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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 February 2023

 

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


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

1. Discuss the geographical factors responsible for determining location of Industries by citing relevant examples. (150 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:

To write about the geographical factors which determine the location of industries.

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 context.

Body:

Write in detail about the geographical factors which determine the location of industries – Raw material, Technology, Power, Labour, Transport, Storage and warehousing, Marketing feasibility, Characteristics of land and soil, Climate, Precipitation and water resources and Vulnerability to natural resources etc. Cite examples to substantiate the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Industry  refers  to  an  economic  activity  that  is  concerned  with  production  of  goods,  extraction  of  minerals or the provision of services.

Body

Many important geographical factors involved in the location of individual industries are of relative significance. But besides such purely geographical factors influencing industrial location, there are factors of historical, human, political and economic nature which are now tending to surpass the force of geographical advantages. Consequently, the factors influencing the location of industry can be divided into two broad categories – Geographical and Non- Geographical factors.

 Geographical factors:

  • Raw Materials: The location of industrial enterprises is sometimes determined simply by location of the raw materials. Modem industry is so complex that a wide range of raw materials is necessary for its growth. Further, finished product of one industry may well be the raw material of another. Example: pig iron, produced by smelting industry, serves as the raw material for steel making industry. Industries which use heavy and bulky raw materials in their primary stage in large quantities are usually located near the supply of the raw materials.
    • Industries are often located with no reference to raw materials and are sometimes referred to as ‘footloose industries’ because a wide range of locations is possible within an area of sufficient population density.
  • Power: Regular supply of power is a pre-requisite for the localisation of industries. Coal, mineral oil and hydro-electricity are the three important conventional sources of power. Most of the industries tend to concentrate at the source of power.
    • The iron and steel industry which mainly depends on large quantities of coking coal as source of power are frequently tied to coal fields. Tata Iron and Steel Plant at Jamshedpur, the new aluminium producing units at Korba (Chhattisgarh) and Renukoot (Uttar Pradesh), the copper smelting plant at Khetri (Rajasthan) and the fertilizer factory at Nangal (Punjab) are near the sources of power and raw material deposits, although other factors have also played their role
  • Labour: The prior existence of a labour force is attractive to industry unless there are strong reasons to the contrary. Labour supply is important in two respects (a) workers in large numbers are often required; (b) people with skill or technical expertise are needed.
  • Transport: Transport by land or water is necessary for the assembly of raw materials and for the marketing of the finished products. The development of railways in India, connecting the port towns with hinterland determined the location of many industries around Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
  • Market: The entire process of manufacturing is useless until the finished goods reach the market. Nearness to market is essential for quick disposal of manufactured goods. It helps in reducing the transport cost and enables the consumer to get things at cheaper rates.
  • Water: Water is another important require­ment for industries. Many industries are established near rivers, canals and lakes, because of this reason. Iron and steel industry requires large quantities of water (about 3 lakh litres per tonne), for their proper functioning.
  • Site: Site requirements for industrial development are of considerable significance. Sites, generally, should be flat and well served by adequate transport facilities. Large areas are required to build factories. Now, there is a tendency to set up industries in rural areas because the cost of land has shot up in urban centres.
  • Climate: Climate plays an important role in the establishment of industries at a place. Harsh climate is not much suitable for the establishment of industries. There can be no industrial development in extremely hot, humid, dry or cold climate.

The inputs for the iron and steel industry include raw materials such as iron ore, coal and limestone, along with labour, capital, site and other infrastructure. The process of converting iron ore into steel involves many stages. The broad features of movement of Iron and Steel industry involved

  • Before 1800 A.D. iron  and  steel  industry  was  located  where  raw  materials,  power  supply  and  running   water   were   easily
  • Later the    ideal    location  for  the  industry  was  near  coal  fields  and  close  to  canals   and
  • After 1950,  iron  and  steel  industry  began  to  be  located  on  large  areas  of  flat  land  near  sea    This  is  because  by  this  time  steel  works  had  become  very  large  and  iron  ore  had  to  be  imported  from  overseas

In   India,   iron   and   steel   industry has developed taking advantage of raw materials, cheap labour, transport and market. All the important steel producing centres such as Bhilai, Durgapur, Burnpur, Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bokaroare situated in a region that spreads over four states — West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Bhadravati and Vijay Nagar in Karnataka, Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Salem in Tamil Nadu are other important steel centres utilising local resources.

Conclusion

Thus, the location of industries is dependent on a combination of geographical and non-geographical factors.

