SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 APRIL 2019

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 23 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: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

1) Discuss the debates surrounding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. how does the bill seeks to distress the interests of indigenous people?(250 words)

Hindustantimes

Why this question:

The citizenship Bill does not require any changes if Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is implemented properly according to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. If Clause 6 is implemented in letter and spirit, then the indigenous people of Assam are well guarded and protected. Thus we need to evaluate Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and how it affects the interests of indigenous people.

Key demand of the question:

Discussion should be around the controversy and issues surrounding the bill, how the bill seeks to affect the interests of indigenous people.

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 with context of the question.

Body:

  • Explain what is the citizenship amendment bill 2016?
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955.
  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to allow illegal migrants belonging to the Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian religious communities coming from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to not be imprisoned or deported.
  • It also appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants.
  • The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

 

Introduction:

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955. The Bill was recently passed in the LokSabha. Nagaland, along with other north-eastern States, has witnessed several protests following the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.

Body:

The key features of the bill are:

  • Definition of Illegal migrants:
    • The Citizenship Act, 1955 prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship.
    • The Bill amends the act to provide that the following minority groups will not be treated as illegal migrants: Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014
  • Citizenship by naturalisation:
    • Under Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India for 12 of the 15 years preceding the date of application.
    • It appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants.
  • Cancellation of registration of OCI cardholder:
    • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

The issues surrounding the bill:

  • Endorsing Hindus:
    • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 imagines India as a Hindu homeland, which is a refutation of the constitutional idea of the republic.
    • Experts see it as a move to endorse Hindus from Bangladesh who migrated to Assam after 1971.
    • The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
  • OCI:
    • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences
  • Discrimination of Muslims:
    • Alleged illegal migration from Bangladesh has been at the heart of Assam’s discontent .Not just the Muslim Bengali, but the Hindu Bengali has also been a reason for political mobilisation in the state. But only Hindu Bengalis are being favoured by the bill.
    • While Hindus and Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians might be naturalised, Muslims will not be offered the same advantage even if they are persecuted

Citizenship bill and indigenous people’s interests:

The proposed legislation has polarised the Northeast and triggered a process of social and political realignment. Most disquietingly, it threatens to expose the faultlines that had led to the rise of sub-nationalist politics in the region in the 1980s.The bill is leading to following issues in North east:

  • The Citizenship Amendment Bill has not been sitting well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported.
  • There are an estimated 20 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Assam and they have inalienably altered the demography of the state, besides putting a severe strain on the state’s resources and economy.
  • Mizoram fears Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs from Bangladesh may take advantage of the Act.
  • Meghalaya and Nagaland are apprehensive of migrants of Bengali stock.
  • Groups in Arunachal Pradesh fear the new rules may benefit Chakmas and Tibetans.
  • Manipur wants the Inner-line Permit System to stop outsiders from entering the state.

Conclusion:

India’s citizenship provisions are derived from the perception of the country as a secular republic. In fact, it is a refutation of the two-nation theory that proposed a Hindu India and a Muslim Pakistan. Independent India adopted a Constitution that rejected discrimination on the basis of religion and the birth of Bangladesh undermined the idea that religion could be the basis of a national community. So citizenship bill amendments need to be on this line.


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

2) Discuss the significance of the concept of office of profit as enshrined in the Indian constitution? why has it been embroiled in controversies for a long time? Comment on the role played by Judiciary in this context. (250 words)

Polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is in the context of office of profit, and the controversies associated with .

Key demand of the question:

The answer must explain in detail what constitutes an ‘office of profit’, what are the issues and concerns associated with it and role of judiciary in determining the significance.

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 office of profit

Body:

  • Office of Profit means any office that finds its origin as appointment by government and imparts a special position and/ or benefits to that person.
  • This term has reference in Indian Constitution under article 102 (1)(A) and 191 along with this the representatives cannot hold an office of profit under section 9 (A) of the Representation of People Act.
  • Discuss the cases involved – Pradyut Bordoloi vs. Swapan Roy
  • Underlying principle of the office of profit.
  • In detail discuss the role played by judiciary.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stating need for upholding the constitutionality of such concept.

Introduction:

‘Office of Profit’ is a position in the government which cannot be held by an MLA or an MP. The post can yield salaries, perquisites and other benefits. This was instituted so that there wouldn’t be any undue influence from the royal household in administrative affairs.

Body:

Significance of Office of Profit:

  • MPs and MLAs, as members of the legislature, hold the government accountable for its work.
  • The essence of disqualification under the office of profit law is if legislators hold an ‘office of profit’ under the government, they might be susceptible to government influence, and may not discharge their constitutional mandate fairly.
  • The intent is that there should be no conflict between the duties and interests of an elected member.
  • Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions.
  • In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.
  • At the outset, it should be noted that the disqualification doesn’t relate to having any other job or profession .It refers specifically to a position with the Central government or a state/UT government.
  • This is because the idea behind providing for this disqualification is to ensure that there is no conflict of interest between the legislature and the executive.
  • The office of profit law simply seeks to enforce a basic feature of the Constitution- the principle of separation of power between the legislature and the executive.

Reason for controversies:

  • The expression “office of profit” has not been defined in the Constitution or in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • It is for the courts to explain the significance and meaning of this concept. Over the years, courts have decided this issue in the context of specific factual situations.
  • But, articles 102 (1) and 191(1) which give effect to the concept of office of profit prescribe restrictions at the central and state level on lawmakers accepting government positions. Any violation attracts disqualification of MPs or MLAs, as the case may be.
  • Article 164 (1A) limits the maximum no of ministerial posts to 15% of the strength of lower house. The 91st constitutional amendment act had fixed this maximum number of ministerial posts to 15% of the lower house of Legislature. This limit is 10% for Delhi, as per article 239AA of Indian Constitution.

The case of Parliamentary Secretaries in New Delhi:

  • In 2015 when AAP came to power it appointed its 21 MLAs as Parliamentary Secretaries. One of them, Jarnail Singh had resigned earlier to contest elections from Punjab.
  • A petition was filed against their candidature in June 2015 for the disqualification of these MLAs on the grounds of holding offices of profit. Their disqualification was sought under section 15 of the National Capital Territory Act, 1991.
  • To bypass this rule Delhi government passed the Delhi member of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Amendment Bill 2015, to exclude parliamentary secretaries from the office of profit.
  • Former president Pranab Mukherjee had refused to give assent to this bill. Also, Delhi High Court had struck down the posts of Parliament secretaries.
  • The matter was referred to the Election Commission of India (ECI) by the president Ram Nath Kovind.
  • The President accepted the Election Commission’s recommendation to disqualify 20 MLAs of Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party for holding offices of profit.

Other instances of disqualification:

  • In March 2006, President APJ Abdul Kalam disqualified Jaya Bachchan of the SP from Rajya Sabha with retrospective effect from July 14, 2004, for holding an office of profit as chairperson of the UP Film Development Council.
  • In January 2015, UP MLAs Bajrang Bahadur Singh (BJP) and Uma Shankar Singh (BSP) were disqualified from the assembly after they were indicted by the Lokayukta for bagging government construction contracts by misusing their position.

Role of Judiciary in defining the ‘office of profit:

  • The Supreme Court in Pradyut Bordoloi vs Swapan Roy (2001) outlined the four broad principles for determining whether an office attracts the constitutional disqualification.
    • First, whether the government exercises control over appointment, removal and performance of the functions of the office
    • Second, whether the office has any remuneration attached to it
    • Third, whether the body in which the office is held has government powers (releasing money, allotment of land, granting licenses etc.).
    • Fourth, whether the office enables the holder to influence by way of patronage.
  • The Supreme Court, while upholding the disqualification of Jaya Bachchan from Rajya Sabha in 2006, had said that for deciding the question as to whether one is holding an office of profit or not, what is relevant is whether the office is capable of yielding a profit or pecuniary gain and not whether the person actually obtained a monetary gain.

Way forward:

Unlike in India, in England whenever a new office is created, the law also lays down whether it would be an office of profit or not. India can follow similar approach as well.

Conclusion:

Separation of powers and independence of legislatures are the Bedrock of a democracy. Therefore, their independence must be maintained for their proper functioning, which is necessary for the success of democracy in India. Otherwise, it can lead to a crisis in the democratic culture of the nation.


