Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 January 2020

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 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:  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. The Global Inequality Crisis between the rich and the poor, men and women mainly owes to a flawed and sexist economic system, Do you agree? Critically examine. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article provides a detailed analysis as to what extent the flawed and sexist economic system in the country has led to inequality in terms of economic status and gender.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the

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:

Briefly explain the existing inequality globally between the rich-poor, Men-women. Quote data to substantiate better.

Body:

According to the recently released Oxfam report -This great divide in income inequality is based on a flawed and sexist economic system which has accumulated vast wealth and power into the hands of a rich few, in part by exploiting the labour of women and girls, and systematically violating their rights.

Discuss how wide the gap between the richest and the rest is.

Explain that globally, extreme poverty rates are 4% higher for women than men; this gap rises to 22% during women’s peak productive and reproductive ages; that is, 122 women aged 25-34 for every 100 men of the same age group live in extremely poor households, largely due to childcare responsibilities.

Take hints from the article and elucidate.

Suggest what needs to be done to address the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with urgency to change the situation and doing away of the inequality.

Introduction:

A report published recently by Oxfam, the international nonprofit focused on the alleviation of global poverty, underlined what has been said repeatedly by governments, research organizations and a range of multilateral bodies over the past decade or more — that economic inequality, as the report said, “is out of control”, with extremes of wealth existing alongside great poverty.

“This great divide”, the Oxfam report said, “is based on a flawed and sexist economic system” which has “accumulated vast wealth and power into the hands of a rich few, in part by exploiting the labour of women and girls, and systematically violating their rights”.

Body:

The gap between the richest and the rest:

  • 2,153 individuals, the number of billionnaires in the world in 2019, have more wealth among them than 4.6 billion people.
  • 22 of the world’s richest men have a combined wealth that is more than the wealth of all the women of Africa.
  • The world’s richest 1% have more than twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people.
  • If everyone sat on their wealth piled up in $ 100 notes, most people would be sitting on the floor; a middle-class person in a rich country would be at the height of a chair; and the world’s two richest men would be sitting in outer space.
  • If you saved $ 10,000 (about Rs 7.1 lakh) every day since the building of the pyramids in Egypt (about 4,500 years ago) you would have one-fifth the average fortune of the 5 richest billionaires.
  • An additional 0.5% tax on the wealth of the richest 1% over the next 10 years can create 117 million jobs in education, health and elderly care, etc.
  • From 2011 to 2017, average wages in G7 countries grew 3%, while dividends to wealthy shareholders increased by 31%.

The gap between the women and men:

  • Globally, extreme poverty rates are 4% higher for women than men; this gap rises to 22% during women’s peak productive and reproductive ages; that is, 122 women aged 25-34 for every 100 men of the same age group live in extremely poor households, largely due to childcare responsibilities.
  • $10.8 trillion is the estimated minimum annual monetary value of the unpaid care work by women aged 15 and above globally — this is three times the size of the world’s tech industry.
  • Women do 12.5 billion hours of unpaid care work every day, equivalent to 1.5 billion people working 8 hours a day with no remuneration.
  • Globally, 42% of working age women are outside the paid labour force, compared with 6% of men, due to unpaid care responsibilities.
  • 80% of the estimated 67 million domestic workers worldwide are women. An estimated 90% of domestic workers have no access to social security such as maternity protection and benefits.
  • Worldwide, girls aged 5-9 and 10-14 spend on average 30% and 50% more of their time respectively on unpaid care work than boys of similar ages.

Reasons for Huge Inequality

  • Historical Causes: Imperialism is one of the major causes of the inequality among the developed and developing nations. The imperialist countries looted the other countries to generate wealth for themselves.
  • Cultural Causes: Due to cultural reasons where people of different race and class were seen differently and hence, given less opportunities. In the same way, women were not given opportunities who forms 50% of the population.
  • Geographical Causes: One of the reasons of inequality is geographical reasons where few regions have more natural resources which help in economic terms. Some areas with better weather also help work conditions more than the extreme weather places.
  • Political Causes: The ultra-rich who buy the government bonds are able to influence government policies for themselves. Political divide and Imperilaism in previous centuries which brought class and divided people in such a way that supported deep inequality
  • Economic Causes: a) Powerful management set their own compensation b) The already rich has money and the money works through investment which is way faster than a labor working somewhere. Even when the rich sleeps, his money works 24*7
  • Environmental Causes: Through industrial revolution, the developed countries polluted the whole world and now they are working towards cleaner environment. This forces the other countries to follow the norm but they are still not able to handle technologies of the renewable energy. Thus, this keeps them confused in a way.
  • Anthropological Causes: The way society has developed over time, the poor society is different from the modern one and it takes time to develop with the same rate as the rich ones. Gender inequality has been a reason for economic inequality as well.

