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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 19 January 2021


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: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues;

1. The task before the Congress was a tremendous one – particularly in the light of the kind of expectations the people had from the Congress. Analyze the performance of Congress ministries. (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the performance of Congress in its 24 month rule by analyzing its achievement and shortcomings.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by mentioning the backdrop of formation of Congress ministries and wide and varied expectations of different sections of people from it.

Body:

Elaborate further on expectation from the diverse group of people. Their demands and expectations from INC. Briefly, mention the major demands from the various provinces.

In the next part, bring out the performance of congress in its 28 month short rule. In detail analyze how congress performed with respect to land reforms, labour reforms, Civil Liberties, Release of Political Prisoners, Press and Constructive work undertake by the Congress.

In the final part, mention the impediments to Congress rule and mention the shortcomings of it. Internal bickering, failure

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarizing the biggest achievements of Congress ministries.

Introduction:

The 28-month congress rule based on the provisions of Government of India Act, 1935 was significant. During July 1937, it formed Ministries in six provinces: Madras, Bombay, Central Provinces, Orissa, Bihar and U.P. Later, Congress Ministries were also formed in the North-West Frontier Province and Assam.

Body:

Congress ministries tried to bring a lot of reforms in their sphere of jurisdiction. The reforms brought in with the achievements and limitations are as follows:

  • Civil liberty:
    • Achievements:
      • Emergency powers related laws repealed.
      • Restrictions and ban on press, certain books, newspapers, and illegal organizations was lifted.
      • In Congress provinces, police powers were curbed and the reporting of public speeches and the shadowing of political workers by CID agents stopped.
      • Thousands of political prisoners were released and many revolutionaries involved in kakori & other conspiracies released
    • Limitations:
      • Yusuf Meherally and S.S.Batliwala were arrested for inflammatory and seditious speeches. K.M.Munshi used CID against communist and leftist.
    • Agrarian Reforms:
      • Achievements:
        • Legislated a number of laws relating to land reforms, debt relief, forest grazing fee, arrears of rent, land tenure sect.
        • In Bihar, Congress signed pact with Zamindars regarding the provisions of the Tenancy Bill.
        • Kisan Sabha launched number of movements at regional level to remind congress to implement Faizpur Agrarian Programme
        • In Bombay,They were able to restore lands to original owners which were confiscated due to no rent campaign of congress
      • Limitations:
        • Most of these benefits went to statutory and occupancy tenants while sub-tenants did not gain much.
        • Agricultural labourers did not benefit as they had not been mobilized.
      • Social welfare reforms:
        • Achievements:
          • Measures for welfare of Harijans taken-temple entry, education, etc.
          • Encouragement was given to khadi and indigenous enterprises.
          • In 1938 national planning committee set up under congress president Subhash Chandra Bose.
          • Reforms in education, public health, sanitation as well as in prisons were undertaken.
        • Economic Reforms:
          • Encouragement given to indigenous enterprises
          • Develop planning through National Planning Committee set up under Congress President Subhash Bose in 1938.
        • Labour:
          • Achievements:
            • Goodwill sought to be created between labour and capital with mediation of ministries.
            • Efforts were made to improve workers condition and secure wage increase for them.
            • Labour Committee appointed by Congress accepted a Programme with Holidays with pay, Employment insurance, to devise a way to fix minimum wage, leave with pay during sickness.
          • Limitations:
            • Ministries failed in Bombay as mediator.
            • Leftist critics were unsatisfied.
            • Ministries took recourse to section 144 and arrested the leaders.
          • Extra-Parliamentary Mass Activity of Congress
            • Launching of mass literacy campaigns,
            • Setting up of Congress police stations and panchayats,
            • Congress Grievance Committees presenting mass petitions to government, and
            • States peoples’ movements.

Conclusion:

Congress ministries resigned in October 1939 after the outbreak of the Second World War. Indian self-government was necessary for radical social transformation got confirmed. It weakened the myth that Indians were not fit to rule. It did good work with minimum financial resources.

