current-affairs-based-mains-drill-4-february-2021

 

Q.1)“Fake news is no longer a rare or isolated phenomenon, but appears to be organized and shrewdly disseminated to a target population.” Substantiate. Also, highlight the causes of fake news and measures needed to tackle it.

Why this question:

The topic has come into light in the wake of farmer protests.

Key demand of the question:

Give recent examples of increasing fake news and mention its causes, impacts and measures needed to deal with it.

Directive:

Substantiate- use several examples, evidence, and logical arguments. Show how a particular research topic or argument is valid by using evidence and arguments to support your claim.

Introduction:

Give a brief introduction of fake news.

Body:

In the first part give few examples where fake news was spread and it led to disastrous consequences like those during the initial days of the pandemic, recently during the farmer protests, etc.

In the next part, categorically mention the causes of fake news and its impacts briefly. Suggest measures to tackle it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Fake news or hoax news refers to false propaganda published under the guise of authentic news. It is deliberately cheated to misinform the readers. It can be propagated through any media: print, electronic and social.

Some examples of spread of fake news in India are:

  1. 2013- Fake video that fuelled communal passion led to communal riots in Muzaffarnagar.
  2. 2019- Rumours of child kidnapping led to mob lynching of a man in Jharkhand
  3. 2020- After more members of Tablighi Jamaat testing positive for COVID19, fake news was spread about Muslims deliberately spreading the virus.
  4. 2020- Fake news of COVID spreading through non-vegetarian food led to a boycott of meat traders.
  5. 2021- old videos and pictures of police using water cannons on protesters spread during the farmer protests

Causes of Spread of Fake News:

  1. Erosion of Media Ethics: News media is no longer seen as an arbitrator of the ‘real news’. Media is alleged to be an echo-chamber of the dominant political class.
  2. Social Media: The social media has decentralized the creation and propagation of fake news as it has a large user base.
  3. Polarization of society: Increasing divide in the society on ideological lines has made the job of spreading fake news easier.
  4. Lack of legislation: There are no explicit laws dealing with fake news in India.
  5. Confirmation Bias: Studies have confirmed that people don’t care about finding the ‘truth’ behind a news item and instead look for evidence to support their preferred narrative.
  6. There is a lack of mechanisms to verify any news item that is being forwarded.
  7. Credibility of source- sometimes these news items are shared by personalities that the general public idealize like actors, politicians, etc. 

Fake news creates a series of harmful consequences which include hatred among communities; can damage the character of a person/community; can cause a downfall of the democratic system; can lead to communal incidents and ultimately erodes the trust of the citizens in media which is often called the fourth pillar of a democracy.

Controlling fake news is a tricky issue: not controlling trolls could lead to national and international instability while doing too much to control it could harm democracy. What is currently required is effective mechanisms to check the authenticity of any news, awareness among people to check any news before forwarding them and laws to deal with those spreading fake news for personal gains.

 

Q.2)“The original purpose of PILs has been to make justice accessible to the poor and the marginalized.” Critically analyze.

Why this question:

PILs are an important part of GS Paper II.

Key demand of the question:

Highlight the importance of PILs in a democracy and its role in justice delivery. Also highlight the 

Challenges associated with it that have emerged over time.

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:

Briefly write about the evolution of PILs in India.

Body:

In the first part, mention the significance of PILs. Give examples of some PILs that have brought a significant impact on the society.

In the next part, highlight the recent challenges associated with it and how it has become a tool to misuse.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Public interest Litigation (PIL) means litigation filed in a court of law, for the protection of “Public Interest”, such as women safety, bonded labour, etc. Any matter where the interest of the public at large is affected can be redressed by filing a PIL in a court of law. Efforts of Justice P N Bhagwati and Justice V R Krishna Iyer were instrumental in the area of PILs.

Importance of PILs

  1. It helps poor and underprivileged minorities to raise their voices to uphold their basic human rights.
  2. It is a right of the socially conscious citizenry or a public-spirited NGO to take up a public cause by seeking judicial redressal of public injury.
  3. It helps in judicial monitoring of state institutions like prisons, asylums, protective homes, etc.
  4. It is an important tool for implementing the concept of judicial review.
  5. It democratises the access of justice to all.

Some significant reforms that have occurred with the help of PILs include Vishakha v/s State of Rajasthan that led to the recognition of sexual harassment as a violation of the fundamental constitutional rights of Article 14, Article 15 and Article 21 and formulation of guidelines on Sexual Harassment at Workplaces; MC Mehta v/s Union of India brought against Ganga water pollution so as to prevent any further pollution of Ganga. SC held that petitioner although not a riparian owner is entitled to move the court for the enforcement of statutory provisions, as he is the person interested in protecting the lives of the people who make use of Ganga water.

However, recently we have seen instances that have highlighted the misuse of PILs for personal or political vendetta. This adds to the burden of the already overburdened courts in India and waste of judicial resources and time. 

PILs are important instruments of social change and for maintaining the Rule of law and accelerating the balance between law and justice. Hence it is important for the Court to authoritatively declare that it will interfere only in cases of violation of fundamental rights related to people who cannot themselves approach the court because of poverty and lack of resources to avoid the misuse of PILs.

 

Q.3)The NGT recently completed 10 years of its formation. Discuss its significance in the light of increasing environmental concerns.

Why this question:

Tribunals form an important part of GS Paper II.

Key Demand of the Question:

Significance of the NGT in handling environmental concerns, challenges it faces and solutions to tackle them.

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:

Briefly introduce the evolution of NGT and its functioning.

Body:

In the first part of the question, highlight the significance of NGT. Give examples of some important changes that have occurred due to NGT.

In the next part, mention the issues it faces like lack of sufficient autonomy, independence, lack of compliance, etc. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving measures to strengthen NGT.

