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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 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:  women, Social empowerment

1. What do you understand by ‘Period Poverty’? Discuss the status of it in India. To what extent does our society promise ‘period dignity’? Explain. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The Scottish Parliament passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill. Thus the question analyses the aspects of period poverty applied to the context of Indian society.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of ‘Period Poverty’ and ‘Period dignity’ applied to the Indian context.

Directive:

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 ‘Period Poverty’ is.

Body:

Define period poverty – Some circumstances make menstruation a “difficult experience” for women. These include homelessness, coercive, controlling and violent relationships and health conditions such as endometriosis. Some trans people may also experience difficulties in accessing sanitary products.  Discuss the context within the Indian setup. Explain how often it is a taboo in our country leading to extreme incidences of period poverty, Comment on the lack of period dignity. Discuss the case of Scotland bill. Suggest what needs to be done in India to improvise the conditions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with policy measures already in this direction while suggesting stronger ways forward.

Introduction:

Period poverty is the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management. Period poverty affects women and girls all over the world. Access to sanitary products, safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them, and the right to manage menstruation without shame or stigma, is essential for anyone who menstruates. A new report published by UNICEF and WaterAid found that more than a third of girls in South Asia miss school during their periods, mainly due to lack of access to toilets and pads in schools and no proper education about menstruation.

Body:

Status of period poverty in India:

  • 63 million adolescent girls in India, do not have access to a toilet in their homes. Without a clean and private space to change menstrual products, girls are less likely to properly manage their own hygiene.
  • According to UN data on Menstrual hygiene management (MHM), 66% of girls in India are unaware of menstruation before their first period and, for 23-28% of girls in rural India, periods, together with, lack of private spaces and facilities, remains a major reason for being out of school.
  • In India, on an average, girls miss six days of class each month due to shame surrounding their periods or a lack of sanitary products.
  • And only 12% schools have soap available to wash hands. These factors affect the personal development and growth of girls.
  • For low-income families, the price of different sanitary pads makes them inaccessible frequently, because of the towering cost of sanitation facilities.
  • In India, 70 percent of all reproductive diseases are caused by different kinds of pitiable menstrual hygiene situations. Researchers estimate that 71 percent of girls in India have no awareness about menstrual well-being until after their first period.
  • Surprisingly, in 2017, the Indian government labelled menstrual products as luxury goods but in July of 2018, the Indian government removed the tax, to make the sanitary products more accessible to everyone.
  • With taboos and superstitions in different countries, even an open discussion in schools is impossible and about 71% of girls in India are unaware about menstruation before their first period.
  • Women are often described as “dirty” while menstruating and are commonly separated in the home when dining, praying or participating in other activities.

Implications of period poverty on women:

  • Poor menstrual hygiene can cause physical health risks and has been linked to reproductive and urinary tract infections, according to UNICEF.
  • It also stops women from reaching their full potential when they miss out on opportunities crucial to their growth.
  • Young girls who do not receive an education are more likely to enter child marriages and experience an early pregnancy, malnourishment, domestic violence, and pregnancy complications as a result.
  • Period shame has negative mental effects as well. It disempowers women, causing them to feel embarrassed about a normal biological process.
  • Menstrual inequality is often caused by shame around the conversation as well as the high cost of feminine products. This creates challenges in education and an increased risk of disease.

Measures needed for ‘Period dignity’:

  • The first step is to normalize menstruation and destroy taboos around the natural process. Then policy must be enforced to make menstrual products, sanitation and hygiene easily accessible.
  • There is a need to break the menstruation stigma and change national policy through education and behavior change with initiatives like hosting menstrual waste workshops and promoting toilet designs that can handle menstrual material waste in India.
  • Girls and women should also be educated about premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
  • Sanitation and hygiene needs of women, coupled with a need for privacy, safety and dignity is also seeing special emphasis in the Swachh Bharat Mission.
  • NGO’s and CSO’s can train women and girls to make safe, reusable sanitary pads so they always have access to clean and affordable sanitary products.
  • There is a need to work with local communities to end the practice of discrimination and period-shaming tradition for good.
  • The World Bank and WASH partnered together to create Menstrual Hygiene Day to spread awareness about the importance of sanitary products for women and girls around the world.
  • Legislations like that in Scotland which aims to develop a universal system in Scotland, which will provide free sanitary products for “anyone who needs them” needs to promoted in India.
  • In January 2017, a member of parliament from Arunachal Pradesh tabled a private members’ bill – The Menstruation Benefit Bill in the Lok Sabha, and proposed paid leave for all working women in India every month.
  • From 2014 onwards, the government is funding states under the National Health Mission for decentralised procurement of sanitary napkins to provide rural girls at a cost of Rs 6 for a pack of six napkins. The programme aims at increasing awareness on menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls, increase access to good quality sanitary napkins and their safe disposal.

Conclusion:

A multi-sectoral response involving water, sanitation, urban planning, education, health, and the social sector can ensure that evidence-based, and cost-effective policies are developed for the benefit of all.

 

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.

2. The U.S.-Taliban settlement may not bring lasting peace to Afghanistan and the region at large. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The question is based on the article that presents a critical analysis of the Peace accord between the US and the Taliban that was signed recently.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must critically present a detailed analysis of the peace accord and the concerns associated with it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly narrate the background of the whole issue in the region.

Body:

The U.S. seeks to exit Afghanistan with assurances from the Taliban that the insurgents will not allow Afghan soil to be used by transnational terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda and that they would engage the Kabul government directly to find a lasting solution to the civil war. Discuss the concerns associated in detail. The fundamental issue with the U.S.’s Taliban engagement is that it deliberately excluded the Afghan government in the negotiations. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will invariably weaken the Kabul government, altering the balance of power both on the battlefield and at the negotiating table of the intra-Afghan talks. The deal, though sets the stage for America to wind down the longest war in its history, leaves the Afghan people at the mercy of violent, tribal Islamists. Etc. Discuss the concerns specifically posed by the deal to India.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting what should be the way forward.

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:

Charting_us_withdrawal

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.

Concerns posed for Afghanistan:

  • The fundamental issue with the U.S.’s Taliban engagement is that it deliberately excluded the Afghan government because the Taliban do not see the government as legitimate rulers. Also, there is no reference to the Constitution, rule of law, democracy and elections in the deal.
  • Issues with Intra-Afghan Dialogue:
    • President Ashraf Ghani faces a political crisis following claims of fraud in his recent re-election.
    • The political tussle is between Ashraf Ghani (who belongs to the largest ethnic group in Afghanistan- the Pashtun) and Abdullah (whose base is among his fellow Tajiks, the second largest group in Afghanistan).
    • If there are any concessions made by Mr Ghani’s government to the Taliban (predominantly Pashtun) will likely be interpreted by Mr Abdullah’s supporters as an intra-Pashtun deal reached at the cost of other ethnic groups, especially the Tajiks and the Uzbeks.
    • Consequently, these ethnic fissures may descend into open conflict and can start the next round of civil war.
  • Apparently, the compromise has been due to lack of any leverage, as Taliban refuses to talk to them and the election results have not been convincing enough to put him in the driver’s seat.
  • It is a fact that any foreign prescription for peace will not work in Afghanistan and intra-Afghan dialogue is the only way forward for sustainable peace.
  • It is also a fact that Afghan National Security Forces still need more capacity building and will be under intense pressure in case of significant withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country.
  • Thus, the lifting of the US military footprint and the return of a unilateral Taliban could set the stage for the next round of civil war that has hobbled the nation since the late 1970s.
  • Also, the Taliban is fragmented or divided internally. It is composed of various regional and tribal groups acting semi-autonomously.

Impact of this deal on India and region:

  • 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.

Conclusion:

India, although not involved in the process, having made significant investments there, will always hope for an Afghan led, Afghan owned peace and reconciliation process and a popular democratic government in Afghanistan.

