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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 April 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: Social empowerment

1. Changing the perception of people towards the community by aiding society in erasing its biases and accept transgender people as equal human beings is the best way forward to address gender equality. Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains the induction of 13 members of the community into the Chhattisgarh police is an encouraging feat.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what way changing the perception of people towards the community by aiding society in erasing its biases and accept transgender people as equal human beings is the best way forward to address gender equality.

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 a brief background of the position of Transgenders in Indian society.

Body:

One can quote the example and explain that the selection despite the lack of reservation for the transgender community highlights the physical and mental competence of the candidates and will help shed the stigma of identity, disability, criminality, or untouchability.

This will certainly help in changing the perception of people towards the community by aiding society in erasing its biases and accept transgender people as equal human beings.

Discuss the importance of changing the perception of people towards the community by aiding society in erasing its biases and accept transgender people as equal human beings.

Conclusion:

Conclude with solutions and methods to encourage such change in our society.

Introduction

Recently 13 members of the transgender community have been selected as constables under the Chhattisgarh police. This is truly historic and thrilling for a community that had no legal recognition till the Supreme Court in NALSA vs. Union of India (2014) ruled that transgender persons have the right to decide their self-identified gender.

Body

Problems faced by transgender community in India

  • Discrimination: Transgender population remains one of the most marginalized groups. Sexuality or gender identity often makes transgender a victim of stigmatization and exclusion by the society
  • Ostracization: Transgender individuals are often ostracized by society and sometimes, even their own families view them as burdens and exclude them.
  • Poverty: In many cases, this lack of legal protection translates into unemployment for transgender people
  • Education: Transgender people are unable to access equal educational opportunities because of harassment, discrimination and even violence. Most transgender children are forced to drop out of schools as Indian schools remain unequipped to handle children with alternative sexual identities
  • Health: Transgenders frequently experience discrimination when accessing health care, from disrespect and harassment to violence and outright denial of service. The community remains highly vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV AIDS. According to a recent UNAIDS report, the HIV prevalence among transgenders in India is 3.1% (2017).
  • Mental health issues include depression and suicidal tendencies, and violence-related stress
  • Employment: They are economically marginalised and forced into professions like prostitution and begging for livelihood or resorting to exploitative entertainment industry.
  • Access to Public spaces and shelter: Transgenders face direct discrimination and denial while accessing houses or apartments. Further, they also face problems due to lack of provision of gender neutral/separate transgender toilets and discrimination in accessing public toilets
  • Civil Status: Possessing accurate and consistent identification documents has always been challenging for the transgender community.
  • Gender-based violence: Transgenders are often subjected to sexual abuse, rape and exploitation.

Need for changing perception pf people towards transgender community

  • A multi-prolonged approach with focus on public awareness campaigns is needed to eliminate the social stigma associated with the transgender community.
  • Large scale sensitization needs to happen starting from the school level to accept the transgender community integral component of societal life.
  • Transgenders’ induction into the police force is a vital message to people that they are as physically and mentally competent as others.
  • This is more significant in the backdrop of the fact that there was no reservation for the transgender community as a separate category.
  • This may, hence, help in changing the perception of people who think of them as a fearful entity with a stigma of identity, disability, criminality, or untouchability. Earlier, a few transgenders were inducted into the Tamil Nadu police too.
  • Legal and the law enforcement systems need to be empowered and sensitized on the issues of Transgender community.
  • Stringent criminal and disciplinary action must be taken against the people who commits violence against Transgender.
  • The establishment of National Council for Transgender Persons which seeks to increase awareness and inculcate sense of respect and acceptance for transgender community, is a welcome step.
  • Transgender Persons Act, 2019: The Act states that a transgender person shall have the right to self-perceived gender identity. The Act prohibits discrimination against a transgender person in various sectors such as education, employment, and healthcare etc. It will give much needed legal protection to the transgenders.

Conclusion

The law for protection of transgenders must be implemented in letter and spirit to fulfil its objective. At the same time, society needs to erase its biases and accept transgender people as equal human beings with humility.

