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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 31 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: Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India.

1. The economic challenges of the 21st century have been a major influence on the life cycles of joint families. Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: www.un.org

Why the question:

The question is aims to discuss the role of economic factors on the joint families in the society.  

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in what way economic challenges of the 21st century have been a major influence on the life cycles of joint families.

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:

The life cycle of a joint family denotes the different phases that a family goes through. A joint family evolves into a nuclear family, and then goes back to being a joint family. For example, parents and their child live together till the child reaches marriageable age.

Body:

Explain that once the child grows up, he/she leaves home to start his/her own family. At this stage, the joint family evolves into a nuclear family. At a later stage, the old parents might move back in with their son/daughter for various reasons.

Explain the phases of joint family and various factors influencing them.

Discuss in what way economic factors are a bigger influence. The economies of sharing and running a common household make it simpler for extended families to share a living space. By sharing accommodation, members of the same extended family can save their expenditure on rent, which can be quite substantial in big cities. Rising property prices also makes it difficult for people of the lower and working classes to afford a home of their own; which, again, makes a joint family an economic necessity. Hence, though cultural and social perspectives that attached importance to living in a joint family have changed.

Conclusion:

Conclude with your opinion.

Introduction:

Indian family system has undergone drastic change in response to development in terms of industrialization, education and urbanization. Industrialization and urbanization, leading to accelerated rate of rural-urban migration, diversification of gainful economic activities and individual-friendly property laws, have had consequential impact in terms of drastic reduction in the size of family in the country.

Body:

In India, the old traditional joint family system no longer continues. It was patriarchal in nature, its size was large, status of women in the family was very low, members of family had no individual identity, and the decision-making power lied exclusively with the eldest male member of the family.

Economic challenges of 21st century:

  • Phenomena such as globalization, demographic shifts, and even climate change are influencing the global economy, creating uncertainties regarding the future and demanding urgent attention.
  • On the demographic front, many countries are starting to feel the symptoms of an aging and shrinking workforce.
  • globalization has done more than rewrite the social, cultural, and economic rules.
  • Digitalization—and the imminent technological revolution it entails—will reconfigure labour markets and production models as we know them today.
  • Geographical unemployment: Youth unemployment is concentrated in certain areas, particularly where there is a cycle of low achievement.
  • Cultural & Social Factors: Youth unemployment is often highest amongst deprived areas.

Impacts on Indian Joint family structure:

  • Decline of Extended Family System:
    • There is a worldwide movement towards small, nuclear family maintaining a separate and independent household and breaking down of the traditional extended (joint) family system and other types of kin groups.
    • Their influence is declining in every field of life. A modified extended family structure is emerging in which individual nuclear families retain considerable autonomy and yet maintain connections with other nuclear families or so-called ‘joint family’.
  • Changing Authority Pattern:
    • There is a change in the division of labour and authority in the family. Male authority is declining in the modern family. The authority is slipping from the hands of family elders because of new economic and political opportunities.
    • Young couples do not rely on family elders for job instructions or education of their children. Because of the dual-career marriages, there is a significant change in the attitude towards equality between married partners.
  • Changing Status of Women:
    • The rights of women are becoming more recognized in respect to both initi­ation of marriage and decision-making in the family.
  • Changing Economic Functions:
    • Modern family is no longer united by shared work on the farm. It is now a unit of consumption instead of a unit of production as it was in the agrarian society. It is now united by feelings of companionship, affection and recre­ation only.
  • Decline in Family Size:
    • Economic considerations force the young to have smaller family with one or two children.
  • Changing Attitudes towards Marriage:
    • There is an increase in male-female couples who choose to live together without marriage. This has given rise to the concepts of ‘living together,’ ‘living arrangements’ or ‘live-in relationships.
    • Also new types of families’ crop with where same gender couples also cohabitate.
  • There’s no ‘ideal family’ defined by children or lineage. It comes in different shapes and sizes. And it has grown to embrace individual choices, and social realities: single children, divorce, double incomes, sexual freedom.
  • Declining Trend in Non-Essential Functions:
    • The most of the socializing functions today, like child raising, education, occupational training, caring of elderly, etc., have been taken over by the outside agencies, such as crèches, media, nursery schools, hospitals, occupational training centres, etc. These tasks were once exclusively performed by the family.
    • Increasing mobility of younger generation in search of new employment and educational opportunities allegedly weakened the family relations. The family bondings and ties started loosening due to physical distance as it rendered impracticable for members of family to come together as often as earlier. This affected the earlier idealized nation of ‘family’ as the caring and nurturing unit for children, the sick and elderly.
  • As a part of the revolution, the nuclear family emphasizes the importance of the freedom of the individual to choose his/her own lifeand control his/her own destiny.
  • Accelerated rate of rural-urban migration, diversification of gainful economic activities and individual-friendly property laws, have had consequential impact in terms of drastic reductionin the size of family in the country.
  • Discrimination against Widow remarriage is decreasing.
  • Family is now essentially democratic and most of the decisions in the family are taken collectively. However, the extent of autonomy and democracy may vary from region to region, community to community and caste to caste, depending upon the degree of its adaptation of the modern values and the urban way of life.
  • Marriage is considered not as a sacred one but a social contract. It has been found that, divorces and separation are on the increase.
  • Much distress has been witnessed in the social relationships between husband and wife. No doubt, the technology has elevated the social status of women in the family. But at the same time it has put the fabric of social relationships at stake.
  • Improved HDI as a result of globalization and urbanization. This has also led to better education, less social stratification among Indian caste system.

L.P. Desai studied urban families (in Mahuwa in Gujarat) in 1955 and found that:

  • Nuclearity is increasing and jointness is decreasing;
  • Spirit of individualism is not growing, as about half of the households are joint with other households; and
  • The radius of kinship relations within the circle of jointness is becoming smaller.
  • The joint relations are mostly confined to parents-children, siblings, and uncles-nephews, i.e., lineal relationship is found between father, son and grand­son, and the collateral relationship is found between a man and his brothers and uncles.

Kapadia studied rural and urban families (18% urban and 82% rural) in Gujarat (Navasari town and its 15 surrounding villages) in 1955. His main conclusions were:

  • In the rural community, the proportion of joint families is almost the same as that of the nuclear families.
  • Viewed in terms of castes, in villages, higher castes have predominantly joint family while lower castes show a greater incidence of nuclear family.
  • In the urban community, there are more joint families than nuclear families.
  • In the ‘impact’ villages (i.e., villages within the radius of 7 to 8 km from a town), the family pattern closely resembles the rural pattern and has no correspondence with the urban pattern.
  • Taking all areas (rural, urban and impact) together, it may be held that joint family struc­ture is not being nuclearised.
  • The difference in the rural and the urban family patterns is the result of modification of the caste pattern by eco­nomic factors.

Ross studied only Hindu families in an urban setting (Bangalore in Karnataka state) in 1957, She found that:

  • The trend of family form is towards a breakaway from the traditional joint family form into nuclear family units.
  • The small joint family is now the most typical form of family life.
  • A growing number of people now spend at least part of their lives in single family units.
  • Living in several types of fam­ily during life-time seems so widespread that we can talk of a cycle of family types as being the normal sequence for city-dwellers.
  • Distant relatives are less important to the present generation than they were to their parents and grand-parents.
  • City-dweller son has become more spatially separated from all relatives.

Conclusion:

Despite the continuous and growing impact of urbanization and westernization, the traditional joint household, both in ideal and in practice, remains the primary social force among Indians and joint family- an ancient Indian institution is the most widely desired residential unit. But it has undergone some change in the late twentieth century due to variety of reasons, including the need for some members to move from village to city, or from one city to another for employment opportunities.

As the Indian family and their mind set up is not well prepared to fast growing and ever changing present competitive and challenging world, this change in societal norms and lifestyle are becoming a threatening to Indian family structures with increase in several socio-psychological problems. Therefore, it becomes imperative for the government and decision makers to pay attention towards the impact of this societal change in family structures and its probable consequences.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic:Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

2. Critically analyse on the impacts of recent developments on India’s soft power paradigm. (250 words)

Reference:  Times of India

Why the question:

The article brings to us the impacts of recent developments on India’s soft power paradigm.

Key Demand of the question:

One has to explain in detail why soft power matters and analyse the impacts of recent developments on India’s soft power paradigm.

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 soft power and its significance.  

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the significance of soft power briefly and discuss its components viz. cultural component and political component.

Present the concerns over recent developments that destabilize India’s soft power such as – Dent in India’s rating by international agencies, Institutional intolerance, Institutional misconduct, Coercive federalism, Threats against inclusive civilizational society etc.

Conclusion:

Thus conclude that civilizations are judged not only by artifact, merchandise or arsenal but by what they stand for, the spirit that animates them.

Introduction:

The term soft power was coined by Joseph Nye and captured the important and (at the time) poorly studied phenomenon in international affairs of “getting others to want the outcomes that you want,” predicated on the attractiveness of one’s culture, political values and foreign policy. Though slower to yield results, soft power is a less expensive means than military force or economic inducements to get others to do what we want.

India for the first-time broke into the top 30, in the Brand Finance Global Soft-Power Index 2020, which highlights that India punches well below its weight.

Body:

India’s leverage of Soft power till date:

  • India’s spiritualism, yoga, movies and television, classical and popular dance and music, its principles of non-violence, democratic institutions, plural society, and cuisine have all attracted people across the world.
    • International Day of Yoga reflects yoga’s immense popularity worldwide, underscoring its richness as a soft power resource
  • India’s soft power is being leveraged alongside larger foreign policy initiatives such as the Look East Policy (now Act East).
    • For example, the 4th edition of International Dharma Dhamma conference (IDDC-2018) was on January 11, 2018 in Rajgir, Bihar. This 3-day conference was jointly organized by India Foundation, Nalanda University, Ministry of External Affairs, ASEAN-India and Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha.
    • It aimed at increasing, people to people contact through the Buddhist roots in India. The conference aimed to facilitate cross pollination of ideas and foster harmony at the global level.
  • India’s soft power diplomacy, particularly in Afghanistan involves winning “hearts and minds” and strengthening its cultural as well as political relations with Afghanistan, backed with the ideas of nation building and political stability.
    • India has constructed the Parliament building, Salma(Friendship) dam and a hospital in Afghanistan.
    • India is currently building and upgrading the Habibia High School, a project that is worth more than 1 million USD.
    • Through educational development, India has also tried to build ties with the ethnic communities of Afghanistan, specially the Pashtun community that is present on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and serves as a buffer between Pakistan and India.
    • India was ranked higher than China in a survey wrt trust and development initiatives in Africa.
  • India’s track record of democracy, liberty and culture are main reason why nations like USA, France and Sweden have given advanced military equipment to India.
  • India is also expanding its development assistance to African countries beyond its traditional relationships within the Commonwealth in an effort to secure access to natural resources as well as serve its broader strategic aims.
    • Eg: Currently, India’s forte in the continent has been developmental initiatives such as Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), Team 9, and Pan Africa e-network among others are aimed at building institutional and human capacity as well as enabling skills and knowledge transfer.
  • Diaspora Diplomacy on the rise, who increase India’s soft power abroad. India has been celebrating Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (since 2015). Initiatives like Know India Program, have garnered lot of response, helping Indians connect to their ancestral roots in India and knowing about the contemporary India.
    • Indian American have established several advocacy organisation and political action committees on a wide range of issues of importance to India like Kashmir.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: India’s foreign aid activities have now also extended to humanitarian assistance, such as when its Navy participated in an ad hoc coalition with the United States, Japan, Australia, and Singapore to disburse blankets and tents in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
    • As recently as in 2019, India was the first responder to the Cyclone Idai crisis in Mozambique.
    • This has immense potential in the backdrop of China’s String of pearls in the Indian Ocean Region. India’s Tsunami warning centre and information sharing (IFC, Gurugram) with littoral states of Indian Ocean can prove strategic in geopolitical expansion.

