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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 December 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

 


General Studies – 1


 

Topic: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

1. Caste-based vote-bank politics, rather than economic issues and social policy have determined India’s electoral choices. Critically analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: The HinduInsights on India

Why the question:

The Biju Janata Dal, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, last week won the Padampur byelection, dubbed a crucial poll before the 2024 elections, by a huge margin than anticipated.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about impact of Caste-based vote-bank politics on the electoral politics.

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 giving context.

Body:

In the first part, Highlight the Factors driving voter behaviour – present rise of religious divisions and the persistence of strong caste-based cleavages, while education, income and occupation are playing a diminishing role (controlling for caste) in determining voters’ choices.

Next, write about economic and social issues as criteria for elections. Write about how society is progressing to caste-based politics to issue based.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to end caste-based politics.

Introduction

The predominant feature of the social structure in India is the caste system. The caste system in its most general but fundamental aspects is an ascriptive system of status and hierarchy. It is pervasive and all-embracing and is known for controlling and defining all social, economic and political relationships for the individual.

Body

Background

  • Politics is a competitive enterprise, its purpose is the acquisition of power for the realization of certain goods and its process is one of identifying and manipulating existing and emerging al- allegiances in order to mobilize and consolidate positions.
  • For that what is needed is organization and articulation of support, and where politics is mass based, the point is to articulate support through the organizations in which the masses are to be found.”
  • It follows that where the caste structure provides one of the principal organizational clusters along with the bulk of the population is found to live, politics must strive to organize through such a structure.
  • In India, on the other hand, such groups–the castes and sub-castes dominate social life, and inevitably influence their members attitude to other groupings of a social or political char- acter.
  • In other words, the very fact that a caste is capable of functioning as an effective pressure group, and that its members cannot leave it and join another group as will, places it into a position of a political power, which cannot be ignored by the political parties depending for their mandate on the goodwill of the Voters.

Caste based electoral politics in India

  • Caste provides an extensive basis for organisation of democratic politics. The need to organise and articulate support in an open polity inevitably turns those engaged in political competition towards organisations and solidarity groups in which the masses are found. In a society such as India where caste remains the principal basis of social organization and activity, this means turning towards caste groups and associations.
  • In this way caste identity and solidarities became the primary channels through which electoral and political support is mobilised within the political system. Thus, as Kothari puts it, “it is not politics that gets caste ridden, it is caste that gets politicised.
  • Caste is used more extensively in mobilising support in rural than urban areas.
  • Political parties find it easier to mobilise support directly from the members of a caste community by appealing to them.
  • The present political system itself encourages or inhibits the use of caste as a means of breeding followers. Eg: BSP, AIMIM etc are examples
  • It has been recently argued that caste enables the illiterate and politically ignorant masses of India to participate in the modern democratic process.
    • Eg: Candidates are being chosen based on their caste than their abilities.
  • The communication of ideas is strong within a caste and generally the members of a caste share the same views in relation to political parties, politics and individuals.
    • Eg: It is common pattern as per research that upper caste Hindus vote for BJP and minorities vote for Congress and other regional parties.
  • The reservation system too has not been implemented thoroughly yet. Rather more soaps are given in the name of reservation to garner votes instead of helping the poor and needy which have diluted the real aim of reservation.
    • So, what was originally meant to be a temporary affirmative action-plan (to improve the lot of the unprivileged groups) is now being misused as a vote-grabbing exercise by many political leaders.
  • Even on the village level, in Panchayat Raj elections, the caste system has prevailed. In Jodhpur Division during elections parties usually run for caste based issues like reservation to Jats etc. Similarly one finds that in Orissa Bhumihars, Kayastha and Rajputs pull in different directions at the time of elections and wish to see the candidates belonging to their castes in office.

Conclusion

Caste is not influencing politics in India but has impact, rather more forcefully and effectively. In free India it was hoped that caste would gradually cease to exert its influence. But it appears that things have not come up to our expectations and the caste still continues to influence politics. In free India where state was interested in having a casteless society but it is amazing that caste is more and more influencing both politics and elections.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

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

2. What is ‘soft power’? Evaluate the prospects & limitations of Indian diaspora with respect to the role they can play in India’s soft power and cultural diplomacy.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live Mint Insights on India

Why the question:

This week, our parliamentary committee on external affairs tabled its 16th report, titled India’s Soft Power and Cultural Diplomacy: Prospects & Limitations, in which it has made a raft of recommendations on how better to project this power in conjunction with conventional diplomacy.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the role Indian diaspora can play in furthering the nations soft power.

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 soft power.

Body:

In brief, write about the various forms of soft power and their manifestations.

Next, write about India diaspora as an agent of soft power – write about the prospects – bridging cultural gaps, contributing to economic progress, spread of Indian culture etc.

Next, write about their limitations – anti-immigrant policies, brain drain, lack of opportunities etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a balanced opinion on the issue.

Introduction

The term soft power was coined by Joseph Nye and captured the important and (at the time) poorly studied phenomenon in international affairs of “getting others to want the outcomes that you want,” predicated on the attractiveness of one’s culture, political values and foreign policy. Though slower to yield results, soft power is a less expensive means than military force or economic inducements to get others to do what we want.

India for the first-time broke into the top 30, in the Brand Finance Global Soft-Power Index 2020, which highlights that India punches well below its weight.

Body:

India’s leverage of soft power till date:

  • India’s spiritualism, yoga, movies and television, classical and popular dance and music, its principles of non-violence, democratic institutions, plural society, and cuisine have all attracted people across the world.
    • International Day of Yoga reflects yoga’s immense popularity worldwide, underscoring its richness as a soft power resource
  • India’s soft power is being leveraged alongside larger foreign policy initiatives such as the Look East Policy (now Act East).
    • For example, the 4th edition of International Dharma Dhamma conference (IDDC-2018) was on January 11, 2018 in Rajgir, Bihar. This 3-day conference was jointly organized by India Foundation, Nalanda University, Ministry of External Affairs, ASEAN-India and Vietnamese Buddhist Sangha.
    • It aimed at increasing, people to people contact through the Buddhist roots in India. The conference aimed to facilitate cross pollination of ideas and foster harmony at the global level.
  • India’s soft power diplomacy, particularly in Afghanistan involves winning “hearts and minds” and strengthening its cultural as well as political relations with Afghanistan, backed with the ideas of nation building and political stability.
    • India has constructed the Parliament building, Salma(Friendship) dam and a hospital in Afghanistan.
    • India is currently building and upgrading the Habibia High School, a project that is worth more than 1 million USD.
    • Through educational development, India has also tried to build ties with the ethnic communities of Afghanistan, specially the Pashtun community that is present on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and serves as a buffer between Pakistan and India.
    • India was ranked higher than China in a survey wrt trust and development initiatives in Africa.
  • India’s track record of democracy, liberty and culture are main reason why nations like USA, France and Sweden have given advanced military equipment to India.
  • India is also expanding its development assistance to African countries beyond its traditional relationships within the Commonwealth in an effort to secure access to natural resources as well as serve its broader strategic aims.
    • Eg: Currently, India’s forte in the continent has been developmental initiatives such as Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC), Team 9, and Pan Africa e-network among others are aimed at building institutional and human capacity as well as enabling skills and knowledge transfer.
  • Diaspora Diplomacy on the rise, who increase India’s soft power abroad. India has been celebrating Pravasi Bhartiya Divas (since 2015). Initiatives like Know India Program, have garnered lot of response, helping Indians connect to their ancestral roots in India and knowing about the contemporary India.
    • Indian American have established several advocacy organisation and political action committees on a wide range of issues of importance to India like Kashmir.
  • Humanitarian Assistance: India’s foreign aid activities have now also extended to humanitarian assistance, such as when its Navy participated in an ad hoc coalition with the United States, Japan, Australia, and Singapore to disburse blankets and tents in the aftermath of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
    • As recently as in 2019, India was the first responder to the Cyclone Idai crisis in Mozambique.
    • This has immense potential in the backdrop of China’s String of pearls in the Indian Ocean Region. India’s Tsunami warning centre and information sharing (IFC, Gurugram) with littoral states of Indian Ocean can prove strategic in geopolitical expansion.

