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22-05-2024

12:00:AM

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GS:3 [Defence : Various Security Forces & Agencies & Their Mandate] 


About CDS:

  • Current CDS : Anil Chauhan
  • It is the military head and permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) of the Indian Armed Forces. 
  • It is the highest-ranking uniformed officer on active duty in the Indian military and chief military adviser to the Minister of Defence.
  • The Chief also heads the Department of Military Affairs.
  • The CDS is assisted by a vice-chief, the Chief of Integrated Defence Staff.
  • The first Chief of Defence Staff was General Bipin Rawat.
  • Aim :  improving coordination, tri-service effectiveness and overall integration of the combat capabilities of the Indian armed forces.
  • The government amended Service Rules of the Army, Navy and Air Force, allowing retired Service Chiefs and three-star officers eligible for consideration for the country’s top military post.

Multi Domain Operations (MDO)

  • It is not just actions on land, in sea, air, cyber, space and in the electromagnetic spectrum. It comprises operations conducted across multiple domains and contested spaces.
  • It needs convergence of capabilities to overcome an adversary’s strengths. This means having a common operating picture across all domains which forms the basis of any decision.
  • It is the best positioned and capable operator of any service using its capabilities across any domain. Thus, an Army coastal missile battery could be tasked to strike an enemy naval vessel detected by the radar of an Air Force aircraft.

Integrated Theatre Commands

  • Combining the resources of all three services ( the Army, Navy, and Air Force) under a single commander to secure a particular geographic area is known as integrated theatre commands.
  • There are theatre commands in several countries, including China and the United States. The reports of the military reforms commission headed by Lt. General (ret.) DB Shekatkar made the concept of Theatre Command a suggestion.

Current commands in India

  • The Indian armed forces currently have 17 commands.
  • There are seven commands each of the Army (Northern, Eastern, Southern, Western, Central, South-western and Army Training Command)
  • The Air Force has seven commands (Western, Eastern, Southern, Southwestern, Central, Training and Maintenance).
  • The Navy has three commands (Western, Eastern and Southern).
  • A four-star military commander is in charge of each command.


GS 2 : [Polity and Social Justice]


The caste system has been a persistent feature of Indian society for centuries. Due to its harmful and divisive effect on society, concerted efforts have been made to eliminate the caste system and its influence, such as:

 

  • Constitutional provisions: Right to equality (article 14), right against discrimination (article 15), prohibition of untouchability (article 17), National Commissions for SCs, STs, OBCs (NCSC, NCST, NCBC), etc.
  • Legal provisions: Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Protection of Civil Rights Act, Manual Scavengers and Rehabilitation Act, National Human Rights Commission etc.
  • Political measures: Dr BR Ambedkar’s call for ‘annihilation of caste,’ affirmative-action based policies, initiatives from civil society organisations etc.


Despite efforts to eliminate it, the caste system has evolved and continues to persist in the following ways:

 

  • Social discrimination: Lower-caste individuals face discrimination in various spheres of life, including individual rights, opportunities in education and employment, and access to public services and public places.
  • Caste Inequalities: The caste system has created structural inequalities with certain castes being historically disadvantaged. These structural inequalities persist. As a result, development status has a rough parallel with caste status, as most of the impoverished masses of India belong to backward castes.
  • Caste-based politics: Political parties treat caste groups as vote-banks. Parties form caste based alliances and coalitions to fight elections and form government. This caste-based politics reinforces the caste system and perpetuates divisions among different communities.
  • Marriages: Caste continues to hold its sway in formation of marriage relations. Inter-caste marriages remain a taboo and face stiff opposition from society, in the form of social boycott and even violence including ‘honour killing.’
  • Social Inertia: Certain cultural beliefs such as the notion of purity and pollution reinforce the caste system by associating certain roles, behaviours, and attributes to individuals based on their caste. E.g., employment of scheduled caste persons in roles of scavenging or use of caste-based slurs.

Following factors have contributed to the continuance of caste-based discrimination and inequality in society:

  • Political Reasons:
  • Mandalisation of politics: Politicization of caste due to ‘Mandal politics’ has made caste the deciding factor in politics.
  • Periodic elections: Repeated cycle of electoral campaigning reinvigorates caste consciousness due to caste-based political mobilisation.
  • Policy inadequacy:
  • Inadequate reservation system: The reservation system has not proved sufficient in either ending casteism or caste-based disabilities. Few dominant castes within the reserved castes corner the benefits.
  • Legal Measures: A top-down approach of constitutional-legal structures fails at the ground level due to inadequate social conviction against the evils of caste-based discrimination. E.g., demands for changes in the SC-ST Act due to alleged misuse.
  • Socialisation: Children absorb casteism from within families and relatives as they see them practice it in their behaviour and language.
  • Structural Inequalities: Dalits and lower castes face resource poverty and lack of assets like land which remain in hands of dominant castes. Due to historical backwardness in education, literacy etc., backward castes face generational lag in availing opportunities.


