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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 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: urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Floodplain ecosystem are very beneficial. However, rapid urbanization and improper land use in floodplains have led to reduced water retention capacity, increasing the risk of floods. Effective zoning can help minimize the impact of floods and ensure the long-term safety and sustainability of floodplain ecosystem. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question: 

The article discusses the significance of zoning floodplains and its importance in managing and mitigating the impacts of flooding.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about the floodplain ecosystem, its benefits, threat it faces and ways to restore it.

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 floodplain ecosystem.

Body:

First, write the benefits offered by floodplain ecosystem – support rich ecosystems and provide critically important benefits to people, including the largest freshwater fisheries in the world. Cite examples

Next, write about the various threats faced by them.

Next, write about ways to protect and restore the flood plain ecosystem of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

A floodplain is a generally flat area of land next to a river or stream. It stretches from the banks of the river to the outer edges of the valley. A floodplain consists of two parts. The first is the main channel of the river itself, called the floodway. Beyond the floodway is the flood fringe. The flood fringe extends from the outer banks of the floodway to the bluff lines of a river valley.

Body

Benefits offered by floodplains of India

  • When inundated with water, floodplains act as natural filters, removing excess sediment and nutrients, which can degrade water quality and increase treatment costs.

 

  • These sandy floodplains are exceptional aquifers and any withdrawal is compensated by gravity flow from a large surrounding area.
  • It can replenish underground water sources (or aquifers), which serve as a primary source of water for many communities and which are critical for irrigation that grows much of the world’s crops.
  • Floodplains are home to some of the most biologically rich habitats on Earth. They provide spawning grounds for fish and critical areas of rest and foraging for migrating waterfowl and birds.
  • Floodplains of rivers have immense potential for ensuring sustained water supplies for urban settlements if preserved.
  • Many outdoor recreational activities – like fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, wildlife watching and boating – are made possible by or greatly enhanced by the natural processes of rivers and healthy floodplains.

various threats to floodplains

  • Flood plains are among the most altered landscapes world-
  • wide and they continue to disappear at an alarming rate, since
  • the ‘reclamation’ rate is much higher than for most other
  • landscape types (
  • Flood plains are among the most altered landscapes world-
  • wide and they continue to disappear at an alarming rate, since
  • the ‘reclamation’ rate is much higher than for most other
  • landscape types (
  • Flood plains are among the most altered landscapes world-
  • wide and they continue to disappear at an alarming rate, since
  • the ‘reclamation’ rate is much higher than for most other
  • landscape types (
  • Flood plains are among the most altered landscapes world-
  • wide and they continue to disappear at an alarming rate, since
  • the ‘reclamation’ rate is much higher than for most other
  • landscape types (
  • Flood plains are among the most altered landscapes worldwide and they continue to disappear at an alarming rate, since the ‘reclamation’ rate is much higher than for most other landscape types
  • For river–floodplain ecosystems, expected impacts vary latitudinally.
  • In tropical ecosystems, land use is expected to have the greatest effect, with climate change being minimal.
  • In temperate systems, both land-use change and invasion of non-native species can be expected equally to affect biodiversity
  • In high latitude/altitude systems climate change is by far the most dominant driver, although region-specific differences exist.
  • Species invasion is one of the most important causes of the overall decline in aquatic biodiversity. The higher percentage of exotic plants and animals in flood plains compared to uplands demonstrates the vulnerability of the riparian zone to invasion
  • As the human footprint intensified on the floodplains, the landscape was increasingly “developed and engineered”.
  • The engineered and planned landscape has affected the floodplains in two ways: It has undermined their ability to store and absorb water and reduced their capacity to transport sediment.