Recent developments and its impacts on India’s soft power paradigm

  • India’s soft power attraction is dented when parliamentary bills affecting millions of farmers are rammed through without proper discussion or adequate consultation with stakeholders.
  • India’s appeal as an open society is questioned when too many journalists either embarrassingly kowtow to the government or are pilloried on charges of sedition for reports critical of the government.
  • India’s respect dwindles when government enforcement agencies unerringly target political opponents of the government. India’s claim to internal cohesion takes a hit when the entire opposition says the government is practising ‘coercive federalism’.
  • India’s creative freedoms are doubted when the artistic community is seen to be coerced into conformity.
  • India’s self-esteem takes a dip when 150 leading academics from Yale, Harvard, Columbia, MIT, LSE – among others – write to protest the resignation of a professor who became a ‘political liability’ only because he critiqued the government.
  • India’s image of an inclusive civilisational society is eroded when it becomes clear that there’s a cynical agenda to engender religious strife for short term political gains.
  • And, India’s credibility as a mature democracy becomes a laughing stock when elected CMs of states give divine status to their supreme leader, the Prime Minister, and equate him with Shri Krishna and Shri Ram.

Way forward:

  • India’s culture, heritage and its pluralism are its strengths.
  • India is respected for its values of democracy, openness, diversity of thought, respect for all religions and freedom of expression.
  • We have the potential to be world leaders in not only economic terms but as a free, vibrant and dynamic nation.
  • Ultimately, the soft power quotient of a country is not about the effectiveness or otherwise of government propaganda. It’s about perception, of how others inherently see you.
  • Civilisations are judged not only by artefact, merchandise or arsenal, but by what they stand for, the spirit that animates them.
  • Utilize the strong cultural and civilizational potential of the Indian diaspora
  • India must capitalise on the goodwill and the potential soft power it has created
  • These will help in achieving greater heights in India’s soft power

Conclusion

Without soft power, hard power lacks its intellectual and cultural edge. While soft power provides the ideas and motivation, hard power gives the tools and weapons for the soft power to expand. A good balance of both makes a nation stronger militarily, economically and culturally. India must continue to expand its soft power investments while building hard power capabilities. This augurs well with the neighborhood reality where it faces two hostile nuclear powers.

 

Topic: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

3.  The shift of manufacturing from urban to rural areas can be a double-edged sword. It has its share of advantages that could transform the rural economy, as well as a set of constraints, which could hamper higher growth. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

There is growing evidence to suggest that the most conspicuous trend in the manufacturing sector in India has been a shift of manufacturing activity and employment from bigger cities to smaller towns and rural areas.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the implications of manufacturing shift from urban to rural areas.

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 citing statistic regarding manufacturing shift from urban to rural areas.

Body:

First, in brief, mention the reasons for the manufacturing shift from urban to rural areas.

Next, write about the advantages associated with the above – rural development, inclusive growth, development, employment etc.

Next, write about the limitations of the above – less rate of growth, lack of backward and forward linkages.

Conclusion:

Conclude with a way forward to overcome the limitations for maximising the benefits.

Introduction

There is growing evidence to suggest that the most conspicuous trend in the manufacturing sector in India has been a shift of manufacturing activity and employment from bigger cities to smaller towns and rural areas. This ‘urban-rural manufacturing shift’ has often been interpreted as a mixed bag, as it has its share of advantages that could transform the rural economy, as well as a set of constraints, which could hamper higher growth.

Body

Background data on manufacturing

  • In terms of capital: The rural segment is a significant contributor to the manufacturing sector’s output. While 42% of factories are in rural areas, 62% of fixed capital is in the rural side.
  • In terms of value addition: In terms of output and value addition, rural factories contributed to exactly half of the total sector.
  • In terms of employment: In terms of employment, it accounted for 44%, but had only a 41% share in the total wages of the sector.

Shift of manufacturing from urban to rural

  • Higher urban-rural cost caused this shift: The study by World Bank investigated the urbanization of the Indian manufacturing sector by “combining enterprise data from formal and informal sectors and found that manufacturing plants in the formal sector are moving away from urban areas and into rural locations, while the informal sector is moving from rural to urban locations”. Their results suggested that higher urban-rural cost ratios caused this shift.
  • Steady investment in rural areas: This is the result of a steady stream of investments in rural locations over the last two decades.
  • Low Input costs: Rural areas have generally been more attractive to manufacturing firms because wages, property, and land costs are all lower than in most metropolitan areas.
  • Factory floorspace supply constraints: When locations get more urbanised and congested, the greater these space constraints are.
  • Increased capital intensity of production: The driving force behind such a shift is the continuing displacement of labour by machinery as a result of the continuous capital investments in new production technologies. In cities, factories just cannot be expanded as opposed to rural areas.

