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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 June 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 : India and its neighborhood- relations. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

1. Do you think  the diplomatic fallout of the territorial dispute between India and Nepal is likely to be serious, which could lead to difficult days ahead for both countries  as well as for the South Asian region? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Lower House of Nepal’s Parliament has unanimously voted for the Second Constitution Amendment Bill, which guarantees legal status for the new political map of the country that includes part of Indian Territory in Uttarakhand.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the ongoing issue between India and Nepal and the repercussions of the same on the bilateral relations of the two as well as upon the entire south Asian region.

Directive:

Analyze – When 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:

Discuss briefly the background of the territorial dispute between the two countries.

Body:

Explain the territorial dispute in detail , The territorial dispute stems from the fact that Nepal claims the land to the east of river Kali, which forms the country’s western border. Nepal claims right to the region and says India was allowed to station troops there in the 1950s and that India has refused to remove forces from the region ever since. Discuss India’s contention to the claims made by Nepal. The current development will lead to further complicating the Indo-Nepal border negotiations as Foreign Secretaries or senior envoys have no right to negotiate on the provisions of Nepal’s Constitution.

Conclusion:

The diplomatic fallout of the territorial dispute is likely to be serious, which could lead to difficult days ahead for Nepal-India Relations as well as for the South Asian region.

Introduction:

The inauguration of the “new road to Mansarovar” on May 8 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic by India’s defence minister has strained the relations between Nepal and India. Nepal government recently passed the constitutional amendment ratifying a change in its map which includes India’s territories in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district.

Body:

border_trouble

Cause of the dispute:

  • The Kalapani region derives its name from the river Kali.
  • The new map of Nepal includes Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura, territories that India controls.
  • The territorial dispute stems from the fact that Nepal claims the land to the east of river Kali, which forms its western border.
  • Nepal’s claims to the region is based on this river as it became the marker of the boundary of the kingdom of Nepal following the Treaty of Sugauli signed between the Gurkha rulers of Kathmandu and the East India Company after the Gurkha War/Anglo-Nepal War (1814-16). The treaty was ratified in 1816.
  • As per Kathmandu’s understanding, the river originates from Limpiyadhura in the higher Himalayas.
  • It is thus said to give Nepal access to a triangular-shaped land defined by Limpiyadhura-Lipulekh and Kalapani.
  • India opposes the notion and says the origin of the river is much further down (to the east), which reduces Nepal’s territorial demand.

Impact of the fallout on India –Nepal ties:

  • Regardless of the accusations on who is more responsible for the downslide in ties, Nepal’s quick move on the amendment leaves little space for diplomacy now.
  • The fact that the vote was unanimous implies the futility on India’s part to portray Mr. Oli alone as wholly responsible.
  • The Indian government has in the past not hesitated to take tough measures. For instance, the 2015 blockade that severely affected land-locked Nepal
  • The Nepali government seeks to build its legacy by overturning what it calls “unequal” agreements made by the earlier monarchy.
  • It could thus reverse old commitments on open and unsecured border posts.
  • In turn, it could cause a security nightmare for India if Nepal opens up other parts of their long boundary.
  • Both sides moved quickly to manage the recent fallout of border firing by Nepali police on a group of Indians that left one dead.
  • The same readiness is needed now to manage the fallout of the recent amendment vote.
  • Both sides should cooperate to preserve the once celebrated “special” relationship between India and Nepal.

Impact on the South Asian region:

  • The regional forums like SAARC which is already strained would be further deteriorate the South Asian unity, which is currently the least connected areas in world.
  • Multilateral agreements like BBIN, SASEC etc. would also be impacted due to the souring India-Nepal ties.
  • India’s neighbourhood first policy could be sabotaged.
  • More such border issues can crop up between other countries which could strain the relations and in-turn peace and harmony between neighbours.
  • China could use this as a leeway to get closer to Indian neighbours, thereby singling out India.

Way forward:

  • On border issue:
    • The two countries have managed to settle about 98% of the common border.
    • More than 8,500 boundary pillars have been installed reflecting the agreed alignment.
    • As both countries are laying claim to the same piece of land, the time has come for both countries to sit for talks to solve this issue.
  • Completion of the ongoing process of updating the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship:
    • India must recognise that as in all other developing economies, Nepal’s aspirational young population is also looking beyond the open Indian border for opportunities, and its desire to turn his “land-locked” country into a “land-linked” country with a merchant navy must be considered positively.
  • People-to-people inter-dependence must lead the relationship along with civil society and business-commercial level interactions.
  • India’s major foray should be in innovation and technology transfer, multidisciplinary dialogues, educational and technical institutions, local and global migration management and skills and capacity-building.
  • India needs to finish the infrastructure projects on time for instance Pancheswar project has been pending for over 20 years now.
  • Nepal could be the fountainhead of climate change knowledge and connect to India’s larger dynamics of the management of the ecology of hills and mountains.
  • Effective delivery on the pending projects, the remaining ICPs, the five railway connections, postal road network in the Terai and the petroleum pipeline so that connectivity is enhanced and the idea of ‘inclusive development and prosperity’ assumes reality.
  • India should maintain the policy of keeping away from internal affairs of Nepal, meanwhile in the spirit of friendship India should guide the nation towards more inclusive rhetoric.
  • With its immense strategic relevance in the Indian context as Indian security concern, stable and secure Nepal is one requisite which India can’t afford to overlook.
  • India needs to formulate a comprehensive and long-term Nepal policy.

 

Topic : Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2.  “Right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution encompasses the right to timely access to justice.” Comment in the context of the current times. (250 words)

Reference: thewire.in

Why the question:

The question is amidst current tough times posed by Covid pandemic and the issues facing judiciary due to it.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to analyse in what way Right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution encompasses the right to timely access to justice and especially in the context of current times.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the context of the question.

Body:

Explain that during the COVID-19 pandemic, access to justice continues to be imperiled despite the constitutional mandate and the ready access to technology. Discuss the reasons in detail; one can bring out the past experiences in times of such emergencies. Suggest what should actually be done to ensure justice is delivered timely.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The constitution, which underpins India’s democracy, guarantees fundamental rights. The fundamental rights are primarily available to citizens of India. The working of all high courts – and even of the Supreme Court – has been similarly curtailed although media and other reports indicate that the working of the other high courts and of the Supreme Court has been more efficient. This is in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic spreading across India. Consequently, the rights of citizens – and non-citizens – to access justice will continue to be imperilled, contrary to the Constitutional mandate.

Body:

Challenges already facing the access to justice:

  • At the best of times, our judicial system was plagued with delays. As of June 2019, the backlog of cases in the Bombay high court was nearly 4.6 lakh cases.
  • Matters pertaining to life and liberty of an individual cannot be denied hearing at this juncture.
  • Although the courts are technically closed since the beginning of the lockdown, new cases continue to be filed, electronically – implying that new cases continue to be added to India’s already overwhelmed judicial system during the on-going lockdown, further burdening the judges and increasing the number of pending cases.
  • Over 60,000 cases are pending in the Supreme Court alone, India Today had reported last month.

Impacts on Fundamental right to life and liberty:

  • The right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution encompasses the right to timely access to justice.
  • The right to equality before law also encompasses the right to timely access to justice.
  • In Anita Kushwaha v. Pushpa Sudan (2016) the Supreme Court ruled “Access to justice is and has been recognised as a part and parcel of right to life in India and in all civilised societies around the globe.
  • Further, a “citizen’s inability to access courts …. is bound to result in denial of the guarantee contained in Article 14 both in relation to equality before law as well as equal protection of laws”.
  • Accessible justice not only means the accessible location of courts but it also means affordable justice, easy court procedures, & justice on time. The recent justice of SC which acquitted the Talwar couple after conviction & jail captivity of 5 years shows the lack of Fair & Timely justice.
  • Large number of pending cases, lack of use of IT in courts, loopholes of collegium system, temporary judges as Chief Justice in 7 High Courts & large no of vacancies in courts make Justice inaccessible.

Measures needed in the current COVID-19 situation:

  • The Supreme Court recently passed directions for all courts across the country to extensively use video-conferencing for judicial proceedings saying congregation of lawyers and litigants must be suspended to maintain social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic
  • It is critical to draw up a well-defined and pre-decided framework as it can help in laying a concrete roadmap and direction to the e-courts scheme of India.
  • To achieve this, the government must establish an effective task force consisting of judges, technologists, court administrators, skill developers and system analysts to draw up a blueprint for institutionalizing online access to justice.
  • Such a task force must be charged with the responsibility of establishing hardware, software and IT systems for courts; examining application of artificial intelligence benefiting from the data base generated through e-courts projects; establishing appropriate e-filing systems and procedures.
  • Creating skill training and recognition for paralegals to understand and to help advocates and others to access the system to file their cases and add to their pleadings and documents as the case moves along.
  • Once the blueprint is ready, the High Courts across the country may refer the same to the Rule Committee of the High Court to frame appropriate rules to operationalize the e-court system.
  • One aspect that needs to be focused on is the deployment of a robust security system that provides secure access to case information for appropriate parties. The security of e-courts infrastructure and system is of paramount importance.
  • Also, user friendly e-courts mechanism, which is simple and easily accessible by the common public will encourage litigants to use such facilities in India.
  • The government must also make dedicated efforts in the training of personnel to maintain all the e-data.
  • Also, conducting training sessions to familiarize the Judges with the e-courts framework and procedure can give a huge impetus to the successful running of e-courts.

