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 time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
Answer the following questions in 150 words:
General Studies – 1
1. Colonialism may have been political philosophy but impact of colonisation was experienced differently across regions, classes and castes across the world. Analyse.
Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India
Colonialism or colonization is the “the system or policy of a nation seeking to extend or retain its authority over other people or territories”. Colonialism implies domination of people’s life and culture. The main goal of colonialism is extraction of economic benefits from the colony. Colonisation was experienced differently across regions, classes and castes.
Various impacts of Colonialism
- Deindustrialisation of markets:the effect on third world countries of social and economic change caused by skewed industrial revolution of first world countries. This led to rising unemployment in various sectors of economy of various nations.
- Boost to Mercantilism: Mercantilism, in a way, was both the cause as well as the effect of colonialism. Mercantile economic policies were definitely an impetus for the start of colonization. But subsequently, the benefits due to colonial exploitation further reinforced the ideology of mercantile capitalism and augmented its spread across Europe. As a result, these countries saw very rapid increase in trade volume while colonies suffered proportionally.
- Economic impact of colonialismis the ‘drain of wealth, led to control over production and trade, the exploitation of natural resources, and the improvement of infrastructure.
- Political deprivation: No rights for Indians in political administration. Laws and regulations made for British welfare. Role of Indians in administration very miniscule. Decision regarding welfare of Indians taken by administrators in Britain.
- Slave Trade: To effectively utilize the resources, colonizers needed immense amount of labour. During the initial years, the European settlers met labour requirements by enslaving the native populations. However, the decline in the native population led to importing slaves from Africa which emerged as a lucrative alternative.
- Social inequality: Indians were treated as inferior compared to British. Interest and tradition of Indians were not respected. People forced to follow British social order and Indians not given due respect. Equality between Indians and British non-existent.
- Columbian Exchange:The term Columbian Exchange refers to the widespread exchange of plants, animals, culture, human populations, technology, and ideas that occurred between the new world (Americas) and the Old World (Eurasia) in the 15th and 16th centuries, as a result of European colonization and trade.
How colonialism varied across Globe
In settler colonies, emigrants—often whole families—moved abroad in large numbers. They established permanent homes in the modern-day United States as well as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and South Africa throughout the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. Settlers constructed their own farms, schools, and churches in those lands while often maintaining economic and political ties with their mother country. But in creating those communities, settlers killed and displaced indigenous people. In what became the United States, the indigenous population fell by 57 percent between 1700 and 1820.
In extractive colonies, empires cared less about building settlements and more about transferring as much wealth as possible to the homeland. In certain instances, extractive colonies emerged through foreign conquest; other times, they came about through negotiation and alliances with local leaders. Slavery was common in many of these colonies. Britain, France, Portugal, Spain, and others used enslaved labor in the Western Hemisphere to grow coffee and sugar and mine gold and silver beginning in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries. Extractive colonies became even more prevalent in the nineteenth century as Europe colonized new parts of the world. In colonial Mozambique, for example, the Portuguese developed a network of railways in the late 1800s to transport vast quantities of coal and other minerals from inland mines to coastal ports.
Thus colonialism denotes a set of unequal relationships between the colonial power and the colony, and often between the colonists and the indigenous population; relationships in which the colonists acquire benefits (disproportionally), at the expense of the local population.
General Studies – 2
2. The Surrogacy Act and the Assisted Reproduction Technology Act impinge upon right to privacy, reproductive autonomy, and falls short in recognising non-traditional families. Critically analyse.
Reference: Indian Express
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Act 2021 and the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Act 2021 (ART Act) came into force early this year. The Acts aim to regulate the multimillion-dollar industry of reproductive medicine, stipulate who can access assisted reproductive technologies and procedures such as in vitro fertilisation and surrogacy, the conditions under which gamete donation and surrogacy can take place, and specify requirements for clinics to operate.
The Acts allow only married infertile couples and certain categories of women to avail of ARTs and surrogacy. Sale of gametes and any payment to the surrogate mother, other than insurance coverage and medical expenses, has been prohibited. Clinics and banks offering ART procedures have to be registered.
