UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam 2019 Solved GS Papers
UPSC CSE 2020-21

UPSC Civil Services Mains Exam 2019 Solved GS Papers

UPSC Civil Services Mains Solved GS Paper-I (2019)

  1. Highlight the Central Asian and Greco-Bactrian elements in Gandhara art.

Gandhara art is a style of Buddhist visual art that developed between the 1st century BCE and the 7th century CE in what is now northwestern Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan. The region came under the political influence of a variety of kingdoms which resulted in the emergence of a mixed school of art. The sculptural tradition in Gandhara had the confluence of Bactria, Parthia and the local Gandhara tradition. However, the real patrons of this school of art were the Scythians and the Kushanas, particularly Kanishka.

Features of Gandhara art borrowed from Greco-Bactria:

  • The Gandhara school drew upon the anthropomorphic traditions of Roman religion and represented the Buddha with a youthful Apollo-like face, dressed in garments resembling those seen on Roman imperial statues. Its significance lies in the fact that until then Buddhawas not represented in a human-like figure.
  • Wavy hair in a top knot,sometimes a moustache on the face, urna (a dot or third eye) between the eyebrows, elongated earlobes, garment with thick pleats usually covering both shoulders, and muscular formation of the body are other resembling features.
  • Other motifs and techniques that Gandhara school incorporated from classical Roman art, include vine scrolls, cherubs bearing garlands, tritons, and centaurs.
  • The images having physiognomic features depicting symbolic expressionsuch as of calmness, sharp outlines, smooth surface, expressive images are the centre point of attraction.

Gandhara art not only assimilated the features of Hellenistic art but also borrowed many West Asiatic and Central Asiatic features such as:

  • Disc-shaped attribute behind the head of Buddha was associated with solar deities of ancient Persian and Greek art.
  • Figures with conical and pointed caps on their heads resemble the Scythian caps of similar design.
  • The regular depiction of fire worship in the Gandhara art, a trait which was probably derived from Iranian sources.

The foreign elements imbibed in the Gandhara art not only placed it on a high pedestal of artistic achievements but also made possible the naturalistic depiction of the human form for the first time in the Indian art history.

  1. The 1857 Uprising was the culmination of the recurrent big and small local rebellions that had occurred in the preceding hundred years of British Rule. Elucidate.

Introduction

  • “The Indian Rebellion was not one movement, … it was many.” A. Baylybrings to our notice what Eric Stokes has written in his book ‘The peasant armed: the Indian Revolt of 1857’.
  • During the first century of British rule, there were a series of uprisings which Kathleen Goughhas called “restorative rebellions’’ as they were started by disaffected local rulers, Mughal officials or dispossessed zamindars.
  • The century before 1857 witnessed more than 40 major rebellions apart from hundreds of minor ones. However, these were local in character and effects & isolated from each other because each rebellion had a different motive.

Peasant Uprisings

  • The Faqir and Sanyasi Rebellions, Bengal & Bihar (1770-1820s):These were widely recurrent confrontations with almost 50,000 participants involved at the height of insurgency.
  • The Revolt of Raja Chait Singh, Awadh (1778-81):Primary goal was to restore the existing agrarian relations and it kept recurring till 1830s.
  • Polygar Rebellions, Andhra Pradesh (1799-1805):Polygars (feudal lords appointed as military chiefs) were joined by peasants against Company’s tactics and the rebellion reached a big scale before it was oppressed.
  • Paika Rebellion, Odisha (1817):An armed rebellion under the leadership of Bakshi Jagabandhu against the Company’s rule. It is considered to be the First War of Independence.
  • Fairazi Movement, Eastern Bengal (1838-1848):First ever no-tax campaign led by Shariatullah Khan and Dadu Mian. It was local in nature and kept on recurring till 1870s.

Tribal Uprisings

  • Bhil Uprisings, Khandesh (present day Maharashtra & Gujarat), (1818-31):Bhils rebelled against the British occupation of Khandesh but were crushed in 1819 but the situation remained unsettled till 1831.
  • Kol Uprising, Chhota Nagpur & Singhbhum region, Bihar & Orissa (1831-32):Plunder and arson were the chief mode with negligible killings but had a major impact in the region.
  • Santhal Uprising, Eastern India (1855-56):The most effective tribal movement which spread rapidly covering areas of Bihar, Orissa and Bengal against British infiltrating policies.

Conclusion

The century long economic exploitation, political subjugation, discriminatory policies, religious interference and suppression of uprisings finally culminated in the revolt of 1857 giving a platform to the discontented leaders of the earlier rebellions to raise voices against the Company.

  1. Examine the linkages between the nineteenth century’s Indian Renaissance and the emergence of national identity.

Nineteenth century witnessed significant changes in Indian polity and society consequent to the expansion and consolidation of British imperialism in India which made Indians realise that their interests were sacrificed in order to promote the interests of the British authority.

The impact of modern western culture and consciousness of defeat by a foreign power gave birth to a new awakening. The modern educational systems familiarised the educated classes with the ideas of equality, liberty and nationalism. They were impressed by modern science and the doctrines of reason and humanism. Thoughtful Indians who were product of modern education began to look for the strengths and weaknesses of their society aimed at giving back to the nation its lost identity.

This new cultural project, which partly manifested itself through the social and religious reforms was encoded in the phrase ‘Indian Renaissance’. It marked a period of transition in values, transformation in social sensibilities and rebirth in cultural creativity.

A defining feature of the movement was an inquiry into the past and an assessment of the traditions to overcome contemporary problems. Ram Mohan Roy’s use of Hindu scriptures in his debate with his opponents on Sati, or Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar’s widow remarriage campaign, or Narayana Guru’s advocacy of universalism sought to eliminate social obscurantism, religious superstition and irrational rituals. The common feature that they all shared was the urge to transform the existing social and cultural conditions, ranging from irrational religious practices and rituals to the oppressive state of women’s lives.

Renaissance ‘purified’ and ‘rediscovered’ an Indian civilisation that was conformant with the European ideals of rationalism, empiricism, monotheism and individualism. It was meant to show that Indian civilisation was by no means inferior to that of the West, rather in one sense, in its spiritual accomplishments it was even superior to it.

Evidence of this search for a superior national culture could be found in the development of patriotic regional literature, in the evolution of new art forms, in the search for purer forms of classical music and in the construction of new ideals of womanhood. The literary movement led by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Tagore, Iqbal and Subramaniya Bharati provided leadership with imagination and fervor.

The movement, thus, not only talked of beauty and nationalism but also revealed to its followers India in terms of its spirit, its philosophy, its arts, its poetry, its music and its myriad ways of life. The sense of pride in the spiritual essence of Indian civilisation, as opposed to the material culture of the West, motivated Indians to confront the colonial state in a newly emerging public space. This, in other words, provided the ideological foundation of modern Indian nationalism that developed in the late nineteenth century.

  1. Assess the impact of global warming on the coral life system with examples.

Coral life system harbour the highest biodiversity of any ecosystem globally and directly support over 500 million people worldwide.

However, over the last three years, coral reefs ecosystem around the world have suffered from mass coral bleaching events. They are now among the most threatened ecosystems on Earth, largely due to unprecedented global warming and climate changes, combined with growing local pressures.

Impact of global warming on the coral life system

  • As temperature rises, mass coral bleaching events and infectious disease outbreaks are becoming more frequent. The bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef in 2016 and 2017, for instance, killed around 50% of its corals.
  • Bleached corals are likely to experience reduced growth rates, decreased reproductive capacity, increased susceptibility to diseases and elevated mortality rates.
  • Ocean acidification, or increased CO2 levels has reduced calcification rates in reef-building and free-associated organisms, causing their skeletons to become weaker and growth to be impaired.
  • Sea level rise may lead to increases in sedimentation for reefs located near land-based sources of sediment. Sedimentation runoff can lead to the smothering of coral.
  • Changes in storm patterns, due to climate change, may lead to stronger and more frequent storms that can cause the destruction of coral reefs.
  • Changes in coral ecosystem also affect the species that depend on them, such as the fish and invertebrates that rely on live coral for food, shelter, or recruitment habitat.
  • Changes in precipitation result in increased runoff of freshwater, sediment, and land-based pollutants contribute to algal blooms and cause murky water conditions that reduce light.
  • Altered ocean currents lead to changes in connectivity and temperature regimes that contribute to lack of food for corals and hampers dispersal of coral larvae.
  • It is also expected that there will be a gradual decrease in the quantity of marine plants such as phytoplankton in warmer waters, effectively reducing the amount of nutrients available to animals further along the food chain.
  • In addition, the collapse of coral life system due to global warming can have direct impacts on tourism, aquaculture, and pharmaceutical industries as well as reduce the overall resilience of coastal communities.

Way forward

  • Limiting global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, addressing local pollution and destructive fishing practices provide chance for the survival of coral life system globally. Also, transformation of mainstream economic systems towards circular economic practices can help in mitigating rising global temperatures.
  • According to UNESCO, the coral reefs in all 29 reef-containing World Heritage sites would cease to exist by the end of this century if global warming is not reduced. Reinforcing commitments to the Paris Agreement may be mirrored in all other global agreements such as the Sustainable Development Goals. SDG 13, for instance, calls for urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
  1. Discuss the causes of depletion of mangroves and explain their importance in maintaining coastal ecology.

Mangroves are salt-tolerant vegetation that grows in intertidal regions of rivers and estuaries. They are referred to as ‘tidal forests’ and belong to the category of ‘tropical wetland rainforest ecosystem’.

Mangrove forests occupy around 2,00,000 square kilometres across the globe in tropical regions of 30 countries. India has a total mangrove cover of 4,482 sq km. However, more than 35% of the world’s mangroves are already depleted.

Causes of Depletion

  • Clearing:Large tracts of mangrove forests have been cleared to make room for agricultural land, human settlements, industrial areas, shrimp aquaculture etc. As a result, mangroves get depleted to the tune of 2-8 percent annually.
  • Overharvesting:They are also overexploited for firewood, construction wood and pulp production, charcoal production, and animal fodder.
  • Damming of rivers:Dams built over the river courses reduce the amount of water and sediments reaching mangrove forests, altering their salinity level.
  • Destruction of coral reefs:Coral reefs provide the first barrier against currents and strong waves. When they are destroyed, even stronger-than-normal waves reaching the coast can wash away the fine sediment in which the mangroves grow.
  • Pollution:Mangroves also face severe threats due to fertilizers, pesticides, discharge of domestic sewage and industrial effluents carried down by the river systems.
  • Climate change:Unusually low rainfall and very high sea surface and air temperatures caused severe threats to the survival of mangrove forests.

Importance of mangroves in maintaining coastal ecology

  • Mangroves are among the most productive terrestrial ecosystems and are a natural, renewable resource. For instance, Sundarbans in the Gangetic delta supports around 30 plant species of mangroves.
  • Mangroves provide ecological niches for a wide variety of organisms. They serve as breeding, feeding and nursery grounds for fisheries and provide timber and wood for fuel.
  • Mangrove forests act as water filters and purifiers as well. When water from rivers and floodplains flow into the ocean, mangroves filter a lot of sediments, hence protecting the coastal ecology including coral reefs.
  • Mangroves act as shock absorbers. They reduce high tides and waves and protect shorelines from erosion and also minimise disasters due to cyclones and tsunami.

Given their importance, strict enforcement of the coastal regulation measures, scientific management practices and participation of the local community in conservation and management are essential for the conservation and sustainable management of the precious mangrove forests.

  1. Can the strategy of regional-resource based manufacturing help in promoting employment in India?

The National Manufacturing Policy aims to increase the share of manufacturing in the country’s GDP to 25% by 2022. However, It has been observed that the rate of development in certain areas is very fast due to some locational advantages with a high degree of industrialization while other areas lag behind. In this regard, regional manufacturing becomes very important.

Employment generation due to Regional-Resource based manufacturing

  • Suitably organized industries can utilize raw materials in the area and thereby give a fillip to greater production and processing. This would help in overall regional development.
  • Manufacturing creates employment in the industry at various levels of skills. Normally a good proportion of the employment is in the unskilled and semi-skilled labor field who can expect higher wages than the informal sector earning.
  • The industry also creates opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in ancillary industries and services in the secondary and tertiary sectors.
  • There would be greater and more varied demand for consumer goods. This creates its own cycle of possible growth in local production, distribution and support in the secondary and tertiary sectors.
  • It would also reduce the income gap between rural and urban areas and thereby reducing the distress migration.

Challenges to regional-resource based manufacturing

  • While many states like Jharkhand, Chattisgarh have abundant mineral resources, it is the lack of adequate infrastructure — mainly roads and power — that has been a major roadblock.
  • Lack of skills amongst people in these manufacturing industries.
  • MSME sector which will have lion’s share in such a strategy are already facing challenges related to marketing, credit, growth, and non-availability of suitable technology for manufacturing, etc.
  • Intellectual Property protection and enforcement are expensive and high risk in India.

In this regard, State and the Union government have come up with various strategies for harnessing the regional manufacturing potential-

  • Orissa has also launched ‘Odisha Industrial Development Plan: Vision 2025’the with focussed attention on five sectors that aim to attract investments of Rs. 2.5-lakh crore and generate direct and indirect employment opportunities for 30 lakh people.
  • UP government’s One District, One Product schemeseeks to promote traditional industries synonymous with their respective districts to spur the local economy and create jobs.
  • North East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS)encourages micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to set up in the north-east region.
  • Forest-based industries and Tribal Products are being encouraged in different states because of its ability to solve the problem of unemployment and poverty.
  • Different states and regions harbor GI tagged products that could be manufactured locally and marketed globally.

The overall development of the country can happen only by securing a balanced and coordinated development of the decentralized manufacturing economy in each region.

  1. Discuss the factors for localisation of agro-based food processing industries of North-West India.

Agro-based food processing industry, aptly recognised as ‘sunrise industry’, is described as one that adds value to agricultural raw materials. This value addition converts the raw agricultural products into marketable, easy-to-use or edible products like corn flakes, chips, ready to serve drinks, etc.

The Indian food processing industry accounts for 32% of the country’s total food market. It is one of the largest industries in India and is ranked fifth in terms of production, consumption, export and expected growth.

