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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 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:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

1. Social decay, deterioration of the previous order and long spells of chaos and disorder are some of the main causes of decline of the Great Mughal Empire in India. Deliberate.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The question is based on the premise of the downfall and decline of Mughal empire.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the factors responsible for downfall and decline of Mughal empire. And examine if Social decay, deterioration of the previous order and long spells of chaos and disorder were the main reasons behind it.

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:

Briefly talk about the period of rule of the Mughals in India.

Body:

The period of the Great Mughals, which began in 1526 with Babur’s accession to the throne, ended with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707 which marked the end of an era in Indian history. Highlight the fact that decline and downfall of the Mughal Empire was due to the combination of political, social and economic factors. Explain these in detail. Discuss the long term and short term effects of these factors.

Conclusion:

Conclude with significance of the factors that led to its decline and establishment of newer kingdoms.

Introduction:

The period of the Great Mughals, which began in 1526 with Babur’s accession to the throne, ended with the death of Aurangzeb in 1707. Aurangzeb’s death marked the end of an era in Indian history. When Aurangzeb died, the empire of the Mughals was the largest in India. Yet, within about fifty years of his death, the Mughal Empire disintegrated.

Body:

The reasons responsible for the decline of the Mughal empire in India are:

  • Wars of Succession:
    • The Mughals did not follow any law of succession like the law of primogeniture.
    • Consequently, each time a ruler died, a war of succession between the brothers for the throne started.
    • This weakened the Mughal Empire, especially after Aurangzeb.
    • The nobles, by siding with one contender or the other, increased their own power.
  • Aurangzeb’s Policies:
    • Aurangzeb failed to realize that the vast Mughal Empire depended on the willing support of the people.
    • Aurangzeb’s religious orthodoxy and his policy towards the Hindus damaged the stability of the Mughal empire
    • He lost the support of the Rajputs who had contributed greatly to the strength of the Empire.
    • They had acted as pillars of support, but Aurangzeb’s policy turned them to bitter foes.
    • The wars with the Sikhs, the Marathas, the Jats and the Rajputs had drained the resources of the Mughal Empire.
  • Weak Successors of Aurangzeb:
    • The successors of Aurangzeb were weak and became victims of the intrigues and conspiracies of the faction-ridden nobles.
    • They were inefficient generals and incapable of suppressing revolts.
    • The absence of a strong ruler, an efficient bureaucracy and a capable army had made the Mughal Empire weak.
    • After Bahadur Shah’s reign came a long list of weak, worthless and luxury-loving Kings.
  • Empty Treasury:
    • Shah Jahan’s zeal for construction had depleted the treasury.
    • Aurangzeb’s long wars in the south had further drained the exchequer.
  • Invasions:
    • Foreign invasions sapped the remaining strength of the Mughals and hastened the process of disintegration.
    • The invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali resulted in further drainage of wealth.
    • These invasions shook the very stability of the empire.
  • Size of the Empire and Challenge from Regional Powers:
    • The Mughal Empire had become too large to be controlled by any ruler from one centre i.e. Delhi.
    • The Great Mughals were efficient and exercised control over ministers and army, but the later Mughals were poor administrators.
    • As a result, the distant provinces became independent. The rise of independent states led to the disintegration of the Mughal Empire.
  • Rise of independent states in the 18th century:
    • With the decline of the Mughal Empire a number of provinces seceded from the empire and several independent states came into existence.
    • Hyderabad:
      • The State of Hyderabad was founded by Qamar-ud-din Siddiqi, who was appointed Viceroy of the Deccan, with the title of Nizam-ul- Mulk, by Emperor Farrukhsiyar in 1712.
      • He established a virtually independent state but returned to Delhi during the reign of Emperor Mohammad Shah.
      • In 1724, he was reappointed Viceroy of the Deccan with the title of Asaf Jah.
    • Bengal:
      • Bengal in the 18th century comprised Bengal, Bihar and Orissa.
      • Murshid Quli Khan was the Diwan of Bengal under Aurangzeb.
      • Farrukhsiyar appointed him Subedar (governor) of Bengal in 1717.
    • Awadh:
      • The subah of Awadh comprised Benaras and some districts near Allahabad.
      • Saadat Khan Burhan-ul-Mulk was appointed Governor of Awadh by the Mughal Emperor.
      • But he soon became independent.
    • Deterioration of land relations
      • Shahjahan and Aurangzeb opted for jagirs and Paibaqi instead of paying directly from state treasury to the officials.
      • Jagirs refer to temporary allotment of lands to officials for their services which may be according to the satisfaction of the Emperor.
      • Paibaqi refers to revenue from reserved lands which were sent to the central treasury.
      • There was a constant clash of interest between the nobles and zamindars.
    • Rise of the Marathas
      • Marathas consolidated their position in Western India
      • They started making plans for a greater Maharashtra empire.

