SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 FEBRUARY 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 FEBRUARY 2019


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


Topic–  poverty and developmental issues

1) Discuss the social benefits derived from Ujjwala scheme?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the details of the Ujjwala scheme and its significance in terms of alleviating the issues faced by rural women. The social benefits of the scheme are immense which is highlighted in the article. Since Ujjwala scheme has been touted as one of the major achievements of the current government, the article is relevant.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the details of the scheme and discuss how it has helped positively impact the lives of rural women and other social benefits that can be derived from the scheme. Thereafter, it expects us to discuss the shortcomings and provide way forward.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about the Ujjwala scheme.

Body

  • Highlight that since 2014, governments have adopted a clear strategy to have city gas distribution (CGD) networks in cities and towns, under which piped natural gas (PNG) is provided to urban residents and push the LPG resources to rural areas. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in May 2016 with the objective of providing free LPG connections to 50 million women belonging to below poverty line (BPL) households over a period of three years.
  • Discuss the impact of the scheme
    • Ujjwala has empowered women and protected them and their families through the use of clean burning fuel. It is helping prevent a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused by indoor air pollution. Research has also shown that people using solid biomass frequently suffer from headaches, nausea, and chronic bronchitis
    • Saves time and hassle for the women so that they become more socially and economically productive
    • Helps save women from sexual harassment
  • Discuss the challenges such as the issue of non repeat users and highlight that behavioral change requires time

Conclusion – give your view and highlight the way forward including that targeting under the scheme must be expanded.

Introduction:

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) is a scheme of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for providing LPG connections to women from Below Poverty Line (BPL) households. India is home to more than 24 Crore households out of which about 10 Crore households are still deprived of LPG as cooking fuel and have to rely on firewood, coal, dung – cakes etc. as primary source of cooking.

Body:

Since 2014, governments have adopted a clear strategy to have city gas distribution (CGD) networks in cities and towns, under which piped natural gas (PNG) is provided to urban residents and push the LPG resources to rural areas. The PMUY has helped the spread of LPG cylinders predominantly in the urban and semi-urban areas with the coverage mostly in middle class and affluent households.

The social benefits derived from the Ujjwala scheme:

Reduced Drudgery and Health Benefits:

  • According to WHO estimates about 5 lakh deaths in India alone due to unclean cooking fuels. Most of these premature deaths were due to non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution is also responsible for a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses in young children. According to experts, having an open fire in the kitchen is like burning 400 cigarettes an hour.
  • PMUY reduces these ill-effects by providing clean fuel and cutting out on drudgery. Increased use of cooking gas will shrink the incidence of tuberculosis in India, based on the statistics from the latest National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) on TB prevalence.

Women Empowerment:

  • PMUY has helped in reducing the drudgery.
  • Women who are usually the victims of such drudgery are now saved from danger of collecting firewood by hiking long distances.
  • The time saved can be used in socio- economically productive activities like Self-Help Group activities.

Expansion in Coverage:

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved expanding the scope of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana to cover poor families not having LPG connections and not covered under the existing beneficiary categories. This raises the scope to 8 Crore beneficiaries.
  • While previously the connections were given based on the 2011 Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC), the list was later expanded to include providing free cooking gas connection to all SC/ST households, forest dwellers, most backward classes, inhabitants of islands, nomadic tribes, tea estates and beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana and Antyodaya Yojana. Now, it has been extended to all poor.
  • LPG coverage has touched 90%, with a significant increase in eastern states, with 48% of the beneficiaries being SC/STs.
  • The government reports show that around 80% of the beneficiaries have been refilling cylinders, with average per capita consumption being 3.28 cylinders.
  • LPG distributors, local NGOs, and self-help groups were involved to make it an inclusive social movement.

