Jan. 31, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 31, 2023
India is one of the few countries where capital punishment is legal and is justified under the rarest of the rare doctrine. However, it is not just the execution in principle but the process of execution which matters. Discuss (10 Marks)
Introduction: Define capital punishment and the rarest of the rare doctrine
Body: Mention some issues in the process of capital punishment, some general points on how a fair process will be important, and some reforms in the case of capital punishment.
Conclusion: Provide a way forward connecting it with the larger objective of a progressive society
Capital punishment is a legal process where a person is sentenced to death by the state as a punishment for a crime they have committed. Indian Penal code of 1860 since British times provides for capital punishment in some instances.
Later on, the scope was limited by the rarest of the rare doctrine as evolved through Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab (1980) under which the death penalty could only be imposed in exceptional cases where the crime was particularly heinous and there were no mitigating circumstances. Since then various judgments have led to the evolution of this stance further.
However, there are multiple issues in the process of execution of capital punishment in India which raises concerns:
1) Discriminatory application of rarest of rare doctrine as it is disproportionately applied to marginalized communities, such as Dalits and Adivasis, rather than the wealthy and influential. In the Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab (1983) case, the Court held that the "rarest of rare" doctrine must be applied consistently and systematically and that the death penalty should not be imposed arbitrarily or capriciously.
2) India's criminal justice system is plagued by problems such as police brutality, witness intimidation, and false confessions, leading to wrongful convictions thus the system is prone to errors.
3)Lack of adequate legal representation as access to it is limited to many in India, leading to a lack of proper defense and increasing the likelihood of wrongful convictions. This was also supported by the Death penalty in India report 2018.
4) Delay in execution of death sentence leading to agony and mental torture of death row convicts. Thus, in Shatrughan Chauhan v. Union of India (2014), Court held that the inordinate delay in the execution of a death sentence could be a ground for commutation if it resulted in the accused being subjected to "unending agony".
5) Differing stances of lower and higher courts in case of death penalties. Project 39A at National Law University, Delhi published the seventh edition of the Death Penalty in India: Annual Statistics Report. It highlighted lower courts provide death penalties in a higher number of cases. In contrast, high courts continued to decide a few matters, with an increasing trend of commutations to life imprisonment without remission.
6) Courts have also raised some issues such as the Supreme Court acquitting prisoners due to fabricated evidence and manipulated FIRs while recognizing the mental health impact of solitary confinement as a supervening ground to commute a sentence as per the seventh edition of the annual statistics report.
7) Number of capital punishments and prisoners on death row rising as per this annual report under Project 39A despite an imperfect process.
Thus, a fair process of capital punishment is crucial:
- It helps adjudication of proper justice through our justice system.
- Capital punishment in the rarest of the rare cases considering all aggravating and mitigating circumstances will help provide deterrence in society.
- A fair process would provide a voice to the marginalized and understand their concerns also through adequate legal representation while deciding upon such cases.
- It will help us move towards a fair system where there is more focus on chances of reformation before consideration of the decision of capital punishment.
Solutions to ensure reforms in process of capital punishment in India:
- Ensure transparency in trial proceedings by adequate legal representation to the accused, timely disclosure of evidence, and transparent decision-making process.
- Improve prison conditions by addressing concerns of overcrowding, torture, and inhuman treatment for death row prisoners, and consider cases of delay on a priority basis to further prevent mental agony.
- Monitoring of investigations of such cases by independent agencies or organizations.
- Mental health assessment for such prisoners periodically with the necessary support to address the issues.
- Regular appeals to death row prisoners to provide them with a chance to challenge the death sentence.
- Exploring other alternatives to the death penalty such as life imprisonment without parole.
Thus, there should be a wider debate in society about ways to ensure streamlining the criminal justice system further to ensure injustice is prevented towards anyone either accused or the victims and we are able to move towards a fair system irrespective of class, caste, and other factors. By moving towards this goal, we would be able to ensure a more secure and progressive society that is able to realize liberty, equality, and fraternity as constitution makers envisaged.
Jan. 30, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 30, 2023
Climate change is increasing the phenomena of polar vortex shifting towards the south from the Arctic. Explain. Also, highlight the implications of such an increased frequency of shift in Asia. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Describe the phenomenon of the polar vortex.
