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SYNOPSIS [6th NOVEMBER,2020] Day 23: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 2): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. Belief in democratic processes and institutions is an important political attitude for a civil servant. Elucidate.
It is straightforward question, where it expects students – to write about why Belief in democratic processes and institutions is very important political attitude for civil servant and give examples to support your view.
Political Attitude is the way of thinking in terms of political gains and losses. It is belief and action system that decides an action fruitfulness based on electoral gains. Political attitude on positive side can lead to showing zero tolerance toward corruption, pro-poor, welfare for weaker sections, listening to public grievances, but on negative side political attitude can take shape of regionalism, communalising public to polarise them during election.
Belief in democratic process and institutions:
- India is a democratic country where the power lies with the people. The power is exercised through the elected representatives who have the command to manage them for a specific period.
- Civil servants are the face of any government. Their attitude towards the citizenry becomes a reflection of the state. The civil servants are the backbone of our country and are expected to be partners who work and carry out the policies of the government.
- Civil servant should have political attitude like Liberal, democratic, plural, secular, humble, peace loving which will determine the strength of democratic process. It determines his belief in vibrancy in democracy.
- He constitutes the most vital pillar of good governance. His political attitude like faith in democratic process of our country is very crucial.
- The importance of civil servant’s political attitude in our country develops from the factors like civil servant’s service to society, Advice to political leadership, Effective policymaking and Co-ordination between different institutions of governance.
- Civil servant’s belief in various democratic institutions are key to good governance.
- Democratic institutions like Gram Sabha plays pivotal role. For example, Gram Sabha in Orissa decline permission to mine in Malkangiri area.
- Recently, Election commission removed Former Chief Minister Kamal Nath star campaigner status but he appeal to Supreme court against it, and SC stays ECI order revoking ‘star campaigner’ status.
- Civil servant often comes under political pressure, transfer, threat but belief on institutions like judiciary will give way for independent functioning.
- Eg: Parakash Singh case – SC order states to setup Independent investigation authority in states for police complaints.
- Openness, transparency is important democratic process which are ensured by institutions like central information commission, hence civil servant should give complete access to information under RTI.
The above attitude of civil servant benefits the society in long run and increase the trust of people/society on bureaucracy and civil servant.
2. What are the different facets of moral attitude? How does moral attitude shape the behaviour of an individual? Illustrate.
It expects students to write about – in first part write about different facets of moral attitude – in second part write about how moral attitude shape behaviour of individual.
Moral attitudes are grounded in moral beliefs of “Right” and “wrong” action. Moral attitudes are stronger than moral principles. It has been well documented that ethical values are the highest among all types of natural values. Moral values include Goodness, purity, truthfulness, humility of man rank higher than genius, brilliancy, exuberant vitality and the beauty of nature or of art, than the stability and power of a state.
Different facets of moral attitude:
- Goodness: Anything which is inherently bad even though may bring some positive effects can never be justified, as it is bad. Similarly, if a good thing brings about suffering, it should be tolerated just because the thing is inherently good. Goodness of means and ends makes the deed really a good one
- Reverence: One must hold reverence to all forms of life. Respect should not be limited to family members, peers, superiors but moral attitude should be such that one must be able to respect all forms of life and all kinds of good deeds
- Faithfulness: The greatest thing that one can earn is trust of others. So being trustworthy and investing trust on others requires a positive disposition towards faith to be able to perform our roles in all spheres of life.
- Tolerance: One must be able to accommodate diverging views, be able to behave morally with others whose views are diametrically opposite to that of ours. Lack of such attitude leads to fanatic behaviour leading to disputes, riots etc.
Moral attitude shape behaviour of individual as follows:
- Moral attitudes encourage a person towards Altruism, volunteerism, social service.
- It encourages people to help others in which they find happiness. Eg: Mother Teresa
- Impact of moral attitude also depend upon nature of socialisation and stages of moral development in society.
- Therefore, some positive moral attitude is:
- Empathy, it leads to action. We not only sympathies with an individual but also understand his/her pain and which led to action.
- Peace: – It help us in resolving critical situation with ease without any violence.
- Honesty: – If an individual is honest with them-self then it will led to commitment and honestly at work place.
