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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 4 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:  Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

1. Discuss in detail the various policies and programmes aimed to preserve and promote languages, folk dance, Art and culture of tribals in the country.(250 words)

Reference:  PIB.GOV

Why this question:

Union Minister of Culture has informed Lok Sabha about the various schemes implemented by the Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) to preserve and promote languages, folk dance, Art and culture of tribals. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of preserving and promoting languages, folk dance, Art and culture of tribals in the country along with detailed elaboration of schemes and policies in this direction.

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 why we should preserve and promote our language and culture in general.

Body:

The question is pretty much straight forward and one must discuss the relevance of preserving and promoting the language, culture and art of the tribals. List out various schemes and policies in this direction – Guru Shishya Parampara, shilpgram, octave, National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP) etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of such schemes and policies.

Introduction:

India has traditionally been the home of different cultures and people. Unity in diversity is one of the most prominent features in the people of India. Among the diversified population a significant portion is comprised of the tribal people, the original inhabitants of the land. The tribal culture of India and their traditions and practices pervade almost all of the aspects of Indian culture and civilization.

Body:

To preserve & promote various forms of folk art and culture of the tribals throughout the country, the Government of India has set up seven Zonal Cultural Centres (ZCCs) with headquarters at Patiala, Nagpur, Udaipur, Prayagraj, Kolkata, Dimapur and Thanjavur. These ZCCs organize various cultural activities and programmes all over the country on regular basis. These ZCCs under Ministry of Culture are also implementing a number of schemes for promoting the folk/tribal art and culture, details of which are as below

  • Award to Young Talented Artists: The Scheme “Young Talented Artists” is carried out to encourage and recognize the young talents especially in the field of rare art forms. Talented youngsters of the age group of 18-30 years are selected and given a onetime cash award of Rs. 10,000/-.
  • Guru Shishya Parampara: This scheme envisages transmitting our valued traditions to the coming generations. Disciples are trained under veterans in art forms which are rare and vanishing. Rare and vanishing art forms of the region are identified and eminent exponents are selected to carry out the training programmes in ‘Gurukula’ tradition. The monthly remuneration for Guru – Rs. 7,500/-, Accompanist – Rs. 3,750/- and        Pupils – Rs. 1,500/- each for the period of six month to maximum 1 year for one scheme. The names of the Gurus are recommended by the State Cultural Affairs Departments.
  • Theatre Rejuvenation: To promote theatre activities including stage shows and Production oriented workshops, etc. Honorarium Up to Rs. 30,000/- per show excluding TA & DA is paid. The groups finalized on the basis their credentials as well as the merit of project submitted by them.
  • Research & Documentation: To preserve promote and propagate vanishing visual and performing art forms including folk, tribal and classical in the field of music, dance, theatre, literature, fine arts etc. in print/ audio – visual media. The art form is finalized in consultation with state Cultural Department.
  • Shilpgram: To promote folk and tribal art and crafts of the zone by organizing seminar, workshops, exhibitions, craft fairs, design development and marketing support to the artisans living in the rural areas.
  • Octave: To promote and propagate the rich cultural heritage of North East region comprising of eight States namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur and Tripura to the rest of India.
  • National Cultural Exchange Programme (NCEP): It can be termed as the lifeline of the Zonal Cultural Centers. Under this scheme, various festivals of performing arts, exhibitions, yatras etc are organized in member States. Artists from other zones/states are invited to participate in these programmes. Participation of artists from the Zone in festivals held in other parts of the country are also facilitated. Zonal centres also participate in Major festivals happening in member States by arranging performances during these festivals where large number of audience get chance to enjoy and understand art forms of other regions. These festivals provide opportunity to taste and understand various cultures of our country.

Conclusion:

Tribal culture in India should be appreciated to understand the uniqueness of their culture. Warm hospitality, simple ways of living and sincere judgment of the opinions are some of the traits that mark the tribal cultures of India. Their custom depicts their belief in simplicity. Most of the tribes in India have their own gods and goddesses that reflects the dependence of Tribal people on nature. Except for the few most of the tribes in India is sociable, hospitable, and fun loving along with strong community bonds. Some of the tribes shares patriarchal cultural ties and some of the tribal societies are women oriented. They have their own festivals and celebrations. The tribal people are clinging to their identity despite of the external influences that threatened the tribal culture especially after their post-independence turbulent period.

