Print Friendly, PDF & Email

SECURE SYNOPSIS: 3 March 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: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location-changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

1. Account for the erosional landforms formed by glaciers in detail. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article highlights that study of glaciers requires a very multidisciplinary approach.

Key Demand of the question:

Account for the erosional landforms formed by glaciers in detail.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the basic definition of glaciers.

Body:

Glaciers are sheets of ice moving over plains, in sheet form, or slopes of mountains, in linear flows. Gravity moves them.

Then discuss the erosional forces that act upon and create landforms of glaciers.

Then explain the erosional landforms – Cirque, Horns and serrated ridges, Glacial valleys etc.

Ensure to present each landform using suitable diagrams and give examples of each to better substantiate.

Then throw light on recent Uttarakhand case and discuss the effect of anthropogenic activity and global warming.

Conclusion:

A multidisciplinary approach to understanding the geology and dynamics of glacial systems with technology like remote sensing, as well as sustainable use, will help preserve the long term stability of this ecosystem and mitigate the damage caused by disaster.

 

Introduction:

A glacier is a large mass of ice that is persistently moving under its own weight over the land or as linear flows down the slopes of mountains in broad trough-like valleys. Glaciers are formed in the areas where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation (melting and sublimation) over many years, often centuries. Glaciers move under the influence of the force of gravity.

Glaciation generally gives rise to erosional features in the highlands and depositional features on the lowlands, though these processes are not mutually exclusive because a glacier plays a combined role of erosion, transportation and deposition throughout its course. It erodes its valley by two processes viz. plucking & abrasion.

  • Plucking → Glacier freezes the joints & beds of underlying rocks, tears out individual blocks & drags them away.
  • Abrasion → Glacier scratches, scrapes, polishes & scours the valley floor with the debris frozen into it.

Body:

Key features of glacial landforms:

accumulation

Erosional Landforms:

  • Cirque:
    • Cirques are horseshoe shaped, deep, long and wide troughs or basins with very steep to vertically dropping high walls at its head as well as sides.
    • Cirques are often found along the head of Glacial Valley
    • The accumulated ice cuts these cirques while moving down the mountain tops.
    • After the glacier melts, water fills these cirques, and they are known as cirque lake.
  • Horns:
    • Horns form through head-ward erosion of the cirque walls.
    • If three or more radiating glaciers cut headward until their cirques meet, high, sharp pointed and steep-sided peaks called horns form.
  • Aretes:
    • Arete is a narrow ridge of rock which separates two valleys.
    • Aretes are typically formed when two glacial cirques erode head-wards towards one another
    • The divides between Cirque side walls or head walls get narrow because of progressive erosion and turn into serrated or saw-toothed ridges referred to as aretes with very sharp crest and a zig-zag outline.
  • Glacial Valleys:
    • Glaciated valleys are trough-like and U-shaped with wide, flat floors and relatively smooth, and steep sides.
    • When the glacier disappears, and water fills the deep narrow sections of the valley, a ribbon lake is formed.
  • Fjords/Fiords:
    • A fjord or fiord is a long, narrow and steep-sided inlet created by a glacier
    • They are formed where the lower end of a very deep glacial trough is filled with sea water
    • Fjords are common in Norway, Chile, and New Zealand etc.
  • Hanging Valleys:
    • A hanging valley is a tributary valley that is higher than the main valley. Hanging valleys are common along glaciated fjords and U-shaped valleys.
    • The main valley is eroded much more rapidly than the tributary valleys as it contains a much larger glacier
    • After the ice has melted tributary valley, therefore, hangs above the main valley
    • The faces of divides or spurs of such hanging valleys opening into main glacial valleys are quite often truncated to give them an appearance like triangular facets.
    • Often, waterfalls form at or near the outlet of the upper valley
    • Thus, the hanging valley may form a natural head of water for generating hydroelectric power

Conclusion:

Glaciers are one of the most visible icons of the “cryosphere”, the cold parts of the world where temperatures fall below the freezing point of water, a natural tipping point that profoundly changes the environment. From the Andes to the Himalayas, the loss of mountain glaciers is a real concern

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: State legislature

2. “Constitutionally, the American Senate is the more powerful than Indian Rajya Sabha”. Do you agree? Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

The question aims to bring out a fair comparison of powers of American senate and that of Rajya Sabha of India and highlight in what way former is constitutionally stronger than the later.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the bicameral nature of both the constitutions.