Conclusion:

The decline of the Mughal Empire was due to social, economic, political and institutional factors. By 1813, the British government took away the power that allowed the East India Company’s monopoly and later, the company worked on behalf of the government. In 1857, the Indian Rebellion occured which prompted the British colonial office to exile the last emperor, Bahadur Shah II, and take complete control of the Indian subcontinent.

 

Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

2. Highlight the powers and functions of the Election Commission of India (ECI). Also, discuss the issues regarding the independence and impartiality of the ECI. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is based on the topic of ECI and related issues.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the powers and functions of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and discuss the issues regarding the independence and impartiality of it.

Directive:

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Give a brief introduction about Election Commission of India (ECI).

Body:

The Election Commission is a permanent and an independent body established by the Constitution of India directly to ensure free and fair elections. Highlight its administrative, advisory and quasi-judicial powers and functions; administrative, advisory and quasi-judicial. State the provisions regarding the Commission’s independence and discuss various issues surrounding it such as – appointments, security of tenure, appointment post retirement, with respect to financial autonomy etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that in light of these issues, it is essential to impart requisite institutional protection and independence so that public faith in the EC is strengthened. This bolsters the case for the removal of any political bias in the appointment of the CEC and ECs and the same should be channeled in a manner ensuring adequate participation of all the relevant stakeholders

Introduction:

The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state legislatures, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act. It was established on January 25, 1950.

Body:

The powers of ECI:

  • Power to Superintendent, Direct and Control:
    • The Election Commission has got the power to conduct electoral rolls for all the elections of Parliament, State Legislature, Offices of President and Vice President.
    • The Election Commission has the power of Superintendence, Direction and control over the preparation of the electoral rolls.
  • Power to Order Re-Poll:
    • Article 324 confers on the Election Commission not only the power to conduct elections but also the power to order a fresh poll.
    • The order for re-poll may be given if there is hooliganism, breakdown of law and order at the time of polling or during counting of votes.
  • Power to Allot Symbols:
    • The Election Commission is empowered by the rule 5(1) of the rules made by the Central Government under Representation of People’s Act, 1951 to specify the symbols to the candidates for elections.
    • The Symbols Order, 1968 has also been issued by the Election Commission read with the above mentioned rules.
  • Power to Postpone the Elections:
    • In the case Digvijay Mote v. Union of India the Supreme Court has ruled that if there is any kind of disturbing situations going on in a state or in any part of the state which is preventing the conduction of free and fair elections, then the Election Commission has got the power to postpone the elections.
  • Power to Seek Information Regarding Election Expenses:
    • In the case Registered Society v. UOI, the question regarding the “election expenses” incurred by the political parties during the time of elections was brought before the court.
    • The Court ruled that the purity of election is fundamental to democracy and therefore the Election Commission has got the power to issues such directions requiring the political parties to submit to the Election Commission, for its scrutiny, the details of the expenditure incurred during elections.
  • Decriminalization of Politics:
    • Election Commission is seriously concerned about the existing criminalization in politics. In order to curb the criminal activities in politics it has taken variety of initiatives which are as follows;
  • Model Code of Conduct:
    • Election Commission in every election prescribes the model code of conduct for both political parties and the candidates which deals with the manner in which the political parties and the candidates should conduct themselves during elections in order to push forward free and fair elections.
  • Limiting The Poll Expense:
    • India has already experienced many elections where there has been vulgar show of money during elections.
    • In order to get rid of such activities, the Election Commission has issued limit on the amount that can be spent by a candidate during the election campaign.
    • Election Commission also appoints expenditure observers to keep an eye on the expenses incurred by the candidates during election campaign.

