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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 24 August 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: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. Bolivar’s vision extended beyond the liberation of individual countries; he aspired to create a united and independent South America. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the contributions of Simon Bolivar to Latin American independence.

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 brief description of Simon Bolivar – who is known as The Liberator.

Body:

First write about the political philosophy of Simon Bolivar and that penned two political treatises—the Cartagena Manifesto and the Letter from Jamaica.

Next write about his military achievements – encouraging the people of South America to rebel against Spanish colonial rule, leading multiple expeditionary forces against the Spaniards, liberated territories etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising that his contributions earned him the epithet – The Liberator from the Latin American people.

Introduction

Simón Bolívar was a South American soldier who was instrumental in the continent’s revolutions against the Spanish empire. Simon Bolivar from 1813 to 1824 liberated many South American countries and later tried to organize them into a US type federation in form of Gran Columbia. He freed Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from the Spanish rule through an armed revolt.

Body

Political philosophy of Simon Bolivar

  • Young Bolívar moved to Spain in 1799 after the deaths of his parents and was associate of Napoleon, until he returned to Venezuela in
  • When Napoleon named Joseph Bonaparte King of Spain and its colonies, which included Venezuela, Bolívar joined the resistance movement.
  • The resistance group based in Caracas gained independence in 1810, and Bolívar travelled to Britain on a diplomatic mission. The fight for control of Caracas, Venezuela and most of South American continued on back home.
  • Finally, Bolívar returned to Venezuela and began a campaign to wrest control of that country from the Spanish.
  • The Cartagena Manifesto was written by Simón Bolívar during the Colombian and Venezuelan War of Independence, after the fall of the First Republic, explaining what he believed to be the causes of this loss. It was written in Cartagena de Indies, on 15 December 1812.
    • Bolivar advocated a strong central government and powerful executive to avoid infighting between city, state, and national authorities, which in his view created stalemate, dissipating funds and energy.
  • He and his followers invaded Venezuela on May 14, 1813; this marked the beginning of his “Campaña Admirable” (Admirable Campaign), which resulted in the formation of the Venezuelan Second Republic later that year.
  • Bolívar was hailed as El Libertador (The Liberator), though civil war soon erupted in the republic, forcing him to flee to Jamaica and seek foreign aid.
  • There he wrote his famous “Letter From Jamaica,” detailing his vision of a South American republic with a parliamentary setup modelled after England and a life-long president. His idea of being a nation’s chief who could not be removed from power would be heavily critiqued by other leaders and intellectuals.

Military achievements of Bolivar

  • Gaining support from Haiti, Bolívar returned to his home continent and became involved in a number of military battles, eventually able to claim several territories.
  • 1821 saw the creation of the Gran Colombia, under Bolívar’s leadership.
  • This federation included much of what is now Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador.
  • Further manoeuvres saw him named Dictator of Peru in 1824, followed by the creation of Bolivia in 1825.
  • Bolívar had succeeded in uniting much of South America in a federation free from Spanish control, but the government was fragile.
  • Despite his desire to create a union of states similar to that which created the United States of America, Bolívar faced opposition from internal factions throughout the huge Gran Colombia, with there being a push to form single nations.
  • As a temporary measure, Bolívar declared himself dictator in 1828, though in September of the same year he escaped an assassination attempt with aid from his mistress and fellow revolutionary Manuela Sáenz.
  • He resigned this post in 1830 and made plans to sail for exile in Europe.

Conclusion

On December 17, 1830, however, Simón Bolívar died in Santa Marta, Colombia, after a battle with what may have been tuberculosis. Today, Bolívar’s legacy can be seen in the multitude of statues and plaza squares bearing his likeness throughout South and North America.

 

Topic: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

2. By the early twentieth century, European colonial powers had established control over most of Africa. The consequences of this colonial legacy continue to shape the social, political, and economic dynamics of many African countries today. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: History of modern world by Jain & Mathur

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about colonialism and pattern in which Africa was colonised and its impact.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the Colonisation of Africa – late as 1880 only 20 per cent of Africa had come under European rule. With the spread of the Industrial Revolution to other countries of Europe rivalries increased as did the search for colonies. The emerging industrial powers looked for a place in the sun. A continent of over 28 million square km was partitioned and occupied by European powers by a combination of two strategies, treaties and conquest.