Flawed and sexist economic system:

  • The report details how the world’s existing economic system serves the richest among us while undervaluing work such as caregiving—which is disproportionately performed by females—and emphasizes the need for global governments to pursue bold actions to address inequality.
  • This great divide is based on a flawed and sexist economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the most essential work – the unpaid and underpaid care work done primarily by women and girls around the world
  • Tending to others, cooking, cleaning, fetching water and firewood are essential daily tasks for the wellbeing of societies, communities and the functioning of the economy.
  • The heavy and unequal responsibility of care work perpetuates gender and economic inequalities.
  • Our broken economies are lining the pockets of billionaires and big business at the expense of ordinary men and women
  • This broken economic model has accumulated vast wealth and power into the hands of a rich few, in part by exploiting the labor of women and girls, and systematically violating their rights.
  • If multinationals and the super-rich do not pay their fair share of taxes, governments cannot invest in access to education, healthcare, and decent pensions, or take measures to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.
  • The impact is even greater for developing countries, as they rely more on corporate taxes. Furthermore, the tax burden is shifted to the poorest, usually through taxes regressive to consumption, such as value-added tax (VAT).

Way forward:

  • Governments around the world must act now to build a human economy that is feminist and values what truly matters to society, rather than fuelling an endless pursuit of profit and wealth.
  • Invest in national care systems to address the disproportionate responsibility for care work done by women and girls.
  • End extreme wealth to end extreme poverty.
  • Legislate to protect the rights of all carers and secure living wages for paid care workers.
  • Ensure that carers have influence on decision-making processes.
  • Challenge harmful norms and sexist beliefs.
  • Value care work in business policies and practices.

Conclusion:

It is incumbent on all of us to make a clear commitment to the issue of international taxation, no longer considering it as a technical issue to be discussed behind closed doors. We must work collectively to put the interests of the majority of citizens above the often-unreasonable profits of a small group of shareholders

 

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

2. What do multiple outbreaks of Polio in the vicinity mean for India? Should India worry? Discuss the achievements made by Polio immunization programme so far and what should be the way forward.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Expess

Why this question:

The article highlights the Polio comeback in a number of countries and the repercussions it can possibly have on India.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the achievements made by Polio immunization programme so far, explain how onset of Polio in neighborhood can be worrisome to India and what should India do to overcome it.

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:

Describe the current situation of onset of Polio in several countries.

Body:

Explain that in the last one year or so, polio has made a comeback in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Cameroon, Indonesia and Iran, mostly as vaccine-derived polio infection and that all these countries had wiped the virus out at various times during the last couple of decades; some, such as Iran and Malaysia, had done so even earlier.

Explain – should India worry?

Discuss the achievements made by the Polio immunization programme of the country.

Explain where does India stand?

What precautions should India take and the lessons it should learn to overcome the possible threat of onset.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

In the last one year or so, polio has made a comeback in countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Ghana, Myanmar, China, Cameroon, Indonesia and Iran, mostly as vaccine-derived polio infection. All these countries had wiped the virus out at various times during the last couple of decades; some, such as Iran and Malaysia, had done so even earlier.

Body:

Polio (also called poliomyelitis) is a contagious, historically devastating disease that was virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century. Although polio has been around since ancient times, its most extensive outbreak occurred in the first half of the 1900s until the polio vaccine was introduced in 1955.

It is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects young children. The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route or, less frequently, by a common vehicle (e.g. contaminated water or food) and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and can cause paralysis.

Current situation of onset of Polio in several countries:

  • On December 8, 2019, the Ministry of Health in Malaysia announced the country’s first case of polio since 1992.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that tests have confirmed that the virus is genetically linked to poliovirus circulating in the Philippines
  • On September 19 last year, the Philippines had declared an outbreak of polio. Two cases have been reported to date, both caused by vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2.
  • The first case was confirmed on September 14 following testing by the National Polio Laboratory at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, the Japan National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID) and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
  • Last month, the CDC published a list of Asian countries where polio outbreaks have been reported. These are Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines. Except for Afghanistan and Pakistan, all these countries are new entrants into the list.
  • The CDC recommends that “all travelers to these countries be vaccinated fully against polio. Before traveling to these countries, adults who completed their routine polio vaccine series as children should receive a single, lifetime adult booster dose of polio vaccine”.

What do multiple outbreaks in the vicinity mean for India?

  • It calls for heightened vigilance, in short. Officials in the Ministry of Health are clear that there is no reason for undue panic because, thanks to shared borders with a polio-endemic country (Pakistan), India’s preparedness for preventing a polio influx is already very high.
  • There is no reason for any knee-jerk response because our polio surveillance mechanism is always on high alert and at airports we already look out for polio entry from seven-eight countries at all times.
  • Some years ago, India introduced the injectable polio vaccine in the Universal Immunization Programme. This was to reduce chances of vaccine-derived polio infection, which continues to happen in the country.
  • If both wild and vaccine-derived polio infection are reduced to zero, it would mean there is no trace left of the virus anywhere in the world, except in controlled situations in laboratories for future contingencies.