 

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

2.  Is state funding of elections possible in India? What are its pros and cons?Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The debate on state funding on election has recently been revived particularly with the Election Commission informing the Government that it is not in favour of state funding of elections. The Election commission is of the view that it would not be able to prohibit or check candidates‟ expenditure over and above the state’s provision.

Key demand of the question:

The question is about discussing the possibility and effect of state funding of elections in India and its pros and cons.

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:

Briefly explain what is – State funding of elections.

Body:

Highlight about State funding of elections; brief history of the origin of the idea, its evolutions etc. The state funding of polls was recommended by the Indrajit Gupta Committee in 1998. The committee had suggested that state funding would ensure a level playing field for poorer political parties and argued that such a move would be in public interest. List out the merits of such a concept. Then move onto state that despite having some positive offshoot, the proposal is more unlikely to curtail the menace of corruption and it has too many systemic and other grey areas(state these cons) Discuss what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the success of state funding depends on a strong regulatory framework, stringent punishments, a quick and effective judicial system, an alert and demanding electorate, a broad consensus on political ethics—all of which we woefully lack.

Introduction:

State or public funding of elections means that government gives funds to political parties or candidates for contesting elections. Its main purpose is to make it unnecessary for contestants to take money from powerful moneyed interests so that they can remain clean. The Election Commission of India has informed the Government that it is not in favour of state funding of elections.

Body:

Importance of state funding of elections:

  • Indian elections cost huge sums of money.
  • This money can hardly come from retail contributions of political-party sympathisers. It has to come from big corporate houses.
  • But, contributions from corporate houses are largely from undeclared income and, hence, the contribution is not recorded.
  • As long as India’s politics is systemically dependent on unaccounted money for its finances, there can be no decisive political will to eradicate black money.
  • Political parties spend huge amounts in election years but report income that is only a fraction of what they spend. When the bulk of their spending is financed by unaccounted income, it compromises the integrity of governance, corrupts the civil service, promotes crony capitalism and makes managing the government a decisive core competence of entrepreneurship.
  • All this will change only if the sources of political funding are made fully transparent.

Pros of state funding of elections:

  • Political parties and candidates need money for their electoral campaigns, to keep contacts with their constituencies, to prepare policy decisions and to pay professional staff. Therefore, public funding is a natural and necessary cost of democracy.
  • In theory, State funding would provide a level playing field for political parties and cut out money power from the equation, but in practice, things may not work out so linearly. India collects only about 16% of GDP as a tax.
  • Public funding can increase transparency in party and candidate finance and thereby help curb corruption.
  • In societies where many citizens are under or just above the poverty line, they cannot be expected to donate large amounts of money to political parties or candidates.
  • If parties and candidates receive at least a basic amount of money from the State the country could have a functioning multi-party system without people having to give up their scarce resources.

Challenges posed by state funding of elections:

  • Those against this idea wonder how a Government that is grappling with deficit budgets, can provide money to political parties to contest elections.
  • They also warn that state funding would encourage every second outfit to get into the political arena merely to avail of state funds.
  • Also, given that state expenditure on key social sectors such as primary healthcare is “pitifully small”, the very idea of the Government giving away money to political parties to contest polls, is revolting.
  • The funds that a political party advances to its party candidates in an election vary from one candidate to another, and there is much variation across political parties in this regard.
  • Assuming that there are five contending candidates in a constituency, and even if each one of them does not spend as much, but just half of their elected counterpart, an amount of about ₹15 crore will be spent in each constituency, which with about 4,215 MLAs in India works out to an about ₹13,000 crore per annum.
  • While the legal limit that a Lok Sabha candidate can spend is ₹70 lakh, a victorious candidate on an average does not spend less than ₹10 crore for the purpose. Suppose we assume again an average of five candidates per constituency, and halving the amount to losers, about ₹30 crore will be spent in each Lok Sabha constituency, and given 543 members of the Lok Sabha, about ₹3,300 crore per annum.
  • Then there are elections to the Upper Houses, both at the Centre and in some States, and the local governing bodies. Hence, it is argued that public funding places unnecessary burden on the exchequer.

