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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 12 August 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: Salient features of world’s physical geography;

1. Plate tectonics explains why Earth’s continents are moving; the theory of continental drift did not provide an explanation. Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: NCERT Book For Class XI: Fundamentals of Physical Geography.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about how plate tectonic theory overcame the flaws of the continental drift theory.

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:

Write about plate tectonics and the movement of continents and various theories put forward to explain them.

Body:

Write in brief about the continental drift theory and explains it briefly – forces it considers for the movement, supporting evidences it considers, critique of theory regarding the movement of the continents and its acceptance among scientists etc.

In the next part, write about plate tectonic theory, the mechanism of it and how it successfully explained the movement of continents. Use small and neat diagrams for better representation.

Conclusion:

Mention about general importance of the two theories and conclude your answer.

Introduction

Continental drift describes one of the earliest ways geologists thought continents moved over time. It was a theory that explained how continents shift position on Earth’s surface due to various forces existing on the earth. The theory of plate tectonics states that the Earth’s solid outer crust, the lithosphere, is separated into plates that move over the asthenosphere, the molten upper portion of the mantle. Oceanic and continental plates come together, spread apart, and interact at boundaries all over the planet. Today, the theory of continental drift has been replaced by the science of plate tectonics.

Body:

Continental drift

  • The theory of continental drift is most associated with the scientist Alfred Wegener. In the early 20th century, Wegener published a paper explaining his theory that the continental landmasses were “drifting” across the Earth, sometimes ploughing through oceans and into each other. He called this movement continental drift.
  • Pangaea
    • Wegener was convinced that all of Earth’s continents were once part of an enormous, single landmass called Pangaea.
    • According to Wagener’s theory, during the Jurassic period, about 200 to 130 million years ago, Pangaea started to break up into two smaller continents, which he called Laurasia and Gondwanaland.
  • His theory was inspired by the fact that edges of the continents south America and Africa fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzlefossil remains of the same extinct animal or plant can be found across several continents, identical rocks could be found on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. These rocks were the same type and the same age , evidence from ancient glaciers.
  • Scientists did not accept Wegener’s theory of continental drift. One of the elements lacking in the theory was the mechanism for how it works, why did the continents drift and what patterns did they follow

Plate tectonics:

  • Wegener’s idea eventually helped to form the theory of plate tectonics, but while Wegener was alive, scientists did not believe that the continents could move.
  • Continents rest on massive slabs of rock called tectonic plate The plates are always moving and interacting in a process called plate tectonics.
  • Plate tectonics is the theory explaining the motion of the outer crust or the lithosphere of earth. Lithosphere is divided into tectonics plates. The crust moves due to convective forces generated within the asthenosphere, fuelled by the internal heat of the earth’s core.

How  plate tectonics is an improvement over continental drift theory:

  • Plate tectonic explains the mechanism of the motion of the tectonic plates while continental drift theory left this question completely unanswered.
    • Tectonic plates have been constantly moving over the globe throughout the history of the earth. It is not the continent that moves as believed by Wegener. Continents are part of a plate and what moves is the plate.
  • Wegener had thought of all the continents to have initially existed as a super continent in the form of Pangaea. However, later discoveries reveal that the continental masses, resting on the plates, have been wandering all through the geological period, and Pangaea was a result of converging of different continental masses that were parts of one or the other plates.
  • At the time that Wegener proposed his theory of continental drift, most scientists believed that the earth was a solid, motionless body. However, concepts of sea floor spreading and the unified theory of plate tectonics have emphasised that both the surface of the earth and the interior are not static and motionless but are dynamic.
  • Sea floor spreading:
    • The mobile rock beneath the rigid plates is believed to be moving in a circular manner. The heated material rises to the surface, spreads and begins to cool, and then sinks back into deeper depths. This cycle is repeated over and over to generate what scientists call a convection cell or convective flow
    • The ultimate proof of this was the discovery of “magnetic stripes “on the seafloor later in the 1960s: the magnetic domains in oceanic rocks recorded reversal of Earth’s magnetic field over time. The pattern was symmetric to the ridge, supporting the idea of symmetric seafloor spreadingThe idea of subduction zoneswas born
    • With plate tectonics, we have a theory that explains Wegener’s observations and how lithosphere can be produced and consumed so that Earth does not change its size
  • Wegener’s continental drift theory lacked was a propelling mechanism. Other scientists wanted to know what was moving these continents around. Unfortunately, Wegener could not provide a convincing answer. The technological advances necessitated by the Second World War made possible the accumulation of significant evidence now underlying modern plate tectonic theory.
  • The following two forces are too small to bring in change:
    • Pole-fleeing or centrifugal force:
      • The spinning of Earth on its own axis creates a centrifugal force i.e., force oriented away from the axis of  rotation towards the equator. Wegener believed the centrifugal force of the planet caused the super continent to break apart and pushed continents away from the Poles toward the equator. Therefore, He called this drifting  mechanism as the “pole-fleeing or centrifugal force”
    • Tidal force:
      • Wegener tried to attribute the westward drift of the Americas to lunar-solar drag i.e., by invoking tidal force that is the gravitational forces of the sun and the moon .He also admitted that it is probable that pole- fleeing or centrifugal force and tidal force are responsible for the journey of continents. Wegener failed to devise a sound mechanism for the movement of the continents. For Wegener the drifting mechanism was the most difficult question to solve.
    • Plate tectonics is the grand unifying theory of geosciences that explains
      • Movement of continents
      • Earthquakes, volcanism most major features on Earth’s surface, including mountain building, formation of new lithosphere ,consumption of old lithosphere, mid-ocean ridges