GS 2 : [International Relation]

The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine has intensified with Russia's recent nuclear posturing, including drills simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons and the stationing of nuclear arms in Belarus. This escalation raises significant concerns about global nuclear stability and the principles governing nuclear deterrence.


Controversy Surrounding Russia’s Nuclear Posturing:

  • Introduction to the Issue: Russia's nuclear manoeuvres, framed as responses to comments by Western leaders supporting Ukraine, seem more like attempts at brinkmanship rather than reactions to genuine existential threats. This nuclear posturing is particularly alarming given the potential for lowered thresholds for nuclear weapon use.
  • Shift in Nuclear Doctrine: Historically, nuclear deterrence relied on the principle of mutually assured destruction and the notion that nuclear weapons are a last resort. Russia’s current strategy represents a significant departure from these norms, potentially normalizing the use of nuclear threats in conventional conflicts.
  • Impact on Global Security: By lowering the nuclear use threshold, Russia risks setting a precedent that could encourage other nuclear and non-nuclear states to adopt similar postures, thus increasing global nuclear proliferation and instability.

Global Security Concerns and Policy Implications:

  • Dangerous Precedent: Russia’s actions may embolden other nations like Iran and North Korea to consider or flaunt nuclear capabilities as a deterrent in conventional conflicts. This could lead to an increase in nuclear arsenals globally and undermine efforts toward nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.
  • Erosion of Non-Proliferation Efforts: The war has highlighted the vulnerabilities of non-nuclear states, potentially motivating them to seek nuclear capabilities. The Budapest Memorandum, where Ukraine gave up its nuclear arsenal for security assurances, now appears ineffective, potentially discouraging future disarmament agreements.
  • Shift in Nuclear Deterrence: The traditional clear distinction between nuclear and conventional warfare is being blurred. Russia’s signaling suggests that nuclear weapons might be considered for coercion in lower-stakes conflicts, thereby altering the global nuclear deterrence landscape. 


GS 3 : [Environment : Climate Change]



Context

  • While climate change is a global concern, issues such as water scarcity and air pollution are often localised or regionalised. 
  • For example, excessive water use in one region may not directly affect water scarcity elsewhere.
  • Focusing on local environmental issues is crucial; and herein comes the importance of understanding household environmental footprints.

How are household environmental footprints distributed in India?

  • A recent study highlights the environmental impact of affluent individuals, particularly those who engage in consumption beyond basic needs.
  • This study specifically examines the CO2, water, and particulate matter (PM2.5) footprints associated with luxury consumption choices among households in India across different economic classes.
  • The analysis contrasts these luxury consumption footprints with those associated with non-luxury consumption. The luxury consumption basket includes various categories such as dining out, vacations, furniture, social events etc.

What were the key findings?

  • The study reveals that all three environmental footprints increase as households move from poorer to richer economic classes.
  • Specifically, the footprints of the richest 10% of households are approximately double the overall average across the population.
  • A notable surge in footprints is observed from the ninth to the 10th decile, with the air pollution footprint experiencing the highest increase at 68% in the 10th decile compared to the ninth.
  • Conversely, the rise in the water footprint is the lowest at 39%, while CO2 emissions stand at 55%.
  • This suggests that Indian consumers, particularly those in the top decile, are still in the ‘take-off’ stage, with only the wealthiest segment exhibiting substantial increases in consumption-related environmental footprints.
  • The heightened footprints in the 10th decile are primarily attributed to increased expenditure on luxury consumption items.

What are the key contributors?

  • The study identifies eating out/restaurants as a significant contributor to the rise in environmental footprints, particularly in the top decile households, across all three footprints.
  • Additionally, the consumption of fruits and nuts is highlighted as a factor driving the increase in water footprint in the 10th decile.
  • Luxury consumption items such as personal goods, jewellery, and eating out contribute to the rise in CO2 and air pollution footprints.
  • While transitioning from biomass to LPG reduces direct footprints, the lifestyle choices associated with affluence lead to a rise in PM2.5 footprints (and subsequently, the CO2 footprint).
  • The average per capita CO2 footprint of the top decile in India, at 6.7 tonnes per capita per year, is noted to be higher than the global average of 4.7 tonnes in 2010 and the annual average of 1.9 tonnes CO2eq/cap required to achieve the Paris agreement target of 1.5°C.
  • While still below the levels of the average citizen in the U.S. or U.K., this disparity underscores the need for urgent attention from policymakers.
  • Given the influence of elite lifestyles on broader societal aspirations, policymakers should prioritise efforts to nudge consumption levels of affluent households downwards to align with sustainability goals.

Implications

  • The study emphasises that while sustainability efforts often focus on global climate change, global environmental footprints do not necessarily align with local and regional scale footprints.
  • However, local and regional environmental issues exacerbated by luxury consumption disproportionately affect marginalised communities.
  • For instance, water scarcity and air pollution disproportionately impact marginalised groups, further marginalising them, while affluent sections can afford protective measures such as air-conditioned cars and air purifiers.
  • This underscores the importance of multi-footprint analysis in addressing environmental justice concerns and ensuring equitable sustainability efforts.

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