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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 February 2021


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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. India carries a rich legacy of Scientific Ideas, in this context, highlight and discuss the contribution from India in the fields of Mathematic and Medicine. (250 words)

Reference:  class XI NCERT Medieval history of India ,ccrtindia.gov.in

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, part art and culture.

Key Demand of the question:

The question aims to ascertain the contribution from India in the fields of Mathematic and Medicine.

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 a brief background of scientific ideas that have plummeted in India from past to present.

Body:

The question is straightforward; one has to discuss the contribution from India in the fields of Mathematic and Medicine in detail.

Explain that Science was an integral part and important preoccupation in ancient Indian culture. The past inspires the future in India, and the ancient Sanskrit texts reflect shades of twentieth century thinking. Scientific ideas were developed in India over 5,000 years ago and have stood the test of time.

Discuss the contributions in Mathematics; along with concept of zero, Indian mathematicians made seminal contributions to the study of trigonometry, algebra, arithmetic and negative numbers among other areas. Perhaps most significantly, the decimal system that we still employ worldwide today was first seen in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by commenting on the present day contributions of the Indian population to the field of science and mathematics.

Introduction:

Ancient India was a land of sages, saints and seers as well as a land of scholars and scientists. The contributions that are recorded in scripts have been accepted after validation by the scientists. The claims by many academicians, politicians about such contributions in the Indian science congress of past few editions has thrown the light again on them.

Body:

Contributions in field of Mathematics:

  • In ancient India, roots to mathematics can be traced to Vedic literature, which are around 4000 years old. Between 1000 BC and 1000 AD, a number of mathematical treatises were authored in India.
  • Sulvastutra by Baudhayana mentions about ‘Pi’. This further helped in calculations of angles in triangles.
  • Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981) said that India was the mother of our philosophy of much of our mathematics.
  • It is now generally accepted that India is the birth place of several mathematical concepts, including zero, the decimal system, algebra and algorithm, square root and cube root. Zero is a numeral as well as a concept. It owes its origin to the Indian philosophy which had a concept of ‘sunya’, literal translation of which is ‘void’ and zero emerged as a derivative symbol to represent this philosophical concept. Brahmagupta in Brahmasputa Siddhantika makes a mention of zero.
  • Geometrical theories were known to ancient Indians and find display in motifs on temple walls, which are in many cases replete with mix of floral and geometric patterns. The method of graduated calculation was documented in a book named “Five Principles” (Panch-Siddhantika) which dates to 5th Century AD.
  • Algebraic theories, as also other mathematical concepts, which were in circulation in ancient India, were collected and further developed by Aryabhatta, 5th century Indian mathematician. He has referred to Algebra (as Bijaganitam) in his treatise on mathematics named
  • In 12th century, Bhaskaracharya also authored several treatises on the subject – one of them, named Siddantha Shiromani has a chapter on algebra. He is known to have given a basic idea of the Rolle’s theorem and was the first to conceive of differential calculus.
  • In 1816, James Taylor translated Bhaskaracharya’s Leelavati into English.
  • The credit for fine-tuning and internationalizing these mathematical concepts – which had originated in India – goes to the Arabs and Persians. Al-Khawarizmi, a Persian mathematician, developed a technique of calculation that became known as “algorism.”
  • The Fibonacci numbers: The Fibonacci sequence first appeared in Indian mathematics as mātrāmeru, mentioned by Pingala in connection with the Sanskrit tradition of prosody.
  • In 14th century, Madhava of Sangamagrama, along with other mathematicians of the Kerala school, studied infinite series, convergence, differentiation, and iterative methods for solution of non-linear equations.
  • Jyestadeva of the Kerala school wrote the first calculus text, the Yuktibhasa, which explores methods and ideas of calculus repeated only in seventeenth century Europe.

