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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 2 March 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:  Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

1. “Female literacy has a direct positive multiplier effect in tackling the problem of malnutrition in the country”. Comment.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

Ashok Gulati writes that India is on track to achieving top two Sustainable Development Goals: Elimination of poverty and hunger and to ensure good health and well-being by 2030, focus should be on agriculture and female literacy.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significant impact that female literacy carries with it to contribute to resolve the issue of malnutrition in the country.

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:

Briefly explain the current scenario of malnutrition in the country.

Body:

Quote some relevant data in the beginning such as – The World Bank’s estimates of extreme poverty — measured as .9/per capita/per day at purchasing power parity of 2011 — show a secular decline in India from 45.9 per cent to 13.4 per cent between 1993 and 2015. Discuss the aspects of challenge for India; to achieve the third goal of SDG – good health and well-being by 2030, and then discuss how female literacy can be a game changer to achieve this goal. Explain that ‘Female literacy’ – is one of the most important factors that has a positive multiplier effect on child care and access to healthcare facilities. It increases awareness about nutrient-rich diet, personal hygiene; etc. This can also help contain the family size in poor, malnourished families. Discuss the efforts of the government in this direction, highlight some key policies and programmes.

Conclusion:

Conclude that thus, a high priority to female literacy, in a mission mode through liberal scholarships for the girl child, would go a long way towards tackling this problem.

Introduction:

Malnutrition in India also persists because of the age-old patterns of social and economic exclusion. According to UNICEF, 38% of children younger than five years of age in India are stunted, a manifestation of chronic undernutrition. Stunting and other forms of under-nutrition are thought to be responsible for nearly half of all child deaths globally. Pan-India study of 1.2 lakh children by Health and Family Welfare Ministry shows children received better diets with higher levels of schooling among mothers. Maternal education accounted for about 12% of the gender related factors attributing to malnutrition.

Body:

Correlation between mothers’ education and the nutrition levels of children:

  • The data recorded show 31% of mothers of children aged up to four years, 42% of women having children aged five to nine and 53% of mothers of adolescents aged 10-19 never attended school.
  • Only 20% of mothers of pre-schoolers, 12% of those of schoolchildren, and 7% of those of adolescents had completed 12 or more years of schooling.
  • Data from the CNNS study show that with higher levels of schooling in a mother, children received better diets.
  • Only 11.4% of children of mothers with no schooling received adequately diverse meals, while 31.8% whose mothers finished Class XII received diverse meals.
  • The study found 3.9% of children whose mothers had zero schooling got minimum acceptable diets, whereas this was at 9.6% for children whose mothers finished schooling.
  • Moreover, 7.2% of children in the former category consumed iron rich food, whereas this was at 10.3% for children in the latter category.
  • The proportion of children aged two to four consuming dairy products, eggs and other fruits and vegetables the previous day increased with the mothers’ education level and household wealth status.
  • For example, only 49.8% of children in that age group whose mothers did not go to school consumed dairy products, while 80.5% of children of mothers who completed their schooling did so.
  • These trends also show among older children and adolescents — only 25.4% of children in the 5-9 age group with uneducated mothers received eggs, but 45.3% of children whose mothers studied till Class XII had eggs.
  • Stunting among children aged up to four was nearly three times for the former category (19.3% versus 5.9%), and the number of underweight children was nearly double among them (14.8% versus 5.1%) as compared to the latter category.
  • Also, 5.7% of the children were wasted in the former category, while this was at 4.3% in the latter category.
  • Anaemia saw a much higher prevalence of 44.1% among children up to four years old with mothers who never went to school, versus 34.6% among those who completed their schooling.
  • The HUNGaMA (Hunger and Malnutrition) Survey across 112 rural districts in 2011 by non-profit Naandi Foundation shows the impact of the world’s oldest anti-malnutrition programme. Eighty per cent of the mothers have not heard the word malnutrition in their local language.