Benefits of the shift

  • Inclusive and balanced development: Given the size of the Indian economy and the need for balanced regional development, the dispersal of manufacturing activities is a welcome sign.
  • Opportunity for small scale industries: In the aftermath of trade liberalisation, import competition intensified for many Indian manufacturers, forcing them to look for cheaper methods and locations of production. One way to cut costs was to move some operations from cities to smaller towns, where labour costs are cheaper.
  • Source of livelihood diversification: The shift in manufacturing activities from urban to rural areas has helped maintain the importance of manufacturing as a source of livelihood diversification in rural India.
  • Employment to rural areas: This trend helped to make up for the loss of employment in some traditional rural industries. The growth of rural manufacturing, by generating new jobs, thus provides an economic base for the transition out of agriculture

Critical analysis

  • High capital cost offsetting benefits: Though firms reap the benefits of lower costs via lower rents, the cost of capital seems to be higher for firms operating on the rural side. This is evident from the shares in rent and interest paid.
    • The rural segment accounted for only 35% of the total rent paid, while it had 60% of the total interest payments. The benefits reaped from one source seem to be offset by the increased costs on the other front.
  • Skill shortage: There exists an issue of “skills shortage” in rural areas as manufacturing now needs higher skilled workers to compete in the highly technological global ‘new economy’.
    • Manufacturers who need higher skilled labour find that rural areas cannot supply it in adequate quantities.
    • Manufacturers who depend only on low-wage workers simply cannot sustain their competitive edge for longer periods as this cost advantage vanishes over time.
  • Skill development: This suggests the need for clear solutions to the problems of rural manufacturing and the most important is the provision of more education and skilling for rural workers.
    • A more educated and skilled rural workforce will establish rural areas’ comparative advantage of low wages, higher reliability and productivity and hasten the process of the movement out of agriculture to higher-earning livelihoods

Conclusion

Given the size of the Indian economy and the need for balanced regional development, the dispersal of manufacturing activities is a welcome sign. However, the compulsions of global competition often extend beyond the considerations of low-wage production and depend on the virtues of ‘conducive ecosystems’ for firms to grow.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

4. Examine the potential nuclear fusion energy to be a source of clean-energy in the near future. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The HinduInsights on India.

Why the question:

U.S. researchers announced a historic nuclear fusion breakthrough on Tuesday that could pave the way for alternative clean energy sources. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) said an experiment it conducted this month “produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it”.

Key Demand of the question:  

To write about the scope and limiting factors in the growth of nuclear fusion energy.

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 defining the nuclear fusion.

Body:

First, write about the process of nuclear fusion in brief.

Next, mention about the huge potential for growth, emission-free nature and consistent nature of nuclear energy production in contrast with wind and solar energy.

Next, write about the limitations of the above – technological constraints, lack of expertise, land requirement, man power, financing etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Nuclear fusion is the process by which two light atomic nuclei combine to form a single heavier one while releasing massive amounts of energy. It is the opposite of nuclear fission, where heavy atoms are split apart. Nuclear fusion is described as the “holy grail” of energy production. It is the process that powers the Sun and other stars. Fusion reactions take place in a state of matter called plasma — a hot, charged gas made of positive ions and free-moving electrons with unique properties distinct from solids, liquids, or gases.

U.S. researchers announced a historic nuclear fusion breakthrough recently that could pave the way for alternative clean energy sources. The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) said an experiment it conducted this month “produced more energy from fusion than the laser energy used to drive it”. US government scientists said the breakthrough in the pursuit of limitless, zero-carbon power by achieving a net energy gain in a fusion reaction for the first time.