 

Topic:  Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. Disaster and disaster management

3. Recent activities in Climate change and geopolitics meet to yield locust swarms that could disturb the productivity of Indian crops. Examine. (250 words)

Reference: Live mint

Why this question:

Reuters suggest that while locust swarms continue to plague African countries, for now, the outbreak has tapered down in India with swarms headed back towards Sindh and Baluchistan. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the issues and concerns posed by the spread of locust swarms and the interlinkages with climate change and the changing geopolitics.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what the problem of locust swarms is.

Body:

Explain first the impact of changing climate and geopolitics. Discuss the issues of locust swarms; explain how it has been impacting the productivity of crops in general. Present the case of it in India. Take cues from the article and explain the need to recognise the issue and address it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by suggesting way forward.

Introduction:

Locusts are a group of short-horned grasshoppers that multiply in numbers as they migrate long distances in destructive swarms (up to 150km in one day). In recent weeks, locust swarms have attacked crops in more than a dozen countries in Asia and Africa.

Body:

Locusts:

  • They are a collection of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae that have a swarming phase.
  • These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming gregarious.
  • No taxonomic distinction is made between locust and grasshopper species; the basis for the definition is whether a species forms swarms under intermittently suitable conditions.
  • These grasshoppers are innocuous, their numbers are low, and they do not pose a major economic threat to agriculture.
  • However, under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth, serotonin in their brains triggers a dramatic set of changes: they start to breed abundantly, becoming gregarious and nomadic (loosely described as migratory) when their populations become dense enough.
  • They form bands of wingless nymphs which later become swarms of winged adults. Both the bands and the swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crops.
  • The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles

Relationship between locusts and climate change:

  • During quiet periods—known as recessions—desert locusts are usually restricted to the semi-arid and arid deserts of Africa, the Near East and South-West Asia that receive less than 200 mm of rain annually.
  • In normal conditions, locust numbers decrease either by natural mortality or through migration.
  • However, the last five years have been hotter than any other since the industrial revolution and since 2009.
  • Studies have linked a hotter climate to more damaging locust swarms, leaving Africa disproportionately affected—20 of the fastest warming countries globally are in Africa.
  • Wet weather also favours multiplication of locusts. Widespread, above average rain that pounded the Horn of Africa from October to December 2019 were up to 400 per cent above normal rainfall amount.
  • These abnormal rains were caused by the Indian Ocean dipole, a phenomenon accentuated by climate change.

Measures to control locusts:

  • Controlling desert locust swarms primarily uses organophosphate chemicals by vehicle-mounted and aerial sprayers, and to a lesser extent by knapsack and hand-held sprayers.
  • Extensive research is ongoing regarding biological control and other means of non-chemical control with the current focus on pathogens and insect growth regulators. Control by natural predators and parasites so far is limited since locusts can quickly move away from most natural enemies.
  • While people and birds often eat locusts, this is not enough to significantly reduce population levels over large areas.

Way forward to deal with climate change: 

  • While climate change is a global phenomenon, Africa stands out for its vulnerability which is driven primarily by the prevailing low levels of socioeconomic development. Persons living in poverty face compounding vulnerabilities to climate change impacts because they lack the resources to quickly recover from its effects.
  • In this case, desert locusts are ravaging crops in the field before harvesting, wiping out livestock and wildlife feed, and with them savings, assets and livelihoods.
  • Deployment of climate action solutions such as decentralizing solar dryers to agro-value chain actors can ensure that they can earn up to 30 times more by being able to preserve their harvest and sell during the offseason or gives them flexibility to compensate for unpredictable events such as these locust swarms.
  • It can also create enterprise opportunities for auxiliary value chains of fabricating these solar dryers. Interventions like this are critical to increase climate resilience for some of the most vulnerable communities across the continent.

 

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

4. “The coronavirus is driving the world into a recession, and India cannot be insusceptible to it”, do you agree with the statement? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why this question:

The article presents a detailed discussion on the global spread of the coronavirus and the economic impact.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the impact of the Corona virus on the economy of the world in general and in what way India is no exception to it.

Directive:

Critically 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. 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 judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the spread and coming of the corona virus outbreak.

