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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 27 March 2024

 

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: geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1. Mangroves hold crucial resources that can help protect the rich and diverse biosphere. Nature-based solutions offer a holistic and sustainable approach to protect mangroves in India. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to EarthInsights on India

Why the question:

According to the environmental study report, four million tonnes of microplastics are released into the Bay of Bengal and the Sundarbans each year from various rivers in Bangladesh and India.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about importance of Mangroves and role of nature based solutions in protecting them.

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 the answer by briefly writing about mangroves and their ecosystem.

Body:

First, you can draw simple and illustrative of map showing important mangroves in India.

Next, write about the ecological and economic benefits of mangroves as well as its unique flora and fauna, role of mangroves as the first line of defence against erosion and flooding etc.

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.

Next, write about nature-based solutions as a remedy to the above problems.

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.

According to the environmental study report, four million tonnes of microplastics are released into the Bay of Bengal and the Sundarbans each year from various rivers in Bangladesh and India.

Body

Ecological Services by Mangroves:

  • Mangrove plants have (additional) special roots such as prop roots, pneumatophoreswhich 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.  Sonneratia griffithii in India
  • Assessment of suitable sites for reserve forests. : Artificial regeneration through mangrove nurseries or aerial seeding.
  • Joint management of mangroves with local community participation.
  • Disease and pest control: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 – 2


 

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

2. What are some of the major issues faced in the Indian democratic political process? Discuss strategies that could improve India’s democratic political process through reform. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

All traditional sites of consensus-building — public discourse, civil society, and political parties — have evolved to structurally impede dialectical cooperation.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about democratic political process, issues in it and ways to overcome it.

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 writing about democratic political process and its components.

 Body:

First, write in detail, the various issues in India’s democratic political process – corruption, criminalization of politics, dynastic rule, lack of accountability, and identity-based politics etc.

Next, write about the potential reforms that can be undertaken in this regard – strengthen anti-corruption measures, implement electoral reforms, enhance political transparency, empower civil society, and promote inclusive politics etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Democracy is a form of government in which rulers are elected by the people in a free and fair elections, on universal adult franchise. Democratic politics is about building consensus in favour of certain paths and providing platforms for collective action.

India’s democratic framework is based on the British Westminster system, with a President as the head of state and a Prime Minister as the head of government. The Parliament consists of two houses: the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of States). The judiciary, with the Supreme Court at its apex, upholds the constitution and the rule of law.

Body

Issues in India’s Democratic Political Process

  • Corruption
    • Corruption remains a pervasive issue, undermining the integrity of democratic institutions and processes. E.g: Endless examples of large scale corruption scandals like 3G, Delhi commonwealth games scam etc.
  • Criminalization of Politics
    • The involvement of individuals with criminal backgrounds in politics challenges the essence of democratic governance. E.g: According to data from the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), the number of candidates with criminal charges elected to Parliament in India has been on the rise since 2004.
  • Dynastic Rule
    • Political dynasties dominate the landscape, raising questions about meritocracy and equal opportunities. E.g: Lack of intra-party democracy within political parties which is evident by huge nepotism where family members are only given tickets to contest in elections.
  • Lack of Accountability
    • There is often a disconnect between elected representatives and their constituents, leading to a lack of accountability. E.g: The arrest of citizens for posting online content critical of the government.
  • Identity-Based Politics
    • Politics often revolves around caste, religion, and other identities, which can overshadow policy-based discourse. E.g: The suicide of an 18-year-old Dalit studentin one of the country’s premier educational institutions because of ‘unbearable distress’ (allegedly on account of caste discrimination) A 16-year-old Dalit student being beaten up by his principal as the boy is said to have drank water from the principal’s water bottle.