Body

 

Potential of nuclear fusion energy to be a source of clean-energy in the near future

  • Nuclear fission reactors used currently produce a lot of radioactive waste, which can be dangerous and must be stored safely – potentially for hundreds of years whereas the waste produced by nuclear fusion is less radioactive and decays much more quickly
  • Nuclear fusion doesn’t need fossil fuels like oil or gas
  • It also doesn’t generate greenhouse gases
  • Most fusion experiments use hydrogen, which can be extracted cheaply from seawater and lithium, i.e., fuel supplies could last for millions of years
  • Fusion could generate four times more energy per kilogram of fuel than fission(used in nuclear power plants) and nearly four million times more energy than burning oil or coal.
  • Energy by nuclear fusion is one of mankind’s long standing quests as it promises to be low carbon, safer than how nuclear energy is now produced and, with an efficiency that can technically exceed a 100%.
  • Also, The record and scientific data from these crucial experiments are a major boost for ITER, the larger and more advanced version of the JET.

Challenges with Nuclear Fusion

  • It has been particularly difficult to obtain high enough plasma densities, temperatures, and energy confinement times simultaneously for a reactor to approach ignition conditions.
  • Forcing and keeping the elements together in fusion requires very high temperatures and pressures.

Conclusion

Harnessing energy from controlled nuclear fusion reactions could play a vital role in mitigating climate change. The recent achievements provide an encouraging way forward in this regard.

 

Topic: basics of cyber security; money laundering and its prevention.

5. In India, where the uptake of cryptocurrencies is among highest in world, there is a pressing need to have a streamlined crypto tax regime, constructive and adaptive regulatory environment. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

On Monday, founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas. FTX crashed almost overnight after failing to meet a run on deposits, throwing the crypto industry into its latest crisis.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the need to tax and regulate cryptocurrency.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin the answer by defining cryptocurrency with examples.

Body:

First, write about the proliferation of cryptocurrencies in the Indian economy and their extent.

Next, write about the challenges associated with cryptocurrencies – taxation, regulation, preventing money laundering etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed to overcome the above-mentioned challenges.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Cryptocurrency, sometimes called crypto-currency or crypto, is any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions. Cryptocurrencies don’t have a central issuing or regulating authority, instead use a decentralized system to record transactions and issue new units. It is supported by a decentralized peer-to-peer network called the blockchain.

As crypto grows and becomes more widely used, the easier it becomes for hackers to use various methods to steal sensitive information and investor assets. Recently, founder of the collapsed crypto exchange FTX, Sam Bankman-Fried was arrested in the Bahamas. FTX crashed almost overnight after failing to meet a run on deposits, throwing the crypto industry into its latest crisis.

Body

Need for a streamlined crypto tax regime, constructive and adaptive regulatory environment

  • Phishing Attacks: Hackers rely on phishing scams to have crypto users turn over their digital assets. Spear phishing, DNS hacking, phishing bots and fake browser extensions are examples of common phishing attacks hackers will use to take advantage of crypto investors.
  • Illegitimate Trading Platforms: Because cryptocurrency is still evolving, new trading platforms are emerging, hoping to gain the trust of people interested in investing in crypto. However, not all of these platforms are legitimate.
    • Consider One Coin, for example. One Coin was a seemingly reputable cryptocurrency company that lured users in by promising big returns, but the entire currency system ended up being a scam. It was found to be a multi-level marketing scam that ended up costing people a lot of money.
    • Not every risk associated with crypto comes in the form of a hack or data breach.
    • Sometimes, the fraudulent activity is happening in plain sight.
  • Using Third-Party Applications: In some cases, crypto investors will rely on third-party applications or software to manage their digital assets. For example, it’s common for investors to use crypto tax reporting services, but this can open them up to more cybersecurity risks.
    • It was reported that a hacker was able to steal data from over 1,000 users after breaking into CryptoTrader.Tax. The hacker gained access by entering a marketing and customer service representative’s account, which displayed all kinds of sensitive information that put users at risk.
  • Malware: Essentially, crypto-malware is a form of malware that allows unauthorized users to mine cryptocurrencies using someone else’s computer or server. Hackers will use one of two methods to infect someone’s computer.
    • Victims are tricked into installing malware code onto their computers using phishing-like tactics.
    • Cybercriminals inject malicious code into websites or ads. When victims interact with them, the code runs and gives hackers access. In 2018, Forbes reported that crypto-malware had grown by 4,000%.
  • Cryptocurrency Account Security: It’s critical to understand that users access their digital assets by using a “private key,” which is essentially a complex password code. Many users will store their private keys on their computers, but that comes with risk. If hackers gain access to your computer, they’ll also be able to use that private key to log in to your digital account.
    • Once a private key is stolen, there’s no way of getting it back because cryptocurrency is not highly regulated.
    • Investors are the only ones responsible for keeping their private keys out of the hands of hackers, which makes crypto investing riskier compared to traditional investments.
  • Unregulated Cryptocurrency Exchanges: As mentioned above, crypto is almost like the Wild West because it’s unregulated and a bit of a free for all. Cryptocurrency is decentralized, meaning that no agency, organization or governing body oversees the creation, management or movement of cryptocurrencies.