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

3) Government advertisements have been often viewed as misuse of taxpayer’s money for enhancing the image of political parties. Critically analyse the context  with the views of apex court in this regard.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The question highlights the usual deluge of political propaganda.

Key demand of the question:

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.

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 the controversies surrounding the political advertisement using tax payer’s money.

Body:

In brief analyse SC ruling on govt ads and how they trample on executive’s domain. Discuss how there are other angles that leaders should be mindful of. The use of taxpayer money for popularizing governmental narratives puts Opposition parties at a disadvantage, tempting them to use similar devices when in power and perpetuating the spin cycle. Regulatory standards can be devised but compliance will be challenging to ensure.

Parties may be better off reflecting on the content of advertisements to enhance credibility of ministers. Relentlessly positive narratives become a tough sell when reputations are constantly under pressure amid the media glare. Being visible in representative democracy is admittedly difficult.

But politicians should know that the citizen’s aesthetic demands are a lot more evolved now.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The use of government advertising as a tool for political propaganda, especially during election time, has been a key concern in many democracies. Government advertisements are required to create awareness among citizens for giving publicity to different government schemes, initiatives, programmes, conveying messages to public commemorating/ celebrating events of several public holidays etc.

Body:

Political communication is an integral part of our democratic system and political campaigning is its most widely experienced form. It involves use of various media to reach out to its voters as well as create a favourable voting behavior. Due to the fundamental shift in the balance of political communication from news to advertising, public is now exposed to greater amounts of these campaigns during each election cycle. Thus, the use of media forms like television, radio, newspapers, etc. has evidently increased.

Political advertisements are misuse of tax-payers’ money because:

  • It is becoming inevitable that in the name of disseminating information about government performance and programmes, many a regime makes use of official advertising to drive home politically loaded messages, focus on personality.
  • It gives the impression those huge allocations of budgetary resources and framing of policies and schemes are solely because of particular leaders.
  • Public funds could be misused by releasing information and announcements in a politically partisan way so that the gains of publicity rebound to the ruling party or a reigning leader.
  • The generous use of advertisements as an incentive to select media houses in return for favourable coverage.
  • While in normal circumstances ruling parties tend to use advertising as a site for self-glorification, in the run-up to elections it could be a form of electioneering that is free of cost.
  • There is a lack of guidelines which is against public interest

However, there are measures taken against this,

  • In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court had barred using pictures in government advertisements.
  • Except for the pictures of President, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of India and Chief minister, no pictures of anyone else can be used in government ads as the court felt that it is encouraging personality cults at the government expense.
  • Election Commission of India (ECI) has told the Bombay High Court that it will issue directions prohibiting all social media platforms from displaying political advertisements, not pre-verified by it.

Way forward:

  • Experts have counselled against mentioning the party in power by name and attacks against the views of the opposition.
  • It seeks to prohibit party symbols, logos or flags, or any links to websites of political parties and politician
  • Need to disfavour use of government advertising aimed at favourable coverage for the party or person in power.
  • A 2004 Supreme Court order laid down a rigid, pre-censorship regime for political advertising through electronic resources should guide the parties.

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

4) The Model Code of Conduct has been violated by several candidates and parties during campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections. Critically examine the authority of election commission to take against such candidates and parties.(250 words)

Deccanherald

Why this question:

The question is about discussing role of election commission in checking violations of MCC.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the recent violations in MCC and the role of ECI in addressing these violations .

Directive:

Critically 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. 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 recent incidences of violation of MCC.

Body:

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • Discuss the recent incidences of violation of model code of conduct.
  • Role of Election Commission of India in such scenario.
  • Key Functions and Powers and Independence of the Election Commission.
  • Discuss the recent cases where ECI went vociferously and also instances where it was helpless and handcuffed.

Conclusion –

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Model code of conduct is the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India for conduct of political parties and candidates during elections mainly with respect to speeches, polling day, polling booths, election manifestos, processions and general conduct. It aims to ensure free and fair elections.

Body:

Instances of violation of MCC by candidates:

  • The recent incident where the Prime Minister made a public announcement on 27 March 2019 about the successful launch of India’s first anti-satellite weapon (ASAT), which made India the fourth nation in the world with anti-satellite missile capabilities, was against the MCC guidelines.
  • Former Chief Election Commissioner Dr SY Quraishi also criticised Prime Minister’s speech on India’s Anti Satellite Test capability (ASAT), saying it was not in conformity with ethics and spirit of the model code of conduct for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
  • The NaMo TV channel launched on 31 March 2019, which, without any formal approval of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is propagating the image and views of Shri Narendra Modi.
  • The incumbent Governor of Rajasthan has made certain statements that virtually amount to canvassing for a specific political party.
  • The present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh had, at a recent public election meeting, referred to the armed forces as the army of incumbent PM.
  • Previously, A law minister was censured by the president after EC filed a complaint against him for violating MCC by announcing a scheme when MCC was in force.
  • Election Commission served a show cause notice to Bengal chief minister for announcing a new district during 2016.

Authority of ECI vis-à-vis MCC:

  • Article 324 says the superintendence, direction and control of all elections to Parliament, the State legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice-President shall be vested in the EC.
  • The Article has been interpreted by courts and by orders of the EC from time to time to mean that the power vested in it is plenary in nature.
  • In other words, the EC can take any action it deems fit to ensure that elections and the election process are free and fair.
  • The EC monitors the adherence of political parties and candidates to the ‘Model Code of Conduct’.
  • If the violations are also offences under election law and the criminal law of the land, the EC has the power to recommend registration of cases against the offenders.
  • However, for some violations — such as canvassing for votes during a period when electioneering is barred, making official announcements while the MCC is in force, and making appeal to voters on sectarian grounds — the EC has the power to advise or censure candidates, in addition to directing registration of cases.
  • In some cases, as recent incidents would show, the EC may bar candidates or leaders from campaigning for specified periods.
  • Asking individuals to leave a constituency or barring entry into certain areas are other powers that the EC may exercise.
  • These powers are not necessarily traceable to any provision in law, but are generally considered inherent because of the sweeping and plenary nature of the EC’s responsibility under the Constitution to ensure free and fair elections.
  • Its powers extend to postponing elections to any constituency, cancelling an election already notified, and even to abrogate or annul an election already held.

Limitations of the EC’s powers:

  • The EC does not have the power to disqualify candidates who commit electoral malpractices. At best, it may direct the registration of a case.
  • The EC also does not have the power to deregister any political party. However, the Constitution empowers the EC to decide whether a candidate has incurred disqualification by holding an office of profit under the appropriate government, or has been declared an insolvent, or acquired the citizenship of a foreign state.
  • When a question arises whether a candidate has incurred any of these disqualifications, the President of India or Governor has to refer it to the EC. The poll panel’s decision on this is binding.

Way Forward:

  • Under Chief Election Commissioners like T.N. Seshan and J.M. Lyngdoh, the commission has in the past shown the capacity to come up with creative solutions that adhere to both the spirit and the letter of the law.
  • MCC should be provided with statutory backing. It should be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to make the MCC more powerful.
  • Establishment of special fast track courts to solve the MCC violation cases at a faster rate.
  • The law commission recommendations should be implemented to save the unnecessary spending of public money during elections.
  • Public awareness about MCC needs to be developed. The use of app like cVIGIL should be encouraged to reduce violations during polls.
  • Stakeholders including Internet companies should come up with a code for Social Media and Internet.

Conclusion:

MCC has an indisputable legitimacy and parties across the political spectrum have generally adhered to its letter and spirit. Elections are the bedrock of democracy and the EC’s credibility is central to democratic legitimacy. The independence of the Commission can be strengthened further if the Secretariat of the Election Commission consisting of officers and staff at various levels are also insulated from the interference of the Executive in the matters pertaining to their appointments, promotions, etc.

It is time that action is taken to depoliticise constitutional appointments and the EC empowered to de-register parties for electoral misconduct. It is a step needed towards restoring all-important public faith in the institution.


Topic: Role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.

