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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 FEBRUARY 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 FEBRUARY 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: Modern Indian History.

1) What was the third battle of Panipat all about? Examine whether the battle had distinctly religious undertones? What were the consequences of the battle?(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The article examines the 3rd battle of Panipat and discusses whether the battle had only religious undertones. It discusses the impact of the battle and the parallels that can be drawn in current times. The article gives us an opportunity for us to revise the battle and its impacts.

Key demand of the question

The demand of the question is clearly spent out in the question. We need to answer the three parts of the question in sequence.

Directive word

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer

Body – Highlight the stakeholders in the battle and its outcome.

  • Highlight the details of the battle – who were involved, causes of the battle and the outcome
  • Examine whether the battle was solely motivated by religious reasons
    • The combined army of Durrani and his allies were numerically superior to the Maratha army. Shuja-ud-daulah’s support also proved decisive as he provided the necessary finances for the Afghans’ long stay in northern India.
    • The century saw an array of social movements, organised around religion, community articulations, and agrarian expansion, often crystallising into coherent political entities. It was a period made for political adventurism, with shifting alliances making any political calculation virtually impossible.
    • In terms of realpolitik, what mattered was the steady growth of Maratha power northward, in the form of both territorial control as well as mediation in matters of deciding succession in regional states. Maratha operations were not especially well received — for example, by Jat ruler Surajmal.
    • Durrani chief was able to enlist the support of several malcontents (the Rohilla chief, the Nawab of Awadh) and most impressively, of the warrior ascetics, the Naga sanyasis and Gosains etc
  • Discuss the impact of the battle
    • More than anything, the Marathas’ inability to persuade the Rajputs, Jats and Sikhs to fight on their side proved fatal for the Marathas and such divisions allowed the east India company to establish their dominance
    • Battle of Panipat temporarily halted the Maratha advance, and enabled the East India Company to maintain a low profile for a while, consolidate its early gains in Bengal, and subsequently make a strong bid for supremacy in the subcontinent.

Conclusion – Give your view on the impact of the third battle of Panipat on modern Indian history.

Introduction:

                The Third battle of Panipat was fought between the Marathas, led by Sadashivrao Bhau and Durranis of Afghanistan, by Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1761. The Third Battle of Panipat changed the power equations in India, the Afghans could hardly rule any further, but paved the way for British Rule in India.

Body:

The main reasons for the battle

  • The weakness of Mughal emperors and the division of the nobility in contending groups.
  • The ambition of the Marathas to gain influence in the North and, for that purpose, their promise, of support to the Mughal emperor.
  • Lastly, the ambition of Abdali to capture Kashmir, Multan and Punjab and, for that purpose, his support to the Turani group of nobility.

Outcomes of the battle:

  • The third battle ended the Maratha attempt to succeed the Mughals as rulers of India and marked the virtual end of the Mughal empire.
  • The Maratha army, under the Bhao Sahib, uncle of the peshwa (chief minister), was trapped and destroyed by the Afghan chief Aḥmad Shah Durrānī.
  • This began 40 years of anarchy in north-western India and cleared the way for later British supremacy.

18th Century:

  • The 18th century was a period of profound change in the Indian subcontinent as the Mughal Empire gave way to regional powers, many of whom, like the Marathas, aspired to, and almost achieved, imperial status.
  • The century saw an array of social movements organised around religion viz. Bhakti Movement, community articulations, and agrarian expansion, often crystallising into coherent political entities.
  • It was a period made for political adventurism, with shifting alliances making any political calculation virtually impossible.
  • In this cauldron was a heady mix of religious invocation that did not always correspond to the cleavages that we assume to exist between Hindus and Muslims.
  • Durrani chief was able to enlist the support of several malcontents (the Rohilla chief, the Nawab of Awadh) and most impressively, of the warrior ascetics, the Naga sanyasis and Gosains

Thus, we can see that there were mostly political undertones than religious undertones.

The impact of the battle:

  • setback to expansionist policy of Maratha and rise of Sikh in Punjab.
  • The fragility of alliances and the overriding greed for immediate gain undercut possibilities of any long-term balancing of imperial aspirations with those of local powerholders.
  • The precarity of hastily conceived alliances, the extreme cynicism that accompanied all political and diplomatic engagements, blurred distinctions between friend and foe.
  • It was certain then that the Battle of Panipat temporarily halted the Maratha advance, and enabled the East India Company to maintain a low profile for a while, consolidate its early gains in Bengal, and subsequently make a strong bid for supremacy in the subcontinent.

