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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 January 2020

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 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: Social empowerment

1. The share of the elderly in the population is expected to increase to 20 per cent of the population by 2050. Thus to ensure a life of dignity, social security and safety, enabling them to actively participate in economic development and the process of nation building is an absolute necessity. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference: Economic Times

Why this question:

The question pertains to the importance of involving the elderly in the process of nation building and ensuring their due participation in economic development.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the relevance of the elderly population to the demographics of a population and the need to have them involved in the process of economic development and nation building.

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:

Briefly start with key facts/data showing the increase in the elderly population.

Body:

  • Explain that equipping people in earlier age cohorts will help them remain in good health and involved in the community throughout the ageing process.
  • Discuss how ageing is irreversible and inevitable.
  • Explain that stronger partnerships between civil society, community and families are necessary to complement the actions taken by Governments in this regard.
  • Discuss aspects like – The Madrid International Plan of Action adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002 offered a bold new agenda for handling the issue of ageing in the 21st-century.
    It focused on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the significant contributions that aged people can make to the society.

 Introduction:

The percentage of the senior citizens in India’s population has been growing at an increasing rate in recent years and the trend is likely to continue, First Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN.

According to the State of World Population 2019 report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), released. India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and six per cent of India’s population was of the age 65 and above.

 Body:

 Problems of elderly population in India:

Isolation and loneliness among the elderly is rising.

  • Nearly half the elderly felt sad and neglected, 36 per cent felt they were a burden to the family.

Rise in age-related chronic illness:

  • Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other chronic diseases will cause more death and illness worldwide than infectious or parasitic diseases over the next few years.
  • In developed nations, this shift has already happened. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are expected to almost double every 20 years, as life expectancy increases.

Special challenges for less developed nations:

  • Poorer countries will carry the double burden of caring for older people with chronic diseases, as well as dealing with continued high rates of infectious diseases.

Increasing need for long-term care:

  • The number of sick and frail elderly needing affordable nursing homes or assisted living centers will likely increase.

Rise in the Health care costs:

  • As older people stop working and their health care needs increase, governments could be overwhelmed by unprecedented costs.
  • While there may be cause for optimism about population aging in some countries, the Pew survey reveals that residents of countries such as Japan, Italy, and Russia are the least confident about achieving an adequate standard of living in old age.

Elderly women issues:

  • They face life time of gender-based discrimination. The gendered nature of ageing is such that universally, women tend to live longer than men.
  • In the advanced age of 80 years and above, widowhood dominates the status of women with 71 per cent of women and only 29 per cent of men having lost their spouse.
  • Social mores inhibit women from re-marrying, resulting in an increased likelihood of women ending up alone.
  • The life of a widow is riddled with stringent moral codes, with integral rights relinquished and liberties circumvented.
  • Social bias often results in unjust allocation of resources, neglect, abuse, exploitation, and gender-based violence, lack of access to basic services and prevention of ownership of assets.
  • Ageing women are more likely to get excluded from social security schemes due to lower literacy and awareness levels.

Ageing individual is expected to need health care for a longer period of time than previous generations but elderly care for a shorter period of time

 Ageing is irreversible and inevitable:

  • The share of older persons, those aged 60 years or above, in India’s population is projected to increase to nearly 20 per cent in 2050
  • Equipping people in earlier age cohorts will help them remain in good health and involved in the community throughout the ageing process.
  • The share of population over the age of 60 is projected to increase from 8 per cent to nearly 20 per cent in 2050
  • Fulfilling needs for services and social protection for senior citizens, protection of their rights and enabling them to contribute in the development process are priorities for India

Madrid International Plan of Action:

  • The adoption of 2002 Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing provides a roadmap for addressing challenges of an ageing society and realization of human rights of older persons.
  • The 2030 Agenda also recognizes the importance of realizing their full potential and their contribution for inclusive development
  • The Madrid International Plan of Action adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing in 2002 offered a bold new agenda for handling the issue of ageing in the 21st-century.
  • It focused on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments.