Body:

  • Discuss the global impact – The virus has crippled global supply chains, hit air travel and affected markets.
  • The Chinese economy is in deep trouble due to the impact of the virus and the virus appears all set to adversely impact the U.S. economy, the global economic engine.
  • S. companies ranging from Apple and Nvidia to Procter & Gamble and Adidas are facing troubles because of their large exposures to the Chinese market or their reliance on suppliers from China.
  • A slowdown or worse, recession, in the two global economic engines may push the entire world economy into recession.
  • Markets reflected these concerns as important indices plunged and investors pulled out money.
  • Unlike a financial crisis which can be sorted out with measures such as rate cuts and bail-outs, the present crisis is immune to financial solutions.

Then discuss specifically the impact on Indian economy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to overcome the ill-effects of such a global epidemic.

Introduction:

The human cost of the coronavirus outbreak is climbing across China and beyond. The economic cost is also mounting. That damage is, for the most part, not due to the virus itself, but due to efforts to prevent it from spreading. The global economy appears headed for uncharted, troubled territory thanks to the second wave of the coronavirus that has now spread to countries as far apart as Nigeria and New Zealand.

Body:

Economic effects of the coronavirus on the Indian Economy:

  • The impact on India is felt through supply chain disruptions from China as well as regional players, who in turn are net importers from China.
  • India’s annual trade with China is around $90 billion–India imports goods worth $75 billion and exports goods worth $15 billion.
  • These include ‘electrical and telecom machinery,’ ‘organic chemicals,’ ‘nuclear reactors,’ ‘plastics’ and ‘pharmaceuticals.’ The first four of these five groups also make up India’s top imports in 2019 fiscal year.
  • On account of factory closures in China, supply chains would get disrupted and this could result in shortages, especially of electronic goods and medicines.
  • A key supplier of generic drugs to the global market, Indian companies procure almost 70 percent of their active pharmaceutical ingredients for their medicines from China.
  • Trade deficit prints may be lower for the next couple of months. We may see the price of consumer durables inch higher. This would drive core inflation higher, which is showing signs of bottoming out.
  • This, in turn, could make it more difficult for the MPC to provide further monetary policy stimulus. January’s core inflation print came in at 4.2 percent compared to December’s 3.8 percent.
  • Fall in global crude prices on account of an anticipated slowdown in demand would also result in a lower import bill. The sectors that are likely to be impacted on the export front are diamonds, leather and petrochemicals
  • Imports are likely to contract more than exports and therefore, from a current account perspective, the outbreak could actually be rupee-supportive.
  • Offshore fundraising by Indian corporates is also likely to slow down, as raising money onshore has become cheaper after the LTRO announcement by the RBI
  • The retail mobile trade, for instance, is almost entirely dependent upon China. While every month, old models of mobile phones would see a drop in prices as new models are supplied, in the current month, no such drop in prices has taken place and the supply of goods is being rationed by companies
  • The toy market sees nearly 80% of its demand met by products made in China, while only 20% is met by Indian manufacturers
  • Many items, like belt buckles, Christmas lights, specific parts of gas stoves, are only made in China. The prices of most of these goods had already seen an upward correction, and in some cases it is as much as 50%
  • The travel and tourism sector will be affected badly. Several overseas airlines have stopped flights to China and international hotel chains have also been offering refunds. Most of the Chinese citizens are avid travellers, hence the tourism in other countries might feel the ripple effect. 

Global impact:

  • The world’s economy could grow at its slowest rate since 2009 this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The OECD has forecast growth of just 2.4% in 2020, down from 2.9% in November 2019
  • Some people are choosing to avoid activities that might expose them to the risk of infection, such as going out shopping. Restaurants, car dealerships and shops have all reported a fall in customer demand.
  • The number of cases diagnosed is increasing around the world every day. Thus, many countries have introduced travel restrictions to try to contain the virus’s spread, impacting the travel industry massively.

