SECURE SYNOPSIS: 13 July 2021 – PuuchoIAS


 

NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 2


 

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

1. Account for Diaspora as a soft power in India’s foreign policy towards South-East Asia. (250 words)

Reference:  earp.in

Why the question:

The question is based on the importance of Diaspora as a soft power in India’s foreign policy towards South-East Asia.

Key Demand of the question:

Account for Diaspora as a soft power in India’s foreign policy towards South-East Asia.

Directive:

Account – Weigh up to what extent something is true. Persuade the reader of your argument by citing relevant research but also remember to point out any flaws and counter- arguments as well. Conclude by stating clearly how far you are in agreement with the original proposition.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by Diaspora. The term “diaspora” is derived from the Greek word diaspeirein, which means “dispersion”. Over time, the term evolved, and now loosely refers to any person/s belonging to a particular country with a common origin or culture, but residing outside their homeland for various reasons.

Body:

Explain first that India’s connections with Southeast Asia are rooted in history in terms of geography, civilization, culture, economy and strategy. These connections became deeper since the 1990s as India initiated the policy of ‘Look East’ that resulted in manifold growth with ASEAN and South-East Asia.

Discuss in what way recently Diaspora is being seen as a strong soft power in India’s foreign policy towards South-East Asia.

Throw light upon the recent policies of the government in this direction.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance.

Introduction

India places South East Asia at the heart of its ‘Act East Policy’ and centre of the dream of an Asian century. About a fifth, or six million, of the 31 million overseas Indians, comprising Indian citizens abroad and persons of Indian origin, live in ASEAN countries. The focus areas of cooperation between ASEAN member states and India for the future can be described in terms of 3Cs – commerce, connectivity and culture. Indian diaspora has an important role to make this policy a success.

Body:

In the case of Southeast Asia, ethnic Indians, as well as the Chinese, have long been an integral part of their societies. These communities have acted as a bridge between the two regions. However, the use of the ‘diaspora’ as a tool of Indian foreign policy is relatively a new phenomenon. The role played by diaspora in look east policy can be studied under the following heads.

Except for Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore, where Indians constitute 5.0 per cent, 8.0 per cent and 7.0 per cent, respectively, they are too miniscule numerically in the rest of the countries to figure separately in the demographic data Except for Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore, where Indians constitute 5.0 per cent, 8.0 per cent and 7.0 per cent, respectively, they are too miniscule numerically in the rest of the countries to figure separately in the demographic data Except for Myanmar, Malaysia and Singapore, where Indians constitute 5.0 per cent, 8.0 per cent and 7.0 per cent, respectively, they are too miniscule numerically in the rest of the countries to figure separately in the demographic data

Except for  Myanmar,  Malaysia and Singapore, where Indians constitute 5 %,  8% and 7% respectively,  they  are  too  miniscule  numerically  in  the  rest  of  the  countries to figure separately in the demographic data.

Soft Power diplomacy:

  • India shares rich cultural and historical ties with the East and South East Asian countries.
  • Contrary to popular belief, younger generation in India and Southeast Asia are speaking more to each other through cultural space – music, arts, games and education. Social media has made most positive impact on cultural ties
  • While yoga is gaining popularity in the ASEAN region, the Buddhist links and Buddhist circuit in India are acting as a bridge to connect the two regions.
  • India’s soft power is reflected in Buddhism, yoga, revival of Nalanda University, chairs of Indian studies in universities (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia), Indian cultural centres (Jakarta, Bali, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Suva, Lautoka), and joint restoration of monuments (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos).
  • The various hindu temples, celebration of Hindu festivals are still continued even today.

Influential Positions:

  • A diaspora estimated at about 6 million people fills mainstream roles and responsibilities in their adopted countries, helping shape the destiny of these countries.
  • The ex-President of Singapore, current deputy prime minister, foreign minister of Malaysia is all of Indian descent.

Trade and Commerce:

  • Singapore is the largest FDI investor in India.
  • The lobbying for favourable trade policies is vital in India- ASEAN trade relations as well as forthcoming RCEP agreement.
  • The free-trade agreements signed with ASEAN and individual countries further strengthen the ties.

 Remittances:   

  • Many south Indians are working in skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled sectors across SE Asia.
  • Although the remittances are present, it is a small fraction vis-à-vis the western and middle-east countries.