Conclusion:

It took nearly 60 years for the idea of continental drift to be scientifically confirmed in the form of plate tectonic theory. Ultimately it added new dimension in the understanding of the global distribution of earthquakes, volcanoes and identification of disaster-prone areas.

 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues;

2. The Swaraj party’s primary goal was to contest the elections to the new Central Legislative Assembly in 1923 and, once in office, to disrupt official policy and derail the British government in India by anti-government agitation within the council chambers and outside it. Explain. (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To elaborate upon the modus operandi adopted by the Swarjists – The methods of obstruction to all government sponsored bills in order to destroy the prestige of the councils as well as to carry out the nationalist work outside 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:

Begin by mentioning the reason for the formation of Swaraj Party, its aims and objectives.

Body:

Mention about the nature of the struggle and resistance that the swarjists carried out.

In the first part, mention the nature they adopted within the councils in order to destroy the prestige of the councils. Throw out all proposals for legislative enactments, force recognition of their rights, support measures and bills necessary for the healthy growth of national life, help the constructive programme of the Congress, to prevent the drain of public wealth, project the rights of labour etc.

In the next part, write about the nationalistic work done by the swarjists outside the legislative councils. Inter-communal unity, removal of untouchability, Village organization, boycott of selected British goods, organisation of agencies for propaganda outside India of national work and enlisting sympathy and support of foreign countries in the struggle for ‘Swaraj’ etc.

Conclusion:

Underscore the importance of the Swarjists and their contribution to Indian national Movement.

Introduction

Post Non-Cooperation movement, a question arose in Indian National Congress about the future course of action, i.e. – whether to get politically involved in governance or not. The sudden withdrawal of Non-Cooperation Movement lead to dissatisfaction all around, it leads to the diffusion of the gained energies in different ways.

Indian National Congress was divided into two ideologies, the Swarajists and the No Changers, based on the council participation or boycott. Swarajists main aim was to end the boycott of the council, whereas No-Changers argued to continue the boycott. Swarajists consisted of – CR Das, Vithalbhai Patel, Motilal Nehru, Hakim Ahmed Khan. No Changers consisted of – C Rajagopalachari, Vallabhbhai Patel, MA Ansari, Rajendra Prasad.

Body:

This intra party conflict led to the creation of Khilafat Swaraj Party within the Congress, it wanted to contest elections, due to the following arguments:

  • They wanted to use the legislative assemblies a part of their struggle against imperialism.
  • They wanted to use this method, for constructive criticism, to make people aware & to make them politically active during the period of political vacuum.
  • They wanted to take forward the National demand of framing of New Constitution.
  • They argued that it would be a new front against the Britishers and it would not dilute the Non-Cooperation movement.
  • They wanted to use it for criticisms and obstructions, wherever possible.