Contributions in field of Medicine & Surgery:

  • Ayurveda as a science of medicine owes its origins in ancient India. Thus, the literal meaning of Ayurveda is the science of life or longevity. Ayurveda constitutes ideas about ailments and diseases, their symptoms, diagnosis and cure, and relies heavily on herbal medicines, including extracts of several plants of medicinal values. Ayurveda has also always disassociated itself with witch doctors and voodoo.
  • Ancient scholars of India like Atreya, and Agnivesa have dealt with principles of Ayurveda as long back as 800 BC. Their works and other developments were consolidated by Charaka who compiled a compendium of Ayurvedic principles and practices in his treatise Charaka-Samahita, which remained like a standard textbook almost for 2000 years and was translated into many languages, including Arabic and Latin.
  • In ancient India, several advances were also made in the field of medical surgery. Specifically, these advances included areas like plastic surgery, extraction of catracts, and even dental surgery. Roots to the ancient Indian surgery go back to at least circa 800 BC. Shushruta, a medical theoretician and practitioner, lived 2000 years before, in the ancient Indian city of Kasi, now called Varanasi. He wrote a medical compendium called ‘Shushruta-Samahita’. Matters like rhinoplasty (plastic surgery) and ophthalmology (ejection of cataracts). The compendium also focuses on the study the human anatomy by using a dead body.
  • Yoga is a system of exercise for physical and mental nourishment. Since Vedic times, thousands of years before, the principles and practice of yoga have crystallized. But, it was only around 200 BC that all the fundamentals of yoga were collected by Patanjali in his treatise, named Yogasutra, that is, Yoga-Aphorisms.
  • Now, in modern times, clinical practices have established that several ailments, including hypertension, clinical depression, amnesia, acidity, can be controlled and managed by yogic practices. The application of yoga in physiotherapy is also gaining recognition.

Conclusion:

There were contributions in fields of Astronomy, physics, chemistry, fine arts, mechanical and production technology, civil engineering and architecture, shipbuilding and navigation. The contributions show the progressive culture and rational thinking. There is a need to take inspiration from such contributions and stride forward.

 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. Many Philosophical School in India emphasize on Salvation as the final goal of human life. In the light of the above statement discuss the features of various orthodox schools. (250 words)

Reference:  Art and Culture by Nitin Singhania

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, art and culture.

Key Demand of the question:

The question aims to discuss the features of various orthodox schools of philosophy in India.

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 by briefly justifying the statement in question; Many Philosophical Schools in India emphasize on Salvation as the final goal of human life.

Body:

The answer body must discuss the features of various orthodox schools of philosophy in India.

The six orthodox schools are called as shatdarshanas and include Nyaya, Sankhya, Yoga, Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta Philosophy). Most of these schools of thought believe in the theory of Karma and rebirth.

Explain the features in detail of each of the above mentioned school and present a comparison to reassert the statement in question.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of these schools of philosophy in India.

Introduction:

Schools of Indian philosophy are a part of Hindu philosophy has a long history originating in ancient India with several scholars intrigued by the mysteries of life and death, metaphysics, purpose of existence, belief in God etc. They codified their world views in what is referred to as schools of philosophy with each of them having extensive literature. Almost all Indian schools of thought accepted the theory of karma and rebirth, and the ideal of moksha is conceived as liberation from the cycle of births and deaths. Moksha/liberation is considered as the highest goal of human struggle.

Body:

Orthodox (astika) schools, originally called sanatana dharma, are collectively referred to as Hinduism in modern times. The ancient Vedas are their source and scriptural authority. Hinduism consists of six systems of philosophy & theology. The six orthodox schools are called as shatdarshanas and include Nyaya, Sankhya, Yoga, Vaisheshika, Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa (Vedanta Philosophy).  The heterodox schools (nastika) which include Buddhism, Jainism and the materialistic Carvaka school.

