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23 January 2017 Question Bank


23rd  JANUARY 2017


(3 Questions)

Answer questions in NOT MORE than 200 words each. Content of the answer is more important than its length.

Links are provided for reference. You can also use the Internet fruitfully to further enhance and strengthen your answers.


1.       India, an emerging leader in Asia, has remained mostly passive on the long-standing Rohingya refugee crisis, one that has direct geopolitical implications. Discuss.

(Repeat Question from 26 December 2016 Question Bank)


Rohingya Crisis:

  • The deteriorating Rohingya situation in Rakhine, Myanmar saw a special meeting of Foreign Ministers of ASEAN in Yangon.
  • The crisis has already killed 130 Rohingya Muslims, and has left dozens of buildings in their villages torched.
  • Around 30,000 Rohingyas have been displaced internally and thousands have tried to flee to neighbouring countries, especially Bangladesh, through perilous routes.
  • In spite of them living in Myanmar for decades, the Rohingyas have no legal standing and are seen as illegal settlers from Bangladesh.
  • There are restrictions on them in areas such as land ownership, marriage, employment, education, and movement.
  • In the 2014 census, the first in three decades, Myanmar officials said they would not accept those who registered themselves as Rohingyas.
  • Buddhist nationalists threatened to boycott the tally over fears that it could lead to official recognition for the Rohingyas.
  • The temporary ID cards which were given to the minority community were also revoked in 2015 as result of protests from Buddhist majority groups.
  • The UN has declared the group as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.                                       

India’s muted response:

  • China and India share a border with Myanmar and have vested economic interests in the country owing to trade and investment ties.
  • According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, there are around 9,000 Rohingyas registered in Delhi and thousands more unregistered living in other parts of the country.
  • And yet, the response of India, the most mature democracy in Asia with much-touted pluralistic and secular ideologies, is rather disappointing.

Religious angle:

  • The plight of the Hindu minorities in neighbouring Bangladesh is always taken seriously by India.
  • In June 2016, when a priest from Bangladesh’s Ramakrishna Mission received a death threat, allegedly from the Islamic State, India swung into action, and the issue was given high priority by the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • However, the Rohingya issue, which is also the persecution of minorities in a neighbouring state and on a much larger scale, has garnered little attention from Indian policymakers.
  • The inevitable question then is, do the Rohingyas or any other minority group have to belong to a particular religion to get the attention and importance they deserve from India?

The geo-political implications of the crisis:

  • India has a robust civil society, media, and human rights groups, but there are hardly any voices on the pathetic plight of Rohingya Muslims.
  • The only exception was in 2012 when civil society groups urged the then Indian Prime Minister to end violence against the Rohingyas by engaging with Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democratic National League for Democracy party.
  • If India wants to project itself as a regional leader, it has to rise above narrow economic and geopolitical interests and take a stance consistent with the moral and spiritual values with which it identifies.
  • The crisis not only holds humanitarian significance, but also bears security implications for India and the region.
  • The persecuted Rohingya Muslims are likely to provide fertile recruiting grounds for extremist groups.
  • There have already been reports of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan funding terrorist outfits in Myanmar.
  • In 1971, India provided shelter to millions of East Pakistani refugees. The end of the war also saw one of the most orderly and peaceful return of refugees to their land from India.
  • India has a good track record of providing humanitarian assistance and facilitating smooth repatriation of refugees from the neighbourhood.
  • This crisis, if left at its current precarious stage, risks spiralling out of control and will have security and economic implications for its neighbours. Oversight and nonchalance may prove to be costly in the long run.


2.      Indian Civil Services is in a dire need for reforms. Integrity of civil services stands questioned. How can this malice be uprooted from the system?




  • The Central government’s recently decided to compulsorily retire two Indian Police Service (IPS) officers and one Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer for ‘non-performance’. One of the officers is reported to have been under investigation for disproportionate assets.
  • The compulsory retirements are in pursuance of the service rules that contemplate a review either when an officer reaches the age of 50 or completes 25 years of service.
  • Cynics may say this is a gimmick or a symbolic act. Such actions, undertaken clinically and without malice, are a sine qua non if we want to enhance the currently poor standards of public administration.

Perks of the services:

  • The public should know that our All India Services and the Central Services are paid well by Indian standards.
  • Each Pay Commission has enlarged the civil service pay packet and perquisites. You don’t have to exert yourself on the job to earn a promotion. If you did not go to jail for some grave impropriety while in service, you still get to reach the peak and earn the maximum pension of ?1,12,500 per month.
  • After passing the Union Public Service Commission examination, the system takes care of you. Only around 10 per cent of officers remain current in their knowledge and exert themselves to keep the administrative system in shape.

