1. “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny- MK Gandhi.” Comment.
Write a brief introduction.
A persons beliefs are formed by the surrounding and their interpretations.eg a child who grows in a peace-loving, hardworking society comes to believe that hard work is the secret of success and that peace is necessary for development, a child born in communal society always thinks in terms of “US versus THEM”. These thoughts will then find expression through words
By repeating these words constantly he is internalizing the beliefs and soon the words transform into action which can vary from favoritism, to discrimination, riots and arson. If he is not stopped there, he will develop it into habit which will become essential part of his values and attitude.
The transition from the action to habit and then to becoming a cherished value is the most crucial part, as habits ones formed become a part of individuals/groups psyche which are hard to change e.g.: the continuous discouragement of Dalits from joining mainstream society was initially not that stringent but once it becomes the habit if the group it takes organized form as values which is not only practiced but subsequently transmitted to future generations.
Two child friends living in a slum areas where almost all males drink liquor and almost daily beat their wives. They also see these, both are going school. One’s belief that he doesn’t want to become like all these male and will change his destiny whereas other one thought I have no resources and option to do anything so only this is my destiny. Former child study hard and by lots of hard work able to get scholarship and got a very high salaried job whereas later one still living in that slum areas with all habits of drinking and beating families.
(Students can give as many examples as they can think of.)
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: Aleesha Mary Joseph
Although Gandhi’s thought of beliefs determining destiny is relevant across all spheres of life, a comment on the same can be well elucidated in the context of women empowerment.
For example, if a girl conforms to patriarchal belief that women are inferior to men then she would never think of competing and achieve excellence in public life and her words would reflect lack of confidence. In her actions she would remain dependent on others and become habitual to accept rather than scrutinize whatever her family says. Submissiveness would become her idolized value. And her destiny would be in leaving her talents to dormancy and remain feeling insignificant in life.
On the contrary if the girl believes in gender equality, her thoughts will be around how to compete and nurture her capabilities. Her words would then reflect confidence and her actions courage to take risks. Eventually she would become habitual to ignore discouragements and move as per her instincts. She’ll be identified with the values of perseverance and integrity and in the long run she would excel and be contended at the fact that she has done justice to her potentials.
Thus a simple belief can change one’s approach to life and hence the destiny. A pragmatic application of Gandhi’s thought is seen in government’s initiative of making Geeta Phogot, Sakshi Malik the faces of BBBP so that positive beliefs can be instilled in girls at young age itself.
2. Do you think Indians are suffering from a distorted political attitude wherein they can’t rise above caste and identity based politics? Analyse.
Write a short and relevant introduction.
The distorted political attitude in others is due to:
- Traditional biases and prejudices against some castes and religions. Caste has been prevalent for so long that that it acts as the conscience of the group albeit a false one, which can act only in self-interest.
- Some caste groups have historically monopolized power, who are reluctant to let go, while others who have been subjects aspire to be the new ruling class.
- Non- inclusive growth:
if citizens are not part of the mainstream, they feel neglected and take recourse to caste etc.
Ex: caste based mobilizations for reservations in education and employment
- Unemployment and limited resources:
as the country is still developing there is a huge socio- economic divide. The inability to reap demographic dividend is leading to disillusioned youth who fall back to caste, regional politics.
- Parochial, caste based institutions
such as khap-panchayats for their vested interests never let the notion of purity and sin to die, legends and myths are made up for the furtherance of their political interests.
- Illiteracy, superstition and rigid traditions
hinder social unity and social intercourse. Ex. Many temples do not allow Dalits. The recent incident at Mirchpur speaks of rigidity of mind.
- Vote banks is the crux of the problem, even the national parties appeal to voters based on the caste identities, once in power they have to reward these caste groups with various incentives, which sets-off a vicious cycle of promises and rewards based on caste identities.
Write a brief conclusion.
Best answer: Arjun
3. A civil servant must command social influence as it helps him/ her in delivering faster and better results. Do you agree? Substantiate by taking suitable examples.
Even though you could have taken your own approach to this question, there are three basic aspects that need to be touched here.
- How is social influence helpful in delivering faster and better results?
- How can social influence be increased?
1st part: A civil servant is basically the face of a government. He/she is an interface between the citizens and the authority. The higher his influence, higher is the faith of people in the government.
