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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 APRIL 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 APRIL 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:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1) The Burqa ban, is it an unreasonable limitation on religious freedom or a justifiable restriction? Critically analyse in the light of recent bans on Veils imposed by the Sri -Lankan government post Easter attacks.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The question is in the light of recent ban imposed by the Srilankan government on all types of veils used by women from different communities for the sake of security reasons post Easter attack.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate critically whether the ban on veil is an an irrational restraint on religious freedom or a admissible control. Provide for a fair argument suggesting pros and cons of such a decision.

Directive:

Critically analyzeWhen asked to analyze, you  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. 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:

Introduce by highlighting a brief background of the question.

Body:

  • Highlight some data – on countries that have already taken steps in this direction like the recent one being France.
  • Discuss why banning Burqa is a progressive step, a step towards democracy.
  • Explain how burqa ban oughts’ to be a neutral provision; it should refrain from mentioning any specific religion or community, and its main concerns should be the promotion of gender equality and women’s rights, and the protection of national security. However, it is common knowledge that the ban is aimed at eliminating the burqas, niqabs, and sitars, worn almost exclusively by Muslim women- thus this is one damaging aspect that needs attention from the world across to ensure nobody’s religious sentiments are hurt, at the same time religion can not back true values of democracy.
  • Justify the recent decision taken by the Srilankan government. Suggest your opinion as to what needs to be done.

Conclusion –

Conclude with a balanced opinion and suggest measures to overcome associated concerns and how a balanced solution can be arrived at.

Introduction:

Sri Lanka has banned veils citing “security” reasons following Easter attacks, but the decision has sparked a host of concerns within the Muslim community. President Sirisena said that the ban, being brought under emergency law, was in the interest of national security and public safety, so that individuals were easily identifiable. A burqa is an outer garment that covers the entire body and the face, a niqab is a veil that also covers the face, while a hijab covers only the hair.

Body:

Burqa ban in other countries:

 Burqa ban – an unreasonable limitation:

  • The niqab is currently banned in France and Belgium (since 2011), Austria (since 2017),Denmark (since 2018).The Netherlands also has a partial ban on wearing any kind of face cover in public transport, schools and hospitals. In Germany, the niqab is banned while driving. The full face veil is banned in Quebec in Canada and in Barcelona in Spain.
  • In October 2018,the UN Human Rights Committee had declared that France’s ban disproportionately harmed the right of women to manifest their religious beliefs and could have the effect of confining them to their homes, impeding their access to public services and marginalising them.
  • The Burqa Ban’s Burden Is Excessive Relative to its Objective. While it is sometimes necessary to identify an individual for security purposes, prohibiting a woman from wearing the religious garb of her choice in scenarios apart from those already addressed by existing legislation is an excessive burden compared to the speculative, marginal improvement in security that may result.
  • The decision from a secular state will be seen as an “arbitrary” decision and an “indirect violation of women’s freedom of expression”.
  • It is against the tenets of equality to all religions and is seen as a majoritarian suppression of the minorities in a country.
  • This can foment into anger and violence against state leading to disharmony in the society in the form of communal riots.
  • It further leads to polarization of the society by targeting a particular community.
  • For some women living in rough areas the burqa , and other headdresses, can act as a defence against abuse.

Burqa ban – a justifiable restriction:

  • The burka is a reflection of culture rather than an accepted interpretation of Islam and it remains an alien imposition in large areas of the Muslim world.
  • The Koran enjoins all Muslims – whether male or female – to dress modestly and refrain from revealing “any parts of their bodies, except that which is necessary”.
  • Beyond this general instruction, the holy book offers no specific guidance on female clothing. Its pages contain no mention of the burka or, for that matter, of the other varieties of dress that are now associated with Islam, including the hijab, or veil.
  • The burka appears to have originated in Persia in the 10th century, before slowly spreading to the Arabian Peninsula and present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • Elsewhere in the Muslim world, the garment remained largely unknown until relatively recently. It was the rise of the Wahhabi and Deobandi traditions which spread the burka to areas where it was previously invisible, including West Africa.
  • Against Right to freedom: the compulsory wearing of burka is imposition of the religious tirade on the personal freedom of women and girls. It is also seen as a form of patriarchal dominance. Promotes gender equality and helps in women empowerment.
  • Progressive women’s organisations argue that the ban is justified because the burqa oppresses women. Others reject the burqa as a neocolonial import from the Gulf states.
  • Security concerns: It is argued that wearing the burka could help criminals and terrorists hide their identities. Indeed, several criminals have reportedly used the burqa or niqab – a veil that covers the face but not the eyes – to perpetrate crimes, including theft and terrorist activities.

