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[ Day 42 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2023 – GS3 Full & Ethics

 

Q1. How is nanotechnology being applied to improve the quality of human lives across various sectors? (10M)

Introduction

Nanotechnology is a multidisciplinary field that involves the study, manipulation, and application of materials and devices at the nanoscale, typically ranging from 1 to 100 nanometres (nm). At this size range, materials exhibit unique properties and behaviours, allowing for innovative applications across various industries.

Body:

Application of nanotechnology to improve the quality of human lives across various sectors:

  • Medicine and Healthcare:
    • Drug Delivery: Nanoparticles can be used to deliver drugs more effectively to specific target areas in the body, reducing side effects and increasing the therapeutic benefits. For example, liposomal doxorubicin is used to treat cancer
    • Cancer Treatment: Nanoparticles are utilized to selectively target cancer cells, improving the precision and efficacy of treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
    • Tissue Engineering: Nanomaterials aid in creating artificial tissues and organs, advancing regenerative medicine. Nano-fibrous scaffolds are used to support tissue growth for organ transplantation.
  • Electronics and Information Technology:
    • Nanoelectronics: Nanoscale components like carbon nanotubes and quantum dots are utilized to create faster and more energy-efficient electronic devices.
      • For instance, nanoscale transistors have led to smaller and more powerful microprocessors.
    • Data Storage: Nanotechnology enhances data storage capacity and performance in devices like hard drives and flash memory. Magnetic nanoparticles enable higher storage density and faster access times.
  • Energy and Environment:
    • Solar Cells: Nanomaterials, such as perovskite-based cells, improve light absorption and conversion efficiency in solar panels, making renewable energy more viable.
      • g. A new semiconductor developed by Kyoto University makes it possible to manufacture solar panels that double the amount of sunlight converted into electricity.
    • Energy Storage: Nanotechnology enhances battery and super capacitor performance, leading to longer-lasting and faster-charging energy storage solutions.
      • Lithium-ion batteries with nanoscale electrodes are an example of this advancement.
    • Water Treatment: Nanomaterials can be used in water purification systems to remove pollutants and contaminants more effectively, addressing water scarcity and pollution challenges.
      • Recent developments of nano-wires made of potassium manganese oxide can clean up oil and other organic pollutants.
    • Food and Agriculture:
      • Food Safety: Nanoscale materials can detect and remove harmful bacteria and pathogens in food products, ensuring safer consumption.
      • Crop Protection: Nano pesticides offer targeted pest control, reducing chemical usage and environmental impact.
    • Textiles and Fabrics:
      • Nano-coatings: Nanotechnology is used to develop stain-resistant, waterproof, and antimicrobial coatings for textiles, increasing their durability and functionality.
      • Smart Textiles: Nano-sensors integrated into fabrics can monitor vital signs, such as heart rate and body temperature, for applications in healthcare and sports.

Conclusion

Nanotechnology based products are capable of overcoming the limitations of traditional methods. But, the major challenges are yet to prevail over its toxicity, environmental hazards, production cost and accessibility to the un-reachable at far-off areas.

 

Q2. The impact of plastic production and pollution extends to the triple planetary crisis: climate change, nature loss, and pollution.  In this context, discuss the need and steps taken to reach a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution. (15M)

Introduction

World Environment Day 2023 centres around addressing plastic pollution, a critical issue amidst the triple planetary crises of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste. The focus on solutions to plastic pollution underscores the urgent need for collective action and sustainable measures to combat this environmental challenge.

Body:

Impact of plastic production and pollution extends to the triple planetary crisis:

  • Fossil Fuel Dependency: Plastic production heavily relies on fossil fuels, emitting greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that contribute to global warming and climate change.
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The entire lifecycle of plastic, from production to disposal, generates greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions occur during raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and waste management processes.
  • Landfill and Incineration: When plastic waste is disposed of in landfills or incinerated, it can release additional greenhouse gases, further exacerbating climate change.

Nature Loss:

  • Habitat Destruction: The extraction of fossil fuels for plastic production often involves clearing natural habitats, leading to the loss of biodiversity and disrupting ecosystems.
  • Marine Pollution: Plastic waste, especially single-use plastics, pollutes oceans, harming marine life like seabirds, fish, turtles, and marine mammals.
    • Micro-plastics disrupt food chains and have lasting effects on aquatic ecosystems.

