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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 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: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

1. Discuss the concept of “people-centered development” and its contributions to global health equity. Illustrate with examples.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

The author discusses in detail in what way Prime Minister Narendra Modi has deftly drafted the people into the fight against pandemic. Thus hinting us to analyse the importance of “people-centered development”.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the concept of “people-centered development”, discuss its significance in the current times especially with respect to achieving global health equity.

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 “people-centered development” is.

Body:

People-centered development is an approach to international development that focuses on improving local communities’ self-reliance, social justice, and participatory decision-making. It recognizes that economic growth does not inherently contribute to human development. Then discuss the origin of the concept. And highlight the importance. The concept of “people-centered development” places the ultimate objective of development in helping humankind lead an affluent and happy life. Explain in what way it can help achieve global health equity ; illustrate using the example of India fighting COVID-19. Discuss any concerns associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

People-centered development is an approach to international development that focuses on improving local communities’ self-reliance, social justice, and participatory decision-making. It recognizes that economic growth does not inherently contribute to human development and calls for changes in social, political, and environmental values and practices. When people are placed at the centre of development programmers, high levels of human well-being can be achieved even at modes income levels. That is the central theme of UNDP’s innovative study, the Human Development Report 1990.

Body:

Various countries’ responses have handled the COVID-19 crisis:

  • The prime minister of Hungary used the majority he enjoys in the parliament to secure emergency powers for himself. He can now run Hungary through decrees without any judicial oversight. Any criticism of his measures will attract imprisonment up to five years.
  • Even traditional democracies like Britain and Israel are compelled to turn to emergency measures in their battle against the pandemic.
  • The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has ordered the courts to be shut down, authorised his internal security agencies to carry out extensive surveillance on citizens, and is punishing violators of the lockdown with six months’ imprisonment.
  • The United Kingdom, with well-established democratic institutions and practices, had to push through a pandemic-related bill that gave sweeping powers to different ministries for detaining and arresting people indefinitely.
  • President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha of Thailand have been granted supreme powers by their respective governments.
  • Italy and Spain have had to turn to their militaries for quarantining thousands of people.
  • Hungary, Lebanon, Malaysia, Peru and many other countries too have brought their armies to the streets to implement the restrictions.
  • Even Germany and the UK have turned to soldiers for help. The UK has formed a “COVID Response Group” with about 20,000 soldiers.

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, some justifiable. But critics argue that some leaders are using the public health emergency to usurp all powers and are emerging as authoritarian regimes.

Indian Government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Indian Government has neither asked for nor invoked any emergency powers.
  • It has not resorted to any draconian measures like censorship or detention without trial.
  • The cacophony about gagging the media is misinformed.
  • All that the Supreme Court had asked of the media is to be careful with fake news and give space to official figures and numbers.
  • Government has not called the army onto the streets nor has it denied people any fundamental human rights.
  • The lockdown instructions were largely voluntary and for the public good.
  • Yet, the Indian Govt. decided to depend not on authoritarian but on democratic means.
  • It has come out as a committed democratic country upholding basic human rights in a “world war-like situation”.

Health equity in India based on people-centered development:

  • Indian government has made the people stakeholders in governance.
  • Starting with the first major campaign for cleanliness — Swachh Bharat Abhiyan — right up to the present fight against the pandemic, Indian Government has displayed the unique skill of increasingly making people active participants.
  • Government schemes like the ICDS, MDM etc which are targeted at ensuring healthy women and children are also based on the he above idea.
  • Further, the involvement of ASHA’s, ANMs at the village levels along with the Gram Sabha itself in maintaining the healthy village and its people is a testimony to people centered government.

“people-centered development” would contribute to global health equity:

  • Integrated people-centred health services means putting people and communities, not diseases, at the centre of health systems, and empowering people to take charge of their own health rather than being passive recipients of services.
  • Evidence shows that health systems oriented around the needs of people and communities are more effective, cost less, improve health literacy and patient engagement, and are better prepared to respond to health crises.
  • It would improve the quality of the services available
  • help people get the care they need when they need it
  • help people be more active in looking after themselves
  • and reduce some of the pressure on health and social services
  • Improve the experience people have of care and help them feel more satisfied
  • encourage people to lead a healthier lifestyle, such as exercising or eating healthily

Conclusion:

India has taken his fight against the pandemic to a different level. It has used scientific methods, deployed technology in a big way and made 1.3 billion people stakeholders in his fight. Through a unique and visionary handling of this situation, India has presented a new mantra to the world: “Human-centric development cooperation.”