Way forward and conclusion

  • Flood Plain Zoning has been recognized as an effective non-structural measure for flood management. Flood-plain zoning measures aim at demarcating zones or areas likely to be affected by floods of different magnitude or frequencies and probability levels, and specify the types of permissible developments in these zones, so that whenever floods actually occur, the damage can be minimised.
  • Rejuvenate flood-plain ecosystems
    • Floods cause disruption and damage but they also generate a bounty of fish and rejuvenate flood-plain ecosystems.
    • g: all along the Brahmaputra, including in the Kaziranga; this landscape has been shaped over millions of years with the help of an active monsoonal environment and mighty rivers that carry sediments weathered from the still-rising Himalaya.
  • Over millions of years, this depositing of sediment into the floodplains has produced at least two results: Raising the lowlands and regularly adjusting river beds. These ensure that impacts of flooding remained moderate.
  • Construction projects that impede the movement of water and sediment across the floodplain must be reconsidered.
  • Floodplain management and restoration strategies must also take into account climate change models that predict significant changes to flow regimes in most of the world’s rivers, especially in temperate and arid regions.
  • Flood plains are unique and dynamic ecosystems that link rivers with their catchments. They are highly productive environments, supporting a diverse biota, but are also intensively used by humans for agricultural and urban development, resulting in loss of biodiversity and ecological functioning.
  • The priority for flood plains is to conserve those that are still intact and to attempt to rehabilitate those that are degraded.
  • In both cases, protecting or restoring key components of the natural flow regime is essential, while maintaining sustainable use of floodplain resources by local communities, particularly in developing countries.
  • Finding this compromise between conservation and resource use requires a greater understanding of the role of flow relative to other stressors in driving ecological processes in flood plains.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2. For the protection of fundamental rights, a remedy is given under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution, which empowers the Supreme Court to issue writs when the fundamental rights of any citizen are violated. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the role of SC in safeguarding fundamental rights under article 32.

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 giving a brief about article 32.

Body:

First, in detail, about the role of the SC as the “guarantor” and “defender” of the fundamental rights.

Next, write in detail about the various types of writs and the purposes behind it. Substantiate using examples and SC case to show how writs are used to protect fundamental rights.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising and giving views of various scholars regarding it.

Introduction

Article 32 falls under Part III of the Constitution that includes the fundamental rights of individuals. It allows an individual to approach the Supreme Court if she or he believes that her or his fundamental rights have been violated or they need to be enforced.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar had once said, “If I was asked to name any particular article in this Constitution as the most important — an article without which this Constitution would be a nullity — I could not refer to any other article except this one (Article 32). It is the very soul of the Constitution and the very heart of it.”

Body

Rationale behind Article 32 called the heart and soul of the constitution:

  • Right to constitutional remedies works on the Doctrine “Ubi Jus Ibi Remedium” which means when there is a right there is a remedy.
  • It gives the power to the citizens of India to go directly to the Supreme Court of India, rather than by way of appeal, if they feel that any of their Fundamental Rights have been violated. Article 32 makes the Supreme Court the defender and guarantor of the fundamental rights.
  • Article 32 came out to be the greatest safeguard that could be provided to protect the fundamental rights of the citizens and “It is a right fundamental to all the other Fundamental Rights”.
  • Courts, as the judicial sentinel of the fundamental rights, are equipped with constitutional weapons i.e., WRITS.
  • Writs which are being performed both by The Supreme Court and The High Court under Article 32 and 226 are for the violation and enactment of the Fundamental Rights.
  • Both the courts have the power to issue directions, orders, and writs, including writs of Habeas corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Quo warranto, and Certiorari, for the enforcement of any of the rights.
  • On the other hand, Parliament has the right to empower any other court with such authority so that it can act as “Protector and guarantor” of such rights.
  • Supreme Court in basic structure doctrine made clear that right to move to Supreme Court cannot be suspended except otherwise provided by the Constitution. This implies that this right suspended during a national emergency under article 359

Conclusion

The constitutional remedies provided to the citizens are the most powerful orders with immediate effects and results and that is why it has always been considered as the most important fundamental right engrafted in the Constitution of India. The Constitution of our country isn’t rigid and the various cases and court proceedings keep on challenging the basic structure of the Constitution. Article 32 still ensures that the fundamental rights of the citizens will always be protected and enforced by the Judiciary of India. And no citizen will be left unheard and deprived of his/her rights being the citizens of an independent country.

Value addition

Landmark cases of Article 32:

  • In a judgment in the L. Chandra Kumar vs. Union of India and Others case and P. Sampath Kumar vs. Union of India case, it was declared that Article 32 was an integral and essential feature of the Constitution and constituted its basic structure.
  • During the 1975 Emergency, in the ADM Jabalpur vs. Shivakant Shukla case, SC had ruled that the right to constitutional remedies under Article 32 would remain suspended during a national emergency. People were unable to seek redressal when their fundamental rights were being hampered.
  • The most recent incidents where Article 32 was discussed, was when Kerala-based journalist Siddique Kappan languished in jail, and debate around the relevance of Article 32 continued inside and outside the Indian courts, the reason being that the Supreme Court may no longer entertain bail petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution.
  • The court had then said that “The right to approach the Supreme Court under Article 32 is itself a fundamental right and that there is no doubt that if a citizen of India is deterred in any case from approaching this Court in exercise of his right”.
  • In the recent case of Arnab Goswami, where PIL’s were filed against him under Article 32 of the Constitution, Hon’ble Chief Justice had said that Supreme Court wouldn’t exercise its powers for matters under Article 32 and also contended that it should be solely done by the High Court with appropriate jurisdiction so as to protect the interest and rights of individuals.
  • The impact of article 32 has been huge with landmark cases like Shreya Singhal v Union of India where supreme court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, Meera Santosh Pal and Others v Union of India and Others where Supreme Court gave judgment on medical termination of pregnancy of a 24-week foetus etc.

 

Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3. The Indian Constitution already includes several fundamental rights that are relevant to aspects of health, such as the right to life under Article 21. However, specifically enshrining health as a separate fundamental right would likely have significant implications for the government’s obligations and resources in providing healthcare services to all citizens. Critically examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference:  Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the feasibility of health as a fundamental right in the country.

Directive word:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief about health care in India.

Body:

First, mention the need for Right to Health that would promote the health of various weaker sections of the society and also boost economic development. Further link the benefits of better healthcare systems to that of various existing schemes like Ayushman Bharath.

Next, bring out the impediments to declare health care a Fundamental Right.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion regarding health as fundamental right. 

Introduction

The right to health, as with other rights, includes both freedoms and entitlements and would be a part of Article 21. Freedoms include the right to control one’s health and body (for example, sexual and reproductive rights) and to be free from interference (for example, free from torture and non-consensual medical treatment and experimentation). Entitlements include the right to a system of health protection that gives everyone an equal opportunity to enjoy the highest attainable level of health.

Body

Background

It is confounding how something that is stridently ‘good’ in ethical and legal terms can run into a wall of opposition built on narrow professional and commercial interests. As in the case of the Right to Health Act that was passed in Rajasthan last week, and the unprecedented kerfuffle that followed, with doctors in the State vehemently protesting what they called a ‘draconian law’.

Need for making healthcare a fundamental right

  • The right to equality guaranteed under Article 15upholds non-discrimination on the basis religion, race, caste, gender, place of birth, etc.
  • However, the dismal investment in public health for decades has made healthcare a privilege available to a few.
  • The constitutional right to health is critical to breaking discriminatory structures that will otherwise continue to perpetuate inequality in all spheres of life, including education, opportunity, wealth, and social mobility.
  • The judicial interpretation of the right to life and liberty under Article 21in several judgments as inclusive of health was crucial, but has its limitations.
  • The universal access to healthcare is now as achievable as it is indispensable. The rights of people are not stagnant, and must evolve as the country evolves.
  • Ayushman Bharatis an ambitious scheme with great potential, but there is a difference between a rights and a service-delivery model of development.
  • India has never spent more than 2% of its GDP on healthcare. And healthcare facilities across the country straddle different levels of efficiency and sufficiency.
  • The impact of COVID-19 has shaken even States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu that traditionally did well in the area of healthcare.
  • There are other dimensions to making health a fundamental right. For example, Delhi is the world’s most polluted city. In winter especially, you can barely venture out in the morning smog without catching an infection.

Making Health as fundamental right will be of immense help

  • If health is a fundamental right, it will give a spine to the entire health ecosystem, empower doctors and healthcare workers, and ensure transparency, inclusivity, and accountability.
  • Moreover, it will pave the way for special legislation, capable institutions, increased budgets, medical training and research, wellness and prevention, and outreach of services.
  • It instils immense confidence and positivity amongst the citizens.
  • In a country where 63 million people slip back into povertydue to catastrophic healthcare costs, it is hard not to see the logic of legally mandating health as a right, and thereby empowering the citizen to hold the state accountable for it.
  • By declaring health as a fundamental right, the government would be compelled to think seriously about the pollution aspect or the environmental impactwhen, say, granting permissions for new industries or framing development policies.