Value addition

Non- Geographical factors:

  • Capital: Modem industries are capital-intensive and require huge investments. Capitalists are available in urban centres. Big cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, and Chennai are big industrial centres, because the big capitalists live in these cities.
  • Government Policies: Government activity in planning the future distribution of industries, for reducing regional disparities, elimination of pollution of air and water and for avoiding their heavy clustering in big cities, has become no less an important locational factor.
  • Industrial Inertia: Industries tend to develop at the place of their original establishment, though the original cause may have disappeared. This phenomenon is referred to as inertia, sometimes as geographical inertia and sometimes industrial inertia. The lock industry at Aligarh is such an example.
  • Efficient Organisation: Efficient and enterprising organisation and management is essential for running modem industry successfully. Bad management sometimes squanders away the capital and puts the industry in financial trouble leading to industrial ruin.
  • Banking Facilities: Establishment of industries involves daily exchange of crores of rupees which is possible through banking facilities only. So the areas with better banking facilities are better suited to the establishment of industries.
  • Insurance: There is a constant fear of damage to machine and man in industries for which insurance facilities are badly needed.

 

Topic: factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

2. Analyse the distribution and changing trends in distribution of Iron and steel industry in India. To what extent government policies determine their location? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

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 show the distribution of Iron and steel industry in India and changing patterns associated with it and role of government policies in its location.

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 a brief historical account of Iron and steel industry during pre-independence in India.

Body:

First, write about how did Iron and steel industry in India develop post-independence. Use a small map to show important industrial regions in India.

Next, explain that there has been a change in the sense that the main producers of iron and steel are predominantly developing countries that have replaced their developed counterparts who held sway in the industry till recently.

Next, explain the reasons for the same such as – Industry is shifting towards market, towards a location that is a transport hub, shifting towards the industrial hub so that the produced steel could be consumed by other industries like automobile and heavy engineering at same place etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Iron and steel industry act as a backbone for the physical infrastructure development of the country. The inputs for the iron and steel industry include raw materials such as iron ore, coal and limestone, along with labour, capital, site and other infrastructure. Many important geographical factors involved in the location of individual industries are of relative significance. But besides such purely geographical factors influencing industrial location, there are factors of historical, human, political and economic nature which are now tending to surpass the force of geographical advantages.

Body

Distribution of Iron and steel industry in India

  • In India,   iron   and   steel   industry has developed taking advantage of raw materials, cheap labour, transport and market.
  • Iron and Steel industry uses a large quantity of heavy and weight losing raw material, so its location is primarily guided by the availability of raw material.
  • All the important steel producing centres such as Bhilai, Durgapur, Burnpur, Jamshedpur, Rourkela, Bokaro are situated in a region that spreads over four states — West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  • These states have coal and iron ore deposits in abundance and are important producers of these materials.
  • Bhadravati and Vijay Nagar in Karnataka, Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, and Salem in Tamil Nadu are other important steel centres utilising local resources.

Changing patterns & Impact of Government policies

  • Before 1800 A.D. iron  and  steel  industry  was  located  where  raw  materials,  power  supply  and  running   water   were   easily
  • Later the    ideal    location  for  the  industry  was  near  coal  fields  and  close  to  canals   and
  • After 1950,  iron  and  steel  industry  began  to  be  located  on  large  areas  of  flat  land  near  sea    This  is  because  by  this  time  steel  works  had  become  very  large  and  iron  ore  had  to  be  imported  from  overseas
  • Optimum transportation cost of carrying raw material from source and finished products to market play important role in the location of Iron and Steel Industry.
  • Following the theory of minimum transportation cost many centres of iron and steel production tend to be attracted by the market.
  • Recent technological developments in transport, the use of scrap as raw material and the agglomeration economics have made market-oriented location more advantageous than ever before.

 

  • Port location provides easy and cheap means of transportation. These are highly helpful in the import of raw materials and export of the finished products. When some of the basic raw materials need to be imported or the finished Steel is to be exported, seaport locations are preferred.

 

  • The ultimate responsibility of balanced regional development rests with the government and in view of this Government has invested heavily in backward areas for developing these industries for example in Jharkhand, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, etc. This approach was in accordance with the principle of the Trickle-down theory of Growth.