Functions of ECI include:

  • Primary Functions:
    • The primary function of the Election Commission which is entrusted by the Constitution is superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for and conduct of the elections to Parliament and to the legislature of every state and also of the elections to the offices of the President and Vice President of India.
    • Other primary functions of Election Commission include demarcation of constituencies, preparation of electoral rolls, arranging sufficient staff for smoothly conducting the elections, conduction of polls, briefings the details of elections to media
  • Advisory function:
    • The Election Commission has got an important duty of advising the President and the Governor in the matter of disqualification of sitting members of Parliament, State Legislature on all grounds other than the ground of defection. (Art 103 and 192).
    • The Election Commission has been vested with advisory jurisdiction under the law. If a person is found guilty of corrupt practise at election which comes before High Court in Election petition is before Supreme Court in election appeal, the President decides the question whether such persons should be disqualified from contesting future elections and, if so, for what period.
  • Quasi-Judicial Functions:
    • All political parties wishing to contest in the elections must register themselves with the Election Commission. Such function of registration of political parties by the Election Commission has been held by the Supreme Court as quasi-judicial function of the commission.
    • The Supreme Court also held that in merger disputes between two political parties, the Election Commission exercises the judicial power of state and against whose decision an appeal shall straight away lie to Supreme Court under appellate jurisdiction under Art. 136.

ECI currently faces some challenges which are seen as its limitations:

  • Model code of conduct:
    • The lack of statutory backing of MCC makes it difficult to be implemented in its true letter and spirit.
    • MCC has become increasingly more difficult in recent times due to evolution of new mediums of communications and innovative and overzealous campaigning.
    • Social media is an evolving platform. It provides an intimate, immediate and democratic space for information dissemination and interaction. The scale and depth of this platform is so vast that it is practically impossible to oversight and regulates it in a liberal democracy like India.
  • Lack of Autonomy:
    • According to the Supreme Court of India, The Election Commission has to act in conformity with the law (representatives of People’s Act) made by Parliament and it cannot transgress the same.
    • The election process of Chief election commission is not interference proof. The expenditure incurred by it is not charged on consolidated fund of India.
    • It doesn’t even has a separate dedicated staff for conducting election process and has to be dependent on various government departments for roping in personnel.
  • Decreasing credibility:
    • Many political parties challenged the tampering with the EVMs which led to victory of a particular party.
    • Frequent use of money power and muscle power is being viewed as rude shock to fairness of election pr
  • Insufficient Plenary powers:
    • The EC can only disqualify a candidate if the money expenditure is no shown in his accounts. Other than that use of illicit money and black money tackling is outside the purview of EC.
    • However, it has recommended the govt. to amend RPA and make it an offence. It has also suggested to include new clause 58 (B) to empower itself to cancel poll in case of muscle power use.
  • Structural issues:
    • The Constitution has not prescribed the qualifications (legal, educational, administrative or judicial) of the members of the Election Commission.
    • The Constitution has not debarred the retiring election commissioners from any further appointment by the government.
    • The tenure of Election commissioner not fixed hence not safe and independent of government’s intervention.

Way forward:

  • ECI has taken stringent measures to overcome many of the challenges like VVPAT, open challenge to hack the EVM, multi- stakeholder involvement of social media companies to regulate the Social media during MCC, cVIGIL to involve people also in MCC activities etc.
  • However, there needs to be some positive action from the side of the Government too to incorporate changes.
  • Further, full usage of the powers of EC is the need of the hour to ensure MCC is followed in true letter and spirit.
  • Technology has been a savior for ECI over a period of time. Innovative usage of the social media and apps like cVIGIL can be leveraged to make elections free and fair.

Conclusion:

ECI has transformed itself into an institution which is trusted by Indian people. Its various recommendations and moves to keep up with the challenges of the times have strengthened the elections process. Its neutrality, efficiency and work ethic are well established now. Robustness of our election results, peaceful transition of power and people’s faith in the EC stand testimony to all its virtues. It certainly is the dark knight of our democracy.

 

Topic:  Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

3. Are tribunals a panacea for judicial efficiency? Does tribunalisation of justice undermine the principles set in our constitution? Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  Legal Services India 

Indian polity by Lakshmikant  

Why this question:

The question is based on the concept of Tribunals and there contribution in justice delivery.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the contributions of tribunal in justice delivery and the challenges associated with them.

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 mention the concept of tribunals.

Body:

To start with, The original constitution did not contain provisions with respect to tribunals. However, the 42nd amendment Act, 1976 added a new part XIV A to the constitution. The Administrative tribunals are formed under the Article 323A of the Indian Constitution. However, tribunals for other matters are formed under the Article 323B of the Indian Constitution. Then discuss whether tribunals promote judicial efficiency. Present both sides of the argument. Later, analyze as to how tribunalisation of justice undermine ideas/principles set out in our constitution.

Conclusion:

Conclude that despite such challenges, tribunals are an excellent instrument of speedy dispute resolution and have become agents of good governance. In the interest of better justice delivery, the institutions like tribunals cannot be dispensed with altogether.

Introduction:

Tribunal means a set or a bench upon which judge or judges sit and decide controversies between the parties and exercises judicial powers as distinguished from purely administrative functions. It is a quasi-judicial institution that is set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes. It performs a number of functions like adjudicating disputes, determining rights between contesting parties, making an administrative decision, reviewing an existing administrative decision and so forth. Part XIV-A which consist of two Articles 323A and 323B deals with these Tribunals. The Industrial Tribunals, Railway Rates Tribunal, Companies Tribunals, Central Administrative Tribunals, Election Tribunals etc, are the examples of Tribunals in India.

Body:

Tribunals and judicial efficiency:

  • Flexibility:
    • Rigid procedures and evidence ordeals of courts are not followed, rather it goes by the principle of natural justice.
  • Less Expensive:
    • Administrative justice ensures cheap and quick justice.
    • Its procedures are simple and can be easily understood by a layman.
  • Relief to Courts:
    • The tribunals perform an important and specialised role in justice mechanism. They take a load off the already overburdened courts. They hear disputes related to the environment, armed forces, tax and administrative issues.
  • Reduce pendency:
    • To overcome the situation that arose due to the pendency of cases in various Courts, domestic tribunals and other Tribunals have been established under different Statutes, hereinafter referred to as the Tribunals.
  • Efficiency:
    • The Tribunals were set up to reduce the workload of courts, to expedite decisions and to provide a forum which would be manned by lawyers and experts in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of the Tribunal.
  • Adequate Justice:
    • In the fast changing world of today, administrative tribunals are the most appropriated means of administrative action, and also the most effective means of giving fair justice to the individuals.
    • Lawyers, who are more concerned about aspects of law, find it difficult to adequately assess the needs of the modern welfare society

Tribunalization at times leads to undermining of constitutional principles:

  • Administrative adjudication is a negation of Rule of Law.
  • Administrative tribunals, with their separate laws and procedures often made by themselves, puts a serious limitation upon the principles of Rule of Law.
  • Most of the tribunals do not enjoy the same amount of independence of the Executive as do the Courts and the judges.
  • The civil and criminal courts have a uniform pattern of administering justice. A uniform code of procedure in administrative adjudication is not there.
  • Administrative tribunals are manned by administrators and technical heads who may not have the background of law or training of judicial work.
  • At times they adopt summary procedures to deal with cases coming before them
  • Functioning of tribunals suffer from lack of autonomy especially in terms of appointment and funding.
  • In Chandra kumar case, SC held that the appeals to such tribunals lies before the court and hence defeats the whole purpose of reducing burden of the superior courts.
  • Since the tribunals are mainly chaired by the retired judges who are appointed by the government, so the present judges in courts may favour government in certain matter to gain political patronage in appointment to such tribunals after retirement.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure to work smoothly and perform the functions originally envisioned for them.
  • There is a lack of understanding of the staffing requirements in tribunals.

