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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 30 June 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: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

1. As a source of identity, cultural heritage is a valuable factor for empowering local communities and enabling vulnerable groups to participate fully in social and cultural life. Elaborate. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the importance of cultural heritage.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining cultural heritage.

Body:

Write about the importance of heritage in empowering local communities – livelihood provision, skill enhancement, social security etc. Substantiate with examples.

Next, write about the other ways cultural heritage is important.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

 

 

Introduction

Cultural Heritage is an expression of the ways of living developed by a community and passed on from generation to generation, including customs, practices, places, objects, artistic expressions and values. Cultural heritage includes tangible culture (such as buildings, monuments, landscapes, books, works of art, and artifacts), intangible culture (such as folklore, traditions, language, and knowledge), and natural heritage (including culturally significant landscapes, and biodiversity)

Body

Cultural heritage empowering local communities

  • People belonging to diverse communities, speaking different languages, having different food, performing different customs harmoniously co-exist in India. Thus, the soul of cultural heritage of India lies in the fact that it’s an all-embracing confluence of religions, traditions, customs and beliefs.
  • Such cultural heritage can also bridge gaps between communities and reduce the events of communalism and tensions between various religious groups. Eg: Taj Mahal is visited by crores of Indians transcending communities.
  • It also helps build fraternity in the country, as the citizens can be collectively proud about the rich heritage owned by India.
  • It has the potential to boost soft power abroad and harness the same to attract many tourists in India.
  • India’s diverse heritage can unite the Indian diaspora in different countries and show solidarity especially in global arena. Eg: People contributing to save India’s heritage monuments and keeping them clean.
  • People who follow different ideologies and comprehensive doctrines can come together to resolve issues that plague Indian community and society and agree towards common values.
  • Traditional skill can be enhanced and marketed well globally and this can be done by leveraging art and handicrafts of India from ancient times.

Importance of cultural heritage

  • Over the years, numerous styles of art, architecture, painting, music, dance, festivals and customs have developed in India and this wide variety has made the Indian culture unparalled to which the entire world still looks up to.
  • The cultural heritage of India still flourishes maintaining its original features together along with changes,a key indicator of its strength.
  • India’s cultural heritage is not only one of the most ancient but it is also one of the most extensive and varied. From ancient times to the present many races and religions came here and left their imprints on the culture.
  • These people either came into contact with India temporarily or permanently settled within her borders to evolve a distinctive Indian culture.
    • This resulted in a synthesis of many cultures. With the result India, due to its rich and precious Cultural and Natural heritages, came to be known as the land of great wonders and diversities.

Conclusion

The Culture of India refers to the way of life of the people of India. India’s languages, religions, dance, music, architecture, food, and customs differ from place to place within the country.

The Indian culture is often labelled as an amalgamation of several segments of cultures, including traditions that are several millennia old. It spans across the entire Indian sub-continent.  Many elements of India’s diverse cultural segments have had a profound impact across the world.

 

Topic: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

2. An artistic movement of great importance flourished under the aegis of the Pallava rulers of Kanchi and they are credited with having building some of the outstanding temples and sculptures. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

A demand has been raised to declared Kanchipuram as an UNESCO world heritage site.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the transformation in Pallava architecture from rock cut to stone built temples.

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 mentioning how Pallavas laid the foundation of south Indian architecture.

Body:

Discuss about the four stages of temple development and explain how they evolved from rock cut structure to stone built temples. Mention the major features of early stages of Dravidian architecture under Pallavas. Highlight along with examples.

Next, write about development of sculpture along with examples under Pallavas.

Conclusion:

Conclude by commenting on the pioneer nature of Pallavan contributions to Indian art and architecture.

Introduction

The Pallava dynasty existed between the 3rd and 9th centuries CE, ruling a portion of what is today Andhra Pradesh (early Pallavas) and Tamil Nadu (later Pallavas).The tradition of direct patronization of the temples began with the Pallavas. Starting with rock-cut temples, Pallava sculptors later graduated to free-standing structural shrines which inspired Chola temples of a later age.

