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[Mission 2023] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 26 January 2023

 

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: World History- Rise of Nazism

1. Write a Brief Note on Nazism and the Rise of Adolf Hitler. What lessons does it hold in the present times? Discuss (15M)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

It is based on an editorial in the Hindu Newspaper.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Nazism and how the Rise of Adolf Hitler relates to a series of significant events that marks the history of Germany and the world. Also, what lessons we can take and apply in the present times.

 Directive word: 

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

 Structure of the answer:

Introduction

Begin the answer by introducing the Nazim philosophy and give a background of the rise of Hitler.

Body:

Next show the factors that led to the rise of Nazism (and other totalitarian regimes) during 1st half of the 20th century. Discuss its impacts (including the horrendous act of the holocaust).

Next, write what can we learn from it so as to avoid such events in the future. Do include a few lessons India can take. 

Conclusion:

Hitler and his Nazism ideology were based on a racist mentality. Conclude by writing how such mentality can be addressed. OR alternatively, you can also conclude by saying what could have been done to stop the spread of such a mentality during the 1st half of the 20th century.

Introduction

The Nazism ideology established by Adolf Hitler vehemently believes that the Aryans held a superior position while Jews are considered to be anti-national. Racial discrimination is a core part of Nazism. It restricted the social mobility of the Jews and they were assassinated. It follows a brutal ideology following higher levels of penetration. It does not believe or propagate racism, the Aryans are unified against the Jews.

Body

Backdrop of rise of Nazi culture:

  • National Socialism was perceived by its originators as a Weltanschauung [world view] and revolutionary movement.
  • It claimed that German, “Aryan” people are bonded by their innermost disposition as a organic community, and thus at one with a political party which recognizes the intrinsic value of blood, personality, and soil which identifies them as a race.
  • Hitler asserted that the National Socialist world view would stand in opposition to pacifistic international democracy in its effects and consequences.
  • Culture, art, technology, productivity in general, and superior talent is race determined and based on racial attributes.
  • That endeavour is race determined was claimed by the Nazis, a belief rapidly accepted by a majority of educated as well as formally uneducated Germans.
  • In their propagated ideology, Hitler and his cohorts were successful in taking advantage of the people’s frustrated expectations by persuading them to believe that the Great War was lost because they had been stabbed in the back by Jewish exploiters and that now Germany’s existence was threatened by communists and social democrats.
  • Further, it was claimed that the people were being ruined economically by war reparations imposed on them by the victorious Allies in the form of the Versailles Treaty, as well as other external, unfair, exploitative demands.

Use of techniques of propaganda:

  • The Nazis turned to völkisch thought (a product of nineteenth-century German romanticism) and the notion of Führerprinzip (‘the leadership principle’), to embody their ideas, and Hitler was shown in posters as a mystical figure, guiding the nation’s destiny.
  • A veritable industry of paintings and posters showed Hitler in familiar ‘renaissance pose’, alongside the propaganda slogan: Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer (‘One People, One Nation, One Leader’).
  • The slogan was used to great effect in 1938, with the Anschluss (‘union’), when Germany joined in union with Austria.
  • His fame grew via speeches at rallies, parades, and on the radio.
  • Hitler’s publications, Folk and Race and Bolschevismus from Moses to Lenin (by Dietrich Eckart).
  • Postal stamps of various denominations bearing Hitler’s image from1941-44.
  • Hitler and leading Nazi cohorts after a war time concert in Berlin, conducted by Maestro Furtwängler.
  • Hitler Away from the Work DayPhotographs of Hitler taken by his “court photographer,” Heinrich Hoffmann.

Role of Personality cult of leaders:

  • Hitler possessed charismatic appeal and was experienced by multitudes as a captivating orator who gave them hope and they willing submitted to his wishes and dictates.
  • The essentially negative anti-parliamentarianism of Nazi propaganda led to the projection of the ‘Führer-myth’, which depicted Hitler as both charismatic superman and man of the people.
  • From 1936 until the Munich agreement of 1938, which gave the Sudetenland to Germany, Hitler carried out a series of audacious foreign policy coups, and these won him support from all sections of the community.
  • He was now widely acclaimed throughout Germany, enjoying unparalleled popularity and prestige.
  • In practical terms, the leadership principle meant that decisions came down from above, instead of being worked out by discussion and choice from below.
  • Hitler promised the people employment and the return to socio-economic well-being.
  • He presented himself as a prophet and was so portrayed by his paladins and followers.
  • He possessed charismatic appeal and was experienced by multitudes as a captivating orator who gave them hope and they willing submitted to his wishes and dictates.
  • Joseph Goebbels and other Nazi leaders availed themselves of modern technology to spread Nazi ideological propaganda to reinforce Hitler’s personal power and appeal.
  • A personality cult was developed which made the people stand in awe of Hitler.
  • Hitler was accepted as supreme leader who could not fail and do no wrong.