Citizens play a major role in the success of a policy as its execution becomes easier and smoother if people cooperate. A civil servant also acts as a role model for society and can play an important role is resolving disputes. He will be easily approachable by the public and will be more empathetic to their problems which will help him framing the policies and programs.
2nd Part: Social influence can be increased in two ways:
- Being incorruptible, having high moral grounds and complete dedication and honesty in work. Reputation of an officer precedes the officer.
- Having more affinity to local culture, tradition and language. The more a person is involved in the social activities of a place, the more confidence and faith he will gain from local public.
(Note: these are just the broad points. You can add more in the previous part and this part.)
Many of you have written brilliant examples. You can get a few from the best answer below.
Best Answer : Vivek
The responsibilities of civil servant is fragmented over wide range of arenas including designing of policies, their implementation, maintenance of law and order, accountability of state services, and overall welfare of public. Social influence is one of the most important quality that a civil servant should have because:
- To execute command over wide range of people: A civil servant act as a link between public and authorities, thus his day to day dealings comes from vivid sections of society. It is literally impossible to every every decision through power and authority, to ensure support and cooperation of public as well as authorities, it is imperative to have good social influence. Eg: Ajit Doval, current NSA is famous for his role in insurgency operations in Mizoram, Kashmir and Punjab, where he effectively persuaded many militants to give up violence and cooperate.
2. During Crisis Management: During a crisis or situation of breakdown of law and order, the direct role of civil servant enables him with the opportunity to neutralize the tension. With no social influence, it leads to further distrust in authority and escalation of tension. Eg. Shivdeep Lamen Wande, who played a critical role in drastically crime rate and illegal practices in Patna, when he was transferred, people protested by organizing candle light rallies.
3. Policy Design and Implementation: Every policy should take into consideration interests, aspirations and worries of a wide range of stake holders including the one’s in the lowest of the pyramid. Good social influence can helps in accurately understanding the pulse of the society.
4. Accountability and Transparency: It can work in multiple ways, at individual level social influence can help people from falling into illegal practices. As an organization, it improves the standard and outlook of the organization. And as a whole society, it brings positive behaviors be re-instating the trust in government authorities and ethical practices. Eg: B. Chandrakala, Bulandhshahar DM, known for tough actions against corruption by officials.
5. Out of box solutions: Eg. Amstrong Pame, IAS Officer from Manipur Cadre, built a 100 km long road in a remote hill of Manipur without the government’s help, through crowd funding.
Thus, good social influence plays a critical role in delivering faster and better results.
4. Discuss the reforms in political funding proposed by this year’s budget? Will they be effective? Analyse.
Highlight what reforms were proposed in Union budget 2017 with regard to political funding.
In a move to cleanse the system of political funding, Finance Minister announced lowering the limit of donations to political parties from a single source to Rs 2,000 and added that parties would be entitled to receive donations by cheque or digital mode from their donors.
As an additional step, an amendment is being proposed to the RBI Act to enable the issuance of electoral bond. Under this scheme, donors can then purchase such bonds from designated banks, and these bonds can be given to the desired political party.
The budget also made it mandatory for political parties to file returns within a time limit.
Even 70 years after independence, the country has not been able to evolve a transparent method of funding political parties which is vital to the system of free and fair elections. The proposed reforms will likely lead to greater opacity and would improve transparency.
However, there are some drawbacks as –
- Proposed amendments to RBI Act, IT Act and RP Act would leave the RBI and IT department with no means to probe funding of political parties.
- The new amendments would only ensure that the political parties will not be required to disclose the identity of individuals and companies who make donations through electoral bonds bought from the commercial banks.
- Political parties will continue to receive most of their funds through anonymous donations which are shown in cash. Unless the source of the Rs 2,000 contribution is known, the ceiling does not matter.
- Under electoral bonds scheme, since the books of the donors will not mention the name of the party, and the books of the party will not mention the name of the donor, secrecy can be maintained about the donors. There is a possibility of unscrupulous political parties printing bogus electoral bonds.
- There is no point of revamping political funding if there is zero accountability on the expenditure of political parties.
- The Budget does not promise scrutiny of income declared by political parties from various sources and corresponding measures of penalisation without which the reforms will remain incomplete. Unless scrutiny of accounts of political parties is taken up by a body approved by CAG or ECI, parties’ declared income is unlikely to reflect their true income.