Conclusion

The potential for growth of this sector is enormous. This can be gauged from the fact that the per capita consumption of steel is around 29 kg whereas the world average is 150 kg. The National Steel Policy, 2017 envisage 300 million tonnes of production capacity by 2030-31. Huge scope for growth is offered by India’s comparatively low per capita steel consumption and the expected rise in consumption due to increased infrastructure construction and the thriving automobile and railways sectors.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Government Budgeting.

4. Biogas can play an important role in India’s energy transition. Evaluate the role GOBARDhan scheme can play in converting ‘waste to wealth’ and promoting a circular economy. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants for promoting a circular economy with a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore under the GOBAR-Dhan scheme in her budget speech in the Parliament.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the GOBARDhan scheme, its potential and role of bio gas in India’s energy transition.

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 giving aims and objectives of GOBARDhan scheme

Body:

In the first part, write about the Biogas scenario in India’s renewable sector. Cite statistic and show the potential of biogas in India’s energy transition.

Next, write the major features of GOBARDhan scheme and how it will promote a circular economy, generate energy and bring in economic benefits. Mention the limitations of the scheme.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Biogas is produced through a biochemical process in which certain types of bacteria convert the biological wastes into useful bio-gas. Biogas is produced when bio-degradable organic materials/wastes such as cattle-dung, biomass from farms, gardens, kitchens, industry, poultry droppings, night soil and municipals wastes are subjected to a scientific process, called Anaerobic Digestion (A.D.) in a Biogas Plants.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced 500 new ‘waste to wealth’ plants for promoting a circular economy with a total investment of Rs 10,000 crore under the GOBAR-Dhan scheme in her budget speech in the Parliament.

Body

Potential of Biogas in India’s energy transition

  • Biogas burns without smoke; hence no harmful gas such as CO2, CO, NO2, and SO2are evolved.
  • It is considered as a renewable source of energy because the production is dependent on the generation of waste which is an endless process.
  • Only 26.53 per cent of the total power generated in India is from renewable sources, according to estimates. The high dependence on non-renewable sources is the leading cause of the long-standing energy problems in the country.
  • As the country aims to provide energy security to every citizen, biogas can play a critical role in transforming the energy dependence of rural and agricultural communities, which majorly depends on burning wood, dung, charcoal, coal and other fossil fuels for their energy needs.
  • Installing biogas plants at the micro- and macro-level can address the critical issues of handling livestock manure and agricultural wastes, deteriorating soil quality, water pollution and deforestation.
  • A fully functional biogas digester, for every tonne of feedstock processed, can reduce approximately 2.83 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in a year.
  • Using biogas digesters to convert organic waste into clean energy can significantly contribute to countering challenges like pollution, climate change, livelihood inequalities and health in individual households as well as entire communities and promote India’s energy transition.

GoBARDhan scheme

Galvanizing Organic Bio-Agro Resources Dhan (GOBAR-DHAN) scheme is implemented under the Swachh Bharat Mission Gramin-Phase 2, by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Jal Shakti ministry. It was launched in 2018. The scheme aims to augment income of farmers by converting biodegradable waste into compressed biogas (CBG). The initiative aims at attracting entrepreneurs for establishing community-based CBG plants in rural areas.

Potential of GobarDhan Scheme

  • Helpful for the country as India is home to the highest cattle population in the world, close to 300 million in number, with a daily output of 3 million tonnes of dung.
  • Encourage farmers to consider dung and other waste not just as a waste but as a source of income.
  • Benefits to the rural people. It will be easier to keep the village clean and sanitized, livestock health will improve and farm yields will increase.
  • Increase self-reliance in energy utilized for cooking and lighting.
  • Provides a stable fuel supply in the market for oil companies and accessible credit in the market through government schemes and banks for entrepreneurs.

Way forward & Conclusion

  • Generating wealth from waste in rural areas will require the involvement of all actors and sectors, Investments from the private sector and local entrepreneurs will be needed.
  • Panchayats and village communities will have to play key roles to leverage the animal and organic waste that goes into water bodies, dumping sites and landfills.
  • Informal sanitation service providers can be integrated into the system by training and licencing them.
  • With appropriate policy interventions the sector can be scaled up into opportunities for growth, leading to increased incomes, long-term livelihoods and, of course, more Swachh villages.

 

Topic:  Government Budgeting.