Measures to ensure transparency in electoral funding:

  • In India, the main reason for the prevalence of black money in election spending is the unrealistically low limits set by the Election Commission of India on campaign spending by political parties and candidates. More realistic campaign spending limits should be set.
  • Part-public funding of election campaigns is a practice in some countries. e.g. United States and Britain. We could have our own version.
  • The strict monitoring of expenditure by political parties and their functionaries at every level, starting with the panchayat, polling booth area and municipal ward should be done.
  • Every party should disclose its expenditure every month at every level.
  • This should be open to challenge by rival parties, media, etc.
  • The Election Commission could determine the actual expenditure and ask the parties to show the source of income.
  • Parties will have to collect money in the open.
  • These steps will ensure transparency.

Way Forward:

  • A party’s expenditure limit should be 50% or less of the combined maximum spend prescribed for all of its candidates.
  • Individual spending needs to be capped based on whether a candidate has stood for an assembly or a general election.
  • Anonymous donations should be limited to 20% of a party’s total collections.

 

Topic:  Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. Assessment of the quality of Teacher education is a true yardstick to check upon the schooling system, do you agree? Deliberate. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why this question:

The article highlights the value of teacher education and its impact in schooling system.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the significance of teacher education and in what way it can be a true yardstick to measure the quality of schooling.

Directive:

Deliberate – 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:

Bring out some key facts relating to the context of the question.

Body:

Comment upon the existing quality of schools in the country ; learning aspects –  almost half of the children in grade 5 in rural India cannot solve a simple two-digit subtraction problem, while 67 per cent of children in grade 8 in public schools score less than 50 per cent in competency-based assessments in mathematics. Discuss the role of teachers and present statistics relating to the number of teachers, vacancies, training and relevant issues that are alarming.  There are over one lakh single-teacher schools present across the country. Discuss both the quantity and quality aspect of ‘teachers’ in the country. Establish the relation between them and the quality of education in schools.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of having robust teacher training in the country to ensure quality education throughout.

Introduction:

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world” – Malala Yousafzai. Quality education plays an important role in one’s life which helps him/her to be socially acceptable, increase in job opportunities, economically sound etc so role of educators is of immense importance in providing quality education. The learning crisis is evident in the fact that almost half of the children in grade 5 in rural India cannot solve a simple two-digit subtraction problem, while 67 per cent of children in grade 8 in public schools score less than 50 per cent in competency-based assessments in mathematics.

Body:

Reasons behind poor quality of teachers:

  • Current teachers training in India is unable to cover tough spots and follows a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
  • India is dealing with a scenario of significant teacher vacancies, which are to the tune of almost 60-70 per cent in some states.
  • there are over one lakh single-teacher schools present across the country.
  • Increased workload on the teachers (Mid-day meal, election duty etc.) and not following standard Teacher student ratio (1:30).
  • Absence of proper monitoring system for evaluating the performance of the teachers and no proper feedback providing system.
  • Results of TET shows dismal figures of only 3-4 percent of them passing the eligibility test.
  • Around 20 percent of regular teachers and 40 percent of contact teachersdid not have professional qualifications for elementary education. (NCTE study).
  • Increase in the culture of the private coaching classes and involvement of teachers there.
  • Appointment of Ad-hoc teachers because of the lack to adequate number of qualified and properly trained teachers
  • Wide spread corruption at various levels in teaching (management level, Internal politics etc.)
  • National Council of Educational Research and Trainingstudy finds there is no systematic incorporation of teacher feedback into designing trainings, and little variation or consideration of local issues. There is no measure of whether this is translated into classroom practice.
  • Nearly half the teachersbelieve that not all children could achieve excellent educational outcomes because of their socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Only 25% incorporate activity-based learningand 33% use storytelling or role-play in their pedagogic approach, either because these weren’t priorities or because they did not have time.
  • The National Accreditation and Assessment Council (NAAC), responsible for quality-standards in higher education, has only covered 30 per cent of all institutes since its establishment back in 1994.
  • Till date, there is no accurate real-time database of the number and details of teacher education institutes, students enrolled and programmes offered.