Steps taken by the Government to maintain polio free status in India:

  • Maintaining community immunity through high quality National and Sub National polio rounds each year.
  • An extremely high level of vigilance through surveillance across the country for any importation or circulation of poliovirus and VDPV is being maintained. Environmental surveillance (sewage sampling) have been established to detect poliovirus transmission and as a surrogate indicator of the progress as well for any programmatic interventions strategically in Mumbai, Delhi, Patna, Kolkata Punjab and Gujarat.
  • All States and Union Territories in the country have developed a Rapid Response Team (RRT) to respond to any polio outbreak in the country. An Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) has also been developed by  all  States  indicating  steps  to  be  undertaken  in  case  of detection of a polio case.
  • To reduce risk of importation from neighbouring countries, international border vaccination is being provided through continuous vaccination teams (CVT) to all eligible children round the clock. These are provided through special booths set up at the international borders that India shares with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan Nepal and Myanmar.
  • Government of India has issued guidelines for mandatory requirement of polio vaccination to all international travelers before their departure from India to polio affected countries namely: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Syria and Cameroon. The mandatory requirement is effective for travelers from 1st March 2014.
  • A rolling emergency stock of OPV is being maintained to respond to detection/importation of wild poliovirus (WPV) or emergence of circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDPV).
  • National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI) has recommended Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) introduction as an additional dose along with 3rd dose of DPT in the entire country in the last quarter of 2015 as a part of polio endgame strategy.

Conclusion:

India must continue its efforts to guard against polio. One potential way for polio to return is through migrant populations. For the past few years, the polio vaccination campaign has targeted train stations where people travel from polio-infected areas. Today, India also enforced travel restrictions to polio-affected countries and requires travelers to carry proof of polio vaccination. Continued surveillance of polio outbreaks is also a critical to maintain polio-free status.

 

Topic:  Disaster and disaster management

3. Discuss some of the key challenges faced in the India’s Disaster Response Mechanism while suggesting solutions to the same. (250 words)

Reference: VIF India

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the key challenges faced in the India’s Disaster Response Mechanism.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the key challenges faced in the India’s Disaster Response Mechanism and suggest solutions to overcome 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:

Start with what you understand by a Disaster and what is a Disaster Response Mechanism.

Body:

The question is straightforward and there isn’t much to deliberate.

Disaster is an event or series of events, which gives rise to casualties and damage or loss of properties, infrastructures, environment, essential services or means of livelihood on such a scale which is beyond the normal capacity of the affected community to cope with.

Discuss some of the key Disasters faced by India – ranging from floods, droughts etc.

Discuss what are the key challenges in handling the Disasters in India.

Discuss the existing response mechanism available in the country.

Narrate the key challenges involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address them.

Introduction:

India is more vulnerable to natural disasters because of its unique geo-climatic condition, having recurrent floods, droughts, cyclones, earthquakes, and landslides. As India is a very large country, different regions are vulnerable to different natural disasters.

Disaster management in India refers to the conservation of lives and property during natural or man-made disasters. Disaster management plans are multi-layered and are planned to address issues such as floods, hurricanes, fires, mass failure of utilities, rapid spread of disease and droughts.

Body:

Key challenges in handling the Disasters in India:

Lack of governance:

  • Most city governments struggle to deal with other day-to-day development challenges such as education, infrastructure and health, and so climate resilience and adaptation figure low on their priority list.
  • Big cities such as Delhi and Mumbai have no city resilience plans because there is not just multiplicity of problems but also of authorities, which tend to work in silos whereas climate change cuts across several departments: public health, water, environment, energy, and social justice to name a few.

Lack of financial management:

  • While the upfront capital costs of climate change mitigation and adaptation are being increasingly well understood, decision making and investment planning are hindered by uncertainty in the indirect costs and lack of simplified and transparent methods for assessing cost-benefit analysis of the steps that a city takes.
  • They are not equipped with the financial management systems and processes required to access climate financing, such as green bonds

Lack of awareness:

  • Lack of active citizens who are informed and engaged on the subject of climate change and sustainability, which is essential to mitigate and build resilience, and demand accountability including transparency and information on liveability indicators such as air pollution levels, percentage of garbage segregated, modal share of public transport, walking and cycling.

Lack of manpower:

  • Then there is a shortage of skilled personnel specialized in areas such as environmental engineering transportation, traffic management, disaster management, and related areas.

No Environmental Impact Assessment:

  • Roads, railway lines and housing colonies being laid and built without regard for natural water ways, but with formal planning permission.
  • The State Disaster Management Agency also ignores them.
  • Despite India being a signatory to the UN’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, little has changed on the ground.

Land use:

  • Injudicious use of land is responsible for making states more prone to floods and landslides.
  • However, other factors such as a change in land use patterns and climate change could have contributed to the situation on the ground.

Deforestation:

  • Unfettered development activity had increased the chances of landslides, a major cause of casualties during the floods.
  • Wetlands have been lost to development projects, construction of roads, and buildings at places too close to rivers.
  • Other issues mentioned such as deforestation, encroachment and unplanned construction are self-evident priorities when development is viewed using the lens of climate-resilient water management (CRWM).

