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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 16 May 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.


1. Elaborate upon “One Nation, One Ration Card” scheme. Discuss the benefits emanating from the scheme and bring out the associated challenges.(250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 


One Nation One Ration Card Scheme which will allow portability of food security benefits. This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidized rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country. Recently the Supreme Court (SC), asked the Union government to examine the feasibility of implementing the “one nation one ration card” (ONORC) scheme during the national lockdown. Consequently, Finance Minister announced the national rollout of a ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ system in all states and Union Territories by March 2021. As of now, about 20 states have come on board to implement the inter-state ration card portability.



Highlights of the scheme:

  • The poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country but for that their ration cards must be linked to Aadhaar.
  • Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre, which include rice sold at Rs. 3/kg and wheat at Rs. 2/kg, It would not include subsidies given by their respective state government in some other state.
  • This scheme will ensure that no poor person is deprived of subsidised grains.
  • The scheme can be implemented as already 77% of the ration shops across the country have PoS machines and more than 85% of people covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) have their cards linked to Aadhaar.
  • For remaining beneficiaries, all the States have been given one more year to use point of sale (PoS) machines in the ration shops and implement the scheme.
  • The new system, based on a technological solution, will identify a beneficiary through biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale (ePoS) devices installed at the FPSs, and enable that person to purchase the quantity of foodgrains to which she is entitled under the NFSA.
  • The Annavitran portal enables a migrant worker or his family to avail the benefits of PDS outside their district but within their state.
  • While a person can buy her share of foodgrains as per her entitlement under the NFSA, wherever she is based, the rest of her family members can purchase subsidised foodgrains from their ration dealer back home.

Significance of Scheme:

  • For migrant labourers:
    • India has had food security benefit schemes which have domicile based access.
    • 36 crore people or 37% of the population is that of migrant labourers. The scheme is therefore important for anyone who is going to move from one place to the other.
    • It happens that when one moves from one place to the other (for e.g. a government employee being transferred from one place to another), it takes about two to three months to get a ration card at that next place and then further more time to start getting commodities against the same.
    • After the implementation of the scheme, it would be ensured that a migrant is able to access the benefits which are due to him in any part of the country.
    • This would be ensured on the basis of Aadhaar authentication and a validated data.
  • For Women:
    • ONORC will be particularly beneficial for women and other disadvantaged groups, given how social identity (caste, class and gender) and other contextual factors (including power relations) provide a strong backdrop in accessing PDS.
  • Provides Choice:
    • ONORC will give the beneficiaries the opportunity to opt for the dealer of their choice. If any dealer misbehaves or misallocates, the beneficiary can switch to another FPS shop instantly.
    • ONORC lets the beneficiaries choose the PDS shop that best delivers on the attributes.
  • Curbing corruption:
    • In ONORC Scheme, the fundamental prerequisite is de-duplication so that it is ensured that the same person does not figure as a beneficiary in two different locations of the country.
    • With the help of the scheme, the government would be able to rightly target the beneficiaries to provide them with the foodgrains under the PDS. The scheme is linked with Aadhaar and biometrics, this removes most possibilities of corruption.
    • The government is creating a central data repository to get all the details of ration card which are being maintained by states so that the repository acts as a clearing house or a server to do the cross checking on the basis of Aadhaar authentication.
    • This ensures that there is no corruption or duplication of the benefits that are being passed on to the beneficiaries. The government will ensure all these things with the help of technology.


  • Since the scheme is based on technology, the government may face some technical challenges during the implementation of the scheme.
  • The scheme will increase the woes of the common man and, the middlemen and corrupt PDS shop owners will exploit them.
  • Tamil Nadu has opposed the proposal of the Centre, saying it would result in undesirable consequences and is against federalism.
  • Within some states issue of intra state portability.
  • Different states have different rates and these mismatching rates will be a big challenge.
  • Few regional parties have expressed apprehensions on bearing the cost of additional ration cards. This is a matter which is to be settled between the states and the Government of India.
  • One of the apprehensions mentioned by few states is the cost of additional food grain to be supplied to the migrant workers.
  • However, the whole system is based on the entitlements mandated under the NFSA and this prevents the charges of additional cost. Beneficiaries will continue to pay the same issue prices that are fixed under the NFSA.
  • The quality of services is markedly inferior for the subaltern groups with latent methods of discrimination such as lack of information, mixing of inferior grains, longer waiting time and, at times, even verbal abuse.