Body:

In bicameral legislature, the upper house is setup to provide representation to the states and to prevent any hasty decisions by the lower house. In USA, the upper house of Congress is known as Senate, whereas in India such body is called Rajya Sabha.

Then explain the Upper house’s power against Lower house in both cases.

Then talk about Upper house’s power against Executive.

Explain that American federalism is a result of the agreement among the states. Therefore, to provide adequate strength / effective checks and balances to the states against the Union Executive, their senate is given more powers than any upper house in the world -including Rajya Sabha of India.

Conclusion:

Thus from the above features, it is evident that US Senate is much powerful than any upper house in the world -including the Rajya Sabha of India.

 

Introduction:

The Rajya Sabha in India and the American Senate in USA are the upper houses or second chamber of the Parliament. In a bicameral legislature, the upper house is setup to provide representation to the states and to prevent any hasty decisions by the lower house.

Body:

American Senate more powerful than Rajya Sabha:

  • Joint Session: In the Senate, Vice President (Chairman of Senate) presides over the session, while it is the Speaker in India.
  • Budget: In India, Rajya Sabha does not vote on demand for grants. In USA, finance bill, appropriation bill, originates in the lower house but must be passed by Senate separately.
  • Money Bill: Rajya Sabha cannot reject a money bill. The senate has the power to reject the same.
  • Representation of States: Each state in USA has two representatives in the State. Even territorially small states with less population have equal representation on par with bigger states. In India, representation is based on population.
  • Foreign Policy: Senate must advise and ratify the treaties negotiated by the President. (US Constitution Article II Section2). In India, this is done by the executive, parliament participation comes into picture only if a law is to be passed.
  • Appointment to key posts: US Secretary of State, Treasury, US Judges, attorneys, ambassadors, chairmen of regulatory bodies such as American RBI (US Federal Reserve), American SEBI (Securities and Exchange Commission SEC), even military appointments and promotions have to be confirmed by Senate.
    • Rajya Sabha does not have this power. The only power is to create an All-India Service.
  • Impeachment: Lower house of USA brings charges and accusations. Senate holds investigation trial, and has 2/3rd majority requirement for removal. In other words, only Senate can act as Judge & Jury.

Conclusion:

American federalism is a result of the agreement among the states. Therefore, to provide adequate strength and effective checks and balances to the states against the Union Executive, their senate is given more powers than any upper house in the world -including Rajya Sabha of India. Thus, from the above features, it is evident that US Senate is much powerful than the Rajya Sabha of India.

 

Topic: Parliament

3. Explain the mechanism for examining the constitutionality of government bills in Indian parliamentary system. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express  , Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

The question is from the static portions of GS paper II.  

Key Demand of the question:

The question is straightforward and aims to examine the mechanism for ensuring constitutionality of government bills in the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with importance of constitutional procedure involved in passage of a bill.

Body:

The answer is straightforward and one must briefly put forth the procedure suggested in the Indian constitution for examining the constitutionality of government bills in Indian parliamentary system.

Parliament has three mechanisms for examining whether a government bill adheres to constitutional principles. First, any member of the Parliament can oppose the introduction of a bill by stating that it initiates legislation outside the legislative competence of the Parliament. There is limited debate, and the house in which the bill is getting introduced does not delve into constitutional niceties. MPs also get an opportunity to discuss a bill’s constitutionality while debating it in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. But on both these occasions, the strength of the argument does not determine the legislative outcome. The Parliament’s decision depends on the numbers that the treasury and opposition benches command on the house floor. So, when the treasury benches have the numbers, the government faces no difficulty getting its legislative proposals through Parliament.

Conclusion:

Present the shortcomings and conclude with suggestions.

Introduction:

The basic function of Parliament is to make laws. All legislative proposals have to be brought in the form of Bills before Parliament. A Bill is a statute in draft and cannot become law unless it has received the approval of both the Houses of Parliament and the assent of the President of India. The process of law making begins with the introduction of a Bill in either House of Parliament. A Bill can be introduced either by a Minister or a member other than a Minister. In the former case, it is called a Government Bill and in the latter case, it is known as a Private Member’s Bill. A Bill undergoes three readings in each House, i.e., the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha, before it is submitted to the President for assent.

