1. “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” Examine the statement in the context of governance in India.
Openness, accountability, and honesty define government transparency. In a free society, transparency is government’s obligation to share information with citizens. It is at the heart of how citizens hold their public officials accountable.
Transparency is broadly accepted as a major principle of good governance (World Bank (2000) the UNDP has perceived that transparency means “sharing information and acting in an open manner” (1997).
Absence of transparency results into:
The public is only able to truly participate in the democratic process when they have information about the activities and policies of government, and when people can see what benefits and services they are entitled to and whether they are receiving what should be expected. Absence of, or inaccessibility to, information often creates a sense of disempowerment, mistrust and frustration.
Importance of transparency:
Transparency represents that decisions taken and their enforcement are done in a way that follows rules and regulations. It also entails that information is easily available and directly accessible to those who will be affected by such decisions and their enforcement.
Transparency is required to make the system of public service delivery effective. It allows ready information to the citizens in a manner that they may be able to claim their entitlements. Sheer knowledge of what entitlements are, and who is responsible for fulfilling them ensures that public services are passably and effectively delivered to the ‘intended’ recipients.
Excessive secrecy can undermine the quality of public decision-making and prevent citizens from checking the abuses of public power. This can have a corrosive effect on virtually all aspects of society and governance.
Increased efficiency and effectiveness:
Transparency is also considered to be a key component of public policy and efficiency.
The knowledge that decisions and processes are open to public scrutiny can make government bodies work better, by imposing on them a constant discipline.
Government effectiveness is improved: even the most competent and honest decision-makers need feedback on how policies are working in practice;
Efficiency in the allocation of resources can also be improved: By ensuring that the benefits of growth are redistributed and not captured by the elite, transparency reforms can result in substantial net savers of public resources and improved socioeconomic and human development indicators.
A weapon against corruption:
As noted by Transparency International “information is perhaps the most important weapon against corruption.” Having access to information plays a key role in efforts to curb corruption and control its impact.
Free and guaranteed access to information enables citizens, the media and law enforcement agencies to use official records as a means to uncover cases of corruption and maladministration;
Increasing transparency increases the risk of detection of corrupt practices and this can act as a deterrent to future corruption.
Transparency allows stakeholders to collect information that may be critical to uncovering abuses and defending their interests.
Transparency is thus critical for good governance as it ensures to hold government and/or key decision-makers to account, improve public policy and efficiency and combat corruption. The International Human Rights NGO Article 19 has rightly described information as “the oxygen of democracy”.
2. Financial institutions, the corporate world and civil society – all must uphold high standards of probity in their working. Only a genuine partnership between the Government and its people can bring about positive change to create a just society.
Probity means honesty and uprightness in working. Probity in governance is basic requirement for successful operation of governance and for socio-economic growth of country. It is defined as a risk management approach ensuring procedural integrity. It is concerned with procedures, processes and systems rather than outcomes. Financial institutions, corporate world and civil society are an integral and interdependent part of the wider society and there is a need for each one of them to exercise thorough probity in their working.
PROBITY IN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS:
For financial institutions probity is of utmost importance as they deal with public money it entails not only accountability and transparency but also a sense of responsibility, there must thorough probity in maintaining books of record, lending practices, thorough back ground checks, regulatory compliance through audit, maintaining statutory norms and timely recovery and issuance of annual reports to ensure public of their credibility.
Eg: The recent issue of rising NPAs questioned banks of their improper lending practices similarly Demonetisation banks were questioned of their fraudulent deposits and aiding black money hoarders( axis bank issue) and of money laundering in Jan dhan accounts.
PROBITY IN CORPORATE WORLD:
Probity is of prime value in corporate governance as it not only effects their profits but also the image of the country corporates must ensure independent directors on their board, follow internal democracy (Infosys issue), avoid conflict of interest (BCCI issue), clearly defined roles and responsibilities, thorough audit through independent sources (Satyam and PWC issue), annual General body meetings to keep stakeholders in their loop, ensure professionalism and strict adherence to law( companies act 2011).
PROBITY IN CIVIL SOCIETY:
Traditionally private sector and the civil society have been considered as the external to the governance mechanism. But it must ensure probity by thorough participation, choosing leadership (honest and upright individuals), tackling problems use of various platform such as RTI, bringing to the notice of the Government an honest civil society is the bedrock of a just society to prevent abuse of money, position or power
More simply put, governance is concerned with network of relationships of three actors– state, market (financial and corporate institutions) and civil society and each of which are a check on one another and also interdependent to ensure our thrust towards an egalitarian society .
3. Ancient Indian scriptures have provided the philosophical basis of governance. Quote at least two such Indian texts along with their teachings on governance.
Indian ethos has a very rich and old tradition which is more than 3500 years old as against the modern governance principles which are at a much more infant stage. Much of these ethos is derived from the ancient Indian scriptures like the Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Bhagavad Gita, Manusmriti, Arthashastra, etc. The ancient Indian ethos which has stood the test of time can help modern governance to create a more sustainable model.
It is a poem which depicts lessons on spirituality and ethics through a dialogue between Lord Krishna and the warrior Arjuna who is at a great crisis of his life. The Karma Yoga, Samkhya Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and the notion of three Gunas (Sattwa, Rajas, Tamas) have very important implications in the context of ethical leadership, decision making and governance.
