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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 5 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: gender equality

1. The deep-set prejudices against gender equality are one of the core factors responsible for poor recognition of women rights in the country. Critically examine. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu 

Why the question:

The article brings to light the Supreme Court’s failure to protect the rights of women.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way often even today our society works based on set prejudices towards gender equality.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief context of the question.

Body:

Firstly explain the parochial nature of our Indian society from past to present.

Then explain in what way the deep-set prejudices against gender equality are one of the core factors responsible for poor recognition of women rights in the country. Give examples.

Discuss what the consequences of such prejudices are, quote some data/facts to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions to address the issue.

Introduction

The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women’s issue. They are the only way to build a sustainable, just and developed society. However, persistent patriarchal mindset and prejudice against gender equality will lead to poor recognition of rights of women.

Body

Deep-set prejudices and Poor recognition of women rights in India

  • Son-meta preference: The Economic Survey 2018 has mentioned that the desire for a male child has created 21 million “unwanted” girls in India between 0 and 25 years.
  • Female infanticide and low Sex ratio at birth
    • According to the latest Health Index released by the Niti Aayog released by the Centre, India’s girl-to-boy sex ratios at birth (SRB) have declined in 17 of 21 large states. This signals a failure in the nation’s ability to curb female selective abortion after illegal sex disclosure.
    • As recently as March 2020, news cases of infanticide were reported in Tamil Nadu’s Usilampatti.
  • Deeply ingrained bias: Ironically it exists among both men and women – against genuine equality. According PISA test data, the notion that “boys fare better at maths” is unfounded. Yet this belief still exists.
  • Crimes against women: The crimes rose from 3,793 per million in 2016 to 3,886 per million in 2017, as per NCRB Report. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 56,011 cases followed by Maharashtra.
  • Corporates: Women still earn on average 79 percent of what men earn, hold only 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions, and represent on average 17 percent of global Board positions.
  • Women tend to lack access to informal networks that provide opportunities to work in high-profile projects, which include attending conferences abroad or on-the-job opportunities.
  • Early marriages: Early marriage with or without the consent of the girl, constitutes a form of violence as it undermines the health and autonomy of millions of girls.

Way-Forward

  • Laws to protect women: It is important to enact and enforce legislation and develop and implement policies that promote gender equality by ending discrimination against women in marriage, divorce and custody laws, inheritance laws and ownership of assets.
  • Financial Independence: Improving women’s access to paid employment and ensuring equal wage for equal work is of utmost importance.
  • Developing and resourcing national plans and policies to address violence against women.
    • Eg : Gender based budgeting has led to women centric development plans.
  • Improve system of collecting crime surveillance data on violence against women. Eg Safe cities scheme and using Nirbhaya Fund for better safety of women.
  • Capacity building and training to service providers and law enforcement officers to handle cases of violence against women. Eg Quick response on nationwide number for women safety 112.
  • Male Mediated Initiatives: Ensure male involvement in devising program for abusers.
  • Prevent recurrence of violence: Through early identification of women and children who are experiencing violence and providing appropriate referral and support
  • Promote egalitarian gender norms as part of life skills and comprehensive sexuality education curricula taught to young people.
  • Gender based surveys: Generate evidence on what works and on the magnitude of the problem by carrying out population-based surveys, or including violence against women in population-based demographic and health surveys, as well as in surveillance and health information systems.

Conclusion

India has committed to gender equality under SDG Goal 5  i.e eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in the public and private spheres and to undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and access to ownership of property. Gender equality is also a precondition for development and reducing of poverty. Gender shouldn’t be an unreasonable determining factor curbing the potential of women. India must realize this goal starting from ensuring good education to women to providing safe work environment with equal remuneration.

 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary—Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity

2.  When the judiciary surpasses the line of the powers set for it in the name of judicial activism, it could be rightly said that the judiciary then begins to invalidate the concept of separation of powers set out in the Constitution. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

The answer must bring out the concerns associated with overusing or misusing the powers under judicial activism.

