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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 NOVEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 NOVEMBER 2019


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


Topic:Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

1) Recent increase in protests and agitations has led to considerable damage to public property and social disharmony. In this context discuss the relevance of fundamental duties under Article 51A of the Indian constitution. (250 words)

Indian Polity by Laxmikanth

Why this question:

The question is based on the recent happenings that have direct relevance to fundamental duties under Article 51A of the Indian constitution.

Key demand of the question:

Answer demands relevance of fundamental duties in democratic state. And how they are important to inculcate discipline among citizens.

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: 

Write in short about How and why fundamental duties were included in constitution.

Body:

Write importance of fundamental duties for instance write Some of them are moral duties while others are civic duties. 

Cherishing noble ideals of freedom struggle is a moral precept and respecting the Constitution, National Flag and National Anthem is a civic duty. They serve as a warning against the anti-national and antisocial activities. They serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment among them. 

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving suggestions and write how it will eventually help to protect public property.

Introduction:    

The Fundamental Duties are an important part of Indian Constitution. The duties prescribed, embody some of the highest ideals preached by our great saints, philosophers, social reformers and political leaders. No Duties of the Citizen were incorporated in the original constitution of India at the time of its commencement in 1950. The Fundamental Duties of citizens were added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment in 1976, upon the recommendations of the Swaran Singh Committee that was constituted by the government earlier that year. The Fundamental Duties help to regulate the behaviour of the citizens and to bring about excellence in all the spheres of the citizens.

Body:

Fundamental Duties:

  • To abide by the Constitution and respect its ideals and institutions, the National Flag and the National Anthem.
  • To cherish and follow the noble ideals which inspired our national struggle for freedom.
  • To uphold and protect the sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
  • To defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women.
  • To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.
  • To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
  • To develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.
  • To safeguard public property and to abjure violence.
  • To strive towards excellence in all spheres of individual and collective activity, so that the nation constantly rises to higher levels of endeavour and achievement.
  • Subsequently, another duty was added by the 86th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2002: for a parent or guardian to provide opportunities for education of the child or ward between the age of six and fourteen (It was added when under Article 21A Right to education was made a FR).

Relevance of fundamental duties under Article 51A:

  • They serve as a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights, they should also be conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens.
  • They serve as a warning against the anti-national and antisocial activities like burning the national flag, destroying public property and so on.
  • They serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment among them.
  • They create a feeling that the citizens are no mere spectators but active participants in the realisation of national goals.
  • They are ideal in nature and lead the citizen in the right direction. The environment of selfishness is rampant in the country. There is no balance between the interests of the society and individual. This tendency is eroding the society. Fundamental duties would serve as an ideal behaviour to all of them.
  • They help the courts in examining and determining the constitutional validity of a law.
  • For instance, in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled that in determining the constitutionality of any law, if a court finds that the law in question seeks to give effect to a fundamental duty, it may consider such law to be ‘reasonable’ in relation to Article 14 (equality before law) or Article 19 (six freedoms) and thus save such law from unconstitutionality.
  • The importance of fundamental duties is that they define the moral obligations of all citizens to help in the promotion of the spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India.
  • The fulfilment of the fundamental duties is voluntary and not compulsory. They will slowly awaken the conscience of the people to do their duties.
  • Fundamental duties make citizen conscious of his social and citizenship responsibilities and so shape the society in which all become solicitous and considerate of the inalienable rights of our fellow citizens

The scope of Fundamental Rights under Part III of the Constitution has seen significant expansion through judicial pronouncements; the right to free legal services to the poor, right to speedy trial and right to live in a clean and healthy environment are just a few examples. As a result, an imbalance has been created between the current set of Fundamental Rights and Duties. Hence, to balance this few additional Fundamental Duties should be added. This could help in balancing out the rights of its citizens and further make them more responsible towards the country’s development. In this regard, the duty to vote, duty to pay taxes, duty to help accident victims, Duty to keep the public premises clean, Duty to raise voice against injustice and Reinvigorating civic responsibility can be mulled upon.

Conclusion:

Fundamental duties are the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. The significance of Fundamental Duties is not diminished by the fact that there is no punishment prescribed for not following them. Fundamental Duties constitute the conscience of our Constitution; they should be treated as constitutional values that must be propagated by all citizens.


Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

2) “The Government is the master of the country and the Prime Minister is the master of the Government.” In this context, discuss the Functions and Powers of the Prime Minister as the head of the government.(250 words)

Indian Polity by Lakshmikanth

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss in detail the powers and functions of the Prime minister and expand the significance of the statement in the question.

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: 

Start with the brief introduction highlighting the role of PM in Indian polity.

Body:

The question is straight forward and doesn’t require much deliberation.

Firstly, discuss the functions and powers of the Prime Minister in detail, one can have the following aspects covered:

  • He recommends persons who can be appointed as ministers by the president. The President can appoint only those persons as ministers who are recommended by the Prime Minister.
  • He allocates and reshuffles various portfolios among the ministers.
  • He can ask a minister to resign or advise the President to dismiss him in case of difference of opinion.
  • He presides over the meeting of council of ministers and influences its decisions.
  • He guides, directs, controls, and coordinates the activities of all the ministers.
  • He can bring about the collapse of the council of ministers by resigning from office.

Discuss other functions too.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the role of the Prime Minister in the parliamentary government is so significant and crucial that observers like to call it a Prime Ministerial government.

Introduction:    

The prime minister of India is the leader of the executive of the Government of India. The prime minister is also the chief adviser to the President of India and head of the Council of Ministers. They can be a member of any of the two houses of the Parliament of India—the Lok Sabha (House of the People) and the Rajya Sabha (Council of the States). The prime minister selects and can dismiss members of the cabinet; allocates posts to members within the government; and is the presiding member and chairperson of the cabinet. The Union Cabinet headed by the prime minister is appointed by the president of India to assist the latter in the administration of the affairs of the executive. Union cabinet is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha as per article 75(3) of the Constitution of India.

Body:

Functions of the Prime Minister:

  • Formation of the Council of Minister:
    • Article 75, provides that the Prime Minister is appointed by the President and other ministers shall be appointed by the President on the advice of the Prime Minister.
    • While appointing Council of Minister, He keeps in his mind-
      • He must include people of different caste, religion, etc.
      • He must give representation to all the states, UTs, and regions.
    • Removal of Ministers:
      • No minister can stay in the council of ministers against the wishes of the Prime Minister.
      • The PM can demand the resignation of such a minister. If a particular minister does not resign then the PM can ask the President to dismiss him or he can submit his own resignation.
      • The Ministers can be removed by the President on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.
    • Leader of the Cabinet:
      • The PM is the chairman or the leader of the cabinet.
      • He convenes the meetings, prepares the agenda for the meetings and controls and guides the discussion in the meetings.
      • The PM is the Maker, the Leader, the Chairman and the Destroyer of the Cabinet.
    • Allocation of Portfolios:
      • It is an undisputed privilege of the Prime Minister to allocate portfolios to his ministers. Which particular department is to be given to which minister is determined by him.
      • Any minister objecting to such an allotment invites the wrath of the Prime Minister and can get completely ignored from the ministry.
    • Coordination among different departments:
      • The PM acts as the General Manager and the Chief Coordinator.
      • It is his responsibility to coordinate the activities of all the departments and to secure co-operation amongst all the departments.
      • For these purposes, he called the meetings of different departments and coordinate their work.
    • The link between the President and the Council of Ministers:
      • The PM is the main link between the President and the Council of Ministers.
      • No minister has direct access to the President except with the permission of the PM.
    • Leader of the Parliament:
      • The PM is not only the leader of the party, but He is also the leader of the Lok Sabha and the Leader of the Parliament.
      • He announces the major policies of the nation on the floor of the Parliament.
      • He decides the complete agenda of the house in consultation with the speaker of the Lok Sabha.
    • Director of Foreign Affairs:
      • The PM acts as the Chief Architect of India’s foreign relations. He is responsible for India’s prestige and participation in International relations.
      • The PM is chief promoter of India’s National interest and plays an important role in International conferences and Negotiations.
    • Role in Economic Planning:
      • He plays a leading role in all fiscal and development planning.
      • All important decisions related to financial matters are made by him.
      • He plays a very significant role in the process of socio-economic modernization.
    • Power of appointment:
      • Formally the appointments to high post are made by the President, yet in reality, the lists are prepared by the PM. the approval of the President is just a formality.
      • These appointments include the Governors, the Attorney General, the Auditor, the Ambassadors, the Consular, etc.
      • All the high ranking appointments and promotions are made by the President on the advice of the PM.
    • As a Chief Administrator:
      • The PM is the Real Chief Executive of the nation and as he is the head of the administration who has full power to implement the programmes and fulfil promises of the party.
    • Role as the Leader of the Nation:
      • The PM is the leader of the Nation.
      • He is the channel through which all other Nations deal with India.
      • He alone can speak for the Indian Republic.
    • Role of Prime Minister during an Emergency:
      • The emergency powers of the President are in reality the powers of the Prime Minister.
      • The President declares an emergency only under the advice of the Cabinet, which in reality means the advice of the Prime Minister. All decisions taken to meet an emergency are really the decisions of the Prime Minister.
      • The Prime Minister can get the imposition of President’s rule in a State.
      • The Presidential decision in favour of imposing an emergency in a state is always governed by the decision of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet.

Powers of Prime Minister:

  • PM in the Indian context is endowed with immense powers, which makes him a very powerful constitutional ruler in the world.
  • PM is the general coordinator of their activities.
  • PM presides over the cabinet meetings, conferences with individual ministers, encourage and instructs them.
  • PM can ask any minister to resign.
  • In the Indian system of parliamentary democracy. The PM is the actual ruler or the real chief executive.
  • PM enjoys vast administrative, legislative and emergency powers.
  • PM provides leadership in policy formulation and implantation and provides the vital link between the government and the people, between the government and the President, etc.
  • PM is the most powerful citizen of our country.
  • The Prime Minister plays an important role in policy making, planning, legislation, decision-making, etc.

Conclusion:

The office of the Prime Minister is the most powerful office in India. If Cabinet is the strongest institution, the Prime Minister is the strongest person in the cabinet under the Constitution of India, the real centre of power is the office of the Prime Minister. He is the Head of the Government of India. He is the real custodian of all executive authority.


Topic:Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

3) Despite unique constitutional position, the Governor is sometimes not seen as willing or able to discharge his functions as impartial and efficient as envisioned by the fathers of the constitution. Analyse.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article explains that the Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari’s recent recommendation for President’s rule in the State under Article 356 (1) of the Constitution should have been based on “objective material” and not on a political whim or fancy, based on the Supreme Court verdict in the 1994 S.R. Bommai case.

Key demand of the question:

One has to critically analyse the role often played by the Governor in the Indian setup.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, 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. 

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Give brief introduction of Governor.

Body:

Highlight first the significance of the post of Governor as enshrined in the Indian constitution.

Discuss the issues related to abuse of post of Governor in federal polity failing to the functions impartially and efficiency.

Explain the misuse of Article 356, Power of Reserving bill, Partisan role in Hung assemblies etc. with examples of recent times.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The office of Governor is a British Indian transplant with a federalistic flavour. The role of office of Governor was confined to normal routine ceremonial functions earlier but now enjoys more powers. Discretionary powers of Governor in state are much more extensive in comparison to the President in centre in India. He/She is not bound to act on the advice of the council of Ministers in certain circumstances, even he need not seek its advice.

Body:

Issues related to abuse of post of Governor in federal polity:

  • Appointment of Governor: Article 155 says that governor should be appointed (not elected) from amongst persons of high status with eminence in public. The elected government at the state is not even consulted while making appointment of the Governors. Further successive governments have reduced this important constitutional office to a sinecure and resting place for loyal and retired / about to retired / about to retire politicians apart from docile bureaucrats.
  • Appointment and dismissal of the Chief Minister: Governor appoints Chief Minister, other ministers, Advocate General, Chairmen and members of the State Public Service Commission in the state. After elections in the state, there is a convention to invite the largest party to form government in the state. This convention has been flouted many times at the whim of the governor. E.g.: the recent episode of Karnataka after 2018 hung assembly elections.
  • Reservation of Bills for Consideration of President: As per Article 200 of the Constitution, the governor can reserve certain types of bills passed by the State Legislature for the President’s consideration. The President can either give assent to it or ask the governor to send it back for the state legislature to reconsider it, along with his comments. The chief intent of this provision is for the centre to keep a tab on the legislation in the interest of the nation. However, the central government, through the office of the governor, has used this provision to serve partisan interests.
  • Misuse of Article 356: Article 356 is the most controversial article of the Constitution. It provides for State emergency or President’s rule in State if the President, on receipt of report from the Governor of a State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the Government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. The duration of such emergency is six months and it can be extended further. In the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar had made it clear that the Article 356 would be applied as a last resort. He also hoped that” such articles will never be called into operation and that they would remain a dead letter.”
  • Removal of the Governor: Article 156 says that the governor will hold office during the pleasure of the President for five years. President works on aid and advice of the Council of Ministers under Article 74. In effect it is the central government that appoints and removes the Governors. The governor has no security of tenure and no fixed term of office. E.g.: The mass changing of the governors of state whenever a new government comes to power at Centre.