Next, write about the impact of the above.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition, and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. It is a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony, and often between the colonists and the indigenous population.

Body

Background

  • African continent was known by the name of Dark Continent till its interior areas were explored in the 19th
  • Difficult terrains, non-navigable rivers and other such geographical features ensured that colonialism had a late entry in mainland Africa and was restricted for a long time to Coastal Africa.
  • In the 19th century, publications of the expeditions made by individual explorers raised the interest among the Europeans.
  • These publications included the accounts of the explorers who detailed the wealth of the Central Africa. They were able to chart the courses of important rivers like Congo. The navigability of rivers and knowledge of their course implied that the European companies and troops could now reach into the interiors and transport out the mineral wealth to the coasts for further export.

Colonization of Africa

  • King Leopold II of Belgium patronized the explorers and was the first to establish a colony in central Africa. In 1876, he had brought Congo under his control and managed it as his private colony (Congo was renamed as Congo Free State in 1885).
  • His success raised the interest of other European powers and they entered into a quest for colonies in Africa.
  • After colonization of Congo, the Scramble for Africa began. By 1914 whole of Africa was scrambled among Britain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal, except for Abyssinia (where the Italians were defeated by the nationalists in the 1876 Battle of Adowa), and Liberia.
  • There were many squabbles among the European powers for territory and trading rights in Africa.
  • French and British interests collided in Egypt and Sudan. Belgium opposed an agreement in 1884 signed by Britain and Portugal, demarcating their areas of influence, as it would have resulted in denial of sea access to Congo.
  • Finally, the overlapping claims of European colonists were resolved through negotiations in different conferences.

Berlin conference and sphere of influence

  • Niger river Valley was divided among the British and the French with the Lower Niger becoming a protectorate of Britain and the Upper Niger a protectorate of France.
    • Niger river was made free for ships of all signatory nations.
  • The British agreed to French colonization of Tunis. Spain was awarded coastal area of present-day Western Sahara.
  • Also, the European powers promised to take steps for welfare and development of the Africans. The conference vowed to end Slavery by the Black and Islamist powers and this was to be ensured by each colonial power in their sphere of influence.
  • It was decided that the Congo Free State will be governed by the International Association for Exploration and Civilization of Central Africa.
    • This association was setup by King Leopold II of Belgium and thus Congo was recognized as a private colony of King Leopold II (to be taken away from him by the Belgium government in 1908)
    • Freedom of trade and navigation for all was guaranteed in the Congo River Valley.
  • Germany entered the scramble for Africa after unification of Germany in 1870. From 1882 to 1884, Germany was able to colonize South West Africa, the Cameroons and Togoland in Equatorial Africa and German East Africa.
  • Italy, like Germany was a late entrant. It failed to colonize Tunis because the French took control of it in 1881. It succeeded in colonizing Eritrea in North Eastern Africa. Through various treaties Italy acquired Eastern Somaliland in 1880s.
    • Abyssinia (Ethiopia) lay between Eritrea and Eastern Somalia. Italy failed to colonize it and was defeated by the nationalists in 1896. I

Conclusion

Colonialism in Africa brought along with-it trading merchants, businessmen, missionaries, military and administrative officers. Many of them settled in Africa due to attractions of plentiful arable land and profits from trade. The missionaries stayed on and established Christian institutions for propagation of their religion. Thus, today we see many African countries divided into Muslim and Christian dominated regions. The European settlers were elites in Africa and they enjoyed luxuries of living, which they could not afford back home. The European settlers, like the Boers in South Africa, became wealthy and powerful in Africa. They controlled the government and denied Africans any political right. In almost every colony, the lands of Africans were taken away for cultivation and mining by settlers with Blacks working as slaves.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3. Analyse the significance of a no-confidence motion in parliamentary systems as a means to uphold democracy and ensure political stability. (150 words).

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintIndian Express

Why the question:

The article highlights the importance of a floor test in parliamentary democracy, particularly in situations where the majority support of a government is being questioned.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the significance of conducting a floor test in the context of parliamentary democracy, elucidating the advantages it offers in terms of upholding democratic principles, ensuring political stability, and determining the legitimacy of a government.

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: 

Mention about the concept of a floor test in parliamentary democracy.

