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[Mission 2024] Insights SECURE SYNOPSIS: 21 August 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: static syllabus

1. The Indus Valley Civilization left a significant legacy and represents one of the earliest urban civilizations in the world. Discuss the key features of Indus Valley Civilisation. (150 words).

Difficulty level: Easy

Reference: Insights on India

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the features of Indus Valley Civilisation.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start by giving an overview of its geographical extent and timeframe

Body:

First, write the about the features of Harappan Civilisation – Agriculture, Urban Planning and Infrastructure, Trade and Economy, Writing System and Artifacts, Social Organization and Governance and Religion and Rituals etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

A flourishing civilisation emerged on the banks of river Indus in the second half of the third millennium BCE and spread across larger parts of Western India. A marked feature if this civilisation was the vivid imagination and artistic sensibilities. Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were the two major cities if this civilisation.

Body

Features of Indus Valley Civilization

  • Town planning Architecture
    • Layout: The town were laid out in a rectangular grid pattern and the roads ran in North-South and East-West direction cutting each other at right angles.
    • Construction: The big roads divided the city into many blocks and smaller lanes were used to connect housed to the main roads. Harappan used burnt bricks of standard dimension for construction.
    • Types of buildings: Dwelling houses, public buildings and public baths are commonly found.
    • Planning: The city was divided into two parts. An upraised citadel in the western part was used for buildings of large dimensions, such as granaries, administrative buildings and courtyard.
      • The elite class stayed in the citadel part of the town.
    • Granaries had strategic air ducts and raised platforms for storage and protection from pests. Eg: The great granary in Mohenjo-Daro and 2 rows of 6 granaries in Harappa.
  • Dockyard: Lothal in Gujarat is now called Manchester of Indus-Valley. Here ship remains and instruments for measuring angles were also found.
  • Public Baths: This is a remarkable feature of the civilisation which indicated the importance given to ritualistic cleansing in the culture. Eg: The Great Bath of Mohenjo-Daro
    • There are no cracks or leaks in the great bath which shows the engineering acumen of the Harappan people.
  • Drainage system: This is the most striking feature as small drains ran from small houses and were connected to larger drains running alongside the main roads. They were covered loosely to do periodic maintenance. Cesspits were placed at regular intervals.
  • Use of seals: Seals were primarily used for commercial purpose. They were mostly square and rectangle but circular and triangular were also used.
    • Some seals were used as amulets as well as they were found on dead bodies.
    • Pictographic script on seals have been found which might have been used for educational purposes.
    • Eg: Unicorn seal, Pashupathi seal made of Steatite.
  • Bronze casting: There was a wide scale practice of bronze casting. They were made using the lost wax technique or Cire Perdue. Eg: Bronze dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro, broze bull of Kalibangan etc.
  • Pottery: There were plain and painted pottery (Red and Black pottery). They were mainly used for household purposes for storage, decorative purposes and some for straining liquor as they have perforations.
  • Jewellery and clothing: Both men and women wore ornaments like necklaces, fillets, armlets and finger rings. Girdles, anklets were worn only by women.
    • Beads made of amethyst, quartz, steatite etc were quite popular as was evident from excavation on Chanudaro and Lothal.
    • For fabric cotton and wool was used. Spindles and whorls were made from expensive faience as well as cheap clay.

Conclusion

The Indus valley civilization was the largest of all the four civilizations of the time and was contemporary to the Mesopotamian civilisation. The features of Indus-Valley such as the planned network of roads, houses and drainage systems indicate the planning and the engineering skills that developed during those times.

 

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

2. The concept of Dhamma, as propounded by Emperor Ashoka, played a crucial role in shaping his reign and had a significant impact on ancient India. Explain. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: TN History – Class 11th Textbook (New Edition)

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 1 and mentioned as part of Mission-2024 Secure timetable (revision).

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Dhamma, its features and measures taken to spread.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by defining Dhamma.

Body:

First, mention about the various components of Dhamma as propounded by Ashoka. The set of do’s and don’t that were part of the Dhamma.