Cost issues:

  • Consumers were paying market price for refills till the loan repayment for stove and first refill was made. This led to some consumers not going in for such refills.
  • Economic Burden: The increased monthly expenditure has shied many consumers away from LPG and lured them back to firewood and cow-dung cakes.
  • The CEEW study across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha found people were unwilling to pay upfront Rs.900-1,000 for a 14 kg refill.
  • A CRISIL Study shows that of those surveyed, 86% said they had not shifted from biomass to LPG because the price of installing a connection was too high. Almost the same number – 83% – said the price of refills was too high.

Administrative issues:

  • The government claims that around 80% of the beneficiaries have been refilling cylinders, with average per capita consumption being 3.28 cylinders. But there are implementation issues with the scheme in Madhya Pradesh, for instance.
  • Aadhar seeding also faces issues caused by data discrepancies, especially where the spelling of names is concerned as a result of which applicants can find themselves unable to register for the scheme.

Logistic issues:

  • Lack of LPG cylinder bottling plants near rural areas and connectivity issues especially in the tribal areas.
  • Last-mile connectivity and delivery still poses a great challenge.

Safety and Behavioural issues:

  • Safety has been another concern about distribution of LPG connection, especially to BPL families. Lack of awareness and safety amenities in beneficiary households have increased the likelihood of accidents.
  • Cow-dung cakes lying around the house all the time. Hence, LPG cylinders are used on special occasions or during some kind of emergency or when it’s entirely too hot to burn wood.
  • The CRISIL report also noted that 37% of households in rural areas procure cooking fuel or free.
  • Agency: Most rural women do not have a say in determining when a refill is ordered, even though the connection is in their name.

 

Way Forward:

  • Increase Affordability: A case in point is state-run fuel retailers introducing a 5kg refill option to make purchases affordable.
  • Increase Accessibility: Gas Agencies should be set up within 10km radius, especially in the rural and remote areas to increase accessibility.
  • Increase Availability: Alternatives like Gas-grid and piped connections in cities and areas near the bottling plants can free up the cylinders for other areas.
  • Promote ‘Give it up’: The initiative of the government to persuade the well-off to give up the LPG subsidies has added to the corpus of PMUY. Similar initiatives can be promoted.
  • Encourage Private Players to set up LPG franchises at rural areas.
  • Sensitization and Education of safe use of LPG though LPG Panchayats, NGO’s etc.

 

Conclusion:

                PMUY is a novel scheme having twin benefits of women empowerment as well as environmental conservation. Ironing out the implementation issues can reap the envisioned benefits and lead to a sustainable future in energy consumption.


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

2) Critically analyze the Witness protection scheme with respect to its intended objectives?(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The SC has asked the states to implement the WPS till Parliament comes out with legislation in this matter. The measure would serve an important purpose and the article analyzes its effectiveness.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the details of the witness protection scheme and analyze its pros and cons with respect to its effectiveness. Thereafter we need to provide a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss the way forward.

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why the issue is in news.

Body

  • Discuss the details of the witness protection scheme
    • The scheme envisages that there should be safeguards that witnesses and accused do not come face to face during investigation or trial and adequate security measures should be there for the safety of the witnesses.
    • The scheme provides for identity protection and giving a new identity to the witness.
    • As per the scheme, police escort will be provided to witnesses who are threatened and, if needed, they would be relocated to a safe house.
    • Witness deposition complexes will be set up in all district courts by the states and union territories within a year where the witnesses could fearlessly depose against the high and mighty without coming face-to-face with the accused.
    • Three categories of witnesses
  • Evaluate the scheme with respect to its effectiveness
    • WPS relies heavily on concealing the identity of witnesses and undertaking a detailed threat analysis report, to be prepared by the police. Both things look quite uncertain in the present context. Given the way the police and prosecution work in this country, the idea of hiding the identity of a witness as a measure of protection does not seem to be practical
    • The scheme is the first attempt at the national-level to holistically provide for the protection of the witnesses, which will go a long way in eliminating secondary victimization.
    • This scheme attempts at ensuring that witnesses receive appropriate and adequate protection. It also strengthens the criminal justice system in the country and will consequently enhance national security scenario.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced conclusion and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

The Supreme Court had approved the Centre’s draft witness protection scheme and had asked all the states to implement it till Parliament comes out with legislation. The court had also made some changes in the scheme.