Education_route

However, the study also found that higher level of education among mothers also had its adverse impacts on education:

  • On the flip side, a higher level of education among mothers meant that their children received meals less frequently, perhaps because their chances of being employed and travelling long distances to work went up.
  • About 50.4% of children in the age group of 6-23 months born to illiterate mothers versus 36.2% among those who had finished schooling.
  • Such children were also at higher risk of diabetes and high cholesterol as relative prosperity could lead to higher consumption of sugary drinks and foods high in cholesterol.
  • Children in the age group of 10-19 showed a higher prevalence of pre-diabetes if their mother had finished schooling (15.1% versus 9.6%).
  • The prevalence of high cholesterol levels was at 6.2% in these children as opposed to 4.8% among those whose mothers never attended school.

Measures needed:

  • A decentralized approach should be promoted with greater flexibility and decision making at the state, district and local levels.
  • The ownership of Panchayati Raj and urban local bodies is to be strengthened over nutrition initiatives.
  • Mothers should be made aware of the right nutrition their child will need to stay strong and healthy.
  • Anganwadi workers, ANMs and ASHAs should be educated and help educate the mothers about motherhood, sexual practices, hygiene and sanitation in the rural areas.
  • Providing sexual health education to the adolescent females and mothers to be.

Conclusion:

Thus, maternal education has definite and significant effect on nutritional status of children. This is the key factor to be addressed for prevention or improvement of childhood malnutrition. For this it is imperative to launch sustainable programs at national and regional level to uplift women educational status to combat this ever increasing burden of malnutrition.

 

Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3. The ratification of the peace deal between the U.S. and Taliban though marks a noteworthy step forward; it also carries new challenges to India’s interests in the region.  Analyse and discuss what should be India’s step to preserve its interests in the region. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The context is – The long-drawn negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban and the signing of the peace deal.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of the recently ratified peace deal and the impact of it on India with special emphasis on the challenges India may face due to it in the region.

Directive:

Analyze – When asked to analyse, 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.

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 peace deal was signed in the Qatari capital Doha by U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Body:

Discuss briefly the key features of the agreement first. Explain then, how the US withdrawal from Afghan not only affects Indian policy on Afghan but also changes the regional balance of power in fundamental ways. Discuss that the diplomatic mandarins of New Delhi are apprehensive about the growing influence of the Taliban in Afghan and the centrality of the Taliban in ensuing peace processes. Subtly, comment upon the history of Afghan and India’s role in various stages of this history to highlight the complete relevance of Afghan’s stability for India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India’s developmental approach has earned it immense goodwill among the Afghan people. However, the “soft power” strategy has limitations.  However It is time for New Delhi to engage the Taliban to secure its interests and reassess its policy choices in close coordination with Russia and Iran, constantly reminding them that complete surrender to the Taliban’s demands will be detrimental to their own security.

Introduction:

The U.S.A recently signed a deal Doha with the Taliban that could pave the way towards a full withdrawal of foreign soldiers from Afghanistan over the next 14 months and represent a step towards ending the 18-year-war in Afghanistan. Along with this, a separate joint declaration was also signed between the Afghan government and the US at Kabul. The peace deal is expected to kick-off two processes- a phased withdrawal of US troops and an ‘intra-Afghan’ dialogue. The deal is a fundamental step to deliver a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire and the future political roadmap for Afghanistan peace process and the Central region.

Body:

Highlights of the agreement:

  • Military troops withdrawal: It lays out a 14-month timetable for the withdrawal of “all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel.”
  • Release of prisoners: The agreement also calls for the release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 “prisoners of the other side” on the first day of intra-Afghan negotiations. The relevant sides have the goal of releasing all the remaining prisoners over the course of the subsequent three months.
  • Commitment by Taliban: The main counter-terrorism commitment by the Taliban is that Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.
  • Removal of sanctions: UN sanctions on Taliban leaders to be removed by three months and US sanctions by August 27. The sanctions will be out before much progress is expected in the intra-Afghan dialogue.

