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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 25 February 2021


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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Basic Structure, Amendment of constitution

1. Examine the limitations in amending any part of the Indian constitution. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The question is based on the basic structure concept and the amend ability of Indian constitution.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to discuss the limitations in amending any part of the Indian constitution.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In the introduction explain what is meant by amend ability of Indian constitution. Amending the Constitution of India is the process of making changes to the nation’s fundamental law or supreme law. The procedure of amendment in the constitution is laid down in Part XX (Article 368) of the Constitution of India. This procedure ensures the sanctity of the Constitution of India and keeps a check on arbitrary power of the Parliament of India.

Body:

Explain that the Constitution can be amended any number of times by the Parliament; but only in the manner provided. There is no such limit provided in the constitution of India which allows it to enact only certain number of amendments in a year.

In other words, Parliament is free to enact any number of constitutional amendments in any given year. Although Parliament must preserve the basic framework of the Constitution, there is no other limitation placed upon the amending power, meaning that there is no provision of the Constitution that cannot be amended.

Discuss then the procedure and the limitations thereof.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the significance of these limitations set by our constitutional makers.

Introduction:

Article 368 in Part XX of the Constitution deals with the power of parliament to amend the constitution and its procedures. Article 368 provides for two types of amendments, that is, by a special majority of Parliament and the special majority of parliament along with the ratification of half of the state’s legislatures by a simple majority

Body:

The Constitution, considered to be the people’s ‘common will,’ is a foundational text that determines the state’s status and control of its different institutions. It is not only the foundational law of the land but the living organic stuff from which the other laws are to be produced according to the nation’s necessity. Instead of leaving this important task entirely to the judiciary, the framers of the Indian Constitution inserted Article 368 as a formal method to provide for a constitutional amendment.

Articles 368 (Power to amend the Constitution and Procedure thereof) – Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, Parliament may, in the exercise of its constituent power, amend any provision of this Constitution following the procedure laid down in this Article by way of addition, variation or repeal. The Indian legislature is responsible for formulating new legislation, amending the existing laws and squashing obsolete ones in certain situations. The Constitution will also be revised, being simply a statute. The constitution’s amenability explicitly poses the issue of the likelihood of abuse of the powers granted to the government to undermine the nation’s democratic principles.

The Constitution provides for the following four procedures for amendment:

  • Amendments may be made by a simple majority of Parliament to certain provisions of the Constitution, in the same manner as the ordinary statute is adopted by Parliament. These changes can be transferred in the case of a government of a member, or the case of a government of the European Union.
  • Modification of specific provisions of the Constitution may take place by a simple majority of the Legislature of the State in the same manner as the ordinary act.
  • Amendments to certain provisions, sometimes referred to as enshrined provisions, may only be made by a special majority of Parliament. By a majority of the total membership of each House, and by a majority of not less than two-thirds of the members present and voting in each House. For the intent of amending the Constitution, no joint sitting of both houses may be held.
  • Amendments to such laws require not less than half of the States, in addition to a special majority of legislative confirmation.

Limitations on the amending power: Basic structure of the Constitution

  • One aspect that has long lastingly shaped the development of the Indian Constitution is the idea of the constitution’s basic structure.
  • In the famous Kesavananda Bharati case, the decision led in the following ways to the development of the Constitution: it placed strict limitations on the authority of Parliament to change the Constitution.
  • It says that no amendment can violate the Constitution’s basic structure; it allows Parliament to amend any parts of the Constitution (within this limitation), and it places the judiciary as the ultimate authority in deciding whether an amendment violates the basic structure and what constitutes the fundamental structure.
  • In Nagaraj v. Union of India, the Supreme Court’s 5 judge bench again explained in detail the basic feature theory as follows.
  • Basic structures are systematic principles underlying and binding constitutional provisions.
  • They owe Constitution continuity and longevity. Although not expressly stated, these principles are part of Constitutional law.

Based on the judgement of Kesavananda Bharati case, C.J. Sikri opined that the basic structure of the Constitution shall consist of the following characteristics:

  • the supremacy of the Constitution,
  • the Republic and Democratic forms where the Governments,
  • the secular nature of the Constitution,
  • the separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary, and
  • the federal character of the Constitution.

It is true that, according to Article 368 of the Indian Constitution, Parliament has the power to amend the Constitution, but it cannot change the Constitution’s basic structure because India’s Constitution is a fundamental law of the land.

Conclusion:

One point that stands out before us in the process set down in Article 368 is that the Parliament seems to have the exclusive right in any direction to change the Constitution. But it is incorrect to say that the Parliament is independent, so as long as there is a mechanism under Article 368. Parliament cannot be the deciding authority of the constitutional scheme since the procedure itself restricts the use of the power to amend the Constitution on the Parliament. The Indian Constitution has been made as a dynamic statute that retains validity over years without being obsolete and also takes care of the needs of the various classes within the Indian society. It can be seen to have been drafted taking into account the best features of the Constitutions around the world. The doctrine of the Basic Structure proposed by the honourable Supreme Court is the guiding principle for safeguarding those values and keeping intact the essence of the Constitution. The contrast with other countries further demonstrates the strong difference in the amount of complexity and bureaucratic effort needed to change the Constitution in India, rendering it one of the strongest.

 

Topic: Fundamental duties,

2. Rights without duties will lead to lawlessness. Examine the statement in context of the relevance of fundamental duties in present times. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The question aims to examine the importance of fundamental duties enshrined in the Indian constitution.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how Rights without duties will lead to lawlessness while asserting the importance of fundamental rights.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with definition of fundamental duties.

Body:

The Fundamental Duties are defined as the moral obligations of all citizens to help promote a spirit of patriotism and to uphold the unity of India. The idea for Fundamental Duties has been taken from erstwhile USSR.

Explain that the Fundamental duties establish democratic balance by making the people conscious of their duties equally as they are conscious of their rights.

Discuss in what way they balance out rights and thus help maintain law in the country.

Give suitable examples from the recent times to justify the statement.

Conclusion:

Conclude that while the state has a great deal of responsibility in providing for their protection through appropriate legislative instruments, the responsibility to protect torchbearers of transparency vests on each one of us.

 Introduction:

Fundamental rights and fundamental duties are an integral part of the Indian constitution. Fundamental Rights guaranteed under part III of the constitution are important natural rights necessary for development of human beings. They are enforceable through court of law. On the other hand, fundamental duties though not enforceable, but are always taken into account while interpreting any fundamental rights.

Body:

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

Every fundamental duty in the constitution has a corresponding fundamental right that implies rights and duties are correlated. Rights and duties have a close relationship and both are inseparable. Both exist side by side. Ex: If the state gives the right to life to its citizen, it also imposes an obligation on him to not to expose his life in trouble, as well as to respect the life and convenience of others.

Indian Constitution provides for a broad set of fundamental rights which also inherently include the fundamental duties:

  • Art 51A(e): To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious, linguistic and regional or sectional diversities; to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women. This duty ensures that the fundamental right to life with dignity under Art 21 of every women is protected.
  • Art 51A(g): To protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life, and to have compassion for living creatures ensures the right to life with dignity under Article 21.
  • Art 51A(f): To value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture. This duty has a corresponding right under Art 29 which protects the cultural rights of the people of India.
  • Art 51A(k): To provide opportunities for education to his child or, as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen years protects the fundamental right of the child to education guaranteed under Art 21A.

Rights must be with Duties:

  • Right of One is the Duty of Others: Rights can be enjoyed only in the world of duties. For every right there is corresponding duty. When the people fail to discharge their duties properly, the rights of others become meaningless.
  • Rights of a Citizen also implies Duties for him: Rights are not the monopoly of a single individual. Everybody gets these equally. This means that “others also have the same rights which I have, and it is my duty to see that others also enjoy their rights.” Laski has rightly said that one man’s right is also his duty. It is my duty to respect the rights of others as well as the duty to use my rights in the interest of society.
  • Rights are to be used for Social Good: Rights originate in society. Therefore, while enjoying rights, we must always try to promote social interest. It is the duty of every one of us to use our rights for promoting the welfare of the society as a whole.
  • Duty towards the State: Since state protects and enforces rights, it also becomes the duty of all citizens to be loyal to the state. It is their duty to obey the laws of the state. Citizens should always be ready to defend the state.