Recently the Supreme Court (SC), while hearing a PIL in Mahendra Chawla and Ors, approved the Centre’s draft Witness Protection Scheme (WPS). All accused in the Sohrabuddin case were acquitted and 88 witnesses out of a total of 212 who were examined by the court turned hostile.

Body:

Highlights of the draft scheme:

  • The draft witness protection scheme has been finalised in consultation with the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) and Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD).
  • The types of protection measures envisaged under the scheme are to be applied in proportion to the threat and they are not expected to go on for infinite time.
  • The scheme envisages that there should be safeguards that witnesses and accused do not come face to face during investigation or trial and adequate security measures should be there for the safety of the witnesses.
  • The scheme provides for identity protection and giving a new identity to the witness.
  • The scheme shall extend to the whole of the India except the State of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • As per the scheme, police escort will be provided to witnesses who are threatened and, if needed, they would be relocated to a safe house.
  • The scheme also says mails and phone calls of the witnesses would be monitored to trace the person threatening them.
  • It said a separate witness protection fund will be created in each state to meet the expenses incurred under the scheme.
  • Witness deposition complexes will be set up in all district courts by the states and union territories within a year where the witnesses could fearlessly depose against the high and mighty without coming face-to-face with the accused.

It has three categories of witnesses based on the threat perception:

  • Category ‘A’: Where the threat extends to life of witness or his family members and their normal way of living is affected for a substantial period, during investigation/trial or even thereafter.
  • Category ‘B’: Where the threat extends to safety, reputation or property of the witness or his family members, only during the investigation process or trial.
  • Category ‘C’: Where the threat is moderate and extends to harassment or intimidation of the witness or his family member’s, reputation or property, during the investigation process.

The scheme faces a few challenges:

  • The draft scheme does not seem to be premised on any empirical study and, therefore, the deeper insights about the varied sufferings and consequences of being a witness remain unaddressed.
  • Given the way the police and prosecution work in this country, the idea of hiding the identity of a witness as a measure of protection does not seem to be practical.
  • Overworked and understaffed, the police are also unlikely to make any meaningful threat analysis for a witness. Police force which roughly devotes only 20 per cent of its time to investigative work would be justifiably right in avoiding this task.
  • The lower courts, where all the witnesses have to appear, do not have the infrastructure to satisfy the mandate of the present WPS. Nor can they do much to avoid contact between the witness and the accused.
  • The in-camera trial arrangements in all such cases also have the same issue.
  • The most problematic and unrealistic factors in this scheme are the arrangements to change identity and relocate witnesses. Even in the rarest of rare cases, the witnesses would perhaps not like this to happen to them. This borrowed idea — devoid of empirical understanding — does not fit Indian conditions.
  • The major source of harassment for the witnesses stemmed from the frequent adjournment of cases, which was confirmed by 65 per cent witnesses in the said study.
  • As many as 80 per cent of witnesses also reported monetary loss and other kinds of deprivation due to their repeated appearances in the courts. Around 65 per cent of the witnesses reported frequencies of adjournments.
  • In 40 per cent of the cases, they were persuaded through social or caste-related pressure to assent to being witnesses.
  • A vast number — 44 per cent — complained of an unfair deal meted out to them by agencies like the police, prosecution or the courts.
  • Girls and women who report sexual violence are often even more vulnerable and face extreme pressure or direct threats from the accused.
  • There have been ad hoc steps such as those outlined for concealing the identity of witnesses in anti-terrorism and child-centric laws
  • Expanding facilities and implementing a comprehensive and credible witness protection programme will pose logistical and financial challenges
  • This is at variance with the Law Commission’s recommendation in 2006 that the Centre and the States share the cost equally.