However, the North-West India showcases a better-developed agro-based food processing industry. The factors for this localisation are as follows:

  • Geography:The region is blessed with a diverse agro-climatic zones, fertile soil and undulating plains. These support a multitude of crops, vegetables and fruits round the year which provide ample raw material.
  • Raw material:Availability of diverse raw materials viz. cereals, fruits, vegetables and livestock provide attractive base for food processing industry in this region. For instance, Punjab accounts for 17% of rice and 11% of wheat production of India. This region also has the distinction of having the largest population of livestock and largest producer of milk in India.
  • Infrastructure:Well-connected transportation network, subsidised electricity, irrigation facilities (such as Indira Gandhi canal and Bhakhra Nangal) and ample warehousing and storage facilities contribute to flourishing agro-based industries in the region.
  • Agricultural marketing:This region has well-developed agri-export zones, market yards, organised APMCs and mandis, etc. which have provided a conducive environment for the establishment of agro-based industries.
  • Socio-economic status:The population of the region has good literacy rate, including financial literacy, and enjoys an efficient banking network. This helps channel easy availability of credit and capital investment.
  • Policy support:The Punjab government operates an agricultural mega project policy to facilitate investment in the food processing sector. Additionally, large landholdings, single window clearance, permission to set up private sub e-markets, amendment to APMC Act, etc. have enabled agro-based industries in this region to flourish.
  • Capacity building and R&D:Capacity building of the manpower in food processing sector in India is spearheaded by the National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management which is located in Sonepat, Haryana. Likewise, a prominent institution for research and development to improve agricultural productivity and business opportunities is the Indian Institute of Maize Research located in Ludhiana, Punjab.

The initiatives taken at the Union level like permitting 100% FDI through the automatic route in food processing sector and Scheme for Mega Food Parks under the Ministry of Food Processing Industries are conducive steps. However, the challenges for the industry remain such as fluctuations in the availability of raw material due to climate change, inadequate implementation of the APMC Act, multiplicity of ministries and laws to regulate food value chain, etc.

  1. What makes the Indian society unique in sustaining its culture? Discuss.

The notion of accommodation and assimilation has been the key feature of Indian society. Since ancient times, India has accommodated different elements of society without letting them lose their separate identityas Jawahar Lal Nehru writes in The Discovery of India-Indian Society and Culture “is like some ancient palimpsest on which layer upon layer of thought and reverie had been inscribed, and yet no succeeding layer had completely hidden or erased what had been written previously”.

  • In course of time, India has evolved its own culture which is eclectic,externally receptive and heterogeneous.
  • The essence of Indian society lies in harbouring diverse and distinct identities, ethnicities, languages, religions and culinary preferences. History stands witness to the fact that the societies that have struggled to hold differences were shattered in such an attempt.

However, Indian society succeeded and is unique because of its various peculiarities:

  • A Cosmic Vision:The framework of Indian culture places human beings in the centre of the universe, as a divine creation-which celebrates Individuality and differences of opinion in the society.
  • Sense of Harmony:Indian philosophy and culture tries to achieve an innate harmony and order in the society.
  • Tolerance:In India, tolerance and liberalism is found for all religions, castes, communities, etc. Indian society accepted and respected Shaka, Huna, Scythians , Muslim, Christian,jews and Zoroastrians. Rulers like Ashoka, Akbar have patronized various religions and ensured that there is peaceful co-existence of religions.
  • Continuity and Stability: The light of ancient Indian culture life is yet glowing. Many invasions occurred, many rulers changed, many laws were passed but even today, the traditional institutions, religion, epics, literature, philosophy, traditions, etc. are alive.
  • Adaptability:Adaptability is the process of changing according to time, place and period. Indian society has shown fluidity and has adjusted itself with changing times.
  • Caste System and Hierarchy:Indian Society has evolved systems of social stratification, which in the past helped in accommodating outsiders,but concomitantly it has also been the reason for descrimination and prejudice.
  • Unity in diversity:Despite inherent difference Indian society celebrates unity in diversity which reflects in modern India’s founding principles and constitutional ideals.

In recent times,Indian society has seen surge on multiple divisive issues like communalism,casteism,economic disparity and ethnic violence,which pose a serious challenge to the time- tested ethos of our society.

Despite this,India remains a diverse country, a bewildering mosaic of communities of all kinds; our peculiar societal genius is to fashion a form of coexistence where diversity can flourish and find its place. Principle of Sarva Dharma Sambhava (equal respect for all religions) is rooted in India’s tradition and culture.

  1. “Empowering women is the key to control the population growth.” Discuss.

India is set to become the most populous nation in 2027, surpassing China, according to an estimation by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. India’s population has ballooned from 555.2 million in 1970 to 1,366.4 million in 2017.

There are multiple causes of population growth in India such as child marriage and multi marriage system, religious superstitions, illiteracy and unawareness, poverty etc. However, they are in one way or the other linked to the poor condition of women in the nation.

Thus empowering women can play a crucial role in controlling the population growth

  • Women are at times financially weak to pay for needed family planning and health services. Access to and control over productive resources will result in increased voice, agency and meaningful participation in decision-making at all levels from family planning to the time of conceiving.
  • The failure of family planning is directly related to large-scale illiteracy that also contributes to the early age of marriage, low status of women, high child-mortality rate etc. They are least aware of the various ways to control population, usage of contraceptives and birth control measures.
  • Uneducated families cannot grasp the issues and problems caused by the increasing population rate. Education has a transformative impact on girls. Educated girls tend to work more, earn more, expand their horizons, marry and start having children later with fewer children.
  • Fertility rates are high because of misinformation about side-effects of contraceptives, lack of knowledge about the benefits of small families, and religious or male opposition to contraception.
  • Any woman with multiple children spends most of her life as a mother and wife. She cannot play any meaningful role in her community and society until she is able to limit her family to a proper size. Family planning will not only improve family welfare but also contribute to achieving social prosperity and personal happiness.
  • It is also crucial to sensitize men and boys at a young age, so they become an integral part in bringing about a transformation of women empowerment in Indian society. When men start respecting women and accepting them as equals, a lot of gender-based inequalities will reduce considerably.

The unbridled growth of population is a problem that our country needs to overcome. The government, NGOs and the people of society have to work together to solve the problem of overpopulation in our country. India, however, needs to put more efforts on empowering its women who can help the country curb the growth of its population. As also mentioned by Nehru, to awaken the people, first women need to be awakened, because once a woman has been awakened then the whole nation and family get awakened with her.

  1. What are the challenges to our cultural practices in the name of Secularism?

India, since Independence, has been following a peculiar nation of secularism, where all religions are treated equally and supported by the State. However, this concept, at present, is undergoing a paradigm change wherein Constitutional morality is being considered a significant component of secularism by the judiciary. Another characteristic of this change is the growth of misguided perceptions about secularism. The ultimate outcome of these changes is the rise of various challenges to our diverse cultural practices.