Impact of this deal on India: 

  • India – ally or not?
    • In the Doha agreement, the Taliban has guaranteed “enforcement mechanisms that will prevent the use of the soil of Afghanistan by any group or individual against the security of the United States and its allies”.
    • However, it is unclear whether India, which is not a U.S. ally, is included in this definition, and whether Pakistan-backed groups that threaten India would still operate in Afghanistan.
  • Impact of prisoner release and lifting sanctions:
    • India is also most worried about the “mainstreaming of the Haqqani network”, which Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists reportedly fight alongside and were responsible for the 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul. Release of prisoners would be a boost for these terror groups.
  • Threats from Pakistan:
    • The U.S. has committed to taking Taliban leaders off the UN Security Council’s sanctions list by May 29, 2020, which could considerably bring down the number of terrorists Pakistan is accused of harbouring, according to the FATF greylist conditions.
  • Recognition to Taliban:
    • As per the agreement, the US appears to have submitted to the possibility of a Taliban-led government, by extracting promises that the Taliban will not provide “visas, passports, travel documents or asylum” to those threatening the U.S. and its allies.
    • This appears to sideline India’s support for the election process for leadership in Afghanistan.

Measures needed for India:

  • Despite the restricted room for manoeuvre, however, there are several steps New Delhi can and must take in the present scenario to ensure both its own relevance in Afghanistan and stability in the region.
  • To begin with, there is the question of talks with the Taliban, which India has thus far refused.
  • India needs to monitor the Taliban’s approach to groups fostered by the Pakistani state to target India.
  • India must focus on assisting Afghanistan in every manner possible to ensure that the country’s elections are as peaceful and participative as possible.
  • On the military front as well, India must move quickly to provide helicopters as well as engineering/tech support for Afghan hardware.
  • Indian government must realise that its consistent undermining of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) because of problems with Pakistan is also weakening Afghanistan’s engagement with the subcontinent, which India had worked hard to foster
  • For regional security there must be closer involvement of regional powers in international efforts to ensure non-interference and a stable Afghanistan; this also requires involvement of the Central Asian Republics, which border Afghanistan.
  • It is important for India to coordinate its efforts with those of Russia and Iran to ensure success.

Conclusion:

India is committed to “Afghan-led, Afghan-owned and Afghan controlled” peace process. India’s engagement with Afghanistan is multi-dimensional.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

4. Discuss the causes and concerns over red snow in Antarctica. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article captures the formation of Red snow in the Antarctica and the concerns posed by it.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss in detail the causes and concerns posed by the ‘Red snow’ in the Antarctica.

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 “Red snow”; it is a phenomenon that has been known since ancient times.

Body:

Explain the basic features of it; It is the algae that give the snow its red tinge. This alga species, Chlamydomonas Chlamydomonas nivalis, exists in snow in the polar and glacial regions, and carries a red pigment to keep itself warm. Discuss briefly the history and the discovery of red snow. Explain the causative factors responsible for the formation of the Red snow. Discuss the impact of it on the climate of the world and more so specifically upon the Antarctica. Elaborate on why it is a cause of concern.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue and way forward.

Introduction:

“Red snow” or “watermelon” is a phenomenon that has been known since ancient times. Now, it raises concerns about climate change. For a few weeks now, snow around Ukraine’s Vernadsky Research Base, located off the coast of Antarctica’s northernmost peninsula has turned red. The snow is red because of a red-pigmented, microscopic algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis chlamydomonas, which thrives in freezing water as the ice melts.

Body:

Causes:

  • Earlier this month, Antarctica experienced record high temperatures, causing the southernmost continent’s ice caps to melt at an unprecedented rate.
  • As a result, Eagle Island, a small island off Antarctica’s northwest tip, experienced peak melt; brown rock appeared from beneath the ice and several ponds of melt water accumulated at the center.
  • And with these unprecedented temperatures, the algae that normally thrive in freezing water and lie dormant across the continent’s snow and ice are now in full bloom and cover the Antarctic Peninsula with blood-red, flower-like spores.
  • The alga species, Chlamydomonas nivalis chlamydomonas, exists in snow in the polar and glacial regions, and carries a red pigment to keep itself warm.
  • As per a report of 2016 in New York Times, algae found around the Ukrainian research base grow well in freezing temperatures and liquid water.
  • During the summer times these typically green algae produces a natural sunscreen. This sunscreen colors the snow in shades of red and pink.
  • It doesn’t turn red until the weather warms up.
  • The cell’s carotenoids—the same pigment that gives pumpkins and carrots their orange hue—absorb heat and protect the algae from ultraviolet light, almost like sunscreen.

