Gist of Yojana September 2020 Issue: Ethics and Integrity

Yojana Magazine is an important source of material for the UPSC exam. The monthly magazine provides details of major government schemes and programmes in various domains. Moreover, coming from the government, it is an authentic source of information for the UPSC Exam. Here, we provide the Gist of Yojana, exclusively for the IAS Exam.

September 2020 Yojana:- Download PDF Here

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. Introduction
2. National Education Policy
3. Accountability in Government
4. Fighting Corruption
5. Public Funding of Elections
6. Information Sharing in Government
7. The Rule of Law
8. Media Governance Ethos Values & Integrity
9. Ethics in Journalism
10. Corporate Ethics
11. Gandhian Perspectives on Ethics
12. Geographic Information System

Chapter 1: Introduction

Integrity

  • A person’s character is often defined by virtues such as truth, values, compassion and empathy.
  • Integrity is referred to as the consistent and uncompromising adherence to such strong moral and ethical principles, and values. The word ‘integrity’ has its genesis in a Latin word ‘integer’, which means ‘whole’, thus implying that an individual is incomplete without integrity.
  • Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Ethics

  • The judgement of right and wrong, what to do and what not to do, and how one is ought to act, forms the ethics.
  • They are the moral principles which govern an individual’s actions. Their applicability in different circumstances is conditioned by intent.
  • If a decision backfires but the decision was made with positive intent and mindfulness, it still falls under the ambit of a moral behavior- to err is human.
  • However, any decision made with the intention to harm someone under compromised values and ill-intent, will certainly not fall under the category of ethical conduct.

Ethical behavior

  • The moral compass of individuals may fall differently in a spectrum of value-system. They may judge situations differently, perceiving morality in different ways. It may sound subjective and prescriptive but well-intended ethical behavior has no substitute.
  • In an organizational setting, public or private, it is essential to bring together different sets of people under the same ethical behavior, this is essential as each one of them is the face of the organization.
  • An ethical work culture will be governed by work ethics of each individual and implementation of stringent code of conduct and citizen’s charter.

Chapter 2: National Education Policy

The new national education policy (NEP) 2020 is an ambitious document, with an eye on the future, it covers all aspects of education. This policy is in many ways radically different from all its predecessors, and it looks at the educational requirements of the nation through a fresh perspective.

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) and the Need:

  • Previous education policies have not addressed Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).
  • The importance of ECCE is immense in the holistic development of an individual. It essentially begins with his or her nourishment and nurturing during the early years.
    • The Policy says, ‘over 85% of Child’s cumulative brain development occurs before the age of 6, indicating the critical importance of appropriate care and stimulation of the brain in early years.’
  • This idea is backed by the latest researches in the field of neurosciences and brain development.
  • The edifice of later cognitive, intellectual and skill advancements are built on the foundations of crucial early-childhood years.
  • Unfortunately, crores of children are still deprived of quality early childhood care and education due to various socio-economic dis-advantages their families face.
  • Keeping all this in mind, the policymakers have and chosen to integrate this stage of a child’s physical, mental and cognitive development with the formal schooling pattern.
    • Hence, the 10+2 model is proposed to be replaced by a 5+3+3+4 model of ECCE and schooling.

5+3+3+4 Model Explained:

  • ECCE shall take place from the ages of 3 to 6 in Anganwadis, Balvatikas and play-schools, this will be followed by Classes 1 and 2 in school. Together, the ECCE years and the first two years of schooling form the first five years of the new model.
    • These five years constitute the foundational stage of education.
  • This will be followed by Classes 3 to 5 (3 years), 6 to 8 (three years) and 9 to 12 (four years).

Significance of the reform in Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE):

  • The basis for this revamping is the developmental needs and interests of learners at different stages of their physical, mental, emotional and psychological development.
  • This will not only provide nutrition and care for healthy physical and mental growth but will also ‘focus on developing cognitive-affective, psychomotor abilities and early literacy and numeracy.
  • The policy brings ensures convergence of the ministries of Human Resource Development (i.e. Ministry of Education), Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HEW), and Tribal Affairs.

School Education:

  • The School education has been guilty of not according due recognition to co-curricular and extra-curricular areas.
  • The policy makers have placed special emphasis on learning to be holistic, experiential, integrative, and enjoyable.
  • The Policy aims at ‘real understanding and towards learning how to learn’.
  • It seeks to move away from rote learning, something that the National Curriculum Framework of 2005 had tried to cure.
    • Rote memorisation and mindless recitation in response to questions that are neither analytical nor reflective is nothing but the storing of sterile and unconnected pieces of information in the mind.
    • This is cognitively taxing and, more often than not, an exercise in futility.
  • The proposed approach underscores critical thinking and learning based on inquiry, discovery, discussion and analysis.
  • Art-and sports-integrated education will be important strands in this cross-curricular pedagogic approach.
  • Flexibility in course choices will be another curricular advantage for students. The thought behind this curricular overhaul is to create ‘holistic end well-rounded individual equipped with the key 21st century skills.

Teacher capacity

  • No amount of reforms will yield results without the professional capacity and vision of the teachers.
  • Teachers’ capacity can be enhanced only by focusing attention on their pre-and in-service education, service conditions, and terms of recruitment and deployment. NEP addresses these issues.
  • It has been seen that the efficiency of teachers is hindered by the menace of excessive and arbitrary transfers.
  • Teachers’ professional autonomy will be restored and a comprehensive merit-based structure of tenure promotion and salary structure will be developed.
  • In a bid to attract outstanding students to the teaching profession, it proposes a large number of merit-based scholarships for pursuing quality 4-year integrated B.Ed programmes, with special focus on rural areas.
  • It has also proposed to strengthen Teacher Eligibility Tests (TETs) for the assessment of several parameters: subject-amide and pedagogy, classroom teaching, passion and motivation for the profession and proficiency of teaching in the local language.
    • These tests will therefore include teaching demonstration and interview components.

Higher education

  • The policy has identified the role of higher education as ‘promoting human as well as societal well-being and developing India as envisioned in its Constitution—a democratic, just, socially conscious, cultured and humane nation, upholding liberty, equality, fraternity, and justice for all.’

Problems hampering the higher education system in India

  • Rigid separation of disciplines
  • Limited teacher and institutional autonomy
  • Lack of focus on quality and relevant research and
  • Poor institutional governance

NEP on Higher Education

  • The policy aims to usher in a fairly radical reformation of the higher education structure.
  • The policy provides the freedom to choose what to learn, how to learn and when to learn.
  • The earlier segregation of streams, rather regimented, did not allow for any formal or institutional interface between the sciences, the social sciences and the humanities.
  • The decision has been made to do away with the rigid walls between different disciplines and to provide freedom to exit and enter courses, as these will be credit-based and will truly liberate learners.

Significance

  • This framework prevented the wholesome development of individuals. The Policy’s proposal to integrate engineering courses, at institutions such as IIT, with the arts and the humanities to move towards holistic and multidisciplinary education, would surely enthuse every thinking being.
  • This represents a holistic approach and should lead to the blossoming of various human capacities—intellectual, aesthetic, social, physical, emotional and moral—in an integrated manner.
  • The policy aims to curb fragmentation of higher education through restructuring higher education institutions into large multidisciplinary universities, colleges and higher education institution (HEI) clusters or knowledge hubs.
  • Though all such multi-disciplinary universities are envisaged to carry out ‘teaching, research, and community engagement’, some would develop as teaching-intensive universities and some as research-intensive ones.
  • Research, both in fundamental and applied disciplines is essential for progress, especially in today’s fast-developing world.
  • The creation of a National Research Foundation (NRF) has been envisaged to lay foundations for a robust ecosystem for high-quality research.
    • The Foundation’s main objectives will be to identify priority areas or themes for research and coordinate with different academic institutions and funding agencies to ‘ensure synergy of purpose and avoid duplication of efforts.’
  • The policy aspires to dismantle this status hierarchy and aims to integrate vocational education with mainstream education starting with vocational exposure in the middle and secondary classes.
    • This will ensure that every individual learns at least one vocation and can develop a sense of the dignity of labour and respect for various vocations.
    • This will also enable us to tap our demographic dividend and address skill-deficits of the economy.
  • The policy envisions that the ‘development of vocational capacities will go hand in hand with the development of ‘academic’ or other capacities.

