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SYNOPSIS [23rd April,2021] Day 89: IASbaba’s TLP (Phase 1): UPSC Mains Answer Writing (General Studies)
1. How does information sharing lead to better outcomes? Illustrate.
Approach- Candidate is expected to discuss how information sharing can lead to better outcomes. Suggestions can be given to improve the information sharing mechanism in the second half.
Information is fundamental need of humans to perform various tasks. It has been found that the ability to seek, receive and circulate information is crucial to secure human rights. An information-driven society leads to transparency and accountability. Transparency upholds accountability and delivers information for peoples about the activities of Government.
Role of information sharing
- Fighting corruption: By reducing the secrecy in which decisions are taken and disclosure of the information and thereby transparency increases. This helps in fighting corruption and its various evil faces.
- Reduce Information Asymmetry: To ensure that every citizen is able to access the credible and right information which helps in his overall development.
- Making governments more efficient: The responsibility of the governments increases as they have to be accountable to people about their decisions. This brings in the true essence of democracy which enables citizens to more fully participate in public life. The public trust and the credibility of the government will increase.
- Empowerment of citizens: Helps persons exercise their fundamental human rights and fight in case it is impinged.
- Strengthening operations: To strengthen institutions, modernize the public administration and address civil unrest.
- The words of Sir Francis Bacon — “Knowledge is power” — aptly bring out the essence of the importance of Information. Information sharing is the key to the Government’s goal of delivering better, more efficient public services that are coordinated around the needs of the individual.
What can be done to increase role of information sharing
- Effective use of Media – print, electronic to reduce the information asymmetry. Increasing the data protection standards to safeguard the privacy of individuals.
- The role of the Centre/State Government is to facilitate the Public Authorities in the implementation of the Act. This can happen through providing support to Public Authorities for training, development of software applications, e-Training modules, generating awareness amongst citizens etc.
- Social Audit as a tool for information sharing and transparency in rural employment programmes should be promoted.
- E-Governance as a tool at all levels of governance should be adopted to curb corruption, increase transparency and accountability.
- The benefits of setting up regional offices far outweigh the initial capital costs involved in setting them up. So there is a need to set up regional offices to reduce the geographical reach issues.
- Repealing of the Official Secret Act as iterated by 2nd ARC. Introducing an oath of transparency for bureaucrats and politicians.
- Formation of a strong civil society – better informed society leads to civil society which keeps checks on arbitrary power of govt.
Information sharing starts a two way dialogue process where government and civil society participates for better outcomes. Information dissemination improves transparency and accountability empowering marginal beneficiaries and improving quality of services.
2. Discuss the ways in which adherence to codes of ethics lead to positive behavioural changes.
Since the question is asking you to discuss hence it necessitates a debate where reasoning is backed up with evidence to make a case for and against an argument and finally arriving at a conclusion.
A code of ethics and professional conduct outlines the ethical principles that govern decisions and behaviour at a company or organization. They give general outlines of how employees should behave, as well as specific guidance for handling issues like harassment, safety, and conflicts of interest.
THE WAYS IN WHICH ADHERENCE TO CODES OF ETHICS LEAD TO POSITIVE BEHAVIOURAL CHANGES
- A code of ethics sets out an organization’s ethical guidelines and best practices to follow for honesty, integrity, and professionalism.
- Overall, evidence on the impact of codes of ethics on behaviour from a rapid review was found to be consistent and broadly positive. Laboratory and field experiments reviewed showed codes can encourage people to behave with integrity.
- People who are ethical are trustworthy, have respect for others and take responsibility for their actions or their inaction. They are fair, and they care about others and the outcome for the business.
- Ethical people do the right thing, even when it isn’t convenient. Making a mistake at work can cost a person a job, so it’s natural for people to try to avoid responsibility when they make a work mistake. Ethical employees understand the importance of solving problems, and although it might not be easy to own up to a mistake, an ethical employee realizes that owning up to a mistake is the fastest way to resolve a situation, and to learn better skills. This becomes a trait that employers seek.
- A code of ethics is broad, giving person a general idea of what types of behaviour and decisions are acceptable and encouraged at a business or organization. A code of conduct is more focused. It defines how a person should act in specific situations.
- Code of ethics teaches a person to be respectful, considerate, inclusive, etc thus bringing positive change in his behaviour.
Having a code of ethics holds a different level of importance for people, but there are clear advantages to creating a personal code of ethics. Since personal beliefs are usually the foundation for an individual’s code of ethics, they may refer to it when they are morally unsure about a situation. Their code of ethics can guide to steer them toward an action or opinion that aligns with what they believe on a fundamental level. A code of ethics reinforces individual values and can provide clarity and strength to follow the path they believe is best.
3. What are the challenges in enforcing model code of conduct during elections? Discuss.
The student is expected to define MCC shortly and then write down the challenges in enforcing the model code of conduct. He should briefly conclude with a way forward.
The Model Code of Conduct (MCC) is a document from the Election Commission of India that lays down the minimum standards of behaviour for political parties and their candidates contesting elections, by defining their dos and don’ts in the electoral battle.
It ensures that the party in power doesn’t gain an unfair advantage and free and fair elections can be conducted. However, the emergence of social media and other online platforms has posed challenges for the effective implementation of the Model Code of Conduct.
The MCC is not enforceable by law. However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951. The Election Commission has argued against making the MCC legally binding; stating that elections must be completed within a relatively short time (close to 45 days), and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.
On the other hand, in 2013, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, recommended making the MCC legally binding. In a report on electoral reforms, the Standing Committee observed that most provisions of the MCC are already enforceable through corresponding provisions in other statutes, mentioned above. It recommended that the MCC be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
According to the EC, the code states that the party in power — whether at the Centre or in the States — should ensure that it does not use its official position for campaigning. Ministers and other government authorities cannot announce financial grants in any form. No project or scheme which may have the effect of influencing the voter in favour of the party in power can be announced, and Ministers cannot use official machinery for campaign purposes.
- Jurisdiction issues: Digital companies like Facebook are run by companies located overseas. Holding them accountable has been difficult for Indian agencies. EC will face a similar challenge in preventing MCC violations.
- Fake News: Digital media is a potent source of unverified and deliberate fake news. EC lacks resources as well as surveillance capacity to implement and punish the violation of MCC.
- Difficult to Identify Perpetrator: Most of the information during elections is targeted through the algorithm of [online] platforms to push in much more subtle marketing messaging blended with political canvassing,
- Unregulated Nature of Digital Media: All the current measures in place to regulate elections online are being implemented based on voluntary commitments made by online platforms. So, there are no legally binding obligations on, for instance, Facebook or Twitter to take certain actions and there are no penalties prescribed for failing to do so.
In 2015, the Law Commission in its report on Electoral Reforms, noted that the MCC prohibits the issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in newspapers/media during the election period. However, it observed that since the MCC comes into operation only from the date on which the Commission announces elections, the government can release advertisements prior to the announcement of elections. It noted that this gives an advantage to the ruling party to issue government sponsored advertisements that highlights its achievements, which gives it an undue advantage over other parties and candidates. Therefore, the Commission recommended that a restriction should be imposed on government-sponsored advertisements for up to six months prior to the date of expiry of the House/Assembly. However, it stated that an exception may be carved out for advertisements highlighting the government’s poverty alleviation programmes or any health related schemes.
4. What are the key elements of a good work culture? Why is it important? Analyse.
The candidate needs to elaborate upon the key elements of a good work culture in the first part of the answer while in the second part, analysing the importance of good work culture is the demand.
Work culture consists of the values, norms, and behaviour of the people working within an organization and the meaning they attach to their actions and beliefs. Desirable work culture includes shared institutional values, priorities, rewards and other practices fostering inclusion.
An organization is said to have a strong work culture when the employees follow the organization’s rules and regulations and adhere to the existing guidelines. Work culture plays an important role in extracting the best out of employees and making them stick to the organization for a longer duration. In this regard, the key elements of a good work culture include –
- Organizational Clarity: The degree to which the goals and plans of the organization are clearly perceived by its members rises in proportion to the employees” feelings of involvement in the goal-setting and planning procedures.
- Strong Team Spirit: As social beings, we naturally seek support from our peers and seek to belong to a group. Come tough times, the team should come together to deal with whatever problems are out there. This is where a sense of unity is evoked in the team.
- Human Resource Development: Provide opportunities within the organization for people to develop to their full potential. How honourably the company acts in tough situations will do much to determine whether or not it has a culture of success.
- Decision-Making Structure: The main purpose of structure is to facilitate decision making, not to develop new organizational charts and lines of authority. A free flow of information for decision making throughout the organization allows positive outcomes.
- Transparency is essential at all levels for better relationships among employees and a healthy work culture. Manipulating information and data tampering must be a strict no at the workplace. Organization must have employee friendly policies and practical guidelines.
- Employees must be cordial with each other. Backbiting is considered strictly unprofessional and must be avoided for a healthy work culture. One gains nothing out of conflicts and nasty politics at work.
- Each employee should be treated as one. Partiality leads to demotivated employees and eventually an unhealthy work culture. Employees should be judged only by their work and nothing else.
Consequently, the importance of a good work culture can be seen from the following points –
- Increases Productivity and Quality: Transparency, responsibility, unbiased are underpinnings of good work culture. These will enable individuals and teams to become self-organized which in turn improves quality and productivity.
- Transparency, innovation and discipline: Healthy work culture promotes transparency, innovation and discipline in an organisation.
- Reduced Conflicts: Good work culture promotes effective communication and helps in reducing conflicts among individuals/team during work.
- Sustainable Work: Good work culture includes peer respect, recognition of hard work, and freedom to bring new ideas (innovation). These will help in long term prospects of the organization.
- Effective Communication: Healthy work culture provides a platform for effective communication among the verticals and horizontals of the organisation which helps in getting work done effectively.
- Fixed norms bring a uniformity in the working style of people and it is explicitly clear what an organization expects from its workers. It gives a sense of belonging to the workers and they don’t take work as a burden.
A happy worker is a vital asset to an organization. He/she not only works efficiently he/she also motivates and therefore get the best of his/her colleagues. This leads to overall positive results for the organisation as well as the individuals involved.
5. How will you design the citizen charter of a space organisation?
Candidates are expected to write about citizen charter and also write about how they will design a citizen charter of space organisation.
It has been recognised world over that good governance is essential for sustainable development, both economic and social. The three essential aspects emphasised in good governance are transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the administration. Citizens’ Charters initiative is a response to the quest for solving the problems which a citizen encounters, day in and day out, while dealing with the organisations providing public services.
Citizen charter in India:
- The Right of Citizens for Time Bound Delivery of Goods and Services and Redressal of their Grievances Bill, 2011 (Citizens Charter) seeks to create a mechanism to ensure timely delivery of goods and services to citizens. It requires every public authority to publish a CC within six months of the commencement of the Act and levies a penalty of up to Rs 50,000 for failure to render services.
- Basically a set of commitments made by an organization regarding the standards of service which it delivers. It comprises of the Vision and Mission Statement of the organization, stating the outcomes desired and the broad strategy to achieve these goals and outcomes. Clearly states what subjects it deals with and the service areas it broadly covers.
The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery. Citizen charter for space organisation can be designed by keep in mind Six principles of the Citizens Charter movement as originally framed, were:
- Quality: Improving the quality of services.
- Choice : Wherever possible.
- Standards :Specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met.
- Value: For the taxpayers money.
- Accountability : Individuals and Organisations.
- Transparency : Rules/ Procedures/ Schemes/Grievances.
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Government of India (DARPG) initiated the task of coordinating, formulating and operationalising Citizens’ Charters. With keeping in mind the guideline of DARPG we can formulate charter for space organisation such as:
- Vision and Mission Statement of the space institute. For example Harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration.
- Details of business transacted by the organisation.
- Details of client with whom organisation engage. Like User Ministries/Departments of the Central Government viz., Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Department of Telecommunications, India Meteorological Department. Remote Sensing Agencies in State Governments and Union Territories. Quasi Government Organisations, NGOs and the Private Sector for developmental purposes through satellite imaging. Educational institutions in promotion of research and development in space science and technology.
- Activities of organisation for example Remote Sensing Programme for application of satellite imagery for various developmental purposes. Research and Development in Space Sciences and Technology for serving the end of applying them for national development.
- How tender in the space organisation is allowed what all specific requirements will there to fulfil tender criteria.
- Details of services provided to each client group.
- Details of grievance redress mechanism and how to access it by any individual or any organisation. Public grievances portal can be developed. Whom to contact for example Joint Secretary, Public Grievances Officer & Chief Vigilance Officer.
- Expectations from the clients to whom space institute is providing service.
However, it is observed that framing of effective charters is also an arduous task as it should be prepared in stages and such stages shall take into account all the important heads as mentioned above, so that it acts as an effective medium of information dissemination and receiving from it’s service consumers.At the same time, citizens are required to participate by filing feedback or grievance redressal forms for better administration.