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Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 9 August 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: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

2. The success of Act East police lies in peace and trust between neighbourhood states. Analyse in the context of recent border disputes between different northeastern states. (250 words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

The article highlights that the Goodwill among all northeastern states, including Assam and Mizoram, will enable economic cooperation, transport and trade.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the importance of peace and trust between States of north-east to ensure success of Act East policy.

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 brief picture of the current conditions of inter-relations between north-eastern states.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

Discuss the ongoing issues between the various States and their neighbours in the North-Eastern States.

Highlight the importance of Act East policy for the NES.

Analyse the issues between the neighboring states of North-east.

Suggest what needs to be done to address these issues.

Conclusion:

Conclude that a fundamental point needs to be underscored: The visionary Act East Policy and its predecessor Look East Policy rest on the pillars of peace and trust, not just better roads and physical infrastructure. They depend on good relationships between neighbours which enable economic cooperation, transport and trade not just cultural and social collaboration.

Introduction

India’s Act East Policy focusses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region. The policy which was originally conceived as an economic initiative, has gained political, strategic and cultural dimensions including establishment of institutional mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation.

The Objective of “Act East Policy” is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels thereby providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region including Arunachala Pradesh with other countries in our neighbourhood. The North East of India has been a priority in our Act East Policy (AEP).

Body

Inter-state disputes and implications on Act-East policy:

  • The North-eastern region remains one of the most fragile regions of the country.
  • All the aspects of national security, i.e., insurgency, drug trafficking, terrorism, and many more, is found in the north-eastern state. In a region like such, land boundary dispute among the state is the least one can think of.
  • The violent clashes on the Assam-Mizoram border in Lailapur recently are a result of the continuing confrontation between the two states.
  • There is a 164.6-km inter-state border that separates Assam and Mizoram, with the three Assam districts of Cachar, Hailakandi and Karimganj sharing a border with Kolasib, Mamit and Aizawl districts of Mizoram.
  • Further, the boundary between Mizoram and Assam follows naturally occurring barriers of hills, valleys, rivers and forests, and both sides have attributed border skirmishes to perceptional differences over an imaginary line.
  • Following the various policy initiatives by both the state and central government over the subsequent year, the situation and ground reality of the region has changed a lot.
  • The northeastern state remains at the fulcrum of India’s ‘Act East Policy,’ aiming to connect India to the Southeast Asian countries, reaching up to ASEAN.

Other Challenges for India’s Act East policy

  • Incidents such as the recent violence between Assam and Mizoram provides a fertile breeding ground for Extremists and other non-state actors to perpetrate violence.
  • Three developments over the past five years are, however, testing Indian diplomacy in the region.
    • First, the rising profile of China combined with growing China-India tensions.
    • Second, disappointment in the region with India’s economic under-performance.
    • Third, rising concern in the region with India’s approach towards its minorities, especially Muslims and Christians.
  • There is also the fact that India did not join RCEP Free trade agreement.
  • Taken together, all these developments weakened the business-to-business (B2B) and people-to-people (P2P) connect between India and ASEAN despite the best efforts of hard-pressed diplomats to maintain good government-to-government (G2G) relations.
  • While a lot of foreign policy analysis focuses on G2G relations and official policy statements, and a lot of this can be cited to claim that all is well with India-ASEAN relations, few are paying attention to how trends in civil society and domestic politics are being shaped.
  • The bottom line is that despite the best intentions of an Act East Policy, India’s standing and image in Southeast Asia have suffered.

Measures for conflict resolution on boundary:

  • Proper Demarcation of Borders:
    • There is a need for a legitimate ‘Centre led’ initiative to resolve the border issues.
    • The Centre can decide to maintain the status quo in the region or find a ‘common rationale’ to demarcate the border.
  • People to People Engagement:
    • All ethnic majority and minority tribes residing in the region, must be respected and developed.
    • The concept of a ‘shared’ North East Identity could bring the people together. Education can be an effective tool to facilitate people-to-people connect.
  • Involvement of the Supreme Court:
    • The active involvement of the Supreme Court in matters pertaining to legal issues could fast-track the decision-making process and thereafter the implementation process.
    • Establishment of a ‘court monitored boundary commission’ to look into the demands of all the conflicting parties involved, and thereafter, suggest a solution, is essential.
  • Political Solution:
    • With the NDA in power in all these states and at the centre, a political solution to these vexed boundary disputes seems relatively easy to push through.
    • The presence of common leadership in most states can lead to an agreement on border issues as well as the presence of the centre leadership would lead to faster implementation of the solution in the region.
  • The Act East Factor:
    • Maintaining a peaceful North East is vital for India’s ‘Act East Policy’ as the NorthEast Region is the doorway to the ASEAN regions.
    • All the states gain by being connected to one another and for this peaceful border to ensure ‘free’ movement of people and trade are essential.