Way forward for Indian litigation and arbitration:

  • In India, a significant amount of time is spent in resolving disputes which has been the real bane of the Indian judiciary system. The e-courts project, if implemented, would go a long way in saving costs and time for the litigants.
  • The present government is taking active steps to establish e-courts all over India. All these government efforts will result in providing quick and cost effective solutions to the litigants.
  • The judiciary system in India with the help of e-courts can overcome the challenges and make the service delivery mechanism transparent and cost efficient.
  • Further, the e-court project also requires the executive and the judiciary to reaffirm their resolve to support a speedy, efficient and quality justice delivery in the country. It is also important to discuss steps required to surmount the various challenges facing the justice system.

 

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

3. Stigma and awareness are two separate issues although interlinked and need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness in India. Do you agree? Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference : The Hindu 

Why the question:

The question is in the backdrop of increased incidences of suicide cases being witnessed in the country owing to depression and lack of mental health- its stigma and awareness.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the two key factors – stigma and awareness that are necessary to be tackled to deal with the burden of mental health illness in India.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some key facts/data talking about mental health illness and its burden in India.

Body:

Define first what mental health is – Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.  Explain the issues associated with it. Bring out the concerns around stigma associated with it and the lack of awareness. Suggest how it can be addressed, what steps need to be taken.

Conclusion:

Conclude that if individuals continue to view mental illness with apprehension and resistance, it will remain difficult for people with mental health concerns to seek the support they require due to the fear of being labeled or judged.

Introduction:

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. (WHO) With over 18% of India’s population aged 10-17, the future of the country will be driven by this segment.

Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput has been found dead at his Bandra residence in Mumbai recently. He was supposedly battling a depression and died by suicide.

Body:

Status of Mental health in India

  • According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness makes about 15% of the total disease conditions around the world.
  • The same estimate also suggests that India has one of the largest populations affected from mental illness.
  • As a result, WHO has labelled India as the world’s ‘most depressing country’.
  • Moreover, between 1990 to 2017, one in seven people from India have suffered from mental illness ranging from depression, anxiety to severe conditions such as schizophrenia, according to a study. It is no exaggeration to suggest that the country is under a mental health epidemic.
  • More than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders. According to WHO, by the year 2020, depression will constitute the second largest disease burden worldwide (Murray & Lopez, 1996).

Major challenges in tackling Mental health issues in India:

  • Stigma:
    • Depression and mental health are taboo subjects in India. A deterioration in mental health is equated with insanity in India quite often resulting in naming and labelling.
    • That mental health is not a priority in a country where basic amenities like clean water, power, food, education and housing are sorely lacking is not surprising, but deep stigma also contributes to the denial and shame around the subject, cutting across lines of religion, class, caste and gender.
    • The what-will-people-say mentality is so widespread that some village programs have attached psychological services to the local temples so that people can seek help in the guise of religious activity to avoid the shame of exposure.
    • This mentality is propagated in no small measure by the insensitive and tone-deaf attitudes toward mental health.
    • For instance, Indian politicians and public personalities often ridicule their opponents by weaponizing terms like “dumb,” “deaf,” “mentally ill,” “retarded,” “bipolar,” “handicapped,” “dyslexic” and “schizophrenic.”
    • A survey conducted by The Live, Love, Laugh Foundation revealed shockingly callous and misinformed attitudes toward mental health in India.
    • Sixty percent of respondents agreed with the statement that mentally unhealthy people should “have their own groups” so that healthy people are not “contaminated,” while the same number also believed that lack of self-discipline and willpower was one of the main causes of mental illness.
    • Given its negative impact on treatment seeking, adherence and effectiveness, the stigma associated with mental illness can be considered as a major public health problem.
    • In spite of efforts to reduce the stigma around mental health, there is an increase in societal and individualist pressures on individuals.
  • Awareness:
    • There is no substantial increase in the awareness of mental health and its implications. This disparity may in turn cause mental health negligence and potentially suicidal thoughts or behaviour.
    • Education in India doesn’t discuss depression and mental health.
    • It lacks values system and focuses on material life driven education leads to mechanization of individuals and thus deprives them of life forces and essence of living.
  • General attitude towards mental health:
    • We are conditioned to try and meet expectations that are made by people other than themselves, and pressure or failure to meet those expectations may cause distress.
    • A few other causes of self-harm or suicidal thoughts are internalising negative emotion and mental health concerns, family history of mental health issues, knowing, identifying, or being associated with someone who has committed suicide.

Measures needed:

  • A revolution in mental health care systems is needed, where clinicians, psychologists, etc. are trained in suicide prevention as a part of the curriculum.
  • Inter-agency working such as referral to a psychologist by GP’s can help early identification of issues. In terms of policy, it is of importance to have guidelines, reports or visions for mental health.
  • The need of the hour is to sensitize and educate individuals about the signs and symptoms of mental illness while normalizing the idea of seeking support for themselves and their loved ones.
  • There needs to be more open discussion and dialogue with the general public, and not just experts on this subject, which will in turn help create a more inclusive environment for people with mental illness.
  • Remove the stigma:
    • Talk more about mental health issues, depression and suicides in every circle to ensure the stigma attached to coming out in the open about your mental health is removed.
    • This is of primary importance as stigma is what inhibits those who need help in reaching out, and it’s the responsibility of individuals and communities as much as the government to drive it away.
  • Watch for warning signs:
    • It’s not just people who’ve made past attempts who are at high risk of committing suicides.
    • You should learn all you can about the warning signs for suicide – like withdrawal from the world, sudden calmness, self-harming behaviour and making preparations – and reach out to people who show these signs.
    • It’s also very important to take threats of suicide seriously, especially among adolescents.

Way Forward:

  • Mental health situation in India demands active policy interventions and resource allocation by the government.
  • To reduce the stigma around mental health, we need measure to train and sensitize the community/society.
  • This can happen only when we have persistent nationwide effort to educate the society about mental diseases.
  • We also need steps to connect the patients with each other by forming a peer network, so that they could listen and support each other.
  • Moreover, people experiencing mental health problems should get the same access to safe and effective care as those with physical health problems.
  • Additionally, mental illness must mandatorily be put under the ambit of life insurance. This will help people to see mental illness with the same lens as they use for physical diseases.
  • When it comes to providing the right care to patients with mental illness, we need mental healthcare intervention to the patients, we need innovative models to deepen the penetration of services and staff. One such model is accredited social health activist (ASHA) by the ministry of health and family welfare, Government of India. Under this model, community health workers not only educate and sensitize women and children about mental diseases but also guide them to reach the right expert in their locality.
  • We need a constant stream of funds for educating and creating awareness about mental health and chronic issues around it.
  • The need of the hour is to provoke masses to learn about mental health through campaigns like Swachh Mansikta Abhiyan. This will help them address mental issues in a timely and effective manner and live a stress-free life.
  • The campaign will also encourage people to talk about their mental well-being and reach out to a therapist or psychiatrist, in case they need to do so.
  • Timely intervention, awareness about the issue, availability of professional help and appropriate policies is the only way to improve the situation.
  • It is thus imperative to believe and propagate that people with mental illness deserve to live their lives with dignity and confidence.
  • It requires a collaborative public-private-social partnership to change things considerably.

Conclusion:

Stigma and Awareness need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness in India. If individuals continue to view mental illness with apprehension and resistance, it will remain difficult for people with mental health concerns to seek the support they require due to the fear of being labelled or judged.

In conclusion, be kind, compassionate and empathetic towards all. Everyone is fighting their own battle, some more silently than others. It’s time to add value and enrich one another’s lives. Mental Illness is real, hard, disabling and needs addressal and treatment. People should seek professional help as soon as the need arises. Early detection and intervention of a psychological condition will allow you to live the life you deserve.

 

Topic : the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders. Disaster and disaster management.

4. Discuss the need to actively engage local communities and civil society for containment of pandemics like COVID-19. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

Amidst the global agony facing every country, COVID-19 requires a new and better approach in the country to deal with the pandemic situation and that mainly involves engaging local communities and civil societies in action.

Key Demand of the question:

Bring out the need and importance of actively engage local communities and civil society for containment of pandemics like COVID-19.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In short, highlight the current situation of the Covid-19 in the country and across the world.

Body:

The question is straightforward and aims to evaluate the importance of actively engaging local communities and civil society for containment of pandemics like COVID-19. Discuss and present the case of India, highlight the role being played by various NGOs, civil society organisations. Explain why they are essential – discuss the constraints of the government.

Conclusion:

Conclude by reasserting importance of the same.