Way Forward:

  • The current migrant crisis should be seen as an opportunity to develop a national migration policy addressing the challenges faced by migrant workers’ productivity, living conditions and social security.
  • While this must be done, the government must also fast-track the ONORC scheme because India’s present rights-based regime is based on the assumption that people are sedentary.
  • The food security scheme under the NFSA costs more than Rs 1 lakh crore per year. It is very expensive but is highly needed. There is a need to ensure that subsidized food grains ultimately go to the person or the family that is entitled to.
  • The ONORC should also include access to health and other things.
  • At the principal level, within the government, there is broad consensus on having a unified kind of service delivery system based on technology and identity.
  • A unified service platform combining all the citizen centric services on the basis of few parameters of identity and other indicators of technology, is the need of the hour.
  • ONORC combined with a rating system based on the experiences akin to the Uber/Ola system, the government can improve PDS by closer monitoring and control. Those PDS dealers who perform better could be rewarded.


While ONORC has the potential to improve outcomes particularly for the subaltern groups, like any delivery mechanism, the entire value chain of making the system work needs to be closely monitored and backed by infrastructure. The availability of point of sale (PoS) systems at PDS shops, and its functioning needs to be ensured to check compromises in the entitlements. Even after the coronavirus pandemic is over, this will be useful. Migration is bound to restart because of unemployment. When migrant workers again start boarding trains and buses for the destination cities, they must have their PDS cards that are valid across India with them.


2. “Labour laws are civilizational goals and cannot be trumped on the excuse of a pandemic”, Do you agree? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 


India is witnessing to another massive tragedy of workers being abandoned by their employers and, above all, by the state. The employers now want the state to reintroduce laissez-faire and a system of indenture for the organised workforce too. This will take away the protection conferred on organised labour by Parliament.

Laissez faire refers to the economic policy of letting owners of industry and business set working conditions without interference. This policy favors a free market unregulated by the government. This theory of Free Market or Free economy was defended by Adam Smith in his book The Wealth of Nations in 1776. He argued that the economic liberty guaranteed economic progress.  He claimed that government need not interfere in the economy. His famous “The Invisible Hand” metaphor supported this idea.


The issues faced by labourers:

  • Through the public health crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic, workers are being abandoned by their employers and, above all, by the state.
  • The workers’ right to go home was curbed using the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • Adequate provisions were not made available for their food, shelter or medical relief.
  • Wage payments were not ensured, and the state’s cash and food relief did not cover most workers.
  • When the centre issued orders permitting their return to their home States, state governments responded by delaying travel facilities for the workers to ensure uninterrupted supply of labour for employers.
  • Employers now want labour laws to be relaxed.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government has issued an ordinance keeping in abeyance almost all labour statutes including laws on maternity benefits and gratuity; the Factories Act, 1948; the Minimum Wages Act, 1948; the Industrial Establishments (Standing Orders) Act, 1946; and the Trade Unions Act, 1926.
  • Several States have exempted industries from complying with various provisions of laws.
  • The Confederation of Indian Industry has suggested 12-hour work shifts and that governments issue directions to make workers join duty failing which the workers would face penal actions.

Evolution of Labour Laws in India:

  • The labour laws in India have emerged out of workers’ struggles, which were very much part of the freedom movement against oppressive colonial industrialists.
  • Since the 1920s there were a series of strikes and agitations for better working conditions. Several trade unionists were arrested under the Defence of India Rules.
  • The workers’ demands were supported by our political leaders.
  • Britain was forced to appoint the Royal Commission on Labour, which gave a report in 1935.
  • The Government of India Act, 1935 enabled greater representation of Indians in law-making.
  • This resulted in reforms, which are forerunners to the present labour enactments.
  • The indentured plantation labour saw relief in the form of the Plantations Labour Act, 1951.
  • By a democratic legislative process, the Parliament stepped in to protect labour.

Labour laws have protected the workers:

  • By a democratic legislative process, Parliament stepped in to protect labour.
  • The Factories Act lays down eight-hour work shifts, with overtime wages, weekly offs, leave with wages and measures for health, hygiene and safety.
  • The Industrial Disputes Act provides for workers’ participation to resolve wage and other disputes through negotiations so that strikes/lockouts, unjust retrenchments and dismissals are avoided.
  • The Minimum Wages Act ensures wages below which it is not possible to subsist.
  • These enactments further the Directive Principles of State Policy and protect the right to life and the right against exploitation under Articles 21 and 23.
  • Trade unions have played critical roles in transforming the life of a worker from that of servitude to one of dignity.
  • In the scheme of socio-economic justice, the labour unions cannot be dispensed with.

Current issues with the labour laws:

  •  The orders of the State governments lack statutory support.
  • Labour is a concurrent subject in the Constitution and most pieces of labour legislation are Central enactments.
  • The U.P. government has said that labour laws will not apply for the next three years.
  • laws to protect basic human rights covering migrant workers, minimum wages, maternity benefits, gratuity, etc. have been suspended.
  • The Constitution does not envisage approval by the President of a State Ordinance which makes a whole slew of laws enacted by Parliament inoperable in the absence of corresponding legislations on the same subject.
  • Almost all labour contracts are now governed by statutes, settlements or adjudicated awards arrived through democratic processes in which labour has been accorded at least procedural equality. Such procedures ensure progress of a nation.
  • The orders and ordinances issued by the State governments are undemocratic and unconstitutional. The existing conditions of labour will have to be continued.
  • Global corporations had their origins in instruments of colonialism and their legacy was inherited by Indian capital post-Independence.
  • The resurgence of such a colonial mindset is a danger to the society and the well-being of millions and puts at risk the health and safety of not only the workforce but their families too.
  • In the Life Insurance Corporation v. D. J. Bahadur & Ors case, the Supreme Court highlighted that any changes in the conditions of service can be only through a democratic process of negotiations or legislation.


In the unequal bargaining power between capital and labour, regulatory laws provide a countervailing balance and ensure the dignity of labour. Governments have a constitutional duty to ensure just, humane conditions of work and maternity benefits. The health and strength of the workers cannot be abused by force of economic necessity. Labour laws are thus civilizational goals and cannot be trumped on the excuse of a pandemic.


3. Critically examine the fiscal power of states amidst situations like the corona pandemic where resources needed to fight should be raised locally and not be dependent on centre.(250 words)

Reference: The Hindu


The corona crisis has brought the country’s fiscal health into focus as never before. State governments which are financially broke are forced to adopt desperate and reviled measures such as opening liquor shops to mobilize money for their fight against COVID-19. Health being a constitutionally-determined state subject, the epidemic’s major financial burden towards medical and economic relief expenditures has descended on the states, for which they have little or no bandwidth. The states’ financial desperation was clearly evident from their recent agreement to borrow from the market at sky-high yields


State revenue situation:

  • Revenues from own taxes account for just under half (45%) of the total revenues of the States, according to a Reserve Bank of India study of state finances.
  • The central transfers account for 47.5%.
  • Of the own tax revenues, 90% comes from taxes on liquor, petroleum products, stamp duty and registration of vehicles.

Fiscal position of States:

Pre-GST era:

  • GST forced the States to surrender their powers to raise resources independently through local State taxes and place them entirely at the mercy of the Centre for most of their financial needs.
  • Most States raise resources through a combination of their own taxes and a share in the Centre’s taxes.
  • For richer States such as Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Delhi, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana and Kerala, 70% or more of their revenue comes from taxes generated within their State boundaries.
  • Nearly half of these were from the sale of goods and services within the State and the remaining half, from a combination of excise duties on petrol, electricity, alcohol, land registration fees, etc.
  • If a State had a natural disaster, they could raise additional resources for rehabilitation by raising sales tax rates on goods and services.

Post-GST era:

  • For the sake of GST, States sacrificed their fiscal powers in the promise of ‘economic efficiency’ and ‘tax buoyancy’, which never materialised.
  • Under GST, States are legally entitled to their share of tax revenues collected in their State.
  • When the GST was enacted, States were also guaranteed a minimum tax revenue every year for a period of five years.
  • However, in the midst of the current pandemic, the Centre has reneged on both these promises. This has turned out to be a triple blow for the states because states are
  • not being paid what they are owed;
  • not being helped with additional resources;
  • bearing the brunt of the pandemic’s impact.
  • States have also lost the powers to raise their own sales tax revenues.
  • The other available options for States to raise funds are through taxes on sale of petroleum products, alcohol, lottery tickets, electricity, land or vehicle registration.
  • During this extreme lockdown, demand for petroleum products, electricity, land and vehicles has dwindled substantially.
  • So, the only option left for most States is to raise funds through the sale of alcohol.
  • For the large, richer States, alcohol sales account for more than one-third of their State tax revenues.

Other means to raise funds is also challenged:

  • States’ need the Centre’s approval to raise their borrowing limit or to stand as guarantors.
  • Since States do not have clear revenue visibility, the rates at which they can borrow are very high and their ability to borrow is severely undermined.
  • They are once again dependent on the Centre to borrow funds from the market and then release them to the States.

Way forward:

  • The burden is on the Centre to find the resources to immediately release the dues of the States and also reimburse them for their COVID-19-related expenses.
  • Entreaties from States to the Centre to hasten the transfer of GST compensation.
  • Increase fiscal deficit limits from 3% to 4.5-5% and for higher ways and means advances (WMA) limits to be able to borrow more.
  • The RBI did increase the WMA limit as part of its relief package but that is not adequate.
  • The Centre should also give States the freedom to restart economic activity based on their own assessment.
  • Not all States are in the same virus-spread position and within each State, not all districts are the same. This has to be acknowledged while planning a phased lifting of the lockdown.
  • Greater leeway in restarting economic activity will relieve some of the financial stress, not just on the States but also on the Centre.


5. Discuss the possible role that MGNREGA and other policy initiatives could play to help revive the economy in such times of crisis. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu


With rural distress deepening across India and private consumption growing anaemically, calls for ramping up the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), are growing louder ahead of the upcoming budget. Proponents of MGNREGS believe that it may be the only ammunition in the government’s arsenal to fight rural poverty. Critics, though, have labelled the scheme as leaky, wasteful and simply ineffective.


Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA):

The MGNREGA was launched in 2006 in order to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed employment to rural households. It is the largest scheme run by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).

Challenges faced by MGNREGA:

  •  Aadhar has been hastily implemented for the MGNREGA. Several MGNREGA payments have been rejected, diverted, or frozen as a consequence.
  • The delay in the payment of wages which is captured in the system is intentionally suppressed to avoid paying delay compensation.
  • There are numerous cases of MGNREGS payments getting diverted to Airtel wallets and ICICI bank accounts.
  • In a recently concluded survey on common service centres in Jharkhand for Aadhar-based payments, it was found that 42% of the biometric authentications failed in the first attempt, compelling them to come later.
  • the MGNREGA wage rates in 18 States have been kept lower than the States’ minimum agricultural wage rates.
  • In the last five years, the average person days of work generated per household under MGNREGA remained less than 50 across years
  • The scheme is running out of funds due to increased demand for work.
  • Droughts and floods in several States have led to an increased demand for work.
  • Data show disparity in MGNREGA wages across States.
  • Agricultural minimum wages exceed MGNREGA wages in almost all states.
  • The total MGNREGA expenditure reported by States has risen, but the year-on-year growth has fallen below 5%.
  • The act continues to fight widespread corruption and administrative negligence.
  • In some areas of certain states, MGNREGA work opens only during specific seasons and time.
  • Since April 2014, the work completion rate has been declining.
  • Jharkhand being one of the poorest states and having huge dependence on MGNREGA, has the lowest wage rates.

Measures needed to strengthen MGNREGA: 

  • Millions of migrant workers have gone back home, and are unlikely to return to towns in the foreseeable future.
  • Employment has to be provided to them where they are, for which the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) must be expanded greatly and revamped with wage arrears paid immediately.
  • The 100-day limit per household has to go. Work has to be provided on demand without any limit to all adults.
  • And permissible work must include not just agricultural and construction work, but work in rural enterprises and in care activities too.
  • The revamped MGNREGS could cover wage bills of rural enterprises started by panchayats, along with those of existing rural enterprises, until they can stand on their own feet.
  • This can be an alternative strategy of development, recalling the successful experience of China’s Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs).
  • Public banks could provide credit to such panchayat-owned enterprises and also assume a nurturing role vis-à-vis them.
  • Pandemic highlighted unsustainability of the earlier globalisation.
  • Which means that growth in India in the coming days will have to be sustained by the home market.
  • Since the most important determinant of growth of the home market is agricultural growth, this must be urgently boosted.
  • The MGNREGS can be used for this, paying wages for land development and farm work for small and medium farmers.
  • Also the government support through remunerative procurement prices, subsidised institutional credit, other input subsidies, and redistribution of unused land with plantations is possible.
  • Agricultural growth in turn can promote rural enterprises, both by creating a demand for their products and by providing inputs for them to process.
  • Both these activities would generate substantial rural employment.

Other immediate measures to be taken by the government in fiscal terms for reviving the economy and supporting livelihoods are:

Food and cash transfers:

  • The immediate need is to provide free food and cash transfers to those rendered incomeless.
  • Providing every household with ₹7,000 per month for a period of three months and every individual with 10 kg of free foodgrains per month for a period of six months is likely to cost around 3% of our GDP (assuming 20% voluntary dropout).
  • This could be financed immediately through larger borrowing by the Centre from the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The required cash and food have to be handed over to State governments to make the actual transfers, along with outstanding Goods and Services Tax compensation.
  • This is doable, as, foodgrains are plentiful, as the Food Corporation of India had 77 million tonnes, and Rabi procurement could add 40 million tonnes.
  • Putting money in the hands of the poor is the best stimulus to economic revival, as it creates effective demand and in local markets. Hence, an immediate programme of food and cash transfers must command the highest priority.

Focus on Urban areas:

  • In urban areas, it is absolutely essential to revive the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Simultaneously, the vast numbers of workers who have stayed on in towns have to be provided with employment and income after our proposed cash transfers run out.
  • The best way to overcome both problems would be to introduce an Urban Employment Guarantee Programme, to serve diverse groups of the urban unemployed, including the educated unemployed.
  • Urban local bodies must take charge of this programme, and would need to be revamped for this purpose.
  • “Permissible” work under this programme should include, for the present, work in the MSMEs.
  • It should imaginatively also include care work, including of old, disabled and ailing persons, educational activities, and ensuring public services in slums.

Strengthening the ‘care’ economy:

  • The pandemic has underscored the extreme importance of a public health-care system, and the folly of privatization of essential services.
  • The post-pandemic period must see significant increases in public expenditure on education and health, especially primary and secondary health including for the urban and rural poor.
  • The “care economy” provides immense scope for increasing employment.
  • Vacancies in public employment, especially in such activities, must be immediately filled.
  • The status of healthcare workers such as anganwadi workers must be improved to treat them as regular government employees. They must be given proper remuneration and associated benefits.

Measures to increase the public revenue: 

  • A combination of wealth and inheritance taxation and getting multinational companies to pay the same effective rate as local companies through a system of unitary taxation will garner substantial public revenue.
  • They will also reduce wealth and income inequalities which have become horrendous.
  • A 2% wealth tax on the top 1% of the population, together with a 33% inheritance tax on the wealth they bequeath every year to their progeny, could finance an increase in government expenditure to the tune of 10% of GDP.
  • It would be argued that this might cause large financial outflows, which the country can ill-afford.
  • Contrarily, even foreign capital is more likely to be attracted to a growing economy than one in sharp decline because of a lack of stimulus.
  • Also, a fresh issue of special drawing rights by the International Monetary Fund which India has surprisingly opposed along with the United States would provide additional external resources.


The additional resources gained through above means should be used to finance the institution of five universal, justiciable, fundamental economic rights: the right to food, the right to employment, the right to free public health care, the right to free public education and the right to a living old-age pension and disability benefits. The broken economy must be rebuilt in ways to ensure a life of dignity to the most disadvantaged citizen.


6. Tolerance is treated as one of the key principles of democratic rule; discuss its importance and relevance to public administration. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications


According to Neufeldt, Tolerance is recognizing and respecting other’s beliefs and practices without sharing in them. It can also be described as “a respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world’s cultures, our forms of expressions (speech, religion etc.) and ways of being human. Tolerance is harmony in difference”


If we consider tolerance as the midpoint on a spectrum ranging between prohibition at one end to acceptance at the other:


The Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle called this middle point of the spectrum, the golden mean. Approaching tolerance this way, makes it what philosophers call a virtue – the characteristic between two vices.

Tolerance is restraint from reacting to unpleasing or unfavourable happenings. It requires high moral, forbearance, patience and a large heart to tolerate. Tolerance is fundamental for forgiveness and respect for contradictory views and practices.

Its importance in contemporary world is manifold

  • Individual level
    • Tolerance teaches one to be respect others and not impose our will on others.
    • It helps us to broaden our perspective and thinking.
    • g.: A certain food may be religiously proscribed for an individual, but it may be part of someone’s culture. Acceptance and respecting other’s views is developed due to tolerance.
  • Societal level
    • Tolerance is vital because it promotes the receiving or acknowledging of new ideas and this helps to break the status quo mentality.
    • Tolerance is particularly needed in large and complex societies comprising people with varied beliefs, as in India.
    • This is because readiness to tolerate views other than one’s own facilitates harmonious coexistence.
    • Tolerance respects context.
    • g.: Tolerance towards various linguistic groups have cemented India’s unity whereas its absence led to division of Pakistan and civil war in Sri Lanka.
  • Government level
    • Helps increase its legitimacy and inspire confidence even among the dissidents.
    • g.: The accommodative policies of Patel and Nehru has helped shape India into a political union that it is today.
    • Toleration promotes the free exchange of ideas, including criticism and debate of public policy in the interest of the people.

Relevance of Tolerance for public servants:

  • A tolerant civil servant ensures a harmonious policy implementation and interaction with the people of his district. Incidents like mob lynching, riots, road rage are all can be solved by cultivating tolerance.
  • It helps the civil servants to be unbiased execute various social schemes with the coordination of the people and upholding natural rights i.e. Human rights, Democracy, Multiculturalism, Pluralism etc.
  • They can create and induce a tolerant and acceptable society by leading as an example. Various civil servants have been appreciated for bringing about a participative and helping community led celebrations of festivals among various religions in their districts.
  • They help bring disadvantaged and vulnerable sections into the mainstream. Example: Ira Singhal was the first IAS officer to hire two transgender employees in her department, thus encouraging a tolerant and inclusive behaviour of everyone around her.
  • A civil servant posted in a state other than his own if not tolerant may face problem in adapting and dedicating himself to the service of people.


The spirit of tolerance and love is not only an interesting feature of Indian society from very early times, but it is also playing an important part at the present. Being tolerant of each other and caring for each other is what makes us human.  By teaching tolerance, we allow individuality and diversity while promoting peace and a civil society.  Our success in the struggle of intolerance depends on the effort we make to educate ourselves and our children.

Intolerance can be unlearnt. Tolerance and mutual respect have to be learnt


7. “Leadership is not domination, but the art of persuading people to work toward a common Goal”, Comment. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon Publications


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.


Persuasion is the ability to convince others to change their actions, decisions, opinions or thinking. Mastering this competency is the way leaders become leaders. Persuasive people are generally friendly, polite, trustworthy and knowledgeable.

Importance of persuasion skill for a leader:

  • Persuasion is an essential proficiency for all leaders, requiring you to move people toward a position they don’t currently hold.
  • The art of persuasion is about communicating effectively to convince others to adopt your position or share your perspective and feel good about it.
  • By understanding what others want and need—information, time, trust, and so on—leaders can be more persuasive, whether inspiring an individual to do their best or rallying an entire organization to support their vision.
  • Persuasion skills allow a leader to get things done and to achieve desired outcomes without coercion.
  • Leaders persuade people to work together, to achieve more than they ever thought they could, to reach for apparently impossible goals, to put personal interests aside (at least temporarily) in favor of some larger group purpose.
  • Leaders can be more persuasive if they can intellectually connect emotionally to others. By knowing how people feel, how they have interpreted and responded to past events in the organization, leaders have an opportunity to better present their ideas and goals.

For example, Robert Marcell, head of Chrysler’s small-car design team in the 1990s, faced a very serious communication and morale problem with his team who doubted Chrysler’s ability to manufacture and market a domestically made small car. Instead of presenting a dry report on trends, Marcell showed a 15-minute slide show of his hometown and the devastation that occurred with they could not compete with foreign companies. Appealing to his team emotionally, he showed the boarded-up schools, closed schools and the ruins of the town’s iron-works, demonstrating what could happen with this company if they were unwilling or unable to compete. Daring his team to be different, they were moved and meet the challenge by manufacturing the Dodge Neon.

Instances from our freedom struggle has also shown how our leaders have time and again persuaded and encouraged the people to fight against the unjust rule of British, be it the Swadeshi movement or Rowlatt Satyagraha or Quit India movement.

Leading through persuasion requires to follow four essential steps:

  • Establish Credibility.
  • Understand Your Audience.
  • Reinforce Your Positions With Vivid Language and Compelling Evidence.
  • Leadership that Connects Emotionally.


A strong ethical leader has four important characteristics – Values, Vision, Voice and Virtue. Without persuasion skills, a leader cannot make his or her vision take place. The main goal of an ethical leader is to create a world in which the future is positive, inclusive and allows the potential for all individuals to pursue and fulfil their needs and meet their highest potential.