Body

Perhaps no other empire has garnered appreciation for their contribution to rock-cut architecture as Pallavas. Some of the monuments created by Pallavas during their rule through rock excavation have garnered the worldwide admiration for its beauty and the skills displayed by the artists. Pallava sculpture shows greater details of workmanship, lighter anatomy and more developed artistic finishing.

They were the pioneers of South Indian art and architecture as they had introduced the stone architecture in the Tamil country. Even as a building material, stone was not or rarely used here, possibly because of its strong association with funerary customs. The fascination of carving whole temples into the living rock which spread over India during the first millennium AD had not yet seized the South by the end of the 6th century. Their contributions are still extant because granite was used for building temples and carving sculptures.

Evolution of architecture of Pallavas

  • Pallava architecture can be now sub-divided into two phases – the rock cut phase and the structural phase.
  • Rock cut phase:
    • The rock cut phase lasted from the 610 to 668 AD and consisted of two groups of monuments – the Mahendra group and the Mamalla group.
    • The Mahendra groupis the name given to monuments constructed during the reign of Mahendravarman I
      • The monuments of this group are invariably pillared halls hewn out of mountain faces.
      • These pillared halls or mandapas follow the prototype of Jain temples of the period.
      • The best examples of Mahendra group of monuments are the cave temples at Mandagapattu, Pallavaram and Mamandur.
    • The second group of rock cut monuments belong to the Mamalla group .
      • During this period free-standing monolithic shrines called rathas were constructed alongside pillared halls.
      • Some of the best examples of this style are the Pancha Rathas and Arjuna’s Penance at Mahabalipuram.
    • Free standing temples:
      • The second phase of Pallava architecture is the structural phase when free-standing shrines were constructed with stone and mortar brought in for the purpose.
      • The Rajasimha group encompasses the early structural temples of the Pallavas when a lot of experimentation was carried out.
        • The best examples of this period are the Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram and the Kanchi Kailasanathar Templeat Kanchipuram both constructed by Narasimhavarman II who was known as Rajasimha.
      • The best example of the Nandivarman group of monuments is the Vaikunta Perumal Temple at Kanchipuram.

Conclusion

During this period, Pallava architecture attained full maturity and provided the models upon which the massive Brihadeeswarar Temple of the Cholas at Thanjavur and Gangaikonda Cholapuram and various other architectural works of note were constructed.

The recent announcement of 11 ancient temples in Kancheepuram making it to the UNESCO’s tentative list of world heritage sites opens an avenue for the region to be back on the tourism map. This will ensure better care of the structures as the final honour brings with it international recognition.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

3. Traditionally dominated by the trade, energy and Diaspora ties, the India-UAE relationship has been growing substantially in the security arena. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Indian ExpressInsights on India

Why the question:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the UAE on June 28 was his fourth, having visited the country earlier in August 2015, in February 2018 and again in August 2019.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the growing India-UAE relations in aspects of trade, energy, diaspora as well as security.

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 context of growing India-UAE relations in the past.

Body:

In the first part, in brief, giving an account of tries between India-U.A.E till recent times. (You can make use of a flow chart for better presentation).

Next, describe the trade relations – FTA– how it will benefit both India and U.A.E in terms of trade, investments, technology, infrastructure, diaspora and cultural contacts etc.

Next, write about the relations in relation with energy and diaspora.

Next, write about the growing relations in terms of security.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward for realisation of a long and stable partnership.

 

 

Introduction

UAE is India’s closest partner in the Arab world and fortunately, there is enough resilience in bilateral ties to withstand the recent convulsions. The visit assumes significance in the backdrop of the recent controversy generated by the offensive comments against the Prophet. While the UAE had expressed concern over the comments, it did not summon the Indian envoy and welcomed the action against the accused.