Concerns:

  • The red snow causes the surrounding ice to melt faster, a 2017 study from Alaska Pacific University said.
  • The more the algae packed together, the redder the snow.
  • And the darker the tinge, the more the heat absorbed by the snow. Subsequently, the glaciers and ice sheets will melt with global warming faster.
  • While the melt is good for the microbes that need the liquid water to survive and thrive, it’s bad for glaciers that are already melting from a myriad of other causes, the study said.
  • These algae change the snow’s albedo — which refers to the amount of light or radiation the snow surface is able to reflect back.
  • Changes in albedo lead to more melting. In the melting of snow in the Arctic, the key drivers have been snow and ice albedo, according to a 2016 study in the journal Nature.

Conclusion:

As human interventions are increasing, climate and ecosystems are changing and having adverse effects. Some extreme algal blooms have appeared in the oceans of the world. These have different features and mostly have adverse effects hampering the climatic conditions. The melting of the snow and glaciers is not a good indication as it affects the heat balance of the earth in turn triggering the butterfly effect.

Extra information: In Spain’s Tossa de Mar, for example, sea foam invaded the coastal town’s beaches after a large storm brought strong winds and waves. Along the coast of the East China Sea and Taiwan’s Matsu Islands, toxic bioluminescent algae called dinoflagellates light up the ocean surface with a bright blue glow. And a rust-colored kind of alga, Karenia brevis, blooms along the Florida coast and releases a toxin that targets fishes’ central nervous system.

 

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

5. What do you understand by Budget Transparency? Discuss the advantages associated as well as the ways through which it can be promoted in working of a government. (250 words)

Reference: Times Of India

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of ‘Budget transparency’ and the advantages it carries in the effective functioning of the government.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of ‘Budget transparency’ and its utility to the government in detail.

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 define the what ‘Budget transparency’ is.

Body:

Budget transparency refers to the extent and ease with which citizens can access information about and provide feedback on government revenues, allocations, and expenditures. Explain the importance of the concept; Budgets are key documents since they lay out a government’s priorities in terms of policies and programs. Opening up budgets and democratizing the budget process gives citizens a say in policy formulation and resource allocation. Highlight the pros and cons associated in implementing the concept. Elaborate on its effect on the functioning of the government. Explain the ways through which budget transparency can be promoted.

Conclusion:

Conclude that budget transparency, while not a goal in itself, is a prerequisite for public participation and accountability. Such information must be disseminated in a timely manner so that citizens can effectively provide feedback that can influence policy formulation and resource reallocation.

Introduction:

Public confidence in the elected representatives/institutions is the foundation of democracy. However, this confidence is undermined by the poor quality of services and non-fulfillment of electoral mandates by the elected representatives. One of the ways in which accountability and transparency in governance can be enhanced by providing ordinary citizens access to information about how public resources are allocated and used by the government. This is the very essence of budget and fiscal transparency.

Body:

Recently, five economic experts from different institutes on Monday flayed the Union budget for “being least transparent” and not acknowledging the economic problem that the country faced.

Advantages associated with Budget transparency:

  • Understanding the structure and functioning of finances will enable citizens to hold public functionaries accountable.
  • Transparency in budgetary process is essential because it will lead to an improvement in delivery of public services such as education, health etc. at both the union and state levels.
  • Budget transparency will enhance public confidence in the government and will act as a deterrent to financial mismanagement and corrupt practices in the country.
  • Accountability of the executive will improve if citizens are empowered to access budget information.
  • Corruption and financial mismanagement will be tackled efficiently if budgetary decisions are open to analysis and public scrutiny.
  • Budget transparency will lead to equitable distribution of public resources.
  • Citizens, Civil society organizations, NGOs and different professional groups will get a chance to contribute to budgeting processes as well as policy-making.
  • Microeconomic and fiscal stability can be enhanced as the strengths and weaknesses of the budget will be identified in advance.
  • Increasing transparency will ensure that investor confidence also increases which in turn will have a good impact on the economy of the country.

