SYNOPSIS: IASbaba’s TLP 2017 [20th Jan] – Day 5

  • January 23, 2017
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SYNOPSIS- IASbaba’s TLP 2017 [20th Jan] – Day 5


1. If your ethical actions harm someone’s genuine interests, would you still do it? Respond by taking suitable examples.


Every human action has certain consequences which can be either positive or negative and the locus of impact can be on the self or the others. As such most of the ethical actions try to maximize the positive effects and to minimize the negative effects.


A person can perform an ethical action only when it is completely voluntary, of free will and he knows repercussions of such actions.

However many a time ethics can be at conflict at genuine interest of people and that is when one has to make a choice.

Should one take ethical action if it harms someone’s genuine interest?

If the ethical actions has harmful effects only in the short term and to only small no of people, but in the long run is beneficial to everyone involved, it should be done.

E.g.: you are an administrator in a tribal forest area, with no connectivity to the nearest District Head-quarters, A new road is proposed to connect the hamlet with the town, but that will cause the tribal to lose some fertile farmland. Now if proceed with the road plan it will bring larger benefits to the whole community like access to hospital, Schools and the market to sell their produce and handicrafts, in such a situation though the genuine interests of some are hurt by the benevolent action, it is beneficial to everyone in the long run.

If the action leads to permanent irreversible harm to others and the environment it should not be undertaken.

E.g.: a new mining project is proposed in a forest area, which has some rare endemic plants and animals, in such a situation though the mining will have economic benefits to the community, it will lead to habitat destruction of the rare plants and animals, in such a situation the costs outweigh the benefits.so it is advisable to not take that action.

Examples you can use in the answer:

1.Evacuation of people from illegally occupied land :A conflict arise when people illegally residing in government land have to be evacuated but evacuating them without providing them alternative will genuinely harm their interest and hence a middle path has to be followed
2.Suppose a school strictly follows criteria of giving appointment of receptionist based on qualifications , but then being principal of school i come across someone who is not qualified for job but is sincere enough and has proven herself then i can give her job.

3. If you are a controller of patent and case of compulsory licensing of foreign drug is to be decided keeping in mind the ethical grounds in line with Indian patent act. On one side foreign company has filed patent for cancer drug and with rights of granted patent the company is selling it in Indian geography with high rates with genuine reasons of cost invested in R&D and
development of drugs, related man power.)


Write a brief conclusion.


Best answer: Mirinda

–Ethical actions can be interpreted in two ways.

i)Ethical because it adheres to the laid out rules or spoken norms – May harm someone’s genuine interest as an unintended consequence, leaves us emotionally guilty but it is legal.

Ex: Being supportive of LGBT where it is illegal(Nigeria), Families who supported the Jews from torchere by Nazis, even sati at some point of time.
ii)Ethical because it aligns with our values and principles – we will be held accountable for going against the set convention and may lose our job or be judicially tried but conscientiously it is just.

Ex: Prostitution, Allowing tobacco consumption

–Blanket ban on alcohol consumption in a district may be legal and may result in healthier populace, but it will harm the interest of the district in the long run due to smuggling and migration.
–In such cases, I will base my decisions on my values, prevailing laws and history of the action. In the above example, I will support the ban in a phased manner – provide alternate source of livelihood, run awareness campaigns, rehabilitation centres. Ethical actions based on law is desired, but not the one that goes against genuine interests as the ones described above.

2. Who decides what is ethical? (Note: Although a short question but can involve heated arguments and discussions. We have seen that the response of ladies to such questions is usually different from that of gentlemen.)


Ethics are standards of right and wrong, good and bad, worth and worthlessness, which regulate our actions and behavior.


Ethicality of actions in a society are decided based on different set of standards which vary from society to society.

Historically ethicality of human actions were decided based on religious standards. The church and other religious institutions decided the rightness and wrong.

In modern times the ultimate source or guide of ethics is the Constitutions of the countries that set out the desirable goals and the values to be observed.