Lack of citizen-orientation:

  • The ramifications of global changes are being felt by the government in the form of increasing citizen expectations for better governance through effective service delivery, transparency, accountability and rule of law.
  • The civil service, as the prime constituent of government, must keep pace with the changing times in order to meet the aspirations of the people.
  • The purpose of reform is to reorient the civil services into a dynamic, efficient and accountable apparatus for public service delivery built on the public service ethos and values of integrity, equity and neutrality.
  • Except for a few dedicated officers, both in the higher echelons and in the lower rungs, it is a sad fact that ordinary citizens mostly cannot get through to any senior member of the bureaucracy, either in person or over the telephone, to express their grievances.
  • Even if we concede that pressures on senior officers have greatly multiplied, is it too much to expect every government official to respond to the common man who pays his taxes to fund the bureaucracy?

Lack of integrity:

  • More appalling is the number of officers who choose to abandon integrity and line their pockets.
  • If a District Collector or a District Superintendent of Police is himself not a model of efficiency and honesty, the trainee Assistant Collector or Assistant Superintendent of Police cannot go elsewhere to learn the virtues of hard work and probity.
  • If the system is functioning and has not collapsed, it is because we still have a handful of outstanding men and women in the higher bureaucracy, who are motivated by a spirit of service and have the conviction that they will be models to young officers.

Need for reforms:

  • The Civil Services Examination Committee (Y. K. Alagh Committee) in its report submitted in 2001 observed, “………….. that recruitment, training and management of the civil services are interrelated components of the same system and one cannot succeed without the other. Any effort to rectify only one aspect to the exclusion of others will mean trying to cure the symptom rather than the disease.”
  • The purpose of reform is also to raise the quality of public services delivered to the citizens and enhance the capacity to carry out core government functions, uprooting corruption in all forms, thereby, leading to development.
  • The recently added “Ethics Paper” in Civil Services Mains Examination is a step in the right direction.

1.       Civil Services Performance System

  • The present promotion system in civil service is based on time-scale and is coupled by its security of tenure.
  • These elements in our civil service are making the dynamic civil servants complacent and many of the promotions are based upon the patronage system.
  • These promotions should be merit based and the respective authorities have to benchmark the best practices and evaluate the performance of the civil servants both qualitatively and quantitatively with a variety of parameters.
  • There may be periodic performance reviews or audits for civil servants, especially when they turn fifty or complete a certain number of years in service.

2.        Performance Related Incentive Scheme

  • The Sixth Pay Commission in its report has recommended introduction of a new performance based pecuniary benefit, over and above regular salary, for the government employees.
  • The benefit will be called Performance Related Incentive Scheme (PRIS) and will be payable taking into account the performance of the employee during the period under consideration.
  • It is based on the principle of differential reward for differential performance.
  • The end objective of introducing PRIS in government is not just limited to improving employee motivation; obtaining higher productivity or output and delivering quality public service; but it seeks larger goals of effectiveness and systematic change for responsive governance.

3.       Strengthening Meritocracy in Service

  • In the final assessment, promotion – with its higher emoluments and enhanced status – remains a key element of motivation.
  • There are differing approaches to the use of seniority and merit as criteria for promotion

4.       Reforming the Annual Confidential Report Process

  • Because of its impact on salary, career prospects and decisions on premature retirement, the framework for performance appraisal has important consequences for the motivation of employees.
  • The question of how employee performance should be systematically evaluated in a fair and reliable fashion, without generating unnecessary conflict, is a complicated one.
  • Although supervisors have the right to provide continuous feedback and guidance to employees, Annual Confidence Reports (or ACRs) are the principal means of periodic formal appraisal.
  • However, the non-transparent, subjective and unilateral character of ACRs in all states has reduced its utility for public agencies and alienated employees.
  • Annual Performance Reports (APR) are much more fair and motivating.

5.       Developing Specialisation / Professionalism

  • Within the civil services, there has to be a conscious move away from the generalist approach to the specialist one and upgradation of knowledge and skill should be made a lifelong process.
  • Even if officers are recruited as generalists, they should be encouraged to specialise in one sector or the other.
  • The core competencies of the officers should be identified and consciously developed after the initial eight to ten years of service.
  • The specialisation can be in the social sector, viz., social welfare, housing, environment, education, health, or it can be in the field of management of natural resources like land, water, forests, or it can be science and technology, or commerce, economics and finance, or in the areas of security of disaster management.
  • Further, once the officers have specialised in a particular sector, they must be supported to continue in that sector.

6.       Mobility for the Services and Lateral Entry of Professionals

  • In addition to the combined examination, recruitment should also be made by other methods, especially at the level of Joint Secretary and above, e.g. lateral entry with contractual appointment and lateral entry with permanent retention.

7.       Deadwood

  • It is said that a number of civil servants become deadwood and hence, seriously affect the delivery of service due to lack of professionalism and commitment to public service.
  • In a significant pronouncement, the Supreme Court has recently called upon the government virtually to take a fresh look at the entire gamut of official and public sector employment. Its view is that only useful employees should be retained and those who are indolent, infirm … of doubtful integrity, reputation of utility weeded out.
  • This problem can be tackled partly by periodic evaluation of performance of the officers and by planning the seeds of professionalism at an early stage among those who have the potential and partly by weeding them out or sidelining them.
  • This will, at one stroke, eliminate the complacency the permanent employment engenders. Consequentially, seniority alone will not be the sole criterion for career advancement.

8.       Stability of Tenure

  • Despite the rules and various instructions issued from time to time, there is a genuine problem being faced by officers, especially in the case of All India Services serving in the state governments, relating to their tenures.
  • It has been noticed that with every change in government there is usually a reshuffling of officers, especially in key postings in districts, with the result that the average tenure in certain states for District Magistrates / Collectors and for Superintendents of Police has now come to less than a year only.
  • Such a rapid turnover of officers adversely affects delivery and quality of services provided to the common man.

9.       Improving Service Delivery

  • The cutting edge point is the most important node in the entire ladder of administration.
  • It is not only imperative but inevitable that, district and local administration are made simple, effective, efficient, transparent and accountable.
  • Improving service delivery necessitates a dynamic change in philosophy and practice from (a) administration to management, (b) excessive regulation to facilitation, (c) administrative-centric governance to citizen-centric governance, (d) centralised to decentralised governance, (e) expenditure tracking to outcome tracking, and (f) viewing citizens as customers rather than as beneficiaries.
  • Civil service must enable people to exercise their voice and customer power to demand better services and discharge some responsibilities such as supervision and vigilance over service delivery and monitoring service quantity, quality and performance themselves.
  • Involving people in identifying their needs and demands, and in designing and implementing policies and programmes can go a long way to engage citizens as partners in the development process and increase development effectiveness.

10.    Training for Improvement

  • There cannot be any two views on the importance of the training for public services.
  • All jobs in public administration, whether high or low, involve an element of skill and they are to be performed at optimum efficiency, such skills have to be methodically, periodically and systematically cultivated.
  • Training needs to be more focused in developing competencies in the functional areas along with the generalised module. It should revolve around creating professional personality, which has three aspects, namely: (i) Competencies (ii) Performance and (iii) Commitment.


3.      “The proponents of jallikattu say that as the ‘untamed’ bull is used for breeding, they may no longer be able to identify the strongest male, as a result of which the stock will weaken. Also, if the sport is banned, owners of indigenous bulls may no longer find it worth preserving the indigenous variants.” Critically analyse.


  • With the Tamil Nadu Governor clearing an ordinance on jallikattu, the question is whether the sport will help preserve indigenous breeds of cattle.

Identifying the bull for breeding:

  • The proponents of jallikattu say that as the ‘untamed’ bull is used for breeding, they may no longer be able to identify the strongest male, as a result of which the stock will weaken
  • However, it is only the Jellicut (identified as Pulikulam) that has been described scientifically (between 1870 and 1930) as a “small bull specially bred for bull-fighting/taming in the Tamil region”, according to the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh.
  • Again, it is medieval to identify a herd bull through an inefficient method like jallikattu.
  • Better methods to identify a herd bull are by identifying desirable heritable qualities in the animal, ensuring pedigree (purebred or cross-breed), reading expected progeny differences, breeding soundness (ability to get cows pregnant), and semen examination.
  • Alternatives such as artificial insemination should also be considered.

Indigineous breed:

  • A herd book or register should be established, to trace family histories. Electronic tagging is used to identify individual members of the herd over their life spans.
  • A Jellicut herd book is also not available.
  • While it is perfectly natural and desirable to be proud of our native fauna, it is also necessary to supplement, enhance, and improve their viability over generations. Careful cross-breeding improves hybrid vigour and long-term viability of desirable indigenous traits.
  • The Nelore (known as Ongole in India) were exported to Brazil. Today, Brazil is also the possessor of 5 million registered pure-bred Nelore.
  • While private players Genus ABS India Private Limited and Hanu Reddy Ongoles are developing gene banks and animal resources, it is also important to improve our national data banks. Further, national data banks ought also to hold samples and data of animals around the world. The National Animal Germplasm Program of the U.S. government is a multinational effort in collaboration with Canada and Brazil. They preserve samples from about 25,000 animals around the world — frozen semen, embryos, ovaries, and tissue which can be used to reconstitute livestock populations or simply lend a useful gene to an animal.
  • Neither chauvinism nor mere goodwill is an alternative to science. Only science can ensure commercial viability and enduring pride in our native breeds.





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