Objectives of Acts
- India has emerged as a hub for infertility treatment, attractingpeople from the world over with its state-of-the-art technology and competitive prices to treat infertility.
- Soon enough, due to prevailing socio-economic inequities, underprivileged women found an option to ‘rent their wombs’and thereby make money to take care of their expenses — often to facilitate a marriage, enable children to get an education, or to provide for hospitalisation or surgery for someone in the family.
- Once information of the availability of such wombs got out, the demand also picked up.
- Unscrupulous middle meninveigled themselves into the scene and exploitation of these women began.
- Several instances began to emerge where women, in often desperate straits, started lodging police complaints after they did not receive the promised sum.
- Other issues also began to crop up. For instance, in 2008 a Japanese couplebegan the process with a surrogate mother in Gujarat, but before the child was born they split with both of them refusing to take the child. In 2012, an Australian couple commissioned a surrogate mother, and arbitrarily chose one of the twins that were born.
Issues with the ACT
- As per the Surrogacy Act,a married couple can opt for surrogacy only on medical grounds.
- It also prescribes an age-criteria for both the man and woman.
- Though the law allows single women to resort to surrogacy, she has to either be a widow or a divorcee.
- Single men are not eligible.
- The Bill raises questions over the reproductive rights of a woman. The right to life enshrines the right of reproductive autonomy, inclusive of the right to procreation and parenthood, which is not within the domain of the state, warranting interference of a fundamental right.
- Only a close relative of the couple can be a surrogate mother.She should have been married, with a child of her own. She can only be a surrogate mother once.
- Even at the Bill stage, there was some apprehension about the too restrictive regulations. For instance, it does not allow single (never been married) women, or men, or gay couples to go in for surrogacy.
Corrective steps that are needed to rectify the same
- For surrogacy to happen, we need embryos, and embryos are cultured in various In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) laboratories.
- So regulation of surrogacy must be preceded by law on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) which is now realised.
- Rather than penalising surrogacy, the person providing a womb for surrogacy must be secured with a contract, ensuring proper, insurance and medical checks.
- The Standing Committee had recommended a model of compensated surrogacywhich would cover psychological counselling of the surrogate mother and/or her children, lost wages for the duration of pregnancy, child care support, dietary supplements and medication, maternity clothing and post-delivery care. The Bill should, at the very least, incorporate these provisions.
- Right to privacy of donor as well as surrogate mother should be protected.
- Surrogacy should bemade inclusive for all class of people irrespective of their sexuality
Although the bill bans commercial surrogacy, it falls short to effectively tackle the larger social, physical, psychological, emotional and economic issues that continue to challenge the welfare and safety of both the surrogate mother and the child. The rights of surrogate mother and child born must comprehensively be formulated, along with that ART must be regulated thoroughly.
3. The country is characterised by the coexistence of agricultural bounty and widespread hunger and malnutrition. Examine the reasons for the same and its impact on various socio-economic indicators.
Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India
India has 5,772,472 children below five years affected by severe wasting, the most in the world, alerted UNICEF. It had been reported in 2017 by the National Health Survey that approximately 19 crore people in the country were compelled to sleep on an empty stomach every night.
Underweight is most common among the poor, the rural population, adults who have no education and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Hence it clear that hunger and malnutrition is also a direct consequence of socio-economic status of people in India.
Malnutrition in India
- India, currently has the largest number of undernourished people in the world around 195 million.
- Nearly 47 million or 4 out of 10 children in India do not meet their full human potential because of chronic undernutrition or stunting.
- 9% of children under 5 years are stunted and 20.8% are wasted, compared to the Asia average of 22.7% and 9.4% respectively.
- Rate of overweight and obesity continues to rise, affecting almost a fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
- Inequities in food and health systems increase inequalities in nutrition outcomes that in turn can lead to more inequity, perpetuating a vicious cycle.
Causes of hunger and malnutrition in India
- Poverty: Poverty restricts the food choices and has been the causative factor of hunger related deaths.
- If the persistent high prices of food items and the regional disparities in terms of development, especially the backwardness among the hilly and tribal areasalso taken into account, the percentage of people who cannot afford balanced nutrition will be much higher in India.