Recent developments and its impacts on India’s soft power paradigm

  • India’s soft power attraction is dented when parliamentary bills affecting millions of farmers are rammed through without proper discussion or adequate consultation with stakeholders.
  • India’s appeal as an open society is questioned when too many journalists either embarrassingly kowtow to the government or are pilloried on charges of sedition for reports critical of the government.
  • India’s respect dwindles when government enforcement agencies unerringly target political opponents of the government. India’s claim to internal cohesion takes a hit when the entire opposition says the government is practising ‘coercive federalism’.
  • India’s creative freedoms are doubted when the artistic community is seen to be coerced into conformity.
  • India’s self-esteem takes a dip when 150 leading academics from Yale, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, LSE – among others – write to protest the resignation of a professor who became a ‘political liability’ only because he critiqued the government.
  • India’s image of an inclusive civilisational society is eroded when it becomes clear that there’s a cynical agenda to engender religious strife for short term political gains.
  • And, India’s credibility as a mature democracy becomes a laughing stock when elected CMs of states give divine status to their supreme leader, the Prime Minister, and equate him with Shri Krishna and Shri Ram.

Way forward:

  • India’s culture, heritage and its pluralism are its strengths.
  • India is respected for its values of democracy, openness, diversity of thought, respect for all religions and freedom of expression.
  • We have the potential to be world leaders in not only economic terms but as a free, vibrant and dynamic nation.
  • Ultimately, the soft power quotient of a country is not about the effectiveness or otherwise of government propaganda. It’s about perception, of how others inherently see you.
  • Civilisations are judged not only by artefact, merchandise or arsenal, but by what they stand for, the spirit that animates them.
  • Utilize the strong cultural and civilizational potential of the Indian diaspora
  • India must capitalise on the goodwill and the potential soft power it has created
  • These will help in achieving greater heights in India’s soft power

Conclusion

Without soft power, hard power lacks its intellectual and cultural edge. While soft power provides the ideas and motivation, hard power gives the tools and weapons for the soft power to expand. A good balance of both makes a nation stronger militarily, economically and culturally. India must continue to expand its soft power investments while building hard power capabilities. This augurs well with the neighborhood reality where it faces two hostile nuclear powers.

 

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

3. Although the Good Samaritan law is a stride in the right direction, at the same time there needs to be more wakefulness around the subject. Deliberate. (250 words)

Reference:  The wire

Why the question:

The Good Samaritan Law is an important legislation passed in the year 2016. This is important for UPSC from the point of view of polity, governance, road safety, health facilities and society.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain although the Good Samaritan law is a stride in the right direction, at the same time there needs to be more wakefulness around the subject.

Directive:

Deliberate – 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 agree with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some data such as – According to studies, almost 1,50,000 people are killed in road accidents in India every year. Nearly 50% of these cases could be prevented if the victims were given basic care on time, according to the Law Commission of India.

Body:

Define who is a Good Samaritan – “A person who, in good faith, without expectation of reward and without any duty of care or special relationship, voluntarily comes forward to administer emergency care to an injured person.”

Then discuss though there is law in place why there is need to ensure more awareness is spread among the public about the same. Discuss the challenges associated.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the problem of road safety is multi-faceted and requires to be assessed from a much broader lens of understanding. There is a larger problem of law and order. Unplanned, flawed road design and engineering, road rage is other issues that need serious attention of policy makers.

Introduction:

Good Samaritan (helpful bystander) is a person who offers assistance to the accident victim without fear of any criminal or civil liability. The objective behind effecting Good Samaritan law is to protect the bystanders from getting embroiled into police investigation or be subjected to harassment due to the legal procedures involved if they decide to help accident victims or even inform hospital and police.

The Supreme Court recently approved the guidelines issued by the Centre for the protection of Good Samaritans at the hands of the police or any other authority. The guidelines clearly stipulate that people who help victims of road accidents or other calamities are not harassed in any way.

