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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 MARCH 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 MARCH 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: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

1) Discuss the concept, constraints and prospect of secularism in India.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is about discussing the concept of Secularism  and its boundaries in India. In the recent past Indian secularism has been under constant threat, In the name of religion, creed and community people have tries to impose their superiority over the other.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must first elaborate on what you understand by Secularism, what are the causes of it, its impact and implications. Compare and contrast each of these implications – both positive and negative and examine what needs to be done.

Directive word

DiscussThis 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

Discuss Secularism as a concept.

Body

Discuss the following aspects in the answer:

  • Define what is Indian Secularism, What are the important features of Indian secularism?
  • How has secularism evolved in India?
  • What are the causes of  Secularism in India?
  • Discuss its prospects – What path should Indian secularism take?

Conclusion

Conclude with optimism that Secularism should become a unifying factor rather than dividing the country on lines of religion, race ,caste etc.

Introduction:

Secularism is the “indifference to, or rejection or exclusion of, religion and religious considerations.” As a philosophy, secularism seeks to interpret life on principles taken solely from the material world, without recourse to religion. In political terms, secularism is the principle of the separation of government institutions and persons mandated to represent the state from religious institution and religious dignitaries. Under a brief definition, secularism means that governments should remain neutral on the matter of religion and should not enforce nor prohibit the free exercise of religion, leaving religious choice to the liberty of the people.

Body:

Secularism in India:

Secularism has been discussed in India primarily as a state policy towards religious groups. The debate on secularism began by pointing to the difference of the Indian variation to its Western counterpart, either by pointing to an idea of a ‘principled distance’ or samadharma samabhava, where all religions are treated as equal. Our Constitution acquire its secular character from the words in the Preamble, collective reading of many of its provisions, particularly the various fundamental rights.

Important features of Secularism in India:

  • Secularism in India refers to the equal status and treatment of all religions.
  • Secularism in India is a positive, revolutionary and comprehensive concept which takes within its sweep all the communities in India following several religions.
  • Indian secularism recognizes the importance of religion in human life.
  • Diversity can only be effective with secularism as a foundational value.
  • India’s survival as a multi-religious, multilingual, multiracial, multicultural society will depend on how successful it is in working its secularism
  • Indian Secularism equally opposed oppression of dalits and women within Hinduism. It also opposes the discrimination against women within Indian Islam or Christianity and the possible threats that a majority community might pose to the rights of the minority religious communities.
  • Indian Secularism has made room for and is compatible with the idea of state- supported religious reform. For example- Indian constitution bans untouchability under Article 17. There is also abolition of child marriage and lifting the taboo on inter-caste marriage sanctioned by Hinduism.
  • Indian Secularism deals not only with religious freedom of individuals but also with religious freedom of minority communities i.e. individual has the right to profess religion of his /her choice. Likewise, religious minority also have a right to exist and to maintain their own culture and educational institutions.

Constraints:

  • Uniform Civil Code:
    • No progress has been made in the evolution of a uniform Civil Code.
    • There are deep religious sentiments prevailing among different religious communities.
    • It limits the path to a truly secular society in India
  • Politics and Religion:
    • The Supreme Court had observed in the Bommai case that if religion is not separated from politics, the religion of the ruling party tends to become the state religion.
    • During the time of elections most of the political parties completely forget the noble ideal of secularism and woo the voters on communal or cast lines.
  • Communalism:
    • Increasing violence between people of different communities or religions.
    • Rise of fringe elements threatens India’s history of communal harmony and peace.
    • Instances like demolition of the Babri Masjid, anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and other places in 1984 are on the rise.
  • Rise of fundamentalism and obscurantism:
    • Religious entities have taken up the radicalisation of youths to promote their religion.
    • This poses grave threat to the harmony and security of the nations.
  • Failure of the Government in Evolving a Just Economic Order:
    • The failure of the government to evolve a just economic order and eliminate poverty also is a setback to secularism.
  • Cultural Symbols and Secularism:
    • Many public rituals like bhoomi pujan, breaking of coconuts on inaugural occasions, performing of ‘aarti’ and applying ‘tilak’ are perceived by Hindus as cultural or nationalistic expressions, but to non-Hindus these are manifestations of Hindu culture.
    • Such rituals are performed even on state functions and therefore, create unnecessary misgivings about the neutrality of the State.
  • Schools today have become havens of social isolation where children of similar economic and social backgrounds are unaware of the kind of social diversity that exists outside their little worlds.

Way forward:

  • Since secularism has been declared as a part of the basic structure of the Constitution, governments must be made accountable for implementing it.
  • Define the word “minority”. The concept of secularism is based on recognition and protection of minorities. The two cannot be separated.
  • Setting up of a commission on secularism for ensuring adherence to the constitutional mandate on secularism.
  • Separation of religion from politics. It is of such urgency that no time should be wasted in bringing this about.
  • It is the duty of the secular and democratic forces to rally behind those political forces that really profess and practice secularism.
  • In a secular state, religion is expected to be a purely personal and private matter and is not supposed to have anything to do with the governance of the country.