Thus, we have a logical classification of these challenges under two dimensions:

  • Challenges posed by misguided perceptions
    • Religiousness is anti-secular and pro-fundamentalist:Thus perception discourages various religious practices like rituals, clothing, thoughts etc. People who wear the saffron dress, who keep beard and pat skull cap (Taqiyah) and all considered fundamentalists.
    • Secularism is equated to atheism and apostasy:Those who do not believe in good or abandon their religious beliefs are marked as secular. This thought is leading to a slow degradation of cultural practices.
    • Restrictions to food choices:Some states, through following the majoritarian religious sentiments, restrict the sale of beef.
    • Judiciopapism:Sometimes, the judiciary also takes a narrow glimpse of secularism and interferes into religious celebrations and practices. Ex. Rajasthan High Court’s ban on Santhara and Supreme Court’s ban on the sale of crackers on Diwali.
  • Challenges due to rise of Constitutional morality
    • Following are the grounds of objections to several cultural practices as considered by the judiciary.
    • Right to Equality:The practice of triple talaq and the ban on entry of women in Sabarimala temple were all declared unlawful by the Supreme Court. Those were done on account of gender inequality and gender exploitation inherent to these practices.
    • Animal Rights:Supreme Court banned the traditional practice of Jallikattu because of the cruelty to animals involved in this.
    • Objection to Harmful Cultural Practices:The illegality of female genital mutilation (FGM), practices in Dawoodi Bohra Community was brought into the limelight in 2018. The centre and the Supreme Court are having the opinion to ban this practice in India.

Thus, it is obvious that while some of the challenges are the outcome of the misleading notion of secularism, others are due to the exploitative and discriminatory nature of cultural practices only. The solution lies in getting all the stakeholders like religious leaders, judges, right’s activists, civil society groups, NGOs and government representatives together over a common platform to discuss the challenges and to bring unanimity for preserving the cultural practices of our country.

  1. Many voices had strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement during the Gandhian Phase. Elaborate.

Gandhian Phase in Indian freedom struggle is undoubtedly remarkable because of the perspective Gandhiji provided to the masses and the way he guided the freedom fighters with the means of truth and non-violence.

But there were numerous other simultaneous factors which further strengthened Gandhi’s efforts and contributed to the nationalist movement.

Voices which strengthened and enriched the nationalist movement:

  • Khilafat Movement (1919-22)was launched by the Indian Muslims to pressurise the British government to preserve the authority of Ottoman Sultan as Caliph of Islam. Gandhi and Congress leaders viewed it as an opportunity for cementing Hindu-Muslim unity and bringing the Muslims in the National Movement although this event is said to have brought the issue of religion in the freedom struggle.
  • The ideological differences between the Swarajists and the No-Changerswithin the congress led to serious changes and contribution. No-changers continued their constructive programme of spinning, temperance, Hindu-Muslim unity, removal of untouchability etc whereas Swarajists won the election of Central Legislative Assembly in november 1923 filling the political void while the national movement was regaining its strength.
  • Marxism and other socialist ideasspread rapidly in 1927 under L. Nehru and S.C. Bose’s leadership. The left wing did not confine its concern to freedom struggle only but raised the question of internal class oppression by the capitalists and landlords. It strengthened the voices of the marginalised and poor of the country and connected them to the movements.
  • Revolutionarieslike P. Bismil, C.S. Azad and Bhagat Singh among others took the responsibilities of informing people about a necessary revolution to uproot British Empire. The Terrorist Movement in Bengal led by Surya Sen is notable because of the role of revolutionary women who participated.
  • Students and peasant partiesgot involved and propagated Marxist and communist ideas while remaining an integral part of the national movement and the Congress. In 1928, Bardoli Satyagraha occurred under the leadership of Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel bringing forward farmers’ concerns.
  • There was rapid growth of trade unionismunder the leadership of All India Trade Union Congress and many strikes took place during 1928 like Kharagpur, Jamshedpur and Bombay Textile Mill strike is the most important. The traders and workers contributed to the struggle for independence.
  • Women from all over India were not left alone. They came forward and equally contributed to the national movement. Kasturba Gandhi, VIjay Laxmi Pandit, Aruna Asaf Ali, Bhikaji Camaare some of the most prominent who assumed leadership at different fronts.

Even the Business class participated by giving financial assistance and rejecting imported goods Every class, section, age group, political ideology emerged, came forward and contributed to the national movement. Even though it weakened the movement to some extent by the fragmentation and the internal ideological differences, it mainly made the movement strong by diversifying it and adding alternative perspectives to it. This multidimensional nature of the movement is one of the reasons for its success in 1947 when finally all the unheard voices till then were heard.

  1. Assess the role of British imperial power in complicating the process of transfer of power during the 1940s.

Introduction

Britain never wanted to leave India but the promise to the Indian National Congress of independence in return of Indian resources and army during World War Two; the post war financial and political exhaustion; change in political power at the centre (Labour Party) whose ideology favoured the Congress party; increasing global pressure and the inability to crush Indian leaders’ will and efforts finally led to the Indian independence. However, Britain did succeed in making the process of transfer of power so complicated and hard that India still suffers from them.

Cabinet Mission

  • Sir Stafford Crippswas responsible for drafting the Cabinet Mission Plan, which proposed a complicated system for India with three tiers- the provinces, provincial groupings and the centre. The centre’s power was confined to foreign affairs, defence, currency and communication only.
  • Three major groupsof provinces: Group A, to include the Hindu-majority provinces; Group B, containing the Muslim-majority provinces (western Pakistan); and Group C, to include the Muslim-majority Bengal (eastern Pakistan).
  • Even though both Nehru and Jinnah eventually refused to accept it, Lord Wavellauthorised a cabinet with Nehru as the Interim Prime Minister which enraged Jinnah who in turn resorted to direct action of sparking riots and massacres.

Partition

  • In July, 1947the British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act which provided for the demarcation of India and Pakistan by midnight of August 14–15, 1947, in just one monthTwo Nations Theory was an important factor here and fuelled communalism.
  • The task of demarcating the boundaries was given to aBritish lawyer, Sir Cyril Radcliffe who had never visited the country before and was clueless about the social and political consequences of his decision. Two boundary commissions were set up for it.
  • During partition, there was a large-scale communal violence and forced migration of people, probably the biggest in history.

Autonomy to Princely States

  • The British paramountcyon the princely states and all the existing treaties of Britain with the princely states before the independence ended in 1947.
  • As princely states were not a part of the British India, they became independent and had the option to either merge with India or with Pakistan or to stay independent.
  • Even after the efforts of Lord Mountbatten, Nehruand Patel, few princely states like Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad posed some serious challenges in the already troubled times.

Conclusion

It was hard to let go of the main resource supplier and the market consumer but when the odds were not in favour of Britain, it gave independence to India but made sure to create some contentious issues while leaving India. A lot of current day problems like issue of enclaves with Bangladesh (later resolved through The Constitution 100th Amendment Act, 2015), the migration issue, Kashmir issue between India-Pakistan etc. have their roots in the complications created by the British imperial power during the 1940s.

  1. Explain how the foundations of the modern world were laid by the American and French revolutions.

The American Revolution and the French Revolution are considered as a cardinal epoch in world history. It gave a death blow to the old orthodox system of governance and installed modern ideals for governing nations.

