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[Mission 2022] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 28 January 2022

 

 

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: 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.  Evaluate the status of ground water depletion in the major first green revolution regions. Suggest steps to prevent over exploitation of ground water in those regions. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Down to Earth

Why the question:

Groundwater depletion in Punjab has been a growing concern. The groundwater level in most parts of the state has fallen to dangerous levels.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the extent of ground water depletion and measures needed to prevent it.

Directive word: 

Evaluate – When you are asked to evaluate, you have to pass a sound judgement about the truth of the given statement in the question or the topic based on evidence.  You must appraise the worth of the statement in question. There is scope for forming an opinion here.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by developing a link between green revolution and Groundwater depletion

Body:

First, with relevant statistics, mention to what extent ground has depleted in the regions. Write about the causes and impact of the same.

Next, write about various steps that are needed to further prevent over exploitation and to ensure recharging and rejuvenation of ground water.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Today, India is the largest user of the groundwater in the world with almost 90% being used for drinking water and almost 60-70% for irrigation. Current statistics also show that nearly 50% of urban water supply comes from groundwater. India is on the threshold of a very serious groundwater crisis, which needs mitigation both in the fields and at the policy corridors of the country.

Body

Status of Groundwater Depletion in India:

  • India accounts for 16-17% per cent of the world’s population living in less than 5 per cent of the global area, and has just 4 per cent of the global water resources.
  • According to the Central Water Commission (CWC), the estimated water resources potential of the country, which occurs as natural runoff in the rivers, is 1,999 billion cubic metres.
  • Of this, the estimated usable resources are 1,122 billion cubic metres per year 690 BCM per year surface water and 432 BCM per year replenishable groundwater.
  • With the population rising, demand for water will increase manifold in coming years. According to the CWC, per capita availability in the country will decrease from 1,434 cubic metres in 2025 to 1,219 cubic metres in 2050.
  • By CWC benchmarks, a water-stressed condition happens when per capita availability is less than 1,700 cubic metres, and a water-scarcity condition when per capita availability falls below 1,000 cubic metres. Some river basins are facing a water-scarcity condition.
  • Among these are the basins of the Indus (up to the border), Krishna, Cauvery, Subarnarekha, Pennar, Mahi, Sabarmati and east-flowing rivers, and west-flowing rivers of Kutch and Saurashtra including Luni.
  • ‘Water and Related Statistics 2019’ report:
  • According to ‘Water and Related Statistics 2019’, a report published by the CWC, the annual replenishable groundwater resources in India (2017) are 432 BCM, out of which 393 BCM is the annual “extractable” groundwater availability.
  • Fifteen states account for about 90 per cent of the groundwater potential in the country. Uttar Pradesh accounts for 16.2 per cent, followed by Madhya Pradesh (8.4%), Maharashtra (7.3%), Bihar (7.3%), West Bengal (6.8%), Assam (6.6%), Punjab (5.5%) and Gujarat (5.2%).
  • The current annual groundwater extraction is 249 BCM, the largest user being the irrigation sector. This is why the government has called for alternatives to water-intensive crops such as paddy and sugarcane.
  • Compared to the decadal average for 2009-18, there has been a decline in the groundwater level in 61% of wells monitored by the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB).
  • Among the states where at least 100 wells were monitored, the highest depletion has been in Karnataka (80%), Maharashtra (75%), Uttar Pradesh (73%), Andhra Pradesh (73%), Punjab (69%).

Measures needed to augment ground water

  • The government should develop policies to determine which crops should be grown in which region according to the water availability, which “has not been the focus.” For instance, Punjab has a semi-arid climate but it grows rice, which depletes groundwater and is “highly unsustainable.”
  • The traditional flood irrigation in India accounts for huge water loss through evapotranspiration. Drip irrigation and sprinkler irrigation must be used for efficient utilization of water.
  • There should be restrictions to cut off the access to groundwater in areas identified as “critical” and “dark zones”, where the water table is overused or very low.
  • There is a need to treat water as common resource rather than private property to prevent its overexploitation
  • Problems and issues such as water logging, salinity, agricultural toxins, and industrial effluents, all need to be properly looked into.
  • Government has initiated schemes like DRIP programme, more drop per crop, Krishi Sinchai Yojana to ensure economical water use practices in agriculture.
  • Bottom-up approach by empowering the local community to become active participants in managing groundwater.
  • Creating regulatory options at the community level such as panchayat is also one among the feasible solutions.
  • Traditional methods of water conservation should be encouraged to minimize the depletion of water resources.
  • Artificial recharge of tube wells, water reuse, afforestation, scientific methods of agriculture should also be done.