Measures needed

  • Strengthen Anti-Corruption Measures
    • Implementing stringent anti-corruption laws and ensuring their enforcement can help restore faith in the system.
  • Implement Electoral Reforms
    • Electoral reforms, such as the use of electronic voting machines and the model code of conduct, can enhance the credibility of elections.
  • Enhance Political Transparency
    • Greater transparency in political financing and decision-making processes can bolster democratic practices.
  • Empower Civil Society
    • A robust civil society can act as a watchdog and advocate for the public interest.
  • Promote Inclusive Politics
    • Encouraging participation from all sections of society can lead to more representative governance.

Way forward

  • The political language in present times, steeped in hypocrisy and intense personal animosities reflects the narrowness of our politics and violates the dignitarian promise of the Constitution, and is destructive of the broader social accord.
  • India’s diminished democracycan be resurrected only through an ennobling political discourse defined by civil conversation founded in reason and faith in the power of decency to make a difference.
  • The celebration of the Republic cannot be complete as long as our politics remains limited by narrow partisan perspectives and is driven by those whose projected concern at pervasive injustices is largely suspect, given their obsession with a compulsive pursuit of power for its own sake.
  • The foundations of the Republic are predicated on a just exercise of peoples’ power by ruling dispensations of the day and on the Opposition’s fearless pushback against the abuse of power.
  • The challenge for those who aspire to lead the nation in the fullness of its glory in these momentous times, is to imagine and consolidate a political universe rooted in the collective assertion of our moral judgment that answers the call of good conscience.

Conclusion

The path forward for India’s democracy involves a multifaceted approach that addresses systemic issues while fostering a culture of accountability and inclusivity. By implementing the aforementioned reforms and ensuring that democratic principles are upheld at every level, India can strengthen its democratic process and build a more equitable and just society.

 

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

3. Critically analyse the various issues pertaining to Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885. Suggest measures that could be taken to prevent unwarranted surveillance and its misuse by agencies. (250 words).

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

About a fortnight ago, a deputy superintendent of police at the state’s Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) was arrested for allegedly tapping the phones of a large number of people.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, its need and issues in it, ways to prevent unwarranted state surveillance.

Directive word:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly by writing about aims of Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

Body:

First, write about the major features of Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 and its need.

Next, mention in detail various issues in it – privacy infringement and unwarranted state surveillance due to its broad language and lack of safeguards etc.

Next, mention the steps that are needed to rectify the above shortcomings – stricter legal standards, legislative or judicial oversight, transparency, privacy safeguards, independent review bodies, and public awareness campaigns are essential.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885 governs the use of wired and wireless telegraphy, telephones, teletype, radio communications and digital data communications. It gives the Government of India exclusive jurisdiction and privileges for establishing, maintaining, operating, licensing and oversight of all forms of wired and wireless communications within Indian territory. It also authorizes government law enforcement agencies to monitor/intercept communications and tap phone lines under conditions defined within the Indian Constitution.

About a fortnight ago, a deputy superintendent of police at the Telangana’s Special Intelligence Branch (SIB) was arrested for allegedly tapping the phones of a large number of people.

Body

Section 5 of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885

  • Section 5, often referred to as the “wire-tapping clause,” empowers the government to intercept and monitor communications in the interest of public safety or during a public emergency.
  • The provision is designed to balance state security needs with individual rights to privacy and freedom of expression.

Issues with Section 5

  • Privacy Infringement: The broad language of Section 5 has raised concerns about privacy rights, as it allows for surveillance without sufficient checks.
  • In Public Union for Civil Liberties v Union of India (1996), the SC pointed out lack of procedural safeguards in the provisions of the Telegraph Act and laid down following observations:
  • Tapping is a serious invasion of an individual’s privacy.
  • It is no doubt correct that every Government exercises some degree of surveillance operation as a part of its intelligence outfit but at the same time citizen’s right to privacy has to be protected.
  • State Surveillance: There is a risk of unwarranted state surveillance, potentially leading to misuse of power by authorities.
  • Ambiguity on issues like type of interception, granularity of information that can be intercepted and the degree of assistance from service providers helps in bypassing the law and aids surveillance by the state.
  • The surveillance promotes spread of authoritarianism in the government functioning since it allows the executive to exercise a disproportionate amount of power on the citizen and impacts their personal lives.
  • The revelations over the use of Pegasus highlights that surveillance was also conducted on many journalists. This affects freedom of press.

