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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 APRIL 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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: Social empowerment of women.

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

1) Addressing the supply challenge as demand for electricity rapidly increases will be key not only for India’s economic growth but also in empowering women in rural areas. Comment.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article is in the light of recently released World Bank study that has appreciated  the fact that the with increase in demand for electricity ,addressing supply challenge will be key not only for India’s economic growth but also in empowering women in rural areas.

Key demand of the question:

Discussion should focus upon as to in what way access to electricity is  associated with significant improvement in women’s empowerment.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Introduce by stating the presence of a correlation in supply of electricity and women empowerment specially in Rural India.

Body:

In brief discuss –

  • Quote the facts observed by the report.
  • Explain how electricity in rural India decides factors such as – women’s decision-making ability, mobility, financial autonomy, reproductive freedom and social participation of women in rural India.
  • Access to electricity makes women more empowered as it is associated with greater job participation, education, health and exposure to electronic media, all of which are enabling factors for improved autonomy and social participation among women.
  • You can as well provide for a comparison with Urban India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance and increasing necessity of rural electrification not just for economic growth but for rural empowerment too.

Introduction:

Access to electricity makes women more empowered as it is associated with greater job participation, education, health and exposure to electronic media. According to a new World Bank study, Access to electricity is associated with significant improvement in women empowerment. It also says that Women’s bargaining power increases by 7-10 percentage points because of electrification.

Body:

Findings in the report:

  • In the study, Hussain Samad and Fan Zhang analyse data from the 2011-12 India Human Development Survey, covering more than 40,000 households and 200,000 individuals, and find that access to electricity is associated with significant improvement in women empowerment.
  • They find that this index increases by as much as 11 percentage points with improved access to electricity.
  • Women’s bargaining power, primary involving her own well-being such as travelling alone, having a bank account and participating in social groups, increases by 7-10 percentage points because of electrification

Electrification and women empowerment:

  • Social empowerment: Access to electricity makes women more empowered as it is associated with greater job participation, education, health and exposure to electronic media, all of which are enabling factors for improved autonomy and social participation among women.
  • Agriculture sector: Mechanization, Agro-processing industries, Cold storage, Drip and sprinkler irrigation will all be possible. Women’s labour force participation will increase leading to woman’s intra-household bargaining power.
  • Industrialization: More jobs, less migration to urban areas thereby improving rural economy as well as society. It will give boost to small scale industries and SMEs in rural areas and would also help in revival of power looms.
  • Financial inclusion: Mobile banking, banking at CSCs can empower SHGs and inturn women can be empowered. Women empowerment bringing more women to mainstream rural economy.
  • Security: With feminization of agriculture mechanization is the need of the hour and for it happen electrification is quintessential. Electrification and thus street light, less grey areas would result into more secure environment helping them to attend schools, colleges, work place etc.

Challenges for electrification:

  • Electricity distribution companies (DISCOMS) are already highly indebted.
  • The other major challenge is from distribution network capacity. Electrification in India has followed an approach of expansion, often driven by political considerations, without much emphasis on capacity augmentation and making the grid future ready.

 

  • As a result, the distribution infrastructure is overburdened, as the demand has grown, causing a high level of technical losses and frequent breakdowns. The distribution network capacity in several States is inadequate to carry available electricity.
  • Subsequently, DISCOMS have been resorting to load shedding while their contracted generation capacities are underutilised.
  • Adding new load to the existing fragile distribution network will only compromise the quality and reliability of supply. It could result in continued blackouts for the rural poor during peak hours.
  • Flawed definition of rural electrification: If 10 percent household of a village is having electricity connection the village is considered as electrified. First of all this limit is too low, secondly electricity connection is different than actual electricity delivery.
  • Affordability is a concern for rural populations because of distance from distribution centres and low population density, both of which drive up the price of the service.

Measures needed:

  • The federal government is to push the state-run distribution companies to carry out robust ground surveys and organize frequent camps to achieve the target so that not one household is left out from electrification.
  • To achieve a consistent round-the-clock power supply, considerable improvement in the operational efficiency of distributors through extensive and intensive change management and capacity-building programmes as well as strengthening of the electricity sub-stations and sub-transmission network are required.
  • At the same time, electricity must be priced rationally and the tariff structure is simplified.
  • Decentralized renewable energy solutions such as mini-grids and rooftop solar, where the grid can’t reach or reliably serve, and operating together is the most sustainable last-mile solution to reach consumers and achieve universal access to energy.