 

Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance.

2. In the backdrop of the Karnataka state sealing its border for movement from Kerala to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and the subsequent challenge by Kerala in the Judiciary, several legal questions and concerns have come to fore. Analyse.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

The article brings out the state of Kerala’s grievance over the fact of Karnataka sealing its border with Kerala.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the fact of Karnataka’s restriction on Kerala’s movement across the border. Discuss the legal issues and concerns associated to such an action.

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:

Briefly explain the context of the question.

Body:

Explain the background of the decision- Karnataka’s restriction on cross border movement; Kasaragod district of Kerala has reported a very high number of COVID-19 cases and has Kerala’s largest number of positive cases. The Karnataka government has a reasonable apprehension that allowing movement between Kasaragod and its bordering districts might result in the disease spreading to its territory. This led to Karnataka imposing a complete restriction of movement between Kerala and Karnataka even in case of emergency medical needs.

Explain the concerns associated ; present the key legal questions involved – public health emergency, Interestingly, inter-state migration and quarantine are under the Union List, while the prevention of infectious diseases moving from one State to another is under the Concurrent List etc.

Suggest what should have ideally been done, what were the alternatives before the govt. of Karnataka.

Conclusion:

Conclude with observations made by the apex court in this regard and that taking a humane approach is the need of the hour.

Introduction:

Kerala’s grievance over Karnataka sealing its border to prevent the spread of COVID-19 has brought under focus the extent and the possible limits, of restrictions that may be imposed by the government to deal with a public health emergency.

Body:

The issue:

  • Kasargod district in Kerala has emerged as a COVID-19 hotspot.
  • The people in Kasargod travel to the nearby Mangaluru in Karnataka to avail medical facilities.
  • However, with COVID-19 on rise, all states have sealed their borders and so has Karnataka.
  • Kerala Government challenged the border closure by Karnataka in Kerala High Court on humanitarian and health grounds of Kasargod people.
  • Kerala High Court directed the Centre to ensure free vehicular movement for those requiring urgent medical treatment on the national highway that connects Kasaragod in Kerala to Mangaluru in Karnataka.
  • Post it, the Supreme Court too has directed the Centre to confer with the States and formulate the norms for creating a passage at Talapadi, the border.

Issues bought to the fore:

  • A key question that has arisen is whether legal measures taken by the State to prevent the further spread of an epidemic can extend to a point where there is no exception even for medical needs.
  • The Kerala High Court took the view that denying emergency medical aid amounts to a violation of the right to life and liberty, and addressed jurisdictional objections from Karnataka by observing that its direction was to the Centre, as what was under closure was a national highway.
  • Karnataka’s objection is based on the fact that Kasaragod has Kerala’s largest number of positive cases. It has a reasonable apprehension that allowing vehicles might result in the disease spreading to its territory.
  • It is clear that those who may travel across the border for urgent medical needs are patients other than those who are pandemic victims.

Moot point in the issue:

  • The Kerala Governor promulgated the ‘Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020’ to arm itself with extraordinary powers to deal with the pandemic.
  • One of its clauses says the State can seal its borders for such period as necessary, while another empowers it to restrict the duration of essential or emergency services, including health, food supply and fuel.
  • Karnataka may have reason to believe that it is equally entitled to seal its borders and restrict essential services.
  • It is a moot question whether Kerala’s new law would weaken its case that its neighbour cannot shut down its border and deny medical access to its residents.

Way forward:

  • Inter-State migration and quarantine are under the Union List, while the prevention of infectious diseases moving from one State to another is under the Concurrent List.
  • This can only mean that while States have the power to impose border restrictions, the responsibility to prevent a breakdown of inter-State relations over such disputes is on the Centre.

 

Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges Government strives to have a workforce which reflects gender balance.

3. Strong Centre is a stout constitutional mechanism against conflict-ridden forces in India. Comment.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper II, based on the theme of Indian federalism.

Key demand of the question:

Explain in what way strong centre is a robust constitutional mechanism against divisive forces in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly comment on the aspects of Indian scheme of federalism.

Body:

To start with, explain that the framers intended to provide a sturdy centre keeping the sovereignty and unity and integrity in mind considering wide diversity and pluralism in India. Explain the situations were strong centre has played its role ; past demand for Pakistan-backed Khalistan and clamour for Dravida Nadu created instability in the proposed regions and posed a threat to the unity of the country. Issue of Kashmir in the far north, demand for a separate country for Assamese people etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance and uniqueness of Indian federalism.

Introduction:

Federalism is a system of government in which power is divided between a central authority and constituent political units. The Constitution of India establishes a federal structure to the Indian government, declaring it to be a “Union of States”. Indian model of federalism is called quasi-federal system as it contains major features of both a federation and union.

Body:

Reasons for a strong centre:

  • Regionalism
    • It is considered one of the significant challenges to federalism in India.
    • Federalism best thrives as a democratic system when it mitigates the centralization of power sharing between the centre and the states.
    • The pluralist character of India gives rise to many factors including regionalism. People from far northeast sometimes feel themselves at a formidable distance from New Delhi and people in southern part of the country with bigger states feel neglected having been within larger states.
    • The agitations for Gorkhaland, Bodoland, and Karbi Anglong have been revived. This is apart from the new demands for a separate Vidarbha State in Maharashtra, and Harit Pradesh and Poorvanchal in Uttar Pradesh. The more the number of states the more the centre will be held hostage to state parties on matters of national importance.
    • For instance, West Bengal threatened India’s Teesta river waters treaty with Bangladesh because of its possible potential costs for West Bengal. Even growing regional powers may affect effective foreign policy as the federal government may bow to the will of an individual state. India had to vote in favour of UNHRC resolution for Sri Lanka in 2012 for a backlash from Tamil Nadu.
  • Issue of Religion:
    • India is a fine example of religious heterogeneity that sometimes gives rise to turmoil to weaken the federation.
    • But the religious process need not be always divisive.
    • So long as there is a reasonable tolerance on the part of the people and a genuine secular policy on the part of the government, religion may not cause imbalances in a federation.
  • Language Conflicts:
    • Diversity in languages in India sometimes causes a blow the federal spirit of the Constitution.
    • There are 22 languages constitutionally approved in India. Besides, hundreds of dialects are spoken across the country.
    • Trouble arises when the strongest unit of the federation attempts to force a particular language on others.
    • The tussle for official language in India is still a burning issue.
    • The southern states’ opposition to Hindi as the official language of India has led to deep-seated language crisis in India.
  • External dangers:
    • External forces also create hindrances for a federation.
    • The tension in the North Eastern States in India is due to the interference of neighbouring countries.
    • China’s claim on some portion of the territory of Arunachal Pradesh on LAC threats the territorial integrity of India.
    • The Tamil issue in Sri Lanka creates disruptive forces in India. The alleged Pak hand in Khalistan movement in the past also has a say in weakening the Indian federation.

Conclusion:

The Indian Constitution is neither purely federal nor purely unitary, but it’s a combination of both. Indian Constitution is mainly federal with unique safeguards for enforcing national unity and growth. Also, federalism is not dead in India, as evidenced by the fact that new regions are demanding statehood and union has yielded, thus states like Manipur, Tripura, Goa, etc. have been created.

 

Topic:  Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

4. What are ‘Cytokine storms’? Discuss its effect on body’s immune system.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

The article presents a detailed discussion of what is the cytokine storm and how is it triggered when a virus (or antigen) enters the body for the first time? How does the body’s immune system work? Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the concept of cytokine storms and discuss its effect on body’s immune system.

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:

Define what cytokines are – Cytokines are a class of immune regulatory proteins that are secreted by the cells especially of the immune system.

Body:

Explain what a Cytokine Storm Syndrome is   – it a form of Systematic Inflammatory Response Syndrome that can be triggered by a variety of factors such as infections and certain drugs. It occurs when large number of white blood cells are activated and release inflammatory cytokines which in turn activate yet more white blood cells. Move on to explain Role of Cytokine storm in the human immune system. Present the case of COVID-19 patient, explain the effect in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the fact that cytokine is seen as a likely major cause of mortality in both 1918-20 spanish flue that killed more than 50 million people worldwide. And H1N1(swine flue) and H5N1 (bird flu) outbreaks in recent years.

Introduction:

A cytokine storm is an overproduction of immune cells and their activating compounds (cytokines), which, in a flu infection, is often associated with a surge of activated immune cells into the lungs. The resulting lung inflammation and fluid buildup can lead to respiratory distress and can be contaminated by a secondary bacterial pneumonia — often enhancing the mortality in patients. Sometimes, a cytokine storm may be severe or life threatening and lead to multiple organ failure. Also called hypercytokinemia.

