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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 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.


 

Topic:  Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Center and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

1. What are the key problems in implementing social security for women especially in the informal sector? Discuss the need to address the social security aspects in the country with special focus on women.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The author in the article brings to us a detailed view of the social security lacunae in the informal sector and specially emphasizes on its negative effects on women.

Key demand of the question:

Explain first the key problems in implementing social security for women especially in the informal sector and the need to address the social security aspects in the country with special focus on women.

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:

Explain first the scenario of social security in the country.

Body:

To start with, explain the issues in scheme and policy implementation with respect to women in the informal sector. Explain the disadvantages – as women, as poor, informal workers and as members of the socially disadvantaged castes and communities that predominate the informal sector and that they have very limited or no social protection. Discuss what aspects have been ignored so far in terms of social security – health aspects, community participation, childcare etc. Highlight the urgent need to focus on social security aspects especially for women. List initiatives that are targeting this dimension.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the need to urgently recognize the importance of social security for the informal sector and that too with a special focus for women.

Introduction

More than 90 per cent of working people in our country are engaged in the informal economy. The most vulnerable are women who suffer from multiple disadvantages — as women, as poor, informal workers and as members of the socially disadvantaged castes and communities that predominate the informal sector. They keep the wheels of our economy turning with their labour, and yet they have limited or no social protection to act as a cushion in hard times.

Body

Challenges of social security for women in informal sector

  • Low and unstable income: Estimates suggest that one-third of all women workers in India are home-based. (eg. Flower vendors, tailors)
    • The current crisis and market closures have meant that women are no longer receiving work orders from contractors.
    • This has led to a complete breakdown of cash flow.
  • Lack of insurance cover: Public health service provision – whether preventive, promotive, or curative – is not oriented to take into account workers’ needs.
    • Besides, health insurance they also require a comprehensive cover with products covering several of the many risks they face every day — life, accident, asset, crop and cattle and small animal insurance, to mention a few. This has been a non-starter in the social welfare schemes for women.
  • Basic Infrastructure: For instance, women carry the disproportionate burden of carrying water when private water connections are not available, and common toilets are not just hygiene risks for many women but also sites of violence and harassment.
    • Poor habitat with lack of basic water and sanitation services exacerbates vulnerability.
  • Health and nutrition: These women in informal sectors are facing higher health risks, increased domestic burden and decreased incomes.
  • Child Care : Childcare is an essential service required for especially poor, working women.
    • To support increased female workforce participation, it is full-day child care that needs to be institutionalized.
    • Women’s incomes double as a result of full-day care for their young children.
    • A study by SEWA, on crèches for tobacco workers children in Kheda district showed that 70 per cent of the older siblings entered school for the first time once they set up full-day crèches in their villages.

Need to address social security aspects

  • Women form a massive part of the informal economy. In fact, a larger percentage of women, compared to men, work in the informal economy and are concentrated in low-paying, highly-precarious sectors.
    • Not only do they facing higher risks due to their social disadvantages and poor working conditions, they also have fewer resources at their disposal to address these risks.
  • Working in this informal, or grey economy, as it’s sometimes called, leaves women often without any protection of labour laws, social benefits such as pension, health insurance or paid sick leave.
  • They routinely work for lower wages and in unsafe conditions, including risk of sexual harassment.
  • Women also shoulder a disproportionate responsibility for care-giving, both inside and outside the home.
  • The lack of social protections has long-term impact on women. For example, fewer women receive pensions globally, and as a result, more elderly women are now living in poverty.

