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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 August 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.


General Studies – 1


 

Topic : Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. Is the caste-based discrimination in India different from the racial discrimination of the West? Assess. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Society class XI NCERT

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper I, Subject society.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to assess the difference between the racial discrimination of the West and the caste-based discrimination prevalent in our country.

Directive:

AssessWhen asked to assess, 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:

Start by defining what you understand by caste discrimination and racial discrimination.

Body:

In the answer body elaborate on the factors behind the rise of such discrimination. Present the context of Indian caste discrimination; explain that India’s caste system is the world’s one of the longest surviving vertical social hierarchies. It encompasses a complex ordering of social groups on the basis of descent. Then move on to compare and contrast both forms of discrimination, to understand whether both are similar or different.

Present in detail the case of Indian caste- based discrimination.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to address the two issues

Introduction:

India’s caste system is the world’s one of the longest surviving vertical social hierarchies. It encompasses a complex ordering of social groups on the basis of descent. The groups at the bottom like untouchables or Dalits are considered ‘lesser human beings’, ‘impure’ and ‘polluting’ to other caste groups, it involves massive violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

Racial discrimination occurs when a person is treated less favourably, or not given the same opportunities, as others in a similar situation, because of their race, the country where they were born, their ethnic origin or their skin colour.

Body:

The Caste Discrimination of India varies from racial discrimination:

  • Caste is associated primarily with cultures of the Indian sub-continent. According to those who practise and promote it, Caste is determined by birth and cannot be changed.
  • Racism is irrational discrimination of people belonging to a particular race or ethnicity, which is based on certain so-called stereotypical features of every race. Racism affects life, education, business and personal relationships.
  • Various data shows one-fourth of Afro-American population is at the poverty line, which is much higher than other groups.
  • In India, the condition of Dalits has been extremely pathetic for centuries. They are mostly landless communities and forced to live in small hamlets out of the village.
  • Mob violence is committed against Dalits on the name of animal slaughtering and a disproportionate number of rapes are committed against Dalit women.
  • In comparison, post-Civil War white mob violence against blacks has morphed into state-condoned violence of homicides of African Americans by police.
  • Racial inequality in America has its parallel in caste inequality in India even though by definition, race and caste are not the same thing.
  • According to the United Nations, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), “the term “racial discrimination” shall mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.
  • Caste discrimination is recognised by the United Nations as a contemporary form of racial discrimination.

Conclusion:

People affected by descent-based discrimination face significant challenges with respect to their enjoyment of human rights. These challenges arise from a variety of legal, social, and structural barriers and constructs, both historic and contemporary in nature. To address descent-based discrimination we must tackle the broader social norms, perceptions, attitudes and beliefs that perpetuate and reinforce prejudices and stereotypes of hierarchy, and accompanying forms of domination and exclusion that are endemic to caste and other systems of inherited status.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

2. Write a note Smart India Hackathon and discuss in detail the benefits of the programme for various stakeholders. (250 words)

 Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The question is based on Smart India Hackathon and its advantages to the stakeholders involved.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the Smart India Hackathon, its objectives, motto and purpose.

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:

Smart India Hackathon is a nationwide initiative to provide students with a platform to solve some of the pressing problems we face in our daily lives, and thus inculcate a culture of product innovation and a mindset of problem-solving.

Body:

Explain that it has proved to be extremely successful in promoting out-of-the-box thinking in young minds.

Discuss in what way Smart India Hackathon 2020 will give solutions for complex problems in different areas

Like Environment, waste management, rural development etc.

Discuss the details of the program; explain who all it would benefit to.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such programs.

Introduction:

Smart India Hackathon (SIH) is a nationwide initiative to provide students with a platform to solve some of the pressing problems we face in our daily lives, and thus inculcate a culture of product innovation and a mindset of problem-solving. SIH 2020 is the World’s Biggest Hackathon and Open Innovation model, an initiative by Ministry of HRD of India.

