[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 November 2022

  NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis…

[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 November 2022

[Mission 2023] SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 November 2022

 

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.

 

 

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: poverty and developmental issues,

1. A folk dance is a dance developed by people that reflect the life of the common people of a certain country or region. Elaborate. (250)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian Express , Insights on India

Why the question:

Ten countries, 28 states, six union territories, one stage. Tribal performers from various regions around the world are showcasing their culture and heritage at the three-day National Tribal Dance Festival that got off to a colourful start at the Science College ground in Raipur on Tuesday.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the features and importance of folk dances of India.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Give the context of numerous folk dances across the country.

Body:

First, write about as to how folk dances that reflect the life of the common people of a certain country or region – how cultural aspects of that regions and are distinct from one another. Cite examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the importance of folk dances of the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

 

Introduction

Folk dances are regional variations, the dances of rural and tribal areas, which range from simple, joyous celebrations of the seasons, harvest or birth of a child to dances for the propitiation of demons or for invoking spirits.

Body:

Characteristics of Folk-dances:

  • Every state and its regions have different dance styles and folk music; with which they express the nature of their community.
  • Every part of India has its unique folk dance, which isn’t as complex as the classical form of dance but, in its simplicity, it reflects the deep-sited beliefs of their people.
  • They are extremely simple with minimum of steps or movement.
  • Some dances are performed separately by men and women while in some performances men and women dance together.
  • On most occasions, the dancers sing themselves, accompanied by artists with instruments.
  • Each form of folk dance has a specific costume and rhythm.
  • Most of the costumes, worn for folk dances, are colourful with extensive jewels and designs.
  • Bhangraof Punjab; Rasa LilaJhumarKaksar of Bastar; Chhau in Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal; Bihu of Assam; Theyyam in the Malabar region of kerala; Dollu of Karnataka are few of the many folk dance forms.
  • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala; Kalbeliafolk songs and dances of Rajasthan and Chhau dance are included in UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Linkages of folkdances with culture:

  • Seeking divine intervention:
    • The dance is performed in groups to celebrate the nine days Hindu festival of Navratri.
    • It is performed in rings and concentric circles representing the cycle of birth and death in Hinduism, leaving only one constant which is the divinity of God symbolized by the idol of the Goddess or the Garba Deep.
  • Depiction of good over evil:
    • Ex: Bardo Chham is performed by the Sherdukpen tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. The dancers wear masks of 12 different animals and perform to the beats of many percussion instruments. Sherdukpen tribe believes that there are 12 different evil forces and they all appear in different months to mar the happiness of the community. The masks represent evil forces and the main objective of this art form is to ward off these evil forces.
  • Performed before harvesting crops:
    • Bhangra and Giddhaare folk dances of from the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, mostly performed during the harvest festival of Baisakhi.
    • Pulikaliis a colorful recreational folk art from, performed on the occasion of annual harvest festival of Onam.
    • Ponungis one of the most important folk dances of Arunachal Pradesh. Performed before the harvest of staple crops, it has women dancers.
  • Performed during various festivals:
    • Raslilais the most popular form of folk dance of India, especially during the festivals of Krishna Janmashtami and Holi in the regions of Mathura and Vrindavan in Uttar Pradesh.
    • Bihuforms the most important part of the Bihu festival celebration. The dance is performed by young men and women, accompanied by the playing of pipes & drums.
    • Buiyadance performed by the Digaru Mishmis of Arunachal Pradesh, is the main attraction of many tribal festivals.
  • Celebration of nature:
    • Bagurumbais believed to have been inspired from nature, it can be further classified into different dance forms – each inspired from elements of nature like animals, plants, birds, insects, water, air and so on.
  • To relax and rejuvenate:
    • Jhumuris the dance is performed by the tribal people who work in tea estates of Assam. It is often their only recreational activity and this certainly rejuvenates them after a long and tiring day.
  • Showcase of rich tradition and culture:
    • Ojapali dance of Assam.
    • Cheraw Dance of Mizoram.
  • Paying respects to the deity worshipped by the tribe:
    • ongkram Dance of Meghalya.
  • Celebration of victory over an enemy:
    • Chang Lo dance of Nagaland.
  • To celebrate weddings:
    • Matki Folk Dance of Madhya Pradeshis considered as an important dance art from the state, performed usually on wedding occasions.
    • Maruniis the main attraction of Sikkim weddings.