 

Topic:  Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues;

2. The Cripps Mission failed to pacify the Indians. The British had merely taken up this exercise to demonstrate to the world that they cared about Indian sentiments, rather than to actually do something concrete. Comment. (250 words)

Reference: India’s Struggle for Independence by Bipan Chandra.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1

Key Demand of the question:

To write about why the Cripps mission failed and the inherent flaws in its design which made it bound to fail.

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:

Write in brief about the Cripps mission and its mandate.

Body:

In brief mention the key outcomes and proposals of the Cripps mission with respect to India.

In the next part, in a detailed manner write about the reasons as to why the Cripps mission failed to pacify Indians. Write about the reactions of various nationalist leaders as well as political parties to the proposals of the Cripps mission.

In the last part, write about the flaws in the sending of the Cripps mission as how it was just a façade rather than something concrete. The non-cooperation of the secretary of the state, the limited powers it had and nothing concrete could be proposed.

Conclusion:

Write how its failure played a part in the start of Quit India movement.

Introduction:

Cripps Mission was sent by the British Government in March 1942 to India with key objective to secure Indian cooperation and support for British War Efforts. Headed by Sir Stafford Cripps, this mission sought to negotiate an agreement with Indian leaders.

Body:

  • The proposal of the Cripps mission was that:
    • India would be a dominion associated with the United Kingdom.
    • It promised that immediately after the war is stopped, steps would be taken up to set up an elected body charged with the task of making the constitution for India and provisions would be made so that the Indian states could participate in the framing of the constitution.
    • An Indian Union with a dominion status would be set up. It would be free to decide its relations with the Commonwealth and free to participate in the United Nations and other international bodies.
    • After the end of the war, a constituent assembly would be convened to frame a new constitution. Members of this assembly would be partly elected by the provincial assemblies through proportional representation and partly nominated by the princes.
    • The British Government would accept the new constitution subject to two conditions.
    • Any province not willing to join the Union could have a separate constitution and form a separate Union
    • The new constitution- making body and the British Government would negotiate a treaty to affect the transfer of power and to safeguard racial and religious minorities.
    • In the meantime, defence of India would remain in British hands and the governor-general’s powers would remain intact.
    • The making of the constitution was to be solely in Indian hands now
    • A concrete plan was provided for the constituent assembly.
    • Option was available to any province to have a separate constitution—a blueprint for India’s partition.
    • Free India could withdraw from the Commonwealth.
    • Indians were allowed a large share in the administration in the interim period.
  • The Congress objected to:
    • The offer of dominion status instead of a provision for complete independence.
    • Representation of the states by nominees and not by elected representatives.
    • Right to provinces to secede as this went against the principle of national unity.
    • Absence of any plan for immediate transfer of power and absence of any real share in defence; the governor- general’s supremacy had been retained, and the demand for governor-general being only the constitutional head had not been accepted.
    • The incapacity of Cripps to go beyond the Draft Declaration and the adoption of a rigid “take it or leave it” attitude added to the deadlock.
  • The Muslim League objected because:
    • Criticized the idea of a single Indian Union.
    • Did not like the machinery for the creation of a constituent assembly and the procedure to decide on the accession of provinces to the Union.
    • Thought that the proposals denied to the Muslims the right to self-determination and the creation of Pakistan.
  • Causes of failure
    • There are three main reasons behind the causes of the failure of the Cripps’ mission. They are listed as follows:
      • Gandhi’s opposition led the Indian National Congress to reject the British offer.
      • Cripps’ modification of the original British offer, which provided for no real transfer of power.
      • the behind-the-scenes efforts of the Viceroy and Secretary of State for India to sabotage the mission.

Conclusion:

The incapacity of Cripps to go beyond the Draft Declaration and the adoption of a rigid “take it or leave it” attitude added to the deadlock. Cripps had earlier talked of “cabinet” and “national government” but later he said that he had only meant an expansion of the executive council. Churchill (the British prime minister), Amery (the secretary of state), Linlithgow (the viceroy) and Ward (the commander-in-chief) consistently torpedoed Cripps’ efforts. It was not clear as to who would implement and interpret the treaty affecting the transfer of power. Gandhi seized upon the failure of the Mission and called for voluntary British withdrawal from India. It resulted in the ‘Quit India’ Movement.

