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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 January 2020

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 January 2020


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


 

Topic:  Indian Culture will cover the salient aspects of Art forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. “The case of Dholivira from the Indus valley civilisation presents a perfect analogy as to how climate change can increase future drought risk”, Comment.(250 words)

Economic Times

Why this question:

The Harappan Civilization which is also known as Indus Valley civilization is believed to be the oldest civilization in the world. Over the years, many archaeologists tried to understand the cause of its decline and collapse in 2nd century BC. The question aims to ascertain the learning from the civilisation in the aspects of climate change.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the case of Dholivira and in what way we the future generations can learn about the effects of climate change.

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:

Highlight the significance of the civilisation in short.

Body:

A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur reveals that the decline of Harappan city Dholavira was caused by drying up of river like Saraswati river and Meghalayan drought.

Discuss in what way the drought could be related to climate change aspects of that time.

Draw an analogy of how the past experiences can prove to be lessons to our future generations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to mitigate and arrest climate change.

 

Introduction:

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).

Body:

Map_17_1_16

Findings of the research:

  • A recent study conducted by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur reveals that the decline of Harappan city Dholavira was caused by drying up of river like Saraswati river and Meghalayan drought.
  • These researchers have for the first time connected the decline of Harappan city Dholavira to the disappearance of a Himalayan snow-fed river which once flowed in the Rann of Kutch.
  • They have been able to connect the dots between the growth and decline of the Dholavira, located in the Rann with this river which resembles the Himalayan river Saraswati.
  • They dated archaeological remains from all the stages and also inferred climate shifts through time which led to the rise and fall of the Harappan city.

Droughts are among the most expensive weather-related disasters in the world (pdf), affecting ecosystems, agriculture and human society. The scale of the impacts underlines how important it is to understand droughts and how their likelihood and severity can be made worse by climate change. More than 44 per cent of India’s areas were under various degrees of drought conditions (abnormally dry to exceptionally dry) as of June 10, 2019 — that is nearly 11 percentage point over a year ago, according to the Drought Early Warning System (DEWS).

Climate change and drought risk:

  • According to a Pew Research Center survey, droughts have been drier and lasting longer in recent years thanks in part to climate change.
  • Many regions in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa are also experiencing higher air temperatures, drier air, and more severe or frequent droughts.
  • While droughts can have different causes depending on the area of the world and other natural factors, the majority of scientists have started to link more intense droughts to climate change.
  • That’s because as more greenhouse gas emissions are released into the air, causing air temperatures to increase, more moisture evaporates from land and lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water.
  • Warmer temperatures also increase evaporation in plant soils, which affects plant life and can reduce rainfall even more. And when rainfall does come to drought-stricken areas, the drier soils it hits are less able to absorb the water, increasing the likelihood of flooding – a lose-lose situation.

Way forward:

  • Minimising susceptibility to climate change requires drastically extending irrigation via efficient drip and sprinkler technologies realising “more crop for every drop”.
  • Replacing untargeted subsidies in power and fertiliser by direct income support.
  • More broadly, the cereal-centricity of policy needs to be reviewed
  • Diversifying the crops is an effective way to adapt its food-production systems to the growing influence of climate change, improve nutrition, reduce agricultural water demand and at the same time reduce energy demand
  • leadership programs for regional and rural communities and developing better drought indicators,
  • The government is implementing the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) which has eight missions in the specific areas of solar energy, energy efficiency, water, agriculture, Himalayan eco-system, sustainable habitat, green India and strategic knowledge on climate change.

Conclusion:

Researchers highlight that the weather situation may get worse in coming years, with more uneven distributions of precipitation during the monsoon season compounded by rising temperatures which would adversely impact the yields of major crops.

 

Topic:  Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2. Time and again conflicting liaison between the right to freedom of religion and the rights of individuals to dignity and equality has become an endless source of litigation off late. Critically comment and discuss the apex court’s viewpoints on it. (250 words)

The Hindu

Why this question:

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on questions concerning the relationship between the right to freedom of religion and the rights of individuals to dignity and equality.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the present case and explain why there is a continuous conflict between the right to freedom of religion and rights of individuals to dignity and equality, what the causes are and what needs to be done to address the issue.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the background of the issue.