Conclusion:

Women’s liberation is a battle that has been fought for over a century, and will have to continue through sheer dedication, advocacy and dialogue. Equally, ensuring national security and cohesion is a tedious task, which requires enormous amounts of personnel, intelligence and dialogue. In neither cases will a law banning the burqa truly help. It might give the illusion of political action, and reassure some that ‘sacred Western values’ are being preserved. But in fact, it will go a long way towards entrenching positions further, rendering dialogue harder, and making tensions run higher.


Topic:  Issues related to women. . Indian Constitution- features, significant provisions.

2) Discuss the need for protection for both victims and accused in sexual abuse cases that have been on rise, what are the associated concerns ? Suggest measures to handle such challenges.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The question is amidst a recent petition that has been filed in the Supreme Court to frame guidelines to protect the reputation and dignity of persons accused of sexual offences.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the present conditions of sexual abuse that are on rise and the urgent need to provide for a framework  for protection for both victims and accused in sexual abuse cases. You must suggest measures to be taken to successfully conclude upon such cases.

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:

Begin with a brief narration on current scenario.

Body:

  • Discuss what are the major concerns related to such incidences – urgent need for guidelines to protect the reputation and dignity of persons accused of sexual offences.
  • A person was considered innocent unless proven guilty by a court of law. If a person was falsely accused, his reputation would be lost forever and exposed to public ridicule for no fault of his. This would be a violation of the fundamental right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. It does not only destroy an individual’s life but also creates a social stigma for the family members too.
  • Disclosure of his identity, especially during trial, would lead to media trial. Besides, considering the wide reach of social media, the person’s name and even that of his family, which might include minors, would be exposed on the Internet. This would be a violation of their fundamental right to privacy.
  • What needs to be done ? mechanism to uphold “right to reputation” which  is an integral part of Articles 21 and 19(2) of the Constitution of India.
  • Changes at policy level, societal level etc.

Conclusion:

Reassert the urgent need for proper framework to be in place.

Introduction:

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court to frame guidelines to protect the reputation and dignity of persons accused of sexual offences. The fundamental principle of Indian judicial system stands on the premise of ‘Innocent until proven guilty’.

Body:

Major concerns related to such incidences:

  • A person was considered innocent unless proven guilty by a court of law. If a person was falsely accused, his reputation would be lost forever and exposed to public ridicule for no fault of his.
  • This would be a violation of the fundamental right to life enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution. It does not only destroy an individual’s life but also creates a social stigma for the family members too.
  • Disclosure of his identity, especially during trial, would lead to media trial. Besides, considering the wide reach of social media, the person’s name and even that of his family, which might include minors, would be exposed on the Internet. This would be a violation of their fundamental right to privacy.
  • The current trend of media on reporting cases commonly known as Trial by media has witnessed the sensation of self- manifested stories, half- baked truth resulting in the violation of right of individuals, resulting media reporting transforming into media circus.
  • In present times, where people are in a virtual world, the reputation and integrity of a person is always an easy target to destroy.
  • It would be tragic that the person, even after being found innocent, would continue to be known as a suspected sex offender on social media because once his identity entered the public domain it would become searchable and permanent. The previous identification as a suspect will endure in the public sphere.
  • The increasing incidents of mob justice by lynching also add to the threat of lives of the accused. There are multiple instances where the victims have committed suicides due to violation of privacy and insensitivity of the public at large.

Measures needed: some preventive measures must be taken so as to avoid and to deal with such situations in the interest of justice.

  • Amend Section 228-A of the Indian penal Code that provides punishment for disclosing the identity of the victims but does not provide any safeguard for protection of the identity and integrity of the accused in case of false accusation.
  • Court should frame the guidelines like it had earlier framed in Vishaka & Ors. v. State of Rajasthan to protect the integrity of victim and to safeguard the victim from facing the social stigma.
  • Media should play a proactive role and should be prohibited from disclosing the personal identity of the victim categorically in line with the Juvenile Justice Act.
  • Media should be prohibited from reporting the identity of the victim categorically in line with the Juvenile Justice Act.
  • Setting up of fast-track courts to be done away with ordeal of the victims.
  • In case of child victims, there should be measures of hearing through video calls, at places of comfort for the victim rather than the tedious and routine court procedure.
  • Counselling of both accused and victims is a necessary to step to keep the spirits of individuals normal.