The first three editions SIH2017, SIH2018 and SIH2019 proved to be extremely successful in promoting innovation out-of-the-box thinking in young minds, especially engineering students from across India.

Body:

SIH is an initiative by Ministry of HRD, AICTE, Persistent Systems, i4c. It involves 2 Lakh+ students with 57,000+ ideas from 2200+ institutions against 530+ problem statements provided by 120+ organizations from across India. It is the World’s biggest Software and Hardware hackathon.

Rationale behind SIH:

  • Harnesses creativity & expertise of students
  • Sparks institute-level hackathons
  • Builds funnel for ‘Startup India’ campaign
  • Crowd-source solutions for improving governance and quality of life
  • Provides opportunity to citizens to provide innovative solutions to India’s daunting problems

Benefits of SIH:

  • Country:
    • It will be World’s biggest Open Innovation Movement Opportunity to work with some of the best talents in the country.
    • Talented youngsters from all over the country offer out-of-the-box solutions to global problems.
  • Companies:
    • Companies will get innovative solutions to the problems in cost effective ways Opportunity to be a part of Nation Building Opportunity to brand your company.
    • Nation-wide Recognition and visibility for the companies across all premier institutions in India.
  • Students:
    • Harness expertise of students from IISc, IITs, NITs and AICTE/UGC approved institutions.
    • In SIH, the students would also have the opportunity to work on challenges faced within the private sector organisations and create world class solutions for some of the top companies in the world, thus helping the Private sector hire the best minds from across the nation.

Conclusion:

Thus, SIH is a unique initiative to identify new and disruptive digital technology innovations for solving the challenges faced by our country. It is a non-stop digital product development competition, where problems are posed to technology students to suggest innovative solutions.

 

Topic: Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora

3. Do you agree that the Taliban’s ceasefire is a chance to kick-start intra-Afghan peace talks? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents to us the recent ceasefire of Taliban and its impact on Intra- Afghan talks.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail how an external agent will only look for a way out of the conflict. It is the internal unity or

Strong will to fight against its enemy will safeguard it.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly explain the context of the question; Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban have announced a three-day ceasefire of war for the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.

Body:

Explain the significance of the move; there are chances that both sides may kick-start the intra-Afghan talks that were promised in the U.S.-Taliban deal if the ceasefire gets extended.

Provide a background of conflict between Taliban and Afghanistan.

Discuss if this U.S.-Taliban deal will really resolve the issue? Bring out the concerns associated to it.

Talk about the U.S. – Taliban Peace deal.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The Taliban has decided to cease fire for three days during Id-ul-Adha. The decision has come as a relief for Afghans who have seen unabated violence despite a peace agreement between the insurgents and the U.S. This is the third official respite since the war started in 2001.

Body:

Background:

  • In June 2018 and May 2020, the Taliban had briefly ended hostilities to mark the end of the holy month of Ramzan.
  • However, on both occasions it refused to extend the ceasefire and returned to war as soon as the celebrations were over.
  • The United States has signed a historic deal with Taliban insurgents that could pave the way for ending the 18-year-war in Afghanistan in March 2020.
  • Kabul and the insurgents are preparing to launch the intra-Afghan talks that were promised in the U.S.-Taliban deal, leading to high hopes of extended peace.
  • According to the pact, talks were to begin in March 2020.
  • But both sides failed to reach an agreement on prisoner exchange, which the U.S. had agreed with the Taliban.

Reasons why the ceasefire could be a good start for Intra-Afghan talks:

  • Afghanistan President Ghani has decided to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners.
  • This is followed by the Taliban’s ceasefire announcement.
  • Both sides have now agreed to kick-start talks after Id.
  • They could do it in a peaceful environment if the ceasefire is extended.

However, challenges persist:

  • The Taliban continues to engage in war and talks simultaneously, despite the peace deal between US and Taliban.
  • The Afghan government was kept out of the peace process.
  • According to the U.S.-Taliban agreement, the U.S. agreed to pull out its troops in return for security assurances from the Taliban.
  • The onus was on a weakened Afghan government to start talks even as the Taliban continued attacks.
  • A resurgent Taliban seeks to maintain the upper hand – in war and in talks.
  • Taliban sees itself as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan.
  • In addition, it has not recognised the Constitution of the country.
  • This will be the government’s key challenge when its representatives and that of the Taliban would be holding talks.

Way forward:

  • Achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan will require patience and compromise among all parties. And thus talking only with the Taliban is a short-sighted policy.
  • To resolve conflict within Afghanistan, the battlefield needs to be isolated i.e. external support to the terrorist activities needs to be abandoned. Also, the countries need to keep their respective interests aside, to build peace in the region.
  • The US needs to make its policy vis-a-vis Afghanistan clear.
  • India and Central Asian Republics can help in establishing peace in the region.
  • More militancy is witnessed in the region where the state fails to deliver. Thus, administrative reforms within Afghanistan are the need of the hour.

 

Topic : Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

4. Discuss the concept of Contempt of Court. Explain in detail its different forms and also the rationale behind the provision. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The editorial talks about the rational for the provision for “contempt of court” and goes on to discuss if the judicial institutions need protection.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is premised on the concept of contempt of court, its different forms and the rationale behind it.

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 with the case – Contempt proceedings have been initiated by the Supreme Court of India, on its own motion, against advocate-activist Prashant Bhushan.

Body:

Explain the concept- Contempt of court, is the offence of being disobedient to or disrespectful towards a court of law and its officers in the form of behaviour that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court. Contempt of court, as a concept, seeks to protect judicial institutions from motivated attacks and unwarranted criticism, and as a legal mechanism to punish those who lower its authority.

Discuss the origin of the concept, its constitutionality/ statutory basis, its different kinds.

Conclusion:

Conclude by asserting the rationale behind the provision.

Introduction:

Contempt of court, often referred to simply as “contempt”, is the offence of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behaviour that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court. A similar attitude towards a legislative body is termed contempt of Parliament.

Body:

The Supreme Court of India suo motu registered a criminal case of contempt against lawyer Prashant Bhushan, recently. The court registered the proceedings after a petition was moved citing two tweets Bhushan had published over the last two months. In the tweets, the lawyer had commented on Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and about the general functioning of the court under the last four chief justices. The court said it found the tweets prima facie contempt.

Contempt of court can be of two kinds:

  • Civil, that is the wilful disobedience of a court order or judgment or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court.
  • Criminal, that is written or spoken words or any act that scandalises the court or lowers its authority or prejudices or interferes with the due course of a judicial proceeding or interferes/obstructs the administration of justice.

Relevant provisions:

  • Article 129 and 215 of the Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and High Court respectively to punish people for their respective contempt.
  • Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 defines the power of the High Court to punish contempts of its subordinate courts.
  • The Constitution also includes contempt of court as a reasonable restriction to the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19, along with elements like public order and defamation.

Rationale behind the provision:

  • To ensure that the court’s orders are implemented.
  • To sustain the independent nature of the judiciary itself.
  • While the judiciary issues orders, they are implemented by the government or private parties. If the courts are unable to enforce their orders, then the rule of law itself will come to grinding halt.

Issues with Contempt Law:

  • Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution gives the right to freedom of speech and expression to all citizens, while “contempt provisions” curb people’s freedom to speak against the court’s functioning.
  • The law is very subjective which might be used by the judiciary arbitrarily to suppress their criticism by the public.

Measures needed:

  • Besides needing to revisit the need for a law on criminal contempt, even the test for contempt needs to be evaluated.
  • If such a test ought to exist at all, it should be whether the contemptuous remarks in question actually obstruct the Court from functioning.
  • It should not be allowed to be used as a means to prevent any and all criticism of an institution.

Conclusion:

A law for criminal contempt is completely asynchronous with our democratic system which recognises freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right. An excessively loose use of the test of ‘loss of public confidence’, combined with a liberal exercise of suo motu powers, can be dangerous, for it can amount to the Court signalling that it will not suffer any kind of critical commentary about the institution at all, regardless of how evidently problematic its actions may be. In this manner, the judiciary could find itself at an uncanny parallel with the executive, in using laws for chilling effect.

 

Topic : Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

5. In the background of quite a few questions being raised about the constitutionality of governors’ actions on numerous instances in the recent, deliberate upon the discretionary powers of the Governor mentioned in the Constitution of India and explain how these discretionary powers have led to debates. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Governor of Rajasthan, Kalraj Mishra repeatedly turned down the advice of the Council of Ministers to convene a session of the Rajasthan Assembly. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Deliberate upon the discretionary powers of the Governor mentioned in the Constitution of India and explain how these discretionary powers have led to debates.

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.

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:

Explain in what way the Governor’s action in the state of Rajasthan has raised the question whether he has the power to turn down the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.

Body:

Discuss the role and powers of Governor first. In 2016, in the Nabam Rebia, Bamang Felix v. Deputy Speaker and others case, the Supreme Court of India (5 judge Constitution bench) examined the powers of the Governor, particularly with reference to summoning an Assembly session. The SC held that the Governor’s power under Article 174 to summon, prorogue and dissolve the house(s) must be exercised in consonance with the aid and advice of the chief minister and his council of ministers.

Explain the nuances as to when can the Governor act without the advice of the Council of Ministers? 

Conclusion:

Conclude that the misuse of the Governor’s office by parties in power at the Centre, to disturb State governments in control of the Opposition has remained a scourge. However, The Constituent Assembly very consciously limited the Governor’s discretionary powers. According to the 2016 Supreme Court judgment, a Governor cannot have an overriding authority, over the representatives of the people, who constitute the state legislature and/or even the executive government functioning under the council of ministers with the Chief Minister as the head.

Introduction:

The office of Governor is a British Indian transplant with a federalistic flavour. The role of office of Governor was confined to normal routine ceremonial functions earlier but now enjoys more powers. Discretionary powers of Governor in state are much more extensive in comparison to the President in centre in India. He/She is not bound to act on the advice of the council of Ministers in certain circumstances, even he need not seek its advice.

Body:

The constitution does not specify these matters but the matters in which he can act without the advice of the council of ministers are as follows:

  • Appointment of the Chief Minister: Generally, the leader of the party with majority is appointed as the Chief Minister. But in situation where no party gets absolute majority, the Governor exercises his discretionary powers in appointing the Chief Minister.
  • Dismissal of a Ministry: A minister holds offices during the pleasure of the Governor. When the ministry losses support of the house, the governor will dismiss the ministry. But he cannot dismiss it until it losses majority support.
  • Advising the President for proclamation of Emergency: The Governor advises the President to proclaim emergency when he is satisfied that the Government cannot carried on in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, under Article 356.
  • Reservation of a bill for the consideration of the President: On his/ her discretion, the Governor can reserve a bill passed by the state legislature for president’s assent. However, situations are mentioned in Article 200, when he will reserve the bill, yet he can use, discretion regarding this matter. Governor has discretion to refuse to sign to an ordinary bill passed by the state legislature.
  • Dissolution of Legislative Assembly: The Governor summons, prorogues and dissolves the Legislative Assembly, according to article 174. When the ministry loses the majority and the Governor is satisfied he may dissolve the House.
  • Governor determines the amount payable by the Government of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to an autonomous Tribal District Council as royalty accruing from licenses for mineral exploration.
  • Seeking information: Governor can seek information from the chief minister with regard to the administrative and legislative matters of the state.

Thus, though the Governor is made the constitutional head of a state like president of India, yet there is a thin line as the Constitution empowers the Governor to act without the advice of the Chief Minister and his council and can use discretion on certain matters.

Under Article 168, the Governor is considered part of the State Legislature which the body responsible for discharging governmental functions. However, the post of Governor has seen numerous controversies.

Although the post of Governor is constitutional, it is usually seen as a hand of central government in the state.

The case of Karnataka in 2019:

  • There was no absolute majority for any party post assembly elections, the Karnataka Governor misused his powers.
  • Governor could not call the party with majority votes i.e., BJP to form government as there was no simple majority.
  • But the Governor called the BJP to form the government and prove its majority within 15 days.
  • This act is seen as abuse, because the Governor did not take into account the other two major parties Congress and JDP.
  • Even though these parties did not gain majority they formed post poll alliance and thus had majority to form the government.
  • Since the post of Governor is seen as a link between the Union and State Government, this decision is seen as an act to align with the ideals of the government at the centre and not with people.

Imposition of President’s rule:

  • The Assemblies of Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh had been placed under suspended animation on the recommendation of the Governor due to alleged failure of Constitutional Machinery (Article 356).
  • However, the State Governments were reinstated by reversal of President’s rule by Supreme Court due to lack of sufficient evidence.
  • The President’s rule envisaged as a dead letter by Dr. B.R Ambedkar has now become a potent tool for dislodging the state governments by Union Government.
  • This makes the role of Governor as a partisan towards the Central Government.

Way forward:

  • In India, the balance in power is tilted towards the Union.
  • The importance of the Governor’s position arises not from the exceptional circumstances that necessitate the use of his discretion, but as a crucial link within this federal structure in maintaining effective communication between the Centre and a State
  • As a figurehead who ensures the continuance of governance in the State, even in times of constitutional crises, his role is often that of a neutral arbiter in disputes settled informally within the various strata of government, and as the conscience keeper of the community
  • The Supreme Court has time and again ruled (e.g.: SR Bommai Case) that the office of Governor must not be misused to the advantages of Union Government.
  • Expert Committees like Sarkaria and Punnchi Commissions have laid out the procedure in case of constitutional machinery breakdown, appointment of CM during hung assembly, no-confidence motion etc. which needs to be codified and followed.
  • There is need to ensure proper checks and balances to streamline the functioning of this office
  • However, misuse of a position of power should not serve as a justification for removing the office altogether, unless such a position has totally lost its relevance.

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

6. Do you think India’s New Compensatory Afforestation Rules dilute rights of forest dwellers? Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Hindustan Times 

Why the question:

The question is based on the New Compensatory Afforestation rules and its effect on forest dwellers.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail the impact of India’s New Compensatory Afforestation Rules on forest dwellers.

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 provide the background of the question. The Rules had been pending since the government passed the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act on July 28, 2016. They govern the utilization of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund.

Body:

Discuss in detail the provisions of the new Compensatory Afforestation rules. Discuss the drawbacks associated with it. Rules don’t have provision for getting consent of the Gram Sabhas (only mention consultation) and provision for transferring funds to the Gram Sabha.

There is a difference between consultation and consent. Moreover, VFCs aren’t statutory bodies. The Forest Rights Act (FRA) gives rights to the Gram Sabha and this is in violation of that law.

The rules ignore the rights of forest dwellers and tribal. They also said that the new CAF rules are against existing laws ensuring forest rights and self-governance for communities living in Scheduled Areas.

The Rules do not take The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) into consideration.

The rules are clearly a deliberate attempt to bypass the FRA(Forest Right Act) entirely.

There is no reference to consent, no reference to what forms of proof will be required that it has been done, and no reference to completion of recognition of rights.

The rules do not talk about compensation when diversion is done on CFR area. In these areas, the CAF should be given to the Gram Sabha’s because they have the right over the area’s resources under FRA.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the Rules should be implemented through the Gram Sabha and not the Van Sanrakshan Samiti under Joint Forest Management. There should be Gram Sabha auditing. Transparency and accountability should be mandatory and the forest department should be answerable to the Gram Sabha. Local species should be planted in compensatory afforestation process. Artificial regeneration must not be allowed and provisions should be made by Gram Sabha’s to select species.

Introduction:

Compensatory afforestation means that every time forest land is diverted for non-forest purposes such as mining or industry, the user agency pays for planting forests over an equal area of non-forest land, or when such land is not available, twice the area of degraded forest land. The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAMPA), 2016 was enacted to manage the funds collected for compensatory afforestation which till then was managed by ad hoc Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA).

Recently, The Union ministry of road transport has expressed its intention to make it easier for state bodies to garner faster forest clearances on national highway projects. The move was intended to ‘avoid unnecessary delay in identification for transfer of non-forest land and diversion of forest land approval could be expedited.

Body:

Provision of the CAMPA Act and rules:

  • The Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Rules, 2018 in which the Gram Sabha no longer plays a key role and control of over Rs. 660 billion, to be spent on afforestation, is given in the hands of the forest bureaucracy.
  • It states that at least 80 percent of the fund shall be used for activities like “assisted natural regeneration, artificial regeneration, silvicultural operations in forests, protection of plantations and forests, pest and disease control in forest, forest fire prevention and control operations, soil and moisture conservation work in the forest, voluntary relocation of villages from protected areas and improvement of wildlife habitat.
  • The remaining 20 percent will be used for strengthening of the forest and wildlife-related infrastructure and capacity building of the personnel.
  • The rules also specified a list of activities that can be undertaken or are not allowed from the fund.
  • The rules also said that these activities will be taken up in consultation with the Gram Sabha or the Village Forest Management Committee (VFMC), as the case may be, and shall be in consonance with the FRA 2006.

Impact on the forest dwellers and tribes:

  • Rules don’t have provision for getting consent of the Gram Sabhas (only mention consultation) and provision for transferring funds to the Gram Sabha.
  • There is a difference between consultation and consent. Moreover, VFCs aren’t statutory bodies. The Forest Rights Act (FRA) gives rights to the Gram Sabha and this is in violation of that law.
  • The rules ignore the rights of forest dwellers and tribal. They also said that the new CAF rules are against existing laws ensuring forest rights and self-governance for communities living in Scheduled Areas.
  • The Rules do not take The Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension to Scheduled Areas) Act, 1996 (PESA) into consideration.
  • The rules are clearly a deliberate attempt to bypass the FRA(Forest Right Act) entirely.
  • There is no reference to consent, no reference to what forms of proof will be required that it has been done, and no reference to completion of recognition of rights.
  • The rules do not talk about compensation when diversion is done on CFR area. In these areas, the CAF should be given to the Gram Sabha’s because they have the right over the area’s resources under FRA.

Way forward:

  • The Rules should be implemented through the Gram Sabha and not the Van Sanrakshan Samiti under Joint Forest Management.
  • The audit by Gram Sabha should be conducted mandatorily.
  • Transparency and accountability should be mandatory and the forest department should be answerable to the Gram Sabha.
  • Local species should be planted in compensatory afforestation process.
  • Artificial regeneration must not be allowed and provisions should be made by Gram Sabha’s to select species.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7.Debate upon the significance of virtues for civil services conduct. (250 words)

 Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon publications

Why the question:

The question is premised on the concept of virtues and its relevance to civil services conduct.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of virtues for civil services conduct in detail with suitable examples.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

 Briefly explain what you understand by virtues. Virtue can be defined as an excellence of character which leads one to act in a morally praiseworthy manner. Thus, Virtue ethics propounds the view that while doing right things is important, it is equally or more important to be a virtuous person.

Body:

Start by discussing the virtues which civil servants should ideally possess. Talk over the views of some moral thinkers in your answer, regarding virtues.

Throw light upon Aristotle’s theory of cardinal virtues viz. prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.

Discuss relevant examples to justify the importance of such virtues to civil services conduct.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Virtue ethics allows people to maintain personal and interpersonal connections important for the good life. It is more so relevant for civil servants due to the underlying trust and confidence of people in public service.

Introduction:

Virtue can be defined as an excellence of character which leads one to act in a morally praiseworthy manner. Thus, Virtue ethics propounds the view that while doing right things is important, it is equally or more important to be a virtuous person.

Although there are many virtues like honor, kindness, honesty, etc, a civil servant needs to imbibe a few cardinal virtues that can be subsumed within one or the other. In this context, a civil servant can draw inspiration from Aristotle’s theory of cardinal virtues which are prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance.

Body:

A public servant must ensure that he possesses the following virtues:

  • Principle of Justice
    • Administrators must observe principles of equity, equality, impartiality, fairness and objectivity.
  • Prudence
    • It refers to the ability to recognize the most suitable, political, or practical course of action. it also signifies practical wisdom and discretion.
  • Fortitude
    • It is the moral strength or moral courage in enduring pain or adversity. Fortitude is often associated with soldiers facing tough battle field situations.
  • Temperance
    • It signifies the ability to control one’s anger, emotions and desires. It can be regarded as rational self-restraint.
  • Leadership:
    • Holders of public office should promote and support the principles of public life by leadership and example.
    • For eg. Lal Bahadur Shastri used to fast every Monday to save grains for poor people of the country and he gave a call for the nation to follow it. Thus exhibiting a true example of how leaders should lead from the front.
  • Maxim of integrity
    • While undertaking any administrative action, an administrator practices utmost honesty and never uses his power, position and discretion to serve his personal interest. It ensures that public servants work with the honesty of highest standards.
  • Maxim of compassion
    • Compassion for the poor, the disabled and the weaker segment of the society is the highest virtue. It actually determines how successful you are as an administrator. In fact, all great administrators and leaders of society have been a compassionate person which is why they could connect to the masses.
  • Transparency and Accountability
    • Civil servants make all their decisions in a transparent manner. Transparency leaves no room for ambiguity. Civil services aspirants show utmost transparency in all their deeds. this increases the credibility and public trust on the public services.
    • For eg. Vikram Sarabhai accepted the failure of ISRO first mission without actually putting it on the mission head (APJ Abdul Kalam). Thus taking full accountability for the failure of his team.
  • Objectivity
    • A nation having law-abidance citizens always grow and prosper so it becomes utmost essential for law enforcers to follow the law and rules to govern and guide. A civil servant has deepest respect for the law and its enforcement.
  • Humility
    • the actions must not be high-handed and should be free of any vanity
  • Responsiveness and resilience
    • Responsiveness and resilience are among the most sought-after and must-have skills. Responsiveness helps you connect with people and pare down communication gap, the right response at the time, sometimes, can help avert awkward situations. Likewise, being resilient means you are ready to face down all the challenges of future with great finesse.
  • Commitment for work, Ensuing excellence in the work, Principle of utilitarianism and National Interest among other qualities.

Importance of virtues for civil service conduct:

  • Outcomes for society are better when the decisions of public office holders are made fairly and on merit and not influenced by personal and private interests
  • Low levels of corruption and confidence in the integrity of the trading and operating environment are crucial factors in the functioning of advanced democracies
  • High standards benefit the economy through their effect on international confidence
  • Impartiality and objectivity increases predictability, which improves economic efficiency
  • Governments which are not perceived to uphold high standards have less legitimacy and basic public institutions such as tax and benefit systems rely on public trust to function effectively
  • High ethical standards are a necessary component of managing public money and fundamental to the right use of public funds and delivery of services to the public.
  • It is therefore incumbent on the bodies commissioning or procuring public services, which are ultimately responsible and accountable for those services, to obtain assurance that high ethical standards are being met.

Conclusion:

Public service in both the developed and developing world has significant contribution in providing public goods, such as defence, public order, property rights, macro-economic management, basic education, public health, disaster relief, protection of environment, and managing private sector activity.


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