Conclusion

                The focus will be on arresting the rate of decline of groundwater levels as well as water consumption. Leveraging schemes like Atal Bhujal Yojana which seeks to strengthen the institutional framework and bring about behavioural changes at community level for sustainable groundwater resource management is vital. We need to have more community-led Water Security Plans.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

2. What are the criteria to award special category status (SCS) to certain states? Critically analyze the performance of Special category status in assisting development of states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about performance of SCS in aiding development.

Directive word: 

Critically analyze – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them 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 balanced judgment on the topic.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning the aims and objectives behind the grant of SCS.

Body:

First, mention the various criteria on which SCS is granted to states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages. Mention the various benefits associated with it.

Next, analyze the performance of states granted SCS over the years. With facts and examples write as to what extent they befitted from the grant of SCS.

Next, mention the drawbacks of grant of SCS.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion about SCS.

Introduction

Special Category Status (SCS) a classification given by the Centre to assist development of states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages. This classification was done on the recommendations of the Fifth Finance Commission in 1969. It was based on the Gadgil formula.

Body

Criteria to award special category status (SCS) to certain states

  • The rationale for special status is that certain states, because of inherent features, have a low resource base and cannot mobilize resources for development.
  • The state which is facing the problem of resources crunch
  • Low per capita income
  • Non-viable nature of state finances
  • Economic and infrastructural backwardness
  • Presence of sizeable tribal population
  • Hilly and difficult terrain
  • Strategic location along international borders
  • Low population density

How SCS helps states

  • States with Special Category Status are exempted from excise duty, customs duty, corporate tax, income tax and other taxes to attract investment.
  • Centre bears 90% of the state expenditure (given as grant) on all centrally-sponsored schemes and external aid while rest 10% is given as loan to state at zero percent rate of interest. While general category states get 70% fund as loan and 30% in the form of grant
  • The amount, given by the central government in the form of grant to the states; is not required to be returned back to the central government.
  • A huge 30% amount of planned expenditure of the central budget goes to ‘Special Category’ States.
  • Special Category States can avail the benefit of debt swapping and debt relief schemes.
  • Special Category States get preferential treatment in getting central fund which attracts the development projects in the states.
  • Special Category States have the facility that if they have unspent money in a financial year; it does not lapse and gets carry forward for the next financial year.
  • Additional fund received from the central government encourages the state government to start more welfare oriented schemes for the holistic development of the state.

Drawbacks

  • 14th Finance Commission recommendation: The Commission did away with the ‘special category’ status for states, except for the North-eastern and three hill states.
  • NDA government which came to power at the Centre in 2014 has been saying that the 14th Finance Commission doesn’t provide for such treatment to Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Constitution never mentioned it: The commission appears to have been guided by the fact that the Constitution never categorized some states as special, treating all of them on an equal footing.
  • No power to allocate funds: the NITI Aayog, which has replaced the Planning Commission, has no powers to allocate funds. Therefore, the discretion that the ruling party at the Centre had to dole out special favors to states through the Plan panel, no longer exists.

Conclusion

The 14th Finance Commission effectively removed the concept of special category status after its recommendations were accepted in 2015. However, states like Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Goa, Odisha, Rajasthan have been requesting for SCS.

Value addition

Historical background

  • The concept of a special category status was first introduced in 1969 when the fifth Finance Commission sought to provide certain disadvantaged states with preferential treatment in the form of central assistance and tax breaks, establishing special development boards, reservation in local government jobs, educational institutions, etc.
  • This formula was named after the then Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Dr Gadgil Mukherjee and is related to the transfer of assistance to the states by centre under various schemes.
  • Initially, three states; Assam, Nagaland and Jammu & Kashmir were granted special status but from 1974-1979, five more states were added under the special category. These include Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • In 1990, with the addition of Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram, the states increased to 10. The state of Uttarakhand was given special category status in 2001.
  • But after the dissolution of the planning commission and the formation of NITI Aayog, the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission were implemented which meant the discontinuation of the Gadgil formula-based grants.