Conclusion:

Supreme Court had on many occasions reinforced that the “right to reputation” is an integral part of Articles 21 and 19(2) of the Constitution of India. Therefore, some preventive measures must be taken to avoid and deal with such situations in the interest of justice.


Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

3) Discuss the powers, functions and responsibility of the office of Speaker in India, why does it often come under criticism of being affiliated to some or the other political party?(250 words)

Polity by Lakshmikanth

Why this question:

The question is upon the significant role played by the office of speaker and the concerns associated with the political affiliation of the speaker’s office.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the recent controversies surrounding the office of speaker, where in the role of speaker from being impartial and politically neutral have been put to questions and doubts.

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:

Begin with constitutional position of Speaker in Indian polity.

Body:

In brief discuss – without much deliberation Role of the Speaker, Administrative and discretionary powers vested by the constitution . The Speaker of the Lok Sabha enjoys a position of great respect and dignity. He has the supreme responsibility to conduct the proceedings of the House. He acts as the representative of the House, and as its impartial chairman. His authority is supreme in the House and no one can challenge his decisions and rulings. The office of the Speaker is of great dignity and respect.

Discuss why the speaker’s position often comes into limelight for siding with political parties. Explain using examples and suggest way forward.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the position of Speaker.

Introduction:

The Speaker of the Lok Sabha is the presiding officer of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), the lower house of the Parliament of India. The speaker is elected generally in the very first meeting of the Lok Sabha following general elections. Serving for a term of five years, the speaker chosen from sitting members of the Lok Sabha (House of the People), and is by convention a member of the ruling party or alliance.

Body:

Powers and Functions of the Speaker

According to the Constitution of India, a Speaker is vested with immense administrative and discretionary powers, some of which are enumerated below:

  • The Speaker presides over the meetings in the House. In other words, the business in the House is conducted by the Speaker, ensuring discipline and decorum amongst its members.
  • He/she guards the rights and privileges of the members of the two Houses, deciding who should speak at what time, the questions to be asked, the order of proceedings to be followed, among others.
  • A Speaker uses his/her power to vote, in order to resolve a deadlock. That is, when the House initiates a voting procedure, he does not cast a vote in the first instance. However, when the two sides receive equal number of votes, the Speaker’s vote is used to resolve the deadlock, making his position as impartial as in the English system of democracy.
  • In the absence of a quorum in the House, it is the duty of the Speaker to adjourn the House or to suspend any meeting, until the quorum is met. The Speaker decides the agenda that must be discussed in a meeting of the Members of the Parliament.
  • The Speaker is invested with the immense powers of interpreting the Rules of Procedure. That is, since he/she is the member of the House as well as the Presiding Officer at the same time, he ensures the discipline of the House. The Speaker ensures that MPs are punished for unruly behaviour.
  • A Speaker can also disqualify a Member of Parliament from the House on grounds of defection. It is in the power of a Speaker, to permit the various parliamentary procedures such as the motion of adjournment, the motion of no confidence, the motion of censure, among others.
  • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • Once a Money Bill is transmitted from the Lower House to the Upper House, the Speaker is solely responsible for endorsing his or her certificate on the Bill. In other words, he/she is given the pivotal power to decide whether any Bill is a Money Bill. This decision is considered final, and all procedures henceforth, must be carried along accordingly.
  • The Speaker has under his or her jurisdiction, a number of Parliamentary Committees such as the Rules Committee, the Business Advisory Committee and the General Purposes Committee. The Speaker nominates the various Chairmen of these Committees, as well as looks into the procedural hindrances of the workings of these Committees, if any.
  • Besides heading the Lok Sabha, the Speaker is also the ‘ex-officio’ President of the Indian Parliamentary Group. He/she also acts in the capacity of Chairman of the Conference of Presiding Officers of Legislative Bodies in India.
  • As part of the Speaker’s administrative role, he or she is the head of the Lok Sabha Secretariat, maintaining absolute security surveillance in the Parliament.