Next, write about the measures taken by Ashoka to spread Dhamma across the subcontinent and the world.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing the legacy of dhamma.

Introduction

Ashoka’s Dhamma was neither a new religion nor a new political philosophy. Rather, it was a way of life, a code of conduct and a set of principles to be adopted and practiced by the people at large. Dhamma related to generalized norms of social activities and behaviors.

Body:

Nature of Dhamma as propounded by Ashoka:

  • It is an important document of his essential humanity and an answer to the socio political needs of the contemporaneous situation.
  • It was not anti brahminical because respect for Brahmins and sarmanas is an integral part of Dhamma.
  • One of the striking features of Asoka’s edicts talks about father-child relationship between the king and his populace.
  • In spite of his religious eclecticism, Ashoka denounced all useless ceremonies and sacrifices held under the influ­ence of superstition. The first Rock Edict prohibits the ritual of animal sacrifice and festive gatherings.
  • Asoka also started a system of dhammayatas or Yatras whereby be toured the country and preached the Dhamma to the people.
  • Throughout his edicts Ashoka stresses the importance of the family. The emphasis is on respecting elders including religious elders, a humane and just attitude towards servants and slaves and a high degree of social responsibility and civic ethics.
  • Ashoka pleaded for tolerance of different religious sects in an attempt to create a sense of harmony.
  • The policy of Dhamma also laid stress on non-violence, which was to be practiced by giving up war and conquests and also as a restraint on the killing of animals.
  • Ashoka set an example of vegetarianism by almost stopping the consumption of meat in the royal household.
  • Since he wanted to conquer the world through love and faith, he sent many missions to propagate Dhamma. Such missions were sent to far off places like Egypt, Greece and Sri Lanka. The propagation of Dhamma included many measures of people’s welfare.

Shortcomings:

  • His policy of Dhamma failed to achieve the desired goal of reducing social tension.
  • Power of official dhammamahamattas to interfere in the lives of people increased over time. There was resentment against officials.
  • None of Ashoka successors continued the propagation of Dhamma.
  • The Ashoka policy of Dhamma has been the subject of controversy and debate amongst scholars.
  • Some have said that Ashoka was a partisan Buddhist and have equated Dhamma with Buddhism.

Reasons for decline of Dhamma

  • On one level, the decline and eventual disappearance of the dharma is viewed in Buddhist sources as automatic, simply resulting from the principle of the transitoriness of all conditioned things.
  • The earliest tradition points to the presence of women in the monastic order as the critical factor in Buddhism’s early demise.
  • The lack of respect toward various elements of the Buddhist tradition, lack of diligence in meditation practice, and carelessness in the transmission of the teachings.
  • Other accounts point to sectarian divisions or the appearance of false teachings as the cause of decline.
  • Finally, excessive monastic association with secular society also regularly appears as a contributing cause.

Conclusion:

Dhamma being secular in nature and advocates humanitarian approach, making it a very practical solution. Dhamma promotes social equality and is realistic. So, Dhamma is the need of the hour of the present India. Ashoka’s Dhamma has all-time applicability in a divergent Indian society.

