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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 July 2022

 

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. Examine the limitations of the continental drift theory. How does the theory of plate tectonics overcome it? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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 by 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 Today, the theory of continental drift has been replaced by the science of plate tectonics.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

Various theories have been proposed to substantiate the present locations of the continents and oceans.

 

 

Limitations of Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics

  • Wegener failed to explain why the drift began only in Mesozoic era and not before.
  • The theory doesn’t consider oceans.
  • Proofs heavily depend on assumptions that are generalist.
  • Forces like buoyancy, tidal currents and gravity are too weak to be able to move continents.
  • Modern theories (Plate Tectonics) accept the existence of Pangaea and related landmasses but give a very different explanation to the causes of drift

 

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: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

2. Aeolian processes create a number of distinct features, through both erosion and deposition of sediment. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write in detail about the Aeolian landforms with suitable examples.

Directive word: 

Elaborate – Give a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the context. You must be defining key terms wherever appropriate and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Aeolian landforms refer to the Landforms that are formed by the winds. There are two types of the Aeolian Landforms viz. Erosional and Depositional.

Body:

Such questions are best explained with various landforms that are a result of such elements.

Explain both erosional and depositional landforms caused by the wind action.

Take examples – Zeugen or Rock Mushrooms, Yardangs, Blow Outs, Inselbergs, Desert pavement, Erg  or Sand Sea, Ripples, Barchan, Longitudinal dunes, Transverse Dunes, Star Dunes etc.

Use suitable diagrams and explain the effect of wind on them.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

The landforms which are created by erosional and depositional activities of wind are called as Aeolian Landforms.  The wind or Aeolian erosion takes place in the following ways, viz. deflation, abrasion, and attrition. This process is not unique to the Earth, and it has been observed and studied on other planets, including Mars.

The wind is the main geomorphic agent in the hot deserts. Winds in hot deserts have greater speed which causes erosional and depositional activities in the desert.

 

 

Body

Erosional Landforms due to Wind:

  • Pediplains:
    • When the high relief structures in deserts are reduced to low featureless plains by the activities of wind, they are called as Pediplains.
    • Selected Australian regions are considered as possible as examples of pediplains.
  • Deflation Basins:
    • Deflation is the removal of loose particles from the ground by the action of wind.
    • When deflation causes a shallow depression by persistent movements of wind, they are called as deflation hollows.
    • Found on the Southern High Plains of northwestern Texas and eastern New Mexico
    • A good example of these hollows is Qattara Depression in the south west of Alexandria, Egypt. This hollow is about 120 m below the sea level.
  • Inselbergs:
    • A monadnock or inselberg is an isolated hill, knob, ridge, outcrop, or small mountain that rises abruptly from a gently sloping or virtually level surrounding plain.
    • Inselbergs are relict features.
    • The occurrence of inselbergs implies immense variations in the rates of degradational activity on the land surface.
    • These structures are one of several varieties of landform called paleoforms that can survive with little modification for tens of millions of years.
    • In inselberg landscapes, the active erosional processes are confined to valley sides and valley floors.
    • Spectacular examples include Uluru/Ayers Rock and the Olga Rocks (Kata Tjuta) in central Australia. Pilot Mountain, North Carolina.
  • Mushroom Rocks:
    • Ventifacts are rocks that have been abraded, pitted, etched, grooved, or polished by wind-driven sand or ice crystals.
    • These geomorphic features are most typically found in arid environments where there is little vegetation to interfere with Aeolian particle transport, where there are frequently strong winds, and where there is a steady but not overwhelming supply of sand.
    • Mushroom Tables / Mushroom rocks are Ventifacts in the shape of a mushroom.
    • In deserts, a greater amount of sand and rock particles are transported close to the ground by the winds which cause more bottom erosion in overlying rocks than the top.
    • This result in the formation of rock pillars shaped like a mushroom with narrow pillars with broad top surfaces.
    • Found in Sierra de Organos National Park, Mexico; Ciudad Encantada, Spain; Goblin Valley State Park, Utah, United States
  • Demoiselles:
    • These are rock pillars which stand as resistant rocks above soft rocks as a result of differential erosion of hard and soft rocks.
  • Zeugen:
    • A table-shaped area of rock found in arid and semi-arid areas formed when more resistant rock is reduced at a slower rate than softer rocks around it.
    • A furrow and ridge landscape is formed when the wind abrase the soft and less resistant part of the rock and the hard resistant part is left.
    • The ridges thus formed are called zeugens and can be of varying sizes, some even 30 m high.
    • These ridges wear away eventually through constant undercutting by winds
  • Yardangs:
    • Ridge of rock, formed by the action of the wind, usually parallel to the prevailing wind direction.
    • Found in Salah in central Algeria and the regions near the Kom Ombo (Egypt).
  • Wind bridges and windows:
    • Powerful wind continuously abrades stone lattices, creating holes.
    • Sometimes the holes are gradually widened to reach the other end of the rocks to create the effect of a window—thus forming a wind window.
    • Window bridges, are formed when the holes are further widened to form an arch-like feature.

Depositional Landforms due to Wind:

  • Sand dunes
    • Dry hot deserts are good places for sand dune formation.
    • According to the shape of a sand dune, there are varieties of sand dune forms like Barchans, Seifs etc.
    • The crescent-shaped dunes are called as Barchans and they are the most common one.
    • Seif is similar to Barchans but has only one wing or point.
    • Barchans are most prevalent in the deserts of Turkestan and in the Sahara.
    • Extensive seif dunes can be found in Sahara desert, West Australian desert, Thar desert etc.
  • Loess
    • In several large areas of the world, the surface is covered by deposits of wind-transported silt that has settled out from dust storms over many thousands of years.
    • These depositions are called as Loess.
    • The most extensive deposits are found in north-west China in the loess plateau of the Hwang-Ho basin.

Conclusion

Thus, wind and water act as major erosional factors leading to formation of various landforms.

 

Topic: poverty and developmental issues

3. As India becomes increasingly urbanised and families break up into smaller units, the care of elderly people is need to be managed by a set of professionals specialised interested in geriatric services. Discuss. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The UN World Population Ageing Report notes that India’s ageing population (those aged 60 and above) is projected to increase to nearly 20% by 2050 from about 8% now. By 2050, the percentage of elderly people will increase by 326%, with those aged 80 years and above set to increase by 700%, making them the fastest-growing age group in India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need for the elderly carer in the fast ageing elderly population.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief highlight the status of elderly population in the Indian society.

Body:

In the first part, Due to the tendency to ape western culture, there is a need for a societal and attitudinal change in the way we treat our elderly. These needs going back to the Indian family system, values, culture and traditions which comprise respect for parents, teacher and nature ingrained in Indian philosophy.

Next, write about how India is ageing fast and it can be seen where by 2050 almost 20% of Indian population will be more than 60 years old becoming the country with

Next, write about the measures that are needed to improve geriatric services.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Currently, India’s population is among the youngest in an ageing world, however, a major proportion of India’s population will be aged by 2050. The population share of the youth is starting to taper off as the share of the elderly is expected to steadily surge during 2021-2036. This calls for more forward-looking policies incorporating population dynamics, education and skills, healthcare, gender sensitivity and most importantly geriatric care.

Body

Key findings of report

  • Decrease in youth population: Youth in the age group of 15-29 years comprise 27.2 per cent of the population for 2021, which is expected to decrease to 22.7 by 2036.
  • The more populous states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, which experienced a rise in the proportion of youth population to total population till 2021, are expected to see a decline from hereon, according to the ‘Youth in India 2022’ report released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are projected to see a higher elderly population than the youth by 2036.
  • Bihar and Uttar Pradesh along with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, are projected to have over half (52 per cent) of the country’s youth,” the report said.
  • Fluctuation in population growth: The total youth population is projected to reach around 37cr by 2021 and, thereafter, decrease.
  • Increase in elderly population for some states: For Kerala, which saw the youth population peak earlier than other states, the elderly population share in the total population has been projected at 16.5 per cent compared with 22.1 per cent of the youth population in 2021.

