World Geography: GS Paper 1
(a) Plankton availability
- Fishes eat plankton.
- Phytoplankton require sunlight = they can develop well in continental shelves and shallow seas because of Sunlight penetration and minerals from coastal water.
- Planktons reproduce more in cooler waters
(b) Ocean Currents
When cold and hot current meet, there will be lot of planktons, hence lot of fishes.
(c) Fish Market
In the mountainous regions of Asia and Europe, agricultural production is quite low =Fish important source of protein. Example Japan and Norway.
Asia= fish + rice= main diet of many were Asian countries. (because Fish is cheaper than meat)
When Europeans started migrating to North America, most of the early urban settlements were on or near the Eastern coast = ready market for selling fish products.
Highly indented coastline provides many sites for harbors and ports
The cool temperate climate favors large scale commercial fishing, preservation and storage of fish. While tropical areas= hot, moist = fish cannot be stored for long.
Less cultivable areas. Cold long winters= not good for agriculture= more people switch to fishing hilly terrain =. Eg. Iceland, Japan, Norway.
(f) Fishing Equipment
Since these countries are rich they have mechanized fishing boats and equipment’s.
Polity and Governance: GS Paper 2
- India is considered to be the commercial market for surrogacy which is being flourished due to cheap availability of labour, absence of proper regulation, world class medical facilities, expertise of Doctors coupled with high international demand.
- India legalised this practice since 2002 with Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laying down some pro-surrogacy guidelines which inter alia include prohibition of sex-selective surrogacy, requiring birth certificate of the baby to have the names of only the commissioning parents, at least one of the commissioning parents to be a donor, a life insurance cover for surrogate mother and the right to privacy to surrogate mother and the donor.
- However, legislative backing to surrogacy and the legal aspects over it seemed to be rather unclear, unsettled and vague which is being taken as advantage by the doctors and other concerned stakeholders.
- A draft ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) Bill was formulated in 2010 but never passed as a law. Thus, the result was booming surrogacy industry with lax laws and no enforcements. There were no rules as to how much compensation a surrogate mother should get and can get. They are over-exploited and have turned into baby making machines.
- In this light, Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016 was introduced in Lok Sabha. It has not been passed yet.
Criticism to the Bill:
- By imposing a ban on commercial surrogacy, the bill might do more harm to women than was previously done. The demand for surrogacy is not going to vanish suddenly and the proposed Bill will only result in the creation of an illegal market that might make surrogate mothers more vulnerable to exploitation and without any avenues for legal recourse when contracts are broken.
- The five year time period for a married couple to get surrogate baby, the bar against homosexual or single parents, couple in live-in relationships, foreigners (NRIs), couples with children etc. from getting surrogate baby, and the requirement that the surrogates be altruistic (close female relative) are of arbitrary in nature about this Bill.
- Further, as per Article 14 of the Indian Constitution all citizens are equal before the law. By placing restrictions on the right to have a surrogate child such that it is accorded to heterosexual couples alone, the government has negated the equality that the Constitution guarantees to single parents and homosexuals.
- As the Supreme Court recently recognized live-in relationships, by limiting the option of surrogacy to legally married couples, the government is countering the acceptability of live-in relationships and setting a wrong precedent.
- By proposing to regulate who can apply for surrogacy and who can be a surrogate mother, the government is plunging into an area that will be beset with problems of data verification that will make the Act (if passed) un-implementable.
- If the intent of the Bill is to protect surrogate mothers and the children born out of surrogacy, then the legislation must provide a legal framework that restricts the exploitation of the surrogates and the children, and penalise those who do not honour contracts.
- The government should ensure that the surrogates are properly counseled about the medical and economic implications of surrogacy. It should also ensure that all surrogacy contracts must mandatorily cover the medical care, hygiene, and nourishment of the surrogates not just during the pregnancy but also in the post-partum period.
- Further, it should act to remove any information asymmetry that encourages the role of middlemen and puts the surrogates at the risk of being cheated.
Indian Economy: GS Paper 3
Q.3) As a premier think-tank of the Government of India, NITI provides critical knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support to the country. Critically evaluate the working of NITI Aayog since its inception.
National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog was set up in January 2015 as an autonomous think tank which replaced the erstwhile Planning Commission. The centerpiece of this organization so far has been providing critical knowledge, innovative ideas and entrepreneurial support to the Centre as well as the states in a decentralized bottom up approach. Since its inception, the performance of NITI Aayog in the field of knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support has been enumerated below:
· NITI Aayog has come out with indices to measure incremental annual outcomes in critical social sectors like health, education and water thus fostering competitive and cooperative federalism. E.g. National Composite Water Index, Model land leasing law.