Science & Technology:

  • ASEAN-India Science & Technology Collaboration formally started in 1996 with establishment of ASEAN India S&T working group (AIWGST).
  • Several projects and scientific activities have been supported and implemented under ASEAN India S&T program which includes- ASEAN-India Collaborative R&D on Thermally Sprayed Ceramic-Based Coatings, R&D project on Extent of Transfer of Alien Invasive Organisms (Nuisance) in South/SE Asia Region by Shipping etc.

However, there are several challenges that are hindering the active Diasporic interaction.

  • Connectivity:
    • Although located in the Indian ocean region and geographically contiguous, there is a very poor connectivity between the nations.
    • This has impacted the relations between the diaspora and India.
  • Indifferent treatment:
    • The focus before 1990’s was mostly on the western countries. For long years, India turned a blind eye to East Asia, Indo-Pacific or Asia-Pacific regions.
    • The long neglect of the diaspora is still taking time to get back to normalcy.
  • Ideological differences:
    • Diversity has led to many issues like the religious radicalism seen in Indonesia recently.
    • The religious persecution of Rohingyas is another sticky point on which a decisive action is to be taken.

Way Forward:

  • Various initiatives like the Kaladan multimodal project, IMT trilateral highway are trying to reduce the connectivity issues.
  • Increase in the number of flights as well as better sea connectivity needs to be worked upon to improve people-to-people contact.
  • Addressing the common challenges in the region like creating skills for the digital age, generating jobs in the age of disruption, meeting the need of rapid urbanisation, protecting the bio-diversity and making the energy sources cleaner.
  • Regional groupings like ASEAN should empower its cultural wing to increase the people contact.
  • There is need to use the soft power of our diaspora to overcome the China’s hegemony in the south- east nations.
  • Using the Government initiatives like Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas, Pravasi Bharatiya Sammelan, Trade Facilitation Centres, Know India program to engage the diaspora youth to build better ties and inculcate the feeling of Indianness among them.
  • The government must also see to it that interests of the Indian community are preserved while negotiating mega trade agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Conclusion:

India’s goodwill in Southeast Asia is based on its benign approach, similar to its role in Africa, West Asia and Central Asia. The longstanding relations must be leveraged to build an extremely high-trust relationship between India and ASEAN Countries using the Act-East policy. Given the economic potential of the region, the flow of Indian professionals in the region and general goodwill towards the Indian community, a diaspora has the potential to play an important role in the future.

 

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

2. Elucidate upon the potential of trilateral relationship between India, Japan & Italy. (250 words)

Reference:  The Hindu

Why the question:

The editorial shares insights on the engagement potential for Delhi, in policy towards Indo Pacific and its centrality in the shape up ahead. As a new pushback against China takes shape, Indian foreign policy is becoming strategically clearer and there is a new momentum to initiatives such as Quad.

Key Demand of the question:

One is expected to discuss about the potential of trilateral relationship between India, Japan and Italy.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Recently, Italy has also begun to signal its intention to enter the Indo-Pacific geography. It has done so by seeking to join India and Japan in a trilateral partnership.

Body:

First discuss the reasons of India gaining centrality in Indo Pacific policy convergence.

Explain about Italy’s stand on China’s assertiveness and unfair market practices.

Then move onto highlight underlying reasons of Indo-pacific gaining importance on foreign policy radar of many nations.

Thus explain that a trilateral cooperation can be the right forum for India and Italy to learn more from each other’s practices and interests and consolidate a strategic dialogue that should include the economic, the security and the political dimensions.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Indo-Pacific region is a multi-polar region, contributing more than half of the world’s GDP and population. Even countries which have been lackadaisical in their regional outreach so far have begun to approach the Indo-Pacific with a new seriousness and have been reaching out to India. Now Italy shedding its historic neglect of the region in its foreign policy realm has signalled its intention to enter the Indo-Pacific geography, by seeking to join India and Japan in a trilateral partnership.

Body

Significance of Indo Pacific region:

  • Countries falling in the direct hinterland of the vast Indian and Pacific oceanic expanse are termed ‘Indo-Pacific countries’.
  • The attributes of the Indo-Pacific are also highly appealing.
  • The region comprises at least 38 countries that share 44 percent of world surface area and 65 per cent of world population, and account for 62 per cent of world–GDP and 46 per cent of the world’s merchandise trade.
  • Maintaining regional stability.
  • For the long-term vision of national interest.
  • China’s increasingly active presence in the IndianOcean region as well as its efforts to expand geopolitical reach in Asia and beyond by the use of trade and military
  • In the present time, the control of sea lanes and ports would be the game changer
  • For adhering to freedom of navigation, adherence to rules-based order and stable trade environment.
  • For free sea and air lanes, connectivity and upholding international rules and norms.
  • Thus, there is great interest in forging new partnerships with like-minded countries interested in preserving peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.