  • Samkhya:Samkhya philosophy was propounded by Kapila Muni. It is the oldest of the orthodox philosophical systems, and it postulates that everything in reality stems from purusha (self, soul or mind) and prakriti (matter, creative agency, energy).
    • Purush cannot be modified or changed while prakriti brings change in all objects.
  • Nyaya:Nyaya Philosophy was given by (Gautama Muni). It states that nothing is acceptable unless it is in accordance with reason and experience (scientific approach). Nyaya is considered as a technique of logical thinking.
    • Nyaya Sutras say that there are four means of attaining valid knowledge: perception, inference, comparison, and verbal testimony.
  • Yoga: Yoga literally means the union of two principal entities. It was given by Patanjali and the Yogic techniques control body, mind & sense organs, thus considered as a means of achieving freedom or mukti.
    • This freedom could be attained by practising self-control(yama), observation of rules (niyama), fixed postures (asana), breath control (pranayama), choosing an object (pratyahara) and fixing the mind (dharna), concentrating on the chosen object (dhyana) and complete dissolution of self, merging the mind and the object (Samadhi).
    • Yoga admits the existence of God as a teacher and guide.
  • Vaisheshika: It was propounded by Kanada. The basis of the school’s philosophy is that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to a finite number of atoms and Brahman is regarded as the fundamental force that causes consciousness in these atoms.
    • Vaisheshika system is considered as the realistic and objective philosophy of universe.
    • The reality according to this philosophy has many bases or categories which are substance, attribute, action, genus, distinct quality and inherence.
    • Vaisheshika thinkers believe that all objects of the universe are composed of five elements–earth, water, air, fire and ether.
    • They believe that God is the guiding principle. The living beings were rewarded or punished according to the law of karma, based on actions of merit and demerit.
    • The Vaisheshika and Nyaya schools eventually mergedbecause of their closely related metaphysical theories (Vaisheshika only accepted perception and inference as sources of valid knowledge).
  • Purva Mimamsa:This philosophy by Jaimini encompasses the Nyaya-vaisheshika systems and emphasises the concept of valid knowledge. According to Purva Mimamsa, Vedas are eternal and possess all knowledge.
    • According to Mimamsa philosophy Vedas are eternal and possess all knowledge, and religion means the fulfilment of duties prescribed by the Vedas.
    • It says that the essence of the Vedas is dharma. By the execution of dharma one earns merit which leads one to heaven after death.
  • Uttara Mimasa or Vedanta:This school concentrates on the philosophical teachings of the Upanishads (mystic or spiritual contemplations within the Vedas), rather than the Brahmanas (instructions for ritual and sacrifice). The school separated into six sub-schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own series of sub-commentaries:
    • Advaita (Adi Shankara):It states that both the individual self (Atman) and Brahman are the same, and knowing this difference causes liberation.
    • Visishtadvaita (Ramanuja):It believes that all diversity is subsumed to a unified whole.
    • Dvaita (Madhvacharya):It considers Brahman and Atman as two different entities, and Bhakti as the route to eternal salvation.
    • Dvaitadvaita (Nimbarka):It states that the Brahman is the highest reality, the controller of all.
    • Shuddhadvaita (Vallabhacharya):It states that both God and the individual self are the same, and not different.
    • Achintya Bheda Abheda (Chaitanya Mahaprabhu):It emphasizes that the individual self (Jivatman) is both different and not different from Brahman.

Conclusion:

Indian philosophy is distinctive in its application of analytical rigour to metaphysical problems and goes into very precise detail about the nature of reality, the structure and function of the human psyche and how the relationship between the two have important implications for human salvation (moksha).   Rishis   centred   philosophy   on   an   assumption   that   there   is   a   unitary underlying order in the universe which is all pervasive and omniscient.  The efforts by various schools were concentrated on explaining this order and the metaphysical entity at its source (Brahman).  The concept of natural law (Dharma) provided a basis for understanding questions of how life on earth should be lived. The sages urged humans to discern this order and to live their lives in accordance with it.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

3. What is SVEEP initiative of Election Commission of India? What are other ECI initiative for Free and Fair Elections? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is based on the recent best practices brought by ECI in irder to strengthen the electoral system in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the SVEEP initiative of ECI and other initiatives.

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:

One can start by highlighting the importance of free and fair elections for a Democracy like India.

Body:

The answer should discuss the SVEEP initiative of Election Commission of India in detail; Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program, better known as SVEEP, is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India.

Then move onto comment on the role of Election Commission in ensuring free and fair elections in the country and enumerate various efforts made in this direction.

Conclusion:

Thus, conclude with how ECI and its efforts are key to ensure free and fair elections in the country.

Introduction:

Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program, better known as SVEEP, is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India. Since 2009, SVEEP has been working towards preparing India’s electors and equipping them with basic knowledge related to the electoral process.