With the noble intentions in mind, the Swarajists were able to practically get the following successes-

Positive Contributions of the Swarajists:

  • They took up three major problems – Self-governance, civil liberties, repeal of repressive laws & development of indigenous industries.
  • Their first and foremost contribution was defeat of Public Safety Bill, which aimed to enable the government to deport undesirable foreign nationalist.
  • They did excellent work in field of education, health, sanitation, anti-untouchability and khadi promotion.
  • They exposed the hollowness of reform of 1919.
  • They criticized the views of “No Changers”, they felt boycotting the council and sitting back would lead to diffusion of tempo.
  • They raised the quality of life in municipalities under them.
  • Their views regarding Self-rule, freedom rights etc. -were heard not only in assemblies but all across India.
  • They outvoted government several times, on matters of budgetary grants and through adjournment motions.
  • They filled the political vacuum created by withdrawal of NCM.

However, the gained positivity could not be sustained for a very long period of time, the side effects of power soon came to surface and it led to the following negatives.

Criticism of the Swarajists

  • Several times, they were not able to resist peaks and privileges of councils.
  • On religious grounds- Swarajists were divided into Responsivists and Non-Responsivists.
  • They could not form a national coalition in elections of 1926.
  • Methods of Obstruction and deadlock have its own limitations.
  • They failed to support the peasants cause in Bengal.
  • Lack of coherent policy, coherent could not sustain.

Conclusion:

Hence, despite the obstructions and changing socio-political climate, Swarajist managed to achieve and strengthen their hold for some time that also gave a momentum to the coming nationalist movement, they played a significant role in the public discourse in legislation which was guiding principle for future national movement leaders like J. Nehru. It also led as a starting point for numerous others ways of struggle like the Peasant movements, Trade movements etc. in immediate future.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

3. The National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM) has been aimed to reduce poverty and vulnerability of the urban poor, but the scheme does not have guaranteed wage employment. Is it time to formulate a guaranteed wage employment-based scheme for Urban areas? Comment Critically. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

When there is an economic shock, it is essential to provide people with formal access to a livelihood safety net. Such a net, provided by the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), exists only in rural areas. This article argues for safety net in urban areas too.

Key Demand of the question:

To examine the feasibility of wage employment-based scheme for Urban areas.

Directive:

Critically comment – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘comment’ is prefixed, we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by introducing NULM which is focused on self-employment through skill up-gradation and credit linkages through banks, its aims and objectives.

Body:

In the first part, write about various achievements and shortcomings of NULM especially the way it affected the urban poor and urban employment in the aftermath of the pandemic. Cite relevant statistics from the article to substantiate your points.

Next, argue for the need guaranteed wage employment-based scheme for Urban areas. Write about Himachal Pradesh’s Mukhya Mantri Shahri Ajeevika Guarantee Yojana (MMSAGY) and the insights it provides towards a pan Indian scheme or states themselves considering it.

In the next part, write about impediments to the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward and comment on the feasibility of employment-wage guarantee scheme for urban areas.

Introduction

During the pandemic, governments all over the world faced the difficult choice of saving lives versus protecting livelihoods. According to the World Economic Outlook report of April, 2021 of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), almost all countries, except China, experienced economic contraction last year. The global GDP shrunk by 3.3%. India’s GDP fell by 8%. As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s estimates, the unemployment rate in India peaked at 23.5% in April 2020 before falling to 6.9% in February 2021.

Body

DAY-NULM focuses on organizing urban poor in their strong grassroots level institutions by enhancing sustainable livelihood opportunities through skill development. It aims at leading poor to market-based employment and helping them to set up self-employment ventures by ensuring easy access to credit.

Though the Indian government operates the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM), which is focused on self-employment through skill up-gradation and credit linkages through banks, the scheme does not have guaranteed wage employment provisions akin to what MGNREGA provides.

During the lockdown last year, the migrant labourers moved in large numbers from the urban to rural areas, which is symptomatic of the rural-urban livelihood security divide. This migration tragedy and the economic slowdown have highlighted the need for a similar livelihood safety net in urban India.

Threats to Employment

  • Slowdown in Major Employment Generating Sector:The shrinking sectors that have been affected the most —construction (–50%), trade, hotels and other services (–47%), manufacturing (–39%), and mining (–23%) — are those that create the maximum jobs in the economy.
  • Reverse Migration:The magnitude of economic slowdown can be exemplified by a wave of massive ‘reverse migration’ during the early phase of the lockdown whereby millions of workers returned to their home States due to a loss of livelihoods in cities.
  • Vulnerable Informal Sector:According to the International Labour Organization, of the 535 million labour force in India in 2019, some 398.6 million have poor quality jobs. Further, the lockdown exposed the state of vulnerable employment in urban low-end informal jobs.
    • Vulnerable employment is characterised by inadequate earnings, low productivity and difficult conditions of work that undermine the basic rights of workers.
    • The high and persistent incidence of vulnerable employment are a reflection of the nature of the structural transformation process, whereby capital and labour transfer from low to higher value-added sectors.
    • However, in India capital and labour are moving from low value-added activities in a sector to another sector, but not to higher value-added activities.
    • This leads to a situation where a large proportion of the jobs being created is of poor quality.
  • Increasing Number of Working Poor:Despite higher economic growth in recent years, working poor’s are increasing in India.
    • The service sector-led growth in recent years has intensified this as there is coexistence of strong job creation in some Information and Communication Technology (ICT)-intensive services.
    • However, along with a significant portion of the jobs being created in ‘traditional low value-added services, where informality and vulnerable forms of employment are dominant.
    • The poor quality of jobs and high informality are key for the high level of “working poor’s”. The working poorare working people whose incomes fall below a given poverty line due to low-income jobs and low familial household income.

Way Forward

  • Mobilising Localised Resources:Given the scale of urbanisation, the focus on urban employment generation programmes should be in coordination with local governments.
    • This will require actors at the local level to have more resources at their disposal.
    • Resource mobilisation could be enabled by the formation of local alliances, involving elected representatives, trade unions, entrepreneurs and community groups
    • This can also be the key to solving other problems faced by cities.
  • Localised Employment-Intensive Investment Policies:A major local initiative would be to design and implement employment-intensive investment policies. In this pursuit:
    • Local enterprise formation needs to be an integral part of the strategy, with converging interests for workers and entrepreneurs on issues related to technology and productivity enhancement.
    • Also, Small and micro enterprises which are the fulcrum of industrialisation, need extra support to balance the interests between labour and capital as neither have collective bargaining powers.
  • Prioritising Urban Infrastructure:There is a need to prioritise urban infrastructure as it accounts for a large share of total investments in the overall economy.
    • A labour- intensive approach to building municipal infrastructure can be a cost-effective alternative to capital intensive-approach as wage rates are low.
    • Infrastructure investments would spur employment, generate earnings and contribute to small enterprise formation.
    • Construction of low-cost housing is another activity that can be carried out using labour-intensive methods, while yielding substantial collateral benefits for urban dwellers.
  • Launching of Urban Employment Scheme:There is need for immediate launch of an urban employment scheme oriented toward building large-scale medical, health and sanitation infrastructure in cities and towns across India.
  • Provision of Social Security: There is a need to provide livelihood safety access to urban areas. The livelihood safety net must have comprehensive coverage. Such a net, provided by the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), exists only in rural areas
  • Promote Cooperation: An urban livelihood scheme can be launched within the existing fiscal space. If not, the Union and States can provide resources together and empower the urban local bodies.
  • State Interventions: Himachal Pradesh has launched the Mukhya Mantri Shahri Ajeevika Guarantee Yojana (MMSAGY) with the objective of enhancing livelihood security in urban areas by providing 120 days of guaranteed wage employment to every household at minimum wages in FY 2020-21.
  • Minimum Wages For Urban Workers: Setting a separate minimum wage for rural and urban areas does not cause migration to urban areas since the higher cost of living in urban areas has an offsetting effect.
  • Focus on Service Delivery: The focus must shift from asset creation to service delivery. Restricting it to asset creation or wage-material ratios may be suboptimal in urban settings.
  • Increase Incentives to Reduce Migration:Focusing on rural development to increase employment opportunities in rural areas and to enhance the provision of services like education, health, electricity and water and sanitation services are effective means to control rural to urban migration.

Conclusion

Given the economic contraction, there is a need to generate more jobs and reduce vulnerabilities by providing decent wages & job security in urban areas. Traditionally, governments have addressed this issue from a sectoral viewpoint given the contemporary realities, the need is to approach this from a rural-urban perspective. Thus, the present crisis calls for a multi-pronged strategy to tackle the issue of urban jobs.

