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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 10 April 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: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

1. Present the role played by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR)  amidst the ever-increasing role of soft power across the world.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) celebrates its foundation day on 9th of April. The article presents a brief upon it.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the role being played by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) while asserting the significance of soft power in the current world.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the coming of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) into existence. The ICCR is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India involved in India’s external cultural relations, through cultural exchanges with other countries and their peoples. It was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister.

Body:

To start with, highlight the role of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR). The ICCR was established when there was neither the concept of soft power nor was the term in use. Naturally then, the activities were limited in terms of their number and their diverse character as well. Majorly, it was about scholarships to foreign students, cultural exchanges involving artistes and youths as also establishing some chairs in some universities, etc. Now, in a world where every nation wants to influence and occupy the mind space of the global community and thereby add to its prowess, the ICCR has a major role to play. Owing to the limitations of military might which are more obvious, the importance of soft power is increasing.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the ICCR is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India involved in India’s external cultural relations, through cultural exchanges with other countries and their peoples, thus is pivotal in tendering India’s soft power diplomacy.

Introduction:

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), is an autonomous organization of the Government of India, involved in India’s external cultural relations, through cultural exchange with other countries and their peoples. ICCR was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister. ICCR observed its 70th foundation day on 9th April 2020.

Body:

Objectives of ICCR:

  • To actively participate in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes pertaining to India’s external cultural relations.
  • To foster and strengthen cultural relations and mutual understanding between India and other countries.
  • To promote cultural exchanges with other countries and people, and to develop relations with nations.

Role played by ICCR in India’s soft power promotion:

  • The Council addresses its mandate of cultural diplomacy through a broad range of activities.
  • In addition to organising cultural festivals in India and overseas, the ICCR financially supports a number of cultural institutions across India, and sponsors individual performers in dance, music, photography, theatre, and the visual arts.
  • It also administers the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding, established by the Government of India in 1965, whose last award was in 2009.
  • Administering of scholarship schemes for overseas; Grant of scholarships to foreign students to learn Indian dance and music, Exchange of Exhibitions,
  • Organizing of and participation in international conferences and seminars,
  • Participating in major cultural festivals abroad, Organizing ‘Festivals of India’ abroad; Exchange of groups of performing artistes,
  • Maintain Distinguished Visitors Programme, under which eminent personalities from abroad are invited to India and Indian experts are sent abroad to deliver lectures on issues of mutual interest,
  • Establish and maintain Chairs for Indian Studies in Universities abroad;
  • Maintenance of Indian Cultural Centres abroad,
  • Maintenance of a well-stocked library and the old Manuscripts; Awarding of Library Fellowships, Digitization of rare manuscripts,
  • Presentation of books, audio-visual material, art objects and musical instruments to institutions abroad, and
  • Execute MEA’s projects and administer scholarships of behalf of MEA and Ministry of Ayush.
  • ICCR has its Culture Centres active in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka through which it executes cultural activities with these countries.
  • India has signed Cultural Exchange Programmes (CEPs) with Bangladesh, China, Maldives and Myanmar.
  • Under the CEPs both the countries have to jointly share the cost for activities related to culture promotion. In case of the neighbouring countries, ICCR has extended additional assistance in terms of providing local hospitality for outgoing cultural groups to these countries.

CCR has instituted several awards, which are conferred upon the foreign nationals for their contributions in different fields, under its mandate of promoting India’s cultural relations. Such awards include:

  • Distinguished Indologist Award– The annual “ICCR Distinguished Indologist Award” was instituted in 2015 during the First World Indology Conference hosted in India. Award is conferred upon a foreign scholar for his contribution in study, teaching and research in any of the fields of Indian Studies.
  • World Sanskrit Award- The institution of annual “World Sanskrit Award” was announced during the 16th World Sanskrit Conference held in Bangkok in June 2015 recognizing the contribution of foreign scholars in promoting Sanskrit studies.
  • Distinguished Alumni Award – Citation and Plaque: Recognizing the achievements of foreign students who studied in India. It was instituted in 2015.
  • Gisela Bonn Award – Annual Gisela Bonn Award was instituted by ICCR in 1996 in the name of famous German journalist, writer, environmental activist and Indologist, Giesela Bonn, to honour her services to bolster Indo-German relations.

