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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 7 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 – 2


 

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

1. Discuss the major causes for snowballing frequency and intensity of cyclone and its impact on Coastal cities in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains how India’s coastal cities need to brace up for super cyclones.

Key Demand of the question:

One must discuss the major causes for snowballing frequency and intensity of cyclone and its impact on Coastal cities in India.

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 some facts justifying the statement in question.

Body:

PCC research shows that the frequency and severity of cyclones will increase due to the warming of oceans and melting glaciers.

Explain the reasons that are leading to rising intensity and frequency of cyclones off late in India.

Highlight the impact on Coastal cities in India.

Give examples. Suggest upon the initiatives being taken by the government.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

IPCC research shows that the frequency and severity of cyclones will increase due to the warming of oceans and melting glaciers. Of India’s 7,500 kilometre coastline, almost 5,700 kilometres are highly vulnerable to the impacts of tropical cyclones and related hydro-meteorological hazards and consequently to recurrent loss of life and properties. Approximately 40 percent of the total population in the maritime states, lives within 100 kms of coastlines.

 Body

In the past couple of weeks, India experienced two pre-monsoon cyclones. Cyclone Tauktae was categorised as an ‘extremely strong’ cyclonic storm that hit west coast, particularity Maharashtra and Gujarat, followed by the ‘very severe’ Yaas in the end of May.

Reasons for Increasing Frequency and Intensity of Cyclones

  • Global increase in tropical cyclones:One study found that the chances of major tropical storms forming increased globally by 6 percent in each of the last four decades. A second shows the biggest increase in frequency in already storm-battered areas, including Indian Ocean Region, Florida, the Bahamas, eastern Africa, Japan, China and the Philippine Islands.
  • Global Warming:Main reason for the increase in frequency and intensity is climate change and global warming. Overheated oceans caused by global warming are super-charging tropical storms, but year-to-year variations are also affected by short-term climate cycles like El Niño and other local effects like Monsoon in Indian Ocean.

Impact on Coastal cities in India

  • Coastal Flooding:It is likely to reshape the coastlines and potentially inundate or even submerge many low-lying areas. Cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad are endangered by cyclone storms.
  • Destruction of Coastal Biodiversity:Frequent storms can cause destructive erosion, wetland flooding, aquifer and agricultural soil contamination with salt, and lost habitat for biodiversity.
  • Dangerous Storm Surges:Higher sea levels are coinciding with more dangerous hurricanes and typhoons leading to loss of life and property.
  • Lateral and Inland Migration:Flooding in low-lying coastal areas is forcing people to migrate to the higher ground causing displacement and dispossession and in turn a refugee crisis
  • Effect on Communications Infrastructure:The prospect of higher coastal water levels threatens basic services such as internet access.
  • Threat to Inland Life:Rising seas can contaminate soil and groundwater with salt threatening life farther away from coasts.
  • Tourism and Military Preparedness:Tourism to coastal areas and military preparedness will also be negatively affected by an increase in cyclone storms

 Conclusion

Thus, the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project is an important step in disaster preparedness. However, a lot more is to be done to overhaul the mitigation in each step of course of the action plan- early warning, mitigation, response, awareness generation and capacity development.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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.

2. Critically analyse the role of Jam Trinity in achieving financial inclusion in India. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article takes an overview of the progress made by India in the financial inclusion and role played by JAM trinity in it.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse the role of Jam Trinity in achieving financial inclusion 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 some relevant data say – India overtook China to register the highest number of countrywide digital payments. Real-time transactions crossed 25 billion, much higher than China’s 15 billion in 2020, as per the report of ACI Worldwide.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss first the progress made so far. The digital payment boom is indicative of a larger paradigm shift in the ease of access to financial services.

Discuss the contributing factors such as – More and more people, across all strata, are adopting digital payments as it is convenient, safe and limits exposure. It is also a result of the nudges and diligent policy and technology frameworks created by the central government in the last few years.

Then explain the significance of JAM trinity.

Conclusion:

Conclude on a positive note while pointing our challenges in the way ahead.

Introduction

Financial inclusion may be defined as the process of ensuring access to financial services and timely and adequate credit where needed by vulnerable groups such as weaker sections and low income groups at an affordable cost.

Body

JAM stands for Jan Dhan Yojana, Aadhaar and Mobile number. The government intends to use these three modes of identification to implement one of the biggest reforms in independent India – direct subsidy transfers to the poor.

Significance of JAM Trinity

  • The government spends about 4.2% of the GDP on subsidies. This is a costly affair.
  • Moreover, in the current scheme of providing subsidies, most of the benefits do not reach the intended beneficiaries. The rich end up taking most of the benefits.
  • Also, there is a lot of leakages in the process. Over 15% of PDS rice, 54% of wheat, and 48% of the sugar are lost in leakages.
  • This leaves no change in the living standards of the poor, which is why subsidies are there in the first place.
  • The JAM Trinity is set to circumnavigate all these problems and directly benefit the poor people of this country.
  • The JAM trinity has helped people know their account status, receive scholarships and fellowships, get fertiliser and LPG subsidy, disability pensions and farm income support — directly into their accounts.
  • The trinity also helped eliminate middlemen, frauds, and leakages due to corruption.
  • In the past one year alone, Rs 4.3 lakh crore was transferred, in over 477 crore transactions under 319 schemes.
  • With an estimated saving of Rs 1.8 lakh crore, the success of DBT is a big thumbs up for the central government.
  • The aid that reached people during the pandemic under the PM Garib Kalyan package is indicative of the success of the government’s financial inclusion and digitisation efforts.

Associated Challenges

  • Non-Universal Access to Bank Accounts: Bank accounts are a gateway to all financial services. But, according to a report by the World Bank, about 190 million adults in India do not have a bank account, making India the world’s second largest nation in terms of unbanked population after China.
  • Digital Divide: The most common barriers to the adoption of digital technology which may promote financial inclusion:
  • Non-availability of suitable financial products
  • Lack of skills among the stakeholders to use digital services
  • Infrastructural issues
  • Low-income consumers who are not able to afford the technology required to access digital services
  • Implement Deficit: For instance, the Jan Dhan scheme has resulted in the opening of many dormant accounts which never saw actual banking transactions. All such activities incur costs on the institutions, and thus, huge operative costs only proved to be detrimental to the actual objective.
  • Informal and Cash-Dominated Economy: India is the heavily dominated cash economy, this poses a challenge for digital payment adoption. Also, according to the International Labour Organization (ILO), about 81% of the employed persons in India work in the informal sector. The combination of a huge informal sector along with a high dependence on cash mode of transaction poses an impediment to digital financial inclusion
  • Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion: According to the 2017 Global Findex database, 83% of males above 15 years of age in India held accounts at a financial institution in 2017 compared to 77% females. This is attributed to socio-economic factors, including the availability of mobile handset and internet data facility being higher among men than women.
  • Lack of Credit Penetration: One of the main constraints in providing credit to low-income households and informal businesses is the lack of information available with formal creditors to determine their credit worthiness. This results in a high cost of credit.

Conclusion

For the success of financial inclusion in India, there has to be a multidimensional approach through which existing digital platforms, infrastructure, human resources, and policy frameworks are strengthened and new technological innovations should be promoted.

 

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

3. Explain in what ways behavioral sciences can be used in prevention and management of COVID-19. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The question is amidst the rising importance of practicing covid-19 appropriate behaviour.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain in what ways behavioral sciences can be used in prevention and management of COVID-19.

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 the current conditions world is facing owing to the pandemic.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First discuss the lacunae especially in the behavioural aspects of our populations that are making the situation more and more difficult to be brought back in control.

Lack of physical distancing and proper hand washing are among the reasons for daily new infections. But the biggest reason for the surge is that people are wearing masks inconsistently, incorrectly, or not at all. Data from a global survey of COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) produced by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs show that from July 2020 to March 2021, India saw a 5% drop in mask wearing.

Highlight the importance of behavioural sciences – With behavioural data and strategic approaches, resources can be more efficiently used in reaching different audience segments with information through the channels they trust.

Conclusion:

Conclude that if we want to finish this year being able to celebrate festivals, hug our loved ones and enjoy a real holiday, we need to invest in a comprehensive, behavioural approach to address COVID-19 behaviour.

Introduction

It is now common knowledge that large gatherings of people serve as super-spreaders of the deadly coronavirus. Despite this, owing to religious & political factors, there have been many mass gatherings in recent times.

For instance, there was footage of women for kalash yatra to perform Jalabhishek at Navapura village in Gujarat’s Sanand. Also, Mahakumbh was organized in Haridwar under police protection, where millions of people take holy dip in River Ganga.

Body

Lack of physical distancing and proper hand washing are among the reasons for daily new infections. But the biggest reason for the surge is that people are wearing masks inconsistently, incorrectly, or not at all. Data from a global survey of COVID-19 knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) produced by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs show that from July 2020 to March 2021, India saw a 5% drop in mask wearing.

In this context, the Covid-19 crisis requires large-scale behaviour change and places significant psychological burdens on individuals, insights from the social and behavioural sciences to the response against the pandemic.

Behavioural Dimensions of Pandemic

  • Threat: One of the central emotional responses during a pandemic is fear. Humans, like other animals, possess a set of defensive systems for combating ecological threats. Negative emotions resulting from threat can be contagious, and fear can make threats appear more imminent.
  • Optimism Bias: There is a general perception in the public that bad things are less likely to befall oneself than others. While optimism bias may be useful for avoiding negative emotions, it can lead people to underestimate their likelihood of contracting a disease and to therefore ignore public health warnings.
  • Prejudice and Discrimination: The experience of fear and threat has ramifications not only for how people think about themselves, but also how they feel about and react to others—in particular, out-groups. For instance, being threatened with disease is often associated with higher levels of ethnocentrism and greater intolerance toward out-groups.  This can undermine empathy with those who are socially distant and increase dehumanization.
  • Disaster and ‘Panic’: There is a common belief in popular culture that, when in peril, people panic, especially when in crowds. That is, they act blindly and excessively out of self-preservation, potentially endangering the survival of all. This idea has been used to explain responses to the current Covid-19 outbreak, most commonly in relation to the notion of ‘panic buying’.
  • Social Norms: People’s behaviour is influenced by social norms: what they perceive that others are doing or what they think that others approve or disapprove.
  • Social Inequality: Inequalities in access to resources affect not only who is at greatest risk of infection, developing symptoms or succumbing to the disease, but also who is able to adopt recommendations to slow the spread of the disease.
  • Fake news and Misinformation: Fake news and misinformation about Covid-19 have proliferated widely on social media, with potentially dangerous consequences.

Way Forward

Slowing viral transmission during pandemics requires significant shifts in behaviour. In this context:

  • Public Messages: Changing behaviours by correcting such misperceptions can be achieved by public messages reinforcing positive (for example, health-promoting) norms. Further, communication strategies must strike a balance between breaking through optimism bias without inducing excessive feelings of anxiety and dread.
  • Nudge Theory: Another way to leverage the impact of norms falls under the general category of ‘nudges’, which influence behaviour through modification of choice architecture. For instance, a message with compelling social norms might say, ‘the overwhelming majority of people in your community believe that everyone should stay home’.
  • Fighting Fake News: Fighting misinformation requires a preventative approach involving subtle prompts that nudge people to consider accuracy. For example, periodically asking users to rate the accuracy of randomly selected posts.

The crowd sourced accuracy ratings generated by this process may also be useful for identifying misinformation, as has been found for crowd ratings of source trustworthiness.

  • Persuasion: Several messaging approaches may be effective, including emphasizing the benefits to the recipient, focusing on protecting others. For example, ‘wash your hands to protect your parents’ and grandparents’. Also, communication aligning with the recipient’s moral values, appealing to social consensus or scientific norms, may help.
  • Leadership: Crises like the Covid-19 pandemic create an opportunity for leadership across groups of varying levels: families, workplaces, local communities and nations. Leadership can coordinate individuals and help them avoid behaviours that are no longer considered socially responsible.

Conclusion

A recent report from the World Health Organization declared that “health communication is seen to have relevance for virtually every aspect of health and well-being, including disease prevention, health promotion and quality of life.” Urgent action is needed to mitigate the potentially devastating effects of COVID-19, action that can be supported by the behavioural and social sciences.

 

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

4. What is indemnity for vaccine makers? Explain how its waiver will impact the COVID-19 vaccine process in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article explains in detail what is indemnity, and how will it affect COVID-19 vaccine pricing and availability in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss what you understand by indemnity for vaccine makers and explain how its waiver will impact the covid-19 vaccine process in India.

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 Union government is in talks with foreign manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines on their demand for indemnity from liability as a condition for selling their vaccines to the country.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain what is indemnity and why is it sought? – Indemnity is a form of contract. The law on drugs in India does not have a provision for indemnity related to the grant of approval for any new drug or vaccine in the country.

Then discuss if the demand for or grant of indemnity a standard practice.

