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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 April 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: urbanization, their problems and their remedies

1. As urbanization and population growth increase, so does the amount of municipal solid waste produced, leading to a surge in unsanitary landfills that cause severe hazards. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India 

Why the question:

The fire outbreaks at Brahmapuram dumpsite in Kochi, Kerala have caught national attention.

Key Demand of the question:

To write issues with respect increased dumping of wastes in landfills and remedies for better waste management.

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: 

Give a statistic about increasing municipal solid waste with the increasing rate of urbanisation.

Body:

First, write the problems associated with waste management in India at landfills: Leaching of chemicals, spread of diseases, release of poisonous and toxic gages, fires, serious health and environmental hazards to the people etc.

Next, suggest strategies to deal with solid waste so that it may prove a resource instead of waste.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

India alone generates more than 1,00,000 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, which is higher than many countries’ total daily waste generation taken together. Large metropolis such as Mumbai and Delhi generate around 9,000 metric tonnes and 8,300 metric tonnes of waste per day, respectively. India suffers from inefficient and insufficient waste infrastructure and also from increasing rates of solid waste generation per capita. Besides, the infrastructure and technologies, we must also concede that we have not addressed the issue from a systemic perspective.

A massive fire broke out recently at Brahmapuram dumpsite in Kochi, Kerala which has caught national attention.

Body

Current Situation of MSW in India:

  • ULBs are responsible for segregated waste collection, transporting waste in covered vehicle, processing, recyclables, separating domestic hazardous waste and disposing inert material in sanitary landfills
  • Various studies reveal that about 90% of MSW is disposed of unscientifically in open dumps and landfills, creating problems to public health and the environment.
  • Over 377 million urban people live in 7,935 towns and cities and generate 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum.
  • Only 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Remedies to tackle MSW

  • 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 – 2


 

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

2. India’s engagement with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is critical for promoting its interests in the region. Through its membership in the SCO, India can enhance regional connectivity, address security concerns, access energy resources, and balance China’s influence in the region. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the recent meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and highlights the growing role of China in the region, which poses a challenge for India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the how India can use SCO for promoting its interests in the region.

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 writing about aims and objectives of SCO.

Body:

In the first part, write about the various disagreements withing the SCO – India-China, Russia-China, Impact of Ukraine war, lack of consensus etc

Next, Highlight the importance of SCO for India – focus on the advantages that India can gain in bilateral relations and in the larger Eurasian region.

Next, write the measures that need to be taken by India to further its interests.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization. It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region. It was created in 2001. The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.

 

Body

Significance of SCO for India

  • India acquired the observer status in the grouping in 2005 and was admitted as a full member in 2017.
  • Discuss differences with other members on the sidelines: SCO hosts have encouraged members to use the platform to discuss differences with other members on the sidelines
  • Bilateral meeting with Pakistan: It was on such an occasion that the Prime Minister of India held a bilateral meeting with the former Pakistani Prime Minister in 2015 in Ufa.
  • Negotiation of five point agreement with Chinese counterpart: Foreign Minister of India negotiated a five-point agreement with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Moscow conference in 2020.
  • Strategic autonomy and multi-alignment: India is also a part of the ‘Quadrilateral’ grouping with the U.S, Japan and Australia.
    • Its association with the grouping of a rather different nature is part of its foreign policy that emphasizes on principles of “strategic autonomy and multi-alignment”.
  • Connectivity and stability across borders: India’s membership of SCO can help in achieving regional integration, promote connectivity and stability across borders.
  • Fulfilling energy demand: India being an energy deficient country with increasing demands for energy, SCO provides it with an opportunity to meet its energy requirements through regional diplomacy.
    • Talks on the construction of stalled pipelines like the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline; IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline can get a much needed push through the SCO.
  • Economic ties:Central Asian countries provide India with a market for its IT, telecommunications, banking, finance and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Geopolitical: Central Asia is a part of India’s Extended Neighbourhood, SCO provides India an opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
    • Helps India fulfill its aspiration of playing an active role in its extended neighborhood as well as checking the ever growing influence of China in Eurasia.
    • Platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan.