American Revolution’s contribution to Modern World

  • Principles of liberty and democracy:The declaration of independence proclaimed that “all men are equal”. It provided an impetus to the people of the world to demand liberty and freedom.
  • Constitutionalism:The revolution led to the first written constitution in the world which served as an inspiration for many nations who borrowed many ideas from the American constitution.
  • The American war of independence gave birth to a novel system of government, viz, Federalism. In the course of time, the federal form of government got popularity. This provided a nice template for powersharing in diverse countries that needed complex polities.
  • Promotion of Human Rights:The American war of independence laid stress on the rights of the human being. The “Declaration of Rights” of Thomas Jefferson awakened the people about their rights.

French Revolution’s contribution to Modern World

  • The democratisation of society:The French Revolution was a pan-European revolution. It hacked the roots of the ancient system in Europe and ended the centuries-old feudal system. Before the revolution, the society was based on inequality, disparity, privileges and concessions. The revolution attacked the roots of this disparity. It initiated a new social organization.
  • Ideals of modernity:liberty, equality and fraternity brought political awakening in Europe.
  • Secularism:The revolution ended the sovereignty, despotism and corruption of the Church. The importance of the worship of intellect and reason became more prominent.
  • The people demanded not only political freedom but also right to property and freedom of expression. They also demanded voting rights. Women claimed equal rights with men.
  • The Revolution aroused the spirit of nationalism. It paved the way for the unification of Italy and Germany. It also popularized the concept of democracy.
  • Colonised peoples reworked the idea of freedom from bondage into their movements to create a sovereign nation-state.
  • Tipu Sultan and Rammohan Roy are two examples of individuals who responded to the ideas coming from revolutionary France.

French and American revolution not only laid the edifice for a newly emerging egalitarian society and a new way of polity in their respective countries but they also acted as the philosophical basis and aspiration of the people of other nations. The revolutions highlighted the fundamentals of a civilised world which continues to shape the global aspirations of today’s time.

  1. What is water stress? How and why does it differ regionally in India?

Water stress is a situation in which the water resources in a region or country are insufficient for its needs. Such a situation arises when the demand for water exceeds the available amount or when poor quality restricts its use.

Water stress in India

  • India is home to nearly 17% of the world’s population but has only 4% of the world’s freshwater resources.
  • According to NITI Aayog’s Composite Water Management Index(CWMI) report 2018, 21 major cities including Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai, and Hyderabad are racing to reach zero groundwater levels by 2020, affecting access for 100 million people. Besides, 12% of India’s population is already living the ‘Day Zero’
  • According to the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas of World Resources Institute, India is ranked 13thamong the 17 most water-stressed countries of the world.

This indicates that India is going through water emergency. However, there is regional variation i.e. not all regions are equally water stressed.

  • While the northwestern and central parts of the country are severely water stressed, the eastern parts receive abundant rainfall for groundwater recharge.
  • The variation is also at the intra-regional level. For example, the areas in north Bihar struggle due to flooding while that of south Bihar finds it difficult to beat the heat. Flooding in Mumbai has become a regular phenomena while the nearby Vidarbha faces drought.

This uneven distribution of water crisis can be attributed to the following reasons:

  • Geographical factors
    • India has diverse physiography, due to which different regions receive varying degrees of rainfall. For example, winter monsoon along the eastern coast and summer monsoon in northern India.
    • Interior of southern India lies in the rain shadow zone and most of Rajasthan and northern Gujarat have arid climate.
    • Also, the arid and semi-arid areas of northwestern India and central India are naturally occurring waterstressed areas.
  • Climatic factors
    • Changing climate has led to an increase in the frequency and intensityof floods as well as droughts.
    • Erratic monsoon is causing delayed and infrequent rainfall in different parts of India.
  • Agricultural practices
    • In India, agriculture is not practised according to the agro-climatic zone. Groundwater is used to cultivate water intensive crops like paddy and sugarcane in rain deficit states like Punjab and Maharashtra respectively.
    • State procurement policy and subsidised electricity in Punjab makes it profitable for farmers to produce rice. Similarly, farmers in Maharashtra cultivate sugarcane because they are assured of marketing.
    • Moreover, flood irrigation is the most common form of irrigation in India which leads to a lot of water loss.
    • All these have led to excessive groundwater extractionand have made India virtual exporter of water.
  • Human factors
    • Rapid urbanizationhas led to the concentration of population in and around major cities which usually happen to be located in the rainfall deficient regions (like Delhi-NCR).
    • The situation is aggravated by encroachment, contamination and consequent destruction of water bodieswhich otherwise help recharge the underground aquifers.
    • Above all, there is a lack of awareness about water economy which demands judicious use of water.
  • Way forward
    • India’s water challenge stems not only from the limited availability of water resources but also its mismanagement.
    • There is a need to follow conservation agriculturee. farming practices adapted to the requirements of crops and local conditions. Cultivation of less water intensive crops like pulses, millets and oilseeds should be encouraged in water stressed regions.
    • Rainwater harvestingneeds to be incorporated with urban development projects. Mission Kakatiya (Telangana), which seeks to restore tanks through community-based irrigation management, is commendable.
    • Freshwater sources need to be declared as water sanctuarieson the lines of national parks and tiger reserves. Water must be treated as a resource rather than a commodity.
    • The efforts like the formation of Jal Shakti ministry(to tackle water issues holistically) and the goal to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024, under the Jal Jeevan mission, are steps in the right direction.
  1. How can the mountain ecosystem be restored from the negative impact of development initiatives and tourism?

The Himalayan States, including the Northeast, and the Western Ghats are the most prominent mountain ecosystems in India which are struggling to cope up with the negative impacts of development initiatives and tourism. The Report of Working Group II Sustainable Tourism in the Indian Himalayan Region by the NITI Aayog highlights similar concern.

The negative impacts emerge out of the replacement of traditional eco-friendly and aesthetic architecture with inappropriate and dangerous construction, poorly designed roads and associated infrastructure, inadequate solid waste management, air pollution, degradation of water sources, and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Their repercussions were evident in the Kedarnath floods of 2013.

In this respect, the following steps can be considered:

  • The reports by committees on Western Ghats ecology headed by Madhav Gadgiland  Kasturirangan need urgent attention. The concept of ecological sensitive zones (ESZ) cannot be sacrificed for the sake of development. Likewise, NITI Aayog has suggested setting up of Himalayan Authority for coordinated and holistic development of entire Himalayan region.
  • There has to be clear demarcation and planning with respect to the extent of infrastructure development. It should include a systematic process of urban planning, developing tourist hubs with strict controls, spring mapping and revival etc. For example, provision for no encroachment areas, well-preserved forested areas, etc.
  • With respect to tourism, measures like application of carrying capacity conceptto tourist destinations, implementation and monitoring of tourism sector standards, and performance-based incentives for States faring well on the standards can be considered. The unregulated tourism movement is a major reason for plastic pollution.
  • States should also be encouraged to spend more on sustainable development of tourism. For instance, Uttarakhand stands second in tourist arrivals but invests only 0.15% of its total expenditure on this sector. Besides, States can also adopt and share the best practices. For example, Sikkim can be a lodestar for sustainable agriculture, waste managementand ecotourism.
  • With collaborative and participatory frameworks capacity buildingfor conservation is required. Viable enterprises that can provide sustained economic incentives and support local communities need to be promoted. These can help achieve SDG Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth) and Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production).