Conclusion:

Supreme Court rulings over the years have also ensured that the secular ethos of India is maintained, and that religion does not interfere or impinge upon the fundamental rights guaranteed to the individuals. Indian secularism is a unique concept that has been adopted and devised keeping in mind the unique needs and characteristics of the Indian culture. It denotes the core principles of tolerance and respect that have been ingrained into the Indian conscience since millennia.


Topic-Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

2) Define Communalism and discuss the rise Communalism in India and its ramifications. What steps are needed to be taken to check the growth of Communalism?(250 words)

 

Why this question:

Question is about communalism and how it has evolved in India, question is to analyse the ramifications of communalism in India and evaluation of measures to check communalism.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the concept of Communalism. The question expects us to write in detail about communalism, in the Indian historical, social and political context. It then wants us to write in detail about the evolution of communalism in India; its ramifications and counter measures to check its growth.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

define communalism in a simple way- e.g. Communalism is a political philosophy, which proposes that market and money be abolished and that land and enterprises to be placed in the custody of community. But in the Indian sub-continent context, communalism has come to be associated  with tensions and clashes between different religious communities in various regions.

Body

Discuss about communalism in India in detail.

Discuss the evolution of communalism in India – like ancient India was united and no such communal feelings were there. People lived peacefully together, there was acceptance for each other’s culture and tradition. For example, Ashoka followed religious tolerance and focused mainly on Dhamma; In Medieval period, we have examples such as- Akbar, who was epitome of secular practices and believed in propagating such values; Communalism in India is result of the emergence of modern politics, which has its roots in British policy of divide and rule and the partition of Bengal in 1905 and feature of separate electorate under Government of India Act, 1909; Such acts were done by the British government to appease Muslims and other communities, and dividing the Indian public opinion for their own political needs. This feeling of communalism has deepened since then, fragmenting the Indian society and being a cause of unrest etc.

Suggest solutions – what needs to be done?
Conclusion

Based on your discussion form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the above issue.

Introduction:

Communalism is basically an ideology which consists of three elements:-

  • A belief that people who follow the same religion have common secular interests i.e. they have same political, economic and social interests. So, here socio- political communalities arises.
  • A notion that, in a multi-religious society like India, these common secular interests of one religion is dissimilar and divergent from the interests of the follower of another religion.
  • The interests of the follower of the different religion or of different ‘communities’ are seen to be completely incompatible, antagonist and hostile.

Body:

Rise of Communalism in India:

  • Ancient India :
    • Ancient India was united and no such communal feelings were there. People lived peacefully together; there was acceptance for each other’s culture and tradition. For example, Ashoka followed religious tolerance and focused mainly on Dhamma.
  • Medieval period:
    • In Medieval period, there are examples such as- Akbar, who was epitome of secular practices and believed in propagating such values by abolishing Jiziya tax and starting of Din-I- ilahi and Ibadat Khana.
    • Same acceptance for different cultures and tradition was practised in several kingdoms throughout India, because of which there was peace and harmony, barring few sectarian rulers like Aurangzeb, who was least tolerant for other religious practises.
    • Such rulers and actions by them like- imposing taxes on religious practises of other community, destructing temples, forced conversions, killing of Sikh guru, etc. were instrumental in deepening and establishing the feeling of communal differences in India.
    • But, these incidents were not common as, huge majority of Indians were rural and were aloof from such influences and so people coexisted peacefully. Overall, the Hindus and Muslims in those days had common economic and political interests.
  • Modern India:
    • Communalism in India is result of the emergence of modern politics, which has its roots in partition of Bengal in 1905 and feature of separate electorate under Government of India Act, 1909.
    • Later, British government also appeased various communities through Communal award in 1932
    • All these acts were done by the British government to appease Muslims and other communities, for their own political needs. This feeling of communalism has deepened since then, fragmenting the Indian society and being a cause of unrest.

Ramification of Communalism:

  • Genocides: With mass killings, the real sufferers are the poor, who lose their house, their near and dear ones, their lives, their livelihood, etc. It violates the human rights from all direction. Sometimes children lose their parents and will become orphan for a lifetime.
  • Ghettoization and refugee problem are other dimensions of communalism induced violence, whether its inter country or intra country.
  • Sudden increase in violence against any particular community causes mass exodus and stampede which in turn kills many number of people. For example, this was seen in the case of Bangalore in 2012, with respect to people from North eastern states, which was stimulated by a rumour.
  • Apart from having effect on the society, it is also a threat to Indian constitutional values, which promotes secularism and religious tolerance. In that case, citizens don’t fulfil their fundamental duties towards the nation.
  • It becomes a threat for the unity and integrity of the nation as a whole. It promotes only the feeling of hatred in all directions, dividing the society on communal lines.
  • Minorities are viewed with suspicion by all, including state authorities like police, para-military forces, army, intelligence agencies, etc. There have been many instances when people from such community have been harassed and detained and finally have been released by court orders guilt free. For this, there is no provision for compensation of such victims, about their livelihood incomes forgone, against social stigmas and emotional trauma of the families.
  • Barrier for development: Communal activities occurring frequently do harm the human resource and economy of the country. And then again it takes years for the people and the affected regions to come out the traumas of such violence, having deep impact on minds of those who have faced it. They feel emotionally broken and insecure.
  • Terrorism and Secessionism: As seen during the Khalistan movement in Punjab.