Chapter 3: Accountability in Government

Accountability

  • Accountability refers to the process as well as norms that make decision-maker answerable to the beneficiary.
  • The accountability to the citizens is a fundamental principle of democratic governance.
  • Accountability mechanism certainly encourages responsible governance. It facilitates a feedback mechanism between the government and its citizens.
  • Accountability institutions are very important and form the foundation of any good governance mechanism .
  • Accountability has an answerability component to justify the action and an enforcement component that is to take action in cases where act of omission or commission is established. It provides for remedial measures including punishment in case of deviations from norms. Accountability helps in improving public confidence in government performance.
  • Internal accountability mechanisms refer to systems of checks and balances and incentives on one hand and oversight mechanisms coupled with expectations of the stakeholders to be met on the other.
  • Accountability is an ongoing process. The stakeholders directly or indirectly participate in framing the vision and indicating the priorities.

Accountability for what?

  • Accountability fosters transparency in decision-making and also requires accurate and reliable information and data be maintained by the government agency and be made available in the public domain for public scrutiny.
  • The government functionaries are bound by the General Financial Rules (GFR), Delegation of Financial Power Rules (DFPR), Manual of Purchase of Goods and Services etc, while making decisions.
  • Any deviation concerning the framework will be overseen by the oversight agencies.
  • However, for an accountability mechanism to be really effective, it also needs to be ensured that the framework itself is robust. A weak administrative framework would lead to weak accountability mechanism.
  • The Right to Information Act, 2004 has brought in a huge element of transparency in the decision-making in the government as well as access to information.
  • Similarly, digitization of various services to the citizens has not only facilitated faster delivery of services but also provided a clear trail of transactions for any analysis by an oversight agency.

Citizen Charter- An accountability mechanism

  • The Citizen’s Charter spells out the responsibilities of various agencies of the government, by laying down the timelines for rendering the specific services they proactively make themselves accountable to the citizens.
  • For example, the Citizen’s Charter of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) provides for inter-alia service delivery standards which include the specified timelines for the issue of refunds or redressal of grievances.
  • The budget speech in February 2020 announced the insertion of new section 119/A in the Income Tax Act namely, “Taxpayers Charter”. This would provide the much needed legal hacking to Citizen’s Charter in India as it would follow the model of governmental accountability in the form of a vision being strengthened through legal slams to a priority area of service delivery.
  • Following this new approach would help establish a precedent for Citizen’s Charters in other governmental agencies thereby improving not only their credibility but also efficiencies for governmental functioning.

The Institutional Mechanisms

  • The presence of strong and independent accountability institutions are a necessary condition for good governance as they can detect the violations and deviations.
  • The institutional mechanisms which intend to ensure accountability of the Government may emanate out of Constitutional provisions, Legislative Framework and administrative arrangements.

External Accountability

  • The citizens as the electorate have the inherent right to seek accountability of the elected representatives, this is referred to as external accountability.
  • External accountability between the Government and the citizens is established through the elections.
  • The acts of omissions and commissions of the government will be answered through elections, here lies the accountability of the elected representatives to their electorate.

Internal Accountability

  • Internal accountability mechanisms refer to systems of checks and balances and oversight mechanisms.
  • The framers of the Indian Constitution, while adhering to the principle of separation of powers between the legislature, judiciary and executive also provided for appropriate checks and balances for administrative objectivity and accountability.

Horizontal Accountability

  • The institutions of horizontal accountability in Indian context include the institutions of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), the Election Commission, the Vigilance Commission, the Central Information Commission and the Ombudsman.
  • Besides, there are a number of Regulatory bodies including SEBI, TRAI, CERC, CPCB etc. while the institution of CAG and Election Commission derive their mandate from the constitution, others draw their mandate from the respective acts governing them.

Financial Accountability

  • Financial accountability is rather critical for the overall functioning of the government. The budget is passed by the Parliament allocating specific sums of money to different ministries and departments to implement the schemes and projects.
  • The Executive has full authority and freedom to formulate, design, and implement the schemes and projects for the development and welfare of the citizens of the country.
  • To ensure accountability of the executive to the legislature, the framers of the constitution created an independent oversight agency namely CAG of India as per Article 148 of the Constitution of India.
  • Further, accounting for the expenditure incurred by the ministries and departments is done by the office of Controller General of Accounts (Ministry of Finance).
  • The Finance and appropriation accounts prepared by them are audited by the CAG of India who submits a report thereof to the parliament in terms of Article 151 of the constitution. This completes the financial accountability loop.
  • The role of CAG is not limited to a financial audit of accounts, CAG conducts Compliance Audit and Performance Audit. The focus of Compliance Audit is on examination of rules, regulations, orders and instructions for their legality, adequacy, transparency, propriety, prudence and effectiveness.
  • A performance audit is an independent assessment or examination of the extent to which an organization, program or scheme operates economically, efficiently and effectively. Thus, the audit conducted by the CAG of India covers almost all aspects of accountability.
  • The CAG of India is an independent constitutional authority who is neither part of executive, nor the legislature. Further, his independence is ensured through constitutional and legislative provisions. Independence of the authority entrusted with the task of oversight helps in efficient discharge of his functions as part of the accountability mechanism.

Conclusion

  • Accountability is a prerequisite for good governance, though not necessarily a sufficient condition.
  • It is governed by the principles of democratic traditions and moral and ethical values of the society as well as the legal and regulatory and administrative framework.
  • Accountability has two elements, answerability and enforcement. The concept of accountability should not be limited to a fault finding perspective but should encompass the larger perspective of correcting and improving the systems.
  • However, the focus should be on the identification of systemic errors/ failures and suggesting improvements thereof. It also needs to be recognized that in a scenario of collective decision-making, it becomes a case of collective responsibility and accountability.
  • The accountability mechanisms also need to keep pace with developments of modern government structures particularly in the era of digitization.
  • There is also a need to sensitize the functionaries towards their responsibilities and duties in the context of the accountability frameworks.
  • An element of discretion needs to be minimized for ensuring responsiveness, transparency and accountability.

Chapter 4: Fighting Corruption

  • Corruption is commonly defined as the misuse of public office for private gains. It can be either political or administrative.
  • The reasons behind corruption in India are plenty. In a developing democracy such as India, the scope for corruption is immense because of the tremendous developmental activities of the government.
  • To ensure right and good governance, the government must be open, accountable, accessible, transparent, sensitive, fair and pro-active. A government that is not fair, sensitive and transparent is bound to be prone to corruption.

Root of Corruption

  • The fourth report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on “Ethics in Governance”, says that corruption is an important manifestation of the failure of the ethics and values system in society.
  • It would therefore imply that unless proper values are nurtured and encouraged nothing much can be done to improve the conduct of human beings in public administration.

Causes

  1. Large scale developmental activities
    • Public expenditure of enormous proportions in emerging democracies to fight poverty, illiteracy, poor public health. Lack of infrastructure provides a grand opportunity for both politicians and civil servants to indulge in corruption.
    • The failure of executive machinery in ensuring good quality public administration is mainly because of a feudal approach and excessive governmentalization of public activities.
  1. Overcentralized administrative system
    • The second factor contributing to corruption thriving in the country is the over-centralized administrative system both at the Center and the States.
    • The main reason for this archaic and outdated administrative system is partly due to the legacy of the colonial rule and also due to inadequate leadership in assuring new administrative system.
    • Thus there is an urgent need to review and simplify and laws and the rules to decentralize decision-making with proper monitoring checks and balances

Public grievance

  • The public anger against misgovernance in the delivery of public services gets accentuated when the government is insensitive to public grievances. This is more so when there is a failure in tackling problems arising out of natural disasters.
  • The widespread public protest against lack of performance in public administration also contributes to violence and hatred between the people and the government. Although we have enough laws to deal with corruption.

Preventive measures against corruption

  • One important step could be to decentralize powers financial and administrative in favour of local self-government so that people are not forced to go from pillar to post for redressal of grievances.
  • The distribution of powers should start from State Government level to district and village government levels. This was intended to be achieved by the Panchayat Raj Programme but was not achieved due to failure in implementing the scheme.