Conclusion:

Electrification has been shown to accelerate opportunities for women by moving them into more productive activities. Access to electricity is associated with an improvement in all five indicators viz. decision-making ability, mobility, financial autonomy, reproductive freedom and social participation


Topic:Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

2) Discuss the reasons behind framers of the constitution of India approving the federal system of government in India, also discuss the key federal features of the constitution. (250 words)

Indian Polity by Lakshmikant, D D Basu

Why this question:

The question is direct from the static portions of GS paper II, it tends to evaluate the federal features of the constitution.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must discuss evolution of federalism as a feature of Indian constitution. And also discuss the key features of Indian federalism in detail.

Directive word

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Introduce by highlighting the significant federal features of India.

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • Brief upon history and evolution of federal features in India.
  • Reasons for adopting federal features in Indian constitution – socio cultural context of the country, continental size, trauma of partition, integration of princely states etc.
  • Then move on to discuss the federal features of the constitution in detail.

Conclusion

Conclude with significance federal nature of the constitution and also assert that we are a unique blend of federal and unitary constitution.

Introduction:

Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units. The Constitution of India establishes a federal structure to the Indian government, declaring it to be a “Union of States”. Indian model of federalism is called quasi-federal system as it contains major features of both a federation and union.

Body:

The reasons behind framers of the constitution of India approving the federal system of government in India are

  • Even before independence, most of our leaders of Nationalist movement were aware that to govern a large country like India, it would be necessary to have a federal system of the constitution.
  • Federalism best suits to the conditions of India, which is a land of continental size with different regional, linguistic and religious diversities.
  • The constitution of India has made provision for strong union government. It was necessary because at the time of framing of the constitution there were centrifugal forces operating in the country. To bring about consolidation of such forces and to bring social and political integration the strong centre was the need of the hour.
  • Apart from it the presence of several million indigenous people also necessitates the federal setup.
  • In a democratic polity the people of above mentioned diverse backgrounds have to share power and should govern themselves.
  • At the time of independence there were more than 500 princely states which had to be merged with existing States or newly created States. It also necessitated framing a federal constitution.
  • Apart from that they also wanted to create a strong centre to stem disintegration and bring about social and political change.
  • Apart from the problems of integration, India was also confronted with socio-economic diversities which could be best handled by a strong central government.

The main federal features of the Indian Constitution are as follows:

  • Written Constitution: The Indian Constitution is a written document containing 395 Articles and 12 schedules, and therefore, fulfils this basic requirement of a federal government. In fact, the Indian Constitution is the most elaborate Constitution of the world.
  • Supremacy of the Constitution: India’s Constitution is also supreme and not the hand-made of either the Centre or of the States. If for any reason any organ of the State dares to violate any provision of the Constitution, the courts of laws are there to ensure that dignity of the Constitution is upheld at all costs.
  • Rigid Constitution: The Indian Constitution is largely a rigid Constitution. All the provisions of the Constitution concerning Union-State relations can be amended only by the joint actions of the State Legislatures and the Union Parliament. Such provisions can be amended only if the amend­ment is passed by a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting in the Parliament (which must also constitute the absolute majority of the total membership) and ratified by at least one-half of the States.
  • Citizenship: The constitution of India introduced single citizenship like Canada, but there is no separate citizenship of States. All citizens enjoy same rights all over the country irrespective of their birth or place of residence. The other federal states like US, Switzerland and Australia have a dual citizenship i.e. national as well as state citizenship
  • Division of Powers: In a federation, there should be clear division of powers so that the units and the centre are required to enact and legislate within their sphere of activity and none violates its limits and tries to encroach upon the functions of others. The Seventh Schedule contains three Legislative Lists which enumerate subjects of administration, viz., Union, State and Concurrent Legislative Lists.
  • Independent Judiciary: In India, the Constitution has provided for a Supreme Court and every effort has been made to see that the judiciary in India is independent and supreme. The Supreme Court of India can declare a law as unconstitutional or ultra Vires, if it contravenes any provisions of the Constitution. In order to ensure the impartiality of the judiciary, our judges are not remov­able by the Executive and their salaries cannot be curtailed by Parliament.
  • Bicameral Legislature: A bicameral system is considered essential in a federation because it is in the Upper House alone that the units can be given equal representation. The Constitution of India also provides for a bicameral Legislature at the Centre consisting of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. While the Lok Sabha consists of the elected representatives of people, the Rajya Sabha mainly consists of representatives elected by the State Legislative Assemblies. However, all the States have not been given equal representation in the Rajya Sabha.
  • Dual Government Polity: In a federal State, there are two governments—the national or federal government and the government of each component unit. But in a unitary State there is only one government, namely the national government. So, India, as a federal system, has a Central and State Government.