Body: Mention factors of how the polar vortex is expected to shift south frequently due to climate change. Mention some implications of such on Asia.
Conclusion: Integrate the implications with efforts to be taken towards mitigation and adaptation towards climate change
A polar vortex refers to an expanse of cold air that generally circles the Arctic region but occasionally shifts south from the North Pole. It is held in place by the Earth’s rotation and temperature differences between the Arctic and mid-latitudes.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it tends to be much farther north than the jet stream, a strong river of wind that separates Arctic air to the north and much warmer air to the south. While the jet stream is present year-round, the polar vortex only occurs in winter. The polar vortex usually does not have much impact on weather beyond the poles, but occasionally the polar vortex becomes disrupted: when the jet stream moves south, cold air from the polar vortex can plunge farther south as well.
This shift happens naturally but now is expected to increase due to climate change:
- When variations in temperatures grow between arctic and mid-latitudes, the polar vortex can shift south. This is expected to increase as temperatures are turning erratic.
- In long term, the weakening of the polar jet stream is expected to lead to this shift: warming of the Earth has led to the loss of Arctic sea ice, transforming a highly reflective icy surface to a dark absorptive surface. It is warming higher latitudes and reducing the temperature difference between the warmer mid-latitude and polar regions. This weakens and destabilizes the polar jet stream, causing it to dip into lower latitudes, bringing polar air farther south.
However, there is still a lack of uncertainty about the exact impact of climate change on the intensity and severity of these changes.
A polar vortex this year in Asia has led to extreme winters. Thus such a shift can substantially impact Asia:
- Human impacts. Hundreds of millions of people across East Asia have suffered from the cold temperatures, with cold wave conditions in many states of India in mid-January.
- These effects are aggravated by other conditions such as droughts. Evidence came up suggesting that recent droughts in Asia have made the region more susceptible to temperature extremes with more than 150 people dying due to cold in Afghanistan in the last twenty days.
- Such cold conditions cause material loss also for example delayed flights, damage to buildings, affect water supply lines, etc.
- Damage to crops has the potential to impact agricultural supplies and food security causing hunger to rise.
- Increased extremes such as high cold and high heat waves have the potential to impact vulnerable sections more such as those who cannot afford heating and cooling appliances, increasing mortalities and morbidities. It can impact people’s health and productivity.
There is a need for more research on these phenomena and how global warming and climate change are about to impact their geographical spread, intensity, etc. This would lead to better climate adaptation strategies, particularly for the vulnerable sections of the global south. Such impacts should further be brought into global debates at the Conference of Parties to bring urgency for the shift towards better climate cooperation among all.
Jan. 29, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 29, 2023
Discuss why India needs to ensure diversification of its energy sources from coal and crude oil. Highlight other alternatives with further suggestions towards meeting India's high energy needs, ensuring energy security as well as sustainability. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Mention some statistics on the present state of energy share in India
Body: Mention reasons for diversification of the energy basket of India, describe other alternatives for such diversification, and suggest a few steps to further boost such diversification.
Conclusion: Mention the way forward connecting energy diversification to the international scenario.
Over 80%of India’s energy needs are met by three fuels: coal, oil, and solid biomass as per International Energy Agency’s India Energy Outlook 2021. However, there is growing consensus towards the diversification of energy from conventional to non-conventional sources such as solar and wind, green hydrogen, etc.
Reasons India needs to diversify its energy basket further:
- Growing consensus against conventional use internationally such as at Sharm El Sheikh declaration of CoP27 pressing for phase down of coal as a fuel. This would contribute to decreased global greenhouse emissions.
- Soaring prices of coal and crude oil globally during Russia Ukraine war has again depicted the uncertainty in international markets. Diversification will reduce dependence on imported energy to strengthen the energy security of India.
- Growing price competitiveness: Renewable energy sector has witnessed tremendous advancement in the whole value chain, especially the technology leap enabled by innovation, which has immense potential to drive down the prices of renewables rapidly.
- Renewable energy is a safe bet for the long run: Renewables are being heavily encouraged by policymakers with the average wind or solar farm built for up to 25 to 30 years of operation.