Opportunities present:

  • There are 17,000-odd Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) that are responsible for preparing teachers through programmes such as the Bachelor of Education (B.Ed), and Diploma in Elementary Education (D.El.Ed).
  • Taking their sanctioned intake into account, at full operation, these TEIs could generate over 19 lakh freshly trained teachers every year as against the estimated annual requirement of 3 lakh teachers.
  • To put things in perspective, currently, there are about 94 lakh teachers across all schools in India.
  • Every year, the teacher education system could therefore be producing one-fifth of the total number of school teachers.

Way forward:

  • The World Development Report On Education (2018)states that “teacher skills and motivation both matter” and that individually-targeted, continued training is crucial to achieving learning improvements through teachers.
  • Better incentives for teachers:Post training, there should be no differences in the salary of teachers, public or private. This will attract the best young minds towards this profession and will help it regain lost ground.
  • Investments in teacher capacity through stronger training programmes. Teachers need to unlearn and relearn the subjectsand the way it should be taught. There is no point in teaching and employing rote learning, for just passing the examination.
  • Teacher training programmes should be complemented by focus-group discussions with local NGOs and community-based organizations.
  • The teacher training models should have the ability to provide continuous professional development through a blended modelcomplementing existing physical trainings.
  • technology-enabled platformwhich allows training to become a continuous activity rather than an annual event is necessary.
  • Another core determinant of quality is the curriculum which must be regularly revamped and revised to ensure that our teacher education system is aligned to global standards.
  • Ideally, given that teacher education requires a good mix of curricular inputs and good-quality pedagogy, experts are rightly advocating for a shift towards integrated four-year subject-specific programmes to be housed in multidisciplinary colleges and universities.
  • A common accreditation framework should be designed through a consultative process including all relevant stakeholders to facilitate its wider acceptability.
  • A transparent and credible system of accreditation could form the bedrock for weeding out substandard TEIs and propelling quality improvements in the rest.
  • Given the extensive landscape of the teacher education sector alone and current capacity constraints, it is necessary that multiple accreditation agencies be empaneled.
  • Apart from creating good content, it is also important to consider teachers’ technology consumption patterns, the potential of gamification to drive up engagementand the role of headmasters in promoting teachers’ professional development.

Conclusion:

Reforms must be driven by administrative will and executed through a well-established governance mechanism, clearly establishing ownership and accountability for set work streams across multiple agencies. Economist Eric Hanushek finds that a child taught by a good teacher gains 1.5 grade-level equivalents, while a child taught by a bad teacher only gets half an academic year’s worth. The pressing need of the hour is to focus on providing the best quality teacher education to those who aspire to build the future of this country.

 

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

4. What is Black Carbon? Explain the impact of recently witnessed black carbon spikes in the Himalayan glaciers.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

According to a research done by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology, the concentration of black carbon on Gangotri glacier has almost doubled in the past few years primarily because of agricultural burning and forest fires.

Key demand of the question:

The question is based on the concept of Black carbon and the impact of black carbon spikes that were recently witnessed in the Himalayan glaciers.

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:

Define what Black carbon is. Black carbon is a kind of an aerosol. An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in the air.

Body:

Discus about Black carbon, its basic features. Among aerosols (such as brown carbon, sulphates), Black Carbon (BC) has been recognized as the second most important anthropogenic agent for climate change and the primary marker to understand the adverse effects caused by air pollution. It gets emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and other sources that burn fossil fuel. It comprises a significant portion of particulate matter or PM, which is an air pollutant. Discuss the impact of the recent black carbon spikes in the Himalayan glaciers. Explain what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

The Black Carbon (BC) aerosols contribute significantly towards global warming due to its light-absorbing nature. Their presence in the eco-sensitive zone, such as the Himalayan glacier valleys, is a matter of serious concern and needs to be meticulously monitored.

Introduction:

Black carbon is a potent climate-warming component of particulate matter formed by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other fuels. Black carbon is a short-lived climate pollutant with a lifetime of only days to weeks after release in the atmosphere. During this short period of time, black carbon can have significant direct and indirect impacts on the climate, glacial regions, agriculture and human health.

Black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt, says a study by scientists at the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG).

Body:

Black_carbon

Black Carbon is produced both naturally and by human activities as a result of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, and biomass. Primary sources include emissions from diesel engines, cook stoves, wood burning and forest fires. India is the second largest emitter of black carbon in the world, with emissions expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades, says an April 2019 study in the journal Atmospheric Research, with the Indo Gangetic plains said to be the largest contributor.

