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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 JANUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 JANUARY 2019


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


Topic Indian polity : issues

1) Getting rid of the minimum education criteria for contesting panchayat polls is a welcome decision, especially in India which is home to 35% of the world’s illiterate population. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the recent decision of Rajasthan government to do away with educational qualification as a criteria for contesting local polls. When this decision came out, there was huge debate over the constitutional as well as the functionality of the decision, including a verdict by court in rajbala vs state of Haryana 2015. It is expected of aspirants to form a perspective on this issue.

Key demand of the question

Th question expects us to explain the recent decision of the government with regards to minimum educational qualification and discuss the pros and cons of the decision including the judicial verdict on the issue. Finally we need to provide a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Critically analyze –

Structure of the answer

Introduction – explain about the recent decision of Rajasthan government to do away with educational qualification as a criteria for contesting local elections.

Body

  • Highlight the fact that such preconditions have been prescribed by several governments including Rajasthan and Haryana. Discuss the rationale behind such legislations. Explain that the idea behind such educational qualification criteria, two child policy etc is to ensure that people who come into governance are socially and ethically aware of their duties and responsibilities.Explain the verdict of SC in rajbala vs state of Haryana India regarding constitutionality of such preconditions.
  • Discuss the impact of such judgments – Highlight that it acts as exclusionary as a sizable section of population who are illiterate because of the ineffectiveness of state in imparting education to all are being penalized.
  • Discuss the cons of having such preconditions. Explain that While the Constitution states the eligibility criteria for becoming MLAs and MPs in India in terms of, say, the age of a person, there are no required minimum educational qualifications for them or even the ministers. Etc

Conclusion – Give your view on this issue and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

                Rajasthan government has approved to do away with the minimum education qualification required to contest panchayat and urban bodies’ elections. The education criteria was introduced by the previous government. The criteria was

  • To contest the municipal, zila parishad or panchayat samiti polls, a contestant must have a minimum qualification of secondary education (Class X).
  • To contest the sarpanch elections, an aspirant from the general category must have passed Class VIII and a SC/ST aspirant must have passed Class V.

Body:

Rationale behind Minimum Education Criteria:

  • The Minimum Education Criteria was introduced in Haryana too in 2015.
  • The constitutional validity of decision was subsequently upheld by Supreme Court in Rajbala vs. State of Haryana
  • The SC had ruled that “it is the education which gives a human being the power to discriminate between right and wrong, good and bad”.
  • The uneducated or illiterate can be easily misled by officials.
  • Supporters claim that the criteria will incentivize women’s literacy in rural areas.
  • To ensure that people who come into governance are socially and ethically aware of their duties and responsibilities.
  • There are other criteria like two-child policy too present in states. About 12 states currently have the policy, Assam being the latest entrant into the list.

Cons ofMinimum Education Criteria:

Social:

  • The criteria penalises the people for failure to meet certain social indicators.g.:India which is home for 35% of World’s illiterate population will be at disadvantage.
  • The already marginalised sections like Dalits, women will be excluded. g.: The literacy rate (Census 2011) for women in Rajasthan is 52% and most of the literate women are in urban areas.
  • The criteria discriminates on the lines of religion, caste and sex, because mostly those who are deprived of education are the SC’s, ST’s and women.
  • The Right to Education became a fundamental right as recent as 2002, thereby putting many at disadvantage prior to it.
  • Mainstreaming of many sections of people will be hindered.

Political:

  • It violates the right of every citizen to vote and to contest elections, which forms the basic structure of our constitution.
  • There are no minimum education qualification for MP’s or MLA’s in the Constitution.
  • The very essence of involving people at grass-roots level envisaged in 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments will be defeated by excluding a large chunk of people.
  • The State’s ineffectiveness in imparting education will bear a brunt on the people now.
  • To mandate what makes a person good goes against the spirit of democracy.

Ethical:

  • Honesty, reliability, ability to connect with people, deal with crisis are traits of a leader for which education is not necessary.
  • Experiences has shown that wisdom plays a greater role than education at local governance levels.
  • As Dr. B.R Ambedkar opined, an illiterate person is not necessarily an unintelligent person.