- Poor access to safe drinking water: Safe and tap drinking water is still a luxury in many parts of rural India and urban slums/shanties. Unsafe water causes water borne diseases and children are prone to it more than adults.
- Issues with agriculture:The change from multi to mono cropping systems limits the diversity of agricultural products.
- Inclinationtowards cash crops and changing food habits result in malnutrition, undernutrition and even micro-nutrient deficiencies.
- Local cuisine such as millets arenot being consumed causing nutrient deficiencies and anaemia.
- Food wastage: Food wastage is also an emerging challenge that undermines the efforts to end hunger and malnutrition. According to the FAO, the global volume of food wastage is estimated at 6 billion tonnes of primary product equivalents.
- Poor health services:The relationship between poverty and access to health care can be seen as part of a larger cycle, where poverty leads to ill health and ill health maintains poverty.
- Insufficient education and training:In developing countries, children do not have access to basic education because of inequalities that originate in sex, health and cultural identity. It has been revealed in reports that illiteracy and lack of education are common factor that lead to poverty and in turn hunger.
- Covid-19 impact: The momentum set by this entire nutrition movement wasdisturbed once Covid lockdowns led to the shutting of schools, Anganwadi centres, Nutritional Rehabilitation Centres.
- Further, frontline workers had to be engaged in Covid-related work that took precedence over their daily duties, which entailed identifying, referring and monitoring children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and moderate acute malnutrition among other nutrition-strengthening activities.
- States tried to cope to the best of their abilities by replacing hot-cooked meals with dry ration or cash transfers.
- Moreover, indirect forces triggered by the pandemic such as disruption in food systems, dried-up income sources, job losses and consequent financial hardshipsalso mean that access to nutrient-rich food might have reduced among economically vulnerable people.
Measures needed to tackle hunger
- Agriculture-Nutrition linkage schemes have the potential for greater impact in dealing with malnutrition and thus, needs greater emphasis.
- Recognising the importance of this link, the Ministry for Women and Child Development launched theBharatiya Poshan Krishi Kosh in 2019.
- There is a need to promote schemes directed to nutrition-agriculture link activities in rural areas. However, implementation remains the key.
- Early fund disbursement: The government needs to ensure early disbursement of funds and optimum utilisation of funds in schemes linked to nutrition.
- Underutilisation of Resources:It has been pointed out many a times that expenditure made under many nutrition-based schemes is considerably lower than what was allocated under them. Thus, emphasis needs to be on implementation.
- Convergence with other Schemes:Nutrition goes beyond just food, with economic, health, water, sanitation, gender perspectives and social norms contributing to better nutrition. This is why the proper implementation of other schemes can also contribute to better nutrition.
- The convergence of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Jal Jeevan Mission with schemes pertaining to nutrition, will bring holistic changes to India’s nutrition scenario.
- Mid-Day Meal Scheme: The Mid-Day Meal Scheme aims to enhance the nutrition of school children by providing a balanced diet in schools.
- By including milk and eggs in each states’ menu, preparing a menu based on climatic conditions, local foods etc. can help in providing the right nutrition to children in different States.
Welfare measures must continue to reach the most vulnerable population and children and mothers must be at the centre of the focus to target hunger and malnutrition. Achieving zero hunger requires agriculture and food systems to become more efficient, sustainable, climate-smart and nutrition–sensitive. It is important to look at the future of food production to achieve the zero-hunger goal. Human resource capacity building is the key as is access to education and health services and empowering the poor through partnerships.
Government welfare measures
- Eat Right India: An outreach activity organised by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) for citizens to nudge them towards eating right.
- Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:A centrally sponsored scheme executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
- Food Fortification: Food Fortification or Food Enrichment is the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, Vitamin A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content.
- National Food Security Act, 2013:It legally entitled up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.
- Mission Indradhanush: It targets children under 2 years of age and pregnant women for immunization against 12 Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (VPD).
- Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme:Launched on 2nd October, 1975, the ICDS Scheme offers a package of six services to children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- Supplementary Nutrition,
- Pre-school non-formal education,
- Nutrition & health education,
- Health check-up and
- Referral services.
