General Studies – 1;
Topic: Urbanization – problems and remedies
1) Pollution in Delhi is a growing emergency and could reach real dangerous levels if treated with the usual sluggish, ad hoc measures. Discuss alternative measures to such as odd-even scheme to fight pollution in Delhi. (200 Words)
The Indian Express
Major Indian cities are facing an urgent need to check pollution levels to provide a healthy environment to it’s citizens. Various laws like Environment Protection Act 1986 , Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1981…etc are already in place to check this menace but little success has been achieved so far. Heart of the nation has been struggling for fresh air in the closed gas chamber,But recently the dangerous level of PM particles raises an alarm to either continuing this state of emergency(closed schools,offices etc) by sticking to the sluggish measures or to approach for more effective long term solution.Alternative methods that could help are:
In case of vehicular pollution
Adoption of Car Pool Lane (CPL)/ High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) as in US, Canada which encourages people to car pool instead of commuting solo.
A congestion charge may be levied on vehicles entering congested areas as in Stockholm, to discourage them from using vehicles during peak hours.
Government subsidy on sustainable , non-polluting transportation choices like cycles, electric cars which have zero emissions.
Encouraging people to opt for public transport. Making it free of charge for a few days can make it an attractive choice.
Awareness among people must be increased by organizing cycling marathon etc.
Impose Fine on Single travellers in Cars: Mostly, cars with one travellers are visible on roads results pollution and traffic jams.Hence, imposing tax on lack of fundamental duty towards environment should be created.
Companies providing work-from-home option to their employees could be given tax exemptions to encourage more companies to follow the suit.
Adopting BH-6 can also be a good leap towards.
Restricting old poor conditioned vehicles…etc
In case of Industrial pollution
Heavy tax on industries: which are discharging their waste directly in freshwater sources such as in Yamuna River.
Polluting industries should be relocated outside City and those industries should be convinced to reduce their pollution to as low as possible and Complying the industries to have pollution control equipments.
Stringent measures to check plastic burning and discharge of industrial effluents in the water bodies.
Tax exemptions needs to be provided for industries which will take measures to reduce its waste release.
Stringent policies of NGT and penalties against the wrongdoers like cancellation of license,fines etc., Compulsory CSR for environmental protection.
-Burning of crops in vicinity areas which add to Delhi’s pollution woes.
Sensitising farmers about damage caused to land fertility and pollution due to burning.
Modifying crop harvesting machines so they don’t leave much residue.
Adopting new croping pattern in punjab and haryana, as economic survey 2013-14 said horticulture
mexico model of geo engineering where metro pillars designed to increase green cover
Using crop residues in power plants & providing proper management of crop residue.
Provide subscidies or technical support for farmers to have alternate ways beyond buring straws.
OTHER: loss of vegetation cover,trees,throwing of litters openly on roads, road dust, etc.
proper waste management; nudging people towards trees plantation;proper disposal of wastes.
routine vaccum cleaning of roads ;proper implementation of SWACHH BHARAT MISSION,NIRMAL BHARAT MISSION etc.
Adopting best practices from the world. Super Tree technology of Peru can be adopted, by using a air filtration system to remove CO2 from the air, Road space rationing as implemented in Mexico and Beijing.
Government should imply on private companies to encourage work from home benefits for decrease in pollution and cost for private companies.
Restriction can be put in advance of festival times announcement through radio ; social media to maintain overall level of pollution on lump basis under control.
Acc to article 51A(g) of constitution , every citizen has a duty to protect and improve the environment. Hence a behavioural change of the citizen is required to curb pollution. Implement the swachh bharat,PAHAL in letter and spirit. NGO,civil society ,media awareness etc. can play an important role.
Topic: Urbanization – problems and remedies
2) Discuss the significance and feasibility of New Delhi’s decision to make iconic Connaught Place a pedestrian zone and keep out cars and other vehicles from its middle and inner circle roads.
The govt. recently decided to make Connaught Place a pedestrian zone and keep out cars and other vehicles from its middle and inner circle roads during a three months trial programme.The decision to ‘pedestrianise’ the circular roads of the Connaught Place is a welcome step towards decongestion and pollution level reduction.
Significance of the move:
(a) It will provide safe, comfortable and accessible experience for walkers. Adding fountains as humidifiers, public plazas, light and sound shows are inexpensive provisions which will supplement the aesthetics of the area.It will decrease the congestion due to the vehicles.Pollutions due to vehicles will be reduces.
(b) The pilot project will decide the feasibility of such move and will act as a precedence for other municipal bodies to implement the same in their cities.