· NITI Aayog has developed the first ever ‘Agriculture Marketing and Farmer Friendly Reforms Index’ to sensitize states about reforms in the three key areas of Agriculture Market Reforms, Land Lease Reforms and Forestry on Private
· Outcome-based Monitoring through ranking and identification of ‘Champion States’ thus promoting competitive Federalism
· NITI Aayog has successfully developed socio-economic upliftment schemes such as Sustainable Action for Transforming Health and Education(SATH)
· A Committee of Chief Ministers on Digital Payments to promote transparency, financial inclusion and a healthy financial ecosystem nationwide.
· Moreover, digital facilitation programs like Lucky Grahak Yojana and the Digi Dhan Vyapar Yojana along with Digi Dhan Melas have contributed to the digital revolution.
Innovation and Entrpreneurship:
· It has contributed to innovation growth by introducing ‘India Innovation Index’
· The Government has set up Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in NITI Aayog with a view to spur the country’s innovation and entrepreneurship in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.
· Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) to foster creativity and scientific temper in students of schools across India
· Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) for innovation-entrepreneurship in core sectors such as manufacturing, transport, energy, education, agriculture, water and sanitation etc.
· It has developed short and long term strategic and vision document plans such as ‘3 Years Action Agenda’ and ‘15 Years Vision and Strategy’.
Despite good track records, NITI’s performance is not satisfactory due to following reasons:
· NITI Aayog is biased in favor of Manufacturing and lacks focus towards Agriculture or Services.
· NITI Aayog has not transformed its policies and visions into implementation
· The meeting of Team India under NITI Aayog does not take place often and has no visible results
· NITI Aayog, unlike its predecessor, does not monitor social welfare schemes in states
· Different states suggest that owing to self-ranking by states sans independent review, reforms remain mostly on paper with key concerns remaining unaddressed.
· NITI Aayog does not mention separate plans for women, SC and STs and fund allocation to welfare schemes may get affected. For example, there is a 20 % reduction in gender budgeting.
Giving NITI Aayog a statutory backing will be a good start. The implementation challenges must be dealt with priority. Data being key, Independent agencies could be engaged to collect granular data and design different scenarios. Regulatory Impact Assessments should be undertaken along with independent reviews and audits to identify superior regulatory alternatives. In addition, capacity constraints, inadequate resources, continuous financial backing, performance based incentives and policy cum regulatory clarity is need of the hour.
It would be premature to write off NITI Aayog and given time and persistence, it can metamorphose into an organization that can truly REFORM, PERFORM and TRANSFORM India.
Ethics & Integrity: GS paper 4
Q.4) While visiting a red light area in the heart of a metropolitan city, which is often known for several illegal activities besides flesh trade, a District Magistrate is appalled by the plight of the sex workers. He wants to do something for the uplift of the sex workers, but finds that there are many powerful vested interests which would make the task impossible. Some of his colleagues advise him that he should desist from putting his hand into the matter otherwise his peace and calm would be disturbed. He cannot do anything to change an age old practice and he should accept his helplessness.
The District Magistrate is clueless what to do. What course of action on his part do you suggest for him and why?
Such red light areas in developed and developing countries are thriving from ages and it reflects on the socioeconomic conditions and moralities of male dominated societies predominantly found in the world. The plight of the workers at such places questions the basic aspects of humanity.
The civil servant should intervene to improve the lives of sex workers at two levels- first implementing the rules stringently on the prohibition of sex trade and secondly, even after that, if practice continues, providing protection to their lives and dignity on the one hand and clinical and medical support for their well being on the other with the help of government agencies as well as non-government agencies is possible.
He should understand that flesh trade is a business for the underworld and since there is money and muscle power with those who manage this trade and they have police and political backing as well.
So, taking a moral and ethical stand would create many problems for the civil servant but taking steps according to the rule of the law is the right course.
There is one more issue that if the girls pushed into red light areas, have livelihood issues, it will be a good effort from a District Magistrate to give them vocational education and create skills among them and by and by suitably facilitate them in getting employment through government welfare programmes, rather than directly clashing with the vested interests.
It will not be described as fear on the part of the District Magistrate, but a practical and smart move- addressing the problem at the root is always a better option and it silently changes the scenario.