Body:

The Need for Good Samaritan Law:

  • The 201st Law Commission of India in a report noted that over 50 per cent of road accident deaths can be averted with timely medical care within the first one hour. This translates to 70,000 lives that could be saved.
  • India reports on an average 15 deaths per hour due to road accidents. The major impediment for bystanders in helping accident victims is harassment by police and other complex judicial processes.
  • a World Health Organisation report claims that “skilled and empowered bystanders play a crucial role in saving lives” and “in order to enable bystanders to come forward and help injured persons, a supportive legal and ethical environment is needed”

In 2016, in a landmark judgement in the case of SaveLIFE Foundation versus Union of India, the Supreme Court instituted a Good Samaritan Law to insulate such persons from legal and procedural hassles that have traditionally followed the act of helping an injured person.

Importance of the guidelines approved by Supreme Court:

  • The decision of the Supreme Court granting legal teeth to the guidelines assumes significance because the Centre has always claimed that it has found it difficult to enforce guidelines in the absence of any statutory backing.
  • With the court order, the guidelines and standard operating procedures have become binding in all states and union territories.
  • The guidelines are an interim measure to deal with the issue till the Centre enacts appropriate legislation –but are also a crucial step in that direction.

Despite enactment of Good Samaritan law people are reluctant to help accident victims because-

  • Crowd discourages individual to take any initiative or lone action. The pressure to behave like everybody else greatly increases when someone stands in a mass. So it is natural for people standing in a crowd to simply stare rather than to do something.
  • The fear of getting into legal entangles, police investigation and long drawn judicial procedure still runs through the minds of bystanders.
  • Most of the people are still unaware of such Good Samaritan guidelines given by Supreme Court. Most of the states are yet to make laws in the same. For Example: 84% of the people recently surveyed by SaveLIFE Foundation across 11 cities in India were unaware of the Good Samaritan Law.
  • Police are failing to create confidence into the minds of people that they would receive the good treatment for such noble act of helping. During investigating sessions, the person who is not the perpetrator of a crime but merely a helper of the victim is subjected to the same routine ruthlessness that the perpetrator might deserve.
  • Law keepers and public servants are unaware of the SC guidelines. The study also revealed that most of the health professionals and police personnel interviewed had not received any priming on implementing the Good Samaritan Law.
  • Mobiles are playing a role of spoilers as there is increasing tendency of taking photos and shooting the accident scene.
  • None of the hospitals and police stations surveyed had displayed a charter of rights for Good Samaritans, as mandated by the Supreme Court judgement.

Evidently, a massive gap exists between the law and its on-ground implementation.

Way Forward:

  • State governments must actively translate the judgement into state-specific Good Samaritan laws.
  • Establish implementation mechanisms for the law.
  • Effective grievance redressal systems.
  • Reward and recognition schemes for Good Samaritans.
  • Provision for Good Samaritans as in the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.
  • There is urgent need of reforming police behaviour and methods of investigation towards good Samaritans. Police particularly working on ground level must be sensitized towards citizen’s concerns that deter them from offering help.
  • Thumb rule to protect those who come forward to help accident victims from civil or criminal liability. It will be optional for them to disclose their identity to the police or medical personnel.

Conclusion:

These are still early days in the history of the Good Samaritan law. It will take a long time for people to feel secure under its provisions. The will of the society to bring positive change would save many premature deaths.

Note: Karnataka came up with India’s first Good Samaritan law. According to the new law, the Karnataka government will extend financial assistance to good samaritans who help accident victims, they will not have to make repeated attendances in courts and police stations. Further, in case of mandatory attendance at courts and police stations, a Good Samaritan Fund will be created which will take care of all expenses.

                The new legislation stipulates that after the victim has been admitted to the hospital, the good samaritan can leave immediately and all government as well as private hospitals are bound to give first aid the accident victims.

 

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

4. Highlight and explain the key challenges for global recovery from the pandemic and the importance of a proactive response from the developed countries. (250 words)

Reference: Business standard 

Why the question:

The question is premised on the article – Avoiding a K-shaped global recovery.

Key Demand of the question:

Highlighting key challenges for global recovery from the pandemic and the importance of a proactive response from the developed countries.

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:

Briefly present the context of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Challenges in recovery from COVID-19 pandemic –

  • Global character and the continuing crisis in many developing countries: Report by Institute for New Economic Thinking’s (INET) Commission on Global Economic Transformation cited that achieving a rapid global recovery requires all countries to be able to declare independence from the virus.
  • Threat of mutation: Will put everyone at risk as long as the virus continues to flourish anywhere.
  • Supply constraints due to poorly designed international intellectual-property regime:
  • IP reform, in general, is long overdue, vested interest corporate lobbies and myopic governments in developed countries holding back reforms.
  • Rise of “Pandemic nationalism”: Exposed deficiencies in global trade, investment, and IP regimes.
  • Inequality: Based on World Bank data, US spending have been some 8,000 times higher than that of least-developed countries.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

COVID-19 is a global challenge that demands researchers, policy makers, and governments address multiple dimensions which go far beyond the implications of this pandemic for health and wellbeing. Just as the UN Sustainable Development Goals call for focus on the connections between development policy sectors, the pandemic has exposed the complex global interdependencies that underpin economies and highlighted fault lines in societal structures that perpetuate ethnic, economic, social, and gender inequalities.

A report for the Institute for New Economic Thinking’s (INET) Commission on Global Economic Transformation, achieving a rapid global recovery requires that all countries be able to declare independence from the virus.

Body:

key challenges for global recovery from the pandemic:

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world is facing since World War-II and is an important turning point in the history of humanity, as told by Indian PM in G20 summit.

  • Food insecurity:
    • In 2018, 820 million people worldwide were experiencing chronic hunger; by 2019, those living with acute, crisis-level food insecurity had increased from 113 million to 135 million.
    • COVID-19 could almost double this number to 265 million by the end of 2020.
    • Without international collaboration, protectionist measures by national governments and disrupted supply chains could cause food shortages, increasing food prices worldwide.
  • Higher frequency of disasters:
    • agricultural and natural disasters such as extreme weather events (requiring years of recovery), plagues of locusts, and armyworms sweeping across continents are hurting food production and creating further stress on local, national, and regional food systems across the world.
    • Antimicrobial resistance could increase following extensive antibiotic use for patients with COVID-19 and interrupted treatment of existing conditions.
  • Education crisis:
    • Most governments around the world have temporarily shut schools in an effort to enforce social distancing and slow viral transmission.
    • The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) estimates that 60% of the world’s student population has been affected, with 1·19 billion learners out of school across 150 countries.
    • Loss of access to education not only diminishes learning in the short term but also increases long-term dropout rates and reduces future socioeconomic opportunities.
  • Human Rights Violation:
    • Even without a pandemic, conflict is often the ultimate social determinant of health, producing a wide variety of health challenges ranging from constraints on health systems to difficulties in delivering and accessing health services.
    • COVID-19 amplifies governments’ potential to exercise unlimited executive powers that might exacerbate conflicts and have a devastating impact on conflict-affected populations.
    • The UN Security Council’s call for a global ceasefire to allow access to vulnerable populations for prevention of and response to COVID-19 has not been heeded, and there is increasing exchange of artillery and shelling across some of the oldest conflict fault lines.
    • International agreements, treaties, and peace agreements have been disregarded as the world focuses on COVID-19.
  • Mobility issues of Displaced persons:
    • Restrictions on mobility could have devastating effects on the world’s 79·5 million displaced persons, many of whom live in crowded conditions with limited access to employment or services.
    • COVID-19 might be the first major challenge to the Global Compact on Refugees and the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, both of which promise a “whole of society approach”.
  • Child and women health:
    • adverse effects are likely to include rising childhood malnutrition and potentially rickets and, in the longer term, increased incidence of chronic conditions due to reductions in physical activity and income.

Importance of a proactive response from the developed countries:

  • Agile and urgent responses to specific needs arising from the complex emergency of the current pandemic are clearly crucial.
  • Mitigation measures that are affordable and appropriate for diverse resource-poor environments are urgently required.
  • Beyond unleashing their fiscal firepower, developed countries would help themselves and the global recovery by pursuing three policies.
  • First, they should push for a large issuance of special drawing rights (SDRs), the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF’s) global reserve asset.
  • As matters stand, the IMF could immediately issue about $650 billion in SDRs without seeking approval from member-state legislatures.
  • And the expansionary effect could be boosted significantly if rich countries were to transfer their disproportionately larger allocations to countries in need of cash.
  • The second set of actions also involves the IMF, owing to its large role in shaping macroeconomic policies in the developing world, particularly in countries that have turned to it for help with balance-of-payments problems.
  • In an encouraging sign, the IMF has actively supported the pursuit of massive, prolonged fiscal packages by the US and the European Union, and has even recognised the need for enhanced public spending in developing countries, despite the adverse external conditions.
  • Lastly, developed countries could orchestrate a comprehensive response to the overwhelming debt problems many countries are facing.
  • Money spent servicing debt is money that is not helping countries fight the virus and restart their economies.
  • The responses of education systems to COVID-19 need to be particularly cognisant of cultural and contextual factors, including gendered, socioeconomic, and geographical differences, in order to ensure that they do not exacerbate inequalities.
  • Political leaders in the developed world must recognise that no one is safe until everyone is safe, and that a healthy global economy is not possible without a strong recovery everywhere.

Way forward:

  • Developing a new global index for the post-corona world that comprises four key elements –
    • creation of a vast talent pool
    • ensuring that technology reaches all segments of society
    • transparency in systems of governance
    • dealing with Mother Earth with a spirit of trusteeship.
  • The need of the hour is to identify transformative opportunities, such as the impetus provided by temporary shifts in working practices and transport patterns for longer-term changes to mitigate future crises of planetary health and personal wellbeing.
  • The pandemic has offered us a collective glimpse of alternative possible futures and opportunities.
  • Tackling the persistent root causes of risk that are reproduced through inequitable development processes and persistent poverty will allow the Sustainable Development Goal of equitable and sustainable development to be realised for all.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Five-year Plans: Priorities and Performance, Issues related to planning

5.  Besides the achievements, there are many unfulfilled tasks which the planning in India is yet to achieve completely. Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian economy by Dutta and Sundaram

 

Why the question:

The question is based on the context of Indian planning system.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to examine the unfulfilled tasks of planning and thus the way forward to achieve 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 with few lines on the concept of planning in India.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Briefly discuss the achievements of planning in India.

Then move on to discuss the drawbacks or failures of planning, Failure to Remove Poverty and Inequality completely, Problem of Unemployment Persists, Failure to Curtail Corruption and Black Money etc.

Discuss the current status of planning in India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The term economic planning is used to describe the long term plans of the government of India to develop and coordinate the economy with efficient utilization of resources. Economic planning in India started after independence in the year 1950 when it was deemed necessary for economic growth and development of the nation.