Conclusion:

Real rights are a result of the performance of duty”- M.K Gandhi in Hind swaraj. Thus a citizen has both Rights and Duties. He enjoys rights and performs his duties. Rights and Duties are the two sides of the same coin.

 

Topic: GS-2: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

GS-4: challenges of corruption.

3. “Corruption undermines the credibility of the public sector, erodes trust in governments and their ability to steer a country to achieve high economic growth and shared prosperity, In this context discuss how India can make progress in the fight against corruption. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took everyone by surprise recently when he declared that all State government officials and functionaries of the Biju Janata Dal, including himself, would henceforth be mandatorily required to file their property returns with the Lok Ayukta at the end of every year.

Key Demand of the question:

The answer is about the fight against corruption in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Best way to address such questions is by quoting some stunning fact/data related to corruption.

Body:

First discuss the evils of corruption and its historical presence in India.

Explain that tackling corruption and abuse of the system is vital to restoring people’s trust and recovering from the current economic crisis. Public sector corruption results in poorer public services, while in the private sector the cost is passed on to consumers who end up paying more for their goods and services.

Then explain the existing methods to fight against corruption.

Suggest that Public declaration of assets of all political and bureaucratic functionaries from the Panchayat to the party president level makes sense because this fundamentally seeks to promote transparency between the citizens and those in power at every level by reducing the information asymmetry.

Discuss more measures.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

As Gladstone has aptly said, The purpose of a government is to make it easy for people to do good and difficult to do evil”.

Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics. It is unfortunate that corruption has, for many, become a matter of habit, ranging from grand corruption involving persons in high places to retail corruption touching the everyday life of common people.

Body:

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik took everyone by surprise recently when he declared that all State government officials and functionaries of the Biju Janata Dal, including himself, would henceforth be mandatorily required to file their property returns with the Lok Ayukta at the end of every year. Further, all these returns would be disclosed publicly on a web portal.

Challenges of corruption:

  • Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines rule of law, leads to violations of human rights and allows organized crime to flourish.
  • Corruption in India is not limited to collusive high-level scams.
  • Petty corruption, which affects the delivery of basic services and rights to people, is rampant.
  • Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways. In the worst cases, it costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom, health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
  • On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they’re misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
  • Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
  • Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption. This especially impacts the poor and marginalized, who are most dependent on public provisioning of rations, pensions, health, and education. Serious cases of several big corruptions have surfaced in the last five years, including banking frauds and the Rafale deal. The popular sentiment that helped the incumbent Government in the 2014 general election was resentment against corruption in public life.
  • Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction

Measures to curb corruption:

The solution to the problem of corruption has to be more systemic than any other issue of governance. Merely shrinking the economic role of the state by resorting to deregulation, liberalization and privatization is not necessarily the solution to addressing the problem.

  • Adopting effective and coordinated policies against corruption
    • Developing a coherent anti-corruption policy which identifies the causes of corruption and commits to practical, coordinated and effective measures to address these causes is a prerequisite for success.
  • Fair and transparent system of public procurement
    • Establishing a procurement system, built on the principles of objectivity, transparency and competition, is important to both saving public money and to ensuring that the policy and developmental objectives of the government are met.
      • g.: GeM Government E-market Place is a step in the right directions. With this, Public Finance Management System also helps in tracking the real-time usage of funds.
    • Strengthened transparency and public reporting
      • An informed society with free access to information is a strong deterrent to corruption.
      • This underlines the importance of transparency, public reporting and access to information in preventing corruption.
      • Right to Information needs to be strengthened to make the public officials and governments more accountable to the citizens.
      • Citizens must be Vigilant: Otherwise, like Plato said “The punishment suffered by the wise who refuse to take part in government, is to suffer under the government of bad men”
    • Institutional monitoring and legislative reforms
      • Prevalent institutional arrangements have to be reviewed and changes made where those vested with power are made accountable, their functioning made more transparent and subjected to social audit with a view to minimize discretionary decisions.
      • Napoleon who said, ‘Law should be so succinct that it can be carried in the pocket of the coat and it should be so simple that it can be understood by a peasant’.
      • The 2nd ARC recommended that The Prevention of Corruption Act should be amended to ensure that sanctioning authorities are not summoned and instead the documents can be obtained and produced before the courts by the appropriate authority.
    • E-governance
      • The focus should be on e-governance and systemic change. An honest system of governance will displace dishonest persons.
    • Other Reforms
      • All procedures, laws and regulations that breed corruption and come in the way of efficient delivery system will have to be eliminated.
      • The perverse system of incentives in public life, which makes corruption a high return low risk activity, need to be addressed.
      • In this context, public example has to be made out of people convicted on corruption charge

Second ARC guidelines to prevent corruption

  • Vigilance and Corruption:
    • Strengthening pro-active vigilance to eliminate corruption and harassment to honest civil servants including, wherever necessary, limiting executive discretion.
    • Addressing systemic deficiencies manifesting in reluctance to punish the corrupt.
    • Identify procedures, rules and regulations and factors which lead to corruption.
  • Relationship between Political Executive and Permanent Civil Service: Improvements in the institutional arrangements for smooth, efficient and harmonious relationship between civil service and the political executive is needed.
  • Code of Conduct for different organs of Government: This includes Political Executive, Civil Services, etc.

Conclusion

“Rivers do not drink their waters themselves, nor do trees eat their fruit, nor do the clouds eat the grains raised by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others.”

Corruption needs to be rooted out from the very core of our nation, so that there is justiciable distribution of resources in the country leading to inclusive growth and ‘Sabka Vikas.’

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. Surmounting investments in human and physical digital infrastructure will provide India an opportunity to shine in global market for digital information-technology services. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

Why the question:

The article highlights India’s need to focus on digital infrastructure and benefits that it can accrue.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way investments in human and physical digital infrastructure will provide India an opportunity to shine in global market for digital information-technology services.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some data on importance of digital infrastructure to the growth and development of the country.

Body:

Explain that Infrastructure investment in digital technology—increased access to mobile broadband, fibre-optic cable connections, and power-supply expansion—combined with the expansion of low-cost smartphones has enabled millions of Indians to connect to the internet for the first time. The number of enterprises and households that now have access to a computer has increased dramatically, and internet consumption is growing in double digits. This digital transformation has been accompanied by a growing wave of technological entrepreneurship.

Present the advantages it will fetch India in the global market.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the fact that such a transformation will not come with certain challenges and suggest policy measures in this direction.

Introduction:

Digital transformation is now changing the landscape for development. Goods and services can now be unbundled and splintered in global value chains, and they can be transported to anywhere in the world. India has more than 500 million internet users today, giving an opportunity to leverage the user base to innovate new products and services.

Body:

Opportunity for India to invest and leverage digital infrastructure for digital transformation

  • Demographic Dividend: India has the advantage of demographic dividend and a youth bulge, while the working age population in advanced countries is declining; the country also has a huge pool of tech talent.
  • Talent Pool: In addition, India alone produced more than 70% of the world’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates between 2016 and 2018.
  • Infrastructure development: Bharat net aims to provide broadband network to 2.5 lakh Panchayats and already 1.59 lakh villages have gotten this facility.
    • Infrastructure investment in digital technology—increased access to mobile broadband, fibre-optic cable connections, and power-supply expansion—combined with the expansion of low-cost smartphones has enabled millions of Indians to connect to the internet for the first time.
  • Digital divide needs to be addressed and National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) project can help bridging this gap.
    • This mission needs content and service partnerships with telecom companies and other firms to develop infrastructure.
  • Data protection laws: India also needs laws that are more stringent than Europe’s Data Protection Regulation. It needs to prevent the export of data; more fundamentally, it must ensure that all Indian residents’ data remain their own, for use only with their explicit permission.

Challenges:

  • Cyber-Security: There is cyber threat all over the globe and digital India will not be any exception. Hence, we need a strong anti-cybercrime team of about 1 million trained cyber security professionals by 2025.
    • Eg: Pegasus spyware and banking frauds through phishing have become common.
  • Infrastructural: India’s digital infrastructure is comprehensively inadequate to tackle growing increase in digital transactions. The challenge faced by the programme is slow and delayed infrastructure development.
  • Electronics Manufacturing: India stands to import three quarters of the $400bn worth of electronics products it will consume in the next five years. Hardware exports as of now are still under $10bn. This calls for a very big ramp-up in local manufacturing.
  • Connectivity to remote areas: It is a mammoth task to have connectivity with each and every village, town and city. The problem of connectivity is a complex issue because every state has different laws pertaining to its execution
  • Private sector participation in infrastructure projects has collapsed recently, with investment dropping by more than 50% in 2019.
    • This drop is unprecedented and alarming. Like many other sectors, infrastructure was brought to a near standstill by Covid-19.
    • However, the private sector retreat in infrastructure investment has jeopardised recovery and the ability to build back better once the pandemic is under control.
  • In today’s globalised world, falling behind technologically carries major costs. If the promises of digitalisation are to be fulfilled, the world will need to align financing and investment strategies more tightly to sustainable development outcomes, with active participation of the policymakers, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations.

Conclusion:

India doesn’t have to lose this battle to the modern-day East India companies from the East or West. It has the talent to build its own infrastructure and to leap ahead. Its millions of engineers, trained to develop IT systems for the West, give it a huge advantage. India can create world-changing technology companies that can challenge Silicon Valley as well as China. An enabling environment is the way to go and achieve this digital revolution.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. Analyze the government initiatives to reduce India’s energy import dependence in the backdrop of recent rise in the petroleum and oil prices also suggest measures for the same. (250 words)

Reference:  The HinduIndian Express

Why the question:

Speaking on the increase in petrol and diesel prices, Prime Minister had emphasized the need to reduce India’s energy import dependence and the need to adopt cleaner sources of energy.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyze the government initiatives to reduce India’s energy import dependence.

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:

Explain facts of India’s energy import dependence.

Body:

Briefly explain India’s energy import dependence with some facts.

Then move on to explain the government initiatives in this directions such as – The formulation of fuel efficiency standards for passenger vehicles was one of the earliest measures in this direction. It aimed to reduce fuel consumption by the vehicles while also ensuring lesser pollution.

Heavy-duty vehicles, which consume nearly 60% of the diesel used in the country, are also now subject to fuel efficiency standards.

Talk about National Electric Mobility Mission Plan, FAME scheme, alternate fuels etc.

Suggest the gaps in the efforts.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Rising fuel prices shows the need for clean sources of energy. Expanding and diversifying energy supply is good, but if India is to reduce its energy import dependence, it must look towards first managing the demand for petroleum products.

Body:

Government Initiatives to reduce India’s energy imports

  • Ethanol Blending: The share of bioethanol in petrol has risen to nearly 8% by volume under the 2018 National Policy on Biofuels.
    • The government has set targets of 10% bioethanol blending of petrol by 2022 and to raise it to 20% by 2030 under the Ethanol Blended Programme (EBP).
  • FAME and FAME-II: The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme now focuses largely on electric vehicles.
    • The aim is to bring at least 30% of all vehicles in India under electric vehicles by 2030.
    • The government has also provided several additional fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to encourage a transition to electric vehicles.
  • PM-KUSUM: PM- KUSUM aims to provide financial and water security to farmers through harnessing solar energy capacities of 25,750 MW by 2022.
  • Methanol and Biomass: Looking for other alternatives such as methanol-based economy and biomass.
    • Bio-CNG vehicles with 20% blending in petrol is also a target the government has been chasing.
    • Conversion of energy from Biomass is a considerable option as it will clean the cities as well as reduce our energy dependence.
  • National Hydrogen Energy Mission: Being a zero-carbon fuel, hydrogen is considered to be one of the key sources of clean energy for the future.

Measures needed:

  • The National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE) should conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the available energy-efficient technologies and products across all sectors, especially agriculture, housing and transportation.
  • At the institutional level, the national and state designated agencies working in the area of energy efficiency should be strengthened.
  • A large programme should be launched to tap at least 50% of the bio-gas potential in the country by supporting technology and credit support through NABARD by 2020.
  • India is setting up a web of energy relationships in the extended neighbourhood covering Myanmar, Vietnam in the east, with Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan and Gulf countries in the west.
  • Indo-US Nuclear deal opened new vistas for India in field of Nuclear energy facilitating cutting edge technology and nuclear fuel. India has started to engage with China, Kazakhstan and Australia for nuclear fuel.

Conclusion:

Major transformations are underway in global energy sector, from growing electrification to the expansion of renewable energy, upheavals in oil production and globalization of natural gas markets. India needs to build its capacity in research and skills building to deal with these transformations in energy sector.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

6. “Frequent transfers of public servants affect their morale and weaken administration”, do you agree? Explain and present your opinion with suitable justifications. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article analyzes the issue of frequent transfers of civil servants.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain how frequent transfers of public servants affect their morale and weaken administration.

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:

Start by explaining how the issue of frequent transfers of civil servants is a significant issue across India.

Body:

Discuss first the effect of such transfers on Effect on public servants’ morale.

The analysis of the SUPREMO (Single User Platform Related to Employees Online) database of the Department of Personnel and Training, Government of India, shows that the average posting spell of civil servants in India is only about 15 months. This is despite an increase in the median tenure since 2014 at the national level.

Give examples such as – Ashok Khemka and Pradeep Kasni are two Haryana-based IAS officers whose cases symbolize the issue of frequent transfers. Mr. Khemka has been transferred more than 50 times in his career and Mr. Kasni 65 times.

Give solutions to address the problem.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done.

Introduction:

Good governance and better administration of development is often offered as a plausible solution to conflict management. At the heart of this solution are public administrators. Civil servants, no matter how dedicated, innovative and efficient they may be, need a stability of tenure to govern well. Frequent transfers act as demotivation and a hindrance to make real impact on governance.

Body:

The average tenure of IAS officers in a posting has increased sizeably in the last 5 years. But it’s still at an abysmal level, of 15 months. Government jobs and job security go hand in hand in India—a government officer can’t be easily fired. But a government officer can be transferred. And when it comes to using the lever of transfers, governments can make job security in the higher echelons of the bureaucracy seem like an oxymoron.

Frequent transfers affect morale of civil servants and weaken administration

  • Morale: Frequent transfer has been a concern for most public servants as it adversely affected job satisfaction and the effectiveness of their initiatives.
    • Moreover, even public servants suffer from work life imbalance. Their children’s education, and family togetherness has placed officers at the mercy of corrupt influences.
    • Frequent transfers also lead to committed bureaucracy and goes against political neutrality. It will strengthen the politico-bureaucratic nexus that is detrimental for true democracy and good governance in India.
    • Eg: Officers such a s Ashok Khemka were transferred more than 50 times in their careers. It can act as a matter of demotivating factor in carrying out their responsibilities.
  • Weakening Administration:
    • Public servants need a buffer period of 2-3 months to get acquainted to a new position and to head the department they are given the responsibility.
    • It leads to a situation of half-baked cake in implementation and execution of the mandate of the public servant.
    • There is also discontinuity of innovative schemes of officials and it leads to unfruitful results as it is not seen to completion.
    • The Hota Committee, which argued against frequent transfers, noted that “absence of a fixed tenure of officials is one of the most important reasons for tardy implementation of government policies, for lack of accountability of officers, for waste of public money because of inadequate supervision of programmes under implementation and for large-scale corruption.”

While fixed tenures have not materialised, the reduction in the last five years in the number of transfers, and a corresponding increase in average tenures across both Centre and states, is a silver lining. But true, and lasting gains, calls for systemic reforms, and that is not visible at the moment.

Measures needed:

  • To insulate the bureaucracy from political interference and to put an end to frequent transfers of civil servants by political bosses, the Supreme Court had in 2013 directed the Centre and the states to set up a civil services board to consider transfers and postings of bureaucrats among others.
  • As per rules, all states should have a civil services board to decide on transfers and postings of the bureaucrats.
  • The board is mandated to decide on the transfer of a civil servant before completion of his or her fixed tenure.
  • The rules mandate the civil services board to submit an annual report on January 1 to the central government about the date of the meetings held by them.
  • If the directives of Supreme Court in Prakash Singh case is also made legible for civil servants and implemented strictly, the issue of frequent transfers and also politically motivated transfers will be resolved.

Conclusion:

Transfers often reflect administrative favouritism and create divisions among civil servants. If they are done on a political basis, this impacts the neutrality of the civil services. The core values of the civil services — neutrality, impartiality and anonymity — cannot be maintained without an efficient transfer policy.

 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. The lives of great leaders inspire us in many ways. Which leader has had a lasting impact on you and in what way? Explain one outstanding value that you have imbibed from him/her and its importance to being a civil servant. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the lives of great leaders and in what way they inspire us.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain one outstanding value that you have imbibed from any one leader and its importance to being a civil servant.

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:

Start by explaining how Human values are paramount in living of a righteous and well balanced life i.e. physical, emotional social and intellectually. They serve as the guidepost to our own behavior in conflicting situations and aid in our adjustment to the external environment with reflecting our dominant interest to others.

Body:

In the answer body –

·   Describe which leader had a lasting impact on you and why.

• Mention the outstanding value of the leader that you have imbibed.

• Also explain the importance of those values in civil services.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of values that you imbibed.

Introduction:

A leader is the one, who maintains high levels of Integrity, accountability, empathy, humility, resilience, vision, influence, and positivity. The mark of a good leader are the Communication skills, ability to be resilient under difficult situations, Influences large number of people through a Vision, Delegates responsibilities and builds confidence among his fellow workers.

Body:

“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path”. The eminent personality that has inspired me the most in the context of ethical conduct in life is Gautama Buddha.

Buddha was a philosopher, mendicant, meditator, spiritual teacher, and religious leader who lived in Ancient India (c. 5th to 4th century BCE). He is revered as the founder of the world religion of Buddhism.

Buddha spoke about enlightenment that is knowledge to escape from the cycle of birth and death. Sufferings of human being can be ended and happiness can be brought only through pursuit of knowledge.

Besides, Buddhism prescribes for an eight-fold path for ethical conduct in life. It consists of Right Understanding, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Concentration. Buddha also taught about five precepts – No Killing, No stealing, No sexual misconduct, No lying, No intoxicant. One of the most important teachings of Buddha is the ‘Middle Path’. In advocates a middle course between extreme self-denial and excessive pursuit of material pleasures.

Out of all the teachings of Buddha, the one I have tried to emulate is that of ‘Middle Path’. I have tried to strike a balance between hedonism and asceticism. Whenever I get into an ethical dilemma, I try to find a middle course of action. I also try to balance between the physical needs and mental well-being. I try avoiding extreme of human conduct.

For example, at one hand I try to be idealistic but on the other hand I try to bring in pragmatism whenever required without compromising ethical principles.

Conclusion:

”No person is a born leader, but one has to build on the fundamentals as mentioned above, to be a great leader”. Thus, it is evident that the roles and responsibilities of a Government leader are a lot more, and hence they are expected to be ‘top notch’ to fulfil the same and take the country forward.

Note: you can talk about any leader of your choice, please make sure that the answer reflects the values you have learnt from the leader.


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