- POSHAN Abhiyaan: Also called National Nutrition Mission, was launched by the government on the occasion of the International Women’s Day on 8th March, 2018.
- The Abhiyaan targets toreduce Stunting, undernutrition, Anaemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively.
- It also targets to bring downstunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 4% to 25% by 2022.
General Studies – 3
4. The electronic waste, or e-waste, is becoming major a domestic and a global issue. Discuss the steps that must be taken to ensure safe disposal of e-wate in the country.
Reference: Insights on India
E- Wastes are discarded and end- of- life electronic products ranging from computer, TV and other electronic equipment and their electronic components. India is the third largest E-waste generator, after USA and China. E-waste is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30% in the country.
According to an ASSOCHAM-EY report on electronic waste management, India is estimated to have generated five million tonnes of e-waste in 2021, ranking only behind after China and the USA. India is now planning a shift to two standard chargers across mobile phone brands and portable-electronic devices.
Issues with handling e-waste
- E-waste Generation in India: According to the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB), India generated more than 10 lakh tonnes of e-waste in 2019-20, an increase from 7 lakh tonnes in 2017-18. Against this, the e-waste dismantling capacity has not been increased from 82 lakh tonnes since 2017-18.
- Unsafe disposal:In 2018, the Ministry of Environment had told the tribunal that 95% of e-waste in India is recycled by the informal sector and scrap dealers unscientifically dispose of it by burning or dissolving it in acids.
- Gap in collection:National Green Tribunal noted gaps in collection targets, as the amount of e-waste collected in 2018-19 was 78,000 tonnes against a target of 1.54 lakh tonnes. There are clear governance deficits on the subject.
- Involvement of Child Labor: In India, about5 lakh child laborers in the age group of 10-14 are observed to be engaged in various E-waste activities and that toowithout adequate protection and safeguards in various yards and recycling workshops.
- Hazardous: E-waste contains over 1,000 toxic materials, which contaminate soil and groundwater.
- E-waste Imports: Cross-border flow of waste equipment into India- 80% of E-waste in developed countries meant for recycling is sent to developing countries such as India, China, Ghana and Nigeria.
Various measures needed to control and safely dispose e-waste
- E-waste clinic:India’s first e-waste clinic for segregating, processing and disposal of waste from household and commercial units has been set-up in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
- It is needed to come up with a strategy to engage with informal sector workersbecause doing so will not only go a long way in better e-waste management practices but also aid in environmental protection, improve the health and working conditions of labourers and provide better work opportunities to over a million people.
- This will make management environmentally sustainable and easy to monitor.
- The need of the hour is to generate employment, which can be done throughidentifying and promoting cooperatives and expanding the scope of the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2016 to these cooperatives or the informal sector workers.
- Effective implementation of regulations is the way ahead to managing the e-waste that is yet to be regulated in at least 115 countries.
There are various start-ups and companies in India that have now started to collect and recycle electronic waste. We need better implementation methodologies and inclusion policies that provide accommodation and validation for the informal sector to step up and help us meet our recycling targets in an environmentally sound manner. Also, successfully raising collection rates required every actor to be involved, including consumers.
5. Mangrove forests are coastal forests and critical habitats that act as nurseries and protect from coasts from erosion. Mangroves in India are getting ecologically fragile and climatically vulnerable. Analyse.
Reference: Insights on India
Answer the following questions
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.
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.
- Mangroves are being destroyed and facing severe threats due to urbanization, industrialization, and discharge of domestic sewage, industrial effluents and pesticides.
- Saltpans and aquaculturealso 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 lostin 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.
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.
- 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.
Answer the following questions in 250 words(15 marks each):
General Studies – 1
6. Government jobs remains a preferred choice for the youth in the country as it offers a higher social status and job security. However, the over-emphasis on government jobs keeps the youth out of private work for too long and hurts consumption. Examine.
Reference: Live Mint
Government jobs are most preferred among youth due to various factors like Job security, good pay scales, job availability at residential place, fixed timing and social prestige. To secure these jobs, most of the aspirants spend their youthful age of 22-27 in preparing for the various competitive exams like civil services, teachings. These people can’t be unemployed neither they can be called as employed.