Conclusion

The speedy resolution of border disputes is necessary, given that the central government has invested heavily in the region over the last decade. The resolution of these border disputes will improve the overall connectivity, employment opportunity, livelihood, and make the northeastern state the doorway to southeast Asia, and enhance the scope of India’s ‘Act East Policy’. However, if the focus remains on maintaining the status quo, the time is not far that these border disputes will turn into major internal security threats for India.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

3. How far do you agree with scrapping of retrospective tax laws as the opportunity for correcting a momentous blunder in the contemporary history of taxation laws in India? Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently introduced the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill in the Lok Sabha to nullify the tax clause provision that allows the government to levy taxes retrospectively.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the positives of scrapping of retrospective tax laws.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with the context of the question.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First explain in detail the existing norms of retrospective tax laws and policies that are in force in the country.

Enlist the genesis of the retrospective tax imbroglio that India has been facing.

Discuss the proposed changes that the government intends to bring, highlight their positives.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The Government of India recently introduced The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021 in the Lok Sabha. The bill seeks to withdraw tax demands made using a 2012 retrospective legislation to tax the indirect transfer of Indian assets. It seeks to nullify the tax clause provision that allows the government to levy taxes retrospectively.

The government has been fighting legal cases against Vodafone and Cairn Energy on taxes it has claimed retrospectively on transactions these entities entered into relating to operations in the country. Both the U.K.-based companies have won international arbitration rulings that held the Indian government in breach of bilateral investment protection agreements with the Netherlands and the U.K. respectively.

Body

Retrospective Taxation allows a country to pass a rule on taxing certain products, items or services and deals and charge companies from a time behind the date on which the law is passed. Countries use this route to correct any anomalies in their taxation policies that have, in the past, allowed companies to take advantage of such loopholes. Apart from India, many countries including the USA, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Australia and Italy have retrospectively taxed companies.

The proposed changes in the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill:

  • The Bill says that it is argued that such retrospective amendments militate against the principle of tax certaintyand damage India’s reputation as an attractive destination.
  • The country today stands at a juncture when quick recovery of the economyafter the COVID-19 pandemic is the need of the hour and foreign investment has an important role to play.
  • The Bill proposes to do away with retrospective taxationon the sale of assets in India by foreign entities executed before May 2012, with a caveat, the companies that will benefit from the amendment must withdraw all legal cases against the government and forfeit interest, costs and any damages.
  • The government, on its part, is willing to refund any tax dues it may have collected or seized.

Rationale behind the bill:

  • In May 2007, Vodafone bought Hong Kong-based Hutchison’s controlling stake in Hutchison Essar for $10.9 billion.
  • The transaction took placein the Cayman Islands where Hutchison’s unit which in turn was acquired by Vodafone’s Netherlands-based Vodafone International Holdings.
  • That September, India’s Income Tax Department served a notice on Vodafone for failing to deduct tax at sourcefrom the amount it paid to Hutchison in lieu of the capital gains tax it contended the seller Hutchison was liable for. The case went to court.
  • In January 2012, India’s Supreme Court backed Vodafone, ruling that indirect transfer of shares to a non-Indian company would not attract tax in India.
  • Separately, in 2006-07, Cairn Energy U.K. had reorganised its Indian oil and gas exploration business ahead of a planned IPO in India and subsequently sold part of its stake in Cairn India Ltd., first to Malaysia’s Petronas, and then the Vedanta Group during the 2009-11 period.
  • In the Union Budget of 2012,the then Finance Minister, introduced an amendment to the Finance Act, which allowed the government to retrospectively tax such transactions.
  • In 2014, the Income Tax Department froze Cairn’s remaining shares in Cairn India. The next year, Cairn initiated international arbitration against the government under the India-U.K. bilateral investment treaty.
  • Though the government had raised tax demands in 17 such cases, Vodafone and Cairn attracted the most attention.
  • Both initiated international arbitration under bilateral agreements.
  • Vodafone got a favourable ruling in September 2020 at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Haguein the ₹22,000-crore case.
  • In December, an Arbitral Tribunalruled in favour of Cairn, awarding it $1.2 billion plus interest and costs in damages, which came to $1.7 billion in total.