Challenges in making health a fundamental right

  • India has never spent more than 2% of its GDP on healthcare.
  • And healthcare facilities across the country straddle different levels of efficiency and sufficiency.
  • The impact of COVID-19 has shaken even States like Kerala and Tamil Nadu that traditionally did well in the area of healthcare.
  • A 2019 NITI Aayog report highlighted that states in India had unequal public health systems.
  • This imbalance was primarily due to restricted technical expertise and fiscal constraints.
  • While fiscal dependence of states on the centre continues to be a major challenge, if the subject of health was moved to the Concurrent List, it would lead to excessive bureaucracy, red tape and institutional constraints.

Measures needed

  • The implication of and central to the success of such a resetlies in creating appropriate cadres.
  • More immediately,there must be a public health cadre manning the posts at the PHC and CHCs consisting of sub-specialists in family medicine, public health and public health management.
  • Likewise, among nurses, the cadre should comprisetwo distinct sets of personnel — public health nurses (not ANMs promoted based on seniority) and nurse midwives capable of independently doing all clinical functions for handling pregnancies and women’s health issues except surgical interventions.
  • Primary care in India can get traction only if new skills, drastically upgraded competencies and a new mindset are embedded within the vision of a patient, family and community-centred health system.
  • There is also a need to declutter policy dialogue and provide clarity to the nomenclatures. Currently, public health, family medicine and public health management are used interchangeably.
  • It is time our political systems listen topeoples’ voices for a family doctor to ensure their everyday needs — and not easy options like privatisation, commodification and medicalisation of the system.
  • Resetting the system to current day realities requires strong political leadership to go beyond the inertia of the techno-administrative status quoist structures.

Conclusion

It is time India declared the right to health a fundamental right. Strong health laws will help build societal resilience to future pandemics and public health emergencies. Emergency responses can’t come at the cost of neglect of human rights obligations. It is critical then that the right to health be implemented, using the principles of transparency, proportionality and solidarity. The COVID19 experience has also demonstrated the importance of a decentralized/polycentric response – India’s co-operative federalism, therefore, must be strengthened.

 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

4. Critics believe that conducting a caste census might reinforce social divisions and caste identities. It could lead to polarization and potentially hinder the progress made in reducing caste-based discrimination. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The article reports that the Indian government has informed the Supreme Court that only the central government has the authority to conduct a census or any similar exercise.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about benefits of collecting caste based data in census as well as the harms it might cause in light of the reality of Indian society.

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 giving context of caste-based census in India.

Body:

In the first part, discuss the pros – lack of accurate data related to many affirmative action programmes of the government, helpful in the debate related to reservation policy, targeted poverty reduction programmes etc

Next, Discuss the cons – creates chasms within society, historical apprehensions when such data was used to further divide and rule policy, the reality of Indian society and the implications that it would have in a situation of trust deficit between communities, it would be a process of recording caste generated a conception of community as a homogeneous and classifiable community and thereby influenced the processes of political representation.

Conclusion:

Based on above arguments give a fair and balanced view as conclusion.

Introduction

Every Census in independent India from 1951 to 2011 has published data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes. Caste Has Important Position in Indian Society, while census data has been captured for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, religions and linguistic profiles, there has been no profiling of all castes in India since 1931.

The Indian government has informed the Supreme Court that only the central government has the authority to conduct a census or any similar exercise.

Body

The 2021 Census of India, the 16th Indian Census, will be taken in 2021. But the growing demands for a caste census from various sections of society have once again surfaced the issue like its immediate need and long-term repercussions.