Effective and easiest ways to enhance budget and fiscal transparency:

  •  Clearly defining the roles and responsibilities of different officials/departments involved in the budgetary process.
  • Budget literacy/awareness should be enhanced among not only the legislators but also the ordinary citizens.
  • Ensuring that useful, comprehensive and reliable budget information is made available to the public.
  • Civil society organizations, NGOs and ordinary citizens should be given opportunities to share their perspectives on budget.
  • Checks and balance system should be established to assess the budgetary process.

Conclusion:

Budget transparency is of utmost significance so that the public are satisfied that there is guarantee of financial order and the government is working according to its obligations. Incorporating budget and fiscal transparency through efficient governance reforms is absolutely necessary.

 

Topic:  Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption. Case Studies on above issues.

6. Discuss the new public service management model. What are the principles of it? Explain.  (250 words)

Reference: UUDP

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is from the static portions of the GS paper IV.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the new public service management model in detail and explain the key principles of it.

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.

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:

Briefly explain what new public service management model is.

Body:

Start with the origin of the concept – The concept was propounded by Denhardl and Denhardt. Highlight the need for such a system – Explain that the central role of government is to provide service and to improve the service delivery mechanism. Government should run like a democracy, not like a business

Discuss key elements of the NPM :

  • An attention to lessons from private-sector management;
  • A focus upon entrepreneurial leadership within public service organizations;
  • An emphasis on input and output control and evaluation and on performance management and audit;
  • The disaggregation of public services to their most basic units and a focus on their cost management;
  • And the growth of use of markets, competition and contracts for resource allocation and service delivery within public services.

Explain the importance of the new system applied to the Indian context.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of it.

Introduction:

Public   administration   in   the   21st   century   is   undergoing   dramatic change, especially in advanced economies, but also in many parts of the developing world.  Globalization and the pluralization of service provision are the driving forces behind these changes.  Policy problems faced by governments are increasingly complex, wicked and global, rather than simple, linear, and national in focus.

Body:

Public service management model:

  • The New Public Service (NPS) approach is perhaps the most coherent of these approaches.
  • It starts with the premise that the focus of public management should be citizens, community and civil society.
  • In this conception the primary role of public servants is to help citizens articulate and meet their shared interests rather than to control or steer society.

The principles of the NPS can be summarized as follows:

  • Building collaborative relationships with citizens and groups of citizens.
  • Encouraging shared responsibilities.
  • Disseminating information to elevate public discourse and to foster a shared understanding of public issues.
  • Seeking opportunities to involve citizens in government activities

Importance of NPS:

  •  The NPS is in sharp contrast to the philosophical premise of the New Public Management approach in which transactions between public managers and customers reflect individual self-interest and are framed by market principles.
  • It is also distinct from the old public administration approach where citizens related to the bureaucracy as clients or constituents and were treated as passive recipients of top-down policy making and service delivery mechanisms.
  • Control and hierarchy rather than plurality and engagement characterized these relationships.
  • The New Public Service model approaches public management from the vantage point of democratic theory, premised on the notion   of   an   active   and   involved     
  • Citizens look beyond narrow self-interest to the wider public interest.
  • The role of  public  officials  is  to  facilitate  opportunities  for  strengthening  citizen  engagement  in  finding  solutions  to  societal problems.
  • Public managers need to acquire skills that go beyond capacity for controlling or steering society in pursuit of policy solutions to focus more on brokering, negotiating and resolving complex  problems  in  partnership  with 

Conclusion:

The NPS approach also reasserts the importance of a public service ethos, emphasizing the values and motivations of   public   servants   dedicated   to   the   wider   public   good. In   placing   a   fresh   emphasis   on   the   public  interest   and   citizens as the focus of public service, the New Public Service model   provides   a   useful   corrective   to   prevailing   notions   of control and steering associated with earlier models of public   administration   and   management.

 

Topic:  Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption. Case Studies on above issues.

7. What do you understand by ‘Information sharing’ and ‘transparency’? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring Information sharing and transparency in government. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications  

Why this question:

The question is based on the theme of ‘Information sharing’ and ‘transparency’ and the relevance of it to the functioning of a government.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of ‘Information sharing’ and ‘transparency’ to the government’s functioning and methods and means by which a government can apply these traits in its functioning.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what ‘Information sharing’ and ‘transparency’ are.