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 with what you understand by judicial activism.

Body:

First explain the fact that judicial activism can be good if the intention of the court is to protect and preserve the rights of citizens, and not merely criticize the government.

Then hint at the fact that It is being claimed that, in many recent judgments, the Supreme Court has become hyper-activist in making laws. Neither is the broad separation of powers among the three organs of the state maintained nor is the law being preserved.

Explain doctrine of separation of power. Present the demerits of judicial activism.

Give examples to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The Constitution, under various provisions, has clearly drawn the line between Legislature and the Judiciary to maintain their independence in their respective functioning. Article 121 and 211 forbid the legislature from discussing the conduct of any judge in the discharge of his duties, while Articles 122 and 212, on the other hand, prevent the courts from sitting in judgment over the internal proceedings of the legislature. In recent times, there have been criticism levelled against judicial activism, calling it adventurism and overreach.

Body

Separation of Power

The term  “trias politica” or “separation of powers” was coined by Montesquieu. Under his model, the political authority of the state is divided into legislative, executive and judicial powers. He asserted that, to most effectively promote liberty, these three powers must be separate and acting independently. Article 50 of the Indian Constitution also dictates that the State must take steps to separate Judiciary from the executive.

Judicial activism needed in legislative vacuum

  • Upholds Constitutional morality: An important case which employed this concept in an innovative manner was the Naz Foundation Case which used the concept of constitutional morality to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalize homosexuality.
    • The Delhi High Court had said that “In our scheme of things, constitutional morality must outweigh the argument of public morality, even if it be the majoritarian view.”
  • Executive lacks Political gumption: Justice Chandrachud’s view in the Sabarimala judgement, he held that women should be allowed entry in the Sabarimala temple against popularly held religious beliefs.
    • Political parties and governments did not take a stand or repeal discriminatory laws in fear of losing support base of masses.
  • To protect fundamental rights: Triple Talaq in 2017 was banned as being ultra vires to fundamental rights of Muslim women. This legislation would not have been accepted if it had come from the executive or through the Parliament.
    • Right to privacy also became Fundamental right under Article 21
  • Most trusted institution: A People’s Survey of India report noted that Indians had 80% trust in the Supreme court. Though not an elected body, the apex court is significant to uphold rule of law.
    • Eg: Whistle Blowers Act against corrupt officials and politicians was given under Article 142, until Parliament made a law on the subject.

Demerits of Judicial activism

  • Unelected body: Judiciary being the unelected body, does not enjoy the “General Will” of the people. Judicial restraint is more apt for such an institution rather than dictation a legislation. Eg: Ban on liquor sale on highways led to backlash as well as spurious means to overcome the dictum
  • Lack of expertise: Judiciary lacks both time and resources to enact legislation. Sometimes practical difficulties of such enactments are not known to the courts.
    • Eg: Ban on BS-IV vehicles from April 2020 which had to be extended many times.
  • Against Constitution’s Mandate: Judicial Review is a basic structure of the Constitution; however enacting legislation is not. Courts can look into the validity of the law, but not necessarily make a law.
  • Unaccountable: Politicians remain “accountable” to the people in at least some sense, because they depend upon them in order to continue in office after five years.
    • Judges who are insulated from any external control are accountable only to themselves
  • Judicial adventurism: Subhash Kashinath Mahajan v. State of Maharashtra (2018): the court amended the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, by annulling Section 18 which said that no anticipatory bail will be granted to persons accused under the Act.
    • There was widespread protest and opposition to this from all quarters. Finally, the law brought in to undo this was also upheld in the court.

Conclusion

Each organ of our democracy must function within its own sphere and must not take over what is assigned to the others. Judicial activism must also function within the limits of the judicial process because the courts are the only forum for those wronged by administrative excesses and executive arbitrariness. Hence legislation enacted by Judiciary must be in the rare cases as mentioned above.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary; Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

3. Differentiate between judicial review and judicial activism in India. In your opinion do you think it is ever possible for the Indian judiciary to partake more of judicial activism? Explain, (250 words)

Reference:  Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why the question:

Judicial Review, Judicial Activism and Judicial Overreach are terms which come often in news. The question intends to differentiate between judicial review and judicial activism in India.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to between judicial review and judicial activism in India and explain with justifications if it is possible for the Indian judiciary to partake more of judicial activism.

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 the terms – judicial activism, judicial overreach in short.

Body:

Explain that though legislature has the power to make laws, this power is not absolute. Judicial Review is the process by which the Judiciary reviews the validity of laws passed by the legislature.

Judicial activism denotes a more active role taken by Judiciary to dispense social justice.

Compare and contrast the two features of Judiciary and express a fair and balanced opinion.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suitable examples and justify as to what should be ideally done.

Introduction

Judicial Review refers to the power of judiciary (Article 32, 136, 226, 227) to review and determine the validity of a law or an order. On the other hand, Judicial Activism refers to the use of judicial power (Article 142) to articulate and enforce what is beneficial for the society in general and people at large or judicial activism means the power of the Supreme Court and the high court but not the sub-ordinate courts to declare the laws as unconstitutional and void.

Body

Judicial Review

  • India has an independent judiciary with extensive jurisdiction over the acts of legislature and executive. Judicial review can be defined as the doctrine under which legislative and executive actions are subject to review by judiciary. It is generally considered as a basic structure of independent judiciary (Indira Gandhi vs. Rajnarain case).
  • However, judicial review can be classified into three categories-reviews of legislative actions, review of judicial decisions, and review of administrative action. Therefore, it is also the duty of judges to ensure that balance of power is maintained, protect human rights, fundamental rights and citizens’ rights of life and liberty.
  • Judicial review of legislative actions means the power to ensure that the law passed by legislature is in accordance with provisions contained in the constitution and in particular part 3 of constitution (principle of reading down).
  • In case of judicial review of decisions, for instance, when a statute is challenged on the ground that it has been passed by legislature without authority or rights, it is for the courts to decide whether the law passed by legislature is valid or not.
  • Judicial review of administrative action is a mechanism of enforcing constitutional discipline over administrative agencies while exercising their powers. Judicial review of judicial actions can be visualized in Golaknath case, banks nationalization case, privy purses abolition case, Minerva mills etc.
  • As courts have wide powers of judicial review, these powers have to be exercised with great caution and control.
  • The limitations of these powers are: It is only permissible to the extent of finding whether the procedure in reaching the decision has been correctly followed but not the decision itself.
  • It is delegated to our superior courts only i.e. supreme court and high court Cannot interfere in policy matters and political questions unless absolutely necessary.

Judicial Activism

  • It can be defined as a philosophy of judicial decision making where by judges allow their personal views regarding a public policy instead of constitutionalism.
  • Some cases of activism in India are: Golaknath case in which Supreme Court declared that fundamental rights enshrined in part 3 are immutable and cannot be amendable.
  • Kesavananda Bharti where by SC introduced doctrine of basic structuree., Parliament has power to amend without altering basic structure of constitution.
  • SC has assumed a supervisory role in CBI investigation of 2 G scam, in invoking terror laws against Hasan Ali Khan.
  • Moreover, the concept of Judicial Activism also faced certain criticisms. Firstly, it is often said that in the name of activism, judiciary often rewrites with personal opinions.
  • Secondly, the theory of separation of powers is overthrown. However, its importance lies with position accorded to institution as a place of hope for aggrieved persons.

There is only a thin line of separation between review and activism.