Key findings:

  • Black carbon concentrations near the Gangotri glacier rose 400 times in summer due to forest fires and stubble burning from agricultural waste, and triggered glacial melt.
  • The monthly mean concentration of EBC (equivalent black carbon) was found to be minimum in August and maximum in the month of May. The observed seasonal mean concentrations of EBC indicated a pristine glacial source and an absence of EBC sources in the locality.
  • The concentration varied from a minimum of 0.01μg/cubic metre in winter to 4.62μg/cubic metre during summer.
  • Being a pristine zone far from sources of pollution, the measurements are critical to establishing a baseline for pollution loads and estimating the contribution of various sources to pollution.

The impact of black carbon spikes in the Himalayan glaciers:

  • The fine particles absorb light and about a million times more energy than carbon dioxide.
  • It is said to be the second largest contributor to climate change after CO2. But unlike CO2, which can stay in the atmosphere for years together, black carbon is short-lived and remains in the atmosphere only for days to weeks before it descends as rain or snow.
  • Black carbon absorbs solar energy and warms the atmosphere. When it falls to earth with precipitation, it darkens the surface of snow and ice, reducing their albedo (the reflecting power of a surface), warming the snow, and hastening melting.
  • India is the second largest emitter of black carbon in the world, with emissions expected to increase dramatically in the coming decades, says an April 2019 study in the journal Atmospheric Research, with the Indo Gangetic plains said to be the largest contributor.

Impact of Human health:

  • Concentration of black carbon particles was highest in the placentas of women who are most exposed to airborne pollutants in their daily life.
  • Inhalation of these particles by the mother gets translocated from the mothers’ lungs to the placenta, resulting in life-long changes to the development of the baby along with permanently damaging the lung tissues.
  • The link between exposure to dirty air and increased cases of miscarriages, premature births, and low birth weights which in turn increases the chances for diabetes, asthma, stroke, heart disease and a lot of other conditions, has been established in this study.

Impacts on vegetation and ecosystems: 

  • Black carbon can affect the health of ecosystems in several ways: by depositing on plant leaves and increasing their temperature, dimming sunlight that reaches the earth, and modifying rainfall patterns.
  • Changing rain patterns can have far-reaching consequences for both ecosystems and human livelihoods, for example by disrupting monsoons, which are critical for agriculture in large parts of Asia and Africa.

Way forward:

 

HOUSEHOLD ENERGY
  • Replace traditional cooking to clean burning modern fuel cookstoves
  • Replace traditional cooking and heating with clean-burning biomass stoves
  • Eliminate kerosene lamps
  • Replace lump coal with coal briquettes for cooking and heating
  • Replace wood stove and burners with pellet stoves and boilers
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
  • Modernize traditional brick kilns to vertical shaft brick kilns
  • Modernize coke ovens to recovery ovens
TRANSPORT
  • Use diesel particular filters for road and off-road vehicles
  • Fast transition to Euro VI/6 vehicles and soot-free buses and trucks
  • Eliminate high-emitting diesel vehicles
AGRICULTURE
  • Ban open-field burning of agricultural waste
FOSSIL FUELS
  • Capture and improve oil flaring and gas production
WASTE MANAGEMENT
  • Ban open burning of municipal waste

 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

5. Discuss the need for in- flight Wi-Fi and the benefits and concerns associated.(250 words)

Reference:   Economic Times

Why this question:

The Union Government has permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight WiFi services to passengers thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the need for in- flight Wi-Fi and the benefits and concerns associated.

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 that the Telecom Commission had given its permission to in-flight connectivity of Internet and mobile communications on aircraft in Indian airspace in 2018.

Body:

Explain what you understand by In-flight connectivity of internet Technology. Discuss the technology; its technicalities in short. By this the pilot of an aircraft may permit the access of Internet services by passengers on board an aircraft in flight, through Wi-Fi on board, when laptop, smartphone, tablet, smartwatch, e-reader or a point of sale device is used in flight mode or airplane mode. Broadly, in-flight connectivity systems use two kinds of technologies; discuss them. List down the advantages, challenges and concerns involved.