Major recommendations to improve Governor’s office in federal polity of India:

Supreme Court rulings:

  • On Appointment of CM during hung assembly:
    • Recent Karnataka case, 2018: SC observed that Governor’s discretion cannot be arbitrary or fanciful.
  • On President’s rule:
    • SR Bommai vs. Union of India, 1994: The case was about the limits to the Governor’s powers in dismissing a state government under Article 356 of the Constitution. The floor of the Assembly is the only forum that should test the majority of the government of the day, and not the subjective opinion of the Governor.
    • Rameshwar Prasad Case, 2006: Supreme Court was called upon to pronounce its verdict on the validity of the proclamation of President’s Rule and the dissolution of the Assembly in Bihar in 2005. The SC held that the Governor could not decide based on his subjective assessments.
  • On removal of Governor:
    • BP Singhal vs Union of India: The Supreme Court ruled that even though the President could dismiss a Governor without having to provide reasons for doing so, this power could not be exercised in an “arbitrary, capricious or unreasonable manner”

Sarkaria Commission Report (1988)

  • On appointment of Governor:
    • Governor should be an eminent person and not belong to the state where he is to be posted.
    • State chief minister should have a say in the appointment of governor
    • Governor should be a detached figure without intense political links or should not have taken part in politics in recent past.
    • Governor should not be a member of the ruling party.
  • On Removal of Governor
    • Governors must not be removed before completion of their five-year tenure, except in rare and compelling circumstances
  • On appointment of Chief Minister during a hung assembly:
    • Leader of the majority party or parties,
    • Should seek the vote of confidence in the assembly within 30 days of his appointment as the CM.
    • As long as the council of ministry possess a majority in the assembly the governor cannot use his discretionary powers.

Venkatachaliah Commission (2002):

  • On Appointment of Governor:
    • Governor’s appointment should be entrusted to a committee comprising the prime minister, the home minister, the speaker of the Lok Sabha and the chief minister of the concerned state.
  • On removal of Governor
    • If governor to be removed before completion of term, the central government should do so only after consultation with the Chief Minister.

Punchhi Commission (2010)

  • The phrase “during the pleasure of the President” should be deleted from the Constitution
  • Governor should be removed only by a resolution of the state legislature.
  • It recommended the localizing of emergency provisions under Articles 355 and 356 of the Constitution. According to it, President’s rule should be imposed in those parts of the state where there is constitutional breakdown of machinery — rather than the whole state. This will go a long way in preventing the dismissal of state governments on petty and manufactured grounds of lawlessness

Way forward:

  • The recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission and the Punchhi Commission report need to be examined closely to make proper amendments to the functions of the post of governor.
  • The Supreme Court Judgement (BP Singhal case) which curtailed the power of the Centre to dismiss state governments arbitrarily is commendable. Further the removal of governor from office must entail impeachment proceedings in the state assembly.
  • Governor’s office should be apolitical. There should be a panel involving the opposition, ruling party, civil society and the judiciary in the selection process of Governor. Governor should be appointed only after consultation with the CM of the state where he/she will work
  • Discretionary powers should be curtailed. There should be proper guidelines on the appointment of CM.
  • According to ex-PM Manmohan Singh, Governor’s office should facilitate in maintaining internal security, ensure communal harmony and welfare of SCs and STs and rise above partisan politics while discharging Constitutional obligations.

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

4) If the Panchayat allocations are combined with MGNREGA to support asset creation, it can activate infrastructure growth, resulting in additional income and improved conditions in the rural India. Elucidate.(250 words)

Financialexpress

Why this question:

The article explains that although the government has been taking multiple steps to trigger the economy, there is a need to focus on rural India, in terms of optimizing of fund allocations and revision of MGNREGA wages.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the effect of such a step in improving earnings in rural India through a boost to infrastructure growth.

Directive:

ElucidateGive 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: 

In brief present the current scenario of rural economy in India.

Body:

First discuss in brief the role currently the MGNREGA scheme is playing in infrastructure development and rural growth in India.

Explain then the benefits that MGNREGA can bring when it would be combined with Panchayat allocations – Financial inclusion, social protection, livelihood opportunities etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a system and systematic approach is the key to trigger the demand in rural India and, thus, accelerate GDP growth

Introduction:    

The economic slowdown to 5% GDP growth and its impact on the organised sector has casted many aspersions in India. Although the government has been taking multiple steps to trigger the economy, there is a need to focus on rural India, in terms of optimising of fund allocations and revision of MGNREGA wages. This may improve earnings in rural India, supported by good kharif crop. And, could be the beginning of recovery in consumer goods demand and, eventually, the economy. A further push towards systematic value addition locally in the form of strategic investments in industries and group of Panchayats may provide extra income and employment.

Body:

Potential of the rural economy:

  • More than two-thirds of the country resides in 6 lakh villages.
  • The 73rd and 74th amendment to the constitution and the finance commission directly providing funds to the local self-bodies have transformed rural infrastructure.
  • A panchayat with a population of 2,500 gets around Rs. 60-70 lakh per annum, one with a larger population of around 20,000 gets Rs. 2.5 crore.
  • If allocations are merged with MGNREGA to aid asset creation, it can trigger infrastructure growth, resulting in extra income and improved conditions.

Steps to spur the rural economy:

  • Construction of Sustainable assets: To ensure the development of non-negotiable structures like development of drainage following systematic planning of topography, cement concrete lanes for every habitat in village, source for drinking water, piped drinking water, pucca housing, Panchayat bhavan with computer and internet connectivity, appropriate school buildings, play grounds etc.
  • Creating self-sufficient units: the government will create smart villages and smart panchayats without generating a demand for additional funds. This would also contribute to better health outcomes.
  • Wage revision: MGNREGA wage revision, which sets the trend of minimum wages in rural India, is long overdue. In lieu of good monsoon, there is a need to provide farmers the best price for their produce. Demand to match the MGNREGA wages with minimum wages of individual states is long pending.
  • Financial inclusion: having an account in 5km radius and ensuring social protection debit—can also trigger the economy.
  • Social protection can be ensured if the government provides death and accident insurance for everyone, ensures accuracy of BPL data and easy access to financial institutions.
  • Livelihood opportunities in the vicinity can be created by encouraging value addition to agriculture produce. For instance, vegetable mint be made into menthol. Such solutions will add to the income of households. This will trigger a consumption economy. The road, internet and financial access itself is good stimulant.

Challenges to achieve the above:

  • To set quality standards and establish a system to appraise the status of households and infrastructure to ensure appropriate interventions.
  • Lack of financial resources to match competitive demands.
  • Poor fund utilisation by implementing agencies. It is only around 60% and the qualitative outcome only 40 to 50%. (Budget 2017)
  • Multiple levels of transfer of money through intergovernmental departments.

Solutions:

  • This will require drawing from pool of funds from ministry of rural development, Panchayat, drinking water and sanitation.
  • Funds from human resource department, women and child welfare for anganwadi buildings can also be used.
  • If MNREGA wages are revised during kharif pre-harvest, they can increase incomes and thereby spending. The present allocation of Rs. 55,000 crore, this is just a 2.9% increase from 2018, needs a relook.
  • Direct fund transfers by eliminating the intermediaries.
  • Capacity building and strengthening the functions of the institutional setup and efficiency at three levels—panchayats, districts and the state.
  • Effective fund utilization by involving the local stakeholders for better transparency and accountability. E.g.: Social Audits.

Conclusion:

A system and systematic approach is the key to trigger the demand in rural India and, thus, accelerate GDP growth.


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

5) With the manufacturing sector in India unable to provide employment opportunities to the youth, the digital platforms provide work to the growing demographic of youth in the country. In this context discuss the need for regulating them and the concerns associated with excessive regulation of these platforms.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The question is in the context of Karnataka State government’s move to frame guidelines for workers of digital platforms like Uber, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy, UrbanClap, etc. 

Key demand of the question:

One must highlight the significance of digital platforms and gig economy that they are creating and the optimal methods of regulating them.

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: 

In brief narrate the context of the question.

Body:

Explain first the Importance of digital platforms.

Discuss the significance of the move taken by the govt. of Karnataka; The move to frame the guidelines is to ensure that all relevant labour benefits are available to even those working in the ‘gig economy’. The Karnataka government’s move to add benefits can provide a degree of public welfare assistance to a significant and growing workforce in India.

Then discuss in detail the concerns associated. 

Conclusion:

Conclude that while the government has the responsibility of ensuring social stability for all, any move in this direction must not create hurdles for the businesses. This will lead to loss of employment which in itself is a way to social security. The government needs to balance the views of all stakeholders.

Introduction:    

Karnataka State government recently announced that it will work towards framing guidelines for workers of digital platforms like Uber, Ola, Zomato, Swiggy and UrbanClap, to ensure all relevant labour benefits for those working in the ‘gig economy’. A gig economy is a work environment where organizations hire temporary workers or freelancers instead of full-time long-term employees. Globally, growth in freelancers is expected to be one of the most significant employment related trends over the next couple of decades. In India too, the signs of freelancing is becoming increasingly relevant and attracting professionals

Body:

Reasons for growth in Gig Economy jobs:

  • Governments now actively acknowledge that platforms provide work to the growing demographic of youth in the country.
  • At the moment, the manufacturing sector in India is unable to provide employment opportunities to the youth.
  • There is thus a mismatch between education and jobs skills in the market.
  • Governments have also been unable to create viable public work schemes in urban areas for those continuously migrating into cities and towns.
  • Private tech, however, has been able to do this, and the government seems to be aware of its potential.

Concerns posed by Gig economy:

  • It is making the work environment uncertain for the workers
  • No labour welfare emoluments like pension, gratuity etc.
  • Gig workers miss out on statutory safeguards with respect to unfair termination, minimum wages, paid leave, etc.
  • Workers do not have the bargaining power to negotiate a fair deal with their employers.
  • Banks and other financial service providers resist extending lines of credit when steady income is not assured
  • In situations where teamwork is essential, gig worker teams formed and disbanded on a case-to-case basis will likely produce tardy, inconsistent and poor output
  • Unionization of workers will be difficult.
  • In industries such as information technology and pharmaceuticals where confidentiality becomes crucial, having control over the actions of a gig worker will be challenging.

Challenges in India:

  • Minimum wages in India are woefully low. Earning an ‘employee’ status may not entitle them to more than what they currently make.
  • Outside social security net: Social security laws like the EPF and ESI currently only cover employees earning below Rs 15,000 and Rs 21,000 per month, respectively.
  • If drivers earn more, they may not be entitled to these benefits, even after they get employment status, leaving them in a position that isn’t significantly better than before.
  • Most Indian employment laws expressly prohibit dual employment, i.e. individuals cannot carry out two jobs if the total working hours exceed 8-9 hours a day based on location.
  • Many gig workers work with multiple apps at the same time to supplement their income, which may become harder or illegal to do if they attain employment status with app operators.
  • Security: A big drawback for a gig economy system was the lack of security for workers. Those working in the gig economy do not enjoy the same rights and protections as employed workers, such as health benefits, overtime pay and sick leave pay.

Measures needed:

  • Basic labour protection like minimum wages, paid leave provisions and maternity benefits should be available to gig workers as well.
  • The proposed Code on Wages and the Labour Code on Social Security are steps in the right direction.
  • The state should balance the interests of business exigencies and social welfare.
  • India can engage with the European Union and the United States, where discussion on protections in a gig economy is already underway.
  • The government need to redefine labour laws that must not stifle innovation but certainly prevent exploitation.

Way forward:

  • The ecosystem of public policy, platform work, and the government together can suggest an urban ‘Jobs for All’, a financialised employment guarantee scheme.
  • The work created by these companies could easily be regulated as public goods in the coming years because it creates mobility and facilitates the movement of goods.
  • An increasing number of these jobs has been created through incentivised demand using cashbacks, coupons, low fares, and even free services rather than through natural demand.
  • Platforms have created public utilities that may not have been needed before via what is often low-skilled and poor quality work, but it is work that brings in some earnings.
  • They have given urban workers a financialised, self-driven, optional economic safety net of ‘having a job, having a gig’.