Body:

Bring out the significance of these elements –  Information is fundamental need of humans to perform various tasks. It has been found that the ability to seek, receive and circulate information is crucial to secure human rights. An information-driven society leads to transparency and accountability. Transparency upholds accountability and delivers information for peoples about the activities of Government. Then discuss the relevance of the two to good governance. Move onto suggest measures for ensuring Information sharing and transparency in government. One can quote the existing efforts of the government in this direction(Name few policies and programmes aiming in this dimension)

Conclusion:

Conclude that Information sharing and transparency are vital components for any government to enhance the living of society. Information is valuable for every citizen to participate in the life and governance of society.  Transparency is considered imperative to procure the support and participation of citizens in management of public services.

Introduction:

Transparency, in governance context, is honesty and openness. Transparency is about information. It is about the ability of the receiver to have full access to the information he wants, not just the information the sender is willing to provide. Transparency embodies honesty and open communication because to be transparent someone must be willing to share information when it is uncomfortable to do so. Transparency is also the organization being upfront and visible about the actions it takes, and whether those actions are consistent with its values.

Information maintained by the democratic government is a national asset. The ability to seek, receive and circulate information is crucial to secure human rights. An information-driven society leads to transparency and accountability. When officials recognize that their decisions will be open for the public, they will be less motivated to act randomly. The decisions, rules and regulations are in the public domain. It thoroughly reduces chances of corruption, nepotism, favouritism etc.

Body:

According to the transparency International report 2018, India ranks 78 out of 179 countries in corruption index. Transparency in Indian governance system is decreasing day by day.

There are four pillars of good governance – transparency, accountability predictability and participation. Without transparency other pillars become dysfunctional. Transparency, as one of the basic principles of good governance, implies the public insight in the work of Public Administration Bodies. Citizens should be enabled to inspect the work of the public administration as well as the availability of instruments for monitoring the decision-making process. Also, citizens should be familiar with the regulations applied in the procedure for exercising their rights, in a clear and understandable way.

Measures for ensuring Information sharing and transparency in government:

  • For the purpose of facilitating free flow of information between Government and the people of India, Right to Information Act was enacted in 2005.
  • Use of technology and graphic design to make government data easily and instinctively understandable.
  • Use of official handles on social media to share accurate information in real
  • Strict implementation of all mandatory disclosures under Right to Information act 2005.
  • All the state governments and union government should proactively take measures to disclose data under Section 4(2) of RTI. Example of Rajasthan to implement Jan Soochna portal.
  • Open data management system harnessing new technologies such as block chain, where data cannot be altered by anyone but can be read by everyone.
  • Creation of public service center where people can easily acquire information about their eligibility for schemes in Rahul for schemes and collect their benefit in one place.
  • Digitization of key government records.

 Way forward:

  •  Repealing of the Official Secret Act as iterated by 2nd
  • Introducing an oath of transparency for bureaucrats and politicians.
  • To use of multi-media campaigns in local languages for awareness of benefits of information sharing.
  • The benefits of setting up regional offices far outweigh the initial capital costs involved in setting them up. So there is a need to set up regional offices to reduce the geographical reach issues.
  • The role of the Centre/State Government is to facilitate the Public Authorities in implementation of the Act. This can happen through providing support to Public Authorities for training, development of software applications, e-Training modules, generating awareness amongst citizens etc.
  • Effective use of Media – print, electronic to reduce the information asymmetry. Increasing the data protection standards to safeguard the privacy of individuals.
  • Social audit as a tool for information sharing and transparency in rural employment programmes should be promoted.
  • E-Governance as a tool at all levels of governance should be adopted to curb corruption, increase transparency and accountability.

Conclusion:

To conclude, Information sharing and transparency are vital components for any government to enhance the living of society. Information is valuable for every citizen to participate in the life and governance of society. The greater the access of the citizen to information, the greater would be the responsiveness of government to community needs. Transparency is considered imperative to procure the support and participation of citizens in management of public services.