Conclusion:

The ICCR runs 36 cultural centres across the globe and its emphasis is on making India a hub of higher education. Classical dance, music or Hindi and Sanskrit language classes are continuing at most of ICCR centres via skype and other applications without hindrance. ICCR, which is the only soft power institution of the country which plans to focus more on areas that have so far largely remained “neglected” like Indian literature, Indian artisans and also Ayurveda.

 

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

2. How do Pressure Groups Influence Politics in India? Discuss their roles.(250  words)

Reference:  Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper II.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what pressure groups are, their role with special focus on their influence on Indian politics.

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:

In short define what pressure groups are.

Body:

On the whole, pressure groups have a very important role in a modern political system where the state is irrevocably wedded to the ideals of representative democracy and social welfare. One thing needs to be pointed out here. Pressure group is a group of people who are organized actively for promoting or defending their common interest. The term ‘pressure group’ is used as the group attempts to bring a change in the public policy by exerting pressure on the government. Discuss some examples from recent times.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Pressure groups are forms of organisations, which exert pressure on the political or administrative system of a country to extract benefits out of it and to advance their own interests. The term ‘pressure group’ refers to any interest group whose members because of their shared common attributes make claims on the other groups and on the political process. Caste based pressure groups arise from a particular caste and influence government policies in favour of their social and political demands.

Body:

Pressure groups may use a variety of methods to pursue their requirements. These include:

  • lobbying state members and the Parliament via petitions, letters and deputations;
  • consulting with ministers or senior public servants;
  • hiring professional lobbyists;
  • taking legal action through injunctions or appeals to higher courts;
  • campaigning for, or opposing, certain candidates at elections;
  • demonstrating outside Parliament and government offices or marching in the streets;
  • using the industrial muscle of strikes for political purposes.

Pressure Groups enhance the political system:

  • Pressure groups vary in size and organisational structure, which may not necessarily represent the amount of influence exerted upon a government’s policies. Pressure groups are primarily a consequence of inadequacies of the political parties.
  • It is obvious that trade unions, business organisations and professional associations can exert considerable pressure upon governments
  • Pressure groups are a vital link between the government and the governed. They keep governments more responsive to the wishes of the community, especially in between elections.
  • Pressure groups are able to express the views of minority groups in the community who might not otherwise receive a hearing. For example, the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) movement   has   generated consciousness amongst the people in questioning the actions  of  government regarding dam construction and its repercussions.
  • Pressure groups are able to use their expertise to provide the government with important information. It is also applicable to issues such as Indigenous reconciliation.
  • Pressure groups offer an alternative source of advice to the government, separate from that coming from the Public Service.
  • Pressure groups generally promote opportunities for political participation for citizens, without the need to join a political party. Moreover, they allow for the democratic rights of freedom of speech, assembly and association to be upheld.
  • For instance, in the State of Rajasthan, a people’s organisation known as Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghthan (MKSS), could succeed in making the people question and demand information on money spent on roads; loans to poor and so on. This made the basis for the right to information movement.

Pressure Groups distort the political system:

  • Pressure groups may represent a powerful minority force in society and exert political influence to the detriment of the majority of society. This is an argument often leveled at trade unions and business groups.
  • Some pressure groups exert influence because of their financial position, membership or organisation. This influence may be out of proportion to their position in society.
  • The use of direct action by pressure groups (eg. strikes by unions, demonstrations, blockades, pickets) can cause hardship to the community in general.
  • Some pressure groups are not democratic in themselves. Some have powerful, but unrepresentative leaders who may not be representative of anyone but themselves. Some leaders do not reflect the opinions of their organisation’s members.

Conclusion:

In a democratic nation like India, Pressure groups provide an informal means to meet and serve needs of different classes and sections of society. However, pursuit of illogical and unnecessary demands should not override affirmative action to ensure a vibrant and inclusive polity.