Pollution:

  • Micro plastics: Plastics don’t biodegrade; they break down into microplastics. These tiny particles are ubiquitous, raising concerns about their impact on human health and the environment.
  • Soil Contamination: Improper disposal of plastic waste contaminates soil and affects soil health and fertility, leading to a host of ecological and agricultural problems.
  • Water Pollution: Plastic waste in water bodies pollutes freshwater sources and poses a threat to aquatic life. Plastic debris can also clog waterways and exacerbate flooding in some areas.
  • Chemical Pollution: Plastics can contain harmful additives like phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA), which can leach into the environment, leading to chemical pollution.

 

Need to reach a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution:

  • Global Coordination: Plastic pollution knows no borders, and it affects oceans, rivers, and land worldwide. A treaty can provide a platform for countries to come together, share responsibilities, and coordinate efforts to address plastic pollution collectively.
  • Addressing the Source: A treaty can focus on addressing the root causes of plastic pollution, such as reducing plastic production, improving waste management, and promoting sustainable alternatives. It encourages a comprehensive approach to tackle the issue.
  • Inclusivity: A treaty ensures that all countries, regardless of their level of development or resources, are engaged in the fight against plastic pollution.
  • Accountability and Enforcement: A legally binding treaty ensures that countries are held accountable for their commitments to reduce plastic pollution.
    • It establishes mechanisms for monitoring progress, reporting, and enforcement, which can lead to more effective implementation.
  • Coordinated Research and Innovation: A treaty can facilitate international collaboration on research and innovation to find new ways to reduce plastic pollution and develop sustainable materials and technologies.
  • Protecting Marine Life and Ecosystems: Plastic pollution poses significant threats to marine life and ecosystems. A treaty can set clear goals and targets to protect oceans and reduce plastic waste reaching marine environments.

 

Steps taken to reach a legally binding treaty to end plastic pollution:

  • Plastic Pollution Coalition: Founded in 2009, the coalition aims to create a world free of plastic pollution and its harmful impacts on the environment, human health, and wildlife.
  • United Nations Clean Seas campaign: is a global initiative launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to combat marine plastic pollution. The campaign aims to raise awareness, mobilize action, and promote concrete solutions to reduce marine litter and plastic waste in the world’s oceans and seas.
  • Global Tourism Plastics Initiative: The Initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It enables businesses, governments, and other tourism stakeholders to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards circularity in the use of plastics.
  • Proposal for Global treaty: 175 nations agree to develop a legally binding agreement on plastic pollution by 2024, prompting a major step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production, use and disposal.
  • MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative: Launched in 2016, the initiative aims to create a circular economy for plastics, where plastics are designed, used, and recycled in a way that eliminates waste and pollution.

Conclusion

Negotiations must address various issues, including the responsibilities of different countries based on their plastic consumption and production, the financial support for developing countries to implement plastic waste management systems, technology transfer, and capacity building.

 


Ethics


 

Syllabus: Challenges of corruption

Q3. “Neither laws nor institutions can help in tackling corruption until the general people morally reject every form of corruption that exists now.” Comment (10M)

Introduction:

In the fight against corruption, individual moral conscience refers to people’s inner values, ethics, and the ability to distinguish right from wrong. If the general population lacks moral integrity, even the strictest laws and robust institutions will struggle to curb corruption effectively.

Body:

Why laws and institutions fail:

  • Weak Implementation and Enforcement: Often, the enforcement of anti-corruption laws is weak, and there may be a lack of political will to prosecute influential individuals involved in corruption.
  • Inadequate Punishments: Lenient punishments and slow legal proceedings can fail to deter potential wrongdoers. When the consequences for engaging in corrupt practices are not severe, individuals may be more inclined to take the risk.
  • Loopholes and Ambiguities: The Lokpal (ombudsman authority) was a “non-starter” for five years after coming into force and has been significantly weakened.
  • Institutional Corruption: infamous License Permit Raj which curbed foreign investment and severely stifled competition, ultimately encouraged a culture of bribery or rent-seeking activities for sourcing any business from the government. It created a black market for everything and smuggling of imported goods became a norm.
  • Political Interference: Corruption can be perpetuated or tolerated at higher levels of government due to political interests or alliances.
  • Cultural and Socioeconomic Factors: Societies that are more tolerant of corruption or have a culture of bribery can create an environment where corruption remains prevalent, despite the presence of laws and institutions.

Examples of Moral Conscience Tackling Corruption:

  • Whistleblowers: Individuals with a strong moral conscience play a crucial role in exposing corruption. For instance, Satyendra Dubey, an engineer, blew the whistle on corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral Highway Project, despite facing threats to his life.
  • Anna Hazare Movement: In 2011, social activist Anna Hazare initiated a nationwide anti-corruption movement demanding the implementation of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The movement gained massive public support, reflecting the collective moral conscience of the people against corruption.

