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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 February 2020


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:  Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. . Social empowerment.

1. With making laws on prostitution still a solicitous debate, Discuss the factors driving the sex workers to their industry and suggest measures to address it. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

As much as 68 per cent of women sex workers in India entered the profession ‘voluntarily’, due to factors such as lack of education and poverty, according to a recent survey.  Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the causes that lead to choosing over this profession for the sex workers and what needs to be done to overcome the challenges associated with this profession that is often involuntarily chosen.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

First highlight why prostitution in India has still remained a solicitous debate.

Body:

Discuss the highlights of the survey briefly. Explain the factors pointed out by it that lead workers to enter this profession – poverty, uneducatedness, lack of access to health care, Flexibility of time  and higher earnings than other professions etc. Discuss then the issues associated with the sector and how ultimately the government and the societies should aim to treat the sex industry as any other industry and empower it with legal safeguards, which would rid this workplace of exploitative and unhealthy practices. Suggest measures to overcome – bringing legitimacy to the sex-worker, strengthening effective dialogue and positive programmes in collaboration with private and government healthcare providers, government policies etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Prostitution has been regarded as the oldest profession, as it meets the natural urges of humans in return for money and it is claimed to be as old as civilization itself  The survey was conducted by Sarvojana Coalition an NGO that works towards the empowerment of sex workers — and was conducted from September to November 2019 across the three states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. At least 1,000 sex workers were surveyed under an ongoing reproductive and sexual health project, funded by AmplifyChange and South India AIDS Action Programme (SIAAP).

Key findings from the survey:

  • In Maharashtra, Saheli Sangh, a collective of sex workers based in Pune, was the focus of the survey.
  • Across the three states, 67 per cent of sex workers said they seek treatment from private medical practitioners for chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
  • A state-wise perusal of the study findings shows that sex workers from Karnataka reported the highest incidence of violence (94 per cent), while 5 per cent of the sex workers surveyed in Pune said they have faced violence.
  • According to 6.4 per cent of the sex workers surveyed, there was no privacy in government health centres to speak freely or seek treatment regarding sexual and reproductive health issues.
  • The study also found that a significant majority of sex workers — 92 per cent — suffer from mild mental health issues, but no treatment facilities were available specifically for them.

The factors driving the sex workers to their industry:

  • Urban areas are weak relations, which is also a base of new entrants in sex industry. Girls from migrated families are joining the field and those who are living for education or job purpose. Because they don’t have any fear of relatives or reference group (the group of “significant others” by whose standards they measure themselves”.
  • The sense of control over her owns life is another reason. Girls from other areas are trapped first by their so called boyfriends and that relation after ending over premarital sex turned into a long story of sorrow and grief.
  • Economic reasons are playing an important role in rapidly changing patterns among prostitutes.
  • Media is important factor of the emerging phenomenon of sex workers.
  • There are many situations in which a girl becomes a prostitute or sex worker. Some girls are kidnapped by the pimps and they bring them to this profession by leaving them at various areas because their network is very strong and wide spread.
  • Family is considered as a main factor, as the Girls belonging to relevant families also join that field.
  • Financial background is also one of main factor which leads a girl to prostitution.
  • International prostitutes are getting positive response in country like Pakistan which is also very harmful for society.
  • It may be because of personal choice.
  • Divorce or separation is also a factor, which force a woman to involve in such activities to survive.
  • Flexibility of time (69 per cent) and higher earnings than other professions (60 per cent) were among the major reasons many sex workers continued with the work, revealed the survey.

Steps that should be taken in order to fight with prostitution:

  • Formal education should be made available to those victims who are still within the school going age, while non-formal education should be made accessible to adults
  • The Central and State Governments in partnership with non-governmental organizations should provide gender sensitive market driven vocational training to all those rescued victims who are not interested in education
  • Rehabilitation and reintegration of rescued victims being a long-term Recruitment of adequate number of trained counsellors and social workers in institutions/homes run by the government independently or in collaboration with non-governmental organizations
  • Awareness generation and legal literacy on economic rights, particularly for women and adolescent girls should be taken up.
  • Adequate publicity, through print and electronic media including child lines and women help lines about the problem of those who have been forced into prostitution.
  • Culturally sanctioned practices like the system of devadasis, jogins, bhavins, etc. which provides a pretext for prostitution should be addressed suitably.