Conclusion

Nurtured for centuries, dance in India has evolved in different parts of the country its own distinct style taking on the culture of that particular region, each acquiring its own flavour. The tribal and folk dances of India draw the most fascinating canvas shaded with vivacity and the deep-rooted culture. These dances are not merely a form of dance rather a way of life for Indian people. Each of them has enfolded an entrenched history and culture within itself.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2. Empowering ASHA workers by giving the dignity and protection they deserve, along with enabling them to assume a more empowered role in aiding people’s medical needs will make them more effective. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

One of the biggest issues facing rural health services is lack of information. Channels of communication between the government and the rural population need to be robust. A deadly pandemic makes the value of these channels obvious — but in order to get people on board, information needs to be sent out much more effectively and in a hands-on manner. ASHA workers play a crucial role in aiding this effort.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of ASHA for grassroot level development.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about ASHA workers as part of National Rural Health Mission.

Body:

First, write about the major roles played the ASHA workers – The ASHA programme is considered as being vital to achieving the goal of increasing community engagement with the health system, improving the health status of the community through securing people’s access to health care services. Mention the work done by the ASHA workers in the Pandemic.

Next, write certain limitations with respect to the ASHA programme and suggest measures to empower the ASHA workers further.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

ASHA workers are volunteers from within the community who are trained to provide information and aid people in accessing the benefits of various healthcare schemes of the government. They act as a bridge connecting marginalised communities with facilities such as primary health centres, sub-centres and district hospitals. The role of these community health volunteers under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) was first established in 2005.

Body

 

About ASHA workers

  • ASHAs are primarily married, widowed, or divorced women between the ages of 25 and 45 years from within the community. They must have good communication and leadership skills; should be literate with formal education up to Class 8, as per the programme guidelines.
  • The aim is to have one ASHA for every 1,000 persons or per habitation in hilly, tribal or other sparsely populated areas.
  • There are around 10.4 lakh ASHA workers across the country, with the largest workforces in states with high populations – Uttar Pradesh (1.63 lakh), Bihar (89,437), and Madhya Pradesh (77,531). Goa is the only state with no such workers, as per the latest National Health Mission data available from September 2019.
  • The World Health Organisation has recognised thecountry’s 10.4 lakh ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers as ‘Global Health Leaders’ for their efforts in connecting the community to the government’s health programmes.
  • While this is laudable, the women health volunteers continue to fight for higher remuneration, regular jobs, and even health benefits.
  • While intermittent protests have been going on in several states, thousands of ASHAs from across the country took to the streets in September last year to fight for their demands.
  • ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers have received the Global Health Leaders Award-2022 in the backdrop of the 75th World Health Assembly.
  • They were named a “Guardian of the Year” by Time magazine in 2020.

Role of ASHA workers

  • They go door-to-door in their designated areas creating awareness about basic nutrition, hygiene practices, and the health services available.
  • They focus primarily on ensuring that women undergo ante-natal check-up, maintain nutrition during pregnancy,deliver at a healthcare facility, and provide post-birth training on breast-feeding and complementary nutrition of children.
  • They alsocounsel women about contraceptives and sexually transmitted infections.
  • ASHA workers are also tasked with ensuring and motivating children to get immunised.Other than mother and child care, ASHA workers also provide medicines daily to TB patients under directly observed treatment of the national programme.
  • They are also tasked with screening for infections like malariaduring the season.
  • They also provide basic medicines and therapies to people under their jurisdiction such as oral rehydration solution, chloroquine for malaria, iron folic acid tablets to prevent anaemia, and contraceptive pills.
  • The health volunteers are also tasked with informing their respective primary health centreabout any births or deaths in their designated areas.