Measures in place in India to improve quality of life of older persons and protect their rights

  • Recently launched the world’s largest healthcare programme “National Health Protection Scheme”.
  • The National Old Age Pension Scheme and a subsidized food distribution programme provide income and nutritional security to older persons in poverty.
  • The Continuing Education and Adult Education programmes in India extend literacy, vocational and quality of life training options, with special focus on reducing gender gap in literacy and post-literacy capacity building.
  • The National Policy on Senior Citizens envisages state support for financial and food security, health care, shelter and protection against exploitation.
  • The National Council of Senior Citizens is the highest advisory body for policymaking on the entire gamut of issues related to elderly.

Way forward:

  • We need timely action based on the existing global framework and ensure that action should not fall behind this demographic trend. Increased investments, political will and addressing gaps in data and statistics are key to concerted response
  • We must better equip people in earlier age cohorts, so that they remain in good physical and mental health and continue their involvement in family and community throughout the ageing process.
  • Stronger partnerships between civil society, community and families are necessary to complement the actions taken by Governments in this regard, she added.
  • Issues of poverty, migration, urbanization, ruralisation and feminisation compound the complexity of this emerging phenomenon. Public policy must respond to this bourgeoning need and mainstream action into developmental planning.
  • Gender and social concerns of elderly, particularly elderly women, must be integrated at the policy level.
  • The elderly, especially women, should be represented in decision making.
  • Increasing social/widow pension and its universalization is critical for expanding the extent and reach of benefits.
  • Government must proactively work on life style modification, non-communicable disease management, vision and hearing problem management and accessible health care through Ayushman Bharat.

Conclusion:

The elderly should be seen as a blessing, not a burden. The elderly are becoming the fastest growing, but underutilized resource available to humanity. Rather than putting them aside, physically (and mentally), to be cared for separately, they should be integrated into the lives of communities where they can make a substantial contribution to improving social conditions. The benefits of turning the ‘problem’ of the elderly into a ‘solution’ for other social problems is being demonstrated in several countries.

 

Topic:  Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation. Role of women.

2. Do you agree that the recent move to amend the MTP Act, 1971 is a progressive step towards empowerment of women as it looks beyond mere termination of pregnancy and aims to assure greater reproductive rights to women? Evaluate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

Moving to ease abortion laws in the country, the Union Cabinet is set to consider a host of changes to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the impact of such a move taken by the government and explain in what way it shall ensure reproductive rights to women of the country.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with a brief background – In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.

Body:

  • Discuss first the existing scenario.
  • Comment on the changes suggested by the Union govt.
  • Explain the pros and cons of such a move.
  • Discuss that the changes in law were proposed after an extensive consultation process with experts representing a range of stakeholders from central and state governments, NGOs, academic institutions, professional bodies and associations like Indian Medical Association, Indian Nursing Council and legal professionals.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the move to amend the MTP Act, 1971 is a progressive step towards empowerment of women. It will provide greater reproductive Rights to women as abortion is considered an important aspect of the reproductive health of women. Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are largely preventable provided services are performed legally by trained practitioners.

Introduction:

Moving to ease abortion laws in the country, the Union Cabinet is set to consider a host of changes to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.

The present abortion law, which is about five decades old, permits abortion up to a maximum foetal gestation period of 20 weeks. In recent years, there have been strong demands to raise the foetal gestation period for abortion beyond 20 weeks.

According to the Lancet Global Health report, 15.6 million abortions occurred in 2015 in India, of which 78% were not conducted inside health facilities.

 Body:

Abortion in India:

Abortion in India is legal only up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, under specific conditions and situations, which are defined as:

  • If the continuance of pregnancy risks the life of the woman or may result in grave physical or mental injury.
  • If there is a substantial possibility of the child being born with physical or mental abnormalities, as to be seriously handicapped.

Laws governing abortion in India:

  • According to the IPC abortion falls under ‘Offences Affecting the Human Body’, and provides that causing a miscarriage with or without consent for a purpose other than saving the life of the woman is punishable.
  • However, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) makes for a quantum difference in approach, as if by a legislative sleight through a non-obstante clause, by decriminalizing abortion without bringing an amendment to the IPC or abrogating the penal provisions.