Shall India legalize prostitution?

Some people opine that prostitution shall be made legal in India and accept them as a part of society because the problem of prostitution is inevitable. The benefit of legalizing prostitution in India will be that atleast we will have a track record of Sexworkers as for example when dance bar in Bombay were closed most of the bar dancers migrated to Gujarat and Karnataka and other neighbouring state and started their business undercover.

  • Legalization of prostitution and the sex industry will stop sex trafficking.
  • Legalization of prostitution will control the sex industry.
  • Legalization of prostitution will decrease clandestine, hidden, illegal and street prostitution.
  • Legalization of prostitution will protect the women in prostitution as they will have rights.

Women in systems of Prostitution want the sex industry legalized as they are the one who suffers the most as they don’t have any rights. Legalization of prostitution will promote women’s health as they can have easy access to medical facilities which they don’t have when it is illegal. Recognizing prostitution as an economic activity, thus enabling women in India to obtain working permits as “sex workers”

Conclusion:

Thus either India shall legalize prostitution which is the most suitable step that can be taken or shall make such deterrent laws as to curve up the problem of prostitution. Laws should not be such as to just remove the prostitutes but also to change the mentality of people who are interested in paid sex by punishing them in such a manner that people of same mentality will dare to indulge themselves in similar activities.

 

Topic:  Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary; Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

2. Do you agree with the view that “Collegium system requires reconsideration”. Give reasons in support of your arguments. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The question is premised upon the recent citing made by former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Sikri upon the lacunae of the collegium system in the Indian judiciary.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the factors that have made collegium a flawed system.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what collegium system is.

Body:

Collegium system is the system by which the judges are appointed and transferred only by the judges. The system has evolved by means of the judgments of the Supreme Court, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a Constitutional provision. State the factors that make the collegium system flawed; autocratic nature of the system, accountableness, lack of transparency, promotes nepotism, inefficient in many dimensions etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the subjectivity and the inconsistency of the collegium system highlight the need to relook at the process of appointment of judges. The NJAC should be amended to make sure that the judiciary retains independence in its decisions and re-introduced in some form or the other.

Introduction:

The list of alarming numbers and figures relating to the depleting numbers in India’s higher judiciary has a new addition. The Supreme Court of India recently said that 213 names recommended for appointment to various High Courts are pending with the government. Data show that 38% of all sanctioned posts for High Court judges are lying vacant as of December 1. High Courts of some states including Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan are functioning at below half their actual capacity.

Body:

Jury_Judges

The Collegium System is a system under which appointments/elevation of judges/lawyers to Supreme Court and transfers of judges of High Courts and Apex Court are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.’ There is no mention of the Collegium either in the original Constitution of India or in successive amendments. The recommendations of the Collegium are binding on the Central Government; if the Collegium sends the names of the judges/lawyers to the government for the second time.

Need for reforms in the Collegium system:

  • Credibility of the SC:
    • Controversial collegium system of judicial appointments undermines the independence of judges and raises doubts about the credibility of the highest court.
    • There is a failure to make an assessment of the personality of the contemnor at the time of recommending his name for elevation.
    • Example: The controversy over the proposed elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court to the Supreme Court by the collegium of the Chief Justice and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court was criticised for overlooking apparently suitable judges by the collegiums
    • The judiciary off late has been caught in many such situations of credibility crisis off late.
  • The executive has little or no role in the appointment of judges as a result.
  • Supreme court is overburdened:
    • The Supreme Court did not realise the burden it was imposing on the collegium of selecting judges for the Supreme Court and High Courts and transferring them from one High Court to another.
    • An administrative task of this magnitude must necessarily detract the judges of the collegium from their principal judicial work of hearing and deciding cases.
  • Lacking this infrastructural backup, the collegium resorts to ad hoc informal consultations with other judges in the Supreme Court who are expected to know the merits of a proposed appointee from a High Court or occasionally by sounding a member of the Bar.
    • These methods are poor substitutes for a full time intensive collection of data about an incumbent, his work, standing, merit, integrity and potential which requires to be made considerably in advance for filing in the vacancy.
    • This system overlooks several talented junior judges and advocates.
  • Besides, the collegium’s deliberations are secret, the system is opaque and the choice of a judge is only known when his name is forwarded to the Government for formal appointment.
  • The collegium has necessarily limited its field of choice to the senior-most judges from the High Court for the appointments to the Supreme Court, overlooking the several talented junior judges in the High Courts or members of the bar.
  • Skewed representation of socio economic backward classes like women, scheduled castes and tribes in the Supreme Court.

Reforms needed in the collegium system:

  • The need of the hour is to revisit the existing system through a transparent and participatory procedure, preferably by an independent broad-based constitutional body guaranteeing judicial primacy but not judicial exclusivity.
  • The new system should ensure independence, reflect diversity, demonstrate professional competence and integrity.
  • The system needs to establish a body which is independent and objective in the selection process. In several countries of the Commonwealth, National Judicial Appointment Commissions have been established to select judges. Such judicial commissions have worked with success in the U.K., South Africa and Canada.
  • Setting up a constitutional body accommodating the federal concept of diversity and independence of judiciary for appointment of judges to the higher judiciary can also be thought of as an alternate measure.
  • There should be a fixed time limit for approval of recommendations.
  • As of now, instead of selecting the number of judges required against a certain number of vacancies, the collegium must provide a panel of possible names to the President for appointment in order of preference and other valid criteria.
  • New memorandum of procedure:
    • After the Second and Third Judges Cases, a Memorandum of Procedure had been formulated to govern how the process of how the Collegium would make recommendations to the Executive.
    • The government therefore suggested that a new MOP be drafted and finalised for appointment of SC judges and the Executive to get a veto over candidates for national security reasons in this new MOP.

Conclusion:

Faced with intense public scrutiny and government pressure, the judiciary’s institutional weaknesses are being laid bare. These are not simply the moral failings of one individual or the consequences of the misjudgement of a few. It is another illustration of the institution’s inability to accept its internal infirmities.

 

Topic:   Issues relating to poverty and hunger. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.

3. “Corruption deepens inequalities and increases poverty and obstructs the growth prospects of the nation. “Comment. (250 words)

Reference: PIB

Why this question:

In a speech, Sri M Venkaiah Naidu said that corruption is biggest hurdle to inclusive growth and called upon the youth to support those who are fighting to eradicate the malice of corruption from the country.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the effects of corruption on the society in terms of deepening inequality, increasing poverty and ill effects on growth prospects.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining corruption in general.

Body:

Explain briefly the root causes of corruption in the country, the different forms in which it manifests. Explain how corruption acts as a biggest hurdle to inclusive growth, leads to inequalities and increases poverty. Discuss efforts being made by the government in this direction. Suggest solutions to address the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines rule of law, leads to violations of human rights and allows organized crime to flourish. Corruption in India is not limited to collusive high-level scams. Petty corruption, which affects the delivery of basic services and rights to people, is rampant.

Body:

Corruption in India:

  • According to the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index, India is ranked 76 out of 167 nations
  • India’s ranking increased from 81st in 2017 to 78 in 2018. India had slid from 79th rank in 2016.
  • The annual Kroll Global Fraud Report notes that India has among the highest national incidences of corruption (25%).
  • The same study also notes that India reports the highest proportion reporting procure­ment fraud (77%) as well as corruption and bribery (73%).

Impacts of corruption:

  • Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways. In the worst cases, it costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom, health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
  • On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they’re misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
  • Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
  • Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption. This especially impacts the poor and marginalized, who are most dependent on public provisioning of rations, pensions, health, and education. Serious cases of several big corruptions have surfaced in the last five years, including banking frauds and the Rafale deal. The popular sentiment that helped the incumbent Government in the 2014 general election was resentment against corruption in public life.
  • Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction

Measures needed:

  • Legislation for an effective mechanism to hold officials accountable was introduced in Parliament in the form of a Grievance Redress Bill in 2011. Unfortunately, it lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 2014 and needed to be reintroduced.
  • Mere enacting anti-corruption laws are not enough. There must be a strong agency to implement those Acts effectively and prevent corruption in public life.
  • The collective effort of the legislature along with a proactive approach taken by the judiciary may be very helpful in bringing some positive results in the context of prevention of corruption.
  • It is the need of the hour to bring Central Bureau of investigation and other Central and State investigation agencies out of control of the government so that a fair investigation may be brought out and the culprit may be punished as per the provisions of law.
  • There should be a comprehensive package to fight against corruption. The government must strengthen existing laws like whistle blower protection act, lokpal act etc.
  • The government should also address the regulatory concerns in Competition act, the companies act, income tax etc.
  • Government must ensure citizen participation and transparency in decision making to eradicate corruption.
  • There should be an equal focus on judicial reform and police reform to create deterrence.

 

Topic:  economics of animal-rearing.

4. Discuss the reasons leading to depletion of Native breeds of cattle in the country, recommend measures to preserve them. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The government has unveiled SUTRA PIC or Scientific Utilisation Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows – a programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows. Thus the background of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the reasons leading to depletion of Native breeds of cattle in the country, recommend measures to preserve them.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some key facts related to the native breeds of the cattle; Cattle’s rearing has been a traditional livelihood in India and is closely linked to agricultural economy. India, with its 199 million cattle heads, has 14.5 per cent of the world cattle population. Of this, 83 per cent (166 million) are indigenous.

Body:

Discuss the factors responsible for depleting breeds of cattle in the country such as – inadequate nutrition, poor reproductive management and animal diseases which is exacerbated by lack of effective support services such as animal husbandry extension, artificial insemination (AI) and/or veterinary services. Explain the efforts being made by the government in this direction; explain the Rashtriya Gokul mission, Scientific Utilization Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows etc. Explain what more needs to be done to preserve the native breeds and highlight the benefits of the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of preserving the native breeds.

Introduction:

India, one of the twelve mega biodiversity countries in the world, is home to large diversified cattle genetic resources, having 190.9 M cattle and so far 43 registered native cattle breeds. These cattle breeds are specially adapted to different agro-climatic conditions of India and their genetic diversity is due to the process of domestication over the centuries. The government has unveiled a programme to research on ‘indigenous’ cows. To be funded by multiple scientific ministries, the initiative, SUTRA PIC or Scientific Utilization Through Research Augmentation-Prime Products from Indigenous Cows, is led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Body:

The National Bureau of Animal Genetic resources state that there are 41 registered breeds of cattle native to India. Based on their utility purpose, they are classified into milk breeds, draught breeds or dual purpose breeds. The indigenous breeds of cattle possess various unique characteristics such as the presence of unique genetic variation in HSP70 gene family, carry a ‘thermometer gene’ and presence of A2 allelic variant in cow milk, which makes them well adapted to the tropical climate

Reasons for depletion of native breeds of cattle:

  • Lack of fodder and grazing spaces, not much remuneration and change in mindset of people, adds to the woes of people in the cattle business.
  • The mechanization of farming and introduction of chemical fertilizers greatly impacted the draught breeds of cattle.
  • The other major reasons for depletion of native breeds includes cross-breeding with exotic breeds, economically less viable, losing utility, reduction in herd size and the large-scale mechanization of agricultural operation.
  • The intense heat and humidity of the region affects them and they are always sick.
  • They are often pumped with antibiotics.

Measures needed to conserve indigenous cattle:

  • SUTRA PIC: It has five themes:
    • Uniqueness of Indigenous Cows.
    • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Medicine and Health.
    • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Agricultural Applications.
    • Prime-products from Indigenous Cows for Food and Nutrition.
    • Prime-products from indigenous cows-based utility items.
  • The conservation includes the preservation along with up-gradation (improvement) of the genetic potential and management of a breed for use in future.
  • The effective management of indigenous cattle resources includes identification, characterization, evaluation, documentation and conservation.
  • The future strategy should be to combine genetic improvement and conservation.
  • Establishment of regional gene banks and people’s participation by involving breeders, communities, gaushalas, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders in conservation programs. For more effective conservation measures, proper coordination and integration among various agencies (ICAR, SAHD, SAUs, SVUs and Research Institutes) is highly needed.
  • “National Consortium of Partners” comprising different stakeholders should be formulated for conservation of indigenous breed resources with a holistic approach.

Conclusion:

There is a need to perform scientific research on complete characterization of milk and milk products derived from Indian indigenous cows; scientific research on nutritional and therapeutic properties of curd and ghee prepared from indigenous breeds of cows by traditional methods; development of standards for traditionally processed dairy products of Indian-origin cow

 

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

5. Discuss the effect of global price movements on food inflation in India. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article brings out the fact that Retail and wholesale food inflation rates for December 2019 were the highest since November 2013 and December 2013 respectively, and then provide a detailed analysis of factors affecting the food inflation in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the effect of global price movements on food inflation in India with suitable justifications.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the prevailing conditions of food inflation in the country.

Body:

Quote statistics/facts suggesting food inflation in the country. Discuss the major factors responsible for it – local and global factors with greater emphasis on the latter. Quote and discuss the global factors such as – Coronavirus, global crude prices etc. Discuss the possible uncertainty in the trend and measures to address and mitigate it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions for both long term and short term to overcome the persistent food inflation.

Introduction:

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO’s) food price index — which is a measure of the change in international prices of a basket of major food commodities with reference to a base period (2002-04 = 100) — touched 182.5 points in January 2020, the highest since the 185.8 level of December 2014. This sharp surge in global food prices is reflected in trends in India as well. Annual consumer food price index (CFPI) inflation stood at just 2.99% in August 2019, before climbing to 5.11%, 7.89%, 10.01%, 14.19% and 13.63% in the succeeding five months.

Body:

Domestic_Global

Factors leading to food inflation in India:

  • While the recent rise in domestic food prices has been blamed largely on “local” factors — poor rainfall during the first half (June-July) of the monsoon season and too much of it thereafter till about mid-November.
  • This lead to both reduced/delayed kharif sowings and damage to the standing crop at maturity/harvesting stage — some of it is also “imported”.
  • On the other hand, the increase in the retail prices of onion in Delhi from Rest 22 per kg on January 31, 2019 to Rs 50 on January 31, 2020, was purely due to the failure of the domestic kharif crop.
  • While global prices can be transmitted to the domestic market too through exports — traders would sell abroad if realisations are better relative to the local market — the government has foreclosed that possibility by banning/restricting onion shipments since September 2019.

Possible Effects:

  • the novel coronavirus epidemic that has reduced Chinese buying of everything from palm oil and soyabean to milk powder and meat.
  • Palm oil prices in Malaysia have plunged from 2,922 ringgit ($719) to 2,725 ringgit ($658) over the last one month.
  • Crude Oil: Brent crude prices had touched $70 per barrel after the January 3 United States airstrike that killed Iran’s top military commander, but have dropped since, closing at $57.67/barrel on Tuesday.
  • The prospect of a bumper rabi (winter-spring) crop in India. The kharif harvest turned out to be not so good because of excess and unseasonal rain. That same rain, though, has helped boost rabi acreage by 9.5% compared to last year.
  • The arrival of this crop in the mandis from March should cool down prices, especially of vegetables and pulses, which showed the highest year-on-year retail inflation of 50.19% and 16.71% in January.
  • Global palm oil ending stocks this year are projected to be the lowest since 2009-10, while sugar is also expected to move significantly into deficit.
  • Supply tightness is being seen both globally and in India, even in milk.

Measures needed:

  • Storage capacities and infrastructure should be increased.
  • Develop the agricultural facility with good agricultural practice which leads to the transition from staple food crops to diversification of crops.
  • Backward linkages to farmers need to be made more robust. Contract farming can be promoted. According to the Model Contract Farming Act, 2018, the contract will specify the quantity, quality and price of produce being supplied. This would shield farmers from price volatility, subject to quality commitments.
  • Government should accelerate technology dissemination, especially relating to environmental sustainability, climate change, crop yields and mechanisation. This will reduce dependence on costly inputs, labour and chemicals, and stimulate food supply.
  • Info supply chain: The government should invest in a market information system for accurate and timely data of crop production, trade and prices. This will send right price signals from consumers to the supply chain, improve bargaining power and reduce business risk and response time.
  • Real competition: Government should end rent-seeking in the food supply chain by encouraging competition through efficient markets. Removing barriers such as mandi licences and state taxation laws will puncture marketing margins. Consumers rarely benefit from any crop price fall because of the marketing margin commanded by the biggest players.
  • Calm volatility: Government should encourage strengthening of the supply pipeline by the private sector to reduce price volatility. There is an inverse relationship between stocks in the pipeline and prices. Smaller the stocks lying in godowns, higher the prices shoot.
  • Instead of treating stockists as criminals under the Essential Commodities Act (ESA), a transparent online mechanism to track commodities lying in warehouses should be introduced.
  • The government should stop market interventions in its zeal to balance consumer and farmer interests.
  • Rising food prices are the outcome of farm costs, business risk premium and market concentration. We can lower all three through a smarter mix of technology, institutions and policies.

 

Topic:  Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

6. State the defining characteristics of Empathy, sympathy and compassion. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper IV and aims to define the chief characteristics of the virtues of Empathy, sympathy and compassion.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must define, compare and contrast the three elements of Empathy, sympathy and compassion in detail.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define first – Empathy, sympathy and compassion in general.

Body:

Compare and contrast the three terms – Empathy is often confused with sympathy, pity and compassion, which are merely recognition of another person’s distress. Sympathy typically implies that the suffering person does not “deserve” what has happened to him or her and is powerless to do anything about it. Empathy is a skilled response, while sympathy is reactive responses, which is why developing the skill of empathy is a more realistic goal for public services. Empathy does include elements of sympathy and compassion, but it also carries pertinent connotations that both sympathy and compassion lack. Empathy seems to suggest a response to situations whose features are more subtle, imperceptible and complex which require cognitive skills to perceive, share, understand and put into action. Define the key characteristics of each and substantiate the same with suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of each one in practicing ethics.

Introduction:

Sympathy, empathy and Compassion are separate terms with some very important distinctions. Empathy means that you feel what a person is feeling. Sympathy means you can understand what the person is feeling. Compassion is the willingness to relieve the suffering of another.

Body:

Sympathy:

  • Sympathy refers to acknowledging another person’s emotional hardships and providing comfort and assurance. Sympathy is when you are able to understand what the person is feeling.
  • For example, if someone’s father has passed away, you may not be able to viscerally feel that person’s pain. However, you can employ your cognitive skills to understand that your friend is sad.
  • It makes sense, then, to send sympathy cards when you understand that someone is suffering. You are not feeling that person’s pain, but you want them to know you are aware of their suffering.

Empathy:

  • Empathy refers to understanding what others are feeling. This may be because we ourselves have felt so or we can put ourselves in their shoes. It is viscerally feeling what another feels. Empathy may arise automatically when you witness someone in pain.
  • For example, if you saw me slam a car door on my fingers, you may feel pain in your fingers as well. That feeling means your mirror neurons have kicked in.
  • Empathy isn’t just for unpleasant feelings. You can feel empathy when you see someone happy, too.

Compassion:

  • Compassion takes empathy and sympathy a step further. When you are compassionate, you feel the pain of another (i.e., empathy) or you recognize that the person is in pain (i.e., sympathy), and then you do your best to alleviate the person’s suffering from that situation. Thus, the emphasis here is on action and wanting to help.
  • When you’re compassionate, you’re not running away from suffering, you’re not feeling overwhelmed by suffering, and you’re not pretending the suffering doesn’t exist. When you are practicing compassion, you can stay present with suffering.
  • For example, has anyone ever truly listened to you as you share a problem? This person listened without trying to fix your problem, and this person wasn’t relating it back to his/her own life or emotions. He/she listened without judgment.
  • An important distinction between feeling empathy and compassion is how they can affect your overall well-being. If you are frequently feeling the pain of another, you may experience overwhelm or burnout. This is a common problem for caregivers and health care providers, and it’s been labelled “empathy fatigue.”

Conclusion:

A public servant must possess all the three qualities depending on situation. Public servants are meant to serve and this requires developing a humanistic outlook and to go out-of-the way. These qualities ensure that the public servants act sensitively and interpret the rules so as to advance public interest. This is all the more important in a country like India where most the citizens are not aware of their rights and obligations owing to their socio-economic conditions rather than out of ignorance. In their absence, the administration will become mechanistic, rigid and ineffective.

 

Topic:  Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and non-partisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. “”The methods of Ethics are continuous with those of empirical science”, elaborate by emphasizing the essence of objectivity in Ethics. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the principle of objectivity applied to ethics and its significance.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the importance of objectivity and in what way the methods of Ethics are continuous with those of empirical science.

Directive:

Elaborate – Give 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:

State what objectivity in ethics refers to.

Body:

Objectivity means the state or quality of being true and keeping aside one’s emotions, biases, prejudices. Objectivity is mind independent and object specific. Explain why it is often acclaimed as use of rational, logical or scientific means of arriving at a decision, rather than relying on ad-hoc or a partisan approach. Define its relations with ethical decision making; explain in what way one can draw parallels with empirical science.

Conclusion:

Conclude with essence of objectivity to ethics and its application.

Introduction:

Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject‘s individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. A proposition is generally considered objectively true when its truth conditions are met without biases caused by feelings, ideas, and opinions (mind-independent).

Body:

Essence of objectivity in Ethics:

  • It allows for the consideration of merit, with regard to personnel, as well as decisional alternatives.
  • It helps in promoting efficiency as well as effectiveness in the provision of services.
  • It acts as a counter-weight against tendencies towards corruption and fraud.
  • Most importantly, it helps in arriving at morally and ethically acceptable decisions, on the basis a given situation.

Relevance of Objectivity in Public Services:

  • Objectivity will help civil servants to be non-partisan, impartial and more service oriented.
  • For example, District collector in making appointments needs to give priority to merit rather than other factors like the caste or background of the caste.
  • It also contributes in rational merit based decision makings in day to day work of them. Ex. Team work, solving emergency issues like riotous situation.
  • Being objective ensures that work of civil servant becomes fair, transparent and visionary above all narrow considerations of kinship, nepotism, favoritism.
  • It also plays a big role in reducing menace of corruption from the system.
  • It is regarded as one of the foundational values for civil servant as she enjoys much discretionary powers, is in charge of public funds and has responsibility of welfare of lakhs of people especially from weaker section of society.
  • Objectivity ensures the utmost use of these powers.

Conclusion:

In public life, objectivity as a value must strive for in all interaction but at many times being objective become difficult. Fairness as a value closest to objectivity can be practiced which progressively leads to objectivity.