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[ Day 26 – Synopsis ] 75 Days Mains Revision Plan 2023 – Ethics

Syllabus: “Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.”

 

Q1. Comment on the growing India-Egypt relation and their influence on the geopolitics of Middle East and North Africa region.  (10M)

Introduction

In 1960, Egypt’s leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, embarked on a state visit to India at the invitation of independence leader and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. During this period of tensions between the Soviet Union and NATO, the two historical figures carved out a space that sought to rebuff the bipolar international order. Sixty-three years later, the partnership between Cairo and New Delhi is still going strong, and taking on new meaning.

Body:

Growing India-Egypt relation:

  • Historical ties: India and Egypt share ancient cultural and civilizational ties, creating a foundation of mutual understanding and respect. These historical connections provide a strong basis for building a robust and multifaceted partnership.
  • Economically: In 2022, India-Egypt recorded the highest ever bilateral trade of US$7.26 billion, with items like crude petroleum, fertilizers, bovine meat, cotton yarn etc. dominating the trade basket.
    • Further, the potential for India to expand its presence in the Suez Canal Economic Zone (SCZONE) offers exciting opportunities for growing economic relations.
  • Strategic partnership: India and Egypt share common concerns and interests in promoting regional stability and security. Both countries face challenges related to terrorism, extremism, and regional conflicts.
    • Their cooperation in counterterrorism efforts, intelligence sharing, and defence collaboration has been strengthening.
  • Defence cooperation: The bilateral defence cooperation has seen a fair bit of activity with joint exercises and high-level visits. As India shifts its focus towards defence exports, Egypt could be a potentially significant market.
    • g. Exercise Cyclone-1, Export of LCA Tejas.
  • Education and IT: The establishment of an Indian Centre for Excellence in IT at Cairo’s renowned Al Azhar University reflects the promising prospects for increased educational collaboration and knowledge sharing between India and Egypt.
    • This initiative serves as a testament to the mutual recognition of the importance of fostering strong ties in the field of information technology.

Influence on the geopolitics of Middle East and North Africa region:

  • Influence in the Arab World: Egypt holds a prominent position in the Arab world, as evidenced by its role as the headquarters of the Arab League. This demonstrates Egypt’s influence and diplomatic capital in the region.
    • India’s engagement in the region through Egypt allows it to expand its influence beyond South Asia and diversify its geopolitical interests.
  • Economic Cooperation and Trade: India and Egypt collaboration in trade and investment promotes economic integration in the MENA region. India’s expertise in sectors such as information technology, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy complements Egypt’s economic goals and development plans.
    • By deepening economic ties, India and Egypt contribute to the economic development and prosperity of the region.
  • Infrastructure and Connectivity: Egypt’s strategic location as a gateway to Africa offers India opportunities to strengthen its connectivity and trade with African nations.
    • India has expressed interest in leveraging Egypt’s infrastructure, particularly its ports, to enhance connectivity and facilitate trade with African countries, aligning with India’s broader objectives of deepening ties with African nations.
  • Supplying food: India envisioned playing a significant role in supplying food to the otherwise grain-starved Middle East and North Africa region, increasing global and regional food crisis escalated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, has created a conducive atmosphere for the country to cater to those markets.
  • Balancing Regional Influences: The growing India-Egypt relationship offers an alternative perspective and balance of power in the MENA region, which is traditionally influenced by major global powers.g. USA, Europe, Russia and China.
    • India and Egypt, as independent actors with their own regional interests, can contribute to a multipolar order by fostering dialogue, cooperation, and stability.

Conclusion

Egypt holds strategic importance for India. Both nations have shared a strong relationship since ancient times. There is need to renew the relationship with a new vigour. India and Egypt should collaborate to strengthen the voice of Global South at the global level and push for a rules-based global order in a multipolar world.

 

 

Q2. Highlight the significance of India-USA technology partnership in context of competition between China and USA to secure semiconductor supply chain. What are the limitations India faces in fully leveraging this collaboration? (15M)

Introduction

India is trying to emerge as a competitive alternative to China in the semiconductor sector amid the intensifying chip war between the US and China. The recent visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington DC has solidified the US-India technology partnership, marking technology as the new frontier in geopolitics. One crucial aspect of this partnership is the joint commitment to diversify the global semiconductor supply chain, which lies at the heart of the rivalry between the United States and China.

Body:

Significance of India-USA technology partnership in context of competition between China and USA to secure semiconductor supply chain; –

  • Help diversify the supply chain: The semiconductor industry plays a crucial role in powering advanced technologies across various sectors. The partnership between India and the USA provides an opportunity to diversify the global semiconductor supply chain, reducing overreliance on a single country, such as China, mitigating risks associated with disruption or geopolitical tensions.
  • Increased investment in India: India is expecting to bring in a total investment of around $25 billion as a result of its incentive scheme, which will aim at boosting the local manufacturing of semiconductors.
    • The goal is to make India a major player in the global supply chain.
  • Access to advanced technologies: The partnership with the USA can provide India with access to advanced technologies, expertise, and capital, enabling it to enhance its domestic semiconductor industry and contribute to the global supply chain.
  • India as global hub for electronics manufacturing: It can bolster India’s ambitions in becoming a global hub for electronics manufacturing. The USA’s technology and market access, combined with India’s manufacturing capabilities and favourable investment climate, can attract semiconductor companies to set up manufacturing facilities in India.
  • National security: The semiconductor supply chain has significant implications for national security, as semiconductors are critical components in defence systems and emerging technologies.
    • The India-USA technology partnership can strengthen the security aspect by ensuring secure and trusted supply chains for critical technologies.

limitations that India faces in fully leveraging this collaboration:

  • Absence of a “chip ecosystem”: despite the political will, no big international chip makers have yet shown interest in India due to absence of a “chip ecosystem”.
    • Other than requirements for chip making itself, a huge set of ancillary industries have to take shape, including electronics manufacturers who can create a domestic market for chips.
  • Expensive Fab Setup: A semiconductor fabrication facility (or fab) can cost multiples of a billion dollars to set up even on a relatively small scale and lagging by a generation or two behind the latest in technology.
  • Skilled Workforce: While India has a large pool of engineering graduates, there is a need to bridge the skill gap in specialized areas of semiconductor manufacturing.
    • Developing a highly skilled workforce that can meet the technical demands of the industry requires focused efforts in education, training, and skill development programs.
  • Resource Inefficient Sector: The semiconductor fabrication industry, requires significant resources to operate efficiently. These include uninterrupted and uninterruptible power; unlimited pure water supply; and chip making infrastructure.
    • At the moment, there is no place in India that can guarantee 24×7 power or water supply.
  • Lack of Fabrication Capacities: Although India boasts a decent chip design talent, it has not built up chip fab capacity. The country has only one old fab located in Mohali, Punjab, while the ISRO and DRDO have their respective fab foundries primarily for their own requirements.

Way forward:

  • Strategize on design and functionality: Given the long gestation periods and rapid technology changes, India must out-strategize on design and functionality as the end product will be out only after three-four years from the moment work begins.
  • Incentivising more FDI in electronics to deepen our supply chains through incentive schemes, we need to focus on encouraging Indian manufacturers and start-ups to enter and master complex R&D and manufacturing verticals.
  • Innovation: The semiconductor industry is changing fast as new-age technologies require innovation at the design, material, and process levels.
  • Collaboration: India and Taiwan have started negotiations for a free-trade agreement and setting up a semiconductor manufacturing hub in an Indian city, signalling their resolve to further expand the two-way economic engagement.
  • India needs to push for a Quad Supply Chain Resilience Fund to immunise the supply chain from geopolitical and geographic risks.

Conclusion

India is said to be at least two decades behind the chip curve. It could take the country 10-20 years to establish itself as a serious player in the semiconductor industry. For now, though, New Delhi has positioned itself in the global chip war, with a technology partnership that promises to take bilateral ties with the US to the next level.

 

Value addition:

India’s initiatives for semiconductor:

  • Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for the semiconductor industry
  • Three entities(Vedanta-Foxconn, international consortium ISMC and Singapore-based IGSS Ventures) that had applied to build the chips
  • Semicon India Programme: Launched in 2021 with an outlay of Rs 76,000 crore, the programme seeks to support the development of the semiconductors and the display manufacturing ecosystem in India.
  • Fiscal support for a design-linked initiative (DLI) scheme to drive global and domestic investment related to design software, IP rights etc.
  • The Union Cabinet’s decision to set aside ₹76,000 crore for supporting the development of a ‘semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem’ is a belated but welcome acknowledgment of the strategic significance of integrated circuits, or chips, to a modern economy.

 

Global Initiatives for Semiconductors:

  • Semiconductor friend-shoring among the Quad members by USA, to building “resilient, diverse and secure supply chains of critical and emerging technologies”.
  • US-led “Chip 4 Alliance” with Japan, South Korea and Taiwan to restrict Chinese access to chip tech.
  • Taiwan produces over 60% of the world’s semiconductors and over 90% of the most advanced ones.
  • Made in China 2025” plan: to get self-sufficiency in semiconductor

 

 


Ethics


 

Syllabus: “Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and world.”

Q3.  How are Voltaire’s idea on ‘Liberty’ a crucial necessity to enjoy a dignified life in a democracy in present times? Discuss. Also, do you think lack of adequate is the cause behind democratic crisis we are seeing in some parts of the world? Justify your opinion (10M)

Introduction:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire’s enduring words exemplify the essence of liberty and free expression.

Body:

Importance of Voltaire’s Ideas on Liberty in leading a dignified life in present times:

  • Protection of Individual Rights: “Man is free at the moment he wishes to be.”. It is crucial to ensure that individuals have the freedom to express themselves, practice their beliefs, and participate in the decision-making processes of a democracy.
  • Safeguarding Pluralism and Diversity: “Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too”. It is essential for fostering inclusivity and avoiding the suppression of minority voices. Mob mentality and vigilantism in recent times curtail these voices.
  • Freedom of expression: Voltaire often said “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
  • Promoting Intellectual Progress: “Liberty consists in doing what one desires.” Freedom of inquiry and academic freedom enable students to pursue knowledge without undue restrictions. The lack of choice has led to India producing 1.5 million engineers annually, more than US and China combined.

Yes, the Lack of Adequate Liberty is the reason for democratic Crisis:

 

  • Suppression of Dissent: In authoritarian regimes, restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly limit political participation and stifle public debate.
  • Erosion of Checks and Balances: unable to hold those in power accountable, resulting in corruption, abuse of power, and the concentration of authority. India’s ranking in the 2023 World Press Freedom Index has slipped to 161 out of 180 countries.
  • Inequality and Marginalization: Inadequate liberty can contribute to social and economic inequalities, which can in turn lead to democratic crises. For Instance, lack of liberty among dailt women who face a triple burden of gender bias, caste discrimination and economic deprivation.
  • Rise of Populism and Authoritarianism: The lack of adequate liberty can create fertile ground for the rise of populist and authoritarian leaders who exploit public grievances and suppress democratic institutions. Example: Hungary. Under the leadership of Viktor Orbán.

Conclusion:

Upholding and safeguarding liberty is essential for maintaining the principles of democracy and promoting a just and inclusive society.

 


Case Study


 

Q4. Uma works in a publishing house. Her job responsibilities are a mix of desk work and field work. She has recently conceived a child. Upon hearing the news her senior who allocates the projects in the office starts diverting tasks that Uma is best suited for to her other colleagues. When Uma confronts her senior saying that she is capable of working on those projects without any difficulty her boss cites the pregnancy to advise her not to overexert herself by going on field work. Uma is asked to do light work during the next few months until she goes on maternity leave. Uma resents this attitude of her senior as it means that she will lose out on the various opportunities that she fairly deserves and this might also affect her chances to win the annual accolades given to best performing employees.

    1. Explore the various courses of action available to Uma in this scenario.
    2. Gender identity is often at the heart of workplace ethics. Discuss.

Synopsis:

It is important to consider the perspectives and interests of various stakeholders when addressing the situation to promote fairness, equality, and a positive work environment.

 

  1. Explore the various courses of action available to Uma in this scenario.

In the context of resolving workplace conflicts, here are various courses of action available to Uma in this scenario:

  • Open and respectful communication: with her senior to express her concerns and discuss the situation openly, paving the way for a constructive resolution.

 

  • Active listening: to her senior’s perspective and concerns regarding her pregnancy and workload. This will demonstrate her willingness to understand their point of view and find common ground.
  • Clarify expectations: Uma can seek clarity on the reasons behind the allocation of tasks and opportunities to her colleagues. Uma can propose alternative solutions or suggest modifications.
    • Give examples of Jacinda Ardern who conceived as a Prime Minister of New Zealand.
  • Provide evidence of capability: past performance, successful completion of similar tasks, and her ability to handle fieldwork without overexertion.
  • Seek mediation or assistance: from a higher authority within the organization, such as the human resources department.
    • Sudha Murty wrote a letter to JRD Tata after a notice about a job opportunity at her institute read, “Ladies students need not apply”.
  • Document incidents and seek legal advice if necessary: If Uma believes that she is experiencing discrimination or unfair treatment based on her pregnancy.
  1. Gender identity is often at the heart of workplace ethics. Discuss.

The intersection of gender identity and workplace ethics is a critical aspect of fostering inclusive and equitable work environments.

Workplace ethics with prominent examples to include gender identity,

  • Integrity: Ensuring gender identities are treated with honesty, respect, and without discrimination.
    • Intel’s “Speak Up!” Campaign to create awareness and encourage employees to report any form of harassment.
  • Sense of Responsibility: to create an inclusive workplace environment that respects and values individuals’ gender identities.
    • The Humsafar Trust, an LGBTQ+ organization in India, collaborates with companies to conduct workshops and sensitization programs on gender identity and inclusion.
  • Emphasis on Quality: gender identity should not impact the quality of work. Individuals should be evaluated based on their skills fostering a merit-based culture.
    • The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) conducted a study suggesting that companies having diverse management teams recorded 19 per cent higher revenue. It traces a directly proportional relationship between diversity and innovation.
  • Discipline: following non-discriminatory practices in recruitment, ensuring equal access to opportunities, and promptly addressing any incidents of harassment or discrimination.
    • Tata Second Career Internship Program, which provides opportunities for women who have taken a career break during pregnancy to re-enter the workforce.
  • Sense of Teamwork: Embracing different gender identities can contribute to a more innovative and productive team dynamic.
    • “WIN” (Wipro Women’s Initiative) that promote the advancement of women in the workforce.

Organizations can create a work environment where individuals of all gender identities feel respected, valued, and have equal opportunities to thrive and contribute to their full potential.

 


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