IASCLUB Synopsis : 10 Septmber 2019

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1.According to the census 2011, 68.84% of Indians live in rural areas. Discuss the main characteristics of Indian Rural Society.    (GS Paper-1, Social Issues/ Human Geography) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

 ·         Introduction

·         Discuss the characteristic of Indian Rural Society like caste system, social distance, agriculture dominance etc.

·         Conclusion

Reference- NCERT

 Model Answer:

Environment affects human life to a greater extent. Human beings live in two different environments of rural and urban. There is difference in social life in both environments.

Following are the characteristic of Indian Rural Society-

  1. The village is the unit of the rural society. Its people carry on the business of living together within a distinctive framework of caste and social custom. Caste is a dominant social institution permeating social and economic relations. Traditional caste occupation mostly prevails. Co-operative labour of different castes is required not only for agro-economic activities but also for socio-religious life. The large villages have within its population all the occupational castes, have a comparatively more integrated and self sufficient economic as well as socio-religious life than smaller villages.
  2. The village as a social and cultural unit possesses a basically uniform organisation and structure of values all over India. Many problems are common to the entire Indian country side.
  3. The ethnic, linguistic, religious and caste composition of a village largely determine its character and structure. Some villages of hamlets are inhabited almost exclusively by certain castes as in the case of Agraharams for Brahmins. Even in a village with mixed population the different castes usually live in different sections of the same village. Inter caste rivalries are present.
  4. Women do not have full equality with men in several aspects of life.
  5. Indian rural society is predominantly based on agriculture. Possession of land carries with it social and prestige value, besides being considered as an economic asset. In many villages, the land is mostly distributed between two or more castes, or among a few families, or between one big land owner and the rest of the community. Landless labourers and tenants constitute a considerable part of the population depending on agriculture.
  6. Every village has its own organisational set up, authority and sanctions. It has its growing body, the panchayat, based on local tradition since long, but now constituted on a regular basis according to provisions of Panchayat Raj.
  7. Social distance or isolation has a bearing on the nature of the organisation of a village and of its view on the world. Availability of or nearness to modern means of transport or communications also modifies the setting and fabric of a village.
  8. Village settlements are generally governed by certain regional and local traditions. The layout of the village, construction of the house, the dress, the speech, and manners follow the set pattern of the cultural area. Each village possesses an individual of its own. Some have a reputation for generosity, hospitality and fair play, while others are notorious for their meanness and corruption. Some villages are known for their co-operatives, while some are noted for their litigations and factions.

The important characteristics of the Indian villager can be summarised as- hospitality, feminist traditionalism, fatalism, religiousness often combined with superstitious beliefs, leisure attitude to life, and low standard of living. Nevertheless most villagers are capable to change. Due to communication of new ideas and extension facilities to rural areas the gap between rural and urban is being narrowed down. However, the complete closure of this gap will not be possible in the near future.

2.What exactly is the difference between article 2 and article 3 in the Indian Constitution? In this context, do you agree that “mere formation of a smaller State is no guarantee for better lives for those social groups for whom these States have been created.” Comment.        (GS Paper-2, Polity) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer

          Explain the difference between Art 2 and 3

·         Present arguments in favour and against of smaller states

·         Conclusion

Reference– NCERT

Model Answer:

Both Articles 2 and 3 come under Part-I of the constitution which deals with the Union and its territory.

  1. Article 2 provides for the admission or establishment of new states which were previously not part of India. Sikkim was admitted into union of India under provisions of Article 2. Under this article the parliament has two powers:
  2. Admission of states which were already existing (i.e. such a state/province was already existing and only brought under the territory of India).
  3. The power to establish new states (which were not previously under India’s territory) which were not in existence before.
  4. In contrast, Article 3 provides for the formation or changes in internal boundaries of union of India. Under this article the parliament can:
  5. Form a new state by separating a territory of any state, or by uniting two or more states or parts of states, or by uniting any territory to a part of any state.
  6. Increase the area of any state
  7. Decrease the area of any state
  8. Alter the boundaries of any state
  9. Alter the name of any state.

The size of states in India has been an issue of debate since independence. In constituent assembly Ambedkar was of the view that India needs around 50 smaller states. But others feared that smaller states will break the unity of India. The debate continues till date.