 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

4. The bilateral and multilateral developments in the recent past, signal the possibility of a permanent course-change in our nation’s policy towards China. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The recent Delhi visit of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his signalling the use of Indian territory to fire the Tibet political salvo at China may have sharpened trilateral equations further.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyze the recent change in the contours of Sino-Indian relations from bilateral as well as multilateral perspectives.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin the answer by throwing the light on Sino-Indian relations.

Body:

In brief, Trace India’s historical policy towards China starting from the Nehruvian era (A flow chart maybe used for this to minimize time and space required as well as for better representation).

Give context about the most important changes witnessed in Bilateral relations in the recent past. The Dolkam Issue, Galwan Valley clash, Wuhan Summit, Chennai Declaration etc. Their impact on bilateral relations must be analyzed briefly.

Next, write about the multilateral issues. Rise of QUAD, Wolf Warrior Diplomacy of China to recent visit of Secretary Blinken and mention of Tibet. Bring out their impact.

Conclusion:

Comment on whether these could lead to a paradigm shift in Sino-Indian relations.

Introduction

China and India are both ancient civilisations and major developing countries. As the only two major developing countries and important representatives of emerging economies, China-India relations assume global and strategic significance.

Body

Bilateral Relations

  • The development of China and India is an important opportunity for each other. Both countries are members of China-Russia-India Trilateral, BRICS, SCO and G20, and share common interests in promoting globalization and opposing trade protectionism.
  • On major international issues, China and India have shared interests and similar positions.
  • Government departments, political parties, legislatures and military of the two countries have actively engaged in high-level exchanges and shared governance experience.
  • Recently the two sides held the 6th Strategic Economic Dialogue and the 9th Financial Dialogue, and reached new consensus on development strategies.

Positive Developments

  • Since the beginning of the 21st century, trade between China and India has grown from less than $3 billion to nearly $100 billion, an increase of about 32 times.
  • More than 1,000 Chinese companies have increased their investment in industrial parks, ecommerce and other areas in India, with a total investment of $8 billion and 2, 00,000 local jobs created.
  • Chinese mobile phone brands have been well-established in the Indian market. Indian companies are also actively expanding the Chinese market, with a cumulative investment of nearly $1 billion in China.
  • The two countries have established 14 pairs of sister cities and provinces, with two-way personnel exchanges exceeding one million.

Informal Summits

  • Informal summits have their use as trust-building exercises.
  • The two countries convened their first Informal Summit in central China’s Wuhan in April 2018.
  • The Wuhan Informal Summit pointed out the direction for the development of bilateral relations.
  • Recently both leaders met in the ancient coastal town of Mamallapuram for a second Informal Summit.

Boundary Dispute

  • The China-India boundary question is a complex and sensitive issue left over from history.
  • Special Representatives’ meeting was established on the boundary question in 2003 and the two sides have held 21 rounds of meetings.
  • This has played an important role in maintaining peace and tranquillity in the border areas.
  • Over the past decades, no single bullet has been fired at the China-India border area, and peace and tranquillity has been maintained.

Concerns / Challenges

  • Doklam and the disputed border between the two countries remains an issue of concern.
  • Even as the political situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, China and Pakistan, remains more intent that India has no role to play there.
  • India has protested comments by Chinese officials on the government’s move to amend Article 370.
  • China reportedly conveyed its displeasure over India’s military exercises in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Demonstration of political confidence through aggression:More than a year after the clash at Galwan Valley, efforts to resolve the border crisis continue to move slowly.
  • The Chinese side has previously failed to complete troop withdrawals and revert to the status quo that the Indian side believed China agreed to.
  • China’s behaviour has been calculated to demonstrate political confidence.
  • Worsening strategic environment for China:Seen from Beijing, the strategic environment for China is beginning to worsen in South and Central Asia.
  • As the US withdraws and the Taliban advances in Afghanistan, China fears the prospect of instability and an emerging haven for terrorism directed against its policies in Xinjiang.
  • Even as China seeks to scale back the debt-laden BRI, such instability may also result in Beijing increasing its already overstretched external commitments — particularly in the security domain.
  • Wolf warrior diplomacy:So far, the response from China’s new class of “wolf warrior” diplomats to this emerging strategic challenge has been to only grow more assertive in rhetoric and behaviour.
  • China’s domestic politics:Response of wolf warrior diplomats may seem perplexing, given that it has served only to alienate other countries and isolate China further.