- Supportive government policies: Various incentives and infrastructure and investment promotions are being taken to serve the social and economic growth of the country through non-conventional energies.
- The resource potential of India: Studies conducted recently suggest that with newer technologies available today, the wind energy segment can be scaled 40-64 times more than what it is at present.
- Market development initiatives: Exploring offshore wind, providing solar parks, or constructing a transmission corridor will boost the green economy.
Other alternatives to coal and crude oil are:
- Nuclear energy: Recent times such as Russia Ukraine war providing natural gas supply crunch in Europe are further boosting the move towards nuclear energy. India has put in motion construction activities for 10 'fleet mode' nuclear reactors from 2022 to 2025-26.
- Biofuels with the opportunity to utilize agricultural waste for fuel generation as India is envisaged in its National biofuel policy boosting a circular economy.
- Promotion of green hydrogen: It is being described as the fuel of the future due to its potential to provide high energy with no emissions.
- Small hydroelectric power by building multiple run-off river dams with each having a potential of fewer than 25 Megawatts to impact the environment as well.
- Research is promoted storage further in solar and wind energy to further boost their reliability to provide a stable base power supply to replace thermal power plants.
Moving forward, key policy options for transitioning India’s energy mix toward more diversification include the following:
- Demand-side reforms such as reducing goods and services taxes on electric vehicles and promoting solar photovoltaic technology will encourage consumers to opt for green technology.
- Effective implementation of Renewable Energy Certificates and Renewable Purchase Obligations (which complement each other) could be a major factor in driving renewable energy. Incentivizing power generated from renewable energy sources through subsidies or rate cuts, while simultaneously disincentivizing fossil fuels, will also be important.
- Tapping financial resources through financial intermediaries and instruments for the renewable energy sector is also important. Green bonds may be attractive to investors as countries prioritize a green recovery from the recession.
India should utilize the host of multiple options present today with dedicated steps towards energy diversification to prove itself as a leader in the global south on energy transition. It should further continue to push advanced countries for providing financial, and technical funding for such transition at international fora to ensure such a transition is just and ensure energy security for most of the global south.
Jan. 28, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 28, 2023
After 62 years of signing the Indus waters treaty, India has moved to amend this treaty with Pakistan. Discuss the reasons for this pathbreaking intention of India to modify the treaty with implications on India-Pakistan relations further. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Describe the Indus waters treaty in brief.
Body: State official reasons for which modification is being sought also mentioning the potential benefits due to which modification is being thought of now. Implications of this on India-Pakistan relations.
Conclusion: Suggest a balanced way forward connecting it with the larger masses of the two nations.
The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-sharing treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank, and signed in 1960. It allocates the use of the Indus River and its tributaries, which originate in India and flow through Pakistan, to the two countries.
Under the treaty, India controls the eastern rivers (the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi) and Pakistan controls the western rivers (the Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum). A permanent Indus Waters Commission to resolve any disputes that may arise has also been established.
India can ensure run-off of the river hydroelectric projects on the western rivers alongside having complete rights over eastern rivers. However, there are differences between India and Pakistan due to which India decided to modify the treaty:
- Pakistan is intransigent in implementing the treaty and has raised objections to the construction of hydel projects on the Indian side. The treaty has a graded and sequential mechanism in case of differences- first the Indus Commissioners of both sides in case of difference, then the Neutral Expert of the world bank, and only then the Court of Arbitration.
- But Pakistan ignored the neutral expert and directly requested the WB to appoint a judge of the court of arbitration. Whereas India requested a neutral expert. India objects to two simultaneous dispute resolution mechanisms needing a revision in Treaty.
- Thousand cuts strategy by Pakistan through means of state sponsor terrorism hurting India. Just after differences arose over Kishenganga and Rattle projects, there was the Uri attack leading to demands to use water as a strategic leverage.
- The Prime Minister also mentioned that blood and water cannot flow together highlighting the level of tensions between the two countries.
- India is criticized for being a responsible upper riparian state despite Pakistan never budging on any tension issues such as on Kashmir. This creates pressure to seek to narrow down the accommodation being given in the original treaty.
The modification will provide certain benefits due to which it should be deliberated such as fulfilling India’s energy and water needs for development, addressing flood mitigation, and providing storage in dry season through dam construction, etc.
Implications of this on India-Pakistan relations further:
- Under Article XII (3) of the treaty these amendments can be enforced when ratified by the two governments. If Pakistan refuses to respond within a notice period of 90 days, Article XII (4) provides for its termination through ratification by both sides.
- India could spell out further conditions for the treaty and increase its leverage in the context of already significant challenges internally in Pakistan.
- India could also put certain conditions on terrorism and Kashmir although China being an all-weather friend of Pakistan may also toughen its stance on the Brahmaputra which is already underway.
- It could further strain the relations also with the closing of dialogue channels with the help of Indus commissioners and neutral experts.
- Cancellation of the treaty might lead to a race for the construction of hydel projects in this region for a prior appropriation of resources leading to a greater Chinese role in the Pakistani economy.
Overall, there should be proper deliberation and formation of a high-level task panel for India’s next move about putting out the concrete modifications we need in the treaty without leading to water wars in South Asia in the future as many lives on both sides depend on the Indus.
Jan. 27, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 27, 2023
India is about to launch the Aditya L1 mission, its first dedicated spacecraft mission to study the Sun. Shed some light on this mission to study the sun and its atmosphere and examine its significance. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Briefly introduce Aditya-L1 mission.
Body: Describe the mission’s components with a timeline for completion. State the significance of the Aditya-L1 mission for India. Mention a few criticisms also.
Conclusion: Conclude by providing a way forward for India’s space journey.
The Aditya-L1 mission is a scientific satellite mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with the primary goal being to observe the sun's corona and its influence on the Earth's climate. Overall it will observe the sun from Lagrangian point L1.
It will carry a suite of scientific instruments to explore various aspects of the sun, including its photosphere, chromosphere, and corona.
Some of these are:
- a coronagraph to study the sun's corona.
- a magnetograph to study the sun's magnetic field.
- a solar spectropolarimeter to study the sun's photosphere and chromosphere. It will also study the sun's ultraviolet radiation and its impact on the Earth's upper atmosphere and climate.
Recently, the handover ceremony of the Visible Line emission coronagraph (VLEC) was held. It has a very close capability to observe solar corona to image it to as close as 1.05 times the solar radius with a very high resolution. Overall, there have been announcements to launch the mission by July 2023.
Significance of Aditya L1 mission in India’s journey:
- Advancement in Solar Physics: Data collected by the suite of instruments in this mission will help to advance our understanding of the sun's activity.
- Understanding the sun's activity and its influence on Earth's climate can help in space weather forecasting space as events such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections, can disrupt communication and navigation systems.
- It will help better predict sunspot cycles thus the sun’s energy output and contribute to the harnessing of renewable energy as a source to meet our energy demands.
- A better understanding of the impact of the sun on earth’s climate contributes to the better development of strategies for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.
- India by providing a pathbreaking discovery here can contribute greatly towards climate change as we envision ourselves as Vishwaguru. It Would increase Indian capabilities in space exploration to showcase our potential and further collaborate with other space agencies to launch deep space missions.
5. Contribution to economic growth due to better space-related applications in an effort to launch this mission such as the development of heat-resistant materials, better utilization of weather forecasting and navigation services, etc.
- The success of this mission could provide us further confidence for explorations towards the sun. This will increase our share in the global space industry as well contribute to jobs with also possibilities of private sector cooperation.
Criticisms of Aditya-L1 mission regarding significance for India:
- The proposed cost is more than 400 crores, which could be better spent on other socio-economic development imperatives in a developing country like India as it is generally alleged about India’s space achievements.
- Limited international collaboration with other competing advanced missions like NASA’s parker solar probe going inside the sun and studying its corona is to be completed by 2025. This creates doubts about whether AdityaL1 will be able to provide substantial info as it is at L1, 1.5 million km away from the sun.
Overall, India is facing such criticisms right since our space journey started. Space research and missions do provide substantial benefits to the economy apart from fundamental science. India should commit itself to successfully launching this mission, showcase its capability and then ensure collaboration with other stakeholders in future space missions.