Arguments in favour of smaller states:

  1. Smaller and compact geographical entities ensure that there is better democratic governance, as there is greater awareness among the policy makers about the local needs.
  2. Smaller spatial units having linguistic compatibility and cultural homogeneity also allow for better management, implementation and allocation of public resources.
  3. A relatively homogeneous smaller state allows for easy communicability, enabling marginal social groups to articulate and raise their voices.
  4. Smaller states provide gains for the electorates in terms of better representation of their preferences. Also, there will be greater accountability of elected representatives towards people.
  5. Further, administration can be more focused, regional aspirations can be satisfied, exploitation or neglect of a particular region can be ended.
  6. Some large states like UP may be too large to manage effectively.

But, development experience of some of the smaller states recently formed (Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand) indicate that, mere formation of a smaller State is no guarantee for better lives for people:

  1. Uttarakhand continues to be at the lower end in the Human Development Index.
  2. Better governance theory gets questioned by looking at the way Uttarakhand dealt with the recent floods.
  3. Though Chhattisgarh witnessed economic growth, it has also witnessed the largest displacement of tribal in recent times.
  4. Jahrkhand has seen absence of any plan for overall development, rather a series of scams and criminal proceedings against elected representatives is witnessed.
  5. Role of states with respect to Human Development is also not good. For example, in the 68th round of NSSO figures, Jharkhand (8.5%) and Chhattisgarh (9.5%) ranked at bottom among all states in reducing poverty between 2004-05 and 2011-12 compared to all India average of 15%.

In addition to this, there are other arguments against smaller states:

  1. Many smaller states are also not financially sustainable and are always dependent upon the centre for financial aid. Eg. states in North East.
  2. Political expediency and opportunism rather than the objective evaluation of democratic and developmental potential are seen to be involved in the formation of new states.
  3. As seen in Uttarakhand, smaller states suffer from political instability due to defections, affecting the governance.
  4. Further, smaller states may give rise to other issues like: rise in regional and linguistic fanaticism; vulnerability to the pressures of the corporations and multi-national companies; increased administrative costs etc..
  5. Smaller states lead to multiple issues like sharing of waters of inter state rivers affecting governance.
  6. Smaller states also reduce the power of states vis a vis centre in the federal setup.
  7. Missed out on the point that more states mean more boundaries on inter-state commerce affecting whole nation and governance.

The federal polity of India does need to accommodate the ongoing demands for smaller states. For democratically negotiating such demands, a second state reorganization commission may be constituted by the centre. The commission can frame a set of objective and coherent criteria that can be uniformly applied.

3.Discuss the benefits and controversies associated with GM products.    (GS Paper-3, Environment) (250 words)

Structure of the Answer 

·         Introduction: write about GM crops and its application

·         Then mention its benefits in relation to productivity, environment, society etc.

·         Similarly highlight the controversies associated with GM products

Reference– NCERT

Model Answer:

Genetically modified crops (GM crops) are plants used in agriculture, the DNA of which has been modified using genetic engineering methods. In most cases, the aim is to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species. Examples in food crops include resistance to certain pests, diseases, environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, resistance to chemical treatments (e.g. resistance to a herbicide), or improving the nutrient profile of the crop. Examples in non-food crops include production of pharmaceutical agents, biofuels, and other industrially useful goods, as well as for bioremediation.

Benefits and controversies on GM products

(a) Benefits

(i) Crops

  • Enhanced taste and quality.
  • Reduced maturation time.
  • Increased nutrients, yields, and stress tolerance.
  • Improved resistance to disease, pests, and herbicides.
  • New products and growing techniques.

(ii) Animals

  • Increased resistance, productivity, hardness, and feed efficiency.
  • Better yields of meat, eggs, and milk.
  • Improved animal health and diagnostic methods.

(iii) Environment

  • “Friendly” bioherbicides and bioinsecticides.
  • Conservation of soil, water and energy.
  • Bioprocessing for forestry products.
  • Better natural waste management.
  • More efficient processing.

(iv) Society

  • Increased food security for growing populations.

(b) Controversies

(i) Safety

  • Potential human health impact: allergens, transfer of antibiotic resistance markers, unknown effects.
  • Potential environmental impact: unintended transfer of transgenes through crosspollination, unknown effects on other organisms (e.g., soil microbes) and loss of flora and fauna biodiversity.

(ii) Access and intellectual property

  • Domination of world food production by a few companies.
  • Increasing dependence on industralized nations by developing countries.
  • Biopiracy—foreign exploitation of natural resources.