Explain the gains owing to it to India – In the absence of indemnity, overseas manufacturers may load the risk onto the price of the vaccines, making each dose more expensive. By indemnifying the companies in respect of these vaccines, the government of India may be able to negotiate lower prices and higher volumes.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

The Union government is in talks with foreign manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines on their demand for indemnity from liability as a condition for selling their vaccines to the country, like pfizer. No decision has been made yet on the request. However, it has already given rise to a similar demand from domestic vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India (SII), which says all players should be treated the same way.

Body

Indemnity for vaccine makers

  • Indemnity is a form of contract. The law on drugs in India does not have a provision for indemnity related to the grant of approval for any new drug or vaccine in the country.
  • If at all any indemnity is to be granted to any company for a particular drug or vaccine, it can only be in the form of an indemnity bond executed on behalf of the government of India, or a clause or set of clauses in any contract that the government may sign with the supplier.
  • There appears to be no precedent for any company getting such indemnity in India for any drug.
  • Section 124 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872, defines a contract of indemnity as one by which one party promises to save the other from any loss caused to the latter.
  • Once the government of India grants such indemnity to the vaccine manufacturer or importer, it would mean that if a particular vaccine is perceived to have caused death or any lasting damage to a recipient, any claim of compensation arising from it will have to be met by the government, and not by the company.
  • In the event of a court ordering payment, the company will be in a position to recover the amount from the government.

Impact of waiver on vaccination in India

  • In the absence of indemnity, overseas manufacturers may load the risk onto the price of the vaccines, making each dose more expensive.
  • By indemnifying the companies in respect of these vaccines, the government of India may be able to negotiate lower prices and higher volumes.
  • It may help accelerate India’s national vaccination drive.
  • On the flip side, the government may be forced to make it a level playing field for local manufacturers, too, by extending indemnity to them, and thereby inviting upon itself the entire risk associated with more than a billion vaccine shots.
  • Though no precedent exists till date, government must consider with appropriate clauses to fast track vaccination.
  • Given the peculiar global situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the severe shortage of vaccines faced by countries such as India, which urgently needs to inoculate hundreds of millions of people, some vaccine suppliers may be in a position to set conditions.

Conclusion

While Indians are expecting Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine candidate’s entry into the country under the vaccination programme soon, the US pharma giant has held up a complex list of demands. Apart from indemnity that’s also been sought by other vaccine makers, Serum Institute of India, Pfizer is also asking for disputes related to COVID-19 vaccine supplies in the country to be adjudicated only in US courts. This will need to be seen whether India will agree to.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

5. Discuss about the underlying principle behind G7 global tax deal. By highlighting its major pillars, analyse its impact on India. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article brings to us deeper insights on what the G7 corporate tax deal means to India. Thus the question.  

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss about the underlying principle behind G7 global tax deal. By highlighting it’s major pillars, analyse its impact on India.

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:

Finance Ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) nations have reached a landmark agreement in London setting a global minimum corporate tax rate.

Body:

Brief on the background of the question first.

The Group of Seven nations have backed a minimum global corporation tax rate of at least 15%. They also seek to put in place measures to ensure that taxes are paid in the countries where businesses operate based on the principle of ‘Significant Economic Presence’.

Explain how would a global minimum tax work? Discuss the underlying reasons for it.

Discuss the significance of it.

Highlight the challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward and its impact on India.

Introduction

Advanced economies making up the G7 grouping have reached a “historic” deal on taxing multinational companies. Finance ministers meeting in London agreed to counter tax avoidance through measures to make companies pay in the countries where they do business. The deal announced Saturday involving the US, the UK, Germany, France, Canada, Italy and Japan, is likely to be put before a G20 meeting in July.

Body

G7 meeting and global tax deal

  • The first decision that has been ratified is to force multinationals to pay taxes where they operate.
  • The second decision in the agreement commits states to a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% to avoid countries undercutting each other.

Underlying principle behind the tax deal

  • The aim is to reach an equitable solution on the allocation of taxing rights, with market countries awarded taxing rights on at least 20% of profit exceeding a 10% margin for the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises.
  • The G7 will strive to provide for appropriate coordination between the application of the new international tax rules and the removal of all Digital Services Taxes, and other relevant similar measures, on all companies.
  • They also commit to a global minimum tax of at least 15% on a country-by-country basis.
  • This decision comes as a war on low-tax jurisdictions.
  • This increase comes at a time when the pandemic is costing governments across the world.
  • A global pact on this issue, works well for the US government at this time. The same holds true for most other countries in western Europe, even as some low-tax European jurisdictions such as the Netherlands, Ireland and Luxembourg and some in the Caribbean rely largely on tax rate arbitrage to attract MNCs.
  • Apart from low-tax jurisdictions, the proposal for a minimum corporate tax are tailored to address the low effective rates of tax shelled out by some of the world’s biggest corporations, including digital giants such as Apple, Alphabet and Facebook, as well as major corporations such as Nike and Starbucks.
  • These companies typically rely on complex webs of subsidiaries to hoover profits out of major markets into low-tax countries such as Ireland or Caribbean nations such as the British Virgin Islands or the Bahamas, or to central American nations such as Panama.