- e.g. Suppose Mr/Ms. X is DM of tribal area and government is planning to build a road through jungle and that’s the only option available. Since s/he have above moral attitude then s/he will understand tribal people sentiment but at the same time knows roads significance hence will honesty try to pursue tribal to best of his ability in a peaceful manner.
- Negative impact of moral attitude are that person can use such attitude to defend violence behaviour and insanity and still society will accept it because moral attitude is a strong emotions.
- It motivates a person towards riots, massacre and terrorism. Since moral attitude is tied with strong sentiments, people do not get along with those who do not share their moral attitude.
Moral attitude is important aspect of good citizen and civil servant. This will help public servant to bring good governance practice in whole of his life and public service career.
3. In the age of social media influencers, ethics and morality have taken a backseat. Do you agree? Critically examine.
As the directive here is critically examine, it is necessary to look deep at both aspects of the issue then arrive at fair judgment. In the intro part one can explain who are social media influencers and how they influence society, people etc. It is necessary to connect social media influencers with our syllabus point of social influence and persuasion. In the main body part both aspects of the issue needs to be deeply checked and before conclusion a fair judgment with examples has to be given. One can conclude by showing how social media influencers can play a prominent role in maintaining ethics and morality in the world.
Social media Influencers are people who have built a reputation for their knowledge and expertise on a specific topic. They make regular posts about that topic on their preferred social media channels and generate large followings of enthusiastic, engaged people who pay close attention to their views. For instance, Footballer Chritiano Ronaldo keeps his fans committed to his content with regular updates on his life and football practise sessions.
Social influence is the change in behaviour that one person causes in another, intentionally or unintentionally. Social influence and persuasion are the most efficient tools to bring about change in the participation levels of people in policy implementation. However in the age of social media we are witnessing a wide scale impact of social media influencers.
- A Social media influencer has the tools and authenticity to attract many viewers consistently and can motivate others to expand their social reach. An influencer may be anyone from a blogger to a celebrity to an online entrepreneur.
- Their audience isn’t limited to their actual followers; they can connect with the followers of their followers who share their content. As a result, they engage in many sponsored posts, allowing them to be paid for what they share on social media.
- Also, Social media influencers can have a significant impact on brand outreach considering influencers garner more social engagement than the advertising brand’s account.
Ethics and Morality at the backseat in the age of Social media influencers:
- Spread of Hate: In this super competitive age of 21st century, survival of human beings is threatened by many factors. Hate speech and spreading fake news through social media handles became one of them. For instance, Social media influencer Jessy Taylor had to face wrath of people over her racist comments.
- Growth of insensitivity: Human is a social animal and lives in a society which is interdependent. However, due to social media influencers sensitivity of human beings is getting hampered. For instance, many of the time a buzz on twitter is seen when attack on minority community takes place. Many of the social media influencers on twitter insensitively took the sides of convicts or criminals who did some of the horrible crimes against minorities.
- Social media influencers even attain lowest level of not following ethics and morality in the social media sphere. For instance, a beauty YouTuber went to the worst rated salon in her area and claimed to get a skin infection, but was accused of lying by the owners.
- One such insane act is a famous YouTuber family sold replicas of their actual baby online, and people were weirded out. The Ingham Family, who have 1.2 million subscribers on YouTube, made a life-like replica doll of their four-month-old baby Jace in collaboration with dollmaker Mary Shortle. Some fans love the idea of getting their own Jace clone, complete with birth certificate and nappies. Others were horrified, calling it “unbelievably weird,” “creepy,” and “irresponsible.”
- Throughout our life we heard this saying that ‘lying is crime’, however, in the age of social media influencers, ‘lying is a trend’. For instance, Carissa Pinkston, a 20-year-old model for Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty brand, made transphobic comments on Facebook, saying trans women aren’t real women. She then backtracked and claimed to be transgender herself.
- People are getting mesmerised by the kind of glamour they can achieve through Social media influencing. For instance, An Instagram influencer who documented her motorcycle crash was accused of sponsoring the posts and glamorizing the accident.
- In this age it is also becoming difficult to understand who lies and who is telling the truth. For instance,in a recent controversy where the Baba ka dhaba owner got recognition due to a Youtuber was applauded by the public at large. However, the same owner later on accusd the Youtuber for cheating and stealing his money.