Conclusion:

Federalism is like a rainbow, where each colour is separate, yet together they make a harmonious pattern. Federalism has to continuously maintain a difficult balance between the centre and the states. No legal or institutional formula can guarantee the smooth functioning of a federal polity. Ultimately, the people and the political process must develop a culture and a set of values and virtues like mutual trust, toleration and a spirit of cooperation. Federalism celebrates both unity as well as diversity.


Topic : Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

3) The anti-defection law and issuance of whips by political parties curtail the freedom of independence of MPs. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Indian Polity by Lakshmikant, D D Basu

prsindia

Why this question:

The question is centered around the idea of anti-defection law and issuance of whips by political parties and their role in curtailing freedom of independence of Members of parliament.

Demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the role of anti-defection law and issuance of whips by political parties and its interrelationship with freedom of independence of Members of parliament.

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

Start by explaining what you understand by the anti-defection law.

Body

  • The question is straightforward, one has to first discuss the basic understanding of What is the anti-defection law, role of whip issued by political parties – features, how it puts a restrain on MPs etc.
  • Discuss – What are the grounds for disqualification under the Anti-Defection Law?, questions of ‘split’ and ‘merger’: Loopholes in anti-defection law.
  • Reforms to anti-defection law: 91st amendment.
  • Discuss Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachilhu and others case of SC  – It held that the law does not violate any rights or freedoms, or the basic structure of parliamentary democracy.
  • What should be the possible reforms  to overcome the above challenges.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd Amendment to the Constitution, which added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution.  The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections” which may be due to reward of office or other similar considerations.  The law applies to both Parliament and state assemblies. However, there are several issues in relation to the working of this law.

Body:

Grounds for disqualification:

  • If a member of a house belonging to a political party:
    • Voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or
    • Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party.
    • However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
  • If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
  • If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.

Exception:

  • Merger: A person shall not be disqualified if his original political party merges with another, and:
    • He and other members of the old political party become members of the new political party, or
    • He and other members do not accept the merger and opt to function as a separate group.
  • This exception shall operate only if not less than two-thirds of the members of party in the House have agreed to the merger.

Power to disqualify:

  • The Chairman or the Speaker of the House takes the decision to disqualify a member.
  • If a complaint is received with respect to the defection of the Chairman or Speaker, a member of the House elected by that House shall take the decision.

Advantages of anti-defection law:

  • Provides stability to the government by preventing shifts of party allegiance.
  • Ensures that candidates remain loyal to the party as well the citizens voting for him.
  • Promotes party discipline.
  • Facilitates merger of political parties without attracting the provisions of Anti-defection
  • Expected to reduce corruption at the political level.
  • More concentration on governance is possible.
  • Provides for punitive measures against a member who defects from one party to another.

Challenges posed by anti defection law:

  • The anti-defection law raises a number of questions, several of which have been addressed by the courts and the presiding officers.
  • The law impinge on the right of free speech of the legislators:
    • This issue was addressed by the five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1992 (Kihoto Hollohan vs Zachilhu and others). The court said that “the anti-defection law seeks to recognise the practical need to place the proprieties of political and personal conduct…above certain theoretical assumptions.” It held that the law does not violate any rights or freedoms, or the basic structure of parliamentary democracy.
  • Doubts regarding “voluntarily” resigning from a party:
    • According to a Supreme Court judgment, “voluntarily giving up the membership of the party” is not synonymous with “resignation”.
    • It has interpreted that in the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct.
    • In other judgments, members who have publicly expressed opposition to their party or support for another party were deemed to have resigned
  • Regarding Whips:
    • Political parties issue a direction to MPs on how to vote on most issues, irrespective of the nature of the issue.
    • It restricts a legislator from voting in line with his conscience, judgement and interests of his electorate.
    • Such a situation impedes the oversight function of the legislature over the government, by ensuring that members vote based on the decisions taken by the party leadership, and not what their constituents would like them to vote for.
  • Challenging the decision of the presiding officer in the courts:
    • The law states that the decision is final and not subject to judicial review. There are several instances that presiding officers take politically partisan view.
    • The Supreme Court struck down part of this condition. It held that there may not be any judicial intervention until the presiding officer gives his order. However, the final decision is subject to appeal in the High Courts and Supreme Court.

Various Recommendations to overcome the above challenges:

  • Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms: Disqualification should be limited to following cases:
    • A member voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party
    • A member abstains from voting, or votes contrary to the party whip in a motion of vote of confidence or motion of no-confidence. Political parties could issue whips only when the government was in danger.
  • Law Commission(170th Report)
    • Provisions which exempt splits and mergers from disqualification to be deleted.
    • Pre-poll electoral fronts should be treated as political parties under anti-defection
    • Political parties should limit issuance of whips to instances only when the government is in danger.
  • Election Commission
    • Decisions under the Tenth Schedule should be made by the President/ Governor on the binding advice of the Election Commission.

Conclusion:

The anti-defection law seeks to provide a stable government by ensuring the legislators do not switch sides. The true objective to enhance the credibility of the country’s polity by addressing rampant party-hopping by elected representatives should be pursued rather than using it as a political tool to pursue narrow interests of party.


Topic :   Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

4) Election finance is at the root of much corruption in India. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the alarming issue of election finance which is at the root of much corruption in India and how until it is completely overhauled, the country shouldn’t rest.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the current context of elections in detail, the focus of the answer must be upon the finance aspects of the elections and the corruption involved therein.

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:

Introduce by highlighting the alarming situation of election finance in India and corruption involved therein.

Body:

  • The answer must centre around types of election financing methods available in India , the corrupt means.
  • Lack of accountability and transparency.
  • Open admission that votes are in fact secured through large, illegal and illegitimate expenditure on elections.
  • Discuss the various methods of election funding ; associated issues.
  • Provide solutions – overcoming the clandestine collection of election funds would be to introduce state funding of elections as so many countries have done.

Conclusion –

Conclude with how Cleansing political parties and elections of illegal money is the first step towards tackling the evil of corruption.

Introduction:

India, even 70 years after Independence doesn’t have a transparent method of funding political parties which is important to ensure free and fair elections. According to a report by Association for Democratic Reforms nearly 70% of political funding came from unknown sources during 11 years of study. The Election Commission of India has been deeply concerned about the use of black money in elections. Estimates say nearly $5billion was pumped into 2014 Lok Sabha elections, most of which was black money. Such gargantuan sums of money, coupled with the fact that there is visible involvement of some corporates in the campaign, gives an appearance of corruption.

Body:

Current state of election finance in India:

  • Indian elections are the world’s biggest exercise in democracy but also among the most expensive. India’s campaign spend is only matched by the American presidential race, the world’s most expensive election.
  • Unreported cash continues to make its way into the reserves of political parties and individual candidates. There is very little transparency in who gives and receives corporate contributions.
  • Political parties often sidestep any independent audit of their accounts, leaving the public uninformed.
  • The parties, whose main source of income comes from donations by individuals and corporations, use loopholes in the law to avoid disclosing identities of even the big individual donors. As regards corporate donations, despite the availability of tax breaks, most of it is done off-the-books mainly to avoid reprisals in case the opposing party wins.
  • On the other hand, the candidates grossly underreport expenditure while actually spending far higher than the legal limits allow. Most of the illegal spending by candidates comes from the assistance given to them by their parties which carry greater financial heft, and have no ceiling on expenditure.
  • The system of electoral bonds for making political contributions to political parties is nowhere near the system of transparent political funding that is needed.
  • Chief election commissioner recently said, Electoral bonds will not solve all problems pertaining to transparency in political funding, but hoped that it will be a step in the “right direction”.