Potential of the trilateral relationship:

  • strategic trilateral between India, Italy and Japanhas, in the medium to long term, a lot of potential.
  • The India, Italy and Japan trilateral initiative can, and should, be a forum to foster and consolidate a strategic relationshipbetween these three countries, and specifically expand India-Italy bilateral relations.
  • As it stands, relations between Italy and Japan are historically strong, and those between India and Japan are a strategic pillar of the free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • The strengthening of the India-Italy partnership can help consolidate the EU-India strategic relationship further.
  • A trilateral cooperation can be the right forum for India and Italy to learn more from each other’s practices and interests and consolidate a strategic dialogue that should include the economic, the security and the political dimensions.
  • The next G20 leaders’ summit in Italy, in October, before the presidency handover to India in 2023, should be the right opportunity for further trilateral coordination on economic and political issuesat an institutional level.
  • To consolidate the trilateral cooperation in this field, the three countries need to define a common economic and strategic agenda.
  • Their compatible economic systems can create a virtuous and mutually beneficial contributionto the reorganisation of the global supply chains that is now being reviewed by many players as a natural result of the Chinese mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At the security level, the well-defined India-Japan Indo-Pacific partnershipcan easily be complemented by Italy, already present in the western Indian Ocean where it is engaged in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.
  • In the pushback against China, strategic cooperation between India, Italy and Japan can ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • At the multilateral level, the three countries share the same values and the same rules-based world view.

Way forward:

  • A close bilateral relation between India and the EU has far-reaching economic, political and strategic implications on the crisis-driven international order.
  • Both sides should realise this potential and must further the growth of the bilateral ties with a strong political will.
  • A clear political will is needed from all sides, and Italy, in particular, should recognise its interests in playing a larger role towards the maintenance of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Robust India-Italy strategic ties can be the first step towards the realisation of this goal.
  • Ties with Japan would remain a key component of India’s vision for a stable Indo-Pacific and a cornerstone of its Act East policy.
  • Build-up of India’s naval capabilities, if India has to emerge as one of the main players in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Freedom of navigation, unimpeded commerce, and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law will make our sea lanes the pathway to prosperity.
  • A strong coalition of Asian and European middle powers must now be an indispensable element of the geopolitics of the East.

 

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

3. Examine the potential of cooperatives in India and analyse the challenges they face. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article examines the history, potential, and challenges of cooperatives in India.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the potential of cooperatives in India and analyse the challenges they face.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by cooperatives.

Body:

Firstly, present an overview of cooperatives all over the world and India.

Discuss brief history of cooperatives in India;  It started in 1950s, when Verghese Kurien began India’s significant tryst with dairy cooperatives, but the model was not working the way he had envisaged it.

Account for the challenges; issues like lobby groups to get funds for the new companies, vehicles to cater to cooperatives, not FPCs, etc.

Discuss the potential that cooperatives hold in today’s times, give examples and substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude that the coming of the ministry is a welcome step.

Introduction

The Union government of India recently created a new Ministry of Cooperation for strengthening cooperative movement. It was created for realizing the vision of ‘Sahakar se Samriddhi’ (Prosperity through Cooperation) and to give a new push to the cooperative movement. With this, the Government has signalled its deep commitment to community based developmental partnership. It also fulfils the budget announcement made by the Finance Minister in 2021.

Body

A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically controlled. The need for profitability is balanced by the needs of the members and the wider interest of the community.

A brief overview of cooperatives in India across sectors:

  • In agriculture, cooperative dairies, sugar mills, spinning mills etc are formed with the pooled resources of farmers who wish to process their produce.
  • The country has 1,94,195 cooperative dairy societies and 330 cooperative sugar mill operations.
  • In 2019-20, dairy cooperatives had procured 4.80 crore litres of milk from 1.7 crore members and had sold 3.7 crore litres of liquid milk per day. (Annual Report, National Dairy Development Board, 2019-20).
  • Cooperative sugar mills account for 35% of the sugar produced in the country.
  • In banking and finance, cooperative institutions are spread across rural and urban areas.
  • Village-level primary agricultural credit societies (PACSs) formed by farmer associations are the best example of grassroots-level credit flow.
  • These societies anticipate the credit demand of a village and make the demand to the district central cooperative banks (DCCBs).
  • State cooperative banks sit at the apex of the rural cooperative lending structure.
  • Given that PACSs are a collective of farmers, they have much more bargaining powers than an individual farmer pleading his case at a commercial bank.
  • There are also cooperative marketing societies in rural areas and cooperative housing societies in urban areas.