Way forward:

  • We actually need is a “Witness Assistance Programme”. A study conducted by this author based on 800 witnesses in the premises of courts in Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Karnataka clearly revealed that a vast majority of witnesses do not need protection — they require more assistance, care and dignity.
  • The need is to understand and take into account the fact that witnesses are also a harassed lot, who at times are dealt with much like the accused.
  • The present WPS needs a complete shift in focus to make it rights-based rather than security-centric.
  • A few dedicated courtrooms for vulnerable witnesses, mostly child victims, are needed.
  • In 2003, Justice V Malimath Committee on criminal justice system had recommended enacting a separate witness protection law and in 2006, the Law Commission of India, in its 198th report, provided for a draft witness protection law.
  • The scheme is to be funded by budgetary support from State governments and donations

Topic – Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

3) Discuss the impact of intensive agriculture on insect population of the world?(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review. The articles talks about this alarming possibility and its impact.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the impact of agricultural on insect population and what it means to have a rapidly declining insect population. Thereafter, we need to discuss what needs to be done and the debate over using insecticides and pesticides in agriculture.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain that human activities are causing several irreparable changes to earth and now studies have highlighted the grave threat to insect population.

Body

  • Explain that The study, ‘Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers’, has been published in the journal, Biological Conservation. Researchers discovered that over 40 per cent of insect species could go extinct in the next few decades — this extinction rate is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) are the taxa most affected.
  • Explain the causes such as Intensive agriculture, agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are listed as significant triggers
  • Discuss the debate over the use of insecticides and pesticides in agriculture and what needs to be done.

Conclusion – give a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

Introduction:

Over 40% of insect species are at risk of extinction over the next few decades and 75% to 98% of insect biomass has already been lost, according to this review of the current state of knowledge about insect declines, with habitat loss through conversion to intensive agriculture being the main driver. Agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are also driving insect declines.

Body:

The study, ‘Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers’, has been published in the journal, Biological Conservation.

Key highlights:

  • Researchers discovered that this extinction rate is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles.
  • Lepidoptera, Hymenoptera and dung beetles (Coleoptera) are the taxa most affected.
  • Lepidoptera, the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths, seems to have suffered the most. Bees (belonging to the Hymenoptera order) have been equally hard hit.
  • Studies closer to home have substantiated the grim narrative of bee colonies disappearing.

Causes:

Intensive agriculture, agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are listed as significant triggers.

  • Widespread use of insecticides is one obvious one. Industrial-scale, intensive agriculture is the one that is killing the ecosystems. New classes of insecticides introduced in the last 20 years, including neonicotinoids and fipronil, have been particularly damaging as they are used routinely and persist in the environment. The application of herbicides to cropland has had more negative impacts on both terrestrial and aquatic plants and insect biodiversity than any other agronomic practice
  • Habitat loss and degradation: Changing environmental conditions have led to a proliferation of tree-harming insects such as the mountain pine beetle in North America.
  • Declines in or disappearance of plants or animals that specific insects depend on for food and shelter
  • Displacement by non-native species: non-native species such as Japanese beetles in the U.S., Asian hornets in Europe and the polyphagous shot hole borer in South Africa tend to show rapid population rises as they invade new territories.
  • Climate change due increasing global warming, human overpopulation and overconsumption. The rising temperatures due to climate change are thought to be a significant factor in the decline
  • Incidentally, the EU had last year banned Neonicotinoids — compounds that comprise the most popular type of insecticides. In 2017, a worldwide study published in the journal Science showed that 75 per cent of honey samples collected across multiple countries contained neonicotinoid insecticides.
  • One is industrial fishing, which, all over the blue planet, is now causing systemic ecological collapse.

Way forward:

  • Many scientists say, we need to get a better handle on what’s currently out there in terms of species and numbers so we have a baseline for measuring change and a notion of what might need protecting.
  • Scientists are calling for developing a better sense of trends in abundance and diversity through studies that are repeated over time at the same location, resampling in areas where baselines were established decades ago.
  • Conservationists are also calling for boosting awareness of the value of insects in the eyes of everyday people.
  • Reduced usage of synthetic and chemical fertilizers, practice sustainable agricultural methods like organic farming, ZBNF etc.
  • Environmental impact assessments for the farming and fishing industries.
  • a global treaty to regulate pesticides, and put the manufacturers back in their box

Conclusion:

Insects are linchpins of the living world, carrying out numerous functions that make life possible. Love them or loathe them, we humans cannot survive without insects.