Steps to check the growth of Communalism:

  • Economic:
    • Poverty is one of the major factors for communal violence. Poverty alleviation measures are thus important for promoting communal harmony.
    • Eradicating the problem of unemployment among the youths, illiteracy and poverty and that too with honesty and without any discrimination.
    • Reducing educational and economic backwardness of minorities like Muslims.
    • This can uplift their socio economic status and reduce their deprivation compared to Hindus
  • Social:
    • The religious leaders and preachers should promote rational and practical things through religion promoting peace and security.
    • Children in schools must be taught through textbooks and pamphlets to maintain brotherhood and respect for all religions
    • Creating awareness in the society about the ill effects of communism through mass media
  • Political:
    • Political communism should be avoided recent Supreme court’s directives
    • Identification and mapping of riot prone areas. For Example, Delhi police used drones to monitor to maintain vigil during communal festivals
    • Media, movies and other cultural platforms can be influential in promoting peace and harmony.
    • Social Media should be monitored for violent and repulsive content and taken off immediately.
  • Recommendations of Committee on National Integration
    • Joint celebration of community festivals
    • Observing restraint by Hindus while taking processions before the mosques
    • Formation of peace and brotherhood communities at local level to prevent anti-social elements from engaging in communal riots
    • Respect for religious customs, rituals and practices

Conclusion:

Communalism cannot be accepted as the necessary evil in the society. It is detrimental to the development, social change, democracy and the federal feature of the State. Jawaharlal Nehru had pointed out the issue and termed it as the greatest danger. And so he said that anyone who loves India would hate communalism and anyone who hates India would love communalism.


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

3) The recent storm related to demand for more transparency by means of electoral bonds mechanisms holds widespread importance but it may also lead to overlap priorities comment? Critically analyse.(250 words)

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why this question:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has recently told the Supreme Court that electoral bonds, contrary to government claims, wreck transparency in political funding. The question is thus to examine the significance and issues involved in this context.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the Electoral Bonds – Significance and Issues involved especially with respect to transparency in political funding.

Directive word:

Critically AnalyseWhen asked to ‘analyse’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about the  Electoral Bond, their origin and utility.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Discuss the key features of the electoral bonds.
  • Pros and cons
  • How Electoral bond leads to corruption and hinders the capacity of the citizens to meaningfully participate in political and public life.
  • Take cues from article – discuss foreign funding and role of electoral bonds.
  • How the power of vote is diluted through opacity in political funding, and thus democracy as a whole loses its intrinsic value.

Conclusion –

Conclude by suggesting a way forward, how can the government overcome the challenges and focus on its priorities.

Introduction:

Electoral bonds will allow donors to pay political parties using banks as an intermediary. Although called a bond, the banking instrument resembling promissory notes will not carry any interest. The electoral bond, which will be a bearer instrument, will not carry the name of the payee and can be bought for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh or Rs 1 crore.

Body:

Rationale behind the electoral bonds:

  • Electoral bonds have been introduced to promote transparency in funding and donation received by political parties.
  • The scheme envisages building a transparent system of acquiring bonds with validated KYC and an audit trail. A limited window and a very short maturity period would make misuse improbable.
  • The electoral bonds will prompt donors to take the banking route to donate, with their identity captured by the issuing authority. This will ensure transparency and accountability and is a big step towards electoral reform.
  • The previous system of cash donations from anonymous sources is wholly non-transparent. The donor, the donee, the quantum of donations and the nature of expenditure are all undisclosed.
  • According to government the system of Bonds will encourage political donations of clean money from individuals, companies, HUF, religious groups, charities, etc.
  • After purchasing the bonds, these entities can hand them to political parties of their choice, which must redeem them within the prescribed time.
  • Some element of transparency would be introduced in as much as all donors declare in their accounts the amount of bonds that they have purchased and all parties declare the quantum of bonds that they have received.
  • The electoral bonds are aimed at rooting out the current system of largely anonymous cash donations made to political parties which lead to the generation of black money in the economy.

Concerns expressed:

  • ECI said that coupled with the removal of cap on foreign funding, they invite foreign corporate powers to impact Indian politics
  • The move could be misused, given the lack of disclosure requirements for individuals purchasing electoral bonds.
  • Electoral bonds make electoral funding even more opaque. It will bring more and more black money into the political system. electoral bonds would cause a “serious impact” on transparency in funding of political parties
  • With electoral bonds there can be a legal channel for companies to round-trip their tax haven cash to a political party. If this could be arranged, then a businessman could lobby for a change in policy, and legally funnel a part of the profits accruing from this policy change to the politician or party that brought it about.
  • The amendments would pump in black money for political funding through shell companies and allow “unchecked foreign funding of political parties in India which could lead to Indian politics being influenced by foreign companies
  • Electoral bonds eliminate the 7.5% cap on company donations which means even loss-making companies can make unlimited donations.
  • Companies no longer need to declare the names of the parties to which they have donated so shareholders won’t know where their money has gone.
  • They have potential to load the dice heavily in favour of the ruling party as the donor bank and the receiver bank know the identity of the person. But both the banks report to the RBI which, in turn, is subject to the Central government’s will to know.