Conclusion:

Conclude with benefits.

Introduction:

In-flight Wi-Fi connectivity essentially allows those onboard aircraft to access voice, video and data services after the aircraft has attained an altitude of 3,000 meters. The government has permitted airlines operating in India to provide in-flight Wi-Fi services to passengers. Previously, the Telecom Commission had given its green signal to in-flight connectivity of Internet and mobile communications on aircraft in Indian airspace in 2018.

Body:

flight_connectivity

Working of in- flight connectivity:

  • In-flight connectivity systems use two kinds of technologies– terrestrial and satellite internet services.
  • Once flight mode is activated, the plane’s antenna will link to terrestrial Internet services provided by telecom service providers.
  • Then, when the aircraft has climbed to 3,000 m, the antenna will switch to satellite-based services.
  • This way, there will be no break in Internet services to passengers, and cross-interference between terrestrial and satellite networks will be avoided.

Need for in-flight connectivity:

  • The on-board access technology, when combined with AMSS, allows passengers to have telecom connectivity.
  • The on-board access technology can be Wi-Fi to access internet, e-mail, internal corporate networks, etc. onboard aircraft.
  • The access technology can also be mobile network which will allow voice and text communications.
  • Internationally, internet services onboard are provided by all the IFC service providers. However, there is a demand for Mobile Communication on Aircraft (MCA) services also.

Benefits:

  • It would enable flyers to avail data and voice services during flights over Indian airspace.
  • Airlines will now be equipped to bring dramatic, yet cost effective, enhancements to the passenger experience –with passengers ordering products from their phones and tablets and arranging to have them delivered to their homes, or the hotel on arrival at their destination
  • Connectivity to the ground means cabin crews can help passengers to change their onward transit plans to accommodate for changes to their flight, while they are still in the air.
  • Globally, more than 30 airlines allow voice calls and internet access during flights. It would enable Indian carriers to compete with their foreign peers.
  • Foreign carriers which earlier had to switch off in-service connectivity while flying over Indian Airspace will no longer have to do so.
  • Business travelers greatly value these services as they can continue their work commitments without any deterrence.
  • Other travelers can be in touch with their near and dear ones even during the flight.

Challenges ahead:

  • The high cost of installing equipment may discourage low-cost carriers and even for full-service carriers, the service may come at a premium.
  • Airlines will have to bear the initial cost of installing antennae on aircraft. So, the additional cost could find a way into ticket prices.
  • Apart from the equipment, airlines will have to bear additional fuel costs, given the extra weight and drag aircraft will face due to the antenna.
  • Satellites divide geographical regions into smaller areas to provide broadband connectivity, which is efficient for fixed residents and low speed mobility. Providing internet connectivity to high-speed aircraft requires frequent hand-offs, which increases the level of interference and hampers the quality of service.
  • In-flight connectivity provides relatively slow speeds of Internet.
  • There are security risks due to possible interference with flight communication systems.
  • Expensive service which may increase the flight ticket price
  • Technology and laws allow calls to be made from aircraft, but many airlines do not want noisy cabins.

Conclusion:

In-flight Wi-Fi connectivity is subject to factors like the number of concurrent users, satellite coverage and weather conditions. Most airlines discourage voice calls to avoid inconvenience to fellow passengers. Once launched, these factors would be important factors that decide its success. However, IFC is great news, but to woo price-sensitive Indian customers, airlines need to provide affordable tariffs. Since cheaper tariff will be a burden for airlines, they need to find a balanced tariff or provide Wi-Fi as an add-on; they can also consider generating revenue from ads, corporate offerings, e-commerce, premium content, etc.

 

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. Define what work culture is and compare and contrast the work culture of India with that of West. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the concept of work culture in the Indian context and compare it with that of the concept in the west and bring out significant differences if any.

Directive:

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what work culture is.

Body:

Explain – Work Culture or Organization Culture is set of collective beliefs, values, rules and behaviour which organisation as whole conforms to. In a layman approach it is culture that a group as an organisation follows. Culture varies with family, region, social class and hence in work environment. Some differences between India‘s and West work cultures are: Indians focus on quantity of time spent in work rather than quality of work, this is because of impression of work by time as no innovative/creative work was done during colonial period. Hence, the image of hardworking by time. Working hours in India is 10 hours while in West it is maximum 6-8 hours.