Pros of Minimum Education Criteria:

  • The candidates will be better aware of the provisions of Constitution and cannot be misled by conniving officials or vested interests.
  • With education, the states will have to truly devolve the functions that local governments can take care of by themselves.
  • Ministry of Panchayat reports have successively highlighted difficulty in training uneducated representatives.
  • The issue of “Token Representation” or “Panchayat-Pati” system would be eliminated as education gives a sense of confidence among the marginalised sections.
  • The criteria in itself promote the awareness of importance of education among the parents which will benefit the generations to come.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour is                 to implement the ground reforms like adult education, right to free and compulsory education better before implementing such laws. There is more imperative need to tackle challenges like criminalization of politics, transparent electoral funding currently.

       


Topic– Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

2) Stress on economic indicators like GDP is catering to people’s’ needs as consumers but is not fulfilling their aspirations as citizens of good societies. Analyze.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article written by an ex-member of erstwhile planning commission briefly discusses the perils of economic progress unmatched by an equal measure of social and political progress and why there is a need to shift human endeavours towards a holistic, sustainable and democratic setup which caters to all the human needs and not just their economic hunger.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the central role played by GDP figures in modern economies and why such a myopic approach is not good for a healthy democracy and environmentally sustainable society.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  economic indicators like GDP being in use to compare nations and states and quantifying their progress etc.

Body

  1. Discuss the benefits of measuring growth in terms of GDP figures. E.g
  • Growth can be easily measured and quantified.
  • It indicates increase in overall purchasing and investment capacity of a society.
  • GDP is also used as an indicator of a nation’s overall standard of living because, generally, a nation’s standard of living increases as GDP increases etc.
  1. Discuss the perils of measure human progress in strictly economic terms. E.g
  • many complex forces—ecological, social, political and economic—interact to shape the future. No expert in any one discipline can comprehend the interactions among all these forces.
  • progress is too unequal.
  • Economists have focused too narrowly on the economic side of human aspirations, setting aside human yearnings for belonging to social collectives and nations.
  • Capitalist systems founded on a religion of property rights have treated nature that nurtures as an “externality” to be exploited etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. E.g to make the world better for everyone, consumers must learn to be better citizens and to democratically govern the local systems within which they live.

Introduction:

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the most widely used measures of an economy’s output or production.Samuelson and Nordhaus liken the ability of GDP to give an overall picture of the state of the economy to that of a satellite in space that can survey the weather across an entire continent.

Body:

Benefits of GDP as a tool to measure the growth of a nation:

  • GDP consists of consumer spending, Investment expenditure, government spending and net exports.
  • It provides an insight to investors which highlights the trend of the economy by comparing GDP levels as an index.
  • GDP is used as an indicator for most governments and economic decision-makers for planning and policy formulation.
  • GDP is not the perfect way to measure growth. But among the alternatives, it is the least “inaccurate” method to compute the growth rate of the country.
  • GDP is also used as an indicator of a nation’s overall standard of living because, generally, a nation’s standard of living increases as GDP increases.
  • If by growth one means the expansion of output of goods and services, then GDP or preferably real GDP which measures growth without the effects of inflation is perfectly satisfactory
  • Calculation of GDP provides with the general health of the economy. A negative GDP growth portrays bad signals for the economy. Economists analyse GDP to find out whether the economy is in recession, depression or boom.
  • GDP growth over time enables central banks and policymakers to evaluate whether the economy is in recession or inflation. In that sense it is still required.
  • GDP has held significance as a universal metric over the years.
  • It is inaccurate to say that GDP does not capture wellbeing. It captures at least the wellbeing that results from the production of goods and services. Indeed, whenstatisticians quantify the goods and services produced, they take into account their utility to the consumer.

Perils of measure human progress in strictly economic terms:

  • Since the institution of GDP figures and country rankings, other measures of the quality of life have appeared.E.g.:, The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) annually issues a report based on a study of 140 countries, indicating the levels of happiness in those countries. For at least the last decade, European countries such as Denmark, Finland, have ranked at the top and India is nowhere to be seen.
  • Economists have focused too narrowly on the economic side of human aspirations, setting aside human yearnings for belonging to social collectives and nations.
  • The progress is too unequal. g.:The Oxfam report which shows that 1% of the people own about 60% of the wealth in India.
  • GDP is neither a measure of welfare nor an indicator of well-being.
    1. That is because it is not set up to recognize important aspects of our lives that are not captured by the acts of spending and investing.
    2. There is no room in GDP for volunteering or housework, for example; nor does it recognize that there is value in community or in time spent with families.
    3. More measurable things such as damage to our environment are also left out, as is job satisfaction. GDP doesn’t even measure the state of jobs.
  • Capitalist systems founded on a religion of property rights have treated nature that nurtures as an “externality” to be exploited. Thus, it does not take into account the sustainability of future GDP.
  • GDP also ignores important factors like environment, happiness, community, fairness and justice. But these are important aspects of development.
  • It does not allow for the health of children, the quality of their education or the strength of marriages; neither wisdom nor learning; neither compassionnor devotion to country which makes life worthwhile.
  • GDP also assumes all growth is good growth. g.: savings from energy-efficient devices counts as a negative for GDP growth, even though it is a positive for society.
  • GDP does not take into account the value of non-monetized activity. g.: Care activity of women.
  • GDP does not differentiate between more or less productive economic activity (i.e. implicitly assumes that economic activity is the desirable ends rather than a means to an end).
  • All value additions for self-consumption, which are not put out in the market, are not accounted in the GDP.