Merits of Caste Census

  • Benefit in Policy Making:The purpose of a caste census is not merely geared to the reservation issue; a caste census would actually bring to the fore the large number of issues that any democratic country needs to attend to, particularly the number of people who are at the margins, or who are deprived, or the kind of occupations they pursue.
    • A caste census, which will generate exhaustive data will allow policymakers to develop better policies, implementation strategies,and will also enable a more rational debate on sensitive issues.
  • Enumerating the marginalized:A caste census would actually bring to the particular the number of people who are at the margins, or who are deprived, or the kind of occupations they pursue, or the kind of hold that institutions like caste have on them.
  • Also Reveal Privileged Section of Society:Caste is not only a source of disadvantage; it is also a very important source of privilege and advantage in our society.
    • We have to stop thinking of caste as being applicable to only disadvantaged people, poor people, people who are somehow lacking.
    • The opposite is even truer: caste has produced advantages for certain communities, and these also need to be recorded.
  • To Address Prevalent Inequalities:Unequal distribution of wealth, resources and education has meant an acute shortage of purchasing power among the majority of Indians.
    • As a democratic nation, we cannot forcibly overthrow the system,but we need to address it in a democratic, scientific and objective manner.
  • Constitutional Mandate:Our Constitution too favours conducting a caste census. Article 340 mandates the appointment of a commission to investigate the conditions of socially and educationally backward classes and make recommendations as to the steps that should be taken by governments.
  • Caste doesn’t marginalize:We need to do away with the idea of caste being applicable to only disadvantaged people, poor people, people who are somehow lacking.
  • Rids away caste rigidities:Counting of caste doesn’t necessarily perpetuate caste or the caste system. Myths of caste elitisms can be debunked through a caste census.
  • To Burst the Myths:There are a lot of myths which actually deprive a large number of people, particularly on the margins.
    • g.: In Karnataka, for a long time, there were claims that among the castes, the Lingayats are the most numerous.
    • But a lot of other studies have brought out that this may not be true, and these kinds of myths lead to the argument that given that this is a caste which is numerous, it has to be constantly placated. These myths can be debunked through a caste census.
  • Reduce Inclusion and Exclusion Errors:With accurate data of castes, most backward castes can be identified.
    • Some have benefited so much across the years, while there are people in this country who have not benefited at all.
  • The Supreme Court has time and again asked governmentsto provide the data related to castes; however, this has not been possible due to the non-availability of such data.
    • As a result, our national life suffers from mutual mistrust and misconceptions among different castes.
    • All such commissions have had to rely on data from the last caste census (1931).
  • Data for Policymaking:This information is absolutely necessary for any democratic policymaking.
  • Judicial backing:The courts in India have often emphatically said that it is important to have adequate data with regard to the reservation.

Associated Challenges with Caste Census

  • Repercussions of a Caste Census:Caste has an emotive element and thus there exist the political and social repercussions of a caste census.
    • There have been concerns that counting caste may help solidify or harden identities.
    • Due to these repercussions, nearly a decade after the SECC, a sizable amount of its data remains unreleased or released only in parts.
  • Caste Is Context-specific:Caste has never been a proxy for class or deprivation in India; it constitutes a distinct kind of embedded discrimination that often transcends class. For example: People with Dalit last names are less likely to be called for job interviews even when their qualifications are better than that of an upper-caste candidate.
    • They are also less likely to be accepted as tenants by landlords. Thus, difficult to measure.
    • Marriage to a well- educated, well-off Dalit man still sparks violent reprisals among the families of upper-caste women every day across the country.
  • 50% breach:It is argued that a Socio-Economic Caste Census is the only way to make a case to breach the 50% cap on reservation and rationalize the reservation matrix in the country.
  • Rising assertiveness:More the State ignores out caste, the more is the tendency to preserve caste, protect it. This has been observed in many states.
  • Chaos:Data gathering itself is a big problem because it can become very, very invasive. But we need to actually balance it with enabling people and asserting citizen equality.
  • Social friction:Caste identification can lead to friction amongst various classes.

Way Forward

  • India needs to bebold and decisive in tackling caste questions through data and statistics in the way the United States (US) does to tackle race issues, by collecting data around race, class, language, inter-race marriages, among other metrics.
    • This data provides a mirror to the State and society of the US in which they can see themselves and take decisions to do course corrections.
  • Creation of National Data Bank:The Sachar Committee Report recommended setting up a national data bank.
    • The Justice Rohini committeewas appointed in 2017 to look into the sub-categorisation of the OBC communities; however, in the absence of data, there can be no databank or any proper sub-categorisation.