Body:

Modus Operandi of SVEEP:

  • SVEEP is a programme of multi interventions through different modes and media designed to educate citizens, electors and voters about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and participation in the electoral processes.
  • SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.
  • SVEEP’s primary goal is to build a truly participative democracy in India by encouraging all eligible citizens to vote and make an informed decision during the elections.
  • SVEEP began with the introduction of planned IEC (Information, Education, and Communication) interventions in the Jharkhand elections of end-2009.
  • It was carried forward more systematically in subsequent elections.
  • A range of policy initiatives programmes and activities for the purpose of empowering the electors have evolved in three SVEEP phases since 2009.
  • The Lok Sabha Elections 2014 have been a major landmark in the history and learning of SVEEP. SVEEP II covered ten General Elections to State Assemblies.
  • Drawing learnings from the historic Lok Sabha Elections of 2014, a more robust and in-depth plan is in place for SVEEP III.
  • Enhanced interaction with the citizens through online and offline modes; awareness about new initiatives and a standardized yearly plan of activities, form a part of this phase.
  • In addition to target groups of women, youth, urban voters and the marginalised sections, the inclusion of groups like service voters, NRIs, persons with disabilities, future voters are of primary focus.
  • Greater synergy with partners, micro surveys, and the ELC project are key features of the current phase.

Measures taken by ECI to conduct free and fair elections:

  • Ceiling on election expenditure: At present, there is no limit on the amount a political party can spend in an election or on a candidate. But, the Commission has put a cap on individual candidates’ spending. For the Lok Sabha elections, it is Rs. 50 – 70 lakh (depending on the state they are contesting the Lok Sabha seat from), and Rs. 20 – 28 lakh for an assembly election.
  • Restriction on exit polls: The EC issued a statement before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections saying that exit poll results could be broadcast only after the final phase of the elections were over. This was done to avoid prospective voters being misguided or prejudiced in any manner.
  • Voting through postal ballot: In 2013, the EC decided to expand the ambit of postal ballot voting in the country. Previously, only Indian staff in missions abroad and defence personnel in a limited way, could vote via postal ballots. Now, there are 6 categories of voters who can use the postal ballot: service voters; special voters; wives of service voters and special voters; voters subjected to preventive detention; voters on election duty and Notified voters.
  • Awareness Creation: The government decided to observe January 25th as ‘National Voters Day’ to mark the EC’s founding day. Read more on the National Voters’ Day here.
  • Political parties need to report any contribution in excess of Rs 20000 to the EC for claiming income tax benefit.
  • Declaring of criminal antecedents, assets, etc. by the candidates is required and declaring false information in the affidavit is now an electoral offence punishable with imprisonment up to 6 months or fine or both.
  • Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System (PPRTMS): To allow an applicant to track the progress of his/her application.
  • Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation Programme (SVEEP): ECI organizes voter awareness campaigns in order to educate the voters.
  • Photos of all candidates on EVMs: All the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and postal ballot papers will have to carry photographs of all the candidates – in addition to their respective party names and symbols – to help voters identify the political leaders in the fray and eliminate confusion.
  • Introduction of VVPATs: The poll body is introducing voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) for verification of voting in all polling booths in the country. These machines are being used to bring more transparency in the system, as directed by the Supreme Court. VVPAT machines, attached to EVMs, dispense a slip with the name of the candidate and his/her party symbol each time a vote is cast. This slip appears on a small window for seven seconds and then drops into a sealed container. Hence, matching EVM and VVPAT results dispel fears about EVMs being ‘hacked’ to favour a particular political party.
  • New Vigilant Citizen app: The Election Commission has launched a new Vigilant Citizen app – cVIGIL – ahead of the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha Elections. The app has been launched for citizens across the country to help them report any violation of code of conduct – say, incidents of intimidation or inducement – on their Android mobiles during polling.
  • Eagle eye on online campaigning: The CEC also had announced the steps that the Election Commission will monitor online campaigning. In order to fight the menace of fake news, all candidates standing for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will have to declare their social media accounts to the Commission as part of their affidavit at the time of filing nominations. Moreover, all political advertisement on social media will require pre-certification from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMCs) in place at the district and state levels. These ads will be part of the poll expenditure of the party.
  • Photo voter slip will no longer suffice: The Election Commission had announced that a photo voter slip shall no longer be used as a standalone identification document during elections. Instead, a voter will have to carry any of the following 12 approved identity cards to the polling station – Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), passport, Aadhaar card, driving licence, PAN card, service identity cards with photographs issued to employees by central/state government or PSUs and public limited companies, passbooks issued by bank or post office, and smart card issued by the Registrar General of India under National Populations Register.
  • In addition to the above, the Election Commission has strengthened its Voter Helpline to help citizens get authentic information pertaining to his/her voter registration.