Alternative mechanisms for electoral funding:

  • According to Former Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, an alternative worth exploring is a National Electoral Fund to which all donors can contribute.
  • The funds would be allocated to political parties in proportion to the votes they get. Not only would this protect the identity of donors, it would also weed out black money from political funding.
  • The total cost of MPLADS funding for all MPs is nearly ₹4,000 crore every year, and scrapping the scheme even for one year in an MP’s five-year term will be enough to bankroll state funding of Lok Sabha candidates. This is a legalized way of allowing MPs and MLAs to shower money on their constituencies at state expense.
  • Direct funding of candidates, who will be reimbursed according to their final share of the votes cast.
  • The best way to bring about such transparency in political funding is to put a complete ban on cash donations by individuals or companies to political parties.
  • Making it mandatory for all parties to receive donations only by cheque, or other modes of money transfer.
  • There should be clear provisions for getting tax benefits for all those making such donations.
  • Make it mandatory for political parties to submit details of all donations received with the Election Commission and also with the income-tax department.
  • State funding of political parties can be considered. The Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections had endorsed partial state funding of recognised political parties.
  • The mechanics of this process need to be carefully worked out to establish the allocation of money to national parties, State parties and independent candidates, and to check candidate’s own expenditure over and above that which is provided by the state.
  • Voters have to be made aware through awareness campaigns about ill effects of money power during elections. Bringing political parties under the preview of RTI act.

 


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

4) The concept universal basic income is now firmly etched in India’s political discourse.  Critically analyse.(250 words)

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Why this question:

The opposition party has recently mooted its political agenda of universal basic income for BPL Indian citizens. In this context it is important to discuss the pros and cons of the UBI especially in the context of Indian economy.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss at length pros and cons associate with delivering basic income to the poor of the country

Directive word:

Critically Analyse – When asked to ‘analyse’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Narrate a brief background of the context of the question – declaration of minimum income guarantee for every poor person in the country by the Congress president.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • How the mega welfare scheme would be an extension of the slew of pro-poor entitlement regimes of political parties in the past.
  • Discuss – The concept of UBI or universal basic income floated by former chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian was part of the 2016-17 Economic Survey.
  • Have a discussion on poverty line.
  • Discuss the pros and advantages of UBI. E.g A Universal Basic Income promotes many of the basic values of a society which respects all individuals as free and equal. It promotes liberty because it is anti-paternalistic, opens up the possibility of flexibility in labour markets. It promotes equality by reducing poverty. It promotes efficiency by reducing waste in government transfers. And it could, under some circumstances, even promote greater productivity etc.
  • Discuss the cons/ limitations of the UBI. E.g None of the places where UBI has been tried have levels of income disparity that exist in India. So, while the idea might work in Sikkim, it might not in, say, Bihar; The reason for maintaining conditional social assistance is to “prioritize those at the bottom of the [income] distribution; access to banking is poor in rural and backward areas; issue of gender equality as the income would be controlled by the males of the family; amount of financial resources required etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.  

Introduction:

Universal basic income is a form of social security in which all citizens or residents of a country regularly receive an unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, in addition to any income received from elsewhere. The payment is enough to cover the cost of living. The goal is to provide financial security.

Body:

It characterises the basic income in five divisions — Periodic (being paid at regular intervals, not lump sum), cash payment (not in kind or vouchers, leaving it on the recipient to spend it as they like), individual (not to households or families), universal (for all), and unconditional (irrespective of income or prospects of job).

Recent political discourse on UBI:

  • The state of Sikkim recently announced that UBI will be implemented in state by 2022.
  • The incumbent government announced an income support scheme for marginal farmers named PM-Kisan in its budget presented on 1 February assuring ₹6,000 per annum to each of the 120 million farmer families in India who own less than two hectares of land.
  • The scheme, which came against the backdrop of a prolonged period of agrarian distress marked by droughts and nosediving crop prices was, however, considered a poor cousin of the Rythu Bandhu scheme of Telangana and Kalia scheme of Odisha for leaving out the tenant and landless farmers.
  • Most recently, Indian National Congress president proposed Nyay scheme aims to provide ₹72,000 annually to 20% of the poorest families.

The pros of UBI include:

  • Fights Poverty and vulnerability: Poverty and vulnerability will be reduced in one fell swoop. It increases equality among citizens as envisaged in our DPSP.
  • Choice: A UBI treats beneficiaries as agents and entrusts citizens with the responsibility of using welfare spending as they see best; this may not be the case with in-kind transfers. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen had also propounded that choice should be given to people, which will lead to development.
  • Better targeting of poor: As all individuals are targeted, exclusion error (poor being left out) is zero though inclusion error (rich gaining access to the scheme) is 60 percent.
    • Example: The India Human Development Survey found that in 2011-12 about half of the officially poor did not have the BPL card, while about one-third of the non-poor had it.
  • Fighting technological unemployment: With 0 on the rise, there is an increase in the automation leading to loss of many white and blue collared jobs. UBI can act as a sort of security net for the millions of people who will be left jobless by the tech revolution.
  • Supporting unpaid care workers: Those with ill or differently abled relatives are often forced to quit their jobs and look after them full-time. UBI would allow care-workers to support themselves, encouraging care work and taking pressure off public services that provide care to the sick and elderly.
  • Expanding the middle class: The economic growth of high-income countries is making the rich richer, but having very little effect on the working classes. UBI would help balance inequality and expand the ever-shrinking middle class.
  • Insurance against shocks: This income floor will provide a safety net against health, income and other shocks.
  • Improvement in financial inclusion Payment: transfers will encourage greater usage of bank accounts, leading to higher profits for banking correspondents (BC) and an endogenous improvement in financial inclusion. Credit – increased income will release the constraints on access to credit for those with low income levels.
  • Psychological benefits: A guaranteed income will reduce the pressures of finding a basic living on a daily basis.
  • Ending abuse: Those who suffer domestic abuse, mainly women, become trapped in violent situations because they don’t have the means to leave them. UBI would make leaving an abusive partner easy, and would unleash the potential of countless people trapped by domestic violence.
  • Administrative efficiency: A UBI in place of a plethora of separate government schemes will reduce the administrative burden on the state.

The cons of UBI:

  • Conspicuous spending: Households, especially male members, may spend this additional income on wasteful activities.
  • Moral hazard: A minimum guaranteed income might make people lazy and opt out of the labour market.
  • Gender disparity induced by cash Gender norms may regulate the sharing of UBI within a household – men are likely to exercise control over spending of the UBI. This may not always be the case with other in-kind transfer
  • Implementation: Given the current status of financial access among the poor, a UBI may put too much stress on the banking system.
  • Poor fiscal capacity: India doesn’t have the fiscal capacity to implement Universal Basic Income. Economic Survey calculations showed that a 75% universality rate with an annual Universal Basic Income of Rs 7,620 per year at 2016-17 prices will cost about 5% of the GDP. Economist Pranab Bardhan showed that inflation– indexed Universal Basic Income of Rs 10,000 at 2014-15 prices—about three-quarters of that year’s poverty line—will cost about 10% of the GDP.
  • Distort labour Market: Universal Basic Income can create distortions in the labour market. A steady, permanent and guaranteed income without any work is likely to affect labour mobility and participation. It can cause a rise in the wages too.
  • Political economy of universality: ideas for self-exclusion Opposition may arise from the provision of the transfer to rich individuals as it might seem to trump the idea of equity and state welfare for the poor.
  • Exposure to market risks (cash vs. food): Unlike food subsidies that are not subject to fluctuating market prices, a cash transfer’s purchasing power may severely be curtailed by market fluctuations.

Economic Survey 2017 views:

  • Universal Basic Income should replace the welfare scheme. The Economic survey wants UBI to replace and NOT supplement the existing social welfare, anti-poverty schemes like MGNREGA, PMJSY etc
  • Economic Survey has suggested replacing all current cash transfers with universal basic income.
  • Survey in a bold step ensured that universal basic income will not be distributive in nature. The burden to distribute the income will not be shared by the rich.

 

Way Forward:

 

  • QUBRI (quasi-universal basic rural income):
  • It is targeted only at poorer people in the rural areas.
  • The scheme is no longer universal.
  • It excludes the not-so-poor in rural areas as morally it should.
  • All the schemes, rural and urban, could be cash transfer schemes, which Aadhar and the digitisation of financial services will facilitate.
  • Strengthening of institutions of the state to deliver the services the state must (public safety, justice, and basic education and health), which should be available to all citizens regardless of their ability to pay for them.
  • The institutions of the state must be strengthened also to regulate delivery of services by the private sector and ensure fair competition in the market.
  • A better solution to structural inequality is universal basic capital (UBC). People own the wealth they generate as shareholders of their collective enterprises. Amul, SEWA, Grameen, and others have shown a way.

Topic: Conservation, environmental degradation.

5) With World heading towards ecosystem collapse and a climate-run riot .Discuss the need for India to reframe engagement with climate change. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article provides a detailed analysis of the frame of engagement of India with respect to climate change and how the way it would handle land use change will decide whether it can improve lives without warming the world.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to first discuss the alarming climate change scenario owing to increased carbon emissions of world countries. We need to discuss ways through which this situation can be addressed and suggest way forward.

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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with brief introductory lines on highlights of the findings by the N’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that warned – without radical course correction, the world will exhaust its carbon budget to keep global temperature increase below 1.5°C by 2030.

Body:

  • State facts from various report and re-assert the statement in question about climate riot.
  • Then move on to discuss the effectiveness of the global fight against climate change amid rising energy demand in detail.
  • Discuss the effect and what needs to be done to mitigate the challenge the world is facing with special emphasis on India.
  • Indian scenario to be explained in detail – take cues from the article.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of immediate attention to mitigate the perils of rising climate change.

Introduction:

IPCC released a “special report” on the actions the world needs to take to prevent global average temperatures from rising beyond 1.5°C as compared to pre-industrial times. It warned that climate change could have “irreversible” and “catastrophic” impacts if the global average temperatures were allowed to rise beyond 2 degrees Celsius.

Body:

In October 2018, IPCC warned that without radical course correction, the world will exhaust its carbon budget to keep global temperature increase below 1.5°C by 2030

In March 2018, UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warned that human societies are using up nature faster than it can renew itself and compromising its ability to sustain life on the planet.

Effectiveness of Indian efforts against climate change and misses:

  • The government acknowledges that sea levels can rise by 3.5 to 34.6 inches by 2100 and inundate India’s coastline.
  • India’s obsession with 100 GW solar electricity targets may fetch high ratings from the international green energy cheerleaders. However, that alone will do nothing to fortify ordinary Indians from the impending disasters.
  • Indian government changed laws to dilute environmental protection, facilitate corporate land grabs, disempower local communities and criminalise any dissent against its grand schemes.
  • The Union government proposed amendments to the Indian Forest Act, 1927, that will make the draconian Act even harsher.
  • According to Campaign for Survival and Dignity, these amendments would give forest officials the power to shoot people without any liability; allow forest officials to relocate people against their will; to hand over forests to private companies for afforestation, and to grab other forests in the name of ‘carbon sequestration’.
  • These amendments are a targeted attack on forest dwellers; if passed, they will criminalise the cultures that hold the key to rebuilding our broken relationship with nature.
  • The Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, which regulates “development” along India’s 7,500-km shoreline, was diluted to allow denser construction closer to the sea.
  • The notification cites tourism jobs to justify the construction of temporary facilities within 10 m of the waterline. Mega infrastructure, such as ports and roads, will be permitted anywhere — inside the sea, over dunes, through mangroves and tidal marshes — if they are declared to be “strategic” projects.
  • Renewable energy systems will not make an inherently unsustainable economy sustainable or correct an unjust social system. They may even make it worse.

Effects of a failed climate change impact reduction:

  • Across the country, people are rising up to protest against certain kinds of ‘development’ — for example, the Mumbai coastal expressway, and the proposed ports in Ennore and Kanyakumari.
  • Farmers are mobilising against the bullet train, and indigenous people are fighting against the opening up of forests for mines and dams.
  • Paved surfaces, the hallmark of built-earth economies, disrupt water flows, reduce groundwater recharge and obliterate biodiversity.
  • Such economies impoverish local communities and increase their vulnerability to natural shocks.
  • In places like Chennai, which witnessed disastrous flooding in 2015, paved surfaces increased from 47 sq km in 1980 to 402 sq km in 2010, according to a study by the Chennai-based research group Care Earth. Meanwhile, wetlands dipped from 187 sq km to 71 sq km during the same period.
  • Urban flooding, though, is not only a third world phenomenon. Hurricane Sandy and the New York floods of 2015, the 2017 floods in Mumbai and Houston, the 2018 floods in Japan, all expose the vulnerabilities of urban areas where climate change meets mindless land use change. In all these instances, land had been paved over, unmindful of the need for water to flow and stay.

Way forward:

  • According to climate scientists, the world would need to reframe its engagement with climate change and abandon its myopic preoccupation with greenhouse gas emissions and carbon budgets.
  • A manifesto for the protection of the commons and open lands, and for the re-creation of economies that derive value out of healing wounded landscapes and covering open lands with diverse vegetation, water and life.
  • To limit ourselves to 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions should reduce by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and should reach net-zero around 2050.
  • Real emission reductions can be achieved through a combination of new and existing technologies, including sustainable bio-based feedstocks, product substitution, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS).
  • Real resilience will result only from improving the health of the lands they live in and depend on.
  • In the land-use sector, some amount of pasture and non-pasture agricultural land for food and feed crops needs to be converted for energy crops.
  • Use of coal should reduce steeply and its share in electricity mix should be reduced to close to 0 per cent by 2050.
  • They can start by scaling up ambition on nationally determined contributions.

Topic:  Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

6) Has the recent Missile test Shakti  in space paved the way for India’s attempt to draw new red lines redefining it’s security calculus? Examine.(250 words)

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Why this question:

India has rewritten the rules of global engagement by downing a live satellite in low earth orbit on Wednesday and adding space to its strategic lexicon.

Thus the question is to evaluate significance of Missile test Shakti and the significance it holds for India.

Key demand of the question:

The effective space deterrence has heralded India’s entry into an exclusive club of powers with space, land, air and sea-based weapons delivery platforms, thus the answer must elaborate on the India’s capabilities and run up to strengthening its security dimensions.

Directive:

ExamineWhen asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief upon the recent achievement of Missile test Shakti.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects :

  • Explain in short the present capabilities of Indian Defense system.
  • How the test has added to the current capabilities.
  • Have a discussion on India’s willingness to rewrite the rules of the game and in what way it marks a geostrategic shift.
  • The discussion should balance around India’s achievement vs deterrence capabilities.

Conclusion:

Conclude with optimism, India is proving its capabilities to the world and marching forward.

Introduction:

Mission Shakti is a joint programme of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). As part of the mission, an anti-satellite (A-SAT) weapon was launched and targeted an Indian satellite which had been decommissioned. Mission Shakti was carried out from DRDO’s testing range in Odisha’s Balasore.

Body:

Rationale behind Mission Shakti:

  • India has a long standing and rapidly growing space programme. It has expanded rapidly in the last five years. The Mangalyaan Mission to Mars was successfully launched. Thereafter, the government has sanctioned the Gaganyaan Mission which will take Indians to outer space.
  • India has undertaken 102 spacecraft missions consisting of communication satellites, earth observation satellites, experimental satellites, navigation satellites, apart from satellites meant for scientific research and exploration, academic studies and other small satellites.
  • India’s space programme is a critical backbone of India’s security, economic and social infrastructure.
  • Space is being turned into a battlefront, making counter-space capabilities critical. In this light, India’s successful ‘kill’ with an A-SAT weapon is significant.
  • The test was done to verify that India has the capability to safeguard our space assets. It is the Government of India’s responsibility to defend the country’s interests in outer space.
  • A-SAT weapon is likely to be the most potent military tool for the armed forces over the next few decades, notwithstanding a revolutionary technological breakthrough.

Mission Shakti marks a geostrategic shift:

  • The effective space deterrence has heralded India’s entry into an exclusive club of powers with space, land, air and sea-based weapons delivery platforms.
  • This not only helps safeguard space assets from long-range missiles, but also signifies India’s strategic repositioning by leveraging the interceptor, part of the ongoing ballistic missile defence programme, as an offensive option.
  • The leitmotif of this Indian stratagem was in play during the air strikes against terror training camps in Pakistan.
  • The action sends a powerful signal to countries such as China and is an attempt by India to draw new red lines to redefine the security calculus.
  • To ‘defend’ its satellites, India has to deter China’s use of its direct ascent missiles and laser weapons
  • The test demonstrates India’s technological capability to design, build and intercept a satellite in outer space using indigenous technology.
  • This may also pave the way for the creation of a new space command on the lines of what the US has.

Mission Shakti is a deterrence measure:

  • India has no intention of entering into an arms race in outer space. We have always maintained that space must be used only for peaceful purposes. We are against the weaponisation of Outer Space and support international efforts to reinforce the safety and security of space based assets.
  • The principal international treaty on space is the 1967 Outer Space Treaty. India is a signatory to this treaty and ratified it in 1982.
  • India believes that Outer space is the common heritage of humankind and it is the responsibility of all space-faring nations to preserve and promote the benefits flowing from advances made in space technology and its applications for all.
  • India is a party to all the major international treaties relating to Outer Space. India already implements a number of Transparency and Confidence Building Measures(TCBMs) – including registering space objects with the UN register, pre-launch notifications, measures in harmony with the UN Space Mitigation Guidelines, participation in Inter Agency Space Debris Coordination (IADC) activities with regard to space debris management, undertaking SOPA (Space Object Proximity Awareness) and COLA (Collision Avoidance) Analysis and numerous international cooperation activities, including hosting the UN affiliated Centre for Space and Science Technology Education in Asia and Pacific.
  • India has been participating in all sessions of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
  • India supported UNGA resolution 69/32 on No First Placement of Weapons on Outer Space. We see the No First Placement of weapons in outer space as only an interim step and not a substitute for concluding substantive legal measures to ensure the prevention of an arms race in outer space, which should continue to be a priority for the international community.
  • India supports the substantive consideration of the issue of Prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) in the Conference on Disarmament where it has been on the agenda since 1982.

Conclusion:

The test also comes against the backdrop of simmering tensions in the sub-continent with China’s security concerns in South Asia historically been centred around its desire to use Pakistan to thwart India’s rise as a challenger to its dominance in Asia. The capability achieved through the Anti-Satellite missile test provides credible deterrence against threats to our growing space-based assets from long range missiles, and proliferation in the types and numbers of missiles.


Topic: Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

7) Living up to the public trust is much more than just an act of compliance. Comment. (250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of concept of public services, in what way public trust is an essential component of it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the aspects of public trust, its essence and how mere act of compliance cannot win public trust.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly narrate the essence of public service delivery.

Body:

Explain the following –

  • First Why is political trust important? – Trust in institutions is important for the success of many government policies, programmes and regulations that depend on cooperation and compliance of citizens.
  • What is the relationship between ethics and compliance in public services?
  • What is the difference between ethics and compliance?
  • Conclude how winning the trust of people is prime to delivering services and is not just an act of compliance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of trust with people in public services.

Introduction:

Governance and the quality of public services can impact a country’s economic growth. The objective of public services is to deliver social protection to the poor and vulnerable and to alleviate poverty. Public services reduce inequitable distribution of resources and correct historical inequities, such as caste based discrimination and gender inequities.