Introduction:

The community engagement and civil societies have a pivotal role in ensuring the success of India’s anti-coronavirus campaign. The accredited social health activist (ASHA) – the community health workers – have over time become de-facto public health employees rather than being community representatives enjoying the unswerving confidence of people as originally envisaged. However, at times, these community workers have been easy targets to attacks by public due to misconception, frustration and public anger.

Body:

engagement

Crucial importance of community engagement:

  • First, a concoction of local culture, values and beliefs can lead to blithe disregard of the coronavirus threat and gravely endanger containment and mitigation efforts.
  • Second, threatened livelihoods due to lockdowns and a resultant downplaying of the coronavirus risk can instill indignation and non-cooperation, as witnessed in the case of many migrants.
  • With our weak social support system, we cannot afford quarantine allowances like in Sweden and Singapore; even the entitled modest relief could get delayed.
  • Third, there is increased likelihood of repeat lockdowns due to the virus likely to bounce back, which will greatly test public patience and co-operation.
  • Lastly, we also need to remember the trust deficit between health workers and the public that has lingered on since decades, given our unsatisfactory public and profiteering private health care.

Community Engagement leads to the lower levels of De-centralization:

  • Community engagement is a pre-requisite for risk communication, which entails effectively communicating the threat due to the virus, instilling the right practices and etiquette, and combating rumours and stigma.
  • Till date, the government’s machinery to communicate risk has served a thin upper- and middle-class segment quite well.
  • However, with COVID-19 moving briskly towards slums and rural hinterlands, one should not be surprised if such incidents of non-cooperation start surfacing at a brisk pace too.
  • Rural awareness generation and community engagement has unto now comprised mainly of engaging with local panchayats, disseminating publicity material in local vernacular, and calling on the participation of civil society organisations.
  • For our anti-coronavirus campaign to be a success, community engagement has to ensue on a war-footing, much akin to the production of ventilators and masks.
  • Like the Antyodaya approach, it has to embrace the remotest community stalwart who enjoys the community’s confidence and is perceived as an impartial non-state agent.
  • One may say that we are too far into the pandemic to focus on risk communication.
  • But community engagement is more than just risk communication. It is the bedrock of community participation, the need for which will only be felt even more acutely as the epidemic worsens.
  • Contact tracing activities will have to pick up as COVID-19 increasingly percolates to rural areas.
  • Enhancing testing for SARS-CoV-2 and concomitant expansion of quarantine, isolation, and treatment activities along vast expanses will tremendously strain our thin public health machinery. This will not be possible without community participation at every step.

Way forward:

  • Strongly involving the nearly 2.5 million informal health-care providers would become crucial for a range of activities.
  • Makeshift arrangements for transportation and care, such as motorcycle ambulances and mobile medical units, will need to be made.
  • Further, initiatives such as community kitchens of Kerala will assume tremendous importance in cases of a stringent and prolonged lockdown.
  • These, along with simply a strict adherence to social distancing throughout the pandemic, cannot be conceived without full community participation.
  • Urgent reinforcing and galvanising of community engagement activities will largely decide the trajectory COVID-19 undertakes in India.
  • Recruiting a medical workforce, augmenting infrastructure, and manufacturing personal protective equipment on a war footing unless these go hand-in-hand with the former, will result in undermining of both.

 

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

5. Discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on global energy demand. (250 words)

Reference: Down to Earth 

Why the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to discuss the impact of COVID-19 crisis on global energy demand.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the impact of COVID-19 crisis on global energy demand 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 article talks about the current global energy scenario – The US — one of the largest consumers of global energy from the 1950s till 2018 — is now emerging as a major energy supplier to the global energy market.

Body:

First, explain that the global economic slump that largely occurred in the past few months due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is also putting a severe stress on the global energy structure. Explain the reasons for such an effect; Lockdown measures are driving a major shift towards low carbon sources of electricity including wind, solar photovoltaic, hydropower and nuclear. However also explain the fact that lowdown in the conventional energy sector also provides an opportunity for growth of the renewable energy sector.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way ahead.

Introduction:

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a report detailing the impact of Covid-19 — which it has called a “once-in-a-century crisis” — on global energy demands and CO2 emissions. With lockdowns imposed in last few months in several countries, transportation such as road and air travel has been largely restricted, due to which global energy demands have plummeted. Further, since millions of people were confined to their homes, domestic electricity demand has elevated as commercial demand has fallen.

India has seen a reduction in its energy demands by over 30 per cent as a result of the nation-wide lockdown.