Role and Responsibility of Speaker:

  • Since the Indian system of government follows the Westminster Model, the Parliamentary proceedings of the country are headed by a presiding officer who is called a Speaker.
  • In other words, the Speaker of the two houses of the Parliament is responsible for ensuring the smooth functioning of the House.
  • The responsibility entrusted to the Speaker is so onerous that she cannot afford to overlook any aspect of parliamentary life. Her actions come under close scrutiny in the House and are also widely reported in the mass media.
  • The Lok Sabha or the Lower House of the People in India, which is the highest legislative body in the country, chooses its Speaker who presides over the day-to-day functioning of the House.
  • The Speaker plays the crucial role of ensuring that the Parliament carries forward its role of legislation peacefully, maintaining harmony in the Houses of Parliament and taking crucial procedural decisions of the House.
  • The Speaker is thus, in every sense, considered the true guardian of the Indian Parliamentary democracy, holding the complete authority of the Lok Sabha.

Criticism faced by office of the Speaker:

  • Appointment and tenure: The structural issues regarding the manner in which the Speaker is appointed and his tenure in office. Usually the speaker is from the ruling party and this makes it a more of a political liability on speaker to favour his party.
  • Anti-defection law: In recent times, there are number of instances where the role of speaker has been criticised for decision on membership of MLAs under the anti-defection law and their ruling have been challenged in courts. The Tenth Schedule says the Speaker’s/Chairperson’s decision on questions of disqualification on ground of defection shall be final and can’t be questioned in courts. It was anticipated that giving Speakers the power to expel legislators would prevent unnecessary delays by courts and make anti defection law more effective.
  • Discretionary power: There are various instances where the Rules vest the Speakers with unbridled powers such as in case of declaration of bill as money bill (Lok Sabha Speaker). This discretionary power comes under criticism when Aadhar bill was introduced in Lok Sabha as Money Bill.
  • Referral to DSRCs: The Speaker is also empowered to refer the Bill to a Standing Committee. As per prevailing practice house members or speaker usually refers all important bills to the concerned Departmentally Related Standing Committees for examination and report. But in recent time speaker uses its discretionary power to pass many important bills on day after introduction of bill without proper discussion and references.
  • Increased disruptions: Frequent disruptions reduced the time required for important discussions and compel speaker to allocate less time for discussion. This often questions the impartiality of speaker as he allegedly provides more time to ruling party. Also, it is alleged that speaker took harsh punishment against the disrupting member of opposition compared to government

Conclusion:

The office of the Speaker in India is a living and dynamic institution which deals with the actual needs and problems of Parliament in the performance of its functions. It is in her that the responsibility of conducting the business of the House in a manner befitting the place of the institution in a representative democracy is invested.

The founding fathers of our Constitution had recognised the importance of this office in our democratic set-up and it was this recognition that guided them in establishing this office as one of the prominent and dignified ones in the scheme of governance of the country.


Topic : Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

4) Elucidate on the role played by  India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in dealing with serious violation of human rights .(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question:

The article discusses the role played by  India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in dealing with serious violation of human rights.

Demand of the question:

The answer must evaluate the role played by India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Directive word:

ElucidateWhen you are asked to elucidate, 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:

Introduction

Define the coming of India’s National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in India as a protector of human rights.

Body

  • The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:
  • Discuss –  Human Right means the rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the constitution or embodied in the International covenants and enforceable by courts in India.
  • This Commission was established after the thorough assessment of needs for such bodies to address the human rights related issues and by keeping in consideration the ways and measures to apply for their protection.
  • Explain the Composition of National Human Rights Commission of India.
  • Roles and responsibilities with limitations, use recent examples to highlight its significant role.

Conclusion

Conclude with importance of such institutions.

Introduction:

The Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is an autonomous public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993. It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA). The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “rights relating to life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.

Body:

In February, the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), a UN body based in Geneva, re-accredited India’s apex rights watchdog with the ‘A’ status, a perfect score.

Major issues tackled by NHRC are as follows

  • Custodial Torture
  • Right to Work and Labour Rights
  • Extrajudicial Killings
  • Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
  • Excessive Powers of the Armed Forces and the Police
  • Sexual Violence
  • Conflict-Induced Internal Displacement
  • Child Labour
  • Manual Scavenging
  • Violence and discrimination against Women, Children
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Rights
  • Problems faced by Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, Religious Minorities, Persons with Disabilities

Role of NHRC in safeguarding human rights

Since its development, the NHRC has extensively dealt with issues relating to application of human rights. NHRC has established its reputation for independence and honesty. There is increasing number of complaints addressed to the Commission seeking redressal of grievances. The NHRC has pursued its mandate and priorities with determination and considerable success.

