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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 8 September 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 : History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.— their forms and effect on the society.

1. While, the First World War had many far-reaching impacts on the Western Europe and USA, but affected India too. Elaborate on the impact of First World War on India. (250 words)

Reference: World history by Norman Lowe

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper-I, world history.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the effect of World War 1 on India in detail.

Directive:

Elaborate – 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:

Briefly explain how the First World War had many far-reaching impacts on the Western Europe and USA.

Body:

India being the biggest colony of Britain was pulled-off into British war efforts. The war had many effects on India; explain the effects ranging from social, political and economic etc.

Discuss each aspect in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude that defeat of Ottoman Empire and abolishment of caliphate caused widespread anger among Muslim population. For supporting Britain in war, Indian nationalists were expecting some freedom for India after its end, however, this didn’t happen and the mood in India became more militant. Far-reaching effect of the World War I, however, was the rise of Mahatma Gandhi who transformed the very nature of the Indian national movement.

Introduction:

                World War I, also known as the Great War, began in 1914 after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. His murder catapulted into a war across Europe that lasted until 1918. During the conflict, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire (the Central Powers) fought against Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States (the Allied Powers). Thanks to new military technologies and the horrors of trench warfare, World War I saw unprecedented levels of carnage and destruction. By the time the war was over and the Allied Powers claimed victory, more than 16 million people—soldiers and civilians alike—were dead.

Body:

Impact on western Europe:

Political impact:

  • As regards the map of Europe, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires were broken up and drastically shrunk, while Poland, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia were all born or reborn as nation states.
  • Germany was reduced in size and forced to pay substantial reparations. The Kaiser went into exile, and Germany plunged into economic and political chaos that paved the way for the rise of Hitler.

Economic Impact:

  • Most of the European countries underwent devastation and destruction. The crisis came to the fore after the war with large scale unemployment, high inflation and countries plunging in to recession.
  • The war also had major consequences for the European socialist and labour movement. Although well organized in many countries, including Britain, France and Germany, the socialist movement failed to stop the war in 1914.
  • Initially skilled workers in the armaments industry were not only exempted from military service but also enjoyed higher wages and better food in return for the banning of strike action. But as the war continued living and working conditions for factory workers gradually declined.
  • Socialist groups began to agitate for peace, a process that received a boost as a result of the 1917 Russian revolution. At the end of the war in 1918 the socialist and trade union movement was much stronger than in 1914.

Socio-cultural impact:

  • The war also had major implications for the class structures in Europe. The upper classes suffered proportionately greater losses in the fighting than any other class, a fact that ensured that a resumption of the pre-war status quo was impossible.
  • The decline of the upper classes was further hastened by the introduction of broad universal suffrage in Europe. The extension of the franchise, coupled with an explosion in trade unionism, afforded the working classes greater political and social representation. The various armies had also to promote new officers from humble backgrounds who were not willing to continue the culture of deference to the upper classes.
  • It also forced women into jobs that had previously been a male preserve. Many of the women whom the war effort had forced out of domestic service and into factories found themselves unwilling to relinquish their new independence. The War thus gave a boost to demands for women’s emancipation.

Technological impact:

  • The First World War changed the nature of warfare. Technology became an essential element in the art of war with airplanes, submarines, tanks all playing important new roles.
  • Mass production techniques developed during the war for the building of armaments revolutionised other industries in the post-war years.
  • The first chemical weapons were also used when the Germans used poisonous gas at Ypres in 1915.
  • Modern surgery was born in the First World War, where civil and military hospitals acted as theatres of experimental medical intervention. Millions of veterans survived the war but were left maimed, mutilated and disfigured.
  • The First World War also led doctors to start to study the emotional as opposed to the physical stress of war. Shell shock and traumatic shock were identified as common symptoms.

Impact on U.S.A:

  • The real winner of the First World War was the United States. It was late in entering the war, only in 1917, but emerged far stronger than most other nations as it had not suffered either the bloodletting or the wasted industrial effort of the major European nations.
  • It became, al-most overnight, the leading financial power in the world, elbowing Britain out of its way enroute to becoming the world’s banker.
  • The American industries made huge profits during the war. The got unencumbered loans for production but after the war, there was a sudden drop in demand.
  • This created a cycle of bust which witnessed thousands of businesses going bankrupt, hundreds of banks closing, share market collapsed and America followed by other capitalistic countries fell in to The Great Depression.

The impact of First World War on India: 