- Role of society on shaping children personality is of utmost importance. However, recent instances of exposing nudity and behaving in an unethical way through tik tok like social media platforms left a bad impact on children’s mind. It seems like social media influencers have left the ethics and morality.
- Many of the social media influencers claim that they are more animal friendly or humane in nature but in reality they act in double standard way. However, a youtuber through her vlog demonstrated how to eat a live octopus. It’s an inhumane act where people are getting less sensitive towards the animals.
- The basis of ethics and morality lies in respecting the individual. However, the incidence of a youtuber vs tik toker where they abused each other shows that both have left this basic principle and forgot to show respect to each other.
- The rise of influencer marketing even led this issue to the next level. For instance, people are just running behind money. To get money they can do whatever they want. Marketing through social media platforms is such a move. For instance, the term ‘influencer marketing’s increased by 325% in Google search in 2017.
Social influence is one of the biggest tools to change the whole picture of society. It works in three types, i.e. Compliance, Identification and Internationalisation. We can relate the Identification, and internationalisation types with respect to social media influencers. For instance, people worship celebrities and follow them, the kind of social media influence celebrities have is identified by the public and they follow them. Though we have seen many incidences where social media influencers left a negative impression wrt ethics and morality. There are many incidences where they uphold the ethics and morality.
Ethics and Morality upheld in the age of Social media influencers:
- Social influence in swachh bharat: Many of the social media influencers understood their responsibility towards the society and took part in promoting Swachh bharat abhiyan.
- It shows they adhered moral responsibility. In some of the tragic incidences social media used their spread and reach to aware people about the gravity of the tragic incidences and what we should do when these kind of situations occur. For instance, Hathras tragedy.
- Social media influencers even many of the times used their social media handles to spread the message against evils in society and spread awareness. For instance, campaign of selfie with daughter is one such example where people campaigned against female infanticide and promoted the campaign of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’.
- It highlights that they adhered to their moral responsibility. Our prime minister also uses his influencing reach on social media to promote government campaigns and spread awareness. For instance, wide scale use of social media influence by PMO to spread awareness regarding COVID-19 pandemic.
- Following this move, social media influencers in India and across the globe too spread awareness regarding norms to follow during COVID-19. For instance, bollywood celebrities through their collective effort created a short film cum message to spread awareness regarding covid-19 pandemic. From the above mentioned arguments and examples it is evident that in the age of social media influencers ethics and morality have not taken a back seat, instead they promoted ethics and morality.
‘Technology is a two edged sword’, hence it depends on the user who uses it and in which way the user use it. Though, ethics and morality have taken the back seat in the age of social media due to some irresponsible social media influencers, it is even upheld by some other social media influencers in the society. It’s not a problem of the age of social media influencers but it’s the problem of the way in which social media influencer uses their social influencing potential. Hence, it is of no doubt that the righteous and judicious use of social media influencing will bring sweet fruits of peace and harmony in the society there by ensuring ethics and morality take their front seat.
4. Effective persuasive skills are a must for a successful career in the civil services. Substantiate.
Approach – It expects students to write about persuasive skills and how effective persuasive skills are useful for successful career in the civil services with suitable examples.
Persuasion is the process of convincing someone else to carry out an action or agree with an idea. Civil servant uses persuasion by written or oral communication to convince others to change their point of view, agree to a commitment and facilitate group decision-making.
Effective persuasion skills are:
- Emotional intelligence.
- Effective communication.
- Active listening.
- Logic and reasoning.
- Interpersonal skills.
- Establish trust and develop credibility.
- Use rhetoric and repetition.
- Develop obedience, conformity and compliance.
How effective persuasive skills are helpful in a successful career in the civil services:
- With Emotional intelligence: Controlling his emotions and channelise them in a positive way to ensure Krishnan Kumar district collector of Ganjam Odisha persuaded many people to leave their house during Phailin cyclone.
- With Nudging behaviour: Interventions can help individuals or communities to change behaviour. This tool was used by Parameswaran Iyer IAS in SBM to persuade people practising open defecation in India. Nudged into changing their behaviour to using the toilets provided under the programme.