 

Topic: Social empowerment

2. India’s poor performance on the Global Gender Gap report card hints at a serious wake-up call and learning lessons from the Nordic region for the government and policymakers. Analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Financial Express

Why the question:

The article explains the findings of the global gender gap report.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the learning lessons from the Nordic region for the government and policymakers of our country to address the gender gap.

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:

India has slid 28 spots to rank at 140 among 156 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index.

Body:

Explain the status of women in our society; Gender equality at the workplace has remained elusive. Early projections from the ILO suggest that 5% of all employed women lost their jobs, compared with 3.9% of employed men. Women represent just 27% of all manager positions. The share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2%. Indeed, the estimated earned income of women in India was one-fifth of men’s earning.

Amidst such statistics, the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland) have long been rewriting gender parity norms as they have taken root at the top of the global rankings. They explicitly support gender equality at work, at home, and in public. It’s time for India to learn from Nordic countries’ forward-looking initiatives leading to a developed welfare state.

Suggest what policy makers and government should do to address these challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

India has slid 28 spots to rank at 140 among 156 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap index. The pandemic causing a disproportionate impact on women jeopardises rolling back the little progress made in the last decades—forcing more women to drop off the workforce and leaving them vulnerable to domestic violence.

Body

India’s performance in bridging Gender Gap

  • Despite women having been at the front line as essential workers, the pandemic has added extra 36 years to realise gender parity.
  • The gender gap in political empowerment is the widest with only 22% closed to date, where India has shrunk 13.5% points.
  • The economic participation and opportunity sub-index has also decreased, albeit to a lesser extent, as the gap widened by 3%. India ranks among the bottom five countries in the health and survival sub-index, closing 93.7% to date.
  • Gender equality at the workplace has remained elusive. Early projections from the ILO suggest that 5% of all employed women lost their jobs, compared with 3.9% of employed men.
  • Women represent just 27% of all manager positions. The share of women in professional and technical roles declined further to 29.2%.
  • Indeed, the estimated earned income of women in India was one-fifth of men’s earning.
  • Women are victims of violence with the crime rate being at 53.9%.
  • The ‘shadow pandemic’ of exploitation and abuse, including domestic and intimate partner violence, should be a jarring wake-up alarm.
  • The female gender will be likely to suffer the adverse socio-economic impact as they carry responsibility for unpaid dependent care.

Lessons to inculcate for India

Amidst such statistics, the Nordic countries (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland) have long been rewriting gender parity norms as they have taken root at the top of the global rankings.

  • Iceland: The island nation has a culture of political empowerment, and 39.7% of parliamentarians and 40% of ministers are women. It also became the first country in the world to make the gender pay gap illegal, together with the highest proportion of GDP expanded on childcare.
  • Finland: It has closed 86.1% of gender gap. With further improvement on the economic participation and opportunity sub-index, India should learn to actively include women’s participation in the labour force.
  • Norway: Gender quotas legislate for a 40% female presence in the country’s Parliament and on business boards, resulting in a strong female presence.
  • Sweden: Sweden remains one of the countries offering the most gender-equal conditions for childcare: 78% of annual gross wages are covered during maternity leave with public spending on childcare being 1.6% of GDP

Need of the hour

  • Behavioral Nudge: For instance, by using taxes to incentivize fairly sharing child-care responsibilities, or by encouraging women and girls to enter traditionally male-dominated sectors such as the armed forces and information technology. Eg Supreme Court in India declared that women could now hold commanding positions in Army.
    • Paternity leaves for men, to share the responsibility of child rearing.
    • Incentivizing companies to employ women, and reach 50% target.
  • Gender Justice at Work
    • Bridging the wage gap for equal work.
    • Making work places safer through strong laws. India has enacted Sexual Harassment at workplaces act.
    • Promote diversity and anti-bias courses for all employees.
    • Comprehensive leadership training for women to excel in their fields.
  • Gender sensitization: Breaking the social barriers by gender sensitization and education at families, schools and workplaces. Eg : In the NCERT Books, gender roles, bias and prejudice inducing writings were removed.
  • Social security and financial literacy: Formalization of jobs should be pushed to avail benefits to many women. Until then, social security benefits should be provided to women in unorganized sector. Eg : Self Help Group-Bank Linkage Programme in India
    • Embedding financial literacy in programmes where women have significant representation could be a good starting point.
  • Strong laws and policies wrt equal pay for equal work, maternity benefits are needed to promote women’s representation in economy.
  • Political Representation: India has provided 33% reservation for women in the Panchayats and Local Bodies. Capacity Building and training can increase their capabilities further.