 

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

3. Article 21 of the Constitution provides, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law”. Analyse the value principle involved and its relevance in today’s context.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is based on the significance of Article 21, the principle involved in it and its relevance.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the relevance of Article 21, its significance with respect to right to life and the principle underlying.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Explain Article 21 in short first.

Body:

Under the canopy of Article 21, so many rights have found shelter, growth, and nourishment. Thus, the bare necessities, minimum and basic requirements those are essential, and unavoidable for a person is the core concept of the right to life. The expression of personal liberty in Article 21 was given an expansive interpretation. The court emphasized that the expression of personal liberty is of wide amplitude covering a variety of rights which go to constitute the personal liberty of man. Discuss the contemporary situations which limit life and personal liberty. Analyse the value principle of Article 21 and its relevance in today’s context

Conclusion:

In the course of time, Article 21 has come to be regarded as the heart of the Fundamental Rights. It has enough positive content in it, and it is not merely negative in its reach.

Introduction:

Article 21 states that “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to the procedure established by law.” This Article mentions two basic terms ‘life’ and ‘personal liberty’. The term ‘life’ used here is something more than mere animal existence. The inhibition against its deprivation extends to all those limbs by which life is enjoyed. ‘Personal liberty’ means the liberty of an individual to behave as one pleases except for those restraints imposed by laws and codes of conduct of the society in which one lives to safeguard the physical, moral, political, and economic welfare of others.

Body:

Value principles involved in article 21:

  • Though the phraseology of Article 21 starts with negative word but the word No has been used in relation to the word deprived.
  • The object of the fundamental right under Article 21 is to prevent encroachment upon personal liberty and deprivation of life except according to procedure established by law.
  • It clearly means that this fundamental right has been provided against state only.
  • If an act of private individual amounts to encroachment upon the personal liberty or deprivation of life of other person. Such violation would not fall under the parameters set for the Article 21.
  • In such a case the remedy for aggrieved person would be either under Article 226 of the constitution or under general law.
  • But, where an act of private individual supported by the state infringes the personal liberty or life of another person, the act will certainly come under the ambit of Article 21.
  • Article 21 of the Constitution deals with prevention of encroachment upon personal liberty or deprivation of life of a person.
  • The fundamental right under Article 21 is one of the most important rights provided under the Constitution which has been described as heart of fundamental rights by the Apex Court.

Relevance of Article 21 in today’s context: Judicial intervention has ensured that the scope of Article 21 is not narrow and restricted. It has been widened by several landmark judgements.

  • Right to Live with Human Dignity:
    • The Supreme Court in the case of Maneka Gandhi vs. Union of India held that right to life embodied in Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, is not merely a physical right but it also includes within its ambit, the right to live with human dignity.
    • In the case of Francis Coralie vs. Union Territory of Delhi it was held that right to live includes the right to live with human dignity with bare necessities of life such as: Adequate nutrition, Clothing, and Shelter over the head etc
  • Right against sexual harassment at workplace:
    • In the case of Vishakha vs. the State of Rajasthan, the court declared that sexual harassment of a working woman workplace amounts to a violation of rights under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Indian Constitution. The guidelines have been laid down in order to protect the rights of a woman at workplace
  • Right to clean environment
    • The Right to life under Article 21 means a life of dignity to live in a proper and healthy environment.
    • The maintenance of various things like: Health, Proper sanitation system, and Preservation of environment comes under the purview of the Article 21.
    • In the case of Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum vs Union of India the Supreme Court held that though industries are vital for the country’s development, having regards to the pollution caused by them, the principle of ‘sustainable development’ has to be adopted as the balancing concept.
  • Right to know or right to be informed
    • It has been recognized by the Courts, in the case of Reliance Petrochemicals Ltd. vs. Proprietors of Indian Express Newspapers that right to know falls under the scope of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as an essential ingredient of participatory democracy.
  • Right of prisoners
    • The protection under Article 21 is also available to those who have been convicted of any offense. Even though he is deprived of his other rights, but he is entitled to the rights guaranteed under Article 21.
  • Right against illegal detention
    • In the case of K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court laid down the guidelines to be followed by the Central and the State investigating authorities in all cases of arrest and detention
  • Right to Legal Aid and Right to speedy trial
    • It has been held, in the case of Hussainara Khatoon vs. State of Bihar, that right to free legal aid at the cost of the State to an accused who cannot afford legal services for reasons of poverty, indigence or incommunicado situation is a part of fair, just and reasonable procedure under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Disclosure of dreadful diseases
    • The Court herein opined that the lady proposing to marry a person with dreadful disease is entitled to all human rights, which are available to any human being and the right to be told that person is suffering from a deadly disease which is sexually communicable, is her right to life guaranteed under Article 21.
  • Right to Privacy
    • In the recent case of Justice K.S. Puttuswamy vs. Union of India and Other, the Supreme Court held privacy to be a fundamental right under the Constitution of India.
  • Right to die with dignity
    • Supreme Court expanded the right to life to incorporate the right to die with dignity. It legalised passive euthanasia and approved ‘living will’ to provide terminally ill patients or those in persistent and incurable vegetative state (PVS) a dignified exit by refusing medical treatment or life support.