Disaster management constraints:

  • There is a need to enhance the role of Civil Defence in Disaster Management process and formulating an effective National Plan for Disaster Management.
  • Even now, the communication systems at the local level haven’t been much developed.
  • There are no Standard Operating Procedures for the deployment of National Disaster Response Force.
  • There have been many cases where there has been a relief and rescue mobilization but by the time the teams reach the damage would have already been done.
  • Ignoring all the safety guidelines, dwellings, factories and infrastructure facilities have been constructed in areas that are potentially vulnerable to natural hazards like floods.
  • Disaster management plans exist on paper, but implementation remains a challenge.
  • Despite the emphasis on a paradigm shift to a preparedness approach by the government, most parts of the country continue to follow a relief-centric approach in disaster management, rather than a proactive prevention, mitigation and preparedness path.

Disaster Response Mechanism:

  • National Disaster Response Force remains afflicted with a number of constraints, be it in terms of infrastructure, training and equipment etc. to upgrade its efficiency up to the international standard.
  • About 2% of the GDP of India is spent annually on post disaster recovery and added that the country cannot alleviate poverty and achieve our developmental goals unless concrete steps are taken to make the country disaster resilient.
  • Lack of appropriate training infrastructure, well trained personnel and state of art technical equipment’s.
  • There is a need to bring about high end technology to increase our capacity in the domain of response and for that we need to integrate all our key institutions such as Indian Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Management and Indian Space Research Organization in the area of research & development.
  • Non-availability of critical equipment’s, especially in the area of management of fire.

Way forward:

  • Frame good macroeconomic policies before and after shocks.
  • Provision in the budget for emergency spending helps crisis mitigation and resolution, insurance coverage and low public debt bolster government spending flexibility if reconstruction needs arise.
  • Public investment in risk reduction.
  • Improvement in government policy frameworks to better manage risk and mitigate economic and social costs.
  • Estimate the probability of shocks and identify local vulnerabilities and integrate into plans for contingencies, investing in risk reduction, insurance, self-insurance, and disaster response.
  • Tax and spending policies need to be flexible, to allow rapid redeployment of spending when needed.
  • Coordination with foreign partners before disaster strikes could mobilize external assistance for risk reduction, which is likely to earn.
  • NDRF needs to be better equipped with technical equipment and personnel training and emphasis should be laid on deploying young men in the response force.
  • Need to have better coordination between NDMA and MHA for achieving an international standard response mechanism in India.
  • Emergency medical response & preparedness for mass casualty management should acquire priority in the education curricula of medical nursing.
  • The need and importance of priority attention to be accorded to training of personnel and procurement of modern equipment’s.
  • The government should create an online software for the management of the onsite data which could be updated without getting in to protocols.

Conclusion:

Disaster is a catastrophic situation in which normal pattern of life and or ecosystem has been disrupted and extraordinary emergency interventions are required to save and preserve lives and or environment. The best strategy is to be Proactive rather than reactive in tackling natural disasters and in mitigating the disasters in case of natural or man-made disasters.

 

Topic:   Disaster and disaster management

4. Discuss the role of technology and advancement in Disaster management.(250 words)

Why this question:

Technology is being explored with great enthusiasm in solving various problems ranging from transportation to services delivery and industrial production. In this context it is important to analyze how Technology can help in disaster management.

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to write in detail as to how Technology and innovation can play a role and help us in disaster management.

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:

Define what constitutes a Disaster.

Body:

Discuss the role of technology  in disaster management E.g. technology has proven its merit as a resource for disaster relief and preparedness;

Technology in emergency responder agencies- identify and track populations such as elderly communities or areas with high concentrations of babies and children etc.

help rescue workers identify support resources and plan logistics during emergencies, also facilitates real-time communication during a disaster, and

emergency managers use the technology to forecast how residents will react to crises;

“By seeing how residents move, by gathering data on their experiences, what worked, what did not, and then going back after the emergency is over to study the emergency response and identify weak spots.” etc.

Discuss the utility of latest technologies such as Big data, artificial intelligence etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A disaster is a sudden, calamitous event that seriously disrupts the functioning of a community or society and causes human, material, and economic or environmental losses that exceed the community’s or society’s ability to cope using its own resources. Though often caused by nature, disasters can have human origins.

Body:

India  is  a  large  country  and  prone  to  a  number  of  natural  hazards. Among all the natural disasters that country   faces,   river   floods   are   the   most   frequent and often devastating. The shortfall in the rainfall causes droughts or drought like stimuli in various parts of the country. The country has faced some    severe    earthquakes    causing    widespread    damage   to   the   life   and   property.   India   has   a   coastline of about 8000 km which is prone to very severe  cyclonic  formations  in  the  Arabian  Sea  and  Bay  of  Bengal.  Another major problem faced by the   country   is   in   the   form   of   landslides   and   avalanches.