 

Topic: Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

3. Examine as to how the recommendations of fifteenth finance commissions (FFC) affect the inter-state relations especially the provision of Performance based incentives. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 2 and mentioned as part of Mission-2022 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of FFC recommendations on inter-state relations.

Directive word: 

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must investigate 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: 

Begin by giving context about FFC.

Body:

First, mention the relevant provisions of FFC pertaining to inter-state relations.

Next, explain in what way they affect the inter-state relations. Bring out the positives and negatives of it.

Next, throw light on provision of Performance based incentives and bring out its impact.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a way forward to further harmonize inter-state relations.

Introduction

The Fifteenth Finance Commission was constituted by a Presidential Order in November, 2017 under the Chairmanship of Shri N. K. Singh to decide the formula for devolution of revenue between Centre and States, for a period of 5 years – April, 2020 to March, 2025. The XV FC, however, was given an extension of a year due to uncertainties in key macro areas such as new monetary policy framework, GST, bankruptcy code, demonetization, etc.

Body

The terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission are a matter of utmost importance to the resources available to the States of India. The terms of reference of this Commission have created apprehension among States about principles of fairness and equity in the distribution of public resources for development.

Performance Based Incentives and Grants to States

  • These grants revolve around four main themes.
  • The first is thesocial sector, where it has focused on health and education.
  • Second is therural economy, where it has focused on agriculture and the maintenance of rural roads.
  • The rural economy plays a significant role in the country as it encompasses two-thirds of the country’s population, 70% of the total workforceand 46% of national income.
  • Third,governance and administrative reforms under which it has recommended grants for judiciary, statistics and aspirational districts and blocks.
  • Fourth, it has developeda performance-based incentive system for the power sector, which is not linked to grants but provides an important, additional borrowing window for States.

Performance Based Incentives of 15th Finance Commission undermine inter-state relations:

  • Performance based grants slashed:
    • It reduced the performance-based grant to just ₹8,000 crores — and that too for building new cities, leaving out the Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) altogether.
    • The performance-linked grants thoughtfully introduced by the Thirteenth Finance Commission earmarked 35% of local grants specifying six conditions for panchayats and nine for urban local governments and covered a wide range of reforms: from the establishment of an independent ombudsman to notifying standards for service sectors such as drinking water and solid waste management.
  • Performance based incentives disincentivizes independent decision-making. Any conditions on the state’s ability to borrow will have an adverse effect on the spending by the state, particularly on development thus, undermines cooperative fiscal federalism.
  • It does not hold the Union government accountable for its own fiscal prudence and dilutes the joint responsibility that the Union and States have.
  • In the process to ensure performance, unethical laws would be legislated which would affect the dignity of individuals.
  • Performance based initiatives could also crop up issues between states and non-cooperation due to the extreme competitive federalism. It could also further exacerbate the regional imbalances and lead to regionalist tendencies.

Way forward:

  • Long-term solution is to foster genuine fiscal federalism where states largely raise their own revenue and face hard budget constraints, i.e. fiscal autonomy accompanied by fiscal responsibility.
  • Creating a fiscal structure where the states have greater revenue-raising authority, as well as greater decision making power on spending, implies a lower reliance on the Union government in fiscal matters as well as governance decisions.
  • India needs to move away from centralization-decentralization thinking, and embrace genuine fiscal federalism by permanently creating a fiscal power centre in the states.
  • The allocations for the incubation of new cities and shared municipal services are designed to foster innovations in urban governance to transform our cities with speed and scale. They are seed or venture capital for innovations.
  • The expectation is that state governments would complement these with larger outlays.
  • There is an urgent need for synergistically combined area-based development to spur economic growth and job creation, and decongesting through the development of satellite townships.
  • We need our local governments’ legislation to reflect progressive and enabling financial governance of our cities through five reform agendas of fiscal decentralisation (including strengthening state finance commissions), revenue optimisation (to enhance own revenues), fiscal responsibility and budget management (to accelerate municipal borrowings), institutional capacities (towards an adequately skilled workforce) and transparency and citizen participation (for democratic accountability at the neighbourhood level).

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.