Measures needed

  • Stricter Legal Standards: Implementing clear legal standards for when and how surveillance can be conducted.
  • Oversight Mechanisms: Establishing legislative or judicial oversight to ensure surveillance is warranted and proportionate.
  • Transparency: Increasing transparency around surveillance requests and their approvals.
  • Privacy Safeguards: Introducing robust privacy safeguards to protect individuals’ data.
  • Independent Review Bodies: Creating independent bodies to review surveillance orders and their implementation.
  • Public Awareness: Conducting public awareness campaigns to inform citizens about their rights and the state’s surveillance powers.

Way Forward

The need of the hour is to modernize the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, to align with contemporary privacy standards and technological advancements. The focus should be on ensuring that any surveillance is legal, necessary, and proportionate, with adequate safeguards against abuse. This will help maintain the delicate balance between national security and individual privacy rights, fostering trust in the state’s commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Water pollution in India arises from various sources, each contributing to the deterioration of water quality with a plethora of short term and long-term consequences. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the causes of water pollution, its short term and long term consequences and ways to deal with it.

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 water pollution.

Body:

First, cite statistics indicating the level and extent of water pollution in the country.

Next, write about the causes of water pollution in the country – Industry, agriculture and livestock farming, Rubbish and faecal water dumping, Maritime traffic and Fuel spillages etc.

Next, write about the short and long-term consequences for the above. Cite examples and facts to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning various measures that need taken to tackle water pollution.

Introduction

Water Pollution refers to the deterioration of physical (such as colour, odour, turbidity, taste, temperature), chemical (such as acidity, alkalinity, salinity, etc.), and biological (presence of bacteria, coliform MPN, algae, etc.) characteristics of water through natural and anthropogenic processes to such an extent that it becomes harmful to human beings, plants, and animal communities.

NITI Aayog and WaterAid, amongst others, have found that over 70% of India’s surface and groundwater is contaminated by human and other waste and is likely to carry viruses. According to a World Bank Report – Quality Unknown: The Invisible Water Crisis in 2019, heavily polluted water is reducing economic growth by up to a third in some countries.

Body:

Extent of pollution of water sources across Globe:

  • There are two unpolluted fresh water sources left in India. The first is the water lying below our forests; the second is the aquifers that lie below the floodplains of rivers.
  • India’s 14 major, 55 minor and several hundred small rivers receive millions of liters of sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes.
  • The most polluting source for rivers is the city sewage and industrial waste discharge. Presently, a very small portion of the wastewater generated is treated; the rest is discharged as it is into our water bodies. Due to this, pollutants enter rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
  • Such water, which ultimately ends up in our households, is often highly contaminated and carries disease-causing microbes.
  • Agricultural run-off, or the water from the fields that drains into rivers, is another major water pollutant as it contains fertilizers and pesticides.
  • In England, Wales and Scotland, several wastewater samples were tested and were found to carry traces of SARS-CoV-2.
  • Remnants of the virus have also been detected in raw sewage across Sydney.
  • Research at the University of Stirling in Scotland indicates that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can spread through sewage water.

Causes of water pollution:

  • Sewage and wastewater
    • Inadequate sewage collection and treatment are sources of water pollution.
    • According to the United Nations, more than 80% of the worldwide wastewater goes back in the environment without being treated or reused.
  • Urbanization and deforestation
    • Even though it does not have a direct impact on water quality, urbanization and deforestation have a lot of indirect effects.
    • For instance, cutting down trees and concreting over large areas generates an acceleration of flows which does not give enough time for water to infiltrate and be purified by the ground.
  • Agriculture
    • Agriculture has an impact on water pollution due to the use of chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides or insecticides running off in the water, as well as livestock excrement, manure and methane (greenhouse effect).
    • Regarding aquaculture, pollution is directly in the water, as excess food and fertilizers are causing dystrophication.
  • Industries
    • Industries produce a lot of waste containing toxic chemicals and pollutants.
    • A huge amount of the industrial waste is drained in the fresh water which then flows into canals, rivers and eventually in the sea.
    • Another source of water pollution is the burning of fossil fuels, causing air pollution like acid rain which then flows to streams, lakes, and other stretches of water.
  • Marine dumping
    • Every day, garbage such as plastic, paper, aluminium, food, glass, or rubber are deposited into the sea.
    • These items take weeks to hundreds of years to decompose, and thus they are a major cause for water pollution.
  • Radioactive waste
    • Generated – among others – by power plants and uranium mining, radioactive waste can linger in the environment for thousands of years.
    • When these substances are released accidentally or disposed improperly, they threaten groundwater, surface water, as well as marine resources.

 

Threats posed by water pollution:

  • On Human health:
  • Domestic and hospital sewage contain many undesirable pathogenic microorganisms, and its disposal into water without proper treatment may cause an outbreak of serious diseases, such as typhoid, cholera, etc.
  • Metals like lead, zinc, arsenic, copper, mercury and cadmium in industrial wastewaters adversely affect humans and other animals.
  • Consumption of such arsenic polluted water leads to accumulation of arsenic in the body parts like blood, nails and hairs causing skin lesions, rough skin, dry and thickening of the skin and ultimately skin cancer.
  • Mercury compounds in wastewater are converted by bacterial action into extremely toxic methyl mercury, which can cause numbness of limbs, lips and tongue, deafness, blurring of vision and mental derangement.
  • Pollution of water bodies by mercury causes Minamata (neurological syndrome) disease in humans.
  • Lead causes lead poisoning (Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues).
  • The compounds of lead cause anaemia, headache, loss of muscle power and bluish line around the gum.
  • Water contaminated with cadmium can cause itai disease also called ouch-ouch disease (a painful disease of bones and joints) and cancer of lungs and liver.
  • On the Environment
  • Micro-organisms involved in biodegradation of organic matter in sewage waste consume a lot of oxygen and make water oxygen deficient killing fish and other aquatic creatures.
  • Presence of large amounts of nutrients in water results in algal bloom(excessive growth of planktonic algae. This leads to ageing of lakes.
  • A few toxic substances, often present in industrial wastewaters, can undergo biological magnification (Biomagnification) in the aquatic food chain. This phenomenon is well-known for mercury and DDT.
  • High concentrations of DDT disturb calcium metabolism in birds, which causes thinning of eggshell and their premature breaking, eventually causing a decline in bird populations.
  • New species invasion: Eutrophication may cause the ecosystem competitive by transforming the normal limiting nutrient to abundant level. This cause shifting in species composition of the ecosystem.
  • Loss of coral reefs: Occurs due to decrease in water transparency (increased turbidity).
  • Affects navigation due to increased turbidity; creates colour (yellow, green, red), smell and water treatment problems; increases biomass of inedible toxic phytoplankton, benthic and epiphytic algae and bloom of gelatinous zooplankton.
  • On Aquatic Ecosystem
  • Polluted water reduces Dissolved Oxygen (DO) content, thereby, eliminates sensitive organisms like plankton, molluscs and fish etc.
  • However, a few tolerant species like Tubifex (annelid worm)and some insect larvae may survive in highly polluted water with low DO content. Such species are recognized as indicator species for polluted water.
  • Biocides, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)and heavy metals directly eliminate sensitive aquatic organisms.
  • Hot waters discharged from industries, when added to water bodies, lowers its DO content.