Steps to be taken by the Government

  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work, India has statutorily mandated this.
  • Government assurance
    • Governments need to guarantee reliable access to health care and housing for all.
    • The Employees’ State Insurance Scheme, a social health insurance programme for the formal sector working classes, can be universalised to cover informal workers too.
    • Information on preventive and protective measures needs to be translated for non-literate women.
  • Skilling and compensating women: Retrenched domestic workers can be skilled to become care workers, and home-based garment workers can address the ever-increasing demands of personal protective equipment and masks.
    • ASHAs and Anganwadi workers, who are the most important public health outreach workers, should be acknowledged and compensated with adequate wages, economic benefits and social protection.
  • Social security and financial literacy
    • Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women.
    • Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Handholding Programs
    • Niti Aayog has started Women Entrepreneurship Portal, for hand holding programs for women and proving business models for their work.
    • This will encourage more women to take up Entreprenurial projects and increase their economic footprint.
    • This must be extended to self-employed women who can expand their network.
  • Gender sensitization: Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Wage loss compensation to be given to women in informal sectors by the government for maternity and reproductive health.

Conclusion

It is time for us to go beyond relief and develop recovery measures that target not just the formal sector, but also informal enterprises and informal workers. The three mantras – “leave no one behind”, “do no harm”, and “nothing for me without me” – should be the guiding principles for the strategy to improve social security of women.

 

Topic:  India and its neighborhood- relations. Terrorism

2. Present a detailed analysis as to how Pakistan is both possibly the leading perpetrator of terrorism and also a victim of terrorism.(250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why this question:

The author of the article analyses how Pakistan is both possibly the leading perpetrator of terrorism and also a victim of terrorism. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Present a detailed analysis as to how Pakistan is both possibly the leading perpetrator of terrorism and also a victim of terrorism; support your answer with suitable facts.

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 issue of Terrorism in the region and the world over.

Body:

Many of the current terrorist groups were deliberately created by the Pakistani state to serve its purposes. The Pakistani state has involved itself in a deliberate policy of creating and fostering terrorist groups in order to engage in low intensity warfare with its neighbors. Discuss the recent cases that are evident and signify the perpetration of Terrorism in Pakistan. Explain then the threats of terrorism to Pakistan itself. Discuss what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan poses risks not only for its immediate neighborhood and the Pakistani state itself, but the whole world at large.

Introduction

The recent terrorist encounter at Handwara (Kashmir) has once again brought to the fore the terrorist threat emanating from Pakistan. Analysts of terrorism are well aware of the irony that Pakistan is both possibly the leading perpetrator and a major victim of terrorism.

Body

Pakistan’s strategy of state sponsored terrorism

  • Pakistan’s strategy– The ISI and Pakistan Army pursued the deliberate policy of the Pakistani state to create and foster terrorist groups in order to engage in low intensity warfare with its neighbours, especially India.
    • The intention was to keep India busy in Kashmir and deliberately foment violence through terror cells helped by the Pak army.
  • Course of Action:
    • Pakistan first operationalized this strategy about Afghanistan following the overthrow of Zahir Shah by his cousin Daud Khan in 1973.
    • It intensified this strategy with the cooperation of the U.S. and Saudi Arabia after the Marxist coup of 1978.
  • Lacunae post Soviet withdrawal
    • The Soviet withdrawal in 1989 left the Pakistani military with a large surplus of Islamist fighters that it had trained and armed.
    • Islamabad decided to use this “asset” to intensify the insurgency in the Kashmir Valley.
  • Ideologically radicalized: Decade-long Afghan “jihad” had also radicalised a substantial segment of the Pakistani population as well as augmented sectarian divisions only between Sunnis and Shias and also among various Sunni sects.
  • In the process, a number of homegrown terrorist groups emerged that the Pakistan Army co-opted for its use in Kashmir and the rest of India. However, soon it became clear that Pakistan had created Frankenstein monsters that soon turned against its own creator.

How Pakistan became a victim of it’s own plan?