Changes suggested by the Union Govt to Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971:

  • Among others, amendments seek to increase the upper limit for termination of a pregnancy from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • It also seeks to extend the contraceptive-failure clause for termination to include “any woman or her partner” from the present provision for “only married woman or her husband”.
  • The draft Bill proposes requirement of opinion of one registered medical practitioner (RMP) for termination of pregnancy up to 20 weeks of gestation.
  • It also provides for the requirement of opinion of two RMPs for termination of pregnancy of 20 to 24 weeks.
  • The Bill also seeks to increase the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for survivors of rape, victims of incest and other vulnerable women.
  • For unmarried women, the Bill seeks to relax the contraceptive-failure condition for “any woman or her partner” from the present provision for “only married woman or her husband”, allowing them to medically terminate the pregnancy.

Significance of the changes:

  • The move to amend the MTP Act, 1971 is a progressive step towards empowerment of women.
  • It will provide greater reproductive rights to women as abortion is considered an important aspect of the reproductive health of women.
  • Deaths and injuries from unsafe abortions are largely preventable provided services are performed legally by trained practitioners.
  • It is a step towards the safety and well-being of the women and many women will be benefitted from this.
  • Recently several petitions were received by the Courts seeking permission for aborting pregnancies at a gestational age beyond the present permissible limit on grounds of foetal abnormalities or pregnancies due to sexual violence faced by women.
  • The proposed increase in gestational age will ensure dignity, autonomy, confidentiality and justice for women who need to terminate the pregnancy.

Conclusion:

Nevertheless, the amendment, if passed, will be a victory, albeit a small one, for women’s reproductive rights.

 

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

3. Recently the State of Andhra Pradesh was in news for the abolishment of the legislative council; going by the assertion that the ‘Upper House’ didn’t deserve to exist if it is rejecting key bills by violating rules . In such a situation critically examine the significance of the Legislative councils in the Indian parliamentary system. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why this question:

The Andhra Pradesh assembly Monday passed the statutory resolution to abolish the state legislative council, with 133-0 votes. Thus the question aims to examine the significance of having legislative councils.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the importance of Legislative councils; explain the pros and cons associated.

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 by defining what legislative councils are.

Body:

  • Discuss what is a legislative council? – India has a bicameral parliamentary system, with two Houses of Parliament. So, states have a legislative assembly, and may or may not have the legislative council.
  • Explain that while on one hand the creation of legislative councils is supposed to put in place checks and balances for hasty decisions, on the other hand, it is often criticized for being an entry point for leaders who could not win an election.
  • The arguments against creation of legislative councils also centre around the financial strain that it has on a state.
  • Explain why some states do have it and others don’t?
  • Discuss the role played by legislative councils.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Andhra Pradesh assembly on Monday passed a resolution to abolish the state’s legislative council, with 133 legislators of the ruling YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), which has 151 seats in the 175-member assembly, backing the decision.

While the need for a bicameral legislature in the States has often been questioned, few would support the idea that the potential difficulty in getting the Council’s approval should be a reason for its abolition.

Body:

Legislative Councils in various states:

  • ’s proposal will bear fruit only if Parliament passes a law to that effect, based on the State’s request.
  • CM went to the extent of saying that there was no point in spending a huge sum (Rs.60 crore per year) on the Council if it comes in the way of important government business in the Legislature.
  • He also mentioned in the Assembly that only six States have Legislative Councils and he was against allowing the Legislative Council of A.P. to function with a political agenda.
  • However, recent experience suggests that States without a Legislative Council favour its revival. Rajasthan, Assam, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh have passed resolutions for a revival, but are yet to get parliamentary approval.
  • In Tamil Nadu, at least two erstwhile DMK regimes had favoured revival, and even parliamentary approval given in 2010 did not result in the actual re-establishment of the Council, which was dissolved in 1986. I
  • It is quite clear that wherever the Council is sought to be revived or abolished, there is no consensus.

Role played by legislative councils:

India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.