Status of elderly in India:

  • The UN World Population Ageing Reportnotes that India’s ageing population (those aged 60 and above) is projected to increase to nearly 20% by 2050 from about 8% now.
  • By 2050,the percentage of elderly people will increase by 326%, with those aged 80 years and above set to increase by 700%, making them the fastest-growing age group in India.
  • A study suggests 8 per cent of the population over 75was afflicted by dementia
    • Alzheimer’s Associationsuggests that the country is already home to 4 million people with this condition.
    • Dementia is a condition associated with ageing and resulting from progressive degeneration of the brain.
  • Lack of family support: Transition to a nuclear family means that an increasing proportion of the elderly will live only with their elderly spouse or alone.

 

Issues associated with elderly population in India

  • Feminisation of ageing: The sex ratio of the elderly has increased from 938 women to 1,000 men in 1971 to 1,033 in 2011 and is projected to increase to 1,060 by 2026.
    • The report also noted that between 2000 and 2050, the population of 80-plus people would have grown 700% “with a predominance of widowed and highly dependent very old women” and so the special needs of such old women would need significant focus of policy and programmes.
  • Financial issues: Retirement and dependence of elderly on their child for basic necessity.
    • Sudden increase in out-of-pocket expenses on treatment.
    • Migration of young working-age persons from rural area have negative impacts on the elderly, living alone or with only the spouse usually poverty and distress.
  • Health: Multiple disabilities among the elders in old age.
    • Health issues like blindness, locomotor disabilities and deafness are most prevalent.
    • Mental illness arising from senility and neurosis.
    • Absence of geriatric care facilities at hospitals in rural area.
  • Social issues: Indian society is undergoing rapid transformation under the impact of industrialization, urbanization, technical & technological change, education and globalization.
    • Consequently, the traditional values and institutions are in the process of erosion and adaptation, resulting in the weakening of intergenerational ties that were the hallmark of the traditional family.
    • Feeling of powerlessness, loneliness, uselessness and isolation in elderly.
    • Generational gap.

Roadmap for elderly care with passage of time

  • Increasing the monthly pension of elderly to minimum of Rs 2,000 per month.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, Housing for the aged, particularly the aged poor, must be a priority.
  • Assisted living facilities for indigent elderly, particularly those with age-related issues like dementia, needs policy focus.
  • More tax benefits, or at least removing tax on deposit interest for seniors.
  • Enhancing the geriatric care health infrastructure especially in rural area.
  • Allocation of special budget for elderly population at both levels.
  • Providing entertainment facilities like libraries and clubs at panchayat level.
  • Appreciations for the contributions of elderlies at village level.

Conclusion

Social security is the concurrent responsibility of the central and state governments as, mandated under Indian constitution i.e., Well-being of senior citizens – Article 41 in particular and 46 in general of Indian constitution. In this regard, National Policy on Senior Citizen, 2011 was framed.

For the welfare and care for the older persons, we must focus on the protection of already existing social support systems/traditional social institutions such as family and kinship, neighbourhood bonding, community bonding and community participation must be revived and kins should show sensitivity towards elderly citizens.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

4. The special economic zones (SEZ) scheme in India has shown tremendous growth in infrastructure investment, employment and exports since its introduction. SEZs suffer from their fair share of challenges and the SEZ policy needs to be revamped to bring in certain enablers and relaxations leading to large-scale investments and export promotion. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

The Centre proposes to rebrand Indian SEZs as ‘development hubs’ under the Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs (DESH) bill.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the growth of SEZ, current issues in it and changes needed.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context of growth of SEZs.

Body:

In the first part, write about the how SEZs have shaped industrial development in India.

Next, write about the various issues that are affecting the performance of SEZs in India.

Next, mention the how Development of Enterprise and Service Hubs (DESH) bill has the potential to rectify it and measures needed in this regard.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

An SEZ is a territory within a country that is typically duty-free (Fiscal Concession) and has different business and commercial laws chiefly to encourage investment and create employment. SEZs are created also to better administer these areas, thereby increasing the ease of doing business.