  • Some of Pakistan’s home-grown terrorist groups turned against it especially after the Musharraf government. Eg JeM
  • Musharraf’s government, under American pressure, decided to collaborate with the latter in the overthrow of Afghan Taliban regime. This was not acceptable to certain groups.
  • Both the LeT and the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) have been engaged in attacks on Indian targets identified by Pakistan’s ISI.
  • The JeM has not hesitated to launch terrorist attacks on targets within Pakistan as well, especially against the Shias and Sufi shrines.
    • This is because, JeM is highly ideological and sectarian.
  • Deobandi Puritanism: JeM draws its ideological inspiration from extreme form of Deobandi Puritanism.
    • Deobandi Puritanism considers all those who do not believe in its philosophy beyond the pale of Islam.
    • Therefore, legitimate targets of attack for JeM include not only Shias and Barelvis but also the Pakistani state and the Pakistani military.

Conclusion

Many of the terrorist groups were deliberately created by the Pakistani state to serve its purposes. However, its ability to control the various terrorist outfits is uneven and some of them have turned against their creator. It establishes the fact that using terrorist outfits for state objectives can have very negative consequences for the stability of the state itself.

 

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

3. Examine the legal landscape of the response to the COVID-19 threat in India with a specific focus on the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.(250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express 

Why this question:

The article discusses in detail the flaws associated with the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 that has been put in action to deal with the pandemic situation in the country.

Key demand of the question:

Students must examine the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, its legal landscape, relevance in today’s times.

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:

Recently, there have been calls to update this colonial law as it does not provide guidelines to the states to act to prevent and mitigate epidemics. On the other hand, experts with experience of working within the government seem to believe that the law is appropriate and does not require any changes.

Body:

Discuss here in detail the role of the Act within the legal framework of COVID-19 response. Explain the elements of the COVID-19 response examine the framework that the Epidemic Diseases Act provides, point out the lacunae. Discuss the pros and cons; suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The Epidemic Diseases Act came into force on February 4, 1897 as a response to the plague epidemic in Bombay. This act confined plague to Bombay by a series of tough measures which prevented crowds from gathering.

It confers special powers upon local authorities to implement measures necessary to control epidemics. After COVID-19 outbreak in India the Cabinet Secretary on 11th March 2020 announced that all states and Union territories should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

Body

Key Provisions of EDA

  • Power to take special measures and prescribe regulations : When at any time the State Government is satisfied that the State is threatened with an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, it may take such measures and by public notice prescribe temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as it deems necessary.
    • This is to prevent the outbreak of the disease or the spread thereof.
    • State will determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any shall be defrayed.
    • States can conduct the inspection of persons travelling by railway or otherwise.
    • People can be segregated in hospital or in temporary accommodation suspected by the inspecting officer of being infected with any such disease.
  • Powers of Central Government (Section 2A): It has concurrent powers as state and in addition it can do the following.
    • Inspection of any ship or vessel leaving or arriving at any port
    • Detention of any ship or vessel
    • Detention of any person intending to sail or arriving as may be necessary.
  • Section 3: Any person disobeying any regulation or order made under this Act shall be deemed to have committed an offence punishable under section 188 of the Indian Penal Code
  • The fourth and the last section deals with legal protection to implementing officers acting under the Act.

Limitations

This essential Act has failed to address some of the crucial issues. Epidemic Act 1897 is an archaic framework, that is 123-year-old. The century old Act over the years has accumulated quite a number of flaws which can be attributed to the changing priorities in public health emergency management.

  • Primarily, this Act merely talks about giving powers to the government when they are ‘satisfied’ that the ordinary laws are insufficient.
    • This is a power which will be difficult to challenge because the threshold set is very subjective and vague.
  • Secondly, the Act refers to Section 188 of the IPC for punishment which can give a maximum punishment of six months imprisonment or a thousand rupees.
    • Breaking of such laws can be fatal and might increase the spreading of the diseases as we have seen in the COVID-19 case.
    • In such demanding circumstances, the maximum punishment is at such a low standard that it might not act as a deterrent.
  • Apart from the isolation or quarantine measure the act is mum on the legal framework of availability and distribution of vaccine and drugs and implementation of response measures.
    • Earlier, the issues of vaccination were not that prominent, but in this era, these issues are significant.
    • During COVID-19 there was a shortage of medicines, masks, sanitizers, etc.
    • If a provision existed for the availability of the same, then such shortages and hoarding of essential material could have been restricted.
  • Epidemic Act 1897 is silent on the definition of dangerous epidemic disease.
  • Moreover, it being a century old act, the territorial boundaries of the act needs a relook.
  • There is no explicit reference pertaining to the ethical aspects or human rights principles during a response to an epidemic.