Body:

Findings of the report:

  • Coal Demand:
    • It has been declined by 8% compared with the first quarter of 2019.
    • The reasons for such decline include, China – a coal-based economy – was the country hardest hit by Covid 19 in the first quarter and cheap gas and continued growth in renewables elsewhere challenged coal.
    • In advanced economies, coal demand will fall by 25 per cent in the US, 20 per cent in the European Union (EU) and 5-10 per cent in Korea and Japan.
    • In the coming months, the demand for coal will be impacted based on how its biggest consumers, such as China, recover from the crisis.
  • Oil Demand:
    • It has declined by 5% in the first quarter, majorly due to curtailment in mobility and aviation, which account for nearly 60% of global oil demand.
    • The report also estimates that the global demand for oil could further drop by 9% on average in 2020, which will return oil consumption to 2012 levels.
    • Every month of a full lockdown impacts electricity demand by 20 per cent on average or 1.5 per cent on an annual basis.
  • Gas Demand:
    • The impact of the pandemic on gas demand has been moderate, at around 2%, as gas-based economies were not strongly affected in the first quarter of 2020.
  • Renewables Energy Resources Demand:
    • It is the only source that has registered a growth in demand, driven by larger installed capacity.
    • Further, the demand for renewables is expected to rise by 1% by 2020 because of low operating costs and preferential access for many power systems.
  • Electricity Demand:
    • It has been declined by 20% during periods of full lockdown in several countries.
    • However, the residential demand is outweighed by reductions in commercial and industrial operations.

Impacts:

Positive impacts:

  • CO2 emissions:
    • Overall, the emissions decline in 2020 could be 8% lower than in 2019, which would be the lowest level of emissions since 2010.
    • It is also the largest level of emission reduction — six times larger than witnessed during the 2009 financial crisis, and twice as large as the combined total of all reductions witnessed since World War II.
    • In the first quarter of 2020, the decline in CO2 emissions is more than the fall in global energy demand.

Negative impacts:

  • New energy facilities delayed or stopped:
    • Many companies across different sectors globally have ceased or decreased capital expenditures where possible, and the energy sector is no exception.
    • For example, Distribution System Operators (DSOs) are delaying most initiated projects, resulting in a substantial decrease in the procurement of goods and services. Non-critical investments have been suspended.
  • Renewables Sector hit:
    • Covid-19 is having an especially negative impact on the renewables sector. One of the main problems relates to the delivery of equipment to power plants.
    • Since coronavirus has delayed deliveries from China, renewable energy companies are not able to comply with deadlines for equipment installation.
    • For instance, in India alone 3,000 MW of solar and wind energy projects face delays, due to the coronavirus lockdown.
  • Default of payment:
    • In many countries (including all but two Contracting Parties of the Energy Community), customers have been advised by energy regulators and governments to delay the payment of utility bills.
    • Defaults on payments cause cascade effect and impact the whole sector.
  • Discoms hit:
    • The waiving of interest and bans on disconnection will most likely increase costs for Distribution System Operators (DSOs) or Discoms.
    • Consequently, their revenues will be decreased and, if the crisis continues, their financial status will deteriorate.
    • It is inevitable that all this would negatively impact the cash flow and short-term liquidity of DSOs.
    • A lack of working capital to finance short-term liabilities for regular operation is expected within two to three months if the situation persists.
  • Affects clean energy transition:
    • As was rightly pointed by the International Energy Agency, the sharp decline of the oil market may put clean energy transitions at risk by reducing the impetus for energy efficiency policies.
    • Without measures by governments, cheaper energy always leads consumers to use it less efficiently.
    • It reduces the appeal of buying more efficient cars or retrofitting buildings to save energy.

Way forward:

  • policymakers should keep the “green” agenda in mind.
  • The long-standing goals of promoting solar and wind energy, shifting more baseload power to natural gas, and shutting the most-polluting coal-fired power plants should now be pushed.

Conclusion:

Covid-19 has drastically impacted the energy sector across the globe. The whole range of consequences for the energy sector is yet to be revealed and is difficult to predict, however it is already clear that demand for energy resources has dropped, prices have plummeted and non-payment of utility bills by end-consumers will have a detrimental effect along the supply chain (DSOs, TSOs, suppliers and producers). Notwithstanding, the “green” agenda should not slip away from the list of national policymakers’ and regulators’ priorities.

 

Topic: challenges of corruption.

6.  “Just as for the fish moving inside the water, it cannot be known as to when they are drinking water, similarly, for the officers appointed for carrying out works, it cannot be known as to when they are appropriating money”. Examine the statement in context of the challenges of corruption in India. (250 words)

Reference Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Administrative corruption.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is about administrative corruption and challenges of corruption in India.

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:

Explain the given statement in detail first.