Model Answer

The National Green Tribunal is a specialized body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. It is one of the few environmental courts in the world. It is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

Significance of NGT

  1. It ensures enforcement of any legal right relating to the environment and provides relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.
  2. It is staffed with judges and environmental experts. This makes it a specialized body equipped with the necessary expertise to handle environmental disputes involving multi-disciplinary issues.
  3. It permits direct access to environmental justice.
  4. It reduces the burden of the judiciary that is already over packed.
  5. It is less formal, less expensive, and a faster way of resolving environment related disputes.

Some remarkable judgements passed by the NGT include the Save Mon Federation V/s Union of India case where NGT suspended a ₹6,400-crore hydro project, to save the habitat of a bird; the Almitra H Patel V/s Union of India case, it directed states to implement Solid Waste Management Rules and prohibited open burning of waste on lands, etc.

Over time, we have seen that NGT faces some critical challenges like- lack of jurisdiction in important acts like Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 and Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006; decisions of NGT have also been criticized and challenged due to their repercussions on economic growth and development; lack of enough human resources and lack of compliance of NGT orders.

NGT is a critical institution when it comes to the development v/s environment debate as it provides authentic cases for the environment. Hence, there is a need for greater autonomy and wider scope of NGT for effective protection of the environment in balance with human developmental activities especially now when environmental concerns have risen very high.

 

Q.4)What is vaccine nationalism? How does it undermine the idea of inclusive development?

Why this Question:

COVID19 vaccine is being distributed all over the world.

Key Demand of the Question:

Describe the meaning and consequences of vaccine nationalism and the effect it has on the idea of inclusive development. Also mention the steps globally taken to prevent vaccine nationalism.

Introduction:

Define what vaccine nationalism is.

Body:

In the first part, mention the consequences of vaccine nationalism. Mention the instances where it occurred in the past.

In the next part, mention the steps that have been taken and should be taken globally to tackle vaccine nationalism.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Model Answer

Vaccine Nationalism is the mechanism through which a country manages to secure doses of vaccines for its own citizens or residents and prioritizes its own domestic markets before they are made available in other countries through pre-purchase agreements with a vaccine manufacturer.

The consequences of vaccine nationalism are:

  1. It puts countries with fewer resources and bargaining power at a disadvantage.
  2. It deprives populations in the Global South from timely access to vital public health goods.
  3. Taken to its extreme, it allocates vaccines to moderately at-risk populations in wealthy countries over populations at higher risk in developing economies.
  4. It undermines the idea of Health for All.
  5. It can further aggravate the inequalities between the resource rich and poor countries.

Recently, we have seen that even before the trials of the COVID19 vaccine got completed, countries like the US, France, Germany, etc. entered into pre-purchase agreements with vaccine manufacturers. A similar situation occurred during the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Unfortunately, there are no explicit laws under any global institution to deal with vaccine nationalism.

The alternative to arrest vaccine nationalism is global collaboration, which is being done through the WHO-backed COVAX Facility mechanism. So far, more than 170 countries have expressed interest: about 90 low- and middle-income countries and 80 fully self-financing countries. Equity entails both affordability of vaccines and access opportunities for populations across the world, irrespective of geography and geopolitics.

 

Q.5)The instances of border infiltration have increased in India. Critically examine the border security measures taken by India.

Why this question:

Indian Border security is an important part of GS Paper III.

Key demand of the question:

Analysis of the border security measures taken by the government. Suggest measures to improve them.

Directive:

Critically examine- Look in close detail and establish the key facts and important issues surrounding the topic. Try and offer reasons as to why the facts and issues identified are most important, as well as explain the different ways they could be construed.

Introduction:

Briefly introduce the situation at the Indian borders.

Body:

In the first part, mention the problems that Indian borders are facing. Give examples of previous instances of border infiltration and its consequences.

In the next part, mention the steps taken to protect the borders. Also suggest measures that can further enhance the border security like use of AI, drones, etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving the importance of secure borders in any country.

Model Answer

India shares 15,106.7 km of international boundary with its neighbors- Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Afghanistan and Myanmar, which is long and porous and some boundaries are also disputed. Varied terrains, climatic conditions and hostile neighbours make its borders complex and border management an important part of its security. These characteristics of the border cause significant and unique problems for India.

Problems of border infiltration and its impact

  1. Illegal Migration: India faces a problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh and other neighboring countries. It leads to pressure on resources creating a source of conflict in India and also causes ethnic conflict.
  2. Terrorism: India has been major victim of cross border terrorism sponsored by Pakistan which is mostly executed through cross border infiltration.
  3. Insurgency and Left Wing Extremism: Infiltration is being used by external forces to support Insurgency in North east by extending support of arms and ammunition through infiltration.
  4. Import of Counterfeit currency and Drugs smuggling: India faces significant menace of fake currency and drugs smuggling which is routed through borders.

Some instances of these problems include the Pathankot attack, Pulwama attack, Rohingya refugees, etc. 

Steps taken by the Government to secure borders

  • The Department of Border Management was created in the Ministry of Home Affairs in 2004 to pay focused attention to the issues relating to management of international land and coastal borders.
  • The Border Area Development Programme was launched to build efficient border infrastructure.
  • Effective domination of the border by carrying out round the clock surveillance of the borders by patrolling, setting up of nakas (border ambushes) and by deploying observation posts all along the international borders of the country.
  • Introduction of force multipliers and Hi-Tech surveillance equipment fully equipped with day and night vision devices for further enhancing the border domination.

India needs to adopt an integrated and holistic solution for tackling the problem of Infiltration. This includes the implementation of the Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System; use of AI equipped devices like smart walls, drones and providing adequate resources for implementation of these measures. Only then can we avoid another Pulwama or Balakot incident.