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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 29 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 : Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies. Social empowerment.

1. Economic Empowerment of women does not necessarily translate into their Social Empowerment in our country, critically examine. (250 words)

Reference: un.org

Why the question:

The question is premised on the topic of women empowerment and associated issues from GS paper I.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the gaps that visibly encountered in India quite often while realizing the goal of social empowerment of a woman through economic empowerment.

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:

With key statistics present the position of women in the country.

Body:

In the answer body define the two terms; economic empowerment and social empowerment and differentiate the two while also suggesting the interlinkages.

The term “empowerment of women” refers to the process of providing power to women to stand up against the control of the others and help them to leader a prosperous and a successful life. Historically, women have been regarded as constituting a weaker section in the society.

Explain that Women Economic Empowerment is very important for a country’s development right from the smallest unit of the community which is the family. Having empowered women in a country means great reduction in dependence rates, increased household income leading to increased household purchasing power resulting into an improved standard of living adding on the taxes that the government in each country collects which is then invested back into better services to the tax payers women inclusive. This further leads to independent decision making regarding career, job selection, education, health, investment and rights.  It is therefore inevitable that empowering women economically will no doubt lead to the country’s development.

Then move onto explain the gaps in translating this economic empowerment into social empowerment.

Discuss the key issues and suggest solutions to address the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

                Empowerment of women is perceived as equipping them to be economically independent, self-reliant, with positive esteem to enable them to face any situation and they should be able to participate in the development activities. However, Social mores, rising incomes of men, and gender-based segregation in the job market are limiting women’s economic empowerment in India. Empowerment can be approached from distinct perspectives, which carry different political priorities and strategies.

Body:

Economic upliftment and women empowerment:

  • The agency, freedom and intra-household power of women are strengthened when women are given an economic value; when they are enabled to hold a position in the economy through employment.
  • Scholars who have explored and studied women’s work, especially among the poorest in the most marginalised locales and communities, have been highlighting the importance of recognising women’s work, the importance of women as economic agents.
  • Economic power for women within and outside the household makes a difference to gender relations.
  • India’s corporate world is inclusive of women holding significant positions in top-notch organizations.In 2015, SEBI (Stock Exchange Board of India) made it compulsory for companies to have at least 1 woman as their board member.
  • There is a bidirectional relationship between economic development and women’s empowerment, defined as improving the ability of women to access the constituents of development — in particular health, education, earning opportunities, rights, and political participation

Economic empowerment not translating in to social empowerment:

  • The under-representation of women in the workforce is both a social and economic loss.
  • A McKinsey Global study in 2015 found that India could increase its GDP by 16-60% by 2025 by simply enabling women to participate in the economy at par with men.
  • Three key factors that have limited the role of women in the Indian economy: the role of entrenched gender norms in our society, the rising incomes of men (which raises family income and makes it easier for women to quit working), and the lack of quality jobs for women.
  • The latest evidence on regressive attitudes towards women comes from the Social Attitudes Research India survey covering Delhi, Mumbai, UP and Rajasthan in 2016.
  • A new study based on the survey shows that a significant share of men and women feel that married women whose husbands earn a good living should not work outside the home.

However, the idea of women- empowerment just doesn’t imply economic empowerment by increasing their Labour force participation, job creation, entrepreneurship opportunities. There is a grave necessity of social and political empowerment. It does not happen due to:

Crimes:

  • Crimes against women are discussed merely as a barrier to women’s mobility, one that hampers their supply in the labour market.
  • NCRB data recording an 83 per cent increase in crimes against women between 2007 and 2016, and the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global poll in 2018 naming India as the most dangerous country for women.
  • The MeToo movement tumbled out many skeletons from the drawers showing most women kept quiet about the sexual harassment due to fear of losing jobs and affecting their livelihoods and career.

Social barriers:

  • Married women are not allowed to work in some religions and culture. Further, the patriarchal mindset prevalent in Indian people forces such barriers on women.
  • According to recent research by Public Affairs Centre (PAC), a major metropolis like Delhi has only 196 female workers per 1,000 workers, and Mumbai has only 188. In contrast, a state like Nagaland, which has historically been matrilineal, has more than 500 women workers per 1,000 in most districts.

Unpaid care:

  • Unpaid work done by women in the household demonstrates no understanding of how it constrains women from entering the labour force.
  • The lack of basic facilities like drinking water, cooking gas in rural areas forces women into drudgery to arrange the basic stuff.

Fixed Gender Roles:

  • There are fixed gender roles in most families, again a consequence of patriarchal mindset.
  • The concept of paternity leaves and mainstreaming of gender education in schools is still miles away in India.
  • Without the renegotiation of gender roles, most women will only juggle jobs and not enjoy fulfilling careers.