5. Has the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBMA) been effective in containing fiscal deficit? What changes are needed to make the act more effective to ensure proper fiscal discipline? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

We should either amend the FRBM Act to make space for a counter-cyclical fiscal policy or repeal it altogether. In any case, a 3%-of-GDP deficit target was a largely arbitrary choice

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the performance of FRBMA and changes needed to it.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about the aims and objectives of FRBMA

Body:

First, write about the performance of FRBMA since its inception especially during phases of low economic growth and volatility in global economy. Mention the pros and cons of its performance. Also, mention the various changes made to the act.

Next, write about the changes needed to the act to make it more effective in implementing fiscal discipline.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act was enacted in 2003. It was introduced to institutionalize financial discipline, reduce India’s fiscal deficit, and improve macroeconomic management and the overall management of the public funds by moving towards a balanced budget.

The objective of the Act is to ensure inter-generational equity in fiscal management, long-run macroeconomic stability, better coordination between fiscal and monetary policy, and transparency in the fiscal operations of the Government.

Body

Key features of the FRBM Act

The FRBM Act made it mandatory for the government to place the following along with the Union Budget documents in Parliament annually:

  • Medium Term Fiscal Policy Statement
  • Macroeconomic Framework Statement
  • Fiscal Policy Strategy Statement

The FRBM Act proposed that revenue deficit, fiscal deficit, tax revenue and the total outstanding liabilities be projected as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in the medium-term fiscal policy statement.

Evaluation of FRBM Act:

Performance of FRBM Act

  • The implementation of FRBM Act/FRLs improved the fiscal performance of both centre and states.
  • The States have achieved the targets much ahead the prescribed timeline.
  • Government of India was on the path of achieving this objective right in time. However, due to the global financial crisis, this was suspended and the fiscal consolidation as mandated in the FRBM Act was put on hold in 2007-08.
  • FRBM act has been violated more than adhered to since its enactment. The target fiscal deficit to GDP ratio of 3% for the Union government was achieved only once, in 2007-08, when it was 2.5%. That achievement has yet to be emulated again.
  • The FRBM Act was amended twice, in 2012 and 2015. The revisions in 2015 shifted the date for achieving the 3% target to 2017-18. By this year, the amended revenue deficit target was put at 2% of GDP.
  • Budget 2018-19 has proposed amending the FRBM Act again, which will shift the target of 3% fiscal deficit-GDP ratio to end-March 2021. No target has been set for revenue deficit.

 

Shortcomings of the Act

  • Reduction of expenditure in critical sector: While there is a drastic fall in deficits, it has largely been on account of reductions in expenditure in critical sectors of the economy such as education, health etc.
    • The Union government’s development expenditure as a proportion of GDP has declined over time.
  • Reduced development expenditure: An analysis of revenue account of the development expenditure by states shows that in almost all sectors of development, there has been a decline in the FRBM era.
  • Manipulation: Also, at times it has been seen that the government has achieved the deficit targets by manipulating the revenue and expenditure accounts such as curtailing the capital expenditure; demanding interim dividend from Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) in advance etc.
  • No force majeure clauses: Further, the FRBM Act ignores the possible inverse link between fiscal deficit (fiscal expansion) and bank credit (monetary expansion). That is, if credit growth falls, fiscal deficit may need to rise and if credit rises, fiscal deficit ought to fall — to ensure adequate money supply to the economy.
  • Investment starved: Data on money supply growth, bank credit and GDP establishes that both money supply growth and credit expansion have significantly reduced in relation to GDP growth. Thus, the FRBM Act has not only reduced the fiscal deficit but also starved the growing economy from much-needed investment.

Amendments in FRBM Act

  • The FRBM Act was amended twice, in 2012 and 2015. The revisions in 2015 shifted the date for achieving the 3% target to 2017-18. By this year, the amended revenue deficit target was put at 2% of GDP.
  • Budget 2018-19 has proposed amending the FRBM Act again, which will shift the target of 3% fiscal deficit-GDP ratio to end-March 2021.
  • In the year 2016, the NK Singh committee was set up by the government to review the FRBM Act. The task was to review the performance of the FRBM Act and suggest the necessary changes to the provisions of the act.
  • The recommendations of the committee read that the government must target a fiscal deficit of 3% of the GDP in years up to March 31, 2020 cut it to 2.8% in 2020-21 and to 2.5% by 2023.

Changes needed in the FRBM in post-pandemic phase

The government should start by defining a clear objective, based not on arbitrary targets but on sound first principles: It should aim to ensure debt sustainability. To this end, the government could adopt a strategy based on four principles.