Conclusion:

Contemporary political scene seems to have resemblances to cynical power politics. But it is certain now that the stakes are high, the narrative overcharged with religious symbols, while on the ground, all contenders have to grapple with the realities of power and go beyond the equations of caste, community,


Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2) Discuss how Swachh Bharat changed India and became a global inspiration?(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The news that On the lines of Swachh Bharat mission Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari declared a state of emergency and launched a new National Action Plan for the sector. It is said that imitation is the highest form of flattery and the news calls for assessing the impact of SBM both domestically and globally.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss in brief about SBM, examine in detail the benefits accrued by the mission both domestically and internationally. Thereafter it expects is to highlight the reasons behind the Nigerian government’s decision and give our view on the success of SBM.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the Swachh Bharat Mission

Body

  • Discuss the domestic impact of SBM
    • The SBM has transformed into a massive ‘Jan Andolan’ created on the ground using information, education, and communication, aiming to bring behaviour change.
    • Since the inception of the program, the rural sanitation coverage of India has increased significantly, from 39% in October 2014 to 95% today. Nearly 8.7 crore household toilets have been constructed under the Mission.
    • As a result, almost 25 States/Union Territories, 529 districts, and 5,09,067 villages have declared themselves as free from open defecation.
    • National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS) conducted under the World Bank support project found that 93.4% of the households in rural India who have access to a toilet use it, confirming that behaviour change is happening on the ground etc
    • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6.1 and 6.2 deals with water and sanitation respectively in which SBM is playing a massive role
  • Highlight about Nigeria’s decision to take learnings from the implementation of the programme in India
    • Experts are worried that Nigeria may overtake India as number one in open defecation.
    • Country made several efforts towards improving access to sanitation such adoption of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to scale up sanitation in rural areas. National and sub-national specific roadmaps were developed on lines of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
    • Many developing countries share similar challenges to India which makes Indian experience in this area invaluable – large population, decentralised government structure and WASH challenges. Etc
  • Discuss about the limitations of the mission in India which these countries should be wary of

Conclusion – give your view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) is perhaps the largest behaviour change campaign ever, aims to make India a clean nation. The mission will cover all rural and urban areas. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that SBM could prevent about 300,000 deaths due to water borne diseases assuming we achieve 100 per cent coverage by October 2019.

Body:

The domestic impact of SBM so far:

 

  • Five hundred and eighty four districts, 5,840 blocks, 244,687 gram panchayats and 541,433 villages are open defecation free (ODF).
  • As of September 2018, the sanitation coverage of India is upwards of 93 per cent and over 465,000 villages have been declared ODF.
  • Towards the end of 2017, an independent verification agency (IVA) conducted the National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS), and found that 4 per cent people who had toilets, used them regularly. NARSS also re- confirmed the ODF status of 95.6 per cent of the villages that had been verified ODF by the state governments.
  • Since October 2014, 91.5 million toilets have been constructed and 154.3 million rural households have toilets now.
  • IHHL (individual household latrine application) coverage in all states is in excess of 95 per cent, except Goa and Odisha.
  • Over the last four years, a cadre of 500,000 swachhagrahis has been created who have triggered lakhs of villages to become ODF.
  • The foot-soldiers have helped in geo-tagging toilets, verifying household behaviour, converting old toilets and retro-fitting them, engaging in other forms of cleanliness.
  • Bal Swatchata mission that was launched to inculcate cleanliness values and personal hygiene amongst children. This would go a long way in.
  • The SBM has transformed into a massive ‘Jan Andolan’ created on the ground using information, education, and communication, aiming to bring behaviour change.
  • Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6.1 and 6.2 deals with water and sanitation respectively in which SBM is playing a massive role.