Need of the hour

  • Although India has a number of legal mechanisms to support public health measures in an epidemic situation, they are not being addressed under a single legislation.
  • There is an urgent need to assemble all the provisions in one over-arching public health legislation, so that the implementation of the responses to an epidemic can be effectively monitored.
  • The Act needs to form a proper Epidemic Body which constitutes medical professionals, legal professionals and government officials.
    • This Body can combine all the various legislations and projects for such epidemics like the Act, Disaster Management Act of 2005, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Project, etc.
    • After this, they can form a single legislation addressing all the issues and measures together. They can act as a governing body in future epidemics.
  • The Act needs to be amended as per the current circumstances, technology and need.

Conclusion

A life-threatening epidemic like COVID-19 is an eye-opener for us. It tells us that in tough situations, time-worn laws cannot help us. Undeniably, the role of public health specialists in this regard cannot be ruled out. The lawmakers can draw a leaf out of the National Disaster Management Act 2005 (deals with public emergency) as it clearly defines all the terms and has an explicit description of all the implementing measures and agencies to be instituted in the event of any emergency.

 

Topic:  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, And Railways etc.

4. Deliberate on the problems in railway infrastructure in the country and also discuss the efforts of the government to resolve the issues in this direction.(250 words)

Reference:  Business Today 

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is based on topics from the static portions of GS paper III.

Key demand of the question:

One has to discuss the problems in railway infrastructure in the country and the the efforts of the government to resolve the issues in this direction.

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:

One can start by presenting some key facts highlighting the expanse of the railway infrastructure.

Body:

List down the key problems – The quality of service provided leaves scope for substantial improvement in many areas. The average speed of trains is much lower than in other comparable countries. Railway safety is also an issue. The entire system is in urgent need of modernization. The Rolling stock must be modernized and new. Higher capacity locomotives inducted. Average speeds must be significantly increased etc. Discuss and list down some of the efforts of the government aimed at resolving these problems.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a positive note and highlight the significance of railways as a critical transport infrastructure.

Introduction

Indian Railways (IR) has the fourth-largest rail network in the world, behind only the US, China and Russia. It is a network of 70,000km, spanning 29 states, three Union territories and 8,500 stations. It runs about 21,000 trains, two-thirds of which are passenger trains, carrying 23 million passengers and 3 million tonnes of freight per day.

This calls for a re-look into the challenges of the Indian Railways and the restructuring needed.

Body

Problems in Railway Infrastructure

  • Low Quality of Service, Catering and Punctuality: Indian Railways deserves the credit for serving the largest democracy in the world, but it faces criticism, particularly in case of aspects like service, catering, and punctuality.
    • CAG report noted that, at present the focus is mainly on improving the façade and passenger facilities, rather that removing bottlenecks to ensure timely movement of trains.
    • The rolling stock is in need of upgradation, on par with the European nations.
  • Low Internal Revenue: The problem of cross-subsidization has severely affected the internal revenue generation of the Indian Railways.
    • Cross subsidization: Money earned through freight traffic is diverted to meet the shortfalls in passenger revenue, and thus the development of freight traffic infrastructure suffers.
  • Lack of fiscal space: The working of Indian Railways is caught up between making it a self-sufficient organisation and serving it as a transport system for the poor.
    • The result being no rise in passenger fares and new trains and routes being decided on non-commercial reasons.
    • The passenger fares usually remain static for years, burdening the Union Budget.
    • In order to keep finances in check, freight charges have been raised in the past.
    • But the discrepancy between freight charges and passenger fares seem to distort the Railways’ performance.
    • The recent decision of surge pricing of tickets in premium trains is a move in a correct direction.
  • Operating Efficiency: Indian railways has a huge employee base of 1.3 million, which includes powerful workers’ unions.
    • Operating ratio of Railways is at nearly 99%, meaning there is no revenue left for making improvements.
  • Increasing Number of Accidents: Repeated railway accidents have further raised questions on government ownership of railways.
  • General Inefficiencies: In the previous fiscal, it missed most of its targets, including of electrification, track renewals, bridge works, and doubling of tracks.
    • In 2014/15, projects worth Rs 6.5 lakh crore were stuck, including works related to doubling, new lines, gauge conversion, traffic facilities, and electrification.
    • Today Railways faces a burden of Rs 4,83,511 crore for the execution of 458 unfinished projects.

Efforts of the government

  • Mission Raftaar is an Indian Railway’s project, to increase the speed of trains on busy routes, to reduce travel time.
    • It was introduced in the Railway Budget of 2016-17 and approved by NITI Aayog in 2017.
    • It aims to offer semi-high-speed trains to passengers, by running trains at a speed of 160-200 km/h in the selected corridors of the country.
    • This will increase the ridership and reliability while improving the toursim prospects.
  • Vande Bharat Express: India entered a new era of mobility with Vande Bharat Express.
    • India’s first high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled train.
    • This is a prime example of the success of Make in India movement.
    • This train will be proliferated across India and also exported globally.
  • High Speed Rail: The Ahmedabad-Mumbai High-speed Rail (HSR) will revolutionise the transport sector in India through speed, safety and service.
  • Freight: Railways has achieved significant milestones in moving the country’s economy faster with the highest ever freight loading in 2018-19.
    • Freight earnings have touched their highest level and is expected to be about Rs. 1.43 lakh cr in BE 2019-20.
    • Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFC) are gateways to India’s superfast growth and development. First sections of Eastern DFC (Bhadan to Khurja, 200 Kms) and Western DFC (Rewari to Madar, 200 Kms) have been completed.
  • Modernization and upgradation: Railways is improving passenger services including a complete makeover of Stations by installing modern facilities including escalators, lifts, free wifi etc. and using local art in the design.
    • Four stations are undergoing redevelopment – Habibganj, Gandhinagar, Charbagh and Gomtinagar.
    • Beautification of 65 stations has been completed using local art.
    • Railways has improved trains and coaches including launching the Tejas, Antyodaya and Humsafar trains and Deen Dayalu and Anubhuti coaches.
    • Connecting passengers to the digital world, high speed WiFi service has been provided at more than 800 stations.
    • Pan India rollout of paperless Unreserved Ticketing (UTS) has been done to make ticketing convenient and hassle free.
  • Mission Satyanishta: It aims at sensitizing all railway employees about the need to adhere to good ethics and to maintain high standards of integrity at work. It is the first ever such mission by any government organisation.

Way-Forward

Bibek Debroy Committee made following recommendations for reforming the railways in india.

  • Need for Modernisation: It is important to modernize the railways, so measures must be taken to reimburse the social costs speedily so that resources of the railways is better allocated and facilities are upgraded from time to time.
  • Delegation of functions: The peripheral function of railways (cleanliness, ticket disposal, traveller’s amenities), must be privatized.
  • Transition to commercial accounting: The process of accounting in Indian Railways is very complicated.
    • The financial statements of Indian Railways need to be re-drawn, consistent with principles and norms nationally and internationally accepted.
  • The non-core function of railways must be privatized: These activities include running hospitals and schools, catering, real estate development, including housing, construction and maintenance of infrastructure, manufacturing locomotives, coaches, wagons and their parts.
  • Expansion of Indian Railways Manufacturing Company: According to Debroy, wagons are already produced by the private sector. Coaches and locomotives could follow. Unless they are freed from 59 their constraints, the existing production units will be unable to face this competition.
  • Encouraging private entry: Private entry into running both freight and passenger trains in competition with Indian railways should be allowed and private participation.
  • Independent regulator: Shift regulatory responsibility from the government to an independent regulator as the private sector will only come in if there is fair and open access to railway infrastructure.