In recent times, the rights panel has taken cognisance in the case of killing of 10 people in police firing during anti-Sterlite protest in Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu, and intervened in the case of killing of Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari after an appeal via press, by a network of editors and media practitioners, which had urged the NHRC and the Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission to push for a swift probe into the case.

Death in police custody and Torture:

  • The commission observed that death in police custody is one of the worst kinds of crimes in a civilized society governed by the rule of law and poses a serious threat to an orderly civilized society.
  • Torture in custody flouts the basic rights of the citizens and is an affront to human dignity. The National Police Commission in its 4th Report of June 1980, noticed the prevalence of custodial torture and observed that nothing is “ so dehumanizing” as the conduct of the police in practicing torture of any kind on the person in their custody, based on the following cases :
  • Death of Sher Mohammad in police custody by torture: Uttar Pradesh
  • Custodial death of Haji Mohammad Tent wala in police custody: Ahmadabad, Gujarat

Violation of rights of SC/ST:

  • The National Human Rights Commission is expanding in the field of violation of rights of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
  • In case- Death of workers in silicon factories of Madhya Pradesh: The report indicated that there were 134 slate factories which were set up in Mandsaur District of Madhya Pradesh. The health of the majority of the workers employed in these factories was affected due to inhalation of silicon dust. The Government had taken steps to provide medical facilities and ensure that all these workers were covered under the Employees State Insurance (ESI) scheme.

Juvenile Justice:

  • The Juvenile Justice towards the prevention and treatment of juvenile delinquency and provides a framework for the protection, treatment, and rehabilitation of children in the purview of the juvenile justice system.
  • The condition of Child inmates in Juvenile Home, Meerut: Uttar Pradesh- The commission on 26th Sep. 2005 took suo-motu cognizance of a news item published in “Amar Ujala” on 21st September 2005, captioned “Massoomo ke Liye Kale se Kam Nahi Hai Jail”. According to the news item, 59 child accused were taken to the Meerut court for appearances before the magistrate on 20 September 2005. The van carrying 59 children was parked in an open area outside the court premises under direct sun for five hours and the inmates were not given food and water.

Rights of HIV patients:

Some of the famous interventions of NHRC include campaigns against discrimination of HIV patients. It also has asked all State Governments to report the cases of custodial deaths or rapes within 24 hours of occurrence failing which it would be assumed that there was an attempt to suppress the incident.

Sexual Abuse and murder of children:

An important intervention of the Commission was related to Nithari Village in Noida, UP, where children were sexually abused and murdered. Recently, NHRC helped to bring out in open a multi crore pension scam in Haryana. It also is looking up the sterilization tragedy of Chattisgarh.

Challenges of NHRC:

  • In the process of selection of the members of the Commission, the Chairman is not consulted.
  • Because of certain weakness in the Act, at times the Commission feels the need for the amendments. But the Commission has constraints in doing so.
  • Another major weakness of the Commission is that it does not have powers to investigate armed forces, BSF or any other paramilitary forces.
  • Finally, NHRC is only an investigative and recommendatory body. It does not have power of prosecution.
  • It is dependent on the Government for manpower and money. The Central Government shall pay to the Commission by way of grants such sums of money as it may consider fit.

Way forward:

  • The effectiveness of commissions will be greatly enhanced if their decisions are immediately made enforceable by the government.
  • A large number of human rights violations occur in areas where there is insurgency and internal conflict. Not allowing NHRC to independently investigate complaints against the military and security forces only compounds the problems and furthers cultures of impunity. It is essential that commission is able to summons witnesses and documents.
  • As non-judicial member positions are increasingly being filled by ex-bureaucrats, credence is given to the contention that NHRC is more an extension of the government, rather than independent agency exercising oversight. If it is to play a meaningful role in society, it must include civil society human rights activists as members. Many activists have the knowledge and on-the-ground experience of contemporary trends in the human rights movement to be an asset to the Commission.
  • NHRC needs to develop an independent cadre of staff with appropriate experience. This problem can be rectified by employing specially recruited and qualified staff to help clear the heavy inflow of complaints.

Conclusion:

Every commission set up by the government is to serve the people and maintain public law and order, and just so, the NHRC has been doing work for the country. It has to date disposed off a lot of complaints pertaining to the violations of Human Rights reported by the media, Defenders or has taken suo-moto cognizance of it. The NHRC, under the guidance of senior members, like the ex-Chief Justice of India(ex-CJI) being the Chairperson has shown an upward trend in disposing of the cases and has been instrumental in keeping the violations in check and punishing the perpetrators.