Importance of cooperatives:

  • India is an agricultural country and laid the foundation of World’s biggest cooperative movement in the world.
  • For instance, Amul deals with 16 million milk producers, 1,85,903 dairy cooperatives; 222 district cooperative milk unions; marketed by 28 state marketing federations.
  • There are over 8 lakh cooperatives of all shapes and sizes across sectors in India
  • In India, a Co-operative based economic development model is very relevant where each member works with a spirit of responsibility.
  • It provides agricultural credits and fundswhere state and private sectors have not been able to do very much.
  • It provides strategic inputsfor the agricultural-sector; consumer societies meet their consumption requirements at concessional rates.
  • It is an organization for the poor who wish to solve their problems collectively.
  • It softens the class conflictsand reduces the social cleavages.
  • Itreduces the bureaucratic evils and follies of political factions;
  • It overcomes the constraintsof agricultural development;
  • It creates a conducive environment for small and cottage industries.

For women in particular:

  • Increased Income: A study conducted on Women Dairy Cooperative Society (WDCS) members across Rajasthan showed that with the income generated through dairying, 31% of the women had converted their mud houses to cement structures, while 39% had constructed concrete sheds for their cattle.
  • Provides Leadership lessons: Importantly, women-led cooperatives also provide fertile ground for grooming women from rural areas for leadership positions.
  • Breaks barriers: In many instances, this becomes the first step for women in breaking free from traditional practices.
  • Defeats Information Asymmetry: The presence of collectives in the form of cooperatives and milk unions plays a significant role in enhancing the knowledge and bargaining power of women
  • Set up business chain: Cooperatives enhance backward and forward linkages in the dairy value chain, paving the way for freeing small farmers from the clutches of middlemen, and guaranteed minimum procurement price for milk.
  • A study by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) indicates that 93% of women farmers who receive training alongside financial support succeed in their ventures, compared to the 57% success rate of those who receive financial aid alone.
  • According to latest data, there are more than 1,90,000 dairy cooperative societies across the country, with approximately 6 million women members.

Challenges faced by Cooperatives currently:

  • Cooperatives in India are fighting a survival battle or as some experts describe it as a COVID-war equivalent in a sense with some either on ventilator support or banking on oxygen supply and with only a few fit and stable.
  • Lack of genuine cooperation between the states and the centre wrt Cooperatives and centralization of power.
  • There should be a focus on women cooperatives because they are less than three per cent of the 8 lakh cooperatives in the country.
  • In the elections to the governing bodies, money became such a powerful tool that the top posts of chairman and vice-chairman usually went to the richest farmers who manipulated the organization for their benefits.
  • People are not well informed about the objectives of the Movement, rules and regulations of co-operative institutions.
  • Most of these societies are confined to a few members and their operations extended to only one or two villages.
  • The Co-operative Movement has suffered from inadequacy of trained personnel.

Way forward:

  • The concept of social cooperatives builds on the idea of communities creating infrastructure by using local material and family labour.
  • These can be the village tank, paving the village road — with or without MGNREGA — finishing the last-mile construction of a canal network or even keeping watch on the contractor. The pandemic seems to have increased the significance of community effort.
  • Reducing vaccine hesitancy, providing food to those waiting outside hospitals and, most importantly, looking after orphaned children are imperatives crying out for the cooperative model.
  • Implementing the steps provided by the Vaidyanathan committee on credit cooperative societies.
  • The idea of cooperatives must take the agenda beyond agriculture, milk, credit and housing cooperatives
  • New areas are emerging with the advancement of technology and cooperative societies can play a huge role in making people familiar with those areas and technologies.
  • There is a need to create more cooperatives with women at the helm of it.
  • Principle of the cooperative movement is to unite everyone, even while remaining anonymous. The cooperative movement has the capacity to solve people’s problems.
  • However, there are irregularities in cooperatives and to check them there have to be rules and stricter implementation.

 

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

4.  Analyse the grounds for a law that provides for anti-discrimination and equality as a civil right. (250 words)

Reference: The Hindu  

Why the question:

The article brings to us the Kerala model of anti-discrimination law.

Key Demand of the question:

The question aims to assess the grounds for a law that provides for anti-discrimination and equality as a civil right.

Directive:

AnalyzeWhen asked to analyse, you have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with brief background of Discrimination in India.

