Daily Mains Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

17 June 2021 - Thrusday


Mains Value Addition

Mains Analysis

Topic No

Topic Name



Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India

The Hindu


Neighbours against the virus

Indian Express

Mains Value Addition

Needed: full disclosure on electoral bonds

SyllabusGS 2: Governance

Analysis: –

  • Caught between a statutory bar on grant of regular bail and a judicial embargo on any close examination of available evidence at the bail stage, those arrested under the country’s main anti-terror law have been languishing in jails without trial for extended periods.
  • The Delhi High Court orders granting bail to three student activists jailed for over a year for their alleged role in the February 2020 riots in Delhi represent a clear-headed effort to get around such impediments.
  • Sound in legal reasoning and interpretation, the judgments of Justice Siddharth Mridul and Justice Anup Jairam Bhambhani have made a salient distinction between those accused of offences against the country’s integrity and security on the one hand, and protesters or dissenters roped in unjustifiably under the rubric of ‘terrorism’ on the other.
  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been invoked by the Delhi Police against activists and others who were among those organising the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, on the claim that they had also fomented the riots.
  • Under Section 43D(5), there is a legal bar on granting bail if the court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusation against those held is prima facie true.
  • Adding to this onerous burden on the accused to demonstrate to the court that the accusation is untrue is a 2019 Supreme Court judgment that bars a detailed analysis of the evidence at the bail stage and rules that bail can be denied on “the broad probabilities” of the case.

An acquittal with no good, but the bad and the ugly

SyllabusGS 3: Science and Technology

Analysis: –

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems thoroughly modern. But he also appears to be steeped hopelessly in superstition.
  • He promotes the exploration of the moon, orders the most sophisticated fighter jets, launches the first bullet train project, boasts about India being a vaccine ‘powerhouse’ that supplies vaccines to the world — all products of modern science.
  • But he also simultaneously plumps for pseudoscience. He invokes cosmic energy to drive out the SARS-CoV-2 by exhorting the public to beat gongs and blow conches at auspicious hours based on ancient numerology; he does not pull up his Cabinet colleagues when they launch a yoga guru’s concocted COVID-19 medicine, drugs that have no clinical evidence of trials and have been condemned by the Indian Medical Association.
  • Modi speaks glowingly of India’s scientific accomplishments in its mythic past and cites, for example, the elephant head transposed on Lord Ganesha as great strides in plastic surgery, long before the West invented it.
  • Nobel-winner physicist Richard Feynman coined the term ‘cargo cult science’ to describe all kinds of pseudoscience that passed off for science over the ages — ancient superstitions, black magic, voodoo, witch doctors, astrology, mind reading, ESP (extrasensory perception), expanded consciousness, aphrodisiacs made from rhino horns, and other debatable ideas.
  • He spoke of a ‘Cargo Cult’ of people, the South Sea islanders in the Pacific, who, during the world war, had seen planes landing and delivering cargos.

Mains Analysis

Energy inefficiency can short circuit cooling India

Why in News?

As Indian homes will be a key site where future cooling demand will play out, awareness of energy efficiency is crucial

Syllabus—GS 3- Infrastructure: Energy

  • More frequent and intense heat waves are expected with a rise in global temperatures due to climate change.
  • In the last three decades, there have been 660 heat waves across India causing 12,273 deaths.
  • The India Cooling Action Plan projects the number of room air conditioners to become about four times in the next 10 years, making India the world’s largest energy user for cooling.

Scant data

  • Despite its clear importance, the implications of an increase in residential cooling demand have not been carefully examined.
  • Estimates of AC ownership and usage, the two factors which will determine the extent of future cooling demand, have little empirical backing.
  • The pursuit of energy efficiency, too — for instance, who buys efficient technologies and why — remains underexplored.

Delhi survey results

  • In a recently published paper in the Environmental Research Letters, household cooling patterns, and unpack household characteristics are leading to increased use of air conditioners and adoption of energy efficient choices.
  • We find that the desired levels of cooling vary greatly even among relatively homogenous communities.
  • India Cooling Action Plan in its estimation of residential cooling demand, assumes that an average household uses an AC for eight hours a day, which as per our study seems to be an upper bound.
  • Wide range of preferred AC temperatures have important implications on energy demand requirements, as every 1°C increase in AC set-point temperature can lead to additional 6% energy savings.
  • Energy efficiency does not feature as a priority in the purchase of cooling appliances.




An obstacle

  • Large-scale adoption of efficient cooling appliances will be essential to providing the required thermal comfort in a low carbon manner.
  • We find that low levels of energy efficiency awareness are a major bottleneck that hinders the purchase of more efficient appliances.
  • Higher upfront cost and low market availability of more efficient air conditioners (four-star and five-star) are other reasons for buying a less efficient AC.

Other solutions

  • The impending cooling demand transition in India offers a potential advantage. Because a majority of investments in cooling technologies, infrastructure, and behaviours are yet to be made, there is a unique opportunity to lock-in energy efficient consumption patterns.
  • Encouraging the use of passive cooling alternatives including energy efficient building designs can help provide the desired thermal comfort with reduced dependence on energy intensive cooling technologies.

Question: –

Awareness campaigns on the benefits of energy efficiency along with subsidies and financial incentives that help with the higher upfront costs can help drive up the adoption of more efficient technologies.Discuss.

Neighbours against the virus

Why in News?

Since the revision of GDP calculation methodology in 2015, there’s been a debate about how India calculates its GDP & about GDP as a measure itself.

Syllabus—GS2: India & Its Neighbourhood relations


Background: –

  • The rising COVID numbers during February in South Asia has completely strained health systems.
  • The massive surge in India soon spilled into Nepal leading to apocalyptic scenes of overwhelmed hospitals.
  • Containing the borderless virus necessitated global cooperation.
  • The 2021 deadly surge makes a regionally coordinated, evidence-driven strategy even more critical.
  • The challenging & changing virus made it necessary to construct multi-stakeholder regional coalitions to devise new solutions & frugal innovations that can be applied across South Asia.
  • Given the region’s shared beliefs & similar contexts, local successes must be amplified across the region.

Cooperation among South-Asian countries: Fight against COVID:


  • The South Asian countries shared a troubled history with each other.
  • This mutual mistrust hit rock bottom during 2014 when SAARC failed to hold a summit.
  • But beliefs, priorities traditions, & aversions to behavioral change are more similar across South Asia.
  • This means that successful interventions in changing behavior at one place are likely applicable in other subcontinent parts.

Examples of Successful Interventions:

From Bangladesh:

  • Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) campaigns originally by Bangladeshi NGOs to solve the problem of open defecation, now broadly applied across South Asia & beyond.
  • The Grameen Bank microcredit model was an indigenous South Asian innovation that spread rapidly.
  • BRAC’s recent graduation programme targeting the ultra-poor in Bangladesh was replicated with success across South Asia.

From India:

  • Its digitized social protection ecosystem with Aadhaar ids & Jan Dhan accounts serves as a model for the region.

From Pakistan:

  • Pakistan’s E-governance programmes like eVaccs & Citizen Feedback Model have been replicated & provide strong models ready to be deployed regionally & globally.
  • On similar lines, A new pan-South Asian Consortium evolved with core team members from South Asian nations, to develop jointly COVID prevention strategies.
  • This was born out of an experiment conducted in Bangladesh which successfully changed social norms around mask-wearing in rural communities.
  • The learning from the experiment is that a combination of no-cost distribution, offering information, reinforcing the message in public spaces & modeling & endorsement by community leaders (NORM) leads to a large, sustained increase in mask usage that persisted beyond the period of active intervention.
  • The NORM model was quickly implemented in India by SEWA.
  • In Pakistan, Lahore worked to adapt the NORM model to an urban setting & devised new creative ideas to improve effectiveness.
  • Effective mask promotion requires visits to thousands of remote villages & that can be used to prepare for more effective community-based health care responses.

Efforts in India: –

  • In India, a Swasth Community Science Alliance was created that committed to pragmatic, science-based protocols to manage mild COVID in rural India.
  • The NORM implementation teams based across South Asia are learning from each other’s success & failures.
  • The coalition is poised to change mask-wearing norms across the region.
  • The CSA is working with partners across rural, tribal belts around India to support the design, implementation & monitoring of home-based programmes & COVID-19 centers providing treatment for moderate cases.
  • Combining the NORM & CSA interventions, the Masking-Treatment-Vaccine preparation (MTV) approach offers a sensible strategy to mitigate the pandemic until universal vaccination is achieved.
  • These regional solutions can be applied scientifically sound interventions to the local context.


  • The COVID crisis has increased policymakers’ appetite for evidence-informed policy measures that can be quickly implemented to stem transmission.
  • The drive for quick action has created unprecedented opportunities for enhanced cross-country collab that are normally hampered by politics & mistrust.
  • The new consortium that is based on the MVT approach can serve as a model for a broader & deeper collaborative ecosystem that endures us.
  • It is high time for all the South Asian countries to come together in solving the problems that affect all.
  • Let the lasting legacy of the pandemic be a new era of partnership in social innovations that can benefit all South Asians.

Question: –

Even with the variation in each nation’s response to the Pandemic, the successful strategies find commonality in their adherence to science & attention to the local context. Comment.

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