ASHA workers and pandemic response

  • ASHA workers were a key part of the government’s pandemic response, with most states using the network forscreening people in containment zones, getting them tested, and taking them to quarantine centres or help with home quarantine.
  • They went door-to-door and check people for Covid-19 symptoms. Those who had fever or cough had to be tested. They informed the authorities and helped the people reach the quarantine centres.
  • They went to households with confirmed Covid-19 cases and explained the quarantine procedure. They provided them with medicines and pulse-oximeters. All of this was on top of their routine work.
  • With the vaccination drive for Covid-19beginning in January last year, they have also been tasked with motivating people to get their shots and collect data on how many people are yet to get vaccinated.

Challenges faced by ASHA workers

  • Wages: They have low and non-fixed salary and does not come under Minimum Wages.
  • There are over 10.4 lakh ASHAs across India. In the past three years, ASHAs from at least 17 states havedemanded fixed salaries, higher incentives and inclusion in social safety schemes such as pensions.
  • ASHAs are not recognized as workers and thus get less than Rs 18,000 per month.They are the cheapest healthcare providers in India.
  • ASHAs say they normally earn through antenatal care (Rs 300), institutional delivery (Rs 300), family planning (Rs 150) and immunization rounds (Rs 100) as cases of other diseases are far and few.
  • Administrative issues: They are paid from theNRHM fund for which they have to wait for long time. The scheme does not have a dedicated budgetary allocation and the funds are arranged on an ad-hoc basis from different government schemes under NRHM such as National Immunisation Programme.
    • The delaysin reimbursement of incentives hurt the self-esteem of ASHAs and has a bearing on her service delivery.
    • Instead of focussing solely on community healthcare and related work, they are burdened with surveys and other non-related work.
  • Infrastructure: Many Anganwadi workers and Asha activists havereported against dilapidated buildings and hazardous environment.
    • It becomes difficult to ensure proper nutrition and early childhood care for children under these conditions.
  • Occupational Hazard: Recent attack on ASHA workers during the COVID-19 pandemic shows the vulnerability of these workers and the non-performance of state in providing basic security.

Conclusion and way forward

  • Fixed salary and dedicated fund:A Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women way back in 2010 recommended fixed salaries for ASHAs. There should be a dedicated fund for ASHAs, which will ensure timely payment of the incentives and boost the morale of the volunteers.
  • Skill training:Skill upgradation should be an integral part of the scheme. Volunteers should be encouraged to take short-term courses on auxiliary nurse mid-wives/general nursing and midwifery.
    • This will not only help the volunteers in getting a better incentive, but will also ensure that the people living in remote areas have better health access.
    • Currently, nursing schools in 11 states give preference to ASHAs for auxiliary nurse mid-wives and general nursing courses.
  • In recent times, centre has provided Insurance cover to Asha workers and increased their honorarium. This must be institutionalized, so that more community workers can come forward and effectively execute their responsibility. 

 

 

Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

3. India must adopt a positive role during the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) presidency and use the forum for the betterment of the whole of Eurasia. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Connectivity projects must respect sovereignty issues, External Affairs Minister (EAM) S. Jaishankar said, in a reference to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), at a virtual meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of Government hosted by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the how India can use SCO presidency for betterment of Eurasia.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by writing about aims and objectives of SCO.

Body:

In the first part, write about the various disagreements withing the SCO – India-China, Russia-China, Impact of Ukraine war, lack of consensus etc

Next, Highlight the importance of SCO for India – focus on the advantages that India can gain in bilateral relations and in the larger Eurasian region.

Next, write the measures that need to be taken by India during its presidency to enhance the efficacy of SCO.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a permanent intergovernmental international organization. It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organization aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region. It was created in 2001. The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003.

India’s Presidency of the Group of 20, UN Security Council (UNSC) in 2022, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in 2023 when major powers are not even talking to each other and India alone, now the fifth largest economy, is interacting with each of them, presents a historic opportunity.