Prevention measures

  • An individual’s private key is the only way to access this kind of investment, therefore it’s vital to keep it safe.
  • One must not share the private key or login credentials with anyone, regardless of if they claim to represent a reputable cryptocurrency company. Consider keeping the key stored on an external device, such as a USB.
  • Do due diligence and research companies and their tokens before investing.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited offers to invest in crypto. Avoid clicking on any suspicious links or ads — this could open you up to more cybersecurity risks.
  • Keep an eye on the latest crypto trends, news stories and any announcements related to cryptocurrencies you invest in.
  • Use strong, unique passwords at all times to make online accounts more secure and keep hackers at bay.

Conclusion and way forward

  • Regulation is the Solution: Regulation is needed to prevent serious problems, to ensure that cryptocurrencies are not misused, and to protect unsuspecting investors from excessive market volatility and possible scams.
    The regulation needs to be clear, transparent, coherent and animated by a vision of what it seeks to achieve.
  • Clarity on Crypto-currency definition: A legal and regulatory framework must first define crypto-currencies as securities or other financial instruments under the relevant national laws and identify the regulatory authority in charge.
  • Strong KYC Norms: Instead of a complete prohibition on cryptocurrencies, the government shall rather regulate the trading of cryptocurrencies by including stringent KYC norms, reporting and taxability.
  • Ensuring Transparency: Record keeping, inspections, independent audits, investor grievance redressal and dispute resolution may also be considered to address concerns around transparency, information availability and consumer protection.
  • Igniting the Entrepreneurial Wave: Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology can reignite the entrepreneurial wave in India’s start up ecosystem and create job opportunities across different levels, from blockchain developers to designers, project managers, business analysts, promoters and marketers.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: ethics – in private and public relationships;

6. As an administrator, ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Elucidate. (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Define ethics in respect to administration and mention the need to knowing the distinction between your powerful rights and the right thing to do.

Body:

From the perspective of an administrator further elaborate on the quote and as to why it is imperative for the administrator to do the right thing. Use examples to substantiate your point.

Bring out the various facets of integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections that an administrator has to consider before taking any actions.

Mention certain principle, theories and benchmarks one can to take the right decision especially when faced with an ethical dilemma. Eg: Gandhi’s Talisman. Etc.

Conclusion:

Complete by summarizing the need for doing the right thing especially for those who are in power.

Introduction

Ethics is the study of what is right or wrong in human conduct. It is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Ethics seeks to resolve questions of human morality by defining concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime. Ethics helps us in guiding decisions and impacts on one’s behaviour or conduct. Law, religion, family and societal norms tells us what is right to do. But conscience tells us what is right to do.

Body

What You have the Right to Do and What is Right to Do

Article 19 of the Indian Constitution provides for Right to freedom of speech and expression. It gives rights to every citizen to hold public meetings, demonstrations and take out processions. However, it doesn’t mean that citizens can block the road, railway and other transportation. Hence, holding strike and creating hurdles for others is not the right thing to do.

Similarly, under the Article 25, every citizen has freedom to profess, practice and propagate the religion. But, promoting religious conversion through bribery, coercion, violence is wrong and illegal action.

Under the PM Arogya Yojana, the Government offers a sum insured of Rs. 5 lakh per family for secondary care as well as tertiary care. But around 23,000 fraud transactions have been recorded in hospitals in Chhattisgarh, Punjab and Jharkhand. Here, beneficiaries have the right to utilise services, but its misuse defeats the purpose.

Emotional Intelligence: Being governed by strong ethical principles, emotional intelligence ensures that the best choices are being made. Communities often develop a code of ethical principles that members agree to uphold when acting in public for the benefit of the community. This gives the public and the officials a clear sense of what is expected of them.