Reasons for the demand of Government jobs
- Job security in govt sector
- India resides mostly in rural areas the rural youth are not well trained in niche skills so they are not favourite for companies who require specialised skills.
- Potential employees are growing faster than employment, both in urban and rural areas. The caste agitations in various states also point to an underlying jobs anxiety
- Private sector has not been able to generate enough employment opportunities for people in India.
- Hire and fire policies in private sector.
- Lack of awareness and soft skills in the rural youth to grab the opportunities in services sector
- pressure, targets, appraisal system in MNCs
- lack of entrepreneurial skills
- lack of financial capabilities to start new startups, as parents prefer their kids to have a secured income
- Redtapism causing undue delay while establishing new startups
Impact on economy
- This aspiration is adversely hitting the employment of these youths as they keep trying till, they reach the cut-off age and then they are forced to join the formal workforce.
- Increased competition from youths narrows their chances.
- The employability of such youths also gets affected because they often get depressed or do not indulge completely and willingly into the new job which affects their performance while other colleagues perform better than them.
- This may also lead to no increments further aggravating the condition.
- less consumption implies less demand for goods and services in the Indian economy. That means businesses do not need to expand their capacity.
- Data from the Reserve Bank of India tells us that the capacity utilization of manufacturing companies in India has largely been less than three-fourths for close to a decade now. This leads to the creation of fewer private-sector jobs.
- Greater investment in infrastructure development to increase demand of engineers, managers and workers.
- Doing away the stringent labor laws that doesn’t allow private companies to expand in terms of labor force
- Handholding and easy entry norms for new entrepreneurs opting for self-employment through Start up India
- Focusing on labor intensive jobs like construction, leather industry and agro-processing under Make in India
- Encouraging more youths to take up self-employment via Start-up and Stand-up initiatives.
- Development of railways, ports – to create more jobs- sagar mala project is in progress to ensure this goal
- Close monitoring of vacancies and filling them as pointed out by the Seventh Pay Commission.
- Regulating the private and unorganized sector so that equitable benefits are provided to all sectors.
- Facilitate requisite skill development via Skill India initiative
- Govt can start specialised university for defence, postal, insurance, and logistics and can create skilled manpower- this skilled human resource can be utilised for make in India, logistics will help e commerce, postal will help communications and so o
- encourage women entrepreneurs in the fields of food processing, textiles, Handicrafts and child care products etc.
Improving employment ratios by job creation would ensure that precious years of human capital doesn’t remain underutilized and they are absorbed as part of labor force in order to reap benefits of demographic dividend.
General Studies – 2
7. The National Credits Framework (NCrF) aims to achieve equivalence between general and vocational education and allow learners to exit and re-enter the education ecosystem at multiple points. State your opinion on its potential to be game changer for the education sector.
Reference: The Hindu
The Ministry of Education recently unveiled a draft ‘National Credit Framework’ (NCrF) in a bid to integrate academic and vocational or skill-based education. It aims to bring the entire education system, from school to university, into the academic ‘credit’ regime and has sought public view.
One of the main objectives of the NCrF is to bring skilling and vocational learning to the mainstream, by creating equivalence of a vocational education and skilling program with general education programs with or without any additional academic learning.
About National Credit Framework (NCrF)
- The new framework is a part of the National Education Policy. According to the framework, an academic year will be defined by the number of hours a student puts in. Credits will be provided to them accordingly at the end of each academic year.
- The framework has been formulated under the University Grants Commission (Establishment and Operation of Academic Bank of Credits in Higher Education) Regulations, notified in July 2021.
- Credit System
- The report of the high-level committee on the NCrF, put out in public domain, proposes credit levels from class 5 onward itself – which will be credit level 1, going up to credit level 7 and 8 with post-graduation and a doctorate, respectively.
- Credit levels will increase by 0.5 for every year of learning.
- Academic Bank of Credit:
- The recently introduced Academic Bank of Credit (ABC)for higher education will be expanded to allow for end-to-end management of credits earned from school education onwards and will also include vocational education and trainings, it is envisaged.