Importance of repairing Indo Sino ties

Strategic

  • Better relationship between two countries will bring peace in the region and they can fight against terrorism and underdevelopment in the region.
  • China too faces the tune of infiltration and drug trafficking. So, indulging in mutual intelligence sharing and cooperation is required for a more secured border
  • Keeping Pakistan under check and getting support for UNSC membership could happen if we have a more sustained and defined relationship with China.

Economy

  • With Global uncertainty, growing Protectionism and anti-Globalization trend, India and China, both beneficiary of liberal international order must work closely to sustain the same.
  • China has huge forex reserve and India needs foreign investment for projects like Make in India. Both nations are members in NDB, AIIB, BRICS, BCIM etc. and hence good relations among them can bring economic prosperity

Asian Emergence

  • With Russian economy crumbling, India and China are two of the great powers who would have a greater to play.
  • Thus, a cordial relationship is vital for holistic development of the region

Terrorism

  • The two countries have a common interest in curbing religious radicalism and terrorism.
  • Kashmir and Xinjiang, both contiguous neighbours, have similar challenges posed by terrorism and separatist movements.

Way Forward

  • Regional disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultation.
  • Maintaining close high-level exchanges.
  • The two sides can strengthen cooperation under the WTO framework, jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
  • The two sides should speed up negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
  • Increasing mutual investments and encouraging Indian companies to participate in China International Import Expo
  • Upgrading Nathula border trade port to make the pie of cooperation even bigger
  • India needs to suggest ways and means to prevent Pakistan from intruding in its relationship with China.
  • Both need to identify roadmaps to address the burgeoning trade deficit favouring China.
  • People to people contact, tracing the work of Chinese traveller Huan Zang and Indian counterpart Kashyap Matenga in relation with Buddhism.
  • A strong India-China relationship is important not only for the mutual benefit of the people of India and China, but also for the region and the world.

Conclusion

Indeed, the choice China makes between these two alternatives will have implications for India and the rest of the world in their dealing with China.

 

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.  

5.Mixing the two types of vaccine may give the immune system multiple ways to recognize a pathogen. Two different vaccines may be more potent than either vaccine alone but mixing must be exercised with caution. Critically Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

Faced with short supplies of COVID-19 vaccines and unforeseen side effects, some countries have adopted an unproven strategy: switching shots midstream. This article analyses its effects and efficacy.

Key Demand of the question:

To weigh in the pros and cons for mixing of vaccines and to advocate a cautious approach to mixing of vaccines.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by writing the need for mixing vaccines – compulsion because of shortage, improved efficacy and response, multiple ways to prevent pathogen multiplicity etc.

Body:

In the first part of the body, write about the current studies done across the world which and in India by ICMR, wherein the vaccine mixture has elicited better immunogenicity. Mixing boosting the antibody response, better at triggering T cell responses etc.

In the next part, write the need to exercise caution the above regard. Lack of data, clinical trials, long terms effects of mixing vaccine, presence of large number of combinations in vaccines etc. Mention the recent WHO and Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) advisory on mixing.

Conclusion:

Summarize a way forward that introducing booster doses of a different vaccine should be firmly evidence-driven and targeted at population groups in greatest need.

Introduction

India plans to conduct research on Mixing Covid-19 vaccines. This is to investigate if it can immunize people using a “mix and match” of different Covid-19 vaccines.

Body

What does mix of vaccines mean?

  • Mixing of vaccines means following up one dose of a particular vaccine with a second dose of a different vaccine. In scientific terms, this is called “heterologous”
  • This would mean following up one dose of a particular vaccine with a second dose of a different vaccine.
  • In scientific terms, this is called “heterologous” immunisation.
  • Mixing and Matching Covid-19 vaccines of different technologies could better our immune response and may provide wider protection against certain mutations or variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • This may solve the problem with shortages in supply of a vaccine. It allows the completion of immunization while ensuring safety from side effects from one vaccine.
  • Have vaccines been mixed before Covid-19?
  • Mixing and matching of vaccineshave been tested for decades, especially for viruses like Ebola. However, most combinations had initially been restricted to vaccines that use the same technology.
  • In India, combinations of rotavirus vaccines have also been used and tested out.