Conclusion:

Broader, non-monetary, measures are required to assess the well-being of citizens. To make the world better for everyone, consumers must learn to be better citizens and to democratically govern the local systems within which they live.


Topic – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

3) GST 2.0 will arrive in incremental stages, not at one go. Do you agree. Comment.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Many political parties and politicians have called for reforms in the GST structure and there have been calls to bring GST 2.0, a revised and more progressive GST regime. The article discusses the need for reform arising in the current regime and why one-time reforms in GST regime are not possible.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to write in detail about the current GST structure and its shortcomings which call for the arrival of GST 2.0. We have to express our opinion as to why/ why not GST 2.0 would be a progressive achievement rather than a wholesale reform.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:– write a few introductory lines about the GST 2.0 E. g GST  2.0 is a revised form of GST that aims to resolve the problems and deficiencies associated with the present GST regime. Among others it aspires to cover excluded item like electricity real estate and petroleum, and evolve a common composition scheme for goods and services etc.

Body

  1. Discuss the shortcomings of current GST structure and thus discuss why there is a need of adopting a newer version of GST E.g
  • Finding a revenue-neutral rate by adding up state and central value-added taxes on various products
  • Need to keep inflation down in the initial phases of the exercise, which resulted in many items of common consumption being kept out of the GST;
  • Need to compensate states for losses, which resulted in the imposition of a cess to create a separate revenue corpus from which losses would be compensated;
  • Need to coax small businesses into the GST net, if needed by giving them an entirely different set of rules to live by (as in the composition scheme)
  • Political compulsion to create a progressive rate structure
  1. Discuss why only incremental rather than drastic reforms are possible under GST. e.g
  • In the GST Council, a vote on any issue needs 75% backing, which means the centre can block any proposal with its 33% voting rights.
  • A coalition of states with 25% backing can also block. When Mizoram’s vote equals Uttar Pradesh’s, a coalition of tiny states can block proposals that lack consensus. This is why the only way forward is to make one or two tweaks every few months etc.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

 

Introduction:

 

GST 2.0 is a revised form of GST that aims to resolve the problems and deficiencies associated with the present GST regime. The changes could be in terms of tax rates, expansion of ambit, system of advance rulings, clarity on cess and procedural issues. Among others it aspires to cover excluded item like electricity real estate and petroleum, and evolve a common composition scheme for goods and services etc.

 

Body:

 

Benefits of Current GST system:

 

 

The current GST heralded a change in the indirect taxation system of India. However, there are shortcomings of current GST structure and thus, there is a need of adopting a newer version of GST.

 

Shortcomings of current GST structure:

 

  • Compliance has miles to go: The information technology glitches took more than the anticipated time to be resolved. The filing system that was put in place in the beginning was quickly abandoned as businesses struggled with compliance.

 

  • Cumbersome registration system: Multiple registration requirements have complicated things for industry, which was expecting simplicity. In many cases, registration is required in all states. Companies fear that multiple audits and assessments due to multiple registrations could make life more difficult for them going forward.

 

  • GST rate structure:Political compulsion to create a progressive rate structure led a multi-tiered GST structure. While a single GST rate is the international norm, given India’s diversity and the need to have a differential tax treatment for “must have” and “nice to have” goods and services, a two-rate GST structure should be adopted leaving no room for any incorrect or inadvertent interpretation for classification.