Some shining light for India:

  • Indian companies are not major participants in the global supply chains originating in China.
  • The crude oil prices are slipping which is good news for the macro economy and inflation.
  • The government needs to watch the developing situation and, for now, do all it can to support industries that are reliant on Chinese inputs.

Conclusion:

It is critical to mount a coordinated and coherent response. This not only means involvement of both public and private sectors but also allopathic and non-allopathic medical systems, different departments such as police, fire, transportation, tourism, food supplies and other sectors.

 

Topic:  Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, biotechnology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

5. As commercialization and privatization transform humankind’s activity in outer space, India needs imperative and drastic reforms in its space sector.Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

At author talks about the changing dynamics of outer space and the transformation of commercialization and privatization that it has witnessed in the recent years and how at the same time India needs to ace-up.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must present an analysis of the changing dynamics of the space as an avenue of commercialization and where India stands today and what needs to be done in the coming future.

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 aspects of Space and the space race the world countries are contesting.

Body:

Highlight first the growing role of the private sector and the effort by nations in Space research, development and exploration. Discuss the aspects of privatization and commercialization of space. Take hints from the article and discuss where does India stand? What are the challenges before t and how should it overcome them. Suggest the leap forward that India is yet to take and must focus on the reforms and radical changes in its approach to Space.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of Space as an avenue for commercialization and future for many.

Introduction:

Space programmes have for long been viewed as either strategic or symbols of national prestige for big countries that are prepared to invest significant resources in the pursuit of a credible presence in outer space. India, however, is quite some distance away from adapting to the unfolding changes in the global space business. In its early years, India’s space programme that was constrained by lack of resources found innovative ways of getting ahead in space.

Body:

Commercialization and privatization is transforming humankind’s activity in outer space: 

  • Japan is scheduled to launch the UAE Mars probe this year.
  • India’s own ISRO is also working with the UAE on its Mars mission.
  • The first Emirati Astronaut, Hazza al-Mansouri spent more than a week in the US-Russian space station.
  • Luxembourg has a similar strategy. It too entered the space sector only in the middle of the last decade. It is also driven by the need for economic diversification.
  • Military uses of space and prestige projects like Moon-landing have emerged, major private sector entities already in the aviation industry like Boeing and Lockheed won space contracts in the US.
  • As the digital revolution in the 21st century transformed the world economy, the commercial space sector has begun to grow in leaps and bounds. The global space business is now estimated to be around $ 400 billion and is expected easily rise to at least trillion dollars by 2040.
  • The entry of private sector has begun to drive down the cost-per-launch through innovations such as reusable rockets.
  • SpaceX plans to launch hundreds of satellites into the low-earth orbit to provide internet services. Amazon has plans to build a network of more than 3,000 satellites in the low-earth orbit.
  • SpaceX and Amazon have plans to develop space tourism and build human settlements on the Moon and on Mars.
  • It is not just big companies that are aiming for the Moon. Last year, a private company in Israel sent a lunar lander to the Moon.
  • Although the lander crashed, much like India’s Vikram, the private sector has begun to do things that were once the monopoly of national agencies.

Potential advantages of rising Space industry for India:

  • Adding an edge to India’s foreign policy as our space capabilities can be a part of our initiatives to foster new relationships,
  • Avoiding the outflow of tax-payer’s money to foreign hands from where we procure turnkey products and services,
  • Creating more opportunities for foreign direct investments (FDI), as well as new jobs for highly-skilled labour market,
  • Empowering India’s defence system by equipping it with space technology, and allowing armed forces to procure defence products and services indigenously, and
  • Reversing the brain-drain from India.