Accumulating evidence suggests that a subset of patients with severe Covid-19 might have a “Cytokine Storm Syndrome” (CSS).

Body:

Role of Cytokines

Effect on body’s immune system:

  • Cytokines are inflammatory immunological proteins that are there to fight off infections and ward off cancers.
  • They are signalling proteins that are released by cells at local high concentrations — a cytokine storm
  • The release of inflammatory mediators increases the blood flow to the area, which allows larger numbers of immune system cells to be carried to the injured tissue, thereby aiding the repairing process. Thus, inflammation has an important protective function.
  • However, if this inflammatory response is not regulated, very dangerous consequences can follow. This is when a ‘cytokine storm’ can be triggered.
  • A severe immune reaction, leading to the secretion of too many cytokines in the bloodstream, can be harmful since an excess of immune cells can attack healthy tissue as well.
  • The damage to the surrounding cells can be catastrophic, leading to sepsis and potentially, death.

Conclusion:

Cytokine storms are not exclusive to coronavirus patients. It is an immune reaction that can occur during other infectious and non-infectious diseases as well. CSS is seen as a likely major cause of mortality in both the 1918-20 Spanish Flu that killed more than 50 million people worldwide, and the H1N1 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu) outbreaks in recent years. If the clinical features of CSS are not recognised and adequate treatment is not promptly instituted, multiple organ failure can result. Researchers writing in The Lancet have suggested that all severe COVID-19 patients should be screened for hyper inflammation.

 

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

5.  In what way can the vision and goals of the newly emerged start-ups be made more realistic during uncertain times in the country? Elucidate.(250 words)

Reference:  Live Mint

Why this question:

The question is amidst the woes start-ups across the country are facing owing to the effects of pandemic.

Key demand of the question:

Explain how the vision and goals of the newly emerged start-ups be made more realistic during uncertain times in the country and that can help start-ups pass the storm.

Directive:

Elucidate – 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:

A start-up is a company or project initiated by an entrepreneur to seek, effectively develop, and validate a scalable business model.

Body:

Briefly discuss the issues and challenges the start-ups across the country are facing from supply constraints to funding.

Explain with specific examples such as – The outbreak has created new challenges across sectors, with start-ups, particularly those in the health space, bearing the brunt of the disruption caused by the 21-day lockdown.

Suggest measures to address the above challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude that proper strategy, increase in customer interaction etc. help startups to turn adverse situations into their favor and make them realize their goals better than before.

Introduction:

The full impact of covid-19 on the world and our economy is impossible to be gauged. It is one of the most severe global crisis faced by the world in last 100 years. Some startups in areas like edutech, online gaming, collaboration, food delivery or healthcare will see growth during this period, others will face difficult choices in the weeks and months ahead. Startups, particularly those in an early stage, operate with a high level of uncertainty during the normal course of business.

Body:

Indian Startup Ecosystem:

  • India is home to the world’s third largest startup ecosystem, having added over 1,300 tech startups in 2019.
  • India now hosts 24 unicorns—a term to describe startups valued at $1 billion—the third-highest number of unicorns in a single country in the world.
  • The volume of investments in startups also grew.
  • Startups created 60,000 direct jobs in 2019 alone.
  • The start-up landscape in the country is becoming the epitome of innovation, with companies bringing out solutions that are aimed at solving locally relevant issues.
  • Startups can act as vehicles for socio-economic development and transformation.
  • India has immense potential both in terms of technological innovation and implementation of business models.
  • In light of the current economic environment, IPOs from India into the US could emerge over the next 12 to 18 months

Measures for an emerging Indian startup ecosystem in such times of crisis:

  • Focus on safety and engagement:
    • Many of our startups have been working from home for several weeks now.
    • Some have seen increase in productivity, while others have seen a drop of 15-20%.
    • The mantra here is to enable the teams with the right tools, develop daily rhythms to ensure seamless operations, set daily or weekly goals and, most importantly, communicate, communicate and communicate.
    • Engaging the employees, often and with empathy, is critical.
    • Set up a regular cadence of team video calls and check in often on how team members are doing—both personally and professionally.
  • Plan for a range of ‘worst-case’ scenarios:
    • Map out all possible scenarios, come up with a strategy for each one and figure out how you can extend your runway in the most likely scenarios.
    • Think about what you can cut, from marketing costs through to leases.
    • The last area you should consider reducing is staff costs, because these are the people helping you build your dream.
    • If you must address talent, talk with your team about a combination of options—pay cuts or deferrals, alternate working days, furloughs and reassigning roles—before reducing headcount. And if you must cut pay, lead from the front.
    • Start with your own, then trim executive pay before others.
  • Focus on customer engagement:
    • Take this time to get even closer to your customers.
    • Think of innovative ways in which you can connect with your users: gamification, online forums, or even asking customers to co-create new product lines.
    • If your brand can give back to the community in some way, do that, too. It’s a great time to show empathy and to demonstrate to customers that you care.
    • If you are a B2B company, take this time to understand what your customers’ priorities are. Consider changing your narrative to align with those needs.
  • Double down on your product:
    • This is a good opportunity to build the “must-have” you have been waiting to add to your product, or think about how to engage new audiences.
    • By staying close to the market, you may find new opportunities.
    • Companies with an offline component are accelerating their digital transformation. Logistics may be mired right now, but that will be resolved soon.
    • Covid-19 is a wake-up call for consumer companies without an e-commerce strategy.

Conclusion:

The current crisis is not like any financial downturn we have seen in recent history. But tough times can bring out the best in startup, its leadership team and your organization, bringing teams closer together and driving clarity in a startup’s mission and vision.

 

Topic:  Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.

6. Deliberate upon the case of  ‘infodemic’ of misinformation and cybercrime amidst the  COVID-19 pandemic.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why this question:

The author highlights the fact that it is time for the digital leaders to flatten the curve of the infodemic. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain what is an infodemic and how does it lead to misinformation and cybercrimes; illustrate using the present case of COVID-19.

Directive:

Deliberate – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define what constitutes an ‘Infodemic’.

Body:

From selling fake coronavirus cures online to a cyber-attack on hospitals’ critical information systems, criminals are exploiting the COVID-19 crisis.

Infodemics are an excessive amount of information about a problem, which makes it difficult to identify a solution. They can spread misinformation, disinformation and rumors during a health emergency. Infodemics can hamper an effective public health response and create confusion and distrust among people. Explain then the importance of awareness, role of media, cyber security etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that we are fighting an ‘infodemic’. Our common enemy is a virus, but our enemy is also a growing surge of misinformation. So to overcome this virus, we need to urgently promote facts and science. We also need to promote hope and solidarity over despair and division.

Introduction:

Infodemic refers to an excessive amount of information concerning a problem such that the solution is made more difficult. Some experts believe that an infodemic, or an excessive amount of both correct and incorrect information, is spreading around the world. The worst-case scenario is that inaccurate information is potentially spreading faster than the virus itself, causing people to make poorly informed decisions. The WHO has declared misinformation and fear as some of the biggest challenges they face with the new coronavirus.

Body:

Challenges posed by Infodemic:

  • WHO is leading the effort to slow the spread of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • But a global epidemic of misinformation—spreading rapidly through social media platforms and other outlets—poses a serious problem for public health.
  • every outbreak will be accompanied by a kind of tsunami of information, but also within this information you always have misinformation, rumours etc,
  • But the difference now with social media is that this phenomenon is amplified, it goes faster and further, like the viruses that travel with people and go faster and further.
  • In a country such as India, where 400 million turn to a single messaging app for sharing news and stories about any and everything, more than 240 million are on Facebook and, often, using it as the predominant source of news, a critical mass of misinformation leads to misdirected behaviours.
  • In times of crises, cybersecurity is critically important, he stressed, adding that a huge number of people under lockdown or movement restrictions are now working and studying remotely, making them susceptible to cybercrime.
  • Some instances are hard to ignore some dominant narratives: Bioweapons origins of the coronavirus (false); Bill Gates was behind it (false); UNICEF’s recommendations for warding off infection (unauthorised).

Measures taken up:

  • Immediately after COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, WHO’s risk communication team launched a new information platform called WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN), with the aim of using a series of amplifiers to share tailored information with specific target groups.
  • WHO is also working closely with UNICEF and other international agencies that have extensive experience in risk communications, such as the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
  • Social-media companies must sort, rank, and prioritize true and reliable information now more than ever.
  • Web companies such as Pinterest have already introduced headers and links on their homepages with information about Covid-19, for example.