TopicIndia and its neighborhood- relations.  Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

5) Lack of domestic consensus and regional consensus on the terms of reconciliation has left Afghanistan’s Peace elusive. Discuss. Also suggest India s role in reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan? (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article gives for a detailed narration of Afghanistan’s different governance systems and the issues that it has been facing in coming to a stand for Peace.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must discuss the issues surrounding the Afghanistan – local level, regional level and global level. List the causes that have led to the instability in the region. Suggest India’s relationship with it and what role should India take in building the peace process in Afghanistan.

Directive:

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

Introduce by highlighting the situation on ground in Afghanistan.

Body

Discuss the current situation of Afghanistan – the plethora of problems; Taliban, the Trump exit , rising political instability in the region etc.

Then move on to discuss how the  centuries-old ties between India and Afghanistan shaped by history, culture and strong people-to-people linkages have become the foundation of the deep and strong relationship between the two countries. Building on the mutual trust and commonalities in traditional and cultural values, India continues to play a major role in supporting Afghanistan s journey towards peace and prosperity.

Discuss role played by India in the reconstruction and peace process of Afghanistan

India has played an important role in reconstruction and rehabilitation of Afghanistan, making significant investments in technical cooperation and capacity building in the country. India’s support and collaboration extends to the rebuilding of air links, power plants and investing in health and education sectors as well as helping to train Afghan civil servants and security forces.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

During the last 50 years, Afghanistan has been through different governance systems — monarchy till 1973; communist type rule, initially home-grown and then imposed by the U.S.S.R. with its 1979 intervention; jihadi warlordism in the early 1990s; shariat-based Taliban rule; and a democratic republic based on a presidential system since 2004. Wracked by a growing Taliban insurgency, peace today remains elusive. Reconciliation with the Taliban is increasingly projected as the way forward.

Body:

Peace is elusive in Afghanistan:

  • Continuous attacks:
    • Recently there has been a spike in violence, with the Taliban carrying out a set of coordinated assaults around Afghanistan, rejecting an offer of a three-month ceasefire by President of Afghanistan and laying siege to Ghazni city.
    • The violence this year has also put 2018 on course to be the deadliest year for Afghan civilians, with an average of nine people killed every day, according to UN data.
  • Pakistan factor:
    • The major challenge is the cooperation of regional players. Peace in Afghanistan and the wider region can only be achieved through a multilateral mechanism involving the US as well as major regional players, including Pakistan, Russia, Iran, China, India and Saudi Arabia.
    • Despite six months of concerted American punitive actions on Islamabad, the Pakistan establishment is not shutting down support for Taliban fighters.
  • US role:
    • The Afghan war has already become the longest war in US history. With the passage of time, the conflict has not only become more intense – it has also become more complicated
    • Situation puts serious doubt on any U.S. plans to draw down troops as US may have envisaged.
    • S. President’s recent South Asia policy aimed at breaking the military stalemate by expanding the U.S. and NATO presence, putting Pakistan on notice and strengthening Afghan capabilities has clearly failed.
  • Iran factor:
    • US administration’s collision course with Iran is another hurdle to realising its South Asia policy. Iran is a neighbour to both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and any action against Tehran will have consequences on the region.
    • US is also against Iran which is important to give access to the sea to landlocked Afghanistan through Chahbahar port- which is in India’s interests etc.
  • Islamic state:
    • After losing occupied territories in and around Mosul, IS is now slowly enlarging its presence in neighbouring countries, particularly Afghanistan. It is now targeting mainly the Shias and the Hazara minority, joining forces with the Taliban thereby changing the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan.
  • Russia:
    • Russia proposed an international conference on Afghanistan with the participation of all neighbours of Afghanistan including Iran, Pakistan, and India, but the US did not attend citing possible growing Russian military association with the Taliban.
  • Control of Afghan government:
    • The Afghan government controls barely half the country, with one-sixth under Taliban control and the rest contested.
    • Most significant is the ongoing depletion in the Afghan security forces because of casualties, desertions and a growing reluctance to join
    • Afghanistan launched the Kabul Process for Peace and Security Cooperation and also made an unconditional dialogue offer to the Taliban. The Taliban rejected his overture, declaring that they were ready to engage in direct talks only with the Americans.