  • West focuses individuality and hence relation between superior and sub-ordinates are very formal. Calling by their first name, only work related tasks, lesser interpersonal skills and bonding are prevalent in West unlike India.
  • West takes work place as place of recreation, fun, innovation and creativity. Hence they focus more on aesthetic and facilities like gym, clubs, lounges etc. This is unlike Indian counterpart, who focuses majorly on productivity.

Highlight the significance of both.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of work culture in general.

Introduction:

Workplace culture is the environment that you create for your employees. It plays a powerful role in determining their work satisfaction, relationships and progression. It is the mix of your organization’s leadership, values, traditions, beliefs, interactions, behaviours and attitudes that contribute to the emotional and relational environment of your workplace. These factors are generally unspoken and unwritten rules that help to form bonds between your colleagues.

As it depends on internal management of the companies and their employees behaviours and skills. Along with the external factors like regional culture, socio-economic status of the region etc. Like in TATA focus more on safety.

Body:

Similarities in work cultures of Indian and west:

  • Progressive Indian companies are comparable in their work cultures with progressive companies in the US. US companies have long-standing legacies.
  • For example, in General Motors, every process and responsibility was well-defined. Who has the authority over what is clearly stated. Indian companies, even old ones, did not have such processes five to 10 years ago. Now they have been put into place.

Differences between India’s work culture and western work culture are:

  • Equality: equality is the key difference b/w India and western countries, in western country there is no difference men and women and equal limitations for the men and women but in India there are different limitations for men and women.
  • Punctuality: In India there is no value of discipline and time you can see anywhere in India, but in western countries the discipline followed by the persons and time value understanding better then India’s people, that is the main reason of developing country and developed country.
  • Hierarchy:The relationship between Managers and sub-ordinates is quite formal and Hierarchical in India, while in west, it is informal and smooth.
  • Creativity vs Productivity: In west, there is major focus on creativity and innovation, while India focuses mainly on productivity.
  • Work-life balance: In west, there is balance between work life that is fixed hours of work. However, in India, due to importance given to informal relationship the employee in fact goes extra mile to help others.
  • Differences in Wages: wage distribution is often gender specific, age specific. merit is considered below experience.
  • Questions: Asking questions is regarded as standard practice, in fact it’s expected that lower-ranking employees show their initiative by seeking to expand their understanding of key topics by asking about them. In India, Employees would likely feel intimidated by the idea of asking questions. There is a fear that superiors might see questions as threatening, since they would have to clarify their position on a given subject.
  • Indians firms have more focus on leadership development and talent retention by succession planning, talent pool development, etc.

Thus there is need to revamp the Indian work ethics in the current globalized era. There should be proper management system for improving working culture by adopting best practices like Japanese work culture. The work-life balance with proper care of family time should be provided. The clearly defined process with fixed responsibility should be adopted like in the Right to Information issue. The target centric business model with more open culture should be evolved.

Conclusion:

Work culture is an intangible ecosystem that makes some places great to work and other places toxic. This is why work culture is so important in bringing out the best from your employees even in adverse circumstances. Negativity not only kills creativity and will to perform but also does not allow an employee to develop a sense of affection and ownership with the organization. Human beings are fundamentally simple and a positive work environment impacts the way they think, act and reflect.

 

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 type of information can be requested through RTI?  Bring out the significance and criticisms against RTI.(250 words)

Reference: Governance by Lakshmikant, Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

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

Key demand of the question:

The answer essentially should deliberate upon the significance of RTI and its utility as well as bring out criticisms associated.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain RTI concept.

Body:

The right to information is a fundamental right under Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution. In 1976, in the Raj Narain vs the State of Uttar Pradesh case, the Supreme Court ruled that Right to information will be treated as a fundamental right under article 19. Talk about the Right to Information Act of 2005. Objectives of the RTI Act. Explain in detail what type of information can be requested through RTI. List down the Significance of the RTI Act. Discuss the criticisms against it.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting the significance of RTI applied to the Indian context.