Jan. 25, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 25, 2023
Recently the supreme court simplified the process of making a “living will”, an advanced directive that details a person’s desire to refuse medical treatment in case he/she reaches a vegetative state thus authorizing passive euthanasia. Examine to what extent this decision to simplify the procedure for carrying out passive euthanasia is justified. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Define euthanasia, mention context like previous judgments
Body: Mention Arguments in favor of the simplification process and then against it.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward to ensure a balance to uphold the right to life of everyone.
Euthanasia is the act of deliberately putting an end to a person’s life in order to eliminate pain or suffering, and it is usually divided into active and passive euthanasia.
In India serious debate on euthanasia started after the Aruna Shanbaug case and later on passive euthanasia(when a person is allowed to die by withholding artificial life support such as a ventilator or a feeding tube) was allowed in the 2018 Common cause case.
Later on, procedures for an advanced directive ( living will) were allowed. But this procedure was quite complex involving multiple steps like firstly, the formation of a medical board and then finally taking approval of the magistrate. This has been simplified in a recent judgment.
Arguments in favor of simplification of the process of carrying out living will:
- It reaffirms the right to die with dignity as part of the right to life as the court also recognized in Common Cause vs Union Of India in March 2018.
- It is as per the changing times as the number of elderly is about to increase in India ( around 19% in 2050 from present 10% as per United Nations) with imperative upon the state to recognize the right to healthy ageing and this also includes death without too much suffering in certain cases.
- It is justified on moral compassionate grounds to authorize the removal of procedures rather than remaining distraught in complex procedures for passive euthanasia.
- Simplification of procedure was bound to be deliberated once in principle passive euthanasia has been allowed.
- Despite the simplification of procedure, there are safeguards such as the formation of two expert boards in case the requestor becomes terminally ill, first by hospital authorities and then by the district collector. Only final authorization by the magistrate has been removed. So, little possibility of misuse is there.
- This could potentially save the healthcare system from the costs of prolonging the lives of terminally ill patients
However, this decision might not be justified on certain grounds:
- There is a risk of abuse, particularly when most adults in India do not enjoy secure ageing due to a lack of social security. It could affect the rights of most marginalized sections like elderly women dependent upon their families going against article 21.
- Safeguards could be tampered with in an imperfect governance system.
- This could affirm the changing perspective in society about the elderly where there are being treated as burdens rather than sources of wisdom.
- These directives are from the judiciary with little effort towards making a law, framing institutional architecture by elected representatives as the court also expressed.
- Such matters require larger public consultation and debate which could only be possible when draft legislation is opened for public consultation.
- Uniform procedures in the case of diverse healthcare systems might affect justice as health is a state subject. The procedure for living will, involves multiple stakeholders. It will be carried out differently in states like Bihar and Tamil Nadu affecting the sanctity of the process. Thus states’ involvement is needed in framing guidelines.
- Ethical concerns about our medical system arise when smoothening is allowed in our system knowing that it might cause death to certain people. It might affect the conscience of medical personnel, and cause dilemmas in critical situations.
Overall to ensure a balance and carry out a justified process, there is a need for the formation of a draft law with wider public debate and consultation on this law. A parliamentary committee should also be formed then to come up with recommendations. Overall we should ensure that the right to life of even one person is not affected to ensure that we uphold substantial democracy in India.
Jan. 24, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 24, 2023
Briefly explain the major provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Also, highlight the social media intermediaries' concerns regarding these rules. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Briefly describe the rules and the intentions of these rules.
Body: Mention key provisions of these rules, and also describe concerns of intermediaries.
Conclusion: Suggest a balanced conclusion connecting it with the fundamental rights of the constitution.
The draft Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 is a set of regulations for social media intermediaries in India. These were drafted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) and are intended to provide a framework for the regulation of social media platforms and online platforms.
Some of the key provisions of these rules include-
- Designated officers like grievance redressal officers, and chief compliance officers, to ensure compliance of intermediaries, to register grievances within 24 hours.
- Removal of content within 24 hours of complaint in case of complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation, etc
- Code of ethics for platforms including the guidelines for content moderation and protection of user privacy.
- Monthly compliance report to be required to submit to the government detailing the number of complaints, actions taken, and instances when content was removed.
- Traceability of originator of information if the information is found to be violative of the law.