Conclusion:

The Apex Court led a great importance on reasonableness and rationality of the provision and it is pointed out that in the name of undue stress on Fundamental Rights and Individual Liberty, the ideals of social and economic justice cannot be given a go-by. Thus it is clear that the provision Article 21 was constructed narrowly at the initial stage but the law in respect of life and personal liberty of a person was developed gradually and a liberal interpretation was given to these words. New dimensions have been added to the scope of Article21 from time to time. The interpretation which has been given to the words life and personal liberty in various decisions of the Apex Court, it can be said that the protection of life and personal liberty has got multi-dimensional meaning and any arbitrary, whimsical and fanciful act of the State which deprived the life or personal liberty of a person would be against the provision of Article 21 of the Constitution.

 

Topic:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4. Examine whether the Essential Commodities Act (ECA)is relevant in today’s India?(250 words)

Reference:  Business Today

Why this question:

The question is based on the do ability of Essential Commodities Act (ECA) in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Explain if the Essential Commodities Act 1955 is an anachronistic act, present your opinion whether it should be kept alive or done away with.

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 define the basics of Essential Commodities Act.

Body:

The ECA, 1955, was enacted to control the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce in, certain goods considered as essential commodities. The Act itself does not lay out rules and regulations but allows the states to issue control orders related to dealer licensing, regulate stock limits, and restrict movement of goods and requirements of compulsory purchases under a levy system. Present the advantages and disadvantages associated with the Act. Suggest solutions to address the associated challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955 provides for the control of production, supply, distribution, trade and commerce i of a whole host of commodities it declares ‘essential’ in order to make them available to consumers at fair prices. The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilizers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products. The Centre under the Act has the power to include new commodities as and when the need arises, and can take them off the list once the situation improves, in view of public interest. Under the Act, the government can also fix the maximum retail price (MRP) of any packaged product that it declares an “essential commodity”.

Body:

Working of ECA:

  • If the Centre finds that a certain commodity is in short supply and its price is spiking, it can notify stock-holding limits on it for a specified period.
  • The States act on this notification to specify limits and take steps to ensure that these are adhered to.
  • Anybody trading or dealing in a commodity, be it wholesalers, retailers or even importers are prevented from stockpiling it beyond a certain quantity.
  • A State can, however, choose not to impose any restrictions. But once it does, traders have to immediately sell into the market any stocks held beyond the mandated quantity.

Importance of ECA:

  • The ECA gives consumers protection against irrational spikes in prices of essential commodities.
  • The Government has invoked the Act umpteen times to ensure adequate supplies.
  • It cracks down on hoarders and black-marketeers of such commodities.
  • State agencies conduct raids to get everyone to toe the line and the errant are punished.