Measures needed:

  • Treatment of sewage water and industrial effluents should be done before releasing them into water bodies.
  • Hot water should be left to cool off before its release from the power plants.
  • Domestic cleaning (of clothes and utensils) should be prohibited in water bodies which supply drinking water such as tanks, streams, and rivers
  • Excessive use of fertilizers and pesticides should be avoided.
  • Organic farming and efficient use of animal residues as fertilizers should be encouraged.
  • Water hyacinth (an aquatic weed) can purify water by absorbing toxic materials and a number of heavy metals from water.
  • Oil spills in water can be cleaned with the help of bigoli – a byproduct of paper industry resembling sawdust, oil zapper microorganisms.

Way forward:

  • Tapping and Recycling waste water resources
  • Need of national Water policy, on lines of Rajasthan – 1st state to implement sewage water policy
  • Extraction of by-products: such as salt, nitrogen, phosphorous will be useful for local businesses.
  • Industrial applications: for cooling purposes in power stations, industrial machinery etc; Singapore uses reclaimed water called ‘NEWater’ to serve 30% of its needs.
  • Role of government, municipalities: need to enforce stricter norms regarding dumping of wastewater, improve process for treatment of wastewater.
  • Improve infrastructure: setting up more wastewater treatment plants in every municipality funding them through municipality bonds.
  • Cultural change: the culture of wasting water needs to be changed through educational campaigns.
  • New technology: like sequencing batch reactor – C-TECH technology that was adopted in Navi Mumbai, meets the standards of EUROPEAN UNION in terms of treated water quality.
  • A paradigm shift from “use and throw – linear” to a “use, treat, and reuse – circular” approach is needed to manage wastewater.
  • Investment in wastewater treatment has associated risks as well. It is therefore important to understand the underlying social, political, technical, and financial factors that will drive, facilitate, and sustain wastewater management interventions in India.

Conclusion:

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 specifically focuses on water and sanitation, with Target 3 addressing water quality, but the availability of water is a cross-cutting issue upon which every aspect of development hinges. Put simply, water is life, and without a sustained commitment to improving and benefiting from effective wastewater management, that precious resource, and the billions of lives it nourishes, is in peril.

 

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

5. Noise pollution is a pressing issue in India. Concerted efforts are needed to mitigate noise pollution and safeguard public health and environmental well-being. Examine.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of noise pollution and steps needed to combat it.

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 noise pollution.

Body:

First, write about the impact of noise pollution on human health and on environment.

Next, write about the various steps that are needed to tackle noise pollution in the country – regulatory measures must be strengthened and enforced, noise monitoring improved, public awareness campaigns conducted, and noise control measures implemented in urban planning and transportation etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

Noise pollution is generally defined as regular exposure to elevated sound levels that may lead to adverse effects in humans or other living organisms. According to the World Health Organization, noise above 65 decibels (dB) is defined as noise pollution. To be precise, noise becomes harmful when it exceeds 75 decibels (dB) and is painful above 120 dB.

A recent report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme shows that  a subset of 61 cities and the range of dB (decibel) levels that have been measured. Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Asansol and Moradabad are the five Indian cities mentioned in this list and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh was shown as having a dB range from 29 to 114. At a maximum value of 114, it was the second-most-noisiest city in the list.

Body

Impact on Human health

  • Hypertension is, in this case, a direct result of noise pollution caused elevated blood levels for a longer period of time.
  • Hearing loss can be directly caused by noise pollution, whether listening to loud music in your headphones or being exposed to loud drilling noises at work, heavy air or land traffic, or separate incidents in which noise levels reach dangerous intervals, such as around140 dB for adult or 120 dB for children.
  • Sleep disturbances are usually caused by constant air or land traffic at night, and they are a serious condition in that they can affect everyday performance and lead to serious diseases.
  • Child development. Children appear to be more sensitive to noise pollution, and a number of noise-pollution-related diseases and dysfunctions are known to affect children, from hearing impairment to psychological and physical effects. Also, children who regularly use music players at high volumes are at risk of developing hearing dysfunctions. In 2001, it was estimated that 12.5% of American children between the ages of 6 to 19 years had impaired hearing in one or both ears
  • Various cardiovascular dysfunctions. Elevated blood pressure caused by noise pollution, especially during the night, can lead to various cardiovascular diseases.
  • Dementia isn’t necessarily caused by noise pollution, but its onset can be favored or compounded by noise pollution.
  • Psychological dysfunctions and noise annoyance. Noise annoyance is, in fact, a recognized name for an emotional reaction that can have an immediate impact.