Introduction:

The Right to Information Act was hailed as a major act towards a strengthened democracy and the following features prove that it has been able to deliver for what it was made –

  • Fight corruption: Its ability to fight corruption has significantly increased its hold in India.
  • Ensure Transparency: The enactment of this act ensured transparency in the bureaucratic systems.
  • Fight for Rights: It has increased its position as a major in charge for the fight of rights of the people.

Right to Information Act of India is world’s most extensively used transparency legislation. But despite 13 years of functionality, this act hasn’t been able to achieve the goals.

Body:

Kind of information that can be obtained through RTI:

  • Through RTI, we can get copies of government documents such as records, advices/opinions, reports, papers, file notings.
  • Even email communications and data held in electronic form has to be made available to citizens upon an RTI application.
  • We can even go to the department’s office and inspect their records and documents, if at all the RTI information is voluminous you can take photocopies, obtain certified copies, take printouts and what not.
  • Not only governments and their departments, but also smaller units such as your city corporation or gram panchayat fall under the ambit of RTI.
  • Be it police, passport office, your electricity/water supply company or even the IRCTC, all are required to furnish RTI information.

Significance of RTI Act:

  • The Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005 is an excellent example of a grass-roots movement culminating in the promulgation of groundbreaking laws and policies to achieve its ends.
  • Originally envisioned to ensure that entitlements reached intended beneficiaries, the act has been used by citizens across the country to fight for a range of rights and entitlements, fight corruption, carry out research, and usher in a modicum of transparency in the functioning of public authorities.
  • It empowers all Indian Citizens to seek information from public authorities, which includes central, state and local governments, Parliament, judiciary, police, etc.
  • Under RTI, a citizen can ask a question, seek information, take copies of official documents, inspect government work and its progress. 

Challenges faced by RTI Act:

  • Structural Constraints: The lack of staff has resulted in lakhs of RTI’ s pending. Currently, only seven ICs are working of which, along with the Chief Information Commissioner, fours ICs are to retire by the end of this year — reducing the strength of CIC to just three, against the mandated strength of 11.
  • Act gave relaxation to political parties, judiciary, even according to OFFICIAL SECRET ACT officers refuse to provide the information demanded.
  • Recent Proposal for amendment: It gives the power to decide the tenure and salary of the ICs to the central government; thereby, directly influencing the independence of the CIC.
  • Delay in disposing off cases: The number of RTI Appeals with the Information Commissions is growing at a rapid pace year after year. With current volumes of appeals, there seem to be delays in disposing off cases. In Maharashtra SIC, there is a “wait period” of more than 12 months, thus discouraging citizens from filing appeals.
  • No centralized database: There is no centralized data base of RTI (at the State/Centre level) applicants. Given the current situation, neither the State Government nor the State Information Commission is in a position to confirm the number of Public Authorities within a Department and therefore the details on the number of applications filed.
  • Complex Process of appeal: The procedure that in followed in courts is highly unsuited for appeals under RTI. But recent proposed amendments like written submission to public authority and attach evidences, would make this process more troublesome.
  • Pressure on RTI Activists: Almost 375 incidences of attacks on citizens have been recorded who sought information about corruption or wrongdoings in various public authorities.
  • Section 4 of RTI: Public authorities have been lax in providing information suo moto as mandated by section 4 of RTI. This is certainly increasing RTI queries.
  • Geographical reach: Majority of the Information Commissions are situated in the State capitals, which results in appellants undergoing an additional cost in order to attend the hearings.
  • Role confusion: There is no clear division of responsibilities between the State Information Commission and the Nodal Department in terms of monitoring the implementation of RTI Act.

Way Forward:

  • Repealing of the Official Secret Act.
  • Introducing an oath of transparency.
  • To use of multi-media campaigns in local languages for awareness.
  • Opening up the working of parliamentary standing committees for public access.
  • A centralized database of all RTI applicants with their information requests and responses from information providers would enable the Information Commission to publish more accurate numbers in the annual reports.
  • The State Government has to play a facilitative role to the Information Commission through issuance of supporting rules/orders to the Public Authorities.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Conclusion: 

The Second Administrative Reforms Commission has rightly called the RTI as “Masterkey to Good Governance”. The need of the hour is to weed out the flaws and plug the loopholes to guard this people’s legislation. The words of Sir Francis Bacon — “Knowledge is power” — aptly bring out the essence of the Right to Information Act (RTI).