Gender-wage gap:

  • Unequal pay for equal work is a stark feature which directly violates the fundamental right to equality of women.
  • A government report in 2018 finding a 30 per cent wage gap even for men and women with the same qualifications.
  • Women also lack equal inheritance rights leading to Feminization of poverty.
  • There is absence of any discussion on over-representation of economically active women in the informal sector, which leaves them poor and vulnerable, deprived of many work benefits.

Impact of Covid-19:

  • A major factor is that coronavirus has significantly increased the burden of unpaid care.
  • According to one survey, covid-19 has increased by 30% the time women in India spend on family responsibilities.
  • Unsurprisingly, therefore, women have dropped out of the workforce at a higher rate than is explained by market dynamics alone.
  • COVID-19 is depressing global economic growth and causing mass unemployment, especially among women. Women are more vulnerable, not only because of their jobs, but also because of gender inequalities within housework division, education, and healthcare.

Way Forward:

  • Implementation of the laws viz. Protection of women from sexual harassment at workplace act, maternity benefit Act in true letter and spirit.
  • Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces.
  • Incentivising companies to employ women and promoting safe work spaces are necessary.
  • Companies must compulsorily grant paternity leave so that the responsibility is shared.
  • Gender-wage gap should be reduced by bringing in stringent laws.
  • Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector.

Conclusion:

The need of the hour to reap economic benefits is by addressing the issues of gender rights and justice. Economic agency is one of the most enabling elements to shift gender relations of power, to release women from the kind of oppression, violence and powerlessness that they experience. Women’s inclusion in the development design would enhance the outcomes of development it the self. All the Departments of States at all levels, to Ministries, to Niti Aayog and its State-level counterparts, as well as to research and policy forums should work and implement the schemes realizing the importance of women in the economy and elsewhere in the society to achieve holistic empowerment.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

2. Discuss in detail the confusion over policy for human resource development and economic policy is affecting quality, equity and integrity in the field of medical education. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The editorial analyses how confusion over policy for human resource development and economic policy is affecting quality, equity and integrity in the field of medical education.

Key Demand of the question:

The answer must diagnose as to what is ailing medical education system in the country and suggest suitable measures to overcome the same.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly present the medical education scenario in the country.

Body:

In the answer body one can start with the present scenario of medical education and the modus operandi of it. Discuss the nuances brought out in the NEP 2020 with respect to it.

The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to provide universal access to quality education and bridge the gap between the current state of learning outcomes and what is required.

Explain what have been the real challenges like successive governments have been faced with the practical dilemma of quickly expanding educational opportunities while simultaneously addressing the issues of quality and equity.

Discuss the key challenges such as – The basic cause of inequity in admission to higher educational institutions is the absence of a high-quality school system accessible to all etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Medical education is the bedrock on which the needs of ‘human resources for health’, one of the major building blocks of any health system, are met. Today’s health professionals are required to have knowledge, skills, and professionalism to provide safe, effective, efficient, timely, and affordable care to people. They are required to: be proficient in handling disruptive technologies, understand the economics of healthcare, have the skills to work in and handle large and diverse teams, be ethical, demonstrate empathy, and be abreast of rapid developments in medicine

Body:

The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020) aims to provide universal access to quality education and bridge the gap between the current state of learning outcomes and what is required through undertaking major reforms that bring the highest quality, equity and integrity into the system, from early childhood care and education through higher education. It suggests that where it differs from previous policies is that in addition to the issues of access and equity, the present policy lays an emphasis on quality and holistic learning.

Issues regarding medical education and shortcomings of NEP with respect to them:

  • The draft New Education Policy (NEP) speaks about equity, inclusiveness and sustainable development at many points, starting from the preamble. However, it is by no means clear that its recommendations will fulfil these objectives, especially in the field of medical education. For example, it states that fees in medical colleges, both public and private, will be left to be decided by the institutions themselves.
  • Motive of private institutions:
    • The policy document states that all private institutions should be not-for-profit. It appears that the committee that drafted the report hoped that this recommendation, as well as the regulatory apparatus suggested by it, by itself will take care of the problem of profiteering.
    • However, what gives it such confidence is hard to understand given that the present policy too is to consider higher education a not-for-profit enterprise but has become a very large driver of the black economy, according to several reports.
    • The fact that on the one hand, the cost of education is sought to be lowered and on the other, fees are allowed to remain unregulated, betrays confused thinking. With the National Medical Commission Bill regulating fees only for 50% of seats in medical colleges, it looks like the commitment to equity is merely a pious homily.
  • Multiple entry and exit points:
    • One can understand having a National Entrance Examination for admission to undergraduate courses. However, it is absolutely clear that having a National Exit Examination for MBBS as the mode of entry to postgraduate courses is neither flexible nor fair.
    • A student cannot be expected to take the exit examination multiple times if the initial score is not good enough.
    • All medical colleges across the country are not of the same standard to ensure a level-playing field.
    • Sealing the student’s fate once and for all through an exit examination is certainly not just.
  • High level of centralization:
    • The objectives of autonomy and adaptation to local needs are contradicted by the high level of centralisation in medical education by the National Medical Commission.
    • The document considers separation of the functions of regulation, funding, accreditation and standard setting as absolutely necessary. However, the National Medical Commission has sought to arrogate to itself many of these functions.
    • Further, the recommendation that diploma courses should be expanded in order to provide “intermediate specialists” lacks focus. The role intermediate specialists supposed is not clear.
  • Multiple postgraduate courses:
    • They have been started without any clear rationale. The MBBS degree has been debased to such an extent that it is considered merely a necessary requirement for postgraduation.
    • One of the main drivers of the thirst for a postgraduate degree is the lack of adequate respectable employment opportunities for an MBBS graduate.
    • The overwhelming privatisation of health-care delivery in India has led to the concentration of personnel in those parts where the public has the capacity to pay.
    • Having a postgraduate degree has a multiplier effect on employability, income and respectability for the doctor. How useful it is for the society is questionable.
  • Regulatory capacity:
    • The policy document does not recognise that the main driver of inequity in health care is the presence of a large, poorly-regulated, for-profit sector.
    • Private interests have ensured regulatory capture in health-care policymaking. It appears that the National Education Policy has not escaped this capture, hence the clear disconnect between the repeated exhortations to ensure equity and quality and the recommendations which will achieve neither.
  • Commercialisation of medical education:
    • Faced with public demand for high-quality medical care on the one hand and severe constraints on public resources on the other, private entities have been permitted to establish medical educational institutions to supplement government efforts.
    • Though they are supposed to be not-for-profit, taking advantage of the poor regulatory apparatus and the ability to both tweak and create rules, these private entities, with very few exceptions, completely commercialised education.
  • Poor quality of education:
    • None of the three stated objectives of medical education has been achieved by the private sector — that is, providing health-care personnel in all parts of the country, ensuring quality and improving equity.
    • The overwhelming majority of private medical colleges provide poor quality education at extremely high costs.
  • Failure of regulators:
    • The executive, primarily the Medical Council of India, has proven unequal to the task of ensuring that private institutions comply with regulations. When the courts are approached, which issues are seen as important depends on the Bench. Some judges wish to ensure quality and equity; others give importance to points of law on the rights of private parties, federalism and such issues.
    • It was in this situation that the board of governors, which replaced the Medical Council of India, as an interim before the National Medical Commission became operative, introduced the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (Undergraduate), or NEET-UG, as a single all-India gateway for admission to medical colleges.
    • It is well known, though not easy to prove, that entrance examinations being held by almost all private colleges were a farce, and seats were being sold to the highest bidder. Challenged in courts, after an initial setback, the NEET scheme has been upheld.

Way forward:

  • The key elements that define today’s global health systems include ageing populations; demand for quality, equity and dignity; transition from communicable to non-communicable diseases and from episodic illnesses to lifelong ailments; double burden of disease in some countries; and disruptive advances in medical knowledge, IT, and biotechnology.
  • Today’s medical education should be able to groom such professionals to face medicine of the 21st century. In addition to raising the standards of medical professionals, the system should innovate to meet the growing shortage of health professionals to serve ageing populations with lifestyle and lifetime ailments.
  • There is a pressing need to revisit the existing guidelines for setting up medical schools and according permission for the right number of seats. Methods of education across fields are undergoing changes on account of advances in e-learning methods and tools, including remote learning, virtual classrooms, digital dissections, and simulation systems for imparting skills.
  • Extending teaching privileges to practising physicians and allowing e-learning tools will address the shortage of quality teachers across the system. Together, these reforms could double the existing medical seats without compromising on the quality of teaching.
  • Periodic re-certification based on continuing learning systems may become essential to keep up with the fast pace of change. Virtual learning tools eliminate the need for didactic classrooms.
  • Dynamic curricula designed around specific health systems will become more relevant than the systems designed for the classical hospital-based care. Since health professionals work in teams, inter-professional combined learning methods are being introduced. Even the concept of the teaching hospital is changing from a single, large hospital to a network of hospitals and community health centres.

Conclusion:       

                The fundamental problem in achieving quality, equity and integrity in education, the stated objectives of the new NEP, is confusion on the part of successive governments between policy-making for human resource development and economic policy. On the one hand, the Ministry of Human Resources Development repeatedly says that quality and equity are the cornerstones of good education. On the other, the economic policies consider education a consumer good which can be sold to the highest bidder. No amount of tweaking the methods of admission can address this contradiction. Only a resolute government, determined to ensure that economic policy facilitates quality and equity in education, can do it.

 

Topic: Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.

3. Present a picture of child and women nutrition in India. Discuss the schemes introduced in this direction and also suggest measures to ensure Poshanabhiyan targets are realized. (250 words)

Reference: pib.gov.in

Why the question:

September month is celebrated as Rashtriya PoshanMaah each year under POSHAN Abhiyaan (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment), which was launched in 2018.

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward; one must present a detailed picture of child and women nutrition in India and discuss the schemes in this direction with measures to improvise the achievement of Poshanabhiyan targets.

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 with key statistics discussing women and child health position in the country.

Body:

Explain the importance of improving awareness regarding nutrition will go a long way in improving lives of vulnerable sections.

Also called as the National Nutrition Mission, it is Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

There isn’t much to deliberate here, the points are straightforward and need elaboration.

Discuss the efforts of the government in this direction and suggest measures.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

September month is celebrated as Rashtriya Poshan Maah each year under POSHAN Abhiyaan (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment), which was launched in 2018. Poshan Maah aims to create mobilization across the country for improving Nutrition indicators.

Malnutrition, defined as ill health caused by deficiencies of calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals interacting with infections and other poor health and social conditions, saps the strength and well-being of millions of women and adolescent girls around the world. The gender gaps in nutritional status of women in India are due to preferential changes in availability of diets to girl child against a boy in their adolescence.

Body:

Malnutrition situation in India:

  • India experiences a malnutrition burden among its under-five population. As of 2015, the national prevalence of under-five overweight is 2.4%, which has increased slightly from 1.9% in 2006.
  • The national prevalence of under-five stunting is 37.9%, which is greater than the developing country average of 25%. India’s under-five wasting prevalence of 20.8% is also greater than the developing country average of 8.9%.
  • An average girl child aged less than 5 years is healthier than her male peers. However, over a period of time they grow into undernourished women in India.
  • Malnutrition and anaemia are common among Indian adults.
  • A quarter of women of reproductive age in India are undernourished, with a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5 kg/m (Source: NFHS 4 2015-16).
  • Both malnutrition and anaemia have increased among women since 1998-99.
  • 33% of married women and 28% of men are too thin, according to the body mass index (BMI), an indicator derived from height and weight measurements.
  • Underweight is most common among the poor, the rural population, adults who have no education and scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
  • 2% of women and 24.3% of men suffer from anaemia, and have lower than normal levels of blood haemoglobin.
  • Anaemia has increased in ever-married women from 1998-99. Among pregnant women, anaemia has increased from 50% to almost 58%

Consequences:

  • An undernourished mother inevitably gives birth to an undernourished baby, perpetuating an intergenerational cycle of undernutrition.
  • Undernourished girls have a greater likelihood of becoming undernourished mothers who in turn have a greater chance of giving birth to low birth weight babies, perpetuating an intergenerational cycle.
  • This cycle can be compounded further in young mothers, especially adolescent girls who begin childbearing before they have grown and developed enough.

Measures undertaken by Government to tackle Malnutrition:

  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme.
  • National Health Mission.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
  • Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojna (IGMSY).
  • Mother’s Absolute Affection.
  • National Nutrition Mission (POSHAN Abhiyaan): The Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition or POSHAN Abhiyaan or National Nutrition Mission, is Government of India’s flagship programme to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers and seeks to ensure a “malnutrition free India” by 2022.
  • Strengthen MGNREGA to ensure better food security.
  • PoshanMaah: Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a campaign declaring the month of September as “POSHAN Maah 2020”. By inviting citizens to send nutritional recipes, the campaign aims to create awareness about the POSHAN Abhiyan through community mobilisation

Measures needed to realise targets of Poshan Abhiyaan:

  • Improving the quantity and nutrient level of food consumed in the household: improving access to generalized household food ration through public distribution system. Also providing access to supplementary foods under the integrated child development services scheme.
  • To impart knowledge to improve the local diet, production and household behaviours through nutrition and health education.
  • Preventing micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia: This through providing the Iron Folic Acid Supplementation deworming, Pre and peri-conceptual folic acid supplementation, Universal access to iodized salt, Malaria prevention and treatment in malaria-endemic areas, Access to knowledge and support to stop use of tobacco products during pregnancy, Maternal calcium supplementation, Maternal vitamin A supplementation.
  • Increasing women’s access to basic nutrition and health services: By providing early registration of pregnancy and quality of antenatal check-up, with emphasis on pregnancy weight gain monitoring, screening and special care of at-risk mothers.
  • Improving access to water and sanitation health (WASH) education and facilities: By providing sanitation and hygiene education, including menstrual hygiene.
  • Empowering women to prevent pregnancies too early, too often and too close together: By ensuring marriage at/after legal age of 18 through awareness and ensuring a girl completes secondary education. Also preventing maternal depletion by delaying first pregnancy and repeated pregnancies through family planning, reproductive health information, incentives and services.
  • Expanding the maternity entitlement: Promoting community support system for women, skill development, economic empowerment as part of maternity entitlement. Providing community support system for women to support decision making, confidence building, skill development and economic empowerment. 

Conclusion:

Adequate nutrition is important for women not only because it helps them be productive members of society but also because of the direct effect maternal nutrition has on the health and development of the next generation. There is also increasing concern about the possibility that maternal malnutrition may contribute to the growing burden of cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases of adults in less developed countries. Finally, maternal malnutrition’s toll on maternal and infant survival stands in the way of countries’ work toward key global development goals including SDG-2.

 

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. Trust of the people in the integrity, impartiality of Judiciary and honesty of judges is essential for institutional progress and evolution. In the context of this statement discuss in what way Supreme Court of India ought to be sentinel guarding our rights? (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The editorial talks about the need for the Supreme Court to re-address its role assigned under the Constitution as “sentinel on the qui vive” (watchful guardian) of fundamental rights.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain in what way Supreme Court of India ought to be sentinel guarding our rights.

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 what are the issues plaguing the supreme court that have jeopardized the nature of work of the supreme court.

Body:

Explain the statement – why Trust of the people in the integrity, impartiality of Judiciary and honesty of judges is essential for institutional progress and evolution. Give examples and justify the statement.

For example – Allegations have been made against the Chief Justice of India, stating that the decisions in some of the most important matters affecting the nation, the Constitution, democracy, and the people and their fundamental rights have been taken in favour of the executive.

Discuss the functioning of the Supreme Court, its roles and responsibilities in being a guardian.

Conclusion:

Conclude that The Supreme Court must reassert clearly that it is truly the sentinel on the qui vive as regards the fundamental rights of all citizens.

Introduction:

                In P.K. Ghosh v. J.G. Rajput (1995), the Supreme Court held, “Credibility in the functioning of the justice delivery system and the reasonable perception of the affected parties are relevant considerations to ensure the continuance of public confidence in the credibility and impartiality of the judiciary. This is necessary not only for doing justice but also for ensuring that justice is seen to be done.” In its own words, the Supreme Court has been assigned the role of a “sentinel on the qui vive” as regards fundamental rights. The right to get redress from the Court is itself a fundamental right.

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 PM.
  • 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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Court needs to re-address its role assigned under the Constitution. The Supreme Court must reassert emphatically that it is truly the sentinel on the qui vive as regards the fundamental rights of all citizens.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. What’s the difference between global warming and climate change? Discuss their contributions in recent extreme events witnessed across the world. (250 words)

Reference: climate.gov

Why the question:

Question is straightforward and is from GS paper III.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the difference between global warming and climate change; also explain their contributions in recent extreme events witnessed across the world.

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 what global warming is and climate change is.

Body:

Global warming refers only to the Earth’s rising surface temperature, while climate change includes warming and the “side effects” of warming—like melting glaciers, heavier rainstorms, or more frequent drought. Said another way, global warming is one symptom of the much larger problem of human-caused climate change.

Tabulate the differences with relevant examples.

Discuss their contributions in the recent extreme events. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to recognise and address these changes so as to ensure sustainability of Earth and its environment.

Introduction:

                Global warming is the heating of Earth’s climate system observed since the pre-industrial period (between 1850 and 1900) due to human activities, primarily fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere. The term is frequently used interchangeably with the term climate change, though the latter refers to both human- and naturally produced warming and the effects it has on our planet. It is most commonly measured as the average increase in Earth’s global surface temperature.

Climate change is a long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. These changes have a broad range of observed effects that are synonymous with the term.

Body:

                Since the pre-industrial period, human activities are estimated to have increased Earth’s global average temperature by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit), a number that is currently increasing by 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 degrees Fahrenheit) per decade. Most of the current warming trend is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) the result of human activity since the 1950s and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate over decades to millennia.

Changes observed in Earth’s climate since the early 20th century are primarily driven by human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, which increases heat-trapping greenhouse gas levels in Earth’s atmosphere, raising Earth’s average surface temperature. These human-produced temperature increases are commonly referred to as global warming. Natural processes can also contribute to climate change, including internal variability (e.g., cyclical ocean patterns like El Niño, La Niña and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and external forcings (e.g., volcanic activity, changes in the Sun’s energy output, variations in Earth’s orbit).

Difference between global warming and climate change:

climate_global_warming

Contribution of Global warming and Climate Changein extreme weather events:

  • Human activities have already raised the global temperature by one degree centigrade compared to the pre-industrial levels. The global warming is now likely to reach 1.5 degree between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to rise at the current rate.
  • The world is already witnessing the consequences of 1 degree global warming in the form of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice.  There will be long-lasting or irreversible changes like the loss of some ecosystems if the temperature rises further.
  • South Asia, particularly India, Pakistan and China are hotspots in a warming world. IPCC report warns that global warming is occurring faster than anticipated and that it can have devastating impacts if steps are not taken to cut down emissions.
  • India will be among the worst hit countries that may face wrath of calamities like floods and heatwaves, and reduced GDP. Other impacts include intensified droughts and water stress, habitat degradation, and reduced crop yields.
  • Extreme temperature in India will affect agriculture, water resources, energy, and public health sectors. It will “disproportionately affect disadvantaged and vulnerable populations through food insecurity, higher food prices, income losses, lost livelihood opportunities, adverse health impacts, and population displacements”.
  • The impact on India could be devastating, last year apart from the six cyclonic storms that formed over the northern Indian Ocean, India experienced “high impact weather” events. There were extreme heavy rainfall, heat and cold waves, snowfall, thunderstorms, dust storms, lightning and floods.
    • Uttar Pradesh was the most adversely affected state which reported near 600 deaths due to cold waves, thunderstorm, dust storm, lightning and floods.
    • Two extreme weather events: the Kerala floods in August and the thunderstorm activity over the northern states in May-June of 2018.
    • Kerala floods were due to unusually heavy rains and are very rare over Kerala, which is not conventionally flood prone.
    • Sea level rise will have a disastrous impact on the country, given its large coastline, and the number of people who live close to and depend on the sea for their livelihoods.
  • The region, with glaciers receding at an average rate of 10–15 meters per year. If the rate increases, flooding is likely in river valleys fed by these glaciers, followed by diminished flows, resulting in water scarcity for drinking and irrigation.
  • All models show a trend of general warming in mean annual temperature as well as decreased range of diurnal temperature and enhanced precipitation over the Indian subcontinent. A warming of 0.5 o C is likely over all India by the year 2030 (approximately equal to the warming over the 20th century) and a warming of 2-4o C by the end of this century, with the maximum increase over northern India. Increased warming is likely to lead to higher levels of tropospheric ozone pollution and other air pollution in the major cities.
  • Increased precipitation including monsoonal rains is likely to come in the form of fewer rainy days but more days of extreme rainfall events, with increasing amounts of rain in each event, leading to significant flooding. Drizzle-type precipitation that replenishes soil moisture is likely to decrease. Most global models suggest that the Indian summer monsoons will intensify. The timing may also shift, causing a drying during the late summer growing season.
  • Climate models also predict an earlier snowmelt, which could have a significant adverse effect on agricultural production. Growing emissions of aerosols from energy production and other sources may suppress rainfall, leading to drier conditions with more dust and smoke from the burning of drier vegetation, affecting both regional and global hydrological cycles and agricultural production.
  • Uncertainties about monsoonal changes will affect farmers’ choices about which crops to plant and the timing of planting, reducing productivities. In addition, earlier seasonal snowmelt and depleting glaciers will reduce river flow needed for irrigation. The large segment of poor people (including smallholder farmers and landless agricultural workers) may be hardest hit, requiring government relief programs on a massive scale.

Way forward and conclusion:

  • To limit ourselves to 1.5°C, global net anthropogenic CO2 emissions should reduce by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, and should reach net-zero around 2050.
  • Use of coal should reduce steeply and its share in electricity mix should be reduced to close to 0 per cent by 2050.
  • To limit global warming, countries will have to change policies in sectors like land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and urban development.
  • India needs to focus on improving air quality which can deliver returns in health and productivity as well as the recovery of monsoon.
  • The efforts should include reforestation which would reduce the impact of extreme events.
  • India needs to introduce electric vehicles and also urgently strengthen its bus, rail and public infrastructure to move towards more sustainable means of transport.
  • Solutions to contain the effects of global warming, such as:
    • Better city planning and architecture.
    • Systems to monitor and control industrial and vehicular pollution.
    • Providing environmentally sustainable cooling solutions to citizens.
    • Developing and implementing heat action plans for both rural and urban areas.
    • Conserving water resources.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : challenges of corruption.

6. “Elimination of corruption is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity. “Comment. (250 words)

Reference: darpg.gov.in

Why the question:

The question is premised on the theme of corruption.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in detail in what way elimination of corruption is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining what corruption is.

Body:

Elimination of corruption is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity for a nation aspiring to catch up with the rest of the world. Improved governance in the form of non-expropriation contract, enforcement and decrease in bureaucratic delays and corruption can raise the GDP growth rate significantly.

Explain the causes of corruption, Discuss how Corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of ethics. Among the most common causes of corruption are the political and economic environment, professional ethics and morality and, of course, habits, customs, tradition, and demography.

Explain in what way it becomes an economic imperative apart from being moral imperative.

Conclusion:

Conclude with need to address the evil of corruption to ensure progress and development of the country.

Introduction:

Corruption is “giving or obtaining advantage through means which are illegitimate, immoral, and/or inconsistent with one’s duty or the rights of others.”

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

Body:

Economic cost of corruption:

Corrupted economies are not able to function properly because corruption prevents the natural laws of the economy from functioning freely. As a result, corruption in a nation’s political and economic operations causes its entire society to suffer. According to the World Bank, the average income in countries with a high level of corruption is about a third of that of countries with a low level of corruption. Also, the infant mortality rate in such countries is about three times higher and the literacy rate is 25% lower. No country has been able to completely eliminate corruption, but studies show that the level of corruption in countries with emerging market economies is much higher than it is in developed countries.

High Prices for Low Quality:

Corruption in the way deals are made, contracts are awarded, or economic operations are carried out, leads to monopolies or oligopolies in the economy. Those business owners who can use their connections or money to bribe government officials can manipulate policies and market mechanisms to ensure they are the sole provider of goods or services in the market.

Monopolists, because they do not have to compete against alternative providers, tend to keep their prices high and are not compelled to improve the quality of goods or services they provide by market forces that would have been in operation if they had significant competition. Embedded in those high prices are also the illegal costs of the corrupt transactions that were necessary to create such a monopoly. If, for example, a home construction company had to pay bribes to officials to be granted licenses for operations, these costs incurred will, of course, be reflected in artificially high housing prices.

Inefficiently Allocated Resources:

In best practice, companies choose their suppliers via tender processes (requests for tender or requests for proposal), which serve as mechanisms to enable the selection of suppliers offering the best combination of price and quality. This ensures the efficient allocation of resources. In corrupted economies, the companies that otherwise would not be qualified to win the tenders are often awarded projects as a result of unfair or illegal tenders (e.g. tenders that involve kickbacks).

This results in excessive expenditure in the execution of projects and substandard or failed projects, leading to overall inefficiency in the use of resources. Public procurement is perhaps most vulnerable to fraud and corruption due to the large size of financial flows involved. It’s estimated that in most countries, public procurement constitutes between 15% and 30% of gross domestic product (GDP).

Uneven Distribution of Wealth:

Corrupted economies are characterized by a disproportionately small middle class and significant divergence between the living standards of the upper class and lower class. Because most of the country’s capital is aggregated in the hands of oligarchs or persons who back corrupted public officials, most of the created wealth also flows to these individuals.

In a corrupt economy, small businesses are not widely spread and are usually discouraged because they face unfair competition and illegal pressures by large companies that are connected with government officials. Certain industries are more prone to corruption than others, making small businesses in these sectors even more vulnerable to unethical business practices.

Low Stimulus for Innovation:

Because little confidence can be placed in the legal system of corrupted economies in which legal judgments can be rigged, potential innovators cannot be certain their invention will be protected by patents and not copied by those who know they can get away with it by bribing the authorities. There is thus a disincentive for innovation, and as a result, emerging countries are usually the importers of technology because such technology is not created within their own societies.

A Shadow Economy Exists:

Small businesses in corrupt countries tend to avoid having their businesses officially registered with tax authorities to avoid taxation. As a result, the income generated by many businesses exists outside the official economy, and thus are not subject to state taxation or included in the calculation of the country’s GDP.

Another negative of shadow businesses is they usually pay their employees decreased wages, lower than the minimum amount designated by the government. Also, they do not provide acceptable working conditions, including appropriate health insurance benefits for employees.

Low Foreign Investment and Trade:

Corruption is one of the disincentives for foreign investment. Investors who seek a fair, competitive business environment will avoid investing in countries where there is a high level of corruption. While investing in emerging markets remains a popular investment area, investors are naturally hesitant to put their money at risk in countries known to have high corruption levels. Studies show a direct link between the level of corruption in a country and measurements of the competitiveness of its business environment.

Poor Education and Healthcare:

A working paper of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows corruption has an adverse impact on the quality of education and healthcare provided in countries with emerging economies. Corruption increases the cost of education in countries where bribery and connections play an important role in the recruitment and promotion of teachers. As a result, the quality of education decreases and this affects the overall health of the economy.

Also, corruption in the designation of healthcare providers and recruitment of personnel, as well as the procurement of medical supplies and equipment, in emerging economies results in inadequate healthcare treatment and a substandard or restricted, medical supply, lowering the overall quality of healthcare.

Conclusion:

Many countries with emerging economies suffer from a high level of corruption that slows their overall development. The entire society is affected as a result of the inefficient allocation of resources, the presence of a shadow economy, and low-quality education and healthcare. Corruption thus makes these societies worse off and lowers the living standards of most of their populations. Hence, Elimination of corruption is not only a moral imperative but an economic necessity.

 

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. Sense of morality must begin from the door of the leader who preaches it, Discuss the statement in the backdrop of principle of governance – “Yatha Raja Tatha Praja”. (250 words)

Reference: newsgram.com

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of morality and leadership qualities.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the principle of governance – “Yatha Raja Tatha Praja” in detail and its relevance in upholding morality in the public.

Directive:

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Yatha Raja Tatha Praja : In his Nitishastra, Chanakya said “As the ruler does, so do the citizens of his country”.

Body:

Discuss the importance of Morality first, then explain how and why it is important for leaders to carry this sense of morality so as to induce the same in their followers.

Explain in detail the principle of governance – “Yatha Raja Tatha Praja”. Discuss with examples the need to practice it.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Governance being the prerogative of the government, and the head of the government being the most important person who drives the whole governance mechanism, his performance of his duties, and his adherence to Dharma becomes the most vital element for achieving good governance of all citizens. Thus, the popular saying stated ‘yatha raja, tatha praja’ (As is the king, so are the subjects).

Body:

An able administrator who strictly adheres to Dharma will implement proper measures to ensure the welfare and progress of the people, whereas an incompetent Adharmic ruler will push the nation into chaos and suffering. We have seen countires such as USA led by an ethical leaders like Lincoln reach new heights despite going through a gory civil war.

The head of the government cannot and should not act according to his whims and fancies. His sole purpose and duty is to implement good governance by adhering to the principles of Dharma so that the overall development of his citizens is achieved. Atri Smriti says that punishing the wicked, honoring the good, enriching the exchequer by just methods, being impartial towards the litigants, and protecting the kingdom are the five yajnas i.e. selfless duties to be performed by the ruler. Example would be how countries having a rule of law and a constitution enjoy the fruits of liberty.

Mahabharata (Shanti Parva Ch.90) says that a person becomes a King for protecting Dharma and not for acting capriciously. Similarly, Manu says, a ruler who uses his power of ruling in a proper way, i.e. for the welfare of his citizens, will achieve all desires, wealth, and spiritual merit. We have seen how large scale welfare schemes implemented by Nelson Mandela help further the progress of South Africa in the aftermath of ending of Apartheid.

On the other hand, a ruler who misuses his power for his selfish reasons will end up in destruction. In other words, an incompetent and Adharmic person should never occupy the seat of the government. For this reason, the scriptures stress again and again regarding the required competencies of the kings. We have examples of incompetent and rulers destroying Kingdoms.

Kaultiya’s Arthashastra, for example, states that a ruler’s happiness lies in the happiness of his subjects, in their welfare his welfare, whatever pleases him (personally) he shall not consider as good. Whatever makes his subjects happy, he shall consider as good. He also lists receptive mind, firmness of purpose, and training in all activities of the government as some of the qualities of a King.

Similarly, Mahabharata says that a king should never abandon righteousness and should always be rooted in it. On the other hand, Manu Smriti, declares a person who is weak, ignorant, greedy, without discrimination of right and wrong and attached to sensual desires as being unfit to govern.

Conclusion:

Hence, Dharma in its twin roles of duties and righteousness is the very basis of ensuring good governance and welfare of everyone. The government and the people involved in the governance are mere enablers who implement principles of good governance. The leaders should lead with example by highest standards of morality.


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