4. India’s engagement with the Central Asian Republics (CARs), a region which India considers part of its “extended neighbourhood” is vital in navigating the opportunities and challenges in a region. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

Two days after China held a virtual summit with Central Asian countries, India too stepped in and Prime Minister Narendra Modi pitched for “an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation for the next 30 years”.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the manner in which India can mange opportunities and challenges in central asia.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context as to how central Asia is India’s “extended neighborhood”

In the first part, mention the economic considerations of India in that region – India for priority development projects in energy, healthcare, connectivity, IT, agriculture, education, etc.

Next, write about long-term security threats emanating out of the region especially in regard to the recent changes witnessed in Afghanistan.

Also, mention India’s ‘Connect Central Asia Policy’, role of INSTC and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in the above-mentioned aspects.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to better manage ties.

Introduction

India’s relation with Central Asia has a long history. The two regions have shared deep cultural linkages with each other over two millennia in terms of people to people contact, trade, and commerce. The close trade and cultural linkages between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia, whose beginnings can be traced to the Indus valley civilization, tapered after India’s partition in 1947 as New Delhi found itself without a direct land corridor to the region.

India recently pitched for “an integrated approach for regional connectivity and cooperation for the next 30 years” with the central Asian countries.

Body

India’s engagement in the CAR

  • India reset its ties with independent republics in Central Asia, a strategically critical region, post break-up of Soviet Region.
  • India provided financial aid to the region and established diplomatic relations.
  • The Strategic Partnership Agreements (SPA)was signed with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to stimulate defence cooperation and deepen trade relations.
  • New Delhi’s‘Connect Central Asia’ policy of 2012, aimed at furthering India’s political, economic, historical and cultural connections with the region.
  • India signed MoUs with Iran in 2015 to develop the Chabahar port in the Sistan-Baluchistan province that was in the doldrums from 2003.

Recent developments in India-CAR relations

  • The External Affairs Minister attended the 6th Foreign Ministers’ Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Nur Sultan.
  • India extended a credit line of $200 millionfor the support of development projects and signed an memorandum of understanding (MoU) on High-Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP).
  • Incumbent EAM become the first Indian External Affairs Minister to visit
  • India supported efforts for a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk group.

Challenges faced by India in the relations with CAR

  • India’s efforts were stonewalled by Pakistan’s lack of willingness to allow India passage through its territory.
  • The growing geostrategic and security concerns regarding the BRI’s China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the violation of India’s sovereignty is another challenge.
  • The Taliban re-establishing its supremacy over Afghanistan has also exposed the weaknesses of coalitions such as SCO.
  • The SCO has been used by most member countries for their own regional geostrategic and security interests, increasing the trust-deficit and divergence within the forum.

Way forward

  • Most of the Central Asian leaders view India’s Chabahar portas an opportunity to diversify their export markets and control China’s ambitions.
  • They have admitted New Delhi into theAshgabat Agreement, allowing India access to connectivity networks to facilitate trade and commercial interactions with both Central Asia and Eurasia, and also access the natural resources of the region.
  • Rising anti-Chinese sentimentswithin the region and security threats from the Taliban allow New Delhi and Central Asia to reimagine their engagement.
  • Central Asian countries have been keen to have India as a partner as they have sought to diversify their strategic ties.
  • India needs clear recalibration of its regional engagement with Central Asian countries.

Value addition

Significance of Central Asian countries to India

  • The Central Asian region (CAR) is considered to be the part of India’s “extended neighborhood.”
  • CAR has become the site of great power tussles over energy resources in the recent past.
  • The geostrategic position of CAR as an access point between Europe and Asia is of greater significance in terms of trade.
  • China’s deep inroads in the Central Asian republics in terms of investment is also a concern.

 

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

5. A push towards logistics, prioritizing government measures to reduce India’s extremely high logistics costs, plethora of regulations, poor connectivity and distribution challenges is the current need of the hour. Elucidate (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: moneycontrol.com

Why the question:

A government study has estimated that facilitating a 10 percent decrease in indirect logistics costs will directly translate to a growth of 5-8 percent in exports.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need to reduce the cost of logistics in India.

Directive word: 

Analyse – When asked to analyse, you must examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a statistic about high cost of logistics in India.

Body:

First, mention the impact of high cost of logistics on the Indian economy.

Next, analyze how regulations, poor connectivity and distribution challenges are detrimental to India’s developmental ambitions.