Importance of the bill:

  • The bill marks a step in the direction of addressing the long-pending demand of foreign investors seeking the removal of retrospective tax for the sake of better tax clarity.
  • This would help in establishing an investment-friendly business environment,which can increase economic activity and help raise more revenue over time for the government.
  • This could help restore India’s reputation and improve ease of doing business.

Way forward:

  • Government argued that Taxation Laws (Amendment) Billintroduced will only encourage more international investments into India and is a welcome relief for companies who have long invested in the country.
  • The government has informed Parliament that at least 17 companies will benefit from the move including Cairn Energy Plc and telecom giant Vodafone.
  • Some experts welcomed the move as it will end the spectre of policy uncertainty for potential investors who have seen the Vodafone and Cairn cases unfold over the past decade.
  • The amendments may put an end to arbitration cases from the past“which have created great embarrassment for India in international circles”, while most observers lamented that the issue had been allowed to linger for far too long.
  • This could help restore India’s reputation as a fair and predictable regimeapart from helping put an end to unnecessary, prolonged and expensive litigation.

 

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

4. COVID 19 crisis had stretched State finances in many ways. In this context, examine the potential of Non-tax revenues source in strengthening the state finances in India. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses the impact of covid-19 led pandemic upon the State finances.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the potential of Non-tax revenues source in strengthening the state finances in India. 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:

The Covid crisis has stretched State finances by impacting both GST and cess collections. This, along with the imminent end of GST compensation in July 2022, has forced States to look at other revenue options.

Body:

The answer body must examine the potential of Non-tax revenues source in strengthening the state finances in India.

Discuss first what are the sources of non-tax revenue in India?

Analyse the impact of covid-19 pandemic on the State finances.

Suggest what needs to be done.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

The slowdown in GDP growth in 2020-’21 on account of the Covid-19 lockdown will result in considerable revenue losses for both the Central and state governments. Several state governments have reported huge shortfall in their revenue collection during the first two months of 2020-’21. The fiscal stress on state governments due to revenue loss will be further aggravated by the decline in tax devolution by the Union government. Lower tax collection by the Union government would mean lower devolution to states. This, along with the imminent end of GST compensation in July 2022, has forced States to look at other revenue options.

Body

Major reasons for States’ dwindling finances:

  • Increasing dependency on Centre:
    • States have been too dependent on the tax revenues while non-tax revenues are not insignificant at around 10 per cent of States’ total revenue collection
    • The dependency of states on the Centre for revenues has increased, with the share of the revenue from own sources declining from 55% in 2014-15 to 50.5% in 2020-21.
    • While part of this is inherent in India’s fiscal structure, wherein states are the big spenders and the Centre controls the purse strings, the situation has been exacerbated by the introduction of the GST.
    • Barring a few exceptions, such as petroleum products, property tax, and alcohol excise, indirect taxes have, to a large degree, been subsumed under the GST regime, eroding the ability of states to raise their own revenues.
  • Shortfall in devolution:
    • Adding to state woes is the significant divergence in past periods between the amount of GST compensation owed and the actual payments made, including for states such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand that need greater fiscal support.
    • Even before Covid-19 hit, 11 states estimated a revenue growth rate below the estimated 14% level, implying higher amounts will be owed as GST compensation.
    • With the bulk of the states’ GST coming from goods such as electronics, fashion, and entertainment — all of which have been impacted by the pandemic — these revenues are likely to decline further.

Potential of Non-tax revenues source in strengthening the state finances in India:

  • Non-tax revenue is charged against services provided by the government. It also includes interest charged on loans advanced by the government for various purposes.
  • The three main administrative non-tax receipts heads — general services, social services and economic services — account for about 80 per cent of States’ own non-tax revenue.
  • To augment additional revenues from non-tax sources, the fees/user charges for the various services provided by the State government need to be reformed.
  • The State must focus on meeting the cost of public services through proper pricing, wherever feasible.