“Karmanye Vadhikaraste Ma Phaleshu Kadachana Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurma tey Sangostva Akarmani”
It means that “we have only the right to work, right on our actions but not on the consequences or fruits of that action. So we should be not be attached to either fruits of the action or inaction.
The qualities a leader must possess was well laid down by Chanakya, According to Chanakya, a King (a leader) should be a “Rajarishi” which means a king (a leader) who is wise like a sage. Like a sage, a leader must have self-control having conquered his senses and at the same time should be well-educated in the various branches of knowledge. He should cultivate his intellect by associations with elders and keep his eyes open through spies. He should ensure the observance of dharma (righteousness) by the people by authority and should avoid associations with harmful persons and indulging in harmful activities.
Sages like Yajnavalkya or Buddha; and writings of scholars like Kautilya (Chanakya) can teach a lot on ethical and responsible leadership. These can be incorporated in the existing models to create more sustainable, ethical and responsible leadership and governance models.
4. What importance does Germany hold for India in terms of India’s economic, strategic and security imperatives? Also discuss the role that Germany can play in the expansion of India’s renewable energy share in the total energy mix.
India Germany Co-Operation:
India’s growing resource base and market are beginning to manifest themselves in an expanding commercial and diplomatic presence around the world. Germany, has grown in political and economic importance, particularly in Europe. Its exports, manufacturing, and technology base have seen its economy make significant progress even as much of the rest of Europe has slowed or stagnated.
International leaders and policymakers are increasingly turning to Berlin for major decisions regarding the European and global economy, and even on matters of European security.
The relationship between India and Germany has been described by the two governments as a ‘strategic partnership’ since 2001.
Germany today numbers among India’s 10 top trading partners, with accumulated FDI by Indian companies in Germany exceeding €6 billion. Germany specifically is India’s most important EU trade partner, ranking sixth among the country’s global trade partners as a provider of goods and services.
India is Germany’s 25th most important trade partner, ranking 28th in the area of imports and 27th for exports. The total bilateral volume of trade in merchandise and services amounted to €22.1 billion in 2015, slightly down from €22.3 billion in 2011. Almost half of all Indian-led FDI projects in Germany took place in the software, machinery and equipment, or information technology services.
An analysis of around 80 leading subsidiaries of Indian companies operating in Germany indicates that four sectors account for 97% of India-related revenues within Germany. At 40% of the total, the metals and metal-processing industry is the strongest such sector, followed by the automotive industry (29%), the chemical and pharmaceutical industry (19%), and the professional, scientific and technical services sector (9%).
The two countries recently announced the Indo-German Energy Programme — Green Energy Corridors. Under the program, the German development organization GIZ will provide technical support to Indian agencies and regulators regarding integration of renewable energy into the existing grid infrastructure.
The Green Energy Corridors project, spearheaded by India’s largest power transmission company, is aimed at integration of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity that India aims to have operational by March 2022. The Indian government recognizes that the sudden increase in renewable energy capacity in India could adversely impact the current grid infrastructure, which has had its own technical issues not very long ago.
India is already struggling with the problem of absorption of renewable energy into the grid. Several states direct wind and solar power developers to reduce generation when adequate transmission capacity is not available in the grid. This results in direct revenue loss to the project developers.
The Green Energy Corridors project will not only provide additional transmission capacity for the evacuation of renewable energy but also enable host states to supply any surplus electricity to other states. Transmission of renewable energy between states has been exempted from transmission charges. This help states with low renewable energy resources to achieve the renewable energy purchase obligations.
Apart from technical assistance, Germany will also provide financial aid for the execution of the Green Energy Corridors project. German development bank KfW has also committed at least €1 billion for implementation of transmission projects dedicated to renewable energy projects in India.
5. Diplomacy is the pursuit of national interests in one’s interaction with the world. Do you agree? Is this understanding fundamentally opposed to the notion of ethics in international relations. Critically examine the issue
Diplomacy is a skill, activity or profession of managing international relations in tactful way, keeping one’s own country’s interest in point of view. Here the national interest is kept in mind and the dealing or interaction happens to get the maximum benefits for one’s own country.
For instance, we historically supported Palestine because for our energy requirements from Middle Eastern countries. But we are supporting Israel because of our national interests for supply of Defense equipment’s, Agricultural growth etc.
It is not against ethics in majority of cases:
For instance with same Israel relationship, the cross border terrorism is putting Jews under threat not just in Israel but they are targeted elsewhere in world. But supporting them we are supporting the rights of Jews for safe place.
We are providing asylum to Tibetan government in exile, Bangladeshi migrants, Balochistan refugees even when we are not signatories of UNHCR. We were upholder of NAM principles when world was divided between two poles where both went hand in hand.
In some cases like resending Rohingya Muslims refugees back to their country might be against ethics but keeping in National internal security in mind it can be justified as they say one’s own citizens’ interest and safety comes first.
Self-interest takes over everything else, it’s the same case in diplomacy too but moral rights and ethics are to be kept in mind even while keeping national interest so that there is balance between both and not one gains more precedence than the other for safe and secure world.