Next, suggest steps to overcome the same and reduce the bottlenecks.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

The Indian logistics sector is a sunshine industry and is going through a phase of transformation on account of various reform initiatives and policy changes. India’s fast-growing logistics sector is expected to reach $350 billion of market size by 2025. But the highly fragmented sector suffers from a plethora of regulations, poor connectivity and distribution challenges.

Body

Background

  • The National Logistics Policy being formulated by the Commerce Department is touted to improve India’s trade competitiveness, create more jobs, improve India’s performance in global rankings and pave the way for India to become a logistics hub.
  • The policy will create a single-window e-logistics market, aim to double the employment in the sector currently pegged at 22 million, and make MSMEs competitive.

Need for push towards logistics

  • Huge Potential
    • Providing livelihood to more than 22 million people, it encompasses nearly 10,000 commodities, 200 shipping agencies, and 36 logistics services.
    • Further, permission from 81 authorities and more than 500 certifications, are required for exports.
    • Nearly 129 Internal Container Depots, 168 Container Freight Stations, along with 50 IT ecosystems, banks, and insurance agencies are also part.
    • According to consulting firm Redseer, it is estimated that India’s logistics market is around $209 billion as of 2022. Seeing sharp growth year-on-year, this is set to rise to $350 billion by 2025.
  • A strong logistics ecosystem will reduce the logistics cost from the present 14 percent of GDP to less than 10 percent in the next 3 years.
  • A government study has estimated that facilitating a 10 percent decrease in indirect logistics costs will directly translate to a growth of 5-8 percent in exports.
  • Reduction in logistics costs will result in more competitive goods and services, resulting in more trade and commerce for India.
  • Focus on new technology, improved investment, skilling, removing bottlenecks, improving inter modal transportation, automation, single window system for giving clearances, and simplifying processes.
  • Improving logistics sector has huge implication on exports and it is estimated that a 10 per cent decrease in indirect logistics cost can increase 5-8 per cent of exports.
  • The need of the hour is to formulate an integrated logistics policy.
  • Better performance in logistics will augment programmes like Make in India, and also enable India to become an important part of the global supply chain.
  • Such measures will also contribute to creation of a New India by 2022

Impediments in the path

  • Logistics sector currently is less automated.
  • Over 70 per cent of the logistics sector is in small, unorganised hands.
  • India’s logistics costs are 40 per cent higher than in most developed countries.
  • High cost of logistics impacting competitiveness in domestic and global market.
  • Underdeveloped material handling infrastructure and fragmented warehousing.
  • Presence of multiple regulatory and policy making entities.
  • Lack of seamless movement of goods across modes.
  • Poor integration with modern information technology

Conclusion

A mechanism needs to be created to measure the sector’s performance at regular intervals. The immediate need of the hour is to announce new measures to be undertaken as part of the National Logistics policy that has been in the making for more than 3-years now.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;

6. How can public servants overcome unnecessary pressure, coercion and undue influence in their day-to-day administration from their higher ups and politicians? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Analyse – 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.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by mentioning how various stakeholders try to exert influence in administration.

Body:

First, mention the various way in which public servants can limit the undue influence of higher ups in their own domain.

Next, mention how public servants can insulate them from unnecessary pressure of the politicians in administration.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on developing the right attitude to deal with the above.

Introduction

Given the high profile and extremely visible lives of civil servants, especially in the age of social media, a public servant is exposed to various kinds of pressure, coercion and undue influence by various quarters of society.

Body

Measures to overcome such pressures

  • A public servant must uphold his integrity at all times, this will help in giving him the required moral courage to tackle any kind of tough situations.
  • A public servant must use his emotional intelligence to tackle the various emotional outbursts that could come up in such tense situations.
  • Further, he/she should ensure to accept orders from ministers/political masters in writing so that public servant is not made scapegoat for political gains of politicians.
  • Civil servants must use objectivity while taking decisions rather than being driven by subjective norms.
  • A happy and peaceful personal life is also a must to ensure that professional stress can be handled smoothly.
  • Training the mind and soul to keep calm through meditation, yoga and other forms of exercises

Conclusion

Thus, a civil servant needs fortitude to stand up for their principles and withstand immoral or illegal pressures. Apart from this, civil servants have to not only ensure the equality and dignity of individual citizens but also actively encourage their participation in the process of governance.

 

Topic: case study.