- With developing conformity: Creating value of Obedience, to follow orders for maintaining law and order and harmonious environment. IPS officer Shivdeep lande took strong action against eve teasers and has arrested many criminals, worked towards women safety and took on the pharmaceutical mafia, under his tenure, the crime rate of Patna dropped drastically.
- Persuasion through negation skills: Need to influence others as part of role or negotiate with different stakeholder. For example, Diplomacy by foreign secretary, an Negotiation skills builds rapport and helps in achieving the goal. For instance, S. Jaishankar is known for his diplomacy skills, a reflection of his good communication skills.
- Use of rhetoric and repetition: Social Media is playing a major role today in persuading people with use of hashtags for good deeds. For Examples Gaurang rathi Varanasi IAS created campaign of “Wall of Gratitude” #MyDeCoronaChamps on social media to thank Corona warriors and help them against problems such as residential issue of health worker.
- With Effective communication: “Chuppi Todd” (‘Break Silence’) Initiative by Arif Shaikh SSP, Raipur in a bid to cope up with serious problem during the Covid-19 lockdown period. Use of telephonic communication to immediately address such as Domestic violence.
Persuasion consistently produces better results with bringing change in people’s internal beliefs and feelings. Effective Persuasion is skill which made many civil servants successful in career with assessing people’s needs, building rapport, focusing on the benefits, countering objections, and finding common ground.
5. What do you understand by the concept of ‘nudging’ in public affairs? Explain with the help of suitable examples.
It expects students to write about the concept of Nudging and give suitable examples of nudging tool used in India’s public affairs.
Nudging is very innovative tool to bring behavioral changes in masses. A relatively subtle policy shift encourages people to make decisions that are in their broad self-interest. It is not about penalizing people financially if they do not act in certain way. It is about making it easier for them to make a certain decision whilst allowing them to have ‘free will’.
Concept of Nudging:
- Humans, being not so rational, often need encouragement or intervention called a nudge to get going and do what is best for the country or society. The ‘Nudge Theory’ recognizes this behavioral trait.
- It says that people, rather than being forced, can be encouraged and influenced to pursue or desist from certain actions through nudges.
- Nudges are not mandates. Therefore, while there is encouragement, there is no compulsion to comply and people have the freedom to choose other options. E.g., Putting fruit at eye level counts as nudge. Banning junk food does not.
- While it is finding increasing applications, the ‘Nudge Theory’ has gotten its share of criticisms too. Among other things, critics accuse it of being used to manipulate behaviors. There is also the risk of the authorities using nudges to promote what is in their own best interest rather than the Nation.
Nudging can be used to drive favorable behavior and avoid unfavorable ones, without resorting to drastic interventions such as penal action or outright bans.
Examples of nudging in public affairs:
- Tax breaks under Section 80C are a nudge to encourage people to invest in financial instruments such as the Public Provident Fund and equity-linked savings schemes, in place of gold or property. Insurers use the ‘nudge’ of lower premiums on life covers to encourage customers to keep away from smoking. Stretching this a bit, mutual fund SIPs, by making regular investing the default option, are also a nudge to investors to avoid panicking during market falls.
- The not-so-effective SC ban on sale of firecrackers in Diwali season in Delhi could have been avoided had people been ‘nudged’ well in advance into realizing the adverse effect on air quality and public health due to widespread firecracker usage.
- Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) has emphasized behavior change in addition to the construction of toilets. It has succeeded in part because it has provided information, made the use of toilets more attractive, appealed to people’s emotions, emphasized new social norms, publicly celebrated Swachhata champions, and prominently connected the reform project to some of Gandhi’s teachings about cleanliness.
- Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao initiative, designed to address the decline in the child sex ratio and promote the empowerment of girls and women. A central goal has been to promote a social norm in favor of celebrating girls, rather than viewing them as burden.
- Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) of India launched an awareness campaign ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’. Under this, ‘Not all animals migrate by choice’ has displayed at major airports across the country. The campaign aims at creating awareness and garnering public support for the protection and conservation of wildlife, prevention of smuggling and reduction in demand for wildlife products.
Often, inertia, lack of knowledge, or poor incentives leads us to select sub-optimal choices. If a nudge helps us choose an option that is also socially desirable, it could mean better public healthcare, civic sense and social harmony.