Body

Disagreements within SCO

  • The SCO faces the challenges of improving cohesion, better managing relations with external parties, enlargement, variations of economic cooperation between member states, a slow pace of decision making and poor quality decision implementation.
  • In the recent summit in Samarkand, support for Russia’s agenda differed between certain countries, with Turkey, China and Iran displaying some degree of understanding. India’s agenda focussed on its concern about the impacts of the Ukrainian war on the world economy.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is often stated as a club of autocrat powers. The members follow the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states. However, China and Russia adhere this principle rhetorical basis but not in reality.
  • China and Russia are the primary drivers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization but have different visions for this organization. Although they share common interest of regional stability within the organization but at the same time their geopolitical interests pull them in different directions.
  • India has presented consistent opposition to the violation of sovereignty and territorial integrity by the BRI’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through Indian territory in Jammu and Kashmir
  • But, the meetings of SCO have endorsed Russia’s initiative to connect the SCO with the Eurasian Economic Union and ASEAN, placing the predominantly East-West connectivity alignment of China’s BRI alongside the North-South connectivity alignment of Russia’s proposal
  • Despite the establishment of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the SCO has not taken visible counterterrorism measures against the main threat facing its members, which emanates from terrorists and terrorist entities located in the Af-Pak region
  • China and Pakistan have deliberately tried to bring bilateral issues into SCO. This violates the well-established principles and norms of the SCO Charter. Such acts are counterproductive to the spirit of consensus and cooperation that define this organisation and should be condemned.

Significance of SCO for India

  • India acquired the observer status in the grouping in 2005 and was admitted as a full member in 2017.
  • Discuss differences with other members on the sidelines: SCO hosts have encouraged members to use the platform to discuss differences with other members on the sidelines
  • Bilateral meeting with Pakistan: It was on such an occasion that the Prime Minister of India held a bilateral meeting with the former Pakistani Prime Minister in 2015 in Ufa.
  • Negotiation of five point agreement with Chinese counterpart: Foreign Minister of India negotiated a five-point agreement with his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the Moscow conference in 2020.
  • Strategic autonomy and multi-alignment: India is also a part of the ‘Quadrilateral’ grouping with the U.S, Japan and Australia.
    • Its association with the grouping of a rather different nature is part of its foreign policy that emphasizes on principles of “strategic autonomy and multi-alignment”.
  • Connectivity and stability across borders: India’s membership of SCO can help in achieving regional integration, promote connectivity and stability across borders.
  • Fulfilling energy demand: India being an energy deficient country with increasing demands for energy, SCO provides it with an opportunity to meet its energy requirements through regional diplomacy.
    • Talks on the construction of stalled pipelines like the TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) pipeline; IPI (Iran-Pakistan-India) pipeline can get a much needed push through the SCO.
  • Economic ties:Central Asian countries provide India with a market for its IT, telecommunications, banking, finance and pharmaceutical industries.
  • Geopolitical: Central Asia is a part of India’s Extended Neighbourhood, SCO provides India an opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
    • Helps India fulfill its aspiration of playing an active role in its extended neighborhood as well as checking the ever growing influence of China in Eurasia.
    • Platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan.

Way forward

  • Important group for India: India considers the SCO as an important regional group to promote cooperation in various fields based on universally recognised international norms, good governance, rule of law, openness, transparency and equality.
  • Addressing the concerns of members: Need of working group to address the concerns of all entities, considering the territorial integrity of each nation involved.
  • More measures against terrorism: Despite the establishment of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), the SCO has not taken visible counterterrorism measures against the main threat facing its members.
    • There is a need for the Summit to play a central and coordinating role to enforce the Council’s sanctions against concerned entities.
  • Engagement: It provides a platform for India to simultaneously engage with its traditional friend Russia as well as its rivals, China and Pakistan and provides India an opportunity to pursue the “Connect Central Asian Policy”.
  • Agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors: Samarkand summit is expected to have agreements on connectivity and high-efficiency transport corridors and a roadmap for local currency settlement among member states.
  • SCO’s rising international influence:The significant round of expansion by inclusion of Iran and Belarus shows SCO’s rising international influence and that the principles of the SCO charter are widely accepted.

 

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4.  Biosphere reserves are places where humans live in harmony with nature, and where there is an effective combination of sustainable development and nature conservation. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the role of Biosphere reserves in conservation and sustainable development.

Directive word: 

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you must debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You must give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by defining a biosphere reserve and its various aspects.