 

  • Alcohol, petroleum products outside purview of GST: Petroleum Products such as petroleum crude, motor spirit (petrol), high-speed diesel, natural gas and aviation turbine fuel etc. are charged as per the previous tax structure. GST is also not applicable on electricity. No Constitutional Amendment is required for their inclusion in GST. Only a consensus in the GST Council is sufficient, should be taken up on priority.

 

  • One nation, one tax, with many acts and different tax processes: The e-way bill provisions have been made mandatory across the country with effect from April 1, 2018. While the requirements of e-way bill concerning the interstate movement of goods is uniform across the country, the requirements for intrastate (within the state) movement of goods differ from state to state. Gujarat has made the generation of e-way bill mandatory only for a select few products, while Maharashtra insists an e-way bill for intrastate movement of all products above the prescribed threshold of `50,000 per consignment.

 

  • New cesses crop up: While GST scrapped a multiplicity of taxes and cesses, a new levy in the form of compensation cess was introduced for luxury and sin goods.The need to compensate states for losses resulted in the imposition of a cess.A separate revenue corpus would ensure states are compensated. This was later expanded to include automobiles. A new cess on sugar is also being examined.

 

  • Refunds problem for exports: The refund mechanism for exporters, including data matching law, besides procedures governing them, have irked the sector, particularly smaller entities that saw their working capital requirements rise. Though several efforts have been made to address the issue, it may require more intervention.

 

  • Revenue-neutral rate:Finding a revenue-neutral rate by adding up state and central value-added taxes on various products. Arvind Subramanian had headed a committee and submitted the report on the “Revenue Neutral Rate and Structure of Rates for the GST”. In his report, he had suggested a preferred revenue neutral rate of 15 per cent, with two, four, and six per cent rate for precious metals, a low rate of 12 per cent for goods along with a standard rate of 16.9, 17.3 and 17.7 per cent and one 40 per cent rate for demerit goods.

 

  • Small Businesses under GST ambit: Need to coax small businesses into the GST net, if needed by giving them an entirely different set of rules to live by.GST Composition Scheme, under which small traders and businesses pay a 1% tax based on turnover (Rs. 1.5 Crore) and exemption from paying GST upto Rs. 40 lakh. Small taxpayers can get rid of tedious GST formalities and pay GST at a fixed rate of turnover.

 

Drastic overhaul of GST is not possible:

  • The GST Council set up has certain procedures. A vote on any issue needs 75% backing, which means the centre can block any proposal with its 33% voting rights.
  • A coalition of states with 25% backing can also block.g.: When Mizoram’s vote equals Uttar Pradesh’s, a coalition of tiny states can block proposals that lack consensus.
  • This is why the only way forward is to make one or two tweaks every few months in consensus-oriented way.

 

Conclusion:

Undoubtedly, GST has received positive as well as negative responses as befits its characterisation as a toddler. Problems of transition to a major tax reform are unavoidable and most countries go through this. However, further steps will bring out the true sense of ‘One Nation One Tax’.


Topic-Effects of liberalization on the economy

4) The recent updates to the regulations governing FDI in e-commerce does well to close out the transgressions and violations in the existing policy wrt FDI in e-commerce. Critically Analyze. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Online shopping has witnessed a very high growth rate in India and is bound to further increase in future. Indian government has recently issued some new rules for e-commerce and it is important to discuss those rules and their possible impact in detail

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the recent regulations brought in by the government regarding FDI in e-commerce. Thereafter, we need to explain the pros and cons of the decision including the impact on such online marketplace. Finally we need to provide a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Critically analyze –

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Write a few introductory lines about the  recently released e-commerce rules. E.g the new rules stipulate  that e-commerce entities will have to maintain a level playing field, and ensure that they do not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods and services etc.

Body

  • Discuss the provisions of the rules in detail.
    • From February 1, 2019, e-commerce companies running marketplace platforms cannot sell products through companies, and of companies, in which they hold equity stake;
    • Inventory of a vendor will be deemed to be controlled by e-commerce marketplace entity if more than 25% of purchases of such vendor are from the marketplace entity or its group companies etc.
  • Analyze whether these rules amount to micromanagement on the part of government which would adversely impact such investments into e-commerce sector which is a high growth sector in Indian economy. On the other hand, also explain that these explanation to the rules are a clarification of existing regulations governing FDI in e-commerce and will positively impact the domestic players.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced conclusion after analysing all aspects and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

 

In the last couple of years, e-commerce transactions have risen substantially in India and abroad. The size of the digital economyin India will be $1 trillion by 2022 and it will account for close to 50% of the entire economy by 2030.