  • Remove multiple fiscal criteria: The current FRBM sets targets for the overall deficit, the revenue deficit and debt. Such multiple criteria impede the objective of ensuring sustainability since the targets can conflict with each other, This creates confusion about which one to follow and thereby obfuscating accountability.
  • Target must not be fixed: Around the world, countries are realising that deficit targets of 3 per cent of GDP and debt targets of 60 per cent of GDP lack proper economic grounding. In India’s case, they take no account of the country’s own fiscal arithmetic or its strong political will to repay its debt. Any specific target, no matter how well-grounded, encouraging governments to transfer spending off-budget such as with the “oil bonds” in the mid-2000s and subsidies more recently.
  • Focus on one measure for guiding fiscal policy: In this regard, Arvind Subramanian and Josh Felmanwe propose targeting the primary balance. This concept is new to India and will take time for the public to absorb and accept. But it is inherently simple and has the eminent virtue that it is closely linked to meeting the overall objective of ensuring debt sustainability.
  • Have a long-term plan:The Centre should not set out yearly targets for the primary balance. Instead, it should announce a plan to improve the primary balance gradually, by say half a percentage point of GDP per year on average. Doing so will make it clear that it will accelerate consolidation when times are good, moderate it when times are less buoyant, and end it when a small surplus has been achieved. This strategy is simple and easy to communicate; it is gradual and hence feasible.

Conclusion

Economic disruption caused by the COVID has prompted calls for a relook at the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act (FRBM). The introduction of the FRBM in 2003 reflected the belief that setting strict limits on fiscal deficits, both for the centre and the states, was the solution. But this framework didn’t work. It is time to learn from past experience and adapt.

The recommendations of the N.K Singh committee on flexible targets with escape clause, creation of fiscal council, focus on reduction of combined debt-to-GDP ratio of the centre and states to 60 % by 2023 etc. may be incorporated. Adopting a simple new fiscal framework based on the primary balance could be the way forward.

 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

6. Throwing light on the major aims and objectives of the Gaganyaan mission. Discuss the relevance of a manned space mission for India. What are the challenges that needs to be addressed to make the mission a success? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), along with the Indian Navy, has conducted an important trial for the Gaganyaan, human space flight mission. On Tuesday, they carried out initial recovery trials of the Crew Module in the Navy’s Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF) in Kochi.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the objectives of Gaganyaan mission and its relevance.

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 context of Gaganyaan mission as first manned space mission of India.

Body:

First, write the major aims and objectives of Gaganyaan mission.

Next, write about the relevance of manned spaced mission for India – Boost to industries, Technological development, Spurs research and development, National Prestige and economic opportunities etc.

Next, write about the challenges in the mission and steps that are needed to overcome them

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Mission Gaganyaan is India’s first Human Space Flight Programme which aims to make India the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission. So far, only the USA, Russia and China have launched human spaceflight missions.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), along with the Indian Navy, has conducted an important trial for the Gaganyaan, human space flight mission. Recently, they carried out initial recovery trials of the Crew Module in the Navy’s Water Survival Test Facility (WSTF) in Kochi.

Body

Aims & Objectives of the Mission:

  • Enhancement of science and technology levels in the country
  • A national project involving several institutes, academia and industry
  • Improvement of industrial growth
  • Inspiring youth
  • Development of technology for social benefits
  • Improving international collaboration

Relevance of a Manned Space Mission for India:

  • Boost to industries: The Indian industry will find large opportunities through participation in the highly demanding Space missions. Gaganyaan Mission is expected will source nearly 60% of its equipment from the Indian private sector.
  • Employment: According to the ISRO chief, the Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities, 13,000 of them in private industry and the space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900.
  • Technological development: Human Space flights are frontier field in the science and technology. The challenges the Human Space Flights provide to India, and the benefits accruing from taking up those missions will be very high and will lead to further thrust for technological developments in India
  • Spurs research and development: It will boost good research and technology development. With a large number of researchers with proper equipment involved, HSF will thrust significant research in areas such as materials processing, astro-biology, resources mining, planetary chemistry, planetary orbital calculus and many other areas
  • Motivation: Human space flight will provide that inspiration to the youth and also the national public mainstream. It would inspire young generation into notable achievements and enable them to play their legitimate role in challenging future activities
  • Prestige: India will be the fourth country to launch human space mission. The Gaganyaan will not only bring about prestige to the nation but also establish India’s role as a key player in the space industry

Challenges:

  • For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop include the ability
    • to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight
    • to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space
  • India is yet to perfect fool-proof launch vehicle technology, the basic requirement for a manned space mission.
  • The Polar Satellite launch vehicle and the Geosynchronous Launch vehicle, the two Indian spacecraft deployed to launch satellites and modules into space, are yet to be man-rated.
  • India does not even have the facilities to train astronauts.
  • ISRO has not been able to put in place India’s own Global Positioning System in spite of completing the NavIC due to dysfunctional atomic clocks in the satellites, rendering the fleet a dud.
  • The launchpad at the Sriharikota spaceport, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, will have to be enhanced for the human mission.
  • While the launch vehicle, crew module, re-entry technology, crew escape system are in place, monitoring and tracking systems, Environmental Control & Life Support System (ELCSS), space suit and crew support systems are still in the developmental phase.

Way forward

  • It is important to ensure engagements at political level to obtain long term commitment for India’s human space flight missions
  • Financial implications of a long-term human space-flight programme development should be assessed and the returns and benefits should be clearly articulated
  • It is important to overcome the technological challenges to ensure a safe, successful manned space mission. International collaboration in this domain can help India ensure a robust technology for its HSF programme.
  • Selection of Indians for astronauts will be an important step. Procedures and specifications for astronauts and a rigorous selection process is suggested.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: accountability and ethical governance;

7. Why there are increased instances of attacks on journalists and activists who expose scams to hold the guilty accountable? Suggest measures to protect them and uphold the rule of law as well hold the guilty accountable.  (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

Write about the increasing trends of violence on journalists and activists and mention the reasons for the same – to cover up scam, intimidation, revenge etc.

Next, write about the ways to protect the interests of journalists and activists from anti-social elements who want to cover up scams.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising on the importance of upholding rule of law and accountability.

Introduction

Journalists are facing heightened threats around the globe, according to the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), covering 180 countries and territories. It notes that the number of countries regarded as safe for journalists is on the decline; this should be a wake-up call. Hostility towards the media is a defining feature of hyper-nationalist politics in many countries.

Body

Background: Statistics in India

  • Such attacks on journalists who dare to expose corruption and misdeeds of anti-social elements, or who do not toe the line of the establishment, have proved to be a threat to journalists the world over.
  • Unfortunately, India has been going down on the World Press Freedom Index during the last few years.
  • In the annual reports of Reporters Without Borders, India has steadily gone down in the global index from a rank of 138 in 2018 to 140 in 2019, and further down to 142 this year.
  • According to the United Nations, “Journalism is one of the most dangerous professions in the world”.
  • Between 2006 and 2019, over 1,200 journalists have been killed the world over.
  • On an average, it is estimated that one journalist is killed every four days.
  • Sadly, in just one out of every ten such cases, the killers get convicted, while the rest go scot-free.
  • A report released by an NGO last year states that 40 of the 198 journalists attacked in India between 2014 and 2019 died due to the attack.
  • The killing of journalists is more rampant in smaller towns, while the figures in metro towns are quite low.
  • It is cases like the killing of journalists such as the late Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru in 2017, that draw much country-wide attention and impel the police to investigate the murder.

Significance of freedom of press

  • Free exchange of ideas: The press inspires people to think beyond the social norms and gives a platform to exchange ideas and thoughts that deserve to be heard by people all around the nation.
  • Holding the person or body accountable for their actions: Often, people try to cover up their actions and settle a case without bringing the media into it. The press brings to light such situations and makes sure that justice is served correctly with the backing of the common people.
  • Voice of the people: The press acts as a channel which writes and speaks the thoughts of the majority of people. It focuses on the issues that are suppressed and brings forward the ones that should be talked about.
  • Fourth pillar of democracy: Since the media is an independent body that challenges the Government, it can be referred to as the fourth pillar of democracy alongside the judiciary, legislative and executive bodies of the Government.

Measures to counter attacks

  • There is a need for stringent laws to protect journalists.
  • Considering the rising trend in the number of journalists killed each year, the Chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI), counselled the government “to enact a special law for protection of journalists and speedy trial of cases of attacks and assaults”.
    • The PCI’s records indicate that 96% of the cases of attacks on journalists end up without conviction.
  • While it is estimated that one journalist is killed every four days, sadly, in just one out of every ten such cases, the killers get convicted, while the rest go unpunished.

Conclusion

The security of journalists is the biggest issue, killings and assaults on Journalists covering sensitive issues are a blot on India’s democratic profile. We must ensure protection to those upholding the fourth pillar of democracy.


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