Body:

The mechanism for examining the constitutionality of government bills in Indian parliamentary system:

  • The ministry drafts a text of the proposed law, which is called a ‘Bill’, after calling comments from other ministries, and even from the public.  The draft is revised to incorporate such inputs and is then vetted by the Law Ministry. It is then presented to the Cabinet for approval.
  • After the Cabinet approves the Bill, it is introduced in Parliament. In Parliament, it goes through three Readings in both Houses.
  • During the First Reading the Bill is introduced. The introduction of a Bill may be opposed and the matter may be put to a vote in the House.
  • After a Bill has been introduced, the Bill may be referred to the concerned Departmentally Related Standing Committee for examination.
  • The Standing Committee considers the broad objectives and the specific clauses of the Bill referred to it and may invite public comments on a Bill. It then submits its recommendations in the form of a report to Parliament.
  • In the Second Reading (Consideration), the Bill is scrutinized thoroughly. Each clause of the Bill is discussed and may be accepted, amended or rejected. The government, or any MP, may introduce amendments to the Bill.  However, the government is not bound to accept the Committee’s recommendations.
  • During the Third Reading (Passing), the House votes on the redrafted Bill.
  • If the Bill is passed in one House, it is then sent to the other House, where it goes through the second and third readings.
  • After both Houses of Parliament pass a Bill, it is presented to the President for assent.   He/She has the right to seek information and clarification about the Bill, and may return it to Parliament for reconsideration.
  • If both Houses pass the Bill again, the President has to assent.
  • After the President gives assent, the Bill is notified as an Act.

Conclusion:

Before passing the legislative baton to the Parliament, the government puts its bills through legal vetting and inter-ministerial consultations. Then, it is the responsibility of the legislature to satisfy itself that the legislation before it is constitutional. Lack of robust scrutiny processes weakens its image as the highest legislative institution and encourages judicial encroachment on its powers.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4.  Defects in the Indian planning systems related to ecosystem management should be removed to bring out effective decarbonization in the country. Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains that Decarbonization has become a buzzword. To ensure it does not remain just that but translates into effective action on the ground, policy makers will have to build structures that reflect the woven, multidimensional, interdependent and interconnected nature of the energy ecosystem.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way defects in the Indian planning systems should be removed to bring out effective decarbonization in the country.

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:

First explain the context of the question in short.              

Body:

Such answers are best explained with examples, the recent Uttarakhand glacial burst and the severe cold snap that crashed the electricity grid system in Texas.

Discuss in what way these examples reflect upon poor planning of the authorities.  Take cues from the article and list down the lacunae.

Suggest solutions to address the problems.  

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

Decarbonisation has become a buzzword especially post Paris agreement. To ensure it does not remain just that but translates into effective action on the ground, policy makers will have to build structures that reflect the woven, multidimensional, interdependent and interconnected nature of the energy ecosystem.

Body:

Lacunae in planning system related to ecosystem management

  • Governments and corporates have also to agree on removing the legacy obstacles that lie on the pathway.  E.g.: Switching from coal intensive industries to alternatives such as ethanol, CNG etc
  • Overlapping issues: Poorly designed planning systems; siloed and fragmented physical and regulatory oversight mechanisms for the energy ecosystem and the lack of investment in energy infrastructure. Eg: On February 7, a chunk of the Nanda Devi broke off and triggered flash floods downstream that then washed away or damaged several hydroelectric dams and led to the loss of hundreds of lives.
  • Climate Change: Though Paris Agreement has been signed, IPCC report noted that no Country is on the path of achieving net zero emissions. The impact of Climate Change is already evident.
    • Eg: Australian bushfire, Californian wildfires, severe cold wave in Texas crashed the electricity grid system in Texas, plunging a wide swathe of the state into darkness. These events were unrelated, other than possibly by the link of climate change.
  • Response mechanism: In both Texas and Chamoli flash floods, authorities were unprepared even though there were earlier precedents of such events. This shows glaring gaps in Disaster planning and management.
  • Frequency of disasters: As opposed to disasters that occurred once every decade, it is now happening very frequently. It tells that planners should be cautious about linear extrapolations.
  • Fragmented regulatory structure: The drop in temperatures in Texas froze the gas wells and the pipelines upstream that then cascaded to knock out the water system and power generation capacity downstream. There was no umbrella authority with responsibility for the entire system.

Solutions for effective response and decarbonisation

  • Decarbonisation must be thought of comprehensively from the perspective of ecosystem, energy security, economic development and infrastructure. Policy mechanism and framework must be in place taking into account the holistic picture rather than in silos.
  • This means creating mechanisms that facilitate inter-ministerial and inter-state collaboration within the country and multilateral cooperation internationally. Eg: CDRI Initiative by India
  • Zero emission targets can be easily met by the use of nuclear energy, solar grid (one nation one sun one world), wind power harnessing among others. It can also reduce the cost of deep decarbonisation.
  • It is possible by increasing the share of low-carbon energy sources, particularly low cost renewables like hydro and biomass (Biofuels) which can greatly contribute in achieving zero emissions.
  • By planning for the end goal rather than short-term milestones, governments can make proactive choices that lay the groundwork for future development and avoid locking in both damaging development patterns and investments that could become unusable in a carbon-constrained world.
  • Putting a price on carbon though a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system addresses a market failure to incorporate the cost of environmental damage from greenhouse gas emissions.
  • It is an efficient way to raise revenue while encouraging lower emissions, and it can be easier to administer and harder to evade than other taxes.

Conclusion:

Choices made today can lock in emissions trajectories for years to come and leave communities vulnerable to climate impacts. To reach zero net emissions before the end of this century, the global economy needs to be overhauled with innovative means to shift to non-carbon fuels. Smoothing the transition also includes helping businesses reinvent themselves for a cleaner world.

 

Topic: GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

GS-3: role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges

5. The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, has a lot of significance but is not fool-proof. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains that the new rules introduced by the Centre last week to regulate all types of digital platforms, with the idea of redressing user grievances and ensuring compliance with the law, are deeply unsettling as they will end up giving the government a good deal of leverage over online news publishers and intermediaries.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to briefly analyse the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

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 with brief introduction of the newly propounded rules.

Body:

Explain first the significance of new rules to regulate digital media: having a “Soft-touch oversight mechanism.” List the positives such as – Progressive and liberal, Redress user grievances – Three-tier regulatory mechanism, Adherence to a Code of Ethics etc.

Then move onto present the shortcomings such as – Opens up floodgates for interventions, potential for misuse, Lack of legislative actions for regulation, Increased the compliance burden for social media platforms etc.

Conclusion:

In the conclusion weigh the pros and cons and present your opinion in a balanced manner.

Introduction:

For the first time, the government, under the ambit of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, has brought in detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over the Top (OTT) platforms, while giving overriding powers to the government to step in.

Body:

Three tier mechanism of regulation

The new rules lay down a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.

  • One will be at the level of each OTT provider. Each complaint will have to be addressed within 15 days.
  • If the complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, then the complainant can scale it up to a self-regulatory body collectively established by the OTTs.
  • This body will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human rights or other relevant fields. This self-regulatory body also has “censuring” powers in case of any incriminating content.
  • The rules say, “In case of any content where it is satisfied that there is a need for taking action to delete or modify the content for preventing incitement to the commission of a cognizable offence relating to public order.”
  • To top this, at the third tier, the government has equipped itself with overriding powers in the form of “oversight mechanism”. An inter-ministerial committee will perform this function and it will largely have the same powers as the collective self-regulatory body of the OTTs.
  • Over and above all this, the government has equipped itself with “emergency” powers. The rules state, “in case of emergency nature” the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting may, “if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable” give orders to block public access of any information.
  • The rules state that he or she has to record the reason for doing so in writing and it will be an interim measure. Importantly, such orders can be released “without giving an opportunity of hearing” to the publishing platform.