Body:

Importance of Public Trust:

  • A decline in trust can lead to lower rates of compliance with rules and regulations.
  • Citizens and businesses can also become more risk-averse, delaying investment, innovation and employment decisions that are essential to regain competitiveness and jumpstart growth.
  • Nurturing trust represents an investment in economic recovery and social well-being for the future.
  • Trust is both an input to public sector reforms – necessary for the implementation of reforms – and, at the same time, an outcome of reforms, as they influence people’s and organisations’ attitudes and decisions relevant for economic and social well-being.
  • As a result, trust in government by citizens and businesses are essential for the effective and efficient policy making both in good times and bad.
  • Investing in trust should be considered as a new and central approach to restoring economic growth and reinforcing social cohesion, as well as a sign that governments are learning the lessons of the crisis

Ethics and Compliance:

Ethics is the internal intangible that drives us. It’s the value system, or lack thereof, that guides us when we make decisions in our day to day actions. Compliance is much clearer cut. Compliance is about following the rules, the policies, the regulations that are articulated in laws and internally drafted documents. There are consequences for violating those policies and regulations that can result in discipline up to and including termination. Often, there’s no analysis related to intent. If you violate the rules, there will be consequences. Ethics is more about your personal values

Public Trust is imperative than compliance:

  • Trust in government has been identified as one of the most important foundations upon which the legitimacy and sustainability of political systems are built.
  • Trust is essential for social cohesion and well-being as it affects governments’ ability to govern and enables them to act without having to resort to coercion. Consequently, it is an efficient means of lowering transaction costs in any social, economic and political relationship.
  • A high level of trust in government might increase the efficiency and effectiveness of government operations.
  • Trust in government may help governments to implement structural reforms with long term benefits.
  • Trust in government institutions at the same time influences individual behaviour in ways that could support desired policy outcomes.
  • Trust in government could improve compliance with rules and regulations and reduce the costof enforcement.
  • Trust in government institutions could help to increase confidence in the economy by facilitating economic decisions, such as on investment and consumption that foster economic growth.
  • Trust in government seems to be especially critical in crisis situations, such as natural disasters, economic crisis or political unrest which focuses attention on the core functions of public governance

Conclusion:

Thus, Core levels of trust in government are necessary for the fair and effective functioning of government institutions– such as adherence to the rule of law, or the delivery of basic public services and the provision of infrastructure.


Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

8) Discuss the impact of Social influence on public service.(250 words)

Why this question:

The question is to examine the role of Social influence on public service.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain what is social influence, its reach, effect on public services.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly state what you understand by social influence.

Body:

Discuss the following aspects:

  • How does social influence affect behaviour? – Social influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions or behaviours are affected by others intentionally or unintentionally. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.
  • Quote examples to justify – Our beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours are influenced by many things, and often produce automated behaviour. Principles of social influence, or the ways in which we are influenced, include the reciprocity principle, commitment and consistency, social proof, liking, authority, and scarcity.
  • Then relate it to public services.

Conclusion:

Conclude with whether social influence is good or bad for public services, form a balanced opinion.

Introduction:

Social influence occurs when a person’s emotions, opinions, or behaviours are affected by others. Social influence takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.

Body:

Growing concerns about the use of coercive and other manipulative psychological techniques underline the need to improve understanding of the ethics of social influence.

Persuasion:

  • Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours.
  • Persuasion can occur through appeals to reason or appeals to emotion. For example, school-based substance abuse prevention programs using the social influences model consistently produce better results than programs emphasizing only health information.
  • They are used to appeal to a person’s attitude, behavior and cognition. Advertisements are the robust examples of persuasion.
  • The Social Media is playing a major role today in persuading people for both good and bad deeds.
  • The government has also utilized this tool for the success of the initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan- cleanliness drives; Ujjwala Yojana’s Give it up campaign; Disclosing excess income campaign; Beti Bachao Beti Padhao by making parents understand it is necessary to protect and educate a girl child.

Compliance

  • Compliance is when an individual changes his or her behavior in response to an explicit or implicit request made by another person.
  • Compliance is often referred to as an active form of social influence in that it is usually intentionally initiated by a person.
  • It is also conceptualized as an external form of social influence in that its focus is a change in overt behavior.
  • Although compliance may sometimes occur as a result of changes in people’s internal beliefs and/or feelings, such internal changes are not the primary goal of compliance, nor are they necessarily required for the request to be successful.
  • Example: following the traffic rules, paying taxes on time.

Conformity:

  • Conformity refers to when people adjust their behaviours, attitudes, feelings, and/or beliefs to fit to a group norm.
  • Conformity is generally regarded as a passive form of influence in that members of the group do not actively attempt to influence others.
  • People merely observe the actions of group members and adjust their behaviours and/or views accordingly. The focus of conformity can be either external (overt behaviours) or internal (beliefs and feelings) in nature.
  • Main factor that influences conformity is social norms. Social norms are the expected behaviour within a specific culture or society. 
  • Example: Treating all genders equally; Coming from a poor background , helps sensitive about the concerns of poor more than just studying their problems; If other officers are corrupt, then I it may tempt a honest officer also to be corrupt. 

Obedience:

  • Obedience is a change in behavior as a result of a direct command from an authority figure.
  • Obedience is an active form of influence in that it is usually directly initiated by an authority figure and is typically external in that overt behaviours are generally the focus of commands.
  • Example: Respecting elders; an employee will follow the orders of his supervisors in order to please them.

Conclusion:

Thus, there are many things that influence behaviour in people, whether that be their own beliefs and opinions or other people being around them at the time