Body:

Incidents of discrimination against individuals based on religion, caste, ethnicity, marital status, gender, sexual orientation and even eating preferences have become common in society. This manifests itself in various forms including housing discrimination, discrimination in employment, etc.

Discuss the challenges before India such as lack of legal resources, social stigma, lacunae in existing provisions etc.

Suggest what needs to be done; defend for the grounds for a law that provides for anti-discrimination and equality as a civil right.

Conclusion:

Conclude with suggestions. Talk about the Kerala model as an example.

Introduction

India is unique among democracies in that a constitutional right to equality is not supported by comprehensive legislation. According to a recent Pew Research Centre report, a significant majority of Indians prefer not to have a neighbour from a different religious community. The absence of a proper legal recourse for those who suffer from housing discrimination only makes matters worse.

Body

The constitution’s Article 15 does not prevent private individuals or organisations from doing things that the government is not allowed to do. It also does not clearly ban discrimination based on ethnicity, linguistic identity, nationality, marital status, sexual orientation, handicap, physical appearance, or other personal traits.

More than 70 years after Independence, our society remains rife with structural discrimination. These prejudices, which pervade every aspect of life, from access to basic goods, to education and employment, are sometimes manifest.

  • “Silent segregation” on the grounds of marital status, gender, sexual orientation or eating preferences are still followed in several housing societies and residents’ associations.
  • Discriminatory practises can also be indirect, where policies that appear neutral and aren’t explicitly targeted at a certain group have a disproportionately negative impact on disadvantaged groups.

Despite the Supreme Court of India reading down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to exclude consensual interactions between adults of the same sex, social prejudice against members of the LGBTQIA+ community in India remains entrenched.

In Patan Jamal Vali versus State of Andhra Pradesh, the Supreme Court recognised intersectional discrimination — discrimination based on the intersection of personal traits, such as that suffered by Dalit women as Dalits, as women, and as members of the distinct category of Dalit women.

Legal remedies

  • To fill the gaps in the law, a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislative framework is required. India is one of the few liberal democracies that does not have such a system in place.
  • In 2006, the Sachar Committee recognised the necessity for anti-discrimination legislation. The Expert Group on Equal Opportunity Commission, led by Prof. N.R. Madhava Menon, reaffirmed this.
  • Shashi Tharoor tried to revive the idea by introducing the Anti-Discrimination and Equality Bill, 2016 in the Lok Sabha but the Bill lapsed in 2019 with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
  • States have an important role in promoting our right to equality.
  • In any case, a national bill cannot encompass matters that are solely the responsibility of state governments.
  • If States take the lead, the desire for a national anti-discrimination law that covers services and institutions under the Union government’s jurisdiction would be renewed.

The Kerala Bill

  • The draft bill prohibits employers, landlords, traders, service providers, private persons performing public functions, and public authorities, from discriminating on grounds of caste, race, ethnicity, descent, sex, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, religious identity, tribe, disability, linguistic identity, HIV-status, nationality, marital status, dietary preference, skin tone, physical appearance, place of residence, place of birth, age or analogous characteristics which are beyond the control of an individual or those that constitute a fundamental choice.
  • At the same time, the Bill strikes a balance between the anti-discrimination duty and other constitutional rights.
  • The anti-discrimination obligation might be limited to achieve a reasonable goal. The bill also includes affirmative action rules, which require public employers to gradually diversify their workforces by hiring members of disadvantaged groups who are marginalised in society, such as transgender people or people with disabilities.
  • Because of the backlogs in our legal system, the bill creates a ‘Kerala Equality Commission’ to hear complaints and provide policy recommendations to the state government.

If passed, this bill will be the most significant expansion of civil rights in the state since the Constitution’s inception, and it could serve as a model for other states.

Way Forward

  • The State legislature is empowered under Entry 8 of List III, Seventh Schedule to the Constitution to enact an anti-discrimination law with provisions for civil penalties for those engaged in discriminatory practices.
  • State governments should take up progressive legislation of this nature by enacting anti-discrimination laws in their respective jurisdictions. If States do this, the demand for a national anti-discrimination law will resurface.
  • Anti-discrimination law is not enough to solve inequality and social prejudice deeply rooted in our society. But it is a necessary step in the right direction.

Conclusion

We recognise that an anti-discrimination statute is not a solution for our society’s deep-seated problems of inequality and social prejudice. Nonetheless, it is a necessary move — a notion that has reached its peak.

 

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

5. How far do you think Indian Education system can combat the existing social prejudices prevalent in the country? Illustrate with examples. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article explains how education can combat prejudice in our Indian society.

Key Demand of the question:

Discuss to what extent Indian Education system can combat the existing social prejudices prevalent in the country along with suitable examples.

Directive:

Illustrate – A similar instruction to ‘explain’ whereby you are asked to show the workings of something, making use of definite examples and statistics if appropriate to add weight to your explanation.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Firstly, present the context of prevalence of social prejudices in our society.

Body:

Explain briefly the different types of racial and religious prejudices that have dominated public attention in our society.

Throw light on them with relevant examples.

Then move onto explain in what way education can play a key role; like race, religion remains an important axis of prejudice in all parts of the world. Attitudes towards religious groups other than one’s own often reflect deep prejudice internalized in childhood. The process whereby this absorption of a prejudice prevailing in society occurs is not open to analysis, partly because it happens in extremely subtle interactions between the adults and the child inside the home space.

Discuss the role that schools and educational institutions can play in overcoming these prejudices.

Conclusion:

Conclude with importance of education.

Introduction

Of late, racial and religious prejudices have dominated public attention in different countries. Social identities can cause prejudices which may lead to economic exclusion and other forms of discrimination which can impact jobs and livelihood opportunities.

Body

The term “racism” is much too general to accommodate different kinds of prejudices, and even the term prejudice or bias does not accommodate the different kinds of dislikes people may have towards certain other groups or causes.

Prejudices and their formation

  • Like race, religion remains an important axis of prejudice in all parts of the world. Attitudes towards religious groups other than one’s own, often reflect deep prejudice internalised in childhood.
  • The process whereby this absorption of a prejudice prevailing in society occurs is not open to analysis, partly because it happens in extremely subtle interactions between the adults and the child inside the home space.
  • Negative attitudes based on religion and caste, however, are rather different. These categories of prejudice are rooted in collective identities formed over long periods of history.
  • These are transferred to each new generation by means of what can best be termed perceptual history.
  • It is a simplified version of the knowledge of the past that a community holds and transmits through religious activities and different cultural media.
  • Teachers do not usually acknowledge the social predispositions that children acquire from the religious and cultural life around them.
  • It is these predispositions that turn into long-term prejudices, encouraging the stereotypes that teachers are exhorted to combat.

Role of Schools in addressing Prejudices

  • By critically engaging with the perceptual histories children have internalised, education can counter caste and religious discrimination.
  • Encouraging group activities and addressing students with a common identity rather than their societal/ familial identity.
  • Inculcating a system of moral values through academics and co-curricular activities.
  • Unbiased and objective analysis in teaching students. Eg: Secular interpretation of history
  • Any engaged pedagogic effort creates local ripples, which can turn hostile in an environment charged with polarities and sensitivities.
  • Schools do require some appreciative understanding from society if they are to pursue child-centred learning, wherein the learner does not just acquire a readiness to regurgitate but rather makes some personal sense of what is taught.
  • There may not be total consensus between the goals of education and those of political and other social institutions, but a certain scope for freedom to function with intellectual acumen is necessary for dealing with entrenched prejudices.

The usual response among people who work in the field of education about addressing prejudices and stereotypes is that education never got a real chance to succeed. This is because:

  • The conviction and sentencing of a policeman for the murder of George Floyd signifies a major success for the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. Despite a prolonged and serious effort made in the education system to address the issue, remains.
  • For Eg: In India, Ashok Vajpayee, a former administrator and major poet, started a magazine called Poorvagraha. It was a bold title to choose as many thought that it conveyed the editor’s prejudiced view towards certain camps in Hindi literature. For Vajpayee, however, the title indicated his commitment to a wider definition of literature and its role in society. This kind of partisanship has found appreciation in many spheres of public action, including diplomacy, economic policy and education. Basically, it means taking a stand rather than holding a bias against something.
  • For education to be successful in its social goals, there must be a consensus among political, economic and cultural policies.
  • This may be asking for the moon, but there is some truth in the contention that education cannot work in isolation.

Conclusion

If discrimination against a certain group is rife in the economic and political spheres, schools alone cannot remedy it. Thus far, the case is well-made, but a deeper look is necessary to appreciate the kind of effort that those involved in education make to mitigate prejudice and also to recognise the limitations within which they function.

 

 


General Studies – 3


 

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

6. Examine the potential and limitations of Artificial Intelligence in addressing the long persisting issues in Indian judiciary. (250 words)

Reference:  Indian Express

Why the question:

The article brings to us the benefits that the AI can bring to Indian judiciary.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine the potential and limitations of Artificial Intelligence in addressing the long persisting issues in Indian judiciary.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with some key facts related to Artificial intelligence and its general benefits.

Body:

Discuss first the issues with Indian judicial system.

Present the case of the impact of the Covid pandemic on its working.

Artificial Intelligence can help reduce pendency of cases, increase efficiency of judiciary. But before its adoption in the legal system, challenges related to privacy, data protection and other ethical issues must be addressed.

However, before applying such technology, it is important to identify the problems and the challenges within each sector and develop the specific modalities on how the AI architecture will have the highest impact. Discuss challenges like – concerns about data protection, privacy, human rights and ethics etc.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the branch of computer science concerned with developing machines that can complete tasks that typically require human intelligence. It assimilates, contributes as well as poses challenges to almost all disciplines including philosophy, cognitive science, economics, law, and the social sciences. If used effectively, it can bring about incremental changes and transform the ecosystem of several sectors.

In the justice delivery system, there are multiple spaces where the AI application can have a deep impact.

Body:

AI and Indian Judiciary so far:

  • The Indian judiciary, which has already created basic information and communication technology infrastructure under the eCourts Project, is now looking to leverage AI’s potential as well.
  • In the last two years, the Supreme Court’s AI committee has already launched and piloted a neural translation tool (SUVAS), and more recently, a court administration tool (SUPACE – Supreme Court Portal for Assistance in Court Efficiency).
  • In view of this, it becomes abundantly clear that the talk of integrating AI into the justice system is not a futuristic endeavour, decades from now.
  • In fact, it is already being designed and deployed in certain areas, with the intention of improving institutional efficiency.

Potential of AI in Judiciary:

  • Reducing pendency:
    • AI has the capacity to reduce the pendency and incrementally increase the processes.
    • The recent National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) shows that 3,89,41,148 cases are pending at the District and Taluka levels and 58,43,113 are still unresolved at the high courts.
    • This could provide efficient and time-bound citizen-centric service delivery in courts.
  • Expediting justice delivery:
    • Artificial intelligence tools can also aid lawyers and judges with “legal research, analysis of factual proposition, determination of appropriate legal provisions and other similar mechanical skills”, which in turn can expedite justice delivery.
    • Algorithms can be conceptualised, designed and deployed for “intelligence analytics and research work”.
    • These tools can also provide comprehensive legal briefs on cases, encapsulate pertinent legal research and identify crucial points of law and facts.
  • Administrative efficiency:
    • To increase administrative efficiency, task-specific, narrowly tailored algorithms, trained through machine learning, can be deployed to automate run of the mill administrative functions, from something as routine as scheduling hearings and creating causelists, to more complex tasks like discovery and review of evidentiary documents.
    • Similarly, other procedural tasks which can benefit from the use of AI include interventions at the level of smart e-filing, intelligent filtering/prioritisation of cases or notifications and tracking of cases.
  • Augmenting decision-making processes:
    • To augment human decision making, AI designed and deployed for intelligent analytics and research work.
    • Further, computational tools can be used to expedite justice delivery such as those for traffic challans and motor vehicle compensation claims.

Challenges:

  • The integration of these technologies will be a challenging task as the legal architecture is highly complex and technologies can only be auxiliary means to achieve legal justice.
  • There is also no doubt that as AI technology grows, concerns about data protection, privacy, human rights and ethics will pose fresh challenges and will require great self-regulation by developers of these technologies.
  • AI can perpetuate biases either unintentionally or intentionally and can be vulnerable to attack or hacking.
  • People tend to use computer systems to reduce the effort of the decision-making process rather than to increase the quality of their own decisions.
  • Therefore, given the high pressure of caseloads and insufficient resources, there is a danger that supporting systems based on AI can be used by judges without applying their own minds.
  • It is therefore possible that the use of decision support systems in the judiciary might not improve adjudication, but rather make it worse.
  • It could create inequality by putting those people at disadvantaged positions who cannot use it.

Way forward:

  • Adopting a governing charter to safeguard due process and constitutional rights, conducting extensive stakeholder consultations to ensure transparency and confidence of the legal fraternity, promoting research on governance and planning for capacity building.
  • To enable its integration there is a need to provide operational support which can be done through the expansion of the Supreme Court AI Committee, publishing openly accessible datasets and harnessing private sector innovation.
  • AI could be deployed in India in a phase-wise manner through generational innovation.
  • The first generation of AI pilots can be oriented towards increasing administrative efficiency, the learnings of which can feed into the second generation of tools which can target decision making processes.
  • Introducing feedback loops and impact evaluation frameworks can help technology evolve and inform the broader discourse on governance on AI.
  • The second generation of AI tools can target decision making processes by inducting more sophisticated AI technologies like case query tools, intelligent analytics, research augmentation, computational tools directly aiding in judicial decisions, and legal robotics.

