points which are evaluated to score the countries.
  • If a country scores well, it suggests that not only does it has an effective education system but an inclusive one, in which students from privileged and underprivileged backgrounds perform equally well.
  • Further, the test evaluates whether the education system in these countries teach students adequate social and community skills, which will enable the students to excel holistically as a member of the workforce.
  • OECD also hopes that the test will allow countries to learn from each other about effective education policies and improve their own systems, using others as examples.

India’s participation in PISA:

  • India had taken part in Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2009 and bagged the 72nd rank among 74 participating countries.
  • Then UPA government had boycotted PISA, blaming “out of context” questions for India’s dismal performance.
  • Later, the HRD Ministry, under the NDA-II government, revisited this decision in 2016 and the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) had set up a committee to review the matter and submitted its report in December 2016.
  • The report recommended for participation in test in 2018. However, India missed the application deadline for the 2018 cycle.

Assessments like the PISA turn out to be difficult for most Indian students because:

  • The mentality that questions can be only from the textbook.
  • Very poor reading ability.
  • Process of answering questions – pattern-matching versus problem-solving.
  • When Indian students encounter PISA-type questions, many of them freeze at the first sign of the unfamiliar and decide that they have not ‘learnt this question type’ and cannot solve it.
  • Low understanding of processes or concepts and even comprehension skills.

Way forward:

  • Each of the above represents an entrenched, yet solvable problem in the Indian education system.
  • Though there are no quick-fix solutions, there are key levers available to create change:
  • Changing the pattern of Board Exam questions – and teacher training starting with teachers from grade 5 or so are two strong levers in our control.

Conclusion:

Our education is immersed in rote learning and memorization. PISA requires experiential learning and out of the box thinking, so our educators and students need to work really hard to prove themselves now.

 

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

4. What are local bodies? Enumerate their key objectives. Discuss the causative factors of undue delay in conducting elections for these local bodies and highlight the impact of the same. (250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The article highlights the undue delay witnessed recently in conducting

Elections for local bodies in Tamil Nadu.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss briefly the concept of local bodies enshrined in Indian constitution and the key objectives of the same and analyse the causes and impact of the delay in their elections.

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: Explain what are local bodies?; institutions of local self-governance, which look after the administration of an area or small

Community such as villages, towns, or cities.

Body:

Explain the basic features of these local bodies-

  • Provide democratic and accountable government for local communities
  • To ensure the provision of services to communities in a sustainable manner
  • To promote social and economic development
  • To promote a safe and healthy environment; and
  • To encourage the involvement of communities and community organizations in the matters of local government.

Discuss the reasons for such delays in the elections – lack of political will, Interference of judiciary, Administrative lapses and political litigation etc.

Explain the impact of such delays on the functioning.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Political will coupled with enthusiastic community participation is the need of the hour to revive the state of local bodies in our country.

Introduction:

Local bodies are institutions of the local self-governance, which look after the administration of an area or small community such as villages, towns, or cities. The 73rd Amendment Act was related to village local self-government and inserted Part IX containing Articles 243 to 243-O in the Constitution. The 74th Amendment Act was related to municipal local government and it inserted Part IX A containing Articles 243P to 243ZG in the Constitution.

The Local bodies in India are broadly classified into two categories. The local bodies constituted for local planning, development and administration in the rural areas are referred as Rural Local Bodies (Panchayats) and the local bodies, which are constituted for local planning, development and administration in the urban areas are referred as Urban Local Bodies (Municipalities).

Body:

The objectives of the local self-government bodies:

  •  A Regulator, namely the administration of various acts and regulations
  • A Provider, that involves providing urban services efficiently and equitably by managing its accounts effectively and efficiently.
  • An Agent that takes the schemes of higher levels government to the people. This
  • includes promotion of popular participation
  • A Welfare Agency, which provides active assistance to higher level governments in the equitable distribution and delivery
  • An Agent of Development, who strives for improvement in the quality of life through the augmentation of infrastructure.

Causative factors for delay in conduction of timely elections:

  • Three years the due date in 2016, rural local bodies in Tamil Nadu will witness elections in the last week of this month.
  • Administrative lapses and political litigation over ward delimitation in various local bodies as per latest population figures in the 2011 Census resulted in the unprecedented delay.
  • Originally announced on time in 2016, the notification was cancelled by the Madras High Court, citing irregularities in it.
  • Since then, the issue of delimitation, the announcement of new districts and occasional litigation have contributed to the delay in elections.
  • The attitude of the political parties towards the importance of local bodies has been quite lukewarm.
  • The posts of the heads of various local bodies are politicized. This hampers devolution of funds and letting the various tiers work independently.
  • District panchayats frequently undermined as most parties consider them as a redundant third tier among Panchayati raj institutions.
  • Including local self-government bodies as partners in development is still a far cry.

Measures needed:

  • Under a Supreme Court order, polls for all local bodies will have to be held, except in those districts that have been divided recently to create new ones.
  • Education and awareness to the citizens about the importance of LSG should be provided.

Conclusion:

The significance of local self-government lies in the numerous benefits that it bestows upon the inhabitants of the areas it operates in. It functions as a school of democracy wherein citizens are imparted political and popular education regarding issues of local and national importance. It develops qualities of initiatives, tolerance and compromise- so essential for the working of democracy. It not only relieves congestion at the centre but it also checks the increasing power of democracy. It stands positively for the distribution and diffusion of power leading to administrative de- concentration and de- centralization. Being closer to the original base, it finds solution for local problems more efficiently.

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. . Disaster and disaster management.

5. Provided the lack of effectiveness of the current global climate policy the alternative strategy of the low carbon social development model adopted by India and China needs more consideration. Examine.(250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

The question is in the context of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 25th Conference of Parties that was held in Madrid recently.

Key demand of the question:

The article highlights the alarming concerns related to the current global climate policy and demands an analysis of what needs to be done to address the same.

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 short highlight the key facts from the article.

Body:

  • Explain the key factors responsible for the failure of the current global climate policy – the world’s major emitter, the US has rejected multilateralism, premised on burden-sharing and has pulled out of the Paris climate deal. The planned emission cuts fall short of what needs to be done to contain global warming.
  • The existing Nationally Determined Contributions filed under the Paris Agreement fall short. There is a yawning gap between planned emissions cuts, and what needs to be done by 2030 to contain global temperature rise at 1.5°C etc.
  • Present the case of India and China and highlight some specific efforts in this direction by the two.

Conclusion:

Conclude that by 2040 more than half of the global wealth is again going to be in Asia; the low carbon social development model adopted by India and China will become the world system, ensuring global sustainability. The alternative strategies led by India and China should now move centre stage and replace the ineffective Climate Treaty.

Introduction:

The failure to limit the increasing levels of concentration of greenhouse gases despite the annual Climate Summits raises questions on the efficacy of the current global climate policy. The current global climate policy problem is that the Climate Treaty considers symptoms (emissions of greenhouse gases), rather than the causes (use of natural resources). India, which is responsible for just 3% of cumulative emissions, is the most carbon efficient and sustainable major economy.

Body:

Failures of the current global climate policy:

  • USA, the world’s major emitter, has rejected multilateralism, premised on burden-sharing and has pulled out of the Paris climate deal.
  • The planned emission cuts fall short of what needs to be done to contain global warming.
  • The existing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) filed under the Paris Agreement fall short.
  • There is a huge gap between planned emissions cuts, and what needs to be done by 2030 to contain global temperature rise at 1.5°C.
  • The European Union’s ambition of ‘net’ zero emissions by 2050 neglects the needed societal change by ignoring the embedded carbon in its imports which accounts for a third of their emissions of carbon dioxide.

Varying resource utilization patterns:

  • Excessive resource use by the West which constitutes 20% of the world’s population consumes half of the global material use and is the major cause of climate change.
  • Asia with half the world’s population is responsible for less than half of the material use.
  • The contribution of the United States to resource use or cumulative emissions of carbon dioxide peaked at 40% in 1950, declined to 26% and is likely to remain at this level.
  • By 2015, the global population had doubled when emissions in China began to stabilise and accounted for 12% of the total cumulative emissions. Asia and Africa will peak at per-capita levels that are a third of those of the West.
  • The developed world by failing to acknowledge its historical contribution to the issue of climate change is shifting the burden of controlling climate change onto developing countries.
  • National natural resource-use accelerated in two distinct phases with very different origins and impacts.
  • In North America and Europe, resource use accelerated after 1950, and not with industrial resource use from 1850. By 1970, three-quarters of their population had moved to cities, characterized as “unprecedented prosperity”, leading to the trajectory towards climate change.

