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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 APRIL 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 APRIL 2019


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


Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

1) The world is passing through a global resource quandary. Explain with the examples(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of growing resource dilemma across the globe. The question hints towards the tragedy of commons.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must provide for a brief discussion on resource crisis the world is facing with examples ranging from – water crisis, air pollution, resource scarcity, Ocean garbage gyres etc.

Directive word

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

In a few introductory lines explain what you understand by resource crisis.

Body

Discuss the following aspects in the answer:

  • What is resource crisis ?explain tragedy of the commons – situations when an individual must choose between their self-interest and more of a resource, or the interest of the community and sharing the resource so everybody has a portion.
  • Discuss examples that justify this resource crisis – growing population, and the insufficient availability of clean drinking water, lack of cleaner air, depleting fossil fuels, waste management etc.
  • Discuss the significance of efforts to tackle such a dilemma, what needs to be done – need for sustainable future.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The world is heading for an “ecological credit crunch” far worse than the current financial crisis because humans are over-using the natural resources of the planet. The WWF’s Living Planet report calculates that humans are using 50% more resources than the Earth can replenish each year, which is leading to deforestation, degraded soils, polluted air and water, and dramatic declines in numbers of fish and other species.

Body:

Current Scenario:

  • In a world of 8 billion people, however, resource scarcity goes far beyond precious metals and rare earth metals.
  • The per capita availability of biomass and fresh water is rapidly declining.
  • Phosphorus and phosphate, critical to global food production, are also under pressure — and more than half of the world’s remaining, mineable reserves of that substance sit in one country, Morocco.
  • “Water footprint” shows that 50 countries are already experiencing “moderate to severe water stress on a year-round basis”.
  • 27 countries are “importing” more than half the water they consume – in the form of water used to produce goods from wheat to cotton – including the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Norway and the Netherlands.
  • Systems that support human life are being depleted now rapidly, with unpredictable effects but with food being the ultimate resource.
  • Oil is the only primary energy source that plays an important role in all of the national energy systems. Coal is the world’s fastest growing fossil fuel energy source, currently providing about one-third of the global primary energy supply.
  • Large deposits of these essential minerals are currently found in areas awash in violence and political conflict, creating other issues. Example: Middle East and oil richness.
  • Natural gas is the fastest growing fuel of choice for electricity generation in the Western hemisphere and has also gained an increasing importance in emerging economies.
  • The key threat to the world’s remaining commons is excessive consumerism and the high levels of pollution it creates (such as CO2 emissions), particularly from the lifestyles of those in rich countries.

Impacts:

  • Ecological:
    • The resource crisis is getting worse as populations and consumption keep growing faster than technology finds new ways of expanding what can be produced from the natural world.
    • It would upset the ecological cycles leading to worsened climate events, food insecurity etc.
    • If nothing changes, mankind would need two planets to sustain its lifestyle.
  • Political:
    • The richer countries which have access to resources could encroach upon the share of the poorer and developing countries too leading to regional imbalances and disparity.
  • Economic:
    • The possibility of financial recession pales in comparison to the looming ecological credit crunch.
    • The resource crises can lead to inflation and in turn global economic crises.
  • Social:
    • Resource crises can lead to social unrest like wars, insurgencies, civil wars etc.
    • The share of world poverty would rapidly increase leading to impoverishment of weaker sections like women, children, aged.

Measures needed:

  • Sustainable Development Goals signed up by most nations in the world is a step in the right direction.
  • Establish some form of ‘Global Commons Trust’ which could enable the international community to take collective responsibility for managing the world’s remaining commons and ensuring a balanced pattern of resource use and consumption across the world.
  • There is a need for more Research and Development for transition from Non-renewable to renewable resources, be it energy or minerals.
  • The Developed countries have a responsibility to transfer the technology and help the developing, SIDS countries.
  • Global governance bodies such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank need to be radically reformed to ensure that they are far more representative of the developing world.
  • reforms at the national level, including de-prioritising economic growth, dismantling the culture of consumerism and investing heavily in low-carbon infrastructure
  • Checking the global population is also a feasible option.