India’s commitment towards peaceful Afghanistan:

  • India’s development assistance has been the source of its considerable influence and goodwill among Afghan citizens.
  • Major projects, such as the Salma Dam and Parliament building in Kabul, that began in 2008-09, have now been completed.
  • Current crop of Small Development Projects launched in 2016, encompassing drinking water plans for several cities including Kabul, supply of buses, construction of low-cost housing, and assistance in health and education are important.
  • India inaugurated dam in Herat, which will boost the agricultural and industrial sectors of Herat. India has made long term commitment to Afghanistan’s security and development.
  • New Afghanistan Policy of USA supports India’s greater role in Afghanistan. Apart from that the policy also emphasized that Pakistan should end its support to terror groups who are involved in destabilization of Afghanistan.
  • Last year India and Afghanistan agreed to initiate an ambitious and forward-looking ‘New Development Partnership’, according to which India agreed to take up 116 high-impact community development projects to be implemented in 31 provinces of Afghanistan, including in the fields of education, health, agriculture, irrigation, drinking water, renewable energy, flood control, micro-hydropower, sports infrastructure and administrative infrastructure.
  • The new projects are:
    • Shahtoot dam and drinking water project for Kabul that would also facilitate irrigation.
    • Low cost housing for returning Afghan refugees in Nangarhar province to promote resettlement.
    • Road connectivity to Band-e-Amir in Bamyan province that would promote tourism to the national park and economic development.
    • Besides these government-funded projects, Aptech, a private firm, is providing IT training for Afghan youth in the country.
  • India has been giving a lot of non-lethal military assistance. In 2016 four MI 25 attack helicopters were given to Afghanistan.
  • India is the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan and fifth largest donor globally with over $3 billion in assistance.
  • India has built over 200 public and private schools, sponsors scholarships and hosts Afghan students.
  • India has shied away from involving itself in full scale war for the following reasons:
  • Any deeper security co-operation with Afghanistan would have negative impact on Pakistan-India ties.
  • India does not share border with Afghanistan. It poses limitation to physical access to Afghanistan.
  • In past years USA was reluctant to involve India into the war to avoid grating Pakistan’s political sensitivities. Though it did try to promote regional economic cooperation between Delhi, Islamabad and Kabul
  • India does not want to strengthen security cooperation with Afghanistan as that may antagonize Pakistan.

Way forward for India:

  • India must focus on assisting Afghanistan in every manner possible to ensure that the country’s elections are as peaceful and participative as possible.
  • On the military front as well, India must move quickly to provide helicopters as well as engineering/tech support for Afghan hardware.
  • Indian government must realise that its consistent undermining of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) because of problems with Pakistan is also weakening Afghanistan’s engagement with the subcontinent, which India had worked hard to foster
  • For regional security there must be closer involvement of regional powers in international efforts to ensure non-interference and a stable Afghanistan; this also requires involvement of the Central Asian Republics, which border Afghanistan.
  • It is important for India to coordinate its efforts with those of Russia and Iran to ensure success.

Conclusion:

India is committed to “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled” peace process. India’s engagement with Afghanistan is multi-dimensional.


Topic:  Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

6) Discuss the objectives, composition and significance of the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU).(250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The article captures the details of the 5th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness that was held recently in Kathmandu, Nepal. Kathmandu Media Action Plan for Media Integration in Climate Action and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) was adopted at summit.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain the importance of ABU, its objectives, composition and significance.

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:

Introduce with recent event related to ABU – the 5th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness .

Body:

  • Discuss in detail – about the ABU : It is a non-profit, non-governmental, non- political, professional association of broadcasting organizations, which assist development of broadcasting in region.
  • It was established in 1964, and has Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. With over 272 member in 76 countries on four continents, ABU is biggest broadcasting union in the world.
  • ABU is also member of the World Broadcasters’ Union.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such institutions.

Introduction:

The Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), formed in 1964, is a non-profit, professional association of broadcasting organisations. It currently has over 280 members in 57 countries and regions, reaching a potential audience of about 3 billion people. 5th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness began in Kathmandu recentlly. The theme of the two-day summit is “Media Solutions for Sustainable Future: Saving Lives, Building Resilient Communities”.

Body:

Objectives:

  • To establish relationships with organizations of broadcasting and other entities
  • To promote and coordinate the study of all the problems involved in broadcasting, and to ensure the exchange of information on all these matters
  • To encourage any initiative taken for the development of broadcasting in general, and especially in its use for purposes of education and national development.