While judicial review means to decide if the law / act is consistent with the constitution. On the other hand, judicial activism is more of a behavioural concept of the judge concerned. It is majorly based on public interest, speedy disposal of cases etc. With the power of judicial review, the courts act as a custodian of the fundamental rights. Thus, the power of judicial review is recognized as the part of the basic constitution of India. The activist role of the judiciary is implicit in the said power.

Conclusion

With the growing functions of the modern state judicial intervention in the process of making administrative decisions and executive them has also increased. In addition, judicial activism keeping in view the ideals of democracy are in fact necessary to ensure that unheard voices are not buried by more influential and vocal voices.

 

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

4. The new guidelines to regulate digital content give the executive unbridled power without any checks and balances making it contra-constitutional. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article presents a detailed analysis of the new guidelines to regulate digital content.

Key Demand of the question:

One must analyse in what way such guidelines can be contra-constitutional.

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 elaboration of the features under the new guidelines for regulation of digital content.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain the fact that the guidelines virtually undermine the enabling provisions of Article 19 of the Constitution and weaponised the restrictive clause of reasonable restriction, without really spelling out what constitutes reasonable restriction.

Under the guidelines, it appears as if the citizens have been empowered and that there is now a fair grievance redressal mechanism for users of digital platforms. The guidelines include social media sites, messaging apps, over-the-top streaming services (popularly known as OTT services), and digital news publishers.

List down more lacunae and suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

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 – 3


 

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

5. Unless climate change is labeled as a primary perpetrator of extreme weather events, climate action will continue to fade. Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question is based on the need to recognise climate change as one of the key driving factors of extreme weather events in the recent times.  

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way unless climate change is labeled as a primary perpetrator of extreme weather events, climate action will continue to fade.

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:

It is common to hear policymakers and the public refer to natural disasters, such as this year’s Himalayan glacier flooding that overwhelmed Uttarakhand, or the cold snap that paralyzed Texas, as acts of God. But what precipitated both events was human-made global warming.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain impact of global warming and climate change in general. Provide for both Indian and World perspective.

Present the concerns associated. When the cause and effect are connected, responses are usually swift. But global warming is still seen as a danger that lies over the horizon.

For ex: While COVID-19 triggered the mobilisation of trillions of dollars in financing, the equally frightening climate scenario has not.             

Suggest a way forward.

Conclusion:

Sustainable growth depends on timely climate action. For that to happen, policymaking needs to connect the dots between carbon emissions, atmospheric warming, melting glaciers, extreme floods and storms.

Introduction

It is common to hear policymakers and the public refer to natural disasters, such as this year’s Himalayan glacier flooding that overwhelmed Uttarakhand, or the cold snap that paralysed Texas, as “acts of God”. But what precipitated both events were not the hand of God, but human-made global warming. Unless climate change is tagged as a primary culprit, climate action will continue to falter.

Body

Extreme weather events and climate change

  • The melting of the Himalayan glaciers that prompted the floods and landslides in Uttarakhand have the fingerprints of global warming.
  • In 2013, glacial flooding caused over 6,000 deaths in Uttarakhand during the monsoon months.
  • The United States has already witnessed many deadly avalanches since the beginning of 2021.
  • Furthermore, as glacier cover is replaced by water or land, the amount of light reflected decreases, aggravating warming — a contributor to the sweltering heat in cities like Delhi and Hyderabad, or the epic floods in Chennai or Kerala.
  • The wildfires of Australia and California were not isolated events, rather a result of Climate change manifesting into extreme heat causing the fires.

Recognizing climate change as a threat

  • In just the past few decades: Rising temperatures have worsened extreme weather events. Chunks of ice in the Antarctic have broken apart. Wildfire seasons are months longer. Coral reefs have been bleached of their colours. Mosquitoes are expanding their territory, able to spread disease.
  • A warmer world — even by a half-degree Celsius — has more evaporation, leading to more water in the atmosphere. Such changing conditions put our agriculture, health, water supply and more at risk.
  • When the public connects cause and effect, responses are usually swift. But global warming is still seen as a danger that lies over the horizon.
  • So, while COVID-19 triggered the mobilisation of trillions of dollars in financing, the equally frightening climate scenario has not.

Ramping up Climate action

  • A vital step should be explicitly including policies for climate mitigation in the government budget, along with energy, roads, health and education.
  • Specifically, growth targets should include timelines for switching to cleaner energy.
    • Eg: Finalise Rule book under Paris Agreement
  • The government needs to launch a major campaign to mobilise climate finance.
  • For India, the third-largest carbon emitter after China and the United States, a decisive switch is needed from highly polluting coal and petroleum to cleaner and renewable power
  • China has announced carbon neutrality by 2060, Japan and South Korea by 2050, but India is yet to announce a target. The acceleration of hazards of nature should prompt countries to advance those targets, ideally by a decade.
  • The first thing to recognize about climate policy is that any successful efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions today will not have a perceptible impact on the climate for many decades.
  • This of course does not mean that we need not concern ourselves with reducing emissions. To the contrary, it means that to succeed politically and economically we have to develop creative strategies that connect shorter terms benefits of emissions reductions with those benefits expected in the more distant future.
  • India must continue to achieve its Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and aim higher, to ensure a better future not only for its citizens but people all over the globe.

Conclusion

Sustainable growth depends on timely climate action. For that to happen, policymaking needs to connect the dots between carbon emissions, atmospheric warming, melting glaciers, extreme floods and storms. Events like Uttarakhand and Texas should be treated as lessons to change people’s minds and for the public to demand urgent action.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

6. Is the morality of an action dependent upon the circumstances of the act or is it independent of it? Examine. Can an action be unethical yet moral? (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of morality and its linkages with ethics.  

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain the statement in question and examine the validity of morality vis-à-vis ethicality of a situation.  

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 with the definition of what Morality is.

Body:

Morality is individual’s own sense of right or wrong which is subject to change according to their changing social milieu and associated social, cultural, religious and political conditionings. Besides this there is an existence of transcendental, objective moral truths which functions regardless of geographic location, place in history or form of culture. Humans have historically recognized some objective moral absolutes; these principles transcend culture, location and history.

The doctrine that says that morality is depended on circumstance sees morality in relative terms and it has important implications for how we conduct our lives, organize our societies, and deal with others.

Give examples and explain if anything unethical can be moral and vice-versa.

 Conclusion:

Conclude with fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction

 Every human act in the concrete order is done under particular circumstances. Circumstances may therefore affect the morality of an action and add something to the moral quality. Circumstances of a human action include such things as the act being done at a particular time, in a particular place, by a particular agent, in a particular manner. How the differing circumstances change the rightness or wrongness of actions must be understood

Body

Determining the Morality of an action based on circumstances

Ethics are distinct from morals in that they’re much more practical. An ethical code doesn’t have to be moral. It’s just a set of rules for people to follow. For instance, after a car accident, a good Samaritan is driving the injured to hospital. He skips the traffic light, to ensure that the patient is brought to the hospital in the golden hour. Such an act may be unethical as a citizen who must follow traffic rules but is definitely moral as the purpose of doing so is more important.

Sometimes circumstances affect the morality of the action only in degree, that is, they contribute to increasing or diminishing the moral goodness or evil of human acts. For example, stealing is bad by object; stealing a rare object/or stealing from a destitute/poor increases the malice of the action. On the other hand, if a robber acts like Robin Hood by stealing from the rich to help the poor, his robberies become less immoral.

Circumstances can also diminish or lessen the agent’s responsibility. For instance, a woman who kills the person who attacks her chastity is absolved from the guilt of killing someone.

Action that are unethical yet moral

A moral action can also be unethical. A lawyer who tells the court that his client is guilty may be acting out of a moral desire to see justice done, but this is deeply unethical because it violates the attorney-client privilege.

Similarly, a policeman catching an impoverished child stealing bread from a bakery can leave him on grounds of compassion. Although unethical and must ensure he is sent to juvenile custody, certain things in life must not be seen in binary.

Conclusion

Thus, since all human actions occur at a certain time and at a certain place, the circumstances must always be considered in evaluating the moral quality of any human act. Meanwhile, it must be understood that ‘a morally good act requires the goodness of the object, of the end, and of the circumstances together’. If any one of the three is evil, then the human act in question is evil and should be avoided.

 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion.

7. “Persuasion makes society work smoothly while physical coercion grinds it to a halt”. In this context, compare the effectiveness of persuasion as an influence tactic vis-a-vis coercion in bringing change in society. In what ways persuasion can be used by civil servants to remove social evils existing in society? give examples. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of Persuasion.

Key Demand of the question:

Compare the effectiveness of persuasion as an influence tactic vis-a-vis coercion in bringing change in society and explain in what ways persuasion can be used by civil servants to remove social evils existing in society.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the definition of persuasion.

Body:

The basic theme of the question is to compare the importance of persuasion vis-à-vis coercion to influence others and bring change in society. The answer can be framed in the following manner:

• In brief define persuasion and coercion.

• Citing examples examine the conditions under which persuasion proves to be better tactic vs coercion.

• Thirdly, suggest some ways/measures through which civil servants can use persuasion to remove certain social evils.

 Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Persuasion is symbolic process in which communicators try to convince other people through transmission of a message to change their attitudes or behaviours. Persuasion is the process of changing or reinforcing attitudes, beliefs or behaviour of a person.

Body

People respond to persuasive messages in two ways: thoughtfully and mindlessly. When people are in thoughtful mode, the persuasiveness of the message is determined by merits of the message. When people respond to messages mindlessly, their brains are locked on automatic. Persuasion is mainly dependent upon the attractiveness of the speakers and reaction of the listeners. Persuasion is exclusively related with communication, learning, awareness and thought.

Persuasion versus Coercion

Persuasion appeals to the conscious of the opponent and is non-violent in nature. Coercion on the other hand, employs threat power so that one person feels they have no option but to surrender.

Although the process of persuasion may take more time, it is less likely to lead to a cycle of retaliation or revenge. By using persuasive means instead of coercive ones, the positive effects of a nonviolent action are much more durable. When bullied into submission, it is human nature to fight back at the earliest opportunity.

For instance, Gandhiji’s non-violent Salt satyagraha persuading British to give in to his demands was successful in mobilising people vis-a-vis British coercion and suppression. It exposed the myth of British benevolence.

Civil servants and persuasion

  1. Effecting social change: To deal with issues like girl child education, inter caste marriage, temple entry for women, persuasion may be the only solution because change has to be brought keep intact the dignity and respect of all stake holders. Eg.: The advertisements for polio drops for children are a form of persuasion, the gudda-guddi board increased sex ratio in Maharashtra.
  2. Public policy formulation and implementation: Sometimes persuasion works better than coercion; success of the initiatives like Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan- cleanliness drives and Ujjwala give it up campaign can be attributed to persuasion.
  3. Following rules: It helps in making people follow rules which bring inconvenience to them, like District collector visiting houses in the morning to persuade people for waste segregation before disposal.
  4. Moral conditioning: Persuasion can bring change in attitude of people. In Delhi Metro various signboards on certain seats asks passengers to offer that seat to needy people. Similarly, regular announcements to keep the station clean persuade people to change their behaviour.
  5. Incentivising good behaviour: For instance, in income declaration scheme a window was open to declare black money with some fine and no legal action that incentivized people instead of penalizing them.

Conclusion

Persuasion can bring a lasting change in people’s behaviour and is highly effective in implementation of public policies provided the tools are used in a right way. It acts as a nudge to encourage people to act in a good manner and achieve certain goals or to remove certain social evils.


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