The role of Information Technology in disaster prevention:

GIS AND REMOTE SENSING:

  • GIS provides a  tool  for  effective  and  efficient  storage  and  manipulation  of  remotely  sensed  data  and  other  spatial  and  non-spatial  data  types  for  both  scientific  management  and  policy  oriented
  • This can be    used    to    facilitate    measurement, mapping, monitoring and modelling of    variety    of    data    types    related    to    natural
  • The specific GIS  application  in  the  field  of  Risk  Assessment  are Hazard  Mapping  to  show earthquake, landslides, floods or fire hazards.
  • Theses map could  be  created  for  cities,  districts  or  even  for  the  entire  country  and  tropical  cyclone  Threat     Maps     are     used     by     meteorological     departments  to  improve  the  quality  of  the  tropical  storm  warning  services  and  quickly  communicate  the  risk  to  the  people  likely  to  get  affected  by  the
  • : GIS and Remote Sensing can be used for preparing seismic hazards maps in  order  to  assess  the  exact  nature of risks.
  • GIS can be  used  in  carrying  out  search  and  rescue  operations    in    a    more    effective    manner    by    identifying   areas   that   are   disasters   prone   and   zoning them accordingly to risk magnitudes

INTERNET:

  • In the present era of electronic communication, the internet provides a useful platform for disaster mitigation communications.
  • Launching of a  well-defined  web  site  is  a  very  cost-effective  means  of  making an intra-national and international presence felt.
  • It provides a new and potentially revolutionary option for the    rapid,    automatic,    and    global    dissemination of disaster information. A number of individuals  and  groups,  including  several  national  meteorological  services,  are  experimenting  with  the  Internet  for  real-time  dissemination  of  weather  observation,  forecasts,  satellite  and  other
  • In the most    critical    phase    of    natural    disasters    electronic  communication  have  provided  the  most  effective  and  in  some  instances  perhaps  the  only  means of communication with the outside world.

WARNING AND FORECASTING SYSTEM:

  • An advance system  of  forecasting,  monitoring  and  issuing  early  warnings  plays  the  most  significant  role  in  determining  whether  a  natural  hazard  will  assume  disastrous  proportions  or
  • Indian Metrological Department (IMD) provides cyclone  warnings  from  the  Area Cyclone    Warning    Centres    (ACWCs)    It    has    developed  the  necessary  infrastructure  to  originate  and     disseminate     the     cyclone     warnings     at     appropriate
  • Seismological observations in the country are made through national network  of  36  seismic  stations  operated  by  the  IMD,  which  is  the  nodal
  • Long term drought  proofing  programmes  on  the  natural  resources  of  the  district  have  been  greatly  helped  by  the  use  of  satellite  data  obtained  by  National Remote Sensing Agency.
  • The drought assessment  is  based  on  a  comparative  evaluation  of  satellite  observed  green  vegetation  cover  (both  area  and  greenness) of a district in any specific time period by the National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Management    System    (NADAMS).
  • Flood forecasts and  warnings  are  issued  by  the  Central  Water  Commission  (CWC)  ,  Ministry  of  Water    These are used for alerting the public and   for   taking   appropriate   measures   by   concerned   administrative   and   state   engineering   agencies     in     the     flood     hazard

Conclusion:

Advancement in Information Technology in the form of Internet, GIS,   Remote   Sensing,   Satellite   communication,   etc.   Can   help   a   great   deal   in   planning   and   implementation     of     hazards     reduction.     For     maximum   benefit,   new   technologies   for   public   communication  should  be  made  use  and  natural  disaster  mitigation  messages  should  be  conveyed  through   these   measures.

 

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

5. Improving air quality in the cities requires a transformative planning approach guided by the singular objective of reducing the use of polluting vehicles. In the light of the statement above discuss and analyse the significance of India switching to new emission standards in the coming days. (250 words)

Reference: You Tube

Why this question:

The question is in the backdrop of the fact that BS 6 will be the new emission standard that all vehicles in the country will have to adhere to from April 1, 2020. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the context of the question in detail and explain in what way such transformative planning approach is the need of the hour to overcome the challenge of Pollution in the country.

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.

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:

Briefly highlight the shift from BS IV to BS VI.

Body:

  • Discuss the current conditions of pollution in the Indian cities.
  • Explain why is it important to upgrade these norms?
  • Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
  • Global automakers are betting big on India as vehicle penetration is still low here, when compared to developed countries.
  • At the same time, cities such as Delhi are already being listed among those with the poorest air quality in the world. The national capital’s recent odd-even car experiment and judicial activism against the registration of big diesel cars shows that governments can no longer afford to relax on this front.
  • Discuss what steps are to be taken to address the challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that outcome of such policies should be welcomed for the positive impact it will have on air quality and public health and more of such approaches should be taken up in future.

Introduction:

According to the findings, India is home to seven of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, going by air-quality numbers recorded last year. Gurugram and Ghaziabad are the most polluted, while Delhi is the worst off among capital cities. ICMR estimates reveal that one in every eight deaths in India is attributable to air pollution, which now contributes to more disease burden than smoking.

Body:

BS 6:

BS 6 is the new emission standard that all vehicles in the country will have to adhere to from April 1, 2020. The sale of BS-4 vehicles will also cease from this day. The Supreme Court had ruled on October 24 2019 that no BS-4 vehicle would be sold with effect from April 1, 2020. Bharat Stage Emission Standards are emission regulations implemented by the government to keep a check on emissions from motor vehicles.