 

Topic:  Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, And Railways etc.

5. Discuss the objectives of the  National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, and the focus areas of FAME India Scheme.(250 words)

Reference:  dhi.nic.in 

Why this question:

The question is based on the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020.

Key demand of the question:

One must evaluate the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020, its objectives and the focus areas of FAME India scheme in detail.

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:

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020 is a National Mission document providing the vision and the roadmap for the faster adoption of electric vehicles and their manufacturing in the country.

Body:

Explain the key features, objectives of the NEMMP 2020. Highlight the advantages and disadvantages. Talk about the FAME Scheme –The target is to achieve sales of 6 – 7 million in the hybrid and electric vehicles sector from 2020. The government will provide fiscal and monetary incentives for this industry. The expectation is that crude oil worth Rs.62000 crore will be saved due to this.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

There is an ambitious target under National Electric Mobility Mission Plan to achieve 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards. Government aims to provide fiscal and monetary incentives to kick start this nascent technology. With the support from the Government, the cumulative sale is expected to reach 15-16 Million by 2020

Body

Objectives of National Electric Mobility Mission Plan

  • To encourage reliable, affordable and efficient hybrid and electric vehicles that meet consumer performance and price expectations.
  • Government-Industry collaboration for promotion and development of indigenous manufacturing capabilities in hybrid and electric vehicles, required infrastructure, consumer awareness and technology;
  • Energy Security: Helping India to emerge as a leader in the electric vehicle Two-Wheeler and Four-Wheeler market in the world by 2020, with total EV sales of 6-7 million units thus enabling Indian automotive Industry to achieve global EV manufacturing leadership and contributing towards National Fuel Security.
  • Environment Conservation: Mitigation of the adverse impact of vehicles on the environment.
    • According to NITI Aayog (2019), if India reaches an EV sales penetration of 30 per cent for private cars, 70 per cent for commercial cars, 40 per cent for buses, and 80 per cent for 2 and 3 wheelers by 2030, a saving of 846 million tons of net CO2 emissions and oil savings of 474 MTOE can be achieved.
  • Indian Manufacturing Capabilities: Growth of domestic manufacturing capabilities in the automobile sector. Economic Survey 2019 had noted that India could become the Detroit of Electric Vehicles.

Focus areas for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric vehicles (FAME) scheme

The scheme was launched to fast-track the goals of NEMMP.

  • In FAME India Phase II, launched from 1 April 2019, emphasis is on electrification of public transportation.
  • Electrification of the public & shared transport: It is planned to support 10 Lakhs e-2W (electric – 2-Wheeler), 5 Lakhs e-3W, 55000 4Ws and 7000 Buses.
  • Demand incentives on operational expenditure mode for electric buses will be delivered through State/city transport corporation (STUs).
  • Incentives will be given to 3-wheeler/4 wheeler vehicles used for public transport or registered for commercial purposes.
  • Charging infrastructure: About 2700 charging stations will be established in metros, million plus cities, smart cities and cities of hilly states across the country.

Way Forward

There is a strong believe that electric infrastructure will have a massive scale going forward.

  • For EVs to contribute effectively, we need commensurate efforts in developing an entire ecosystem.
    • Need to shift the focus from subsidizing vehicles to subsidizing batteries because batteries make up 50% of EV costs.
    • Work places in tech parks, Public bus depots, and Multiplexes are the potential places where charging points could be installed. In Bangalore, some malls have charging points in parking lots.
    • Corporates could invest in charging stations as Corporate Social Responsibility compliances.
  • SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) the nodal body for Indian automobile industry reports that the country currently sells close to 750,000 electric vehicles a year, a majority of these are two wheelers, which sold 6,30,000 units, with 1,26,000 of these three-wheelers.
  • A longer-term policy priority has to be the setting up of lithium battery production and solar charging infrastructure of a scale that matches the ambition. The Centre has accepted some of the demands of the auto industry to popularize EVs.
  • The government should provide incentives for CNG vehicles and should also come out with a scrappage plan for vehicles to incentivize customers to buy new vehicles.

