Outline the various types of cyber-threats that India faces and bring out the measures that have been taken to counter them. (15 marks)

Outline the various types of cyber-threats that India faces and bring out the measures that have been taken to counter them. (15 marks)

Approach:

  • Introduce by defining cyber threats
  • List various types of cyber threats
  • Enumerate measures taken by govt. – legal and administrative – IT Act, CERT-In etc.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Cyber threat is the possibility of a malicious attempt to damage or disrupt a computer network or system. Issues over the recent years like petya ransomware, debit/credit card data hacking, Aadhaar data misuse etc. has raised the concern on India’s ability to secure cyber space. With internet penetration rapidly rising in India, we need a more robust security infrastructure to deal with such threats.

Various cyber threats:

  1. Cyber Crime: Cybercrimes are usually of two kinds:
    1. Those directed at computers or other devices (for example, hacking, malware, DoS attacks virus attacks etc)
    2. Those where computers or other devices are integral to the offence (for example, online fraud, identity theft, cyber bullying, distribution of child exploitation material etc)
  2. Cyber Espionage: Cyber espionage represents the strategy of breaking into computer systems and networks in order to extract sensitive governmental or corporate information.
  3. Cyber Terrorism: Actions threatening unity and security of India or striking terror in people by denying access of penetrating into a computer to cause death and destruction of property or adversely affect the critical information infrastructure.
  4. Cyber Warfare: States attacking the information systems of other countries for disrupting their critical infrastructure and disrupt an adversary’s ability to function during a conflict

Measures to counter cyber threats:

  • Legal measures
    • Information Technology Act 2008 (as amended in 2012)
    • Relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.
  • Administrative Measures
    • National Cyber Security Policy 2013 (NCSP): serves as an umbrella framework for defining and guiding the actions related to security of cyberspace.
    • CERT-In: A Computer Emergency Response Team –India (CERT-In) as nodal agency for cyber security incident response. It runs the 24×7 National Watch and Alert System.
    • National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC): NCCC is to ensure near real time threat assessment and to coordinate between intelligence agencies.
    • National Critical Information Infrastructure Protection Centre (NCIIPC)
    • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) for cyber crime monitoring
    • Setting up of cyber forensic units and creating trained human resources

As nature of cyber space is fast evolving and transnational, the response system also needs to be constantly evolving. India needs to focus on cyber security literacy, updating cyber laws, institutionalizing transnational cooperation mechanisms and creating a dedicated cadre of cyber security personnel. The new cyber security policy acts as a guide in the right direction.

Subjects : security issues

Rapid and sustained poverty reduction requires inclusive growth that allows people to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. Analyze.

Rapid and sustained poverty reduction requires inclusive growth that allows people to contribute to and benefit from economic growth. Analyze.
Approach:
  • Briefly introduce inclusive growth.
  • Discuss the need of inclusive growth for poverty reduction.
  • Then explain how it allows people to contribute to and benefit from economic growth.
  • Conclude while giving suggestions briefly.
Model Answer :
Inclusive growth is growth that creates opportunity for all segments of the population and distributes the dividends of increased prosperity, both in monetary and non-monetary terms, fairly across society. This concept expands upon traditional economic growth models to include focus on the equity of health, human capital, environmental quality, social protection, and food security.
Need of inclusive growth for poverty reduction:
According to Oxfam’s report, ‘An economy for the 99 percent’, the gap between rich and poor is far greater than had been feared. Inequalities in incomes lead to poverty, and have multidimensional impacts on social, economic and political life. Overall levels of health are far worse in more economically unequal societies.
Rapid pace of growth is unquestionably necessary for substantial poverty reduction, but for this growth to be sustainable in the long run, it should be broad-based across sectors, and inclusive of the large part of the country’s labour force.
Benefits of inclusive growth:
In equal societies, people will have more job opportunities; equal income etc. This will lead to rise in purchasing power of people, better physical and mental health, rise in literacy rate, more social mobility and less violence. All these factors like high purchasing power, labor growth etc. will spur the economic growth as well. So, inclusive growth is beneficial for both people and economic growth, thus allowing both to contribute to each other.
Way Forward:
In the short run, governments could use income distribution schemes to weaken negative impact on the poor of strategies intended to jump start growth but in long term governments need to empower people in terms of human capital. The Indian government has taken many steps in this direction like Right to education act, National health policy 2017, redistributive tax approach etc. but their effective implementation is the need of hour.

Subjects : Economy

The National Health Policy 2017 aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost. Discuss the main provisions of policy in this regard and highlight any shortcomings.

The National Health Policy 2017 aims at achieving universal health coverage and delivering quality health care services to all at affordable cost. Discuss the main provisions of policy in this regard and highlight any shortcomings.

Approach:

  • Briefly introduce NHP 2017
  • Discuss the main provisions of NHP
  • Then also give its shortcomings
  • Conclude with a futuristic approach
Model Answer :

 

The National Health Policy seeks to reach everyone in an integrated way to move towards wellness. It seeks to promote quality of care, with focus on emerging diseases and investment in preventive healthcare.

Main provisions of policy:

  • It proposes free drugs, free diagnostics and free emergency care services in all public hospitals.
  • It prioritizes the role of the Government in shaping health systems in all its dimensions.
  • It advocates a positive and proactive engagement with the private sector for critical gap filling towards achieving national goals.
  • The policy proposes raising public health expenditure to 2.5% of the GDP in a time bound manner.
  • The policy envisages providing larger package of assured comprehensive primary health care through the Health and Wellness Centers’.
  • The policy assigns specific quantitative targets aimed at reduction of disease prevalence/incidence, for health status etc.

Various shortcomings in the policy:

  • Public health expenditure target of 2.5% seems to be insufficient with the rising cases of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
  • Right to health which was proposed in the draft is deleted.
  • There is no mention of reforming the regulatory framework for like Medical Council of India etc.
  • Another one is the neglect to incentivize and promote operational research in health sector
  • Also there is lack of clarity in objective, design, financing and incentives.

Even with such limitations, the Health Policy is forward-looking because it does seek to strengthen the infrastructure, capacity, financing and human resources, and envisages a complete overhaul of primary care in a way that will expand its scope and scale to ensure continuity with higher levels of care.

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Wetlands provide numerous important ecological services and their destruction of wetlands is a cause of concern. Discuss, along with the measures being taken by the government for their conservation.

Wetlands provide numerous important ecological services and their destruction of wetlands is a cause of concern. Discuss, along with the measures being taken by the government for their conservation.

Approach :

  • Introduce with wetlands
  • Mention how wetlands provide key ecological services
  • Mention the threats to wetlands and steps taken by government to conserve wetlands.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

Wetlands are areas where water is at or near the surface of the land and water is the primary factor controlling the environment and the associated plant and animal life. They include swamps, marshes, lakes, lagoons, saltmarshes, mangroves, bogs, peatlands etc. The destruction of wetlands is a concern because they are some of the most productive habitats on the planet, and provide many ecological services.

Ecological services provided by wetlands:

  • They are important sites for biodiversity, conservation of endangered species, and provide habitation to a large number of flora and fauna.
  • They help in water storage and purification, ground water replenishment, and are nurseries for freshwater
  • .Stabilise climatic conditions as they act as carbon sinks.
  • Shoreline stabilization and erosion control, flood control etc.
  • Are important for primary products such as agriculture (eg. paddy cultivation), fisheries and forestry.

Wetlands are getting extinct due to manifold reasons, including anthropogenic and natural causes. Burgeoning population, intensified human activities, deforestation, pollution, climate change, salinization, unplanned development, absence of management structure, lack of proper legislation, lack of public awareness about it’s importance, etc are contributing to their decline.

Various steps taken by government to conserve wetlands:

  • India is a signatory to RAMSAR convention on wetlands, which promotes designation and conservation of key wetlands.
  • The National Wetland Conservation and Management Program for conservation and wise use of wetlands in the country works to prevent their further degradation.
  • Wetland (conservation and management) rules, 2010 were notified recently to ensure better conservation and management. New rules were notified in 2017 to ban encroachment of wetlands, and prohibit solid waste dumping, discharge of untreated waste and effluents from industries, cities, towns etc.
  • National Lake Conservation Plan to restore and conserve the urban and semi-urban lakes of the country degraded due to waste water into the lake and other unique freshwater ecosystems, through an integrated ecosystem approach.
  • National Environment Policy, 2006 recognises the numerous ecological services rendered by wetlands.
  • National Centre on Wetlands and Marine biodiversity was set up for specialised studies.

Wetlands are indispensable for countless benefits and ecosystem services they provide. An integrated management plan must be prepared for each wetland. Wetlands Conservation must be taken up at district, State, national, regional, and global levels for the welfare of present and future generations.

Subjects : Ecology and Environment

Guatemala drags India to WTO’s dispute mechanism over sugar subsidies

Guatemala drags India to WTO’s dispute mechanism over sugar subsidies

Details :

The News

  • Guatemala has dragged India into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) dispute settlement mechanism.
  • The dispute has been filed against the domestic support measures maintained by India in favour of producers of sugarcane and sugar, and export subsidies for sugarcane and sugar.