Challenges with the move

  • Apart from the challenges of getting all major nations on the same page, especially since this impinges on the right of the sovereign to decide a nation’s tax policy, the proposal has other pitfalls.
  • A global minimum rate would essentially take away a tool that countries use to push policies that suit them.
  • For instance, in the backdrop of the pandemic, IMF and World Bank data suggest that developing countries with less ability to offer mega stimulus packages may experience a longer economic hangover than developed nations.
  • A lower tax rate is a tool they can use to alternatively push economic activity. Also, a global minimum tax rate will do little to tackle tax evasion.

Impact on India

  • India has already taken many measures to ensure that companies are taxed where they operate through equalisation levy and bilateral tax agreements.
  • Also, the IT Act has been amended to bring in the concept of “Significant Economic Presence” for establishing “business connection” in the case of non-residents in India.
  • In a bid to revive investment activity, Finance Minister on September 21, 2019 announced a sharp cut in corporate taxes for domestic companies to 22% and for new domestic manufacturing companies to 15%.
  • The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Act, 2019 resulted in the insertion of a section (115BAA) to the Income-Tax Act, 1961 to provide for the concessional tax rate of 22% for existing domestic companies subject to certain conditions including that they do not avail of any specified incentive or deductions.
  • Also, existing domestic companies opting for the concessional taxation regime will not be required to pay any Minimum Alternate Tax.

 

Conclusion

It needs to be seen whether India will go through with the deal, in the backdrop of pandemic led economic slowdown. Even if such a tax would enrich India’s coffers. The economic division will look into the pros and cons of the new proposal as and when it comes and the government will take a view thereafter.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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

6. Highlight and explain the important teachings of Swami Vivekananda, relevant to the youth of today. (250 words)

Reference:  Hindustan Times

Why the question:

The question is based on the important teachings of Swami Vivekananda.

Key Demand of the question:

Explain the important teachings of Swami Vivekananda, and its relevance to the youth of today.

 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:

One can start by highlighting the need to remember teachings of Swami Vivekananda.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Talk about his contributions briefly first. The philosophy of Swami Vivekananda and the ideals for which he lived and worked are a great source of inspiration for the youth today. He wanted the countrymen including the youth to have ‘muscles of iron’, ‘nerves of steel’ and ‘minds like thunderbolt’. Owing to this, his birth anniversary i.e. January 12th is commemorated and celebrated as National Youth Day.

Discuss the teachings of Swami Vivekananda relevant to the youth in the current context.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of his teachings especially to the youth in the country.

Introduction

Swami Vivekananda was a great social reformer of the 19th century. He was a devote follower of Vedanta. He tried to apply Vedanta to practical everyday life. Hence his teaching are also referred to as Practical Vedanta.

Body

Some teachings of Swami Vivekananda:

  • Tolerance:Swami Vivekananda preached tolerance and peace for humankind. His idea of peace and tolerance was global and included people of all the religions and sects. If humans are to thrive and prosper, they need to tolerate the diversified views and strive for the prosperity of all.
  • Right Education:He stressed that good education is not merely learning of facts but also development of character. He redefined the concept of education which was not limited to exploring means of earning only. For him education was way to build one’s character, strength, intellect etc. Such idea of education would help in evolving oneself as better person in both personal and public life.
  • Strength:Swami Vivekananda stresses on the importance of being strong in the life. Weakness comes with number of difficulties for one in a life. Whether its personal goals or professional goals, a person need to be fearless and firm to achieve them.
  • Compassion for Weaker Sections: He stressed that success at the cost of poor is not worth having. He tells us that as a part of society every person is responsible for the welfare of poor and marginalised people. It emphasizes the need to have empathy and compassion for the weaker sections of the society.
  • Religion: He argued in favour of religious reforms. He stressed that rationality must be applied to root out evils in religion. His meaning of religion had no place for superstitions, unending rituals and practices and religion that was adrift of spiritual content. His idea of religion was humane, did not have necessity of middlemen to connect with one’s god and did not have barriers of caste, community etc. Such progressive understanding of the religion would relieve people from wrong notions of religion and provide them with real spiritual upliftment.
  • Fraternity: Swami Vivekananda focuses on the values like Love, Patience, and Perseverance in one’s life. This would increase the brotherhood and fraternity among the people, reduce conflicts among them and would bind the society as a whole.
  • Self-faith:Having faith on oneself is the most important. In order to live a good life, people make all sorts of efforts, but they forget to trust themselves, lack confidence and depend on supernatural powers to help them out of their miseries.