Issues with the regulation

  • The rules force digital news publishers and video streaming services to adhere to a cumbersome three-tier structure of regulation, with a government committee at its apex.
  • This, in itself, is unprecedented in a country where the news media have been given the space all along to self-regulate, based on the mature understanding that any government presence could have a chilling effect on free speech and conversations.
  • The new rules pertain only to digital news media, and not to the whole of the news media, hardly provides comfort, as the former is increasingly becoming a prime source of news and views.
  • Further, it is of significant concern that the purview of the IT Act, 2000, has been expanded to bring digital news media under its regulatory ambit without legislative action, which digital liberties organisations such as the Internet Freedom Foundation have flagged.

Way Forward

  • There is no denying that there are problems with online content, which the government has rightly highlighted now.
  • Its release has referred to a 2018 Supreme Court observation that the government “may frame necessary guidelines to eliminate child pornography, rape and gangrape imageries, videos and sites in content hosting platforms and other applications”, besides making a mention of discussions in Parliament about social media misuse and fake news.
  • Besides the regulation, data privacy law must be passed immediately as it has been on the back burner. State must also be held accountable in upholding privacy rights of its people.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

6.  RTI is termed as a master key to good governance. Highlight and explain the role of RTI in making the administration and governance of our country more ethical and responsive. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the topic of RTI.

Key Demand of the question:

It is about examining the role of RTI in good governance and ensuring ethics in administration.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define and explain briefly about RTI.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

  • Few lines of introduction to RTI as a key to good governance; explain that RTI has been termed as a master key to good governance by second administrative reform commission as it ushers in an era of transparency, openness, participatory democracy and people centered governance. It has brought a significant shift in our administration and governance culture.
  • Then its role in making administration and governance more ethical.
  • Then separately its role in making them more responsive.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting challenges and concerns and suggest how despite all that it still holds a key place.

Introduction:

RTI act was enacted with the objective to establish a practical regime for citizens to access information held by Public Authorities. The first decadal study of the working of the Right to Information Act in 2016 revealed the increasing role it has played in the interaction between the people and the government and its agencies.

It has introduced a new awareness about the rights of citizens and highlighted openness and transparency as essential features of governance. It imparted a sense of accountability in official conduct and helped to make public servants responsible for their decisions and actions.

Body:

Importance of RTI Act: 

  • 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.
  • It carefully and deliberately empowered the Information Commission to be the highest authority in the country with the mandate to order any office in the country to provide information as per the provisions of the Act. And it empowered the Commission to fine any official who did not follow the mandate.

RTI Act and its role:

  • Fight corruption: Its ability to fight corruption has significantly increased its hold in India.
  • Ensure Transparency: The enactment of this act ensured transparency in the bureaucratic systems.
  • Fight for Rights: It has increased its position as a major in charge for the fight of rights of the people. It aims to bring an end to the culture of governmental secrecy
  • The right to information laws, alongside expanding the citizen’s rights, should be systematically employed to transform governance.
  • These laws could be a powerful magnet for mobilizing the people and enthusing them to use these laws to enhance and expand their choices for their own betterment.
  • RTI laws directly contribute to improvement in governance by breaking down the barriers between the government and the people by enhancing trust.
  • RTI is the most powerful assault on developing countries endemic corruption.

Way Forward to strengthen the ‘Master Key to Good Governance’: 

  • Recommendations by 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission:
    • Repealing of the Official Secret Act.
    • Introducing an oath of transparency.
  • To use of multi-media campaigns in local languages for awareness.
  • Opening up the working of parliamentary standing committees for public access.
  • A centralized database of all RTI applicants with their information requests and responses from information providers would enable the Information Commission to publish more accurate numbers in the annual reports.
  • The State Government has to play a facilitative role to the Information Commission through issuance of supporting rules/orders to the Public Authorities.
  • The benefits of setting up regional offices far outweigh the initial capital costs involved in setting them up. So there is a need to set up regional offices.
  • The role of the Centre/State Government is to facilitate the Public Authorities in implementation of the Act. This can happen through providing support to Public Authorities for training, development of software applications, e-Training modules, generating awareness amongst citizens etc.

Conclusion:

 Transparency must be accompanied by accountability, and that is where the JSP has great value and significance since it places the power of making the State government accountable to everyone who accesses the information made available on the portal. The Right to Information Act’s role in fostering a more informed citizenry and an accountable government has never been in doubt ever since its implementation in 2005.