Conclusion

AI should be used only to the extent to assist judges, lawyers and litigants in making judiciary efficient and accessible but how, when and what to decide would be left to the judges.

 

 


General Studies – 4


 

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. Impartiality as a fundamental value of civil services should not become a stumbling block in showing compassion towards weaker sections of the society. Examine. (250 words)

Reference:  Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude by Lexicon Publications

Why the question:

The question is based on the value of impartiality and its utility.

Key Demand of the question:

Examine in what way Impartiality as a fundamental value of civil services should not become a stumbling block in showing compassion towards weaker sections of the society.

Directive:

Examine – When asked to ‘Examine’, we must look into the topic (content words) in detail, inspect it, investigate it and establish the key facts and issues related to the topic in question. While doing so we should explain why these facts and issues are important and their implications.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

Start with what you understand by the value – Impartiality.

Body:

The answer body must have the following aspects covered:

First, explain the meaning of civil service impartiality. Impartiality in civil services means that civil servants while carrying out their official work, should take decisions based on merit alone.While compassion is about being empathetic towards others and also trying to alleviate their suffering in your own capacity.

State the reasons why it can become a hurdle in one’s approach towards weaker sections and its impact on governance. Give examples to better substantiate.

Conclusion:

Conclude that Impartiality should not be practiced as a standalone principle by the civil servants. It should complement the other foundational values of the civil services and should not become a hurdle in showing compassion towards weaker sections.

Introduction

“Impartiality is the life of justice, as justice is the life of all good governments”

Impartiality 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 for improper reasons. For a public servant, it means that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice or personal interest.

Body:

Types of Impartiality:

  • Public Impartiality: A public servant as an instrument of government serving the public without discriminating on the basis of caste, religion and gender.
  • Personal Impartiality: Being just and fair in personal conduct, without any fear or favour.
  • Political Impartiality: Principle of working without reservation and with devotion to the success of every government and its policies. It basically means you are not partial to any particular party or government.

Importance of Impartiality as an attribute for a civil servant:

  • Upholding constitutional values: impartiality helps a civil servant to uphold constitutionalism and prevent authoritarian government. It helps in upholding rule of law and makes the civil servant accountable to law and law alone. Also, it is in accordance with the constitutional provisions including Article 14, 15 and so on.
    • g. Providing for citizens’ welfare measures without any favour, equitable.
  • Fulfilling all interests equally: As it is observed “Impartiality doesn’t mean neutrality. It also means partiality towards the poor”. Impartiality brings in objectivity and often when funds are to be allocated, an impartial civil servant would not favour his/her own village or city but allocate funds based on the needs.
  • It keeps up the morale of the civil servant and with the sense of righteousness, the works get done efficiently. A positive environment is created in the office and a conducive work culture is created.
    • g.: a civil servant cannot be partial towards one set of employees. Whether in performance assessment or granting leaves, the criteria should be objective without partiality.
  • In accordance with professional ethics: Impartiality being one of the foundational values of civil service, a civil servant is expected to be fair and non-partisan. It is also one of the basic values as per the Nolan committee recommendations.
    • g.: Following due process of Law in resolving professional conflicts like Sexual Harassment etc.
  • Majoritarianism prevention: especially in a diverse country like India, minority voices can be suppressed if the civil servant becomes partial towards majority for vested interests.
    • g. Though in a state majority spoken language is promoted, civil servants have to make provisions for linguistic minorities to safeguard their language.
  • Handling emergency situations: like communal riots, ethnic conflicts etc., an impartial civil servant would have a better credibility and persuasive capability in negotiations.
    • g. N Ravi, an interlocutor is effective in north east insurgency negotiations because of his impeccable record of impartiality.
  • Controlling corruption: It will keep oneself free from nepotism, political-corporate nexus and corruption.
    • The examples are Sagayam IAS of Tamilnadu cadre or Ashok Khemka of Haryana etc.,

Conclusion

Present-day civil servants need to perform multiple functions of giving suggestions to political representatives, addressing public grievances, institutionalization of the socio-economic changes, delivering goods and services. Hence a value committed and impartial bureaucracy is need of the hour.


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