 Body

India-UAE relations: Growth in strategic aspect and security

  • Energy Security: UAE is the 5th largest import source and accounts for about 6% of our total crude imports. Both signed agreements related to energy security on acquisition of stakes in Lower Zakum oil and gas field.
  • Investment: The UAE government has committed USD 75 billion towards developing Indian infrastructure. The NIIF entered into an agreement with a Dubai based firm for investment up to USD 3 billion.
  • Important trading Partner: Bilateral trade with UAE stood at around USD 59 billion last year.
  • Indian Community: More than 2.5 million Indians live in the UAE, which is among the largest number of expatriates anywhere in the world, repatriating $13.6 billion a year to India.
  • Shared Security Concern: The two countries have a common interest in ensuing maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf region.
    • Further, given the current state of flux in West Asia, India sees the UAE as an important partner to maintain peace and stability in the region.
    • In this background India looks to enhance security cooperation with the Gulf countries including the UAE to counter terrorist threats and combat online radicalization.
  • Defense: Défense exercises are increasingly undertaken. For example, ‘Desert Eagle II’, a ten-day air combat exercise, was held in May-June 2016 between the air forces of India and UAE. Also, both elevated their relationship to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership agreement and have move beyond just buyer-seller relationship.
  • Maritime security: India approved the bilateral pact on maritime education and training and a MoU to facilitate and promote maritime transport, simplification of customs and facilitation of use of existing installations for the disposal of waste.

 

Challenges

  • Slow implementation process: As far as investments are concerned, the systemic problem faced due to slow implementation of various projects from Indian side is a major obstacle.
  • Lack of commercial clarity in UAE: Indian companies operating in the UAE also face problems due to lack of clarity in many aspects of commercial regulations, labour laws and lack of transparency on part of Emirati businesses.
  • Decrease in opportunities for Indian workers: There is also a need to smoothen problems faced by Indian migrants due to cumbersome and strict regulations that favour the Emirati employers and at times leads to serious problems for Indian workers, especially unskilled workers.

Conclusion

The growing engagements between India and the UAE has to be seen within the broader contexts of UAE’s policy of engaging with Asia to improve economic prospects and India’s search for foreign investments to expedite economic growth and address the threat of extremism and terrorism.

Medical tourism can be an important area where India can attract UAE given India’s high quality man power in medical sector and improving medical infrastructure in the country.

There are further untapped potentials in the arena of renewable energy. The cost for production and transmission of solar energy in the UAE are a fraction to that of India and this is a priority area for the UAE government.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

4. Can the complete privatization of state-owned banks be the panacea to all the aliments that affect the public sector banks (PSBs)? Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

A clamour for complete privatization of state-owned banks seems to have arisen in policy corridors once again. This is not a new demand; discussions about the government liquidating its entire shareholding in public sector banks (PSBs) have taken place many times in the past, without any specific policy objectives spelt out.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about pros and cons of the complete privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs).

Directive word: 

Critically examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we have to 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. 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: 

Begin by stating objectives of privatisation.

Body:

First, write about the positive role played by public banks in the Indian economy.

Next, write about the various issues plaguing the state-owned banks in India. Cite statistics to substantiate.

Next, write about positives of complete privatisation of state-owned banks.

Next, write about the negatives of complete privatisation of state-owned banks.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a balanced opinion for way ahead.

 

Introduction

The new privatisation policy envisages that in each strategic sector, no more than four state-owned companies will exist. Currently, after the latest round of consolidation, there are 12 public sector banks (PSBs). This means having four mega PSBs will either come through further mergers of PSBs or privatisation. Privatisation is often considered a solution for poor management in public sector banks.

However, former governor of RBI Raghuram Rajan held that privatisation is not a panacea for the ills of the banking sector unless accompanied by reforms in banking regulation.

 

Background:

  • Bank nationalisation ushered in a revolution for India’s banking sector.
  • Areas that had so far been neglected, including agriculture, employment-generating productive activities, poverty alleviation plans, rural development, health, education, exports, infrastructure, women’s empowerment, became priority sectors for these banks.
  • The move also helped in promoting more equitable regional growth, and this is evident from RBI data.
  • There were only 1,833 bank branches in rural areas in the country in 1969, which increased to 33,004 by 1995 and continued to grow over the next decades.
  • Banking services also reduced the dependence on moneylenders in rural regions.
  • Nationalised banking improved the working conditions of employees in the banking sector, as the state ensured higher wages, security of services, and other fringe benefits.