Body:

Such questions are best answered with relevant and recent examples such as the madesnana ritual at the Kukke Subramanya Temple in Karnataka. Female genital mutilation (FGM) practised in India by the Dawoodi Bohras. Entry of Parsi women to the Sun Temples etc.

Discuss what role does the apex court has to play.

Analyse the constitutional provisions and the breach of the same that arises due to such conflicts.

Discuss what can be done and how can the issue be addressed.

Conclusion:

Conclude that one way to strike a balance between the two rights would be to check whether the effect of the disputed religious practice causes harm to individual rights or not. If it does not the religious practice can be allowed, if not it should be banned.

 

Introduction:

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments on questions concerning the relationship between the right to freedom of religion and the rights of individuals to dignity and equality. The establishment of the nine-judge bench originated out of an order of reference made on review petitions filed against the Sabarimala judgment. The new bench will have to interpret the scope and extent of the Constitution’s religious liberty clauses.

Body:

There have been many such cases in recent history which involved the often contradictory relationship between the right to freedom of religion and the rights of individuals to dignity and equality.

  • Madesnana ritual:
    • It is a 500-year-old ritual performed at the Kukke Subramanya Temple in Karnataka.
    • The practice involves people mostly belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, rolling over plantain leaves left behind with food half-eaten by Brahmins. The belief is that this act would cleanse their skin of impurities.
    • Following a challenge, the Supreme Court of India In December 2014 placed a temporary ban on madesnana.
  • Female genital mutilation:
    • Female genital mutilation(FGM) is practised in India by the Dawoodi Bohras, a sect of Shia Islam with one million members in India. The procedure is generally performed when a girl is seven years old and involves the total or partial removal of the clitoral hood.
    • The petition claimed the practice violated children’s rights under Article 14 (Right to Equality) and Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India.
    • In May 2017 a public interest litigation(PIL) case was raised in India’s Supreme Court, seeking a ban on FGM in India.
  • Parsi women and entry to sun temple:
    • There is a religious custom in India of not allowing Zoroastrianwomen to enter the Fire Temple and the Tower of Silence if they marry a non-Zoroastrian person.
    • Overturning a previous a Gujarat High Court order which upheld the practice the Supreme Court has ruled that a Parsi who married outside her community must be allowed to enter fire temples and participate in other religious rituals.
    • Also, entry of menstruating women and non-Parsis is not allowed inside Fire Temple.

Freedom of Religion:

  • India is a pluralist and diverse nation. The groups and communities with their diverse religious or cultural practices need to be protected, given that they have played an important role in society.
  • The Constitution of India in an effort to protect the diverse practices recognizes both the freedom of religion as an individual right (Article 25), as well as the right of religious denominations to manage their own affairs in matters of religion (Article 26).

There is a need to balance the autonomy of cultural and religious communities and also ensure that individual rights are not entirely compromised due to community compulsions.

Over the years, the Supreme Court has attempted to reconcile the two impulses of respecting religious autonomy and enforcing individual rights by using the jurisprudence of “essential practices of a religion”. The court has in its previous judgments held that only those practices that are “essential” to a religion, enjoy constitutional protection. All other rituals are considered open to the state’s interference.

The Courts have struck down a number of rituals across religions on the grounds that those practices were embodiments of superstition as opposed to faith. The followers have opposed this questioning the competency of the “secular” courts to make such distinctions in religious practices.