Way forward:

  • In the interest of better justice delivery, their traditional structures and methods of functioning can be reformed.
  • In the interest of maintaining the rule of law in society and to preserve individual freedom, that there should be some kind of judicial control over these tribunals.
  • Increasing the number of judges, filling the existing vacancy, use of technology to bring efficiency in administration of justice.
  • Tribunals themselves are better positioned to gauge their own administrative requirements. Therefore, providing power to tribunals to create or sanction posts

Conclusion:

The Tribunals plays an important role and part in the sphere of the adjudication of disputes. Tribunals function differently from courts, from the manner of appointment to the procedure followed. The Tribunals do not have to follow any uniform procedure as laid down under the Civil Procedure Code and under the Indian Evidence Act but they have to follow the principles of Natural Justice. But still they seek to achieve the same objective as that of the courts i.e. – To impart and deliver Justice.

 

Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

4. Critically examine the recent trends of US retreating from Global leadership role .(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The question is amidst the fact that recently US has halted the funding to the WHO over its handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key demand of the question:

One must examine the recent trends of US retreating from Global leadership role.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to 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. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the withdrawal of US from the WHO contributions. USA is the biggest overall donor to WHO, contributing more than $400 million in 2019, roughly 15% of its budget.

Body:

To start with, list down various instances in the recent past highlighting withdrawal of US from the global leadership roles such as –

With the beginning of Trump Presidency (2016 onwards), US has

  • Quit the U.N. Human Rights Council and U.N. cultural agency UNESCO
  • Pulled out of Paris accord and Iran nuclear deal
  • Cut funding for the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees (UNRWA)
  • Opposed a U.N. migration pact etc.

Discuss what needs to be done to overcome the concerning situation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The United States (US) has decided to cut off US payments to the World Health Organisation (WHO) during the Covid-19 pandemic. US President halted his government’s funding of the multilateral body accusing it of “severe” mismanagement of the COVID-19 epidemic. The US has also criticised the WHO for being China-centric and has alleged that earlier WHO had criticized US’s ban on travel from and to China. However, the US has made it clear that it would continue to engage with the WHO in pursuit of meaningful reforms.

Body:

India refused to criticise the United States defunding of the World Health Organisation (WHO), saying that it was currently occupied with the domestic campaign to defeat the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Impact of US’ halting funds to WHO:

  • The US contributes almost 15% of the WHO’s total funding and almost 31% of the member states’ donations.
  • The halt of this fund comes when the global caseload of COVID-19 approaches 2 million, with the most cases in the US.
  • For the WHO, the loss of about 15% of its total funding is bound to have an impact the world over.
  • However, unless other countries do the same as the US, the move may not severely restrict the WHO operations.
  • Halting that payment is expected to hit many health initiatives across the world, including in India.

Recent trends of US retreating from global leadership role:

  • Burdened by public debt, domestic unrest and guilt over past mistakes, America is withdrawing from the world and focusing on internal problems.
  • A voluntary retreat from or abdication of global leadership.
  • a greater reliance on unilateralism.
  • a less-critical view of certain authoritarian or illiberal governments.
  • a reduced or more selective approach to promoting and defending certain universal values.
  • a reduced willingness to work through international or multilateral institutions and agreements
  • the Administration’s decisions to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) regional trade agreement, the multilateral Paris climate agreement, and the Iran nuclear agreement;
  • the President’s decision, announced by the Administration to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria;
  • the Administration’s focus on pursuing bilateral trade negotiations with various countries;
  • the Administration’s infrequent or inconsistent statements in support of democracy and human rights, including the Administration’s reaction to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the President’s statements regarding the prodemocracy protests in Hong Kong

However, there are contrary views too:

  • Administration statements reaffirming U.S. support for NATO, as well as Administration actions to improve U.S. military capabilities in Europe for deterring potential Russian aggression in Europe;
  • the Administration’s willingness to impose and maintain a variety of sanctions on Russia;
  • the Administration’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) construct for guiding U.S. policy toward the Indo-Pacific region;
  • the Administration’s more confrontational policy toward China, including its plan to increase funding for U.S. foreign assistance programs to compete against China for influence in Africa, Asia, and the Americas;
  • S. trade actions that, in the view of these observers, are intended to make free trade more sustainable over the long run by ensuring that it is fair to all parties, including the United States;
  • the Administration’s belated support of Hong Kong’s prodemocracy protestors, its criticism of China’s human rights practices toward its Muslim Uyghur population, and its emphasis on religious freedom as a component of human rights

Conclusion:

Although, the trend of transition from Unipolarity to multipolarity is good, the lack of finances, US’s clout does matter. In a multipolar world, it is difficult to rely on USA for leading the global institutions and global alliances. The other nations should work together in tandem and help achieve the sustainable development goals.

 

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

5. Explain in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, how dependence on a more liberalized economic model has proved to be counter-productive and disastrous for the country. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The authors of this article argue that the COVID-19 pandemic reveals how dependence on a more liberalized economic model has proved to be counter-productive and disastrous in the current scenario. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must evaluate the challenges related to the liberalized economic model amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly set the background of the question’s context.

Body:

To start with, explain the change in the industrial model in the past – in the late 1980s, transnational corporations started shifting their production base to developing countries, especially Asia, in search of cheap labour and raw materials. Developed countries supported the move as it helped them shift the polluting and labour-intensive industries to other countries, while still retaining the ownership. Thus, the world witnessed the development of global supply chains in many products. Discuss the current case; explain the fallacies brought out by the COVID-19 situation. Take hints from the article to form your answer content. Present the case of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the current pandemic should lead the countries to rethink and reevaluate the economic efficiency theory propounded by the LPG principle. There should be the emphasis on an industrial policy that helps maintain core capacity in essential products.

Introduction:

India’s LPG reforms in 1991-92 marked the beginning of the end of the ‘License Raj’ in India. The Budget also announced the reduction of import duties and paved the way for foreign-manufactured goods to flow into India. Though many developing countries participated in the global production, the substantial value addition in developing countries happened in a few production hubs, of which China emerged to be a major one.

Body:

Economic liberalization and its impacts on the governments’ capacity to deal with the crisis:

  • Undermining the manufacturing capabilities of health products in India through imports:
    • The short-sighted liberalization policy measures, with the objective of enhancing profitability of the private sector, allowed the import of raw materials from the cheapest sources and resulted in the debasing of the API industry, especially in essential medicine.
    • According to a report of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), nearly 70% of India’s API import is from China.
    • The disruption in the supply of API due to the COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the production of not only medicines required for COVID-19 patients, but also of other essential medicines in India.
  • Import dependency:
    • Dependence on imports affects the ability of Indian diagnostic companies to provide an affordable test for all those who want to test for COVID-19. Now the country is not able to get required quantities of test kits, PPE and parts of ventilators through importation.
    • The dependence on Reagents, an important chemical component for testing, is limiting the capacity of the government from expanding testing because the cost of each test is ₹4,500.
    • There are only a few domestic manufacturers who can produce PPE and medical devices like ventilators.
  • Loss of jobs and poor working conditions:
    • Through liberalization developing countries were asked to ease their labour protection laws to facilitate global production and supply chains popularly known as global value chains.
    • As a result, people were forced to work in precarious working conditions without any social security net.
    • This created an unorganized army of labourers and is preventing many developing country governments from effectively offering relief.
    • The resultant loss of manufacturing base has affected the ability of many governments, including of developed countries, to put up an effective response to the crisis.
    • The U.K. Prime Minister asked the country’s manufacturers to produce ventilators in order to provide care for critical COVID-19 patients.
    • Spain nationalized all its private hospitals.
    • In an indirect show of power, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma sent a flight containing 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 protective face shields to the U.S exposing USA’s import dependency.
  • Lack of credible information about the private sector:
    • For instance, as part of the removal of ‘License Raj’, the government stopped asking for information from the manufacturer to file the quantity of production of various medicines.
    • As a result, it has taken weeks now and a series of meetings for the government to gather information about stocks and the production capacity of pharmaceutical companies.
    • Similarly, there were difficulties in finding out India’s production capacity of PPE, medical devices and diagnostics.
    • The only government data available in the public domain is with regard to the production of vaccines.