- Transparency in political advertisements by mandatory disclosure about advertisements including the name of the advertiser, the amount spent, and the target audience by the intermediaries.
Social media giants such as Facebook could face a ban if they do not comply with the new Information Technology rules. They also run the risk of losing their status as “intermediaries” and may become liable for criminal action if they do not comply with the revised regulations.
Concerns of intermediaries regarding IT rules-
- The burden of responsibility on intermediaries to monitor and remove illegal content increases the compliance cost burden to affect intermediaries.
- Vagueness in the definition of illegal content in the provisions. Emergency notices can be issued if the Ministry of Information believes that the content can impact the sovereignty, integrity, defense, or security of India, friendly relations with foreign states or public order, or to prevent incitement to any cognizable offense. These are broad categories.
- Lacking transparency in the process. Emergency provisions have been misused at least seven times since 2021 to block content on platforms in emergency situations. Intermediaries in this case have limited recourse and can only approach courts, though it is difficult to know the provisions under which the content was blocked and why the government decided to take it down.
- Potential unavailability of ‘safe harbour’ protection given to intermediaries under Section 79 of the IT Act, under the new rules which could make intermediaries liable for criminal action.
- Weakening of security architecture of platform by Originator traceability mandate in end-to-end encrypted platforms.
Though there is an urgent need to tackle hate crimes, misinformation, and violation of women’s dignity on platforms, there is also a responsibility of the state to protect freedom of expression ( article 19 ) as well as the right to privacy (article 21). Thus these rules should be made more concrete and transparent linking them with data protection legislation being envisaged to ensure a balance among competing imperatives.
Jan. 23, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 23, 2023
The use of e-technology in the agriculture sector in India has the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers and increase food security for the nation's population. Discuss. Elucidate the significance of the launch of a digital crop survey in 10 states in this regard. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Briefly describe the scenario of Indian agriculture connecting it with the need of e technology
Body: Potential of e-technology to improve livelihoods, describe potential to ensure food security, briefly mention recent efforts towards digital crop survey and then the significance of the survey
Conclusion: Briefly mention a few challenges and suggest a way forward to ensure inclusive development and food security in India.
The agricultural sector in India constitutes around half of the workforce and still contributes to around 16-18% of our gross domestic product with more than 80% of farmers being small and marginal ones. This points to the need for transformation in agriculture which can be brought about with the help of e-technology.
E technology is an overarching term incorporating all modes of transmission like electronic devices, satellite communication, mobile, services helping in information dissemination, etc. with help of technology.
E-Technology has the potential to improve the livelihoods of farmers:
- Improved decision-making at farmer levels by dissemination of relevant and timely information regarding agri- inputs, suitable farming techniques, etc. This can be done through platforms such as Kisan SMS Portal, Kisan Sabha App, etc.
- Increased access and Use of digital tools such as mobile apps can help farmers access timely information.
- Improved productivity for example by use of drones in agriculture farms.
- By providing better linkages to the market for the direct selling of crop produce without intermediaries to boost incomes. An example is e National Agriculture Market( eNAM) a pan-India electronic trading portal to provide better price discovery to farmers.
- Financial inclusion through the provision of credit, custom hiring, and insurance services through technology helps farmers manage risks and invest better. For example, FARMS ( Farm machinery solutions ) app provides a better reach of agriculture machinery and equipment on a rental basis.
- Use of technology like real-time surveillance for better supply chain logistics to enable end-to-end tracing of farm produce. This helps in consumer trust to ensure increased incomes and the development of a reliable market for farmers.
E Technology to contribute to food security of the nations:
- Improved crop yields due to the use of real-time data such as weather-based information for example by the use of the Meghdoot app.
- Provide precise and accurate information to policymakers for decision-making to roll out region-specific policies for example providing accurate pricing signals to farmers judging the data of cropping patterns. The use of geographical information systems, and remote sensing through satellites is crucial here.
- Reduction of food wastage through the use of technology such as GPS( Global Positioning Systems) tracking, and Radio Frequency Identification DeviceTracking( RFID). This will ensure a reduction of post-harvest losses which is presently more than 90000 crore rupee as per NITI Aayog.
- More food safety can be ensured by promoting best practices through technology on handling, storage, etc.