However, along with the opacity in the electoral financing, there are other reasons attributing to the corruption:

  • India does a poor job of its electoral rolls and de-duplication is mired in corruption and inefficiency.
  • India’s biometric registration system of Aadhaar is not a citizenship registry and it is not easy to verify people’s age (18 years or above for franchise eligibility) or citizenship in a foolproof way.
  • By most accounts, minorities, women and young voters are under registered on voter rolls.
  • An area that needs significant review and modernization is the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
  • Contrary to popular opinion, this is a code agreed upon by the various political parties, and while the EC has many suo moto powers, aspects of the MCC are more like guidelines than prosecutable rules.
  • With the significant new role of social media and the very creative sidesteps around current guidelines, the time has come to modernize and update it; an EC led exercise for this is overdue.
  • Overall, 174, or 33.34% of the 521 sitting MPs from the country have declared criminal records, as per ADR findings.

Way forward:

  • The government should consider state funding of political parties contesting elections. But such funding should be limited to parties recognised as ‘national’ or ‘State’ by the Election Commission of India, and to candidates directly fielded by such recognised parties.
  • Budgetary constraints could come in the way. Therefore, a good start could be made with partial funding — that is, with the state taking care of certain expenditures of the recognised parties. The aim should be to discourage political parties from seeking external funding (except through a nominal membership fee) to run their affairs, carry out their programmes and contest elections.
  • A separate Election Fund with an annual contribution of some Rs 600 crore by the Centre and a matching amount by all States put together should be created. Only those parties which have submitted their income tax returns up to the previous financial year could avail of state funding.
  • Every candidate of the party eligible for state funding should be given a specified quantity of fuel for vehicles during an election campaign and a specified quantity of paper to prepare electoral literature.
  • Strong disclosure norms, strict statutory limits on election expenses and ceiling on corporate donations to political parties can further strengthen the Electoral System in India.
  • The decision to limit cash contribution up to 2000 rupees is right step in right direction, but not declaring the source hampers the transparency. So, the govt should properly address the apprehension related to this issue.
  • Education of the voters through SVEEP, effective use of social media can curb corruption in Elections in India.

Conclusion:

The opaque and gargantuan nature of electoral finance is at the root of the twin evils of corruption and black money. The only permanent solution is to strike at its foundation.


Topic :Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

5) The world’s oceans are currently undergoing a dangerous transformation resulting into suffocating dead zones, in this context discuss the causes and effects  of Oceanic dead zones on Marine ecosystem.(250 words)

Reference

 

Why this question:

The world’s oceans are currently undergoing a dangerous transformation. Scientists have detected vast ‘dead zones’ around the world, where hypoxic water lacks the necessary oxygen for marine life to survive. Thus it is necessary for us to examine the causes and consequences.

Key demand of the question:

In the context of the article , answer must discuss what are dead zones, why is there an increasing incidence of their formation, causes and consequences . conclude with what needs to be done to save marine ecosystem.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin with what you understand by Ocean dead zones.

Body:

  • A dead zone in the ocean is created by hypoxia and is also known as a hypoxic region, caused by insufficient amount of oxygen. These spots are found in oceans and in other large bodies of water all over the world, and can be caused by natural occurrences such as the shifting of the routine patterns of water and wind.
  • Quote examples
  • Causes –  mainly by pollution from irresponsible industrial practices, marine animals are unable to live in these underwater areas because there is not enough oxygen circulating to allow them to survive.
  • Discuss the causes and effects of Ocean Dead Zones.
  • Suggest Solutions to Ocean Dead Zones.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating urgent need of dealing with dead zones of oceans and essence of saving marine ecosystem.

Introduction:

Dead zones are low-oxygen, or hypoxic, areas in the world’s oceans and lakes. Because most organisms need oxygen to live, few organisms can survive in hypoxic conditions. That is why these areas are called dead zones. Several recently released studies have documented the accelerating changes to Earth’s oceans as a result of climate change, including a reduction in the oxygen content, which is threatening vast swaths of marine life.

Body:

Dead zones are well-known off the western coasts of North and South America, Namibia and India in the Arabian Sea. Recently a dead zone has been found in Bay of Bengal, India.