Body:

First, Discuss the purpose of a confidence/ non-confidence motion. Discuss the procedure and requirements for passing a non-confidence motion. Discuss the implications of a successful no-confidence motion.

Next, write about the role of above in – Upholding Democratic Principles, Ensuring Political Stability, Implications for Democratic Governance etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

A No Confidence Motion is a parliamentary procedure used to test the government’s support and majority in the legislature. In India, it is introduced in the Lok Sabha, and if accepted, it leads to a discussion on the government’s performance. If the motion is passed, the government must resign from office.

Body

Background

  • The current No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the Indian government was brought by the opposition to demand a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in Manipur.
  • Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla on Wednesday admitted a motion of no-confidence against the government moved by Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi after a headcount of 50 MPs required under the rules.
  • The motion has been supported by constituents of the opposition INDIA alliance and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi.
  • However, given the government’s significant majority in the Lok Sabha, the motion is unlikely to succeed.

Purpose of a confidence/ non-confidence motion

  • In India’s cabinet form of government, Article 75(3) of our Constitution embodies this rule by specifying that the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.

 

  • In a parliamentary democracy, a government can be in power only if it commands a majority in the directly elected House.

 

  • The rules of Lok Sabha provide the mechanism of a no-confidence motion to test whether the Council of Ministers continues to enjoy the confidence of the House.

Mechanism of a confidence/ non-confidence motion

  • A motion of “No Confidence Motion” against the Government can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha under rule 198.
  • A motion of No Confidence can be admitted when a minimum of 50 members, support the motion in the house.
  • The Speaker then, once satisfied that the motion is in order, will ask the House if the motion can be adopted.
  • Thereafter, a discussion on the motion takes place.
  • MPs who support the motion highlight the government’s shortcomings, and the Treasury Benches respond to the issues they raise.
  • Finally, a vote takes place – in case the motion carries, the government is bound to vacate the office.

Significance

  • The “No Confidence Motion” is an important tool against the Council of Ministers (COM) in the Lok Sabha.
  • The motion is approved if 51% of the house members vote in favor of it, at which point the government is judged to have lost the majority and is required to resign.
  • The opposition may ask the government to demonstrate its majority after bringing a no-confidence motion or the government must introduce a vote of confidence to do so.
  • The government can retain power by demonstrating its strengththrough a floor test.
  • At times, the opposition also brings the “No Confidence Motion” to force the Government to discuss important issues.

Conclusion

Thus, the no-confidence motion is a crucial legislative tool used to hold the government accountable, although it is rare for the opposition to defeat the ruling party with greater numbers.

 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4.  Examine the benefits of an open internet for global connectivity, information access, and the promotion of democratic values. State your opinion on net neutrality and its importance of maintaining an open and free internet as a fundamental aspect of modern society.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

With fair share discussion gaining traction in the EU and Brazil, telcos in India have again started demanding a fee from OTTs.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of an open and free internet, elucidating its positive impact on global communication, access to information, and the advancement of democratic ideals.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining net neutrality.

Body:

First, highlight the Advantages of an Open and Free Internet – free internet facilitates the free flow of information, knowledge, and cultural exchanges, contributing to global progress and understanding etc.

Next, write about the challenges and concerns related to an open and free internet, such as misinformation, cybersecurity threats, and data privacy.

Next, write about role of governments, international organizations, and tech companies in ensuring internet freedom etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion on net neutrality.

Introduction

Net neutrality means that governments and internet service providers treat all data on the internet equally and not differentially charge consumers for higher-quality delivery or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

Network neutrality requires all Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide the same level of data access and speed to all traffic, and that traffic to one service or website cannot be blocked or degraded.

Body

Advantages of an Open and Free Internet 

  • With fair share discussion gaining traction in the EU and Brazil, telcos in India have again started demanding a fee from OTTs.
    • TRAI and policymakers in India, however, would be well advised to shun this move to ensure that the internet remains free, fair, and open for anyone to innovate and create.
    • It is an important principle that helps to ensure a level playing field on the internet, and to protect the free flow of information and ideas.
  • Equal access to information: Net neutrality ensures that all internet users have equal access to information, knowledge, and ideas. It prevents ISPs from blocking or throttling access to specific websites or services, allowing individuals to explore a diverse range of content without discrimination.
  • Innovation and competition: An open internet fosters innovation and competition. Startups and small businesses can compete on a level playing field with larger companies because they can reach users without being slowed down or blocked by ISPs. This environment encourages the development of new services, applications, and technologies that benefit consumers and the economy.
  • Freedom of expression: Net neutrality preserves freedom of expression online. It ensures that individuals can voice their opinions, share ideas, and participate in public discourse without fear of censorship or restriction by ISPs or internet gatekeepers.
  • Privacy protection: A neutral internet helps protect user privacy. ISPs are not allowed to discriminate based on the content or source of data, meaning they can’t inspect or prioritize data packets based on their content, thereby safeguarding user privacy to some extent.
  • Open platform for creativity: Artists, content creators, and musicians can use the internet as an open platform to share their work and reach a global audience without facing discrimination or having to pay extra fees to ensure their content is delivered effectively.
  • Educational opportunities: An open internet enhances educational opportunities by providing access to a vast array of educational resources and online courses. Net neutrality ensures that educational content is not blocked or hindered, enabling learners to acquire knowledge from various sources.
  • Social and political participation: Net neutrality supports social and political participation by allowing individuals to engage with online platforms and express their opinions without interference from ISPs. This enables the free flow of information and facilitates democratic processes.
  • Consumer choice and control: An open internet empowers users to make their own choices about the content they access and the services they use, without being limited by the preferences of ISPs or internet companies.
  • Global connectivity: Net neutrality contributes to global connectivity by making the internet equally accessible to users across the world. It helps bridge the digital divide and ensures that people in different regions can participate in the digital age on an equitable basis.
  • Economic benefits: A free and open internet can drive economic growth and job creation. By fostering innovation and entrepreneurship, net neutrality encourages the development of new technologies and services, which can lead to economic benefits at both local and global levels.

Challenges and concerns if net neutrality is removed

  • Monopolizing Internet: Without net neutrality, ISPs would have the ability to shape internet traffic to derive extra benefits from it.
    • This would give them the power to charge companies like YouTube and Netflix for services that consume more bandwidth compared to a normal website.
  • Innovation: Lack of net neutrality could spell doom for innovation on the web. Startups would be at a disadvantage compared to established players who have the resources to pay for faster access.
    • This could lead to a web that is dominated by a few large players, rather than an open and diverse ecosystem.
  • Package Plans for Consumers: The lack of net neutrality would also mean that instead of free access, there could be “package plans” for consumers.
    • For example, users may have to pay more to access international websites compared to websites based in their own country. This would create a tiered internet system where users who pay more get better access to content.

 

Role of government and related organization in ensuring internet freedom

  • Until now, net neutrality has not directly been regulated in India by any law or policy framework.
  • Over the last year, there have been some developments with respect to the formulation of a net neutrality policy.
  • TRAI is working on Differential Pricing for Data Services as well as Regulatory Framework for Over-The-Top Services (OTT).
  • A Committee set up by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has also examined the issue of net neutrality.
  • Also, Internationally, countries like the USA, Japan, Brazil, Chile, Norway, have some form of law, order or regulatory framework in place that affects net neutrality.

 

Conclusion

Net neutrality and open internet empower individuals, fosters economic growth, and enhances social and educational opportunities. By upholding the principles of net neutrality, we can continue to enjoy the benefits of a free and open internet that enriches our lives and contributes to a more connected and democratic society.

Value addition

The stakeholders in the internet space

  • The consumers of any internet service
  • The Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) or Internet Service Providers (ISPs),
  • The Over-the-top (OTT) service providers (those who provide internet access services such as websites and applications),
  • The government, who may regulate and define relationships between these players.
    • Also, TRAI is an independent regulator in the telecom sector, which mainly regulates TSPs and their licensing conditions, etc.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Explain the factors and key drivers that have contributed to India’s economic growth, making it the world’s third-largest economy during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Inaugurating the newly built International Exhibition-cum-Convention Centre (IECC), named Bharat Mandapam, in New Delhi on Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that when he took charge in 2014, India was the tenth-largest economy in the world. During his second term as PM, he said, India had become the fifth-largest economy.

Key Demand of the question:

To examine the specific factors and key drivers that have propelled India’s economic growth, leading to its position as the world’s third-largest economy.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, present an overview of India’s economic performance and its transformation into a major global economy. Cite statistics of key indicators to substantiate.