Way forward:

  • ECI has taken stringent measures to overcome many of the challenges like VVPAT, open challenge to hack the EVM, multi- stakeholder involvement of social media companies to regulate the Social media during MCC, cVIGIL to involve people also in MCC activities etc.
  • However, there needs to be some positive action from the side of the Government too to incorporate changes.
  • Further, full usage of the powers of EC is the need of the hour to ensure MCC is followed in true letter and spirit.
  • Technology has been a saviour for ECI over a period of time. Innovative usage of the social media and apps like cVIGIL can be leveraged to make elections free and fair.

Conclusion:

EC has transformed itself into an institution which is trusted by Indian people. Its various recommendations and moves to keep up with the challenges of the times have strengthened the elections process. Its neutrality, efficiency and work ethic are well established now. Robustness of our election results, peaceful transition of power and people’s faith in the EC stand testimony to all its virtues. It certainly is the dark knight of our democracy.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention.

4. What are the flaws of IT Act 2000? How can better  and effective control be exercised on Social Media? Discuss in the wake of recent events that occurred in relevance to this in the country.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

On February 1, 2021, in the wake of the intensification of the farmers’ protests and reports of violent incidents on January 26 – a number of Twitter accounts became inaccessible in India. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Bring out the lacunae in the IT Act 2000 and explain how it can be made more effective in controlling social media.

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 a brief background covering events relevant to the context of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

  • Key features of IT act 2000.
  • Flaws of IT Act 2000 in the context of social media regulations.
  • Explain how the easy availability of access to social media on the go has also triggered the phenomenon where people invariably post information on social media without understanding its ramifications. A number of times, people post content on various social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc on the spur of the moment or on an impulse without thinking it through.
  • Discuss about the misuse of social media
  • Discuss in what way effective control can be brought on to social media.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need for reforms in the IT Act so to ensure its effectiveness and utility.

Introduction:

The Information Technology Act, 2000 was enacted by the Indian Parliament in 2000. It is the primary law in India for matters related to cybercrime and e-commerce. The act was enacted to give legal sanction to electronic commerce and electronic transactions, to enable e-governance, and also to prevent cybercrime. Under this law, for any crime involving a computer or a network located in India, foreign nationals can also be charged. The law prescribes penalties for various cybercrimes and fraud through digital/electronic format. It also gives legal recognition to digital signatures.

Body:

The flaws of IT Act 2000 are:

  • Lack of Transparency:
    • Section 69A of the IT Act.:
    • Section 69A grants to the government the power to issue directions to intermediaries for blocking access to any information that it considers prejudicial to, among other things, the sovereignty and integrity of India, national security, or public order.
    • Section 69A (3) envisages a jail sentence for up to seven years for intermediaries who fail to comply.
    • In 2009, the government also issued “Blocking Rules”, which set up the procedure for blocking (including regular review by government committees), and also stated that all requests and complaints would remain strictly confidential.
  • Weak on data protection:
    • The bill has provisions for against wrongful loss or wrongful gain but does not protect the privacy. Hence, it does not prevent companies from selling or sharing consumer data with others.
  • Privacy issues:
    • The IT Act also doesn’t address privacy issues – privacy is now a fundamental right and the law needs to specifically address privacy concerns, but that’s not the case.
  • Poor protection of cybersecurity:
    • The Indian IT Act is not a cybersecurity law and therefore does not deal with the nuances of cybersecurity.
    • Indian citizens have been victims to numerous instances of data breach and privacy violations – take for instance the Cambridge Analytica incident, or the Aadhaar account breach of 1.1 billion citizens, or for that matter the 2018 personal data leak incident of 5 lakh Google+ users.
  • Lack of expertise:
    • regular police personnel, specifically any officer holding the rank of inspector, are responsible for investigating nefarious online activities. The difficulty that arises here is that cybercrimes are a nuanced form of criminal activity that require years of specialised training and a deep understanding of technology to probe adequately.

Way forward:

the_indian

 

Topic: GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

GS-3: role of media

5. Why is media termed as 4th pillar of Democracy? What are its responsibilities in a vibrant democracy and how can selective targeting subdue democratic spirit? Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains how the fear of executive overreach that is stifling some of our fundamental rights is very real. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how Media is the 4th pillar of democracy and discuss its responsibilities in a democracy. Also discuss the challenges before 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:

Start with recent examples around media and why it has been making news round the corner.

Body:

Explain first why media is considered as 4th pillar of democracy.