  • It widens the space for representative democracy.
  • The Upper house act as a check on hasty actions by Legislative Assembly.
  • They provide a forum for academicians and intellectuals to contribute to the legislative process.
  • Academicians and intellectuals may not be suitable for the nature of electoral politics in Legislative Assembly.
  • It provides a mechanism for a more serious appraisal of legislation.
  • It would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.
  • To act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.
  • To ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.
  • Having a second chamber would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.

The arguments against creation of legislative councils:

  • Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
  • It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
  • Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack the constitutional mandate to do so. Legislative Assemblies have the power to override suggestions/amendments made to a legislation by the Council.
  • While Rajya Sabha MPs can vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t. MLCs also can’t vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.
  • As regards Money bills, only fourteen days’ delay can be caused by the Council, which is more or less a formality rather than a barrier in the way of Money Bill passed by the Assembly.
  • Legislative Councils are subject to varied discussions around their creation, revival and abolishment.
  • If there was any real benefit in having a Legislative Council, all States in the country would have a second chamber.
  • Having only seven such Councils suggests the lack of any real advantage, apart from the absence of a broad political consensus on the issue.

Way Forward:

  • A parliamentary committee recommended a national policy on having an Upper House in State legislatures to be framed by the Union government.
  • It also favoured a review of the provision in the law for Councils to have seats for graduates and teachers.
  • 2nd ARC recommended that role of teachers and graduates should be decreased or done away with and more say should be given to local bodies in order to strengthen the voice of local bodies.

Conclusion:

The larger question is whether the Councils are serving their intended purpose to take a considered view on matters without being influenced by electoral considerations. If the Upper Houses are used only for accommodating leaders who have lost general elections, there may not be much meaning in their existence. And there is less justification for having separate representation in Councils for graduates and local bodies when democracy has taken roots and Assemblies are representative of all sections.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

4.The Supreme Court’s decision to allow the introduction of African cheetahs into the Indian forests is a significant step forward in the conservation of the breed. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday lifted its seven-year stay on a proposal to introduce African cheetahs from Namibia into the Indian habitat on an experimental basis. The plan was to revive the Indian cheetah population. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail about the move by the court and arrangements made by it and in what way it is a significant step in conserving the species.

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:

Describe briefly the background of the question.

Body:

There have been previous proposals to introduce African cheetahs in India, as part of a plan to revive the Indian cheetah population. The proposal was to introduce African cheetahs into the Palpur Kuno Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh on an experimental basis.

However, the Supreme Court had stalled the plan in 2012.

Explain that Following a favorable view from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the Supreme Court has lifted its seven-year stay on a proposal to introduce African cheetahs from Namibia into the Indian habitat on an experimental basis.

Discuss the significance of such a step.

Explain concerns if any.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way ahead.

Introduction:

The Supreme Court recently allowed the Centre to introduce the African cheetah to a suitable habitat in India. With India’s own cheetahs vanishing, a plea for this had been filed by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), seeking permission to introduce the African cheetah from Namibia.

Background

  • The Ministry of forests and environment of India is now hammering out the details of the cheetah conservation plan. As a first step, a two-day seminar of technical experts on cheetahs was held in Gajner from 9 September 2009.
  • The initial plans were to bring the cheetahs to Gajner Wildlife Sanctuary. Thereafter, they will be transported to various states,”
  • India is also in talks with the Islamic Republic of Iran over the possibility of sending a pair of Asiatic cheetahs to India.
  • In May 2012, the top court had stalled the plan to initiate the foreign cheetahs into the Palpur Kuno sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh fearing they may come into conflict with a parallel and a much-delayed project to reintroduce lions into the same sanctuary.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had previously told the Supreme Court that African cheetahs would be translocated in India from Namibia and would be kept at Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has given a ‘no objection’ for the translocation.

Reasons for extinction of cheetah: 

  • Cheetah was declared extinct from India in 1952 and is considered the only large mammal that has gone extinct since the country’s independence.
  • According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List, cheetah’s population is ‘vulnerable’ witnessing a decreasing trend with only less than 7,000 of them left in the wild globally.
  • The reasons for extinction can all be traced to man’s interference. Problems like human-wildlife conflict, loss of habitat and loss of prey, and illegal trafficking, have decimated their numbers.
  • The advent of climate change and growing human populations have only made these problems worse.
  • With less available land for wildlife, species that require vast home range like the cheetah are placed in competition with other animals and humans, all fighting over less space.

