IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th June 2020
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Govt schemes and policies; Welfare/Social issue
- 26th June – International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched drug-free India campaign – ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’
- Annual anti-drug action plan (2020-21) would focus on 272 most affected districts and launch a three-pronged attack combining efforts of Narcotics Bureau, Outreach/Awareness by Social Justice and Treatment through the Health Dept.
- It will focus on institutional support and also on community outreach programmes in the districts identified by Narcotics Control Bureau.
- Change in the strategy against drugs – from institutional level to level of society.
- It will launch campaigns in schools and colleges to prevent drug abuse among youth.
Integrated Rehabilitation Centre for Addicts (IRCAs)
- It is funded by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
- It provides composite/ integrated services for the rehabilitation of the substance dependent person.
- IRCA is responsible for preventive education and awareness generation which target groups (vulnerable and at risk groups) in their neighborhood.
- IRCA envisages total recovery of the addicted person leading to his socio economic rehabilitation through an appropriate combination of individual counseling.
According to 2020 World Drug Report released by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) –
- Economic hardship caused by the pandemic may push people into making drugs for a living.
- Adverse impact of pandemic could lead to an increase in the number of people resorting to illicit activities.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Pollution; Science and Technology
According to an analysis by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) –
- While particulate matter and nitrous oxide levels fell during the lockdown, ozone increased in several cities.
- Ozone is a highly reactive gas and even short-term exposure of an hour is dangerous for those with respiratory conditions and asthma.
- Eight-hour average is considered for ozone instead of the 24-hour average for other pollutants
Do you know?
- Ozone is not directly emitted by any source but is formed by photochemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and gases in the air under the influence of sunlight and heat.
- It can be curtailed only if gases from all sources are controlled.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Indian and its neighbours; International Relations; Concerns related to Wildlife and Environment
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF) releases its first global report on the illegal wildlife trade.
- It described illegal wildlife trade as a “global threat”, as it also has links with other organised crimes such as modern slavery, drug trafficking and arms trade.
According to FATF’s “Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade” report
- Illegal trade generates revenues of up to $23 billion a year.
- Financial investigation is key to dismantling the syndicates involved.
- Curbing illegal wildlife trade can in turn significantly impact the associated criminal activities.
- The study has highlighted the growing role of online marketplaces and mobile and social media-based payments to facilitate illegal movements.
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Cyber Security and its challenges
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Context: In mid-June Australia had to ward off its biggest cyber threat with the attack targeting everything from public utilities to education and health infrastructure.
Did You Know?
- The digital economy today comprises 14-15% of India’s total economy, and is targeted to reach 20% by 2024.
- In 2018, when Wannacry ransomware had disrupted the national health service systems in the UK, the country’s health system was brought to a standstill.
Need for Cyber Security
- Increased networking: while each person had 1.7 networked devices in 2014, this is up to seven today. This requires an updated cyber security apparatus
- Increased Digital usage in Post-COVID world: Financial services, payments, health services, etc are all connected to digital mediums and this is expected to increase in post-COVID times
- Increased frequency of cyber-attack: In 2018, Pune-based Cosmos Bank lost Rs 94 crore in a malware attack. In 2019, the Kudankulam plant was attacked using malware.
- Securing Data: Data is referred to as the currency of the 21st century and due to its bulk creation owing to India’s population, several international companies (Google, Amazon etc.) are trying to have access to it.
- Increasing Complexity: With growing usage of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT), cyberspace will become a complex domain, giving rise to issues of a techno-legal nature.
- National Security Imperative: With countries resorting to digital warfare and hackers targeting business organisations and government processes, India needs comprehensive cybersecurity guidelines and standards
Challenges in India’s Cyber Security Approach
- Lack of Coordinated Cyber approach
- Although India was one of the few countries to launch a cybersecurity policy in 2013, not much has transpired in terms of a coordinated cyber approach
- Countries like US, Singapore, and the UK where there is a single umbrella organisation dealing in cybersecurity,
- However, India has 36 different central bodies—most ministries have their own—that deal with cyber issues, and each has a different reporting structure;
- Each state government has its own CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team)
- National Cyber Security Strategy 2020 yet to be announced
- This was needed to devise a cyber-readiness roadmap for organisations and the government for cyber-readiness
- India doesn’t have the ‘active cyber defence’ like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation or USA’s Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act.
- Lack of pro-activeness
- While CERT-IN has responded to cyber threats, it has been late in conducting security checks, and often has released advisories once an attack has taken place.
- In the case of WhatsApp and Pegasus, CERT-IN only came in after others had warned of the possibility of individuals being compromised
- Inadequate modernisation of Computer systems
- The government itself uses legacy systems which are vulnerable to cyberattacks
- Countries like China and Singapore, in the meanwhile, have progressed towards creating cyber defence networks
- Dependency on Foreign Players for Cyber Security Tools
- India lacks indigenisation in hardware as well as software cybersecurity tools
- This makes India’s cyberspace vulnerable to cyberattacks motivated by state and non-state actors.
- Integrated Approach: Given increasing dominance of mobile and telecommunication, both National cyber security policy and National Telecom Policy will have to effectively coalesce to make a comprehensive policy for 2030.
- Cyber Security in Training & Education: Educational institutions, government bodies and private industries must incorporate courses on cybersecurity.
- Modernising Cyber Infrastructure: India should not wait for an attack to upgrade its infrastructure.
Connecting the dots:
- Blockchain Technology: Advantages & Challenges
- Artificial Intelligence and its application in everyday life
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Environment Conservation
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Context: The government has put up for public comment the Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, 2020 that would replace the 2006 notification for all future projects when enforced
What is EIA?
- UNEP defines EIA as a tool used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making.
- It aims to
- Predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design,
- Find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts,
- Shape projects to suit the local environment and
- Present the predictions and options to decision-makers.
- By using EIA both environmental and economic benefits can be achieved, such as reduced cost and time of project implementation and design, avoided treatment/clean-up costs and impacts of laws and regulations.
- EIA in India is statutorily backed by the Environment Protection Act, 1986 which contains various provisions on EIA methodology and process
- The assessment is carried out by an Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC), which consists of scientists and project management experts.
What is the philosophy behind EIA?
- The basis in global environmental law for the EIA is the “precautionary principle”. Environmental harm is often irreparable — one cannot reverse an oil spill.
- It is cheaper to avoid damage to the environment than to remedy it.
- Also, we are legally bound to the precautionary principle under international treaties and obligations, as well as by Supreme Court judgments.
History of EIA in India
- The Indian experience with EIA began in 1976-77 when the Planning Commission asked the Department of Science and Technology to examine the river-valley projects from an environmental angle.
- Till 1994, environmental clearance from the Central Government was an administrative decision and lacked legislative support.
- In 1994, the Union Environment ministry under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, promulgated an EIA notification making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for activity listed in Schedule 1 of the notification
- Since then there have been 12 amendments made in the EIA notification of 1994 the latest one being in 2006 which has put the onus of clearing projects on the state government depending on the size/capacity of the project.
- Additionally, donor agencies operating in India like the World Bank and the ADB have a different set of requirements for giving environmental clearance to projects that are funded by them
Image Source: CSEIndia
The EIA process
It generally consists of eight steps with each step equally important in determining the overall performance of the project
- Screening: First stage of EIA, which determines whether the proposed project, requires an EIA and if it does, then the level of assessment required.
- Scoping: This stage identifies the key issues and impacts that should be further investigated. This stage also defines the boundary and time limit of the study.
- Impact analysis: This stage of EIA identifies and predicts the likely environmental and social impact of the proposed project and evaluates the significance.
- Mitigation: This step in EIA recommends the actions to reduce and avoid the potential adverse environmental consequences of development activities.
- Reporting: This stage presents the result of EIA in a form of a report to the decision-making body and other interested parties.
- Review of EIA: It examines the adequacy and effectiveness of the EIA report and provides the information necessary for decision-making.
- Decision-making: It decides whether the project is rejected, approved or needs further change.
- Post monitoring: This stage comes into play once the project is commissioned. It checks to ensure that the impacts of the project do not exceed the legal standards and implementation of the mitigation measures are in the manner as described in the EIA report.
Part-II of the article will cover: The challenges w.r.t EIA and analysis of draft 2020 notification
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
- Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.
Q.1 Money Laundering and the Illegal Wildlife Trade is relased by –
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
- Financial Action Task Force (FATF)
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)
Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding ozone depletion
- Polar Stratospheric Clouds inhibits ozone depletion
- Ozone depletion will affect human body by enhancing the chances of skin cancer and reduced level of Vitamin D in the body.
- Montreal Protocol and Vienna Convention are related to Ozone Depleting Substances
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are incorrect?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
Q.3 How do CFCs reduce the concentration of ozone in the atmosphere?
- Radiation caused CFCs to release atoms that converts ozone to oxygen
- CFCs splits into troposphere and combine with carbon dioxide to form oxygen
- CFCs splits into the troposphere and oxidise, preventing the formation of ozone
- CFCs combine with ozone to produce oxidised molecules
Q.4 Consider the following statements
- Ozone is a molecule that is composed of three oxygen atoms. It is responsible for filtering out harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.
- The gas is constantly being made and destroyed in the stratosphere, about 20-30km above the Earth.
- Nearly 200 countries agreed to ban the chemicals most damaging to the ozone under the Paris Protocol of 2015.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1,2 and 3
Q.5 ‘Nasha Mukt Bharat’ or drug-free India campaign is launched by –
- Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
- Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
- Ministry of Drugs, Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals
- Ministry of Social Development
ANSWERS FOR 26th June 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
About why China is being aggressive along LAC:
About education and COVID-19’s impact:
An article by former CEC -S Y Quraishi- about food security: