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Gist of NITI Aayog – Strategy for New India @ 75 Report

New India @ 75 Report - NITI Aayog
New India @ 75 Report - NITI Aayog

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Strengthening the Forest Fire Management in India – World Bank & MoEFCC Report

Strengthening Forest Fire Management - Report Cover
Strengthening Forest Fire Management - Report Cover

Fire has been a part of India’s landscape since time immemorial and can play a vital role in healthy forests, recycling nutrients, helping tree species regenerate, removing invasive weeds and pathogens, and maintaining habitat for some wildlife. Occasional fires can also keep down fuel loads that feed larger, more destructive conflagrations, but as populations and demands on forest resources have grown, the cycle of fire has spun out of balance.

  • India is not alone in facing this challenge. Forest fires have become an issue of global concern. In many other countries, wildfires are burning larger areas, and fire seasons are growing longer due to a warming climate.
  • About 670,000 km2 of forest land are burned each year on average (about 2 percent of the world’s forested areas, releasing billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere,1 while hundreds of thousands of people are believed to die due to illnesses caused by exposure to smoke from forest fires and other landscape fires.

Tackling forest fires is even more imperative in India as the country has set ambitious policy goals for improving the sustainability of its forests. 

  • As part of the National Mission for Green India under India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change, the government has committed to increase forest and tree cover by 5 million hectares and to improve the quality of forest on another 5 million hectares.
  • Relatedly, under its NDC, India has committed to bringing 33 percent of its geographical area under forest cover and to create additional sinks of 2.5 billion to 3 billion tons worth of CO2 stored in its forests by 2030.

Yet, it is unclear whether India can achieve these goals if the prevention and management of forest fires is not improved. Field-verified data on the extent and severity of fires are lacking and understanding of the longer-term impacts of forest fires on the health of India’s forests remains weak.
The objective of this assessment is to strengthen knowledge on forest fires by documenting current management systems, identifying gaps in implementation, and making recommendations on how these systems can be improved.

Forest Fire Distribution – India
Source : The Hindu

Gaps in the FFPM

1. Forest fires in India are both widespread and concentrated

  • Every year, forest fires occur in around half of the country’s 647 districts and in nearly all the states. Furthermore, by one estimate, in 2014 alone, nearly 49,000 km2 of forests – an area larger than the size of Haryana – were burned . Yet, though fires are spread throughout the country, they occur much more frequently and affect forest more in some districts than in others. Just 20 districts, representing 3 percent of the India’s land area and 16 percent of the country’s forest cover in 2000, accounted for 44 percent of all forest fire detections from 2003 to 2016.
  •  While states in the Northeast account for the greatest share of fire detections, the largest area affected by fire is in the Central region. Districts with the highest frequency of fire and largest extent of fire-affected areas present priorities for intervention and should be the focus of improving FFPM, as should areas of significant ecological, cultural, or economic value. Data from 2014, for example, showed that about 10 percent of forest cover in protected areas was affected by fire.

2. Fire potential and behavior is shaped by a combination of natural and social factors

  • In India’s seasonally dry forests, most forest fires are characterized by low-intensity surface fires. The potential for more intense and difficult-to-control fires is shaped by a complex dynamic involving the monsoon rains, weather during the winter and early part of the dry season, and fuel accumulation
  • Weather, fuels, and topography may influence fire potential and behavior, but virtually all forest fires in India, as in other parts of the world, are caused by  people.
  • Many of the important goods and services that people obtain from forests, such as fodder for their livestock, are generated or gathered through the aid of fire.
  • Unwanted forest fires may also occur due to human negligence, for example, from casually discarded cigarettes or from poor control of burning on adjacent croplands.
  • Shifting societal and cultural practices also play a role, as with the use of fire in traditional shifting cultivation (jhum). In some parts of the country, the erosion of traditional community institutions for managing forest lands has also contributed to more unwanted forest fires.

3. The longer-term impacts and wider costs of forest fires are still poorly understood

  • The longer-term impacts of the current pattern of forest fires on India’s forest ecology and the wider economy are still poorly understood; however, the available scientific evidence supports that fires are having a degrading effect.  
  • Repeated fires in short succession are reducing species richness and harming natural regeneration, in combination with other pressures such as intense grazing and browsing. Reductions in biomass, species diversity, and natural regeneration due to fire may pose a risk to policy goals for enhancing India’s forest carbon sinks. Not all fires are bad, though.
  • The key is to maximize the ecological benefits of fire while minimizing the adverse impacts, recognizing that the controlled use of fire may play a positive role in the management of fire-adapted forests. Current estimates of the economic costs of forest fires in India, at around INR 1,101 crore (US$ 164 million, 2016 prices) per year, are almost certainly underestimates. Monetary damages due to forest fires are generally assessed only for the loss of standing trees (natural or planted) in terms of their timber value, which are usually minimal in the event of lowintensity surface fires such as those that commonly occur in India. Estimates could be improved by including the direct and indirect impacts on other sectors including e.g. transportation, infrastructure, loss of environmental services, etc. Without credible, empirically-based estimates of the costs of forest fires, it is unlikely that FFPM will be made more of a policy priority.

4. A vacuum exists at the level of national policy 

  • A cohesive policy framework with a clear strategic direction provides the foundation for successful FFPM. Though MoEFCC had issued national guidelines on FFPM in 2000, they are no longer being implemented. Without guidance and standard setting from above, there is significant variation from state to state and district to district in terms of the detail and substance on FFPM found in local policies and working plans.
  • Policies and prescriptions for FFPM should be supported by adequate and predictable financing. A shortage of dedicated funding for FFPM at the central and state level has been a perennial issue, which has been documented by the Comptroller and Auditor General in various states.
  • Along with a lack of public engagement, forest officers surveyed for the assessment cited insufficient equipment, labor, and financial resources as one of the main challenges for effective FFPM. Revamping the Intensification of Forest Management Scheme to focus exclusively on FFPM represents a positive development. Directing more resources specifically for FFPM will need to happen at the state level too.

5. Forest fire prevention is not being implemented consistently

  • Prevention is the most crucial link in the FFPM chain and should receive the greatest support. Prevention activities have included primarily the creation and maintenance of fire lines and controlled area burning. Only half of the forest officers surveyed in 11 states said that all the fire lines in their area were being cleared as required per the forest working plans; twothirds said controlled burning was not being regularly performed. 
  • Other than fire lines and controlled burning, less emphasis has been given to silvicultural practices, such as selective thinning and planting fire-adapted species. Officers commonly cited a need  for greater participation by local forest-dependent communities in fire prevention. 

6. India has developed robust detection systems for forest fires

  • Over the past decade, India has emerged as a leading example of how satellite technologies can be utilized for the detection and monitoring of forest fires. Using satellite data, Madhya Pradesh was the first state to develop an SMS-based system to alert field staff of active fires burning in their area. Since then, Forest Survey of India (FSI) has rolled out a nationwide system. 
  • Satellite-based detection has helped fill a gap left by under-resourced ground detection. As these satellite systems continue to be upgraded, they would benefit from greater integration, including the increased collection of field-based reporting for verifying satellite-derived fire alerts, as well as improved data sharing between the states and FSI. Only through systematic ground verification and evaluation can the existing techniques for satellite detection be improved.

7. Well-equipped and well-trained people on the ground are essential to forest firefighting

  • Forest fire suppression in India mainly involves dryland firefighting. Although the tools used in India may differ from those used in other countries, the principle of effective suppression remains the same: having a competent, well-trained, and adequately equipped workforce on the ground, ready to respond and take immediate action.  This workforce includes field staff from the forest department as well as seasonally-employed fire watchers and volunteers from the local community
  • Lack of basic safety gear and clothing, and a need for more training, especially for firewatchers and community volunteers.

8. Post-fire management is not being treated as part of the FFPM process   

  • Post-fire management is not being treated as part of the FFPM process and is probably the weakest link. Post-fire data collection is an essential part of the fire management process and crucial to producing informed FFPM plans and policies. However, this part of the management process is given little priority and is often performed solely for the sake of fulfilling administrative requirements.  
  • Field reporting and the investigation of fire causes may be hindered by insufficient field staff, difficult terrain, and a lack of communications infrastructure in more remote areas. A lack of standard protocols for collecting and reporting information on fires, including their causes, has made it impossible to aggregate data across states. 
  • The greater issue, though, are the institutional disincentives for accurate and complete reporting. Fires larger than a few hectares trigger extra work for field staff to report and investigate offenses, and the department and its officers may be held responsible for reported monetary damages due to fires. The states will need help from MoEFCC and the research community in developing standard methods and protocols for assessing ecological impacts and economic damages from fire.

9. More effective engagement of forest-using communities is essential… 

  • More effective engagement of local communities—the primary forest users in India—is essential. Strategies for FFPM should be founded on a clear recognition of how local communities depend on forests for important goods and services and aim to ensure the delivery of these goods and services while also reducing damaging and unmanaged fires.
  • Although all forest fires are treated as an offense under existing laws, completely excluding the use of fires in forests by local people is an unattainable goal. Thus, the SFDs must strike a fine balance, working with communities to make sure fire is used responsibly in a way that promotes forest health, while avoid damaging and out-of-control fires.
  • Existing incentives have included monetary rewards, the provision of jobs to community members, and access to harvest NTFPs from state forests. The Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) have been the primary avenue through which the SFDs have offered such incentives. Monetary payments have not typically been enough to cover the costs of fire prevention work by the JFMCs but rather have served as a behavioral nudge. Seasonal firewatchers and community volunteers are rarely provided equipment and training for FFPM.

10.  Coordination with other agencies and entities 

  • The SFDs manage about 654,137 km2 of forest lands contained in reserved and protected forests, plus much of the 113,881 km2 of unclassed forest. Together, these lands comprise about 23 percent of India’s geographical area (FSI 2018).
  • Not all these areas are forest covered, and additional areas of forest cover exist outside the jurisdiction of the departments. In practice, the SFDs often assume sole responsibility for forest fires on these non-department lands, often managed by communities. National data on the forest fires on non-department lands is lacking, though data from Uttarakhand show that these lands accounted for about 35 percent of state-wide burnt forest area in 2016.
  • The threat of fire on non-SFD lands is nontrivial, and fires started outside state forests may spread to state forests. Better coordination with communities and other forest land managers and more clearly defined responsibilities (including for the provision of funds) are needed.
  • Though large fires such as those observed in Uttarakhand in 2016 and Karnataka in 2017 do occur, forest fires are not typically treated as disasters, and the disaster management authorities have so far played a minor role in FFPM. A survey of the state disaster management agencies (SDMAs) revealed a wide variation in how forest fires are treated in disaster planning and how institutional mechanisms have been set up for organizing the response to large or destructive fires
  • Researchers have been an underutilized part of the FFPM community. Stronger collaboration between the SFDs and research entities would enable states to better monitor the ecological and economic impacts of fires, to develop robust protocols for gathering fire data, and innovate new science-based management approaches for preventing fires and rehabilitating fire-affected areas.
  • In all the states visited and surveyed, forest departments have developed innovative ways to improve FFPM. From forest firefighting squads in Odisha, to fire risk zonation mapping in Telangana, to SMS-based fire alerts in Madhya Pradesh, to community reserves in Meghalaya, to awareness-raising street performers in Uttarakhand, and so on, the examples abound. However, states are often unaware of what their neighbors are doing, data and statistics are difficult to aggregate across states, and there is no formal mechanism for sharing knowledge about FFPM.

Recommendations for effective FFPM

1. Policy

  • At the national level, a cohesive first-order policy or action plan can set forth the guiding principles and framework for FFPM, beginning with a clear statement of goals and priorities
  • A national action plan would also provide MoEFCC an opportunity to
    1. consolidate its existing guidelines and the standing instructions it has issued over the years, and to       
    2.  issue comprehensive guidelines for a range of topics, including for the development of standard  operating procedures (SOPs) by the states for various aspects of FFPM,           
    3. for siting and maintenance of fire lines and controlled burning,   standard protocols for post-fire reporting, and standard methods for assessment of damages.
  •  The national policy should also draw on climate change policies given the clear overlap.   
  • A national level policy should also clearly delineate the respective roles and responsibilities of the MoEFCC, state forest departments, and disaster agencies, and establish a mechanism for the provision      of regular funding for FFPM to the states. The process of formulating the national policy or action plan on FFPM would be just as important as the policy or plan itself. The process should be open, consultative, clearly defined, and time-bound.

2. Staffing, capacity, and management practices

  • Inadequate resources and lack of sufficient staff on the ground have been cited repeatedly as reasons for ineffective prevention, detection, suppression, and post-fire practices. Even with the advent of new remote sensing technologies, ground-based detection will continue to be essential
  • Greater funding for construction of watchtowers and crew stations and for frontline officers and seasonal firewatchers to spot fires is needed, as most of the areas surveyed reported shortfalls and field officers reported frequent delays in making payments to seasonal firewatchers.
  • People on the ground are the key to effective fire suppression using dry techniques. In spite of the availability of hi-tech equipment globally, the principal need is always to have a competent, trained, and equipped workforce on the ground, ready to respond and take immediate action. Therefore, a top priority for SFDs is to fill vacancies for field staff and community firewatchers.
  • Additionally, their staff need to be trained, and this activity too should begin immediately. The type of training provided to firefighters should be tailored according to their level of responsibility and role in the command structure in responding to fires. Provision of training should extend beyond state-managed forests to community institutions in regions such as the Northeast, where communities are responsible for managing most of the forest estate. 
  •  There is a need for more systematic use of silvicultural practices such as selective thinning, pruning, and early season controlled burning to reduce fuel loads, in areas managed by the forest department and those managed by other entities. SOPs can highlight where they should be applied, how local communities should be involved, and what measures should be put in place to ensure that they are conducted safely.
  • Similarly, underreporting post-fires of causes, extent of burnt area, and economic damages needs to be addressed. 

3. Technology
Technologies available for improving FFPM range from the very high-tech to the very low-tech, from new satellite and wireless sensor technologies for detecting forest fires, to self-fashioned jhapas for beating out fires. 

  • FSI has begun the development of systems for early warning and fire danger rating, and these efforts should be continued.  For one, the digitization of management boundaries by the state forest departments should be completed so that FSI can more accurately determine which fires to report and to whom.
  • Additionally, ground verification data on satellite-based alerts should be collected by field staff, shared with FSI by the state forest departments, and analyzed, to determine the accuracy of satellite-based alerts and thereby help improve the system. Fire alert systems can also be improved by integrating groundbased detection with the satellite-based alert systems.
  • Finally, the satellite-based detection systems should be expanded to include other forest areas beyond department jurisdiction.   
  • Whether high-tech or low-tech, effective tools and technologies must satisfy local financial, social, and environmental constraints. Rather than prescribing specific fire-suppression tools to use in all the states, MoEFCC can promote the use of new technologies for FFPM by supporting local research, encouraging states to experiment, and scaling up best practices, where appropriate. International experience has shown that early warning and fire danger rating systems developed with inputs from local fire managers and tailored to local conditions are more likely to be successful than systems that are imported directly from other contexts.

4. Community engagement 

  • Some fires can be beneficial, both from an ecological and social point of view. There exists a fundamental tension between the total prohibition on fire under current law in India and the reality on the ground, as fire continues to be used as a landscape management tool by communities of forest users across the country. 
  • A more effective policy for FFPM may begin with the recognition that people will continue to use fire, that some fire is desired, and that the goal of FFPM should be to minimize the ecological, social, and economic impacts of fire while ensuring that the benefits reaped from fire may continue.
  • From this starting point, fire managers may then work with communities to ensure that fire is used responsibly in a way that promotes forest health, while seeking to avoid damaging and out-of-control fires.
  • If effective community involvement is to be garnered, it is essential to work with communities and give them a voice in the decision-making process.
  • Existing incentives to attract local communities are inadequate hence, stronger incentives may include securing forest tenure, resource rights, and sharing revenues from commercial products such as teak, sal, and bamboo, where allowable.

5. Data and information 

Lastly, there is a need to support forest fire management through improved data, research to fill critical knowledge gaps, and regular knowledge exchange.The database should also capture information on fire lines, controlled burning, watch towers, firefighting assets (and their locations), and communications infrastructure.

  • Such a database would be instrumental for assessing longer-term trends across states and regions and for planning fire prevention and response.
  • India’s research community represents an invaluable asset for improving FFPM, though little formal cooperation currently exists between members of the research community and the forest department. The definition of a national research agenda for forest fires and provision of funding opportunities for scientific research would be instrumental in bringing these entities together.
  • India could, however, benefit from the development of a mechanism to allow useful exchange between states. There is real need for a suitable forum where state representatives can regularly meet and swap ideas and information. Presently, each state forest department seems to operate in isolation from others. There are excellent initiatives developed by individual states that could easily be transferred to and adopted by other states. A formal mechanism for knowledge sharing between states should be established.

Global Warming of 1.5°C – IPCC Special Report

Global warming 1.5°C Report Cover
Global warming 1.5°C Report Cover

Global Warming of 1.5 °C an IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.

It was in 2015, at the Paris climate conference, that the global community made a pact to pursue efforts to limit warming to within 1.5°C — half a degree below the previous target of 2°C. With the increase in extreme events and the very survival of small islands at stake, the lower limit was greeted then with surprise and enthusiasm.

For most people, the difference between 1.5°C and 2°C may seem trivial when daily temperatures fluctuate much more widely. However, the reference here is to global average temperatures. Different regions of the earth will warm at different rates. For instance, the Arctic is already experiencing warming that is many times higher than the global average.

If nations do not mount a strenuous response against climate change, average global temperatures, which have already crossed 1°C, are likely to cross the 1.5°C mark around 2040. The window of opportunity to take action is very small and closing fast.

Average Global Temperature Trend  Source: The Hindu

Understanding Global Warming of 1.5°C

  • Human activities are estimated to have caused approximately 1.0°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels, with a likely range of 0.8°C to 1.2°C. Global warming is likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate (high confidence).
  • Warming from anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial period to the present will persist for centuries to millennia and will continue to cause further longterm changes in the climate system, such as sea level rise, with associated impacts (high confidence), but these emissions alone are unlikely to cause global warming of 1.5°C (medium confidence).
  • Climate-related risks for natural and human systems are higher for global warming of 1.5°C than at present, but lower than at 2°C (high confidence). These risks depend on the magnitude and rate of warming, geographic location, levels of development and vulnerability, and on the choices and implementation of adaptation and mitigation options (high confidence).

Projected Climate Change, Potential Impacts and Associated Risks

  •  Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C. These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions (high confidence), hot extremes in most inhabited regions (high confidence), heavy precipitation in several regions (medium confidence), and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions (medium confidence).
  •  By 2100, global mean sea level rise is projected to rise about 50cm, around 0.1 metre lower with global warming of 1.5°C (medium confidence). Sea level will continue to rise well beyond 2100 (high confidence), and the magnitude and rate of this rise depends on future emission pathways. A slower rate of sea level rise enables greater opportunities for adaptation in the human and ecological systems of small islands, low-lying coastal areas and deltas (medium confidence).
  • On land, impacts on biodiversity and ecosystems, including species loss and extinction, are projected to be lower at 1.5°C of global warming compared to 2°C. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2°C is projected to lower the impacts on terrestrial, freshwater, and coastal ecosystems and to retain more of their services to humans (high confidence).
  • Limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to 2ºC is projected to reduce increases in ocean temperature as well as associated increases in ocean acidity and decreases in ocean oxygen levels (high confidence). Consequently, limiting global  warming to 1.5°C is projected to reduce risks to marine biodiversity, fisheries, and ecosystems, and their functions and services to humans, as illustrated by recent changes to Arctic sea ice and warm water coral reef ecosystems (high confidence).
  •  Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C.
  • Asia and Africa will be worst hit.
  • Most adaptation needs will be lower for global warming of 1.5°C compared to 2°C (high confidence). There are a wide range of adaptation options that can reduce the risks of climate change (high confidence). There are limits to adaptation and adaptive capacity for some human and natural systems at global warming of 1.5°C, with associated losses (medium confidence). The number and availability of adaptation options vary by sector (medium confidence).

Emission Pathways and System Transitions Consistent with 1.5°C Global Warming

  •  In model pathways with no or limited overshoot of 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions decline by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030 (40– 60% interquartile range), reaching net zero around 2050 (2045–2055 interquartile range). For limiting global warming to below 2°C, CO2 emissions are projected to decline by about 20% by 2030 in most pathways (10–30% interquartile range) and reach net zero around 2075 (2065–2080 interquartile range). Non-CO2 emissions in pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C show deep reductions that are similar to those in pathways limiting warming to 2°C (high confidence).
  • Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems (high confidence). These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options and a significant upscaling of investments in those options (medium confidence).
  • All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100–1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century. CDR would be used to compensate for residual emissions and, in most cases, achieve net negative emissions to return global warming to 1.5°C following a peak (high confidence). CDR deployment of several hundreds of GtCO2 is subject to multiple feasibility and sustainability constraints (high confidence). Significant near-term emissions reductions and measures to lower energy and land demand can limit CDR deployment to a few hundred GtCO2 without reliance on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) (high confidence).

Strengthening the Global Response in the Context of Sustainable Development and Efforts to Eradicate Poverty

  •  Estimates of the global emissions outcome of current nationally stated mitigation ambitions as submitted under the Paris Agreement would lead to global greenhouse gas emissions in 2030 of 52–58 GtCO2eq yr-1 (medium confidence). Pathways  reflecting these ambitions would not limit global warming to 1.5°C, even if supplemented by very challenging increases in the scale and ambition of emissions reductions after 2030 (high confidence). Avoiding overshoot and reliance on future largescale deployment of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) can only be achieved if global CO2 emissions start to decline well before 2030 (high confidence).
  • The avoided climate change impacts on sustainable development, eradication of poverty and reducing inequalities would be greater if global warming were limited to 1.5°C rather than 2°C, if mitigation and adaptation synergies are maximized while trade-offs are minimized (high confidence).
  • Adaptation options specific to national contexts, if carefully selected together with enabling conditions, will have benefits for sustainable development and poverty reduction with global warming of 1.5°C, although trade-offs are possible (high confidence). Mitigation options consistent with 1.5°C pathways are associated with multiple synergies and trade-offs across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). While the total number of possible synergies exceeds the number of trade-offs, their net effect will depend on the pace and magnitude of changes, the composition of the mitigation portfolio and the management of the transition (high confidence).
  •  Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behaviour changes (high confidence).
  • Sustainable development supports, and often enables, the fundamental societal and systems transitions and transformations that help limit global warming to 1.5°C. Such changes facilitate the pursuit of climate-resilient development pathways that achieve ambitious mitigation and adaptation in conjunction with poverty eradication and efforts to reduce inequalities (high confidence).
  • Strengthening the capacities for climate action of national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities can support the implementation of ambitious actions implied by limiting global warming to 1.5°C (high confidence). International cooperation can provide an enabling environment for this to be achieved in all countries and for all people, in the context of sustainable development. International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions (high confidence).

Way ahead

  • How is the remaining carbon budget, that is the room available in the atmosphere to safely contain more CO2, going to be shared among different countries? This is a difficult question to address, given the contentious nature of the negotiations. It has been reported, for instance, that the U.S. has been obstructionist in the deliberations in Incheon, South Korea, at the recent meeting to determine the final text of the report. The U.S. also reiterated its intent to pull out of the Paris Agreement.
  • Contributions from the U.S. and other rich countries to the Green Climate Fund and other funding mechanisms for the purpose of mitigation and adaptation are vital even to reach the goals of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) — commitments that each country made prior to the Paris conference. Even if all the NDCs are implemented, the world is expected to warm by over 3°C.
  • Disputed over the implementation of the Paris Agreement at numerous meetings depict the deep divides among rich countries, emerging economies and least developed countries. 

This special report poses options for the global community of nations, which they will have to contend with in Poland — the next Conference of the Parties. Each will have to decide whether to play politics on a global scale for one’s own interests or to collaborate to protect the world and its ecosystems as a whole. The path forward offers no simple or easy solutions.

Data Protection – Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee & Draft Data Protection Bill

Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee
Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee

Recognising the importance of data protection and keeping personal data of citizens secure and protected, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India has, on 31st July 2017, constituted a Committee of Experts under the Chairmanship of Justice B N Srikrishna, Former Judge, Supreme Court of India and comprising of members from Government, Academia and Industry to study and identify key data protection issues and recommend methods for addressing them. The committee will also suggest a draft Data Protection Bill. Protection of Data is expected to provide big boost to Digital economy of the country.

Given the vast amount of personal data being collected by private companies and state agencies, and their flow across national jurisdictions, the absence of a data protection legal framework in India has been a cause for deep concern.

The need for legislation was also underlined last year with the landmark judgment in Justice K.S Puttaswamy v. Union of India that held the right to privacy to be a fundamental right. Against this backdrop, the draft legislation on data protection submitted by a committee of experts chaired by Justice B.N. Srikrishna after year-long public consultations provides a sound foundation on which to speedily build India’s legal framework.

What is Data protection?

Data protection is the process of protecting data and involves the relationship between the collection and dissemination of data and technology, the public perception and expectation of privacy and the political and legal underpinnings surrounding that data.

It aims to strike a balance between individual privacy rights while still allowing data to be used for various purposes.

What is Personal Data?

Personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to individual’s private, professional, or public life. In the online environment, where vast amounts of personal data are shared and transferred around the globe instantaneously, it is increasingly difficult for people to maintain control of their personal information. This is where data protection comes in.

Data protection refers to the practices, safeguards, and binding rules put in place to protect your personal information and ensure that you remain in control of it. In short, you should be able to decide whether or not you want to share some information, who has access to it, for how long, for what reason, and be able to modify some of this information, and more.

What is The Right to be Forgotten?

As per the BN Srikrishna Committee report on data privacy: The right to be forgotten refers to the ability of individuals to limit, delink, delete or correct the disclosure of personal information on the internet that is misleading, embarrassing, irrelevant or anachronistic.

Data principals-The Person whose information is collected.                       

Data fiduciaries-The Firms/state institution which process the data

Safeguarding Data - Source: The Hindu
Safeguarding Data – Source: The Hindu

Recommendations of the Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee on Data Protection

Principles :The Committee suggested that a framework to protect data in the country should be based on seven principles:
  • Law should be flexible to take into account changing technologies,
  • Law must apply to both government and sector entities,
  • Consent should be genuine, informed, and meaningful,
  • Processing of data should be minimal and only for the purpose for which it is sought,
  • Entities controlling the data should be accountable for any data processing,
  • Enforcement of the data protection framework should be by a high-powered statutory authority, and
  • Penalties should be adequate to discourage any wrongful acts.

1. Fiduciary relationship:
The Committee observed that the regulatory framework has to balance the interests of the individual with regard to his personal data and the interests of the entity such as a service provider who has access to this data.
It noted that the relationship between the individual and the service provider must be viewed as a fiduciary relationship. This is due to the dependence of the individual on the service provider to obtain a service.
Therefore, the service provider processing the data is under an obligation to deal fairly with the individual’s personal data, and use it for the authorized purposes only.

2. Obligations of fiduciaries:
To prevent abuse of power by service providers, the law should establish their basic obligations, including:

  • The obligation to process data fairly and reasonably, and
  • The obligation to give notice to the individual at the time of collecting data to various points in the interim.

3. Definition of Personal data:

  • It defined personal data to include data from which an individual may be identified or identifiable, either directly or indirectly.
  • The Committee sought to distinguish personal data protection from the protection of sensitive personal data, since its processing could result in greater harm to the individual.
  • Sensitive data is related to intimate matters where there is a higher expectation of privacy (e.g., caste, religion, and sexual orientation of the individual).

4.Consent-based processing:
The Committee noted that consent must be treated as a pre-condition for processing personal data. Such consent should be informed or meaningful.
Further, for certain vulnerable groups, such as children, and for sensitive personal data, a data protection law must sufficiently protect their interests, while considering their vulnerability, and exposure to risks online.
Further, sensitive personal information should require explicit consent of the individual.

5. Non-consensual processing:

The Committee noted that it is not possible to obtain consent of the individual in all circumstances. Therefore, separate grounds may be established for processing data without consent.

The Committee identified four bases for non-consensual processing: 

  • Where processing is relevant for the state to discharge its welfare functions,

  • To comply with the law or with court orders in India,
  • When necessitated by the requirement to act promptly (to save a life, for instance), and 
  • In employment contracts, in limited situations (such, as where giving the consent requires an unreasonable effort for the employer)

6. Participation rights:
The rights of the individual are based on the principles of autonomy, self-determination, transparency and accountability to give individuals control over their data.
The Committee categorized these rights in three categories:

  • The right to access, confirmation and correction of data,
  • The right to object to data processing, automated decision-making, direct marketing and the right to data portability, and
  • The right to be forgotten.

7. Enforcement models:
The Committee also recommended setting up a regulator to enforce the regulatory framework.

  • The Authority will have the power to inquire into any violations of the data protection regime, and can take action against any data fiduciary responsible for the same.
  • The Authority may also categorize certain fiduciaries as significant data fiduciaries based on their ability to cause greater harm to individuals.
  • Such fiduciaries will be required to undertake additional obligations.

8. Amendments to Other Laws:

  • The Committee noted that various allied laws are relevant in the context of data protection because they either require or authorize the processing of personal data. These laws include the Information Technology Act, 2000, and the Census Act, 1948.
  • It stated that the Bill provides minimum data protection standards for all data processing in the country. In the event of inconsistency, the standards set in the data privacy law will apply to the processing of data.
  • The Committee also recommended amendments to the Aadhaar Act, 2016 to bolster its data protection framework.

THE DRAFT PERSONAL DATA PROTECTION BILL, 2018

1. Rights of the individual:

The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual. These include:

  •  Right to obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether its personal data has been processed,
  • Right to seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data, and
  •  Right to have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstances.

2. Obligations of the data fiduciary:
The Bill sets out obligations of the entity who has access to the personal data (data fiduciary). These include:

  • Implementation of policies with regard to processing of data,
  • Maintaining transparency with regard to its practices on processing data,
  • Implementing security safeguards (such, as encryption of data), and
  • Instituting grievance redressal mechanisms to address complaints of individuals.

3. Data Protection Authority:
The Bill provides for the establishment of a Data Protection Authority. The Authority is empowered to:

  • Take steps to protect interests of individuals,
  • Prevent misuse of personal data, and
  • Ensure compliance with the Bill.
  • It will consist of a chairperson and six members, with knowledge of at least 10 years in the field of data protection and information technology.
  • Orders of the Authority can be appealed to an Appellate Tribunal established by the central government and appeals from the Tribunal will go to the Supreme Court.

4. Grounds for processing personal data:
The Bill allows processing of data by fiduciaries if consent is provided. However, in certain circumstances, processing of data may be permitted without consent of the individual. These grounds include:

  • if necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual,
  • if required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement,
  • to respond to a medical emergency, threat to public health or breakdown of public order, or,
  • for reasonable purposes specified by the Authority, related to activities such as fraud detection, debt recovery, and whistle blowing.

5. Grounds for processing sensitive personal data:
Processing of sensitive personal data is allowed on certain grounds, including:

  • based on explicit consent of the individual,
  • if necessary for any function of Parliament or state legislature, or, if required by the state for providing benefits to the individual, or
  • if required under law or for the compliance of any court judgement.
  • Sensitive personal data includes passwords, financial data, biometric data, genetic data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the Authority. Additionally, fiduciaries are required to institute appropriate mechanisms for age verification and parental consent when processing sensitive personal data of children

6. Transfer of data outside India:
Personal data (except sensitive personal data) may be transferred outside India under certain conditions. These include:

  • Where the central government has prescribed that transfers to a particular country are permissible, or
  • Where the Authority approves the transfer in a situation of necessity.

7. Exemptions:
The Bill provides exemptions from compliance with its provisions, for certain reasons including:

  • State security,
  • Prevention, investigation, or prosecution of any offence, or
  • Personal, domestic, or journalistic purposes.

8. Offences and Penalties:
Under the Bill, the Authority may levy penalties for various offences by the fiduciary including

  •  Failure to perform its duties,
  •  Data processing in violation of the Bill, and
  •  Failure to comply with directions issued by the Authority.
  • For example, under the Bill, the fiduciary is required to notify the Authority of any personal data breach which is likely to cause harm to the individual. Failure to promptly notify the Authority can attract a penalty of the higher of Rs 5 crore or 2% of the worldwide turnover of the fiduciary.

9. Amendments to other laws:
The Bill makes consequential amendments to the Information Technology Act, 2000. It also amends the Right to Information Act, 2005, and to permit non-disclosure of personal information where harm to the individual outweighs public good.

Success of KingMakers IAS Academy’s Predictions for Mains 2018

KingMakers IAS Prediction
KingMakers IAS Prediction

General Studies – Paper I

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

3. Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times.          (10)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 12

1. Which part of Gandhi‟s philosophy is most relevant today and why? Comment.                                                                                                                                                                      (10 marks: 150 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

6. Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics.                (10)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 9

17. What are the different types of volcanoes based on the frequency of eruptions? How is volcanism explained by plate tectonics?                                                                                 (12.5 Mark: 200 Words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

8. “Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment.                                                                                                                    (10)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 9

14. “Caste as a social capital has functional as well as dysfunctional social coordinates.” Do you agree? Illustrate with examples and observations from Indian Society.                                                         (12.5 Mark: 200 Words)

1. “In recent times, caste system has weakened due to many reasons, but caste based identity is strengthened, particularly in the wake of democratic politics in India “. Comment                                                                                                                                                                          (12.5 Mark: 200 Words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

9. ‘Despite implementation of various programmes for eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons. (10)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 6

1. Why the issue of poverty remains a perpetual problem in India. Examine the issue of poverty with reference to various committees appointed by government.                                                 (10 marks: 150 words)

KingMakers IAS – 150 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

88. “Sustained growth and Anti-poverty programmes are the two aims of government for poverty alleviation” Elaborate. How such programs can be improved to maximize their impact on poverty reduction. (10)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

12. Discuss whether formation of new states in recent times is beneficial or not for the economy of India.                                  (15)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 9

8. “It is more the sense of deprivation and discrimination that has led to the demand of new states than a growing sense of regionalism “. Elucidate in Indian context.                                        (12.5 Mark: 200 Words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

14. “The ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India is water harvesting system.” How can it be made effective in urban areas?                                                                                                           (15)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 13

2. To what extent can artificial recharge of ground water solve India’s water crisis? Enumerate and discuss various methods of artificial ground water recharging.                                              (10 marks: 150 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 1

18. ‘Women’s movement in India has not addressed the issues of women of lower social strata.’ Substantiate your view. (15)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 9

11. Discuss the role of socio-religious reformers and movements during the British times in preparing the background for women empowerment. Inspite of such movements why is gender equality still a dream?                                                                                               (12.5 Mark: 200 Words)

General Studies – Paper II

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 2

5. “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise.                                                                                                                                                                     (10)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 2

 3. Discuss the functions of Comptroller and Auditor General in ensuring the role of guardian of public purse. Also suggest measures to make the office of CAG more vibrant.              (10 marks: 150 words)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 14

5. CAG is the guardian of public purse. In your opinion how the institution of CAG can be strengthened to save the public money.                                                                                      (10 marks: 150 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 2

15. Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects? (15)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 2

8. Despite having a state finance commission the panchayat and municipalities are still under financial crisis. Suggest measures to augment continuous finance to panchayat and municipalities on regular basis.                                                                                                          (10 marks: 150 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 2

8. E-governance in not only about utilization of the power of new technology, but also much about critical importance of the ‘use value’ of information. Explain.                                                                      (10)

KingMakers IAS – 150 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

42.”e-Governance aims at improving delivery of Government services to citizens, ensures transparency and reduces corruption” Comment in the light of “mobile sahayak model” of Delhi Government.

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 2

11. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine.                                                                     (15)

KingMakers IAS – 150 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

1. The recent dispute between the LG and Chief Minister of Delhi has opened up a new constitutional crisis. What is the reason for power tussle and suggest way forward

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 2

12. How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India.            (15)

KingMakers IAS – 150 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

89.  What is the desired role of administrative tribunals in Indian justice system? Bring out the shortcomings, if any, in the functioning of these tribunals.

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 2

19. What are the key areas of reform if the WTO has to survive in the present context of ‘Trade War’, especially keeping in mind the interest of India?                                                                                    (15)

KingMakers IAS – 150 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

20. What are all the reasons for recent trade war between US-China? What are all the possible implications on India?

General Studies – Paper III

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

3. What do you mean by Minimum Support Price (MSP)? How will MSP rescue the famers from the low income trap?                                                      (Answer in 150 words) 10

KingMakers IAS – 50 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

4.  Discuss the reasons why hefty hike in MSP is not translating into the solutions for agri crisis in India? Also suggest some measures towards agri-reforms.

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

9. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is viewed as a cardinal subset of China’s larger ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. Give a brief description of CPEC and enumerate the reasons why India has distanced itself from the same.                                                  (Answer in 150 words) 10

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 11

18. What are the threats arising out of CHINA – PAKISTAN ECONOMIC CORRIDOR with respect to internal security of India? Discuss                                                                   (15 marks: 250 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

10. Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country. Briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenges posed by LWE.                                                                                                                              (Answer in 150 words) 10

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 11

4. What do you understand by left wing extremism?  Suggest measures to control Left Wing Extremism in India.                                                                   (10 marks: 150 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

11. How are the principles followed by the NITI Aayog different from those followed by the erstwhile Planning Commission in India?                                                                         (Answer in 250 words) 15

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 14

19. Has NITI Aayog fulfilled the lacunae of the planning commission? Comment.             (15 marks: 250 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

12. How would the recent phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulations in world trade affect macroeconomic stability of India?                                                                  (Answer in 250 words) 15

KingMakers IAS – 150 Most Expected Questions for Mains 2018

20. What are all the reasons for recent trade war between US-China? What are all the possible implications on India?

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

13. Assess the role of National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in boosting the production, productivity and income of horticulture farms. How far has it succeeded in increasing the income of farmers?                                                                                                                                      (Answer in 250 words) 15

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 5

8. Examine the potential and current status of horticulture in India with suitable examples.  (10 marks: 150 words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 3

16. With growing energy needs should India keep on expanding its nuclear energy programme? Discuss the facts and fears associated with nuclear energy.                                          (Answer in 250 words) 15

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 15

16. Explain the three stages of nuclear development in India? Explain the advantages of Nuclear power for meeting India’s energy need.                                                             (15 marks: 250 words)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 5

17. Shed light on the distribution of nuclear resources in India and explain the problems and prospects associated with utilization of the same in achieving energy security.      (15 marks: 250 words)

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 7

3. Explain the India’s Three-Stage Nuclear Power Programme. What hinders the deployment of thorium fuelled reactors in India?                                                                                (10 Mark: 150 Words)

General Studies – Paper IV (Ethics)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 4

1 (a) State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil services and bring out their importance.                     (150 words) 10

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 4

5.  What do you understand by “Foundational values of civil service”? Explain with examples.                          (15 Marks: 200 Words)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – GS 4

1 (b) Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples. (150 words) 10

KingMakers IAS – MSLP Test – 8

9. Explain the terms “code of ethics” and “codes of conduct”. With suitable examples, try to differentiate between the both.                                                                                                                      (15 Marks)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies – 4 (Ethics) Question Paper

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies 4
UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies 4

Time: 3 Hours                                                              Maximum Marks: 250

1 (a) State the three basic values, universal in nature, in the context of civil            services and bring out their importance. (150 words)10
  (b) Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with                       suitable examples. (150 words) 10

2 (a) What is mean by public interest? What are the principles and                           procedures to be followed by the civil servants in public interest?                   (150 words) 10
    (b) “The Right to Information Act is not all about citizens’ empowerment               alone, it essentially redefines the concept of accountability. Discuss.                 (150 words) 10

3 (a) What is mean by conflict of interest? Illustrate with examples, the                   difference between the actual and potential conflicts of interest. (150              words) 10
(b) “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity,                 intelligence and energy. And if they do not have the first, the other two           will kill you.” – Warren Buffett
       What do you understand by this statement in the present-day scenario?         Explain. (150 words) 10

4 (a) “In doing a good thing, everything is permitted which is not prohibited           expressly or by clear implication”. Examine the statement with                         suitable examples in the context of a public servant discharging                       his/her duties. (150 words) 10
(b) With regard to the morality of actions, one view is that means is of                  paramount importance and the other view is that the ends justify the            means. Which view do you think is more appropriate? Justify your                  answer. (150 words) 10

5 (a) Suppose the Government of India is thinking of constructing a dam in           a mountain valley bond by forests and inhabited by ethnic                                 communities. What rational policy should it resort to in dealing with             unforeseen contingencies (150 words) 10
    (b) Explain the process of resolving ethical dilemmas in Public                               Administration. (150 words) 10

6 What do each of the following quotations mean to you in the present             context?
(a) “The true rule, in determining to embrace, or reject anything, is not whether it has any evil in it; but whether it has more evil than good. There are few things wholly evil or wholly good. Almost everything, especially of governmental policy, is an inseparable compound of the two; so that our best judgement of the preponderance between them is continually demanded. ”Abraham Lincoln ( 150 words)10
(b) “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. “ _ Mahatma Gandhi (150 words) 10
(c) “Falsehood takes the place of truth when it results in unblemished common good.” _ Tirukkural (150 words)10

Section B

7. Rakesh is a responsible district level officer, who enjoys the trust of his higher officials. Knowing his honesty, the government entrusted him with the responsibility of identifying the beneficiaries under a health care scheme meant for senior citizens.
The criteria to be a beneficiary are the following:
    (a) 60 years of age or above.
    (b) Belonging to a reserved community.
    (c) Family income of less than 1 Lakh rupees per annum.
    (d) Post-treatment prognosis is likely to be high to make a positive                         difference to the quality of life of the beneficiary.
One day, an old couple visited Rakesh’s office with their application. They have been the residents of a village in his district since their birth. The old man is diagnosed with a rare condition that causes obstruction in the large intestine. As a consequence, he has severe abdominal pain frequently that prevents him from doing any physical labour. The couple has no children to support them. The expert surgeon whom they contacted is willing to do the surgery without charging any fee. However, the couple will have to bear the cost of incidental charges, such as medicines, hospitalization, etc., to the tune of rupees one lakh. The couple fulfils all the criteria except criterion ‘b’. However, any financial aid would certainly make a significant difference in their quality of life.
How should Rakesh respond to the situation? (250 words) 20

8. As a senior officer in the Ministry, you have access to important policy decisions and upcoming big announcements such as road constructions projects before they are notified in the public domain. The Ministry is about to announce a mega road project for which the drawings are already in place. Sufficient care was taken by the planners to make use of the government land with the minimum land acquisition from private parties. Compensation rate for private parties was also finalized as per government rules. Care was also taken to minimize deforestation. Once the project is announced, it is expected that there will be a huge spurt in real estate prices in and around that area. Meanwhile, the Minister concerned insists that you realign the road in such a way that it comes closer to his 20 acres farmhouse. He also suggests that he would facilitate the purchase of a big plot of land in your wife name at the prevailing rate which is very nominal, in and around the proposed mega road project. He also tries to convince you by saying that there is no harm in it as he is buying the land legally. He even promises to supplement your savings in case you do not have sufficient funds to buy the land. However, by the act of realignment, a lot of agricultural lands has to be acquired, thereby causing a considerable financial burden on the government, and also the displacement of the farmers. As if this is not enough, it will involve cutting down of a large number of trees denuding the area of its green cover.
Faced with this situation, what will you do? Critically examine various conflicts of interest and explain what your responsibilities are as a public servant. (250 words) 20

9. It is a State where prohibition is in force. You are recently appointed as the Superintendent of Police of a district notorious for illicit distillation of liquor. The illicit liquor leads to many death, reported and unreported, and causes a major problem for the district authorities.
The approach till now had been to view it as a law and order problem and tackle it accordingly. Raids, arrest, police cases, and criminal trials – all these had only limited impact. The problem remains as serious as ever.
Your inspections show that the parts of the district where the distillation flourishes are economically, industrially and educationally backward. Agriculture is badly affected by poor irrigation facilities. Frequent clashes among communities gave boost to illicit distillation. No major initiatives had taken place in the past either from the government’s side or from social organizations to improve the lot of the people.
Which new approach will you adopt to bring the problem under control? (250 words) 20

10. A big corporate house is engaged in manufacturing industrial chemicals on a large scale. It proposes to set upon the additional unit. Many states rejected its proposal due to the detrimental effect on the environment. But one state government acceded to the request and permitted the unit close to a city, brushing aside all opposition.
The unit was set up 10 years ago and was in full swing till recently. The pollution caused by the industrial effluents was affecting the land, water and crops in the area. It was also causing serious health problems to human beings and animals. This gave rise to a series of agitation thousands of people took part, creating a law and order problem necessitating stern police action. Following the public outcry, the State government ordered the closure of the factory.
The closure of the factory resulted in the unemployment of not only those workers who were engaged in the factory but also those who were working in the ancillary units. It also very badly affected those industry which depended on the chemicals manufactured by it.
As a senior officer entrusted with the responsibility of handling this issues, how are you going to address it? (250 words) 20

11. Dr X is a leading medical practitioner in a city. He has set up a charitable trust through which he plans to establish a super-speciality hospital in the city to cater to the medical needs of all sections of the society. Incidentally, that part of the State had been neglected over the years. The proposed hospital would be a boon for the region.
You are heading the tax investigation agency of that region. During an inspection of the doctor’s clinic, your officers have found out some major irregularities. A few of them are substantial which had resulted in considerable withholding of tax that should be paid by him now. The doctor is cooperative. He undertakes to pay the tax immediately.
However, there are certain other deficiencies in his tax compliance which are purely technical in nature. If these technical defaults are pursued by the agency, considerable time and energy of the doctor will be diverted to issues which are not so serious, urgent or even helpful to the tax collection process. Further, in all probability, it will hamper the prospects of the hospital coming up.
There are two options before you:
1) Taking a broader view, ensure substantial tax compliance and ignore defaults that are merely technical in nature.
2) Pursue the matter strictly and proceed on all fronts,whether substantial or merely technical.
As the head of the tax agency, which course of action will you opt and why? (250 words) 20

12.  Edward Snowden, a computer expert and former CIA administrator, released confidential Government documents to the press about the existence of Government surveillance programmes. According to many legal experts and the US Government, his action violated the Espionage act of 1971, which identified the leak of State secret as an act of treason. Yet, despite the fact that he broke the law, Snowden argued that he had a moral obligation to act. He gave a justification for his “whistle blowing” by stating that he had a duty “to inform the public as to that which is done in there name and that which is done against them.”
According to Snowden, the Government’s violation of privacy had to be exposed regardless of legality since more substantive issues of social action and public morality were involved here. Many agreed with Snowden. Few argued that he broke the law and compromised national security, for which he should be held accountable.
Do you agree that Snowden’s actions were ethically justified even if legally prohibited? Why or why not? Make an argument by weighing the competing values in this case (250 words ) 20

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies – 3 (GS 3) Question Paper

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies 3
UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies 3

Time: 3 Hours                                                              Maximum Marks: 250

Answers to Questions No. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to Question No. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.

1.“Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is the sin qua non to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”. Comment on the progress made in India in this regard. 10

2. Comment on the important changes introduced in respect of the Long-term Capital Gains Tax (LCGT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) in the Union Budget for 2018-2019.  10

3. What do you mean by Minimum Support Price (MSP)? How will MSP rescue the famers from the low income trap?  10

4. Examine the role of supermarkets in supply chain management of fruits, vegetables and food items. How do they eliminate number of intermediaries?  10

5. Discuss the work of ‘Bose-Einstein Statistics’ done by Prof. Satyendra Nath Bose and show how it revolutionized the field of Physics. 10

6. What are the impediments indisposing the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we remove safely the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? 10

7. What is wetland? Explain the Ramsar concept of ‘wise use’ in the context of wetland conservation. Cite two examples of Ramsar sites from India.  10

8. Sikkim is the first ‘Organic State’ in India. What are the ecological and economical benefits of Organic State? 10

9. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is viewed as a cardinal subset of China’s larger ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative. Give a brief description of CPEC and enumerate the reasons why India has distanced itself from the same.  10

10. Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country. Briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenges posed by LWE. 10

11. How are the principles followed by the NITI Aayog different from those followed by the erstwhile Planning Commission in India?  15

12. How would the recent phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulations in world trade affect macroeconomic stability of India?          15

13. Assess the role of National Horticulture Mission (NHM) in boosting the production, productivity and income of horticulture farms. How far has it succeeded in increasing the income of farmers?15

14. How has the emphasis on certain crops brought about changes in cropping patterns in recent past? Elaborate the emphasis on millets production and consumption. 15

15. Why is there so much activity in the field of biotechnology in our country? How has this activity benefitted the field of biopharma?  15

16. With growing energy needs should India keep on expanding its nuclear energy programme? Discuss the facts and fears associated with nuclear energy. 15

17. How does biodiversity vary in India? How is the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 helpful in conservation of flora and fauna?15

18. Describe various measures taken in India for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) before and after signing ‘Sendai Framework for DRR (2015-2030)’. How is this framework different from ‘Hyogo Framework for Action, 2005’? 15

19. Data security has assumed significant importance in the digitized world due to rising cyber crimes. The Justice B. N. Srikrishna Committee Report addresses issues related to date security. What, in your view, are the strengths and weaknesses of the Report relating to protection of personal data in cyber space?15

20. India’s proximity to two of the world’s biggest illicit opium-growing states has enhanced her internal security concerns. Explain the linkages between drug trafficking and other illicit activities such as gunrunning, money laundering and human trafficking. What counter-measures should be taken to prevent the same? 15

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies – 2 (GS 2) Question Paper

UPSC Mains 2018 GS 2
UPSC Mains 2018 GS 2

Time: 3 Hours                                                              Maximum Marks: 250

Answers to Questions No. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to Question No. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.

  1. In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (10)
  2. Whether National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC) can enforce the implementation of constitutional reservation for the Scheduled Castes in the religious minority institutions? Examine. (10)
  3. Under what circumstances can the Financial Emergency be proclaimed by the President of India? What consequences follow when such a declaration remains in force? (10)
  4. Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee. (10)
  5. “The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has a very vital role to play.” Explain how this is reflected in the method and terms of his appointment as well as the range of powers he can exercise. (10)
  6. “Policy contradictions among various competing sectors and stakeholders have resulted in inadequate ‘protection and prevention of degradation to environment.” Comment with relevant illustrations.
  7. Appropriate local community level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieve ‘Health for All’ in India. Explain.
  8. E-governance in not only about utilization of the power of new technology, but also much about critical importance of the ‘use value’ of information. Explain. (10)
  9. “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (10 )
  10. A number of outside powers have entrenched themselves in Central Asia, which is a zone of interest to India. Discuss the implications, in this context, of India’s joining the Ashgabat Agreement, 2018. (10)
  11. Whether the Supreme Court Judgement (July 2018) can settle the political tussle between the Lt. Governor and elected government of Delhi? Examine. (15)
  12. How far do you agree with the view that tribunals curtail the jurisdiction of ordinary courts? In view of the above, discuss the constitutional validity and competency of the tribunals in India. (15)
  13. Indian and USA are two large democracies. Examine the basic tenets on which the two political systems are based.(15)
  14. How is the Finance Commission of India constituted? What do you know about the terms of reference of the recently constituted Finance Commission? Discuss. (15)
  15. Assess the importance of the Panchayat system in India as a part of local government. Apart from government grants, what sources the Panchayats can look out for financing developmental projects? (15)
  16. Multiplicity of various commissions for the vulnerable sections of the society leads to problems of overlapping jurisdiction and duplication of functions. Is it better to merge all commissions into an umbrella Human Rights Commission? Argue your case. (15)
  17. How far do you agree with the view that the focus on lack of availability of food as the main cause of hunger takes the attention away from ineffective human development policies in India? (15)
  18. The Citizen’s Charter is an ideal instrument of organisational transparency and accountability, but it has its own limitations. Identify the limitations and suggest measures for greater effectiveness of the Citizen’s Charters. (15)
  19. What are the key areas of reform if the WTO has to survive in the present context of ‘Trade War’, especially keeping in mind the interest of India? (15)
  20. In what ways would the ongoing US-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to its situation? (15)

UPSC CSE Mains 2018 – General Studies – 1 (GS 1) Question Paper

General Studies - 1 Mains 2018
General Studies - 1 Mains 2018

Time: 3 Hours                                                              Maximum Marks: 250

Answers to Questions No. 1 to 10 should be in 150 words, whereas answers to Question No. 11 to 20 should be in 250 words.

  1. Safeguarding the Indian art heritage is the need of the moment. Comment (10)
  2. Assess the importance of the accounts of the Chinese and Arab travellers in the reconstruction of the history of India. (10)
  3. Throw light on the significance of the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi in the present times. (10)
  4. Why is Indian Regional Navigational Satellite System (IRNSS) needed? How does it help in navigation? (10 )
  5. Why is India taking keen interest in the Arctic region? (10)
  6. Define mantle plume and explain its role in plate tectonics. (10)
  7. What are the consequences of spreading of ‘Dead Zones’ on marine ecosystem? (10)
  8. “Caste system is assuming new identities and associational forms. Hence, caste system cannot be eradicated in India.” Comment. (10)
  9. ‘Despite implementation of various programmes for eradication of poverty by the government in India, poverty is still existing’. Explain by giving reasons. (10)
  10. How the Indian concept of secularism different from the western model of secularism? Discuss. (10)
  11. The Bhakti movement received a remarkable re-orientation with the advent of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Discuss. (15)
  12. Discuss whether formation of new states in recent times is beneficial or not for the economy of India. (15)
  13. Why indentured labour was taken by the British from India to their colonies? have they been able to preserve their cultural identity over there? (15)
  14. “The ideal solution of depleting ground water resources in India is water harvesting system.” How can it be made effective in urban areas? (15)
  15. Defining blue revolution, explain the problems and strategies for pisciculture development in India. (15)
  16. What is the significance of Industrial Corridors in India? Identifying industrial corridors, explain their main characteristics. (15)
  17. Mention core strategies for the transformation of aspirational districts in India and explain the nature of convergence, collaboration and competition for its success. (15)
  18. ‘Women’s movement in India has not addresses the issues of women of lower social strata.’ Substantiate your view. (15)
  19. ‘Globalisation is generally said to promote cultural homogenisation but due to this cultural specificities appear to be strengthened in the Indian society.’ Elucidate. (15)
  20. ‘Communalism arises either due to power struggle or relative deprivation.’ Argue by giving suitable illustrations. (15)

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