Next, write about the various factor responsible for the above – Structural Reforms and Policy Initiatives, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Inflows, Manufacturing and Services Sector Growth, Infrastructure Development etc.

Next, write about the challenges and potential bottlenecks that could affect India’s economic growth in the future.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

India’s economic growth and its ascent to becoming the world’s fifth-largest economy during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tenure can be attributed to various factors and key drivers. While it is essential to acknowledge that economic growth is a complex and multifaceted process with contributions from various sources, some of the significant factors have played a role in India’s economic growth.

Body

Drivers to India’s economic growth

  • Economic Reforms: The Indian government has undertaken several economic reforms to liberalize and modernize the economy. Policies such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and the Make in India initiative have aimed to simplify business processes, promote investment, and encourage entrepreneurship.
  • Demographic Dividend: India has a large and youthful population, providing a demographic dividend. With a significant proportion of the population in the working-age group, there is an opportunity for increased productivity and economic growth.
  • Services Sector: India’s services sector, including information technology (IT), software services, business process outsourcing (BPO), and financial services, has been a major driver of economic growth. The sector has been able to capitalize on a skilled and educated workforce, making India a preferred outsourcing destination.
  • Manufacturing and Infrastructure: The government’s focus on boosting manufacturing and developing infrastructure has contributed to economic growth. Initiatives like “Make in India” aim to promote domestic manufacturing, while investments in infrastructure projects have improved connectivity and logistics.
    • Green technology initiatives such as FAME-II are boosting new areas of manufacturing.
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): India has witnessed an increase in foreign direct investment in various sectors, thanks to its improving business environment and large consumer market. FDI has led to technology transfer, job creation, and increased industrial output.
    • India is getting the highest inward remittances from non-residents.
    • Ease of doing business is a key factor for this development.
  • Digital Revolution: The digital revolution has played a crucial role in India’s economic growth, with increasing internet penetration, widespread use of smartphones, and digital payment systems driving e-commerce and financial inclusion.
    • India’s “Digital India” initiative led to e-governance.
    • India’s UPI is launched in Paris. Transactions are becoming cashless and black money is being stifled.
  • Entrepreneurship and Startups: India has seen a surge in entrepreneurial activity and startup culture, fostering innovation and economic dynamism. The government’s support through schemes like Startup India has encouraged this trend.
  • Government Initiatives: Various government initiatives, such as the “Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana” for financial inclusion, “Ayushman Bharat” for healthcare, and rural electrification programs, have had positive impacts on economic growth and social development.
    • Poverty in India reduced and it has led to better social security to the poor.
  • Global Trade and Market Integration: India’s participation in global trade and integration into the global market has facilitated access to new markets and increased export opportunities for Indian businesses.
    • Eg Free Trade agreements inked with strategic partners such as UAE and Australia while not joining RCEP which would have been detrimental to India.
  • Resilience and Adaptability: India’s economy has shown resilience and adaptability in the face of challenges, such as global economic downturns and the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to adapt to changing circumstances has helped sustain economic growth
    • Eg: India’s vaccine maitri initiative enhanced its soft power as well as showed how India can be Pharmacy for the world.
    • India bounced back faster than any other economy and its growth was higher than China and USA.

 

Conclusion

It’s important to note that economic growth is a complex process influenced by various internal and external factors. While these factors have contributed to India’s economic growth, ongoing challenges, such as income inequality, infrastructure gaps, and bureaucratic hurdles, require sustained efforts to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic development.

 

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

6. Mangrove swamps are crucial ecosystems that provide numerous ecological and protective benefits. However, habitat loss due to various factors severely impacts their ability to function as natural coastal protectors. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

West Bengal which is home to about 40% of mangrove forests in India, announced the setting up of a ‘Mangrove Cell’ in the State, on the occasion of the International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem.

Key Demand of the question:

To explain the importance of mangroves and to bring out the various threats faced by them.

Directive:

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 the answer by briefly writing about mangroves and their ecosystem.

Body:

You can draw simple and illustrative of map showing important mangroves.

Write about the role of mangroves as the first line of defense against erosion and flooding. Also mention about the other ecological benefits of mangroves as well as its unique flora and fauna.