5) Social media is prone to herd behaviour, suppression of social media presumably helps prevent the spread of fake news. Critically analyse the statement in the context of steps taken by the Sri-Lankan government to ban social media post terror attack. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question:

The article provides for a brief analysis of how some regulation to check fake news is necessary, despite the risks of regulatory capture. This is in the light of the responses of the Sri Lankan government to the terrorist attack on Easter recently that was to clamp down on social media.

Key demands of the question:

The answer must discuss evolution of evolution of separation of powers and explain how the Separation of Powers is implemented in our nation.

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 situation in Sri – Lanka and steps taken by govt.

Body

The body of the answer should address the following dimensions:

  • How and why Social media is prone to herd behaviour?
  • Why the suppression of social media presumably helps prevent the spread of fake news, rumors and hate speech.
  • What are the negatives associated? – economic costs, in terms of a shutdown of legitimate e-commerce. It hurts businesses and services that depend on digital connectivity etc.
  • Take cues from the article and suggest solutions.

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

One of the earliest responses of the Sri Lankan government to the terrorist attack on Easter Sunday was to clamp down on social media. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and some other services were blocked. The country’s minister for mass media and state minister for defence appealed to the media not to publicize the names of the attackers and give extremists a chance to exploit the situation.

Body:

Social media is prone to herd behaviour:

  • It’s easy to lose our sense of self when we’re interacting online and can turn into sheep just doing what everyone else is doing.
  • Humans are social creatures. Sometimes the things other people do overwhelm our sensibilities and we do things just because others are.
  • The Herd Mentality has roots in social pressure. We all want to be accepted, and in times of stress, that pressure becomes more powerful.
  • People in a crowd feel less guilt, less individuality, and more support from other members of the group. This is called “de-individualization.”
  • The fear of losing your friends and followers if your views don’t fall in line with the majoritarian view.
  • People feel empowered when they are in line with the herd’s behaviour and the anonymity of internet acts as a protective shield.
  • users in a social system tend to bond more with ones who are similar to them than to ones who are dissimilar
  • Entry barriers are very low and every user and blogger is a potential broadcaster.
  • Being in crowds, and even being on the road driving, can change our thoughts and behaviours. We might say or do things we otherwise never wouldn’t.

Suppression of social media helps:

  • Fake news is an industry today and finds great resonance with people. Its rise corresponds with a growing distrust in the mainstream media.
  • Fake news has now even slipped into traditional media outlets and is often circulated by prominent individuals. This has contributed to the echo chamber phenomenon.
  • “Echo chamber” is a term widely used in today’s lexicon, that describes a situation where certain ideas, beliefs or data points are reinforced through repetition of a closed system that does not allow for the free movement of alternative or competing ideas or concepts.
  • It allows the authorities to lay down guidelines to impose temporary measures to maintain public tranquility.
  • Shutting down internet access is a supply-side attempt to curb panic, rumours and hate speech.
  • In some ways, the temporary clampdown on social media is similar to a physical curfew imposed by the Sri Lankan government.
  • A curfew is a ban on the assembly of more than, say, a dozen people in one place, and blocking social media services is like banning a virtual assembly.

However, there are negatives associated with such clamp-downs:

  • It surely has negative economic costs, in terms of a shutdown of legitimate e-commerce.
  • It hurts businesses and services that depend on digital connectivity.
  • They hurt the weaker and more vulnerable sections, since their dependence on social media for crucial updates is far greater than that of the elites and well-off sections.
  • social media allows people to communicate with one another more freely, they are helping to create surprisingly influential social organizations among once-marginalized groups.
  • Without social media, social, ethical, environmental and political ills would have minimal visibility. Increased visibility of issues has shifted the balance of power from the hands of a few to the masses.
  • Social media activism brings an increased awareness about societal issues, questions remain as to whether this awareness is translating into real change.
  • Social media platforms provide a platform to raise their voice against injustice and inequality.
  • Social media have increasingly been adopted by politicians, political activists and social movements as a means to engage, organize and communicate with citizens.