  • To start with, the ‘BS’ in BS VI stands for ‘Bharat Stage’ which signifies the emission regulation standards set by Indian regulatory bodies.
  • The ‘VI’ is a roman numeric representation for six (6). The higher the number gets, the stricter the Bharat Stage emission norms get which eventually means it becomes trickier (and costlier) for automakers to meet them.
  • These emission standards were set by the central government to keep a check on the pollutant levels emitted by vehicles that use combustion engines. To bring them into force, the Central Pollution Control Board sets timelines and standards which have to be followed by automakers.
  • Also, the BS norms are based on European emission norms which, for example, are referred to in a similar manner like ‘Euro 4’ and ‘Euro 6’. These norms are followed largely by all automakers across the globe and act as a good reference point as to how much does a vehicle pollute.
  • To wrap it up and put it simply, Bharat Stage emission norms are largely similar to the European emission norms followed globally.

Difference between BS-IV and the new BS-VI:

  • The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur.
  • The newly introduced fuel is estimated to reduce the amount of sulphur released by 80%, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm
  • As per the analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70% and 25% from cars with petrol engines.

Importance of upgrade these norms:

  • Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
  • Global automakers are betting big on India as vehicle penetration is still low here, when compared to developed countries.
  • At the same time, cities such as Delhi are already being listed among those with the poorest air quality in the world. The national capital’s recent odd-even car experiment and judicial activism against the registration of big diesel cars shows that governments can no longer afford to relax on this front.
  • With other developing countries such as China having already upgraded to the equivalent of Euro V emission norms a while ago, India has been lagging behind. The experience of countries such as China and Malaysia shows that poor air quality can be bad for business. Therefore, these reforms can put India ahead in the race for investments too.

Will the vehicles with BS-VI tech become expensive?

  • The everyday customer who is yet to buy themselves a vehicle or is planning to get one could soon have to shell out more for their purchase.
  • On top of that, the fuel costs also need to be taken into account. But above all of this, there is a bigger target to be achieved. India has some of the most polluted cities in the world and automobiles are often considered as one of the biggest factors responsible for it.
  • The need of the hour is to control the pollution levels by all means possible and since globally, countries are implying Euro 6 levels of emission regulations, India needs to step up its game and hence the BS IV to BS VI emission norm implication.

What needs to be done?

  • Although the BS-4 car can run on BS-6 Fuel, but what will happen if we defer our purchase
  • Emission: Cleaner fuel as the sulphur levels will be lower and lower PF (Particulate Filter). Thus, the emissions will be relatively much lower than what emit by cars.
  • Also, our BS-6 Car will get latest Technology and updates including changes in Catalytic, Diesel Particulate Filter, and Fuel Injection for better compliance to Emission. Care for Environment – you should defer your purchase call
  • Engine Performance: The Sulphur levels will be lower, thus acids as formed will be lower and also the engine oil live will improve.
  • Even the fuel would be much cleaner and thus care for better efficiency from our car in terms of improved Engine Oil Life, Engine Performance, Engine NVH Levels you will get all these benefits with BS-6 Fuel
  • Fuel Efficiency: Been the fuel in BS-6 regime would be much cleaner – the overall fuel efficiency can also jump in when used a BS-6 compliant car using BS-6 Fuel grade.
  • Safety Features: ABS, Airbags would be standard all across model Variants as sold from 2020. Even crash test regulations would be improved.
  • It involves Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR), which is an advanced active emissions control technology.
  • SCR converts nitrogen oxides to nitrogen, water, tiny amounts of CO2 by pumping in automotive grade liquid urea, which is known as Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).
  • It achieves NOx reductions up to 90%. Tailpipe Particulate Matter filter is used.
  • This reduces the Particulate Matter coming out of the vehicle to the required level.

Conclusion:

This outcome should be welcomed for the positive impact it will have on air quality and public health. At every stage, the technology is increasingly more complex. To attain the specified super low emissions, all reactions have to be precise, and controlled by microprocessors. Improving air quality in the cities requires a transformative planning approach guided by the singular objective of reducing the use of polluting vehicles.

 

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

6. The growing global stalemate over the climate crisis offers India the chance to focus upon the State and sub-State levels on developing its climate change action. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the prevailing climate crisis the world countries are facing and as to what should be India’s role in dealing with it by focusing upon State and Sub-State level planning and development.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the growing climate crisis in the world; explain what India should be doing to avoid the crisis in the coming future.

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:

Explain with examples the ongoing climate crisis facing the world.

Body:

Discuss that the stalemate at the global level offers India the opportunity to focus earnestly on developing its climate change action at State and sub-State levels, where the environment and climate continue to be relegated to peripheral status.

Explain what will be the benefits of doing so – Attention to climate change offers co-benefits to India for development.

Elaborate upon the efforts being made by India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward for India and efforts in this direction.

Introduction:

Global climate change has already had observable effects on the environment. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes is breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted and trees are flowering sooner.

Almost everyone agrees that the recent global climate summit, the annual Conference of the Parties (COP25), held in Madrid in December 2019, was a failure and that the multilateral process to address the climate crisis is broken. At several discussions on finance, ambition, transparency of support and pre-2020 action, wealthy countries were recalcitrant.