This necessitates better policy response and coordination among various wings of the government. Ministry of Commerce & Industry recently reviewed the policy on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in e-commerce.The new rules stipulate that e-commerce entities will have to maintain a level playing field, and ensure that they do not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods and services.

 

Body:

The provisions of the rules in detail along with the new changes proposed.

Scope:

  • E-Commerce entities would engage only in Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce and not in Business to Consumer (B2C) e-commerce.
  • Models in e-Commerce:
    • Marketplace based model provides an IT platform by an e-commerce entity on a digital & electronic network to act as a facilitator between buyer and seller. E.g.: Amazon, Flipkart.
    • Inventory based model means an e-commerce activity where inventory of goods and services is owned by e-commerce entity and is sold to the consumers directly.

FDI:

  • 100% FDI under automatic route is permitted in marketplace model of e-commerce.
  • FDI is not permitted in inventory based model of e-commerce.

Equity ownership:

  • RECENT ADDITION:The sellers that have equity ownership by the marketplace or its group companies will no longer be able to sell on the marketplace.
  • g.: a product in which Amazon or Flipkart have a stake cannot be sold on their respective platforms.

Inventory ownership:

  • E-commerce entity providing a marketplace should not exercise ownership or control over the inventory.
  • RECENT ADDITION:Sellers will no longer be able to source more than 25% of their purchase from the marketplace or its group companies.
  • Such entities will be classified as inventory-based model.

Responsibility and Accountability:

  • RECENT ADDITION:The marketplaces are required to submit to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) an annual compliance certificate from their statutory auditors is important for ensuring implementation.
  • Consumer protection for the goods and services sold on website will be applicable to E-Commerce entities as brick and mortar entities.
  • This is in tune with the provisions of Consumer Protection Bill 2018.

Pricing:

  • RECENT ADDITION:E-commerce entities providing marketplace will not directly or indirectly influence the sale price of goods or services and should maintain a level playing field.
  • Deep discounts and offers like cashbacks provided by marketplace entity to buyers should be fair and non-discriminatory.

Data Localisation measure:

  • Companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google that generate user data through ecommerce platforms, social media and search engines have to store data exclusively in India.

Redressal:

  • A separate wing to be set up in the Enforcement Directorate. This will handle grievances related to guidelines for foreign investment in ecommerce.

Payment:

  • Currently, a large number of payments for online purchases is made through the cash-on-delivery option.
  • To make online payments safer, the task force has suggested creating a fraud intelligence mechanism. This would use artificial intelligence-based authentication systems, for early detection of frauds.

Negatives of such regulations:

  • These rules amount to micromanagement on the part of government which would adversely impact such investments into e-commerce sector which is a high growth sector in Indian economy.
  • The rules can have significant impact on the business model of e-commerce majors, as most of them source goods from sellers who are related.
  • Equity restrictions can affect sales of products in which the e-Commerce entities have a stake in manufacturing companies of products. E.g.: WS Retail cannot sell their products on Flipkart as the latter has a stake more than 25%.
  • Consumers may no longer enjoy the deep discounts offered by retailers that have a close association with marketplace entities.

 

Positives of the regulations:

  • The rules are a clarification of existing regulations governing FDI in e-commerce and will positively impact the domestic players.
  • The absence of large retailers will, however, bring relief to small retailers selling on these platforms.
  • Traders running traditional brick-and-mortar stores, who now find it difficult to compete with the large e-commerce retailers with deep pockets, could gain.
  • Checks Cartelization: The e-commerce players cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of goods and services.
  • Sellers will get autonomy as the e-commerce marketplace entity will not mandate any seller to sell any product exclusively on its platform only.
  • Other Positives:

Conclusion:

The proposed rules are a step in the right direction to bring about equity in the e-Commerce sector which has hitherto been controlled by big conglomerates. However, Self-regulation regarding operating guidelines, based on the government’s stated policies, is the ideal way forward for India’s digital commerce sector.


Topic: Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

5) Without being sincere about enlarging the democratic space in Kashmir, every call for de-escalation will be seen by people as an invitation to surrender and will be vehemently resisted. Comment.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

SItuation in Kashmir has worsened with time as can be gauged from the number of civilian and security personnel killings in 2018, one of the highest in this decade. The article provides an insider view of the present distress in the valley and calls for deepening and strengthening of democracy.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.  