Body:

About 5 year plans:

  • After independence, India launched a programme of Five Year Plans to make the optimum use of country’s available resources and to achieve rapid economic Development
  • In India, development plans were formulated and carried out within the framework of the mixed Economy
  • In India, economic planning was adopted in the form of Five Year Plans and was seen as a development tool on account of various reasons.
  • The need for social justice as experience of the past five and-a- half decades suggests that in a free enterprise economy, economic gains do not necessarily trickle down and
  • Judicious mobilisation and allocation of resources in the context of overall development programme in the light of the resource constraint in India
  • So far, 12th Five Year Plans have been formulated since the year 12th Five-year Plan (2012- 2017), came into force once it was approved by the NDC on 27th December, 2012.

Achievements of 5 year plans:

  • Economic Growth:
  • Economic planning in India has been successful in increasing the national income and the per capita income of the country resulting in economic growth. The net national income at factor cost increased from Rs. 4393.45 billion in 1966- 67 to Rs.45, 733 billion in 2011-12 (at 2004-05 prices). The per capita income increased from Rs.8876 to Rs.38, 048 during the same period (at 2004-05 prices).
  • The average growth rate has increased from 3.5 percent during 1950 to 1970 to about 5.5 percent after 1990’s. The economy recorded a growth rate of 7.8 percent during the eleventh five- year plan.
  • Progress in Agriculture:
  • The first five-year plan focused on agricultural development. However, agricultural sector did not receive priority in the subsequent plans. Yet, with various initiatives implemented in the agricultural sector such as the green revolution and agricultural pricing policies, there has been a considerable increase in the output of the agricultural sector.
  • The index of agricultural production increased from 85.9 in 1970-71 to 165.7 in 1999-2000 (Base year- 1981-82). The production of major food grains which includes rice, wheat, coarse cereals and pulses has increased from 77.14 million tons in 1958-59 to 252.22 tons in 2015-16. With the introduction of green revolution, the yield per hectare of food grains has increased from 662 kg in 1959-60 to 2056 kg in 2015-16.
  • Similarly, the production of commercial crops has also recorded an increasing trend. Various reforms in the agricultural sector such as the Rashtriya Krishi Bima Yojana and Kisan credit cards during the ninth plan and National Food Security Mission and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana during the eleventh plan have been quite successful in improving the performance of the agricultural sector.
  • Industrial Growth:
  • Economic planning has also contributed to the progress of the industrial sector. The index of industrial production increased from 54.8 in 1950-51 to 152.0 in 1965-66 (Base year- 1960-61) which is about 176 percent increase in production during the first three five-year plans.
  • It went up from 109.3 in 1981-82 to 232.0 in 1993-94 (Base year- 1980-81). Taking 2004-05 as the base year, the index of industrial production recorded an increase from 108.6 in 2005-06 to 181.1 in 2015-16. The introduction of reforms in 1991 relieved the industrial sector from numerous bureaucratic restrictions that were prevalent earlier.
  • This has led to the rapid growth of the industrial sector in India. India has made remarkable progress in cotton textiles, paper, medicines, food processing, consumer goods, light engineering goods etc.
  • Public Sector:
  • The public sector played a predominant role in the economy immediately after the independence. While there were only 5 industrial public sector enterprises in 1951, the number increased to 244 in 1990 with an investment of Rs.99, 330 cores. However, the number of public sector enterprises fell to 217 in March 2010.
  • Very high profits were recorded by petroleum, telecommunication services, power generation, coal and lignite, financial services, transport services and minerals and metal industries. The government has eliminated a number of restrictions on the operational and financial powers of the Navaratnas, Miniratnas and several other profit making public sector enterprises.
  • Infrastructure:
  • Development of infrastructure such as transport and communication, power, irrigation etc., is a pre-requisite to rapid economic growth and development. Expansion of transport facilities enables easy movement of goods and services and also enlarges the market. Irrigation projects contribute significantly to rural development.
  • Power projects help in meeting the growing demand for power by both industrial and household sector. The total road length increased from about 400,000 km in 1951 to about 4.7 million km in 2011.
  • The route length of the Indian railway network has increased from about 53,596 km in 1951 to about 64,450 km in 2011. The investment in infrastructure as a percentage of GDP was about 5.9 percent during the tenth plan and increased to about 7.2 percent during the eleventh plan.
  • Education and Health Care:
  • Education and health care are considered as human capital as they contribute to increased productivity of human beings. Considerable progress was achieved in the education as well as health sector during the five-year plans. The number of universities increased from about 22 in 1950-51 to 254 in 2000-01.
  • The number of institutions in higher education has increased to over 100 percent since 2008. With the growth in the number of institutions, the literacy rate in India has increased from 16.7 percent in 1950-51 to 74.04 percent in 2011. With improvements in the health infrastructure, India has been able to successfully control a number of life threatening diseases such as small pox, cholera, polio, TB etc.
  • As a result, there has been a fall in the death rate from 27.4 per thousand persons in 1950-51 to 7.3 per thousand persons in 2016. The life expectancy has increased from about 32.1 years in 1951 to 68.01 years in 2014. The infant mortality rate has declined from 149 per thousand in 1966 to 37.42 per thousand in 2015.
  • Growth of Service Sector:
  • Service sector is the key contributor to the economic growth of India. The service sector contributed to about 53.2 percent of the gross value added growth in 2015-16. The contribution of the IT sector to India’s GDP increased from about 1.2 percent in 1998 to 9.5 percent in 2015. The service sector has recorded a growth rate of about 138.5 percent in the last decade.
  • Financial services, insurance, real estate and business services are some of the leading services that have been recording a robust growth in the past few years. The rapid growth of the service sector in India could be attributed to the inflow of huge amount of FDI in this sector. India’s share of service exports in the world service exports has increased from 0.6 percent in 1990 to 3.3 percent in 2011.
  • Savings and Investment:
  • Savings and Investments are major driving forces of economic growth. The gross domestic savings in India as a proportion of GDP has increased from 8.6 percent in 1950-51 to about 30 percent in 2012-13. The gross capital formation has increased from 8.4 percent in 1950-51 to 34.70 in 2012-13. Capital accumulation is the key to economic development. It helps in achieving rapid economic growth and has the ability to break the vicious circle of poverty.
  • Science and Technology:
  • India is the third most preferred destination for technology investments. It is among the top most countries in scientific research and space exploration. India is also making rapid progress in nuclear technology. ISRO has made a record of launching 104 satellites in one go on a single rocket. India today has the third largest scientific manpower after U.S.A and Russia.
  • The government has undertaken various measures such as setting up of new institutions for science education and research, launching the technology and innovation policy in 2013, strengthening the infrastructure for research and development in universities, and encouraging public- private partnership etc.
  • Foreign Trade:
  • On the eve of independence, India’s primary exports were agricultural commodities and UK and US were its major trading partners. India was largely dependent on other countries for various capital and consumer goods. However, with the development of heavy industries during the five-year plans, India has been able to reduce its dependence on other countries and was able to achieve self-reliance in a number of commodities.
  • With the liberalisation of trade, India now exports about 7500 commodities to about 190 countries and it imports about 6000 commodities from about 140 countries. The exports of the country increased from Rs. 54.08 billion in 1977- 78 to Rs. 17,144.24 billion in 2015-16. And imports have increased from Rs. 60.20 billion in 1977-78 to Rs. 24, 859.27 billion in 2015-16.