To provide a better standard of living to the mountain communities and to meet the overall needs of the economy, a linkage between development and conservation needs to be formed. Besides, effective implementation of schemes and policies hold significance for any desirable results.

  1. How is efficient and affordable urban mass transport key to the rapid economic development in India?

Across nations, and through decades, economic development has been correlated to personal mobility. India has witnessed remarkable growth over the last few decades. However, the mobility infrastructure has not kept pace with the demand. As India aspires to be the second largest economy in the world by 2050, we must prepare for a rapid increase in demand for mobility.

Importance of efficient and affordable urban mass transport

  • Supports clusters and agglomerations:In large metropolitan areas, growth can be slowed with the heavy usage of private vehicles. Effectively planned transportation can overcome this constraint and reinforce agglomerations by allowing more people to come closer together in higher density developments.
  • Increases productivity:When transportation improvements increase the accessibility of people and businesses to reach jobs, services, and activities, productivity also increases.
  • Enhances job & labor force accessibility:Another economic benefit of transportation improvements is the resulting larger pool of employees available for the job market.
  • Opens new markets for businesses:Building a multi-modal facility opens new markets for companies searching for locations with the appropriate transportation infrastructure for their corporate needs.

Towards building an efficient and affordable urban mass transport

  • Government has devised various policies for ensuring affordable, efficient and accessible mobility systemlike – National Transit Oriented Development Policy, 2017; Green Urban Transport Scheme, 2016; FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (hybrid &) Electric vehicles etc.
  • Despite these, Regulations must be introduced to encourage efficient use of existing roads and smarter traffic management. For example, not allowing trucks and large commercial carriers to ply city roads during the day.
  • Governments must ensure that the adequate ecosystem is in place before adopting new technologies in mobility. For instance, to adopt electric vehicles, cities must have first installed sufficient number of charging stations.
  • A good beginning is being made through the Smart Cities Programme, and all the selected 100 cities have put NMT (non-motorised transport) promotion as one of the goals in their respective Smart City Proposals.

In the coming years, Emerging market cities will play an increasingly large role in the global economy and for their unimpeded contribution. Therefore, India needs to develop Safe, Adequate and Holistic Infrastructure (SAHI) for the Indian population including women, elderly and the disabled.

  1. How do ocean currents and water masses differ in their impacts on marine life and coastal environment? Give suitable examples.

Ocean currents (surface or deep ocean currents) are streams of water flowing constantly in definite path and direction, for example, Gulf Stream (warm current) and Labrador current (cold current ). Water masses are the extensive homogeneous body of immense volume of ocean water in terms of temperature and salinity. These are generally characterised by the the downwelling of denser cold water and upwelling of less dense water, for example, the North Atlantic Deep water mass in the Norwegian Sea.

Impacts of ocean currents

  • On marine life
    • Ocean currents act as distributing agents of nutrients, oxygen and other elements necessary for the existence and survival of fishes and zooplanktons.
    • They also transport planktons from one area to the other area. For example, Gulf Stream carries planktons from the Mexican Gulf to the coasts of Newfoundland and north-western Europe. Many significant fishing grounds of the world are developed in these areas.
    • Mixing of warm and cold ocean currents bring rich nutrients which support marine organisms. For example, seas north of Japan is a rich fishing ground due to the mixing of warm Kuroshio and cold Kurile currents.
    • Sometimes, a few ocean currents destroy planktons. For example, El Nino current destroys planktons off the Peruvian coasts resulting into mass deaths of fishes.
  • On coastal environment
    • Ocean currents maintain the horizontal heat balance of the earth. The warm currents transport warm waters of the tropics to colder areas of temperate and polar zones. Cold currents on the other hand bring cold waters of the high latitudes to the areas of low latitudes.
    • Surface ocean currents also modify the weather conditions of the coastal areas. The ideal and favourable European type of climate of the western coasts of Europe is due to the moderating effects of the North Atlantic warm currents.
    • Cold currents also intensify the desert-like conditions in the coastal areas, exemplified by the presence of some deserts in the western edges of continents, e.g., Namib Desert in Africa.
    • The convergence of warm and cold currents causes foggy conditions, e.g., near Newfoundland due to convergence of warm Gulf Stream and cold Labrador current.

Impacts of water masses

  • Downwelling of water masses
    • It transports oxygen downward which is much needed by the marine organisms.
    • This process discourages enrichment of seawater by bringing nutrients, and hence the areas of downwelling of water masses are not conducive to marine life and hence they are the areas of low marine productivity.
  • Upwelling of water masses
    • It is beneficial to the rich marine life because dissolved oxygen and nutrients are brought to the surface through upwelling. For example, the upwelling of nutrient rich cold water off the coast of Peru has made the region one of the richest fishing grounds.

Global warming is disrupting the sinking of cold, salty water as a result of increased melting of glaciers and sea ice. This could slow or even stop the circulation of ocean waters, which could result in potentially drastic impact on marine life and coastal environment. Thus, arresting global warming is the need of the hour.

  1. Do we have cultural pockets of small India all over the nation? Elaborate with examples.

India has a lot of diversity to offer to the people of this world and to her own people as well. The oldest civilisation has had ample time and experiences to accumulate the cultural practises of everyone who came here with their respective motives whether it was tourism, education, plunder, exploitation or to rule.

  • Vast resources attracted people and foreign rulers in our past and they keep attracting people in the present as well. People from smaller cities migrate to urban centres and metropolitan areas in search of employment, education etc and they eventually settle down there. When such diversity of people pools in together at a relatively smaller place, it becomes a cultural pocket.
  • The basic idea is that within a bigger, overarching culture, another smaller and different culture is developed and sustained.The metropolitan areas like National Capital Region of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru or coastal industrial hubs like Surat, Kochi, Visakhapatnam or religious centres like Ajmer, Amarnath, Chardhams etc can be taken as examples of hubs of such cultural pockets within India.
  • Metropolitan areasrepresent a culture of their own which is entirely different from each other and can be seen in the banter between Delhi and Mumbai. But they are well diverse within themselves as well depending upon the time and place. The Ganpati Utsav and those who celebrate it, form a cultural pocket within Mumbai for ten days. It applies to other places as well. In Delhi, a cultural pocket is formed by the political, defence personnel and the patriotic citizens around the Independence Day
  • Multi Storey housing societiesin urban areas are also an example of cultural pockets. Diverse people live in the same building exchanging food habits, traditions, indegenous culture and they celebrate all festivals together as if they are a big joint family. Same applies to multinational organisations and corporate offices as well where workers represent the diversity of India.
  • Higher educational institutes like universities and collegesprovide us with the same scenario. Students from every corner of the nation irrespective of their hometowns, race, caste, class or any other differences sit and study in the same classroom and take part in extracurricular activities and college festivals together.
  • It is very clear to us that India has uncountable cultural pockets all over the nation with different set of values and outlooks towards life enriching Indian cultural heritage and validating the fact that India is indeed one of the Cultural Superpowers of the world.
  1. What are the continued challenges for Women in India against time and space?

Nearly one-sixth of the world’s women live in India and many of them had adorned high offices like that of President, Prime minister, Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Leader of the Opposition, yet there are innumerable women who rarely step outside their homes.

