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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 2 June 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: population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

1. Should India implement a child limit? Analyse and suggest if One-Child Policy would be effective for population control in India? (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

China will for the first time allow couples to have a third child in a further relaxation of family planning rules five years after a “two-child policy” largely failed to boost birth rates. Thus the context of the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Analyse if one-child policy can aid India in controlling its population and should India put a limit on child for its population control measures.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what was the One-Child Policy of China.

Body:

India is already overpopulated. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, population of India is 1.32 billion, hitting the 1-billion mark.

 One place behind the world’s most populous city, China with 1.38 billion (The United Nations). Although the population has been a problem acknowledged by the government, it has been growing continuously, non-stop. India’s population is predicted to surpass China’s population by 2022.

Explain why exceeding population growth is an issue. Discuss the factors.

Discuss the pros and cons.   Requiring a child limit is usually successful in lowering the fertility rate but is also controversial and hard to mandate (especially when other strategies to lower the population exist). Despite the obstacles, one can conclude that a child limit is necessary in eliminating the issue of overpopulation in India.

Factual evidence has shown that a child limit greatly reduces the fertility rate, the unemployment rate, and is healthy for the planet.

Conclusion:

Despite the obstacles, a child limit could be a reality with the use of enough resources. Education programs and other services would be very helpful in easing the transition. Policy makers have already approached this question in the past. With significant effort, changes can be made that will help India’s population issue in a big way.

Introduction

China will for the first time allow couples to have a third child, the country’s government said on Monday, in a further relaxation of family planning rules five years after a “two-child policy” largely failed to boost birth rates. The change comes less than three weeks after the release of China’s once-in-a-decade population census that painted an alarming picture of declining births. This opens up a question whether India must implement child-limit policy.

Body

Background

  • India does not have a national child policy.
  • Many local laws in India apply penalties for having more than two children.
  • India’s fertility rate was already down to 2.3 children per woman in 2016.
  • Local two-child laws in India have been criticized for being unnecessary, violating women’s rights, and discriminating against Muslims.

Should India implement child-limit?

  • The simple answer is A large population does not necessarily impede economic growth. India can use its large working population to fuel fast economic growth if the right programmes and policies are put in place, said a 2018 paper by the UNFPA.
  • Even if couples in India decide to have only one or two children, India’s population will continue to increase until 2051 as the population is young, with over 60% under the age of 35 years.
  • China’s one-child policy which led to sex-selective abortions and an ageing population with a fast-declining workforce. The skewed sex ratio also led to increased trafficking of women and forced prostitution in China.
  • It can also lead to unsafe abortions and mortality among women.

One-Child policy will not be effective in India

  • People are quick to point out that India is a country with a booming technology industry, one that relies on young people.
  • There is a fear that restrictions on having children will produce a shortage of the educated young people needed to carry on India’s technological revolution.
  • There are already well-documented problems with China’s one-child policy. Worst of all, there is a gender imbalance resulting from a strong preference for boys.
  • Millions of undocumented children were also born to parents who already had one child. These problems could come to India with the implementation of a two-child policy.
  • Most importantly, there is increasing evidence that India’s birth rate is slowing down to sustainable levels.
  • In 2000, the fertility rate was still a relatively high 3.3 children per woman. By 2016, that number had already fallen to 3 children.
  • Furthermore, India’s economy was growing 6% per year in the years leading up to 2019, more than enough to support modest population growth.

Population control measures for India

  • Nudge: Government can come up with a law withholding benefits from three-child families. But this will work only if people actually understood the law, and had access to contraceptives and good health services.
  • Women’s education, awareness about family planning and easy availability of contraceptives would be more effective than coercive measures.
  • The budget for family planning would be better spent in greater adolescent care and awareness, programmes to reduce social and cultural taboos in using contraception, and behaviour change communication, especially for men.

Conclusion

Many Indian local governments, perhaps inspired by China’s one-child policy, have created laws that apply penalties for having more than two children. The laws are heavily criticized in India and abroad. While they are less severe than China’s one-child policy, the two-child laws in India are still considered problematic and discriminatory.

 

Topic: Effects of globalization on Indian society, Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

2. Do you agree that regionalism in India seems to be a result of rising cultural aggressiveness? Deliberate. (250 words)

Reference:  Times of India

Why the question:

The question is based on the theme of rising cultural aggressiveness and its impact on regionalism in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Deliberate on the effect of cultural aggressiveness on regionalism with illustrations.

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:

People belonging to a particular society want to experience their cultural ideas, customs, and social behaviour in their mother tongue. They place it above any other language which is often quoted as regionalism. Linguistic priorities make people more assertive.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain how Regionalism in India appears to be a consequence of rising cultural assertiveness.

Explain that regionalism is the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose by people within a specific geographical region, united by its unique language, culture, language, etc.

Discuss some examples – Emergence of regional political parties as a result of secessionist tendencies. This trend is polarizing citizens of the country on regional lines. Example, Telugu Desam Party of Andhra Pradesh, DMK and AIDMK of Tamil Nadu. Ethnic regionalism is quite common in the North East, which involves the assertion of not only statistically smaller and less dominant tribal groups.

Regionalism reached that stage where it is equivalent to be an internal security threat to the country. It is causing friction among states.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what needs to be done to address this challenge and ensure a united India.

Introduction

Regionalism is the expression of a common sense of identity and purpose by people within a specific geographical region, united by its unique language, culture, language, etc. Regionalism puts the regional priority above the national priority in some cases, thus impairing national development.

Body

Regionalism as a consequence of cultural assertiveness

  • Language: The history of regional movements in India can be traced back to the 1940s Dravida Movement that started in the present-day Tamil Nadu. Post-Independence, there was strong Anti-Hindi protests and also against three language formula.
  • Son of soil: The anti-migrant stance of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena which opposed the employment and residence of non-Maharashtrian people in the state of Maharashtra is a prime example of Son of Soil theory.
  • Cultural assertion: Regionalism beyond a point can lead to secessionism, such as strong regionalism in Punjab ultimately resulted in the growth of Khalistani terrorism and often promotes Vote- Bank politics.
  • Cultural Domination over minority: Gorkhaland agitation in Darjeeling in 2018 was a result of imposition of Bengali language on Gorkhas.
  • Tribal Identity: For instance, Bodos of Assam wanted to protect their inherent identity that led to Bodoland agitation for years, ending only in 2021 after tripartite Bodo accord.

Other Reasons attributed to Regionalism

  • Political polarisation: Politically motivated propaganda leads to exploitation of regional loyalties. This was the case in Assam and in a major way post 1971 war.
  • Vote Bank politics: Mobilisation of people based on cultural and regional identities, as the demography in a region is a major vote bank for politicians.
  • Water dispute: The battle for water has become a strong reason in asserting regionalism in recent times. Eg: Kaveri dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
  • Border dispute: The classic example is the issue of Belgaum between Maharashtra and Karnataka. Ironically, the issue props up when there are opposing parties ruling in the states.
  • Regional imbalance: Lopsided development as in the case of Telangana led to creation of a separate state from its parent state of Andhra Pradesh. There was also internal colonialism wherein, states endowed with rich natural resources were backward. Eg: Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand.
  • Demand for Regional Autonomy especially for states in Indian Federalism which is largely unitary. It was also to assert regional identity.

Conclusion

Indian is a melting pot of cultures and unity in diversity has been our strength. Regionalism can co-exist with Nationalism, but the former must not trump the latter. Schemes such as ‘Ek Bharat Shresht Bharat’ must be encouraged to bridge the fault lines in the Indian society.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

3. India cannot be in denial about mental health issues anymore. Comment. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article presents to us the importance of making mental health a public health priority in the country.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss how and why India cannot be in denial about mental health issues anymore and it’s important to prioritize mental health policy.

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 some suitable data/fact that justifies the question statement.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Briefly give a picture of how mental health is a greater cause of concerning all countries currently.

Explain that – a 2020 report by the WHO exposes the heightened disruption in mental health services due to the pandemic. In an environment where mental health prevalence is heightened, this is a desperate call to attention and action.

Mental health issues in India are hugely complex. Discuss the factors; socio-economic causes, undiagnosed pre-existing conditions, human resources shortage, fragmented service delivery models and lack of research capacity for implementation and policy change are also contributing to the country’s gaps in mental health treatment.

Explain why does mental health need to be a priority?

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the importance of drafting a robust and inclusive response.

Introduction

According to the World Health Organization, over 90 million Indians, or 7.5% of the population, suffer from mental health issues. A study published in Lancet in December 2019, titled “The burden of mental disorders across the states of India: the Global Burden of Disease Study 1990–2017”, also highlights the scale of the challenge. Mental health issues are among the leading causes of non-fatal disease burden in India; the pandemic also doesn’t seem to be helping, playing on the minds of lakhs of people and causing stress.

Body

Status of Mental health in India:

  • More than 450 million people suffer from mental disorders. According to WHO, by the year 2020, depression will constitute the second largest disease burden worldwide (Murray & Lopez, 1996).
  • WHO has labelled India as the world’s ‘most depressing country’
  • Between 1990 to 2017, one in seven people from India have suffered from mental illness ranging from depression, anxiety to severe conditions such as schizophrenia, according to a study. It is no exaggeration to suggest that the country is under a mental health epidemic.

Importance of mental health:

  • Emotional and mental health is important because it’s a vital part of your life and impacts your thoughts, behaviors and emotions.
  • Being healthy emotionally can promote productivity and effectiveness in activities like work, school or caregiving.
  • Our mental health encompasses our psychological, emotional and social well-being. This means it impacts how we feel, think and behave each day.
  • Our mental health also contributes to our decision making process, how we cope with stress and how we relate to others in our lives.
  • The social and economic costs associated with growing burden of mental ill health focused the possibilities for promoting mental health as well as preventing and treating mental illness.

Stigma of mental illness

  • The major focus is on reducing the stigma of mental illness, mainly on not misunderstanding any psychiatric problem or mental health problem as severe mental disorder or lunacy.
  • Need for respecting the human rights of the persons who are living with mental illness.

Reasons for degenerating mental health of late:

  • Lack of awareness and sensitivity about the issue.
  • There is a big stigma around people suffering from any kind of mental health issues.
  • They are often tagged as ‘lunatics’ by the society. This leads to a vicious cycle of shame, suffering and isolation of the patients.
  • According to WHO, in 2011, there were 0·301 psychiatrists and 0·047 psychologists for every 100,000 patients suffering from a mental health disorder in India.
  • Treatment gap: According to estimates nearly 92% of the people who need mental health care and treatment do not have access to any form of mental health care.
  • The economic burden of mental illness contributes significantly to the treatment gap in India. There are both direct (cost of long-term treatment) and indirect costs (the inability of the patient and caregiver to work, social isolation, psychological stress) contribute significantly to the economic burden.

Conclusion

Stigma and Awareness need to be addressed in parallel in order to tackle the burden of mental illness in India. State mental health institutions, general hospitals, private practice, and NGOs can together help achieve the dream of mental health care for all. WHO says if we don’t act urgently, by 2030 depression will be the leading illness globally. In conclusion, be kind, compassionate and empathetic towards all. Mental Illness is real, hard, disabling and needs addressal and treatment. People should seek professional help as soon as the need arises. Early detection and intervention of a psychological condition will allow individuals to live the life they deserve.

 

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

4. The official secrecy law is in direct skirmish with the Right to Information Act, 2005. Examine the statement in the context of recent Covid 19 pandemic policies. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains in what way Official secrecy on pandemic policies aggravates a crisis.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine in what way the official secrecy law is in direct conflict with the Right to Information Act, 2005 amidst the pandemic situation facing the country.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of Official secrets act. And throw light upon importance of RTI of 2005.

Body:

The answer must present a critical analysis of as to why the official secrecy law is in direct conflict with RTI.

Discuss how the Government secrecy is growing during the coronavirus pandemic. Give examples of the vaccination policies and programs and the lack of information/denial of information.

Effective planning and administration cannot occur in the dark, and experts attribute the death toll and suffering to mismanagement and lack of preparation as much as the virus itself. Official secrecy is undermining the capacity of scientists, public health and policy experts to provide timely feedback and suggestions to the government. Such is the information black hole.

Highlight the concerns in detail.

Conclusion:

Conclude that rather than limiting public information, however, agencies can use this crisis as an opportunity to take governance to the next level – making government even more accessible to the public it serves.

Introduction

The details of pandemic handling, vaccination pricing and meeting details of Expert committees, are not in the public domain. There has been opacity in working of PM-CARES which hinders taking accountability of the government. Bureaucratic secrecy goes against the ethos of Right to Information.

Body

Background

The Official Secrets Act, 1923 provides that any government official can mark a document as confidential so as to prevent its publication.