Code of Ethics and Code of Conducts of organizations decide the ethical behavior of Bureaucracy of in both public and private organizations.

Professionals groups like Doctors, Chartered Accountants, and Lawyers etc. have their professional governing bodies deciding the ethicality of the actions of members.

Judiciary also decides what ethical human behavior is. E.g. Supreme Court judgement on Stray dogs, Jallikattu etc.

Supreme courts judgements on Night shelters, rights of the Under-trials etc. have also broadened the ambit of expected ethical behavior.


Write a brief conclusion.


Best answer: The Leiter

Ethics is a set of moral principles,which decides what is good or evil,right or wrong,just or unjust,fair or unfair etc…

Ethical principles are relative.i.e varies from time to time and subjective in nature.There are two
sources of Ethics namely internal and external.


Conscience: It is the internal voice of an individual.It constantly tells an individual what is right and what is wrong.However,it largely depend upon the way in which the person is brought up.
ex: A child brought up in family where father beats mother,will likely to develop an attitude using force to control other is not wrong.


Family: Family is the first and foremost social institution.Children learn a lot by imitating and emulating the values of their parents.
ex: some parents tells sharing is good,some says it is bad.

School: School also tries to inculcate ethical values through curriculum.
ex: world history: liberty,equality and fraternity.

Laws: Laws are mainly used to regulate individual and society and to ensure peace in the country.
ex: Protection of Human rights act(1956),protection of child marriage act

Religion & Culture: Every individual is born into a family and inherent their parents religion and culture.Religion imposes certain restriction on individual behavior.It tells what is right and what is wrong.
ex: every religion worth a names teaches love,peace etc..

Hence,who decides what is ethical mainly depends upon the family,religion,place he/she lives(country).

3. Is it justified to adopt wrong means to achieve right ends? Substantiate.

It is an open ended question, and if you can justify your stand, your answer is correct.

Now, if we consider a broader case, in order to achieve any end, three functions are done.

They are – idea (intent/Neeyat), Action (Karm) and Result (end/ Nateeja).

Now, different philosophers have talked about these three factors in detail and have given a conclusion about morality from them.

For example, according to some philosophers, if the intent is wrong, then the result, irrespective of it being good or bad, will be immoral. For example, You disliked your neighbour, out of shear hatred one day you murdered him. But after that you got to know that he was a wanted criminal and government will be paying you reward. Now, according to the theory, even though the end result turned out to be good, your action will still be called immoral.

Similarly, there are theories about action and result.

Since the question is about means and result, let’s discuss about that.

There are two broad theories dealing with this aspect – Consequentialism and Deontology (non – consequentialism).

Consequentialism – This theory in order to justify means, always looks at the final result. According to it results are more important rather than the means. As long as the result is good, you can choose any path. The theory is also called Utilitarianism i.e. the theory of maximum benefit. John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham backed this theory. So with examples you can back this philosophy.

On e example that I would like to quote here. To control the militancy in Kashmir during early 90s many actions were taken by the Army that violated the Human Rights. A senior army officer accepted the fact and said that we are sorry for the actions, but sometimes in order to prevent the larger evil, small evil has to be done. Integrity of the country was more important.

The other theory of Deontology or non – consequentialism was backed by John Locke and Immanuel Kant. They believed that means are more important than the results.

These were the hi-fi fundas around which you could have woven your answer.

But there is one easy way – Take the approach of an Indian Thinker and then frame the answer. That will give your argument more strength.

Two most important thinkers which are mostly asked in the exam are Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda.

In this question, Mahatma Gandhi is important because his idea of Satyagraha was based on the ‘means’ to achieve his goal of independence. According to him as long as the means are not pure, the end can never be right.

Remember, that in an Ethics question, always site an example from the daily life. That will fetch you more marks rather than just writing a technical theoretical answer.

(Note: Most of you have made the same mistake. You have given the theories and left it just there for the examiner to decide. Don’t do that, kindly take a side and rationally justify that with the help of examples from real life. For example someone has mentioned bunking the traffic signal to save a life. Now this is a real life example. You can always have positive and negative arguments against any stand you take, but in the answer sheet your line of thought should be very clear.)


Best Answer: MOL0929



4. Discuss India’s recent advances on the space front. Should commercialization of India’s space programme be promoted? Give your views.

(While answering, please identify the demand areas of the question and allocate content based on the marks.)

Considering 12.5 marks,

  1. [4 marks] India’s recent advances (provide 3-4 achievements). Hold your hand; many have filled content of 150 – 200+ words while answering just this part. Also, note question says discuss not just list recent advances.
  2. [7 marks] Should commercialization of India’s space programme be promoted? Give your views: This part carries more marks and emphasis should be laid more on answering this.
  3. [2 marks] “Give your views” – Many have failed here. In conclusion, do not fail to highlight your views.


India’s recent successful space missions have displayed its prowess in space technology and countries across the globe have come to terms with the fact that India is a force to reckon with.

Discuss briefly on India’s recent achievements in space programme: (discuss any 3-4 achievemnets)

  • Mars Orbitor Mission or Mangalyaan – India became the first country to successfully complete maiden Mars mission and also the fourth country to successfully venture into Mars.
  • Navic or Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System –constellation of seven satellites will make India self-sufficient with indigenous navigation system; reduces the country’s dependency on US Global Positioning System (GPS)
  • Mission PSLV-C28 – ISRO is one of the most reliable names when it comes to commercial missions and the successful launch of the PSLV C28, the heaviest commercial mission undertaken by the Indian space agency, added to its credibility.
  • Indian Lunar Exploration Programme, Chandrayan – Chandrayaan-1 mission made the stunning discovery of water on Moon; Chandrayaan 2, is expected to be launched in 2017.
  • GLSL MK3 — Recently, ISRO tested the crew module aboard the GSLV MK3, which will by 2020 puts India in a special group of space cruising nations capable of taking humans to space.
  • Reusable Launch Vehicle – ISRO is also working on a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) to reduce satellite launch costs.

Should commercialization of India’s space programme be promoted?

Provide both the views i.e., for and against.

For commercialization:

  1. Commercialization can help ISRO to excel in space technology, help countries in capacity building through technology transfer and earn revenue for its future endeavors.
  2. Commercialization reduces the taxpayers burden to fund the non profitable scientific activities of ISRO, facilitating the research work.
  3. The commercialization will attract FDI and push ISRO to upgrade its launch vehicles technologically.
  4. It will also help developing countries to excel in space technology at cheap cost.
  5. Space Diplomacy – India can foster relationship with many strategically important countries by increasing cooperation in space technology.
  6. It will help to give a boost to ‘Make in India’ program by producing equipment indigenously.

Against commercialization:

  • India does not have a space law to protect sovereign, public or commercial interests, legal and space industry. It requires a clear and comprehensive law and legal system to avoid situations like Antrix-Devas deal.
  • Commercialization might hinder projects of national importance. ISRO moving into commercial space might be affected by vested interests and this carries with it a heavy risk of sacrifice of the security of the country.
  • The commercial space foray will be fraught with the politician-corporate nexus and it might lead to breeding of corruption in an organisation of the stature of ISRO that has produced jewels like Abdul Kalam.

In conclusion, highlight your views.

Hence the commercialization of space programmes is welcome as long as it supplies fodder for more research but the perils of commercial entry like corruption should be heavily guarded if things are needed to be fruitful.

Commercialization should not hamper the true motive of ISRO to take country to newer heights in Space programmes. If the true intention is not hampered, commercial ventures should be allowed.