Current trends:

Recent bids to endear Xi Jinping to the masses differ from the top-down deification of Mao in the 1960s. Heartfelt ballads, emotive photos, action figurines – these are among an array of tools used by China’s propaganda machinery to promote Chinese President Xi Jinping’s image as a popular leader, a visionary thinker, a people’s man and a loving family man.

A propaganda app that puts China’s powerful President Xi Jinping in anyone’s pockets has become a hit in the country — with a helpful nudge from Communist Party officials.

North Korea has a propaganda department in the government which makes tall claims about the leader Kim Jong-Un.

Conclusion

The cult of Adolf Hitler was a deliberately cultivated mass phenomenon. Such cult building due to propaganda leads to despotism which backfires on the citizens itself. There needs to be a check on such rhetorics to maintain peace and harmony in the nation as well as across globe.

 

Topic: Indian Society: Social Empowerment

2. How has women’s participation in sports changed over time? Enlist the challenges and limitations that women in sports face and measures taken to empower them. (250 Words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

There have been various incidents- 1st women IPL, allegations of sexual harassment by wrestlers, issues of the commodification of women’s sports (last year) etc.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about women in sports.  

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving a brief introduction to increasing women’s participation in sports.  

Body:

First, very briefly give facts/examples of how the participation of women in sports has changed over time (over a few decades in India).

Next, cite challenges (e.g., gender pay gap, lack of facilities, issues of sexual exploitation etc) and limitations (perceived biological limitations, institutional limitations, societal limitations etc.). Then highlight a few measures (including in recent times) for improving the participation of women in sports. Cite examples to justify your points from India and the world. E.g.  Naomi Osaka, one of the brightest, egalitarian voices in the tennis domain

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a bright outlook for women in sports.

Introduction

India’s top wrestlers, including Olympic medallists Sakshi Malik and Bajrang Punia, and World Championship medallist Vinesh Phogat, staged a protest against Wrestling Federation of India president Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, accusing him and coaches of the Federation of sexual harassment. Singh was asked to step aside, and the Union Sports Ministry constituted a five-member oversight committee to investigate the charges.

The committee, led by the celebrated boxer M.C. Mary Kom, has also been tasked with managing the day-to-day affairs of the Federation until the submission of its report. The controversy has yet again brought into focus the many problems in Indian sports governance.

Body

Challenges and limitations faced by women in sports

  • Funding and Budget: Sportswomen face a lack of equal funding compared to men’s athletics, making it difficult for them to compete and run consistent programs.
  • Buoyant Sexism: Women are made to face the barrels of buoyant sexism on a daily basis, be it at work or even at home. They are monitored and judged by the way they dress, by the way they speak.
  • Gender Disparity: Despite women’s efforts to advocate for their social rights, they still do not receive the same level of respect or recognition on the professional front, particularly in the sports industry, as their male counterparts.
  • Lack of Access and Costlier: Lack of physical education in schools and limited opportunities to play sports in both high school and college mean girls have to look elsewhere for sports –which may not exist or may cost more money.
    • Often there is an additional lack of access to adequate playing facilities near their homes that makes it more difficult for girls to engage in sports.
  • Safety and Transportation Issues: Sports require a place to participate – and for many girls, especially in dense urban environments, that means traveling to facilities through unsafe neighborhoods or lacking any means to get to a good facility miles away.
    • And if there isn’t a safe option like carpooling with other families, the only option for a girl and her family may be to stay home.
      • For example, Manipur is a sporting powerhouse, but 48% of female athletes travel over 10 km to reach the practice facility.
    • Social Attitudes and Disfigurement: Despite recent progress, discrimination based on the real or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity of female athletes persists.
      • Girls in sports may experience bullying, social isolation, negative performance evaluations, or the loss of their starting position.
      • During socially fragile adolescence, the fear of being tagged “gay” is strong enough to push many girls out of the game.
    • Decreased Quality Training: The facilities are not as good as the boys’ venues and the playing times may not be optimal.
      • The availability of quality, trained coaches may be lacking in their community or these coaches may be more focused on the boys’ programs that have more money for training.
      • Equipment, and even uniforms aren’t funded for many girls’ programs at the same levels as boys so their ability to grow and enjoy the sport is diminished. In short, sports just aren’t “fun” any more.
    • Lack of Positive Role Models: Today’s girls are bombarded with images of external beauty, not those of confident, strong female athletic role models.
      • Peer pressure can be hard for girls at any age; when that pressure isn’t offset with strong encouragement to participate in sports and healthy physical activity, the results may lead girls to drop out altogether.
    • Limited Media Coverage: Women’s sports are often underrepresented in the media, which can make it harder for female athletes to gain recognition and sponsorship opportunities.
    • Pregnancy and Maternity: Female athletes often face challenges balancing motherhood and their sports careers.
      • This can affect the training and competing opportunities for female athletes.