Body:

Discuss first the challenges of corruption in India. Administrative corruption is one of the biggest challenges for any society. Officials misusing authority for misappropriation of wealth for self-gratification/interest are likely to deviate if the arrangement of audit, scrutiny or probity is not very strong. Explain the mechanisms that are available to cater the needs of doing away the challenges of corruption in the country.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.

Introduction:

As Gladstone has aptly said, The purpose of a government is to make it easy for people to do good and difficult to do evil”.

Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics. It is unfortunate that corruption has, for many, become a matter of habit, ranging from grand corruption involving persons in high places to retail corruption touching the everyday life of common people.

Body:

Challenges of corruption:

  • Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines rule of law, leads to violations of human rights and allows organized crime to flourish.
  • Corruption in India is not limited to collusive high-level scams.
  • Petty corruption, which affects the delivery of basic services and rights to people, is rampant.
  • Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways. In the worst cases, it costs lives. Short of this, it costs people their freedom, health or money. The cost of corruption can be divided into four main categories: political, economic, social and environmental.
  • On the political front, corruption is a major obstacle to democracy and the rule of law. In a democratic system, offices and institutions lose their legitimacy when they’re misused for private advantage. This is harmful in established democracies, but even more so in newly emerging ones. It is extremely challenging to develop accountable political leadership in a corrupt climate.
  • Economically, corruption depletes national wealth. Corrupt politicians invest scarce public resources in projects that will line their pockets rather than benefit communities, and prioritise high-profile projects such as dams, power plants, pipelines and refineries over less spectacular but more urgent infrastructure projects such as schools, hospitals and roads. Corruption also hinders the development of fair market structures and distorts competition, which in turn deters investment.
  • Corruption corrodes the social fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption. This especially impacts the poor and marginalized, who are most dependent on public provisioning of rations, pensions, health, and education. Serious cases of several big corruptions have surfaced in the last five years, including banking frauds and the Rafale deal. The popular sentiment that helped the incumbent Government in the 2014 general election was resentment against corruption in public life.
  • Environmental degradation is another consequence of corrupt systems. The lack of, or non-enforcement of, environmental regulations and legislation means that precious natural resources are carelessly exploited, and entire ecological systems are ravaged. From mining, to logging, to carbon offsets, companies across the globe continue to pay bribes in return for unrestricted destruction

Measures to curb corruption:

The solution to the problem of corruption has to be more systemic than any other issue of governance. Merely shrinking the economic role of the state by resorting to deregulation, liberalization and privatization is not necessarily the solution to addressing the problem.

  • Adopting effective and coordinated policies against corruption
    • Developing a coherent anti-corruption policy which identifies the causes of corruption and commits to practical, coordinated and effective measures to address these causes is a prerequisite for success.
  • Fair and transparent system of public procurement
    • Establishing a procurement system, built on the principles of objectivity, transparency and competition, is important to both saving public money and to ensuring that the policy and developmental objectives of the government are met.
      • g.: GeM Government E-market Place is a step in the right directions. With this, Public Finance Management System also helps in tracking the real-time usage of funds.
    • Strengthened transparency and public reporting
      • An informed society with free access to information is a strong deterrent to corruption.
      • This underlines the importance of transparency, public reporting and access to information in preventing corruption.
      • Right to Information needs to be strengthened to make the public officials and governments more accountable to the citizens.
      • Citizens must be Vigilant: Otherwise, like Plato said “The punishment suffered by the wise who refuse to take part in government, is to suffer under the government of bad men”
    • Institutional monitoring and legislative reforms
      • Prevalent institutional arrangements have to be reviewed and changes made where those vested with power are made accountable, their functioning made more transparent and subjected to social audit with a view to minimize discretionary decisions.
      • Napoleon who said, ‘Law should be so succinct that it can be carried in the pocket of the coat and it should be so simple that it can be understood by a peasant’.
      • The 2nd ARC recommended that The Prevention of Corruption Act should be amended to ensure that sanctioning authorities are not summoned and instead the documents can be obtained and produced before the courts by the appropriate authority.
    • E-governance
      • The focus should be on e-governance and systemic change. An honest system of governance will displace dishonest persons.
    • Other Reforms
      • All procedures, laws and regulations that breed corruption and come in the way of efficient delivery system will have to be eliminated.
      • The perverse system of incentives in public life, which makes corruption a high return low risk activity, need to be addressed.
      • In this context, public example has to be made out of people convicted on corruption charge

Second ARC guidelines to prevent corruption

  • Vigilance and Corruption:
    • Strengthening pro-active vigilance to eliminate corruption and harassment to honest civil servants including, wherever necessary, limiting executive discretion.
    • Addressing systemic deficiencies manifesting in reluctance to punish the corrupt.
    • Identify procedures, rules and regulations and factors which lead to corruption.
  • Relationship between Political Executive and Permanent Civil Service: Improvements in the institutional arrangements for smooth, efficient and harmonious relationship between civil service and the political executive is needed.
  • Code of Conduct for different organs of Government: This includes Political Executive, Civil Services, etc.