Value addition

  • Major Rock Edict I: Prohibition of animal sacrifices and festive fathering’s.
  • Major Rock Edict II: Describes the medical missions sent everywhere (land of Cholas, Pandyas, Satyaputras, Keralaputras, Ceylon, Antiochus) for men and animals. Plantation of medicinal herbs and trees and digging of wells along the roads.
  • Major Rock Edict III: On 12 years of his consecration, Yuktas (subordinate officers) rajukas (rural administrators) and the Pradesikas (head of the districts) were ordered to tour every five years and propagate Dhamma. It also mentions about being generous to Brahmans and sramanas and obedient to one’s mother and father, friends and relatives.
  • Major Rock Edict IV: The sound of the drum has become the sound of Dhamma showing the people the divine form.
  • Major Rock Edict V: Mentions about the introduction of the institution of the dhamma-mahammatas, the officers of the Dhamma in his fourteenth year of reign. It also mentions about humane treat­ment of servants by masters and of prisoners by government officials.
  • Major Rock Edict VI: It-makes the relationship between the king and his subjects via the Mahamattas clearer and now the Mahamattas are told to make their reports to the king at any time and place.
  • Major Rock Edict VII: It pleads for toleration amongst all sects.
  • Major Rock Edict VIII: In the tenth year of his reign Asoka went on a visit to Bodh-Gaya, to see the Bodhi-tree. Following this event, he started a system of Dhamma-yatas which is described in this edict. Dhamma-yatas were occasions when he toured the country for the furtherance of Dhamma.
  • Major Rock Edict IX: All ceremonies are useless except Dhamma which includes respect for others and regard even for slaves and servants and donations to sramanas and Brahmans.
  • Major Rock Edict X: In this edict, Asoka denounces fame and glory and reasserts that the only glory he desires is that his subjects should follow the principles of Dhamma.
  • Major Rock Edict XI: It contains a further explanation of Dhamma. Here he refers to the gift of Dhamma, the distribution of Dhamma, the kinship detailed Dhamma.
  • Major Rock Edict XII: It is a direct and emphatic plea for toleration amongst the various sects.
  • Major Rock Edict XIII: It is among the most important document of Asokan history. It clearly states that the Kalinga war took place eight years after his consecration. It mentions about the replacements of bherighosa (sound of war drums) by dhammaghosa (sound of peace), i.e., con­quest through Dhamma instead through war.
  • Major Rock Edict XIV: It is a short edict in which Asoka explains that he has had these edicts inscribed throughout the country in complete or abridged versions.

 

Topic: Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism.

3. The outbursts of caste-based violence against the poor and vulnerable reflect the deep-rooted biases and prejudices ingrained within society. Analyse. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: The Hindu

Why the question:

The article discusses a recent caste-based attack in Nanguneri, Tamil Nadu, highlighting the failure of hope in addressing deeply ingrained casteism.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about the how casteism leads to violence and its impact.

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: 

Start by giving context.

Body:

First, discuss the reasons contributing to caste-based violence – tensions, grievances, or power dynamics tied to caste identities culminate in violent acts against those who are less privileged or economically disadvantaged within these systems.

Next, explain how in Indian societal setup caste a form of social stratification leads to discrimination, exploitation, intolerance and leads to violence. Cite examples to substantiate your points.

Next, discuss the impact of caste-based violence on Indian society; impact on social fabric, economy, polity etc.

Conclusion:

Suggest way forward for eradicating casteism in India.

Introduction

Caste-based violence in India is a form of discrimination and oppression that targets people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs), who are historically marginalized and disadvantaged groups in Indian society. Despite the constitutional safeguards and special legislation, such as the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 being in place, caste-based crimes continue to occur in various forms and regions, violating the fundamental and human rights of millions of people.

The recent incident in Nanguneri town in Tamil Nadu’s Tirunelveli district, where a Dalit teenager and his sister were brutally hacked by schoolmates belonging to an intermediate dominant caste is demonstrative of the failure of hope for a whole generation of a community living on the margins.

Body

Reasons contributing to caste-based violence

  • The caste system, an ancient social stratification based on descent and occupation, creates a rigid hierarchical structure where individuals are categorized into specific castes.
  • This system fosters a sense of superiority among upper castes and a feeling of inferiority among lower castes, leading to discrimination and violence against the latter.
  • The system is characterised by Dominance of one caste over others and Exploitation of lower castes by upper castes.
  • The presence of barriers in mobility and achieving political power and competition for economic opportunities and acquiring symbols of high status is another reason.
  • Social norms and cultural beliefs, often passed down through generations, reinforce the notion of caste-based superiority and inferiority.
  • These norms normalize discriminatory attitudes and practices, making it challenging to break free from caste-based violence.
  • Caste-based violence is sometimes driven by economic motives. Lower caste individuals may be subjected to exploitation, forced labour, and economic oppression by dominant caste groups, leading to conflicts and violence.
  • Inter-caste marriages, challenging the traditional caste boundaries, are sometimes met with hostility and violence from conservative sections of society, seeking to protect their caste purity.
  • Despite legal protections, the effective implementation of laws against caste-based violence remains a challenge in some regions, leading to a culture of impunity for the perpetrators.
  • In today’s age, the presence of internet has further hastened the spread of fake news and misinformation in seconds.

Measures needed

  • Strengthening Implementation of Laws such as SC/ST Act, 1989; Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955; Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013.
  • The State with its institutions like Police, Judiciary, Education, Health, and Welfare sectors to prevent, investigate, prosecute, punish, and rehabilitate offenders.
  • Promoting Awareness and Sensitization among all stakeholders, including upper castes, lower castes, civil society organizations, media, academia, religious leaders, and political parties.
  • Empowering SCs and STs through education, employment, land rights, political representation, social mobilization, legal aid, and counselling services.
  • Building trust and solidarity, challenging stereotypes and prejudices, and promoting respect for diversity and human dignity.

Conclusion

The government has now established a one-man commission headed by retired judge K. Chandru to suggest steps to stamp out caste differences among students. It would be a pity if Nanguneri does not serve as a wake-up call; a catalyst for destroying caste hierarchies, restoring peace and equality, and, hope.

 

 


General Studies – 2


 

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

4. The process of awarding the death penalty and its sentencing is a topic that warrants careful consideration and reflection. Over time, discussions have emerged regarding the efficacy and fairness of capital punishment. Examine. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Tough

Reference: Live Mint

Why the question:

The article argues for the abolition of the death penalty, stating that its foundational justifications have weakened over time.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about the reforms needed in awarding and sentencing of capital punishment.

Directive word:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Start giving the awarding of capital punishment in ‘rarest of rare’ case.

Body:

First, write about the various developments regarding capital punishment over the years – Bachan Singh vs State of Punjab, context death penalty.

Next, write about the various lacunae in the awarding of death penalty in Indian criminal justice.

Next, suggest reforms based on recent SC judgement and various recommendations of commissions.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Capital punishment also called as death penalty is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law. The debate on whether to abolish the death penalty or not, has been raging in India and in several other countries for decades.

Body

Background

  • The Supreme Court asked the Centre to provide data that may point to a more dignified, less painful and socially acceptable method of executing prisoners other than death by hanging.
  • The Bench has sought fresh data to substantiate the argument that a more humane means of execution can be found.

Rationale behind death penalty

  • The punishment is not arbitrary because, it comes out of a judicial process.To call it arbitrary, one has to necessarily prove the process as flawed.
  • It is being implemented in the “rarest of the rare” cases and the fact is during the last 13 years, only four peoplehave been executed.
  • The hanging of Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon strongly affirms India’s commitment to the protection of life.
  • People criticise it on arbitrariness, irreversibility and human rights and these are not valid arguments.
  • Its constitutionality is upheld, even in liberal democracies like U.S. It is not reflection of uncivilised society.
  • India’s neighbourhood is not peaceful, unlike Scandinavia. It is not in a group of countries, like European Union.
  • India has got troubled borders. Several forces are trying to destabilise the very idea of our Nation from across the Border.
  • The sacredness of life can only be seen to be protected, if those who take it away are proportionately punished.

Efficiency of death penalty

  • A study by the Centre of Death Penalty – at the National Law University Delhi (NLUD) — in 2015 analyzed data of 15 years to conclude that less than 5 per cent death penalties awarded by trial courts were confirmed by the time the cases passed the tests in high courts and the Supreme Court.
  • Another NLU Delhi study found that 162 death sentences were awarded across the country in 2018. Only 23 were confirmed by the high courts.
  • The Supreme Court heard 12 death penalty cases in 2018 but confirmed death penalty in only one case – of Nirbhaya gangrape and murder.
  • The Justice JS Verma committee, appointed after the Nirbhaya case, too had examined the efficiency of death penalty for rape. In its report, Justice Verma did not prescribe death penalty for rape for the lack of correlation in preventing the crime of rape or gangrape.

Death Penalty is not the panacea

  • It unfairly targets poor and marginalised, that means, those without money & power.
  • Executions occurred in around five cases for every 1 lakh murdersand it looks quite arbitrary. It depends on judges personal beliefs.
  • India’s murder rate has declinedcontinuously since 1991 and at present the lowest, except for 1963.
  • Punishment should not imitate crime.
  • As per the recent Death Penalty India Report by the National Law University, Delhi, the structural flaws in our criminal procedure and criminal justice system are most pronounced in death penalty cases.
  • Most of the civilised world abolished it. Death penalty has not deterred terrorism, murder or even theft.
  • From 200-2015, Supreme Court imposed 60 death sentences and subsequently admitted that it had erred in 15 of them. So, it clearly admitted that it has arbitrarily imposed the most extreme punishment.
  • The Police is not known for its probity or efficiency in our Country.
  • Delays in the Criminal Justice System disproportionately affects those, who suffer the tyranny of the uncertainty of their life.

Measures needed

  • Law Commission in its 262ndreport submitted recently recommended the abolition of capital punishment for all crimes in India, except the crime of waging war against the nation or for terrorism-related offences.
  • It cited several factors to justify abolishing the death penalty, including its abolition by 140 other nations, its arbitrary and flawed application and its lack of any proven deterring effect on criminals.
  • Taking empirical lessons from the fate of Bachan Singh, the Supreme Court may have to now ask the more fundamental question posed and negatived in Bachan Singh — the question of the constitutional validity of death penalty.
  • The Court may have to revisit Bachan Singh itself in so far as it refused to declare the death penalty as violative of the right to life envisaged under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Across the world, 108 nations have abolished death penalty in law and 144 countries have done so in law or practice, according to the Amnesty Report of 2021.
  • In the Indian context, where judgmental error is quite frequent and the quality of adjudication is not ensured, what is required is a judicial abolition of death penalty.

Conclusion

As Law Commission said that it is the not right time of abolition experiment, the issue needs to be debated  and  researched  in  more  detail.  But,  capital  punishment  should  not  become  a  pent-up  of  society’s misplaced anger and sense of judgment. It is also against the reformative purpose of the Criminal Justice System and we must remember the words of Oscar Wilde, “Every saint has a past and every sinner a future.”

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

5. India has made commendable progress in infrastructure development, but challenges persist. To continue this momentum, the country needs to focus on addressing funding gaps, regulatory hurdles, and sustainability concerns while ensuring equitable access to the benefits of improved infrastructure. Discuss. (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Reference: Live MintInsights on India

Why the question:

The article discusses India’s efforts to mitigate risks in infrastructure development. It highlights that the Indian government has taken steps to reduce the various challenges associated with infrastructure projects, such as delays, financial uncertainties, and policy changes.

Key Demand of the question: 

To write about the progress made in infrastructure, challenges and areas for improvement.

Directive word: 

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Begin by giving context.

Body:

First, Write the about the progress made in developing infrastructure in the country and major initiatives taken for it and its achievements.

Next, write about the various limitations of the above – funding, slow paced development, environmental challenges etc.

Next, write about the steps that are needed for increased investment in infrastructure to support economic growth and improve the quality of life.

Conclusion:

Conclude by writing a way forward.

Introduction

Infrastructure sector is a key driver for the Indian economy. The sector is highly responsible for propelling India’s overall development and enjoys intense focus from Government for initiating policies that would ensure time-bound creation of world class infrastructure in the country. Infrastructure sector includes power, bridges, dams, roads, and urban infrastructure development.

Basic infrastructure facilities in the country provide the foundation of growth. In the absence of adequate infrastructure, the economy operates at a suboptimal level and remains distant from its potential and frontier growth trajectory.

Body

The infrastructure sector will be the key to overall economic growth and macroeconomic stability, the Survey said emphasising that the year after the crisis (2021-22) will require sustained and calibrated measures to facilitate the process of economic recovery and enable the economy to get back on its long-term growth trajectory.

Role of infrastructure in transformation of economy leading to economic development

  • Foundation for growth
    • Basic infrastructure facilities in the country provide the foundation of growth.
    • In the absence of adequate infrastructure, the economy operates at a suboptimal level and remains distant from its potential and frontier growth trajectory.
  • Increases employment
    • Infrastructure development such as road construction, real estate, railway construction, etc. is labour intensive, leading to increase in employment opportunities in formal and informal sectors and thus, fuelling domestic demand.
  • Raises Farmer’s Income
    • Investment in infrastructure would play critical role in ensuring doubling of farmers income through focus on increased irrigation infrastructure and storage, processing and marketing infrastructure.
  • Health and Well-being
    • Infrastructure development of superior healthcare facilities, electronic health records and better equipped health infrastructure at primary levels. (Telemedicine)
  • Reduces Logistic Cost
    • Building world class roads, railways, ports, inland water ways, will cut down logistic costs and improve competitiveness and promote exports.
    • This would bring more revenues to government and may promote socio – economic development.

Issues faced

  • Land acquisition that can cost at least 25 to 30 percent of every project; there can be projects where it is even higher than the cost of construction. It not only escalates overall project costs, but also causes enormous delays
    • In a study conducted by NHAI on 106 projects, worth over ₹1.5 billion, facing implementation delays, issues pertaining to land acquisition were identified as one of the important causes for the delay in almost 50 percent of the projects. Besides, about 5 percent of these projects were delayed exclusively because of land acquisition issues
    • The government’s burden to acquire land has risen in compliance with the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013, that mandates it to pay four times the market value of acquired land in rural areas and two times in urban areas
  • Development of the road network continues to be plagued by delays
    • over 800 road projects for a cumulative of more than 27,000 km, under the MoRTH, as being delayed.
    • Bharatmala Pariyojana – Phase I, which is crucial to coastal and port connectivity, and which was targeted to be completed in 2021-22 has been delayed to 2025-26, with both awards and completion under this project being far behind deadlines.
  • MoRTH’s lack of any source of revenue other than budgetary support from the Central government and borrowings.
  • Private participation could be challenging due to the continued stretched balance sheets of many infrastructures developers
  • Very limited private sector participation in development of new roads and highways. This is driven by the financial profile of the developers, a lack of debt products that can be aligned to revenue models of highway projects as well as by delays in land acquisition, and an uncertain regulatory framework
  • Since most of the projects are to be constructed in remote areas, mobilization of equipment and raw materials would be challenging. A slew of measures such as enhancement of approval limit of projects by the NHAI to Rs 2,000 crore from Rs 1,000 crore, increase in compensation rates to farmers under the new land acquisition policy and digitalization of land acquisitions would expedite projects under Bharatmala

Major Policies on Infrastructure

  • The Indian government has encouraged private and foreign investment through various promotional measures, such as a liberal FDI policy, Ease of Doing Business measures like a National Single Window System, fiscal incentives, and the establishment of agencies like Invest India, among others.
  • Alongside, a range of investment de-risking measures have also been introduced, leveraging technology, an integrated approach in planning, rationalized risk-sharing mechanisms, etc.
  • The triad of PM Gati Shakti, Project Monitoring Group (PMG) and public private partnerships (PPP) forms the backbone of these de-risking measures.
  • Government of India has launched National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)in 2019, wherein it has planned to invest about INR 111 lakh crores on infrastructure projects by 2024-25.
  • In 2020, NITI Aayog and Quality Council of India (QCI) launched the ‘National Program and Project Management Policy Framework’ (NPMPF).
  • The government of India has launched the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP), a roadmap for asset monetisation of various brownfield infrastructure assets across sectors.
  • NMP will help in evolving a common framework for monetisation of core assets. The NMP estimates aggregate monetisation potential of Rs 6 lakh crores through core assets of the Central Government, over a four-year period, from FY 2022 to FY 2025.
  • Union budget 2021-22 gave a massive push to infrastructure sector by allotting Rs 233083 crore to enhance transport infrastructure and through National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) a Rs 111 lakh crore plan for financial year 2019-25.
  • India has a well-developed framework for Public-Private-Partnerships (PPP) in the highway sector. Asian Development Bank ranked India at the first spot in PPP operational maturity and also designated India as a developed market for PPPs.
  • Bharat Mala Pariyojana aims to build 66,100 km of economic corridors, border and coastal roads, and expressways to boost the highway network.
  • The market for roads and highways is projected to exhibit a CAGR of16% during 2016-2025

Way forward

  • Rs 111 trillion National Infrastructure Pipeline for 2020-2025 will be a game-changer for the Indian economy. Sectors like energy, roads, urban infrastructure, railways have a lion’s share in it that will help boost growth.
  • To boost private investment in infra sector, it said the government has set up the Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC) for appraisal of PPP projects.
  • Revamping of the proposed VGF scheme will attract more PPP projects and facilitate the private investment in social sectors (Health, Education, Waste Water, Solid Waste Management, Water Supply etc.)
  • The Aatmanirbhar Bharat has brought manufacturing at centre stage and emphasized its significance in driving India’s growth and creating jobs.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

Topic: Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world to the concepts of morality;

6. The universalizability of moral principles and the emphasis on reason as the foundation of ethics are key features of Kant’s moral philosophy. Discuss. (150 words)

Difficulty Level: Tough

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2024 Secure.

Key Demand of the question:

To write about Kant’s Universal moral law.

Directive:

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:

Write a writing about deontology of Kant.

Body:

In detail, explain the moral absolutism and use examples to substantiate you points.

Next, write a critique of moral absolutism.

Conclusion:

Conclude the answer by summarising.

Introduction

Kantian ethics refers to a deontological ethical theory ascribed to the German philosopher Immanuel Kant. The theory, developed as a result of Enlightenment rationalism, is based on the view that the only intrinsically good thing is a good will; an action can only be good if its maxim – the principle behind it – is duty to the moral law.

Body

Moral absolutism is an ethical view that particular actions are intrinsically right or wrong. Stealing, for instance, might be considered to be always immoral, even if done for the well-being of others (e.g., stealing food to feed a starving family), and even if it does in the end promote such a good.

Moral absolutism stands in contrast to other categories of normative ethical theories such as consequentialism. For example, someone who believes absolutely in non-violence considers it wrong to use violence even in self-defence.

Absolutism takes a universal view of humanity that there is one set of rules for everyone – which enables the drafting of universal rules – such as the Declaration of Human Rights. Religious views of ethics tend to be absolutist.

 

Moral law

  • When Kant speaks about the moral law, he is essentially referring to that sense of obligation to which our will often responds.
  • Our response is toward that moral sense which Kant believes each of us has, in virtue of being rational and free. It is conscience.
  • The moral law is not given to us from outside.
  • Kant does not associate the moral law with what God commands. Nor with civil law. Nor with what society recommends.
  • The moral law is nothing other than rational will — the will which is entirely “devoted” to, or guided by impartiality and universality of reason.

How laws must be according to Kant:

  • Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.
    • It states that one should choose our ‘codes of conduct’ only if they serve perfect / imperfect duty and are good for all.
    • Perfect duties are blameworthy if not met and are the basic requirements for a human being.
    • An example of perfect duty is the avoidance of suicide.
  • Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means to an end.
    • This states that we should not use humanity of ourselves or others as a means to an end.
    • An example of the second maxim would be that of slavery.
  • Every rational being must so act as if he were through his maxim always a legislating member in the universal kingdom of ends.
    • This states that we should consider ourselves to be members in the universal realm of ends.
    • We should consider our actions to be of consequence to everyone else in that our actions affect not only ourselves but that of others.

Conclusion

Kant’s philosophy of human individuals as end in itself endorses the golden rule of “treating others as one’s self would wish to be treated”.  As no one would wish to be used simply as a means, therefore one should not also use other human beings as means to achieve their ends. This philosophy can be of great help in resolving the ethical dilemmas where there is debate between relative importance of means and ends.

Value addition

Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) argued that the supreme principle of morality is a standard of rationality that he dubbed the “Categorical Imperative” (CI). Kant characterized the CI as an objective, rationally necessary and unconditional principle that we must always follow despite any natural desires or inclinations we may have to the contrary.

The CI states that it is immoral to use another person merely as a means to an end and that people must under all circumstances be treated as ends in themselves. This is in contrast to some interpretations of the utilitarian view, which allow for use of individuals as means to benefit the many.

Kant’s Categorical Imperative:

  • Kant believed that there was a supreme principle of morality, and he referred to it as The Categorical Imperative.
  • The CI determines what our moral duties are. Kant thought that all acts should be judged according to a rule he called the Categorical Imperative.
  • A categorical imperative denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that exerts its authority in all circumstances, both required and justified as an end in itself.
  • He gives the highest honor for the categorical imperative because it became universal law that can be applied to any and every one.
  • Kant is saying that simply willing that our moral rule become a universal law produces a logical contradiction.
  • His categorical imperative ensures that we aren’t doing these acts in mimic of others but rather in line with one universal law.

 

Topic: Aptitude and foundational values for Civil Service, integrity, impartiality and nonpartisanship, objectivity, dedication to public service, empathy, tolerance and compassion towards the weaker-sections.

7. Certain ethical attributes are considered essential for civil servants to effectively carry out their duties and maintain public trust. Elaborate. (150 Words)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Why the question:

The question is part of the static syllabus of General studies paper – 4 and part of ‘Philosophical Mondays’ in Mission-2024 Secure.

Directive word: 

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

Key Demand of the question: To write about most important ethical attributes of civil servants and ways to inculcate them.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Begin by mentioning the role of cardinal ethical values of civil servants as per you.

Body:

First, list down the ethical values of civil servants and justification behind their need.

Next, write about how these ethical values be inculcate among the civil servants so that they remain ethical and efficient.

Conclusion:

Conclude by summarising.

Introduction

For a civil servant, acting ethically is of utmost importance. A civil servant is supposed to possess the virtues of objectivity and impartiality. The cardinal ethical traits – Integrity, Compassion, Accountability, Objectivity, and commitment to public service– form the ethical foundation of a civil servant and other values like non-partisanship, tolerance, responsiveness can emanate from them.

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

Body

Core value system for civil servants

  • Integrity:It is the practice of synchronisation of thought, words and actions. It can be correlated to honesty but unlike honesty its more a professional value. Its related to institution. It advocate sacrifice of personal gains in favour of organisational objectives. In conflict between personal and organisational objectives organisation must be given importance. Financial integrity is important component. Civil servants are handling public assets they are the custodians of public money. Integrity ensures the economy of expenditure, reduction in unproductive expenditure, minimisation of corruption. hence integrity is utmost required value.
  • Impartiality: Impartiality (also called even handedness or fair-mindedness) is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another forimproper reasons. A civil servant should never show any kind of prejudices, biases, and preferences into their functionating.
  • Objectivity: Objectivity is a central philosophical concept, related to reality and truth, which has been variously defined by sources. Generally, objectivity means the state or quality of being true even outside of a subject’s individual biases, interpretations, feelings, and imaginings. It’s the quality of making the rational decisions without subjective biases, prejudices. Organisational decisions must be objective in order to make it efficient.
  • Transparency and Accountability: It is the answerability and taking up responsibility by the civil servants for their acts of commission and omission. It makes administration transparent and public oriented, by building public trust and deterring the unethical conduct.
  • Commitment and dedication towards service: It ensures that an administrator is totally in line with the needs of the people and service delivery oriented.
  • Compassion and empathy: This is mostly towards the vulnerable and needy section of the society who need an innovative solution and effective resolution of the problem by not compromising on the high standards of objectivity.
  • Non-partisanship: Being Non-partisansis a lack of affiliation with, and a lack of bias toward a political party. It’s the political neutrality of a civil servant which makes her the true public servant. It will not only help in delivering services in right manner but also help in institutional continuity in functioning of bureaucracy

Inculcating core value system

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

Civil service involves decision-making in the public sphere. They have to deal with many matters that are anonymous and discrete. Due to this, Integrity is an eminent desirable quality in civil servants.

A civil servant needs fortitude to stand up for their principles and withstand immoral or illegal pressures. Temperance or moderation is especially important for public servants. While taking decisions or responding to situations, civil servants have to be moderate. They should not swing to extremes, but act judiciously in a balanced manner.


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