 

Challenges within SCO

  • The SCO faces the challenges of improving cohesion, better managing relations with external parties, enlargement, variations of economic cooperation between member states, a slow pace of decision making and poor quality decision implementation.
  • In the recent summit in Samarkand, support for Russia’s agenda differed between certain countries, with Turkey, China and Iran displaying some degree of understanding. India’s agenda focussed on its concern about the impacts of the Ukrainian war on the world economy.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is often stated as a club of autocrat powers. The members follow the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. However, China and Russia adhere this principle rhetorical basis but not in reality.
  • China and Russia are the primary drivers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization but have different visions for this organization. Although they share common interest of regional stability within the organization but at the same time their geopolitical interests pull them in different directions.
  • India has presented consistent opposition to the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity by the BRI’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir
  • But, the meetings of SCO have endorsed Russia’s initiative to connect the SCO with the Eurasian Economic Union and ASEAN, placing the predominantly East-West connectivity alignment of China’s BRI alongside the North-South connectivity alignment of Russia’s proposal
  • Despite the establishment of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the SCO has not taken visible counterterrorism measures against the main threat facing its members, which emanates from terrorists and terrorist entities located in the Af-Pak region
  • China and Pakistan have deliberately tried to bring bilateral issues into SCO. This violates the well-established principles and norms of the SCO Charter. Such acts are counterproductive to the spirit of consensus and cooperation that define this organisation and should be condemned.

 

Conclusion and way forward

  • Important group for India: India considers the SCO as an important regional group to promote cooperation in various fields based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality.
  • Addressing the concerns of members: Need of working group to address the concerns of all entities, considering the territorial integrity of each nation involved.
  • More measures against terrorism: Despite the establishment of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the SCO has not taken visible counterterrorism measures against the main threat facing its members.
    • There is a need for the Summit to play a central and coordinating role to enforce the Council’s sanctions against concerned entities.
  • Engagement: It provides a platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan and provides India an opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
  • Agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors: Samarkand summit is expected to have agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors and a roadmap for local currency settlement among member states.
  • SCO’s rising international influence:The significant round of expansion by inclusion of Iran and Belarus shows SCO’s rising international influence and that the principles of the SCO charter are widely accepted.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

3. Should India consider phasing out nuclear power as a source of energy? Examine the risks associated with nuclear power and the potential benefits of transitioning to renewable energy sources. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses whether India should consider phasing out nuclear power as a source of energy.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about potential and limitations of nuclear energy in India and benefits of transitioning to other renewable sources.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start with prospects of nuclear energy in general.

Body:

First, write about the potential of nuclear energy in India and India’s progress so far with respect to it as well its role in energy security of India.

Next, write about risks associated with nuclear energy and highlight with examples why we shouldn’t depend completely on nuclear. Cite examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the benefits of transitioning to renewable energy sources.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Nuclear Energy plays a critical role in achieving sustainable economic and social development. Modern civilization heavily depends on energy for daily activities. Energy is like a lifeline for the sustenance and progress of the entire world. Nuclear energy plays a vital role in the world economy by generating jobs, income and facilitating trade on a massive scale.

Expanded use of nuclear technologies offered immense potential to meet important development needs. In fact, to satisfy energy demands and to mitigate the threat of climate change — two of the 21st century’s greatest challenges — there are major opportunities for expansion of nuclear energy.

Body

Global scenario

  • The use of nuclear power is rising even in Europe and the U.S. China has been surging ahead on nuclear power.
  • South Korea’s new president has changed the energy policyand committed to increasing the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix to 30% by 2030.
  • Japan isrestarting nuclear reactors. 10 have been restarted following years of inspection and upgrading safety systems.
  • The U.K. has said that without scaling up nuclear power, it won’t be possible to decarbonise the electricity sector.