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:  Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability;

3. Transparency and consultation build confidence, resolve issues, and reaffirm the faith of the public in the government. Hence they are vital tools of governance. Discuss in the light of recent various protests and major issues witnessed across India. (250 words)

Reference: Business Standard

Why the question:

From protests against laws redefining citizenship and agri-marketing to suspicions over the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine and leaks about internal differences over economic policy, these all point to lack of sufficient transparency, consultation and confidence.

Key Demand of the question:

To highlight the importance of transparency and consultation in resolving various protests and major issues that face the government.

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:

Begin the answer by giving context of major issues and protests witnessed in the recent past in the light of the above statement.

Body:

Elaborate upon the above issues and analyze their nature in brief. The Farm law protests, CAA-NRC protests, Vaccine hesitancy, Rafale issue, accusations of crony capitalism and various leaks regarding internal strife etc.

Next, mention how the lack of transparency and consultation play a part in the above issues. In detail, mention steps that the government can take to try and improve the transparency. Better information sharing of relevant deals, clearing misconceptions, voluntary sharing of information as well responding effectively to RTI queries etc.

In the next part, mention about how the government can improve its consultation with relevant stakeholders in the issues having major public ramification. Consultation followed by addressing the concerns, taking all the stakeholders in to confidence, putting major policy decisions or laws in the public domain etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Good governance is “the joint responsibility of the state, market and citizens to mobilize public resources and promote public decision-making towards the advancement of common public goods.”

Body:

Elements of governance:

element_governance

  • Importance of Transparency
    • It is broadly accepted as a major principle of good governance (World Bank (2000) the UNDP has perceived that transparency means “sharing information and acting in an open manner” (1997).
    • Furthermore, transparency allows stakeholders to collect information that may be critical to uncovering abuses and defending their interests.
    • Transparent systems have flawless procedures for public decision-making and open channels of communication between stakeholders and officials, and make a wide range of information available UNDP (1997).
    • Transparency represents that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a way that follows rules and regulations.
    • It also entails that information is easily available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement.
  • Importance of Consultation:
    • Inclusive, regular and meaningful consultation between national governments and stakeholders – including civil society – is essential for SDG implementation and accountability.
    • It provides opportunities for diverse voices to be heard on issues that matter to citizens, allowing people to share their knowledge, insight and experience to advance implementation.
    • Solutions and laws reflect real needs and provide more forward-looking solutions
    • Increased legitimacy of proposed changes and enhanced compliance in implementation
    • Increased confidence in government institutions and trust amongst partners
    • Establishment of a cross-sector dialogue and information sharing
    • Less conflicts amongst different groups and between the private sector and government agencies
    • Partnership, ownership and responsibility in implementation
    • More effective and forward-looking harmonization and simplification efforts.
  • From protests against laws redefining citizenship and Agri-marketing to suspicions over the safety of the Covid-19 vaccine and leaks about internal differences over economic policy, government appears to be suffering from a severe case of hubris.
  • The implacable and strident tone of the farmer protests after nine rounds of talks, multiple concessions, and a Supreme Court-mandated committee are good examples of the current dissonance between the governed and the government.
  • Despite the progressive intent of the laws, the roughshod manner in which they were passed has detracted from their merits.
  • Appearing first as Ordinances, the government leveraged its brute majority in Parliament to rush through the Bills in a monsoon session, truncated by Covid-19 with the minimum of debate.
  • Later, when farmers hunkered down on Delhi’s borders, the government claimed that it had held extensive pre-legislative discussions with farm lobbies and then wielded the security agencies against key protestors.
  • Now, the agriculture ministry has admitted in reply to an application under the Right to Information Act that it has no record of such consultations. Examples such as this do not encourage trust in the government.
  • The upshot has been that, despite assurances that the minimum support price would remain and that the laws amended to remove the administrative restraints on contractual appeals in court, the farmers are disinclined to take the government at its word.
  • This trust deficit had manifested in nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, of which Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh became a potent symbol.
  • Both protests have demonstrated that the absence of a meaningful opposition party does not preclude the citizenry from mobilizing on its own initiative when it perceives its interests are at stake.
  • In the case of the Covid-19 vaccine drive, the relatively poor turnout in several states points to distrust over the approval granted to Bharat Biotech’s candidate Covaxin because Phase III clinical trials had not been completed.
  • The fact that this vaccine is administered after the recipient signs a consent form is unlikely to instill confidence in a large majority of the population that is ill-equipped to comprehend the risks embedded in clinical trials.
  • Now, it transpires from the minutes of the Subject Expert Committee (SEC) meetings, which were released by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization, that the SEC initially expressed reservations about Covaxin but approved it just two days later without explanation.
  • The trust deficit appears to be manifesting itself within government too.
  • Importance and Outcome of Public Trust:
    • A decline in trust can lead to lower rates of compliance with rules and regulations.
    • Citizens and businesses can also become more risk-averse, delaying investment, innovation and employment decisions that are essential to regain competitiveness and jumpstart growth.
    • Nurturing trust represents an investment in economic recovery and social well-being for the future.
    • Trust is both an input to public sector reforms – necessary for the implementation of reforms – and, at the same time, an outcome of reforms, as they influence people’s and organizations’ attitudes and decisions relevant for economic and social well-being.
    • As a result, trust in government by citizens and businesses are essential for the effective and efficient policy making both in good times and bad.
    • Investing in trust should be considered as a new and central approach to restoring economic growth and reinforcing social cohesion
    • Better information sharing of relevant deals, clearing misconceptions, voluntary sharing of information as well responding effectively to RTI queries etc.
    • Government can improve its consultation with relevant stakeholders in the issues having major public ramification. Consultation followed by addressing the concerns, taking all the stakeholders in to confidence, putting major policy decisions or laws in the public domain etc.