Reasons for mixing Covid-19 vaccines:

  • Better Immune Response: Several scientists believe that using a different vaccine for the second dose could potentially boost the immune response against the virus.
    • Example: Viral vector vaccines like Covishield use a modified and weakened chimpanzee ‘adenovirus’ (common cold virus). But using the same adenovirus could make the vaccine less effective the second or third time around. That is why Sputnik V uses two different adenoviruses to deliver the spike protein’s code to our bodies.
  • Protection against mutations and variants: Mixing and matching vaccines of different technologies such as a viral vector vaccine followed up with an mRNA vaccine-like Pfizer’s might encourage our immune system to build a wider response.
  • Such combinations could also potentially provide wider protection against certain mutations or variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
  • Can cover up the shortages of Vaccines:Current Covid-19 vaccine production cannot sufficiently cater to the existing demand, resulting in stock-outs. Hence, in the short term, mixing solves the shortage of vaccines problem.
  • Safety Concerns:Countries like Germany, UK have halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger age groups due to concerns of rare blood clots. Here, mixing and matching will allow the completion of immunization while ensuring safety.

Concerns:

  • Many unknowns:The Covid-19 vaccines in use have received restricted emergency use permissions. Hence, questions about how safe it is to mix and match and whether the approach can prompt a better immune response are still being answered.
  • Untested Combinations:Some vaccines like Covaxin have not even been administered in a mix and match scenario. Hence, more research needs to be conducted.
  • Differences in Vaccines: There are complexities in mixing vaccines which includes
  • Differences in the shelf life of these vaccines
  • Shipment and storage conditions
  • Side effects: Studies such as the Com-COV trials have shown that some combinations like AstraZeneca with Pfizer vaccines could lead to an increase in side effects.
  • Some vaccines may have more side effects or may not work.

Conclusion

As of now, there are no issues theoretically that could make mixing and matching of Covid-19 vaccines a major safety threat. “Our immune systems are capable of handling a lot — we are seeing an increase in minor side-effects with mixing, but do not expect major side effects,” The World Health Organization has said there is still not enough data to say whether using two different vaccines together is safe or can boost immunity.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections

6. As an administrator, do you replace the effective, but dishonest guy with an honest, but ineffective individual? Comment. (150 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To argue for the need for a civil servant to be efficient along with being honest as just the virtue of honesty itself will not be able to fulfil the goals and aspirations of the government.

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:

Write about honesty and efficiency as a virtue in civil servants.

Body:

In detail, analyze that though honesty is a very good virtue to have but it alone it is not enough to get the work done. The ‘honest-only’ bureaucrat is a crusader who smells a rat everywhere and in every file. Hence, nothing gets delivered.

Mention the repercussion that extreme honesty without emotional intelligence can cause to the civil servant as well as the overall administration.

Give the need to supplement honesty with efficient and getting the work done. Bureaucrats who are honest and efficient. They may not be as visible as those who are going hammer and tongs against the “dishonest”. They are not crusaders. They are the “doers”. A civil servant must be practical.

Give examples of the above.

Conclusion:

Summarize that honest and efficient bureaucrat must be committed to the cause for which they are paid from the public exchequer. As an administrator, it is your duty to ensure it.

Introduction

Honesty and uprightness are the hallmarks of civil servants. Civil servants possessing these qualities are considered as a backbone of any strong organizations. Honesty or absolute integrity, truthfulness and hard work without indulgences form an inherent part of the life a civil servant whose sole objective is to efficiently deliver services to the public.

Body:

In Indian bureaucracy, major administrative decisions are taken by civil servants, who like normal humans are susceptible to make mistakes. But there is a thin line between intentional and bonafide mistakes, which needs identification for making administration easy as well as transparent.

On account of the emerging socio-political environment, this performance is not always expected to be in public good. It is also a pity that on occasions, the bureaucrat is expected to perform in the interest of a few. Unfortunately, such occasions are increasing by the day and those bureaucrats who do not conform are not only shown the door but also harassed. What is even more appalling is the fact that far from good performance getting recognised, there are instances of officers being penalised for performing well.

Honesty is often equated with courage. Courage to stay with morals and values when one have immense power in hands and when system can turn into corrupt system. Integrity may also be interpreted as work ethic, to get the right things done for the community.