Model adopted by India and China:

  • India and China, civilizational states with a population nearly eight times that of the U.S., have re-defined progress.
  • Measures for global sustainability should draw lessons from India and China.
  • India, which is responsible for just 3% of cumulative emissions, is the most carbon-efficient and sustainable major economy.
  • The pathway adopted by China can now be compared and contrasted with the West, as it has come up to that level of urbanization and well-being.
  • In China, electricity consumption per capita is a third of the European Union (EU) and a sixth of the U.S. Residential energy consumption has increased at a rate less than half the increase in GDP, and corresponds to the increase in urban population, showing a limited increase with more disposable household income.
  • China also has less than a sixth of the number of cars with respect to population, than the EU, while the U.S. has nearly two times that number. In China, nearly 40% of the distance travelled is by public transport, which is two times that of the EU. While the number of cars in China is projected to double by 2040, half the new cars are expected to be electric vehicles.
  • China has the world’s most extensive electric high-speed rail system. In Beijing, three-quarters of public transport buses are already electric. Asian household savings as a per cent of GDP are two times that of the U.S.
  • India and China are global leaders in sustainability not only because of their low per-capita resource use but also because of their commitment to peak oil consumption around 2035 as they adopt electric vehicles supported by solar and wind renewable energy.
  • By 2035, India and China are expected to have half the global renewable capacity and electric vehicles.

Conclusion:

Transport emissions are the fastest growing emissions worldwide, projected to become half of global emissions. India and China are global leaders in sustainability not only because of their low per-capita resource use but also because of their contribution to peak oil around 2035 as they adopt electric vehicles supported by solar and wind renewable energy. The low carbon social development model adopted by India and China will become the world system, ensuring global sustainability

 

Topic:Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

6. Discuss the need for greater collaboration between the government and the private sector for developing trade-smart schemes that can ensure long-term sustainability for the growth of Indian industry.(250 Words)  

Financial Express

Why this question:

The recent WTO panel report highlights the fact that India needs a fresh debate on trade policy framework.

Key demand of the question:

One must analyse the need for greater collaboration between the government and the private sector for developing trade-smart schemes that can ensure long-term sustainability for the growth of Indian industry.

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:

In brief trace the Recent global events that have had significant implications for reshaping India’s trade policy framework.

Body:

First discuss in short the trade policy currently being practiced by the country.

Bring out the policies that the government in power has been trying to aim.

Emphasize on the fact that India’s trade policy of the future ought to consider distinct approaches for trade in goods and trade in services.

Present case studies of successful collaborations of the government with private entities in the business scenario.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Greater collaboration between the government and the private sector, for developing trade-smart schemes and incentives that have long-term sustainability and contribution to the growth of Indian industry, is the only sensible way forward.

 Introduction:

Recent global events have significant implications for reshaping India’s trade policy framework. Supplementing this, the recent WTO panel report also highlighted the fact that India needs a fresh debate on trade policy framework.

Body:

Need for changes in the trade policy framework:

  • In 2013-14 when India’s per capita GNI (Gross National Income, earlier referred to as GNP or Gross National Product), assessed by the World Bank, breached the threshold of $1,000.
  • This development had a ripple effect in India’s status as a ‘developing country’ under the WTO’s Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (ASCM), which regulates, among other aspects, export subsidies.
  • In 2017, after three consecutive years of India’s per capita GNI exceeding $1,000, India graduated out of the list of ‘developing countries’ under Annex VII of the ASCM, which basically meant losing the space for foreign trade policy maneuverability that India had enjoyed till then as a developing country.
  • A dispute challenging India’s export subsidy schemes that was initiated by the US at the WTO in March 2018.
  • The initial consultative phase did not lead to any resolution, and therefore the US sought the establishment of a panel for dispute settlement at the WTO in May 2018.
  • At the core of the dispute was the contention that ‘export incentives’ granted by India under the DFIS, EOU, EPCG, MEIS and SEZ schemes are ‘export subsidies’ that are prohibited under the ASCM.
  • The WTO dispute panel recommended that India should withdraw these schemes in a time-bound manner.

Steps undertaken by the Government so far:

  • The government has also announced December 31, 2019, as the sunset date for the MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme).
  • There is also anticipation of the launch of a new scheme, the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Products).
  • Another significant initiative by the Indian government was the setting up of a group consisting of SEZ stakeholders under the chairmanship of Baba Kalyani, which has made significant recommendations for SEZ reforms that the government is considering.