(End your answer with an apt conclusion)
Best answer 1: veracity29
Best answer 2: Vivek
A recent study on nature of political funding in India reveals that 75% of all funds received by top 6 national parties comes from ‘unknown sources’. Election Commission also cautioned against the rising money power games during elections. In budget 2017, FM proposed three reforms to put a brake on black money generation and flow in politics. They are:
- Reduced cash donation limit without disclosure from Rs.20000 to Rs.2000: In it’s positive sense it can bring down the bulkiness of anonymous funding into political parties. But parties can exploit the loop holes by dividing donations into smaller sums below Rs.2000.
- Limit on maximum cash transaction at 3 lakh: Most important reform as it can push out political financing into formal mediums such as bank transfer, cheque or online mode. More details are not available, but has potential to be the game changer.
- Amendment to RBI Act for issuance of Electoral Bonds: Donors can purchase electoral bonds from banks, which will be reimbursed into accounts of political parties. Secrecy can be maintained, at the same time opening up a cleaner track for political funding. The move faces serious legislative as well as execution challenges.
The motive and initiative to bring the regulation in political funding is applauded. But the efficiency of proposed reforms depends largely on the political will and how minute legislation are made to cement the loop holes to facilitate anonymity in funding. Moreover with rise in awareness among people which is seen in the call for inclusion of political parties under the ambit of RTI and bold moves such as demonetization to curb black money and corruption, political parties will soon come in track to abide adequate accountability and transparency.
5. Discuss the concept of ‘gender budgeting’ and its significance.
Gender Budgeting is a method of planning, programming and budgeting at different level of government administration that helps advance gender equality and women’s right.
According to the Ministry of Women and Child Development, “It is a powerful tool for achieving gender mainstreaming so as to ensure that benefits of development reach women as much as men.” It is not just an accounting exercise but an ongoing process of keeping a gender perspective in policy/ programme formulation, its implementation and review.
Significance of Gender Budgeting:
In this part discuss how ‘gender-responsive budgeting’ helps advance gender equality and women’s rights.
- Gender inequality poses a significant development challenge in India. The Global Gender Gap Index 2014 ranked India at 114 out of 142 countries. The ranking is based on a country’s ability to reduce gender disparities in four areas: economic participation and opportunity, education, political empowerment, and health and survival. Violence against women and girls persists, both in private and in public spaces.
- Ensuring adequate allocations for policies and programmes for women will help translate those commitments into action.
- ‘Gender-responsive budgeting’ serves as an indicator of governments’ commitment to meeting those objectives.
- It helps to enact better implementation of laws and special measures for the most marginalised women.
- It helps to achieve stand-alone goal on gender equality and women’s empowerment in the Sustainable Development Goals.
Refer best answer and add appropriate points.
Best answer: Vivek
India ranks 87th out of 144 countries on the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016. It shows the high level of gender disparity existing in the country. In this context, gender budgeting is an important key to ensure gender equality in development and opportunities.
Gender budgeting is concept of provisioning special budgetary focus on women due to their vulnerability and lack of access to resources. Not a special women budget, but steps will be envisioned in every policy to ensure that benefits of development reaches women as well.
- Women Empowerment: In India, women lags behind men in all crucial indicators such as education, health, economic participation, political representation etc. Effective gender budgeting can efficiently cater towards upliftment of women.
- Economic Opportunity: India performs worst in women labor participation. Bringing up the potential of suppressed section of society can give the biggest boost to the economic aspirations of nation.
- Increasing Gender Sensitivity: Strong government moves to address gender issues can motivate private and social stakeholders to come up with positive moves. Public awareness on gender sensitivity can be first step in uprooting root causes of the problem.
- Focused Schemes and Projects: 100% women centric projects with direct implementation and monitoring track. It can help in concentrating all state resources to fight against serious social menaces such as gender based abortions, child marriage, girl child discrimination etc. Eg: Success of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in Haryana.
- Women Safety: An opportunity to address the worries of women regarding safety. Policies and programs need to be strengthened.
Government brought out many initiatives in this regard in the past decade such as Gender Budget Cells for Central Ministries and Departments, capacity building through public programs such as training, workshops, discussions etc., Considering the gravity of problem and the potential it brings along, government should switch to more aggressive policies and schemes.
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