Body:

First, write about the role of biosphere reserve in conservation and sustainable development – They are sites for testing interdisciplinary approaches to understanding and managing changes and interactions between social and ecological systems, including conflict prevention and management of biodiversity. They are places that provide local solutions to global challenges. Use examples to substantiate.

Next, write about the various threats to biosphere reserves and ways to protect them.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

 

 

Introduction

Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by UNESCO for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large area of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination thereof. BRs are designated to deal with one of the most important questions of reconciling the conservation of biodiversity, the quest for economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values. BRs are thus special environments for both people and the nature and are living examples of how human beings and nature can co-exist while respecting each other’s needs.

Body

Role of biosphere reserve in conservation and sustainable development

  • Conservation: Managing Biosphere Reserve’s genetic resources, endemic species, ecosystems, and landscapes.
    • It may prevent man-animal conflict Eg:Death of tiger Avni who was shot dead when she turned man-eater
    • Along with the wildlife, culture and customs of tribals are also protected
  • Development: Promoting economic and human growth that is sustainable on a sociocultural and ecological level. It seeks to strengthen the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic and protection of the environment.
  • Endemic flora and fauna:Biosphere Reserves aim to preserve the rich flora and fauna flourishing in India and to maintain the authentic diversity and integrity of nature.
  • Research: Biosphere Reserves are also popularly known as the Laboratory of Nature, where research and scientific studies could be carried out along with several training programs.
  • Healthy Ecosystem: They help in maintaining healthy ecosystems by preventing soil erosion, protecting water springs, and maintaining the decomposers to maintain the soil quality.
  • Genetic diversity:The main aim of biosphere reserve is to preserve genetic diversity in representative ecosystems by protecting wild animals, traditional life style of inhabitant and domesticated plant/animal genetic resources.

Various threats to biosphere reserves

  • Climatic changes: Climate is a major factor which caters to the degradation of Wildlife. India has a moderate climate, despite that; the excessive spike in the rate of Global warminghas caused a threat to the life that sustains in these Reserves.
  • WildfireScorching weather conditionsgive a spark to the Wildfire which causes huge devastation of both the flora and fauna.
  • Landslides: There are times when huge landslides occur that result in fragmentation of resources. Every time there is a climatic shift, it takes a lot of effort for the plants and animals to adjust in the new transition.
  • Deforestation and human activities aregaining momentum without planning of reforestation. Lands are acquired to construct houses, factories, and set up a society.
    • Such a community is confiscating the space, where vegetation blossomed.
    • Forests are storehouses of natural resources for which and now the woods are stripped into barren land and turned into the site of mining.
    • Stone crushing and fragmentation of mountainsin search of coals are causing a significant loss of habitat.
  • Exploitation of natural flora:Trees are slain down not only for timber but also for several products like resins, honey, seeds, firewood, lichens, canes, dyes, cosmetics, medicines, fibbers, and a lot more. The urban population is not the only one who is exploiting flora for its needs.
    • The tribal communities living in these Biosphere Reserves solely depend upon their surrounding for survival.
    • They claim woods for fire, leaves for shelter, fibbers for yarns, and all the essential bearings of the plants for their survival.
    • Certain communities live near the buffer zones who exploit the plant species to earn a livelihood out of the sale.
  • Poaching and hunting:Problems like illegal trading, poaching, and hunting of wildlife have immerged as a major challenge to the Indian Government.
    • Elephants are poached for their valuable teeth, rhinoceros and deers are exploited for their horns, tigers are poached for their precious skin.
    • Animal leather has been a great fashion force amongst humanity, thereby causing huge mortification of the diversity of wildlife.

Conclusion and way forward

  • Resources like spices from the reserves of Kerala should be marketed with “Biosphere Reserve Tags” which will increase their value.
  • Munnar declarationwhich suggests that biosphere reserves can be carved out of the desert and Gangetic plain bio-geographic zones should also be implemented.
  • As the biosphere reserve concept was aimed at sustainable development, the term, reserve, should be replaced with a suitable word.
  • The government must take strict steps against alien species invading various biosphere reserves Eg Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

Value addition

Criteria for designation of BR

  • A site that must contain aneffectively protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
  • The core area should be typical of a bio-geographical unitand large enough to sustain viable populations representing all trophic levels in the ecosystem.
  • The management authority to ensure the involvement/cooperation of local communities to bring variety of knowledge and experiences to link biodiversityconservation and socio-economic development while managing and containing the conflicts.
  • Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of livingfor harmonious use of environment.

 

 

 

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

5. Biodiversity is the living fabric of our planet. It underpins human well-being in the present and in the future, and its rapid decline threatens nature and people alike. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 3 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of biodiversity on human development and how its decline affects it.

Directive:

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin the answer by giving context.

Body:

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

Next, write about the various threats and impact of declining biodiversity on human development.

Conclusion:

Write a way forward to protect and conserve biodiversity.

 

Introduction

In simple terms, biodiversity is the number and variety of living organisms present in a specific geographical region. It includes various plants, animals and microorganisms, the genes they have and the ecosystems formed by them.

It relates to the diversity among living organisms on the earth, including the diversity within and between the species and that within and between the ecosystems they form.

Body

Importance of biodiversity

  • Ecological role: Species of many kinds perform some of the other functions in an ecosystem. Every organism, besides fulfilling its own needs, also contributes something useful to different other organisms in the environment.
    • Species capture, store and utilise energy, produce and decompose organic materials, are part of cycles of water and nutrients throughout the ecosystem, fix gases in the atmosphere and also help regulate the climate.
    • Thus, they help in soil formation, reducing pollution, protection of land, water and air resources. These functions of biodiversity are important for ecosystem functions and stability.
  • Ecosystem services:Biodiversity underpins the basis of all the ecosystem services on the planet.
  • Provisioning Services: Various plants, animals and microorganisms which form the biodiversity, provide us with foods such as cereals, fishes etc., fibre for our clothes such as cotton, wool etc., fuelwood for survival as well as pharmaceutical products such as neem, tulsi etc.
  • Regulating services: Biodiversity regulates the local as well as global climate, manages the global levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide and other gases, maintains freshwater quality by vegetation slowing runoff, absorbs carbon by acting as carbon sinks etc. Thus biodiversity regulates the life and life processes on the planet.
  • Supporting services: Biodiversity helps in pollination, nutrient cycling as well as recycling, greenhouse gas reduction by sequestration.
  • Social and cultural services:Biodiversity provides us with aesthetic pleasure. It provides recreational avenues and rich biological diversity encourages tourism in the region. Many communities and cultures have co-evolved with the surroundings and the resources provided by a biologically diverse environment. Hence, it performs an important social role as well. Important services which are provided by biodiversity are: Recreation and relaxation Tourism especially ecotourism, Art, Design and inspiration Spiritual experiences.
  • Food web maintenance:Biodiversity helps in maintaining food webs as higher the diversity of an ecosystem, more complex is the food web because there are so many options to eat. Therefore, higher the chances of survival of every species. This results in more stable food chains and food webs.
  • Scientific role:Biodiversity help in scientific research, education and monitoring. For example, research about new genetic materials with the help of gene pools. Biodiversity, thus, helps in understanding the functioning of life and the role that each species plays in sustaining ecosystems of which we humans are also a part.