Significance of such a step:

  • A section of conservationists has long advocated the reintroduction of the species in the country.
  • Reintroductions of large carnivores have increasingly been recognised as a strategy to conserve threatened species and restore ecosystem functions.
  • The cheetah is the only large carnivore that has been extirpated, mainly by over-hunting in India in historical times.
  • India now has the economic ability to consider restoring its lost natural heritage for ethical as well as ecological reasons.

Conclusion:

NCTA will be guided by the committee of experts who will carry out a survey for the best location. It was submitted before the apex court that the African cheetah will be introduced on an experimental basis in the best suitable habitat to see whether it can adapt to Indian conditions.

 

Topic:  Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

5. Has the world entered a new normal where the space has become the next frontier? Elucidate with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme that space security is next frontier that the world countries must aspire for.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the possible threats that space as the new frontier poses upon the security aspects of a country. Explain with possible examples.

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

Briefly explain that It’s a brave new world for business leaders and emerging economies that want to flex their strength at zero gravity.

Body:

Explain that today we are in a complex, multifaceted geopolitical situation than the over-simplistic East-versus-West narrative of the past and that Space has occupied a new perspective.

Discuss the efforts being made by countries to explore space as the new frontier.

Explain the challenges that it may pose to internal security of a country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to address the new threat.

Introduction:

Recently India carried out an anti-satellite (ASAT) test using an interceptor missile (as a kinetic kill vehicle) to neutralize a target satellite (possibly the Microsat-R launched in January this year) in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) at an altitude of around 300 km.

In contrast, China had quietly carried out its first successful hit-to-kill intercept in January 2007 till international reports about the consequent increase in space debris forced Beijing to acknowledge the test. France and Israel are believed to possess the capability. India’s test has not violated any norm as there is no international treaty prohibiting the testing or the development of ASATs.

Body:

Efforts being made by countries to explore space as the new frontier

  • Both the U.S. and USSR began to develop ASAT systems as a part and parcel of their anti-ballistic missile programmes. During the 1980s, both countries concluded their kinetic kill interceptor testing.
  • Instead, they began to focus on co-orbital anti-satellite systems and directed energy (laser) systems which could neutralise a satellite without fragmenting it and generating space debris.
  • Since the Sputnik was launched in 1957, more than 8,000 satellites/manmade orbiting objects have been launched, of which about 5,000 remain in orbit; more than half are non-functional.
  • Currently, more than 50 countries own/operate the nearly 2,000 functional satellites in orbit.
  • The U.S. accounts for more than 800 of these, followed by China (approximately 280), Russia (approximately 150).
  • India has an estimated 50 satellites. Of these 2,000 satellites, over 300 are dedicated military satellites.
  • Once again, the U.S. has the biggest share here, with nearly 140, followed by Russia with nearly 90 and China with nearly 40.
  • The salience of space in defence is evident from the fact that all three countries — the U.S., Russia and China — have set up ‘Space Commands’.

India’s efforts:

Over the last one year, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) took giant leaps forward, one success after the other.

  • INSAT: The system is a network of satellites that facilitates communication and broadcasting across the south Asian region. It ushered in a revolution in India’s television and radio broadcasting, telecommunications and meteorological sector.
  • Created Polarized Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) to make cost effective launch system. This has also increased international space collaboration by launching satellites of other nations at low costs.
  • Chandrayaan 1: It has launched Chandrayaan 1 lunar probe mission in 2008.
  • Mangalyan: ISRO has launched Mars Orbiter Mission in 2013 and created history by launching Mangalyan (mission spacecraft) into the Mars orbit in maiden attempt.
  • ASTROSAT: It has launched first space observatory in 2015 to become fourth agency to do so after NASA, Roscosmos and ESA.
  • Scramjet: Supersonic Combusting Ramjet has been launched by ISRO. This system works on Air-breathing Propulsion System which uses atmospheric oxygen to burn the fuel in the rocket.
  • RLV-TD: ISRO demonstrated its Reusable Launch vehicle space shuttle RLV -TD to launch satellites around earth orbit and re-enter into the atmosphere.
  • 104 satellites: ISRO has created history by launching 104 satellites in one go.
  • Crew Escape module: ISRO has test-launched Crew Escape Module paving the way for manned space mission Gaganyaan.