Body

About Special Economic Zones India

  • Asia’s first Export Processing Zone (EPZ) was established in 1965 at Kandla, Gujarat state.
  • In India, the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) Policy was announced in 2000.
  • SEZs in India functioned from 2000 to 2006 under the provisions of the Foreign Trade Policy and fiscal incentives were made effective through the provisions of relevant statutes.
  • The Special Economic Zones Act was passed in 2005.

Objectives

  • Generation of additional economic activity
  • Promotion of exports of goods and services
  • Promotion of investment from domestic and foreign sources
  • Creation of employment opportunities
  • Development of infrastructure facilities
  • Once an SEZ has been approved by the board of approval and central government has notified the area of the SEZ, units are allowed to be set up in the SEZ.

 

SEZ and their success in export growth

  • Exports: Exports of Rs. 22,840 Crore (2005-06) has increased to Rs. 7,59,524 Crore (2020-21).
  • Investment: Investment of Rs. 4,035.51 Crore (2005-06) has increased to Rs. 6,17,499 Crore (2020-21).
  • Employment: Employment from 1,34,704 persons (2005-06) has increased to 23,58,136 persons (2020-21). About 376 SEZs are notified but currently only 270 SEZs are operational in India.
  • In the April-December 2021 period, exports from SEZs increased by 25% to 93 billion dollars.

Challenges faced with SEZ

  • It appears that SEZs have ceased to be attractive after the tax holiday for units and developers was wound down between 2017 and 2020.
  • The proliferation of Free Trade Agreements between 2005-15 robbed SEZs of their advantages, as importers outside SEZs benefited from zero-rated imports without being subject to Domestic Tariff Area (DTA) related restrictions.
  • Unutilized Land in SEZs: Due to lack of demand for SEZ space and disruptions caused by the pandemic.
  • Existence of Multiple Models: There are multiple models of economic zones such as SEZ, coastal economic zone, Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor, National Investment and Manufacturing Zone, food park and textile park which pose challenges in integrating the various models.
  • Competition from ASEAN Countries: In the past few years, many of the ASEAN countries have tweaked their policies to attract global players to invest into their SEZs and have also worked on a developmental set of their skilling initiatives.
    • Consequently, Indian SEZs have lost some of their competitive advantages globally and hence need to have fresher policies.

Measures to revamp SEZ in India

  • The government constituted a committee headed by Mr Baba Kalyani, in 2018 to study the existing SEZs of India and prepare a policy framework to adopt strategic policy measures.
  • Recommendations of the Baba Kalyani committee
  • Rename SEZs in India as 3Es- Employment and Economic Enclave
  • Framework shift from export growth to broad-based employment and economic growth
  • Separate rules and procedures for manufacturing and service SEZs
  • Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) in 3Es such as one integrated online portal for new investments
  • Extension of Sunset Clause and retaining tax or duty benefits
  • Unified regulator for IFSC
  • Dispute resolution through arbitration and commercial courts
  • Budget 2022-23– The Budget says that the SEZ Act will be replaced by a new legislation that will enable large existing and new industrial enclaves to optimally utilize available infrastructure and enhance competitiveness of exports.
    • It will enable the States to become partners in development of enterprise and service hubs.
    • It also says that customs administration in SEZs will be fully IT-driven.
    • An infra cluster approach is proposed rather than one based on export subsidies which will be open to WTO challenge.
    • The new SEZ legislation will have single window clearance and provide high class infrastructure.
    • The new dispensation for SEZ, being considered by the government, could allow domestic units to come up in the unutilised area of SEZs and co-exist with SEZ units with proper monitoring.
    • The suggestion of permitting SEZ units to do job work for DTA units for better capacity utilisation may also now be implemented.

 

Conclusion

Promotion of MSME investments in SEZs by linking with MSME schemes and allowing alternate sectors to invest in sector-specific SEZs is among the recommendations by the Baba Kalyani Committee on SEZs.