Way forward:

  • Government plan to achieve a temporary illusion of security at the cost of a permanent loss of freedom must be avoided.
  • There must to be no invasion of the individual’s right than what is strictly necessary to achieve the state’s goal.
  • Resorting to this measure represents a failure of policing in the country.
  • The police should develop more effective methods of interacting with local communities and gathering intelligence to scotch the spread of inflammatory fake news.
  • Thus, instead of using a blunt instrument such as a complete shutdown, the law and order machinery across the country must find less damaging ways of dealing with increasingly connected populations.
  • Otherwise, the country could see an increasing number of shutdowns, which would run counter to the policy of encouraging digitisation.
  • Government to preserve law and order must use less drastic ways, such as increasing security, or addressing grievances of the citizens.
  • Fact-checking services have sprung up in India, including some sponsored by mainstream media. This could be seen as a “free market” response. Facebook too is apparently toying with the idea of introducing a button for “fake news” (along with “like”). This would be an inbuilt countervailing force, it believes.
  • Many social media companies have also enhanced the human surveillance of their platforms and customer support to detect and deal with fake news.

TopicConservation, environmental pollution and degradation.

6) “Greening the blue is the need of the hour”, in this context highlight the significance of Green practices one can adopt to reduce waste, conserve resources, improve air and water quality and protect ecosystems. (250 words)

Reference

Why this question:

The article discusses significance of Green practices on the eve of World Earth day. The theme for Mother Earth Day 2019 is ‘greening the blue’.

Demand of the question:

The answer must bring out importance of Implementing green practices in homes and offices that can help reduce waste, conserve resources, improve air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Start by explaining the need for greening.

Body

  • What do you understand by Green practices?
  • What are the ways and methods , who all are the stakeholders?
  • Discuss the significance of political action and civic participation.
  • Take hints from the article and discuss the examples of best practices.
  • Conclude with what should be done?

Conclusion

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

According to the Global Risks Report 2019 released by the World Economic Forum (WEF), Environmental risks dominate the global risks landscape in terms of impact and likelihood for the third year in a row. This includes extreme weather events and failure of climate mitigation and adaptation. IPCC released a “special report” on the actions the world needs to take to prevent global average temperatures from rising beyond 1.5°C as compared to pre-industrial times. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees would require rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the IPCC said

Body:

Green practices means pursuing knowledge and practices that can lead to more environment friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, which can help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations. Being eco-friendly or environment friendly is becoming more and more important.

Ways and methods of Green practices:

To reduce waste:

  • Go online to find new or gently-used second-hand products.
  • Check out garage sales, thrift stores, and consignment shops for clothing and other everyday items. Your purchases have a real impact, for better or worse.
  • Borrow from libraries instead of buying personal books and movies. This saves money, not to mention the ink and paper that goes into printing new books.
  • Share power tools and other appliances. Get to know your neighbours while cutting down on the number of things cluttering your closet or garage.
  • Keep your cell phones, computers, and other electronics as long as possible.
  • Donate or recycle them responsibly when the time comes. E-waste contains mercury and other toxics and is a growing environmental problem.
  • 3R’s of Waste Hierarchy: The 3 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) waste hierarchy is the order of priority of actions to be taken to reduce the amount of waste generated and to improve overall waste management processes and programs.
  • Ask your local government to set up an electronics recycling and hazardous waste collection event.

To conserve resources, improve air and water quality and protect ecosystems:

  • Use less Fossil Fuel Based Products: Find out what products and consumables you use that are made using fossil fuel based products and processes and use them less or replace them in your life.
  • Use of alternative sources of power such as solar and wind energy: These alternative sources of energy are bio friendly particular because they do not produce harmful gases that damage the ozone layer. They are also cheap to use, not easily depleted and are renewable.
  • Conserve Water: Water needs to be conserved as lot of energy is required to pump water from rivers or lakes into your home. Conserving water reduces the amount of energy that is needed to filter it. Few ways to conserve water are – take short showers, fix leaking pipes, keep the running tap close while you brush your teeth, recycle water in your home, use water saving appliances, collect rainwater in a rain barrel to water your lawn.
  • Plant Trees to prevent soil erosion: Trees are necessary for us to survive. They give oxygen, fruits, clean the air, provide shelter to wildlife, and prevent soil erosion. Trees and vegetation are essential in the maintenance of the ecosystem. They also act as home for most insects, birds and some symbiotic plants. This creates a habitat for wildlife therefore conserving wildlife altogether.
  • Reduce Use of Harmful Chemicals: Hazardous chemicals like paint, oil, ammonia and other chemical solutions when disposed openly, can cause pollution in the air and water as these chemicals can seep into the groundwater. The polluted air and water can have serious consequences on human health. They should be disposed off to a toxic waste site for safe disposal.
  • Protect Wildlife: Human activity is leading to extinction of endangered species and habitats. Protect places like beaches and forests that are habitats for animals. Join hands with local forest department to protect animal habitat.
  • Practice Conservation: With your new awareness of how natural resources are used in your life start to practice conservation. This can be as simple as turning off the lights as you leave a room and as complex as making different choices when it comes to building your home.
  • Educate Others: Educate others about the importance of living an environmentally friendly life. The more people share an awareness of the importance of the environment, the more we can do together to conserve it.

Conclusion:

Eco-friendly products promote green living that helps conserve energy and also prevent air, water and noise pollution. They prove to be boons for the environment and also prevent human health from deterioration. Global cooperation supported at national and local levels can help forward the cause of nature.


Topic : Ethics and Human Interface

7) The kernels of parochial mindset are often sown at home , which later manifest as the deadly algal blooms of the society. Suggest what set of ethical framework should be adopted to address this challenge peculiar to Indian society.(250 words)

Ethics by Lexicon publications.

 

Why this question:

The question is based on the ethical angle of evaluation of the parochial mindset prevalent in our society.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the situation of parochial mindset of our society, its evolution. And the need for addressing the faulty ethical framework that guides and fosters such system.

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:

Highlight the context of question.

Body:

  • Such answers are best explained with examples, highlight the societal mindset prevalent in the country.
  • Explain why parochial mindset starts at home?
  • What are the fault lines
  • Suggest what set of ethical framework should be adopted to address this challenge.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of robust ethical framework.

Introduction:

Parochialism is the state of mind, whereby one focuses on small sections of an issue rather than considering its wider context. More generally, it consists of being narrow in scope.

Body:

The parochial mindset of the Indian population:

Women are expected to tend to matters of the household and family, and education is considered as a waste of time and money in their case. Even worse is when parents, especially in village areas, cannot afford to send the girls to school, as they need to save money for her wedding and dowry expenses. Ours is a highly patriarchal society, where male chauvinism is a predominant mindset, according secondary status to women. Further, if the girl is educated and is employed, she is seen as a radical element. It’s certainly a sad state that “The man should earn more” social norm still prevails.

It is also a well-known fact that the sensitization about caste, religion and other such ethnic identities are done at very tender ages to children. Over a period of time, it is stressed and imprinted in the minds of the people which leads to issues like Communalism, Regionalism, Secessionsim etc. The foray of internet at the finger-tips has made the situation even precarious as seen through fake messages, doctored videos etc.

We have become modern but our thoughts are still pre-historic. We live in the “Internet Age” but certain biases against women still exist from the “Stone Age.”

An ethical framework to address the challenge should include the following elements:

  • It is education that helps in constructing a positive outlook for a person. Thus, it must be made universal and compulsory irrespective of the gender.
  • Adult literacy is also imperative as they still are the decision makers for their children even today in India.
  • Gender sensitization should be started off at childhood and should be a continuous practice throughout.
  • Religious leaders could pitch in wiping out the bigotry and instilling peace and brotherhood among the people.
  • The Governments must make use of the protective measures provided in the Constitution, laws to ensure that human dignity is upheld.
  • A pan-Indian Indian cannot emerge without demolishing what Rabindranath Tagore calls “prison houses with immovable walls,” without bringing about equality among Indians, without democracy in any meaningful sense encompassing the economic and social spheres.

Conclusion:

“Our mind has faculties which are universal, but its habits are insular.” – Rabindranath Tagore. The fissures in the society would lead to deep cracks and rifts, if not tended to at the earliest. It is us who can help change mindsets, attitudes, and beliefs. It is us who can shape the future of our country progressively. We must change our habits; mend our minds to be more inclusive, universal beings.