  • Services such as education and health are merit in nature and involve a degree of positive externality and, to some extent, subsidization may be justified. The extent of subsidization and its pattern over time need to be examined.
  • It is essential to understand and appraise the performance of some of the non-tax sources of States with a view to examining their trends, identifying the factors responsible for their growth or lack of growth, exploring the scope for rationalizing their price structures and, thereby, improving the overall budgetary position of the States as well as efficiency in resource use.

Way forward:

  • States must be allowed to lead in terms of reviving economy, generating income support, jobs while contain the virus at the same time.
  • The State governments should strengthen the State Finance Commissions and ensure they have proper resources, adequate administrative support for their smooth functioning.
  • SFC’s must be provided adequate time for carrying out the task assigned to them so as to ensure timely submission of reports to the government.
  • A strengthened State Finance Commission would ensure that States get the benefit of appropriate distribution of resources to their Panchayati Raj institutes and also periodic recommendations for augmenting own source of revenues.
  • Thus, it is important that States become more proactive in raising revenues as in the times to come they will have to make substantial investments in the health and education sectors which are going to be critical for growth.

 

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

5. How far do you think the nature based solutions as viable option in dealing with climate change in India? Analyse with suitable illustrations. (250 words)

Reference:  Down to Earth

Why the question:

The article explains that recently the G20 countries identify need for sustainable business models to implement nature-based solutions in developing countries; but they lack direction. Thus the question.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss the prospects of nature based solutions as a viable option in dealing with climate change in India.

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 you understand by Nature-based solutions.

Body:

Nature-based solutions to climate change involve conserving, restoring or better managing ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

NbS is a relatively new concept that was widely discussed after the Conference of Parties (CoP) 25. Several countries are already piloting projects based on NbS. But it is still an amateur concept.

Give examples wherein such an option is being exercised.

Take hints from the article and quote case studies to substantiate your answer.

Present the case of India.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Nature-based Solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems in ways that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, to provide both human well-being and biodiversity benefits. They are underpinned by benefits that flow from healthy ecosystems and target major challenges like climate change, disaster risk reduction, food and water security, health and are critical to economic development.

A Nature-based Solution uses the tools that nature already provides to address issues resulting from poor land or resource use, climate change or societal challenges. Solutions often enhance existing natural or man-made infrastructure and spur long-term economic, social and environmental benefits.

Body:

 

 

Some examples of NBS:

  • Restoring and protecting forests and wetlands in catchments
    • Protecting or restoring forests and wetlands (e.g., peatlands) in catchments can secure and regulate water supplies, support production of forest products, and protect communities and infrastructure from floods, soil erosion and landslides.
  • Bringing nature into cities
    • Creating green roofs and walls and planting trees in cities can moderate the impacts of heatwaves, capture storm water and abate pollution.
    • Such measures also have positive outcomes for mental and physical health.
  • Coastal habitat restoration
    • Protecting or restoring coastal ecosystems (mangroves, reefs and salt marshes) protects communities and infrastructure from storm surges and erosion.
    • Coastal habitats, especially mangroves, are particularly good at sequestering carbon, so restoration also contributes to climate change mitigation.
  • Mangroves in Senegal
    • In Senegal the world’s largest mangrove reforestation project led investors to generate half a million tonnes of carbon offsets over its 30-year lifetime.
    • In addition, the delta now protects arable land from salt contamination, rice paddies are restored, and fish stocks replenished by up to 18,000 additional tonnes per year.

Role of NBS in climate actions:

  • Nature-based solutions can help reduce climate change, but they cannot “solve” climate change on their own: they need to be combined with rapid cuts to greenhouse gas emissions and potentially with engineered forms of carbon removal.
  • Experts recently estimated that cost-effective nature-based solutions could contribute about 20% of the mitigation needed between now and 2050 to keep global warming below 2°C.
  • The other 80% will have to come mainly from emissions reductions in the energy, transportation, building, and industrial sectors and, perhaps, from other approaches to carbon removal.
  • It is also important to note that each hectare of forest or soil can only hold so much carbon.
  • Once an area of land reaches that maximum carbon storage, it will not sequester any additional carbon dioxide.
  • This is another reason that nature-based solutions cannot replace emissions reductions.