Next, write about the various threats that mangroves are facing which is making them ecologically fragile and climatically vulnerable such as Coastal development, clearing for agriculture, excessive Aquaculture &Salt Production, River changes: Dams and irrigation, Destruction of coral reefs, Pollution and Climate change etc. Cite necessary examples, facts and figures to substantiate your point.

Conclusion:

Write a way forward to protect the Mangrove ecosystem of India.

Introduction

Mangroves are the characteristic littoral plant formation of tropical and subtropical sheltered coastlines. They exhibit remarkable capacity for salt water tolerance, strong wind velocity, varying tides and high temperature. E.g.: Rhizophora, Avicenia, Bruguiera etc. Total cover of Mangroves in India is about 4,975 sq km as per latest State of Forest Report 2019.

Body

Ecological Services by Mangroves:

  • Mangrove plants have (additional) special roots such as prop roots, pneumatophores which help to impede water flow and thereby enhance the deposition of sediment in areas (where it is already occurring), stabilize the coastal shores, provide breeding ground for fishes.
  • Mangroves moderate monsoonal tidal floods and reduce inundation of coastal lowlands.
  • They prevent coastal soil erosion.
  • They protect coastal lands from tsunami, hurricanes and floods.
  • Mangroves enhance natural recycling of nutrients.
  • Mangrove supports numerous flora, avifauna and wild life.
  • Provide a safe and favourable environment for breeding, spawning, rearing of several fishes.
  • They supply woods, fire wood, medicinal plants and edible plants to local people.
  • They provide numerous employment opportunities to local communities and augments their livelihood.

Threats to Mangroves:  

A scientific study reported that 100 per cent of mangrove species, 92 per cent of mangrove associates, 60.8 per cent of algae, 23.8 per cent of invertebrates and 21.1 per cent of fish are under threat.

Natural forces due to climate change:

  • Sea-level rise: Mangrove systems do not keep pace with changing sea-level and fall
  • Extreme high-water events: affect the position and health including through altered sediment elevation and sulphide soil toxicity
  • Storms: increase damage to mangroves through defoliation and tree mortality and they collapse
  • Precipitation: decreased rainfall and increased evaporation will increase salinity, decreasing net primary productivity, growth
  • Temperature: Changing species composition, Changing phenological patterns (e.g., timing of flowering and fruiting)
  • Ocean circulation patterns: affect mangrove propagule dispersal and the genetic structure of mangrove populations, with concomitant effects on mangrove community structure.

Anthropogenic activities:

  • Mangroves are being destroyed and facing severe threats due to urbanization, industrialization, and discharge of domestic sewage, industrial effluents and pesticides.
  • Saltpans and aquaculture also pose major threat to the mangroves.
  • 40% of mangrove forests in West Coast of India have been converted into farmlands and housing colonies over the last three decades.
  • Some of the mangrove species like Bruguiera cylindrica and Sonneratia acida are at the verge of extinction.
  • Due to shrimp farming, about 35,000 ha of mangroves have been lost in India.

Scientific Management of Mangroves

  • Nationwide mapping of the mangrove areas, by remote sensing techniques coupled with land surveys, and time series to assess the rate of degradation of the ecosystems.
  • Quantitative surveys of area, climatic regime, rate of growth of forest trees and seasonal variations of environmental parameters.
  • Inclusion of mangrove species under threat in the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red list. g. Sonneratia griffithii in India
  • Assessment of suitable sites for reserve forests. g.: Artificial regeneration through mangrove nurseries or aerial seeding.
  • Joint management of mangroves with local community participation.
  • Disease and pest controlg.: Crab cuts are prevented by painting hypocotyls in yellow or Placing seedlings inside bamboo containers.
  • Afforestation of degraded mangrove areas;
  • Study of management methods, the ecology of mangroves, their flora and fauna, their microbiology and the biochemistry of organic matter and sediments.
  • Mangroves for Future is a unique partner-led initiative for coastal ecosystem conservation. This project is being coordinated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) covering, initially, eight countries (including India) in South Asia, South East Asia and Western Indian Ocean, for the protection of the mangroves.
  • The mangroves have been afforded protection under Category I (ecologically sensitive) of the CRZ.