Conclusion

With every passing day and increasing social awareness, the urgency to do away with the caste system is being sharply felt. Dr. BR Ambedkar stated that if India had to attain a place of pride among the comity of nations, caste would have to be annihilated first.

The most important thing is improving existing databases is more crucial to this than getting into the debate of whether to do a caste count or not. Accurate and timely data is central to India’s effort to tackle poverty. Poor data diminishes the efforts to design welfare programmes.

The 21st century is the right time to solve India’s caste question, which would otherwise extract a heavy price, not just sociologically, but also politically and economically, and make us fall behind in the development index.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. A holistic and adaptive approach, informed by science and local wisdom, is necessary for effective biodiversity conservation in the face of ongoing environmental changes. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate.

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses the evolving nature of biodiversity management and conservation. It emphasizes that the approach to managing biodiversity is undergoing a transition, moving beyond the traditional focus on protecting specific species and habitats.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of biodiversity conservation in light of the services it provides.

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 defining biodiversity.

Body:

First, Write about the reasons as to why Biodiversity is important to humans. Economic—biodiversity provides humans with raw materials for consumption and production, Ecological life support, Recreation—many recreational pursuits rely on our unique biodiversity, Cultural and scientific.

Next, bring out the link of biodiversity and many livelihoods – such as those of farmers, fishers and timber workers, are dependent on biodiversity. Give specific examples.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to conserve biodiversity – consider broader ecological contexts, including interactions between species and their environments, as well as the socio-economic aspects of biodiversity conservation, importance of involving local communities and indigenous knowledge in biodiversity management efforts etc,

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Biodiversity, short for “biological diversity,” refers to the variety of life forms found on Earth, encompassing the full range of species of plants, animals, microorganisms, and the ecosystems they inhabit. It includes the genetic diversity within species, the diversity of species within ecosystems, and the diversity of ecosystems across different geographical regions and habitats.

Biodiversity is a measure of the richness and complexity of life on our planet and is critical for the health and stability of ecosystems, as well as for the well-being of all living organisms, including humans. It encompasses not only the number of species but also their interactions, roles, and contributions to ecological processes and functions. Biodiversity is essential for ecosystem resilience, providing numerous ecological, economic, cultural, and aesthetic benefits to society.

Body

Significance of biodiversity

  • Ecosystem Stability and Resilience: Biodiversity contributes to the stability and resilience of ecosystems. Diverse ecosystems are better able to withstand environmental changes, such as climate fluctuations or the invasion of pests or diseases. They can recover more effectively from disturbances like fires or floods.
  • Ecosystem Services:Biodiversity underpins the provision of ecosystem services that benefit humans, including:
    • Provisioning services: Such as food, medicine, and raw materials.
    • Regulating services: Such as climate regulation, water purification, and pollination.
    • Cultural services: Such as spiritual and recreational benefits.
    • Supporting services: Such as nutrient cycling and soil formation.
  • Food Security:Biodiversity is essential for global food security. A diverse range of plant and animal species is the basis of our food supply. Loss of biodiversity can reduce the resilience of agriculture to pests, diseases, and changing climate conditions.
  • Medicinal Resources:Many medicines are derived from plant and animal species. Biodiversity provides a vast array of genetic resources for pharmaceutical research and development, potentially yielding new cures and treatments.
  • Genetic Diversity:Genetic diversity within species is crucial for adaptation and resilience. It allows species to evolve and respond to changing conditions, including disease resistance in crops and the development of new breeds in livestock.
  • Climate Change Mitigation:Forests, wetlands, and oceans, which are rich in biodiversity, act as carbon sinks, helping to mitigate climate change by absorbing and storing carbon dioxide. Healthy ecosystems play a vital role in regulating the Earth’s climate.
  • Cultural and Recreational Value:Biodiversity is central to the cultural identity and practices of many communities around the world. It provides recreational opportunities and aesthetic value, such as ecotourism and the enjoyment of natural landscapes.
  • Ethical and Intrinsic Value:Many people believe that all species have intrinsic value and a right to exist, regardless of their utility to humans. Ethical considerations emphasize the moral responsibility to protect and conserve biodiversity for its own sake.
  • Economic Value: Biodiversity contributes significantly to economies through agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism, and other sectors. Loss of biodiversity can result in economic losses, increased healthcare costs, and reduced agricultural productivity.
  • Scientific Knowledge: – Biodiversity provides a wealth of information for scientific research. Understanding the interactions and adaptations of different species contributes to our knowledge of biology, ecology, and evolution.