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our knowledge and understanding about the present situation in Kashmir and express our opinion as to why/ why not, without being sincere about enlarging the democratic space in Kashmir, every call for de-escalation will be seen by people as an invitation to surrender and will be vehemently resisted.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  present situation in Kashmir. E.g mention about the fall of BJP-PDP coalition and governor’s rule and also mention that 2018 saw the highest number of casualties since 2008 etc.

Body-

Discuss the relationship between shrinking democratic space and rise of violent forms of protest against the government. E.g

  • DIscuss the erosion of democracy and democratic institutions in the valley- interference by the central govt. In the functioning of state govt; no respect for rule of law and accountability on part of the government; rise in corruption in the state etc.
  • Voter-turnout has been time again misused to negate the legitimacy of the political aspirations of the people and governance issues are used to confuse their narrative.
  • If the people’s call for the restoration of their political agency is responded to only by deploying stronger and more lethal weapons, then this asymmetric war is not ending anytime soon.
  • The way out of the deadlock in Kashmir is to strengthen democracy. The Indian state must be extra accommodating of dissent, when dealing with Kashmir. Those who win elections must have the freedom to truthfully represent their electorate. The existing “mainstream” political parties must not feel threatened by intrigues originating in Delhi etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

 

Introduction:

        The insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir began in 1989 and has ebbed and flowed in the intervening years.In 2018, the death toll for militants and security forces in Kashmir touched the highest point in a decade, according to official figures, with more than 400 killed. The state of J&K is now under President’s rule owing to the failure of the coalition government, thereby wiping out of the people’s mandate.The absence of any meaningful political process to address Kashmiri grievances points to a more violent situation in the coming years.

 

Body:

        Outrage over the Shopian rape incident, invocation of collective conscience during Afzal Guru’s execution, the capture of the newsrooms in Delhi, the sanctimonious politics of rescue during the September 2014 floods, coalition government in 2015, pellet-gun-related mass blinding during the Burhan Wani agitation were some of the major provocations in last decade that pushed Kashmiris towards a suicidal upsurge against the Indian state.

 

Shrinking democratic space and increasing violence can be studied under the following heads

  1. Political reasons:
  • Reducing Political Participation: The state saw the lowest voter turnout of 7.1% in bypoll election at Srinagar in 2017, when the 2014 state assembly elections saw 65% and 2008 saw 60%.
  • Incidents like rigging of the 1987 elections has reduced faith of the people in democratic processes.
  • The lack of faith in the electoral process also stems from the fear that voter-turnout is misused to negate the legitimacy of the political aspirations of the people and governance issues are used to confuse their narrative
  • No respect for rule of law and accountability on part of the government; rise in corruption in the state.
  • The paradox that those who represent the sentiment do not participate in the electoral process and those who participate in the electoral process do not represent the sentiment.
  • Elections have been held regularly since 1996, but there is a feeling that the elected representatives are either a disempowered lot.
  • The upper-hand of the Central Government vis-à-vis the state government.
  • The elected representatives are misrepresenting their electorate by not speaking out about the basic Kashmir issue, for their personal gains.
  • The central government sent a special representative to listen to people’s “grievances” but no one seemed interested in bartering “aspirations” for “grievances” and the dialogue couldn’t take off.
  1. Security reasons:
  • Continued application of Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA), curfews, presence of armed forces has increased the anger of people. E.g.: the human shield incident goes against human dignity.
  • The right to protest, dissent (Article 19) has been curbed leading to snatching away of the political freedom of the people.
  • The Supreme Court in Anita Thakur v Government of J&K has reaffirmed that in the name of maintaining law and order, State has not received a license to trample upon the sacrosanct Fundamental Rights of ordinary citizen.
  • People’s call for the restoration of their political agency is responded to by deploying stronger and more lethal weapons.
  • Non-State Actors:
  • Communalisation of political issue has flared up the situation by hindering the functions of democratic institutions.
  • The non-state actors like Separatists in both regions are active and present ideas to youth which distracts them from focusing on their careers in different fields.
  • The terrorist organisations have been successful in radicalising many youths through use of Internet and spreading disbelief in democracy.
  1. Socio-Economic reasons:
  • Despite framing of developmental policies, actual implementation is lacking at ground level. RTE although a fundamental right, many areas do not have necessary infrastructure to support education leading to poor knowledge of their rights.
  • Women empowerment is at its lowest level and high rates of unemployment add to the frustration of the people.
  • Lack of socio-economic development leads to unrest and violence.