Challenges for private space entities in India:

  • Monopoly: In India ‘Space’ means Indian Space Research Organization. Globally the technology is highly protected because of its dual use capability. Even if it was not, it would be prohibitively expensive. Although ISRO encourages private sector participation in the national space programme, its model is still very 20th century — in terms of governmental domination.
  • Funding: A major challenge in setting up a space business in India is funding. Space industry is capital intensive and upstream activities come with a long gestation period.
  • Investor’s Dilemma: The lack of clarity among the investors and lack of the ecosystem required for significant contribution is a challenge for the investors.
  • Lack of Regulation: India is a party to the Outer Space Treaty, where one of the fundamental requirements laid upon states is the supervision of space activities within its borders, the country did not have any formally legislated laws. This is a potential roadblock for commercialization.
  • Growth Challenges: Scaling up, international marketing and funding are challenges.
  • Lack of Support: The Indian ecosystem has neither incubation support nor pointers to seek support of leaders such as ISRO for space start-ups.
  • Political and bureaucratic hurdles limit private space operations in India.
  • Low in-house capacity of ISRO restricts them to very few launches in a year. Privatization can offload 30-40% of the work and help them work more efficiently.

Way forward:

  • India should have national space activities legislation which takes on board all stakeholders.
  • A public-private partnership (PPP) model can be looked into to realise ISRO’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), with a joint venture between ISRO and the private sector.
  • In the UK, space ventures are treated as a complement to big organizations and not a competitor. This should be encouraged in India too.
  • A supportive international partner and likeminded local partners helps to set up a space business.
  • The idea should be to let the private industry build their own facilities after gaining enough expertise.
  • ISRO has built a space technology park spread over 25 acres in Bengaluru where the entire range of facilities have been set up for use by the industry.
  • It needs a regulatory environment that encourages a more dynamic role for the private sector and promotes innovation. It will be a pity if India squanders the many advantages of its early start in space by delaying the much-needed reform and reorganization of its space sector.

Conclusion:

The private sector already supplies majority of the sub-systems in satellite manufacturing. This can be further scaled up into other activities with proper regulation and partnership of the ISRO and private sector. The country must deregulate the space sector to encourage private enterprise if we are to compete in the new space economy.

 

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.  Distinguish between “Code of ethics” and “Code of conduct” with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The concepts of ‘code of ethics’ and ‘’code of conduct’ are important which share some similarities and several differences which need to be discussed upon.

Key demand of the question:

The question wants us to simply bring out in detail the differences between the Code of Ethics and the Code of Conduct.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Mention that both Code of Ethics and Code of Conduct are similar as they are used in an attempt to encourage specific forms of behaviour by employees. However, the two have several differences between them.

Body:

Discuss the differences between the two. E.g define both the terms in order to clarify their meaning. Code of conduct – A legally enforceable code of conduct sets out the standards of behaviour expected of those working in the public service. The Civil Service code outlines the Civil Service’s core values, and the standards of behaviour expected of all civil servants in upholding these values. Code of ethics – Such a code contains a declaration of values for the civil services, reflecting public expectations of the relationship between the civil service and the government, the legislature, and the members of the public, with specific reference to political impartiality, maintenance of the highest ethical standards, accountability for actions and responsibilities to the government of the day. Quote suitable examples wherever required to substantiate better.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of the two to public administration.

Introduction:

Codes of ethics are those rules which govern decision-making and codes of conduct govern actions of people. These represent two common ways that companies or organizations self-regulate.

Body:

Code of Ethics:

  • Code of ethics is a written set of rules issued by an organization to its workforces and management to help them conduct their actions in accordance with its primary values and ethical standards
  • It defines the minimum requirements for conduct, and behavioural expectations instead of specific activities.
  • For example, if an organization is committed to protecting the environment and “being green”, the Code of Ethics will state that there is an expectation for any employee faced with a problem, to choose the most “green” solution.
  • When faced with ethical dilemmas or debatable situations, what’s articulated in the Code of Ethics can help guide decision making.

Code of Conduct:

  • Codes of conduct represents the set of enforceable rules that should be followed by a person in an organization. Codes, along with other measures, have helped some companies dig themselves out of scandals, and have helped many companies build a healthier work climate and reputation.
  • A Code of Conduct applies the Code of Ethics to a host of relevant situations. A particular rule in the Code of Ethics might state that all employees will obey the law, a Code of Conduct might list several specific laws relevant to different areas of organizational operations, or industry, that employees need to obey.
  • The Code of Conduct outlines specific behaviours that are required or prohibited as a condition of ongoing employment. It might forbid sexual harassment, racial intimidation or viewing inappropriate or unauthorized content on company computers.