Conclusion:

An increase of 54 sq. km in mangrove cover has been observed as notes in SFR 2019. There is a need to build on this progress for stabilization of low-lying coastal lands. Mangroves being natural filters of pollutants from water, it becomes even more necessary to conserve them.

Value addition

Characteristics:

  • Mangroves are salt tolerant trees, also called halophytes, which survive high salinity, tidal regimes, strong wind velocity, high temperature and muddy anaerobic soil – a combination of conditions hostile for other plants.
  • The mangrove ecosystems constitute a symbiotic link or bridge between terrestrial and marine ecosystems.
  • They are found in the inter-tidal zones of sheltered shore, estuaries, creeks, backwaters, lagoons, marshes and mud-flats.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Case Study

7. You are a no-nonsense, honest officer. You have been transferred to a remote district to head a department that is notorious for its inefficiency and callousness. You find that the main cause of the poor state of affairs is the indiscipline of a section of employees. They do not work themselves and also disrupt the workings of others. You first warned the troublemakers to mend their ways or else face disciplinary action. When the warning had little effect, you issued a show cause notice to the ringleaders. As a retaliatory measure, these troublemakers instigated a woman employee amongst them to file a complaint of sexual harassment against you with the Women’s Commission. The Commission promptly seeks your explanation. The matter is also publicized in the media to embarrass you further. Some of the options to handle this situation could be as follows: (i) Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action. (ii) Ignore the commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action. (iii) Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly. Suggest any other possible option(s). Evaluate all of them and suggest the best course of action, giving your reasons for it. (250 words) (UPSC 2014)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, mention the facts of the case

Body:

Give the major ethical issues involved along with the stakeholders. Evaluate its pros and cons of the options mentioned above.

Next, write the approach you will take.

Conclusion:

Stress on the importance of emotional intelligence and courage in such cases.

Introduction

The case involves various ethical issues like rogue behaviour of employees and openly defying the authority.  There is also gross injustice to the authority premised on false allegations, which can seriously damage the reputation and career of the officer. It is classic case where, good work is disincentivised by fabricated allegations that are grave.

Body

  1. Option #1: Give your explanation to the Commission and go soft on the disciplinary action

Merits: My explanation will be given and it may clear the doubts in this regard. Since I go               soft on disciplinary action, the allegation may be taken back. It’ll reinstate my reputation. It                 will also show that there is transparency in handling such cases.

Demerits: Going soft on disciplinary action will mean the employees have a leverage over              me and they can dominate me to do anything. It will lead to more inefficiencies amongst them and this is a win for injustice. It will only promote and encourage more inefficiency and   wrongful means to defy authority in future. Giving in to wrong means used by the section of    employees to thwart the enquiry.

 

  1. Ignore the commission and proceed firmly with the disciplinary action

Merits: Doing the duty to maintain departmental efficiency by continuing with the departmental enquiry. I will not give in to wrong means used by the employees. It will show them that nothing can make me afraid or stop me from taking right action. It will become an example for other employees to not do such immoral actions.

Demerits: Not replying would reinforce the allegation. Reputation is harmed and may not be reinstated. May lead to some action upon myself if I don’t explain myself. Transparency and accountability is lost. It shows insensitivity towards issues pertaining to women. 

  1. Brief your higher-ups, seek directions from them and act accordingly

Merits: Ensuring effective communication with seniors- honouring lines of authority; will help seek their guidance and experience in such matters; taking the seniors into confidence on the matter could prevent/reduce personal harm later.

Demerits: Shows less initiative from my side, especially towards the allegation. Higher ups may not want to get involved when harassment case is there.

Course of action

One is to gather evidence and prove myself innocent and follow the guidelines in such cases. Second is to reply to the commission regarding the veracity of claims and come clean. Next, I would not go soft on employees and further continue with the disciplinary action. Further, I would seek help of higher-ups and their guidance in this regard. I will keep them in loop regarding every step and also do as directed.

This will lead to better efficiency at work by other employees and set a future precedent for others who try to cause disruption at work. I can also take seniors into confidence and find employees who can vouch for my integrity. It is the most holistic solution with less demerits.

Conclusion

Truth will always prevail and triumph if one is always in pursuit of it. We cannot leave our moral ground even if immoral means are used against us. We can take refuge under truth as Gandhiji said, because it alone will lead to justice and fairness.


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