Views of the recent Economic Survey:

  • According to the Economic survey 2019-20, ECA act is outdated and it opined that ECA should be repealed.
  • In September 2019, the Centre invoked the ECA Act’s provisions to impose stock limits on onions after heavy rains wiped out a quarter of the kharif crop and led to a sustained spike in prices.
  • Although the restrictions on both retail and wholesale traders were meant to prevent hoarding and enhance supply in the market, the Survey showed that there was actually an increase in price volatility and a widening wedge between wholesale and retail prices.
  • This is due to the fact that ECA act fails to differentiate between hoarding and Storage.
  • Thus in the long term, the Act disincentives development of storage infrastructure, thereby leading to increased volatility in prices following production/ consumption shocks — the opposite of what it is intended for.
  • The report finds that the ECA has been enacted in the year 1955, when the economy was ravaged by famine and food shortages. The government should note that today’s scenario is much more different.

Conclusion:

Without the ECA the common man would be at the mercy of opportunistic traders and shopkeepers. It empowers the government to control prices directly too.

 

Topic:  Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

5.Can we integrate “Assemble in India for the world” into “Make in India” to achieve an unprecedented opportunity to chart a China-like, labour-intensive, export trajectory that was witnessed till recent times? Evaluate. (250 words)

Reference:  Money Control 

Why this question:

The question is based on the observations pointed out by this year’s economic survey.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the advantages and possibility of integrating “Assemble in India for the world” into “Make in India” to achieve an unprecedented opportunity to chart a China-like, labour-intensive, export trajectory that was witnessed till recent times.

Directive:

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidences.  You have to appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming a personal opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

On the much debated job creation issue, the Survey highlights that India can look at creating employment by emerging as a major hub for final assembly in a range of products.

Body:

To start with, explain that the Survey says India has unprecedented opportunity to chart a China-like, labour-intensive, export trajectory by integrating “Assemble in India for the world” into Make in India. Discuss the observations made by survey. Give your opinion about the way ahead.

Conclusion:

Conclude on a positive note and suggest at the potential that Indian markets have.

Introduction:

The survey finds that by integrating “Assemble in India for the world” into Make in India, India can create 4 crore well-paid jobs by 2025 and 8 crore by 2030. Our trade policy must be an enabler because growth in exports provides a much-needed pathway for job creation in India. Exports of network products, which is expected to equal $7 trillion worldwide in 2025, can contribute a quarter of the increase in value-added for the $5 trillion economy by 2025. Contrary to recent fears, careful analysis that controls for all confounding factors shows that India has gained from trade agreements: a 0.7 per cent increase per year in trade surplus with partner countries for manufactured products and 2.3 per cent per year for total merchandise.

Body:

Challenges for ‘Assemble in India’:

  • lack of diversification in our export basket.
  • Lack of specialization and state of economies of scale.
  • Stringent labour laws.
  • Lack of ease of doing business like credit facilities, land, electricity etc.
  • Unskilled labour.
  • In contrast to India, export growth of capital-intensive products from China has been driven by its high level of participation in GVCs (global value chains) within these industries

gvcs

Measures needed:

  • India needs to specialize more in the areas of its comparative advantage and achieve significant quantity expansion.
  • India must replace China as the major exporter of capital-intensive products.
  • India has gained a competitive advantage in relatively low and middle income country markets driven by the nature of its specialization. This must be replicated in the richer economies.
  • India can benefit significantly from utilizing the potential opportunities from greater trade with high income markets. However, this requires a reorientation of our trade specialization towards labour-intensive product lines.
  • The above could be achieved by selective focus on traditional labour-intensive sectors such as textiles, especially man-made fibres, and increased participation in GVCs.
  • India can look at creating employment in two groups of industries, given our comparative advantage in labour-intensive activities and the imperative of creating employment for a growing labour force.