Way forward for the private sector companies in today’s crisis:

  • In the Covid-19 response, the private sector in the country — for-profit and not-for-profit segments — has to play an even more important role, as it is the dominant provider of health services.
  • The National Sample Survey Office’s 71st round data shows that private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes provide over 70% of health care.
  • Data on the nearly 10 million treatments received under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) corroborate this finding.
  • According to the World Health Organization, a critical lesson from the 2014-16 West African Ebola crisis is that both the public and private sectors need to work in tandem in responding to large-scale epidemics. So, the private sector-led economic growth model deserves a rethinking so that there is better coordination between the government and the private sector to deal with such a crisis.

 

Topic:  Salient features of world’s role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

6. Who is to blame for the menace of rumors? Is it a policy issue or is it due to the lackadaisical approach by the social media companies or is it a combination of both? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses the threat of fake news to the efforts against COVID-19 and the necessary measures to tackle it. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the menace of rumors, discuss the reasons causing it and suggest measures to address them.

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 discuss the context – Misinformation linked to supposed cures for COVID-19 and misleading claims have proliferated on social media networks.

Body:

To start with, explain the dangers posed by inaccurate information. Discuss the reasons that often lead to creation of such rumors – misinformation, explain whether it’s a policy issue or is it due to the lackadaisical approach by the social media companies or is it a combination of both. Take a balanced stand and give your opinion with suitable justifications.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

A rumour is an untested piece of information, opinion, report or story. Therefore, its veracity is doubtful. This unverified, ambiguous status is at the heart of a rumour, making it largely what it is. The moment an account is publicly demonstrated and accepted to be true or false, it ceases to be a rumour. In a sense then, a rumour’s truth or falsity is irrelevant to its efficacy or impact.

Periods of social stress or natural disasters are fertile ground for rumours, which not only spread like wild fire but have grave consequences — scapegoating, social boycott, violence and arson, even lynching and murder.

Body:

Previous instances of rumour mongering during crisis:

  • 1984 Pogrom against Sikhs
  • For Centuries rumours were created against Jews, who were falsely accused of poisoning wells during wars, epidemics or civil unrest.
  • In late 18th century Paris was replete with the rumour that the rich had distributed lethal, contaminated flour to the poor.
  • It is no surprise then that during the current COVID-19 pandemic, the rumour mill has Muslims deliberately throwing infected Rs. 2,000 notes on the road or Muslim street vendors spitting on vegetables and fruits.

Factors that lead to menace of rumours:

  • Situations of information void or information overload: Unable to satisfactorily make sense of their world in these uncertain contexts, humans become cognitively unstable and anxious. To meet their cognitive needs, they are forced to rely on bits and pieces of available knowledge, on a patchwork of half-truths, a rag bag of allusions that together provide a fragile, uncorroborated framework for interpreting events.
  • emotional anxiety: when added to this cognitive framework, and one has a ready-made arena for rumours to flourish. An overheated mind burns all evidence that comes its way and surrenders to rumours, often in the service of emotional needs. During demonetisation, amidst despair and anxiety at losing their own money, the poor still found emotional satisfaction in the rumour that crores of rupees secretly stored in cash by the rich were rendered worthless.
  • Acute Crisis Situation: In times of acute crisis, people lean on knee jerk speculation and prejudice. A group consisting of ‘outsiders’, already distrusted and disliked, becomes an easy target, ready to be blamed for the current mess
  • Polarized Societies: In polarized societies, fear and vulnerability make rumour mongering easy.
  • The desire to conform gets the better of a questioning mind. Rather than face sanction and ostracization for sticking out, people find it safer to emulate members of their group.
  • Ironically, a belief gets entrenched after like-minded people discuss it among themselves. Discussion has a cascading effect; the more one talks about it, the more the biased rumour grows.
  • A denial by a mistrusted outsider, no matter how great her expertise, only ends up solidifying rumours. Group dynamics in polarised societies works with a logic all of its own; every person is necessarily partisan. A neutral ground for impartial voices is simply unimaginable

Way forward:

  • To transform the conditions that are conducive to rumours. This can reduce their efficacy.
  • Depolarizing society, loosening the grip of prejudice and calmly addressing the collective anxieties and obsessions of a group are deterrents, but, alas, only in the long run.
  • Regulatory laws to check rumours are imperative in the short run.
  • The community leaders and democratically elected office holders can play an important role. They should vehemently deny injurious rumours and reduce its propagation and spread.
  • Social media companies should support the government by tracking such rumours and quickly removing it from their platforms.