Relevance of Swami Vivekananda’s teaching today:

  • The relevance of Swami Vivekananda today is with the ideals and goals that he devised for the youth. He wanted the youth to have that much of faith in themselves. The youth needs to rediscover Vivekananda’s message of looking inward rather than being a restless soul stuck up in an incessant effort. Understanding Swami Vivekananda and his message and putting it across our youth can be the simplest way to address many problems faced by India today.
  • Another aspect of Swamiji’s teaching was universal brotherhood. Today the world realises that to bring peace, there is no other ideology more proper than this. Vasudhev Kutumbakam – i.e. belief in the world as a family has become necessary in growing era of protectionism and de-globalisation.
  • He said that lack of education is the root cause behind all problems in India. He believed that education should be freed from the stranglehold of the upper class and spread to every section of the society. He was not in favour of just career-oriented education. Unfortunately, that kind of education is not available today and given the risk of automation and poor job growth rate in India, gaining true education, as defined by Vivekananda, would surely help youth of today to excel in various fields.
  • He was in favour of allowing women to take their own decisions. He emphasised on the women’s education and believed that it will lead to greater development of society as a whole. He also advocated the need to impart martial arts training to women so that they could defend themselves. Considering the sexual crime against women, girl drop outs from school and also reducing female labour force participation, Swami’s teaching are still relevant.

Conclusion

It is high time for the youth to come forward by shedding their fears to shape up India. Swamiji laid great stress on Vasudev Kutumbakam. He argued that instead of differences if we focused on the similarities we all share then this world would be a happier place. His teachings are relevant today since many problems remained the same. His teachings reflects a path to these problems.

 

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. Norms of social morality should not be applied to acts of civil servants while they are carrying out their professional roles and responsibilities to further the common good. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the applicability of social morality vs. professional morality in rendering roles and responsibilities of civil servants.

Key Demand of the question:

Critically analyse in what way norms of social morality should not be applied to acts of civil servants while they are carrying out their professional roles and responsibilities to further the common good.

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:

In the introduction briefly discuss the prominent thinkers promoting this view.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Explain the meaning of the statement with relevant examples. The rationale behind this is that when the act accuses, the result excuses, i.e., one should consider the results that have been achieved, rather than the means by which they have been executed. The dilemma arises out of a tension between perceived professional obligations and long-standing moral obligations that are the standards of everyday life.

Discuss the debate surrounding the issue and conclude accordingly.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Morality and ethical behaviour are the two pillars of personality of a good civil servant. He or she is expected to be morally upright at all situations and take the best possible decision for the public welfare. However, in certain cases, there arises ethical dilemmas where a civil servant will have to tread the border of welfare versus morality.

Body

Fairness is one basis of law, which helps to govern society and to control individual behaviour. Social morality considers whether an action threatens society’s well-being. This may sometimes come in conflict with professional morality.

Consider an example of a medical officer who has to allot an ICU bed between two people which means he can save only one life. How will this decision be made? The most rational would be if one of them is aged and is more in need, he would be given. But if both are equally sick and the officer chooses to give it to the younger one, how will his actions be judged.

Likewise, to take example of Gandhiji during Civil Disobedience movement, he accepted the Irwin declaration while he couldn’t secure a commutation to Bhagat Singh.  While this is highly condemned by some even today, what we can’t perceive is the importance of truce with British at that point in history.

Similarly, a police officer may have to let go of minor illegalities such as jumping traffic light by a good Samaritan who is trying to save a life and so on.

Sometimes, officers should not be judged by the yardstick of social morality rather the ends they achieve, which is the public welfare and greater good.

Conclusion

Every situation is different and thus there cannot be absolute guide on actions of civil servants in every circumstance. Though procedures and process are load out clearly, sometimes situations transcend these frameworks which leads to discretionary decisions. In such cases, civil servants must act which leads to greater good of greater number.


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