Need for more women’s participation in sports

  • Economic Empowerment:
    • Women who participate in sports often have more opportunities for education and employment, which can lead to greater economic empowerment.
  • Rectify Societal Connotations:
    • Women’s participation in sports can also help to change societal attitudes towards women and their capabilities.
    • By seeing women excel in sports, it can inspire more women to pursue their own goals and aspirations, and challenge stereotypes about what women are capable of achieving.
  • Representation:
    • Women’s participation in sports can help to provide better representation for women in leadership roles, including coaching and administration.
    • It can also serve as an inspiration for young girls to pursue sports as a career.
  • Community Building:
    • Sports can bring people together and promote greater understanding and respect between different groups within society.
    • By promoting greater participation in sports among women, we can help to build stronger and more inclusive communities.

 

Conclusion

Sports in India is in the process of development. To accelerate this rate of development, a holistic approach should be adopted. Efforts are required in developing infrastructure, identifying sports talents, organising regular sports events, and generating awareness at the grass-root level.

 

Value addition

Women sportspersons in India

  • Usha(Athlete): Her 102 medals won at national and international tournaments created a sensation in the country and motivated a generation of young women athletes.
  • Karnam Malleswari: the first Indian woman who won a bronze medal in the 2000 Sydney Olympics in women’s 69 kg category in weightlifting.
  • Mary Kom(Boxing) and Saina Nehwal(Badminton): Bronze Medal in London Olympics in 2012
  • V. Sindhu(Badminton): Silver medal in badminton
  • Sakshi Malik(Wrestling): Bronze medal in wrestling in 2016 Rio Olympics
  • Women Athletes in Tokyo 2020: V. Sindhu, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu and Lovlina Borgohain made India proud by winning medals and have clearly shown the positive change that is taking place in our country. While, Saikhom Mirabai Chanu won the Silver medal at the very first day of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian women to win two Olympic medals. She won the Silver medal in Rio 2016 and in Tokyo 2020 she captured the Bronze medal. Also, Lovlina Borgohain achieved her first Olympic medal in Women’s welterweight 64-69 kg.

 

Topic: Effects of globalization on Indian society

3. Explain the impact of Globalization on children in Indian society. Suggest measures to mitigate any negative impacts of globalization on children (10M)

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Indian Society by Rajendra Sharma

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 the Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of globalization on children in Indian society and measures to mitigate its negatives.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining Globalisation.

Body:

First, write about the impact Globalization will have on children – fast food culture, and lifestyle changes which would impact the traditional family system
Next, mention some of the positives and negatives of globalization on children.

Next, write about how to mitigate the negative effects of globalization on children– cite examples and statistics to substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward to minimize the negatives and maximize the positives.

Introduction

Globalization has been defined as the process of rapid integration of countries and happenings through greater foreign trade and foreign investment. It is the process of international integration arising from the interchange of world views, products, ideas and other aspects of culture.

Children are a sensitive node in the contention of globalisation as they are highly receptive to new technologies, new openings and new horizons. They are easily attracted to the flamboyance presented by the new-age practices. The age of globalisation is getting fostered with the growth of social networking.

Body

Positives of globalization on children

  • It is the globalisation which has revolutionised lifestyles of children by giving them more avenues for learning, jobs and other amenities in life.
  • Children have become more aware of the progress happening in and around the world due to the ease of access to internet and related technologies.
  • Children are now more open to pursuing their studies in foreign lands than ever before. For those who cannot afford the huge fees of international campuses, there are options of online degrees
  • Indian children are now more future ready, they are much more exposed to the latest developments of the world, they are not averse to technology, they have become more decisive in small everyday matters and above all they are being born in times where change is the norm and thus are highly ambitious and progressive.
  • Globalisation has impacted every aspect of student life. The influx of new-age communication technologies has revolutionised the entire social ecosystem.

Negative Impact of globalization on children

  • Child Labour: Despite prohibition of child labor by the Indian constitution, over 60 to a 115 million children in India work. While most rural child workers are agricultural laborers, urban children work in manufacturing, processing, servicing and repairs. Globalization most directly exploits an estimated 300,000 Indian children who work in India’s hand-knotted carpet industry, which exports over $300 million worth of goods a year.
  • Access to education: On one hand globalisation has aided in the explosion of information on the web that has helped in greater awareness among people. It has also led to greater need for specialisation and promotion of higher education in the country.
  • Social networking in addition to bringing people close has bitten into the precious time of young children.
  • Mental Health: Long sitting hours in front of computers or other handhelds has not only ripped them of their physical activity but also has deleterious effect on their mental health.
  • Food Habits: In addition, children have become used to taking unhealthy junk food over the home-made food which has fed many generations of Indians.
    • On the flip side the advent of private education, coaching classes and paid study material has created a gap between the haves and have-nots. It has become increasingly difficult for an individual to obtain higher education.
  • Homogenization: One of the most vehement criticisms of globalization is that it threatens to create one homogeneous worldwide culture in which all children grow up wanting to be like the latest pop music star, eat Big Macs, vacation at Disney World, and wear blue jeans, and Nikes.

Way forward

  • Limiting long hours of children with screen time and ensuring vigilance over the content being consumed by the children.
  • Physical activity to be encouraged more and exposing children to various sports.
  • Keeping the traditions and culture alive by celebrating Indian festivals and cherishing our values.

Conclusion

We cannot say that the impact of globalization has been totally positive or totally negative. It has been both. Each impact mentioned above can be seen as both positive as well as negative. However, it becomes a point of concern when, an overwhelming impact of globalization can be observed on the Indian culture.

 

4. “Globalization has intensified alienation, exploitation, and commodification of human life and nature”. Do you agree? Justify your viewpoint. (15M)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Indian Society by Rajendra Sharma

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 the Mission-2023 Secure timetable.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the impact of globalization.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by defining Globalisation – give some data on its impact overall.

Body:

First, write about how Globalization has intensified alienation, exploitation, and commodification of human life. – Basically negatives of Globalisation. Give examples to substantiate your points.

Next, write about some of the positives of Globalisation. How it helped in creating a global village.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Globalization is an international platform for maintaining evenness in the living mode of the people all over the world. Globalization is the resultant of the interchange of worldly views, opinions and the various aspects of the culture everywhere around the world. The impact of globalization on Indian and rural life has a tremendous influence which is both positive as well as negative. The Indian urban and rural life is viewed as the two faces of the same coin. They are mutually interdependent and both have a greater impact of globalization.

Body

Impact of globalization on Indian rural society

  • Positives:
    • Commercialization of agriculture: There is an increased trend of commercialization from sustenance farming. This has been successful only with farmers having large tracts of lands.
    • Expansion of agro-industries: Increased crop yield has led to development of agro-processing industries which help in adding value to the products and increasing their shelf life. E.g.; Tomato Ketchup, Potato chips etc.
    • Wider use of information, communication and technologies: Agricultural extension techniques like Kisan TV, sms about weather conditions has helped farmers plan better. Initiatives like e-Nam have helped farmers get better prices in certain areas.
    • Increased Mechanization, better inputs: Mechanization like use of tractors, harvesters, tillers has eased the job. High yield variety seeds, fertilizers have given better yield as seen during Green Revolution
    • Socio-economic development: With telemedicine and teleeducation, people are able to access the health and education facilities at the remotest areas. Adult literacy has helped in fighting for their rights.
    • MSMEs: There has been a rise of MSMEs with women entrepreneurs heading it.
  • Negatives:
    • Changes in Land-Use patterns
    • Internal labour migration: Labour migration  to  cities from  rural  areas  in  search  of  employment  was  a  common phenomenon.  This  was  for  various  reasons  especially  for luxurious  life,  handsome  salary  and  for  numerous  job opportunities
    • Increasing privatization of resources: Rural population is still    suffering    from    unemployment    as    rural    labour    is    mostly    uneducated and unskilled.  Machines and latest technologies   have   reduced   the   number   of manpower a lot
    • Loss of jobs and Displacement: due to mechanization, women are the worst sufferers. When big-ticket projects like Dams, Roads, and Mining come up, people are displaced making them internal refugees.
    • Increased inequality: Regional and sectional disparity due to only a few reaping the benefits.
    • No Behavioural changes: Open defecation still present, caste discriminations are still prevalent.

Impact of globalization on Indian urban society

Positives:

  • Increased Urbanization: It has been estimated that by 2050 more than 50% of India’s population will live in cities. The boom of services sector and city centric job creation has led to increasing rural to urban migration.
  • Increased job opportunities: due to inflow of MNCs, FDIs, people have a wide choice of job opportunities provided they have the requisite skills. Startups like Ola, Swiggy etc. have revolutionized the Gig-Economy. Development of Industries have also provided with jobs.
  • Higher Per capita income: employees are paid well albeit lesser than the global pay levels.
  • Enhanced lifestyle: due to higher PCI and wide array of facilities available from which the consumer can choose. It has raised the quality of life of many.
  • Better infrastructure: In terms of education, health, transport available to people. This has in turn enhanced the agglomeration of economies leading to industrial belts, IT parks, SEZ, CEZ etc.
  • Rapid Digitization: for faster and ease of connectivity, most of the services are digitized. This also increases the awareness of citizens in terms of rights, happenings around world etc. On the Governmental side, there is more accountability and transparency and faster delivery of services.

Negatives:

  • Family Structure: The increasing migration coupled with financial independence has led to the breaking of joint families into nuclear ones. The western influence of individualism has led to an aspirational generation of youth. Concepts of national identity, family, job and tradition are changing rapidly and significantly.
  • Marriage Values: Similarly, marriages have also lost their values. It is very much evident from the increasing number of divorce cases and the extra-marital affairs reported every now and then.
  • McDonaldization: A term denoting the increasing rationalization of the routine tasks of everyday life. It becomes manifested when a culture adopts the characteristics of a fast-food restaurant. McDonaldization is a reconceptualization of rationalization, or moving from traditional to rational modes of thought, and scientific management.
  • Walmartization: A term referring to profound transformations in regional and global economies through the sheer size, influence, and power of the big-box department store WalMart. It can be seen with the rise of big businesses which have nearly killed the small traditional businesses in our society.
  • Rise in Lifestyle diseases: due to reduced physical activity, increased habits of liquor and smoking etc.
  • Urban Sprawl: Increasing slums, unplanned urbanizations are on the rise which is a ticking time-bomb.

Conclusion

It is difficult to say that the impact of globalization has been totally positive or totally negative. It has been both. Each impact mentioned above can be seen as both positive as well as negative. However, it becomes a point of concern when, an overwhelming impact of globalization can be observed on the Indian rural and urban society.

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. Differentiate between expansion and recession in a business cycle. Is the recession a normal part of the economic cycle of a country? Explain the factors causing recession and measures that national governments take to address it. (250 Words)

Reference: Indian Express

Why the question:

There is a growing sense that a global recession may not happen and that some of the biggest economies, such as the US and the Eurozone countries, may achieve a soft landing.

Key Demand of the question:

Question demands basics of a business cycle and in particular about recession- factors causing it and measures to address it. The questions test the basics of the economy.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Highlight the context of the issues from the Indian express reference article. Also, you may start by defining a business cycle.

E.g., A recession is a significant, widespread, and prolonged downturn in economic activity. A common rule of thumb is that two consecutive quarters of negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth mean recession, although more complex formulas are also used.

Body:

Write the difference between expansion and recession. Give examples to explain the difference.

Next, write that recession is normal for a country, albeit an unpleasant one. Cite examples in India and the world. As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the recessions occurred in 1958, 1966, 1973 and 1980. 

Then write the economic factors that lead to recession e.g., a financial crisis, supply-side shock, or black swan events (e.g., Pandemic). Then write measures taken by the central government in the world and India for reducing the risk of recession e.g., fiscal expansion (using Keynesian economics), increased subsidies to drive demand etc. 

Conclusion:

Conclude with the way forward.

Introduction

The alteration of aggregate economic activities commonly referred to as business cycles, is inevitable.

Recession is a significant decline in a country’s economic activities which lasts more than two consecutive quarters. It begins after an economies peak in activities and ends at an economies’ trough. Recessions are defined by across-the-board decreases in the levels of economic activity.

Expansion is a phase in an economic cycle characterized by the growth in GDP for more than two consecutive quarters. An expansion moves the business cycle from a trough to the peak phase. Indicators include unemployment claims, weekly working hours in a manufacturing setting, building permits and consumer goods orders.

Body

Factors leading to a recession

  • Rise in
  • Rise in bankruptcies, defaults, or foreclosures.
  • Falling interest rates.
  • Lower consumer spendingand consumer confidence.
  • Falling asset prices, including the cost of homes and dips in the stock market.

Measures needed to tackle Recession

  • To promote targeted tax cuts or spending increaseson safety net programs like unemployment insurance that kick in automatically to stabilise the economy when it is underperforming.
  • Approving new spending on infrastructure projectsin order to stimulate the economy by adding jobs, increasing economic output and boosting productivity.
  • In the prevailing market situation, hybrid funds are best placed to protect the downside for the investor.
  • Avoid investing in propertyas builders and housing finance companies are luring buyers with big discounts and low loan rates.
  • It is always a good idea to diversify the portfolio with Gold and Foreign reservesto reduce the risk.
  • Create an emergency corpus while the jobs are vanishing.

Way forward

  • Monetary Policy stimulus by the RBI and the government along with normal monsoons would provide some relief in the second half of the financial year.
  • Sector-specific sops and smooth GST refunds to exporters can be worked on by the government.
  • Increase in fiscal spending, deviation from fiscal deficit target, and boost in consumption sentiment are must to arrest the downtrend.
  • Incentives to auto sector employees to up skill on electric vehicles is needed.
  • Improving credit flow to both consumer and industry must be focused.

Conclusion

There are several measures which may help boost consumer sentiment and investor sentiment in any case. The comprehensive measures like removing enhanced surcharge on FPIs (foreign portfolio investors) and DIs (domestic investors), securing transmission of lower repo rates, addressing delayed payments and ensuring that bank officials are confident about lending are strategically targeted towards raising investments.

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Business Ethics

6. Corporate governance in India is often said to be ‘toothless’ in preventing corrupt and unethical practices. Examine the ethical issues arising out of it with recent examples.  (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Insights on India, Live Mint

Why the question:

Hindenburg Research, the US-based short-seller, has accused the Adani group of stock manipulation.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about shortcomings of corporate governance in India.

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 corporate governance.

Body:

Write about the various limitations and shortcomings of corporate governance – frequent scams, lack of transparency, absences of accountability, corruption etc. Give recent examples like Yes bank, the recent NSE co-location scam, Alleged manipulation of stock by Adani group, Infosys case in the US etc.

Suggest steps to overcome the above (do mention the Uday Kotak Panel case).

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Corporate governance is the system of rules, practices, and processes by which a firm is directed and controlled. Corporate governance essentially involves balancing the interests of a company’s many stakeholders, such as shareholders, senior management executives, customers, suppliers, financiers, the government, and the community. Ethics is at the core of corporate governance, and management must reflect accountability for their actions on the global community scale.

Hindenburg Research, the US-based short-seller, has accused the Adani group of stock manipulation.

Body

Background

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) passed its final order in a sordid saga, involving the country’s largest stock exchange.
  • The order, strongly censuring senior officials of the NSE, including its former MD and CEO Chitra Ramkrishna, throws light on a series of governance lapses at the stock exchange.
  • The stock exchange regulator has levied fines on the parties involved in acts of impropriety, and also barred NSE from introducing any new products for a six-month period.
  • The order highlights the scale of misgovernance, including the violation of several rules and regulations.
  • More worryingly, the episode has exposed the absence of checks and balances at the stock exchange.

Need for structural changes in Corporate Governance in India

  • It is common for friends and family of promoters and management to be appointed as board members.
  • In India, founders’ ability to control the affairs of the company has the potential of derailing the entire corporate governance system. Unlike developed economies, in India, identity of the founder and the company is often merged.
  • Women director appointed are primarily from family in most of the companies which negates the whole reform.
  • Appointed independent directors are questionable as it is unlikely that Independent Directors will stand-up for minority interests against the promoter. In the Tata case, these directors normally toe the promoter’s line.
  • An independent director can be easily removed by promoters or majority shareholders. This inherent conflict has a direct impact on independence.
  • Data protection is an important governance issue. In this era of digitalisation, a sound understanding of the fundamentals of cyber security must be expected from every director.
  • Board’s Approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is often found unsupportive.
  • Conflict of Interest – The ICICI Bank Ltd fiasco demonstrates the challenge of managers potentially enriching themselves at the cost of shareholders in the absence of a promoter.
  • In the corporate world, much is forgiven on grounds of performance.
  • When a performing CEO chooses to unduly favour a particular individual or individuals, boards see that as a forgivable infirmity.
  • As for dysfunctional or ineffective boards, these remain the norm despite numerous regulations, seminars and papers over the past four decades.

Measures to improve Corporate Governance:

  • Ensure a balanced, competent and diverse Board: Business should strive for directors who are qualified, understand the business and can offer a fresh perspective. Studies show Boards with greater gender diversity result in improved financial performance.
  • The top management must be allowed to choose not more than 50% of the independent directors.
  • The rest must be chosen by various other stakeholders — financial institutions, banks, small shareholders, employees, etc.
  • Review your Board composition on a regular basis to identify any shortcomings and make timely improvements.
  • Build solid foundations for oversight: Establish, monitor and evaluate the roles and responsibilities of the Board and management. The Board needs to have visibility of management actions and key decision making.
  • Gear key performance indicators towards long term value creation not just in the short term.
  • Prioritize risk management: Establish an effective risk management and internal control framework and periodically review its effectiveness. Developing a disaster recovery plan is essential.
  • Ensure integrity in corporate reporting including safeguards such as conducting external audits of the business.
  • Provide timely and balanced information: Providing transparency to key stakeholders both in the good and bad times promotes stakeholders’ confidence in the business.
  • Emphasise integrity, promote ethical behaviours and consult different categories of stakeholders on their interests.
  • Treat shareholders equitably and respect their rights.
  • Ensure adequate disclosures around related parties’ transactions and director’s other interests. This is especially important where a director may have external financial interests that could influence his decision.
  • Regulators must penalise errant directors through a whole range of instruments — strictures, financial penalties, removal from boards and a permanent ban from board membership.

Conclusion:

The effectiveness of the Corporate Governance has become a global concern. Mainly after many corporate collapse (e.g. Enron, Boeing etc.), fraud cases (e.g. Lehman Brothers), shareholder suits or questionable strategic decisions are drawing attention to the top level decision-making body of the corporation and the board of directors, necessitating the need for ethical considerations where in Indian context, Uday Kotak committee recommendations can form guidelines for better ethical corporate governance.

Value addition

Importance of Corporate Governance:

  • Ensures that the management of a company considers the best interests of all stakeholders involved;
  • Helps companies deliver long-term corporate success and economic growth;
  • Maintains the confidence of investors and as consequence companies raise capital efficiently and effectively;
  • Has a positive impact on the price of shares as it improves the trust in the market;
  • Improves control over management and information systems (such as security or risk management)
  • Good corporate governance also aims at a faster decision-making process by establishing a clear delineation of roles between owners and management.
  • Gives guidance to the owners and managers about what are the goals strategy of the company;
  • Minimizes wastages, corruption, risks, and mismanagement;
  • Helps to create a strong brand reputation;
  • Most importantly, it makes companies more resilient.
  • An increase in staff retention and motivation can be expected, especially from senior staff, when the company has a well-defined and communicated vision and direction.
  • A focus on the company’s core business will also make it easier to penetrate the market and attract the interest of shareholders.
  • Improved reporting on performance in turn leads managers and owners to make more informed and fact-based decisions, leading ultimately to improving sales margins and reducing costs.

 

 

Topic: Case Study

7. You are hailing from a remote village. You are the only person who is pursuing a degree in your community. You have had access to education and modern values. You want every child in your village to have a good education. During holidays you visit your village and teach the children. In one such instance, you have come to know that one of the girls whom you used to teach is getting married. She is 17 and is about to complete her 12th standard. Child marriages like these were common within your community in the past but these have largely reduced now. You want to eliminate such practices. You have come to know that the person she is getting married to is your cousin. You talk to him about the importance of her education and the ills of child marriage. He seems to ignore your advice but promises that she will be allowed to continue her education and he is even ready to fund it. The girl’s parents have convinced her to accept the marriage as they can’t afford to educate her any further. You speak to both parties again but they are not ready to call off the marriage or wait for another year until she turns 18. Your mother scolds you for interfering in their family matters and says that nothing much is going to happen in a year. She warns that any further attempts would lead to fights within the family and even within the community. If that happens you will not be allowed to interact within the community and teach them further.

    1. What are the options available to you in this scenario? Discuss their merits and demerits. Would you consider contacting the police despite such a warning from your mother?
    2. Why do you think people still practice child marriage? Highlight the ethical issues associated with it.
    3. Discuss the steps required to strengthen the community values in such scenarios.

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start by giving the context. Bring out the key stakeholders in the above case study and the major ethical issues present.

Body:

In the body, first, write about the options available to you. Mention their merits and demerits.

Next, write about the course of action you will take and justify that ethically.

Next, give valid arguments as to why people still practice child marriage. Evaluate its cons in detail.

Then explain the steps you’ll take to strengthen your community values.

Conclusion:

Conclude by giving a rational viewpoint.

Conclude by giving a balanced opinion.

 

Introduction

Children are innocent and not rational being. They grow at the pace of biological maturation and in the way what is exposed to them. Their growth depends on environment, parents, facilities like books/schools/outside exposure, foods etc.

In initial years their mind and body is fast changing. Hence, it takes time to grow as mentally stable, physically capable to sustain as a part of society.

After marriage one has to take bigger roles and wider decisions about family which a child can’t sustain economically and psychologically.

 

Body

Options available

  • Option 1: To let the marriage happen as the girl will be 18 in one year

Merits: I can continue to teach other children and since I’m assured, she will be educated further, marriage should not become a hindrance.

Demerits: One incident will lead to several more in the community. More children will be dragged for such marriages. It will create social pressure and also avenues for parents who think girl child as burden.

  • Option 2: Call the authorities to stop the marriage

Merits: This will act as a deterrence to others and will lead to empowerment of other women and girl children in the community.  Instead of one degree holder, there will be many.

Demerits: I may be ostracized in the family and community. But that will not stop me from doing the right thing.

  1. Why people still practice child marriage? Ethical issues
  • The present situation is mainly due to conflict between the general laws and traditional customs of communities with respect to marriage.
  • According to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006 marrying a girl child at an age of less than 18 is prohibited. But in some societies, like discussed in present case, tradition of child marriage is prevalent.
  • This dilemma for the community is always there. However, they should be made to understand traditional values like this may be detrimental to their own community.

 

Physically also a marriage have a toll on both boy and girl and life becomes more tiring after marriage due to physical work needed and body is not ready to have sexual intercourse .

Also, it is considered a maturity comes at the age of 18 years and that’s why there are lot of things which are allowed at the age of 18 years such as suffrage, driving license etc.

So denying a girl to marry at 17 years is not denying her rights as at the age of 17 she is not that mature to take the decisions of her choice. She will not be able to understand the impact and think from all angles before taking such a decision. Although we cannot say that girl will be able to take right decision at the age of 18 years but still she will be more mature and should be able to understand things much better at this age.

Steps needed

  • Afterwards my priority will be to educate and motivate the people of the concerning community so that they give up the irrational and rudimentray traditional custom of child marriage and do not marry their girl child untill she attains at least 18 years of age.
  • For this purpose I can take help of elderly and senior people (community leaders, representatives, religious leaders etc.) of the community. If they can appreciate the idea of girls empowerment, the society itself will start to transform.
  • A widespread community camps or mobile van advertisements with the help of various NGOs can be done in this region to make people aware of the welfare schemes associated with the girls.

Conclusion

Child marriage is a sin robbing girl child of her childhood and education. It makes life more difficult and stressful leading to health issues. Such marriages are against the rights of girl children. Society must widen their horizons and encourage women’s education instead of considering girl child as a burden.


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