Privatization of Indian space:

  • ISRO has been pursuing a conscious approach of building up and nurturing the industrial capabilities in the country to maximally support the Indian Space Programme.
  • Through appropriate transfer of technology and hand-holding, ISRO is making focused efforts to consolidate and enhance participation of Indian industries for manufacturing and production of space related hardware such as rocket engine & stages, propellant tanks, spacecraft structures, solar panels, thermal control systems, electronic packages etc., required for satellites and launch vehicles.
  • A number of private players have shown interest and promise in the Indian space programme, and a few of them are interested in their own launch vehicles. Privatizing the operation of the rocket would free up ISRO to focus on more cutting-edge missions.
  • ISRO is severely constrained to meet the ever-increasing demands from over 60 central departments, 29 states and thousands of private sector companies hence urging the domestic industry to come forward and help augment the manufacture and launch of satellites will help ISRO.
  • The nascent private space industry in India will not only provide services within the country but also opportunities for services in the neighboring countries and other parts of the globe.

Challenges:

  • The salience of space in defence is evident from the fact that all three countries — the U.S., Russia and China — have set up ‘Space Commands’.
  • This has given rise to demands to prevent the militarisation of space so that it is preserved “as the common heritage of mankind”.
  • The U.S. has been adamantly opposed to negotiating any legally binding instrument to prevent ‘militarization of space’, questioning the very meaning of the term, given that space as a medium is increasingly used for military applications.
  • Growing amounts of space debris pose a real risk to satellites and spacecraft. There are over 20,000 objects of debris which are the size of golf balls while those of smaller size run into hundreds of thousands, totalling nearly 6,000 tonnes.
  • The U.S. Department of Defense routinely tracks approximately 23,000 man-made objects achieving orbit to ensure safety of its space-based assets.
  • One of the reasons that the international community protested strongly about the 2007 Chinese test was that it added nearly 3,000 pieces of debris as the test was done at a higher altitude (800 km), from where it would take decades to dissipate.
  • Anyhow, the debris created by the Indian test, which was undertaken at a low altitude, is expected to dissipate much faster.

Conclusion:

At present, the U.S. is the dominant presence in space, which reflects its technological lead as well its dependence on space-based assets. It therefore perceives any negotiations as a constraint on its technological lead. While countries have developed and tested ASATs, they are not known to have stockpiled ASAT weapons. Effective use of an ASAT also requires space situational awareness capability, which works best if it is a cooperative effort.

 

Topic:  Linkages between development and spread of extremism. Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

6.Discuss the role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.  (250 words)

Reference: Idsa

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is from the static portions of the syllabus.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

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 explain who constitute external state and non-state actors.

Body:

Highlight that India has been facing internal security threats from various external and internal state and non-state actors since independence.

  • Explain about external non state actors – Non-state actors are individuals or organizations that have powerful economic, political or social power and are able to influence at a national and sometimes international level but do not belong to or allied themselves to any particular country or state. They include NGOs, MNCs, religious outfits, Drug Cartels, Mafias, terrorist groups etc. they may work in tandem for the peace, stability and development of a country or they may work against the State.
  • Discuss the threat that they pose to internal security in India such as insurgency, terrorism, cyber security , communalism, counterfeit currency etc.
  • Discuss how should India deal with such challenges

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions and ways to address the problems.

Introduction:

India has been facing challenges on the front of internal security since independence from various state and non-state actors. External State actors refer to those entities which have formal backing of a sovereign state for carrying out any intended action. Non state actors on the other hand, have a considerable power of influencing international events but they do not have formal state backing. Examples of state actors are the army, bureaucracy, intelligence agencies etc. whereas non state actors would be NGOs, civil society organizations, extremist outfits, multinational companies etc.