Conclusion

While various incentives have been provided by the government and new policies are being implemented, it is important that these policies not only focus on reducing the upfront costs of owning an EV but also reduce the overall lifetime costs of ownership.

  

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.

6. What are the relevant aspects for analyzing controversial issues? Should civil servants be guided by personal convictions or dominant ideologies or laws and court decisions? Explain.(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by G Subba Rao and P. N. Roy Chowdhury

Why this question:

The question is based on the aspects of analyzing controversial issues as an administrator/civil servant.

Key demand of the question:

The question is about how as an administrator one should ideally analyse the controversial issues, one has to examine the role of personal conviction, dominant ideologies, decisions of courts etc. in deciding the issues that are controversial.

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 explain the aspects of any controversies that arise in front of a civil servant.

Body:

To start with, explain the aspects  that a civil servant should consider to resolve any burning issue:

Facts and issues involved

  • Relevant theories bearing on it
  • Stands which main ideologies take on the issue
  • Supreme court/High court decisions, if any, on it
  • Government’s stand on the issue.

Explain that civil servants should think logically and objectively about issues Without succumbing to momentary passions or herd mentality or group think. Nor should they see such controversies as opportunities for airing unfounded personal opinions or slogan shouting.

Conclusion:

Conclude with your opinion about methods that are ideal and rationale in dealing with controversies.

Introduction

Difficult and controversial issues present a moral dilemma in front of the civil servant, challenging them to manoeuvre the tide without being sucked into the realm of wrong means or illegalities. The guiding light in handling a controversial or disputable aspect should be integrity, objectivity and highest respect for laws.

Body

A public servant in a democracy has to be a guardian of public morals. He is entrusted with higher responsibilities of a public office and there are temptations and allurements which may pervert his ethical values and high integrity of civil behaviours. It Is under these circumstances

Aspects  that a civil servant should consider to resolve any burning issue:

  • Rule of Law: If the civil servant is objective, he will provide information and advice, including advice to Ministers, on the basis of evidence, and accurately present the options and facts; take decisions on the merits of the case; and take due account of expert and professional advice.
    • He or she must not ignore inconvenient facts or relevant considerations when providing advice or making decisions; or frustrate the implementation of policies once decisions are taken, by declining to take, or abstaining from, action which flows from those decisions.
    • For Example, In the Priyanka Reddy Case many speculated that the encounter of the four accused went against the rule of law. Even though the crime was heinous, such unprecedented acts will lead to destruction of justice system and loss of faith of public in our institutions.
  • Facts and issues involved: While handling sensitive or any burning issue, civil servants must take into consideration all the factual information and arrive at a logical decision based on greater good and justice.
    • For example, the decision to keep migrants in the host cities, during the first lockdown was an unpopular decision but was required to contain the pandemic spreading to the rural areas.
  • Non-ideological and objective decision: As agents and employees of the elected Government, Civil servants and public officials are required to serve the legitimate interests and needs of the Government, other civil servants, and all citizens, in a timely manner, with care, respect and courtesy.
    • However, their personal convictions and political ideologies must not interfere in the discharge of their duty.
  • Follow precedent of the court: Civil servants may refer previous such issues that were similarly handled by the courts and maintain the same precedent set by the court in dealing with controversial issues.