Composition:

  • Currently, the ABU has 272 members in 76 countries on four continents.
  • It spreads from Turkey in the west to Samoa in the east, and from Russia in the north to New Zealand in the south.
  • Director General of India’s Doordarshan Supriya Sahu is the incumbent vice-president of ABU.

Significance:

  • The Union was established in 1964 as a non-profit, non-governmental, non- political, professional association with mandate to assist the development of broadcasting in the region.
  • ABU promotes the collective interests of television and radio broadcasters as well as key industry players and facilitate regional and international media co-operation.
  • In the last decade, the Union has become a global player in using media for social development and nation-building.
  • The ABU flagship outreach campaigns on gender empowerment and climate action and disaster preparedness have won the backing of numerous governments and the support of international organisations.
  • The ABU runs a wide range of services, including the daily Asiavision TV news exchange, several co-productions, program exchanges and technical, programming, legal and management consultancies, as well as industry and international conferences and an international frequency planning and coordination.
  • The Union negotiates rights for major sports events and organises their coverage for the region. It also runs the prestigious annual ABU Prizes, TV Song and Radio Song Festivals.
  • ABU is a member of the World Broadcasters’ Union and works closely with the other regional broadcasting unions on matters of common concern such as reserving frequencies for broadcasters, harmonisation of operating and technical broadcasting standards and systems and finalising the Broadcasting Treaty.

Conclusion:

The ABU helps to develop new radio and television products to better educate and prepare people against natural hazards in Asia-Pacific countries.


Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions.

7) What do you understand by Deontology and Consequentialism in ethics? Explain with examples.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications.

 

Why this question:

The question is to evaluate the ethical ideologies of Deontology and Consequentialism.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must elaborate on the concepts of Deontology and Consequentialism with examples as applied to Ethics as a subject.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the  particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief upon what you understand by Deontology and Consequentialism in ethics.

Body:

  • The answer to the question is straightforward – one has to discuss in detail the concepts of Deontology and Consequentialism, how one differs from another, what are the common points.
  • Deontology – the ethical system in which morality is determined by duty or laws. A simpler example of deontological ethics would be Christianity, in which moral acts are those that obey the ten commandments. Consequentialism – this moral philosophy is probably best captured in the aphorism “the ends justify the means.” Consequentialism says an act is good if it results in a good situation. An act is bad if  it results in a bad situation. Consequentialists then try to determine what a “good situation” actually entails, who should benefit from the good, who should determine the good, and the relevancy of good intentions.
  • Deontology is duty ethics, so it compares a person’s actions against some duty or imperative.  An example is Kant’s Deontology, which has the Categorical Imperative that all persons must be ends in and of themselves and may never be used as means.  Deontology emphasizes the character of the actions.
  • Draw a brief comparison and justify with examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the two schools of ethics .

Introduction:

Ethics or moral philosophy is a branch of philosophy that involves questions about morality and the perception of good and evil, of right and wrong, of justice, virtue, and vice.

Body:

Deontology is also referred to as duty-based ethics. It is an approach to ethics that addresses whether the motives behind certain actions are right or wrong instead of focusing on whether the results of the action are right or wrong. It is based on each individual’s duty or obligation towards each other, all living things, and the environment based on moral beliefs and values. It teaches about always acting in good faith and adheres to the Golden Rule to treat others the way you want to be treated by them.

The Ten Commandments are examples of deontology. They are moral duties that we have been taught since we were children, and we are moulded by them in the way that we should treat others, to be fair and not using them to serve selfish intentions.

Teleology or consequentialism is referred to as results-oriented ethics. It focuses on the purpose of each action and whether there is an intention or meaning for the action. It deals with the consequences of an action. It involves examining past experiences in order to figure out the results of present actions. The most common forms of Consequentialism are the various versions of utilitarianism, which favour actions that produce the greatest amount of happiness.

An example of which is utilitarianism which is also referred to as the greatest happiness principle. It measures how much overall pleasure can be derived from a certain action and how much pain is averted.

Two problems with consequentialism are:

  • it can lead to the conclusion that some quite dreadful acts are good
  • predicting and evaluating the consequences of actions is often very difficult

Conclusion:

While deontology is based on man’s absolute duty towards mankind and how it is given priority over results, teleology is based on the results of an action and on whether an action produces greater happiness and less pain.