Best answer: MOL0929

  1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c018a787327c0dd201c35f47398acee24f30d852775fb06f5c370babebc150b9.jpg
  2. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/868801b1e48b5c9b4786a961b69445fa1bb2d44054cfec7885add93686be3681.jpg

5. What is Tax- GDP ratio? What is its significance? Why does it remain low in India? Discuss.

Concept of tax to GDP ratio

Tax-GDP ratio is one of the methods used to assess a country’s development and is calculated by dividing the tax revenue collected by the Government from the GDP of that country. Tax and GDP are related, since a higher GDP will automatically lead to a higher tax collection.

India’s Tax to GDP ratio remained around 15% which is lower than similarly placed developing countries leave alone, the Tax to GDP ratio of developed countries.


What is the significance?

A higher tax-GDP ratio implies –

  • greater tax collection, in terms of direct and indirect taxes, that ultimately strengthens government’s capacity to infuse more money into the economy
  • A higher tax to GDP ratio in terms of indirect taxes implies more inter-state trade i.e. higher sales tax, customs duty, vat collection. This shows an increase in the consumption within the economy.
  • Higher direct tax collection implies lesser tax evasion.

So a high ratio enables high government spending in developmental projects(capital expenditure) which will ultimately lead to economic growth.


Why does it remain low in India? Discuss.

One, structural factors such as low per capita income keeps tax collections low. “Low average incomes and a high poverty rate result in a very small portion of the labor force being eligible to pay personal income taxes. As of 2010-11, income taxes accounted for a lower proportion (10 percent) of the general government’s revenue than, say, the OECD average (approximately 30 percent).

Two, a large proportion of economic activity that is generated by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Although these enterprises have enjoyed strong profitability growth over the past decade, the government has not captured their earnings in tax revenues due to a variety of exemptions and compliance issues.

Three, a lack of policy initiatives has also kept the tax take low.” This includes certain tax exemptions on agriculture related activity and until the mid-nineties, on most services as well. The tax net has been progressively expanded to include a greater number of services each year, and service tax revenue has grown the fastest of all revenue sources. Yet, service taxes constitute merely 5 percent of total general government revenues, although they comprise about 60 percent of GDP.

Other reasons can be – drop in excise, customs revenue and drop in corporate tax revenue; high tax evasion.


Write a brief conclusion.

Best answer 1: PBN

  1. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/54f2eec3bb28b7abe49de060b5050de6092cb750030ead75bb614bcf1e09f2a4.jpg
  2. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/6f00f86c61e53683cb3b23ca7cdcd3ae2e3ab88c611bc71ef4017311a5d7155b.jpg

Best answer 2: Flash

Tax to GDP ratio is the total amount of tax collected(direct and indirect) expressed in percentage of GDP. Tax to GDP ratio is the indicator of the economic strength of the government.

It has following significance

  1. A higher ratio implies greater tax collection in terms of direct and indirect taxes,that ultimately strengthens government’s capacity to infuse more money into the economy
  2. A higher tax to GDP ratio in terms of indirect taxes implies more inter-state trade i.e.higher sales tax, customs duty, vat collection.This shows an increase in the consumption within the economy.
  3. Higher direct tax collection implies lesser tax evasion

So a high ratio enables high government spending in developmental projects(capital expenditure) which will ultimately lead to economic growth.

Tax/GDP ratio is low in India because of the following reasons

  1. Higher tax evasion. Since a very limited population is paying tax, they tend to escape as there is a feeling benefits provided to taxpayers is not in proportion to the amount they pay as tax
  2. Very narrow tax base which ultimately brings only small chunk of working population under its ambit. Only close to 2% of the total population pays tax in India
  3. Large amount of money in the economy is in cash(85%), which remains unaccounted thus evading tax
  4. High level of corruption in real estate and in inter-state trade leads to large amount administrative leakage.This ultimately brings down the overall tax collection

So, a progressive tax regime that ensures confidence in the minds of taxpayer is the need of the hour to boost direct tax collection. With the roll out of GST a uniform indirect tax regime will surely add to the indirect tax collection. In addition to all this the mindset needs to be changed which sees tax payment without quid pro quo as a duty rather than a liability.

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