- By better market linkages such as the use of eNAM, consumers will also have a better reach of food at affordable prices with little role of intermediaries.
Realizing this potential the Centre plans to launch a digital crop survey from the Kharif-2023 season across 10 states. The survey will collect information on different types of crops sown by farmers in their fields through an automated process by using “Geo-Referenced maps” of the farmland plots and remote sensing images.
Significance of the survey:
- It will provide near real-time information about crops and enable accurate and transparent estimates of crops sown in states, crop identification for improved production, crop grown area, yield estimation from crop-sown data, and more.
- It will also help with the easy implementation of departmental schemes focused on crops, easy verification, estimation, and settlement of crop insurance claims.
- Better assessment of cropping patterns for assessing environmental impacts can be ensured.
- Improving the market from the village to national levels by better information on agriculture through this survey.
However, there are various challenges associated with the use of e-technology in agriculture including lack of awareness about benefits and uses of e-technology, the digital divide preventing vulnerable sections to utilize benefits such as women in the context of feminization of agriculture, etc.
Thus India should envision an inclusive use of e-technology through the effective implementation of the Digital India mission. This would help us ensure inclusive development along with ensuring food security in the nation.
Jan. 22, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 22, 2023
Highlight the importance of vaccination for healthcare, particularly in developing countries like India. Also, discuss the steps taken by the government of India to ensure universal immunization of our population. (10 Marks)
Introduction: Define vaccines and their working mechanism in brief
Body: Highlight the importance of vaccines for healthcare in developing countries, and steps by the government for universal immunization.
Conclusion: Suggest a way forward by connecting with our commitments to healthcare.
Vaccines are biological preparations containing an agent resembling a disease-causing microbe, this provides active acquired immunity to that particular disease. The agent stimulates the body’s immune system to recognize the agent as foreign, destroy it, and remember it for the immune system to better recognize and destroy microbes in later encounters. Vaccination is a widely considered aspect of preventive healthcare boosting the immunity of people.
Importance of vaccination for healthcare particularly for developing countries like India:
- To tackle the high disease burden prevalent in tropical subtropical countries of vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and polio. India has also planned to eliminate measles with help of immunization by 2023.
- To break the chain of faster transmission rates in countries with high population density such as India. Warmer climates also support this transmission.
- To reduce the financial burden upon people with high poverty rates in many developing nations such as Africa. Universal immunization helps protect people regardless of socioeconomic status.
- Increase the reach of healthcare services to rural, remote, and underserved regions in developing nations by means of mobile vaccination vehicles, medical personnel, etc.
- Cost-effective strategy as the benefits far outweighs the costs. Universal immunization program in India is one of the most cost-effective health interventions. It also has long-term positive effects on economic development by reducing disease burden and increasing productivity.
Steps by the Indian government to ensure universal immunization:
- The expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was initiated in 1978 to reduce morbidity and mortality from diphtheria, childhood tuberculosis, etc. by providing immunization services to all eligible children and pregnant women by 1990.
- It was later modified to a universal immunization program(UIP) in 1985 expanding it beyond urban areas 1985. It is the most extensive public health program with national Vaccination against 9 diseases. Its two major milestones are polio elimination in 2014 and tetanus in 2015. New vaccines have also been introduced.
- Launch of Mission Indradhanush in 2014 aimed at increasing immunization coverage of children to 90% with a focus on pockets of low-range and remote areas. A total of six phases of this has been launched with the first two resulting in a 6.7% increase in full immunization coverage in a year.
- Intensified Mission Indra Dhanush was also launched in 2017 as a targeted approach to reach every unvaccinated, partially vaccinated child under two years of age and pregnant woman.
- New initiatives in vaccine logistics and cold chain management-
- Electronic vaccine intelligence network ( EVIN) rollout digitizes entire vaccine stock management, their logistics enabling managers to have a real-time view of vaccine stock and storage temperatures.
- National cold chain management information system to track cold chain equipment inventory, availability, and functionality.
- The launch of the Co-WIN digital platform for real-time monitoring of covid 19 vaccine delivery is now also being used for other vaccination programs.