Conclusion:

Trust is essential for social cohesion and well-being as it affects governments’ ability to govern and enables them to act without having to resort to coercion. Consequently, it is an efficient means of lowering transaction costs in any social, economic and political relationship.

 

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

4. Despite its good intention to mediate during the crisis of farm laws, the court must control these impulses to govern or legislate from the bench. Violating the structural separation of powers concentrates power in the judiciary, which will lead to a dictatorial instead of an impartial court. Critically Analyze. (250 words)

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The Supreme Court, in its verdict on the petitions regarding the Centre’s new farm laws and the ongoing farmers’ protest, has put on hold the three farm laws and set up a four-member committee to clear the issues. Many constitutional experts have critiqued the act of SC.

Key Demand of the question:

To analyze as to how courts resorting to legislate or govern from the bench will violate the separation powers and is not in the interests of the country.

Directive:

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, one needs to look at the good and bad of the topic and give a fair judgment.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by mentioning the doctrine separation of powers and why it was envisaged in India by the founding fathers.

Body:

In the first part of the body, write about how the recent move of SC to put on hold he implementation of the farm laws and appointment of a mediation committees constitutes judicial overreach on its part. Lack of legal basis, neglecting judicial review, lack of representation. Mention relevant articles from the Indian constitution.

Next, in detail bring out the impact that above will have on India. Violation of structural separation of powers, concentration of power, lack of administration of justice and non-representation of the will of the people etc. Substantiate your points with examples.

In the final part, examine as to why there is need of Judiciary to intervene in the sphere of legislation and the executive. Suggest steps to address the same.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

In India, a separation of functions rather than of powers is followed. Unlike in the US, in India, the concept of separation of powers is not adhered to strictly. However, a system of checks and balances have been put in place in such a manner that the judiciary has the power to strike down any unconstitutional laws passed by the legislature.

Last week, India’s Supreme Court stayed the implementation of three farm laws in response to protests by certain farmer groups, continuing its interventions in important matters of policy.

Body:

  • Purpose of the Separation
    • The purpose of separation of powers is to prevent abuse of power by a single person or a group of individuals.
    • It will guard the society against the arbitrary, irrational and tyrannical powers of the state, safeguard freedom for all and allocate each function to the suitable organs of the state for effective discharge of their respective duties.
  • Significance of the doctrine of Separation of powers:
    • Keeps away autocracy
    • Safeguards individual liberty
    • Helps create an efficient administration
    • Judiciary’s independence is maintained
    • Prevents the legislature from enacting arbitrary or unconstitutional laws
  • Constitutional Status of Separation of Power in India:
    • Article 50: This article puts an obligation over the State to separate the judiciary from the executive. But, since this falls under the Directive Principles of State Policy, it is not enforceable.
    • Article 123: The President, being the executive head of the country, is empowered to exercise legislative powers (Promulgate ordinances) in certain conditions.
    • Articles 121 and 211: These provide that the legislatures cannot discuss the conduct of a judge of the Supreme Court or High Court. They can do so only in case of impeachment.
    • Article 361: The President and Governors enjoy immunity from court proceedings.
  • Judicial Pronouncements Upholding Separation of Powers Doctrine
    • Kesavananda Bharati Case (1973): In this case, the SC held that the amending power of the Parliament is subject to the basic features of the Constitution. So, any amendment violating the basic features will be declared unconstitutional.
    • Swaran Singh Case (1998): In this case, the SC held the UP Governor’s pardon of a convict unconstitutional.
  • Recently, the court intervened as a self-appointed mediator, because “the negotiations between the farmers’ bodies and the government have not yielded any result.”
  • In the process, the court has violated both India’s functional as well as structural separation of powers.
  • The court’s actions regarding the farm laws and protests have been critiqued by legal and constitutional scholars on multiple grounds.
    • The lack of legal basis sets a dangerous precedent.
    • The court has neglected its main constitutional function of independent judicial review.
    • When there are multiple challenges on the constitutionality of the farm laws for violating federalism, legislative procedure, etc., it is a very odd choice for the court to evade this function and instead act as a mediator.
    • Even those who support judicial interventions in policy, have critiqued the lack of representation from all the parties.
  • It threatens the foundation of the separation of powers between the legislature, judiciary and executive in India.
  • The Constitution provides strong separation of powers between the judiciary and the legislature, and the judiciary and the executive.
  • A slightly weaker form of separation of powers exists between the legislature and the executive.
  • The Constitution grants the judiciary the power to review the constitutional validity of all legislation and executive action.
  • Everyone, and most certainly the apex constitutional court of the country, should be well acquainted with the need for structural separation of powers.
  • The reasoning for the functional separation of powers is straightforward.
    • The tasks attempted by each branch of government are different and complex, and require expert individuals and specialized systems.
    • The legislature’s role is to aggregate voter preferences. This is done through representative democracy and feedback mechanisms between elections.
    • The executive, with the bureaucracy at its disposal, is tasked with governing and executing complex tasks.
    • And the judiciary specializes in reviewing evidence, complex legislation, and constitutional rules, and is incentivized to remain impartial.
  • Taking on a new task that primarily belongs to the legislature because of a perceived policy failure does not mean the judiciary can actually accomplish the task at hand.
  • It is not an elected representative body; and no special committee, no matter how eminent or impartial, can aggregate preferences the same way as an elected legislature.
  • The court and Indian polity at large must be clear about the role of the judiciary.
  • Violating the boundaries of functional separation of powers will fail, as the court is institutionally not equipped to legislate.
  • And violating the structural separation of powers concentrates power in the judiciary, which will lead to a dictatorial instead of an impartial court. Despite its good intention to mediate during a crisis, the court must control these impulses to govern or legislate from the bench.

Conclusion:

The doctrine of separation of powers in today’s context of liberalization, privatization and globalization cannot be interpreted to mean either “separation of powers” or “checks and balance” or “principles of restraint”, but “community of powers” exercised in the spirit of cooperation by various organs of the state in the best interest of the people.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic:  Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Natural resources, including minerals, are a shared inheritance where the state is the trustee on behalf of the people to ensure that future generations receive the benefit of inheritance. Examine the issues of mining in India and suggest steps to address them. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Governments everywhere treat the mineral sale proceeds as revenue or income, a crucial error which hides the real transaction — a sale of inherited wealth. This article analyses the same and mention steps to avoid it.

Key Demand of the question:

To examine the issues related with unsustainable mining and suggest steps to prevent it.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by mentioning about sustainable development vis-à-vis mining sector in India.

Body:

In the first part, in detail bring out the issues affecting the mining sector and inhibiting its sustainable growth. Issues associated with mining – issues of unscientific mining, poor track records of environmental and social performance, and high instances of illegal activities.

The Losses in mineral value and the regulatory environment, and capacity and accountability of our authorities. Impact on social aspect – displacement of tribal pockets, Community concerns, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement etc. Environmental aspect – Environmental pollution, critically fragile ecological areas, Exclusive Mining Zones, clearance systems etc.

Suggest steps to address the above. Mention how National Mineral Policy can play part in addressing the issues of equity and sustainable mining.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction:

Despite having the world’s fourth largest coal reserves, India imported 235 million tonnes (mt) of coal last year, of which 135mt valued at Rs.171,000 crore could have been met from domestic reserves.

India’s state-run coal giant has been unable to meet growing demand despite abundant resources.

The South Asian nation depends on Coal India for more than 80 per cent of its domestic production and the miner has consistently fallen short of production targets in the last few years.

The government has been progressively liberalizing the coal sector over the last several months to attract new investments, and getting rid of this archaic end-use restriction was a key step.

coal_iron

non-metallic_minerals

Challenges/Concerns Faced by Mining Sector in India

  • Displacement and rehabilitation issues
    • Large scale displacement of local people leads to grievances and improper rehabilitation measures, thereby, leading to people’s alienation and develop distrust over the government machinery.
    • It has given space to left-wing extremism in the resource-rich areas like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, etc.
    • Mining also puts the lives of miners at risk due to the rudimentary ways adopted and the absence of adequate safety gear and protocols. For instance, mine-related accidents at Ksan coal minein Meghalaya- Jaintia Hills (2018), Chasnala near Dhanbad in 1975.
    • Human Rights violationshave taken place in forms of mine-related deaths, inadequate rehabilitation, and developmental steps, etc. Massive local protests have taken place against mining in Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha, POSCO in Odisha, Sterlite protest in T.N.
    • Rathole mining:This is a form of illegal mining, especially practised in North eastern areas like Meghalaya (Ksan coal mine incident). It involves digging of very small tunnels [only of 3-4 feet high], done both vertically and horizontally. The NGT banned it in 2015 on the grounds of it being unscientific and unsafe for Workers.
  • Environmental/Health issues
    • Environmental pollutionhas been caused by the Makrana marble mines in Rajasthan, the Granite mines of Karnataka have left a large hole on earth, Damodar River has been severely polluted by coal mining.
    • Loss of biodiversityand local heritage due to mining activities.
    • The prevalence of mining in an area causes various diseaseslike fibrosis, Pneumoconiosis, and silicosis in workers as well as locals.
    • Water Pollution –water from streams and rivers in mining areas have become acidic and unfit for drinking. Eg: Meghalaya’s Kopili river, Damodar river etc.
    • Contaminated air with high particulate matters is also a major problem in mining rich regions.
  • Administrative issues
    • Arbitrary allocation of coal mines leads to the long litigation and eventually cancellation of allocations and charges of corruption in block allocations.
    • Delay in environmental clearances due to bureaucratic hindrances.
    • Judicial interventions lead to long delay and losses for investors. For ex: SC imposed a heavy penalty on illegal mining without green clearances in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Odisha in 2017. Banning of Vedanta group in Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha and shut down of 88 illegal mining leases in Goa in 2018.

Government’s initiatives:

  1. Star ratingof mining leases to establish a sustainable development framework for the Indian mining sector.
  2. An MoU was signed between the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO in January 2016 to undertake a pilot project on “monitoring of mining activities using satellite imagery” to deter illegal mining.
  3. The Mining Surveillance System (MSS)is launched to check illegal mining through automatic remote sensing detection technology.
  4. District Mineral Foundation Fund(DMF) was established for the welfare of mining-affected people and areas under Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana [PMKKKY].
  5. The National Mineral Exploration Policyhas been released to attract private exploration agencies.
  6. 100% FDI permitted via automatic route for mining and exploration of metal and non-metal ores. And approval route for mining of titanium bearing minerals and its ores.
  7. The company’s last year production was606 million tonnes.
  8. The target is one billion tonnes production by 2023-24. Coal India Limited is a Maharatna PSU and tremendous public resources have been invested in the company over the years.
  9. Quality of coalneeds to be improved through washing to reduce the environmental impact, enhance coal quality and increase process efficiency.
  • Transportation facilities and infrastructure such as road and rail networks must be improved.
  • There should be enhanced connectivity across mineral zones and infrastructure projectsdriven by PPP model.
  • Doubling of rail routes near coal bearing areaswhere movement is higher is a must; enhanced port capacities are also imperative.
  • Logisticsneed to be effectively and actively managed and eco-friendly technologies must be adopted across the coal value chain.
  • The Government must also rethink the high royaltiesit charges on coal mining, if the latest move is to bear fruit.

Way Forward

  • There is a need for an expedition of the clearance process for the judicious utilisation of mineral resources.
  • Stringent implementation of mining-related rules is needed especially regarding the ban on Rat-Hole and unscientific mining to prevent mine-related accidents.
  • Ensure transparency in block allocations and rule-based order should be established.
  • Use of technology for a better way of mineral exploration and surveillance systems.
  • Proper rehabilitation of the displaced population, the tribal rights need to be respected in accordance with the law.
  • Proper environmental impact assessment (EIA) and social impact assessment (SIA) must be conducted before allocating the projects.
  • Utilisation of DMF to construct physical & social infrastructure and efforts should be made for the integration of the local population in the process.
  • A proper regulatory framework for the implementation of the NGT guidelines for the protection of forest and the least damage to the environment.
  • Adopting global practices in operations and ensuring safe working conditions for workers in the mining sector. Undertake measures to avoid occupational hazards.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic:  Corporate governance;

6. Corporate governance is concerned with holding the balance between economic and social goals. Elaborate. (150 words)

Reference: Ethics by Lexicon publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4.

Key Demand of the question:

To address the concept of corporate governance and its socio-economic significance between individual and community goals.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining corporate governance. 

Body:

In the first part briefly explain, that corporate governance is about enabling organisations to achieve their goals, control risks and assuring compliance. Good corporate governance incorporates a set of rules that define the relationship between stakeholders, management and the board of directors of a company and influence how the company is operating.

Then discuss in detail role of corporate governance in achieving the balance between economic and social goals and between individual and community based goals. Give examples from India and the world to substantiate your point.

Conclusion:

Conclude with its importance of corporate governance in improving growth and productivity companies as well as achieving socio-economic objectives.

Introduction:

Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled. Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, senior management executives, customers, suppliers, financiers, the government, and the community.

Body:

  1. Corporate governance is concerned with holding the balance between economic and social goals and between individual and communal goals. The governance framework is there to encourage the efficient use of resources and equally to require accountability for the stewardship of those resources. The aim is to align as nearly as possible the interests of individuals, corporations and society.
  2. Most companies strive to have a high level of corporate governance. For many shareholders, it is not enough for a company to merely be profitable; it also needs to demonstrate good corporate citizenship through environmental awareness, ethical behaviour, and sound corporate governance practices. Good corporate governance creates a transparent set of rules and controls in which shareholders, directors, and officers have aligned incentives.
  3. Bad corporate governance can cast doubt on a company’s reliability, integrity or obligation to shareholders—all of which can have implications on the firm’s financial health. Tolerance or support of illegal activities can create scandals like the one that rocked Volkswagen AG starting in September 2015.
  4. The development of the details of “Dieselgate” (as the affair came to be known) revealed that for years, the automaker had deliberately and systematically rigged engine emission equipment in its cars in order to manipulate pollution test results, in America and Europe. Volkswagen saw its stock shed nearly half its value in the days following the start of the scandal, and its global sales in the first full month following the news fell 4.5%.
  5. While the drive for good corporate governance is generally associated with publicly listed companies, the governance benefits to non-listed companies are less often talked about – in many countries, national codes of corporate governance set out practices and standards that are desirable but not mandatory for non-listed companies.
  6. Revolution in information technology facilitated companies to adopt new changes in the field of communication for improving corporate performance. Growth is another driving force for corporate governance.

Corporate governance is out-and-out a matter of ethics. It is about who is responsible to whom, and for what, and under what conditions. The balance of pursuing market opportunities while maintaining accountability and ethical integrity has proved a defining challenge for business enterprise since the arrival of the joint- stock company in the early years of industrialism.

  1. Business ethics is the application of general ethical principles to business dilemmas and encompasses a broader range of issues and concerns than laws do, as everything that is legal is not ethical. Ethics involves learning what is right or wrong, and then doing the right thing — but “the right thing” is not nearly as straightforward.
  2. Although the law can guide ethical behaviour, ethicists are quick to point out that the law should be thought of as the bare minimum of an ethical framework. Complying with the law and behaving ethically are not necessarily synonymous.
  3. The overall objective should be pluralist in the sense that companies should be run in a way which maximizes overall competitiveness and wealth and welfare for all. But the means which company law deploys for achieving this objective must be to take account of the realities and dynamics which operate in practice in the running of a commercial enterprise.
  4. It should not be done at the expense of turning company directors from business decision-makers into moral, political or economic arbiters, but by harnessing focused, comprehensive, competitive decision-making within robust, objective professional standards and flexible, but pertinent accountability.
  5. Moral liability occurs when corporations violate stakeholder expectations of ethical behaviour in ways that put business value at risk thus endangering the entire corporate structure towards malpractices.

Conclusion

The effectiveness of the Corporate Governance has become a global concern. Mainly after many corporate collapse (e.g. Enron, Boeing etc.), fraud cases (e.g. Lehman Brothers), shareholder suits or questionable strategic decisions are drawing attention to the top level decision-making body of the corporation and the board of directors, necessitating the need for ethical considerations where in Indian context, Uday Kotak committee recommendations can form guidelines for better ethical corporate governance.

 

Topic:  Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world;

7. What do you understand by the following quote?

 ‘The Best Way to Find Yourself Is To Lose Yourself In The Service Of Others’  -Mahatma Gandhi (150 words)

Why the question:

Question asked in UPSC Mains Examination 2020 GS-IV paper.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by explaining the quote.

Body:

Elaborate upon how service is a defining and fulfilling enterprise which can help you to see that “you” are not delineated by an identity, but defined by ability, compassion, connection and love.

By seeing virtue as selflessness and altruism and doing well to others, we are most essentially ourselves. If we act selfishly, we are not acting as our true selves

Substantiate the above by giving examples.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing why this quote is more relevant the ever in the current circumstances.

Introduction:

Mahatma Gandhi, once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

When solely focusing on other people, one can often find qualities in a needy person that they may also find in themselves. Not only that, but serving others can be humbling and allow people to see things from a different perspective. Serving others can lead to finding oneself as well as changing oneself for the better.

Body:

Serving others allows one to find themselves, subconsciously. In my experience, I noticed that when I volunteered at a food drive I was at my happiest. I vividly remember how appreciative they were for a meal, something I took for granted. I realized that I was at my happiest, not when I was focusing on myself and only what benefits me, but when I was acting compassionately to help others.

Furthermore, I came to realize that I truly cared about helping others who cannot help themselves, as opposed to only caring about money and material things. In summation, serving others can allow one to find themselves and what they truly care about.

Those who are more fortunate tend to take things for granted. For instance, many people do not think much about helping people in need. I realized this when my aunt was sick in the hospital. I appreciate every second I spend with her, as she is such a humble person and does not take anything for granted. Even with her difficult situation, she is still the happiest person I know. She changed my outlook on life and made me realize, that being humble and content with your situation is the most important thing that you can do. By being with, and caring for, my aunt, I came to terms with myself and found deeper meaning within my own actions.

One could argue that when helping others, the person serving is solely thinking about the other person. Therefore, one cannot find themselves if they are not even thinking about themselves. However, looking within yourself and being at your own devices is not the only way to find inner meaning. Many people are afraid or too hesitant to go out and help others. Without this experience of giving yourself up to others, some individuals will never reach their full potential in finding their true selves and devoting their time to caring for the less fortunate.

Conclusion:

Mahatma Gandhi’s quote was humbling and impactful. Helping others will lead you to see new qualities in people, leading you to discover new qualities in yourself and others. Gandhi’s quote is humbling, it allows us to see from a different perspective. Assisting those in need brings opportunities to open our eyes to a new world we have not seen before. It leads us to being more accepting by taking on a new view on life. When you lose yourself in helping people, you are completely absorbed into their world. This quote allows you to learn a few things about yourself in the end.


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