- Earning Credit
- The total ‘Notional Learning hours in a year’ for assignment of Credits will be 1200 hours. A minimum of 40 credits may be earned for 1200 hours of learning every year with 20 credits per semester of six months. Each Credit will come with 30 hours of learning- 30 hours per credit.
- Notion learning hours in the context of NCrF means time spent not just in classroom teaching, but also in a range of co-curricular and extracurricular activities.
- The list of such activities includes sports, yoga, performing arts, music, social work, NCC, vocational education, as well as on-the-job training, internships or apprenticeships.
- Easy Entry and Exit:
- The credit transfer mechanism will also enable a student/ learner to enter and exit the educational ecosystem, both general and vocational,at any point of time.
- In such cases due weightage is given to work experience gained or any other training undertaken by the learner.
- Due Attention to Co-Curricular Activities:
- The new credit framework will not have any hard separation between Curricular and Co-Curricular,or various discipline and will count in performance on -classroom teaching/learning/laboratory work/class projects; Sports and games, etc.
- Aadhaar-enabled student registration:
- An Aadhaar-enabled student registration will take place. After student registration, an Academic Bank of Credit (ABC)account will be opened.
- The deposit of degree and credits will take place in those accounts. There will be a knowledge locker along the lines of DigiLocker.
Significance of NCrF
- It would work as ‘an umbrella framework for skilling, re-skilling, up-skilling, accreditation & evaluation’ encompassing educational & skilling institutions and workforce.
- Ensures flexibility in the duration of study/ courses through multiple entries and exit/work options
- Paves way for creditisation of all learning hours, including academic, vocational and experiential learning
- Gives the provision for lifelong learning – any time anywhere learning
- The NCrF system also supports educational acceleration for students with gifted learning abilities and recognition of prior learning for the workforce that has acquired knowledge and skills informally through traditional family inheritance, work experience or other methods.
- Brings about a unification of higher education institutions
- Promotes multidisciplinary education
- Promotes stronger collaboration between institutions
- Increases the focus on research and innovation
- Assists the government to increase the enrolment of students
- Helps to fulfil the national vision of complementing the demographic dividend
- Aids in transforming India into the Skill capital of the world
- The credits for knowledge acquisition, hands-on training, and positive social outcomes will be a key step for achieving 100% literacy in the next 2-3 years and go towards making India a $5 trillion economy.
- Allows students to attain NSQF-approved foundational skills
- Helps students be more employable
- Allows integration of educational upskilling through micro credentials
Thus, the NCrF aims to blur the lines or remove the “hard separation” between curricular, extracurricular, or co-curricular, among arts, commerce, and sciences, or between vocational or academic streams.
8. The elevation of a person of Indian origin – Rishi Sunak-as the prime minister of the U.K is an opportunity for both India and U.K to work closely together on global issues and implement the roadmap 2030 for bilateral relations. Discuss.
Reference: The Hindu , Insights on India
India and the United Kingdom share a modern partnership bound by strong historical ties. India’s multifaceted bilateral relationship with the UK intensified with its up-gradation to a Strategic Partnership in 2004. The Roadmap 2030 for India-U.K. future relations was launched last year. The bilateral relationship, while warm, has been under-performing in many respects. Hence, the imperative to more closely align strategic and economic interests.
India’s bilateral relations with the U.K. may well be poised to see greater two-way exchanges as Rishi Sunak was installed as Britain’s first Indian-origin Prime Minister on Tuesday, scripting an impressive political comeback in British politics..
Recent developments in India-UK relations
- Despite the challenge posed by the Ukraine crisis, the India-UK relationship has been on an upward trajectory, exemplified by the conclusion of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2021.
- The agreement also established a 2030 Roadmap for India-UK relations, which primarily outlines the partnership plans for the bilateral relationship. Its a vision to revitalise and re-energise trade, investment and people-to-people ties.
- The UK and India have agreed to strengthen their cooperation in the maritime domain as the UK will joinIndia’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and become a major partner on maritime security issues in Southeast Asia.
- In January 2022, India and the UK managed to conclude the first round of talks for an India–UK Free Trade Agreement.
- The negotiations reflected shared ambitions to secure a comprehensive deal between the fifth (UK) and sixth (India) largest economies in the worldas technical experts from both sides covered over 32 sessions encompassing 26 policy areas.