 

Approach required for biodiversity conservation

  • Comprehensiveness: Biodiversity is not solely about conserving individual species but also involves protecting ecosystems, genetic diversity, and ecological processes. A holistic approach recognizes these interconnected aspects of biodiversity and aims to preserve them in their entirety. Science provides the understanding of these intricate relationships, while local wisdom often holds the key to sustainable practices that have allowed communities to coexist with their natural environment for generations.

 

  • Understanding Environmental Changes: Scientific research plays a critical role in monitoring and understanding ongoing environmental changes. This includes climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and invasive species. Local knowledge, on the other hand, can provide valuable historical context and insights into subtle ecological shifts that may not be immediately evident through scientific observation alone.
  • Adaptation to Change: Environmental changes are inevitable, but effective biodiversity conservation requires adaptation strategies. Local wisdom often contains traditional practices and indigenous knowledge that can help communities adapt to shifting conditions. For instance, indigenous agricultural practices tailored to local ecosystems can be more resilient in the face of climate change than conventional methods.
  • Engaging Communities: Biodiversity conservation is more likely to succeed when local communities are actively involved and invested in the process. Local wisdom fosters a sense of stewardship and can offer practical solutions that respect the needs and culture of the people living in these areas. This collaboration also ensures that conservation efforts are sustainable and socially acceptable.
  • Ethical Considerations: A holistic approach also considers the ethical dimension of conservation. Local wisdom often embodies a deep sense of respect for the environment and its intrinsic value, aligning with the growing global recognition of the rights of nature. This perspective can complement and reinforce conservation efforts based on scientific evidence.
  • Flexibility: Ongoing environmental changes require adaptive management strategies. Scientific research provides the basis for evidence-based decision-making, while local wisdom allows for flexible and context-specific approaches that can be adjusted as conditions change. This adaptability is crucial for long-term success.
  • Data Collection and Monitoring: Scientific methods provide systematic data collection and monitoring techniques, helping to track changes in biodiversity over time. Local knowledge can contribute to this process by offering insights into what changes might be considered normal or alarming in a particular context.
  • Policy and Advocacy: Combining scientific research with local wisdom can provide a more compelling argument for policymakers and stakeholders to prioritize biodiversity conservation. The blend of empirical evidence and cultural significance can drive policies that support conservation efforts.

 

Conclusion

Effective biodiversity conservation requires a multifaceted approach that integrates the rigor of scientific knowledge with the wisdom of local communities. This holistic and adaptive approach not only addresses the complex challenges posed by ongoing environmental changes but also fosters a deeper and more sustainable relationship between people and their natural surroundings, ultimately enhancing the chances of successful biodiversity conservation.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. Fortitude empowers public servants to uphold moral and ethical principles, even when faced with pressures to compromise their values. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

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 importance of fortitude.

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 defining fortitude.

Body:

Explain how Fortitude is firmness of spirit, especially in difficulty. It provides for constancy in the pursuit of virtue. Fortitude is a willingness to freely go beyond the call of duty, to make sacrifices, to act on your convictions. Fortitude includes the courage to confront our personal weaknesses and attraction to vice. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

Fortitude is firmness of spirit, especially in difficulty. It provides for constancy in the pursuit of virtue. Fortitude is a willingness to freely go beyond the call of duty, to make sacrifices, to act on your convictions. Fortitude includes the courage to confront our personal weaknesses and attraction to vice.

Body

Any individual engaged in public service will face multiple challenges in the fulfilment of their goals.

Fortitude is a display of courage in a difficult situation. E.g.: A situation where a disaster like an earthquake has taken place requires immense fortitude. This attitude ensures peace and attracts positivity. It leads to courageous people coming out to face the truth.

