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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 5 November 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 : The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country.

1. Discuss the contributions of  Indian social reformer and freedom activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article presents some insights into the contributions of Indian social reformer and freedom activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay.

Key Demand of the question:

The answer must discuss the contributions of Indian social reformer and freedom activist Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay.

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 talking about who Kamaladevi chattopadhyay was.

Body:

A freedom fighter, actor, social activist, art enthusiast, politician and free-thinking feminist all rolled into one, Kamaladevi’s contributions to India are staggeringly diverse. Her ideas, from feminism and egalitarian politics to her abiding confidence in Indian handicrafts, continue to remain relevant even today.

List down her contributions and explain their significance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction:

Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter. She was most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, hand looms, and theatre in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operation.

Body:

Contributions during Freedom Struggle

  • In early 1920s, when she was in London with her Husband, she came to know about the Non-cooperation Movement and returned back to join the Seva Dal.
  • In Seva Dal, she was in charge of the women’s wing and recruited, trained and organized the Sevikas.
  • In 1926, she met Margaret E. Cousins, the founder of All India Women’s Conference (AIWC) and with her inspiration; she contested elections for Madras Provincial Legislative Assembly, thus becoming the first woman to contest election for a legislative seat, although she lost this election.
  • In 1926, she represented the Indian women delegation to the Women International Conference at Berlin and hoisted the nag there. As a result, she was awarded rigorous imprisonment for 9 months.
  • In 1927, she led the All India Women’s Conference, which was earlier founded by Margaret E. Cousins, and her efforts made it a national organization of repute.
  • During the Salt Satyagraha, she was member of seven-member lead team created by Mahatma Gandhi to prepare salt at the Bombay beachfront.
  • She and Avantikabai Gokhale were only two women members of this team. She not only prepared salt but also went to High Court nearby and offered the judge to buy this “freedom salt”.
  • While trying to enter into the Bombay Stock Exchange to sell the “Freedom Salt”, she was arrested and spent a year in prison.
  • Thus, she was the first woman to be arrested in freedom struggle. In 1936, she became president of Congress Socialist Party

Role in Independent India

  • International Relations:
    • It was her abiding interest in creating solidarity among the colonized people which makes her an especially inspirational figure.
    • She continued not only to represent India as an emissary but also offered a prescient articulation of the idea of the Global South.
    • Chattopadhyay’s writings on Asia, Africa and the Global South in the 1940s point to different facets of her interest in the people of Asia and Africa and their histories. ‘The Struggle of Viet Nam against French Imperialism’ shows her grasp over the history of colonialism in Vietnam.
    • Chattopadhyay is clear in its critique of the failure of the Left in France to ally itself with Vietnamese nationalists agitating for independence.
    • She was equally unsparing towards the Japanese. ‘The Awakening of Asia’ warns against Japan’s attempts to position itself as the vanguard of pan-Asianism.
  • Social work:
    • Immediately after India’s partition and freedom, she actively took part in rehabilitation of the displaced.
    • She established Indian Cooperative Union to help with the rehabilitation.
    • Due to her efforts, a cooperative housing unit was established near Faridabad rehabilitating over 50,000 refugees from North-West Frontier.
  • Crafts and Arts:
    • Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay has long been recognised in India as the person chiefly responsible, after Independence, for the revival of the country’s variegated crafts traditions and for drawing critical attention to ‘tribal art’.
    • She is generally viewed as an authority on Indian handicrafts, but Chattopadhyay played no less a role in nurturing craftspersons and shaping the cultural institutions that in independent India would be charged with promoting dance, drama, theatre crafts, music, puppetry, pottery and textiles.
    • She stressed the significant role which handicrafts and cooperative grassroot movements play in the social and economic upliftment of the Indian people.
    • In 1950s, her focus turned to Indian handicrafts, arts, handlooms and traditional artisans especially the women artisans.
    • She established a series of “crafts museums” to preserve and protect India’s arts and crafts; and also instituted the National Awards for Master Craftsmen; Central Cottage Industries Emporia throughout India.
    • For drama, she started Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography (NIKC), Bangalore in 1960s.
    • She was also instrumental in setting up All India Handicrafts Board and worked as its first chairperson.
    • Kamaladevi made it fashionable to wear hand-woven sarees and adorn homes with handicrafts.
    • She also set up Bhartiya Natya Sangh in 1954 and worked as second chairperson of National School of Drama.

Conclusion:

A freedom fighter, actor, social activist, art enthusiast, politician and feminist rolled into one, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay’s left a massive mark in Indian culture and yet her contributions are little remembered and is virtually unknown outside India. She was most remembered for her contribution to the Indian independence movement for being the driving force behind the renaissance of Indian handicrafts, hand looms, and theater in independent India; and for upliftment of the socio-economic standard of Indian women by pioneering the co-operation.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic : Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

2. The complexity of the election process and the multiplicity of authorities in the U.S are perfect breeding grounds for confusion, in this context compare the Indian election process with that of US. (250 words)

Reference: www.usa.govIndian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The article presents to us the nuances of the ongoing Elections in the US and the procedures of it.

Key Demand of the question:

One must present a detailed comparison of US and Indian system of elections and procedures therein.  Justify in what way the process of elections is superior in India compared to that of US.

Directive:

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by discussing the importance of election system and procedures to any country and its democracy.

Body:

Explain the US system of elections; there is no centralized election management body like the Election Commission in India.

The US has two federal bodies — the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) — but both of them together do not add up to anything as powerful or effective as the EC in India. In fact, they have no control over the election administration.

Its role is confined to federal campaign finance regulations. The EAC, also a bipartisan organisation, was created only in 2002 to provide funding to states for upgrading their registration and voting systems besides establishing minimum voter identification standards. Its decisions are, however, not binding.

The FEC consists of six members, three each appointed by the two political parties. A decision requires four votes to make it non-partisan. All 50 states, and within these, more than 3,000 counties have different management bodies.

Present the complexities in the system, compare with the Indian system of elections and discuss its robustness.

Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction:

Democrat Joe Biden won the U.S. presidential election late on Saturday after a bitter campaign, sparking street celebrations among his supporters in major cities even as President Donald Trump refused to accept defeat. Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris has scripted history by becoming first woman, Black and Indian-American Vice President-elect of the United States.

The Republic of India and the United States of America are just two examples of functioning democracies around the world. This form of government has been in place in the United States since 1789 but has been a relatively recent phenomenon in the Indian system of governance.

While the principle underlying such elections is similar, there exists a large number of differences between how elections are held in the US and in India. In fact, there are actually very few commonalities between the organization of the government in the countries. Elections in the USA are therefore not quite the same as elections in India.

Body:

Differences in the election process of India and the USA:

Conduction of Elections:

  • The date of the election is fixed that is the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November, since 1845.
  • There is no centralized election management body like the Election Commission in India.
  • The US has two federal bodies — the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and the US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) — but both of them together do not add up to anything as powerful or effective as the EC in India.
  • In fact, they have no control over the election administration.
  • Its role is confined to federal campaign finance regulations. The EAC, also a bipartisan organisation, was created only in 2002 to provide funding to states for upgrading their registration and voting systems besides establishing minimum voter identification standards. Its decisions are, however, not binding.
  • The FEC consists of six members, three each appointed by the two political parties. A decision requires four votes to make it non-partisan.
  • All 50 states, and within these, more than 3,000 counties have different management bodies.

One election, multiple selections:

  • It’s not just one election but a bunch of simultaneous elections in the US. In many states, a voter will be choosing not just the US president but 20 different contestants on a single ballot, including the member of the US Senate and the House of Representatives, state senate, governor, state attorney general, supreme court judge, among others.
  • Furthermore, there are as many as 162 ballot initiatives (referenda) in 35 states which include the death penalty, raising minimum wages, legalising marijuana etc.
  • In India, elections are mostly held separately for Parliament, State Legislatures, President, Vice President.

Mode of Voting:

  • The voting systems are diverse — voting at polling stations on poll day, early voting in person, absentee voting by mail. The ballot design varies from state to state.
  • Voting technology varies from direct recording electronic voting machines (like Indian EVMs) to paper ballots (marked by pencil or pen). But scanning is invariably used to facilitate counting. Some states have the VVPAT — Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail.
  • The polling station can be in a variety of buildings including private precincts, shopping malls, churches, community centres, courthouses, fire stations besides schools. The polling staff is drawn from a variety of sources — private, elected and others.
  • The hours of voting are longer — 13 hours — as compared to the minimum eight hours (usually nine) in India

Voter Turnout:

  • Voter turnout has been historically low in America when compared to other democracies.
  • The vast majority of Americans who are registered to vote to show up in the polls, at least in presidential years. In 2012, around 84 % of registered voters cast a ballot.
  • But the catch is that tens of millions of Americans simply aren’t registered to begin with. Sometimes that’s because they’re ineligible, due to residency requirements or state laws that bar ex-felons from voting. But the main reason is that the onus to register as a voter lies on the voter and it is neither compulsory to register nor to vote.
  • Even more commonly, many people just miss the deadline for registering. The US government doesn’t automatically register anyone who’s eligible to vote. Instead, people have to remember to register — and the rules vary from place to place.
  • The last date for registration varies from one month prior to the poll to the same day (polling day). Online registration is allowed in 31 states plus DC. Any person turning 18 even on polling day is eligible to register. The registration of voters is very low.
  • While in India over 95 percent of all eligible persons are already registered, in the US it was just above 71 percent in 2012. The voter identification system varies too — from different photo identity proofs to self-authentication without a photo.
  • The turnout in the last presidential election was 61.8 percent (compared to India’s 66.8 percent). With low registration, this effectively means that less than 45 percent of eligible Americans voted.
  • Voting demographics show that older people — 65 plus — tend to vote more than 18-24 year-olds by as much as 25 percentage points.
  • In contradiction to India, people with more education and income vote more than the less endowed. Similarly, women vote in larger numbers.
  • Blacks and Hispanics vote less because of lack of interest.

Effectiveness of election process:

  • The complexity of the election process and the multiplicity of authorities in the U.S is a perfect breeding ground for confusion. E.g. In the infamous Florida recount incident of the year 2000, the results were first challenged in the Supreme Court due to the confusing coting system called “butterfly ballot”. But it was not pursued to the hilt, as Al Gore who lost to Bush by just a few hundred votes chose not to contest the results.
  • This, however, is perhaps the first time that a candidate — Donald Trump — doubted the legitimacy of the election even before the first vote has been cast. He has also indicated that he may not accept the results if he loses.
  • But it’s noteworthy that the validity of results declared by the Election Commission of India has never been doubted — even candidates losing by just one vote have never questioned the results, though election petitions have been filed on grounds of corrupt practices of the opponent. We have at least three cases of one-vote victory and one even of a tie, decided by the draw of lots. But the legitimacy of the election was never doubted. That’s the reason why the transition of power has always been seamless.
  • What has worked well for India is a fully empowered but fiercely independent and neutral election commission. The biggest reason for the success of the Indian system is extreme simplicity. All things considered, Indian elections are regarded as a model for a large part of the world. Hillary Clinton described the Indian election system as the “gold standard”.
  • We were often asked why we use EVMs when even the US does not. But actually, the question should be pointed at them for not using the effective method.
  • Our election system is effective in coverage by setting up the poll in every 2 kms which includes a poll booth for a lone voter in Gujarat’s Gir forest and the world’s highest polling booth will be located in Himachal Pradesh, at a height of over 15,000 feet.
  • While India gave equal voting rights to women on Day One in 1950, the US had taken 144 years. And then, while India elected a woman prime minister within 19 years, the US has not had a woman president in 240 years.
  • This along with higher registration, higher turnout and an effective and neutral election management system makes our election process more democratic and in effect the greatest democracy in the world.

Conclusion:

US democracy is old and matured, whereas for India it is young and vibrant. In any democratic system, conducting free and fair elections could is necessary. A dedicated autonomous power to handle elections in a controlled and organized has been hailed by world leaders. What has worked well for India is a fully empowered but fiercely independent and neutral election commission. The biggest reason of the success of Indian system is extreme simplicity. All things considered, Indian elections are regarded as a model for a large part of the world. It is always good to be reminded of Hillary Clinton describing the Indian election system as the “gold standard”.

 

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

3. Present a detailed comparison of pardoning powers of president and Governor in India. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu 

Why the question:

The Supreme Court has said that the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) investigation into the larger conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991 need not deter the Tamil Nadu Governor from deciding the plea for pardon of convicts, who have been serving their sentence in jail for over two decades. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to draw a detailed comparison of pardoning powers of president and Governor in India.

Directive:

Compare and contrast – provide for a detailed comparison of the two types, their features that are similar as well as different. One must provide for detailed assessment of the two.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by explaining what pardoning powers are.

Body:

Article 161 mentions the Pardoning Power of the Governor. When a convict has committed an offence against state law, the concerned punishment can be granted the pardon, reprieve, respite and remission by the Governor of the state.

Differentiate between Pardoning Powers of Governor and the President in detail (tabulate them for better presentation). Give relevant examples/case studies.

Conclusion:

Present the importance of the two and conclude.

Introduction:

Article 72 and 161 of the Indian Constitution empowers the President and the governors of States respectively to grant pardons for the sentence. However, the ambit of President’s pardoning power is wider than that of Governor.

Pardoning is an act of kindness that reduces the punishment conferred under the law for the offence and restores the rights and privileges lost on account of the offence. It can be granted to individuals who have been convicted of any offence against a law or sentenced by a court martial and for sentence of death.

The Supreme Court has said that the Multi-Disciplinary Monitoring Agency (MDMA) investigation into the larger conspiracy behind Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991 need not deter the Tamil Nadu Governor from deciding the plea for pardon of convicts, who have been serving their sentence in jail for over two decades.

Body:

Need for Pardoning powers:

  • Pardons can be granted when individuals are deemed to have demonstrated that they have “paid their debt to society”, or are otherwise considered to be deserving of them. It is a form of reformative justice.
  • Pardons are sometimes offered to persons who were either wrongfully convicted or who claim that they were wrongfully convicted.
  • Pardons are sometimes seen as a mechanism for combating corruption, allowing a particular authority to circumvent a flawed judicial process to free someone that is seen as wrongly convicted.

Similarities in the Pardoning power of the President and the Governor:

  • Pardon: It removes both the sentence and the conviction and completely absolves the convict from all sentences, punishments and disqualifications.
  • Commutation: It denotes the substitution of one form of punishment for a lighter form. For example, a death sentence may be commuted to rigorous imprisonment, which in turn may be commuted to a simple imprisonment.
  • Remission: It implies reducing the period of sentence without changing its character. For example, a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for two years may be remitted to rigorous imprisonment for one year.
  • Respite: It denotes awarding a lesser sentence in place of one originally awarded due to some special fact, such as the physical disability of a convict or the pregnancy of a woman offender.
  • Reprieve: It implies a stay of the execution of a sentence (especially that of death) for a temporary period. Its purpose is to enable the convict to have time to seek pardon or commutation from the President.

Difference between pardoning powers of president and governor:

The scope of the pardoning power of the President under Article 72 is wider than the pardoning power of the Governor under Article 161. The power differs in the following two ways:

  • Court martial: The power of the President to grant pardon extends in cases where the punishment or sentence is by a Court Martial but Article 161 does not provide any such power to the Governor.
  • Death sentence: The President can grant pardon in all cases where the sentence given is sentence of death but pardoning power of Governor does not extend to death sentence cases. Even if a state law prescribes the death sentence, the power to grant pardon lies with the President and not the governor.

Supreme Court cases have laid down various norms regarding pardoning power of president as below.

  • In Maru Ram v Union of India, the Constitutional Bench of Supreme Court held that the power under Article 72 is to be exercised on the advice of the Central Government and not by the President on his own, and that the advice of the Government binds the head of the Republic.
  • The Supreme Court in Ranga Billa case observed that the term pardon itself signifies that it is entirely a discretionary remedy and grant or rejection of it need not to be reasoned.
  • Supreme Court in Kehar Singh v Union of India held that the grant of pardon by the President is an act of grace and, therefore, cannot be claimed as a matter of right. The power exercised by the President being exclusively of administrative nature, is not justiciable.
  • Pardoning powers under Articles 72 and 161 is subject to judicial review. In Epuru Sudhakar vs Govt. Of A.P., the Supreme Court held that it is a well-set principle that a limited judicial review of exercise of clemency powers is available to the Supreme Court and High Courts. Granting of clemency by the President or Governor can be challenged on the following grounds:
    • The order has been passed without application of mind.
    • The order is malafide.
    • The order has been passed on wholly irrelevant considerations.
    • Relevant material has been kept out of consideration.
    • The order is arbitrary.

Conclusion:

The pardoning power is founded on consideration of public good and is to be exercised on the ground of public welfare. Pardon may substantially help in saving an innocent person from being punished due to miscarriage of justice or in cases of doubtful conviction. The hope of being pardoned itself serves as an incentive for the convict to behave himself in the prison institution and thus, helps considerably in solving the issue of prison discipline.

 

Topic : GS-2: 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. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

4. Recently witnessed scholarship scams underline the need to tighten checks and balances in DBT architecture and fix accountability. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express 

Why the question:

The article brings to fore the corruption case of scholarship in the state of Jharkhand.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the need to tighten checks and balances in DBT architecture and fix accountability.

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 first how Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT) was proposed as an antidote to a persistent problem of social welfare and subsidy schemes in the country- the almost ubiquitous middlemen who deprive beneficiaries of their legitimate allotment.

Body:

Discuss the loopholes in the systems that are leading to increased incidences of corruption despite the intervention of technology.

Explain the need for mending the DBT architecture.

Suggest interventions and alternatives to overcome the challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions.

Introduction:

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is a method through which a subsidy will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of consumers. With the aim of reforming Government delivery system by re-engineering the existing process in welfare schemes for simpler and faster flow of information/funds and to ensure accurate targeting of the beneficiaries, de-duplication and reduction of fraud Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) was started on 1st January, 2013. DBT has reported success in Student Scholarship, subsidies for LPG and for wages under MNREGA.

In several districts of Jharkhand, minority students are being duped of a Centrally funded scholarship by a nexus of bank staff, middlemen, school and government employees.

Body:

DBT

DBT architecture: Direct benefit transfer reaches to beneficiary through following mechanism:

  • The first step involves the Identification of beneficiaries and digitization of beneficiary database takes place.
  • It is then followed by Opening of bank accounts if beneficiary doesn’t have any bank account.
  • Once bank account is opened up, Aadhaar enrolment of beneficiary should take place.
  • Subsequently, Seeding of Aadhaar in beneficiary database and bank accounts.
  • Initiating Last mile connectivity/service delivery as per the protocol through directly depositing the money in to beneficiaries account.

Current challenges in the DBT architecture:

  • Vulnerabilities of the Aadhaar-enabled payment system: Poor people are regularly robbed of their wages, pensions and scholarships by corrupt business correspondents who take their fingerprint on one pretext or another.
  • Low level of digital literacy in the rural areas poses one of the major challenge in implementing this mechanism.
  • Business correspondents in the unbanked areas are also a kind of middlemen whose functioning is under question even by the RBI.
  • Last mile corruption: Middlemen, in connivance with bank staff, open accounts of students and the Aadhar-enabled transaction is done through their fingerprints. Bank officials and school staff connived to steal user IDs and passwords to divert benefits from schools that never applied for any grant, middlemen coerced parents to forego a big share of their children’s dues and institutions fudged records to apply for scholarship funds.
  • Biometric-based unique identity or Aadhaar is leading to huge problems for people working for the rural employment guarantee scheme and for others receiving welfare benefits. Not only have enrolments been done shoddily but the experience of the pilot projects shows that it is almost impossible to authenticate the work-hardened fingerprints of the poor.
  • Many NGOs have pointed out the problem of the Government’s decision of ending the public distribution system of food grain and give money directly to the people without proper identification of the poor in the country. About 40 per cent of the poor are still not officially recognized in India according to many welfare economists.

Way forward:

  • Complete digitization and de-duplication of the beneficiary database,
  • Seeding of bank account details and Aadhaar numbers in the digitized database,
  • States with lower literacy levels, higher portion of BPL populations could first strengthen the existing infrastructure before embarking on ICT-based DBT cash transfers.
  • The verifying authorities, for instance the Schools, colleges, institutes, district nodal officer, State nodal officers are the most critical stakeholders who ensure integrity of the verification process.
  • Technological measures like 3- phase verification can be introduced so that the money reaches the intended beneficiaries account.
  • there is a need for third-party audits authorized by regulatory commissions.
  • Strengthening and conducting the social audits with the support of the Gram Panchayats to ensure the intended beneficiaries receive the money.

Conclusion:

Direct benefit transfers have the potential to improve the economic lives of the poor by transferring benefits to households quickly and directly. Achieving these benefits requires thoughtful design of schemes, and careful, rigorous analysis of ongoing programmes as an important input to the design process.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. What is Whale Beaching? Why Do Whales Get Beached? Discuss the causative factors responsible for it. (250 words)

Reference: bbc.com

Why the question:

A group of Sri Lankan rescuers have returned more than 100 whales to the sea after a mass beaching of the mammals. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what whale beaching and why do whales get beached. Explain the causative factors.

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:

Whale beaching, more accurately called Cetacean Stranding is the phenomenon in which cetaceans strand themselves on land (generally beaches).

Body:

Explain what whale beaching is; Cetaceans are aquatic mammals and include whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Cetaceans that land on beaches generally die of dehydration or other causes like drowning when a high tide shuts their blowhole; or collapsing under their own weight. The reason for such behavior has not been established to an accurate degree. Removing such carcasses becomes a tricky affair since they are generally huge and the decomposing corpses pose a health risk.

Discuss the reasons causing the beaching.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done and suggest suitable solutions.

Introduction:

Whale Beaching or Cetacean stranding refers to the phenomenon of dolphins, whales and Porpoises stranding themselves on beaches. Beached whales often die due to dehydration, collapsing under their own weight, or drowning when high tide covers the blowhole.

More than 100 whales stranded on a Sri Lankan beach have been guided to the sea in an overnight rescue operation recently. In September 2020, several hundred whales died on the coast of Tasmania in Australia in one of the country’s biggest stranding on record and one of the largest in the world.

Body:

The causative factors responsible for Whale Beaching:

  • Some whales follow schooling fish or other prey into shallow waters, which causes the whales to become disoriented, as a result of which they get stranded.
  • Some scientists believe that sonar signals and other man-made loud underwater noises may contribute to beaching events. The large and rapid pressure changes made by loud sonar can cause hemorrhaging.
  • Just as humans suffer from sickness and natural diseases marine mammals may also be subject to natural diseases beyond their or our control.
  • Another reason could be panic from being trapped by a predator such as killer whales or sharks.
  • Another possibility is that whales might be drawn to land by prey-rich currents.
  • Whales can become sick or poisoned due to pollutant chemicals such as gas and acid, and from the accumulation of daily waste created from everyday living.
  • Some biologists believe that abnormalities caused by changes in the earth’s magnetic field may interfere with a whale’s biological navigation causing it to lose its sense of direction.
  • Changes in the tides, melting icebergs and shifting food sources such as fish may force whales to relocate and wander off course causing them to swim into shallow waters or possibly even beach themselves.
  • Further, the shape of the beach and the coastline could also have a role to play.

Conclusion:

There are around 2,000 strandings each year worldwide, with most resulting in the death of the animal. Whales strand themselves on beaches either singularly or in groups. While individual strandings are mostly attributed to injury or sickness, it is not clear why exactly whales beach themselves in groups.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic : Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships. Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

6.  “Ethics works as a binding force between law, morality, values, religion and social norms.” Elucidate. (250 words)

Reference: ethics.org.au

Why the question:

The question is based on the applications of Ethics.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to justify in what way Ethics often works as a binding force between law, morality, values, religion and social norms.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining what Ethics are.

Body:

In the answer body first, using suitable examples explain the relationship between ethics and law, morality, values, religion and social norms.

Ethics is scrutiny of human conduct on the basis of established standards. It deals with rightness and wrongness of human conduct based on normative principles such as Kantian ethics, virtue ethics of Aristotle etc.

It works as binding force between law, morality, values, religion and social norms because all of them have certain ethical elements/aspects involved.

Suggest the importance.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Ethics provides guiding principles for everyone in their conduct.

Introduction:

Ethics is a branch of philosophy that aims to answer the basic question, “What should I do?” It’s a process of reflection in which people’s decisions are shaped by their values, principles, and purpose rather than unthinking habits, social conventions, or self-interest.

Body:

Ethics and laws are found in virtually all spheres of society. They govern actions of individuals around the world on a daily basis. They often work hand-in-hand to ensure that citizens act in a certain manner, and likewise coordinate efforts to protect the health, safety and welfare of the public. The law is based on principles and regulations established in a community by some authority and applicable to its people.

Though law often embodies ethical principles, law and ethics are not co-extensive. Based on society’s ethics, laws are created and enforced by governments to mediate our relationships with each other, and to protect its citizens. While laws carry with them a punishment for violations, ethics do not. Essentially, laws enforce the behaviors we are expected to follow, while ethics suggest what we ought to follow, and help us explore options to improve our decision-making.

Ethical decision-making comes from within a person’s moral sense and desire to preserve self-respect. Laws are codifications of certain ethical values meant to help regulate society, and also impact decision-making. Driving carefully, for example, because you don’t want to hurt someone is making a decision based on ethics. Driving carefully and within the speed limit because you see a police car behind you suggests your fear of breaking the law and being punished for it.

Morality is defined as having and living per a moral code, or principles of right and wrong.  Basic morality condemns murder, adultery, lying and stealing. Ethics explores the idea of morality and its place in society and addresses questions about morality.

The relationship between religion and ethics is about the relationship between revelation and reason. Religion is based in some measure on the idea that God (or some deity) reveals insights about life and its true meaning. These insights are collected in texts (the Bible, the Torah, the Koran, etc.) and presented as “revelation.” Ethics, from a strictly humanistic perspective, is based on the tenets of reason: Anything that is not rationally verifiable cannot be considered justifiable. From this perspective, ethical principles need not derive their authority from religious doctrine. Instead, these principles are upheld for their value in promoting independent and responsible individuals—people who are capable of making decisions that maximize their own well-being while respecting the well-being of others.

Humans live in a society and all the actions are influenced by or directed at the society, thus it is natural for one’s actions to be guided and governed by the social norms which does good for all. These societal norms help in maintaining peace and harmony in the society and nudge individuals towards right behaviour. As a result, the ethics is derived from and guided by the societal norms to a great extent. For instance, to not lie or not commit adultery is an ethical principle followed by most in society and in professions and it can also be considered a popular social norm. Another example is Stealing is not considered right in any society, whereas respect and gratitude are always welcomed. Thus, we can see that Ethics is related and guided by Social norms to an extent.

Conclusion:

From the above discussion, we see that Ethics runs as a common thread between the law, morality, values, religion and social norms. Ethics works as binding force between law, morality, values, religion and social norms because all of them have certain ethical elements/aspects involved. Thus, Ethics provides guiding principles for everyone in their conduct.

 

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.

7. Discuss in what way citizens’ charter, RTI, social audit and e-governance influence probity in governance with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Probity in Governance.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way citizens’ charter, RTI, social audit and e-governance influence probity in governance with suitable examples.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define probity in governance and mechanisms to ensure probity in governance.

Body:

Explain how Citizen’s Charter, RTI, Social Audit and e-governance influence probity in governance. Probity is considered as an act of vigilance, public scrutiny in public office. It is about uprightness, integrity, uncorruptiveness and rectitude i.e. straight forwardness. Civil servant with probity does not compromise any indiscipline, values of civil services and he is not only himself but also ensure that work culture has practice of probity.

Discuss with examples how Citizen’s Charter, RTI, Social Audit and e-governance influence probity in governance.

Explain that probity has increased but manifestation of corruption has been changing with time.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of such tools in ensuring probity in Governance.

Introduction:

Probity is “the quality or condition of having strong moral principles, integrity, good character, honesty, decency”. It is the act of adhering to the highest principles and ideals rather than avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It balances service to the community against the self-interest of individuals.

Body:

Probity in governance is the antithesis of corruption in public life. Probity is emphasized by the UN Convention against corruption. Probity is the evidence of ethical behaviour in a particular process. For Government employees and agencies, maintaining probity involves more than simply avoiding corrupt or dishonest conduct. It involves applying public sector values such as impartiality, accountability and transparency.

Lack of probity in governance has become one of the biggest menaces of society. The paradox of India, however, is that in spite of a vigilant press and public opinion, the level of corruption is exceptionally high. This may be attributed to the utter insensitivity, lack of shame and the absence of any sense of public morality among the bribe-takers. The increase of opportunities in State intervention in economic and social life has vastly increased the opportunity for political and bureaucratic corruption, more particularly since politics has also become professionalized.

Citizens’ charter, RTI, social audit and e-governance influence probity in governance

Citizen’s charter: A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organization towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users. For instance, Sevottam model which helps in citizens to understand the organizations duties towards time bound service delivery and grievance redressal.

Publicizing the standards, guarantees, redress   policies, complaint   systems, and results: If people don’t know about these policies, they will have far less effect than they should. E.g.: The U.S. Postal Service has publicized its first-class-on-time delivery standards (three days within the continental U.S., one day locally) and reported quarterly on its performance.

RTI Act 2005: Right to information opens up government’s records to public scrutiny, thereby arming citizens with a vital tool to inform them about what the government does and how effectively, thus making the government more accountable. The RTI Act, 2005 did not create a new bureaucracy for implementing the law. Instead, it tasked and mandated officials in every office to change their attitude and duty from one of secrecy to one of sharing and openness.

For instance, RTI activists have unveiled some of the most horrific scams like Adarsh housing society scam, 2G scam, commonwealth scam, Red Cross Society Scam, Pratibha Patil land controversy.

 

Social Audit: Social auditing is a process by which an organization / government accounts for its social performance to its stakeholders and seeks to improve its future social performance. A social audit helps to narrow gaps between vision/goal and reality; and between efficiency and effectiveness. It allows us to measure, verify, report on and to improve the social performance of any government effort or organization. Helps assess the physical and financial gaps between needs and resources available for local development. Creating awareness among beneficiaries and providers of local social and productive services. Increasing efficacy and effectiveness of local development programmes. Scrutiny of various policy decisions, keeping in view stakeholder’s interests and priorities, particularly of rural poor. Estimation of the opportunity cost for stakeholders of not getting timely access to public services

e-Governance: E-Governance is basically associated with carrying out the functions and achieving the results of governance through the utilization of what has today come to be known as Information and Communications Technology. It is basically the application of ICT to the processes of Government functioning in order to bring about ‘Simple, Moral, Accountable, Responsive and Transparent’ (SMART) governance. It helps in Improved government services in terms of accomplishing the government purpose and functioning. E-government can provide quick and timely services to stakeholders. This provides easy access to information and subsequently makes the system publicly accountable. Also as the web enables the free flow of information, it can be easily accessed by all without any discrimination.

Conclusion:

Probity, which is the quality of having strong moral virtues of honesty and integrity is the foundational value of civil services. Sardar Patel’s dream of civil services becoming the steel frame of India can be achieved only when each and every government official conducts himself adhering to highest levels of integrity and probity in governance.


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