 Major Failures of Planning:

  • Slow Growth:
  • The planning process in India has been able to achieve considerable increase in the national income and per capita income. Yet, the rate of increase has been slow as compared to developing countries like China, which have been able to achieve more than 10 percent growth rate consistently. India was able to achieve a growth rate of only about 4 to 5 percent during the pre-reform period. It was only during the post reform period that is after 1991, that the country could experience a growth rate of over 7 percent.
  • Neglect of Agriculture:
  • The five year plans failed to pay attention to the agricultural sector except for the first five-year plan. As a result, the agricultural growth rate declined from 3.62 percent in 1991-92 to 0.81 percent during 2009-10. And the share of agriculture in GDP declined from about 50 percent during 1950-51 to about 16 percent of the GDP in 2015.
  • Unemployment:
  • The plans have failed to address the problem of unemployment which is a cause of many social evils. The unemployment rate has marginally reduced from 8.35 percent during 1972-73 to about 6.53 percent in 2009-10. It was about 4.19 percent in 2013. The growth rate of employment has recorded a decline from 2.61 percent in 1972-73 to 1.50 percent during 2009-10. The employment in primary sector recorded a negative growth rate of 0.13 percent in 2009-10.
  • Widespread Poverty:
  • Failure to address the problem of unemployment has resulted in widespread poverty in the country. The first four plans failed to address the problem of poverty. It was only during the fifth five-year plan that measures were taken to tackle poverty directly by introducing various poverty alleviation programmes. These programmes, however, have achieved only limited success. The poverty rate in India declined from about 26.1 percent in 2000 to 21.9 percent in 2011.
  • Inflation:
  • Poverty is aggravated under the situation of inflation. The five-year plans have not been able to stabilise the prices due to which there has been a steep rise in the general prices. The inflation rate was around 10 percent in 2012.
  • Rising Inequality:
  • With rapid economic growth, the country has been witnessing a rise in the level of inequality. It has been estimated that the richest 1 percent own about 58 percent of the country’s wealth. Poor performance of the agricultural sector and lack of investments in rural infrastructure are cited as the primary reason for such rising inequalities.
  • Political Instability:
  • Political instability and inefficient administration are the major hurdles in successful implementation of the plans. Though the plans are formulated after complete analysis of the economic situation, most of the plans fail to achieve the targets due to inefficient administration, corruption, vested interests and red tapism.

Conclusion:

The achievements and failures of the economic planning in India, thus, reveal the underlying gaps in the process of planning. It is an undeniable fact that the current level of growth and development that the country has achieved could not have been possible without planning. Yet, systematic and efficient implementation of the plans and strategic policies to tackle the problem of unemployment and poverty could take the country to greater heights. It is strongly believed that the NITI Aayog would address these gaps that existed in the planning process in India and would strive to build a vibrant economy over the years.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: case study – Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

6. You are a senior level officer in the government responsible for utilisation of a corpus of Rs. 800 crore fund for some welfare activities. You have been told by a minister of the state to divert the fund for flood relief in the state. Although you have power to do so but any diversion of the fund needs proper justification in the annual financial report and if found any lacuna then it can be the case of financial impropriety. Will you divert the fund? Explain and give your view. (250 words)

 

Why the question:

The question is a case study involving ethical factors and dilemma.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the nuances of the case in detail and present your viewpoint with suitable ethically sound justifications.

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 identification of the ethical concerns in the case study.

Body:

The case study involves the following ethical dimensions – probity in governance, prudent utilisation of public funds, civil services- politician relations and integrity.