 

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. Ethics is the first line of defence against corruption while law enforcement is remedial and reactive. Examine the statement with suitable examples. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

Its based on the theme of ethics and its role in preventing corruption.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the role played by ethics as first line of defence against corruption.

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:

Ethics refer to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, fairness or specific virtues. Laws are usually based on an ethical framework and aim to bring social order while controlling the immoral or unethical behaviour of individuals in the society.

Body:

Describe the importance of ethics and laws in preventing corruption.

Elaborate the statement while taking a stand on it and justify with examples such as – A typical example is the role of an administrator where discretion has to be exercised. Discretion provides ample opportunities for corruption and a person with weak ethics may easily fall prey to money-making even at the cost of society’s wellbeing. Therefore, ethics is the first line of defense, even if there is no law on the subject.

Conclusion:

Hence, it is ethics that act as a strong defence mechanism for all societies to prevent corruption whereas laws are reactive and only a remedy. A permanent solution for wiping corruption from its roots shall only come with the internalization and not from the external forces.

Introduction:

Laws are rules of conduct that government creates and requires people to obey whereas ethics refers to human conduct based on a set of established standards. Law and Ethics are considered to be the two tools for controlling human conduct so as to make it conducive for civilized social existence.

Body:

Corruption is dishonest behavior by those in positions of power. It starts with the tendency of using public office for some personal benefit. Moreover, it is unfortunate that corruption has, for many, become a matter of habit. It is so deeply entrenched that corruption is now considered a social norm. Hence, corruption implies the failure of ethics.

It is, absolutely correct to say that ethics is the first line of defence against corruption. What prevents corruption in the first place is ethics. The enforcement of law is a reaction to the occurrence of the corruption. While the law can only lay down the do’s and don’ts and the consequences of doing or not doing something. The compliance to law in letter and spirit can be achieved only through ethical practices being followed.

An act may be perfectly legal but totally unethical. Therefore, the statement law enforcement is remedial and reactive is also true. However, ethics is not absolute and is open to the influence of time, place and situation. Certain unethical practice on account of the fact that is widely prevalent is apparently justified.

While laws carry with them a punishment for violations, ethics does not. In ethics everything depends on the person’s conscience and self-worth. For example, driving carefully and within the speed limit because a person not wanting to hurt someone is ethical, but if one drives slowly because he/she sees a police car behind, this suggests fear of breaking the law and being punished for it.

Ethics comes from within a person’s moral sense and desire to preserve his self-respect. It is not as strict as laws. Laws are codifications of certain ethical values meant to help regulate society, and punishments for breaking them can be harsh and sometimes even break ethical standards.

For example, take the case of the death penalty. Everyone knows that killing someone is wrong, yet the law punishes people who break the law with death.

Furthermore, laws play role as a punitive tool towards ensuring ethical conduct in humans in a civilised society. Child labour acts in statute books around the world are a case in point where ethical behavior of not employing child labours is ensured through legislations for the same.

At the same time, it is important to remember that following law doesn’t always ensure ethical conduct for humans. An illegal act may be deemed more ethical than when following law to the book. For example, the act of whistleblowing to bring out information important for the society can be seen as illegal but many consider it an ethical conduct. The case of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange clearly demonstrates this phenomenon.

Rigid implementation of laws also cannot serve the purpose of ethical conduct as is evident from the recent Supreme Court judgement with respect to Forest Rights Act for tribals in India. Here, many tribals have been ordered to vacate their traditional dwelling places owing to SC’s interpretation of archaic laws.

In a rules based society, laws serve the important function of regulating society towards a harmonious existence without which there would be chaos and anarchy, ‘matsyanyaya’ as has been termed in ancient Indian texts.

Conclusion:

“The law sets minimum standards of behaviour while ethics sets maximum standards.” Ethics provides us with guides on what is the right thing to do in all aspects of life, while the law generally provides more specific rules so that societies and their institutions can be maintained. Ethics engages our thinking and also our feelings, including those of disgust and guilt. The law does not tell us what to do in relation to many of the dilemmas and decisions we have to make in life. While we think obeying the law is an important basis for role models in our life, we consider other traits such as benevolence and empathy as more important in characterising someone as a good person.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos