Think Learn & Perform (TLP): GS Mains Synopsis [Day 23]

  • September 23, 2015
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Think and Learn-2015, TLP Mains 2015, UPSC, UPSC Mains- Think and Learn-2015
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TLP: GS Mains Synopsis [Day 23]



Q.1) The retreat of family from the life of an individual is one of the most disturbing transformations of the 21st century India. In fact there are many who hold this phenomenon responsible for the numerous ills that our society is confronted with. To what extent do agree with this statement? Substantiate.


The Top Answer for this question is written by – HappyIAS

Ans) “Children are like clay in potter’s hands.” This is why the first school of learning i.e. FAMILY, plays a pivotal role.

In India, JOINT FAMILY SYSTEM (Utilitarianism) was preferred for the well being and security of the family members. But the new social structure is that of a NUCLEAR FAMILY SYSTEM (Hedonism) in the 21st century because:

  1. Increasing consumerism and more importance to privacy.
  2. Awed by the western culture.
  3. Internet and mobile penetration. People have more friends in their “reel” life than “real” life.
  4. Corporate culture alienates an individual from his family due to heavy work loads.

The impact of the retreat of family from the life of an individual are:

  1. No moral policing – Juveniles indulge in drug/alcohol abuse, smoking; pornography.
  2. No emotional support – Increase in depression and suicidal cases.
  3. Lack of parents’ wisdom – Falling in the traps of various propagandists which lands people in drug trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, etc.

But there are certain advantages too in the form of increasing job opportunities, rising standards of living, higher GDP, increased exchange of information across the globe, etc.

However, the role that the family plays as a mentor and a constant support ensuring the social, economic and emotional needs of an individual can’t be neglected. These are needed to make an individual happy which in turn would lead to a happier and healthier society.

Q.2) Society and social influence shape our moral and political attitude. In the Indian context however, both have more of a distorting effect than a constructive one. Critically examine.


The Top Answer for this question is written by – SK

Ans) Moral attitude implies a personal opinion on what is right or what is wrong. Political attitude refers to ideologies and views on State and its functioning. Both are shaped by society and social influences.

For example, society may enforce an opinion in an individual that “smoking is bad”, “to steal other’s things is wrong” etc. Similarly, social influences like poverty may induce a political ideology of “state should control prices”.

In the Indian context, these influences are mostly causing distorting effects in the attitudes, both moral and political. The caste system which is deeply rooted in the society creates certain moral attitudes in the individuals. It is largely believed that “to marry from other caste is a sin”. Restricting Inter-caste marriages is causing lot of social tension.

Similarly, in India, as the economy is growing, the rich is getting richer, and poor is getting poorer. This social divide is creating a political attitude of disenchantment with “good governance” or “inclusive governance”. Faith in the State is lost as a result, and leading to naxalism, Maoism etc.

These can be seen as distorting effects on society. However, it is only small. Constructive effects are many. Moral values like truthfulness, honesty, humility etc. are largely shaped in society only. They form the basis for an orderly social life. Similarly, our society encouraged constructive political attitudes like democratic decentralisation, women empowerment etc.

Q.3) Case Study

The curriculum of primary and secondary education is being revised in the state where you are the secretary of the education department. The process is broad based and participative as representations from various quarters including academic, public, political and social have been invited. The primary focus is to make the curriculum world class in terms of pedagogy, scientific bent and innovation. You are much enthused to head this exercise and can’t wait suggestions to pour from all sides.

However, your minister calls you one day and asks you to ignore all representations and instead include certain components in the curriculum that lack verifiable proof and sound rather fictional to you. He also asks you to completely abandon the idea of computer education.

Now, you are in a fix. Toeing the line of minister would be intellectual dishonesty for you whereas any denial by you can severely affect your own career.

In this situation, what attributes of a civil servant come into play? Examine in detail these attributes and also discuss how they can help you overcome this crisis.


The Top Answer for this question is written by – Nishant

Ans) Public Service involves multiple stakeholders. Their views can be conflicting at times. To begin with a civil servant should always be directed by the principle of “greater common good” while making policy decisions. Thus, in the given case, following attributes will come into play:

  1. Courage – to make and stand by the right decision even at a personal cost. Here, the secretary has to stand firm against the minister.
  2. Impartiality and Political Neutrality – to give frank advice to the minister without any political considerations or fear.
  3. Objectivity – to help make decisions based on merit. For eg. in present case, removing computer education would be a prejudiced solution
  4. Commitment to public service – to strive for the best solutions for public problems at all times. Fictional curriculum will jeopardize the future of young children. It will be a huge public disservice.
  5. Empathy – to imagine oneself in other’s position and then make the decision. Most people affected by the secretary’s decision would be poor children. Their parents put ‘blind’ faith in the government to educate their children. A sense of compassion would help the secretary see the value of this “faith”.
  6. Rule of Law – Last but not least, upholding the law is cardinal for a civil servant. Surrendering to the minister’s pressure would equate to coercive corruption. By rule, the secretary is required to follow the process as laid down.

All the above attributes when implemented would help the secretary to arrive at the best solution and simultaneously overcoming the ethical crisis.

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