Causes for formation of dead zones:

  • Eutrophication: An increase in chemical nutrients in the water, leading to excessive blooms of algae that deplete underwater oxygen levels. Too many nutrients are a form of pollution that lead to the death of organic food sources and destroys natural habitats.
  • Algal bloom: Overgrowth of algae, which then sink and decompose in the water. The decomposition process consumes oxygen and depletes the supply available to healthy marine life. Excess nitrogen and other chemicals in the ocean lead to extreme imbalances underwater, with algal bloom resulting from the existence of these elements and being a major contributor to the creation of dead zones.
  • Agricultural runoff: Nitrogen and phosphorous from chemical fertilizers lead to eutrophication.
  • Climate change: Warm water is unable to hold as much dissolved gas. Global warming also melts ice, which releases fresh water that rests on the surface of the more dense salt water generally found in oceans. This layer can keep water at the surface and in the ocean’s depths from mixing, which is the only way that the deeper parts of the ocean have their oxygen stores replenished.
  • Emissions: Sewage, vehicular and industrial emissions add to the nutrient content of ocean. Oil spills in the ocean usually happen when an ocean oil rig springs a leak or when an ocean going tanker (carrying oil) wrecks.
  • Oceanographic phenomenon: Stagnant water in enclosed water bodies, coastal upwelling, ocean and wind current patterns effect the formation of dead zones.

Consequences of dead zones:

  • It forces species to migrate to more oxygen-rich areas, exposing them to new predators while disrupting the already existing ecosystem. Polar regions in recent years, for example, have suffered an invasion of species from lower latitudes seeking to escape increasingly inhospitable areas.
  • Oxygen-poor waters make it more difficult for male fish to produce sperm and for those sperm to be as mobile as in normal waters. Poses long-term threats to the sustainability of sea creature populations in areas with decreased oxygen content.
  • Impairing animals’ ability to see and hear, impeding their ability to find food and escape from predators.
  • Hundreds of millions of human beings who use fish as a primary source of food and make their livelihood from fishing will suffer.

Way forward:

  • Better practices and accountability must be put in place to protect the ocean. A major step would be to stop letting so many chemicals find their way into the ocean.
  • As humans, we need to pay attention to where we let our sewage direct itself and to what we allow to absorb into the ground.
  • Treating the ocean like a large trash negatively affects us all because it creates toxicity.
  • Raise awareness by explaining to others the importance of keeping the ocean clean can help to encourage positive habits.
  • A spur of eco-friendly activities like proper waste disposal, addressing climate change, organic farming, recycle and reuse, wetlands and floodplains conservation are needed.
  • Innovative measures like nutrient trading on lines of carbon trading can go a long way in solving the problem

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

6) What do you understand by absolute good and relative good? Explain with examples.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why this question:

The question is direct and aims at analyzing  the difference between absolute good and relative good.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain how absolute good and relative good are different from each other, what is the correlation between the two.

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:

Introduce with importance of doing good in ethics and moral conduct.

Body:

Explain that – There is no absolute good or bad thing. It is always in relative terms and could be having place, person or situation value. A bad thing termed by many could be best for some. At the same time, the worst thing as  perceived by many may be the best one. It depends upon the person, situation or place.

Nothing at all, it is only in the eye-of-the-beholder. Absolute morality (or fixed rules morality) is not a flexible enough tool to adequately guide moral behavior through real life. It leads to a lot of contradictory behavior, because it has no “give” to accommodate the complexities of our lives.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Nothing is absolute; all is relative, since any thought or actions cannot be seen outside of the context in which they exist or happen. The good or bad we know or perceive is heightened by our experiences or senses, and that there is no way of arriving at a universal adage.

 

Introduction:

The word ‘Good’ is derived from the German word ‘Gut’. It means anything valuable, useful or serviceable for some end or purpose, therefore desirable. As the term ‘good’ is too wide signifying anything that is desirable, one may use the expression ‘morally good’ to signify moral qualities. Hence, in ethics the word ‘good’ is used to express moral qualities.

Body:

Goods can be absolute or relative.  A distinction is drawn between good as an end and good as a means.