 Threat to biodiversity

  • Habitat loss and fragmentation: The habitat loss and fragmentation have been through changes of land use, in particular, the conversion of natural ecosystems to cropland, development of infrastructure projects like rails and roadways, increasing urbanisation and mining activities.
    • As per the Living Planet report, there has been about a 30% decline in wetlands in the last 40 years.
    • Wetlands have been primarily reclaimed for agriculture and urbanisation.
    • Also, about 50% of the tropical and subtropical forests and 45% of the temperate grasslands have been converted for human use.
  • Degradation:Besides total loss, the degradation of many habitats by pollution also threatens the survival of many species.
    • When large habitats are broken up into smaller fragments because of different human activities, mammals and birds which require large territories and certain animals with migratory habits are adversely affected, causing a decline in their population.
  • Over-exploitation of species:Unsustainable use of ecosystems and over-exploitation of biodiversity are a major reason behind biodiversity loss.
    • Over-hunting or poaching of species, overfishing and overharvesting of plant products can quickly lead to a decline in biodiversity.
    • Changing consumption patterns of humans is often cited as the key reason for this unsustainable exploitation of natural resources.
    • Many species which got extinct in the past 5 centuries, like Steller’s Sea cow, passenger pigeon, were subject to over-exploitation by humans.
  • Introduction of alien species:Plants, animals and microorganisms transported deliberately or unintentionally from an outside geographical region can cause great damage to native species by competing with them for food and shelter, spreading diseases unknown to them, causing genetic changes through the process of interbreeding with native species, and disrupting various aspects of their food chains and the physical environment.
  • For example, in India Water hyacinth was introduced by the Britishfor beautification. But over time, it has become an invasive species, clogging rivers, lakes and other water bodies, thus not allowing any aquatic life to grow and survive.
  • Environmental pollution:The accumulation of Pollution such phosphorus and nitrogen largely from excess fertilizers running off farmland, harmful chemicals firm urban and suburban runoff, industrial effluents etc. which are discharged into the natural water bodies. For example, oil spill off the port of Ennore in Chennai in 2017.
    • Similarly, plastic pollution causes the death of animals. Also, air pollution from industries and vehicles has resulted in the death of many bird species in urban areas.
  • Global climate change:Climate change is projected to become a progressively more significant threat to biodiversity in the coming decades.
    • Already, changes in the flowering and migration patterns as well as in the distribution of various species have been observed throughout the world.
    • These changes have altered food chains and created mismatches within ecosystemswhere different species have evolved synchronised inter-dependence.
  • Co-extinctions:When a particular species becomes extinct, the plants and animals associated with it in an obligatory way also come under the danger of becoming extinct.
    • For example, when a host fish species becomes extinct, its unique assemblage of parasites also meets the same fate.
  • Natural causes:Like floods, earthquakes and other natural disasters also cause loss of biodiversity.

 Conservation of biodiversity: Nature-based solutions

  • Biosphere reserves: Large areas of protected land for conservation of wildlife, plant and animal resourcesand traditional life of the tribals living in the area.
  • May have one or more national parks or wildlife sanctuaries in it.
  • Conserving the Sacred Groves:India’s ethnic people have played a vital role in preserving the biodiversity of several virgin forests and have conserved flora and fauna in sacred groves of tribals. Otherwise, these flora and fauna might have disappeared from the natural ecosystem.
  • National Parks: These are small reserves maintained by the government. Its boundaries are well demarcated and human activities such as grazing, forestry, habitat and cultivation are prohibited.For eg., Kanha National Park, Bandipur National Park.
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries: These are the regions where only wild animals are found. Human activities such as timber harvesting, cultivation, collection of woods and other forest products are allowed here as long as they do not interfere with the conservation project. Also, tourists visit these places for recreation.
  • Effective Implementation of the FRA:The government must make an effort to build trust between its agencies in the area and the people who depend on these forests by treating them as equal citizens like everyone else in the country.
    • The FRA’s loopholes have already been identified; all it needs is to work on amending it.
  • Traditional Knowledge of the Tribal People for Conservation:The Biodiversity Act, 2002 mentions about the equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the use and knowledge of biological resources with the local communities.

 Way forward

  • Integration of International Treaties: Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) implementation of Nagoya Protocolcannot work in isolation and thus must be commensurate with other international treaties. Therefore, integration between ABS and the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) need to consider the legislative, administrative and policy measures that cross each other’s path.
  • People’s Biodiversity Register (PBR):PBR should aim to document folk knowledge of status, uses, history, ongoing changes and forces driving changes in biodiversity resources, and people’s perceptions of how these resources should be managed. PBRs can be useful to preserve the rights of farmers or communities over the traditional knowledge they may hold over a particular variety. Additionally, PBRs provide geographical identity to the bioresources and can be useful in providing a tool for clarification when disputes over biopiracy and intellectual property rights arise.
  • Engaging Industries: The integration of legislations such as corporate social responsibility with ABS can be beneficial to industries who wish to closely share benefits accrued from use of biological resources 

    General Studies – 4


     

    Topic : Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

    6. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

    “Those who live for themselves die, those who die for the society live” ― Anna Hazare

    Difficulty level: Moderate

    Why the question:

    The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Quotes Wednesdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

    Structure of the answer:

    Introduction: 

    Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

    Body:

    Write about the individualism and living for oneself and people who emphasise on self-gratification. The impact of focusing on oneself. Next, write about living for the society and collectivism and that can lead to meaningful life. Substantiate with examples.