  • Nearly 1.5 million Indians fought in the First World and thousands of Indians perished in the war for the allies.
  • When the war broke out, a large number of Indian nationalists vocally came out in support of and campaigned for the war effort. Contributing to the war, they believed, would allow Indian to demand greater freedoms from Great Britain. For a large section of the political establishment complete independence was not on the agenda at the time. Instead they aspired to home rule and a style of government similar to Britain’s white dominions. As the Congress leader Bal Gangadhar Tilak took to saying, “Purchase war debentures but look at them as title deeds of Home Rule”.
  • In August 1917 Edwin Montagu, the Secretary of State for India, announced that British policy in India was now aimed at “increasing association of Indians in every branch of the administration, and the gradual development of self-governing institutions, with a view to the progressive realisation of responsible government in India as integral part of the British Empire”.
  • The war years were difficult ones for Indians on the home front whose lives were negatively impacted by massive recruitment efforts, high taxes and a sharp rise in prices. Prices of imported basic necessities such as salt, sugar, cloth, iron and steel, and kerosene became rose and hoarding and profiteering only made matters for the Indian consumer worse. As a result disgruntlement against the government increased.
  • There was a sharp increase in demand for Indian goods in Britain as production capabilities in Britain itself were diverted to the war effort. However, the disruption in shipping lanes because of the war also meant that Indian industry faced dislocations because of the shortage of inputs that were earlier imported from Britain and Germany. There was excess demand as well as supply bottlenecks.
  • Inflation was high. Industrial prices nearly doubled in the six years after 1914. Accelerating prices benefitted Indian industry, as was also the case during World War II a few decades later. Farm prices rose as well, but at a slower pace than industrial prices. The internal terms of trade moved against agriculture. This trend continued for most of the next few decades, and especially during the collapse in global commodity prices during the Great Depression. The rapid rise in industrial prices as well as improving internal terms of trade for Indian industry benefitted industrial enterprises.
  • The British realised that their most important colony needed strategic industrial depth if it had to be successfully held during disruptions such as a world war. The long nationalist campaign for the state to support Indian industrialization began to bear fruit. The colonial state finally accepted the need for a specific policy framework to support industrial investment in India.
  • The war years were also witness to increased political turbulence with intensifying revolutionary activity, particularly on the part of the revolutionary Ghadar movement which aimed to gain India’s independence, by violence if necessary. The war had drained India of troops and at one point a mere 15,000 soldiers were physically present in the subcontinent. For revolutionaries, like the Ghadar, this weakness was ripe for exploiting and their violent activities flourished – particularly in Punjab and Bengal.
  • To curtail an anti-government propaganda the British reacted with a battery of repressive measures that were given legal standing through the Defence of India Act, which was passed in 1915 despite strong nationalist objections. Under the act, local authorities had more power to prevent rumours, deal with incitement of ‘hatred’ and make wholesale arrests.
  • As discontent in India continued to swell the government enacted the repressive ‘Rowlatt’Act in March 1919. The Act aimed to extend indefinitely the wartime restrictions on civil liberties through a system of special courts and detention without trial and was met with near unanimous political opposition. In reaction Mahatma Gandhi launched his first mass civil disobedience movement. And it was in reaction to the Act that on 13 April a peaceful, unarmed crowd gathered in Amritsar’s Jallianwalla Bagh and was subsequently shot at under the orders of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer, without any provocation “to produce a moral effect”. The massacre was crucial in spreading unrest of a sort that British hadn’t seen since the 1857 rebellion across the country.
  • The war did have an impact on the development of a political consciousness among some former soldiers and while the extent of this is hard to document colonial archives do tell us that former soldiers did play a role in the burgeoning national movement. For many Indian troops the war was an experience that broadened their horizons and increased their knowledge of the world – they had been exposed to new geographies, cultures and ideas and this impacted the way they negotiated life in India as well.

Conclusion:

The Indian national movement, and the country’s socio-economic development did not take place in isolation. World War I linked India to global events in profound ways with far-reaching consequences.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

2. Critically examine the legitimacy of Indian Judiciary often being questioned recently and the challenges facing it with examples. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article talks in detail the recent happenings at the judiciary and brings to us the question of judicial legitimacy in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

One must examine critically the legitimacy of Indian Judiciary which is often being questioned recently and the challenges facing it with examples.

Directive:

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by discussing the recent two significant developments in connection with the Indian judiciary.

Body:

Start by explaining in what way the decision of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case, and the second, the retirement of Justice Arun Mishra. These events, in their own way, magnify the chinks in the armor of the Supreme Court.

Explain that the jurisprudential contribution of this decision to the law of contempt will be studied for years to come, surely, but maybe not for the reasons that the Court intended. Hopefully, a wiser judicial and legislative community will realize one day how utterly self-defeating this law is for a healthy democracy, and eventually change the law around.

Then explain the case of Justice Arun Mishra; explain that role of the office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) in facilitating the creation of an executive court cannot be ignored.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of upholding judicial legitimacy and need to preserve the integrity of Judiciary in the country.

Introduction:

Recent past fortnight has seen two significant developments in connection with the Indian judiciary: the first was the decision of the Supreme Court of India in the matter of Prashant Bhushan’s contempt case, and the second was the retirement of Justice Arun Mishra. These events, in their own way, magnify the chinks in the armour of the Supreme Court.

Body:

Issues in the Indian Judiciary:

Allegations of being an Executive court:

An Executive court is a court that fails to keep a check on the executive powers. It means that a court instead of being neutral and impartial in its judgements delivers verdicts in the favour of the Government. This in turn leads to political interference in the functioning of Judiciary, shatters the image of the judiciary in the eyes of people and leads to loss of trust and confidence of people in Judiciary. The allegations are levelled with the following citations:

  • Acceptance of Post-retirement Jobs by the Judges: eg: Former CJI was nominated to Rajya Sabha. Another CJI was appointed as the governor of Kerala.
  • Pro-Government decisions by the judges or openly praising the

Master of Roster system:

  • Master of Roster which refers to the privilege of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) to constitute benches to hear cases. Roster is prepared by the Registrar of Supreme Court under the orders of CJI.
  • The issue of Master of Roster is quite important since in the year 2018, 4 SC Judges held a press conference to register their differences with the then CJI.It was considered to be unprecedented since normally internal conflicts within Judiciary do not come out openly.
  • In the press conference, the 4 SC Judges had highlighted that the CJI was misusing his powers as “master of roster” by selectively allocating politically sensitive cases to certain selected benches in order to get a favourable verdict.

Judicial Appointments:

  • There is a tendency to view the threat to judicial independence in India as emerging from the executive branch, and occasionally the legislature. But when persons within the judiciary become pliable to the other branches, it is a different story altogether.
  • The lack of information in the transfer resolution has led to a barrage of criticism against the collegium and its opaque process of appointments and transfers.
  • The National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act was struck down by the Court on grounds of excessive executive interference in the selection of judges.

Lack of transparency:

  • Many a times there have been serious allegations on the conduct of senior judges of the SC. Former CJI was alleged of sexual misconduct. Time and again many fingers have pointed towards corruption within the judiciary.

Contempt of court:

  • Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself. Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts. The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gives statutory backing to the idea.
  • The court’s power of contempt has a chilling effect on legitimate criticism. Criticism of individual judges and judgements is sometimes treated as an attack on the integrity of the judiciary. When the court adjudicates substantive values, using contempt powers to stifle dissent is wrong. The court has used contempt to in instances like Prashant Bhushan case where many commentators felt that criticism was bonafide.

Is the legitimacy of Indian Judiciary under threat?

  • Every now and then there are questions asked and criticism thrown at the various organs of the democracy. It only makes them stronger. But strong allegations of bias, corruption and the opaque system on functioning casts a doubt in the minds of the common man lowering the faith of the public in the Indian Judiciary.
  • With the evolution of PILs, appointment procedures and jurisprudence over the years, India’ constitutional architecture finds itself on shaky ground. For better or worse, the judiciary seems to have fashioned itself as a governance institution, though it is neither democratically elected nor appointed by a government that is.
  • The details of the appointments of those who govern us be reviewed for accountability. Such an institution demands a new set of checks and balances. A people’s court will naturally receive feedback, if not criticism, from the very people it claims to govern.
  • If the Indian judiciary wishes to increase the faith in itself, it must embrace some rules of public accountability that it has long enforced on other institutions of governance in the country.

Way Forward:

  • To make the system more transparent and declare the reasons for transfer of the judges. Merit and seniority should be given an upper hand while making transfers rather than personal interests.
  • Allocation of cases to benches should be free from bias- random computer allocation. Allocation based on subject expertise of the Judges. Recuse themselves from hearing of cases on account of perceived conflict of Interest. The European Court of Justice Model of allotment of cases can be emulated.
  • Politically sensitive cases should be handled by larger bench and a definite set of criteria must be evolved in their handling.
  • Cooling-off period for the Judges or total ban on further appointments after retirement.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court’s recent contempt judgement against Prashant Bhushan has again raised the question of what is considered legitimate criticism of India’s higher judiciary. But first, we must define the identity of the higher judiciary, and its new relationship with the public. The Supreme Court has evolved the judicial appointment system and enlarged its public interest litigation (PIL) jurisprudence well beyond its original constitutional mandate, effectively converting itself into a people’s court. This new identity requires new rules of accountability, criticism and feedback, to ensure checks and balances.

 

Topic : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

3. Should the official language be equidistant to all in a multilingual society? Analyse in the context of official language of India and present your opinion with suitable justifications.(250 words)

Reference: THe Hindu 

Why the question:

The author of the article brings to us the discussion of what should be the official language of the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the context of the official language in India in detail and explain if the official language be equidistant to all in a multilingual society.

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:

Start by explaining what you understand by a multilingual society.

Body:

Discuss the need and importance of official language for a country.

Take hints from the article and explain the need to understand the language policy adopted by various developed countries. Discuss the case of India with respect to official language from past to present.

Discuss that even teaching in the mother tongue or the teaching of two languages is filled with challenges, does India take into account the challenges in teaching three languages

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction: 

                India is a land of diversity comprising of individuals from different communities, backgrounds, religions etc. What one eats, how one speaks, differs from region to region. In this diversity, we Indians often look for symbols and objects that unite us. The national anthem, national animal, national song, national flower are pertinent examples. It is famously said, that in India language changes every few kilometres just like the water. Therefore, unlike the other national symbols the choice of a ‘national language’ or official language for India has been difficult and has witnessed violence and heated debates.

Body:

Historical perspective of Language issue:

  • The adoption of a national language, the language in which the Constitution was to be written, and the language in which the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly were to be conducted were the main questions debated.
  • Widespread resistance to the imposition of Hindi on non-native speakers, especially in Tamil Nadu, led to the passage of the Official Languages Act of 1963, which provided for the continued use of English for all official purposes.
  • Hindi became the sole working language of the Union government by 1965 with the State governments free to function in the language of their choice.
  • The constitutional directive for the Union government to encourage the spread of Hindi was retained within Central government entities in non-Hindi-speaking States.
  • According to the 2001 Census, India has 30 languages that are spoken by more than a million people each. The Constitution lists 22 languages and protects them in the eighth schedule.
  • According to Article 351 of the constitution of India, It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India.

Pros of a single official language:

  • It can lead to become a ‘national language’ which is representative of the country, its cultural heritage and history. It gives the impression that citizens of the country know and speak that language.
  • The lack of national language acts as barrier for the progress of nation. For example, Students avoid going to other places for education and research due to lack of understanding of local languages.
  • Having one language is vital in preserving national unity.
  • Having one official language saves government money that would have been spent translating various public documents as well as offering translation services.

Cons of prioritizing a single language:

  • Imposition of any language over this linguistic heritage will definitely destroy our cultural and historical melodies. This is also noteworthy that the UN has already expressed its concern over the vanishing of several local scripts and languages. We are lucky enough to have most of our regional languages and dialects intact enough, but any attempt to damage them will ruin our cultural riches.
  • People’s Linguistic Survey of India, headed by eminent academic G.N. Devy, found that our country is home to 780 languages and 66 different scripts. Given this enormous heterogeneity, privileging of one language by the state does great disservice to other equally-deserving language.
  • If Hindi is declared as the national language, every citizen of the country would be required to learn the same. Such a situation would definitely benefit a north Indian (as Hindi is the most prominent language in the region) over citizens from the other regions, as the latter would be expected to learn a language from scratch. In effect, members of northern India would be placed at an advantage over the others, which is wrong.
  • Asserting the hegemony of Hindi and being belligerently pushing it under a misconception that it is the national language (rashtra bhasha) so ordained by the Constitution of India is the biggest misunderstanding and one solitary factor which contributes to discord with people of the nation where Hindi is not spoken.
  • The Constitution of India balances with a sense of sensitivity and equality amongst the people to give due respect to ethnic identity of the peoples, their language and their culture. The Constitution of India speaks of a composite culture of the nation.
  • It may meet with opposition among non-Hindi speaking states which is not in the interests of the nation as experienced before against imposition of one language.
  • It goes against the idea of “Unit in Diversity”. Preserving diversity maybe a key to preserve the unit of India. The East Pakistani government ordained Urdu to be the sole official language and people decided to defy the law. Several agitations were held which even took a violent shape at some place and finally the Pakistani government was compelled to give Bengali its due status.
  • In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew had justification to adopt Chinese as its sole official language as 74.2% of the population is Chinese, 13.2% Malays and 9.2% Indians. He not only selected English but also recognised languages of every social group. He mandated that each Singaporean should learn their respective mother tongue along with English. He was of the firm view that only the roots one has in his/her mother tongue would be shaping his/her future personality. This is hailed as an historic step.

Way forward:

  • The Constitution of India has included the clause to protect minority languages as a fundamental right. It states” Any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part of thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same.”
  • The language policy of India provides guarantee to protect the linguistic minorities. Under the Constitution, provision is made for appointment of Special Officer for linguistic minority with the sole responsibilities of safeguarding the interest of language spoken by the minority groups.
  • The National Education Policy, 2020 in which teaching up to at least Grade 5 to be in mother tongue/regional language. No language will be imposed on any student. It is also a welcome step.
  • The new “National Translation Mission” to make knowledge texts accessible, in all Indian languages listed in the VIII schedule of the Constitution, through translation, will be a good step.
  • The Supreme Court recently, where it made its judgments available not only in Hindi but also in other regional languages.
  • Another unique feature of India is the concept of protecting the interest of children to get basic education in their mother tongue. The Constitution provides” it shall be the endeavour of every State and of every local authority within the state to provide adequate facilities for instruction in the mother tongue at the primary stage of education to children belonging to linguistic minority groups”. Thus, even before the United Nations declared the International Mother Language Day (February 21) the founders of the Indian Constitution gave top priority to teaching in mother tongues’, enabling the child to develop its full potential
  • The language policy of India has been pluralistic, giving priority to the use of mother tongue in administration, education and other fields of mass communication. The Language Bureau of Ministry of Human Resource Development is set up to implement and monitor the language policy.

Conclusion:

It has been rightly said that India is like a beautiful carpet woven in a design that has a language of diverse cultural representations woven by knots tightly holding the entire fabric of the nation. The beauty of this carpet is besmirched if one culture or language is given more importance than the other. Instead, all languages should be treated with equal respect and promoted.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. What are the different procedures of Environment Impact Assessment? Discuss the role of health impact analysis and public participation in impact analysis. (250 words)

Reference: cbd.int

Why the question:

The question is premised on the concept of EIA.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the different procedures of Environment Impact Assessment and elaborate upon the role of health impact analysis and public participation in impact analysis.

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:

Define EIA.

Body:

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a statutory procedure in which the environmental impacts of a project are determined. The assessment is the responsibility of the party implementing the project.

Discuss the procedure in detail, explain what are the major steps involved.

Then talk about Health Impact Assessment (HIA) ; it provides a framework and procedure for estimating the impact of a proposed programme or policy action on a selected environmental health issue for a defined population. HIA is typically a prospective assessment of a programme or intervention before implementation, although it may be carried out concurrently or retrospectively. HIA gathers opinions and concerns regarding the proposed policy: and uses knowledge of health determinants as to the expected impacts of the proposed policy or intervention, and describes the expected health impacts using both quantitative and qualitative methods as appropriate. There is no one definitive methodology for EHIA/HIA, although several toolkits are being (and have been) developed.

Then talk about its relevance.  Also discuss the importance of Public participation.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse.

UNEP defines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making. It aims to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision-makers. By using EIA both environmental and economic benefits can be achieved, such as reduced cost and time of project implementation and design, avoided treatment/clean-up costs and impacts of laws and regulations.

Body:

The fundamental components of an EIA would necessarily involve the following stages:

  • Screeningto determine which projects or developments require a full or partial impact assessment study
  • Scopingto identify which potential impacts are relevant to assess (based on legislative requirements, international conventions, expert knowledge and public involvement), to identify alternative solutions that avoid, mitigate or compensate adverse impacts on biodiversity (including the option of not proceeding with the development, finding alternative designs or sites which avoid the impacts, incorporating safeguards in the design of the project, or providing compensation for adverse impacts), and finally to derive terms of reference for the impact assessment
  • Assessment and evaluation of impacts and development of alternatives, to predict and identify the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, including the detailed elaboration of alternatives
  • Reporting the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or EIA report, including an environmental management plan (EMP), and a non-technical summary for the general audience.
  • Review of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), based on the terms of reference (scoping) and public (including authority) participation.
  • Decision-makingon whether to approve the project or not, and under what conditions
  • Monitoring, compliance, enforcement and environmental auditing. Monitor whether the predicted impacts and proposed mitigation measures occur as defined in the EMP. Verify the compliance of proponent with the EMP, to ensure that unpredicted impacts or failed mitigation measures are identified and addressed in a timely fashion.

Role of health impact analysis:

  • Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a practical approach used to judge the potential health effects of a policy, programme or project on a population, particularly on vulnerable or disadvantaged groups.
  • Recommendations are produced for decision-makers and stakeholders, with the aim of maximising the proposal’s positive health effects and minimising its negative health effects. The approach can be applied in diverse economic sectors and uses quantitative, qualitative and participatory techniques.
  • HIA provides a way to engage with members of the public affected by a particular proposal. It also helps decision-makers make choices about alternatives and improvements to prevent disease or injury and to actively promote health. It is based on the four interlinked values of democracy (promoting stakeholder participation), equity (considering the impact on the whole population), sustainable development and the ethical use of evidence.
  • Health impact assessment is a multidisciplinary process within which a range of evidence about the health effects of a proposal is considered in a structured framework. It takes into account the opinions and expectations of those who may be affected by a proposed policy. Potential health impacts of a proposal are analysed and used to influence the decision making process.
  • Health impact assessment should be thought of as a group of research activities being developed to identify health impacts of projects and policies both prospectively and retrospectively. It is a structured way of bringing together evaluation, partnership working, public consultation, and available evidence for more explicit decision making. The general concepts can be illustrated by looking at a completed assessment, which uses a method that has already been piloted.
  • Applications include national policy appraisal, local urban planning, transport, and water and agricultural projects. Benefits include improved interagency collaboration and public participation.

Role of public participation in impact analysis:

  • The engagement of local communities in HIA is becoming more and more important. On one hand, because the economic crisis placed the ‘welfare state’ under pressure: citizens in ‘participation societies’ are expected to take more charge of their own, and other people’s well-being than before. On the other hand, there is a call for transparency and inclusiveness of policy processes.
  • This is, for example, reflected in the field of environmental planning; national and international legislation nowadays require that communities be engaged in the planning process. Participation is defined as ‘a process by which people are enabled to become actively and genuinely involved in defining the issues of concern to them, in making decisions about factors that affect their lives, in formulating and implementing policies, in planning, developing and delivering services and in taking action to achieve change.
  • Gaining stakeholder support or opposition can be an important factor in determining the success or failure of a project or policy. Within the field of HIA, documentation shows that engaged and active stakeholders provide knowledge of community concerns and visions, political realities, and help HIA practitioners reach diverse audiences.
  • Stakeholders comprise an array of people from various government, non-government and community sectors and they can be involved meaningfully throughout the impact assessment process.
  • In the field of HIA, positive impacts could include changes to determinants of health, alterations to design plans or improved relations between organizations. Long-term measurable health outcomes are not the only indicator of importance and in fact are rarely measured or monitored. This is because a myriad of factors impact on health and health changes can take a long time to eventuate, making them difficult to track over time.

Conclusion:

EIA must be performed for new establishments or projects and for expansion or renovation of existing establishments. EIA studies the effect of the surrounding environment on the project as well as the effect of the project on the surrounding environment. It also looks at the different processes involved in product production, including inputs and outputs. EIA tries also to find ways of minimizing the environment impacts of the project. This study if implemented properly will ensure sustainability for the project especially that now it has become necessary to provide this assessment before starting any project.

 

Topic :  role of media

5. “News today has become big commercial entity like never before” Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents to us the dismal picture of how news today has become a commercial entity.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically examine the statement in the current times.

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:

The toxic triangle of viewership, ratings and revenue is the catalyst driving most debates and that paradigm must be continuously stigmatized along with use of a relentless societal scissor to cut this Gordian knot.

Body:

Discuss in detail the issues plaguing the media these days in the country. Talk about the ‘backfire effect’.

Explain the various issues concerning the media.

Suggest solutions -a mix of legislative moves, judicial monitoring and industry self-regulation is needed

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

                Commercial success of media organisations had become a function of advertising revenues rather than subscription and circulation figures. The advertisers had thus replaced the recipients of media products. By the same logic, circulation figures, meant to attract advertising, became more important than content. The pursuit of profit has altered the profile of the media entrepreneur. Today, a media enterprise is seen as a necessary subsidiary for a growing business enterprise, a political party and even individuals seeking to leverage public influence for private gain.

Body:

Commercialization of news:

  • The recent practice of leveraging political and economic content in our media for overt and covert revenue generation have the malevolent potential to tarnish our polity and even destabilise the economy.
  • Sensationalism: Media often adopt sensationalism caring little whit about disturbing communal harmony. They highlight stories about crime and sexual violence, because people in general have a taste for them and there is a competition for circulation. Ex: Coverage of death of Sushant Singh Rajput.
  • Moral Panic: Though moral panic‘ is a criminological concept but has become a tactical tool of public hysteria for news media. It has been defined as a situation in which public fears and state interventions greatly exceed the objective threat posed to society by a particular individual or group who is/are claimed to be responsible for creating the threat in the first place. Media use fear-mongering, hate oriented and exaggerated content to victimize the devil folks, a protagonist in the scene, and gather large viewership. Ex: Blaming of Tablighi Jamat during start of Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Negative News: A psychological study pointed to the existences of negative bias‘- a term refers to our collective desire to hear and remember negative information- simply one of the prominent cause of news media to focus more on negative aspect of news. This psychological habit of negative bias of viewers made news media to make the news worthy and attractive. News media tend to focus on negative part because news consumers are more attentive to negative information and study has revealed negative aspect of news is more arousing and attention grabbing. Therefore, miseries, deaths, disasters, crisis, distressed, violence, conflicts gain more space and time in news program. Ex: Coverage of Pathankot incident.
  • Unsymmetrical Facts/ Molded/ Fabricated Information: Most of the time, to make the news lucrative and attention grabbing, facts are molded, unexplored, fabricated or sometime hidden. Though it is against the norms of journalistic practices but to provide a good entertainment value, production team do not flinch to compromise with journalistic codes and ethics. Ex: using fake news or partial truth which.
  • Brackets of Nationalism/ Patriotism/ Ethnocentrism/ Biased Reporting: Reviews of previous studies revealed that nationalism, patriotism and ideology of news organization overwhelm the conflict coverage which affects the pacification dealings. This also brand conflict in perspective of nationalistic fervor. When such an attempt is made, a democratic citizenry is prompted to sit before the TV screens and associate their patriotic ideology with the news content delivered on screen.
  • Labeling: In news media, labeling is practiced by symbolizing some situation or person with other. Name-calling, using provocative terms, demonizing something using certain words or phrases comes under labeling. Ex: UPSC Jihad show by Sudarshan TV to target minorities.
  • Manipulation of TRP ratings: It was come to light recently that some news channel manipulated BARC TRP ratings in order to show higher viewership.

Effect Commercialization of news:

  • Failure of the fourth pillar of democracy to do its job properly and ethically. Important public issues are pushed to the background and only sensational issues are run.
  • The news commercialisation policy has made journalists to lose credibility because, it is now believed that they pay attention to the wealthy people who can pay for news so that they can suppress, twist and falsify the stories
  • It has given birth to a situation whereby news is narrowly defined against the weight of the news source’s pocket. The media, whether print or electronic, now use money as criteria for publishing news.
  • Another problem is the censorship and gate keeping problem, which news commercialisation constitutes for the editor. The editor is handicapped under the commercialisation policy. It is the duty of the editor to always edit stories, but, under the news commercialisation policy, the editor cannot edit stories according to known standards or principles in journalism.
  • Government of some countries may bribe journalists to write favourable news items about its policies and programmes, even when they are inimical to public interest. 
  • The ability of the editor to judge what is news or not is completely restricted because, money becomes the evaluator.

Way forward and conclusion:

  • Truth and Accuracy: Journalists cannot always guarantee ‘truth’, but getting the facts right is the cardinal principle of journalism. They should always strive for accuracy, give all the relevant facts and ensure that they have been checked.
  • Independence: Journalists must be independent voices. They should not act, formally or informally, on behalf of special interests whether political, corporate or cultural. Proactively they should declare to editors – or the audience – any political affiliations, financial arrangements or other personal information that might constitute a conflict of interest.
  • Fairness and Impartiality: Most stories have at least two sides. While there is no obligation to present every side in every piece, stories should be balanced and add context. Objectivity is not always possible, and may not always be desirable (in the face for example of brutality or inhumanity), but impartial reporting builds trust and confidence.
  • Humanity: Journalists should do no harm. What one publishes or broadcasts may be hurtful, but we should be aware of the impact of our words and images on the lives of others.
  • Accountability: A sure sign of professionalism and responsible journalism is the ability to hold one accountable. When one commit errors, he must correct them and the expressions of regret must be sincere not cynical.
  • We need to add new rules to regulate journalists and their work in addition to the responsibilities outlined above, and create a legal and social framework, that encourages journalists to respect and follow the established values of their craft.
  • The News Broadcasters Association(NBA) must be proactive in tackling excessive commercialization of news, fake news, targeted journalism etc.
  • A proper ethical standard for journalism must be redeveloped by consulting relevant stakeholders and adopting best international practices.

General Studies – 4


 

Topic :Probity in Governance: Concept of public service; Philosophical basis of governance and probity; Information sharing and transparency in government, Right to Information, Codes of Ethics, Codes of Conduct, Citizen’s Charters, Work culture, Quality of service delivery, Utilization of public funds, challenges of corruption.

6. Real freedom is of the mind and spirit; it can never come to us from the outside.’ Analyze the essence of this statement with reference to the working experience of Indian bureaucracy. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics Integrity and Aptitude by G Subbarao and P N  Chowdhary

Why the question:

The question is based on the fact that real freedom is premised on the mind and spirit of an individual and never from outside.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the importance of real freedom and how it is always based on mind and spirit.

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:

Freedom as ‘inner freedom’ emphasizes on the inner aspect of life. The closest equivalent would be ‘freedom-hood’ meaning ‘freedom of one’s consciousness state’, the conscious inner struggle for inner freedom for which all human beings strive for understanding knowledge of one’s connectedness with the world and other beings in the world i.e. ‘enlightenment’.

Body:

Freedom is said to exist when an individual is not subject to external controls or coercion and is able to make independent decisions and act in an autonomous way. Freedom is also about expanding the ability of people to freely express themselves and develop their potential. Freedom in this sense is the condition in which people can develop their creativity and capabilities.

Then move onto explain what the obstacles are – But the Politico-administrative relations have placed obstacles on the working of the Indian Bureaucracy. Also the nexus between politicians-criminals is affecting the freedom of bureaucrats to implement the programmes and policies in a more creative and efficient manner.

In the present era bureaucrats have been given sovereign power in their hands. But this power is robbed by hosts of self-seekers. The ideal form of freedom is curtailed on every side.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the way forward.

Introduction:

                If you firmly believe that your mind is free from all external obstacles such as fear, coercion, undue pressures, temptations of greed, one is the truly free. Nothing in the external from will affect him. Irrespective of what happens on the external front, he will continue to do his work in a morally upright manner and he will do so in a very efficient manner.

This statement is very valid in the context of Indian bureaucracy as they are very much prone to influence form outside factors such as political interference, vested interests, public pressure, familial responsibilities etc. Despite that, one has to discharge his duties with utmost diligence.

Body:

Under Article 310 of the Indian Constitution, which maintains that Civil servants serve at the “pleasure” of the ruling authorities. Yet few would disagree that both civil servants and politicians often abuse this power-the former in seeking prime postings, the latter for a variety of legitimate and occasionally illegitimate reasons. This resulted in a reduction of average tenure for key senior civil service positions to less than a year in state like Uttar Pradesh. Chronic political leaders rewards supports and put its “own” staff into place. If a civil servant is truly free, he will not only tackle the above issue but will remain unaffected by any of it happenings.

Despite a great influence of the political world, the Indian civil service has so far been able to keep its own identity. During the British days, the politicisation was much less. However, with independence bequeathing a new role of development, the Indian civil servants could not hold their flock together. The number of cases of corruption has also increased tremendously. This has been partly due to the political pressure and also partly on account of erosion in the values of the civil servants. In recent times, a number of civil servants have been jailed and the courts of law in India have found them guilty of dereliction of their duties and amassing wealth many more times in proportion to their earnings.

The bureaucracy also suffers from a paradox, where extreme impersonality exists together with ready susceptibility to personal pressures and interventions. In spite of being based on meritocratic recruitment, the bureaucracy is not insulated from society. The primary problem is the recalcitrant challenges of India’s social structure and problems exacerbated by the way the bureaucracy has defined its relation to society. The ethnic religious and regional divisions in India add to “the administrative nightmare” of trying to govern such a huge country. And, in spite of not being patrimonial in character, the bureaucracy suffers from less internal capacity, more difficult environments and less carefully defined agendas of involvement. These features combine to put embedded autonomy of the sort that characterises the developmental State out of reach.

If we look at decentralization, Good fiscal management would suggest re-allocating public funds from central and state schemes to a well-designed fiscal framework for local government guaranteeing their autonomy and accountability while helping them to match resource allocations with local preferences. Flows of funds from the centre and state governments should depend on good local performance and resource mobilisation. Performance should be monitored not only by the local audit fund, but also by local journalists, civil society groups and panchayat leaders from neighboring districts. Here the framework is designed to give more freedom but with so many stakeholders involved, it becomes very difficult to work efficiently in presence of vested interests.

There is a need for a more open government where there is freedom of access to information. With the exception of security matter all other areas ought to be thrown open to public scrutiny to make the bureaucrats more accountable and less complacent. There is a need for an open government and the bureaucrats has to emerge out of the shroud of mystery.

The officers should be model citizens well above the social norms of the times. They should at least show better than average standards of honesty in comparison to other parts of bureaucracy. They ought to observe financial probity, integrity in work, intellectual honesty in tendering advice and morality in personal life. There is a need for personal and professional values within the service. There could be greater recognition of the efforts and services of the honest and committed officers to serve as models that others could emulate.

Conclusion:

India, as envisaged by the framers of the constitution, was to be a secular, casteless, equal society. It was the Indian bureaucracy which had earlier provided a stable backbone to the fledgling democracy. But now, even in the ranks of the bureaucracy of which there is a great abundance; have been penetrated by corrupt practices. Further, despite this massive number of officials from the smallest ‘block’ level to the top most ministry level, decision making remains highly centralised, rendering the services of many of these officials to be essentially clerkish, dressed in a better garb. In other words, there is a marked administrative ineffectiveness and incapacity in addition to corruption, which does not go well for the country. Reform in the institutional structure of the bureaucracy is something that the government should seriously consider in the near future to ensure impartial and effective governance.

 

Topic : Case study

7. Due to the contemporary developments in the information technology and convergence, the accesses of adults and children to media including variety of entertainment have increased. The children have impressionable minds and the quality of entertainment would have a bearing on them even when they grow adults. One moderately rich family has two children who have given mobile phones to their children with internet connection so that they can complement their studies with huge amount of information and aids available on the internet. Father encourage children to ‘grow with the   technology of their times’ and rather than ‘forcing discipline’ on them. However, there is also misuse of information technology. The students are engaging in many undesirable activities outside the school, especially their exposure to many computer games (Blue Whale Challenge, Dead Space 2, Mortal Kombat, Medal of Honour, Call of Duty Black OPS, New Vegas etc.), which are known to be fatal and addictive, impinging on their education and value systems.

In this context, what steps parents can take to stop such new and pervasive kind of menace due to the unrestricted use of the computers and mobile phones? Also discuss importance of “forced discipline” in this case. (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is a case study based on the effect of growing technology on children.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse the case study in detail and explain the steps that Parents need to take to avoid and stop the menace of gaming and other technology related issues on children.

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:

Start by explaining the fact that – In the contemporary world, we suffer from information explosion and are consumed by the influence of technology where the rational mind takes over the emotional mind.

Body:

Discuss the nuances of the case – As in the above case overuse of mobile phones are having detrimental effect on children. As children have low maturity level and have impressionable brains thus vulnerable to distractions.

Thus for disciplining children, parents have to take both carrot and stick approach as well as educating and creating awareness about the side effects of mobile phones.

“Carrots” are privileges that have to be earned or incentives that will motivate them to do complete their task. These rewards are such as watching television, playing a computer game, or going outside to play with their friends.

“Sticks” on the other hand, are punishment or disciplinary actions for work not done or when a child disobeys his or her parents. This punishment does not mean caning the child.

It is about emplacing the fear that will keep them away from the distractions. Apart from that parents should make sure that child has access to age appropriate online sites which do not promote unethical behaviour or violence.

They should also observe child’s behaviour closely to get to know about any unusual changes like moodiness, less or no communication, lack of interest in studies and falling grades.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of discipline and sometimes forced discipline.

Introduction:

                Technology is double edged sword. Technology has undoubtedly advanced society on a broad scale. The creation of the internet has connected the world in a way that was impossible before and technological advancements in medicine have saved millions of lives. Given the magnitude of these enhancements, it is easy to overlook the negative impacts technology can have on our lives. Nevertheless, there are many problems created by technology that need to be acknowledged. Two major issues with the growth of technology going forward are its unequal distribution amongst socioeconomic groups and its negative impact on mental health.

In this above case, the technology which was made available to children for the educational and academic development has ended up harming them in form to digital addiction to games. They addiction which is not only an issue in itself but can also affect the academic performance of the children in a negative way, which was the reason which to give it to the children in the first place! Sort of creating a double jeopardy.

Body:

Internet addiction among children is a growing concern. Online access is a vital part of the modern world and an important tool in our children’s education. In addition, it is a highly entertaining and informative medium. However, these very qualities also make it an enticing escape for many children. They can be anyone in an online chat room, or play thrilling and challenging games against other players from all corners of the globe. With the click of a mouse, they can enter a different world where the problems they perceive in their real lives are no longer present, and all the things one wishes he or she could be, do, or experience are possible.

With kids ages 8 to 18 spending on average 44.5 hours per week in front of screens, parents are increasingly concerned that compulsive internet usage is robbing them of real world experiences. Nearly 23% of youth report that they feel “addicted to video games” (31% of males, 13% of females.)

Beyond gaming, kids are filling their free time with other internet activities: social networking, instant messaging (IM), blogging, downloading, gaming, etc. These are impacts on children with pathological Internet use:

  • Loses track of time while online
  • Sacrifices needed hours of sleep to spend time online
  • Becomes agitated or angry when online time is interrupted
  • Checks email or online messages several times a day
  • Becomes irritable if not allowed access to the internet
  • Spends time online in place of homework or chores
  • Prefers to spend time online rather than with friends or family
  • Disobeys time limits that have been set for internet usage
  • Lies about amount of time spent online or “sneaks” online when no one is around
  • Forms new relationships with people he or she has met online
  • Seems preoccupied with getting back online when away from the computer
  • Loses interest in activities that were enjoyable before he or she had online access
  • Becomes irritable, moody or depressed when not online

Like addiction to drugs and alcohol, the internet offers children and adolescents a way to escape painful feelings or troubling situations. They sacrifice needed hours of sleep to spend time online and withdraw from family and friends to escape into a comfortable online world that they have created and shaped.

Children who lack rewarding or nurturing relationships or who suffer from poor social and coping skills are at greater risk of developing inappropriate or excessive online habits. Because they feel alone, alienated, and may have problems making new friends, they turn to invisible strangers in online chat rooms looking for the attention and companionship missing from their real lives. They may come from families with significant problems at home, or experience bullying or difficulty socializing in school and extracurricular activities, so they cope with their problems by spending time online.

Steps needed to prevent this menace:

  • Address the problem: The parent needs to take some time to think about what needs to be said and to prepare for the likely emotional response from the child. A child who is addicted to the internet or becoming addicted to it will feel threatened at the very idea of curbing computer or screen time. A parent needs to be prepared for an emotional outburst laden with accusatory phrases designed to make the parent feel guilty or inadequate. It is important not to respond to the emotion—or worse: get sidetracked with a lecture on disrespect. Acknowledge your child’s feelings but stay focused on the topic of his or her internet use.
  • Show you care: It will help to begin your discussion by reminding your child that you love them and that you care about their happiness and well-being. Children and teens often interpret questions about their behavior as blame and criticism. You need to reassure your child that you are not condemning them. Rather, tell your child you are concerned about some of the changes you have seen in their behavior and refer to those changes in specific terms: fatigue, declining grades, giving up hobbies, social withdrawal, etc. Assign an internet time log—tell your child that you would like to see an account of just how much time they spend online each day and which internet activities they engage in.
  • Remind them that, with television, you can monitor their viewing habits more easily, but with the internet, you need their help and cooperation to become appropriately involved. Put them on the honor system to keep the log themselves for a week or two to build trust between you.
  • Become more computer-savvy: Checking history folders and internet logs, learning about parental monitoring software, and installing filters all require a degree of computer savviness. It is important for every parent to learn the terminology (both technical and popular) and be comfortable with the computer, at least enough to know what your child is doing online. Take an active interest in the internet and learn about where your child goes online.
  • Set reasonable rules and boundaries: Many parents get angry when they see the signs of internet addiction in their child and take the computer away as a form of punishment. Others become frightened and force their child to quit cold turkey, believing that is the only way to get rid of the problem. Both approaches invite trouble—your child will internalize the message that they are bad; they will look at you as the enemy instead of an ally; and they will suffer real withdrawal symptoms of nervousness, anger, and irritability. Instead, work with your child to establish clear boundaries for limited internet usage.
  • Allow perhaps an hour per night after homework, with a few extra weekend hours. Stick to your rules and remember that you’re not trying to control your child or change who they are—you are working to help them free themselves from a psychological dependence. Finally, make the computer visible. Create a rule that non-homework-related computer usage should only happen in more public areas of the home, where your child is more likely to interact with you or other members of the household.

Discipline isn’t just about giving kids consequences. Instead, it ensures children are gaining the skills they need to become responsible adults. There are many types of discipline and various approaches to parenting. But ultimately, regardless of the type of discipline a parent uses, discipline offers kids many benefits.

  • Discipline Helps Kids Manage Anxiety: When adults offer positive and negative consequences, kids grow and learn. Kids who have overly permissive parents often experience anxiety because they have to make adult decisions. The lack of guidance and the absence of leadership can be very unsettling for kids.
  • Discipline Teaches Kids to Make Good Choices: Appropriate discipline teaches kids how to make good choices. For example, when a child loses his internet privileges for being rude, he learns how to make better choices next time.
  • Healthy discipline teaches kids alternative ways to get their needs met. Kids need to learn problem-solving skills, impulse control, and self-regulation skills from appropriate training.
  • Discipline Teaches Kids to Manage Emotions: strategies such as praise, can also teach kids how to deal with feelings. When you say, “You are working so hard to build that tower even though it is really hard to do. Keep up the good work,” your child learns about the importance of tolerating frustration.
  • Ignoring mild misbehavior can teach kids socially appropriate ways to manage their frustration as well. If you refuse to give in to a temper tantrum, your child will learn that’s not a good way to get his needs met. When you ignore whining, your child will learn that whining won’t change your behavior.
  • Discipline Keeps Kids Safe: The ultimate goal of discipline should be to keep kids safe. This includes major safety issues, such as looking both ways before crossing the road. There should be consequences when your child doesn’t take appropriate safety precautions.
  • Discipline should also address other health risks, such as preventing obesity. If you let your child eat whatever she wants, they may experience serious health risks. It’s important to set healthy limits and offer education to help your child learn to make healthy choices.

Conclusion:

It is important to distinguish the difference between consequences and punishments. When kids are disciplined with appropriate consequences they learn from their mistakes. Punishments, however, tend to mean that kids quickly learn how to not get caught when they misbehave. It is vital to draw a balance between positive and negative nudges and use them in an optimum manner to discipline the children


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