It had also batted for additional enablers and procedural relaxations as well as granting SEZs infrastructure status to improve their access to finance and enable long-term borrowings.

 

Value addition

SEZ: Features and Benefits

  • Duty free import and domestic procurement of goods for the development, operation, and maintenance of your company/SEZ unit
  • 100% income tax exemption on export income for first five years, 50% for five years thereafter, and 50% of the export profit reinvested in the business for the next five years
  • Exemption from GST and levies imposed by state government (supplies to SEZs are zero rated under the IGST Act, 2017, meaning they are not taxed)
  • Exemption from Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT)
  • Single window clearances for all state and federal government approvals
  • Exemption in electricity duty and tax on sale of electricity by certain states in India
  • Presence of customs officer in the SEZs to facilitate and expedite the trade processes
  • Offering land to SEZ developers at concessional rates by some states.

 

5. In order to reap the maximum benefits, it becomes pertinent to increase private participation and nudge India towards a scientific pursuit of space exploration driven by economic aims. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Principal Scientific Adviser Ajay Kumar Sood stated earlier this month that the government would soon come up with a new space policy that could initiate the rise of India’s own “SpaceX-like ventures”.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the challenges and limitations being faced by private sector in space exploration in India and methods to overcome them.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving extent of private participation in Indian space sector.

Body:

In the first part, explain that there has not been much emphasis on enhancing commercial activities in the Indian space sector, and as a result, the participation of the private sector in the Indian space industry has been minimal in space activities. However, there is huge scope for the commercialization of the ground operations like mission support, satellite broadband gateways and 5G backhauling.

Next, write about the recent developments in boosting private participation in the space and further measures that are required to improve it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

India is lagging in harnessing the power of private innovation in the space domain. This not only limits the exploitation of space for economic development, but has serious national security implications.

Principal Scientific Adviser Ajay Kumar Sood stated earlier this month that the government would soon come up with a new space policy that could initiate the rise of India’s own “SpaceX-like ventures”.

Body

Potential of private sector in the space sector

  • Today, the space industry is undergoing a paradigm shift, moving from Space 3.0 to Space 4.0, driven by changes in motivations, actors, roles, and technologies.
  • While Space 3.0 has been characterized by large government investments and public-public collaborations, Space 4.0 is a more democratized and accessible field with more public-private and private-private collaborations.
  • It entails the emergence of a plethora of small to medium-sized private companies.
  • As military uses of space and prestige projects like Moon-landing emerged, major private sector entities already in the aviation industry like Boeing and Lockheed won space contracts in the US.
  • Significant expansion of satellite-based telecommunication, navigation, broadcasting and mapping, and lent a significant commercial dimension to the space sector.
  • As the digital revolution in the 21st century transformed the world economy, the commercial space sector has begun to grow in leaps and bounds.
  • The global space business is now estimated to be around $ 400 billion and is expected easily rise to at least trillion dollars by 2040.
  • One example of the rise of private sector companiesin the space sector is SpaceX run by the US entrepreneur Elon Musk. Hired for a resupply mission for the space station, it now launches more rockets every year than NASA.
  • The entry of private sector has begun to drive down the cost-per-launch through innovations such as reusable rockets.
  • India, however, is quite some distance away from adapting to the unfolding changes in the global space business.
  • In its early years, India’s space programme that was constrained by lack of resources found innovative ways of getting ahead in space.
  • Although the ISRO encourages private sector participation in the national space programme, its model is still very 20th century — in terms of governmental domination.