Need for privatisation

  • Years of capital injections and governance reforms have not been able to improve the financial position of in public sector banks significantly.
  • Many of them have higher levels of stressed assets than private banks, and also lag the latter on profitability, market capitalisation and dividend payment record.
  • Privatisation of two public sector banks will set the ball rolling for a long-term project that envisages only a handful of state-owned banks, with the rest either consolidated with strong banks or privatised.
  • This will free up the government, the majority owner, from continuing to provide equity support to the banks year after year.

Critical Analysis: Privatisation may not address the issues faced by PSB’s

  • In the context of privatisation and efficiency, it is unfair to blame PSBs alone for the alarming rise of NPAs. On the contrary, stringent measures are required to recover large corporate stressed assets, which is a key concern for the entire banking sector.
  • This must include strong recovery laws and taking criminal action against wilful defaulters.
  • So far, the government has not exhibited a firm willingness to implement these measures.
  • Wilful default by large corporate borrowers and subsequent recovery haircuts, imposed through the ill-conceived Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, has resulted in a heap of write-offs, putting a big dent on the balance sheets of PSBs.
  • This has not only affected the profitability of the banks, but has also become an excuse to allege inefficiency.
  • Unlike the mega-merger exercise among PSBs carried out last year, the privatisation of PSBs is a politically sensitive move.
  • Bank employee trade unions have already raised objections against the proposed privatisation move.
  • Trade unions continue to have a say in the running of these institutions, which will force the government to convince the trade unions about the merit of the privatisation agenda.

Way forward:

  • If the government exhibits strong political will (convincing the influential trade unions) to proceed with the privatisation agenda, it will have to first implement the bad bank plan to address the problem of NPAs in PSBs and clean up their balance sheets.
  • If the books are healthy, there could be potential takers for these banks among NBFCs and business houses for these banks.
  • The government, along with the RBI, will have to then work out reasonable terms for the privatisation of these banks.
  • Buyers will be more interested in taking over healthier, well-run banks rather than taking up the burden of weak, poorly governed banks. PSB privatisation has been a long-pending promise.
  • The PJ Nayak panel had recommended this way back in 2014 and government must scrutiny it once more.

 

 

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

5. What are Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)? Evaluate the feasibility of PES projects in India for conserving and sustainable use of bio-diversity. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

Incentives for biodiversity protection and sustainable use include biodiversity-relevant taxes, fees, levies, tradeable permits, and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about PES, its role in conserving biodiversity and its feasibility in India.

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 defining PES.

Body:

First, write about the various components of PES which ensures conservation of biodiversity.

Next, write about the feasibility of PES in India – its pros and cons with respect to India socio-political set up.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward.

Introduction

The term “ecosystem services” refers to the diverse benefits that are derived from the natural environment. Examples include the supply of food, water and timber (provisioning services); the regulation of air quality, climate and flood risk (regulating services); opportunities for recreation, tourism and education (cultural services); and essential underlying functions such as soil formation and nutrient cycling (supporting services).

Payments for ecosystem services (PES) occur when the beneficiaries or users of an ecosystem service make payments to the providers of that service. In practice, this may take the form of a series of payments in return for receiving a flow of benefits or ecosystem services.

Body

About Payments for ecosystem services (PES)

  • PES is one way to conserve and increase ecosystem services. It works through the establishment of performance contracts.
  • People who can help provide the desired ecosystem service are rewarded based on their actions, or the quantity and quality of the services themselves.
  • PES presents a unique scope for incentivising local land stewards to manage threatened ecosystems. It has the potential to achieve the dual goals of conservation and poverty alleviation towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
  • This places PES as one of the pivotal economic instruments for conservation.