Discuss what is meant by selective targeting; explain how such a thing can undermine the very spirit of democracy.

Take hints from the article and explain the retreat of democracy.

Discuss the important role that media plays in fostering vibrant democracy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of democracy.

Introduction:

The media is supposed to exist to maintain the bridge between the government and the people. The press is also called the fourth pillar of democracy.

Body

Media as fourth pillar of democracy:

  • Media acts as a watchdog of public interest in a democracy. It plays an important role in a democracy and serves as an agency of the people to inform them of the events of national and international significance.
  • Its importance in influencing readers can be gauged by the role it played during the freedom struggle, politically educating millions of Indians who joined the leaders in their fight against the British imperialism.
  • It is like a mirror which reveals us the bare truth and harsh realities of life. A news media, be it in print form or TV/radio, its main job is to inform people about unbiased news without any censorship or tampering.
  • For the democratic system to operate to its full potential, the participation on a part of the public is imperative, that successively needs circulation of reliable info to the masses on numerous public problems. This is where the mass media comes as fourth pillar of democracy.

Selective targeting of media:

  • There was a raid at the residence of NewsClick’s editor-in-chief, Prabir Purkayastha, and it lasted for nearly 114 hours. There are multiple problems with these intimidating acts.
  • The long arm of the government is extended to muzzle the voices of those who are engaged in ‘sense-making news’.
  • The First Information Reports filed against some prominent journalists by the Delhi Police and the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh governments, for their tweets relating to the death of a farmer during tractor rally in Delhi on Republic Day, is an attempt to prevent discussions that would contribute to ‘sense-making news’.
  • Political affiliations also play a role in selective targeting. E.g.: Arrest of journalist Arnab Goswami by Maharashtra government, ruled by opposition party.

Responsibilities of media in democracy:

  • Journalism is a profession that serves. By virtue, thereof it enjoys the privilege to ‘question’ others.
  • The fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, views, comments and information on matters of public interest in a fair, accurate, unbiased: and decent manner and language.
  • The press is an indispensable pillar of democracy. It purveys public opinion and shapes it.  Parliamentary democracy can flourish only under the watchful eyes of the media.    Media not only reports but acts as a bridge between the state and the public.
  • With the advent of private TV channels, the media seems to have taken over the reins of human life and society in every walk of life.
  • The media today does not remain satisfied as the Fourth Estate, it has assumed the foremost importance in society and governance. While playing the role of informer, the media also takes the shape of a motivator and a leader.
  • Such is the influence of media that it can make or unmake any individual, institution or any thought. So, all pervasive and all-powerful is today its impact on the society. With so much power and strength, the media cannot lose sight of its privileges, duties and obligations.

Conclusion:

Selective targeting of media house that act as fourth estate, leads to stifling of democratic voices. As JS Mill said, everyone’s opinion must be heard, even if he is a mad man. Because every opinion contains a part of truth.

 

Topic: GS-2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.

GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

6. Can free-market full of competition and choices help achieve welfare state’s target by lowering the vaccine prices? Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article brings to us detailed analysis of the vaccine market; a condition brought before entire world owing to covid-19.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to analyse if free-market full of competition and choices can help achieve welfare state’s target by lowering the vaccine prices.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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:

Present the current conditions of vaccination and its stages across the world.

Body:

Discuss what you understand by free-market full of competition and choices. Then explain its relevance to achieving welfare State.

Explain that Economists point out that since vaccines boost health and immunity, creating additional private motivations with a free market makes rational sense in India’s context. India is not really a place where one can expect private subsidies to take vaccines to socially optimal levels, such as in the U.S., because that may be socially unaffordable for the government. If this is not done, the country’s rich will find a way to engage in vaccine tourism.

Take hints from the article and suggest your opinion.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

India, recently completed nearly four weeks since it began administering the two COVID-19 vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin. Many other vaccine candidates are in line to get approval, yet the regulator has not sped the process. Economists believe that to achieve the required herd immunity, deregulation and opening vaccine market for private consumption is the need of the hour.

Body:

Free Market competition:

The free-market economy is an economic system based on supply and demand with little or no government control. Free markets are characterized by a spontaneous and decentralized order of arrangements through which individuals make economic decisions.

In the context of vaccines, all safety attested vaccines will be allowed to enter the Indian market without restrictions and people can exercise choices while getting their vaccine shots. The increased supply and demand for vaccines will make the cost of vaccine affordable, leading to vast mass vaccination.