IMPACTS:

  • Increasing extremism and a fertile breeding ground for non-state actors like terrorists, extremists.
  • Loss of faith and credibility in the Democracy and growing demand of secession from India.
  • Alienation of the Kashmiri youth and higher vulnerability to radicalisation.
  • Increased causalities of security forces. When bread-winners of family is killed, it pushes the family into poverty.
  • Failure of Government Schemes.

Way Forward:

  • Kashmir needs non-violent and democratic methods to achieve political aspirations.
  • The way out of the deadlock in Kashmir is to strengthen democracy.
  • The Indian state must be extra accommodating of dissent, when dealing with Kashmir.
  • Those who win elections must have the freedom to truthfully represent their electorate.
  • The existing “mainstream” political parties must not feel threatened by intrigues originating in Delhi.
  • The perception that it is not the ballot but the deep-state that changes regimes in Kashmir must end.
  • Involvement of all genuine stakeholders in dialogue to get the representation of all voices of Kashmir.
  • In the true spirit of free speech, public debate must be allowed to include the whole range of issues, from governance to regional aspirations to issues of minority communities like the Kashmiri Pandits and, most importantly, the right to self-determination.
  • Strengthening of Local Governments which involves people at the grassroots level.

Conclusion:

There is a need to devolve true autonomy to the democratic institutions of J&K in letter and spirit. The spirit of accommodation and tolerance should be inculcated and must be practiced from lowest to top echelons of State to alleviate the mistrust of people in latter.


Topic-Part of static series under the heading – “ethical issues in international relations and funding”

6) Our inability to come to an adequate agreement with regards to financing, technology transfer etc to prevent climate change reflects the lack of ethics in international relations. Discuss(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The agreement which has come out of the recently concluded summit at Katowice has been criticized for its lack of ambition in devising a solution to the trenchant problem of climate change. We need to examine whether the issue is on account of lack of ethics in international relations. We need to provide a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the inadequate nature of the agreement meant to tackle climate change – one of the gravest danger posed before the world today.

Body

  • Explain the issue of climate change and the problems associated with financing and technology transfer.
  • Discuss that the focus of the countries is on ensuring that other nations can’t progress on their account instead of thinking of the significant problem that faces us
  • Similarly, explain that our inability to come up with a framework for loss and damage reflects our lack of empathy.
  • However, also bring out that in international ethics the primary responsibility of the nations is to secure their interest but for the sake of our planet there is a need for all nations to come together

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced opinion and discuss way forward.

 

Introduction:

Climate change presents a severe ethical challenge, forcing us to confront difficult questions as individual moral agents, and even more so as members of larger political systems. It is genuinely global and seriously intergenerational, and crosses species boundaries. It also takes place in a setting where existing institutions and theories are weak, proving little ethical guidance.

       

Body:

        The fact that the recent Conference of Parties at Katowice could not reach on an agreement on finance and technology transfer. The developed countries didn’t agree to the terms and this has put the Paris Deal (2015) at peril.

       

Compassion and empathy: The pulling out of the 2nd largest emitter of Greenhouse gases, USA, shows the lack of compassion and empathy for the climate justice and climate equity to the small island developing nations. E.g. Nauru, Vanuatu

 

Justice and equity:Despite the call for “common but differentiated responsibilities”, the sufferers remain the poorer countries, when most often the developed countries either fail or remain reluctant to fulfil the responsibility. This goes against the principles of Justice and equity.

 

Self-Centredness:The inability to come up with a framework for loss and damage reflects our lack of empathy and self – centeredness of the nations. Further the lack of any responsibility towards transfer of technology to fight climate changes by MNC’s to poorer nations shows the selfishness of MNC’s.

 

Collective Responsibility: There was a consensus among the developed nations to finance the Green Climate fund. The constant bickering and lack of initiative shows that nations are not walking the talk which shows the lack of integrity.

 

Utilitarian philosophy: Institutions are obliged to act through utilitarian principles. For utilitarian’s, the principles of climate change agreement must lie on the consequences and overall utility irrespective of people’s preferences. This implies that the disadvantaged countries, particularly the endangered islands have no say in the agreement if overall result for the rest of the countries, ignoring the demands of least developed, produces the required beneficial result.