Way forward:

  • One way to strike a balance between the two rights would be to check whether the effect of the disputed religious practice causes harm to individual rights or not. If it does not the religious practice can be allowed, if not it should be banned.
  • In this approach the enquiry is not whether the practice is truly religious, but whether its effect is to subordinate, exclude a section of the society.
  • A similar approach was used by the Bombay High Court in dealing with a petition challenging the exclusion of women from the inner sanctum of the Haji Ali Dargah. The court found that this practice constituted a violation of equality for women and struck it down.
  • Even in the Sabarimala case, both the concurring opinion of Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and the dissenting opinion of Justice Indu Malhotra agreed that the anti-exclusion principle ought to be the test of the permissibility of certain religious and cultural practices.

Conclusion:

The rights of women who have long been at the receiving end of discriminatory practices and other vulnerable groups are on stake. The constitution envisions a life of dignity and equality to all, both in the public sphere and in the sphere of community. The court’s constitutional interpretation, in this case, will go a long way in guaranteeing the basic norms of fairness, equality, and freedom to members of a community.

 

Topic:   Indian Constitution– historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3.“The conflict between agreement and disagreement is the first and foremost sign of a healthy democracy”, Analyse the statement with recent examples demonstrating the above case.(250 words)

Live mint

Why this question:

The author presents a case as to how the youth have to establish harmony between their struggle and their aim.

Key demand of the question:

One needs to justify the fact that a concussion of agreement and disagreement is the first and foremost sign of a healthy democracy.

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:

Define what constitutes a Democracy and explain briefly the importance of agreement and disagreement in a democracy.

Body:

  • Take hints from the article, and explain with suitable examples the cases wherein disagreement has been meted by sections of people in our society.
  • Explain the case of angrezi hatao movement of 1967 led by Ram Manohar Lohia.
  • Discuss then the pros and cons of youth participating in politics and relate it to the context of the question and explain its significance to Democracy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction:

The Right to Dissent is an important addition of expressing one’s view, and on many of its most important constituent elements. It will enable practitioners and citizens to claim their rights and participate more effectively in the project of democracy. Disagreeing with each other is a fundamental human trait. There is not a single individual who does not disagree with something or the other all the time. The apex court said, Dissent is a safety valve for democracy. If this safety valve is not allowed to function then the pressure cooker will burst.

Body:

Dissent is the safety valve of democracy:

  • Recently, while hearing a petition on the ban of protest on the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, the SC held that Right to peaceful protest is the fundamental right guaranteed under the constitution.
  • The constitution under Article 19(1)(a) provides for freedom of speech and expression and also under Article 19(2) provides for reasonable restrictions on such freedom.
  • This particular right is also subject to reasonable restrictions in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, as well as public order.
  • A distinguishing feature of any democracy is the space offered for legitimate dissent, which cannot be trampled by any executive action.
  • Thus, the Court recognises that legitimate dissent is a distinguishable feature of any democracy.
  • Also observed that, every individual or a group of individuals, whether they are minority or poor or marginalised, have the right to express their dissent to the government policies and fight their social circumstances.
  • Protest strengthen representative democracy by enabling direct participation in public affairs where individuals and groups are able to.

Importance of dissent:

  • The importance of dissent is not just that it is good for democracy. There is also a fundamental ethical principle involved in dissent
  • Any society which muzzles dissent is acting unethically.
  • The first ethical principle is related to non-violence, a principle which is so integral to the unique Indian practices of dissent from ancient times to Gandhi and Ambedkar.
  • The second ethical principle is that the worse off in a society have a greater right to dissent and protest even when the more privileged may not agree or sympathise with that dissent.
  • Social dissent is a necessary voice for all those who are oppressed and are marginalised for various reasons. This is the only thing they have in a world which has denied them the basic dignity of a social life.
  • Buddha and Mahavira were dissenters first and philosophers next. Ramayana and Mahabharata are filled with stories of dissent.
  • Dissent is not just about criticism, it is also about showing new perspectives.