Body:

Ongoing climate crisis facing the world:

  • Global warming above pre-industrial levels has touched about 1 degree Celsius.
  • The IPCC 1.5 report basically says, at the current rates at which we are producing greenhouse gases, we are looking at a couple of decades really before what we have available is exhausted.
  • At one level, for many people climate change has become an existential problem, a problem that risks undermining the conditions for productive life and therefore a problem that does not override but certainly permeates all kinds of other issues.
  • For many others, climate change is a distant problem that is overwhelmed by more immediate issues.
  • The rapid change of climate change is likely to exceed the ability of many species to migrate or adjust. Experts predict that one-fourth of Earth’s species will be headed for extinction by 2050 if the warming trend continues at its current rate.
  • Sea levels have risen between four and eight inches in the past 100 years. Current projections suggest that sea levels could continue to rise between 4 inches and 36 inches over the next 100 years.
  • As temperatures rise globally, droughts will become more frequent and more severe, with potentially devastating consequences for agriculture, water supply and human health. This phenomenon has already been observed in some parts of Asia and Africa, where droughts have become longer and more intense.
  • Hot temperatures and dry conditions also increase the likelihood of forest fires.

The stalemate at the global level offers India the opportunity to focus earnestly on developing its climate change:

  • The stalemate at the global level offers India the opportunity to focus earnestly on developing its climate change action at State and sub-State levels, where the environment and climate continue to be relegated to peripheral status.
  • Over decades, this has led to the destruction of ecosystems, forests, waterbodies and biodiversity.
  • Numerous studies have shown the high economic and ecological costs and loss of lives due to extreme events.
  • We do not need more data to stimulate action. As is also well recognised, India is extremely vulnerable to the effects of warming.
  • With support from bilateral agencies, States initially took different approaches in the first round of State Action Plans on Climate Change (SAPCCs).
  • Some of them set up separate climate change cells while some collaborated with academic institutions.
  • A few produced detailed action plans while others developed strategy documents. Still others integrated improvements in energy efficiency (contributing to reducing emissions) while almost all focused on adaptation.
  • Attention to climate change offers co-benefits to India for development. For instance:
  • Improving energy efficiency in industry reduces costs and local pollution; improving public transport reduces congestion, pollution and improves access; and using natural farming methods reduces fossil fuel-based fertilizers, improves soil health and biodiversity.
  • These show that there are synergies in the steps to be taken for good development and climate change. Emissions), while almost all focused on adaptation.
  • As the next round of the SAPCCs are being drawn up, under recommendations from the Centre, the focus ought to be on integrating the response to climate change with the development plan in different departments.
  • Since the States together are to deliver the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) that India has promised, it means that they require guidance from the Centre.

Major initiatives of the Government towards combating climate change:

  • National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC): The Action plan covers eight major missions on Solar, Enhanced Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Habitat, and Water, Sustaining the Himalayan Ecosystem, Green India, Sustainable Agriculture and Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change.
  • International Solar Alliance (ISA): ISA was jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the then President of France, Francois Hollande in Paris on the side-lines of CoP 21 in 2015. The vision and mission of the alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries that lie completely or partial between the Tropics of Capricorn & Cancer.
  • State Action Plan on Climate Change (SAPCC): State governments have drafted climate strategies aligned with the eight National Missions under the NAPCC. The strategies focus on issues ranging from climate mitigation, energy efficiency, and resource conservation to climate adaptation.
  • FAME Scheme for E-mobility: Union Government in April 2015 launched Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles (FAME) – India Scheme with an aim to boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the country. It is a part of the National Mission for Electric Mobility.
  • Atal Mission for Rejuvenation & Urban Transformation (AMRUT) for Smart Cities.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana: The scheme provides LPG connections to five crore below-poverty-line beneficiaries. The connections are given in the name of women beneficiaries to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and conventional fuel like cow dung for cooking food, thus reducing air pollution.
  • UJALA scheme: The scheme was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January 2015 with a target of replacing 77 crore incandescent lamps with LED bulbs. The usage of LED bulbs will not only result in reducing electricity bills but also help in environment protection.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Movement) is a campaign that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 2, 2014. The campaign seeks to clean the streets, roads and infrastructure of the country’s 4041 statutory cities and towns.

On integration with states, districts and sub-district levels::

  • Line departments for government schemes and programmes in key development sectors, such as agriculture, transport and water, should be identified for carefully integrating actions that respond to climate change.
  • This integration should also take place at district and sub-district levels. But only a demonstration of its success in some departments would show how this can be done. But first and foremost, States need to get the signal that climate is an urgent issue.
  • How funds for implementing SAPCCs will be obtained is not clear. There will not be enough from the Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund and bilateral agencies to support all States unless new sources are found.
  • The coal cess in India is a good initiative, and as others have pointed out, could be used for environment and climate-related expenses. Similar alternative sources from high emissions’ industries and practices would be an option, but still probably insufficient.
  • There also needs to be a clear analysis of how the first round of action plans fared
  • If States are to develop SAPCCs that would ultimately add up to India’s NDCs, then the country needs reliable greenhouse gas inventories
  • Individual research groups and the civil society initiative, GHG Platform India, have been producing such inventories and would be useful in synchronizing and coordinating State and Central mitigation programmes.