Conclusion:

As Gandhiji had once said that mother Earth provides enough for everyone’s need but not greed. It must be advocated to every single person that we are indebted to our future generations and need to utilize the resources sustainably.


Topic: Distribution of key natural resources across the world (including South Asia and the Indian subcontinent); factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world (including India).

2) Discuss the significance of woollen textile Industries in employment generation and economic growth in India.(250 words)

 

Why this question:

The question is in the context of Woollen industry in India and its significant role in creating employment opportunities vis-à-vis promoting economic growth in the country.

Demand of the question:

This question seeks to examine the prospects Woollen industry in India has in generating employment and contributing significantly to the economy.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start with brief introduction stating the textile scenario of the country.

Body

Discuss the following points in detail:

  • What is the role of textile industry in Indian economy  in general and discuss specifically the role of Woollen industry – Indian Textile industry contributes to 7 per cent of industrial output in terms of value, 2 per cent of India’s GDP and to 15 per cent of country’s export earnings.
  • Why is Woollen textile industry important for our country?
  • Discuss the various policy initiatives and programmes for development of textiles – specifically Woollen, particularly for technology, infrastructure creation, skill development etc.
  • Explain how it can bring in employment generation ; economy.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance of the Woollen sector in Indian perspective, and the perfect match it has with the skill set in Indian society.

Introduction:

India’s wool and woollen textile industry is the seventh-largest in the world. Woollen textiles and clothing industry is relatively small compared to the cotton and manmade fibre based textiles and clothing industry. However, the woollen sector  plays  an  important role  in  linking  the  rural  economy  with  the  manufacturing industry,  represented  by  small,  medium  and  large  scale  units.

Body:

Woollen textile industries in India:

  • India has  the  3rd largest  sheep  population country  in  the  world  having  07 million sheep producing 43.50 million kg of raw wool in 2017-18.
  • The most important producers are Punjab, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh followed by Gujarat, Karnataka, and Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Out of this about 85% is carpet  grade  wool5%  apparel  grade  and  remaining  10%  coarse  grade  wool for making rough Kambals
  • The woollen industries comprises of organized sector and the Decentralized Sector.

Employment potential:

  • There are several woollen units in the country, majority of which are in the small scale sector.
  • The woollen  industry  employs  a  workforce  of  7  million  and  30,000  technical supervisory  level  personnel.   
  • With the  spurt  of  the  textile  activity  and  the  projected target  growth,  while  5  million  direct  jobs  are  likely  to  be  created  in  the  textile  industry with  another  7  million  jobs  in  allied 
  • It is  safe  to  estimate  the  requirement  of about  2  lakh new  jobs  in  the  woollen  sector  consisting  of  skilled  and  semi-skilled workforce; in addition to trained /qualified supervisory personnel & managers.

Economic growth:

The  aggregate export  of woollen items  from  wool  tops  to  finished  products  like  textiles,  clothing, blankets and carpets is currently estimated around app. Rs. 11484Crs.

Challenges:

  • The production of wool in the country is not sufficient to meet the demand of the wool industry  particularly  of  apparel  sector  and  most  of  it  is  being  imported  from Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.
  • Low priority of State Governments in development of wool sector.
  • Lack of  awareness,  traditional  management  practices,  and  lack  of  education  and poor economic conditions of woolgrowers.
  • Inadequate marketing facilities and infrastructure.
  • Absence of  organized  marketing  and  minimum  support  price  system  for  ensuring remunerative return.
  • No educational  institute  for  wool  technology  resulting  lack  of  expertise  in  wool sector.
  • Shortage of pasture land which force breeders to migrate their flock from one area to another throughout the year.
  • Uneconomical return  of  the  produces  to  sheep  breeders  e.  Sale of raw wool, live sheep, manure, milk, mutton, skin etc.