Way forward:

  • The course of democracy anywhere in the world is defined by events that test the resilience of democracy and also add to it.
  • Indeed, dissent is the quintessential part of democracy and allows people to have their opinions and to voice those without fear of intimidation.
  • ‘Freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to peaceful assembly are often compartmentalised and discussed individually, with little regard to their interdependence.
  • This unique guide of Protests provides activists, human rights defenders, jurists, NGOs, corporate actors, and government authorities with the tools and knowledge necessary to ensure rights, protect the lives and liberty of dissenters, enable meaningful participation in public life, and promote the rule of law.
  • The philosophy of dissent and democracy has also inspired our freedom movement and defines India’s constitutional democracy, which is predicated on the people’s right to call state power to account, albeit within the constitutional framework.

Conclusion:

Thus, when we hear the voices of dissent from the oppressed and the marginalised, it is ethically incumbent upon those who are better off than them to give them greater space and greater freedom to dissent.

 

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

4. As outrage continues over the deaths of Newborns in parts of states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, the fact remains that India has the most child deaths in the world. Explain what happened in these regions and why does India have such a high child death rate. (250 words)

Indian Express

Why this question:

Every day, India witnesses the death of an estimated 2,350 babies aged less than one year. Among them, an average 172 are from Rajasthan and 98 from Gujarat. As outrage continues over the deaths of babies in J K Lon Hospital in Kota, Rajasthan, and in the civil hospital in Rajkot, Gujarat, the fact remains that India has the most child deaths in the world. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the causative factors responsible for such a scenario. Explain what needs to be done to arrest the problem while suggesting way forward.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Quote facts that suggest the context of the question; India has an annual birth cohort of approximately 26 million. The infant mortality rate (IMR) in the country currently stands at 33 per 1,000 live births

Body:

First briefly provide a detailed spatial aspect of the IMR in the country across the states.

Then discuss the reasons responsible; Among the factors that have been proved detrimental to child survival are lack of education in the mother, malnutrition (more than half of Indian women are anemic), age of the mother at the time of birth, spacing, and whether the child is born at home or in a facility.

The rates are lowest among children born to mothers between the ages of 20-24, remain low up to 25-34, and increase again after that age.

According to the Health Ministry, the vaccination cover in India after several rounds of Intensified Mission Indradhanush (MI) and the original MI, now stands at 87%. This means over 33 lakh children continue to miss out on some or all vaccinations every year.

Discuss measures that are in place for sick newborns, explain the efforts of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward.

 

Introduction:

India is one of the fastest economies in the world, its achievements in space technology surprised the world but when it is still one of the countries where new borns die everyday. In 2017, UNICEF estimated 8,02,000 babies had died in India.

Body:

Mortality rates in India:

  • India has an annual birth cohort of approximately 26 million.
  • The infant mortality rate (IMR) in the country currently stands at 33 per 1,000 live births.
  • This means babies numbering in the region of 8,50,000 die every year in India, or an average daily toll to 2,350.
  • Gujarat has an annual birth cohort of 1.2 million. In 2017, the infant mortality rate in the state was 30 per 1,000 live births. This means the state sees about 36,000 deaths a year, or an average 98 a day.
  • In Rajasthan, an estimated 1.65 million births take place every year. The infant mortality rate is 38 per 1000 live births which implies an estimated 62,843 deaths annually, or an average 172 every day.

Factors for the high level of IMR:

  • Among the factors that have been proved detrimental to child survival are lack of education in the mother.
  • Malnutrition (more than half of Indian women are anaemic).
  • Age of the mother at the time of birth, spacing
  • Shortage of properly trained health workers and midwives:
  • Also the large reproductive population of 2.6 crore remains bereft of care during the critical phases of pregnancy. Whether the child is born at home or in a facility.
  • According to a UNICEF factsheet on child mortality in India, “… Children born to mothers with at least 8 years of schooling have 32% lesser chances of dying in neonatal period and 52% lesser chances in the post-neonatal period, as compared to the illiterate mothers.”
  • It also notes that infant and under-five mortality rates are highest among mothers under age 20. The rates are lowest among children born to mothers between the ages of 20-24, remain low up to 25-34, and increase again after that age.
  • According to the National Family Health Survey-4, only 78.9% births in India happen in a facility.
  • This means 21.1% or about 54 lakh births in a year still happen outside of a facility where hygiene levels can be low, sometimes without the help of a trained health worker.
  • Apart from the obvious infection risks in a non-institutional birth, vaccine compliance too is usually worse in these cases.
  • According to the Health Ministry, the vaccination cover in India after several rounds of Intensified Mission Indradhanush (MI) and the original MI, now stands at 87%. This means over 33 lakh children continue to miss out on some or all vaccinations every year.
  • Babies born to the poorest families are 40 per cent more likely to die than those who are born to the least poor
  • The absence of steps to propagate basic healthy practices relating to breast feeding and immunisation.
  • Part of the reason is that in the last two decades, efforts to tackle the problem were not as well funded as HIV and AIDS prevention.