Potential & benefits of nuclear energy as a source of power:

  • Thorium and Uranium reserves: India has vast reserves of Thorium that can fuel India’s nuclear energy provided appropriate technology. India’s thorium deposits, estimated at 360,000 tonnes, and natural uranium deposits at 70,000 tonnes. The country’s thorium reserves make up 25% of the global reserves.
  • Energy poverty: Although India is the 3rdlargest producer of electricity, about 20 % of the population of the country does not have access to electricity today. The per capita consumption of electricity is very low at about 1,181 kWh per annum, about half of the world average and way below that of advanced countries. There exist shortages in energy and peak power in the range 10-15%.
  • Energy demand:Nuclear energy is a critical part for India’s future energy security. As we know India’s annual energy demand is expected to rise to 800 GW by 2032, it is very important to consider every source of energy in the optimum energy mix.
  • Energy efficiency: Quantities of nuclear fuel needed are considerably less than thermal power plants. For instance, 10000 MW generation by coal will need 30-35 million tons of coal, but nuclear fuel needed will be only 300-350 tons.
  • Economic growth:Rapid economic growth is also critical to achieve developmental objectives and poverty alleviation. A sustained economic growth of about 8 to 10% is needed over the next few decades. As electricity is a key driver for economic growth, it is necessary that there is a massive augmentation in electricity capacity, apart from transmissions and distribution systems.
  • Decrease in Energy Supply:Energy supply has been negatively affected by changing weather patterns. As water reservoirs decreases due to lower precipitation and increased evaporation, capacity for electricity production from hydropower and other water-intensive generation technologies may decline.
  • Climate change:Due to its emission-free nature, nuclear energy can contribute to global efforts under the Paris Agreement. India’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has outlined goals to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of its economy by 33-35% by 2030 as well as increase the clean energy electricity capacity to 40% of the total installed capacity in the same period.

Risks posed by Nuclear Energy:

  • India’s domestic Uranium Reserve can support only 10000 MW of energy. So our future potential depends upon development of third stage of Nuclear Program.
  • Otherwise, there will be again overdependence upon imported Uranium as it is case with Oil currently. Hence, long term strategy will be only determined when third stage is functional.
  • Current Nuclear reactors consume significant amount of water. So, most of upcoming plants will be set up near sea coasts.
  • It will put pressure on the coastline as India’s Western coastline is home to fragile ecology of Western Ghats.
  • Further, till now only 21 plants have been operational. There are long gestation periods which increase costs of the plant significantly. Only a Nuclear Industry revolution in the future in nuclear energy can make this achievable.
  • New safeguard requirements post Fukushima disaster, has pushed per MW costs of nuclear reactors significantly higher in comparison to Thermal, solar and wind plants.
  • Jaitapur plant in Maharashtra (AREVA) is expected to cost 21 crore/ MW in comparison other sources cost 8-10 crore/ MW. It is to be seen that whether differences of operational/ running costs justify such higher capital expenditure on nuclear plants.
  • Some argue that Total costs of a Nuclear Lifecycle which involves Mining of Uranium, transportation and storage, capital costs of plants, processing/ reprocessing of plants, possible disasters and then handling of waste generated for hundreds of years is significantly more that economic value generated during lifetime of the functioning of the plant, which is generally 40-50 years.
  • Nuclear installations will be favorite targets of terrorists (also in case of war) which can cause irreversible damage to people living in nearby areas.
  • In long run if worldwide dependence on nuclear energy increases, it will be most unavoidable way of nuclear proliferation as interest and attempt to invest in indigenous industry will increase.
  • Otherwise, smaller counties will continue to buy relevant technologies or components from a few western countries which will serve private interest of few.
  • India doesn’t yet have credible waste disposal policy and infrastructure in place.

How India can leverage nuclear energy safely  in its energy mix?

  • India has very limited growth potentialfor hydropower because of conserving biodiversity and the costs of rehabilitating and compensating landowners.
  • The alternative to coal is nuclear power. India has210 gigawatts of coal capacity, and it produces 73% of electricity of India. Nuclear is only around 3.2%. Business as usual cannot continue.
  • One of the major reasons for the lack of growth in nuclear power is because ofmonopoly. All reactors are operated by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. There is a need for a civilian nuclear programme.
  • Other government companies like the NTPC should be allowed to produce nuclear power. To achieve ‘net zero’ by 2070,there is a need for 100 gigawatts by 2050.
  • There is a need for a combination of small modular reactors and large reactors, but it cannot be done by one company. It has to be done bymultiple companies.

Conclusion

There is a need for a range of options. Energy is not going to be the one thing that solves all our problems. It’s going to be a mix of supply side and demand side. There is a need for a portfolio of technologies within the nuclear sector and outside the nuclear sector. The energy policy should be about enabling frameworks for all technologies. It should not be a bet for one technology.