Body:

External State actors are responsible for posing a challenge to internal security in multiple ways:

  • Countries surrounding India have been active in exploiting the volatile situation presented by the turmoil in the northeast. Not only countries such as China, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar, but also smaller powers such as Bhutan and Nepal have been involved in the region.
  • Through political backing, economic assistance, logistic support, military training or arms supplies these countries have varyingly contributed to the ongoing violence in this region.
  • The state may carry out a limited war against Indian state and this might have ramifications for our internal security too
  • They might support the various insurgent groups, Naxalites, or separatist groups through funding, training or logistics
  • There have been instances where state actors have been responsible for carrying out cyber warfare through hacking and other espionage.

Non state actors however have played their nefarious role too in creating problems for India:

Insurgency:

  • North-East suffers from violent movements based upon ethnic identities leading to clashes. China is alleged to support such acts for instance. ULFA members of Assam were given shelter by China.

Terrorism:

  • Pakistan has been a major exporter of terrorism to India. Non-state actors like terrorist groups for instance Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad are a continuous threat.
  • Non state actor -sponsored terrorism, often motivated by fundamentalist ideologies, backed by secretive but efficient financial networks, use of IT, clandestine access to chemical-biological and nuclear materials, and illicit drug trafficking, has emerged as a major threat to international stability.
  • These groups aim to not only create instability in states like J&K, they also have a larger aim of destabilising the country. This is done through sporadic terrorist strikes, which spreads terror and panic. This could also adversely affect the ability of the Indian state to pursue economic modernisation.

Naxalism:

  • Left wing extremism affects states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Drug trafficking:

  • Inter and Intra state trafficking takes place, through golden crescent and golden triangle routes.
  • Drugs from Golden Crescent (Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) have affected Punjab and Golden Triangle (Laos, Myanmar and Thailand) has affected North Eastern states.

Human-trafficking:

  • Children and women trafficking takes place via Bangladesh and Nepal.

Counterfeit currency:

  • It corrodes economy from inside, by facilitating black money and money laundering activities as well as funding terrorism, which itself creates a demand for fake currency, thereby creating a positive feedback loop. This is the issue arising especially from Pakistan.

Communalism:

  • Propagandas are run and funded by enemy country and other non-state actors (NGOs and CSOs) to destabilize India by damaging the socio-religious fabric and ensure riots.

Cyber Security:

  • Recent cyber-attacks by Legion, ATM skimming are examples. Pakistani hackers often hack government websites.
  • They can also incite people for regionalism thus demanding their separate state which further increases secessionist tendency

Conclusion:

Both state and non-state factors from outside have created problems in our internal security framework. Hence while it is imperative to guard our borders and strengthen our diplomacy, on the other hand, we need to check the various non state actors who come in hidden forms. There is a need for a national internal security doctrine to deal with various challenges.

 

Topic:   Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability. Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

7. Discuss the recently released enforcement and monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020. How far will the new guidelines help in Sustainable Sand Management? Explain.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

Following a series of orders by the National Green Tribunal in 2018, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF) has for the first time released guidelines to monitor and check illegal sand mining in the country. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the new guidelines for sand mining and its significance; about illegal sand mining in India and government’s efforts to curb it.

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:

First discuss the status of sand mining in the country, use data and quote facts.

Body:

  • Discuss briefly the background – The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has empowered state governments to make rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals.
  • But in the recent past, it has been observed that there were a large number of illegal mining cases in the country and in some cases, many of the officers lost their lives while executing their duties to curb illegal mining.
  • Illegal and uncontrolled illegal mining leads to loss of revenue to the State and degradation of the environment.
  • Discuss the aspects of Sustainable Sand Management.
  • Explain how these new rules would aid in Sustainable Sand Management of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such a move.

Introduction:

The Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 that will amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957 and Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act 2015.