Benefits of NBS:

  • Protecting biodiversity: because they conserve or expand ecosystems, nature-based solutions protect biodiversity against both climate change and habitat loss.
  • Reversibility: because they store carbon in biomass rather than more permanent reservoirs, nature-based solutions’ carbon sequestration is reversible, meaning that the captured carbon could be released back into the atmosphere by wildfires, changes in land-use or land management, or climate change itself.

Limitations:

  • NBS are highly context specific, and their effectiveness is also uncertain under changing climatic conditions. While natural ecosystems are affected by changing climate, their effectiveness in future climate scenarios is questionable.
  • Apart from the uncertainties revolving around the NBS, securing a continuous flow of investments is an added challenge.
  • According to a report by United Nations Environment Programme (2020), an investment of $140 billion to $300 billion annually by 2030, rising to between $280 billion and $500 billion by 2050 might be required to finance NBS globally.

Measures needed:

  1. Outreach, education, and training: many stakeholders may not know about the benefits of nature-based solutions or may need training to implement them correctly.
  2. Financing and incentives: while many nature-based solutions pay for themselves over time, many potential adopters will need help financing up-front costs (e.g., new supplies and equipment), and additional incentives can speed adoption.
  3. Right-sizing: since some nature-based solutions, such as forestation, compete for land with other uses, good governance can ensure that these solutions get implemented at appropriate scales.
  4. Monitoring, reporting, and verification: measuring and accounting for captured carbon can be challenging, but good governance can streamline the process and help verify carbon storage.
  5. Protecting captured carbon: good long-term governance is needed to minimize the release of captured carbon back into the atmosphere

Way forward:

  • The potential of natural systems as an effective solution for sequestering carbon dioxide has led to several efforts to scale nature-based solutions to mitigate climate change.
  • These proliferating efforts, however, must take cognisance of the fact that these solutions are effective only when applied while protecting the already existing forest.
  • Additionally, we must not run blindly after planting trees; instead, we must back reason with science.
  • Trees should be planted where they belong, that too with native species, and in consultation with local communities.

Conclusion:

If we can address the complexities revolving around NBS along with securing sustainable investment, we might develop a climate-resilient future in addition to protecting, conserving, and restoring our natural environment.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: case study

6. The right to protest is an integral part of democracy. But protests often take a violent turn and lead to destruction of life and property. In such situations, it is the duty of the police force to deal with the violent protests and restore normalcy.

In this context, answer the following questions:

(a) What challenges does the police force face in such situations?

(b) As the SP in the capital city of a state where such protests often take place, how would you deal with such a situation when faced with it? (250 words)

Reference:  case study

Why the question:

The question is a case study based on importance of right to protest in our country and the means with which it is often done.

Key Demand of the question:

The challenges before the police force to deal with violent protests and restore normalcy in the conditions of protests.

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:

Introduce with a brief account of the facts of the case-study.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First, explain that Indian Constitution seeks a balance between the ‘Right to assembly’ [Article 19(1)(b)] and ‘Social Order’ [Article 19 (3)]. The citizens have fundamental rights to form associations, hold meetings, and come out in processions, but they are subject to certain regulations contained in a number of laws such as the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Police Act of 1861.

List the challenges faced by police force during violent protests.

Mention the steps that can be taken by an SP to deal with violent protests.

Conclusion:

Conclude suitably.

Introduction

In any democratic society based on rule of law, peaceful protests are the lifeline of the system to address the multiple grievances of the people but these should be under the ambit of law to maintain healthy discourse in society. However, when the protests turn violent, it leads to loss of lives and damage to property. The given case study deals with such a scenario where multiple aspects are involved to be dealt by the DCP.

Body

Challenges faced by the police: 

  • To safeguard the lives of people who may be injured during the protests.
  • To protect my force who may get demoralized seeing such protests often which poses danger to life and limb.
  • To protect the vulnerable sections of the population like women, elderly in the protesting crowd and others in the vicinity, as they could be in danger during the
  • To stop the violence before it branches out to other forms like communal violence.
  • To save the public property like buses, police vehicles from being destroyed by the violent mob.
  • To regulate crowds while providing citizens the space and peace to exercise their right to assembly.
  • To make sure normalcy in the city prevails despite the protests going on.