Nigeria’s decisions to take learnings from the implementation of the programme in India are

  • Nigeria and India share similarities, which include a large population, decentralised government structure and WASH challenges. Both countries have been at the top of the global open defecation ladder.
  • As India strides forward through SBM, it has greatly challenged Nigeria as it is set to become the next global leader in practising open defecation once India meets her target.
  • During the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era, Nigeria made several efforts towards improving access to sanitation. These include the adoption of the Community-Led Total Sanitation (CLTS) approach to scale up sanitation in rural areas.
  • A new programme, Partnership for Expanded Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (PEWASH) was developed in 2016 to improve the situation and bring sector actors together.

However India has seen many challenges and stigma remains:

  • Purity and pollution:
    • The key reason for this is that basic latrines that need to be emptied out manually or pumped by simple machines are unacceptable to higher caste Hindus.
    • It is considered polluting to the individual and the home, and historically associated with untouchability. So people rather defecate in open than having a toilet at home.
    • It is not just a matter of access but a problem of perceptions of pollution, ritual purity, and caste.
    • Even if the government builds free toilets without any leakage or corruption, India will at best have 80 million new toilets that a large proportion of Indians do not want to use.
  • Contract labour:
    • Municipalities began to employ more contractual labourers mostly scavengers forced into the profession by their caste to remove waste.
    • The Swachh Bharat campaign hardly addresses a reworking of the underground sewerage system due to which many such labourers have died recently while cleaning jammed manholes that open into the sewerage system etc.
  • The rate of open defecation is not decreasing much:
    • India has far higher levels of open defecation than other countries of the same GDP per capita. For example, India has a higher GDP per capita than Bangladesh, but in Bangladesh only 8.4% households defecate in the open, compared to 55% in India.
  • Funds unspent:
    • Centre has literally forgotten to spend the money earmarked to promote the use of toilets, a concern raised in the State of India’s Environment in Figure: 2018.
    • Centre has also failed to exhaust its budget for Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin. This, despite the fact, that the budget for the scheme has seen a dip-over the past year.
  • Implementation issues:
    • Sanitation coverage figures seemed to be more on paper but the actual progress at the ground level is very lethargic. Behavioural change is still a distant reality.
  • Quality:
    • Standing committee has also raised questions over the construction quality of toilets and said that the government is counting non-functional toilets, leading to inflated data.
  • Unable to reach target:
    • Access to free toilets has not helped resolve open defecation in India. The programme is unlikely to succeed in its primary task of eliminating open defecation by October 2019

 

Conclusion:

Basic services such as good toilet and drainage systems, supply of safe drinking water all of which reduce exposure to and spread of diseases, require effective government intervention, which is part of basic human dignity of every individual. The success of the SBM is an inspiring model for Nigeria. The latter must also learn from India’s challenges to attain her SDG goals 6.1 and 6.2.


Topic– Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health

3) Effective drug pricing in the country is a problem still waiting for a solution. Examine in context of the parliamentary panel report ?(250 words)

Downtoearth

 

Why this question

The article analyzes the parliamentary committee report on how the centre has failed to not just reign in escalating drug prices but has also not been able to curb the business of substandard drugs. High OoPE is a huge issue when it comes to health management in the country and the issue is closely related to that.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the details of the parliamentary committee report, discuss the reasons why the parliamentary committee report has come to the conclusions that it has and the impact of the report. Thereafter, we need to give suggestions regarding what can be done to improve the situation.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that OoPE is a major health management related issue in the country in which high drug cost has a huge role. Also, highlight the problem of spurious drugs.

Body

  • Discuss details of the report
    • The Centre has failed to not just reign in escalating drug prices but has also not been able to curb the business of substandard drugs, according to a Parliamentary standing committee report
    • drugs account for more than 70 per cent of one’s medical expenses.
    • anyone hardly ever invests on drug innovation in India
    • panel also highlighted that difference between prices of drugs sold at Jan Aushadhi Kendras (JAKs) and that of branded medicines is too high due to promotional cost. So it asked the government to ensure drug prices are not more than a certain ceiling fixed by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority. But, it did not define the ceiling.
    • there are too few JAKs in the country etc
  • Discuss the reasons for the issues as highlighted above and evaluate the findings of the committee
    • The recommendation of the committee to bring more number of drug formulations under the NLEM will not sit well with the drug manufacturers who feel that such ceiling adversely impact innovations
    • Moreover the focus should be on ensuring adherence etc
  • Discuss the impact of the recommendations of the committee

Conclusion – Give your view and suggest way forward.

Introduction:

                An overwhelming 70% of healthcare expenses in India are met by out of pocket expenditure by the individual, due to which about 7% population is pushed below the poverty threshold every year. This is further bolstered by increasing fake drugs in the country. Lack of effective drug pricing is affecting numerous citizens in India which spends only about 1.5% of its GDP on healthcare.

Body:

A Parliamentary standing committee report mentions the following findings and impacts

  • Increasing Spurious drugs:
    • The Centre has failed to not just reign in escalating drug prices but has also not been able to curb the business of substandard drugs.
    • ASSOCHAM study showed that fake drugs constitute 25% of domestic medicines market in India.
    • Estimates indicate that fake medicines constitute nearly one-third of all drugs sold in NCR.
    • the Centre has hardly made any substantial efforts to curb the sable of substandard drugs
    • A 2017 report of Comptroller and Auditor General of India said in 14 states (Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal), medicines were issued to patients without ensuring the prescribed quality checks and without observing the expiry period of drugs.
  • High Out of Pocket Expenditure:
    • OoPE is a major health management related issue in the country in which high drug cost has a huge role.
    • About 55% of the OOP expenditure is estimated to be on medicines. This result of government deciding to adopt market-based pricing system instead of calculating it through cost of production.
    • Difference between prices of drugs sold at Jan Aushadhi Kendras (JAKs) and that of branded medicines is too high due to promotional cost.
    • There are too few JAKs in the country. About 3,084 JAKs in 717 districts, many of which have none.
  • Low R&D:
    • Companies are not focusing on innovation due to high costs and high failures.
    • Most of the research abroad is funded by public money and the private pharma firms take advantage of working on the molecule that has been discovered with public money.
    • They are focussing on generics leading to import of many drugs which end up in high costs.
    • Enforcement of patents poor, disincentive for innovation, so foreign companies sell at higher cost.
  • Implementation issues:
    • DPCO rules are not stringent and ineffectively implemented.
    • Consequently, the unfair market practices by pharma companies may continue to hamper the availability of affordable medicines to the people.
    • Panel said the existing mechanism is favouring corporates rather than people.

Effective drug pricing is a problem because

  • High cost of innovation: This is coupled with low success ratio. The clinical trials which includes human testing is difficult. India’s 3 tier process of drug making makes it difficult to ascertain production costs.
  • Lower quality to reduce price: Indian generics exported are biosimilars while for consumption in India chemical similars are adequate
  • Trade-off between affordability and availability.
  • Compulsory licenses and low prices will reduce incentives for innovation or entry of foreign pharma companies.

Way Forward:

  • The committee asked the government to form an expert committee to study the impact of market-based and cost-based pricing and take appropriate steps.
  • The committee asked the government to ensure drug prices are not more than a certain ceiling fixed by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority
  • The government should take all necessary steps to bring more number of formulations under these two categories
  • If the manufacturer does not deposit the demanded amount within the prescribed time limit, a decision to cancel their licenses may be considered. Similar action may also be taken on retailers who indulge in overcharging.
  • Medicines and devices listed in NLEM must be sold at the price fixed by NPPA, while those in the non-scheduled list are allowed a maximum annual price hike of 10%.
  • Strong patent enforcement mechanism to encourage more R&D.
  • Incentivization and encouragement for local manufacturing of drugs.
  • Public funded research should increase

Conclusion:

Medicines remain overpriced and unaffordable in India. In a country mired in poverty, medical debt remains the second biggest factor for keeping millions back into poverty. With little to no availability of basic health insurance, and a preference for private practitioners, drugs engender poverty. With innovative policymaking, the troika of quality, affordability and access can be achieved. Providing relief to people through Jan Aushadi Kendras and including drugs in health insurance schemes like Ayushman bharat and National health policy are steps in the right direction.


Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

4) The concept of social media democracy is a myth because of its unequal architecture. Comment.(250 words)

Epw

Reference

Why this question

Recently Indian Parliamentary forum has summoned Twitter CEO and in the recent past Facebook CEO was summoned by the US parliament. In this context it is important to discuss the democratization of social media and the myth of digital 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 dig deep into the issue of digital democracy and the efforts to democratize the social media and bring out why the same is a myth because of the unequal digital architecture.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  recent attempts of the world to democratize social media.

Body-

  1. Discuss what do you understand by democratization of social media. E.g creating social media as an institution of political activism and participation; giving political voice to the social media users; providing information and initiating dialogue/ discussion among social media users around a policy/ welfare measure etc.
  2. Discuss why social media democracy is a myth. E.g
  • We tend to presume that the internet is an inherently equalising space, but why do some voices get amplified, while others remain unheard
  • When anonymous private entities with high capital can pay for more space for their opinions, they are effectively buying a louder voice.
  • Not every voice on the internet commands the same kind of audience. If political discourse in the digital sphere is a matter of out-shouting one’s opponent till an election is won, then the quality of politics suffers.
  • Voices from the grass roots do not have the volume to compete with the kind of resources that larger political parties can employ for mobilising the vote bank.
  • We can scrutinise expenditure of political parties on social media, but can we scrutinise the money spent by individuals at the behest of political parties? These nebulous connections within the architecture of social media platforms have enabled political parties to meet the dual goals of profitability and popularity etc.

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

Introduction:

Social Media Democracy relates to treating social media as an institution of political activism and participation; giving political voice to the social media users; providing information and initiating dialogue/ discussion among social media users around a policy/ welfare measure.

Body:

Social Media is multilingual, multicultural and inclusive, and allows equal opportunities for all, irrespective of class, creed, race, religion, sex, age or financial resources. It provides a platform for the citizens to express their views to the State.

Example: social media touted as a revolution in democracy lead to events like arab spring, Nirbhaya agitations, MeToo movement etc. It gave an impression that all are equal.

However, the concept of social media democracy is still a myth due to

  • Inequality: The sheer sizes of the companies make them unequal in the social media space. This lets the bigger conglomerates to buy more ads, hire trolls, and manipulate public opinion through massive promotions. Example: Cambridge analytica, facebook’s free internet initiative Internet.org  which was against net neutrality principles.
  • Targeted propaganda: Democracy has been reduced to an advertisement campaign. The business conglomerates owned or tied up with political parties influence the views of the people by targeting their audience. Algorithmic filtering have created the cycle of enforcing and reinforcing belief systems and ensuring that we don’t open our minds to diverse opinions.
  • Fake News: The issue of fake news has turned out to be a global menace. It has its role in deciding result of elections (Example: USA) to polarization of societies to communal riots to even crumbling the economies. Tolerance and harmony are victims of the new social media age.
  • Non-Utilitarian: The anonymity that the internet lends was supposed to aid freedom of speech and, thereby, help democracy thrive. But, political elites have managed to design a grim nexus between anonymity, capital, and technology to influence public opinion, promote political agendas, and disseminate fake and misleading news and information.
  • Digital Divide: the lack of access to social media to many is itself a witness that social media democracy is a myth. Weaker sections of the society are still left voiceless on the Social Media.
  • The features of openness, obscurity, and anonymity that once gave strength to marginalized communities are now giving room for mean intentions to grow.

Conclusion:

Although procedural democracy may improve, substantive democracy where informed choices are made by citizens on issues is being eroded. Social media is a tool for empowerment, especially for a country like India where 70% of the population is yet to get online and leverage the opportunities it has to offer. The need of the hour is to make necessary changes, pledge by facebook recently to address these issues is a step in the right direction.


Topic – Environment conservation

5) The biodiversity of the Hindu-Kush region, faces huge challenges, and there is an urgent need to protect it. Analyze.(250 words)

Reference

Why this question

Recently a report highlighting the plight and fate of biodiversity in the Hindukush region has been released. In this context it is important to analyze the threats faced by the region and the need to increase our conservation efforts in this direction.

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 recently released report of the ICIMOD and bring out the threats faced by the region of Hindu Kush and then bring out the need for preservation of the same.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  recently released ICIMOD report. E.g According to data cited in the assessment report, 70–80% of the region’s original habitat has already been lost and that loss may increase to 80–87% by 2100.

Body-

  1. Discuss the threats and challenges faced by The biodiversity in the Hindu Kush region. E.g A quarter of endemic species in the Indian Himalayas alone could be wiped out by 2100;  And this is only set to worsen with the growing impacts of climate change, along with new infrastructure development, trade routes and hydropower dams planned for the fragile region; Along with species loss this will mean the loss of the key environmental services the region provides – such as water and carbon storage – to the rest of Asia; bout 40% of the HKH region is designated as protected areas, but actual implementation of conservation measures is patchy. Many of these areas are remote and authorities have little control over border regions sometimes plagued with ongoing conflict etc.
  2. Discuss the need to preserve the same. E.g The mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalaya contain the most biodiverse regions in the world – some of it still undiscovered; Spanning a vast distance from Afghanistan in the west to China in the east – the region is not only vast tracts of snow and ice. It encompasses lush tropical valleys, mountain forests, alpine meadows to high altitude grasslands and wetlands as well as arid steppes; These provide habitat to a diversity of rare endangered animals – including tigers, elephants, musk deer, red panda and snow leopards. Most of these species – apart from the Tibetan antelope and Giant panda of which numbers have rebounded in the past decade – are being driven to extinction; Rhododendrons, orchids, rare medicinal and wild edible plants are also under threat etc.

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

Introduction:

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region extends 3,500 km over all or part of eight countries from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. According to ICIMOD report, 70–80% of the region’s original habitat has already been lost and that loss may increase to 80–87% by 2100. A quarter of endemic species in the Indian Himalayas alone could be wiped out by 2100.

Body:

The threats and challenges faced by the biodiversity in the Hindu Kush region are

  • ICIMOD report paints a bleak picture for the future of a region that is the source of Asia’s 10 major rivers and provides water, food, energy and carbon storage for almost two billion people.
  • Biodiversity is in steep decline driven by human development, pollution, overexploitation of resources and climate change. Example: Urbanization is on rise in many of the HKH countries.
  • With the growing impacts of climate change, along with new infrastructure development, trade routes and hydropower dams planned for the fragile region, the effects on the biodiversity is set to worsen further.
  • Along with species loss this will mean the loss of the key environmental services the region provides – such as water and carbon storage – to the rest of Asia.
  • As temperatures rise with climate change, large areas of grasslands, alpine meadows, wetlands and permafrost will disappear on the Tibetan plateau by 2050.
  • Human impact has led to a loss of wildlife populations, plant productivity, changes in growing seasons and plants and entire ecosystems shifting to higher altitudes. Example: industrial activities, road building around the Afghan region and increased vehicular traffic has affected snow leopards.
  • Hydropower is a big threat, with over 550 large projects in existence or under construction. Example: The dams constructed and diversions of Amu-Darya and Syr Darya have now almost stopped feeding the Aral Sea.
  • New trade routes under China’s Belt and Road initiative – such as new rail and roads cutting through fragile landscapes – will bring new opportunities to remote regions, but could facilitate greater resource extraction and illegal wildlife trade.
  • About 40% of the HKH region is designated as protected areas, but actual implementation of conservation measures is patchy.
  • Many of these areas are remote and authorities have little control over border regions sometimes plagued with ongoing conflict. Example: Indo-Burma hotspot.

The need to preserve the HKH region is due to

  • The mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalaya contain the most biodiverse regions in the world – some of it still undiscovered.
  • About 35 new species were found every year in the Eastern Himalayas between 1998-2008.
  • HKH encompasses lush tropical valleys, mountain forests, alpine meadows to high altitude grasslands and wetlands as well as arid steppes.
  • These provide habitat to a diversity of rare endangered animals – including tigers, elephants, musk deer, red panda and snow leopards. Flora like Rhododendrons, orchids, rare medicinal and wild edible plants are found.
  • There have been 2,500 species of rice identified in Nepal alone, and 100 types of basmati in the Western Himalayas.
  • The variety of crops grown by farmers could serve as potential genetic resource for improving crop yield and pest resistance.
  • The Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) is also one of the world’s most culturally diverse regions. Its densely populated and cultivated valleys are home to over 1,000 different ethnic groups.

Conclusion:

                The fragile situation calls for countries in the region and donor governments and the private sector to step up financial commitments for conservation. Greater regional cooperation is a must to take up such a region with great bio-diversity and cultural diversity.


Topic– Code of Ethics

6) Code of ethics is not a solution for the problems of any organisation, and can on the contrary make things worse. Comment.(250 words)

Reference

 

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 of the code of ethics and form an opinion as to why/ why not the code of ethics is sufficient for an organisation and what problems it could create for an entity.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Code of ethics. E.g write a simple definition of the term.

Body-

  1. Discuss briefly the advantages of having a code of conduct. E.g it motivates and guides employees to behave ethically; provides a moral direction and purpose to the organisation; helps build standards and is useful in decision making etc.
  2. Discuss why it is not sufficient and what problems could possibly arise because of the code of ethics. E.g Codes of ethics need a strong institutional backing to function effectively. Without a positive culture of support, they can be useless; The very idea of parcelling ethics into a formal ‘code’ is also dangerous, if it leads to the attitude that ethics itself is just some separate part of life and of activities; it’s not; there is a background assumption that ethics can be fully articulated, and not only that, articulated well enough to be distilled into a set of instructions and recommendations that can be understood by a variety of people working within an institutional context etc.

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

Introduction:

Code of ethics is a written set of rules issued by an organization to its workforces and management to help them conduct their actions in accordance with its primary values and ethical standards.

Body:

The advantages of having a code of Ethics:

  • Code of ethics defines the minimum requirements for conduct, and behavioural expectations instead of specific activities.
  • Example: if an organization is committed to protecting the environment and “being green”, the Code of Ethics will state that there is an expectation for any employee faced with a problem, to choose the most “green” solution.
  • When faced with ethical dilemmas or debatable situations, what’s articulated in the Code of Ethics can help guide decision making.
  • Sets benchmark for appropriate behaviour. Provides a framework for reference in case discretionary powers are to be used.
  • Code of Ethics regulates the judgment of the organisation and is publicly available.
  • The relevance is more in present society where values and ethics are on decline either seemingly because of greater awareness or in reality
  • Code of ethics acts as a moral compass during decision making.
  • Huge Prevalence of corruption and Lack of probity in public life can be reduced.
  • Officials taking prejudiced decisions or favouring a ideology while discharging official duties will affect the socio-economic justice as envisaged by our Constitution.
  • It increases the accountability and transparency of the officers and politicians in their work.
  • Helps to curb the politician- bureaucrat nexus which leads to favouritism, crony-capitalism, conflicts of interest.

 

However, the presence of Code of ethics can make it worse too:

  • Codes of ethics need a strong institutional backing to function effectively. Without a positive culture of support, they can be useless
  • A forced code of ethics will have limited utility as there is a need for improvement of morals, bring in a behavioural changes in individuals.
  • Non-compliance of code of conduct derived from Code of Ethics can add to litigations and burden the already judiciary.
  • Not possible to define everything in a code as the scope is too vast leading to ambiguous situations.
  • The very idea of parcelling ethics into a formal ‘code’ is also dangerous, if it leads to the attitude that ethics itself is just some separate part of life and of activities

Way forward:

  • The 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC) had proposed the inclusion of a Public Service Code in the draft Public Service Bill, 2007.
  • The commission outlines the desirable qualities that make the civil services efficient. They include impartiality, integrity, dedication to public service, political neutrality, adherence to the highest standards of probity, objectivity, empathy for the weaker section of the public.
  • It highlighted that efforts made by individuals in leadership positions in organization to inculcate these values in within the organization can make a difference.
  • The Public Service code would facilitate the employees to discharge their official duties with competence and accountability, care and diligence, honesty , without discrimination and in accordance with law
  • The statutory backing through Civil Services bill to the Code of Ethics would guide the civil servants towards behaviours, choices and actions that benefit the community.

Conclusion:

                Codes of ethics needs to be developed, in the light of newly discovered facts, broader policy and legal changes, developments in technology, and in line with evolving nuance in understandings of ethics. One way of understanding the need to develop and refine codes of ethics for institutions can be explained simply by considering institutions and bodies as individual persons.


Topic-  work culture

7) What do you understand by the bureaucratic work culture and how can we deal with it. 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 write in detail about the meaning and issues faced under a bureaucratic work culture and also write in detail as to how we can deal with the issues therein.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  work culture. E.g mention the meaning of work culture and highlight what signifies bureaucratic work culture.

Body-

  1. Discuss the key issues and problems faced under a bureaucratic work culture. E.g lack of transparency; Seemingly Useless Policies; Lack of Decision-Making Ability; Endless Paperwork and Red Tape etc.
  2. Discuss how can we solve those issues and problems. E.g There’s really no guaranteed way to gain insight into your organisation’s inner workings. So we need to regularly communicate with your supervisor and ask what he or she knows about certain situations; It helps us to accept (and enforce) rules better if we are able to get more information about those reasons; By setting the correct expectations with anyone involved, you’ll eliminate the frustration that would have come with impossible or out of reach promises;  rules and policies are there because they make it possible for business to run smoothly. They may be frustrating, but they’re not going anywhere. But by adjusting the way you deal with the bureaucracy, you’ll be able to more easily navigate the waters—and you’ll make a big difference in your everyday work life etc.

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

Introduction:

A bureaucratic culture is a hierarchical and formal organization that has several levels where tasks, authority and responsibilities are delegated between departments, offices or people. This structure is held together by a central or main administration, and it has led to the development of modern civilization. A strict command and control structure is present at all times. Bureaucracies are meant to be orderly, fair and highly efficient.

Body:

The key issues and problems faced under a bureaucratic work culture are:

  • Structure of administration:
    • Structure of administration that is created through the relative powers of these three streams of authority promotes fragmentation, centralisation, and non-responsiveness to local needs.
    • Bureaucracies are predictable and accountable, but these traits also make them change-resistant.
    • Bureaucratic environments are big on policies and procedures, and unfortunately, sometimes employees and even leaders forget to think for themselves.
  • Lack of Transparency:
    • The lack of percolation of much of the information about organization’s decisions.
    • Even personnel in supervisory roles are probably blindsided by unexpected announcements, new initiatives, and policy changes.
  • Coordinated action is very difficult:
    • Departments have offices at different geographic units, and there is no accepted coordinator at all. This further reduces the capacity of coordinated action and responsiveness to local needs.
  • Lack of proper role and capacity building:
    • Role of local governments tends to be unclear, resulting in conflict between political representatives and officials, which leads to further disempowerment.
    • The Indian bureaucracy is structured so that the least skilled and lowest paid personnel actually implement government programmes.
    • Success is unlikely if the person undertaking this task has poor understanding and skills.
  • Shortage of personnel:
    • At the field level, there is an acute shortage of personnel. The availability of technical personnel is very patchy.
  • Focus on output and not on outcomes:
    • Rigid departmental programmes frame all activities and officials define their roles in terms of implementing programmes rather than goals such as reducing malnutrition.
  • Failure of technology:
    • Technology has also added to centralisation by strengthening links between the State departments and the field offices, rather than links between the field officials and the community.
    • Endless Paperwork and Red Tapism adds to failure of technology.
    • The basic flaws of excessive centralisation and authoritarianism have only been strengthened.
    • These problems are exacerbated by widespread corruption, which further reduces professionalism.

Way forward:

  • Measures to enhance accountability to the community, such as the Right to Information Act, social audits, and public service guarantee acts in various States is necessary.
  • Need for a fresh perspective from the outside–for example, bringing in a consultant who specializes in type of change with your type of organization–to encourage people to see that workable alternatives are possible.
  • Top-Down approach: The bosses at the top should lead by example. Changes will automatically trickle down to the lowest level.
  • An effective multi-generational team will work within an environment that doesn’t intimidate and allows for ownership of the vision at all levels.
  • The process of change within a bureaucracy to be slower than you might like. Create a phased implementation that the organization can digest change a little at a time.
  • The changes will encounter some resistance, and it needs to be combated gradually through constant and clear communication at all levels.
  • Make technology employee-friendly, increase their ease of use and educate employees about the advantages and benefits of how technology eases work.
  • Transparent and objective performance assessment system to keep the staff motivated.
  • Accountability towards decision making to be instilled in the organisation.
  • Social audits need to be strengthened by educating and make people aware.
  • During policy formation and implementation, civil society members should be consulted so that the measures should be taken properly.

Conclusion:

Bureaucratic work culture is here to stay and the way forward is to bring in reforms to utilize it more effectively and efficiently.