Measures taken:

  • Integrated Wool Development Programme, (IWDP): For the holistic growth of the wool sector, Ministry of Textiles, formulated a new integrated programme. This programme would be implemented through Central Wool Development Board in major wool producing States in Financial Years from 2017-18 to 2019-20 with total financial outlay of Rs. 112 crores.
  • Wool Marketing Scheme (WMS): To ensure remunerative prices.
  • Wool Processing Scheme: this scheme   will   provide   support   for establishing  Common  Facility  Centre  (CFC)  for  different  kind  of  wool  and  woollen processing 

Conclusion:

The Indian Wool Industry is an important industry since it is one of the prominent sources of livelihood for the rural India and it represents small, medium, and large scale units. Further, the India wool Industry also caters to civil and defence requirements for warm clothing for the Indian Army.


Topic-Role of women, Social empowerment.

3) With wide-ranging support intended for gender equality, a substantial portion of urban India ruminates that women are responsible for domestic chores including child-rearing. Examine. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article provides for deep insights  on data that shows despite broad support for gender equality, a significant portion of Urban India still believes that women are responsible for child-rearing.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must appreciate the fact that though urban India is moving forward with the thoughts of gender equity the conservative mindset of believing women to be responsible for domestic chores is still prevalent. You must discuss the causes of such mindset and consequences.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Brief upon the scenario of gender equity present in the urban India, use cues from the article quote some data/facts.

Body:

  • Body of the answer should discuss multiple factors – first discuss the concept of gender equity applied to Urban India, how is it different from the rural India. Discuss with factors such as – men and women are supportive of women working outside home,  Pay parity desirable to both urban men and women, Higher educated respondents are more supportive towards women working etc.
  • Then move on to discuss the challenges – Women are occupied with domestic responsibilities such as child-rearing, parental burden across the gender divide, conservative views etc.
  • Suggest what should be done ? – example – work from home policy envisaged by the government, creches at workplaces, awareness, empowerment etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of gender equality.

Introduction:

Indian society is characterized by Patriarchy from ages. Although India has come miles ahead in terms of technology, lifestyle and even with broad support for gender equality, a significant portion of Urban India believes that women are responsible for child-rearing. The archaic belief of conservative views about women’s role in households, workplaces and society is still upheld by many in Urban India.

Body:

The factors responsible for such beliefs:

  • A significant minority of men who believe that it is unacceptable for women to work.
  • One in five men surveyed disagreed with women working outside their homes. There is also little difference in this belief between generations: both men fewer than 30 and above 30 felt equally strongly about women working.
  • A significant portion of urban residents believe that a women’s family wealth should determine their decision to work. Around one in four respondents (25%) agreed that women from affluent families need not work.
  • In terms of income groups, acceptance of women workers is the highest among respondents in the middle income groups. Lower income earners (less than ₹20,000 household income per month) and higher income earners (more than ₹2 lakh) are relatively less supportive of women working.
  • A significant number of respondents (39%) with less schooling (nine years or less) believed that women should not work outside homes.
  • A major constraint in female labour force participation in India is that they’re occupied with domestic responsibilities such as child-rearing. About 68% women left their jobs after pregnancy reason being dual responsibility burden.
  • A significant portion believes that child-rearing is the woman’s responsibility. There seems to be far less willingness to share parental burden across the gender divide.
  • Even among young urban Indians online, a cohort seen as more progressive, there is a significant minority that holds conservative views about women’s role in households, workplaces and society.

Measures needed:

  • Women’s labour force participation and access to decent work are important and necessary elements of an inclusive and sustainable development process.
  • Policy makers in India and throughout the region should take a comprehensive approach to improving labour market outcomes for women.
  • Improving access to and relevance of education and training programs, skills development, and access to child care, maternity protection, and provision of safe and accessible transport.
  • Policy-makers should be more concerned about whether women are able to access better jobs or start up a business, and take advantage of new labour market opportunities as a country grows.
  • A policy framework encouraging and enabling women’s participation should be constructed with active awareness of the “gender-specific” constraints that face most women.
  • Gender responsive policies need to be contextually developed.
  • Increasing labour market flexibility allowing more women, many of whom are working in the informal sector, to be employed in the formal sector.
  • Supply-side reforms to improve infrastructure and address other constraints to job creation could also enable more women to enter the labour force.
  • Higher social spending, including investment in education, can also lead to higher female labour force participation by boosting female stocks of human capital.