Example: Right to freedom of speech should not be used for spreading fake news. An activity taken out of a desire for reward or out of fear of punishment may be socially acceptable, but it is not moral. For example, performing acts of charity to gain social respect is immoral.

Conclusion

It is ethics which help us in differentiating what we have the right to do and what is right to do. Rights are provided to live a better life, which help in capacity building of an individual, but its misuse defeat the very purpose.

 

Topic: accountability and ethical governance; strengthening of ethical and moral values in governance;

7. What are the ways to build and maintain a culture of accountability in government organisations?  (150 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why the question:

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

Key Demand of the question:

To write about ways to build and maintain a culture of accountability in government organisations

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by defining accountability.

Body:

With relevant examples elaborate on how an culture of accountability can be instilled – citizen charters, RTI, Reward & Recognition, Autonomy & Trust, Feedback & Coaching, communication etc.

Conclusion:

Complete the answer writing about the link between accountability and efficiency.

Introduction

The idea of good governance is as old as Indian civilization. ‘Raj Dharma’ was the supreme code of conduct or the rule of law that governed all the actions of the ruler. This description of good governance is found in ancient Indian scriptures such as the Mahabharata, Shukracharyas’s Nitisar, Panini’s Ashtadhyayi, Valmiki’s Ramayana and especially in Kautilya’s Arthashastra. Two main aspects of good governance are transparency and accountability.

Body

Accountability exists in a relationship between two parties where one has expectations of the other, and the other is obliged to provide information about how they have met these expectations or face the consequences of failing to do so.  There are two components of accountability: Answerability & Enforcement.

Ways to ensure transparency and accountability

  • The Right to Information Act, 2005: This establishes the legal right for a citizen to access the information that they want. Right to Information law not only require governments to provide information upon request, but also impose a duty on public bodies to actively disclose, disseminate and publish, as widely as possible, the information of general public interest even before it has been requested (as per section 4(1)(b) of the Act).
  • Thus, RTI is a tool through which citizens can examine, audit, review and assess the government works and decisions to ensure that these are consistent with the principles of public interest, integrity and justice.
    • Under the Right to Information Act, public servants can also be questioned on their conduct Polity & Governance – II 134 and, thus, it makes them accountable.
    • Right to information therefore promotes openness, transparency and accountability in administration by making the government more open to public scrutiny.
  • Citizen’s Charter Act: Under the Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressed of their Grievances Act, 2011 every public authority is required to publish a Citizens Charter specifies the category of goods supplied and services rendered by it, the time frame within which such goods shall be supplied or services be rendered; to establish information and facilitation centre for efficient and effective delivery of services and redressal of grievances.
  • Social Audit: Social audits refer to a legally mandated process where potential and existing beneficiaries evaluate the implementation of a programme by comparing official records with ground realities. These audits were first made statutory in the 2005 Rural Employment Act. The objectives of social audits include providing accurate identification of requirements; prioritization of developmental activities as per requirements; proper utilization of funds; the conformity of the developmental activity with the stated goals and; quality of service.
    • The involvement of people in developmental activities through social audit ensures that money is spent where it is actually needed along with reduction of wastages and corruption.
    • It promotes integrity and a sense of community among people and leads to improved standard of governance.
  • Ombudsman: Also called the Lokpal and the Lokayukta, it is an anti-corruption authority constituted at the national and state levels respectively. It investigates allegations of corruption and mal-administration against public servants and is tasked with speedy redressal of public grievances. The public can directly approach the Lokayukta with complaints of corruption, nepotism or any other form of maladministration against any government official.
    • A Lokayukta inquiries into allegations of corruption, misuse of authority and wrong doings of public functionaries, including the Chief Minister, Ministers and MLAs.
  • e-Governance: The National e-Governance Plan aims at electronic delivery of all public services to citizens through common service delivery outlets. It ensures greater efficiency, transparency & reliability of such services at affordable costs to realize the basic needs of the common man.

Conclusion

Governments today operate in a very complex environment with stakeholders consisting of different interest groups, competing demands on limited resources and complex legal requirements, therefore a more resilient accountability and transparency mechanism is required that encourages responsible governance.


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