Measures:

  • Paying attention to the mother’s health during pregnancy and ensuring she delivers in a hospital attended by trained doctors or midwives. India has programmes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana for this, but must expand its reach in laggard States like Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
  • Each State will have to identify a specific goal to meet the target. These could be enhanced coverage of health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene which can prevent pneumonia and diarrhoea.
  • Inexpensive lifesaving treatments remain inaccessible to a vast majority of Indian children, and especially those in the poorest groups within the country. All these challenges can only be met by State intervention.
  • It is also equally important to forge interlinkages and package different interventions at various levels like linking child survival to reproductive health, family planning, and maternal health
  • In addition to focusing attention to addressing disparities within States and among regions, there is an urgent need to bring health and child services under universal health coverage with a focus on special requirements of vulnerable and marginalised groups.
  • Universalisation of maternal health and child services, which includes special newborn care, skilled delivery, immunisation and management of diarrhoea, need to be effectively implemented if India is to achieve the high goals of reducing child deaths .
  • To lower neonatal deaths, India needs to strengthen mother and newborn health services, including home-based care by health workers, promoting breastfeeding, treating underweight babies, keeping the mother healthy, preventing early marriage and reducing malnutrition in adolescent girls.
  • More than 80 per cent of newborn deaths can be saved with:
    • Provide clean water, disinfectants
    • Breastfeeding within the first hour
    • Good nutrition
  • Special newborn care units (SNCUs) have been established at district hospitals and sub-district hospitals with an annual delivery load more than 3,000 to provide care for sick newborns: that is, all type of neonatal care except assisted ventilation and major surgeries.
  • According to officials in the Health Ministry, approximately 1 million children are admitted to the 996 SNCUs in the country every year with an average death rate of 10%.
  • In AIIMS, New Delhi, usually only those newborns are admitted who are born there and these usually come from high-risk pregnancies.

 

Topic: Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Land reforms in India.

5. A comprehensive reform process in agriculture would start with a constitutional amendment that makes agriculture and water (use) a concurrent subject in the Constitution. Do you agree? Examine. (250 words)

Times of India

Why this question:

The question examines the importance of making agriculture and water use a concurrent subject from the current status of being in the State list.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the significance of agricultural reforms in the country and explain what steps need to be taken in this direction. Examine what changes and prospects do transferring the subject of agriculture from State to concurrent will have.

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:

Briefly highlight agri scenario in the country – Agriculture is the most important sector of Indian Economy. Indian agriculture sector accounts for 18 per cent of India’s gross domestic product (GDP) and provides employment of around 50% of the countries workforce.

Body:

Discuss that India is the world’s largest producer of pulses, rice, wheat, spices and spice products. India has many areas to choose for business such as dairy, meat, poultry, fisheries and food grains etc.

Explain that a comprehensive reform process in agriculture would start with a constitutional amendment that makes agriculture and water (use) a concurrent subject in the Constitution—there has been precedent for this in the 42nd Amendment of 1976.

The purpose of this amendment would be to provide a federal fillip to states, with a primary emphasis on water effectiveness.