Civil service involves decision-making in the public sphere. They have to deal with many matters that are anonymous and discrete. Due to this, fortitude is an eminent desirable quality in civil servants.

E.g.: Kiran Bedi, IPS officer sent a traffic challan to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi as the latter’s vehicle was parked wrongly.

A person with fortitude will not give up easily, and despite disappointing results or setbacks, will continually fight to improve the system.  adversities could be in form of “dilemmas”, “conflicts of interests”, “sound decision making”, “to face fake cases against an honest officer”, “time management”, “striking a balance between personal and professional life”, “to fight corruption”.

E.g: Ashok Khemka, an IAS officer undertook case against business mafia head-on despite the fear to his life and limb.

Conclusion

All the virtues exist as forms of balance, and so must be carefully distinguished from the various excesses which threaten to substitute for virtue. This is especially true in the case of fortitude, with can easily degenerate into extremes of brashness or cowardice.

 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service

7. A responsive civil servant takes responsibility for their actions and decisions. They are willing to be held accountable for the outcomes of their work and are transparent about their decision-making processes. Elaborate. (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 write about the essential traits of responsive civil servant.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by describing a responsive civil servant.

Body:

Elaborate on the essential traits of a responsive civil servant. Cite examples to substantiate how those traits make him responsive.

Conclusion:

Complete by mentioning the importance of civil servants being responsive.

Introduction

Civil servants are the pivot between state and people. They are accountable to both the political executive and the citizen. Upholding the highest ethical standard is paramount for civil servants because the state machinery rests upon their shoulders; they have to maintain ideals and lead by example to sustain the system’s trust.

Civil service is the steel frame on which the edifice of public administration is based upon. If this steel frame is corroded through corruption and low moral standards, the state machinery implementing policies and welfare measures and addressing grievances will collapse.

Body

Adherence to foundational values such as integrity, objectivity, non-partisanship, tolerance, compassion, dedication to public service, etc., serve as guiding principles for civil servants in the discharge of public service duties. Moreover, they provide normative consensus about the rights and benefits to which citizens are entitled to.

Qualities of a responsive civil servant

  • Selflessness: Decisions should only be made in the public interest by those holding public office. For the sake of obtaining money or other material advantages for themselves, their families, or other friends, they shouldn’t do this.
  • Integrity: Holders of public office shouldn’t obligate themselves in any way, whether financially or otherwise, to outside parties who could have an impact on how they carry out their official obligations.
  • Objectivity: Public officials should base their decisions on merit while doing public business, including public appointments, contract awards, and recommendations for incentives and perks.
  • Impartiality: Impartiality is a kind of characteristic or quality of making decisions without bias and prejudice.An instance of impartiality is one in which there is no favoritism. It rejects granting an undue advantage to any individual, societal group, or organization. Being impartial means that all choices should only be based on merit.
  • Non-partisanship: Non-partisanship is known by its act of not supporting any political party, even if one strongly agrees with its ideals.Non-partisanship is the absence of adherence to ideals of any political party, organization, or group.
  • Accountability: Civil servants are subject to the scrutiny that is appropriate to their position and must answer to the public for their choices and conduct.
  • Openness: All choices and acts that public office holders do should be as transparent as possible. When the larger public interest plainly requires it, they should provide justification for their choices and only restrict information when necessary.
  • Honesty: Public officials have a responsibility to declare any private interests that may conflict with their official obligations and to handle such conflicts in a way that protects the public interest.
  • Leadership:
    • Leadership should be used by public authorities to promote and support these ideas.
  • Dedication to public service: Dedication is the quality of being motivated in one’s profession, purpose, vision, or actions. Dedicated public servants strive to accomplish the goals set by the administration. An inner drive or excitement for working in the greater good of the public is implied by dedication to public service. Without any external formal technique to drive that desire, it is the commitment, passion, and sincere desire to achieve something that counts.

Conclusion

In a diverse country like India, the civil servants often face complex and often contrasting socio-economic objectives and challenges often creating a deep sense of moral/ethical dilemma in them about their own duties and functions. This demands an inherent aptitude to prevail over contradictions, solve dilemmas and keep up the spirit to perform in spite of adverse circumstances.


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