 

Where is Guatemala?

  • Guatemala is a country in Central America, south of Mexico.

  • It is bounded to the north and west by Mexico, to the northeast by Belize and by the Gulf of Honduras (Caribbean Sea), to the east by Honduras, to the southeast by El Salvador, and to the south by the Pacific Ocean.

 

News Summary

  • As per Guatemala, India maintains various domestic support measures in favour of sugarcane and sugar producers, such as:
    • System of administered prices for sugar cane operating through the Fair and Remunerative Price;
    • Minimum selling price for sugar;
    • Financial assistance to sugarcane producers, for example: production subsidies to mills to offset sugarcane price arrears, and
    • Subsidies to maintain buffer stocks.
  • India provides export subsidies for sugarcane and sugar,such as:
    • Subsidies provided to sugar mills contingent on compliance with minimum indicative export quotas,
    • Subsidies to sugar mills for internal transport, freight, handling and other charges to facilitate export freight support for exports.
  • Guatemala claims that the domestic support measures are inconsistent with India’s obligations under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), while the alleged export subsidies are inconsistent with India’s obligations under the AoA and the Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures (SCM Agreement).

Note: Brazil and Australia also have lodged a formal complaint against India with the WTO alleging that India’s continued sugar subsidies to farmers have led to a “glut” and “depressed” global prices.

 

About Dispute Settlement Process of WTO

  • The first step of dispute settlement process is seeking consultation.
  • Thus, India will now have to hold separate consultations with Australia, Brazil and Guatemala to listen to their concerns and explain its position.
  • If the nations are not able to reach a mutually agreed solution through consultation, India may request for a WTO dispute settlement panel to review the matter.

 

 

 

Section : Economics

Floods are the most commonly occurring natural disaster in India. What are the reasons for frequent floods in India? Suggest steps that need to be taken for proper flood management.

Floods are the most commonly occurring natural disaster in India. What are the reasons for frequent floods in India? Suggest steps that need to be taken for proper flood management.
Approach:
  • Brief Introduction to floods in India.
  • Mention reasons for floods.
  • Discuss measures for flood management.
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :
India is one of the most flood prone countries in the world. Riverine flooding is the most critical climate-related hazard in India. Twenty-three of the 35 states and union territories in the country are subject to floods and 40 million hectares of land, roughly one-eighth of the country’s geographical area, is prone to floods..
Reasons for Floods in India:
Natural reasons:
  • Rainfall: Heavy seasonal rains lead to rivers carrying water over their carrying capacity, as seen in frequent floods in Bihar.
  • Silt: Heavy sediment load from the catchments (especially Himalayan ranes), coupled with inadequate carrying capacity of the rivers
  • Cyclones: Cyclones accompanied by strong winds, high tidal bores inundates coastal regions and cause floods.
  • Cloud bursts: They result in flash floods, as seen in Uttarakhand floods.
Anthropogenic causes:
  • Drainage: Human impact on natural drainage reduces its capacity to carry away the rainwater quickly to streams/ rivers.
  • Flood plain encroachment: Population pressure resulting in encroachments into the flood plains over the years has aggravated the flood problem
  • Urban planning: Improper town planning, inadequate drainage arrangement lead to urban floods. Ex- Chennai Floods.
Floods create various problems such as crop and livestock loss, outbreak of diseases, water and sanitation issues, mud houses gets destroyed, access to basic services such as school gets restricted.
Measures for flood management:
  • Shifting the focus from flood management to flood governance i.e. shift from viewing floods as an extreme natural catastrophe to a hazard that is partly anthropogenic and partly natural.
  • Construction/strengthening  of embankments, new dams and reservoirs with specific flood cushion provisions
  • Desilting/Dredging of rivers
  • Catchment Area Treatment /Afforestation to prevent soil erosion, enhance water conservation and minimise water and sediment runoff.
  • Integrated Water Resources Management
  • Rejuvenation of wetlands, lakes, dykes, drain as it will check the flooding to a large extent.
  • Capacity building through training and public awareness
  • Flood response teams, SDRF and NDRF as well as adequate contingency funds for immediate flood response
  • Flood Management Plans to be prepared by all relevant agencies
According to the estimate of the National Commission on Floods, 80 per cent of flood prone area in India can be provided with a reasonable degree of protection. To minimize the damage caused by floods, flood control and management planning along with potential impact of climate change need to be integrated into development planning for the country.

Subjects : Disaster Management