 

Topic: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

4. What is the third-gen web, and how is it different from previous generations of the internet? How does the third-gen web aim to provide equal access to information and services, and what technologies does it utilize? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses the evolution of the internet, and how it is transforming into the “third-gen web,” which focuses on public good

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about third-gen web and its applications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining third-gen web.

Body:

Firstly, write about how third-gen web is different from its previous versions.

Next, write about the technologies utilised by third-gen web – including blockchain, artificial intelligence, and big data.

Next, write about the applications of third-gen web – education, healthcare, and other services etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Web 3.0 or third-gen web is a decentralized internet built on an open blockchain network that is not owned and controlled by large entities. It is the third generation of the internet currently being built, where websites and apps will be able to process information in a smart human-like way through technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Big Data, decentralized ledger technology (DLT), and more.

India’s push towards digital public infrastructure and the deployment of the Internet of Things in development projects offers significant possibilities for deploying Web 3.

Body

5 key features of Web 3:

  • Ubiquity due to the Decentralization
  • Semantically organized
  • Autonomous and artificially intelligent
  • Spatial Web and 3D Graphics
  • Decentralization through blockchain

 

Potential of third-gen web

Intellectual Property Rights Protection Digital tokens minted by Web 3 platforms can enable India’s handicraft industry to secure their innovations
Rapid Dissemination of Grassroots Innovations Web 3-based instruction tools can enable master artisans to share their innovations with fellow members, improving the economic fortunes of craftsmen and artisan communities in north-east, western and peninsular India
Deployment in Rural Areas Web 3.0 can be used to provide data analytics and insights in rural development projects MGNREGA, mapping the water use habits of communities, and improving early warning systems for floods
Community Data Analytics Web 3.0 analytics systems can be used to analyze community data generated by IoT-enabled development programs like the Jal Jeevan Mission, providing valuable insights
Tokenization for Development Programs India’s National Blockchain Strategy 2021 proposes to explore tokenization and apply blockchain solutions for development programs, making Web 3.0 a useful tool for achieving this goal
Creation of distributed economic system Native digital tokens, Central Bank Digital Currency and cryptocurrencies would be used for monetary circulation, making the transaction fast, traceable and effortless.
Creation of an ownership economy Web3’s non-custodial wallets function as digital passports for users to access blockchain-enabled transaction platforms. Using these, creators themselves control their content. Fundamentally, they work as digital proof of identity.

Potential challenges of Web 3.0

  • Decentralized networks and smart contracts pose significant learning curves and management challenges for IT, not to mention everyday web users.
  • The complexity of these foundational technologies makes Web 3.0 security a real challenge. Smart contracts have been hacked, and security incidents on blockchains and cryptocurrency exchanges make national news.
  • Regulatory concerns.The lack of a central authority means the regulatory and compliance regimes that help keep online commerce and other web activities safe for users are ineffective or non-existent.
  • Technical requirements. Blockchains and dApps are often resource intensive and require expensive hardware upgrades, in addition to the environmental and monetary costs of their energy use.

 

Conclusion

The new internet created by Web3 will provide more digital ownership and sovereignty in an increasingly digitized world, and other decentralized benefits that are hoped will help to establish a more equitable web. This will be achieved by empowering each individual user to become a sovereign over their data, and creating a richer overall experience thanks to the myriad of innovations that is to come once it is in place.

 

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

5. Climate finance has emerged as a critical aspect of global efforts to address the challenge of climate change. In this context, discuss the significance of climate finance for developing countries and the key challenges they face in accessing climate finance. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The article argues that in order to mitigate the effects of the climate crisis, massive capital investment is needed in new technologies such as renewable energy, energy storage, carbon capture, and sustainable transportation.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the strategies against climate change and understanding of key role of climate finance.

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:

Mention about Climate financing and mechanisms of it such as the Special Climate Change Fund (SCCF), the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), both managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

Next, write about significance of climate finance in tackling climate change.

Next, mention the various impediments in developing countries accessing climate finance.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Climate finance refers to local, national, or transnational financing—drawn from public, private and alternative sources of financing—that seeks to support mitigation and adaptation actions that will address climate change.

The UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol, and the Paris Agreement call for financial assistance from Parties with more financial resources (Developed Countries) to those that are less endowed and more vulnerable (Developing Countries).This is in accordance with the principle of “Common but Differentiated Responsibility and Respective Capabilities” (CBDR).

Body

Background

  • In 2009, at the UNFCCC COP15 (held in Copenhagen), the developed country parties, to achieve meaningful mitigation actions and transparency on implementation, jointly set a target of USD 100 billion a year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries.
  • The climate finance goal was then formally recognized by the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties at COP16 in Cancun.
    • At COP21 in Paris, Parties extended the $100 billion goals through 2025.
  • After COP26 there was a consensus that developed nations will double their collective provision of adaptation finance from 2019 levels by 2025, in order to achieve this balance between adaptation and mitigation.

Climate finance criticality to climate change mitigation

Despite the G7 having accepted the need for transfer of funds at Rio in 1992, the promise made in 2009 to provide at least 100 billion dollars per year in climate finance remains unfulfilled.

  • Climate finance is needed for mitigation because large-scale investments are required to significantly reduce emissions.
  • Climate finance is equally important for adaptation, as significant financial resources are needed to adapt to the adverse effects and reduce the impacts of a changing climate.
  • Climate Financing recognizes that the contribution of countries to climate change and their capacity to prevent it and cope with its consequences vary enormously.
    • Hence, developed countries should also continue to take the lead in mobilizing climate finance through a variety of actions, including supporting country-driven strategies and taking into account the needs and priorities of developing country Parties.
  • Climate finance is critical to tackle the issues posed by climate change and achieve the goal of limiting the rise in the earth’s average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels, something the 2018 IPCC report has predicted.

Conclusion

Developed countries must assist and work with developing nations to help them make clean energy transitions and get financing for climate resilient infrastructure, thus, ensuring that the former delivered on the $100-billion goal.

Value addition

  • National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC):
    • It was established in 2015 to meet the cost of adaptation to climate change for the State and Union Territories of India that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
  • National Clean Energy Fund:
    • The Fund was created to promote clean energy, and funded through an initial carbon tax on the use of coal by industries.
    • It is governed by an Inter-Ministerial Group with the Finance Secretary as the Chairman.
    • Its mandate is to fund research and development of innovative clean energy technology in the fossil and non-fossil fuel-based sectors.
  • National Adaptation Fund:
    • The fund was established in 2014 with a corpus of Rs. 100 crores with the aim of bridging the gap between the need and the available funds.
    • The fund is operated under the Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MoEF&CC)

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion

6. It is essential for leaders to maintain their ethical principles, as they serve as a guide for decision-making and help to establish trust and credibility with stakeholders. Analyse. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To understand the various roles and responsibilities of a leader and the importance of ethics in their work domain

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 defining what is leadership along with few traits of a good leader.

Body:

Highlight the need for an ethical leader in the present context of rising scams and blind race against mere monetary gains of businesses. Give few examples highlighting cases of leadership with and without ethics and its impact on the organisation as well as the society.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the above points highlighting the need for ethical leadership

Introduction

From a collective perspective, leaders can inspire those around them to behave ethically. By setting an example and giving the direction for ethical behaviour, others will observe and act similarly. In this way, ethical leaders can positively influence many others, presenting them with a set of actions that they can adopt for the greater good.

Body

Traits of ethical leadership

  • Honesty: Honesty makes ethical leaders worthy of the trust others place in them. It means leaders commit to presenting facts as they are, playing fair with competitors, and communicating honestly with others.
  • Justice: To be fair means to treat everyone equally, offer opportunities with no favouritism, and condemn improper behaviours and manipulations, as well as any other actions that could harm someone.
  • Respect: Ethical leaders respect others around them, regardless of their position or identifying characteristics. This means they listen to each stakeholder, foster inclusion, and value diversity.
  • Integrity: Integrity is shown when values, words, and actions are aligned and consistent. It is not enough to talk the talk; one has to walk the walk to demonstrate integrity.
  • Responsibility: Responsibility means accepting to be in charge, embracing the power and duties that come with it, and always responding and being present in challenging situations.
  • Transparency: Transparency concerns mainly the communication with all stakeholders. It means keeping an open dialogue, accepting feedback, and disclosing the information others need to deliver their work.

Importance for ethical leadership for leaders

Gandhiji showed the world by attaining freedom for India that only truth and non-violence can help achieve even the most impossible targets. He led by example and demonstrated the power of the principles he followed during non-cooperation movement, the Dandi March and Quit India movement.

Nelson Mandela, another leader sacrificed his life for the sake of South Africa and was jailed for 27 years. He never lost his focus on the vision of Independence and gave everything he had to ensure the same.

Abraham Lincoln’s existence on this planet was a true gift for humanity.  His fight for equality and the will to bring people together for the greater good was as astounding today as unimaginable then.

However, there are multiple challenges for ethical leadership in today’s world like the rise of ‘jingoistic nationalism’, Increasing encroachment of the private sphere by a ‘surveillance state’ through the abuse of digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence systems, The global retreat of democracies, relegation of the ethical imperative to an obsessive pursuit of raw power as an end in itself, a crisis of institutional legitimacy, and the challenge of forging a political consensus needed for hard but necessary decisions interrogate the proclaimed assumptions of democratic resilience.

Traits necessary for a leader in today’s era

  • In a reshaped world, formal authority is less potent. Only moral authority can build trust, inspire colleagues, create meaning and help people imagine a better future.
  • Leadership in today’s world should consist of an approach which is open and transparent.
  • Leaderships goals and visions should be communicated fast and effectively.
  • Everyone then has time to think about how they fit into the changes which are going to be made.
  • Leaders today must also listen to and hear everyone’s input and solutions, including our youth.

Conclusion

Ethical leadership is of great importance. A good leader is followed, but a moral leader is respected and trusted. In ethical leadership, leaders are supposed to lead their peers by their own ethical activities. Behaving in an honest, ethical, and unselfish manner is pivotal in setting examples for others.

 

Topic: dimensions of ethics;

7. while it is true that moral norms are primarily aspirational and prescriptive, it is also important to recognise their functional and descriptive aspects. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the nature of moral norms.

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:

Start by explaining moral norms.

Body:

First, explain as to how moral norms are aspirational and prescriptive – contains ideals, principles and policies which are sensitive to positive outcomes, action-based, and focused on what we should do.

Next, explain as to how moral norms are functional and descriptive – people’s beliefs about as values, which actions are right and wrong, and which characteristics of moral agents are virtuous.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion regarding moral norms.

Introduction

Moral norms are an element of social consciousness. Moral norms are aspirational and prescriptive rather than functional and descriptive—they often paint the “what ought to be” rather than the “what is.” Hence morality becomes an impossible expectation while the reality will be immorality. War and violence are considered as immoral. But Russian attack on Ukraine, the mindless killing of civilians and soldiers defies every moral norm. Hence, they remain aspirational.

Body

Moral norms are a kind of standard by which social behavior is evaluated (positively or negatively). Their obligatory or prohibitive force is based on the influences of social thought and of existing habits and traditions.

There is a stark difference between idealism and realism. Idealistic society is almost unattainable. If every human being abides by moral norms, there would be no need for law, police or government. It is for this reason moral norms are termed aspirational. It prescribes a set of rules, standards, values and beliefs that are right. These norms may vary from society to society. Sometimes they may not conform to the law as well. Eg: Taliban’s difficult conditions over women in Afghanistan seems dysfunctional but it emanated from their moral values.

It is for these reasons; moral norms are said to be functional and descriptive. What can be collectively agreed upon as right or wrong. What is justice or fairness in the society is decided by what can be put into practice. That is, in other words functional. For instance, murder is immoral and illegal. It can go one step further and describe it as killing is illegal except when in self defence. Thus, when moral norms become functional (implementable) and descriptive, they generally are more acceptable by people.

Moral behavior is the mean between two extremes – at one end is excess, at the other deficiency. Find a moderate position between those two extremes, and you will be acting morallyAristotle’s middle path and golden means prescribes the same.

Conclusion

Moral arguments are not won by ascribing moral motives to one side and evil deeds to another. Moral standing is achieved by understanding difficult choices between competing moral claims and recognizing that trade-offs and uneasy compromises are often necessary. Ideal way is not achievable. Hence pragmatism is desiried. This is why Aristotle said, golden means is the best way forward.


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