7. The coronavirus disease (CoVID-19) pandemic has quickly spread to various countries. As on May 8th, 2020, in India 56342 positive cases of corona had been reported. India with a population of more than 1-35 billion had difficulty in controlling the transmission of coronavirus among its population. Multiple strategies became necessary to handle this outbreak. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of India raised awareness about this outbreak and to take all necessary actions to control the spread of COVID-19. Indian Government implemented a 55-day lockdown throughout the country to reduce the transmission of the virus. Schools and colleges had shifted to alternative mode of teaching- learning-evaluation and certification. Online mode became popular during these days. India was not prepared fora sudden onslaught of such a crisis due to limited infrastructure in terms of human resource, money and other facilities needed for taking care of this situation. This disease did not spare anybody irrespective of caste, creed, religion on the one hand and have and have not’ on the other. Deficiencies in hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ambulances, hospital staff and crematorium were the most crucial aspects You are a hospital administrator in a public hospital at the time when coronavirus had attacked large number of people and patients were pouring into hospital day in and day out.

What are your criteria and justification for putting your clinical and non-clinical staff to attend to the patients knowing fully well that it is highly infectious disease and resources and infrastructure are limited?

If yours is a private hospital, whether your justification and decision would remain same as that of a public hospital? (250 words) (UPSC Mains 2021)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Case Study Fridays’ in Mission-2022 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, write about the criteria for putting staff on duty and from an ethical standpoint justify that why the staff has to be put to work.

Next, mention if the criteria or the justification would change in the case of a private hospital, instead of a government hospital.

Conclusion:

Conclude by stressing on important of doing one’s duty.

Introduction

Covid-19 Pandemic has wreaked havoc amongst all sections of the society. Health Infrastructure around the world was under immense pressure due to the extremely contagious nature of the virus. Doctors and nurses, other front line workers like bureaucrats being the first line of defence were vulnerable due to direct and frequent contact with the covid patients.

Body

A large number of medical fraternity lost their lives during the second wave of covid 19 in India. Despite all the associated risks, doctors and other medical staffs adhered to their medical ethics and saved lives of millions of Patients. On frontline worker’s part, it was culmination of work ethics, integrity, compassion and empathy and emotional intelligence which made them achieve what they did during 2 waves of covid 19 in India.

(a) If I am the administrator of the hospital, I would have following criteria and Justifications for putting my clinical and non-clinical staff to attend the patient. 

  • Firstly, I would set strong protocols, under which no one would be allowed to work within the hospital premise without wearing mask and face shield.
  • Utmost emphasize will be given to the safety of the clinical and Non-clinical staff, especially those who are directly dealing with the covid positive patients.
  • PPE kits must be made compulsory for all the clinical and Non-clinical staff of the Hospital.
  • Within the protocol, adequate emphasis would be given to frequent sanitization of the hospital premise.
  • Under the Protocol, free medical aid will be provided to any clinical or non-clinical staff and any of their family members, who gets infected by the virus. As the administrator, it is my moral responsibility to ensure their good health.
  • If it is a public hospital, I would urge the state government to provide social security to the workers of the hospital. At the same time, I would make a proposal to give incentives to the front line workers of my hospital.
  • If any Clinical or Non-clinical staff’s demise occurs, whole cost of their children’s education would be borne by the Hospital Management. Also the bereaved family would be given decent monetary amount for their further survival.
  • Strict penal action will be taken against any of the family member of patients who humiliate or hurt the dignity of the Hospital staff including both clinical and Non-clinical.
  • Under the protocol, paid leave must be provided to staff who have comorbidities, since they are more vulnerable to the virus.
  • I will ensure that all the staff discharge their duties in an efficient manner by adhering to the medical ethics and protocols.

(b) If yours is a private hospital, whether your justification and decision would remain same as that of a public hospital?

  • It was evident during the pandemic that many private hospitals adopted unethical means by taking advantage of the situation of patient’s medical condition and charging huge money from the patients’ family. This is certainly against medical ethics.
  • Also at the times of medical emergency it is inhumane to engage in such practices.
  • If I am the administrator of Private hospital, I will comply with all the above protocols.
  • At the same time, I will ensure that the hospital is not engaged in the unethical practices by charging more money.
  • Additionally, I will also ensure that hospital is not engaging in biased practices by giving preferences to VIPs and influential people over the actual needy patients.
  • I will try to bring the culture of transparency in the private hospital.

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