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SYNOPSIS [22nd JANUARY,2021] Day 11: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. India’s test series win against Australia must have taught you some lessons in ethics. Can you discuss a few?
A straightforward question where you need to bring out the ethical lessons you learnt from the recently concluded India-Australia Test series where India won against all odds.
Ethics is very important in all spheres of life and in cricket as well. So much so that in cricket there are worldwide rules to ensure the game is played with a sense of fairness. In fact, Cricket is one of the few sports where the Rules are described as ‘Laws’ and this signifies how important uniformity and fairness is in cricket. In this regard, the recent Border-Gavaskar trophy gives us many ethical lessons.
To defeat Australian cricket team in their own backyard is a monumental accomplishment. To do so without more than a half-dozen first-choice players, and from the spirit-shattering 36 all out in the first Test, has few parallels. It also brings out many ethical lessons, which have gone into the win of Indian cricket team, some of which are discussed below –
- The fortitude of this Indian team will be spoken about for many years. The world has been witnessing to their indomitable spirit, their unshakeable character. This becomes important when seen in context of the Adelaide debacle (first test), where India used this initial calamity as a springboard to victory.
- Categorical Imperative: A “categorical imperative” to achieve the “far nobler end” of performing our various duties. To inculcate the categorical imperative, one has to become a moral person. On the Indian side, Ravindra Jadeja was seen padded up with a dislocated thumb. Earlier, Jaspreet Bumrah, though not completely fit, bowled with full heart. These actions reflected their commitment to ‘duty’, and thus on their moral personality. As Kant says, performing one’s duty with ‘good will’ is the supreme morality.
- Some members of the spectators in the Sydney Cricket Ground used racist language against cricketers Mohammed Siraj and Jaspreet Bumrah. It is not only morally repugnant but also goes against the universal values of human rights of respecting the dignity of an individual. But Indian team didn’t cow down and played the match even when the umpire suggested that the team may leave the ground if they felt the crowd’s behaviour was hostile.
- Even on the field, one of the great Test players of the Australian team, Steve Smith, was caught removing Pant’s guard mark, an act that can be considered a moral misconduct. It reflects very poorly on the moral aptitude of Smith. In face of such attitude, the resolve of Indian team to play good cricket was not lost in fact, it strengthened.
- We also saw some of the Australian players mocking the grave injuries faced by the Indian players. This reflects not only the moral bankruptcy of the individuals, but also the absence of humanism in them. One of the Indicators of Human-hood for Joseph Fletcher is the concern for others, which was clearly absent in some of the Australian players.
- As young people, it is important to remember that our national philosophy, through our Constitution, is “to develop humanism”. More than that, it is the Indian philosophy to treat everyone with dignity and have compassion for all. This match showed us how not to be. What not to do to develop a “moral personality”. This was reflected from the Australian teams conduct.
- There was the clarity of thought in decision-making, both from the management group and from the captain and the players. These decisions were made with the team’s framework in mind, never mind if they weren’t always conventional. The final test’s strategies debunked the myth that we have been besieged by the T20 generation. Of all the life-lessons, this was significant – desist from being judgmental.
- Further, in the third test at Sydney, with gruelling injuries to key players, India still managed to draw the test match, all thanks to grit and resilience shown by Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vehari in the last two sessions of the match.
- The test series also showed that instead of fancy qualifications, teams win due to hard work, resilience, team spirit and a will to win can lead to success. It also showed that it is the team that matters. Most importantly, it also brings great leadership lessons: the quality of calmness and ability to give credit to the team. This was aptly displayed by Indian team’s captain Ajinkya Rahane.
Cricket is a gentleman’s game. It is important to strive to ensure it remains so. The present Indian test team, which won the series down under, ensured that cricket remained a gentleman’s game in spite of multiple provocations where highest level of ethical conduct was displayed by the Indian team which helps in the overall striving towards making the game nobler and competitive.
2. Why is ethics essential in a person’s private life also? Examine.
Students are expected to write about the ethics and examine how much ethics is essential in any one’s personal private life.
Ethics are set of moral standards that act as a guide to evaluate the behaviour or action in terms of being good or bad and wrong or right. It acts as moral compass to the human beings in dispensing their actions.
Person’s private life:
- The private life demand individual’s responsibilities towards the role played in private life such as father, mother, husband, etc. These are self-imposed and voluntary and are backed by sanctions of one’s obligations towards self, family and society since ancient times.
- The governing factors for ethics in private life include individual virtues, universal human values, religion, social norms and law.
- For example, in India, the Dharmashshtras provide moral codes to regulate the private life.
Some common personal/private ethics include:
- Equality and fairness
- Empathy and respect
Ethics are essential in person’s private life also:
- Creating Credibility: Someone who has ethical conduct will secure a better position in society, as that person will be trusted more. An Individual who is believed to be driven by ethical and moral values is respected in the society even by those who may have not known him/her. For example, support from family and friends helps person excel professionally.
- Humanising tendencies: Ethics in private relations helps in humanizing public relations and play an important role in forming the base for moral values of a person. For example, it generates love and care towards people and also build relationships with human emotions.
- Make own and others live better: Ethics affect everyday life. By being ethical and moral, we enrich our lives and the lives of those around us. When we help make society better, we are rewarded with also making better own lives and the lives of our families and friends. Without ethical and moral conduct, society and personal life would be a miserable. For example, cricketer Hardik Pandya, and KL Rahul in TV show were judged on their personal unethical activities and later it affected their mental health and badly rewarded by society.
- Better decision making: Decisions are driven by values. Practising and making an effort to make ethical and moral decisions throughout life will pay dividends when we are faced with serious moral dilemmas. Consciously or unconsciously, we use ethics with every decision. For example, Kasab Chandra Sen opposed child marriage but married his own underage daughter to Maharaja of Cooch Bihar. Consequently, his followers abandoned him and founded Sadharan Brahmo Samaj (1878).
- Lessen stress. When we make immoral decisions, we tend to feel uncomfortable and concerned about our decision making. Making the right ethical decision, or taking a principled perspective on an issue, reduces stress.
- Refine your leadership style: Creating a good personal ethics is an effective way to help advance your career, especially when applying to a leadership position or a position that requires a strong set of personal ethics. Knowing what you value and what you stand for can help you decide on a leadership style that enables you to lead teams to progress and success.
Our actions and decisions in private life of any situation define how society views us. We must be mindful about how our decisions, our actions and our views. Negative ethical decisions in private life are noticed more frequently and provide a basis for judgment rather than positive ethical decisions. Each individual has a distinct responsibility to make the right and moral choice each time an ethical situation arises.
3. What do you understand by the term privilege? Why is it important to be aware of one’s privilege? Discuss.
Question is sensitive in nature and demands understanding of one’s location and background. Privilege is often unacknowledged part of our social life; hence question needs critical arguments. In the first part definition can be given and in later half with the help of some examples awareness about privilege can be stated.
“Privilege” refers to certain social advantages, benefits, or degrees of prestige and respect that an individual has by virtue of belonging to certain social identity groups. Privilege is often the benefits and advantages held by a group in power, or in a majority, that arise because of the oppression and suppression of vulnerable groups.
What consists of privilege-
- Privilege is the understanding that some people benefit from unearned and largely unacknowledged advantages due to race, caste, class, ability, sexual orientation or gender.
What privilege translates to-
- Education isn’t a struggle
Dalit, tribal students and students with disabilities fall out of education more than upper class and able-bodied students. Girls’ bodies are objectified by society and they are subject to limitations when it comes to going out or pursuing higher studies.
Finding a well-paying job isn’t difficult-
- In united states Job applicants with stereotypically “black-sounding” names are less likely than their white-sounding counterparts to get called in for interviews. When a person of colour joins a company, people wonder if they were chosen to fill a diversity quota rather than assuming they are there based on their merits. The current pay gap between women and men is 20%.
Mainstream media represents you-
- People of minority, Dalit, tribal background, LGBTQ, and disabled people are under or misrepresented on TV, in movies, in magazines, in books, and in the news. When they are shown, they are rarely presented as being well-rounded and successful. All too often, they are reduced to a stereotype or a punchline.
Why it is important to be aware of one’s privilege-
- Recognizing your privilege means being aware that some people have to work much harder for the same opportunities you take for granted and in truth, they may never experience them at all. It means educating yourself to the fullest extent possible, so you understand what’s truly at stake. It means, as a person who benefits from privilege, you need to stand up, speak out. It means having empathy and taking active steps to do something about it.
- Recognizing your privilege is not meant to make you feel guilty. After all, it’s not your fault that you were born with these privileges. It doesn’t invalidate any hardships you have faced and it certainly doesn’t mean you don’t lack privilege in certain areas. For example, upper class male from India, may face hardships in some another part of world.
- Though privilege can manifest itself in abhorrent ways, the worst is to pretend the problem doesn’t exist at all. Deliberate denial as well as claiming the victimized are trying to persecute the majority will not solve the problem.
- The important thing to remember is that privilege isn’t a personal attack — it isn’t even about you at all. Privilege is the result of multiple systems of oppression at work. You can either choose to ignore this dark reality, or you can choose to accept it, and work to change it. Hence aware of privilege or caste/ class consciousness is important.
- Indian society is Rooted in systemic inequality, people of lower cates and minority groups are oppressed and discriminated against. As some groups are disproportionately targeted over others, just one consequence of a passive ignorance is privilege.
- It is from this and other realizations that we need to recognize our advantages and disadvantages to combat institutional oppression. Socioeconomic status, caste, gender and sexual orientation are formative characteristics that need recognition for productive conversation.
A call to admit privilege is not a rallying cry for ridicule, but rather an avenue for understanding and growth. Awareness of one’s privilege is start of journey towards empathy and of sensitive social behaviour. It is a way of life where we do not take things for granted and use our privilege for the benefit of those who don’t.
4. What do you understand by the ‘efficacy’ of a vaccine? How is it measured?
As the derivative is explain so it necessitates an explanation in which you have to make something clear or easy to understand
Efficacy of vaccine is the percentage reduction in a disease in a group of people who received a vaccination in a clinical trial. It differs from vaccine effectiveness, which measures how well a vaccine works when given to people in the community outside of clinical trials.
Scientists can calculate how well a vaccine candidate works by looking at the difference in new cases of the disease between the group receiving a placebo and the group receiving the experimental vaccine. This is called efficacy of vaccine. For example, Pfizer reported an efficacy of 95% for the COVID-19 vaccine. This means a 95% reduction in new cases of the disease in the vaccine group compared with the placebo group.
MEASUREMENT OF EFFICACY OF VACCINE
- In the clinical development of a vaccine, an efficacy study asks the question, “Does the vaccine work?”
- ‘Efficacy’ is defined as the percentage by which the rate of the target disease is reduced among those who are vaccinated compared to those who are unvaccinated under ideal and controlled circumstances.8 Hence, efficacy is typically measured in the context of a placebo-controlled randomized clinical trial as the ‘per protocol’ efficacy (that is, only in individuals who followed the recommended schedule), as the intention is to establish the biologic performance capacity of the product under optimal conditions.
- Relative Risk Reduction (RRR) or Vaccine Efficacy (VE): It is also called ‘prevented fraction among the vaccinated’ as it measures the proportion of the disease incidence among vaccinated persons which was prevented by vaccination, or equivalently ‘preventable fraction among the unvaccinated’, as it measures the proportion of the disease incidence among unvaccinated persons which is theoretically preventable by vaccination. Iv RRR=VE=1-RR=1- Iu.
- Vaccine efficacy (VE) has been alternatively called rate fraction, etiologic fraction, and an attributable fraction. The expression describes the fraction of cases prevented by the vaccine. VPDI, in contrast to VE, is not a fraction, but an incidence. Mathematically VPDI is equal to Iu ×VE. This latter formulation emphasizes that VPDI encompasses both VE and the background incidence of the disease syndrome in question.18 Vaccine efficacy can sometimes fail to capture the complete public health impact of vaccines and can be relatively low when preventable disease burden is high. In this regard, measures beyond efficacy (like VPDI) may be more appropriate and could have a role for both vaccine licensure and policy recommendations.
Very few vaccines are 100% effective. But many routine vaccines have very high levels of effectiveness. While vaccine effectiveness can inform scientists how much it can reduce new cases in those who have the vaccine, scientists can also use this to work out how many people need to have the vaccine to reach herd immunity. The advantages of a vaccine efficacy have control for all biases that would be found with randomization, as well as prospective, active monitoring for disease attack rates, and careful tracking of vaccination status for a study population there is normally a subset as well, laboratory confirmation of the infectious outcome of interest and a sampling of vaccine immunogenicity. The major disadvantages of vaccine efficacy trials are the complexity and expense of performing them, especially for relatively uncommon infectious outcomes of diseases for which the sample size required is driven up to achieve clinically useful statistical power.
5. What according to you should be the key priorities of this year’s budget? Discuss.
The question demands a thorough explanation of the priorities of the Indian economy which must be reflected in this year coming budget, also priorities need to be mentioned in a detailed manner with their impact on the economy as a whole. Brief mentioning of budget cycle is also important.
- India has emerged as the fastest growing major economy in the world and is expected to be one of the top three economic powers in the world over next 10-15 years with the backing of its robust democracy and strong partnerships. India’s GDP (at constant prices- 2011-12) was estimated at 33 trillion (US$ 453 billion) (-23.5 percent) for the second quarter of 2020-21, against rupees 35.84 trillion (US$ 490 billion) in the second quarter of 2019-20. With this decline in the growth because of double whammy of low supply and demand due to COVID-19 and the previous issues concerning the economy, the budget has to push for some immediate recovery.
Priorities for the upcoming budget–
- Prospects of Higher Fiscal Deficit creates fear that Indian public debt may becoming unsustainable. It is important that alongwith higher government borrowing, strong commitment to debt sustainability by setting up a fiscal council, public debt management agency and a deep and liquid bond market is the need of hour.
- Need for better estimates and transparency: The most important number that determine the entire budget is the expected nominal growth rate which becomes the base for tax projections, when the nominal growth is overestimated as it was in the last year, tax officials are given unrealistic targets and they try to meet these targets through tax demands, raids thus creating fear among the investors. Both direct taxes such as income and corporate taxes and indirect taxes such as GST depend on nominal GDP. Thus, there is a need of realistic assessment of nominal growth rate.
- The system of accounting followed by the government is based on cash paid out which creates a problem such as delayed payment to the private parties which helps the government to show lower expenditure so that its borrowings are contained. There is a need to move from cash-system to accrual-based system of accounting. This may add more transparency and will lend credibility to the numbers of the government which has rather been in questioned in the past.
- With the slowdown in the GDP growth debt dynamics are at the risk of being unsustainable. For sustainability of the debt, the rate of growth of debt must not be faster than the rate of growth of economy. With debt growing at the interest rate, if interest rate is higher than the growth rate of the economy, there is a risk of debt becoming unsustainable. The debt to GDP ratio growing every year is a real risk which needs to be contained.
- Improve Agricultural Infrastructure to Strengthen Competition: Government should massively fund the expansion of the APMC market system, make efforts to remove trade cartels, and provide farmers good roads, logistics of scale and real time information. Empowering State Farmers Commissions: Rather than opting for heavy centralisation, the emphasis should be on empowering farmers through State Farmers Commissions recommended by the National Commission for Farmers, to bring about a speedy government response to issues.
- With schools, colleges and universities being closed from one year, the education sector is one the worst affected by COVID-19. Online education did cover some losses but the digital divide was clearly witnessed in the rural parts of the country. Therefore, the budget should priorities Digital Infrastructure in rural areas, promote MOOC courses, improve the technological back-ends of major institutions and impart digital training to the SSA teachers.
- Apart from capital expenditure, the budget is also expected to increase the grants for creation of capital assets, health expenditure and grants to states under certain schemes
- The focus on high quality spending with a large multiplier effect in terms of demand and job creation and funding for large infrastructural projects is the need of hour.
- With global trade up to its minimum due to disruption in the supply chain mechanism because of the COVID-19 pandemic India has an opportunity to fill the void created by pandemic and trade war between china and USA, by increasing exports and investments as India provides opportunity to be the suitable investment destination because of availability of cheap labour force and maximum ease of doing business. This is also expected to reflect in the new budget with making available all the relevant resources to make India a true economic powerhouse in the world.
India is today transitioning from a situation where it opened its doors to liberalisation and globalisation to one where it has to rearm itself to become a competitive manufacturing hub, a self-reliant country that can face war and pandemics, and a comfortable investment destination where the world can relocate to capitalise on its huge and talented manpower and geographic advantages. One cannot look at it as a crude strategy to close down China and replace it with India. It is more of a strategy to make India equally attractive, to make the world believe in the regulatory stability in our country and to revive the nation and truly put it in on the world map.