current-affairs-based-mains-drill-29-january-2021

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Q.1)“Stopping hate on television is essential for law and order”. Critically analyze how government regulations can make the media more "accountable" and "unbiased".

Why this question:

Recently the SC has made a statement in this regard keeping in view the violence that occurred during the farmers protest on Republic Day.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the need of social media regulation in the light of growing incidents of hate symbols, speeches and intolerance.

Directive:

Critically analyze- The key to tackling this question is providing ample evidence to support the claims. Ensure that the analysis is balanced by shedding light on, and presenting a critique of, and alternative perspectives. Present extensive evidence taken from a varying range of sources

Introduction:

Write about the social media and its worldwide presence and the current state of its regulation.

Body:

In the first part, mention the need for social media regulation. Mention key issues such as- offensive pictures, videos; hate speech and symbols; illicit content; fake news; online harassment and cyber stalking; cyber frauds; leakage of critical and personal information, etc. Give examples of how an unregulated social media can lead to various problems like Facebook Data Leak in the USA.

In the next part, mention recent developments made by the Government in this field such as Personal Data Protection Bill, regulation of content on OTT platforms, steps taken to curb fake news, etc. also mention that overregulation would lead to interference by the State in Freedom of speech and expression.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Social media plays an integral part in our daily lives and has a huge impact on society and individuals. It has revolutionized the way people communicate and socialize on the web. However, there have been certain concerns that have forced one to think of regulating content on social media. Presently, social media platforms come under the purview of the Information Technology (IT) Act, the ‘intermediaries guidelines’ that were notified under the IT Act in 2011 and the Indian Penal Code.

But, the government plans to bring specific rules to regulate social media because it can cause “unimaginable disruption” to democracy. 

Why is there a need to regulate social media?

  1. Fake news- social media in the recent times has turned out to be a potential platform for the spread of fake news that sometimes have led to lynching, communal incidents, etc.
  2. Hate speech/ symbols- there has been an increase in contents aiming at spreading hate between different communities.
  3. Data privacy- in the absence of any regulation, misuse of data by social media platforms is a potent threat. Eg.- personal data leak of Facebook users in the USA that was during the Presidential election.
  4. Offensive/ illicit content- social media platforms can have content that is offending towards some communities like children, females, LGBTQ, etc.
  5. Cybercrimes- social media has become a platform for crimes such as cyber theft, stalking, cyber bullying, sexual harassment, etc. 

Few recent steps by the government to regulate social and digital media are- Personal Data Protection Bill and regulation of content on OTT platforms. However, the government must keep in mind that overregulation of social media can lead to an infringement of Fundamental Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression under Art 19 (1) (a) of the Indian Constitution.

Unregulated social and digital media could pose a threat to India’s rise as a trustworthy and responsible nation, as also Indian democracy, the world’s largest. These challenges can be addressed by regulating social media efficiently and modernizing our laws and institutions.

 

Q.2)Enumerate the key points of National Policy for Rare Diseases (2020).

Why this question:

Recently a boy died of a rare disease called gaucher in Jaipur and the Delhi HC has ordered the Centre to finalise the policy by March 31.

Key demand of the question:

Key provisions of the national Policy for Rare Disease, its need and drawbacks.

Directive:

Enumerate - Specifically asking you to provide details in a pointwise format.

Introduction:

Give a brief introduction about the National Policy for Rare Diseases (2020).

Body:

In the first part, mention what is a rare disease and why was there a need for such a policy.

In the next part, write about the key provisions of the policy, the impact it will create and also the issues/ loopholes in the policy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to strengthen the implementation of the policy. 

Model Answer

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a rare disease as an often debilitating lifelong disease or disorder with a prevalence of 1 or less per 1,000 population. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), it is one in 2,500 people or less. 

Recently, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has published a national policy for the treatment of 450 ‘rare diseases’. As per the policy, out of all rare diseases in the world, less than five per cent have therapies available to treat them. In India, roughly 450 rare diseases have been recorded, of which the most common are Haemophilia, Thalassemia, Sickle-cell anemia, auto-immune diseases, Gaucher’s disease, and cystic fibrosis.

Key Features of the Policy:

  • It provides for lowering the incidence of rare diseases based on an integrated preventive strategy.
  • It aims to provide access to affordable health care to patients of rare diseases which are amenable to one-time treatment.
  • Crowd funding for treatment of high-cost rare diseases: If the government cannot fully finance the treatment, donations from prospective individuals or corporate donors who are willing to support can be sought.
  • For the purpose of the policy the term rare diseases is categorized into 3 groups: requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases that require long-term treatment but where the cost is low, and those needing long-term treatments with high cost.
  • Financial support: A maximum of ₹15 lakh could be provided to each patient under the umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi and the beneficiaries would not be limited to families below the poverty line.
  • It aims to create a patient registry for diseases housed in Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The State has the duty to provide affordable, accessible and quality health care to all its citizens and the National Policy for Rare Diseases is a great step in this regard. However, there have been certain concerns regarding the policy such as cap on amount for treatment at Rs.15 lacs, crowdfunding which can create delays in treatment, lack of effective implementation guidelines for the Centre and the states, etc.

Although the proportion of rare diseases is much less than the other diseases, it does not reduce the importance of the life of a person affected by rare diseases. Thus national policy would remove this adverse distinction and would make government committed equally to all people.

 

Q.3)The solution for Indo-China relations lies in “mutual respect”, “peace” and “tranquility”. Discuss with respect to recent hostilities between India and China.

Why this Question:

Recently India has seen an increase in hostilities from China and the continuous tensions along the border.

Key demand of the Question:

Importance of China as a neighbor of India and peaceful methods to resolve the issues.

Directive:

Discuss- back up the answer by carefully selected evidence to make a case for and against an argument, or point out the advantages and disadvantages of the given context and finally arrive at a conclusion.

Introduction:

Give an introduction of the relations between India and China giving a historical perspective.

Body:

In the first part, write about the recent clash between India and China along the LAC, Galwan valley incident and other issues between the two countries like differences on LAC, Tawang, Aksai Chin, huge trade deficit, CPEC, continuous support to Pakistan by China, etc.

In the next part, write about the need of “mutual respect”, “peace” and “tranquility” between the two countries to resolve the issues and why violent means will not be beneficial to anyone and also harmful to the countries around. Mention some key steps taken by India in this regard like Informal summits, bilateral talks and negotiations, etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a way forward for resolution of issues.

Model Answer

In the year 2020, India and China marked a milestone while completing 70 years of bilateral relations. The journey of the two countries' relations have been marked by a series of ups and downs. 

Recently, in May 2020, Chinese and Indian troops clashed in Nathu La, Sikkim (India). Following the skirmishes in Sikkim, tensions between the two countries grew in Ladakh with a buildup of troops at multiple locations. In the initial weeks of June 2020, there was a substantial buildup of troops on both sides of the LAC, with both the Indian and Chinese army matching strength for strength. Later, on the night of 15th June both the troops clashed at Galwan valley resulting in fatalities across both the troops.

India and China also have been facing several other issues in their bilateral relation:

  • Trade Deficit- India has a huge trade deficit with China resulting in losses for Indian economy. This was also one of the main reasons for India opting out of RCEP.
  • Disagreement at important forums- India and China have failed to reach a consensus on important issues at global platforms like FATF, SCO, etc.
  • Pakistan- China has been a continuous supporter of Pakistan at the global level as well as in the internal matters and this does not go down well for India.
  • LAC- even after 70 years of bilateral relations, India and China have failed to reach a common agreement on LAC.
  • CPEC- it is an important infrastructural development by China with Pakistan that passes through PoK and is a threat to India’s security and sovereignty. 

The past year has been a year of exceptional stress between India and China. Looking at the mutual significance of both for each other, recognition of “mutual respect”, “mutual interests” and “mutual sensitivity” can be a key to repairing the strained ties. Peace and tranquility in border areas was the basis for the development of the relationship in other domains. If that was disturbed, he said, the rest of the relationship would be too.  Violence can never be a solution to any problem and it does not bring good for any of the parties involved. 

Hence, while each state has its own interests, concerns and priorities, sensitivities to them cannot be one-sided as relations are reciprocal in nature. As rising powers, neither should ignore the other’s set of aspirations.

 

Q.4)The National Biofuel Policy is a major initiative for India to enhance the goal of energy diversification. Critically analyze.

Why this question:

It is an important part of GS Paper III.

Key demand of the Question: 

Key concerns related to the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 and measures to address the concerns.

Directive:

Critically analyze- The key to tackling this question is providing ample evidence to support the claims. Ensure that the analysis is balanced by shedding light on, and presenting a critique of, and alternative perspectives. Present extensive evidence taken from a varying range of sources.

Introduction:

Give a brief introduction about biofuels and the National Biofuel Policy, 2018 and what it deals with.

Body:

In the first part, mention the key provisions of the policy, why was there a need for the policy and benefits associated with it.

In the next part, mention the merits of the policy and the impact it will generate. Also mention how the policy can be a step in achieving SDG by 2030.

In the next part, mention the advantages and disadvantages of using biofuels.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced view on the National Policy on Biofuels.

Model Answer

Biofuels are any hydrocarbon fuels that are produced from an organic matter (living or once living material) in a short period of time (days, weeks, or even months). They can be solid, liquid or gaseous in nature. Eg.- Solid: Wood, dried plant material, and manure; Liquid: Bioethanol and Biodiesel; Gaseous: Biogas.

The Government of India released the National Policy on Biofuels in the year 2018. It aims at increasing the utilization of biofuels in the energy and transportation sectors by promoting the production of biofuels from domestic feedstock in the coming decade.

Salient Features of the Policy

  • It categorises biofuels as "Basic Biofuels'' viz. First Generation (1G) ethanol & biodiesel and "Advanced Biofuels" - Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.
  • It expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of sugarcane juice, sugar containing materials like sugar beet, sweet sorghum, starch containing materials like corn, cassava, damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, and rotten potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
  • It allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of the National Biofuel Coordination Committee.
  • It indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.
  • It encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.

The National Biofuels Policy has several benefits that include reduction in import dependence of India on other countries for fuels, cleaner environment, good health associated with the use of cleaner fuels,  generation of employment and additional income to farmers.

However, there are also certain issues related to the use of biofuels including high cost of production and use, efficiency as they produce lesser energy than fossil fuels, lack of requisite technology for development of biofuels, dependency on natural products as raw materials which can lead to shortages of food, etc.

Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augurs well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation. But the use of biofuels should also be limited so as to mitigate the harmful effects of its extensive use.

 

Q.5)The key to India’s science and technology development lies in self-reliance. Examine the role of India’s draft National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy with respect to India’s goal of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

Why this question:

The government has recently released the draft National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020).

Key demand of the question:

Key provisions of the draft National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP 2020), its merits and demerits; and how it is a key step towards an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Directive:

Examine- demonstrate critical examination of a subject. Recap or summarize the major themes or points in question, and critically discuss them while giving an opinion.

Introduction:

Mention about the need for self- reliance in science and technology.

Body:

In the first part, mention the key features of the STIP 2020 and the steps it takes to promote innovations and research in the country.

In the next part, highlight how recent incidents such as the pandemic have increased the need for innovations in the country and how the STIP 2020 will play a key role in making India Atmanirbhar or self- reliant in the fields of science, technology and innovation and aims to position India among the top 3 scientific superpowers. Also mention the loopholes with the policy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Recently, the Department of Science and Technology (DST) came up with the draft of the 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy (STIP), 2020. This Policy will replace the Science Technology and Innovation Policy of 2013.