(iii) Ethics

  • Violation of natural organisms’ intrinsic values.
  • Tampering with nature by mixing genes among species.
  • Objections to transferring animal genes in plants and vice versa.
  • Stress for animal.

(iv) Labeling

  • Not mandatory in some countries (e.g. United States).
  • Mixing GM crops with non-GM confounds labeling attempts.

(v) Society

  • New advances may be skewed to interests of rich countries.                                                                                             

4.What are the different approaches to moral decision making? Discuss.              (GS Paper-4, Ethics) (250 words)           

Structure of the Answer

·         Introduction

·         Disuses different approaches of moral decision making

·         Also explain the how one can take a moral decision by these approaches

Reference: Lexicon’s Ethics

Model Answer:

Every day we face ethical decisions. These decisions put our moral compass and values into question. The following are universal approaches to consider when making those decisions:

  1. Utilitarian Approach

Utilitarianism was conceived by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill to help legislators determine which laws were morally best. They suggested that ethical actions are those that provide greatest balance of good over evil. To analyze an issue using the utilitarian approach, we –

  1. identify various courses of action available to us,
  2. we ask who will be affected by each action and what benefits or harms will be derived from each,
  3. we choose the action that will produce the greatest benefits and the least harm.

The ethical action is one that provides greatest good for the greatest number.

  1. Rights Approach

This approach to ethics has its roots in the philosophy of the 18th-century thinker Immanuel Kant, who focused on the individual’s right to choose for oneself. According to him, what makes human beings different from mere things is that people have dignity based on their ability to choose freely what they will do with their lives, and they have a fundamental moral right to have these choices respected. People are not objects to be manipulated; it is a violation of human dignity to use people in ways they do not freely choose. Besides this, other rights are:

(i) The right to the truth

  • We have a right to be told the truth and to be informed about matters that significantly affect our choices.

(ii) The right of privacy

  • We have the right to do, believe, and say whatever we choose in our personal lives so long as we do not violate the rights of others.

(iii) The right not to be injured

  • We have the right not to be harmed or injured unless we freely and knowingly do something to deserve punishment or we freely and knowingly choose to risk such injuries

(iv) The right to what is agreed

  • We have a right to what has been promised by those with whom we have freely entered into a contract or agreement.

In deciding whether an action is moral or immoral, we must ask, ‘Does the action respect the moral rights of everyone?’ Actions are wrong to the extent that they violate the rights of individuals; the more serious the violation, the more wrongful the action.

  1. Fairness or Justice Approach

The fairness or justice approach to ethics has its roots in the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle, who said that “equals should be treated equally and unequals unequally.” The basic moral question in this approach is: How fair is an action? Does it treat everyone in the same way, or does it show favoritism and discrimination? Issues create controversies simply because we do not bother to check the fairness.

Favoritism gives benefits to some people without a justifiable reason for singling them out; discrimination imposes burdens on people who are no different from those on whom burdens are not imposed. Both favoritism and discrimination are unjust and wrong.

  1. Common-good Approach

This approach assumes a society comprising of individuals whose own good is inextricably linked to the good of the community. Community members are bound by the pursuit of common values and goals. The common good is a notion that originated more than 2,000 years ago in the writings of Plato and Aristotle. More recently, contemporary ethicist John Rawls has defined the common good.

In this approach, we focus on ensuring that the social policies, social systems, institutions, and environments on which we depend are beneficial to all. Examples of goods common to all include affordable health care, effective public safety, peace among nations, a just legal system, and an unpolluted environment.

Appeals to the common good urge us to view ourselves as members of the same community, reflecting on broad questions concerning the kind of society we want to become and how we are to achieve that society. While respecting and valuing the freedom of individuals to pursue their own goals, the common-good approach challenges us also to recognize and further those goals we share in common.

  1. Virtue Approach

This approach assumes that there are certain ideals toward which we should strive, which provide for the full development of our humanity. These ideals are discovered through thoughtful reflection on what kind of people has the potential. Virtues are attitudes or character traits that enable us to be and to act in ways that develop our highest potential. They enable us to pursue the ideals we have adopted. Honesty, courage, compassion, generosity, fidelity, integrity, fairness, self-control, and prudence are all examples of virtues.

Virtues are like habits. It means that once acquired, they become characteristic of a person. Moreover, a person who has developed virtues will be naturally disposed to act in ways consistent with moral principles. The virtuous person is the ethical person. In dealing with an ethical problem using the virtue approach, we might ask, what kind of person should I be? What will promote the development of character within myself and my community?


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