Free market and vaccination:

  • Seroprevalence surveys suggest that some 400 million people already have antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in India. 780 million more people need to develop antibodies either naturally or through vaccines.
    • With the rate of vaccination this will take another 47 months.
  • Government simply doesn’t have the capacity to do this in the way it is being done currently.
  • In this context, it is surprising that the Indian government has stayed away from a free market system for COVID-19 vaccines, especially given that several vaccine options are now knocking at its door.
  • Instead, there are only governmental channels, which can work only to a certain extent. The rules and elements of a free market, such as competition, choice, and prices, will go a long way in advancing social welfare.
  • A constricted vaccine market does nothing to help the government’s aspiration of a $5 trillion economy.
  • In fact, the sooner the country reaches herd immunity, the more likely the chance that the economy will recover faster.
  • Stimulating the economy would also be an incentive for the government given that its international image has taken a beating recently following the farmers’ protests.

Conclusion:

Not opening up the market for these options suggests that there may be other considerations at play here, which are beyond the health and welfare of citizens. Governments must decide solely on the basis of larger welfare and greater good and regulate where necessary when it comes to public health.

 

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. who are manual scavengers? Why vaccination of manual scavengers must be prioritized? Discuss the ethical concerns surrounding them.  Do you think the government has a moral obligation in doing so? (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The question is based on moral and ethical concerns associated with manual scavengers and related vaccination priorities.  

Key Demand of the question:

One must present the ethical concerns surrounding the work of manual scavengers and evaluate as to why they should be prioritized first during vaccination.

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 the fact that in discussing manual scavenging in India, there are two important components: (1) close proximity to or handling of human feces and (2) the caste or community element, by which people engaging in this task are primarily from Dalit or SC/ST castes. The combination of these two elements moves the issue beyond being merely about labour.

Body:

The answer must first discuss the ethical concerns surrounding manual scavengers and then explain the case of prioritizing their vaccination amidst the current Covid-19 times.

Explain why there is prevalence of manual scavenging in India. Apart from social discrimination, manual scavengers face severe health hazards including exposure to harmful gases, cardiovascular degeneration, musculoskeletal disorders, and hepatitis, leptospirosis and skin problems etc.,

Explain how these are ethically valid concerns. 

Take hints from the article and explain why vaccination of manual scavengers needs to be prioritized.

Explain what should be the role of the government and why it would be a moral obligation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion as to what should be the solution.

Introduction:

Manual scavenging refers to the practice of manually cleaning, carrying, disposing or handling in any manner, human excreta from dry latrines and sewers. The practice of manual scavenging is linked to India’s caste system where so-called lower castes were expected to perform this job. Manual scavengers are amongst the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in India.

Body:

Vaccination of manual scavengers:

  • During the pandemic, manual scavengers kept entering septic tanks because we failed to provide them a safety net. Some migrant labourers also took up the work of scavenging.
  • The risk involved in septic cleaning is the highest, killing one sanitation worker every five days.
  • In the initial days of the pandemic, the absence of policy for the protection of the sanitation workers resulted in the loss of many lives, cases that one cannot even find in the records of the National Commission of the Safai Karmachari (NCSK).
  • Manual scavengers are at a greater threat of contracting not just Covid-19 but also a multitude of other diseases. Their vaccination must become a priority.

Ethical concerns involved:

  • The “lowest” denominator in the work of sanitation are the manual scavengers, who are by far the most unprotected.
  • Caste and economics are complicit in the deprivation of the most deprived.
  • There is no social security, no accountability in the actual expenditure of the rehabilitation schemes, no definite provision for healthcare or pension.
  • No importance is given to the representation of a sanitation worker during formulation of policies for them.
  • The many layers of sanitation work make them prone to long-term diseases, as in most cases they do not even live till the age of retirement.
  • It also leads to perpetuation of poverty amongst the next generation as the current Safai karmacharis are unable to climb the social or economic ladder.

Conclusion:

Government must protect the most vulnerable who put their lives at risk, even when there is no pandemic. Manual scavengers are also sanitation workers, with the least amount of safety net and social security while facing the most depredated conditions. Though the ultimate goal is to eradicate manual scavenging, the reality is still short of that goal. Until then, these workers must be brought under priority vaccination.


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