Major challenges in Indo-UK bilateral relations
- Colonial Prism:
- India’s post-colonial engagement with Britain has been riddled with multiple contradictions. India’s lingering post-colonial resentmentsand the UK’s unacceptable claim for a special role in the Subcontinent generated unending friction.
- The consequences of Partitionand the Cold War made it harder for the two countries to construct a sustainable partnership.
- However, the recent regional and international upheavals provide a new basis for mutually beneficial engagement.
- Pakistan also has been one of the major obstacles in the bilateral relations of India with Britain. Britain’s advocacy of Pakistan has always been a matter of concern for India .
- Unlike the US and France, which are committed to an “India first” strategy in South Asia, the UK remains torn between its new enthusiasm for India and the inertia of its historic tilt towards Pakistan.
- Britain’s Domestic Politics:
- The domestic dynamics of Britain have also tended to sour ties with India.
- It was a reigning assumption in Delhi that the Labour Party was empathetic to India while the Conservative Party was not. Although this view turned out to be quite the opposite, antipathy towards India existed in one way or the other.
- The Labour Party had become rather hostile on India’s internal matters, including on Kashmir.
- A post-Brexit Britainneeds to make the best of its historic ties; having walked out of Europe, the country needs all the partners it can find and a rising India is naturally among the top political and economic priorities.
- Both India and the UK are serious in overcoming legacy issuesand engaging in robust dialogues to promote cooperation on strategic and defence issues both in the Indo-Pacific as well as at the global level.
- India meanwhile has become supremely self-assured in dealing with the UK; with the Indian economy set to become larger than Britain’sin the next couple of years, it is and shall be no longer defensive about engaging Britain.
- Britain remains the fifth-largest economy, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, a global financial hub, a centre of technological innovation, and a leading cyber power. It has a significant international military presence and wide-ranging political influence.
- India should try harder toleverage these British strengths for India’s strategic benefit.
- The forthcoming visit of the British Prime Ministerto India signifies the importance of India’s role in the dynamically changing global order as the latter prepares itself to host multiple foreign leaders in the upcoming months and the G20 presidency in 2023.
- In the upcoming visit,furthering the negotiations on the India-UK FTA should be one of the key focus areas.
- The newer areas of cooperation — namely,fintech, market regulation, sustainable and green finance, and cyber security could emerge as the new frontiers of this engagement.
- India needs to recognise the lack of harmony between different strands of the relationship. Long joint statements and unreachable ambition are not the answer. Arriving at common ground on issues troubling India should be the foremost concern
- This relationship has had many beginnings. Just to stay in the game, we have to concede to geopolitics. Britain (post- Brexit) and India (with the China challenge) need partners. Given India’s difficulties amid the pandemic, Britain has early advantage
- Hence, the need to bank on the profound ties of culture, history and languageto further deepen relations between India and UK
General Studies – 3
9. India faces major environmental challenges associated with waste generation and inadequate waste collection, transport and its treatment. Evaluate the various measures that are aimed at tackling it.
Reference: Insights on India.
Solid waste management (SWM) refers to the process of collecting and treating solid wastes. It also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong to garbage or trash. In a nascent effort to look beyond toilets and kick off its ODF+ phase — that is, Open Defecation Free Plus — focussing on solid and liquid waste management, the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) has included the prevalence of plastic litter and water-logging in villages as indicators of cleanliness in its 2019 rural survey.
Current Situation of SWM in India:
- As per the SBM 2.0 guidelines, the total quantity of waste generated by urban areas in India is about 32 lakh tonnes daily. This adds up to 8 crore tonnes per annum.
- Of this only about 25% is being processed; the rest is disposed of in landfills every year.
- Given that the waste dumpsites have been operational since the early 2000s, more than 72 crore tonnes of waste need to be processed.
- Most cities have confined themselves to collection and transportation of solid waste. Processing and safe disposal are being attempted only in a few cases.
- The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generatedin the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
- According to a UN report, India’s e-wastefrom old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.
- Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.
Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:
- Absence of segregationof waste at source.
- Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.
- Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.