Overall, such experiences can be utilized along with increasing the capacity of healthcare workers and collaborating with the private sector to ensure innovation and greater reach as well as the pace of immunization. This could help us move towards the fulfilment of sustainable development goal 3.
Jan. 21, 2023
Mains Daily Question
Jan. 21, 2023
India and Sri Lanka traditionally enjoy a close and stable partnership. Examine. Also, highlight the current economic challenges faced by Sri Lanka and the role of India in addressing the same. (10 Marks)
Introduction- Write in brief about India Sri Lanka’s relationship.
Body- Show close partnership between the two nations, mention issues, and mention recent challenges faced by Sri Lanka and India’s support to Sri Lanka in this regard.
Conclusion- Suggest a way forward for both nations to increase mutual trust and partnership
Sri lanka occupies a central position in India’s Neighbourhood First Policy with both nations enjoying a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious, and linguistic interactions such as the presence of Tamils on both sides of the border.
The close partnership between India and Sri Lanka:
- Economic partnership - Both countries signed a free trade agreement in 1998 with attempts towards its revival and upgrade going on since 2018-19.
- Scope for cooperation in infrastructure energy, industry health, etc. long-term energy solutions partnerships power grid connections need to be strengthened. The solar power plant at Sampur provides an example. The Trincomalee oil tank farm project is also being built with Indian assistance.
- Political and diplomatic cooperation with many lawmakers educated in India and sharing roots with us.
- Defense cooperation with a strong partnership with India providing military training and equipment. Joint exercises are also conducted for example Mitra Shakti exercise between the two armies.
- Cultural ties with rich heritage where Buddhism is a common thread. India has helped in the preservation of Sri Lankan heritage including the reconstruction of Anuradhapura.
- Revival of Buddhism as a soft power strategy in the last few years has also helped such as the Buddhist circuit in the Swadesh Darshan scheme to attract tourism.
- People-to-people ties with a large number of Sri Lankans of Indian origin and many Indian expatriates living in Lanka. There are regular exchange programs.
- Education is one means as India provides scholarships to Indian students and training programs for Lankan officials.
However, there have been issues in this partnership:
- Tamil issue with Tamils facing institutionalized discrimination since independence there. Tamil issue creates pressure on the Indian government to take actions in favour of Tamils impacting bilateral relations. It was visible at the time of insurgency also.
- The different stances on the 13th amendment as India want it to be implemented for political stability there but it has still not been passed.
- Rising Chinese influence such as in infrastructure creation confirms concerns of India of the development of a string of pearls among which Hambantota port plays a crucial role. Yuang Wang incident depicted fears of surveillance so close to our borders.
- The unstable security conditions such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) insurgency in past, and the easter bombings in 2019, cause security concerns for India.
- Fisheries issues as Indian fishermen intrude into Sri Lankan waters and practice bottom trawling there. Disproportionate steps by Sri Lankan navy such as shooting fisherman, forfeiting their vessels, etc. also causes concern.
However above issues were put on the side burner when Sri Lanka needed India in their recent crisis. Current challenges faced by Srilanka:
- Impact of the covid pandemic affecting the tourism industry (10% of GDP) hitting foreign exchange reserves.
- Increase in the foreign exchange rate due to decline in forex and depreciation in Srilankan rupee making imports of essential items like food and fuel costlier. There were long queues being witnessed for fuel.
- The default of sovereign debt by Srilanka now affects the trust of creditors. Request for a bailout from International Monetary Fund will only be accepted once the bilateral creditors provide assurances to which India has agreed but China has declined.
Support extended by India:
- Economic aid of more than 3.5 billion dollars. For example, shipment of rice ahead of the new year celebration.
- Extension of credit facility such as of more than 1 billion in march 2022. Lines of credits to buy items like petroleum products.
- Aid for fertilizer such as giving nano nitrogen liquid fertilizers.
- Extension of currency swap of 400 million dollars to save from depleting forex reserves.
- Assurance by India for Bailout package by IMF and efforts to support Sri Lanka in IMF.
India has proved itself as a reliable partner for Sri Lanka. Thus, Sri Lanka should also cooperate with India regarding its security concerns in the Indian ocean. Both nations should ensure bilateral issues are resolved amicably with the development of greater trust to realize the huge potential of a robust partnership.