Impact on Environment

  • Our oceans are no longer quiet. Thousands of oil drills, sonars, seismic survey devices, coastal recreational watercraft and shipping vessels are now populating our waters, and that is a serious cause of noise pollution for marine life.
  • Whales are among the most affected, as their hearing helps them orient themselves, feed and communicate.
  • Noise pollution thus interferes with cetaceans’ (whales and dolphins) feeding habits, reproductive patterns and migration routes, and can even cause hemorrhage and death.
  • Other than marine life, land animals are also affected by noise pollution in the form of traffic, firecrackers etc., and birds are especially affected by the increased air traffic.

Steps to check noise pollution

  • International bodies like the WHO agree that awareness of noise pollution is essential to beat this invisible enemy.
  • For example: avoid very noisy leisure activities, opt for alternatives means of transport such as bicycles or electric vehicles over taking the car, do your housework at recommended times, insulate homes with noise-absorbing materials, etc.
  • Educating the younger generation is also an essential aspect of environmental education.
  • Governments can also take measures to ensure correct noise management and reduce noise pollution.
  • For example: protecting certain areas — parts of the countryside, areas of natural interest, city parks, etc. — from noise, establishing regulations that include preventive and corrective measures —
  • mandatory separation between residential zones and sources of noise like airports, fines for exceeding noise limits, etc.,
  • installing noise insulation in new buildings, creating pedestrian areas where traffic is only allowed to enter to offload goods at certain times.
  • replacing traditional asphalt with more efficient options that can reduce traffic noise by up to 3 dB, among others.

Conclusion

Although noise pollution may seem harmless, it, in fact, has far-reaching consequences. The adverse effects on the health of the environment are quite severe. Not only is the local wildlife affected by pollution but humans also face a number of problems due to it.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics;

6. Is abortion morally justified? debate on the ethicality of abortions.  (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 debate upon the ethicality of abortion.

Directive word: 

Debate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context and mentioning the ethical dilemmas associated with the act of abortion.

Body:

First, argue on the how abortion is unethical on the basis of abortion is deliberate killing of an innocent human being, A foetus as Moral personhood, Rights of the foetus and Causing pain.

Next, argue on the side of ethicality of abortion. foetus is not necessarily a ‘person’, rights of the mother’s bodily autonomy, dangers to mothers’ health etc.

Conclusion:

Pass a balanced judgement on the ethicality of the act of abortion.

Introduction

Termination of pregnancy (TOP) or foeticide is ethically and morally challenging and maybe considered illegal in countries with restrictive abortion laws. Ethical dilemmas such as women’s autonomy rights may conflict with foetus’ right to personhood, and doctor’s moral obligations to society. In liberal jurisdictions, previable foetuses may not have legal rights of personhood; therefore, appropriate action would be to respect pregnant women’s decisions regarding TOP.

Body:

Pro-choice versus Pro-life:

Pro Choice:

  • If a pregnancy puts the life of the mother at risk, then we should consider the value of the foetus compared to the value of the life of the mother.
  • An unwanted child does not have a good life. If a mother has a child that she does not want, then both she and the child may be greatly harmed; forcing the mother to continue with the pregnancy might produce a child with little chance of a happy life for itself and cause the mother much suffering as:
  • Mother should have a right to control her own life, at least to the extent that in doing so she does minimal harm to herself.
  • The right to abortion is vital for gender equality. The right to abortion is vital for individual women to achieve their full potential.
  • Banning abortion puts women at risk by forcing them to use illegal methods that may be more harmful.
  • But on the other hand the right to life should always outweigh the right of an individual to equalityor to control their own. It can be misused.

Pro Life:

  • Foetus has the right to life because it is a ‘potential human being’.
  • The ‘potential human being’ argument gives the right to life to the unborn from the very earliest stage of development – the moment when the egg is fertilised.
  • This argument renders irrelevant any concerns about what sort of being the foetus is at any particular stage of its development.

The new-born argument

  • One of the strongest arguments for giving the full rights of person to the foetus because it is a potential person flows from the status of a new born baby.
  • At birth a new born baby possesses so few of the characteristics required for ‘moral personhood’ that its right to life can’t be based on it being a ‘moral person’.
  • Nonetheless, everyone does accept that it has a right to life – even those who follow the ‘moral person’ line of thought.
  • This right to life seems to flow from the potential that the new-born has to become a ‘moral person’, and this in turn seems to support the argument that a potential ‘moral person’ has the right to life.

Conclusion:

The right to life underlies all other human rights – if we protect those rights, we should protect the right to life as well. Abortion is a civil rights issue in that some of those who support abortion do as a way of controlling the growth of certain population groups. Abortion is sometimes forced on women by exploiting partners or families. Abortion is sometimes forced on women because society fails to supply their needs. Parents have an obligation to their unborn children – it is wrong for them to escape it. Abortion brutalises those who carry it out, or who are involved in the process.

Value addition:

Views of religion:

All the religions have taken strong positions on abortion; they believe that the issue encompasses profound issues of life and death, right and wrong, human relationships and the nature of society, that make it a major religious concern.

People involved in an abortion are usually affected very deeply not just emotionally, but often spiritually, as well. They often turn to their faith for advice and comfort, for explanation of their feelings, and to seek atonement and a way to deal with their feelings of guilt.

As per Stanley Hauwer was “For no amount of ethical reflection will ever change the basic fact that tragedy is a reality of our lives. A point is reached where we must have the wisdom to cease ethical reflection and affirm that certain issues indicate a reality more profound than the ethical.”

Pro-Choice:

These are the proponents who support choice of child bearer and hence support the cause of abortion at will.

Pregnant woman has moral rights too

  • Under some circumstances these may override the foetus’s right to live
  • These moral rights include:
    • The right to ownership of her own body
    • The right to decide her own future
    • The right to take decisions without moral or legal intervention by others
    • The pregnant woman has the right to life – where not aborting the foetus would put the mother’s life or health in danger, she has the moral right to abort the foetus

Pro Life:

These are proponents who support life in consideration i.e. the foetus which is considered life from the women’s womb itself.

Killing people is wrong

  • Killing innocent human beings is wrong
  • Human life begins at conception
  • Therefore, the foetus is an innocent human being
  • Therefore, killing the foetus is wrong
  • Therefore, abortion is always wrong

Killing potential people is wrong

  • It is wrong to destroy potential human life
  • From conception onwards the foetus is a potential human being
  • Therefore, it is wrong to destroy the foetus
  • Therefore, abortion is always wrong

Increasing tolerance of killing is wrong

  • Allowing abortion is legalising killing
  • Legalising killing reduces people’s respect for life
  • Reducing society’s respect for life is a bad thing – it may lead to euthanasia, genocide and increased murder rates
  • Therefore, abortion is always wrong

Philosopher Ted Lockhart has come up with a practical solution for dealing with moral problems that can be used to decide whether or not to abort a foetus. Lockhart suggests that we should “perform actions that we are maximally confident are morally permissible”. Where we have to make a moral choice, we should take the course of action that we are most confident is morally correct.

 

Topic: challenges of corruption.

7. By implementing anti-corruption measures, countries can promote economic development, social progress, and citizen well-being. Comment. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

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 fighting corruption.

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 importance of having a corruptionless public service delivery.

Body:

Write about the importance of fighting corruption – creates jobs, achieves gender equality, and secures wider access to essential services such as healthcare and education etc. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by mentioning various ways to fight corruption in public service.

Introduction

Corruption is dishonest behavior by those in positions of power. It starts with the tendency of using public office for some personal benefit. Moreover, it is unfortunate that corruption has, for many, become a matter of habit. It is so deeply entrenched that corruption is now considered a social norm. Hence, corruption implies the failure of ethics.

Body

Importance of fighting corruption:

  • Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines rule of law, leads to violations of human rights and allows organized crime to flourish.
  • Corruption in India is not limited to collusive high-level scams.
  • Petty corruption, which affects the delivery of basic services and rights to people, is rampant.
  • Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways. In the worst cases, it costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom, health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
  • On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they’re misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
  • Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
  • Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption. This especially impacts the poor and marginalized, who are most dependent on public provisioning of rations, pensions, health, and education. Serious cases of several big corruptions have surfaced in the last five years, including banking frauds and the Rafale deal. The popular sentiment that helped the incumbent Government in the 2014 general election was resentment against corruption in public life.
  • Environmental degradationis another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction

Measures to curb corruption:

The solution to the problem of corruption has to be more systemic than any other issue of governance. Merely shrinking the economic role of the state by resorting to deregulation, liberalization and privatization is not necessarily the solution to addressing the problem.

  • Adopting effective and coordinated policies against corruption
    • Developing a coherent anti-corruption policy which identifies the causes of corruption and commits to practical, coordinated and effective measures to address these causes is a prerequisite for success.
  • Fair and transparent system of public procurement
    • Establishing a procurement system, built on the principles of objectivity, transparency and competition, is important to both saving public money and to ensuring that the policy and developmental objectives of the government are met.
      • : GeM Government E-market Placeis a step in the right directions. With this, Public Finance Management System also helps in tracking the real-time usage of funds.
    • Strengthened transparency and public reporting
      • An informed society with free access to information is a strong deterrent to corruption.
      • This underlines the importance of transparency, public reporting and access to information in preventing corruption.
      • Right to Information needs to be strengthened to make the public officials and governments more accountable to the citizens.
      • Citizens must be Vigilant: Otherwise, like Plato said “The punishment suffered by the wise who refuse to take part in government, is to suffer under the government of bad men”
    • Institutional monitoring and legislative reforms
      • Prevalent institutional arrangements have to be reviewed and changes made where those vested with power are made accountable, their functioning made more transparent and subjected to social audit with a view to minimize discretionary decisions.
      • Napoleon who said, ‘Law should be so succinct that it can be carried in the pocket of the coat and it should be so simple that it can be understood by a peasant’.
      • The2nd ARC recommended that The Prevention of Corruption Act should be amended to ensure that sanctioning authorities are not summoned and instead the documents can be obtained and produced before the courts by the appropriate authority.
    • E-governance
      • The focus should be on e-governance and systemic change. An honest system of governance will displace dishonest persons.
    • Other Reforms
      • All procedures, laws and regulations that breed corruption and come in the way of efficient delivery system will have to be eliminated.
      • The perverse system of incentives in public life, which makes corruption a high return low risk activity, need to be addressed.
      • In this context, public example has to be made out of people convicted on corruption charge

Second ARC guidelines to prevent corruption

  • Vigilance and Corruption:
    • Strengthening pro-active vigilance to eliminate corruption and harassment to honest civil servants including, wherever necessary, limiting executive discretion.
    • Addressing systemic deficiencies manifesting in reluctance to punish the corrupt.
    • Identify procedures, rules and regulations and factors which lead to corruption.
  • Relationship between Political Executive and Permanent Civil Service: Improvements in the institutional arrangements for smooth, efficient and harmonious relationship between civil service and the political executive is needed.
  • Code of Conduct for different organs of Government: This includes Political Executive, Civil Services, etc.

Conclusion

“Rivers do not drink their waters themselves, nor do trees eat their fruit, nor do the clouds eat the grains raised by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others.”

Corruption needs to be rooted out from the very core of our nation, so that there is justiciable distribution of resources in the country leading to inclusive growth and ‘Sabka Vikas.’

 

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