Key provisions of the draft Policy

  • STIP 2020 by way of its decentralized, bottom-up, and inclusive design process aims to re-strategize priorities, sectoral focus, and methods of research and technology development for larger socio-economic welfare.
  • It proposes an Open Science Framework, with free access for all findings from publicly funded research.
  • One Nation, One Subscription: The idea is to democratise science by providing access to scholarly knowledge to not just researchers but to every individual in the country.
  • It suggests modification or waiver of General Financial Rules (GFR), for large-scale mission mode programmes and projects of national importance.
  • It proposes at least 30 per cent representation for women in all decision-making bodies, as well as “spousal benefits” to partners of scientists belonging to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • It proposes to establish Education Research Centres (ERCs) and Collaborative Research Centres (CRCs), Research and Innovation Excellence Frameworks (RIEF), Indian Science and Technology Archive of Research (INDSTA) and a Strategic Technology Board.
  • Double the number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) researchers, Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private sector contribution to the GERD every 5 years

In India, the pandemic presented an opportunity for R&D institutions, academia, and industry to work with a shared purpose, synergy, collaboration and cooperation, which helped the country develop the capability to produce the required items in these times such as PPE kits in record time and make India self- reliant or Atmanirbhar in times of dire need. The STIP draft focuses on the need to adopt such learnings for greater efficiency and synergy in future.

Hence, it can be said that STIP, 2020 is an important step towards achieving technological self-reliance and positioning India among the top three scientific superpowers.

 

Q.6) Discuss the reasons for including a mandatory minimum sentence under some of the legislations in India. (15 Marks - 250 Words)

Why this question? - Recently, the Supreme Court stayed a controversial Bombay High Court verdict, acquitting a man of sexual assault charges under the POCSO Act. 

Key demands of the question - After defining minimum mandatory sentences highlight some of the Indian laws including this provision. Then highlight the reasons for including a mandatory minimum sentence and criticism of this move. Conclude your answer by suggesting better alternatives.

Directive - Discuss is an all-encompassing one. One has to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. Then give reasons for both for and against arguments. And once all the discussion is done, a suitable apt conclusion may be given at the end of the answer.

Intro - Define mandatory minimum sentences

Body

  • Reasons 
  • Criticism

Way ahead - Instead of harsher punishment, some legal experts recommend judicial reform that makes the sentencing process more accountable and transparent. 

Conclusion - Summarize based on above discussion

 

Q.7) Lala Lajpat Rai’s contribution to India’s freedom struggle is indelible and inspires people across generations. Comment (15 Marks - 250 Words)

Why this question? - The Prime Minister of India has paid tribute to Lala Lajpat Rai on his birth anniversary celebrated every year on 28th January. 

Key demand of the question - Highlight his contribution to India’s freedom struggle and how he inspires people across generations. Also mention how he championed unity in diversity despite being sensitive to hindu interests. 

Directive - The question with directive ‘Comment’ usually gives an unbiased or biased statement. The students are supposed to be neutral and write various facts and viewpoints regarding that particular statement.

Intro - A brief about Lala Lajpat Rai

Body

  • His contribution to India’s freedom struggle
  • His criticism - Sensitive to hindu interests etc

Conclusion - Summarize based on above discussion

 

Q.8) What is a rare disease? Evaluate the issues related to the Rare diseases’ policy of India?

Why this question?

  • The Delhi High Court directed the Centre to finalise the National Health Policy for Rare Diseases of 2020 by March 31 and make operational provision of crowdfunding envisaged under the law for treatment of high-cost rare diseases.

Key demand of the question: The answer demands in depth knowledge about rare diseases and National Health Policy for Rare Diseases of 2020.

Directive:

Evaluate: One has to analyse the pros and cons of the topic in question.

Introduction: Provide the definition of Rare diseases- WHO definition and India specific definition.

Body:

  • Mention the draft National Health Policy for Rare Diseases of 2020
  • Benefits of policy
  • Related concerns with current policy and draft policy

Conclusion: Conclude with the way forward