23rd February, 2016 (MAINS)

TODAYs ANSWER WRITING CHALLENGE FROM GS-IV

Q1. You are heading a district administration in a particular department. Your senior officer calls you from the State Headquarters and tells you that a plot in Rampur village is to have a building constructed on it for a school. A visit is scheduled during which he will visit the site along with the chief engineer and the senior architect. He wants you to check out all the papers relating to it and ensure that the visit is properly arranged. You examine the file which relates to the period before you joined the department. The land was acquired for the local panchayat at a nominal cost and the papers showed that clearance certificates are available for the two of the three authorities who have to certify the site’s suitability. There is no certification by the architect available on file. You decide to visit Rampur to ensure that all is in the order as stated on file. When you visit Rampur, you find that the plot under reference is a part of Thakurgarh fort and that the walls, ramparts, etc., are running across it. The fort is well away from the main village, therefore a school here will be a serious inconvenience for the children. However, the area near the village has potential to expand into a larger residential area. The development charges on the existing plot, at the fort, will be very high and question of heritage site has not been addressed. Moreover, the Sarpanch, at the time of acquisition of the land, was a relative of your predecessor. The whole transaction appears to have been done with some vested interest.

(a) List the likely vested interest of the concerned parties.

(b) Some of the options for action available to you are listed below. Discuss the merits and demerits of each of the options:

(i) You can await the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.

(ii) You can seek his advice in writing or on phone.

(iii) You can consult your predecessor/ colleagues, etc., and then decide what to do.

(iv) You can find out if any alternate plot can be got in exchange and then send a comprehensive written report.

Can you suggest any other option with proper justifications?

[25marks/2015/GS-4] 250 words.

Please write answer in the comments section.

  • Umesh Sachin

    Answer –
    (a) The likely vested interest of the parties involved are :-
    (i) Grabbing the heritage land illegally by village and previous government authorities.
    (ii) The two certifying authorities, certifying the suitability of plot, for some monetary or in kind gains.
    (iii) Vested interest of Sarpanch, in keeping the area near village for residential purpose, instead of using it
    for school. He might be considering the monetary gains which can be made by this.
    (iv) The predecessor providing undue advantage to Sarpanch, by misusing his authority.
    (b) Evaluation of the actions which can be taken.
    (i) Option 1: Awaiting the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.
    Merit
    1.1 It will help in maintaining the line of hierarchy in decision making process.
    1.2 Seniors will take a holistic view of the whole issue, considering the best available evidence.
    1.3 It will help in solving the problem and punishing the guilty.
    1.4 I will also perform my duty efficiently.
    Demerits
    1.1 It will delay the solution of the problem.
    1.2 It will be like transferring my duty to my seniors.
    (ii) Option 2: Seeking his advice in writing or on phone.
    Merits
    2.1 It will help in appraising the seniors, of the situation.
    2.2 It will also help in quicker decision making.
    2.3 I will perform my duties efficiently.
    2.4 It may help in solving the issue before seniors visit the site.
    Demerits
    2.1 seeking advice will again be like shifting responsibility on seniors.
    2.2 Getting written orders will delay the process of solving the issue.
    (iii) Option 3: Consulting my predecessor/colleagues, etc. and then decide what to do.
    Merits
    3.1 I can know about the exact reasons behind the decisions of predecessor.
    3.2 I will have a democratic and legal approach towards problem resolution.
    3.3 it will help in proving the wrongs done by predecessor
    Demerits
    3.1 It may not help in solving the problem, because of the vested interest of the predecessor.
    3.2 It will delay the decision making process.
    3.3 I will have to bear the responsibility for the actions based on their advice.
    (iv) Option 4 : I can find out if any alternate plot can be got in exchange and then send a comprehensive
    written report.
    Merits
    4.1 It will help in solving the problem, as school cannot be constructed at present location.
    4.2 Sending detailed report will help in appraising seniors on every aspect of the issue.
    4.3 Standard operating procedure will be followed in resolving the issue.
    4.4 I will perform my duty efficiently.
    4.5 Children will benefit if plot for school is near the village.
    Demerits
    4.1 It may cause some delay in resolving the problem.
    Considering the above four options, I will go with the fourth option as it resolves the issue in a holistic manner, while
    maintaining the line of duty.

  • Ashi Agarwal

    Ans.(a) List the likely vested interest of the concerned parties.
    The list is as follows:
    1. Sarpanch
    2. Predecessor
    3. Officers who have called from state department
    4. Some of the options for action available to you are listed below.
    (i) You can await the visit of the superior officer and let him take a decision.
    Merits- It will be a good step as superior can understand the issue in a better way. He will be responsible for the construction of school.
    Demerits-If I have visited the site before the visit of the superior officer and I have found many irregularities in the land acquisition I will take
    decision not to construct the school on that place.
    (ii)You can seek his advice in writing or on phone.
    Merits- If I take advice from the superior, it will be a best tool to understand the issue and to take appropriate decision avoiding unnecessary responsibilities.
    Demerits- The superior may  not be convinced properly about the exact situation of the matter and in this condition his advice may not be
    adequate.
    You can consult your predecessor/ colleagues, etc., and then decide what to do.
    Merits- Discussion with colleagues/ predecessors etc. can give me a better decisive role. Experience of colleagues/ predecessor can be
    utilized.
    Demerits- I am responsible for my work and not my colleagues. Furthermore my predecessor, due to his vested interests can misguide me.
    (iv) You can find out if any alternate plot can get in exchange and then send a comprehensive written report.
    Merits- As School is a basic necessity for the children, hence an appropriate and suitable location can be determined. The cost irregularity
    can be reported in written, but it should be primary focus to allot a new plot for school.
    Demerits- If another plot is given in exchange of allotted plot then the culprits of irregularities of prior allotment of plot will not be punished
    and they will be encouraged to repeat such actions.
    Some of the additional suggestions apart from the given options:
    In this case if the officer is assured that venue is not suitable then he should reject the place for school because according to the right to
    education schools should be properly reachable and connected with villages. It will secure the future of children. Another suitable and safe
    place should be allotted for school, because to provide education is moral duty and also a fundamental right of children.