Immense Powers and responsibilities of civil servants:

  • In India’s democracy, the ultimate responsibility for running the administration rests with the civil servants. They are expected to deal personally with the manifold problems of modern administration.
  • Civil servants are empowered with security of tenure and provided with powers of decision making for community welfare.
  • They have powers to make important appointments and maintain law and order at local level.
  • They have power to implement policies at ground level for welfare of the people.
  • They are provided with powers to monitor financial resources wrt monitoring and implementing policies on the ground.
  • Among the members of the civil services are administrators in the central government and state government, emissaries in the foreign missions/embassies, tax collectors and revenue commissioners etc. with immense powers.
  • Civil servants are the actual makers of Indian law and policy. They work on behalf of the elected government. It is mandatory for them to form certain rules and policies according to the government’s views and interests.
  • They cannot be removed by any state or central government, but can only be retired.

Why integrity is important and a challenge in civil services?

  • Integrity is the fundamental moral concept in civil services. It is an important basis of ethical behaviour and ethical competency.
  • With such immense powers it often leads to conflict of interest between personal gains and benefits.
  • Often with power of financial resources, low integrity leads to corruption.
  • It is associated with the value of being honest and maintain strong moral principles.
  • Integrity includes financial integrity, professional integrity and intellectual integrity.
  • The notion of integrity has to do with perceived steadiness of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcome.
  • They stand up for their best judgement within a community of people trying to discover what in life is worth doing.
  • With reference to accountability, integrity serves as a measure of willingness to adjust value system to maintain or improve its consistency when an expected result appears incongruent with observed outcome.

Conclusion:

For an individual, it is professional duty and obligation which determine his professional integrity. This means conducting professional relationship and activities fairly, honestly, legally, and in conformance with the professional code of ethics. Thus, integrity is the about fostering the ethical behaviour throughout an institution through personal example, management practices and ethical training.

 

Topic : Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world;

7. What do you understand by the following quote? (150 words)

 ‘The Best Way to Find Yourself Is To Lose Yourself In The Service Of Others’ –Mahatma Gandhi

Why the question:

Question asked in UPSC Mains Examination 2020 GS-IV paper.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by explaining the quote.

Body:

Elaborate upon how service is a defining and fulfilling enterprise which can help you to see that “you” are not delineated by an identity, but defined by ability, compassion, connection and love.

By seeing virtue as selflessness and altruism and doing well to others, we are most essentially ourselves. If we act selfishly, we are not acting as our true selves

Substantiate the above by giving examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing why this quote is more relevant the ever in the current circumstances.

Introduction

Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

When solely focusing on other people, one can often find qualities in a needy person that they may also find in themselves. Not only that, but serving others can be humbling and allow people to see things from a different perspective. Serving others can lead to finding oneself as well as changing oneself for the better.

Body:

Serving others allows one to find themselves, subconsciously. In my experience, I noticed that when I volunteered at a food drive I was at my happiest. I vividly remember how appreciative they were for a meal, something I took for granted. I realized that I was at my happiest, not when I was focusing on myself and only what benefits me, but when I was acting compassionately to help others.

Furthermore, I came to realize that I truly cared about helping others who cannot help themselves, as opposed to only caring about money and material things. In summation, serving others can allow one to find themselves and what they truly care about.

Those who are more fortunate tend to take things for granted. For instance, many people do not think much about helping people in need. I realized this when my aunt was sick in the hospital. I appreciate every second I spend with her, as she is such a humble person and does not take anything for granted. Even with her difficult situation, she is still the happiest person I know. She changed my outlook on life and made me realize, that being humble and content with your situation is the most important thing that you can do. By being with, and caring for, my aunt, I came to terms with myself and found deeper meaning within my own actions.

One could argue that when helping others, the person serving is solely thinking about the other person. Therefore, one cannot find themselves if they are not even thinking about themselves. However, looking within yourself and being at your own devices is not the only way to find inner meaning. Many people are afraid or too hesitant to go out and help others. Without this experience of giving yourself up to others, some individuals will never reach their full potential in finding their true selves and devoting their time to caring for the less fortunate.

Conclusion:

Mahatma Gandhi’s quote was humbling and impactful. Helping others will lead you to see new qualities in people, leading you to discover new qualities in yourself and others. Gandhi’s quote is humbling, it allows us to see from a different perspective. Assisting those in need brings opportunities to open our eyes to a new world we have not seen before. It leads us to being more accepting by taking on a new view on life. When you lose yourself in helping people, you are completely absorbed into their world. This quote allows you to learn a few things about yourself in the end.


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