Way forward:

  • First, there exists a significant unexploited export potential in India’s traditional unskilled labour-intensive industries such as textiles, clothing, footwear and toys.
  • Second, India has huge potential to emerge as a major hub for final assembly in a range of products, referred to as “network products” (NP).
  • The Global Value Chains (GVCs) in these industries are controlled by leading MNEs such as Apple, Samsung, Sony etc. within “producer driven” networks. In general, these products are not produced from start to finish within a given country; instead, countries specialize in particular tasks or stages of the good’s production sequence.
  • Focus on “Network Products”: A group of Industries, where production processes are globally fragmented and controlled by leading Multi-National Enterprises (MNEs) within their “producer driven” global production networks. Examples of network products include computers, electronic and electrical equipment, telecommunication equipment, road vehicles etc. For
  • Laser-like focus must be placed on enabling assembling operations at mammoth scale in network products. As an India that harbours misplaced insecurity on the trade front is unlikely to grab this opportunity, our trade policy must be an enabler.
  • policy measures should focus on reducing input tariffs, implementation of key factor market reforms, providing an enabling environment for the entry of lead firms into the country and reducing the service link costs.

 

Topic:  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6. Explain how ethics can help in improving the declining values of media today?(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the premise of declining values of media in the current times.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the role that ethics can play in improving the declining values of media in the current times.

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:

Introduce by writing the relation between ethics and values. Ethics are set of rules that govern the behaviour or person or group and values refers to the belief of a person. Though different but both ethics and values share a strong correlation.

Body:

Talk about the declining values of media; Despite growth in massive growth of media and emergence of new forms of media, such as digital media, Social media, we also see the problem of decline in values such as – fake news, fabricated media, Corporatization of media, paid news, unwarranted sting operations etc. Explain how ethics can contribute in improving the declining values.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of ethics and values in ensuring ethical media.

Introduction:

Media acts as a watchdog of public interest in a democracy. It plays an important role in a democracy and serves as an agency of the people to inform them of the events of national and international significance. Media is considered as “Fourth Pillar” in democratic countries along with Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary. Its importance in influencing readers can be gauged by the role it played during the freedom struggle, politically educating millions of Indians who joined the leaders in their fight against the British imperialism.

Body:

Importance of Media in today’s India: 

  • Journalism is a profession that serves. By virtue, thereof it enjoys the privilege to ‘question’ others.
  • The fundamental objective of journalism is to serve the people with news, views, comments and information on matters of public interest in a fair, accurate, unbiased: and decent manner and language.
  • The press is an indispensable pillar of democracy. It purveys public opinion and shapes it.  Parliamentary democracy can flourish only under the watchful eyes of the media.    Media not only reports but acts as a bridge between the state and the public.
  • With the advent of private TV channels, the media seems to have taken over the reins of human life and society in every walk of life.
  • The media today does not remain satisfied as the Fourth Estate, it has assumed the foremost importance in society and governance. While playing the role of informer, the media also takes the shape of a motivator and a leader.
  • Such is the influence of media that it can make or unmake any individual, institution or any thought. So all pervasive and all-powerful is today its impact on the society. With so much power and strength, the media cannot lose sight of its privileges, duties and obligations.

Declining values of Media in contemporary times:

  • The issues of paid news, media trial, non-issues being presented as real news while the real issues are sidelined, the news is being doctored and fact distortion for profits and political favour, fake news, yellow journalism are important concerns which are influencing public and impacting national security. For instance, fear mongering through media has led to mob lynchings, attacks on the migrant population.
  • The absence of objective journalism leads to the false presentation of truth in a society which affects the perception and opinions of people. As observed in the case of Cambridge Analytica case, the biased news coverage on social media platform affected the Presidential elections in the U.S.
  • The chase for sensationalism and higher TRP rates as observed in the coverage of 26/11 terrorist attacks in India risked the internal security of the nation. The sensationalism-driven reporting compromised the identities of rape victims and survivors despite SC guidelines.
  • Trial by media does not follow the due process of law and can reduce the public trust in institutions of governance like the judiciary.
  • Paid news and fake news can manipulate public perception and can instigate hatred, violence, and disharmony among the various community within society.
  • With the advent of social media, technological changes, the reach of media has grown profoundly. Its reach and role in impacting public opinion have made it even more important to ensure its objectivity, non-partisanship calls for the enforcement of journalistic ethics.