Way forward:

  • Maintaining a system of fact-checking and tough standards regarding COVID-19 and weeding out messages, hashtags and transmitters that fail to meet them.
  • The traditional media has a key role in providing evidence-based information to the general public, which will then hopefully be picked up on social media.
  • For both social and conventional media, it is important that the public health community help the media to “better understand what they should be looking for, because the media sometimes gets ahead of the evidence”.
  • We, as users, have a responsibility to find better ways to seek advice or substitutes for that dopamine rush of sharing a message instantly liked, commented on and shared by others.
  • As a society, much like our global response to the coronavirus, we cannot rely on bottom-up decisions.
  • We need decisive leadership from the top. In the digital nations we inhabit, Facebook, Facebook-owned WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, it is imperative that the leaders of these nations act – and act now.
  • It is about time, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook/WhatsApp), Sundar Pichai (Google/YouTube), Jack Dorsey (Twitter) and Zhang Yiming (TikTok) made some tough calls, much like what their own political leaders have done.
  • It would be more useful if instead of a coy “Forwarded” note, WhatsApp had a note that said, “For Reliable Medical Advice, Check Out the WHO” or some other trustworthy medical authority

Conclusion:

It is time to step up and help us all practise social media distancing by enforcing stricter standards. Beyond India, the entire developing world relies on your platforms for news about the pandemic. If there ever was a time to demonstrate vision and leadership, this is the time for the digital leaders to flatten the curve of the infodemic before it flattens the most vulnerable populations on the planet.

 

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world. Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7. “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” Discuss the statement with focus on the importance of leadership in administration.(250 words)

Why this question:

The question is based on a quote by Martin Luther King and is based on the premise of significance of leadership as a key skill in administration.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the importance of consensus and the role of a leader in moulding the same amongst people..

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 what ‘consensus’ means, why is it important?

Body:

Consensus, by definition, means “agreement.” In a corporate setting, this translates to an alignment of purpose.

Setting common goals and working toward them brings a company into alignment. This has to be done on a global level as well as on a department-level or on a project-by-project basis.

Measuring on common goals gives clear indicators when things are falling out of alignment. Good leaders know how to set good goals and how to manage them so that their companies stay on-track.

Also explain the fact that those who disagree and who are not part of the “consensus” play a valuable role, too. Consensus cannot be forced, and this is where the role of leaders comes into place.

Illustrate the quote with any relevant example to justify better.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Good leaders can mold consensus, through negotiation and demonstration and through resisting anything contrary to the shared end-goal.

Introduction:

Leadership can be defined as the ability of the management to make sound decisions and inspire others to perform well. It is the process of directing the behavior of others towards achieving a common goal. In short, leadership is getting things done through others.

The above quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shows the importance of key qualities of leadership.

Body:

A leader doesn’t figure out where everyone is going and then jump to the front of the line. A leader chooses a destination, convinces others of the merits of taking the trip, shows them how they can get there, and then leads them on the journey. Molding consensus isn’t as easy as setting and measuring goals, though. A very key piece of it is making sure that those around you have a voice in the process.

As a leader, it’s one’s job to have a vision and share it with those with whom you work. And as a leader, you must build consensus for that vision. If you stand around waiting to find consensus, then you’re not leading anyone. The leader is out in front of the pack determining the proper path. At times you’ll head the wrong way and need to reverse course. Other times, as the leader of the pack, you’ll be the first to step into danger. But as a leader, you must be willing to take calculated risks.

When Dr. King made decisions on how to move the civil rights movement forward, he didn’t make any decision – whether to march or not, whether to visit the White House again or not, etc. — in a vacuum. He sought input from those around him, from his “team,” regularly. He molded consensus through asking those around him to voice their positions and to provide solutions. Since they shared common goals, they compromised on methods to reach them much more easily. Consensus is best achieved through that commonality as a starting point.

That said, those who disagree and who are not part of the “consensus” play a valuable role, too. Consensus cannot be forced.

Molding consensus can seem difficult, but it can be relatively easy. A few steps to take are:

  • Share your vision – so others know where you’re going
  • Set context – so others understand what had influenced your vision and decision
  • Seek targeted input – so you aren’t operating only from your own point of view, and therefore potentially missing something important
  • Engage change agents and champions – so that you have support and rallying agents for your ideas and your direction
  • Repeat as necessary

Conclusion:

A good leader always will bring end results back to one unified team and purpose, though. Molding consensus involves acknowledging different inputs but also must make sure that anyone on the “losing” end of a competitive atmosphere is always given another chance to succeed the next time around.