Conclusion:

States must also develop their programmes with longer timelines, with mid-course correction based on lessons and successes that can be integrated into the next stage of the plan. If the second round of SAPCCs were treated as an entry point to long-term development strategy, the States and the country would be better prepared for climate change. Ultimately, climate should be part and parcel of all thinking on development.

 

Topic:  Case study based

7. Suicide frequency among the youth and especially students is rising in the country. Education is to be blamed for this to a great extent. Today while education is imparting attributes needed for competition and existentialist requirements, it is failing to give us eternal values like courage, character, patience, honesty, integrity, etc. Do you agree? Give reasons.(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The article is in the backdrop of the rising incidences of suicides among the youth which is mainly associated with the pressure that the education system is rendering onto it.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the case, provide for causes, analyse as to what needs to be done and suggest solutions.

Directive:

Give Reasons – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First discuss the issue of Suicides among youth; quote facts to highlight the issue;  how it is related to lacunae in the education system.

Body:

  • Discuss the causes, symptoms of suicides among the young.
  • Mainly discuss the connection if any with the education system. Highlight the lacunae in the educational system.
  • Highlight the fact that Education is perhaps society’s most critical responsibility. Educational institutions impart knowledge to students, lay emphasis on their physical well-being and prepare them for social challenges. But unfortunately, many educational institutions and teachers are not yet fully equipped to understand the mental health issues of students.
  • Psychological concerns in children are on the rise, especially Behavioural issues and suicides. 12 per cent of Indian students between the age of 4 and 16 suffer from psychiatric disorders. 20 per cent show signs of mental disorders, out of which 2-5 per cent have serious concerns like autism or bi-polar disorder. Shockingly, every one hour a student commits suicide in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Society, parents, educational system need to join hands for the holistic well-being of children.

Introduction:

India has one of the world’s highest suicide rates for youth aged 15 to 29, according to 2012 Lancet report, which illustrated the need for urgent interventions on this problem. According to NCRB data, every hour one student commits suicide in India, several cases being unreported.

 This growing trend of suicide among youth globally and particularly in India is not a sudden phenomenon. It has causes deep rooted in social setup. Youth present unique vulnerabilities, not least when a young person feels trapped by circumstances beyond his control.

Body:

Reasons for suicides in youth:

Unique character of being young:

  • The young people are developmentally primed to take risks and behave impulsively is well-recognized.
  • It is the result of a unique combination of biological events (such as changes in the brain and puberty) and social expectations (such as those related to completing education and finding a partner) which occur during this period of life.
  • These developmental characteristics are essential to prepare the adolescent to successfully negotiate the transition from dependence on one’s parents to being able to face up to the inevitable challenges of adult life.

Conflict of values:

  • In India, customs and traditions which have thrived for centuries are now in conflict with the desires of young people and it is this conflict which is, at least in part, fuelling our astonishing rate of youth suicide.
  • Young Indians become more progressive but their traditional households become less supportive of their various choices. Age old customs and tradition are in direct conflict with the desires of young people.

Educational expectations:

  • A vast number of India’s adolescents feel seriously unhappy and resentful. Ignoring or oppressing adolescents is not uncommon in other countries, but India’s case is somewhat extreme.
  • Over more than a century, our system of schooling has honed its tools to oppress and defeat the adolescent. The tool used to subdue the rebellious adolescent mind is the Board examination.

Career:

  • There is tremendous pressure to attain absurdly high grades to secure admission to prized colleges and droves of youth are packed off to tuition factories in places like Kota, which has been in the news for being the epicentre of youth suicides.
  • High unemployment rate with dwindling prospects to earn and engage also add salt to the limited career opportunities.

Failed romantic relationships accentuated by social restrictions on love:

  • For some youth, being denied the right to love a person because of their religion, caste, community or sexual orientation, is the most tragic trigger for suicides.
  • Conservative social customs are poisoning the lives of our youth, fuelled by forces which champion antiquated views of our society, stratified by class, caste and religion.

What needs to be done?

  • Parents, teachers, and friends are in a key position to pick up on these signs and get help. Most important is to never take these warning signs lightly or promise to keep them secret.
  • Parents are crucial members of a suicide risk assessment as they often have information critical to making an appropriate assessment of risk, including mental health history, family dynamics, recent traumatic events, and previous suicidal behaviours.
  • When all adults and students in the school community are committed to making suicide prevention a priority-and are empowered to take the correct actions-we can help youth before they engage in behaviour with irreversible consequences.
  • Family support and cohesion, including good communication.
  • Peer support and close social networks.
  • School and community connectedness.
  • Cultural or religious beliefs that discourage suicide and promote healthy living.
  • Adaptive coping and problem-solving skills, including conflict-resolution.
  • General life satisfaction, good self-esteem, sense of purpose.
  • Easy access to effective medical and mental health resources.

Conclusion:

Finally, it is high time we seek to reinvent our educational ecosystem in ways that impregnate new meanings, new ideas of living, and renewed possibilities that could transform a life of precarity into a life worth living.