Challenges for private space entities in India:

  • Monopoly: In India ‘Space’ means Indian Space Research Organisation. Globally the technology is highly protected because of its dual use capability. Even if it was not, it would be prohibitively expensive.
  • Funding: A major challenge in setting up a space business in India is funding. Space industry is capital intensive and upstream activities come with a long gestation period.
  • Investor’s Dilemma: The lack of clarity among the investors and lack of the ecosystem required for significant contribution is a challenge for the investors.
  • Lack of Regulation: India is a party to the Outer Space Treaty, where one of the fundamental requirements laid upon states is the supervision of space activities within its borders, the country did not have any formally legislated laws. This is a potential roadblock for commercialization.
  • Growth Challenges: Scaling up, international marketing and funding are challenges.
  • Lack of Support: The Indian ecosystem has neither incubation support nor pointers to seek support of leaders such as ISRO for space start-ups.
  • Political and bureaucratic hurdles limit private space operations in India.
  • Low in-house capacity of ISRO restricts them to very few launches in a year. Privatization can offload 30-40% of the work and help them work more efficiently.

Way forward:

  • India should have national space activities legislation which takes on board all stakeholders.
  • A public-private partnership (PPP) model can be looked into to realise ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), with a joint venture between ISRO and the private sector.
  • In the UK, space ventures are treated as a complement to big organizations and not a competitor. This should be encouraged in India too.
  • A supportive international partner and likeminded local partners helps to set up a space business.
  • The idea should be to let the private industry build their own facilities after gaining enough expertise.
  • ISRO has built a space technology park spread over 25 acres in Bengaluru where the entire range of facilities have been set up for use by the industry.

Conclusion

The private sector already supplies majority of the sub-systems in satellite manufacturing. This can be further scaled up into other activities with proper regulation and partnership of the ISRO and private sector. The country must deregulate the space sector to encourage private enterprise if we are to compete in the new space economy.

Value addition

Indian Space Association or ISpA is a premier industry association of space and satellite companies. In line with the recent measures taken to expand the role of private players in the space sector, the Indian Space Association aims to serve as a body that brings public and private entities together so that they can work in tandem for the expansion of the Indian space programme. 

 

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

6. What are the various challenges with solid waste management in India? Evaluate the various measures that are aimed at tackling it. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

Urban India alone generates nearly 0.15 million tonnes per day of MSW, with per capita generation ranging between 0.30 kg per day to 0.45 kg per day. The volume of waste is projected to reach 165 million tonnes by 2031 and 436 million tonnes by 2050, if existing policies, programmes and management strategies are not adequately addressed.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need for Solid waste management and successes and limitations of the various measures aimed towards it.

Directive word: 

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 evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining solid waste management.

Body:

First, write about the need for solid waste management in the country.

Next, write about the various issues in the solid waste management – funds crunch, low sectoral development & lack of know-how.

Next, write about the various measures to tackle it – Solid waste management rules, Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) 2.0 etc. Write their and successes and limitations.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Solid waste management (SWM) refers to the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong to garbage or trash.  In a nascent effort to look beyond toilets and kick off its ODF+ phase — that is, Open Defecation Free Plusfocussing on solid and liquid waste management, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has included the prevalence of plastic litter and water-logging in villages as indicators of cleanliness in its 2019 rural survey.

Body

Current Situation of SWM in India:

  • As per the SBM 2.0 guidelines, the total quantity of waste generated by urban areas in India is about 32 lakh tonnes daily. This adds up to 4.8 crore tonnes per annum.
  • Of this only about 25% is being processed; the rest is disposed of in landfills every year.
  • Given that the waste dumpsites have been operational since the early 2000s, more than 72 crore tonnes of waste need to be processed.
  • Most cities have confined themselves to collection and transportation of solid waste. Processing and safe disposal are being attempted only in a few cases.
  • The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generated in the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
  • According to a UN report, India’s e-waste from old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.
  • Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.

Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:

  • Absence of segregation of waste at source.
  • Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.
  • Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.
  • Lack of technical expertise and appropriate institutional arrangement
  • Lack of infrastructure and technology
  • Lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations
  • Indifference of citizens towards waste management due to lack of awareness
  • Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions
  • Lack of sewage management plan.
  • About 70% of the plastic packaging products turn into plastic waste within a short period.
  • Unorganized vendors and markets, existence of slum areas and Corruption are other issues plaguing MSWM.