Challenges faced by Indian women emanates from Hegemonic patriarchy, which is prevalent in Indian society.

  • It means the idea that discrimination against women appears to be common sense to such an extent that not only men but even women also become the supporter and perpetrator of the very notion which discriminates against them.

This leads to various problems like:

  • Oppression against women starts right from the womb: Female infanticide.
    • This can be reflected in poor child sex ratio, i.e. 919/1000 according to census 2011.
  • Girls are the worst sufferer ofthe vicious cycle of poverty and malnutrition.
    • This is augmented by a lack of education and reproductive rights.
  • Motherhood penalty:
    • The primary responsibility of taking care of family and bringing up the child is still on the women.
    • This includes unpaid care work such as childcare, elderly care, and household work.
    • Many women due to family pressures have to retreat from the workforce.
  • Declining female labour force participation rate (LFPR)
    • Despite increasing levels of education and declining fertility rates, the current female LFPR is 23.7%.
  • Commodification of women
    • The women are either shown as docile homemakers or they are shown as sex symbols trying to convince the public at large to buy the product.
  • Pink collarisation of jobs
    • The women are mostly deemed fit for “pink-collar jobs” only, such as teachers, nurses, receptionist, babysitter, lecturer etc. which have been stereotyped for women.
    • This denies them opportunities in other fields
  • Glass ceilings
    • Women in India face artificial barriers like stereotypes, media-related issues, informal boundaries, which prevent them from advancing upward in their organization into management-level positions.
    • This can be reflected in an increasing wage gap between men and women.
  • Sexual harassment at the workplace
    • #Metoo movement shed light on numerous instances of sexual harassment at the workplace.
    • However, due to the slow judicial system, justice hasn’t been delivered to these women.
  • Lack of political participation of women
    • Indian Parliament currently has 11.8% women representation, and state assemblies have only 9%.
    • Even though the 73rdconstitutional amendment act mandates 33% of panchayat seats to be reserved for women.
    • However, The dichotomy between representation and participation can be reflected by the prevalence of “Sarpanch Pati”.

Way Forward

  • Indian Society doesn’t need better laws but better implementation.
  • Reservation in parliament for women must be implemented as soon as possible.
  • The government must empower women through Self-help groups so that they can become financially independent.
  • Affirmative action should be pursued by the government to induct more and more women into positions of authority.
  • Supreme court judgement of decriminalizing adultery and homosexuality, have reaffirmed women’s right to sexual autonomy.
    • However, Society has a larger responsibility to disassociate itself from the stigma attached to women’s sexuality.
  • Women’s issues are not a political problem but a social issue, Hence it requires a cultural revolution.
    • Movies like Padman and Toilet will help in challenging the hegemonic patriarchy.
    • Apart from it, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao initiative is a step in the right direction.

In order to improve the condition of Indian women, society must remember words of J.L. Nehru: “India To awaken the people, it is the woman who must be awakened. Once she is on the move, the family moves, the village moves, the nation moves”.

  1. Are we losing our local identity for the global identity? Discuss.

Indian society is represented by a set of local cultural traits like local languages, different food choices, dressing styles, classical music, family structure, cultural values, etc. There has been a growing sense of insecurity among the Indian masses regarding the gradual degradation or loss of our local identity. This gradual loss of local identity is popularly attributed to globalization that creates a global culture in which the local identity is amalgamated to bring a homogenous culture throughout the world.

This sense of insecurity is not baseless and is supported through the following facts:

  • Loss of local languages for English:Under the growing trends of convert culture in education and servicebased economy, English education has developed rapidly at the cost of several vernacular languages.
  • Loss of classical music for Pop and Jazz culture:The changing taste of music among Indian youth has put a question mark over the survivability of traditional classical music in India.
  • Loss of collective identity for individualism:With rise in metropolitan of Indian population, the individualism is growing and the social relations are now based on commercial benefits.
  • Loss of joint family structure for nuclear family system:Economic migration and the choice for individual space have broken the joint structure of family in India. At this junction, the old-aged and children are depriving of the required care.
  • Loss of moral education for advanced commercial education:The growing disorientation between morality and higher education is the greatest demolition of our identity.
  • Degradation of the institution of marriage:The growing acceptance to the live-in-relationship has questioned the sanctity of the institution of marriage in our society. This represents the dominance of western culture and the Indian way of living.
  • Changing style of clothing:With the rise in corporate culture, the Indian dressing style has remained merely an occasional stuff that too in cultural occasions only.
  • Loss of traditional food choice:With the rise of chain restaurants and hotels, the food choice of Indian youth has inclined towards the Italian and Chinese fast foods. This has caused foods that are comparatively healthy and rich in nutrients.
  • Deadline of cultural values:In the have of freedom of speech, the traditional values of moral decency, respect to elders, following the rituals etc. are all declining.
  • Loss of indigenous system of medication like Ayurveda, Yoga etc.

Despite these facts, another dimension of thoughts about globalization points to the universalization of our local beliefs and cultural values rather than demolition. This dimension is also supported equally through various facts like:

  • Indian festivals are now being celebrated all across the world:The most significant example is the Diya stamps issued by UNO to celebrate Diwali. Even a local religious festival of Chhath Puja is celebrated in Silicon Valley, USA.
  • Observance of International Yoga Day on 21stJune: This has popularized the Yoga throughout the globe.
  • Observance of World Hindi Day on 10th January and organization of World Hindi Conference.
  • ISKCON foundation has spread the practice of Bhakti Yoga in different Western countries. This promotes religious tourism in our country.
  • Indian classical music is being liked all across the world and it is appreciated at Berklee school of music. SPIC MACAY, an NGO has promoted the Indian classical music and culture among youth across the world.
  • Taj Mahal is among the seven wonders of the world.

Thus, culture is an ever-evolving entity which constantly changes through diffusion and amalgamation. Of course, we should embrace our cultural identity and values and it is our duty to preserve our cultural identity, however, globalization is not a matter to worry and infusion of global identity should be welcomed

 

UPSC Civil Services Mains Solved GS Paper-II (2019)

1. Do you think that Constitution of India does not accept principle of strict separation of powers rather it is based on the principle of ‘checks and balance’? Explain.

Indian constitution have meticulously defined powers and functions of the different organs of the state. Legislature, executive and judiciary have to function within their own spheres demarcated under the constitution. Unlike the US constitution, instead of having strict separation of power India follows the principle of ‘checks and balance’ which is evident from the various constitutional provisions dealing with executive, legislative and judicial organs.

  • The executive power of the state is exercised by the President, who acts on the advice tendered by the council of ministers headed by the Prime Minister. However, according to article 75, the council of ministers with the responsibility of forming policies and implementing them are the members of the Parliament and responsible to the Lok Sabha.
  • Under the constitutional provision, Parliament in India includes the Lok Sabha, the Rajya Sabha and the President. Parliament, the legislative body, has the head of executive as its integral part. Accordingly, the parliament uses different motions like censure motion, no confidence motion, etc., to check the functioning of the council and hold them responsible. Further, the Parliament under article 61, can impeach the President for violation of the Constitution.
  • Within the constitutional provision India has an independent judiciary with the Supreme Court at its apex. Provision of judicial review and writ under Article 32 and 226 empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts respectively to check the constitutional validity of the executive and legislative actions. Independence of the judiciary has been ensured in the constitution but the same has been interlinked with executive and legislative organ of the government. For instance appointment and transfer of judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court is done by the executive. Further, the removal of the judges of the High Courts and Supreme court is done by the Parliament.
  • Idea behind the doctrine of separation of powers is to create separate power centers rather than having all power concentrated in a single institution. Though on the whole, the doctrine of separation of power in the strict sense is not possible in modern political system, its value lies in emphasis of checks and balance, which are necessary to prevent abuse of power and uphold the rule of law. All three of them are strong pillars of India which support and strengthen each other. Thus, keeps a check and ensures smooth functioning of the whole system and the nation.
  1. The central administrative tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its power as an independent judicial authority. Explain.