Moral concise help play a role in corruption:

  • Integrity: Upholding moral values and principles consistently, deterring engagement in corrupt practices.
  • Transparency: Openness in governance and decision-making, reducing opportunities for corruption.
  • Accountability: Holding individuals responsible for their actions, discouraging corrupt behavior.
  • Whistleblower Protection: Ensuring a safe environment for reporting corruption without fear of retaliation.
  • Justice and Fairness: Treating all individuals equally, preventing preferential treatment and bribery.

Conclusion:

Moral conscience and ethical values play a crucial role in combating corruption effectively. As Mahatma Gandhi aptly said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

 


Case Study


 

Q4.  You are an RTI activist and your husband is an IAS Officer. You are popular for courageously applying RTI that reveal corruption and illegality by numerous high-profile officers and politicians. Recently, you have applied for RTI against Joint Secretary of Coal Department of a State. You suspect there is huge corruption in allocating coal to private players. Few days later, the Joint Secretary has called you personally and requests you to withdraw the RTI application. When you were stubborn, he discloses to you that, the irregularities in coal allocation happens in all states of the country in a networked fashion. He claims that, your husband who is Deputy Secretary of Coal Department in other state, is also involved in this crime. Upon interrogation with your husband, he confirms you of his involvement and that already many RTI activists have been killed in other states for the same coal allocation irregularity. He wants you to consider consequences for him and your life if you go ahead and expects you to withdraw the RTI application. What will be your decision? Give reasons for the same

Synopsis:

Introduction:

In the pursuit of justice and transparency, individuals often find themselves at crossroads, where personal convictions collide with ethical dilemmas.

Factors to be considered:

  • Commitment to Transparency: regarding the activist’s dedication to uncovering corruption.
  • Personal Safety: The safety of the activist and her family.
  • The Extent of Corruption: The severity of the alleged corruption in coal allocation and its impact on public welfare.
  • Consequences for Her Husband: The implications of exposing her husband’s involvement in corruption could have far-reaching consequences for his career and reputation.
  • Impact on Other Activists: The knowledge of RTI activists being targeted and killed in other states for similar issues raises concerns about the potential dangers faced by the activist and her colleagues.

Dilemmas/issues involved in the case:

  • Transparency vs. Personal Safety risks.
  • Public Interest vs. Protecting Husband’s Career.
  • Upholding the Law vs. Risks to Life.
  • Loyalty to Family vs. Whistleblower Obligations.
  • Personal vs. Collective Impact

Possible decisions that could be taken

Decision Justification Pros/values upheld cons
Proceed with RTI Application

 

 

Upholding the duty as an activist to fight corruption and promote transparency. Upholding the duty as an activist to fight corruption and promote transparency. Risk to personal safety, potential harm to family, and potential damage to her husband’s career and reputation.
Withdraw RTI Application

 

Prioritizing personal safety and safeguarding her family’s well-being. Personal safety, protecting her husband’s career and reputation.

 

Undermining the fight against corruption and transparency, potential compromise on her ethical principles.
Seek Legal Protection and Support

 

 

 

 

Mitigating potential risks while continuing to fight corruption.

 

Safety, security, transparency, and accountability.

 

May still face retaliation or danger despite legal support, the process might be time-consuming and resource-intensive.

 

Decision:

I will not withdraw the RTI application.

Reasons:

  1. Upholding the Public Interest: My primary duty as an RTI activist is to ensure transparency and expose corruption that affects the welfare of citizens. Withdrawing the application would compromise the larger goal of promoting accountability in government actions.
  2. Rule of Law: The RTI Act grants citizens the right to access information held by public authorities. By withdrawing the application under pressure.
  3. Personal Safety Measures: I will take necessary precautions to safeguard myself and my family. Informing relevant authorities, seeking legal protection, and raising awareness about the threats can help increase safety.
  4. Reporting Corruption: My husband’s involvement in corruption is distressing, but it does not exempt him from accountability. I will encourage him to come forward and report the corruption, providing evidence to the appropriate authorities and cooperating in investigations.
  5. Collective Responsibility: Exposing corruption is essential for the well-being of society, and it requires collective efforts. Other RTI activists’ sacrifices motivate me to continue the fight against corruption, regardless of personal challenges.
  6. Ethical Obligation: As an RTI activist, I am bound by ethical principles to act with integrity and not be swayed by personal considerations when dealing with issues of corruption and illegality.

 

Conclusion:

Despite the difficult circumstances, my decision remains resolute in pursuing the truth and fighting corruption. By not withdrawing the RTI application, I stand by my principles, upholding transparency, accountability, and the larger public interest.


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