Conclusion:

Gender Equality is central to inclusive economic growth and is critical for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Attitudinal shift is essential for women to be considered as equal within their homes and in broader society. Educating Indian children from an early age about the importance of gender equality is imperative.


Topic:  Urbanization – problems and remedies, Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

4) India needs community led Solid waste management plans to be implemented alongside maintenance of drainage and sewerage networks. Discuss.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article provides for a detailed analysis of a case study of Solid waste management of the city of Vellore of Tamil Nadu.

Key demand of the question:

Analyse in  detail the need for Solid waste management – In India, solid waste management needs to be planned and implemented alongside well-maintained drainage and sewerage networks and with the active participation of the communities.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines explain the present system and conditions of solid waste management in the cities and towns of India.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • Discuss the grave crisis of solid waste management – issues associated.
  • Why we need community led efforts to tackle the problem?
  • Need for sustainable solid waste management  – would have provided

9.6 million tons of compost that could have resulted in a better agricultural yield, energy equivalent to 58 million barrels of oil from non-recyclable wastes, 6.7 million tons of secondary raw materials to industries in the form of recyclable materials and livelihood to the urban poor.

  • Take hints from the article and present a case study on community led solid waste management efforts.
  • Discuss the policies and initiatives of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done, suggest way forward.

Introduction:

India alone generates more than 1, 00,000 metric tonnes of solid waste every day, which is higher than many countries’ total daily waste generation taken together. Large metropolis such as Mumbai and Delhi generate around 9,000 metric tonnes and 8,300 metric tonnes of waste per day, respectively. India suffers from inefficient and insufficient waste infrastructure and also from increasing rates of solid waste generation per capita. Besides, the infrastructure and technologies, we must also concede that we have not addressed the issue from a systemic perspective.

Body:

Current Situation of MSW in India:

  • ULBs are responsible for segregated waste collection, transporting waste in covered vehicle, processing, recyclables, separating domestic hazardous waste and disposing inert material in sanitary landfills
  • Various studies reveal that about 90% of MSW is disposed of unscientifically in open dumps and landfills, creating problems to public health and the environment.
  • Over 377 million urban people live in 7,935 towns and cities and generate 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste per annum.
  • Only 43 million tonnes (MT) of the waste is collected, 11.9 MT is treated and 31 MT is dumped in landfill sites.
  • Most cities have confined themselves to collection and transportation of solid waste. Processing and safe disposal are being attempted only in a few cases.
  • The CPCB report also reveals that only 68% of the MSW generated in the country is collected of which, 28% is treated by the municipal authorities. Thus, merely 19% of the total waste generated is currently treated.
  • According to a UN report, India’s e-waste from old computers alone will jump 500 per cent by 2020, compared to 2007.
  • Disappearance of urban water bodies and wetlands in urban areas can be attributed to illegal dumping of Construction & Demolition waste.

Some of the major issues concerning solid waste management are:

  • Absence of segregation of waste at source
  • Lack of funds for waste management at ULBs.
  • Unwillingness of ULBs to introduce proper collection, segregation, transportation and treatment/ disposal systems.
  • Lack of technical expertise and appropriate institutional arrangement
  • lack of infrastructure and technology
  • lack of involvement from the private sector and non-governmental organisations
  • Indifference of citizens towards waste management due to lack of awareness
  • Lack of community participation towards waste management and hygienic conditions
  • Lack of sewage management plan.
  • About 70% of the plastic packaging products turn into plastic waste within a short period.
  • Unorganized vendors and markets, existence of slum areas and Corruption are other issues plaguing MSWM.