Measures needed

  • State governments should provide financial support to ULBs to improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.
  • Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.
  • The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at source and to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Waste to energy is a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites
  • There is a need to encourage research and development so as to reinvent waste management system in India.
  • The focus should be on recycling and recovering from waste and not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste
  • Public- Private Partnership models for waste management should be encouraged.
  • Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Responsibilities of Generators have been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.
  • Sensitization of citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.
  • International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery project which have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.

Conclusion

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

 

 


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.

7. Non-partisanship in public administration is an essential precondition for ensuring that regardless of their political orientation, citizens are treated fairly and in an equitable manner. Discuss. (150 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Key Demand of the question:

trace the link between non-partisanship in public administration and equality amongst citizens.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by highlighting the importance of neutrality and non-partisanship in public administration.

Body:

Begin by talking about values which are important to the level of justice and continuity in public administration with suitable examples.

Mention about how public servants must be accountable to the government for the effective delivery of its programs.

Then finally talk about responsiveness of the administration to the government of the day within the law and the how constitution is key to the effective implementation of government policies in an equitable manner.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer by suggesting ways for neutrality in public administration in an increasingly polarizing world.

Introduction

Non-partisanship is not being specifically owned or affiliated with any group, party or cause. Non-partisanship can be called as political neutrality. Non-partisanship implies that the administrator is to do his/her task without any fear of or favour to any political party.

Body:

A bureaucrat is needed to be politically neutral:

  • Neutrality depicts that public officials are not slaves to either the politicians or any other authority other than the moral authority of the Constitution.
  • It shows that the principle of neutrality implies a measure of independence both from the partisan interests of the government of the day and the exogenous agenda that prompts certain social groups to cow others down to humiliating vulnerability.
  • Bureaucracy should be neutral in terms of ideology and politics. So that there will not be an affinity to a particular class or ideology.
  • For a genuine public official, commitment to constitutional principles is not only a lifelong project but, more importantly, it can be carried out without any political or ideological mediation.
  • If bureaucracy won’t be neutral then it cannot lend its whole-hearted support to the existing political system, and to the economic and political system if any radical changes are introduced.
  • Without neutrality, there can be a close nexus between bureaucracy and large-scale enterprises which could further lead to crony capitalism.
  • By and large, the spirit of neutrality imbedded by civil servants enables them to perform their duties in a detached and impartial manner.

Impartiality and Non-partisanship which determine the foundation of a non-partisan public service. These are:

  • Recruitment, promotions or even terminations should be completely free of any kind of political influence and done purely on merit basis.
  • All public officials should perform their duties in an impartial manner.
  • Kenneth Kernaghan has put forth a model of political neutrality which suggests the following:
  • Politics and policy are completely separate from administration. While politicians take policy decisions, it is the public officials which put them in execution.
  • All public officials are recruited purely on merit basis and not depending on any political inclination or affiliation.
  • Public officials do not engage in any partisan politics.
  • Public officials do not express their personal views on government policies and administration.
  • Public officials give correct and objective advice to their political masters.
  • All policies are implemented with full zeal and enthusiasm keeping all personal biases at a side.
  • The major advantage of this value is that it removes all scope of controversy that a public servant may encounter during his time of service. Neutral nature of work will keep issues away from public fanfare.
    • Ex: If a public servant gives permission for holding rally to a particular political party and denies the same for another, it will create controversy. By maintaining neutrality this can be avoided.
  • In multi religious and multicultural society such as India there are many issues that arise between two groups, which may result in tension. The public official must exercise his duty by maintaining distance from both the parties in order to maintain peace.
    • Ex: Religious procession is one of the many events where different groups show their strength. During this time the public official must be ready to take rational decisions without favouring one party over the other.
  • Government is ruling body that needs to maintain distance from getting involved too closely with public. If that barrier is broken, the value and dignity of the position will be compromised.
    • Ex: Members of UPSC should keep distance from candidates who they know personally. If any links are established, then reputation of the body will be under threat.

Conclusion:

Impartiality and Non-partisanship both form essential foundational values for civil services. While impartiality ensures equality without any bias and prejudices in the general, non-partisanship ensures a neutral approach in politics and a solid commitment to the government