Conclusion:

The Karnataka government’s move to add benefits is welcome and can provide a degree of public welfare assistance to a significant and growing workforce in India. The government needs to step in, not to regulate away flexibility but to build worker and workplace protection into the system. The business, as well as welfare considerations of the workers, should be well balanced.


Topic Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. . Disaster and disaster management.

6) “Our thirst for more water is making the ocean saltier”, in the light of the above statement discuss increasing salinity as one of the most important environmental issues of the 21st century. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The article brings out the alarming water crisis facing the world and more so 

Specifically the drying of oceans due to increasing trends of de-salinization of ocean waters.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the issue in detail and bring out the concerns associated and explain what steps need to be taken to overcome and mitigate the challenges.

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: 

Explain first the problem.

Body:

Discuss that, regions without enough drinking water often turns to desalination, the process of removing salt from seawater to make it drinkable. But researchers are now worrying that the process’ salty byproducts could wreak havoc on the ocean’s delicate ecosystems. 

Explain what the crux of the issue is, highlight the contributing factors etc.

Discuss the potential consequences of the problem.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue and emphasize on the need to have multi-faceted approach.

Introduction:    

According to a U.N. backed study, desalination plants across the world produce highly salty waste water and toxic chemicals that are damaging the environment. This study was part of research into how best to secure fresh water for a rising population without harming the environment. Desalination plants around the world are pumping out far more salt laden brine than previously believed. Brine, water comprising about 5% salt, often includes toxins such as chlorine and copper used in desalination. By contrast, global seawater is about 3.5% salt. The brine raises the level of salinity and poses a major risk to ocean life and marine ecosystems.

Body:

Desalination is the process of removing salts from water to produce water that meets the quality (salinity) requirements of different human uses. Seawater desalination can extend water supplies beyond what is available from the hydrological cycle, providing an “unlimited”, climate-independent and steady supply of high-quality water.

Reasons for increase in desalination plants:

  • The “conventional” sources of water such as rainfall, snow-melt and river runoff captured in lakes, rivers, and aquifers are no longer sufficient to meet human demands in water-scarce areas.
  • This is in direct conflict with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, aimed at ensuring the availability of clean water for current and future generations.
  • While water demand mitigation approaches such as water conservation and improved efficiencies can somewhat close the water demand and supply gap, these approaches must be combined with supply enhancement strategies in order to combat water scarcity.
  • Among the water supply enhancement options, desalination of sea-water and highly brackish water has received the most consideration and is increasingly seen as a viable option to meet primarily domestic and municipal needs.
  • More than half the brine comes from four middle eastern countries. These are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar, with Saudi Arabia alone responsible for 22% of the effluent.

Challenges posed:

  • Since brine is denser than seawater, it sinks to the seafloor and disrupts vibrant communities of life, which find themselves wanting far less salt and far more oxygen.
  • The brine reject tends to create a sort of niche microhabitat with higher levels of salinity around areas where they are let out.
  • Brine reject from the plant is often let out directly onto the beaches and near coastlines, thus eroding the coastline and the livelihoods of locals, in addition to turning the groundwater salty.
  • There is an increase in the temperature of this zone of the sea, together they decrease the dissolved oxygen level, which is called hypoxia and that impacts the aquatic life in that zone.
  • Hypoxia often leads to the formation of dead zones in the oceans. These zones have quadrupled since 1950, mainly as a result of climate change. Now the excess salt is adding to these problems.
  • Desalination requires large amount of energy to process seawater, which is met by burning fossil fuels contributing to global warming.
  • Compounding the problem is the ongoing expansion of desalination as more and more countries turn to the technology in the face of climate change which is exacerbating water shortages.

Way forward:

  • Desalination plants could dilute their leftover water with freshwater that’s clean enough to dump back into the ocean, but not fit to drink.
  • Brine is rich in salt content which can be harnessed for extraction of salt by setting up adequate infrastructure near desalination plants
  • Instead of flushing brine near coastal areas, it can be channelized and stored underground or piped deep into ocean.
  • Harnessing of sea water resources should be included in the draft National Water Policy framework released in 2016, with legal safeguards and provisions for management of desalination plants.
  • Water rich states like Tamil Nadu receive ample rainfall from the monsoons and might not need large scale desalination plants.
  • Setting small viable plants catering to small areas like individual villages using a different desalination technology called electrodialysis, powered by solar panels, could provide enough clean, palatable drinking water to supply the needs of a typical village.

Conclusion:

Clearly we have some kinks to work out in the desalination process. And with four billion people now facing water scarcity, we can’t afford to waste any time in sorting them out. To meet drinking water needs of cities, conserving and protecting lakes and wetlands is a cheaper and environmentally better option than desalination.


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

7) “Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love”. Explain the significance of kindness as a virtue in one’s life.(250 words)

 Timesofindia

Why this question:

It’s a Quote based Ethics question being asked in the pretext of the celebration of world Kindness day today.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the significance of ‘Kindness’ as a virtue.

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: 

The World Kindness Day was launched in 1998 and has around 28 nations involved in this movement. 

Body:

Define kindness – Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions.

Elaborate on the salient features of kindness as a virtue using suitable examples from day to day life.

Explain the viewpoints of leaders and social thinkers like Mark Twain from a compassion point of view considered “Kindness as a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see”.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such a virtue in one’s life.

 

Introduction:    

Kindness is a behavior marked by ethical characteristics, a pleasant disposition, and concern and consideration for others. It is considered a virtue, and is recognized as a value in many cultures and religions. It is the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. Affection, gentleness, warmth, concern, and care are words that are associated with kindness.

Body:

Significance of Kindness:

  • Everyone is fighting their own inner battle: although life brings us so many joys and victories, it is undeniable that we each face our own individual struggles within our own minds that nobody knows about. Make every effort to find compassion for others – even when you can’t relate. Be kind.
  • Human connection is paramount: In a world where we are looking down at our phones more than we are looking up at the people around us, we need to revisit this idea of truly connecting with another human being and what that looks like for us. Be kind.
  • We are losing ourselves: Sometimes we get so caught up in making sure that everyone around us is well and that other people’s perceptions of us are as we wish them to be, that we forgot ourselves in the mix. Practice self- kindness and know that your feelings and your thoughts matter. Be kind.
  • You make a difference: Our words, our energy and our light have the potential to impact another human being’s life in so many ways. Don’t take that power lightly. Be kind.
  • It feels good to be kind: Robert Ingersoll’s famous quote that states “We rise by lifting others”. Supporting others gives us a natural high. Unfortunately, we all get so caught up in the “busy-ness” of our own lives that we forget to take the time to practice acts of kindness. Take a moment and step outside of yourself and raise somebody up who needs your support. Be kind.
  • Kindness is contagious: When people are in the presence of kindness, they can’t help but feel joyful. Expand your reach and watch all of those around you enliven in the presence of your warmth. Be kind.
  • Small actions can have far-reaching consequences: There is no doubt that the human race is connected in more ways than we can quantify. When you do good, you cause a ripple effect on our planet that reaches the masses. Be kind.
  • You can be a voice for someone who doesn’t have one: Acts of altruism speak volumes for those whose voices have been silenced. Speak up for someone who needs it and you will give them to opportunity to learn how to speak on their own behalf. Be kind.
  • Somebody is watching you: We are so much more influential than we realize. The next generation is observing and picking up our cues and how to treat others. Set a good example by being an ambassador for thoughtfulness and mindfulness. Be kind.
  • Judgement hurts: We need to elevate the consciousness of the planet by seeking to understand rather than to judge. When we judge another, we are essentially judging ourselves and creating separation between ourselves and those around us. The healing of the world begins with each of us. Be kind.
  • Kindness is in our nature: Human beings are intuitively geared to be good and do good. Fear is a learned emotion. Reconnect to the part of you that is love and allow that to guide your everyday interactions. Be kind.
  • Spread love: We have the same power to spread good as those who wish to spread hate do. Find a way to share your unique light. A simple smile or a positive thought on social media goes a long way. Be kind.

Conclusion:

It seems that kindness is steadily fading from modern society. The lack of generosity and friendliness that is evident today is shocking. It’s important to realize the positivity that kindness can produce in our lives. Kindness is ultimately a key contributor to happiness. Acting with kindness is a win-win. Not only can it provide someone with a sense of pride by acting kindly towards others, but it also has the potential to boost the confidence and provoke bliss in those around us.