  • Whenever there is a conflict between the two laws, the provisions of the RTI Act override those of the OSA.
  • Section 22 of the RTI Act states that its provisions will have effect notwithstanding anything that is inconsistent with them in the OSA.
  • However, this has not been the case with regard to data related to pandemic.

Official secrecy a direct skirmish with RTI

  • Criticism against government: Brazen denials mark government’s responses to RTI requests filed over the past year.
  • Such secrecy runs through the full spectrum of COVID-19-related matters — from vaccine manufacturing and pricing decisions, to last year’s lockdown planning and the establishment and running of the ₹10,000 crore-plus PM CARES fund.
  • Opacity serves as a cover for large-scale over-centralisation and misgovernance.
  • Vaccine related information: Until today, Bharat Biotech has not published peer-reviewed interim efficacy analyses from Phase 3 clinical trials.
  • The DCGI has denied RTI requests about its decision to grant emergency approval to Covaxin and Covishield, claiming that information about efficacy and safety constitutes confidential commercial information.
  • The ICMR is earning 5% royalties on the vaccine. This and other scraps of information are public only thanks to the Supreme Court hearing a suo motu PIL on the pandemic.
  • The government’s summary dismissals not just violate citizens’ fundamental right to information but also push RTI requests into an appeal process that can take over two years. Time and resources go waste as citizens have to approach Information Commissions and High Courts to access basic information.

Impact on governance and public welfare

  • Effective planning and administration cannot occur in the dark, and experts attribute the death toll and suffering to mismanagement and lack of preparation as much as the virus itself.
  • Official secrecy is undermining the capacity of scientists, public health and policy experts to provide timely feedback and suggestions to the government.
  • Such is the information blackhole that over 900 scientists have appealed to the Prime Minister for access to information and data. But little has changed.
  • With a lot of charitable donations coming to government, it must be answerable to the people as to how these resources are being used.
  • Shortage of medicines, hospital beds, vaccines and oxygen make one question as to what preparation the government did to combat the pandemic.

Conclusion

The Supreme Court should order the government to suo motu disclose information related to COVID-19 policies, in line with Sections 4 and 7 of the RTI Act, which deal with proactive and urgent disclosures with consequences for life and liberty. Writing about famines in colonial India, Amartya Sen argued that mass hunger and death do not occur where information flows freely. Same goes for pandemic management.

 

 

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.

5. “Child labour had been progressively waning in recent years with government policies and intervention but the pandemic has reversed this trend in India”, analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains that though the pandemic has amplified its contributing factors, policy and programmatic interventions can save children.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the impact of the pandemic on child labour.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some facts that highlight the issue of child labor in the country.

Body:

Child labour in India decreased in the decade 2001 to 2011, and this demonstrates that the right combination of policy and programmatic interventions can make a difference.

Discuss the impact of the pandemic – With increased economic insecurity, lack of social protection and reduced household income, children from poor households are being pushed to contribute to the family income with the risk of exposure to exploitative work.

Highlight the challenges before policy makers with respect to child labor.

Suggest what needs to be done to overcome the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the governments, employers, unions, civil society organisations and even individuals — must rise and pledge to ‘Take Action against Child Labour’ as a part of the UN’s declaration of 2021 as the International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour. Our actions today will determine the future of children tomorrow.

Introduction

The coronavirus pandemic is forcing India’s children out of school and into farms and factories to work, worsening a child-labour problem that was already one of the direst in the world.

The Indian constitution provides free and compulsory education for all children in the age group of six to 14 years as a fundamental right under article 21A.

Body

Child labour in India decreased in the decade 2001 to 2011, and this demonstrates that the right combination of policy and programmatic interventions can make a difference.

The Covid-19 crisis has brought additional poverty to these already vulnerable populations and may reverse years of progress in the fight against child labour- ILO

Impact of the pandemic:

  • The nationwide lockdown imposed, pushed millions of people into poverty, which is encouraging trafficking of children from villages into cities for cheap labour.
  • School closures have aggravated the situation and many millions of children are working to contribute to the family income. The pandemic has also made women, men and children more vulnerable to exploitation.
  • According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) some 25 million people could lose their jobs with those in informal employment suffering most from lack of social protection during this pandemic.
  • As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy’s (CMIE) weekly tracker survey, the impact of COVID-19 has already pushed the urban unemployment rate to 30.9%
  • Orphaned children are particularly vulnerable to trafficking and other exploitation like forced begging, or child labour. In such families, there is also the likelihood of older children dropping out of school to support their younger siblings.
  • Children are seen as a stop-gap measure to fill jobs left vacant by migrant laborers who fled cities for their rural homes during the lockdown.
  • A total of 591 children were rescued from forced work and bonded labour from different parts of India during the lockdown by Bachpan Bachao Andolan, a civil society group on children’s rights

Challenges before policy makers with respect to child labour.

  • The pandemic is hampering enforcement of anti-child labour laws, with fewer workplace inspections and less vigorous pursuit of human traffickers.
  • NGOs point to the fact that the real spike in child labour is yet to come. When economic activity begins accelerating, there is a risk of returning migrants taking children along with them to the cities.

Way Forward

  • Coordinated policy efforts should be taken to provide employment and income support to all informal sector workers to stimulate the economy and labour demand.
  • States should prioritise efforts to continue education for all children, using all available technology.
  • Financial support or relaxation of school fees and other related school expenses should be given to those children who wouldn’t be able to return to school otherwise.
  • School authorities need to ensure that every student will have free lunches at home until schools open. Special efforts should be taken to identify children orphaned due to COVID-19, and arrangements of shelter and foster care for them should be made on a priority basis.

Conclusion

These measures will no doubt respond to the emergency needs that COVID-19 has generated and also ease the life of children directly or indirectly to some extent. However, it is clear that more needs to be done to prevent children from lapsing into child labour.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System- objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

6. Elaborate upon the efficacy of National food security act and targeted public distribution system during the ongoing pandemic led crisis. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article highlights the importance of Food safety during pandemic.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the importance of efficacy of National food security act and targeted public distribution system during the ongoing pandemic led crisis.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with a brief background of the question.

Body:

To enhance the benefit of package in response to COVID-19, the government has announced several schemes to maintain supply of food grains to states and union territories for distribution under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).

Discuss the challenges being faced in achieving efficacy in food safety measures such as – In spite of instrumental role of TPDS, more than 10 crore people have not been covered by the food safety net. So, the States/ UTs need to develop an inclusive NFSA/TPDS in association with the Central Government.

Suggest measures to address these challenges such as – improve the NFSA coverage ratio and infuse inclusivity in TPDS, one can visualize integrated management of PDS through automation of operational fair price shops (FPS) or Aadhaar-seeding of ration cards to deepen the portability of One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) to reduce targeting (inclusion/exclusion) errors and improve other benefits.

Discuss more solutions to address the issue.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.  

Introduction

Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), under NFSA, is an Indian food Security System established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution responsible for managing the food scarcity through distribution of food grains at affordable prices.

Body

While India was already battling with hunger and malnutrition and trying to overcome it, the Covid-19 outbreak led to nationwide months long lockdown only to worsen the condition; disproportionately impacting the poor and informal sector workers specially.

Efficacy of NFSA and TPDS

  • During Covid crisis, the country’s technology-driven PDS swiftly came to the fore by successfully scaling up to distribute almost double the quantity of food grains to more than 80 crore beneficiaries in the country during April to November 2020
  • 100% digitized ration cards/beneficiaries’ data under NFSA in all States/UTs. Details of almost 23.5 Crore ration Cards covering nearly 80 Crore beneficiaries are available on transparency portals of States/UTs.
  • Nationally, achieved nearly 67% biometrically/Aadhaar authenticated distribution of monthly allocated foodgrains to States/UTs under NFSA.
  • Under PMGKY, each person who is covered under the National Food Security Act would get an additional ration for free, in addition to already subsidised food grain provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution reported that an average of 93-94 per cent food grains per month was distributed under NFSA and PMGKAY. So, only 6-7 per cent of food grains was not lifted by eligible or excluded beneficiaries.

Drawbacks

  • While the integrated management of PDS through automation of operational fair price shops (FPS) or Aadhaar-seeding of ration cards helps deepen the portability of One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC), reducing targeting (inclusion/exclusion) errors, foodgrains access, and mitigating diversion or leakage should draw attention for an inclusive food safety net.
  • The second dimension is targeting errors by assessing and analysing the per cent of inclusion/exclusion errors in NFSA list.
  • The other dimensions of evaluation are awareness and education on ONORC portability, effectiveness of grievance redress system and social audit, and supply chain and PDS reforms.

Way forward

  • The Food and Civil Supplies Department should keep a vigil on the functioning of FPSs, checking for any diversion of subsidised food grains to the open market.
  • There can be graduated sanction for unscrupulous FPS dealers if they do not extend working hours for a stipulated period and fail to maintain a daily transaction ledger and update stocks/inventories.
  • Data governance should be put in place to increase transparency and accountability of TPDS that can help deepen portability benefits of ONORC and scale up the implementation of integrated management of PDS.
  • States and UTs should allocate food grains to those who are excluded from the TPDS by means of food coupons, cash transfer, and release of surplus stocks from the Central pool in a phased manner.
  • The community kitchen concept must work with the support of civil society organisations to serve the excluded sections.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

7. Which doctrine of Kant lends support to ideas of human dignity and human rights? How? Explain. (250 words)

Reference:  jstor.org

Why the question:

The question is based on the Kantian philosophy of human dignity and importance of human rights.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the doctrine proposed by Kant with respect to ideas of human dignity and human rights.

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:

The great German philosopher Immanuel Kant thought that human beings occupy a-special place in creation.

 Body:

Explain the Kantian doctrine in support of your answer.

Kant formulated a moral theory grounded in the idea of duty. It is a deontological theory.

Consequences have nothing to do with moral obligation or duty which alone counts for determining whether an action is moral or otherwise. In short, an action is moral if it is the outcome of a moral agent’s sense of duty.

Kant derives a universally valid moral rule of action known as the Categorical Imperative.

Discuss his doctrine in detail and illustrate with examples its relevance.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of it in today’s times.

Introduction

Kant is often considered a key figure in a modern transition from social and political systems based on honour to those based on dignity, where “honour” is understood as a hierarchical measure of social value, and “dignity” is understood as the inherent and equal worth of every individual. Human beings have “intrinsic worth, i.e., dignity,” which makes them valuable’ “above all price.” This was mentioned in the Theory of Morality, Categorical Imperatives.

Body

Human dignity

It is an idea that propagates human being has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. It has the quality of self-respect that is worthy of esteem.

Eg. Poverty has been greatest violator of human dignity particularly in developing countries like India. Thus providing basic amenities in health and education and employment would serve to maintain the dignity of an individual.

Relationship between Human dignity and rights-

“Human Dignity is the Basis of Fundamental Human Rights. In fact one of the ground on which rights have been claimed is that they represent conditions that we collectively see as source of self-respect and dignity.  Rights denote what we are entitled to as citizens, as individuals and as human beings. It is something that due to us and rest of the society must recognize as being a legitimate claim that must be upheld. Thus if there are no rights or no legal provisions to upheld rights, human dignity is bound to get violated and trampled either by powerful individuals or even by state apparatus. Authoritarian and despotic states care little for people’s dignity. Thus fundamental human rights are included in most of constitutions to preserve human dignity. Hence human rights are the prerequisite of human dignity.

Emmanuel Kant’s views on Human dignity-

“Human beings unlike all other objects possess dignity. They are for this reason valuable in themselves”. This thought had made a deep impact on Kant. For him it meant that every person has dignity and ought to be so treated by virtue of being a human. A person may be uneducated, poor or powerless. He/she may be dishonest or immoral. Yet he/she remains a human being and deserves to be given some minimum dignity.

For Kant to treat people with dignity was to treat them morally. This idea became a rallying point for those struggling against social hierarchies and for human rights.

Kant’s views represent what is called the moral conception of rights. This position rests upon two arguments. First we should be treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves. Second we should make sure that we don’t treat the other person as means to our ends. We should not treat people as we treat a pen, a car or a horse. This is we should respect people not because they are useful to us but because they are after all human beings.

Taking the example of forced labour and jajmani system where human beings are treated as “means” for achieving the “ends” that is profit motive. Human intrinsic worth i.e. dignity is not respected and they are exploited for petty gains. This lead to inequality in society where one section of people exploiting other section for self-motive. Some people justify the forced labour on the premises that it was based on contract between master and slave. But this argument does not hold ground because people who were forced were not based on free will and they might not be in their right state of mind thinking rationally and make a decision.

Conclusion

Kant philosophy of human individuals as end in itself endorsed the golden rule of “treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated”.  As no one would wish to be used simply as a means, therefore one should not also use other human beings as means to achieve their ends. This philosophy can be of great help in resolving the ethical dilemmas where there is debate between relative importance of means and ends.


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