- Lack of technical expertiseand appropriate institutional arrangement
- Lack of infrastructure and technology
- Lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations
- Indifference of citizens towards waste managementdue to lack of awareness
- Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions
- Lack of sewage management plan.
- About 70% of the plastic packaging products turn into plastic wastewithin a short period.
- Unorganized vendors and markets, existence of slum areas and Corruption are other issues plaguing MSWM.
- State governments should provide financial support to ULBsto improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.
- Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.
- The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at sourceand to ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
- Waste to energyis a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites
- There is a need to encourage research and developmentso as to reinvent waste management system in India.
- The focus should be on recycling and recovering from wasteand not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste
- Public- Private Partnership modelsfor waste management should be encouraged.
- Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.
- Responsibilities of Generatorshave been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.
- Sensitizationof citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.
- International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery projectwhich have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.
Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.
10. With traditional encryption models at risk and increasing military applications of quantum technology, the deployment of “quantum-resistant” systems has become the need of the hour to secure India’s cyberspace. Examine.
Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India
Cyber security or information technology security are the techniques of protecting computers, networks, programs and data from unauthorized access or attacks that are aimed for exploitation. It protects cyberspace from damage, sabotage and economic espionage.
According to Symantec Report, India is the 5th most vulnerable nation to cybersecurity breach. With traditional encryption models at risk and increasing military applications of quantum technology, the deployment of “quantum-resistant” systems has become the need of the hour.
- Last month, there were reports that the Indian Army is developing cryptographic techniques to make its networks resistant to attacks by systems with quantum capabilities.
- The Army has collaborated with industry and academia to build secure communications and cryptography applications.
- This step builds on last year’s initiative to establish a quantum computing laboratory at the military engineering institute in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh.
Current threats to cyber security
- Outdated protocols
- Current protocols like theRSAwill quickly become outdated.
- This means that quantum cyberattacks can potentially breach any hardened target.
- Threat to digital infrastructure
- China’s quantum advances expand the spectre of quantum cyberattacks against India’s digital infrastructure, which already faces a barrage of attacks from Chinese state-sponsored hackers.
- Particularly worrying for India is the fact that China now hosts two of the world’s fastest quantum computers.
- India’s dependence on foreign, particularly Chinese hardware, is an additional vulnerability.
India’s efforts towards quantum computing
- India is getting there slowly but steadily. In February 2022, a joint team of the DRDO and IIT-Delhi successfully demonstrated a QKD link between two cities in UP — Prayagraj and Vindhyachal.
- In 2019,the Centre declared quantum technology a “mission of national importance”.
- The Union Budget 2020-21 had proposed to spend Rs 8,000 croreon the newly launchedNational Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.
- The Army has collaborated with industry and academia to build secure communications and cryptography applications.
- Procurement from other nations:India must consider procuring the United States National Security Agency’s (NSA) Suite B Cryptography Quantum-Resistant Suiteas its official encryption mechanism.
- Emulating cryptographic standards: the Indian defence establishment can consider emulating the cryptographic standards set by the US’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) which has developed a series of encryption tools to handle quantum computer attacks.
- Develop quantum-resistant systems: India should start implementing and developing capabilities in quantum-resistant communications, specifically for critical strategic sectors.
- Funding: government can fund and encourage existing open-source projectsrelated to post-quantum cryptography.
- Participating in the global initiative:India can participate in the Open Quantum Safe project — a global initiative started in 2016 for prototyping and integrating quantum-resistant cryptographic algorithms.
- Prioritising QKDs over long distances, especially connecting military outposts for sensitive communications, can be prioritised to ensure secure communications whilst protecting key intelligence from potential quantum cyberattacks.
- Diplomatic partnerships with other “techno-democracies” — countries with top technology sectors, advanced economies, and a commitment to liberal democracy — can help India pool resources and mitigate emerging quantum cyber threats.
India must develop core skills in data integrity and data security fields, to ensure protection of user data as well as security of critical infrastructure. Expertise of the private sector must be leveraged to build capabilities. Meanwhile user awareness is equally necessary to prevent them from becoming victims of cybersecurity threats.
Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE
Join our Twitter Account HERE
Follow our Instagram Account HERE