Feasibility of Payments for ecosystem services (PES)

  • PES has not achieved much attention either in the research or policy mandate in the Indian subcontinent.
  • A local monitoring mechanism is the key to successfully implementing a PES programme. A study (Sardana 2019) conducted in the Kodagu district of Karnataka to restore native trees that grow in the understory of coffee plantations shows a successfully designed local institutional mechanism for PES implementation.
  • However, the PES mechanism is yet to be implemented or even tested for efficacy.
    • The results of such studies offer support for potential research funding in restoration financing. Impact evaluation studies that evaluate financial instruments’ performance in attaining biodiversity are also important.
  • Incentives for biodiversity protection and sustainable use include biodiversity-relevant taxes, fees, levies, tradeable permits, and Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES).
    • Through these economic instruments, governments can affect both public and private financing flows for biodiversity.
    • India must work in this regard.
  • Mobilisation of biodiversity finance through pesticide levies, admission fees to natural parks, hunting and fishing permit fees, and the trade-in energy-saving certificates has gained governmental support and political will, but the mobilisation of private and public finance for PES has lacked lustre.

Conclusion

Additionally, a strong policy thrust, such as the TEEB India Initiative highlighting the economic consequences of the loss of biological diversity, would help prioritise ecosystem restoration financing through a direct approach. A global initiative such as the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative to mobilise private sector finance to benefit people and the environment would help maintain the funds.

 

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in-human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics – in private and public relationships.

6. According to you, which are the five traits/vices that must not be present in a civil servant as they hamper ones ethical and professional competence. How can one avoid or eliminate them? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by mentioning how negative traits and vices can hamper ethical and professional competence.

Body:

First, write which five negative traits and vices should not be present in a civil servant and how they hamper ethical and professional competence of civil servants.

Next, write about the ways to avoid or eliminate them.

Conclusion:

Summarise by highlighting the importance of having positive values.

Introduction

Today there is a need for moral resurgence of civil services in the country to improve the delivery of services to the common man and to ensure the fruits of development reach the people. An ideal officer should ensure zero pendency of issues in his purview, must display the highest qualities of probity and integrity in office, be proactive in taking the measures of the government to the people, and above all be sympathetic to the cause of marginalised sections.

Body

Vices that must not be present in a civil servant

  • Abuse of authority: Power must be used for welfare of people and not for ulterior motives. The abuse of power leads to chaos in governance with zero benefit to the public.
  • Corrupt mentality and greed: There must be zero tolerance towards corruption and ensuring total transparency and accountability at all levels of governance should become priority.
    • Corruption eats into the heart of the democracy, and there is a need for stringent and timely action under the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) against erring civil servants and public representatives. T
    • There must be fast-tracking the high pendency of cases related to corruption involving public servants on priority.
  • Disrespect of rules and procedure: Such behaviour will lead to use of discretion and bypassing of norms to get work done. This also leads to systemic corruption. Each and every action taken by a civil servant must be as per established rules and regulations only.
  • Opaqueness: Non-transparent working can lead to bad governance system. This will lead to loss of faith of people in bureaucracy and government.
  • Dishonesty: This is another trait where in there will be no conscience or moral compass for an officer. Once again this may lead to corruption in the government.

Avoiding and eliminating vices

Celebrating the achievements of honest civil servants and recognizing their contributions should also be done. This will not only be an incentive for younger officials to push for excellence, but such publicity will also encourage the replication of innovative efforts by others.

Value-based training must be given to all civil servants to ensure probity in public life. Professional ethics should be an integral component in all the training courses and called for a comprehensive Code of Ethics for civil servants, based on the recommendations of the 2nd Administrative Reforms Commission (ARC).

Due attention must be given to ensure that civil servants taking bona fide proactive actions are not discouraged or harassed. The amendment to PCA in 2018, with changes to the definition of ‘criminal misconduct’, ensures this to some extent. While the corrupt civil servants must be strictly dealt with, we must not dissuade officials from taking bold decisions in the larger public interest.