Measures to inculcate ethics in media:

  • It is therefore important that for the media to carry out their important role effectively and efficiently, the media should operate within a well-defined code of ethics while maintaining their freedom and editorial independence.
  • Media should be impartial and free from the propaganda mechanisms. It should provide balanced account to the people.
  • Since irresponsible journalism invites restriction, robbing off the media its freedom, professional conduct and ethical practice are vital to safeguarding freedom of the media and ensuring that public trust invested in the media is sustained.
  • Ensuring the objective presentation of news and fair and unbiased comment, to promote the advancement of education and culture.
  • Raising and maintain high standards of decency and decorum in all programmes.
  • Providing programmes for the young which, by variety and content, will inculcate the principles of good citizenship.
  • Promoting communal harmony, religious tolerance and international understanding.
  • Treating controversial public issues in an impartial and dispassionate manner.
  • Respecting human rights and dignity.

 

Topic:  Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7. What do you understand by ‘civic virtue’ in public life? What are the challenges in practicing it in today’s time? How can these challenges be overcome? Elaborate. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics by Lexicon Publications

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of civic virtue and its importance in public life.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what do you understand by ‘civic virtue’ in public life? What are the challenges in practicing it in today’s time? How can these challenges be overcome.

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:

Civic virtue is morality or a standard of righteous behavior in relation to a citizen’s involvement in a society. It is an underpinning of how a citizen relates to the society. As such, civic virtue has different notions in different societies

Body:

To start with, Define the civic virtue and discuss different dimensions of civic virtue. Civic virtue lays stress on communitarianism rather than individualism. Robert Putnam has defined three civic virtues: active participation in public life, trustworthiness and reciprocity that is required through social connectedness. Discuss the challenges faced by public while practicing it; Growing individualism, Competition for limited resources, Lack of trust between public organizations and people, Difficulties in bringing about changes in behaviour and attitude etc. Suggest what needs to be done to overcome these challenges? – Promote civic education, Lead by Example, bring awareness about rights and duties etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Civic virtues are a species of human virtue – specifically, they are those settled dispositions in human beings that exhibit the excellences relevant to membership in a political community. Put another way, civic virtue is simply the character of a good citizen. Closely linked to the concept of citizenship, civic virtue is often conceived as the dedication of citizens to the common welfare of their community even at the cost of their individual interests.

Body:

Importance:

  • Civic virtue helps people understand their ties to the community and their responsibilities within it. In many ways, an educated citizen who possesses civic virtue is a public good.
  • Civic virtue is the moral underpinning of how a citizen relates to society.
  • Without an understanding of civic virtue, citizens are less likely to look beyond their own families, friends, and economic interests.
  • They are less likely to help others in the community, to volunteer their time, to give money to nonprofit organizations, or to participate in a group that benefits society

challenges in practicing Civic virtue in today’s time:

  • Growing individualism
  • Competition for limited resources
  • Lack of trust between public organizations and people
  • Difficulties in bringing about changes in behaviour and attitude
  • Social media makes it harder to distinguish fact from fiction, accuracy from distortion. Misinformation, hoaxes, and outright lies spread just as rapidly as the truth.
  • Increasing polarization is likely exacerbating widespread voter irrationality.
  • voters demonstrate motivated reasoning, cognitive bias, and sloppy thinking when they act politically.
  • Citizens today also have unprecedented access to information and new technologies that enable mass mobilization and coordinated activity. Still, we should not ignore the real barriers that hinder their ability to take part in democratic self-government.

Measures to overcome the challenges:

  • In providing a civic education, it is imperative that the importance of philanthropy be stressed.
  • To assist in this, schools can create a mission statement for their philanthropic endeavors and reward classes that actively participate.
  • In addition, teachers can organize philanthropic class projects that range from collecting clothing for a family in need to taking a field trip to work at a local soup kitchen.
  • In understanding civic virtue, it is important that students see the results of their philanthropic efforts and their ties to the greater society.