Conclusion

  • The working of the government both at the Centre and the State needs to be made time-bound by insisting that every public grievance received should be dealt with within a time frame.
  • When there is a non-compliance of this time-bound action, the senior officials will have to be made accountable so that monitoring becomes real and effective.
  • Erring officials not complying with this requirement should be punished adequately unless there is an overriding reason.

Chapter 5: Public Funding of Elections

  • India became a republic and chose Universal adult franchise. The country has overseen 17 general elections at the union level and in excess of 350 elections to the state assemblies.
  • The note of pessimism expressed when universal adult franchise was adopted was attributed to the prevalent illiterate population (85%) and also an abysmally low women literacy rate (7.5%).
  • However, the leaders of Independent India took a giant leap of faith in granting the voting rights to all without class, caste, gender, religion bias.
  • The decision has paid rich dividends, the country has remained wedded to democracy over long period overcoming obstacles and testing times like floods, famines, wars, economic deprivations, communal riots, caste conflicts, left-wing extremism etc.

The progress

  • The electoral democracy in India has had certain challenges. 1967 proved to be a turning point in the electoral democracy in our country. The fourth general elections saw the breakdown of “congress-system”, i.e, until then the central government and largely most states were under congress party.
  • This period also witnessed the birth of another phenomenon which is prevalent to till date, that is the party hopping by elected representatives.
  • The National emergency proved to another hurdle to the electoral setup with the extension of the Lok Sabha tenure and elections being put on hold, but soon it was overcome with elections taking place in 1977.
  • Electoral malpractices like booth capturing, vote-buying, intimidation of voters raised questions over the democratic status of the country.
  • These above mentioned malpractices have been addressed gradually with measures like introduction of Electronic Voting Machine(EVM), Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

Free and Fair Elections

  • Elections form the bedrock of the largest democracy in the world, because elections are a regular exercise, occurring every five years in India. The ruling parties are kept in check and made to consider the demands of the public.
  • This works as a self-corrective system whereby political parties review their performance and try to appease the voters.
  • However, just periodically held elections is not a test of democracy, quality of elections is also an important feature.
  • The Election Commission of India(ECI) is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India at national and state.
  • ECI has taken up steps like
    • Clean electoral rolls
    • Increased number of polling stations
    • Preventive arrests and security protocols to counter threats and intimidation of voters
    • Heightened security at the polling stations to prevent booth capturing
    • Strict implementation of model code of conduct

Fairness of elections

  • Two issues that vitiate the fairness of Indian elections are
    • Criminalization of politics
    • Runaway election expenditure
  • Delays in criminal law proceedings add to that the ‘winnability’ formula adopted by parties. This has contributed to the increase of charge-sheeted lawmakers increasing in number.
  • The most depressing part of the trend is that it consists of people charged with heinous crimes like robbery, dacoity and rape.

Criminalization of politics

  • The Association of Democratic Rights (ADR) has released data that says that the percentage of winners with a criminal case against them and those convicted with serious criminal cases has seen a steady increase since the 15th general elections.
  • The 15th Lok Sabha had 30% MPs with Criminal cases and in the 17th Lok Sabha, it has risen to 43%.

Election expenditure

  • Election law prescribes the limits of electoral expenditure to ensure a level playing field, but the expenditure is breached with alarming regularity.
  • The differential expenditure norms for a candidate and the party has aided such a breach. While there is a ceiling for a candidate’s expenditure, such a cap is not available for party expenditure.
  • Candidates too have been wily in concealing expenditure, submitting dishonest records. It is common to see candidates using print media for campaigning under the garb of news, thus evading poll expenses. The appointment of election expenditure observers has been a futile exercise.
  • The only candidate that was disqualified for ‘Paid News’ was unearthed by Press Council of India and not ECI.

Political finance issues

  • Many democratic countries have legislated to regulate party and election finance, this highlights the importance of having a law regulating electoral finance.
  • Another startling observation in India over the years has been the rise of the number of legislators with vast financial resources in hand.
  • There is sufficient data to back it up, the number of MPs with assets in excess of Rs.1 crore assets have steadily increased from being 58% in 2009 to 82% in 2014 to 88% in 2019.
  • This shows that only the burning desire to serve the public may no be sufficient to win a ticket from a party, it needs to be accompanied with deep pockets.

Party Finances.

  • Absence of party expenditure limit has provided for a backdoor entry to finance the elections.
  • Section 29C of the RPA mandates political parties to declare donations that exceed 20,000 rupees. Such a declaration is made by making a report and submitting the same to the EC. Failure to do so on time disentitles a party from tax relief under the Income Tax Act, 1961.
  • However, the parties have resorted to avoiding any such declaration by claiming close to 90%of the donations as less than the stipulated Rs.20,000/- for disclosure.
  • The Income Tax Act, Electoral Trust s to be formed by a company to which contributions can be made by other companies, however, this too does not provide for any transparency.
  • Electoral Bond Scheme has also been successful in concealing the identity of the donors

State funding of elections

  • A few government reports have looked at state funding of elections in the past are:
    • Indrajit Gupta Committee on State Funding of Elections (1998)
    • Law Commission Report on Reform of the Electoral Laws (1999)
    • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (2001)
    • Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2008)
  • The Indrajit Gupta Committee(1998) endorsed state funding of elections, 1999 Law Commission of India report concluded that total state funding of elections is “desirable” so long as political parties are prohibited from taking funds from other sources.
  • National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, 2001, did not endorse state funding of elections but concurred with the 1999 Law Commission report that the appropriate framework for the regulation of political parties would need to be implemented before state funding is considered.
  • There is a justified view that political parties should be funded by the state to break the nexus, between the corporate and big donors, and political parties, which can undermine democracy, subvert and compromise national interest.
  • The experience from Europe hasn’t been very encouraging with regards to the state funding of elections, a study report revealed that state funding of elections will not put an end to the political corruption.
  • The Law Commission thinks that full state funding of elections is not feasible considering issues like criminalization, lack of intra-party democracy, the opacity of political party funding, thus without resolving these issues would leave state funding of elections on shaky foundations causing huge wastage of public money.

Conclusion

  • India has reached a stage where holding a free and fair election is no more news, in fact not holding one would be an exception.
  • This is India’s promise to its own people and the world. There shall be no let off in the fight against money power in elections.
  • It is time our lawmakers tread on the right path by taking steps that would deal with issues that vitiate the electoral process in the country.

Chapter 6: Information Sharing in Government

  • Governments undertake policy formulation that guides the activities such as, industrial development, livelihoods, human development, and efficient service delivery, rural development, including provision of clean drinking water and sanitation, and no
  • To fulfil its various responsibilities efficiently and effectively, the Government needs to function collaboratively with all the stakeholders.
  • The inputs from various stakeholders are collated, analysed and the proposed policy is prepared, this is again circulated among the stakeholders and this time, feedback is taken on the proposal, education policy in this case.
  • Once the policy has been formulated, approved and put into implementation, the concerned authority monitors the implementation closely and conducts impact assessment at regular intervals. The impact and mid-course correction undertaken, if any, by the authority are again communicated with all the stakeholders.
  • Such information sharing regularly with stakeholders, who could be teachers, educationists, parents, researchers, government officials, local leaders, professionals, industry representatives and even students, would bring collaboration, transparency and mutual trust in the system and may be construed as a step towards bringing in good governance.