Measures needed:

  • There is a need for emphasis that Indian industry should reduce its reliance on export incentives.
  • India has to reinvent itself by increasing its competitiveness in the global market based on increased productivity of resources, improved quality, better efficiency and increasing reliance on data-driven business strategies.
  • India’s trade policy of the future ought to consider distinct approaches for trade in goods and trade in services
  • The distinction between goods and services will also enable designing separate incentives and subsidies for services exports, which neither the WTO nor India’s FTAs currently regulate.
  • a meaningful trade policy framework needs to be rooted in an evidence-based approach, and rely on microeconomic data from the industry to enable targeted decision-making based on trade data analytics.
  • Indian industry will also need to be proactive and establish appropriate mechanisms to capture data at the granular level, through innovative changes in accounting systems, IT systems and MIS, as well as ensure auditable record-keeping of the information required to benefit.
  • the trade policy of the future will have to forego its three-decade old preoccupation with export obligations and foreign exchange earnings. The shift from export growth to broad-based employment and economic growth was highlighted in the Baba Kalyani report as well.
  • Large industry houses, especially, will need to be better equipped with research and appropriate skill-sets, and apportion resources to be able to compliment and supplement government efforts.

Conclusion:

Indian industry should reduce its reliance on export incentives and has to reinvent itself by increasing its competitiveness in the global market based on increased productivity of resources, improved quality, better efficiency and increasing reliance on data-driven business strategies. Greater collaboration between the government and the private sector, for developing trade-smart schemes and incentives that have long-term sustainability and contribution to the growth of Indian industry, is the only sensible way forward.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

7. Progress in human development cannot be sustained without addressing environmental degradation and climate change comment on the statement in the light of recently released 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) vis-à-vis India’s rank.(250 Words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

Human Development Report 2019 has been released recently. The report is titled, “Beyond income, beyond averages, beyond today: Inequalities in human development in the 21st century”. India climbed one spot to 129 in the latest human development released by UNDP.

Key demand of the question:

One has to trace the links between human development and the climate change scenario.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief narrate few key facts from the report.

Body:

Discuss the key findings and emphasize on the following key aspects –

  • Inequality and the climate crisis are interwoven—from emissions and impacts to policies and resilience. Countries with higher human development generally emit more carbon per person and have higher ecological footprints overall.
  • Climate change will hurt human development in many ways beyond crop failures and natural disasters.
  • Climate change will hit the tropics harder first, and many developing countries are in the tropics. At the same time, developing countries and poor and vulnerable communities have fewer capacities to adapt to climate change and severe weather events than do their richer counterparts.
  • The negative impacts of climate change extend to health and education. Between 2030 and 2050 climate change is expected to cause some 250,000 additional deaths a year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.
  • If disasters tend to hit disadvantaged people harder, climate change could make vicious cycles of low outcomes and low opportunities more persistent.
  • Millions of Indians in low-lying coastal areas are exposed to a rise in sea levels.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the report underlines that poor people should be protected from the fallout of climate change.

Introduction:

India ranks 129 out of 189 countries on the 2019 Human Development Index (HDI) — up one slot from the 130th position last year — according to the Human Development Report (HDR) released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

As per the report, the overall trend globally is also towards continued human development improvements as several countries have moved up through the human development categories. But at the same time, the report this year has analyzed the rising inequality worldwide. It says just as the gap in basic living standards is narrowing for millions of people, the necessities to thrive have also evolved.

Body:

Human Development Index (HDI):

  • The Human Development Index (HDI) is a statistic composite index of life expectancy, education, and per capita income indicators, which are used to rank countries into four tiers of human development.
  • A country scores a higher HDI when the lifespan is higher, the education level is higher, and the gross national income GNI (PPP) per capita is higher.
  • It was developed by Pakistani economist Mahbub ul Haq and was further used to measure a country’s development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s Human Development Report Office.
  • The 2010 Human Development Report introduced an Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (IHDI). While the simple HDI remains useful, it stated that “the IHDI is the actual level of human development (accounting for inequality)”, and “the HDI can be viewed as an index of ‘potential’ human development (or the maximum IHDI that could be achieved if there were no inequality)”.
  • The index does not take into account several factors, such as the net wealth per capita or the relative quality of goods in a country. This situation tends to lower the ranking for some of the most advanced countries, such as the G7 members and others.