Body:

Background:

  • In 2018, the government had allowed commercial mining by private entities but non-coal companies couldn’t participate in the auction.
  • In August 2019, the government announced 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) under the automatic route in coal mining for open sale, besides creating associated infrastructure, such as washeries.
  • The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has empowered state governments to make rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals.
  • But in the recent past, it has been observed that there were a large number of illegal mining cases in the country and in some cases, many of the officers lost their lives while executing their duties to curb illegal mining.
  • Illegal and uncontrolled illegal mining leads to loss of revenue to the State and degradation of the environment.

Enforcement and monitoring Guidelines for Sand Mining 2020:

  • The guidelines have basically laid down the uniform protocol to be followed by all states for monitoring and enforcement of rules. The gist of which is that enforcement of rules must continue even after the grant of green nod to the leaseholder through measures such as environment audit.
  • In case of river sand mining, which is pertinent to Goa, the guidelines have stipulated that precautions must be taken that the water flows unhindered and the river meandering does not get affected.
  • Furthermore, no river mining must be permitted in an area up to width of 100 meter from the active edge of the embankments or distance prescribed by the irrigation department.
  • To curb illegal sand mining, the recommendation is to use of technology through remote surveillance, drones, etc.
  • The states have been asked to monitor the movement of sand at different levels, for instance, at the time of sale and purchase at stockyards, and during transportation.
  • The guidelines have said that sand transportation must be carried out with valid transport permits, and should be checked through an online monitoring system.
  • The guidelines have recommended special monitoring near state borders.
  • To identify illegal sand mining, the MOEF has suggested field visits, use of GPS instruments and satellite images to calculate the mined out area.
  • The enforcement guidelines focus on the “effective monitoring of sand mining from the identification of sand mineral sources to its dispatch and end-use by consumers and the general public and looks at a uniform protocol for the whole country”
  • The 2020 guidelines are to be enforced simultaneously with the Sustainable Sand Management Guidelines, 2016, but in instances where the two sets of guidelines may seem to be in conflict, the new set will hold legal precedence.
  • In cases where rivers become district boundaries or state boundaries, the districts or states sharing the boundary shall constitute the combined task force for monitoring of mined materials, mining activity and participate in the preparation of District Survey Reports (DSR) by providing appropriate inputs.
  • The guidelines say the detailed survey needs to be carried out for quantification of minerals and the demand and supply of the riverbed material through market survey, including the future demand for the next five years.
  • It is suggested that the state government should develop an online portal for sale and purchase of sand and RBM. The state government will also decide the model of sale and the price of RBM.

These new rules would aid in Sustainable Sand Management of the country in following ways:-

  • Identification and Quantification of Mineral Resource and its optimal utilization.
  • To regulate the Sand & Gravel Mining in the Country since its identification to its final end-use by the consumers and the general public.
  • Use of IT-enabled services & latest technologies for surveillance of the sand mining at each step.
  • Reduction in demand & supply gaps.
  • Setting up the procedure for replenishment study of Sand.
  • Post Environmental Clearance Monitoring.
  • Procedure for Environmental Audit.
  • To control the instance of illegal mining.
  • The guidelines also push for online sales and purchase of sand and other riverbed materials to make the process transparent

Procedure for Comprehensive DSRs:

  • While the Sustainable Sand Mining Guidelines, 2016, require the preparation of District Survey Reports (DSR), which is an important initial step before grant of mining lease, the government has found that the DSRs carried out by state and district administrations are often not comprehensive enough, allowing space for illegal mining.
  • The new guidelines, therefore, list a detailed procedure of how the DSRs are to be made, including the development of an inventory, for the first time, of river bed material and other sand sources in the district.

Critical appraisal of the Guidelines:

  • The guidelines has put the entire onus on the states to enforce and monitor sustainable mining while completely relieving itself from any kind of responsibilities.
  • There is no mechanism on who will enforce and monitor sustainable mining in bigger projects while states have been told to monitor for projects below 100 hectares.

Conclusion:

The new guidelines also focused on involving the public in the process. It said once mining sites that are to be auctioned for sand are identified, they should be put in public for at least one month for obtaining their comments and the final list should be finalized in accordance with them. Thus, the new guidelines are nothing but a compilation of all court orders for curbing illegal sand mining over the last few years.