Community Solid Waste Management technique:

  • The key to efficient waste management is to ensure proper segregation of waste at source.
  • Doorstep collection of mixed waste using primary collection vehicles and municipal workers to transport the waste to the MCCs. These can be run by self-help groups or NGO’s who are provided with covered space for sorting, and are paid on daily basis.
  • Awareness campaigns which involves the high officials leveraging social media by posting photos of themselves in their home kitchens with separate bins for wet and dry waste.
  • Religious leaders of different communities can be approached and urged to convey to their followers the importance of keeping wet and dry wastes unmixed and to avoid the use of one-time-use plastics.
  • Groups like the Lions and Rotary can be roped in to spread the good word. Schools, with the cooperation of teachers, can be required to get pledges signed by all students and their parents.
  • Such campaigns to engage with the community are successful only when the doorstep collection teams cooperate and strictly refuse taking mixed waste.
  • The pending grievances of waste collectors with respect to promotions, filling vacancies, provident fund issues and minor repairs of primary collection vehicles, etc. were resolved to ensure their buy-in for the campaign.
  • Micro-planning of collection vehicle routes manned by municipal staff, and tracking their punctuality and performance, is also key to citizen cooperation.

Other steps needed:

  • To ensure that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery as stated in the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • State governments should provide financial support to ULBs to improve their waste management system under various schemes and programs.
  • Initiatives like Smart Cities Mission, AMRUT should provide significant funding to improve civic services infrastructure.
  • Waste to energy is a key component of SWM. Installation of waste-to-compost and bio-methanation plants would reduce the load of landfill sites
  • There is a need to encourage research and development so as to reinvent waste management system in India.
  • The focus should be on recycling and recovering from waste and not landfill. Further, it is important to encourage recycling of e-waste so that the problem of e-waste
  • Public- Private Partnership models for waste management should be encouraged.
  • Construction and demolition waste should be stored, separately disposed off, as per the Construction and Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  • Responsibilities of Generators have been introduced to segregate waste in to three streams, Wet (Biodegradable), Dry (Plastic, Paper, metal, wood, etc.) and domestic hazardous wastes (diapers, napkins, empty containers of cleaning agents, mosquito repellents, etc.) and handover segregated wastes to authorized rag-pickers or waste collectors or local bodies.
  • Sensitization of citizens as well as government authorities, community participation, involvement of NGOs. Littering should be prohibited.
  • International Best practices should be emulated. South Korea is one of the few countries to separate and recycle food waste. It has also launched landfill recovery projects such as the Nanjido recovery project which have successfully transformed hazardous waste sites into sustainable ecological attractions.

Conclusion:

Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) is one of the major environmental problems of Indian cities. A Decentralized management of solid waste can help mitigate the problem to a great extent. The need of the hour is scientific, sustainable and environment friendly management of wastes.

Case Study: Vellore city in Tamil Nadu, with a population of five lakh, has been a trailblazer in decentralised management of solid waste and sending no waste to landfills. More recently, it has earned the remarkable distinction of getting all its residents to separate their wet waste from dry waste, which makes the task of solid waste management so much easier for the municipal corporation.

Vellore generates 160 tonnes of solid waste per day, excluding waste from bulk generators. It all began with a PIL in the National Green Tribunal in 2015 seeking closure of the eight-acre dumpsite on a tank bund in Saduperi, a few kilometres away from Vellore. The site had been used for dumping mixed waste since 1991.

Vellore Municipal Corporation (VMC) responded to the challenge by building 42 sheds for micro composting centres (MCCs) across its 60 wards. Each MCC (with a capacity ranging from 1.5 to 5 tonnes) was provided enclosed sheds containing numerous open-brickwork tanks (5 ft deep, 5-6 ft wide and 7-10 ft long) for composting wet waste: The tanks are filled in rotation, over a starter bed of dry leaves, with one-foot layers of hand-sorted wet waste plus a layer of cow dung-slurry as a compost starter, and allowed to mature for 30-60 days.