Conclusion

“Rivers do not drink their waters themselves, nor do trees eat their fruit, nor do the clouds eat the grains raised by them. The wealth of the noble is used solely for the benefit of others.”

Corruption needs to be rooted out from the very core of our nation, so that there is justiciable distribution of resources in the country leading to inclusive growth and ‘Sabka Vikas.’

 

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 the new public service values that have become indispensable, where public services have moved from rule-laden to result-oriented? Explain. (250 words)

Reference Ethics, Integrity and aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of new public service values and their indispensability.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to in detail explain the indispensability of new public service values to the public services.

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:

Start by highlighting the change in the paradigm of governance as suggested in the question.

Body:

Explain that Public Service under the idea of Good Governance has moved from Weberian model of rule laden approach to result centric approach. Discuss in detail the causes to which the change can be attributed to. Explain the new shift in detail; one can substantiate the changes better using suitable examples.

Conclusion:

Thus, adoption of these new public service values has become imperative for success of administration in the 21st century India.

Introduction:

Values are essential components of organisational culture and instrumental in determining, guiding and informing behaviour. Public Service Values inform all aspects of ethical decision-making –ethical judgment, ethical choice and ethical behaviour −and are reinforced by them.

For bureaucracies, adherence to high-level public service values can generate substantial public trust and confidence.  Conversely, weak application of values or promotion of inappropriate values can lead to reductions in these essential elements of democratic governance, as well as to ethical and decision-making dilemmas

Body:

Instilling public service values in public servants is important as their personal values and public service values may differ. Thus, it is necessary that the public servants learn the values to better serve the people they represent.

The public service values which are indispensable are:

Ethical Values: Ethical values are the personal values which guide a public servant in decision making between right and wrong, guiding him in right path.

  • Integrity: Consistently behaves in an open, fair and transparent manner, honours one’s commitments and works to uphold the Public service values.
  • Accountability: Takes ownership for outcomes (successes or failures) while addressing performance issues fairly and promptly.

 Democratic Values: Democratic values ensure that the rule of law is maintained and that every citizen is valued.

  • Rule of law: Cardinal principle of governance. Decisions are made adhering to the law
  • Neutrality: Decision making should be independent of any political influence or favours. It should be governed by the aim of maximizing public interest. It is important for building trust vis-à-vis the public

 Professional Values: professional values are the guiding beliefs and principles that influence your work behaviour.

  • Efficiency: operational excellence and value for money, manages human capital and nurtures capability
  • Innovation: To find new and unique ways to solve the problems.

 People/Humanitarian Values: Helps to deal with the public, understand their needs better and serve them more efficiently.

  • Empathy: Empathy is about being able to accurately hear out and understand the thoughts, feelings and concerns of others, even when these are not made explicit.

The various method and means by which public service values can be instilled among public servants are as follows

  • Reinforcement and transmission
    • The reinforcement and transmission of common cultural values needs to be planned and systematic.
    • Without attention being given to inculcating core values and standards, other more localised values can come to the fore.
    • Strengthening the existing strength of the values culture within the organisation.
    • Example: code of ethics, citizen charters, ethical audits
  • Recognition
    • Recognise and assert the importance of ethics to good government
    • Example: Rewards for good performance like best civil servant and punishment for deviant behaviour.
  • Integration
    • Integrate the management of ethics into the wider system.
  • Guidance
    • Exercise leadership from the centre and demand similar leadership in departments.
    • Promote through a combination of standards, guidance, education and recognition of good practice.
    • Example: Best practices should be noted and emulated across places.
  • Informed Decision Making
    • Allow information to flow to inform and guide devolved decision making.
    • Example: Decision making based on thorough studying and knowledge of the topic.
  • Spirit of Challenge
    • Continue to test theory and rules against experience and remain responsive to challenges in the political and policy environment.
    • Clear guidelines for interaction between public and private services.
    • Example: Competition between offices can be set up.
  • Risk Management
    • Identification of high-risk ‘zones’ which require strong control and monitoring activity.

Conclusion:

Instilling public service values leads to better public service delivery and increased trust of citizens in the public sector.


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