Way forward

  • Learning from the Nordic region, noteworthy participation of women in politics, institutions and public life is the catalyst for transformational change.
  • Women need to be equal participants in the labour force to pioneer the societal changes the world needs in this integral period of transition.
  • Every effort must be directed towards achieving gender parallelism by facilitating women in leadership and decision-making positions.
  • Social protection programmes should be gender-responsive and account for the differential needs of women and girls.
  • Research and scientific literature also provide unequivocal evidence that countries led by women are dealing with the pandemic more effectively than many others.

Conclusion

Gender equality is a human right which entitles all persons irrespective of their gender to live with dignity and with freedom. 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.

 


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. A just outcome of a legal process is far more important than expeditious disposal, In this context critically analyse the issues associated with Lok Adalats in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article provides for a brief analysis of the Lok Adalats in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to analyse the statement in detail and critically analyse the issues associated with Lok Adalats in India.

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 brief background of Indian judiciary in the context of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Present first a picture of endemic delays and excessive backlogs in Indian judiciary.

Discuss the associated issues in detail – fall in the efficiency of National Lok Adalat: Due to discontinuation of organizing NLAs on specific to subject matter (since 2017), Limitations of e-Lok Adalats, Questions over the quality of justice delivery, Money power domination etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a just outcome of a legal process is far more important than expeditious disposal.

Introduction

Justice delayed is justice denied. Access to justice for the poor is a constitutional mandate to ensure fair treatment under our legal system. Judicial delays and complex procedure have made justice elusive for the poor. For this reason, Lok Adalats were established for speedy disposal of cases. However, their performance needs to be evaluated.

Body

Problems of delay in Judiciary

  • The Indian judicial system is often lambasted, perhaps justifiably, for its endemic delays and excessive backlogs.
  • As per the National Judicial Data Grid, 16.9% of all cases in district and taluka courts are three to five years old; for High Courts, 20.4% of all cases are five to 10 years old, and over 17% are 10-20 years old.
  • Furthermore, over 66,000 cases are pending before the Supreme Court, over 57 lakh cases before various HCs, and over 3 crore cases are pending before various district and subordinate courts.
  • Justice V.V.S. Rao, former judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, calculated a few years ago that it will take around 320 years to clear the existing backlog of cases.

Lok Adalat and its performance in India

Lok Adalat (People’s Court) is one of the alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, where the cases or disputes which are pending in a court or which are at pre-litigation stage are settled in an amicable manner. It is a statutory body under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. This system is based on Gandhian principles.

  • As per data from NALSA, subject matter-specific NLAs were organised in 2015 and 2016 on a monthly basis. Therefore, each NLA dealt with a specific type of dispute on a single day, each month.
  • However, from 2017, this practice was discontinued. Thereafter, each NLA has been handling all types of cases on a single day.
  • This was done to reduce the costs of organising the NLAs, and more importantly, to allow parties more negotiation time.
  • But this, in turn, led to a significant drop in the number of cases settled. In 2015 and 2016, ten NLAs were held each year that disposed of 1,83,09,401 and 1,04,98,453 cases respectively.
  • In 2017 and 2018, the number of NLAs dropped to five, with 54,05,867 and 58,79,691 cases settled respectively. In 2019, four NLAs were organised, and they disposed of 52,93,273 cases.
  • The first national e-Lok Adalat was conducted both physically and virtually using videoconferencing tools, and it disposed of 10,42,816 cases.
  • But this was less than the average of settled cases in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This suggests that the performance of the NeLA was less efficient than physical National Lok Adalats organised in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Measures to make Lok Adalats function as an effective dispute redressal mechanism

  • Though the execution of the legal aid programme has been yielding favorable results but much more is needed to be reformed
  • Using the various forms of ADRs like Arbitration, conciliation, Negotiation and Mediation in the settling of disputes especially those involving matrimonial problems can prove to be an effective legal aid tool providing quick and inexpensive justice to the masses.
  • Substantial allocation of financial resources should be made at Revised Estimate stage to make the functioning of NALSA more effective.
  • Free legal aid must not be read to imply poor or inferior legal services. The lawyers in the panel should be experienced. The law ministry should ensure the senior lawyers do at least ten cases a year free of charge in the Courts.
  • Efforts should be made to inform the public of the existence of these services by using electronic media and aggressive campaigns.
  • Awareness of schemes and programs to be able to guide the poor litigants in this regard

Conclusion

Lok Adalat has a positive contributory role in the administration of justice. It supplements the efforts and work of the courts. Area of contribution chosen for the purpose specially concerns and helps the common man, the poor, backward and the needy-most sections of the society. Lok Adalats play a very important role to advance and strengthen “equal access to justice”, the heart of the Constitution of India, a reality. This Indian contribution to world ADR jurisprudence needs to be taken full advantage of. Maximum number of Lok Adalats need to be organized to achieve the Gandhian Principle of Gram Swaraj and “access to justice for all”.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

4. What is the importance of coral reefs to the global environment and economy? Discuss in what way loss of corals can cause damage not only to climate but also to social, cultural and economic activities. (250 words)

Reference:  iucn.org

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of coral reefs.  

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the importance of coral reefs to the global environment and economy and explain in what way loss of corals can cause damage not only to climate but also to social, cultural and economic activities.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief introduction of what Coral reefs are.

Body:

Coral are made up of genetically identical organisms called polyps. These polyps have microscopic algae called zooxanthellae living within their tissues.

Discuss the benefits – Healthy coral reefs contribute to fishing and tourism, providing millions of jobs and contributing to economies all over the world. Scientists develop important drugs from coral reef organisms as treatments for cancer, arthritis, and viruses. But corals are threatened by pollution and climate change.

Explain in what way loss of corals can cause damage not only to climate but also to social, cultural and economic activities.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done.

Introduction

A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of colonies of coral polyps held together by calcium carbonate. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, whose polyps cluster in groups. Most reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny  water.

Body

Importance of Coral reef to the global environment and economy

  • Coral reefs harbour the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem globally. Despite covering less than 0.1% of the ocean floor, reefs host more than one quarter of all marine fish species, in addition to many other marine animals.
  • And the variety of species living on coral reefs is greater than almost anywhere else in the world. Scientists estimate that more than one million species of plants and animals are associated with coral reef ecosystems. Hence, they are also known as “rainforests of the ocean”.
  • Additionally, reefs provide a wide variety of ecosystem services such as subsistence food, protection from flooding and sustaining the fishing and tourism industries. Their disappearance will therefore have economic, social and health consequences
  • Coral reefs are also key indicators of global ecosystem health. They serve as an early warning sign of what may happen to other less sensitive systems, such as river deltas, if climate change is not urgently addressed.
  • Once the tipping point for the survival of coral reefs is passed, the deterioration of other systems may cascade more quickly and irreversibly.

Impact of coral loss to social, cultural and economic activities.

  • Coral reefs are estimated to directly support over 500 million people worldwide, who rely on them for daily subsistence, mostly in poor countries.
  • A 2014 assessment published in the journal Global Environmental Change estimated the social, cultural and economic value of coral reefs at US$1 trillion.
  • A 2015 study by WWF projects that the climate-related loss of reef ecosystem services will cost US$500 billion per year or more by 2100.
  • Coastal ecosystems provide important shoreline stabilization services. Coral reefs dissipate wave and storm energy and create lagoons and sedimentary environments favorable for the growth of mangroves and seagrasses.
  • Local economies also receive billions of dollars from visitors to reefs through diving tours, recreational fishing trips, hotels, restaurants, and other businesses based near reef ecosystems. These will be severely hit due to mass coral bleaching.

Need of the hour

  • Limiting global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, provides the only chance for the survival of coral reefs globally.
  • If the agreement is fully implemented, we will likely see a decrease in atmospheric carbon concentrations. This will improve conditions for the survival of reefs, and enable other measures to rescue reefs to be successful.
  • Other measures alone, such as addressing local pollution and destructive fishing practices, cannot save coral reefs without stabilised greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Reinforcing commitments to the Paris Agreement must be mirrored in all other global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • SDG 13, for instance, calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. There also needs to be a transformation of mainstream economic systems and a move towards circular economic practices.
  • These are highlighted in SDG 8 (inclusive and sustainable economic growth) and SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns).
  • Economic systems need to rapidly move to the low greenhouse gas emission scenario to enable global temperature decrease.
  • A move away from current economic thinking should include the benefits provided by coral reefs, which are currently not taken into account in mainstream business and finance.
  • Therefore, sustaining and restoring coral reefs should be treated as an asset, and long-term investments should be made for their preservation.
  • Investments should also include support for research at the frontiers of biology, such as genetic selection of heat-resistant corals that can withstand rising global temperatures.

Conclusion

Monitoring, research, and restoration all are essential to safeguard coral reefs. However, to ultimately protect coral reefs, legal mechanisms are necessary. Legal mechanism involves the establishment of marine protected areas (MPAs). Because MPAs have the added force of law behind them, a protected marine enclosure—such as a coral reef system—may stand a better chance for survival.

 

Topic: Linkages between development and spread of extremism.

5. The latest attacks by the Maoists in the Bastar region calls for a change in India’ anti-insurgency operations. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  tribuneindia.com

Why the question:

The latest ambush by Maoist rebels on a large contingent of security personnel in Bastar is yet another well-planned and ruthlessly executed attack in a long line of similar attacks in the Maoist-infested regions of central India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the need for a changed approach in India’ anti-insurgency operations.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the current status of insurgencies in the country, present statistics.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss first the need for urgently dealing with the Maoist insurgents.

Explain the challenges in countering Maoist insurgency.

Discuss the ways to deal with Maoist insurgency.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Government should get the forces to participate in and collectively address a problem (Maoist insurgency) that cannot have a knee-jerk approach.

Introduction

The latest ambush by Maoist rebels on a large contingent of security personnel in Bastar is yet another well-planned and ruthlessly executed attack in a long line of similar attacks in the Maoist-infested regions of central India. Nearly 22 jawans were martyred in the attack.

Body

Causes of left-wing extremism in India

  • Inequitable development: The failure of land reforms especially land redistribution after independence.
    • Socio-economic inequities, unemployment, despair about the future.
    • Dishonest and self-serving dominant groups.
    • Political deprivation leading to hopelessness or a sense of powerlessness.
    • Lack of title to public land cultivated by the landless poor.
    • Governance deficit in the remote parts of Red Corridor regions.
    • Lack of food security – corruption in the Public Distribution System (which are often nonfunctional).
    • Disruption of traditional occupations and lack of alternative work opportunities.
  • Displacement of people: Eviction from lands traditionally used by tribals.
    • Forced Displacements caused by mining, irrigation and power projects without adequate arrangements for rehabilitation. As a result livelihoods were lost.
    • Large scale land acquisition for ‘public purposes’ without appropriate compensation or rehabilitation
  • Discrimination against tribals: Poor implementation of laws prohibiting transfer of tribal land to non-tribals in the Fifth Schedule areas.
    • Non-regularisation of traditional land rights under FRA,2006.
    • Hasty rejections of land grants to tribals.

Change in India’s anti-insurgency operation needed

  • The use of necessary military force to counter the aggressiveness of insurgents.
  • While military operations are being enforced, the government must have ideas and initiatives ready, with plans for infrastructure upgrades that would address the basic grievances of the alienated people, who took to arms in the first place.
  • Finally, when military operations are reduced to a minimum and the ground situation is under control with the implementation of such initiatives, then ‘talks’ must be initiated to address the political demands of the locals, with fixed timelines for political deliverables.
  • Above all, to successfully battle an insurgency, all major governmental agencies must be on the same wavelength.
  • The PM and the National Security Adviser would do well to exercise their authority to get the forces to participate in and collectively address a problem that cannot have a knee-jerk approach, notwithstanding strong political warnings that translate to little on the ground.

Conclusion

There is only one way out and it is that the government of India and the Maoists should sit across the table and sort out their differences. The harsh truth is that the tribals are today sandwiched between the two warring groups of State Police and Central Armed Police Forces on the one hand and the Maoist guerrillas on the other. The government of India is today in a position to hold out the olive branch.  Such a gesture would not be an admission of weakness. The government today holds the upper hand and, therefore, any such move would be considered magnanimous.  There has been much blood-letting.  It is time to heal the Naxal wounds, time to usher in a new dawn.

 


General Studies – 4


 

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.

6. The role of discretion is essential for competent decisions by civil servants but it is also among the main reasons for misuse of power. In the backdrop of the statement, discuss how the human conscience can work as an escort for right application of discretion. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of human conscience and decision making in public administration.  

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to elaborate in what way the human conscience can work as an escort for right application of discretion.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with importance of discretion in public services and the need for it to be ethically right.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Briefly explain why civil servants require discretion.

Explain good use and misuse of discretion with examples.

Give the meaning of conscience.

 Discuss hoe human conscience act and a guide for appropriate application of discretion.

 Mention some limitations of conscience.

Conclusion:

Even if conscience has subjectivity, it has very well recognized role in guiding human conduct.

Introduction

‘Discretion’ in administrative sense means choosing from amongst the various available alternatives but with reference to the rules of reason and justice and not according to personal whims. Such exercise is not to be arbitrary, vague and fanciful, but legal and regular. It is here one’s conscience can help in choosing a better alternative using discretionary powers.

Conscience is the part of one’s personality that helps in determining right and wrong and keeps one from acting upon the most basic urges and desires. It is what makes us feel guilty when we do something bad and good when we do something kind. Our conscience is the moral basis that helps guide prosocial behaviour and leads us to behave in socially acceptable and even altruistic ways.

Body

Discretionary power and scope for its misuse

  • The problem of administrative discretion is complex. It is true that in any intensive form of government, the government cannot function without the exercise of some discretion by the officials.
  • It is necessary not only for the individualization of the administrative power but also because it is humanly impossible to lay down a rule for every conceivable eventually in the complex art of modern government.
  • But it is equally true that absolute discretion is a ruthless master. It is more destructive of freedom than any of man’s other inventions.
  • Therefore, there has been a constant conflict between the claims of the administration to an absolute discretion and the claims of subjects to a reasonable exercise of it.
  • Discretionary power by itself is not pure evil but gives much room for misuse. Therefore, remedy lies in tightening the procedure and not in abolishing the power itself.

Conscience as a source of guidance while acting in discretion

  • Conscience helps them taking emotionally intelligent decisions by not letting them sway with emotionally dominating cases. Eg. Taking judgment in lines with Rule of law in cases involving rich-poor tussle.
  • Enable a civil servant to better organize and give precedence to cases/projects seeking more attention for greater good to people. Eg: Prioritising people’s welfare and preventing displacement over mining project clearance.
  • It helps to deal with problems when civil servants are in dilemma in a more scientific and objective manner to achieve a utilitarian based outcome. Need to cut hundreds of trees to construct in Aarey forest for a car depot should need cost-benefit analysis.
  • Upholding values of honesty, impartiality, accountability and not letting his integrity & institutions credibility questioned, by using transparent working methodologies.
  • Suppose the situation where your superiors are also indulged in corrupt practice so it is your conscience which can raise voice against this even having so much pressure from all.
  • For example, Ashok Khemka and Sanjeev Chaturvedi’s conscience forced them to expose corruption in politics and administration.
  • Durga Shakti Nagpal UP IAS officer was motivated by her conscience to take action against the politically supported sand mafia.
  • Being a civil servant, you may have a situation when a poor person approaches you for some benefits but he does not have proper documents, so you can deny him but out of compassion, your conscience may prompt you to do some arrangements for him.

Conclusion

Conscience can aid in decision making, especially where discretion needs to be exercised by the civil servants. Every civil servant is expected uphold equality, work with integrity and in good conscience especially when he or she has a lot of discretion. The ultimate goal must be welfare of the larger community.

 

Topic: Case study

7. Harsh, the bank employee approaches Bank Manager Mr. Roy and told that his child is suffering from Heart disease. He doesn’t have health insurance policy and salary is insufficient to meet medical expenses. But over the years, he is been collecting autographed T-shirts of various bollywood actors and actresses. So, he wants Mr. Roy to give permission to hold a charity auction in the office. Also, to send fliers to clients of the bank. Everyone is welcome to bid for these T-shirts, so that he can raise money for the medical treatment of his child.

Other bank employees overhear this conversation and also inform Mr. Roy — indeed Harsh’s financial situation is very bad and his child will die if the treatment is not done on time, therefore permission should be given to hold this charity auction. Should Mr. Roy give permission or not? (250 words)

Why the question:

The question is a case study based on ethical dilemma involving personal and professional ethics.

Key Demand of the question:

One must analyse the case in detail and suggest what needs to be done with suitable 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 by identifying the ethical cases in the situation.  

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

  1. Because some members may informally feel pressured to give money -Especially Harsh’s juniors and subordinates.
  2. It might create a feeling of alienation between employees who bid and those who don’t.
  3. Next time another employee will try to do the same, may be with a trivial reason. And if Mr. Roy says no that time, it might create an impression Mr. Roy is biased towards certain employees- staff Morales goes down.
  4. it is best to keep auctions and other money raising activities out of the workplace irrespective of the noble benefits.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a fair and balanced opinion.

Introduction

The case involves an ethical dilemma on the part of the manager who must consider his employee’s circumstances and also the consequences of his actions in helping the employee. There is also a factor of conflict of interest if the auction is allowed and may go against the organisational rules.

Body

Stakeholders

  • Harsh as the bank employee
  • The child who is suffering from the heart disease
  • Manager Mr Roy
  • Bank employees and bank clients

Ethical issues involved

  • Ethical dilemma for the manager
  • Conflict of interest in allowing the auction
  • Humanitarian grounds surrounding the state of the child.
  • Well-being of employees.
  • Following organisational rules and regulations.

Course of action

It is true that, those in distress especially in this case must be given all the help and support from their work environment. However, an auction by the employee in the bank and to the clients may not be an appropriate solution.

  • Those who would not want to buy the autographs would feel compelled to buy the same.
  • In turn, it might create a divide between those who contributed vis-a-vis those who did not. Harsh may develop ill feelings towards those who didn’t buy from the auction.
  • It also reinforces the culture of hero worship by collecting their autographs.
  • It would set a wrong precedent that anyone could raise money through these means.
  • Clients of the bank would feel it as an unnecessary burden on them and eventually bank may also lose its customers.
  • Next time another employee will try to do the same, may be with a trivial reason. And if Mr. Roy says no that time, it might create an impression Mr. Roy is biased towards certain employees- staff Morale goes down.
  • Instead, avenues must be explored if there can be health insurance given to all employees and their dependents from the bank as part of social security.
  • Crowd sourcing rather than auction, must be presented as an option. The example of Teera Kamat who was suffering from muscular dystrophy is a good example in this regard. Her parents raised 16 crores to treat her ailment with a drug that costed 16 crores.

Conclusion

Work culture and code of conduct in an organization are very important to keep the work place professional. Though personal issues such as child health need support from organization, these must be in terms of leaves and sabbatical to the employee to ease his burden. Other options to raise revenue must be given that is feasible professionally rather than a personal auction.


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