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

5) Achieving 24×7 power for all  in rural India is a mandatory significant step to harvest the socio-economic benefits of electricity. Discuss along with measures suggesting methods of augmenting Saubhagya scheme. (250 words)

The hindu

Livemint

Why this question:

The question is to evaluate the linkage between 24×7 power supply to the rural India and the socio economic development associated with it. The article presents a detailed analysis of points in the same context.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must provide for a detailed narration of recent achievements made through Saubhagya scheme for rural electrification and the issues involved with it. The answer must appreciate the socio-economic progress associated with rural electrification.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer

Introduction:

write a few introductory lines about the recent power for all drive of the government of India for the rural pockets of the country.

Body:

Answers must discuss the following aspects :

  • Significance of power for all .
  • Why is it essential for socio economic development of rural India?
  • Discuss the steps to help rural India overcome electricity poverty and reap immense socio-economic benefits  – real-time monitoring of supply at the end-user level, smart meters, focus on improving the quality of supply as well as maintenance services etc.
  • Then move on to analyse the significance of Saubhagya scheme, discuss the merits and demerits associated.
  • Stress on need to prioritize electricity access for livelihoods and community services such as education and health care, decent standard of living etc.

Conclusion –

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

According to the Government of India, the ₹16,320 crore Saubhagya scheme funds the cost of last-mile connectivity to ‘willing households’. The household electrification scheme, Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana, or Saubhagya, has been implemented at an unprecedented pace. Of 26.04 million households targeted under the scheme, 99.93%households have got electricity connections as on 31 March, claims official website

Body:

Significance of power for all: Electricity consumption is one of the most important indices that decide the development level of a nation. Electricity is the driver for India’s development.

Measures needed to augment Saubhagya: In order to achieve 24×7 power for all, we need to focus on three frontiers:

Real-time monitoring of supply at the end-user level:

  • We achieve what we measure. While the government is bringing all feeders in the country online, we currently have no provision to monitor supply as experienced by households.
  • Only such granular monitoring can help track the evolving reality of electricity supply on the ground and guide DISCOMS to act in areas with sub-optimal performance.
  • Eventually, smart meters (that the government plans to roll out) should help enable such monitoring.

DISCOMS need to focus on improving the quality of supply as well as maintenance services:

  • Adequate demand estimation and respective power procurement will go a long way in reducing load shedding.
  • Moreover, about half the rural population across the six States reported at least two days of 24-hour-long unpredictable blackouts in a month.
  • Such incidents are indicative of poor maintenance, as opposed to intentional load-shedding.
  • DISCOMS need to identify novel cost-effective approaches to maintain infrastructure in these far-flung areas.
  • Some States have already taken a lead in this. Odisha has outsourced infrastructure maintenance in some of its rural areas to franchisees, while Maharashtra has introduced village-level coordinators to address local-level challenges. Such context-based solutions should emerge in other States as well.

Quality Customer Service:

  • Finally, the improvement in supply should be complemented with a significant improvement in customer service, which includes billing, metering and collection.
  • Success depends on curbing DISCOM losses and consumer honesty.
  • Distributed generation could complement centralised grid electricity to resolve both, and ensure sustained use of electricity not just for rural households, but also for the entire rural economy including farms, schools, hospitals, and small businesses.
  • It would lead to improved consumer satisfaction, as electricity truly becomes an enabler of prosperity in rural India.

Way forward:

  • Given that electricity is in the concurrent list, it is for states to ensure quality, reliable and affordable electricity to consumers.
  • We need radically innovative approaches such as the proposed prepaid smart meters and last-mile rural franchisees to improve customer service and revenue collection.
  • Rural renewable energy enterprises could especially be interesting contenders for such franchisees, considering the social capital they already possess in parts of rural India.
  • As we focus on granular monitoring, high-quality supply, better customer service and greater revenue realisation at the household level, we also need to prioritise electricity access for livelihoods and community services such as education and health care.
  • Only such a comprehensive effort will ensure that rural India reaps the socio-economic benefits of electricity.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

6) Do you think camouflaging the identity of donors in electoral bonds goes against the fundamental tenet of democracy of transparency? Critically analyse. (250 words)

The hindu

 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail in the run-up to the general elections the aspects of concealing the identity of donors in electoral bonds , and how this goes against the fundamental tenet of democracy — transparency.

Key demand of the question:

The question expects us to evaluate the quotient of transparency involved in the issue of electoral bonds . One has to express opinion as to whether the newly introduced EBS propagates corruption and inhibits meaningful participation of the citizens in the democratic exercise, or not. We have to form our opinion based on a proper discussion and presentation of valid arguments and facts.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with brief on electoral bonds, how they function.

Body:

  • Discussion should include the following aspects – Electoral bonds were conceived with a view to keeping the identity of the donor secret.
  • The bond does not carry the name of the buyer. The donor does have a genuine fear that if parties in the Opposition get to know how much he has contributed to the ruling party, he will be in trouble when the former come to power. The electoral bond scheme is informed by an appreciation of such fears.
  • Discuss how these bonds were conceived? – their evolution ; money bill, notifications, SC judgements etc.
  • Discuss what can be done to overcome the concerns associated?

Conclusion:

Conclude with a reassertion that Democracy requires an informed citizenry and transparency of information which are vital to its functioning.

 

Introduction:

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

Body:

Rationale behind the electoral bonds:

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

Concerns expressed:

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

Alternative mechanisms for electoral funding:

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

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

7) Can ignorance be an excuse for misconduct? Evaluate in the context of civil services.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon

 

Why this question:

The question is intended to evaluate the virtue of Ignorance as a reason for misconduct and to how far can it be taken as an excuse in public services.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the importance of awareness , consciousness and knowledge against that of ignorance that can not be treated as an excuse for misconduct in the public services.

Directive word:

EvaluateWhen you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In a few introductory lines appreciate the need for values of awareness, wisdom, realization and know-how.

Body:

  • Explain – why misconduct with an excuse of ignorance is a misconduct in itself.
  • Delinquency and bad behaviour can not be excused in the name of ignorance and non-awareness. Quote examples from day to day life to justify the same.
  • Suggest how this ignorance needs to be treated and should not be taken as an excuse for misconduct, misbehavior and transgression from the ethics and values associated with the public services.
  • Discuss what should be done to overcome such situations.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of virtues of honesty, aptitude, awareness, knowledge etc. in the right doings of the public servants in their service.

Introduction:

Ignorance is a lack of knowledge. The word ignorant is an adjective that describes a person in the state of being unaware, and can describe individuals who deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts, or individuals who are unaware of important information or facts

Body:

Civil services have a wide range of actions which the civil servants need to perform. There can be instances when the administrator can lead to ignorance due to a human error. However, he/she must take note of such errors which could lead to misconduct.

For instance, disregarding important information of facts by a police during an investigation. This cannot be an excuse as in this case the individual knew the effect however negligence and lack of awareness of his/her act and its impact.

Imagine an investigating officer looking into a murder case or a communal riot , if he/she neglects collection of small details wherein the real evidence against the culprit lies , then it is a misconduct and cannot be an excuse as it led to guilty going unpunished and thereby encouragement for more crime .

An improperly conducted, negligent investigation can lead to very serious consequences for those who were investigated.

Often the harm comes not just during the investigation itself, but from its inaccurate results or flawed conclusions being publicized. The harm to reputation can be significant and can lead to other harms such as emotional distress, loss of income, lost profits, or lost economic opportunities.

This ignorance needs to be treated and should not be taken as an excuse for misconduct, misbehaviour and transgression from the ethics and values associated with the public services.

Ignorance on the other hand is necessary for a civil servant to ward off unnecessary comments, rumours, and material gifts by patrons as bribe etc.

Way forward:

  • Civil servants should avoid deliberate ignorance by being more empathetic towards the people whom they interact with.
  • Integrity brings with it the quality of overcoming ignorance.
  • Awareness and Training programmes must be conducted periodically to keep civil servants upbeat with happenings.