Topic– Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

4) “Corruption causes misuse of government treasury, administrative inefficiency and obstruction in the path of national development.” Discuss Kautilya’s views.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to discuss the ill effects of corruption and how it leads to maladministration and obstructs justice by explaining kautilya’s view on corruption and how it can be controlled.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what do you mean by corruption.

Body

  • Highlight the ill-effects of corruption and how it acts as a termite that makes a nation hollow
  • Discuss kautilya’s view on corruption
    • Kautilyan bureaucracy was a highly centralized merit based system entrusted with important functions including the responsibility of revenue assessment and collection.
    • Corruption is inevitable
    • Detection is difficult
    • Kautilya suggests steps to find out any embezzlement of funds. He says when there is a decrease in the revenue collection (the government functionary might be misappropriating funds).
    • Discuss the remedies he suggested
  • Draw parallel of kautilya’s view on current climate and how his solutions offer a way out

Conclusion – Highlight that just as kautilya suggested, corruption should have a no tolerance policy.

Introduction:

Corruption is not a recent phenomenon. It has precisely been defined as a deviant human behaviour, associated with the motivation of private gain at public expense and, as such, has persisted for centuries. Corruption promotes illegality, unethicalism, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behaviour. It destroys the moral fabric of society and erodes the faith of the common man in the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up.

Body:

Kautilya’s view on corruption:

  • Kautilya was a sagacious minister in the Kingdom of Chandragupta Maurya (324/321‒297 BC).He expressed his views on a range of issues including state, war, social structures, diplomacy, ethics, and politics.
  • He believed that “men are naturally fickle minded” and are comparable to “horses at work [who] exhibit constant change in their temper”.
  • This means that honesty is not a virtue that would remain consistent lifelong and the temptation to make easy gains through corrupt means can override the trait of honesty any time.
  • Similarly, he compared the process of generation and collection of revenue (by officials) with honey or poison on the tip of the tongue, which becomes impossible not to taste.
  • Corruption is so obvious, and yet so mysterious. Even Kautilya reflected serious concerns about opacity in the operations of the world of the corrupt. Illegal transactions were so shrouded in mist that he compared embezzlers to fish moving under water and the virtual impossibility of detecting when exactly the fish is drinking water.
  • As he argued, too much of personal interaction or union among the higher executives leads to departmental goals being compromised and leads to corruption. This is because human emotions and personal concerns act as impediments to the successful running of an administration, which is basically a rule-based impersonal affair.
  • Similarly, dissension among executives when team effort is required results in a poor outcome.
  • Kautilya suggested that the decline in output and corruption can be curbed by promoting professionalism at work. The superintendents should execute work with the subordinate officials such as accountants, writers, coin-examiners, treasurers and military officers in a team spirit.
  • Kautilya provides a comprehensive list of 40 kinds of embezzlement. In all these cases, the concerned functionaries such as the treasurer (nidhayaka), the prescriber (nibandhaka), the receiver (pratigrahaka), the payer (dayak), the person who caused the payment (dapaka) and the ministerial servants (mantri-vaiyavrityakara) were to be separately interrogated and punished based on the extent of embezzlement.
  • Kautilya was concerned about carrying the cases of fraud to their logical conclusion.
  • Kautilya was also not unaware of corruption in the judicial administration. He prescribed the imposition of varying degrees of fines on judges trying to proceed with a trial without evidence, or unjustly maintaining silence, or threatening, defaming or abusing the complainants, arbitrarily dismissing responses provided to questions raised by the judge himself, unnecessarily delaying the trial or giving unjust punishments.
  • He expected judges to be more receptive to the complaints and be fair in delivering justice.
  • Kautilya prescribed reliance on an elaborate espionage network for detecting financial misappropriation and judicial impropriety.
  • The threat of fines being imposed and subsequent public embarrassment do deter judicial officials, to some extent, from resorting to corrupt practices.
  • Kautilya also dealt with the concept of whistleblowers. Any informant (suchaka) who provided details about financial wrongdoing was entitled an award of one-sixth of the amount in question.

Conclusion:

The Arthashastra of Kautilya thus shows that the ancient system of governance and administration was quite contemporary in operational guidelines when dealing with corruption. It also quite convincingly demonstrates that corruption is not an exclusive feature of modern times alone.


Topic-  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

5) Businesses and companies of today have a lot to learn from the exemplary ruler of India, Ashoka’s life. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the life philosophy and practice of King Ashoka’s life and bring out what are the lessons that businesses of today can learn from his life.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Ashoka- his rule over a huge area, Kalinga war and his Dhamma.

Body-

Discuss what lessons can today’s businesses learn from the life of King Ashoka. E.g

  • King Asoka encouraged generosity towards the poor, ascetics, Brahmins, friends and relatives.Today most of the Companies are involved with Charity work. But are they really interested in doing good or is it a way of profiting their companies?
  • Asoka encouraged harmlessness towards all beings. If you are in an industry of providing meat you might want to consider the well-being of those animals who give life for others consumption. Animal cruelty and environmental degradation is not something we should tolerate as a society or humans.
  • Asoka recommended qualities of;

a) Kindness

b) Self-Examination

c) Truthfulness

d) Gratitude

e) Purity of Heart

f) Enthusiasm

g) Loyalty

h) Self-control

 

These guide lines not only can create a workable political philosophy of a country but a healthy workplace.

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

 

Introduction:

King Ashoka an evil king turned Buddhist was regarded as one of the most exemplary rulers in world. King Ashoka was the third monarch of the Indian Mauryan dynasty. He ruled the Kingdom according Buddhist Principles. King Ashoka instituted Moral Principles in his vision to achieve a humane society.

Body:

The lessons that today’s businesses learn from the life of King Ashoka are:

King Ashoka encouraged generosity towards the poor, to ascetics, Brahmins, friends and relatives. Today most of the Companies are involved with Charity work in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility. But they should be really interested in doing good rather than a way of profiting their companies.

Ashoka encouraged harmlessness towards all beings. Animal cruelty is not something we should tolerate as a society or humans. Animals are being used as test- specimens, cosmetics companies are conducting animal testing, fashion industry are using hides of animals like tiger, leopard, etc. This must be stopped.

In a similar fashion, the companies can learn to be sustainable, environmental friendly by reducing their carbon footprint. Adopting technologies which reduce the greenhouse gas emissions etc.

To enhance individual morality Ashoka asked to respect parents, elders, teachers, friends, servants, ascetics and Brahmins. This can be used to bring back the respect at our work place to all the stakeholders. Every person’s work is imperative in its own way starting from the janitor to the CEO. The person should be respected irrespective of the duties he does as every person has a human dignity.

For a healthy work culture, Ashoka’s qualities of Heart can be cultivated among the stakeholders. The list of qualities includes Kindness, Self-Examination, Truthfulness, Gratitude, Purity of Heart, Enthusiasm, Loyalty, Self-control and Love of Dhamma.

Conclusion:

With a workable, ethical political philosophy, Companies like Individuals could make an attempt to live by these rules as much as we can. This is necessary for a sustainable way of life.


Topic– Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

6)Implementing the “Dasa Raja Dharma” by Ashoka, paved the way for a philanthropic and tolerant administration. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the Dasa Raja Dharma and its implementation by Ashoka. We have to discuss about the principles in detail and enlist them and bring out how they contributed towards philanthropic and tolerant administration.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the  Dasa Raja Dharma. E.g It means- Ten principles of Buddhist governance, and mention about how Ashoka adopted those principles in his rule.

Body-

  1. Discuss about those ten principles. E.g

1.To be liberal and avoid selfishness

  1. To maintain a high moral character
  2. To be prepared to sacrifice one’s own pleasure for the well-being of the subjects
  3. To be honest and maintain absolute integrity
  4. To be kind and gentle etc.
  1. Discuss about Ashoka’s administration and how these principles were brought into practice. E.g
  • Building hospitals, roads, wells etc.
  • Practicing tolerance and promoting all religions etc.

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

Introduction:

Ashoka made Buddhism the state religion around 260 B.C. He was perhaps the first emperor in history of India who tried to establish a Buddhist polity by implementing the Dasa Raja Dharma or the ten precepts outlined by Lord Buddha himself as the duty of a perfect ruler.

Body:

The ten precepts and their current relevance are:

  • To be liberal and avoid selfishness:
    • The ruler should not have craving and attachment for wealth and property, but should give it away for the welfare of the people.
    • Rulers are politicians today and they don’t get into politics to giveaway what they have for the love of the country.
    • Our rulers prefer to utilise public office for private gain and they wouldn’t have any guilt in having a go at tax payer funds.
  • To maintain a high moral character:
    • He should never destroy life, cheat, steal and exploit others, commit adultery, utter falsehood, or take intoxicating drinks.
    • An important characteristic of leadership is this element of moral integrity. The fundamental basis for living together is trust.
  • To be prepared to sacrifice one’s own pleasure for the well-being of the subjects:
    • He must be prepared to give up all personal comfort, name and fame, and even his life, in the interest of the people. Not realistic as no saints take up politics.
    • Gandhi may have adhered somewhat to this but Gandhi was no politician.
  • To be honest and maintain absolute integrity:
    • He must be free from fear and favour in the discharge of his duties, must be sincere in his intentions, and must not deceive the public.
    • This is relevant and can be applied but our politicians deceive the public all the time with false promises.
  • To be kind and gentle:
    • He must possess a genial temperament. It is possible for humans-rulers or not- to be kind to others.
  • To lead a simple life for the subjects to emulate
  • To be free from hatred of any kind:
    • He should bear no grudge against anybody. Bearing grudges is a human failing but someone exalted to high positions is big enough to avoid that.
  • To exercise non-violence:
    • It means not only that he should harm nobody, but that he should try to promote peace by avoiding and preventing war, and everything which involves violence and destruction of life.
  • To practice patience:
    • He must be able to bear hardships, difficulties and insults without losing his temper.
  • To respect public opinion to promote peace and harmony

Based on these 10 principles preached by Lord Buddha, Ashoka dictated the practice of Dharma that became the backbone of his philanthropic and tolerant administration. Dharma was neither a new religion nor a new political philosophy. It was a way of life, outlined in a code of conduct and a set of principles that he encouraged his subjects to adopt to lead a peaceful and prosperous life.

Conclusion:

Throughout his life, Ashoka followed the policy of non-violence or ahimsa. Even the slaughter or mutilation of animals was abolished in his kingdom. He promoted the concept of vegetarianism. The caste system ceased to exist in his eyes and he treated all his subjects as equals. At the same time, each and every person was given the rights to freedom, tolerance, and equality.


Topic– Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7) Discuss the relevance of the teachings of Lord Mahavira, in the contemporary world. (250 words)

Reference

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the teachings of the great Indian spirit, Lord Mahavira and bring out their relevance for the present times.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  Lord Mahavira. E.g mention the relationship with jainism etc.

Body-

Discuss in points the teachings of Lord Mahavira and their relevance in contemporary world. E.g

  • According to Lord Mahavira to remain attached to sensuous objects is to remain in the whirl.
  • He says “Misery is gone in the case of a man who has no delusion, while delusion is gone in the case of a man who has no desire, desire is gone in the case of a man who has no greed, while greed is gone in the case of a man who has no attachment.”
  • The efforts made to satisfy the human desires through material objects can be likened to the chopping off of the branches while watering the roots.
  • Thus we can conclude that the lust for and the attachment towards the objects or worldly pleasure is the sole cause of human suffering- degradation of traditional morality, environment and quality of life.
  • In Jainism non-violence is the pivot on which its whole ethics revolves.
  • For Jains violence represents all the vices and non-violence represents all the virtues. Non-violence is not a single virtue but it is a group of virtues.
  • Non-violence is nothing but to treat all living beings as equal. The concept of equality is the core of the theory of nonviolence. The preaching of non-violence is to honor the each and every form of life.
  • According to Jaina point of view, all the barriers of caste, creed and color are artificial. All the human beings have an equal right to lead a peaceful life etc.

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

Introduction:

Lord Mahavira was born to a royal couple in India in 599 B.C. He was the last and 24th tirthankara of Jainism. By the age of thirty, Mahavira gave up his family and kingdom. He spent most of this time meditating and achieving self control. He attained omniscience by the age of forty-two, thereby knowing everything about the past, present and future.

Body:

Philosophy of Lord Mahavira

Three metaphysical and five ethical principles are the foundation of Mahavira’s philosophy. Like the philosophies of other great saints in India, the objective of Mahavira’s philosophy was to raise the quality of life. Also, while attaining spiritual excellence one should maintain ethical behavior. His basic principles are:

  • Ahimsa (Non-violence)
  • Aparigraha (non-attachment and non-possessiveness of worldly, wealth, matters and pleasures)
  • Anekantvad (pluralism-non-absolutism)

Relevance of teachings of Lord Mahavira in contemporary world:

The philosophy and teachings of Lord Mahavira hold great significance to overcome the various challenges of life. The universal truth of his philosophy and teachings make them equally applicable to the modern world.

  • Non-violence:
    • It overtakes all concepts, ideologies, traditional and modern, eastern and western, customs and practices, self centered or social, political and economical. It applies equally to everyone, the world, nations, society, faiths and individual.
    • As a matter of fact non-violence does not mean only to kill living species. It has various facets; say mental torture, heated exchanges at meetings, congregations, conferences and debates even in religious functions etc.
    • Compassion towards all the living beings through Mind, Speech and Body.
    • Ahimsa is nothing but universal brotherhoode. friendliness, forgiveness and fearlessness
  • Non-possessiveness to worldly pleasures, wealth
    • He did never say that a layman or woman should not possess wealth, equipments for pleasures, etc; but restrict your requirements to the minimum.
    • This will help us to avoid unnecessary labour to obtain them and thereby restraining ourselves from running here and there.
    • This will save our precious time, which is passing at an unimaginable speed. Such time we can utilize to be with our family, our social activities and other constructive work to help needy people of the society.
    • Mahavira had laid more stress on non attachment than charity, donation.
    • Prevention is better than cure. There will be no wide rich poor divide economic disparity, if people follow non attachment.
  • Non-Absolutism:
    • Mahavira constructed one of the most powerful weapons in Anekantvad, i.e. non-absolutism or relativity or doctrine of multiplicity of viewpoints to annihilate vague debates, wars, conflicts, hatred, deceit, anger, pride and greed.
    • It sends a message that try to understand others viewpoints on any matter. Do not look only from one angle any subject. Anekantvad teaches us to become patient and polite in nature.
    • All the matters or subjects have many truths. If we look from one angle it may be wrong, but if we look from all the facets it will seem to be right.
    • Proper application of Anekantvad halts bad thoughts and speech for violence.
    • It is an intelligent expression of Ahimsa.
    • In the present ever-changing world, infinite numbers of viewpoints exist. They depend upon various factors such as, nature of individual, time, space and circumstances. Expression of truth is relative to several viewpoints.

Conclusion:

The teachings of Lord Mahavira are still very apt and relevant and this is a time to bring his message and teachings to the forefront of our approach in dealing with today’s problems. Mahavira’s doctrines are a meaningful approach to address this growing crisis