Then present your viewpoint in detail with sufficient reasoning such as –

There should not be complete denial or Officer should first look into Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) or whether legally possible to divert with the permission of higher authority or other ways Or Diversion if permissible then set a mechanism for proper utilisation of fund etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by explaining why effective utilization of public funds is crucial.

Introduction:

Financial propriety is a test of integrity and probity in governance. As civil servants have greater discretion in allocation of resources, it must be ensured that such a responsibility is executed in a prudent manner. Ultimately civil servants implement the welfare schemes along with fund management earmarked for the same. Hence there cannot be any scope for mismanagement of such funds.

Body:

Misutilisation, underutilisation and misappropriation are major problems that lead to public fund wastage. This can lead to a failure of social cause for which public fund was issued. Therefore, as a civil servant, the foremost responsibility is to use these funds judiciously for the greater good and welfare of the people.

Stakeholders:

  • Myself as a senior level officer
  • Minister of the State
  • People who are dependent on government welfare expenditure
  • Flood victims

Ethical issues involved:

  • Probity in governance
  • Dilemma in adhering to directions from higher authority
  • Possibility of indictment for financial impropriety

Course of action:

This case involves, taking a decision to divert a fund earmarked for welfare activities to flood relief. As the order has come from the minister himself, it cannot be ignored. Moreover, immediate attention also needs to be given for flood relief, as it is an unexpected disaster causing lot of human misery and displacement of people.

As the funds are earmarked for welfare activities, flood relief can also come under such activity. I would explore the option of diverting the funds under the framework of existing rules. Firstly, I would form a committee of senior officers to ensure that the standard operating procedure in such situations are adhered to.

With the advice of the committee, I would keep aside maximum possible amount from the corpus of 800 crores for flood relief and ensure it is used judiciously for the purpose. As the decision of using the fund for flood relief would be endorsed from the committee of senior officers after due consideration, it would suffice for the right justification in the annual financial report.

Moreover, flood relief also falls under welfare activity under public emergency. Thus, probity would also be upheld in administration.

Conclusion:

Effective utilisation of public funds is crucial to meet development goals. It is here that civil servants must ensure there no under-utilisation or misappropriation of these funds. Efficient utilisation of funds is necessary for socio-economic upliftment of people and increase the quality of human capital in the country.

 

Topic: Public/Civil service values and Ethics in Public administration: Status and problems; ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions; laws, rules, regulations and conscience as sources of ethical guidance; accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance; ethical issues in international relations and funding; corporate governance.

7.  Should civil servants be concerned about the decisions of the government even if they are not directly linked to them and raise their voice if they are not in the letter and spirit of the constitution? Discuss. (250 words)

Reference: darpg.gov.in

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of decision making involved in civil services.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain with relevant example the importance of decision making to civil services and in what way decision of the government can have an impact on them.

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:

Introduction can give the context about recent resignations by civil servants after abrogation of Article 370.

Body:

Explain why civil servants should be concerned and raise their voice. Civil services are implementation arm of the government while political executives  (government) takes the decisions. When Max Weber gave his model of bureaucracy, he put principle of neutrality as most important value of civil services. According to him, civil servants should not be concerned about decisions of the government.

However, role of civil servants have gone through sea change over the period of time. They need to uphold public interest and should be committed to the constitution. Therefore, when they come across such decision taken by government, which is against spirit of constitution, they should raise their voice.

Conclusion:

There are many platforms and channels through which civil servants can raise their voices and dissent their concerns with the permission of superiors such as newspaper articles and debates. However, they should not resort to resign from the position to just express their dissent.

Introduction:

It is true that civil servants are executives who are responsible in implementing the decisions of an elected government. But there should not be a blanket ban on dissenting opinions in case of gross violation of Constitutional morality in the directives passed by the popular government. In recent times, many young officers have resigned as a mark of protest against government legislations and laws that are construed as going against the spirit of Constitution.

Body:

Public officials are not servants of their administrative superiors, or of elected representatives, or even of the government that employs them. They are servants firstly of the people, especially of the disadvantaged and oppressed and of the Constitution. In the service of these masters, they would do well to heed Gandhi, who declared that he recognised only one dictator, and that was the still feeble inner voice of his conscience. If the voice of their conscience so compels civil servants, their highest duty indeed is to dissent.

Not all statutes or government policies are just and conforming to the interests of disadvantaged citizens. For instance, orders such as those that vest security forces with special powers in troubled regions, laws that enabled acquisition of land on highly inequitable terms, laws that criminalise beggary and destitution, and policies to demolish urban slums, to name only a few are unjust on the face of it.

Does the civil servant have the right to dissent and refuse to implement such laws and policies if these contravene his or her conscience? The civil servant does not surrender this inalienable right to individual conscience even after joining public service in a democracy, precisely because it is a democracy; and a civil servant does not cease to be a sovereign citizen even while accepting the responsibility of becoming the instrument to implement the will of the sovereign collective of people, as reflected in the will of their public representatives.

Conclusion:

The Constitution sets the non-negotiable limits of dissent of public servants. It defines for those to who accrue the powers of the state the frontiers of conscience and discretion. Civil servants must obey faithfully, defend and uphold the Constitution and all it stands for. But in the commodious spaces within the four walls of the Constitution, the civil servant retains the rights of conscience and dissent, of course against illegal orders, but even against lawful orders, policies and programmes that the civil servant believes to be unjust to the true masters – the people of this land.


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