(c) Increased use of bicycles and walking will induce a behavioral change among the citizens which will have health benefits.
SOCIAL: It will provide a safe, comfortable and accessible experience for walkers
-less pedestrian injuries
-Improved aesthetic experience
-ECONOMIC: Better walking + public infrastructure attract more people -> improve local economy
-ENVIRONMENTAL: Curb on vehicles -> less emissions -> clean air
Success of this step will help in planning decongestion of other cities of India
Feasibility of the move:
The popular conservative opinion states that such unclogging measures are pernicious to economy and efficiency. But the experience from Times Square, New York; Central Avenue, Madrid shows that better walking and availability of food plazas and shops attract more people improving the local economy.
Government has taken a laudable step that can deliver dividends and wider social benefits :
-Cooperation is required across all the quarters (public, shopkeepers).
-Expand pedestrian pavements and facilitate the use of bicycles on priority basis.
-Take cue from global cities like New York that has pedestrianised Times Square (iconic landmark).
-Spread awareness about the pros of this decision -> remove doubts that it is not detrimental to economy.
-The idea is novel and tested as seen from the global experience.
-It will supplement “Rahgiri’ type of citizenry claim on public places.
-Related issues can be resolved as was done in several countries.
Every person has “right to breathe fresh air” and this move has to be complemented with other technological and innovative policy solutions to return this right to citizens.Stiff concession charge can be levied on personal vehicles entering the designated areas and it should the mandated by law that proceeds from them goes to providing better facilities to pedestrians. More people centric ideas like fountains can be set up. Use of bicycles can be promoted. Besides, other state governments should also make similar efforts in order to unclog the highly congested areas in their cities.
General Studies – 2;Secure synopsis 2017
Topic : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
3) Discuss various socio-economic and political challenges faced by Indian diaspora living in West Asia, the US, Canada and the UK. (200 Words)
The Indian Diaspora is a generic term to describe the people who migrated from territories that are currently within the borders of the Republic of India.It also refers to their descendants.Although the diaspora covers practically every part of the world, it faces several challenges:
1. Indian have been attracted due to Oil boom during 1970s however the price of oil is falling (Shale Gas boom) and their economy is in distress today leading to job cuts.
2. Rising instability due Shia – Sunni conflicts and radical Islamism is a direct threat to security of Indias.
3. Indians have performed menial jobs in Middle East and today Nepalis and Bangladeshis are more competitive by accepting lower wages .
4. Regressive and ego crushing policies like employer seizing the travel documents upon arrival.
5. Scope of intellectual development limited due to monarchies and less non-oil based economy.
1.Racism-though eradicated by law not eradicated by hearts of people causing troubles.
2.Rightward shift of US and rising protectionism poses a threat our diaspora.
3.Diaspora have good political involvement there even Indian origin people are placed in Trump’s selection of cabinet,gives us some cautious satisfaction.
1.Climate poses a challenge because transformation from tropical to temperate country becomes difficult.
2.Politically active diaspora with more sikhs in their ministry and recent apology by the Canadian Prime minister about Gomakatamaru incident shows that we are warmly welcomed there and comparatively less challenge for us here.
3.Colonial attitude towards Indians is an issue but the situation is changing.
1.Brexit-a threat to globalisation and multiculturalism.
2.As Britain is our so called colonial master an inferior attitude towards us.
3.Economic instability and slow recovery from subprime crisis also poses us some economic challenges.
Indian Diaspora spread the Indian Culture and traditions abroad benefitting India in general and send back remittances back home helping the foreign exchange reserves in particular. But they face several problems abroad which can be classified as:
(a) The slow down on oil prices coupled with cheap labor from Bngladesh, Nepal etc have jeopardized the earnings of skilled and un-skilled workers living in West Asia.
(b) The inhumane behavior of employers against workers in West Asia and the much debated kafala system jeopardizes the life of workers and honor of India as a nation.
(c) They find it hard to integrate in the culture of the nations abroad attracting disapproval from the locals.
(a) “Arabisation” of jobs in the west Asian countries, bill for stricter H1B visa norms in the US parliament, president-elect Donald Trump’s call to channel more jobs to Americans and revision of visa norms in UK post brexit might hit the Indian Diaspora hard, specially the IT professionals.
(b)The Indian Diapora is an asset to countries abroad and the ferrying of plantation workers in colonial era and recent brain drain has definitely benefitted the world as seen through Persons of Indian Origin heading governments in Mauritius, Trinidad, Tobago, Guyana etc and the volume of Indians at leading positions in Silicon Valley.
21st century will be a challenging year for our diaspora due to a rightward shift that the developed world is witnessing,hence raising number of diplomats,strengthening our foreign policy etc are needed to meet our challenges.It is time that the Indian government rises for their cause abroad to make world respect the wider presence of India and also harness their intellectual capacities for benefit of the nation.
Secure synopsis january 2017
Topic: e-Governance; Poverty
4) Will Aadhaar help the poor become cashless? Critically analyse.
The Aadhar is first of its kind initiative in the world, to provide a unique identity to each citizen of the country. Due to the recent event of demonetisation, the importance of digital economy has increased manifold and Aadhar can help it in becoming a reality, through the following ways:
1.Aadhaar offers a digitally verifiable identity, which made it possible for those enrolled to change cash at an enabled banking facility.Key component of person identification due to ease of access and ease of use.
2.Since Aadhar will be linked to every scheme in future so beneficiaries once under it will move towards cashless transaction since directly they will be paid with transparency and no leakages.
3.Since a new ordinance says to send employee salary directly into their account in informal sector Aadhar card e-KYC and band accounts when linked with it will help for financial inclusion.
4. Single number for all government benefit schemes, DBT, subsidies to prevent leakage
5. Bringing informal economy into banking through cashless transaction.
6. Does not require any pre-requisites for usage, like a password or username, so it can be used easily by the majority population.
7. MORE CONVENIENCE:- People can link their Aadhaar with their bank accounts and use Aadhaar Enabled Payment System (AEPS) for funds transfer, balance enquiry, cash deposits or withdrawals and inter-banking transactions.
8. MAKE PAYMENT FOR PURCHASE:- As almost 90% population have Aadhaar card, an AEPS will help poor people to make payments for day to day need easy.
8.EASE OF MAKING PAYMENT:- People can now pay using aadhar card. There would be no need to have plastic money or e wallets.
9. No need for queues outside ATMs,no cashout during long holidays, no waiting for a deposited cheque to be credited, no risk of carrying currency notes in the wallet.
But some drawbacks are coinside:
1.Technology failures & Security: India’s cyber security does not stand up to the best in the world, as has been seen in the recent bank accounts hacking incident. Technology constraints-space for digital transaction, secure firewall,how to overcome with cyber theft is another constraint.
2.Illiteracy– Opening a bank account requires paperwork that many vulnerable citizens do not know how to get since illiterate.
3. Infrastructure- dependent on access to the Internet penetration which is minimal (rank 138 ICT development Index), further electricity issue,only 17% of the Indian population has smartphones,reliable digital infrastructure etc are concerns to look for.
4.Biometric identification: It has been seen that some aged people don’t have fingerprints, which makes them unable to avail the facility
5. Low penetration of existing options: Only 17% in India own smart-phone, which implies all wallet businesses like Paytm have got very limited opportunities in rural economy.
6.Limited access to digital space:India does not have 100% internet coverage, which can limit the usability of Aadhar as a tool for cashless economy Aadhar has still not been issued to all citizens. Low Internet penetration in rural India.
7.Lack of awareness among rural people.If people don’t have pre-requisite knowledge of cashless transactions, they are liable to be duped by others.
8.Aadhar card is only issued to 90 cr Indians, leaving aside around 35 cr outside it.
9.Aadhar have limitation is updating details of dead persons sue to which it can be misused.
Aadhar is a good move by GOI with more penetration, better digital infrastructure, implementation of project LOON and better BC model and collaboration with CERT can help in more sustainable and more inclusive growth.GOI has recently asked mobile manufacturers if they could introduce features like iris retina scanner to make aadhar enabled cashless transactions more secure.So, there is a need to issue Aadhar card to all and also educate people regarding operation of digital accounts, which can make them use the Aadhar card efficiently.
Therefore in order to promote Aadhar GOI should 1) Extend Aadhar to all citizens 2) Linking banking with Aadhar 3) Tackling other operational challenges like data updation 4) Working with CERT, NATGRID teams for data security and better access. Aadharr will be revolution is successfully implemented.
Secure synopsis 2017 january
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
5) China has been active in increasing its bilateral cooperation with Nepalese army in recent years. Should India be worried? How should India deal with Nepalese army? Critically comment.
The Indian Express
Nepal is a buffer state between India and China. It is extremely important both for our internal and external security as India shares open border with Nepal. The present nature geo-politics is such that any gain made by China vis-à-vis Nepal will come at the cost of India. This will hurt our economic and political interests.
India should be little worried because:
- China has great influence over almost all neighbors due to muscle and money power and Nepal will not hesitate to use China card against India.
- Nepal is a part of India’s strategic space, as there is an open border regime and a buffer state.China’s growing military relations with Nepal when seen with increasing presence in TIbet and CPEC are definitely a concern.
- It is also a boost to aggressive policy of china in SAARC.Greater pressure for entry in the SAARC given that India is only country oppose china’s entry.
4. Our economic interests are undermined as China planning huge infra projects in nepal that dilutes our leverage as supplier and also use of Nepal as a market for products
4. Nepal’s maoists insurgency is a big threat for India’s security concerns and China’s engagement will only aggravate this threat
- China’s intentions in form of string of pearl are already looked with suspicions and Nepal ‘s position as a buffer state is likely to be exploited by china to make India more vulnerable.
- want to get good reach in Nepal’s market. it may hamper india’s economic interests because currently India is in dominant Position.
Nepal is proposing to amend the 1950 Peace and Friendship treaty with India which makes it mandatory for Nepal to inform or receive consent from India for military hardware purchase. An amendment will lead to independent decision making on security issues which again may be a concern to India’s security.
Increasing bilateral cooperation of China with Nepal also has to been seen in larger context of China’s influence among SAARC nation and south Asia and Indian Ocean via its “One Belt One Road” initiative. Hence there are good reasons for India to little worried.
However, it should not be a concern because:
1 Military exercises between two nations are to enhance the capavity and collaboration between two armies. An aggressive outlook to china nepal axis will further alienate Nepal and make it closer to China
2 India is always the shortest and quickest route for Nepal in terms of access to port and gangetic plain as a market.
3 India should fast track its long pensing projects in nepal like on Aruna river and BBIN corridor.
Nepal has made transition from monarchy to democracy. There is historical inclination for India in Nepalese government. Geography also favors relation of Nepal with India rather than with China. So India must not be too worried about China-Nepal bilateral cooperation. But India herself must not chase Nepal away to China. India must respect sovereignty and “Right to self-determination” of Nepal. Economic blockade must not be used as a diplomatic tool which creates widespread resentment.
India must engage more with Nepalese army in terms of military exercises, capacity building, intelligence sharing and border management. Also providing arms to the Nepal might destabilize the state which is yet to implement the constitution. India mustn’t stop supply of arms and equipment to Nepalese armies at crucial juncture like she did in 2005. There must be continuity in policy.
Indian and Nepalese army share a strong and excellent relationship with Nepalese cadre in Indian military and recognition of chiefs as General in the other country. India is still the largest military supplier to Nepal and increasing Chinese presence is more of a political mandate resulting from Nepal’s increasing cooperation with China.
How to deal with nepalese army: A large no of nepalese(Gorkhas) serve in indian army and we have a strong people to people contacts along with national treatment to nepalese on its soil.Such intimacy cannot be undermined by increased ties with other nations. India should show some maturity in dealing with small neighbors like Nepal by observing gujrals’ doctrine.
1.UTILIZE SAADMEX to improve disaster-readiness of Nepalese army, AND PERFORM MULTIPLE MILITARY EXERCISES on lines of Surya Kiran
2.MAINTAIN CONTINUITY IN SUPPLY OF ARMS, helicopters (HAV Dhruv, Cheetah) and if possible supply jets (Tejas or others) and also help in constructing of multiple military bases
3.PROVIDE GPS-TECH AND SATELLITE COVERAGE to facilitate moving and tracking of Army in the unfriendly terrain
The current situation demands the need for India to shed its alleged Big-brother attitude and further socio-eco measures/investments (Like Nepal-Indo-Bhutan corridor, hydro plants, Nepal-Bangladesh Transit etc) to improve the overall social indicators (HDI – 145th rank) of Nepal. Need of the hour is not to look towards Nepal with suspicion or animosity but foster efforts to improve dialogue between two natural allies.
Nepal’s strategic importance and relations iwth India can not be under stated. We should increase our ties via our neighborhood policy and leverage the common threads like historical and cultural links to make our ties stronger.
India cannot become a super power or a regional power without gaining the confidence of her neighbours. Hence care must be taken in strengthening strong ties with Nepal.
India needs to amend ties with Nepal- estranged post the Madhesi crisis and maintain the cooperation in its democratization process. A stronger commitment to “neighbourhood first” policy will see a continuation of traditionally stronger ties despite Nepal’s other foreign collaborations.
General Studies –3;Secure synopsis
Topic: Resource mobilization; Conservation
6) Green bonds, which finance environmentally friendly businesses and assets, have emerged as one of the key financing mechanisms driving the global economy’s transition to a greener future. Analyse growth and potential of green bond market in India.
Green bonds are financial instruments which are used to finance environment friendly projects. Their market share has been growing rapidly with extensive participation from corporates and financial institutions like sovereign and municipal bodies.
India has seen rapid growth in green bonds amounting to almost $2.5 billion by 2016, making India the 7th largest green bond market globally.
Why are green bonds important for india?
>india has big goals in terms of renewable energy installations,but a big hurdle has been financing and the cost of financing.
>green bonds may be able to fill this gap.
>green bonds typically carry a lower interest rate than the loans offered by the commercial banks,hence,when compared to other forms of debt,green bonds offer better returns for an independent power producers.
>green bonds can provide a long term source of debt capital for renewable infrastructure projects.
This recent growth is because of following reasons-:
1) With the ratification of COP21 Paris agreement, India would be a hotspot for investment in green bonds which can act an effective vehicle to tap into the climate fund of $100 billion every year from 2020.
2) Increase in solar projects due to reduction in tariffs, better ROI and better involvement of DISCOMs due to which green financing has increased
3) Recent listing of green masala bonds by Yes Bank in LSE with International Finance Corporation
4) Demand for Cap & Trade from developed nations to meet Carbon Credit
5) Clear guidelines and regulations by SEBI and RBI also provide the much needed clarity to strengthen and expand the growing green bond market.
However this bond market faces following issues-:
1) Lack of liquid market to trade
2) Lack of Credit rating or rating guidelines for green projects and bonds
3) Lack of historical trends on the bond performance
4) Industry is still in nascent stage and under developed
To make use of full potential. -:
1) CRISIL, ICRA to install credit rating models for green bond financing so that market becomes liquid
2) Ratings to make bonds more cheaper
3) BRICS Bank to rate for masala green bonds
4) GOI to set up Exchanges in GIFT (Gujarat) specifically to promote green bonds
5) Merchant Bankers to introduce new products like securitiesed green bonds for making it available to large number of customers
6) Green Bond to be included in Companies Act as part of CSR investment, Regulatory requirement to boost the market
Green bond is a recent concept however considering our commitments to COP21 Paris Accord we should promote such innovative techniques to promote renewable financing in India.India in its endeavour to become a global power shall leverage this innovative mechanism to achieve its sustainable goals in the coming years.
Topic: Developments in S&T
7) Recently scientists have found a way to tweak photosynthesis to increase crop productivity by accelerating recovery from photo-protection in plants. Examine the science and benefits involved in this process.
Photosynthesis in plants is the process of harnessing sunlight energy into chemical energy in green plants(in presence of chlorophyll) .This energy later stored and used in fueling the plant building process.Recently scientist have found a way to hasten this process and to reduce waste cycles which could in turn increase productivity of plants.
But like in the humans,excessive sunlight causes sun burn, similarly plants in order to avoid the damage ,adjust the energy level by releasing excessive. This “relax” and “resume” process is defined in scientific term as”NON PHOTO CHEMICAL QUENCHING(NPQ)”. Insertion of genes ZEP(For speeding up the rate of NPQ),VDE(to balance ZEP activity) and PSBS(to adjust NPQ rate) into plants could provide the optimum energy level and speed up the process.
1.VPZ plants have faster relaxation of NPQ and they were seen to recover and engage in photosynthesis sooner thus increasing crop yield.
2.Perform better in low light.
3. Have higher leaf area which is better for photosynthesis.
4. it will fasten the efficiency of photosynthesis process (between 8 to 30 %)and hence the productivity of plants.
5..Reduce the sun damage to plants and maintain the optimum level.
6.Though it is genetically modified process but it is plant based and not foreign to the plant kingdom so may not be opposed by activists.
The rapid growing population is creating pressure on the agriculture sector, this technology could cope with the problem of supporting population and reducing agri burden.
1) Increase in efficiency of sunlight utilization and prevent wastage
2) Increase in productivity of crops and address food security challenge of world
3) Efficiency enhancement of agriculture on same tract of land
4) Increased photosynthesis would increase Carbon concentration in atmosphere
1) Ethical issue of altering the order of nature.
2.Study results obtained in tobacco plant. Rice, wheat, millets, maize etc have much more complex genes posing a technological challenge.
3.Due to completely new technology, costs of research as well as of modified seeds will be high.
4.Whether the food produced due to artificial photosynthesis would be of the same level as required
5. Feasibility and awareness of the technology at the grass root level
India faces a food crisis therefore such technological development is welcome. However further deliberation and research should be carried out before commercializing the process..
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