As the SP in the capital city of a state, I Would take the following measures:

  •  Talk to the chief/ leader of the protest and arrange a meeting with the officials and the representatives of the protesters so that their issue could be resolved and thereby restoring the normal functioning of the city.
  • Ask the protesters to shift the venue of protest and make them understand the trouble caused to civilians.
  • Police start with minimum force.
  • Fundamental rights provide right to dissent but there are some restrictions.
  • The agitators have violated certain basic set of laws.
  • The law as it stands today is one has to be reasonable while demonstrating.
  • There has to be permission from police and place is fixed.
  • Duty of the police remains the same irrespective of the state.
  • There is no law which can stop police from entering college premises if law is broken.

Conclusion

The Right of citizens to protest and gather peacefully without arms is a fundamental aspect of India’s democracy. While it is also the obligation of the government to protect civilians from violent protests, certain essential principles need to be kept in mind.

The Right to protest is one of the core principles on which democracy survives and thrives. However, when a protest turns violent, as seen in some places in recent protests, it defeats the very purpose of the protest. While enjoying the rights, one must adhere to one’s duties and responsibilities in a democratic society.

 

Topic: Human Values – lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers and administrators; role of Family society and educational institutions in inculcating values.

7. Bring out Gandhiji’s philosophy of Means and Ends. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the Gandhian philosophy of Means and Ends.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss in detail the Gandhiji’s philosophy of Means and Ends.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Briefly define Means and Ends.

Body:

In simple terms, ends are the goals or results. Means are the methods used to achieve goals. There are differing schools of thought with some justifying any means for achieving the goals while others uphold the need for right means to achieve the objectives in true sense.

Explain Gandhian perspective on the relative importance of Means and Ends.

Give examples to explain and justify better.

Conclusion:

Conclude with the relevance of his philosophy in the modern world.

Introduction

In simple terms, ends are the goals or results. Means are the methods used to achieve goals. There are differing schools of thought with some justifying any means for achieving the goals while others uphold the need for right means to achieve the objectives in true sense. Consequentialism focuses on judging the moral worth of the results of the actions and Deontological ethics on judging the actions themselves.

Body:

Gandhiji’s views on means and ends:

  • Gandhi seems to stand almost alone among social and political thinkers in his firm rejection of the rigid dichotomy between ends and means and in his extreme moral preoccupation with the means to the extent that they rather than the ends provide the standard of reference.
  • He was led to this position by his early acceptance of Satya and ahimsa, truth and nonviolence, as twin moral absolutes and his consistent view of their relationship.
  • He said “The means may be likened to a seed, the end to a tree; and there is just the same inviolable connection between the means and the end as there is between the seed and the tree.”
  • According to Gandhiji, our attention should be primarily focused on means because, as a very famous adage goes, “as we sow so shall we reap”. He was a strong believer of the rule of Karma.
  • Although we can choose our ends, we do not have much control over it – we cannot know in advance whether these ends will be achieved. The only thing that is completely within our control is therefore the means with which we approach our various ends.
  • It is not the end that we can work with but only means. Different means will lead to different ends.
  • This is not to say that both violence and non-violence cannot both lead to the independence of a country, but that the country thus created will be one based on violence if the means are violent and pacific if the means are non-violent.
  • Violence and non-violence cannot be different means to secure the same end; since they are morally different in quality and essence, they must necessarily achieve different results.

Gandhiji practiced the purity of means throughout his life and is evident through the following:

  • Gandhi withdrew the first large scale mass movement “Non-cooperation movement”, because of one single ‘Chauri Chaura incident’ as the incident deviated from his Non-violence stance and he immediately called off the movement despite criticism.
  • The Seven Sins philosophy also emphasises on Importance of Means.
    • For example, in the list of sins – Politics without Principles, Wealth without Work, Worship without Sacrifice,, the former are the ends whereas the latter symbolises means which imply that Ends are of lesser value without the desired means.
  • Gandhi’s notion of democracy is that under it the weakest shall have the same opportunities as the strongest. Which stands for Deontological ethicse., putting dignity of an Individual over narrow definition of democracy.

Conclusion:

Mahatma Gandhi was not only a capable leader but a great thinker as well. His philosophy can be summed up in his words– “Means are after all, everything’. As the means so the end…”. According to Gandhiji, if we are sure of the “purity” of the means we employ, we shall be led on by faith, before which “all fear and trembling melt away”. Unconcern with results does not mean that we need not have a clear conception of the end in view.


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