There is also a need to re-engineer our institutions and streamline the processes to cut down delays and ensure timely delivery of the services. People must be at the centre of a just and effective governance system. Some of the governance practices that helped in delivering results are single-window interfaces, e-governance, m-governance, third party appraisals, direct benefit transfer and participatory governance

Conclusion

Indian civil servants should strive to make India’s civil services the best in the world. They need to come out with innovative ideas and solutions to deliver public services to the satisfaction of every citizen. At the same time, the right ecosystem should be created to ensure that they have a meaningful career and are able to fulfill their responsibilities without fear or favour.

 

Topic: Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behaviour; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion

7. In the era of competition and commercialisation, it is a herculean task to sustain as a leader who stays true to their ethics. Analyse. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications.

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Abstract Thursdays’ in Mission-2023 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To understand the various roles and responsibilities of a leader and the importance of ethics in their work domain

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 defining what is leadership along with few traits of a good leader.

Body:

Highlight the need for an ethical leader in the present context of rising scams and blind race against mere monetary gains of businesses. Give few examples highlighting cases of leadership with and without ethics and its impact on the organisation as well as the society.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising the above points highlighting the need for ethical leadership

Introduction

Ethical Leadership is about Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. Ethical leadership means acting according to your moral principles in your day-to-day business life and decision-making. To put it simply, it means doing the right thing. Ethical Leadership is very important for supporting good governance in today’s global economy and is one of the central constructs to protect business and organizational ethics.

Body

Why is it a herculean task for leader to be ethical?

  • The global retreat of democracies, relegation of the ethical imperative to an obsessive pursuit of raw power as an end in itself, a crisis of institutional legitimacy, and the challenge of forging a political consensus needed for hard but necessary decisions interrogate the proclaimed assumptions of democratic resilience.
  • The rise of ‘jingoistic nationalism’ in confrontation with an international cooperative endeavor to face common challenges, a skewed balance between demands of security and sanctity of civil rights, the sordid saga of fake news and misinformation, an unprecedented global financial crisis that has weakened our collective capacity to rescue national economies, loss of millions of jobs with an estimated $3.4 trillion lost in labour revenue and the resultant social distress, heightened geopolitical rivalries, racism, xenophobia, and woeful absence of a united global response to the challenge of climate change collectively present a potent cocktail of societal instability and political disruption.
  • Increasing encroachment of the private sphere by a ‘surveillance state’ through the abuse of digital technologies and Artificial Intelligence systems raise discomforting questions about the flawed dominance of efficiency over ethics and power over principle.
  • Notwithstanding the wholly welcome technological empowerment of vast swathes of humanity, digital inequality, the omnipresence of algorithm-driven platforms and commercial harvesting of personal data raise disquieting questions about an unhindered infraction of privacy rights and human dignity.
  • Issues concerning accountability for autonomous systems, the absence of enforceable global norms on cybersecurity given the expanding reach of cyber bullies, and communal polarization and violence facilitated by social media raise questions about the future of liberty and dignity in an age of rights.
  • Digital ‘code wars’ are seen as the new ideological confrontation with a potential to divide the world.
  • The diminished authority of the state to regulate the impact of technology on our social and political life questions the original premises of the social compact.

Traits necessary for a leader in today’s era

  • In a reshaped world, formal authority is less potent. Only moral authority can build trust, inspire colleagues, create meaning and help people imagine a better future.
  • Leadership in today’s world should consist of an approach which is open and transparent.
  • Leaderships goals and visions should be communicated fast and effectively.
  • Everyone then has time to think about how they fit into the changes which are going to be made.
  • Leaders today must also listen to and hear everyone’s input and solutions, including our youth.

Conclusion

Integrity, consistency, empathy, relentless determination, self-effacing humility, a binding moral compass and the ability to motivate masses within the inviolate ethical and ideological framework of politics are leadership attributes more relevant today than ever. A largeness of heart willing and able to rise above the petty and personal, together with intellectual depth necessary to lead the battle of ideas for the establishment of a dignitarian global society, best define the qualities of leadership in these troubled times.

 


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