Parmal is a small but underdeveloped district. It has rocky terrain that is not suitable for agriculture, though some subsistence agriculture is being done on small plots of land. The area receives adequate rainfall and has an irrigation canal flowing through it. Amria, its administrative centre, is a medium sized town. It houses a large district hospital, an Industrial Training Institute and some privately owned skill training centres. It has all the facilities of a district headquarters. A trunk railway line passes approximately 50 kilometres from Amria. Its poor connectivity is a major reason for the absence of any major industry therein. The state government offers a 10 years tax holiday as an incentive to new industry. In 2010 Anil, an industrialist, decided to take benefits to set up Amria Plastic Works (APW) in Noora village, about 20 km from Amria. While the factory was being built, Anil hired the required key labour and got them trained at the skill training centres at Amria. This act of his made the key personnel very loyal to APW. APW started production in 2011 with the labour drawn fully from Noora village. The villagers were very happy to get employment near their homes and were motivated by the key personnel to meet the production targets with high quality. APW started making large profits, a sizeable portion of which was used to improve the quality of life in Noora. By 2016, Noora could boast of a greener village and a renovated village temple. Anil liaised with the local MLA to increase the frequency of the bus services to Amria. The government also opened a primary health care centre and primary school at Noora in buildings constructed by APW. APW used its CSR funds to set up women’s self-help groups, subsidize primary education to the village children and procure an ambulance for use by its employees and the needy. In 2019, there was a minor fire in APW It was quickly extinguished as fire safety protocols were in place in the factory. Investigations revealed that the factory had been using electricity in excess of its authorized capacity. This was soon rectified. The next year, due to a nationwide lockdown, the requirement of production fell for four months. Anil decided that all employees would be paid regularly. He employed them to plant trees and improve the village habitat. APW had developed a reputation of high-quality production and a motivated workforce. Critically analyse the story of APW and state the ethical issues involved. Do you consider APW as a role model for the development of backward areas? Give reasons. (250 words)

Positive aspects of APW’s operations:

  • Providing employment opportunities to the local population
  • Improving the quality of life in the village through the use of profits and CSR funds
  • Implementing fire safety protocols and rectifying issues promptly
  • Regularly paying employees during a period of reduced production
  • Improving the village habitat through tree planting and other environmental initiatives

Ethical issues involved:

  • Excess use of electricity: Using electricity in excess of the authorized capacity is a violation of laws and regulations, and may put the factory and its employees at risk.
  • Lack of transparency: It is not clear how the factory was able to access the tax holiday benefits, or if these benefits were available to other industries in the area.
  • Exploitation of labour: It is possible that the villagers were not aware of their rights or were in a vulnerable position, which may have led to exploitation by the factory.

Role model for development of backward areas:

  • APW’s actions have had a positive impact on the local population, providing them with employment opportunities and improving their quality of life.
  • The factory’s use of profits and CSR funds for the betterment of the community is commendable.
  • However, the ethical issues raised above should be taken into consideration before considering APW as a role model for the development of backward areas. It is important to ensure that the development is inclusive and sustainable, and that the laws and regulations are adhered to.
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