 

Conclusion:

Climate Change threatens the well-being of people and the planet, raising crucial issues of ethics and public policy that we ignore at our peril. Left unchecked, or by doing too little too late, climate change will haunt future generations and leave a despoiled earth as our legacy.

Thus, In International ethics the primary responsibility of the nations is to secure their interest but for the sake of our planet there is a need for all nations to come together.


Topic– Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service , integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7) What do you think can be the strategies required to make public servants ethically compliant. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question

The question wants us to bring out a strategy which is practical and at the same time effective to make public servants more ethically compliant and end the ethical laxity experienced by them

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Mention that In the wake of many revelations of criminal offences among public and community service officials, one is justified in asking whether there is a systemic problem of ethical behavior and morality defects in public service agencies etc.

Body-

Discuss the strategy to make public servants ethically compliant and morally upright. E.g

  • Establish rules which require public officials to give reasons for their official decisions;
  • Institute management approaches that enable public officials to deal assertively with corruption and unethical practice when they encounter it, even at the risk of offending their superiors.
  • ‘whistleblower’ protection law to protect appropriate ‘public interest disclosures’ of wrongdoing by officials;
  • ethics audits to identify risks to the integrity of the most important processes (for example financial management, tendering, recruitment and promotion, dismissal and discipline);
  • new Human Resource Management strategies (which link, for example, ethical performance with entry and advancement, and ethical ‘under-performance’ with disciplinary processes), merit based promotion and recruitment, anti-discrimination protection;
  • training and development in the content and rationale of Ethics Codes, the application of ethical management principles, the proper use of official power, and the requirements of professional responsibility, and
  • effective external and internal complaint and redress procedures.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

 

Introduction:

In the wake of recent revelations of criminal offences among public and community service officials, one is justified in asking whether there is a systemic problem of ethical behaviour and morality defects in public service agencies.

Body:

There is growing concerns for a new focus on leadership criteria based on moral aptitude. If nothing is done to improve ethics and morality issues, the public will soon lose trust and confidence in these public service agencies. Ethics is a “moral compass”guides the public servants in their endeavour to serve the public efficiently and effectively. The Strategies by which the public servants can be made ethically compliant are

Internal mechanisms

  • Conscience: Public officials have a moral duty to act in a trustworthy manner.
  • Right Environment of Socialisation:Much of a person’s ethical standards are formed through upbringing and the value system established within his or her family environment.
  • Gandhiji’s talisman should guide every decision of the public servant.
  • Basic honesty and conformity to law: The public servant is morally bound, just as are other persons, to tell the truth, to keep promises, to respect the person and the property of others, and to abide by the requirements of the law.
  • Conflict of interest: The duty here is to ensure that the public interest comes first, and that one does not advance his own personal interest at the expense of the public.
  • Service orientation and procedural fairness: The moral obligation of public servants is to follow established procedures, and not to use their power to circumvent those procedures for their own convenience or benefit.

External mechanisms

Before Recruitment:

  • Proper screening and background checks are made to ensure proper motivation to serve the community.
  • Psychometric tests that provide some insights into the personal motivations and hidden values, beliefs and attitudes.
  • By obtaining inputs from varying sources, one can prevent potential ethical misadventures.

Post Recruitment:

  • Accountability: Establish rules which require public officials to give reasons for their official decisions. g.:Implementation of Right to Information Act, ICT compliance at work
  • Institute management approaches that enable public officials to deal assertively with corruption and unethical practice when they encounter it, even at the risk of offending their superiors.
  • Whistle-blower’ protection law to protect appropriate ‘public interest disclosures’ of wrongdoing by officials.
  • Ethics audits to identify risks to the integrity of the most important processes. g.: financial management, tendering, recruitment and promotion, dismissal and discipline
  • New Human Resource Management strategies. g.: ethical performance with entry and advancement, and ethical ‘under-performance’ with disciplinary processes.
  • Merit based promotion and recruitment, anti-discrimination protection.g.: Civil services board to be set up as recommended by 2nd ARC report. This would reduce the pressure on civil servants by political masters.
  • Training and development in the content and rationale of Ethics Codes, the application of ethical management principles, the proper use of official power, and the requirements of professional responsibility.
  • Effective external and internal complaint and redress procedures.g.: Citizen charters,Social audit mechanisms.

Conclusion:

        Public officials are given the trust of the public to develop and carry out policies that are in the public’s best interest. Living up to this trust has a significant impact on the national will. Public confidence is essential to the exercise of national power.