Similarities:

  • Both a Code of Ethics and a Code of Conduct are similar as they are used in an attempt to encourage specific forms of behaviour by employees.
  • In both cases, the organization’s desire is to obtain a narrow range of acceptable behaviours from employees
  • Ethics guidelines attempt to provide guidance about values and choices to influence decision making.
  • Conduct regulations assert that some specific actions are appropriate, others inappropriate.

Differences:

  • Both are used in an attempt to regulate behavior in very different ways.
  • Ethical standards generally are wide-ranging and non-specific, designed to provide a set of values or decision-making approaches that enable employees to make independent judgments about the most appropriate course of action.
  • Conduct standards generally require little judgment
  • Code of ethics is a set of principles which influence the judgement while the Code of conduct is a set of guidelines that influence employee’s actions.
  • The scope of code of ethics is wider than that of code of conduct
  • Code of Ethics is general in nature, whereas code of conduct is specific.
  • Code of Conduct are originated from the code of ethics, and it converts the rules into specific guidelines, that must be followed by the members of the organization.
  • Lengthwise, code of ethics is a shorter document than a code of conduct.
  • Code of Ethics regulates the judgment of the organization while a code of conduct regulates the actions.
  • Code of Ethics is publicly available, i.e. anyone can access it. Conversely, Code of Conduct is addressed to employees only.
  • Code of Ethics focuses on values or principles. On the other hand, Code of Conduct is focused on compliance and rules

Conclusion:

Code of Conduct is actually extracted from the Code of Ethics. Therefore, the latter concept is wider than the former. Moreover, these codes are beneficial for businesses of any size and nature as the codes lays down direction which is helpful for employees, to behave in a particular manner and also making a public image of ethical behaviour.

 

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. Discuss some of the key principles of probity that serve to maintain integrity. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and aims to analyse the underlying key principles of probity and in what way it serves the process of integrity.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of probity in attaining integrity and the principles that define probity.

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 what Probity is.

Body:

Probity in governance is basic requirement for successful operation of governance and for socio-economic growth of country. It is defined as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. Explain the key principles of probity – accountability, transparency, confidentiality, management of conflict areas etc. Discuss the relevance of it to the processes involving preservation of integrity.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of it.

Introduction:

Probity is “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency”. It is the act of adhering to the highest principles and ideals rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals.

Body:

Probity principles:

Accountability is taking ownership for outcomes (successes or failures) while addressing performance issues fairly and promptly. The ability of citizens to demand accountability and more open government is fundamental to good governance.

Accountability involves three key concepts:

  • Transparency: citizens have access to information about commitments that the state has made and whether it has met them.  Example: Right to Information Act.
  • Answerability: citizens are able to demand that the state justifies its actions.
  • Enforceability: citizens are able to sanction the state if it fails to meet certain standards.

Managing the Conflict of Interest: A “conflict of interest” involves a conflict between the public duty and private interests of a public official, in which the public official has private-capacity interests which could improperly influence the performance of their official duties and responsibilities. Handling the conflict of interest involves the following:

  • Transparency
    • Declaring one’s conflict of interest to the concerned authorities is the best way.
    • It helps civil servant to come clean and concerned authorities can decide further.
  • Assure integrity
    • The concerned authority should be assured of integrity and willingness to serve no matter what the decision is made on the declaration.
  • Maintain objectivity
    • If given the chance to continue working on that case, work with objectivity.

Conclusion:

According to Second Administrative Reforms Commission, apart from the traditional civil service values of efficiency, integrity, accountability and patriotism, it is necessary for civil servants to inculcate and adopt ethical and moral values including probity in public life, respect for human rights and compassion for the downtrodden and commitment to their welfare.

Probity in governance is the antithesis of corruption in public life. Probity is emphasized by the UN Convention against corruption. Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process. For Government employees and agencies, maintaining probity involves more than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It involves applying public sector values such as impartiality, accountability and transparency.