Mains Q & A 29 December 2022
Q1. A society with an excessive concentration of the poor cannot be prosperous because real political equality requires some level of economic equality. Analyse. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS II Poverty related issues
Political equality refers to how equally each person participates in the creation of governmental policies. The equal consideration of the preferences and interests of all citizens is one of the fundamental tenets of a democracy. In India, each individual has one vote.
Economic inequality is the unequal distribution of resources and opportunities among individuals or other social groupings. These two groups are connected because inequality in one group has an impact on inequality in the other.
An explanation of economic disparity:
According to Oxfam’s 2019 study titled “Public good or Private Wealth?, the wealthiest 10% of Indians hold 77.4% of the country’s total wealth, compared to the top 1% who own 51.53%.
Just 4.8% of the nation’s wealth is held by the bottom 60% of the population.
The poorest 10% of the population, 13.6 crore Indians, have been carrying debt for the past 15 years.
India, with a wealth Gini score of 0.83 in 2017, is one of the nations with the greatest levels of inequality.
Political equality is nullified by economic inequality.
However, unequal wealth and income distribution may have a negative effect on a person’s capacity to engage in democracy on a personal level.
It might lead to procedural inequality, which would restrict access to those who lack wealth and income to those who make political and policy decisions.
Elites are better able to use their riches to further their political and other ideological goals when there is a higher concentration of wealth at the top.
Most of the time, those at the top of the distribution chain possess excessive authority, the capacity to limit redistribution, and even influence how the game is played.
Numerous studies have shown that legislators give affluent voters more consideration than they do less wealthy ones.
Since choices are thought of as a form of freedom, inequality robs us of them in the end, especially when it takes the form of extreme poverty.
Since poverty robs people of their potential, those at the bottom of the economic scale might be considered to be poor.
Democracy also requires a certain level of trust between individuals, and it is believed that rising wealth disparity threatens this relationship since it fosters political alienation and a sense that different groups, particularly those at the bottom, are being treated unfairly.
Human agency must be safeguarded since it is crucial to democracy that people exercise their rights. The assumption made by this human agency is that fundamental material requirements will have been addressed, which may not be the case given the growing wealth and income gaps.
The social capital that keeps society together disintegrates if people don’t believe that the political and economic structures are just, which negatively affects society as a whole. This is due to institutions effectively promoting confidence. People who have faith in their governments are typically less corrupt, experience less conflicts at work, and are more receptive. Communities with higher levels of trust cooperate more frequently. Therefore, achieving political equality and upholding social order depend on economic equality.
Q2. If ecological services are no longer sufficient to meet social requirements, the loss of biodiversity may have a major direct impact on human health. Examine. (250 words)
Paper & Topic: GS III Environment related issues
According to a 2018 study, even though humans only make up 0.01% of all living things in terms of mass, we are to blame for the extinction of 50% of all vegetation and 83% of all wild animals. By doing this, we jeopardise our own health and wellbeing in addition to depriving ourselves of the aesthetic pleasure of appreciating nature’s beauty in its magnificent array of diverse life forms.
Families, communities, countries, and upcoming generations all benefit from biological diversity as a resource. It serves as the connection between all life forms on Earth, bringing them all together into an ecosystem that is interdependent and in which they all play a part. The web of life is it.
According to the Center for Science and Environment’s (CSE) most recent research, “State of India’s Environment in Figures 2021,” 90% of India’s four biodiversity hotspots have disappeared.
The Indo-Burma hotspot, which has lost 95% of its vegetative area and decreased from 23.73 lakh sq. km to 1.18 lakh sq. km, is the hotspot that has been most severely impacted.
The extinction of 25 species in these four locations is another worrying development.
Effects of declining biodiversity on human health:
Disaster-prone: Biodiversity acts as a barrier against pandemics and helps build resilience against natural disasters like floods and storms.
We are now more susceptible to floods, and the loss of about 35% of the world’s mangrove forests is contributing to rising sea levels and endangering coastal agriculture.
Forest loss and zoonosis Deforestation reduces soil stability and raises the possibility of landslides because of slack ground, which causes a number of plant species to go extinct.
Deforestation reduces the barriers that serve as a barrier between animal and human populations, which enhances the transmission of zoonotic illnesses.
Food security: The presence of biodiversity frequently acts as a “safety net,” enhancing both its and certain local societies’ capacity to endure external economic and ecological crises.
Improved food security may result from agricultural farming practices that protect and utilise biodiversity.
Ecological services: The World Conservation Union, or IUCN, has calculated that the annual economic value of the products and services provided by ecosystems is somewhere about US$33 trillion.
Energy security: More than half of the energy used in developing nations comes from wood burning. In locations with high population densities, there is a shortage of wood fuel but no access to other, more affordable energy sources.
Watershed erosion and continuous forest loss have a severe influence on the quantity and quality of water used for domestic and agricultural uses.
Health: Access to a variety of foods is necessary for a balanced diet, which in turn depends on the preservation of biodiversity. A wider range of animals might help stop many viruses from being transmitted from wildlife to humans.
In order to control or lessen global warming, carbon sequestration involves permanently removing or capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Natural biological, physical, and chemical processes carry it out.
If these services are discontinued, less carbon dioxide will be removed from the atmosphere.
The importance of biodiversity in natural settings cannot be overstated. It aids in the availability of the goods and services that we require on a daily basis. The diversity of life in the natural environment is seriously threatened by growing urbanisation and human advancement.
If these trends are not stopped, terrible outcomes will follow. To address these difficulties, various actions can be made in science, politics, and even daily life. To both reverse any harm already done and prevent further injury, consumers must be informed of the risks and take proactive measures.
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