This water effectiveness project will not only focus on bringing more areas under irrigation in a sustainable manner (not with capital but with a thoughtful district by district approach) but also focus on sprinkler and drip irrigation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

 

Introduction:

Agriculture is a state subject, i.e. it forms a part of the state list of our Constitution, which essentially means that states are supposed to address all the issues related to agriculture. The schemes introduced by Center for agriculture have failed time and again due to poor implementation and making the scheme selection optional for states.

Body:

The reason for making agriculture, a state subject:

  • Subjects in the state list are the ones considered to require local knowledge.
  • With our varied agro-climatic zones and cropping patterns, every region was then assumed to have geography-specific agricultural issues.

State schemes are more preferred over central schemes:

  • The major stand-out features of state-run schemes are its penetration and acceptability.
  • In its first year for Kharif 2017, close to 50% of area under Soyabean (major crop in MP) was covered under the Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana.
  • As per a NITI Aayog report, Karnataka farmers realised 38% more incomes in FY16 from the sale of agri-commodities through the state’s e-trading platform.
  • Many of the schemes also became the guiding lines for schemes announced by the Central government on the national level. Price deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS), a part of the umbrella scheme PM-AASHA, was inspired by MP’s Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana.
  • Karnataka’s electronic market led to the idea of the e-NAM scheme implemented nationwide. Gujarat’s soil health card scheme was taken on the national level in 2014.
  • And now to solve the overarching problem of agrarian distress, the Central government is studying Telangana’s income support scheme for national implementation.

Current performance of agriculture as a state subject:

  • In MP, majority of Soyabean farmers had voluntarily registered themselves for the Bhavantar Bhugtan Scheme. A stark contrast to other national level schemes assessed, wherein the registrations were done by government officials on behalf of farmers, sometimes even without the knowledge of the farmers.
  • In the online market of Mysore division, Unlike the national level e-NAM, actual inter-state online transactions were being conducted successfully in these markets.
  • The assessment of the national soil health card scheme showed that farmers had responded with better utility for soil health cards under the state-run scheme. Most soil health card holders interviewed responded negatively for their usage under the national scheme.

The need for making agriculture and water a concurrent subject:

  • Over the years, agriculture has definitely emerged as more than a state subject
  • However, logically speaking – unless it is officially transferred to the Union list or more sensibly to the Concurrent list, agricultural problems should also have state developed solutions.
  • But it has always been the central government which took the lead in designing reforms for the sector.
  • The major beneficiaries of agricultural reforms – farmers – perceive more value from state-run schemes.
  • It is thus essential, that agricultural reforms become a two-way street.
  • The Central government downloading knowledge of state run-schemes for national implementation is definitely one approach.
  • In addition, enhanced financial support to states implementing effective agri-reforms would also prove beneficial.
  • The ministry of agriculture’s proposed ‘ease of doing agri-business’ index can be a good parameter for assessing states on agri-reforms.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is to make the Centre and state governments to work together as a coalition to tide over the issues of agriculture.

 

Topic:  Food processing and related industries in India- scope’ and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management. Land reforms in India.

6. Briefly discuss the prospects of Food processing industries in India. Elaborate on the challenges it is facing and suggest way forward to encash its true potential. (250 words)

Invest India

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and doesn’t require much deliberation.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the objectives, scope and significant prospects of Food processing Industry in the country.

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:

Explain first what Food Processing is.

Body:

Food Processing includes process under which any raw product of agriculture, dairy, animal husbandry, meat, poultry or fishing is transformed through a process (involving employees, power, machines or money) in such a way that its original physical properties undergo a change and the transformed product has commercial value and is suitable for human and animal consumption.

Present the status of FPI in India and then List down the significance.

Explain the possible potential that can be harnessed in tis sector.

Discuss the govt. initiatives in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Food processing has numerous advantages which are specific to Indian context. It has capacity to lift millions out of poverty and malnutrition. Government should develop industry in a way keeping in mind the interests of small scale industry along with attracting big ticket domestic and foreign investments.

 

Introduction:

Food processing has an important role to play in linking Indian farmers to consumers in the domestic and international markets. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is making all efforts to encourage investments across the value chain. Major industries constituting the Food processing industry are grains, sugar, edible oils, beverages and dairy products. Food & Grocery retail market in India further constitutes almost 65% of the total retail market in India.

Body:

prospects of Food processing industries in India:

  • The Food & Grocery market in India is the sixth largest in the world.
  • The Processed food market is expected to grow to $ 543 bn by 2020 from $ 322 bn in 2016, at a CAGR of 14.6%.
  • The industry engages approximately 1.85 mn people in around 39,748 registered units with fixed capital of $ 32.75 bn and aggregate output of around $ 158.69 bn.
  • The government has sanctioned 40 Mega Food Parks (MFPs) to be set up in the country under the Mega Food Park Scheme. Currently, 17 Mega Food Parks have become functional.

Issues food processing industry is facing:

Food_Processing

  • Supply chain issues:
    • high cost of raw material (driven by low productivity and poor agronomic practices)
    • Presence of intermediaries and APMC acts make it more complicated.
    • high cost of packaging, finance, transport and distribution
    • lack of organized retail
  • Logistics cost:
    • Logistics cost is high for transportation, warehousing, material handling etc.
    • In India, Logistics accounts for about 13% of GDP, which translates to over USD130 billion.
    • This cost is significantly higher as compared most developed countries.
  • Economic issues:
    • In India, the food processing industry is highly fragmented and is dominated by the unorganized sector
  • Inadequate infrastructure:
    • The inadequate support infrastructure which is the biggest bottleneck in expanding the food processing sector, in terms of both investment and exports includes:
    • long and fragmented supply chain
    • inadequate cold storage and warehousing facilities
    • Inadequate road, rail and port infrastructure.
    • lack of modern logistics infrastructure such as logistics parks, integrated cold chain solutions, last mile connectivity,
  • Political issues:
    • Absence of Comprehensive national level policy on food processing sector: The food processing sector is governed by statutes rather than a single comprehensive policy on food processing. India urgently needs a national food processing policy which incorporates tax breaks for the sector.

Measures needed to plug supply side and infrastructure bottleneck:

  • Foster development of backward linkages by evolving conducive regulatory framework for contract and corporate farming
  • The North Eastern Region, the Hilly States (J&K, HP and Western UP), the Islands (A&N, Lakshadweep)  areas  in  the  country  should  be  given  special  consideration  as  they  are naturally conducive for Food Processing Industries.
  • Encourage commodity clusters andintensive livestock rearing.
  • Promote private sector participation with well-defined roles of the participants, risk sharing mechanisms, fiscal incentives and partnership models for creation of infrastructure for logistics, storage and processing
  • Encourage technology up gradation of existing facilities and investment in development of ancillary industries like research and development, packaging, food processing equipment manufacturing, food safety certifying agencies by extending fiscal incentives to investors.
  • Enable better access to credit by augmenting current cap of Rest 10 crore investments in plant and machinery to qualify as Priority Sector Credit to accommodate the high cost technology adoption and scale enhancement
  • Streamlining the regulatory structure:
    • Remove impediments of multiple departments and laws in seeking approvals by bringing them under a single window.
    • Ensure uniform implementation of the APMC act to encourage private sector investment in infrastructure development.
  • Change in mind set -Orienting stakeholders towards ‘demand and profit driven production’
    • Participants across the agri value-chain need to shift their focus from trying to market ‘what is produced’ to producing ‘processable varieties and marketable products’ meeting global quality standards and traceability requirements, duly adopting need based viable technologies and quality controls.
  • Human resource development-to meet increasing demand for skilled manpower:
    • Stimulate industry, academia and government to put in combined efforts for development of specialized institutes and courses for providing training on managerial, safety and enforcements, technology and production, warehousing and distribution aspects.
    • Encourage State   Agricultural   Universities   to   commence   courses   in   food   packaging, processing, bio-technology, information technology in agriculture and such allied fields

Conclusion:

India’s food ecosystem offers huge opportunities for investments with stimulating growth in the food retail sector, favourable economic policies and attractive fiscal incentives. The need of the hour is to adopt an integrated approach to address the above mentioned tailbacks with a clear-cut focus on improving the quality and value of the output, reducing the cost of raw material for the processors, while improving the farmers’ income levels. To promote this sector, attempts are required to be made to promote farmer–producer interaction, provide appropriate tax incentives and holidays for setting up food processing industries, taking care of expenses on market promotion and ancillary activities

 

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism

7. What do you understand by Juice jacking? How big is it a threat? Discuss means and ways to prevent the same.(250 words)

Times of India

Why this question:

Public USB power charging stations are now ubiquitous in the spaces business travelers frequent, including airports, hotels and other points of transit or accommodation. That’s why every business traveler and organization needs to understand that these resources could be hijacked by cybercriminals as a conduit for delivering malware or stealing sensitive data.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the underlying concept of juice jacking, explain in what way it poses threats on citizens and suggest means to overcome and prevent the same.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First define what is meant by Juice Jacking.

Body:

Juice jacking is a type of cyber-attack involving a charging port that doubles as a data connection, typically over USB. This often involves either installing malware or surreptitiously copying sensitive data from a smart phone, tablet, or other computer device.

Discuss in short then the history of Juice Jacking.

Discuss how to prevent juice jacking; Don’t use public charging stations that offer USB ports. Use your own AC charging adaptor and your own cables to plug into electrical outlets. Carry a high-quality, certified mobile battery so you don’t have to rely on power sources of opportunity.

Don’t use somebody else’s PC for charging your mobile device.

Use a USB data blocker dongle, which is a product that disables data transfer for USB cables etc.

Conclusion:

The bottom line is that juice jacking is either a rare or currently unpracticed attack that’s brimming with potential for cybercriminals and spies. Because the remedies are so easy and inexpensive and tend to offer other benefits as well, it makes sense to integrate anti-juice jacking measures into the organization’s overall cybersecurity plans.

Introduction:

Juice jacking is a type of cyber-attack involving a charging port that doubles as a data connection, typically over USB. This often involves either installing malware or surreptitiously copying sensitive data from a smart phone, tablet, or other computer device.

The power/data cable that we see in public charging stations, provides unauthorized access to attackers during the charging process; leveraging illegitimate access to get our personal information taken away.

Body:

Threats posed:

  • Data theft: During the charge, data is stolen from the connected device. Once the device is plugged-in and connection is established, it either installs malware or secretively copies sensitive data from a smartphone, tablet, or any other computer device.
  • Malware installation: As soon as the connection is established, malware is dropped on the connected device. The malware remains on the device until it is detected and removed by the user. The attack could be as simple as extracting all your contact details and private pictures or can be an invasive attack of injecting malicious code directly into your device which can then copy all your passwords of financial data.

Measures to protect from juice jacking:

  • Keep your devices fully charged or carry personal charger/power bank with you. Alternatively, always keep your charger and power bank in your bag for charging to maintain control over the data port.
  • Lock Your Phone: When your phone is locked, I mean truly locked and inaccessible without the input of a PIN or an equivalent pass code, it cannot be paired with any device. Be cautious not to use your face/finger print id for even a second since pairing can happen within a flick of a second.
  • Switch off or Power the phone down: This technique only works on few mobile models as some phones, despite being powered down, still powers on the entire USB circuit and allows access to the flash storage in the device.
  • Use specialized cables: You can buy a special USB cable that doesn’t have pinout connections for pins 3 and 2. Therefore it’s impossible to transmit data across the connection.
  • Use a USB condom: It is a device that goes between your normal data charging cable and a USB port to block data transfer through the connection. USB condoms are adaptors that allows power transfers but don’t connect the data transfer pins. You can attach them to your charging cable as an “always on” protection.

Conclusion:

The best defence against any such attack is awareness. Follow the above tips, and avoid plugging your mobile into unknown charging stations the same way you avoid opening attachments from unknown senders.