A ‘relative good’ is a kind of good as a means, i.e., it is an object which is desired, not for itself, but for the sake of an ulterior end or good which, again, may be relative to a still higher end, and so on. A relative good is something that is good because people say it is good. The subordinate goods are instrumental goods or relative goods.

 ‘Absolute good’ means “the good which is desired for its own sake, and is not subordinate to any ulterior good.’’ In short, it is not the concept of good as a means to a higher good; it is however, the highest good- the ultimate end of human activity. An absolute good is something that is good because of something in itself. It is good even if there is no one around to see it. Absolute good is not a means to attain any higher end or good. The highest good is the absolute good i.e. the supreme end.

For instance, if happiness be good, then wealth and health as means of attaining happiness are also good. Again, if health be a good, then regular exercise, regulation of taking diet, taking of good medicine are also good as means of securing good health.

Another example, an economist may say that the Mona Lisa is a very valuable economic good because it can be sold for a lot of money. A philosopher may say that the painting is good because of how it is painted. The economist sees relative good, because people may later not want to pay for it. The philosopher sees absolute good, because it will always be painted well.

Conclusion:

Thus, the ultimate, absolute or highest good of man is intrinsically good in the sense that the same is desired for its own sake, and not desired for the sake of anything else. Good has a bearing on the moral life of an individual.


Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics. Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.

7) Elucidate on Nishkam Karma principle of Bhagwat Geetha.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the virtuous tenet from Bhagwat Geetha.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must first elaborate on what Nishkam Karma as elucidated in Bhagwat Geetha. Discuss its significance in day to day life and ethical and moral being of human life.

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

Throw light on the term “Nishkam Karma” – means “action or without desire” or “work without motive”.

Body:

  • Elaborate on the term “Nishkam Karma” – Krisha suggests that we have rights only on the work or the action, and not on its results, whether it is good or bad. Our works, our desires should be “desireless”, we should not desire for any pleasing (or unpleasing) result.
  • Of the paths of spiritual liberation, in Hinduism karma yoga or Nishkam Karma is the path of unselfish action, as stated in the Bhagavad Gita. It teaches that a spiritual seeker should act according to his dharma (duty), without being attached to the fruits or personal consequences of such work.
  • The significance of karma-yoga in spiritual progression is to do one’s duty for duty’s sake. It’s not work which is painful, it is the attachment to that work and the desire for expected results that brings pain.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of such philosophies .

Introduction:

Nishkam Karma is a central theme in the Bhagavad Gita. An important philosophical concept in Karma yoga, it means to act unselfishly, or without personal gain in mind. When acting out of Nishkam Karma, an individual is acting without any expectation that good will be returned to him/her. In Sanskrit, nishkam means “action without motive,” “work without desire” or “desire-less.”

Body:

Importance of Nishkam Karma:

  • Nishkam Karma is the opposite of Sakam Karma and is considered to be selfless action without even the subtle internal hope for a “thank you” or goodness returned.
  • Karma Yoga focuses on the perfect alignment of thought, word and deed.
  • A subtle ideal is embedded in this concept that encourages an individual towards an overall perfection through the path of action
  • Nishkam Karma is considered non-attachment to the result of personal actions in life, but with selfless and loving motives.
  • It teaches that a spiritual seeker should act according to his dharma (duty), without being attached to the fruits or personal consequences of such work.
  • It shows how one can live in this world and work in a manner that benefits oneself and the milieu in which he is placed.
  • Man’s action is necessary to maintain world order and this cannot happen if one withdraws from the environment and remains idle in the name of meditation or Jnana.
  • Desire for specific gains will cause bondage, but deeds done with a sense of dedication and in the spirit of service to God free one from such bondage.

Example: On the battlefield, Krishna told Arjuna, “Do your duty without thinking about the outcome.” What he meant was, one cannot be sure about the results and hence must not think about the outcomes, when one is performing his/her duty. One may or may not attain the desired result in the end, but thinking in a loop about the possible outcomes will only pile to the confusion, make one doubtful, distracted and increase chances of failures!

The donation or charity done to the less fortunate of the society must not be based on the fame a person receives at the end of it. Rather, the pure joy of giving, sense of satisfaction that someone’s life is more comfortable now should be the motive. It applies to CSR, NGOs, HNIs too.

Conclusion:

As long as the desire for rewards of our work matter to us, as much as the work, we are reborn for those rewards, but when we perform only those acts that are incumbent on us, we attain liberation. The benefit for the individual is not in terms of selfish material ends but a gradual realisation of Jnana or wisdom.

Extra information: It applies to our preparation of UPSC too: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2017/04/19/motivation-karma-yoga/


Topic:  Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of family, society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

8) Essence of Democracy lies in the respect for multiple views. Discuss Ambedkar and Gandhi’s views on democracy in this context.(250 words)

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is about discussing views of leaders upon Essence of democracy that it respects multiple views.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the views of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr B R Ambedkar on respecting minority views in a democracy.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain the importance of multiple views in a democracy.

Body:

  • present views of both leaders and provide for a comparison and contrast their respective thoughts for democracy in terms of views on social democracy, political democracy etc.
  • Democracy emphasis popular participation and majority carry the day.
  • Any decision or opinion arrived at through democratic means is assumed to be based on openness and equality.
  • democracy and equality both work in tandem . Such things , you can’t bring through dictatorship policy. Democracy is the ultimate answer, where  you are governed by the people , for people and from the people through a policy of census.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of both leaders and their contributions.

Introduction:

Democracy is a form of Government which is very popular and also considered as one the most effective forms. In this form of Government, the majority of decisions are taken by the representatives that are chosen by the people. It is limited in the sense that participation in government is infrequent and brief, being restricted to the act of voting every few years. The elected representative communicates the views of his constituents and secures their interests. In a representative democracy, government is the expression of the will of people. Discussion, debates, deliberations and dissents are the ways in which people exchange ideas and take decisions.

Body:

Gandhiji’s views on democracy are

  • Non-violence: Mahatma Gandhi’s imagination of the democracy -fully encircled with non-violence -exists in no nation of the world as up to now. Democracy of his imagination happens to be one, which does not have any provision of punishment and even an organization like ‘State’ happens to be obsolete in it.
  • Stateless democracy: Gandhi’s ideal is a stateless democracy, in which there is a federation of satyagrahi village communities, functioning on the basis of voluntary cooperation and dignified and peaceful coexistence
  • Village economy: Gandhiji was against highly centralized production and advocated decentralized production. The idea was not to do away entirely with machinery as such, but to prevent the concentration of power in the hand of few rich.
  • Swaraj: Gandhian concept of Self Rule means Swaraj is real democracy, where people’s power rests in the individuals and each one realizes that he or she is the real master of one’s self.

But this version leads to fragmentation of nation and may lead to difficulties in integration. It is difficult to ensure higher growth rates with this model of democracy.

Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s views on democracy are

  • According to Ambedkar, Democracy is not a form of government, but a form of social organisation.
  • He believed that in democracy, revolutionary changes in the economic and social life of the people are brought about without bloodshed. The conditions for that are as follows:
    • There should not be glaring inequalities in society, that is, privilege for one class;
    • The existence of an opposition;
    • Equality in law and administration;
    • Observance of constitutional morality;
    • No tyranny of the majority;
    • Moral order of society: and
    • Public conscience.
  • Addressing the Constituent Assembly, he suggested certain devices essential to maintain democracy: “(i) constitutional methods (ii) not to lay liberties at the feet of a great man (iii) make a political democracy a social democracy.”
  • Dr Ambedkar firmly believed that political democracy cannot succeed without social and economic democracy.
  • In his talk given on the Voice of America he argued that: “Democracy could not be equated with either republic or parliamentary form of government. The roots of democracy lay not in the form of government, parliamentary or otherwise. A democracy is a model of associated living. The roots of democracy are to be searched in social relationship, in terms of the associated life between the people who form the society.”

However such all round democracy is difficult to achieve specially by a young country India after independence. His thoughts were more idealistic than realistic. Even Dr Ambedkar opposed the ideas of village panchayat.

Conclusion:

Democracy is important because it gives representation to a larger section of society in the Government. Efforts from institutions like United Nations and nations of the world over are needed so that representation by citizens of various nations of the world may be met and their voices be heard. At the same time, democracy also needs to have various internal checks like independence of judiciary so that its real goals are achieved.