Values to be adhered while decision-making by civil servants

  • Integrity and Honesty: Integrity is putting the obligations of public service above your own personal interests.
    • Civil servants should be guided solely by public interest in their official decision making and not by any financial or other consideration either in respect of themselves, their families or their friends.
    • For Example, If a civil is being coerced by a powerful lobby to award contract to a particular company, they must not fall for such moorings.
  • Objectivity, Impartiality : Civil servants in carrying out their official work, including functions like procurement, recruitment, delivery of services etc. should take decisions based on merit and free from any partisan/political consideration.
  • Commitment to Public Service: Civil servants should deliver services in a fair, effective, impartial and courteous manner to serve the larger public interest. The dedication to the public welfare cause is crucial.
  • Political Neutrality: It is referred to the absence of any political affiliations and biases on the part of civil servants while discharging their duty.
    • A civil servant has to uphold impartiality and is professionally concerned with the rational application of policies determined by the political executive.
    • He or she cannot favour the party they believe or vote for or show any favourable conduct towards a party in the public eye.

Conclusion

Civil servants can repose people’s trust and faith in the governance systems as they are the first interface to the public. Moreover, By adhering to rules and laws in sensitive and critical matters, they will reinforce the belief in the public institutions of the country.

 

Topic:  strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7. What are the tenets of international morality enumerated in the UN Charter? Discuss.(250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by G Subba Rao and P. N. Roy Chowdhury

Why this question:

The question is straightforward and is based on the theme of “International Morality”.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the tenets of international morality enumerated in the UN Charter in detail.

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 you understand by international morality.

Body:

Discuss first that International Morality consists of moral principles which are endorsed by a number of nations. The rules of customary International Law reflect International Morality. International Morality acts as a factor or limitation of international relations. It acts as a limitation on National Power. But at the same time it can enable a nation to project and justify its policies as policies based on moral principles. As such, it is essential for us to examine the nature of International Morality in international relations. List down the tenets of international morality enumerated in the UN Charter in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the importance.

Introduction

International Morality consists of moral principles which are endorsed by a number of nations. The rules of customary International Law reflect International Morality. International Morality acts as a factor or limitation of international relations. It acts as a limitation on National Power. But at the same time it can enable a nation to project and justify its policies as policies based on moral principles.

Body

International Morality is a factor which influences the role of international decision makers and acts as a limiting factor for nations to act in a certain way.

Three Dimensions of Role of International Morality:

  • Protection of Human Life in Peace.
  • Protection of Human Life in War.
  • Moral Condemnation of War.

The Charter of the United Nations reflects these dimensions International Morality in many of its provisions. There exists an international code of moral values which is popularly called International Morality.

Tenets of International Morality in UN Charter.

Among the tenets are peacekeeping; developing friendly relations among nations; achieving international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian character as explained below.

  • Declaration of Human rights: For example, in calling for respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms without discrimination as to race, sex, language or religion.
  • Equality: UN Charter talks about it’s objective to develop friendly international relations based on respect for the “principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples”.
  • No conflict or war: Article 2 (4) of the Charter prohibits the threat or use of force and calls on all Members to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other States.
    • War is now recognized as immoral and even when it has to be resorted to, the nations accept and follow limits on methods of waging it.
  • Universal Peace: The moral desirability of peace is formally affirmed almost universally, though with provisions and conditions attached.
    • All nations are required to settle their disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace, security, and justice are not endangered.
    • Nations are advised to resort to peaceful dispute-settlement mechanisms (art. 33(1)) such as negotiation, mediation, and conciliation.
    • Where these measures fail, the parties must refer to the UN Security Council if their proposed measure would be a threat to peace and security.
  • Non-interference : Article 2 (7) states that the United Nations has no authority to intervene in matters which are within the domestic jurisdiction of any State, while this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures

Conclusion

Thus, International Morality plays an important role in international relations of our times. It has been acting as a restraint over adventurism and rogue nature of certain nations and limiting the power display in international arena. The realization towards the need for preserving international peace and for directing efforts towards the promotion of universal human welfare has increased the importance of morality in international relations.