Highlights -Human Development Index 2019:

  • Norway, Switzerland, Ireland occupied the top three positions in that order. Germany is placed fourth along with Hong Kong, and Australia secured the fifth rank on the global ranking.
  • Among India’s neighbours, Sri Lanka (71) and China (85) are higher up the rank scale while Bhutan (134), Bangladesh (135), Myanmar (145), Nepal (147), Pakistan (152) and Afghanistan (170) were ranked lower on the list.
  • As per the report, South Asia was the fastest growing region in human development progress witnessing a 46% growth over 1990-2018, followed by East Asia and the Pacific at 43%.
  • India’s HDI value increased by 50% (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
  • However, for inequality-adjusted HDI (IHDI), India’s position drops by one position to 130, losing nearly half the progress (.647 to .477) made in the past 30 years. The IHDI indicates percentage loss in HDI due to inequalities.
  • The report notes that group-based inequalities persist, especially affecting women and girls and no place in the world has gender equality. In the Gender Inequality Index (GII), India is at 122 out of 162 countries. Neighbours China (39), Sri Lanka (86), Bhutan (99), Myanmar (106) were placed above India.
  • The report notes that the world is not on track to achieve gender equality by 2030 as per the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It forecasts that it may take 202 years to close the gender gap in economic opportunity — one of the three indicators of the GII.
  • The report presents a new index indicating how prejudices and social beliefs obstruct gender equality, which shows that only 14% of women and 10% of men worldwide have no gender bias.
  • The report notes that this indicates a backlash to women’s empowerment as these biases have shown a growth especially in areas where more power is involved, including in India.
  • The report also highlights that new forms of inequalities will manifest in future through climate change and technological transformation which have the potential to deepen existing social and economic fault lines.

India’s position:

  • India’s rank- 129. Last year’s rank- 130.
  • Despite lifting 271 million people out of poverty between 2005-15, India still remains home to 28% (364 million) of the world’s poor.
  • Between 1990 and 2018, India’s HDI value increased by 50 per cent (from 0.431 to 0.647), which places it above the average for countries in the medium human development group (0.634) and above the average for other South Asian countries (0.642).
  • This means that in the last three decades, life expectancy at birth in India increased by 11.6 years, whereas the average number of schooling years increased by 3.5 years. Per capita incomes increased 250 times.
  • India is only marginally better than the South Asian average on the Gender Development Index (0.829 vs 0.828), and ranks at a low 122 (of 162) countries on the 2018 Gender Inequality Index.

Links between human development and the climate change: 

  • Around the world, people are experiencing both the subtle and stark effects of climate change. Gradually shifting weather patterns, rising sea levels and more extreme weather events are all clear and devastating evidence of a rapidly changing climate.
  • The impacts of climate change affect every country on every continent. They’re creating unprecedented challenges for millions of people already burdened by poverty and oppression.
  • The increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like hurricanes, wildfires and droughts threaten the world’s food supply, drive people from their homes, separate families and jeopardize livelihoods. And all of these effects increase the risk of conflict, hunger and poverty.
  • Visible evidence and climbing numbers demonstrate that climate change is not a distant or imaginary threat, but rather a growing and undeniable reality.
  • The situation is dire. Climate change has become a climate crisis.
  • Inequality and the climate crisis are interwoven—from emissions and impacts to policies and resilience. Countries with higher human development generally emit more carbon per person and have higher ecological footprints overall.
  • Climate change will hurt human development in many ways beyond crop failures and natural disasters.
  • Climate change will hit the tropics harder first, and many developing countries are in the tropics. At the same time, developing countries and poor and vulnerable communities have fewer capacities to adapt to climate change and severe weather events than do their richer counterparts.
  • The negative impacts of climate change extend to health and education. Between 2030 and 2050 climate change is expected to cause some 250,000 additional deaths a year from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhea and heat stress.
  • If disasters tend to hit disadvantaged people harder, climate change could make vicious cycles of low outcomes and low opportunities more persistent.
  • Millions of Indians in low-lying coastal areas are exposed to a rise in sea levels.

Criticism of the HDI report:

  • Alleged lack of consideration of technological development or contributions to the human civilization,
  • Focusing exclusively on national performance and ranking,
  • Lack of attention to development from a global perspective,
  • Measurement error of the underlying statistics, and on the UNDP’s changes in formula which can lead to severe misclassification in the categorization of “low”, “medium”, “high” or “very high” human development countries.

Conclusion:

Climate change increases the risk of conflict. It degrades land and leads to competition over precious natural resources. Over time, conflict can displace entire communities and lead to life-threatening hunger. But we can prevent it, if we proactively focus on these environmental risks and bring communities together to find solutions.