Involves Proactive Dissemination of Information Widely

  • Governments have been aware of the need for information sharing and transparency to deliver on good governance.
  • Examples-
    • Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE)
      • It is a ‘government-led education management information system’ on key school-level indicators.
      • It generates report cards on each school every year and also published district and state-level data. The vision behind the introduction of the system was ‘to improve learning outcomes and enhance the capacity of stakeholders to use information as a tool for demanding accountability.
      • In a case study of Karimnagar District, in the Telangana state of India, Class 10th results improved through regular monitoring of the relevant indicator, building accountability of teachers and the education-related officials, and thereby improving service delivery.
      • Results in the District improved from 66 per cent pass in Class 10 in 2001 to 89 per cent pass in 2004.
    • During the COVID-19, the DPIIT set up a control room
      • It was for the real-time monitoring of the status of manufacturing, transportation of essential goods, difficulties faced by different stakeholders in the business ecosystem during the lockdown,
      • The goal was to resolve these difficulties through coordination with state governments and ministries
      • To maintain quality of services, a system to monitor actual resolution on-ground was also added, through daily feedback calls to complaints and further understand whether redressal had taken place.
    • Champions of Change platform for aspirational districts
      • This is aimed to improve practical usage of automated data quality reports, which would enable the District Magistrates/District Collectors to take corrective actions
      • A ranking system for districts has been evolved as per the 49nkey performance indicators
      • This programme is aimed at an overall transformation of the district, using mass movement approach. Its key area of focus is on health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion and skill development, and basic infrastructure.
    • The Government proposed to enact Electronic Delivery of Services (EDS), Bill
      • To make it mandatory for every government organisation lo deliver public services in electronic mode to alter a certain cut-off date. This would require each Ministry/Department to identify the list of citizen-centric services to be delivered through electronic means along with the delivery channel, stipulated timelines and service levels.
    • Improvement in India’s Global Real Estate Transparency Index
      • The ranking has improved by one notch to 34 in the year 2020 ‘as a consequence of regulatory reforms, better market data and green initiatives’, according to a property consultant.
    • Further, structural reforms such as the Real Estate Regulation and Development Act 2016 (RERA), GST, Benami Transaction Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 2016, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and digitisation of land records also bring greater transparency in a sector that has largely been unregulated till a few years back.
    • Drawing inspiration from the States, Karnataka Government’s Bhoomi programme’ used information technology to provide farmers with land documents.
    • The land records were computerised, enabling farmers to get their land records quickly from kiosks. Land record acts as a proof of land property or lease and, therefore, this intervention of information sharing on land records in Karnataka ensures that the farmers do not face any issues.

Global examples

  • Governments that promote information and transparency as tools of good governance, the names of countries such as Canada, Denmark and Norway come to the fore.
  • Canada has the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) that provides open-access information on how the tax-payers’ money is spent. Development plans and priorities are shared, as also the results of the plans vis-a-vis the expectations.
  • Denmark (one of the least corrupt countries in the world) has a high degree of accessibility to information on public expenditures, commitment to open data systems and even a scheme for whistle-blowers within the Danish Ministry of Justice.
  • Norway has a culture for open data. Which contributes to efficiency in expenditure, value creation and better services.

Conclusion

  • The sharing of information among all the stakeholders in government functioning is widely recognised to be a leading practice towards good governance. This brings further effectiveness and efficiency into the process. The critical factors for such sharing and transparency arc as follows:
    1. Regularity: Sharing the information at stages of planning. Formulation, implementation and monitoring, and giving updates at pre-decided intervals are one of the critical factors.
    2. Stakeholdercentric: The exact message. Format, language, medium and regularity needs to be decided based on the stakeholder.
    3. Monitoring and evaluation: Constant monitoring of the government’s initiatives, evaluation of the success/ failure against the set objectives and communicating the same with all the stakeholders is of utmost importance to bring trust and transparency. Assessing the impact of government decisions and sharing the name with the stakeholders another integral component of good governance. The leanings from such monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment should feed into the planning for the next actions.
  • As a way forward, a nodal Ministry may be identified to issue necessary guidelines in this regard, and build capacities of the various central Ministries as well as of the state governments to undertake such communication with various stakeholders.

Chapter 7: The Rule of Law

Purpose of a law

  • Law establishes solidarity in a society based on rational and reasonable social norms and values.
  • In a complex society, there is hardly any area which is untouched by law. It governs almost every activity which happens in the society in one way or the other, Law and legal institutions are important tools for improving the functioning of institutions, enhancing growth, social and economic development and delivering justice in society.

Societal influence on law

  • Law is not autonomous, it is deeply embedded within society and reflects the values of society.
  • Society influences law, for the law is but a reflection of the society it governs.
  • Law is a vehicle for social engineering and orderly functioning of the society. Social control and social change are the ultimate functions of the law society.
  • It establishes peace, order, justice, and equality. Even the weakest sections have a feeling of strength with the existence of law in society.

Law is a powerful instrument for change.

  • Law and legal institutions are important tools for improving the functioning of institutions, enhancing growth, social and economic development and delivering justice in society.
  • It is a means through which policies are codified and implemented, and power is allocated and contested.
  • Law, in combination with other social and political-strategic, can be used as a device to promote transparency, accountability, and openness in the system.

Law in governance

  • In modern states, the law serves three critical governance roles.
    • First, it is through law and legal institutions that states seek to order the behaviour of individuals and organisations; so that economic and social policies are converted into outcomes.
    • Second, the law defines the structure of government by ordering power, that is, establishing and distributing authority and power among government actors and between the state and citizens.
    • And third, the law also serves to order contestation by providing the substantive and procedural tools needed to promote accountability, resolve disputes peacefully, and change the rules.
  • The law has an important role in governance. The relationship between law, governance and development contributes significantly to the promotion of social and individual well-being.
  • Good governance is a supreme value that maximises the common good. The credibility of the public organisations depends much on the perceptions that they hold and the values they claim to represent, such as democracy, social justice, equity, transparency, accountability, effectiveness and
  • Good governance comprises the existence of effective mechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups articulate their interests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.
  • The rule of law is one of the essential requirements of good and ethical governance. It means pre-eminence of law as opposed to anarchy or capricious dictates. It requires that government officials and citizens be equally subject to the law of the land and act consistently with the law.
  • Institutions, norms, and community commitment that delivers accountability, transparency, openness and accessible justice.

Law enforcement

  • Legal frameworks should be fair and enforced impartially, particularly the laws on human rights. The governance and administration of any social enterprise must be realised within the framework provided by the rule of law. This precept establishes the obligation of individual and collective obedience to the system of public rules that define the legal limits of what can and cannot be done.
  • Disobedience to the law leads to corrupt and criminal behaviour. One of the prerequisites of the rule of law is a fair legal framework that is enforced impartially and particularly full protection of human rights, especially of the vulnerable sections of the society.
  • The factor of transparency requires that information is freely available and the decisions are taken or enforced in a manner that adheres to the rules and regulations.
  • In a democracy, governments exist to fulfil vital functions such as: maintaining security, provisions of public services and ensuring treatments according to the laws in force etc.
  • It is the Constitution that broadly defines the structure and function of the government and the principles to be followed; while through the legal framework created, the system becomes operational at the local level.
  • The legal framework in a country is as vital for economic development as for political and social development.
  • In the struggle against discrimination, in the protection of the socially weak, and the distribution of opportunities in society, the law can make an important contribution to a just and equitable society and thus to prospects for social development and poverty alleviation.

Orderly conduct through laws

  • Law provides rules about how individuals and firms are to behave to achieve economic and social policy outcomes. To achieve the desired outcomes, the most convenient method is the coercive power of law and fear of sanctions.
  • However, to achieve the deterrence effect of law, there is a need for proper compliance of the law, for which the state needs effective administrative and law enforcement institutions.
  • Finally, the sanction for violating the law must leave the perpetrator worse off than any benefits. Law also acts as a signpost, an expression, to guide people on how to act when they have several options.
  • The expressive power of law does not do the work of shifting a norm by itself, but rather depends on the incentives it provides to those who already accept the new law, as well as a range of support programmes generating awareness among people, that drives the process of internalising the new norm more broadly.”

Indian Constitution

  • It is the supreme law of the land and above all governmental actions. It envisages the principles of welfare and moral governance.
  • The Constitution of India enshrines the principles of justice social, economic and political: equality of status, of opportunity, and before the law, freedom of thought, expression, belief, faith, worship, vocation, association and action, subject to the law and public morality and to provide safeguards for minorities, backward and tribal areas, and depressed and other backward classes.
  • These are the basic principles to attain good governance. The Fundamental Rights are primarily civil and political rights which cannot be interfered with by legislation or executive action. And in the case they are, Article 32 confers the Supreme Court, and Article 226 the High Courts, with the power to declare such actions void.
  • The constitutional obligations imposed on the government are not solely negative. Some of the fundamental rights in Part III ‘positive rights’ require affirmative action by the government, as opposed to non-interference.
  • The Directive Principles of State Policy in Part IV of ths which ore all components to achieve the goal of sustainable development and good governance.
  • Also, the Constitution provides for a system of checks and balances between the organs of the State. The power of judicial review of the actions of the legislature and executive under the Articles 32, 226, 227, 136 of the Constitution is the basic or essential feature of Indian Constitution. It is the most potent weapon in the hands of the judiciary for maintenance of democracy and rule of law.
  • In India, the Supreme Court has a significant contribution in achieving the goal of good governance. There is no area where the judgments of Supreme Court have not made an impact whether it be the environment, human rights, gender justice, education, minorities, police reforms, elections and limits on powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution.
  • The Supreme Court has emerged as ‘protector of civil liberties’ by giving a wide interpretation to the provisions of Fundamental Rights especially Articles 14, 19 and 21.
  • Exercising powers under Article 32 of the Constitution, it holds the state responsible to repair damage caused by officers of the State to fundamental rights of the citizens and to pay compensation for their wrongful actions.
  • In the absence of enacted law to provide for the effective enforcement of the basic human rights like in the case of gender equality and sexual harassment at all workplaces; the Supreme Court has issued guidelines and norms to be observed strictly until legislation is enacted for the specified purpose.
  • This is done in exercise of the power available under Article 32 for enforcement of the fundamental rights and it to be treated as the law declared by the Supreme Court under Article 141 of the Constitution. Judiciary has, thus, played a crucial role in the development of law and evolution of society in general and has emerged as an important medium to bring change and ensuring good governance by disciplining those holding reins of power.
  • The courts in India have been transformed into central players in issues at the forefront of politics and development.
  • In India, legal institutions, like the Supreme Court have proven to be an important venue for contestation, with an extensive tradition of public interest litigation and high-profile legal challenges to dominant power interests and social norms. Public legal challenges to dominant power interests and social norms. Public Interest Litigation (PIL) as it has developed; marks a significant departure from traditional judicial proceedings.
  • Through the instrument of Public Interest litigation, the Supreme Court has upheld the rights of the disadvantaged and has enhanced government accountability over issues such as child and bonded labour, environmental hazards, public health, and non-discrimination etc.
  • Another area of abiding public concern which the Supreme Court has dealt with in PILs is good governance and the accountability of public officials.

 

Conclusion

  • Law is, thus, the instrumental way which groups and individuals in society use as a means of promoting, enforcing, and protecting rights and interests.
  • Regulatory structures, and the law of all kinds, increasingly shape the nature, use, and effects of the exercise of power.
  • Effective legal system and institutions are, therefore, needed to produce a government that is legitimate, effective, and widely supported by citizens.

 

Chapter 8: Media Governance Ethos Values & Integrity

  • The Indian media sector has witnessed significant changes as a result of government policies during last four decades with the rise of 24/7 news cycle, television channels, newspapers (both English and regional), social media, the emergence of platform-based economy, mobile telephony and advancement in digitization processes.
  • There is a need to recognize the regulatory, organizational, and cultural conditions under which the media economy has emerged and constituted.

State and media interplay in public policymaking

  • There is no substantial evidence of how the interaction between, ‘media’ and state is shaping the public policy.
  • At present, there are only some scattered accounts of bureaucratic strategies in hands to depicting the influence of communications-media over behaviours of actors/experts in governance.
  • The shifts in media policy seen in India since 1991 has been largely guided by strategic neglect on behalf of the government. This has resulted in extensive fragmentation at all levels in the structure policy-making in the media and communication industry.
  • Media policy-making is being conducted without adequate input from independent quarters outside of government and industry.
  • A glance at the members of various government and public-private committees set up to formulate or review aspects of media policy in different sectors over the last decade depicts a sad picture.
  • Such advisory and/or decision-making bodies usually are constituted by representatives from relevant ministries, heads of trade bodies, and senior management from media firms. Civil society and academia are consistently conspicuous by its absence.
  • In cases where policy evaluation processes are undertaken, these, while rarely being transparent, are short of systematic and consistent mechanisms for obtaining informed inputs.

The reasons for poor pre-policy and consultative processes are multiple.

  • First, absence of well-defined protocols for consulting outsiders and in the absence of streamlined protocols, outsiders who get heard are the dominant voices, this, in turn, reinforces the impression that these outsiders represent the vested interests.
  • Second, when specialized professionals are involved in policymaking, they are usually solicited for single-issue inputs and not engaged in giving shape to a holistic policy.
  • Lastly, there is no systematic mapping of stakeholders associated with a policy measure, this leads to policy options being weighed without the input of diverse viewpoints and possibilities.
  • With the turn of the millennium and especially after the advent of the internet, there were hopes that advancement in the field of information and communication technology and easy availability of media platforms shall plug the gaps of policymaking processes, create the spaces for deliberation and encourage participative governance while promoting networks of public and streamline the governance-arrangements and substitute for some the losses in policymaking as earlier encountered due to lack of transparency and equal participation.
  • However, nothing much changed concerning the ‘values’ or those who would govern the institutions, nor has added ‘values to the public sphere for the public to utilise in challenging their governing institutions.
  • Therefore, the critiques have aptly suggested that the media has failed miserably to create effective governance. The troubles with decision-making are some of the examples of politics of mediatization.

Misplaced objectives

  • The style of media intervention in matters of governance suggests that instead of utilizing information’ for hosting constructive deliberations. media is allegedly using it as an instrument of abuse in governance processes to maintain its control over the agenda.
  • Earlier, in the era before governance, the ‘values’ of public institutions were being made to compromise by the partisan politics and ideological style of working by government leadership now the said set of values are being influenced upon by immediacy of media actors.

Values in the media industry

  • The idea of integrity is evoked, which actually means the practice of being consistent and manifesting uncompromising adherence to the values.
  • Further, in most of the situations, values themselves are not properly described, nor there is any certainty about what they imply in general or in particular. Thus, the chances are higher that people may or may not understand the interpretations and the actions involved while invoking a particular set of values.
  • Therefore, the concept is vague and often taken for granted by governments, organizations, institutions etc. without deciphering the actual stakes and consequences associated with values.
  • Here the solution in hand to this problem will not merely be resolved by identifying a suitable set of values for governments, organizations, institutions etc. and subsequently adopting them to carry out the core functions.
  • Also, nor by any means, the agenda is to prepare a rigid value check-list, and thereby staunchly adhering to them and endorsing them like words of the gospel.
  • The intent and purpose to uphold values are to stimulate self-reflexive rigour among governments, organizations, institutions etc. so that the professionals, stakeholders, public etc, representing these establishments can be brought on to common platforms for value deliberations and for carrying out effective governance.
  • Actors are bowing to the pressure of media and opting media directed routines than to govern effectively. In this scenario keeping high hopes of ‘probity in governance’ is futile if environmental is not conducive enough to extend the enabling ‘values’ required for accountable governance measure.

Conclusion

  • Mere governance is not enough. Governance reforms will turn into passive rhetoric if other desired conditions are not being made fit, and media governance, if not fundamental, then certainly a crucial aspect which can’t be ignored.
  • Governance through media, governance of media, & governance as affected by media
  • These three meanings arc self-explanatory—
    1. “governance through media” means utilising media arms of government such as PIB, BOC, Prasar Bharati (autonomous body) etc. strategically to bring desired behavioural changes and influence the decision-making of groups to bring positive reinforcements.
    2. “governance of media” shall include larger questions of media law, policy, regulation and self-regulation in the country.
    3. “governance as affected by media” at first glance puts forward several interesting and complex interpretations. But, all these interpretations are aimed at nothing more than a creative and communicative media institution.
  • Therefore, if media has to play the role of an actor as well as a conduit in the process of governance then it is highly needed to reinvent it to ensure accountability to the public.
  • To begin such a reinvention would be to adopt a balanced set of values into practice which may be considered as Public Value.
  • The idea of rigid value check-list, and staunchly adhering to them doesn’t suffice for the ‘integrity’.
  • Rather, integrity shall be achieved if both ‘media governance’ and ‘mediated governance’ revive public accountability while translating the ideas of public philosophy into public values. Hence, the need arises to use public values as instruments of governance by the public as well as media institutions to re-assure effective governance in society.

 

Chapter 9: Ethics in Journalism

Mahatma Gandhi’s view on journalism

  • “The newspaper is a great power”- Mahatma Gandhi, being a journalist and editor, he was clear about the objectives of journalism and why it shouldn’t be an ‘unchained torrent of water’.
  • He was articulating the idea of ‘the social responsibility of journalism’, meaning journalism must be socially responsible, serve the people with devotion, and educate them while avoiding sensationalism, distortion and manipulation of facts in the news reports, and not compromise with ethical standards of journalism for profit.

Role of media

  • As the ‘fourth estate’ of democracy and `voice of voiceless, the news media and the institution of journalism plays a crucial role of keeping the citizens informed about the issues, events and ideas of public interest.
  • The institution of journalism works and operates through news media. The profession and discipline of journalism through its arts, crafts and science make the news media a powerful instrument of public information. Opinion and debates.

Relevance of media in a democracy

  • The idea and institution of democracy have evolved and matured gradually has evolved and matured gradually in many parts of the world. This paved the way for a vibrant press and later news media to flourish and expand. It’s not a coincidence that globally an independent, free and vibrant news media is treated as a key parameter for the success of democracy and, in fact, is among the crucial factors in measuring its health.
  • An independent news media, which includes legacy media like newspapers, magazines, television, radio and new media like online news portals and digital news platforms, has been integral to democracy’s long and tumultuous journey. Over time, it has evolved with democracy, especially in the last 19th and 20th
  • One cannot imagine a vibrant democracy without a vibrant, independent and critical news media which not only disseminates news and views of public importance but also acts as a watchdog that monitors, investigates and critically examines the functioning of key men and institutions of the State, and evaluates the performances of those in the public office and holds them accountable.
  • So it’s not surprising that given its influential role in shaping public perception, setting the agenda for public debate and its widespread impact on the society, politics, economy, culture and governance, news media and journalism enjoys a powerful position in democratizing society.
  • Napoleon Bonaparte had once famously said. “Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
  • Famous Urdu poet Akbar Allahabadi said, “Do not pull an arrow or a sword, publish a newspaper when confronting a cannon”.

Responsibility of the media

  • In the case of news media and journalism, it is far more important and crucial to be responsible to society and the public. Since its credibility, reputation and respect are derived entirely from citizens, it becomes doubly important for it to be socially responsible.
  • Journalism too has evolved with a set of ethical principles, standards and norms for fulfilling its social responsibility and serving, the citizens better by ensuring the quality of content and highest professional standards in gathering, processing/ filtering and dissemination of news, and views.
  • Journalistic ethics are basically a set of principles, standards, guidelines and code of conduct prepared for a professional journalist. It deals with the conduct, character and behaviour of a journalist and how s/he works before, during and after the news gathering and dissemination process.
  • Generally, it is expected from the news media outlets and its professional journalists to not only strictly follow these principles and norms but to also self-regulate in alignment with them.
  • But given the non-mandatory and voluntary nature of journalistic ethics, there are always complaints of violation by journalists and news media outlets.
  • There is no denying the fact that a section of news media outlets is either willingly or unwillingly deviating from or compromising on journalistic ethics to attract more readers or viewers, for some personal gains and generally, at the altar of commercial interests and to boost their bottom-lines, but, it is not a new phenomenon.
  • Since the days of ‘Yellow Journalism’ and perhaps even before that, in the late 19″ and early 20th century, many leading newspapers in the US were brazenly partisan, biased, sensational, intrusive, propagandists, manipulating and distorting the facts, passing off rumours as news, exaggerating stories and showing an utter disregard for facts to fabricate news stories.
  • There was a cut-throat competition and a mad rush to attract more readers and maximizing the profits for newspapers’ owners. But this was also polluting the democratic discourse, distorting the public opinion, impairing the citizens’ right to know and thus negatively affecting their democratic choices and decisions.
  • Since the quality of information and the public discourse based on it directly reflects the quality and health of a democracy, concerns were raised by civil society members, including writers, intellectuals as well as editors and journalists themselves about the negative impacts of “Yellow Journalism”.

Canons of Journalism.

  • The American Society of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) adopted a set of ethical principles titled ‘Canons of Journalism’, which was later revised and renamed ‘Statement of Principles’ in 1975.
  • The ASNE proposed six key principles-
    • Responsibility,
    • Freedom of the Press,
    • Independence,
    • Truth and Accuracy.
    • Impartiality and
    • Fair Play.
  • These principles were devised to professionalize the news media and journalism and to set it to ethical standards to monitoring and evaluating the journalistic work end its contents.
  • The power and influence of news medial largely depends on the credibility and trust it enjoys with its audiences. Citizens’ trust is the most important factor in news media’s relationship with the public.
  • The freedom and autonomy that depends on this trust should not be taken for granted. News Media has to remind itself that trust and credibility come from their strict adherence to the ethical principles, norms and code of conduct.

Experiences in India

  • One can regularly observe instances of violation of ethical norms and principles; from indulging in Paid News, spreading Fake News, engaging sensationalism and exaggerating trivial stores, running misleading headlines, breach of privacy, distortion of facts, openly taking sides and bias in reporting.
  • Besides this many mainstream news media outlets and their journalists are found to be engaging in one-sided media trial, lobbying for personal gains, blackmailing, manipulating news stories, engaging in malicious and defamatory reporting, running propaganda and disinformation campaigns.
  • There is a growing concern in the country that many Indian news media outlets have shown little respect for journalistic ethics and norms by regularly crossing its Laxmanrekha and becoming habitual offenders.
  • It may be noted that like many other liberal democracies, India too recognizes the primacy of the Freedom of the Press and allows for self-regulation of new media.

Press regulation

  1. The Press Council of India (PCI).
  • A statutory and quasi-judicial body was established by an Act of Parliament. It functions as a “watchdog of the press, for the press and by the press”.
  • Its two broad objectives are safeguarding the freedom of the press and to improve its quality and standards.
  • It works on the premise of self-regulation of print media but has no punitive powers. It can only censure, warn or ask newspapers to issue apologies and corrections.
  • It has also put out a detailed 161 pages long “Norms of Journalistic Conduct” which it expects journalists and newspapers to follow with utmost care and diligence.
  1. News Broadcasting Standard Authority (NBSA)
    • A non-governmental body, NBSA oversees the news channels.
    • This was established by an industry body, News Broadcasters Association (NBA).
    • It has issued a crisp “Code of Ethics and Broadcasting Standards” for its member news channels who have voluntarily pledge to follow it.
    • Like the PCI, the NBSA too is headed by a retired Supreme Court judge and its other members comprise well-known people belonging to civil society and editors of TV news channels.
    • It receives complaints of violation of ethical norms against member TV news channels and decides after hearing al the sides.
    • Additionally, it has the power of imposing a fine that can go up to Rs 1 lakh against an errant channel.
  1. Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995
  • The news channels are also regulated by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 which contains a “programme code” and an “advertising code” to which news channels have to adhere.
  • Their adherence to this code is, in fact, one of the pre-conditions for obtaining the license for a news channel.

Way forward

  • There are calls for serious introspection from news media outlets and the journalist’s community to take steps to minimize the flouting of ethical norms and to take corrective measures and honest initiatives to improve the quality and standards or the news media in India.
  • News media outlets have to understand that it’s in their own interest to follow ethical norms to sustain public faith in them.
  • In this context, professional bodies like the Editors Guild of India, NBA and statutory bodies like PCI can take lead and initiate debate and discussion on this issue and propose remedial measures.
  • Everyone knows the cost of failure would be very high as witnessed in the News of the World scandal in the UK. In India too, a chorus demanding harsher regulation is gaining momentum.

Chapter 10: Corporate Ethics

Universality of values

  • Human beings are born with an innate moral compass which gravitates towards doing good or doing what is right.
  • Values and virtues like integrity, honesty and hard work are not only the expected norms of the society but also accepted and held in high esteem globally, spanning beyond caste, creed, class, race, nationality or religion.
  • Honesty and integrity are among the primary principles within the moral code of conduct laid out in the scriptures of almost every religion. The moral code serves as a guide to virtuous living at an individual, familial and societal level. The scriptures cite expected behaviours in societal interactions.
    • For example, a businessman should not indulge in malpractices that would amount to cheating customers like using inaccurate weights and measures or treating workers unfairly.
  • Essentially, every individual is expected to uphold and practice the right values even when nobody is watching. American talk show host Oprah Winfrey sums it up aptly, “Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not.”

Business Ethics

  • In the real world, where grey-area situations largely exist, these leanings are put to the test. Due to competitive and organizational pressures, sometimes even well-meaning individuals might give in to the temptation of taking small risks for some easy returns.
  • Given the rising number of scandals that have shaken large multinationals causing collateral damage by tarnishing reputation and brand image, plummeting sales, financial loss, etc, professionally managed organizations have always striven to focus on good governance and adherence to compliance measures.
  • While profit maximization remains one of the key motives of an enterprise, it is not the sole purpose of its existence. Besides growth and profitability, a major agenda being addressed within boardrooms is around good corporate governance and the associated ethical framework. There is a growing need to introduce stronger governance mechanisms and ethical practices to pre-empt malpractices.
  • In doing so, organizations strive to promote value creation for all stakeholders like customers, shareholders, employees, vendor partners and community.
  • Good corporate governance calls for stringent compliance and pervasive ethical practices.
  • Compliance is about doing what is required for the given process or statute. Processes required and completed to fulfil a statue is ‘statutory compliance, example:
    • Organizations can be compliant to internal processes and all statutory laws yet be unethical.
    • Surrogate advertising is a good example to illustrate this point, where something is legally compliant but unethical. Promoting alcohol consumption is banned on national television.
    • If a company, however, advertises an alternative product with the same brand name, it is indirectly trying to increase brand recall to the intended product.
    • Legally, the company is not flouting any law. However, when viewed under the lens of ethics, the practice is clearly unethical.

The elements for such as framework include:

  • The company’s executive leadership sponsoring the Ethics programme with the continued support of middle and lower-level teams
  • An ongoing dialogue across levels to address tough questions that may arise during the business ethics journey.
  • A two-way communication process, cutting across levels, to foster an environment of openness and trust.

Code of Conduct

  • One of the basic corporate ethics requirements is formulating the ‘Code of Conduct’ which conveys the company’s value statement and defines the ethical foundation on which decisions will be made to achieve business objectives. It also specifies the general principles of behaviour which employees and other stakeholders are expected to follow.
  • The Code of Conduct–an articulation of the value statement—is usually framed as a mix of rules to be adhered and aspirations towards which the organization seeks to evolve.
  • All levels of employees should mandatorily abide by the Code that, is often incorporated for allegiance and adherence as part of the employee’s contract and/or induction programme.
  • The organization’s external ecosystem such as value chain partners—often considered as an extension of the organization itself—should also abide by the principles of the Code, as they partner to achieve the organization’s business goals.
  • Ethical dilemmas do not always have a prescriptive and clear-cut answer; hence, an effective training programme to understand and live the Code will be beneficial for employees and other stakeholders and also enable them to steer clear of ethical dilemmas, as this training stands them in good stead.

Building a Check Mechanism

  • The first step towards building a culture of ethics in an organization is to review the integrity index of employees at two levels;
    • The hiring process and every performance appraisal cycle. The famous American business tycoon Warren Buffet says, “You’re looking for three things, generally, in a person, intelligence, energy and integrity. And if they don’t have that last one, don’t even bother with the first two.”
    • The second step is to institute a check mechanism to help the organization and stakeholders navigate ethical dilemmas. Multiple behavioral categories in normal business transactions require an adequate check mechanism.
      • Gifts and hospitality. While it may be customary to exchange gifts/ offer hospitality as part of cultural practices, such exchanges sometimes mask the act of bribery or corruption. The company’s Code of Conduct must ideally provide adequate guidance on such matters, but it is worthwhile to keep a few principles in mind.

Create Channels to Address Concerns

  • Employees and stakeholders must be encouraged to speak up against any suspected or known situations or persons where the Code has been compromised and report the dilemmas faced.
  • Managers must be trained on matters of law and regulations, company’s policies, procedures, and the Code of Conduct.
  • Managers carry a huge responsibility in guiding ethical transgressions brought to their attention and in escalating matters beyond their purview to the senior leadership or Ethics Officer.
  • It is important to maintain a track of all matters raised. A channel to report and log concerns must be made available to all employees and stakeholders.
  • Care must be taken to ensure confidentiality of concerns to protect the complainant from any as of retaliation or retribution.

Conclusion

  • Our built-in moral compass should serve as our best guide when faced with complex ethical dilemmas in both our professional and personal lives.
  • Organisations need to set the tone at the top, and leaders need to lead by example; even as companies address ethical complexities by guiding codes and other supporting mechanisms like training and counselling.
  • As ethical dilemmas encompass a range of issues and concerns, involving inter-relationships the context of each matter needs to be considered objectively, as no straight answers exist on such issues.
  • Ethics involves a conscious understanding of what is right or wrong and then doing the right thing.
  • It is important to be aware of an do what is morally right and socially responsible in a given situation. In these uncertain times, ethical behaviour and moral values that undergird an organization are crucial not just to exist but to endure, survive and thrive.

Chapter 11: Gandhian Perspectives on Ethics

  • Gandhi had emphasized that the very essence of our civilization is that we give permanent place to ethics, truth, non-violence, tolerance, justice and integrity and morality in all our efforts in public or private.
  • The ethical and moral standard he set for himself reveals his commitment and devotion to eternal principles.
  • It goes to the credit of Gandhi that he evolved philosophy and lifestyle which was permeated with ethical, moral, spiritual insights. And scientific truth.

Science and Technology v/s Moral and Ethical Fiber of the Individual

  • Gandhi continues to challenge many assumptions and keeps on reminding humanity that there is a ‘truth’ beyond all what we perceive and hold to be ‘truth’.
  • By making truth the basis of all his endeavours, Gandhi was seeking the spirituality of truth itself which is the very basis of science. He challenges those who accept the notion that spirituality and science need to be at war with each other.
  • Gandhi who initially held the view that “God is Truth” reversed it later as, “Truth is God” thereby asserting the supremacy of truth over everything.
  • He reminds us here of Einstein’s statement that imagination is greater than knowledge. This also implies that there is a greater power within every human being in his/her consciousness.
  • The outer world has been effectively influenced by changing what is within us. The inner world constitutes a vast reservoir of untapped energy which, if used diligently, has the power to take on the material world.
  • The courage to make every crisis into an opportunity and every obstacle into a possibility springs from the inner and spiritual fabric of the individual.
  • He emphasized the power of love, compassion, truth, non-violence, even many of his close friends raised their eyebrows.
  • What is important is the ability of every human being to nurture their spirit and inner resources and allow to transcending the walls and fences that hold them captive.
  • Whoever can assert their mental and spiritual freedom will eventually emerge as liberated souls.
  • The Satyagraha as enunciated by Gandhi seeks to integrate spiritual values, community organization and self-reliance to empower Individuals, families, groups, villages, towns and cities.

Spiritual, Moral Insights & Scientific Truth

  • Gandhi didn’t intend to prove whether religion is a forerunner of science or science has always been nurturing religion or religion and spirituality are older to science.
  • He could see how science outgrew the importance of religion in the life of individuals as more and more intelligent men of science and technology devoted their time in unravelling and developing scientific truth and capability.
  • The champions and custodians of the spiritual domain relapsed into jour meditative and contemplative lifestyles thereby becoming status quoits.
  • Science and technology with its manifold focus and application came into the daily life of people with surprising and hitherto unbelievable results.
  • The primacy of religion steadily eroded while science forged ahead with unstoppable speed and energy.

Satyagraha: Blending of Ethical Moral, Political, Social and Religious Concerns

  • Gandhi’s seminal contribution lies in the area of blending science and spirituality as revealed in the philosophy and practice of Satyagraha.
  • The Satyagraha as enunciated by Gandhi seeks to integrate spiritual values community organization and self-reliance to empower individuals, families, group, villages, towns and cities.

It may be remembered that:

  1. Satyagraha was never used by Gandhi to score political points
  2. Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement was principle-entered and spiritually guided
  3. Gandhi’s Satyagraha was never aimed as a coercive tactic
  4. Gandhi’s language, body language and activities were dignified and always left room for dialogue and reconciliation
  5. Gandhi’s Satyagraha always highlighted moral principles
  6. Gandhi had the courage to withdraw his movement when he realized that unprincipled elements would infiltrate and would use the base for selfish or opportunistic goals
  • Gandhi tried to infuse the fresh air of spiritualism in every domain of human endeavour, including politics. He earned the name of a saint trying to spiritualize politics. His mantra was to wipe away tears from every eye.
  • Such a world of peace demands an attitudinal change. In such a world, the strong will not exploit the weak, the rich will not harm the poor, and the privileged will not ignore the underprivileged.
  • The ancient Vedic philosophy of “Sarva Dharma Samabhav” or “Respect for all religions” formed the basic of Gandhiji’s religious humanism which was rooted in ethical, moral and spiritual considerations.
  • The casteless and classless society he was striving to establish aims at the realization of both material and spiritual moorings.
  • He described the society that he was aiming as Ram Rajya-a Divine Rajya; the Kingdom of God. His Ram is the Almighty God which guides him to noble action and whose presence can be felt everywhere.
  • The Ram Rajya he was advocating was an ideal social order where an ideal King rules over his subjects without any distinction whatsoever. Truth. dharma and justice to be the dominant characteristics of such a society.
  • The poorest of the poor to have equal say in the governance. Nobody will be discriminated against anybody.
  • There was much in common if one can stretch it between Plato’s ideal Republic and Gandhi’s “Ram Rajya” though Tolstoy’s influence on Gandhi could be discernible in formulating his vision of a new society.
  • The major difference between the approaches of Gandhi and Plato is that while Plato is philosophical, Gandhi is pragmatic and down-to-earth, a realist.
  • For Gandhi rights and duties are complementary and a citizen who is not conscious of his duties has no right to think of his rights.

Seven Sins according to Gandhi

  1. Wealth without work
  2. Pleasure without conscience
  3. Knowledge without character
  4. Commerce without morality
  5. Science without humanity
  6. Religion without sacrifice, and
  7. Politics without principle
  • In his work ‘Hind Swaraj’, Gandhi condemns the contemporary civilization, mechanization, scant regard for spiritual roots. A reading of the book will show that Gandhi was prophetic in his vision and assessments when he described the emerging civilization as ‘soulless’ and ‘satanic’ he was criticized.
  • The warning he issued through ‘Hind Swaraj’ was unjustifiably dismissed by the advocates of unlimited growth and champions of industrial domination and market-driven economy even without proper discussion.
  • It has to be kept in mind that the several symbols and concepts Gandhi used in his long public career in both South Africa and India in his efforts to usher in a new era of clean politics and orderly development also revealed his commitment and devotion to ethical values and moral principles which will eventually characterize the texture of civilization.
  • The ethical and moral standard the set for himself reveals his commitment and devotion to eternal principles and only someone like him who regulated his life and action in conformity with the universal vision of human brotherhood could describe his life, ‘My Life is My Message’.

Chapter 12: Geographic Information System

Context:

  • Today, the use of the geographic information system (GIS) has become an integral part of life, is integrated with almost every new technology being used.
  • From checking the weather in the morning to putting the location of your office on the global positioning system (GPS) to using social media to ordering food or even just booking tickets to a movie; GIS applications are present everywhere in our lives. Hence, it becomes imperative to understand what GIS is and how it aids us in modern day living.

Geographic Information System

  • GIS or the Geographic Information System is a computer system used for capturing, storing, checking and displaying data with regard to positions on the Earth’s surface.
  • By joining the dots between seemingly unrelated data, GIS can aid in developing a deeper understanding of spatial patterns and relationships (National Geographic, 2020)
  • GIS is a framework that helps us in organizing, communicating and understanding the science of our world. Rooted in geography, GIS integrates numerous types of data, analyses spatial locations and organizes these layers of information visualizations.
  • The underlying theme of most GIS applications has been the reduction in time and effort to accomplish tasks, through GIS-enabled maps we can find the fastest route to any location, predict delivery times and order food and other items through a simple click of a button, from sending a satellite to space to getting ice-cream delivered at home; GIS has made tasks faster and easier.

Future prospects in India

  • With Asia-Pacific being the fastest growing GIS market, New India is likely to emerge as a hub for GIS based applications.
  • GIS-enabled systems are being widely used in the country to enhance healthcare delivery, bridge socio economic gaps and improve the quality of life of all citizens.
  • To fulfill the aim of the Digital India initiative to establish end-to-end geo-spatial electronics delivery systems.
  • GIS-enabled BHARAT-MAPS have been developed to enhance governance and improve planning and monitoring in New India. With projects like School GIS, Postal GIS.
  • GIS for Financial Inclusion, Bank GIS, Telecom GIS. BBNL GIS, BSNL GIS and GIS powered Dashboards in Ministries of Rural and Urban Development India is optimally utilizing the power of GIS for growth and sustainable development.
  • Further, GIS is also being widely implemented and used in India for crop and agriculture insurance as the insurance companies monitor land quality, humidity, weather and crop health using imagery captured through GIS.
  • The successful use of GIS in India has propelled our defence and space programmes, including the successful launch of space missions and the integration of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for defence operations.

 

Uses of GIS-Learning through Aarogya Setu

  • The ongoing pandemic has further brought to the fore the dependency of government and organizations on GIS Aarogya Setu app, like many others, is an excellent example for highlighting the importance of GIS In every sphere of life, especially for handling crises.
  • To improve the functioning of Aarogya Setu, the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, created an Integrated Geospatial Platform out of available geospatial datasets, standards-based services, and analytic tools to aid decision-making during the COVID-19 pandemic and help devise area-specific strategies to combat the virus.
  • Identify and Issue
    • Aarogya Setu uses GIS for identifying areas that have high rates of COVID-19, transmission, enabling the government to demarcate containment zones across the country.
  • Monitor Change and Manage Response
    • The app constantly monitors the change in the number of cases at any given time across India, for example, sitting at home you can know how many patients have tested positive for COVID-19 in your 1 km radius.
    • This ability to monitor information real time allows for timely action and response during a crisis. If a person realized that the number of cases in her/his 1 km radius have gone up significantly she/he would become more vigilant and ensure all precautions are adhered to.
  • Forecasting and Trends
    • Based on transmission trends captured by Aarogya Setu, the government can predict how the vines is likely to travel across India. The forecasts and trends have brought to the fore the stark contrast between the number of COVID-19 cans in urban areas versus the
  • Prioritization
    • Enabling targeted decision-making and prioritization is one of the key uses and advantages of GIS. Through the Aarogya Setu app, Gol has been able to identify containment zones, develop targeted strategics and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 from these high-ease areas to other parts of the country.
    • Prioritization using GIS allowed the government to also undertake large-scale sanitization drives, ramp-up health infrastructure and develop targeted strategics for patient care; thereby helping India combat COVID-19.

 

Industrial Land Bank Mapping

  • The Industrial Information System is a geographic information system mapping for showcasing available industrial land and utilities across India.
  • The system is a one-stop for investors looking for information on existing infrastructure, resource availability and details on connectivity for a particular region in the country.
  • The entire GIS mapping exercise for this exhaustive land bank information portal has been undertaken in close coordination with Invest India. Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) to assimilate information about industrial infrastructure across the country.
  • The portal provides GIS-enabled database of industrial areas including clusters, parks, nodes and zones across India to help investors identify their preferred location for investment. The industrial land bank portal is a unique comprehensive site with information on more than 3376 industrial clusters covering 4.8 lakh hectares across all states and UTs in India.
  • The portal allows investors to customize their search for industrial land based on plot size, connectivity, availability of raw materials and sectoral clusters. With real time updates on the total land available, number of plots mapped and number of upcoming sectoral clusters in India, the land bank makes investing in New India easy and just a click away for global investors.
  • Investors can trace the land available for investment as per the search filters which include list of available and vacant plots and satellite views of the terrain for scouting the land best suited as per available infrastructure and resources.
  • Information on pollution categories, environmental clearances, land lease rates and plot level line of activity will soon be provided on the portal giving an impetus to Gol’s vision of a National Single Window Clearance System.

Conclusion:

  • GIS has become integral to day to day life, used widely for numerous purposes.
  • GIS also provides wide range of applications in governance, healthcare, e-commerce, disaster management, defence, etc.
  • The leveraging of this technology will help policy-makers, businessmen, citizens make informed choices and propel the country on the path of becoming a vibrant economy.

September 2020 Yojana:- Download PDF Here

 

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