 

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 are clinical trials? What are the issues with respect to conducting clinical trials in India? Present the ethical issues involved. (250 words)

Reference:  Down to Earth 

Why this question:

Three India-based organisations are involved in studies to find a vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But none are being tested in here as the country does not have animals suitable for such pre-clinical trials. Thus the context of the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the concept of clinical trials; discuss the issues associated with special emphasis on the ethical perspectives involved.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain what clinical trials are, why they are required.

Body:

To start with explain briefly the various stages involved in a clinical trial. Then discuss the need for clinical trials in general. Bring out the various challenges involved in the trials , take  examples and highlight the ethical dimensions involved and thus the concerns.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions and measures to overcome and rule out the issues and concerns.

Introduction:

A clinical trial is a systematic study to generate data for discovering or verifying the clinical and pharmacological profile (including pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic) or adverse effects of a new drug on humans. It is the only way of establishing the safety and efficacy of any drug before its introduction in the market for human use and is preceded by animal trials where the efficacy and side effects are observed in animals and an estimated drug dose is established.

Body:

Issues with respect to conducting clinical trials in India:

  • Three India-based organisations are involved in studies to find a vaccine against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). But none are being tested in here as the country does not have animals suitable for such pre-clinical trials.
  • The lack of suitable experimental animals is said to be the biggest reason that could delay the research on vaccines.
  • While India has hamsters; ferrets or the modified mice are not available.
  • Animal testing in India is very difficult because of strict animal rights rules implemented by CPCSEA. To avoid these, Pharma companies prefer to conduct them outside the country.
  • Current clinical trials of vaccines developed in India are being carried out in University of Wisconsin-Madison. The same is true for the vaccine developed by Serum Institute of India and Codagenix, Inc. is also being tested in the USA.
  • Experts fear that if clinical trials are outsourced, the resultant drugs and vaccines might not be available easily in India.

Ethical issues involved in clinical trials:

  • Lack of informed consent:
    • In 2009, an international NGO had launched a $3.6 million human papillomavirus (HPV) trial in India and tested two vaccines on 16,000 tribal girls in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, apparently without informed consent from the girls’ parents.
  • Principle of Utilitarian approach:
    • more emphasis on maximum good to more number of people at the cost of individual rights is followed.
  • Corruption:
    • Clinical trials in India have been accompanied by large-scale criminality as doctors, officials and pharmaceutical companies understand that India is a cesspool of corruption where clearances can be had with influence.
  • Lack of adequate representation:
    • There is an over-representation of low-income groups among trial subjects.
  • Lack of volunteer honesty:
    • Some volunteers lie about one’s medical history or enroll in multiple trials to maximise one’s income. Unsafe drugs can make their way into the market as a result, or safe drugs can get rejected.
  • Lack of transparency:
    • Trials done earlier where the drug has not been found to be effective are sometimes not publicized.
  • Monitoring issues:
    • Numerous challenges associated with monitoring such as overlapping responsibilities, communication gaps, and lack of standards are also some concerns

Way forward:

  • The government is also exploring technologies such as organs-on-a-chip to reduce the harm to animals. This would ensure that animals are used only when absolutely necessary.
  • Landmark amendments to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act in 2013 led to better protection of vulnerable groups such as illiterate people, but more regulation is needed to ensure truly ethical research.
  • A National registry of trial volunteers which will alert a CRO when someone signs up for two studies simultaneously is necessary without violating volunteer privacy.
  • Ethics committees are the front line regulators for clinical trials. If they were functional, they would be a major factor in preventing unethical trials.
  • Encourage a wider cross-section of society to participate in research on human subjects.