    Conclusion:

    Conclude by summarising the importance of quote in the present day.

     

     

    Introduction

Introduction

The quote essentially means that, a man remains immortal for generations for the good work he has done for welfare of society. Gandhiji, Vallabhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, India’s history has more great examples such as them who have contributed immensely for the country and the society we live in today.

Body

“We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts not breaths, In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by the heart-throbs. He most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best”.

Some people don’t live but only exist. Greatness does not lie in years. The oak tree lives for 300 years; there are other trees that live for 4,000 years. Yet the poets have written poems not on those long-lived trees but on the lily flowers.

Age should not be the criterion of life. Instead oneshould leave a mark on other’s lives with his good deeds. Bhagat Singh was hanged to death at a young age. However, even today he is remembered as a true patriot who sacrificed his life for the nation. Swami Vivekananda and Shakaracharya are some other famous people who have lived a short but worthy life. All these great men are remembered for their noble deeds and great achievements in their respective fields. Their lives have been an inspiration to many.

Anna Hazare himself has fought tirelessly against corruption. He walked the path of Gandhian ideology and transformed his village Ralegan Siddhi into an ideal village. Ralegan Siddhi is a completely transformed village. 80% of village land is now irrigated and two crops are taken every year. Drinking water is no more an issue even in rain-deficit years. While previously people used to go out for employment now finding wage labourers has become difficult. The village schools is at par with city schools in terms of infrastructure and facilities. All people have even abandoned intoxicants like Bidi, Cigarette, Tobacco, Gutakha etc. and no shop in village sells these products.

This is a story of transformation, story of sacrifice. How the dedication of one man can change lives of so many. Mr. Anna Hazare had many more achievements in his life after this.

Conclusion

Life is a great adventure, and the heroes are not those who live the longest, but those who do great deeds. Many men live to be 100 years or more. They live and die, unknown and unremembered by the world. But the famous deeds done by great men are written on the pages of history.

 

 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators;

7. What does this quote means to you? (150 words)

“A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy,  education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary” ― Albert Einstein

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Quotes Wednesdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by explaining the literal meaning of the quote.

Body:

Write about the various determinants of ethics and how sympathy, education, and social ties leads to a ethical way of life.

Next, write about the role of religion in ethics. Talk about whether or not religion is necessary for ethical behaviour. Substantiate with examples.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of the quote in the present day.

 

Introduction

A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

Body

Ethics, from a strictly humanistic perspective, is based on the tenets of reason: Anything that is not rationally verifiable cannot be considered justifiable. From this perspective, ethical principles need not derive their authority from religious doctrine. Instead, these principles are upheld for their value in promoting independent and responsible individuals—people who are capable of making decisions that maximize their own well-being while respecting the well-being of others.

Ethical behaviour and values such as empathy, compassion, integrity, respect stem from our social ties, our value system, education and empathy. Various religions have various teachings, but we find that people of all denominations following various religious doctrines can be ethical. This shows that religion is not the basis of morality, it is the innate humaneness in human beings that is the basis of ethics.

One of the problems with basing ethics on a set of religious beliefs is that this provides no guidance for those who do not share those beliefs. These people have no reason to accept god’s authority. Because of this problem, many have sought a basis for ethics in indisputable facts rather than in religious beliefs that not everyone shares.

 

However religion can also be source of ethics. Religious belief can provide a powerful basis for ethics. If people believe that supernatural being gives them guidance on how to behave and if they see this force with whom they have a personal and emotional relationship, their convictions about what they ought to do are likely to be held very strongly. Religion gives them a sense of purpose – as individuals they know who they are, where they are intended to go, and where to look for guidance on their journey.

Conclusion

Even though religious and secular ethics don’t derive their authority from the same source, we still must find a way to establish common ground between them; otherwise we’re condemning ourselves to live amidst social discord and division.

 


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