A new Part XIV-A was added to the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act of 1976. This part is titled as ‘Tribunals’ and consists of Article 323A which empowers the Parliament to provide for the establishment of administrative tribunals for the adjudication of disputes relating to recruitment and conditions of service of public servants.

Consequently, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was established by an Act of 1985. The Principal seat of CAT is at New Delhi with additional benches in different states. The CAT has been given original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and all service matters of public servants covered by it.

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) acts as an independent judicial authority i.e. it performs the duties free of influence or control by other actors.

  • Article 323A enables the Parliament to take out the adjudication of disputes relating to service matters from the civil courts and the high courts and place it before the administrative tribunals.
  • CAT is of statutory origin, as opposed to Supreme Court and high courts which have direct origin from the Constitution. Nevertheless, the 1985 Act, by establishing CAT, has opened a new chapter in the sphere of providing speedy and inexpensive justice to the aggrieved public servants.
  • The members of CAT are drawn both from judicial as well as administrative streams so as to give the Tribunal the benefit of expertise both in legal and administrative spheres.
  • CAT is free from technical rules of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and procedural shackles of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 but it has been vested with the powers of Civil Court in respect of some matters including the review of their own decisions and are bound by the principles of natural justice.
  • Recently, the Delhi High Court has held that the CAT can exercise the same jurisdiction and powers, as a High Court, in respect of its contempt proceedings. Thus, it gave more power to act as an independent judicial authority.
  • In another case, the CAT has taken a swipe at Delhi High Court because during June vacations the High Court has heard briefly a case which was originally pending before the tribunal.

However, the Central Administrative Tribunal still cannot be called truly independent judicial body because

  • the Tribunal members do not enjoy powers like other judges who hold constitutional posts, and
  • it is dependent on the executive for appointing members of the tribunal and their funding.

Thus, it can be fairly argued that the tribunal which was formed for grievance and complaints redressal has although evolved into a judicial body but it cannot be called entirely independent.

  1. What are the methods used by the farmers’ organisation to influence the policy-makers in India and how effective are these methods?

Farmers’ organizations are seen as a useful organizational mechanism for mobilizing farmers’ collective self-help action aimed at improving their own economic and social situation and that of their communities. Such organizations are perceived to have the ability to generate resources, mobilise support and exert pressure with the help of their members. They operate at different levels from the local to the national.

Methods used by organizations

  • Awareness generation:They try to gain public support and sympathy for their goals and their activities by carrying out information campaigns, organising meetings, filing petitions, etc. Most of these groups try to influence the media into giving more attention to these issues.
  • Lobbying:Powerful farmers groups like sugarcane farmers of Maharashtra and UP try to influence policy making in their favour like getting favourable MSP and payment of arrears.
  • Protest:They often organise protest activities like strikes or disrupting general administration. These protests of late have centred around issues like loan waiver, higher MSP, free electricity, etc. The recent farmers’ march to Delhi under the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh banner was such an example.
  • Activism:This method includes publicizing important issues, petitioning courts, preparing draft legislation and gaining public attention in matters related to farmers like issues pertaining to GM crops.
  • Recent trends:Farmers organisations recently have also employed innovative ways like spilling milk and vegetables on highways or appearing to consume dead rats, soil and urine at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar etc.

However, these moves have hardly bore the desired results:

  • In a situation of impending unrest the government often takes to populist measures instead of employing a solution which is good for the nation and the farmers in the longer run.
  • The government often takes short term respite such as farm loan waiver, higher MSP, cash transfers in farmers’ accounts, etc.
  • Even if the government resorts to such populist measures its effective implementation is often absent. For example, rise in MSP is of no use if there lack of infrastructure to procure grains from the hinterland or if the masses are unaware of such a scheme.
  • Moreover, several policy recommendations have not been implemented as the government is not fully aligned with the suggestions. For example, the Swaminathan Committee recommendations is yet to be fully implemented.

Thus, although organising the protest and mobilising support help in gaining the attention of the public and the government, it can be argued that they have resulted in little on the ground.

  1. From the resolution of contentious issues regarding distribution of legislative powers by the courts, ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’ have emerged. Explain.

Division of power is a basic feature of federalism. The Constitution provides for a three-fold distribution of legislative subjects between the Union list, the state ist, and the Concurrent List in the Seventh Schedule. However, contention develops in categorization of legislation into the entries of these three lists. To resolve these contentions, courts have evolved various principles.

Principle of harmonious construction

When there is a conflict between the statue’s provisions between the union and state list then the rule of harmonious construction needs to be adopted. The rule follows a very simple premise that every statute has a purpose and intent and should be read as a whole. The widest interpretation of the provisions of the statute should be allowed. Also, the Court should help in removal of the inconsistency of the statute’s language in order to reconcile the contention. For instance, the conflict between centre and state arose in Shri Krishna Rangnath Mudholkar vs Gujarat University, 1963 on the validity of Gujrat University Act. The court used this principle to allow the State government to make law on excluded items(reserved for the centre) as an extension to its power to legislate on education, to the extent it does not contradict the union law.

Principle of Federal Supremacy

  • When a statute’s provisions fall in both state and union list, then the centre would have the dominant legislative power. The state and concurrent list are subordinate to the Union list. The Supreme court can apply this principle as a last resort if attempts to find a solution under the Principle of Federal Supremacy fails.
  • In the era of cooperative and competitive federalism, conflicts should be minimized as far as possible. States should bring reform in important areas like Police, Agriculture marketing, etc. and coordinate with other states and centre in order to have a uniform legislative framework in key areas. With the recent steps like one nation, one ration card, more federal cooperation would be necessary.
  1. What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism.

European countries like France have struggled to find a middle way between secularism and state religion that combines national and religious identity, and where ethnic and religious minority groups can co-exist within state’s institutions. This can be seen in the banning of Islamic clothing, kosher or halal meals and burqas in France.

But India’s experiences can perhaps shine a light to the rigid form of secularism practiced in France:

  • Although, the term ‘Secular’ was added to the preamble by the 42ndConstitution Amendment Act of 1976, the spirit of secularism, derived from Indian cultural ethos, was implicit in it.
  • Indian philosophy of secularism is related to “Sarva Dharma Sambhava” which means equal respect to all religions. The State maintains a “principled distance” from all religion and intervenes wherever necessary, for example -Sabarimala Temple and Triple talaq issue.
  • Like the French, Indians tend to consider secularism as part of their national identity. It is ingrained in both Constitutions but when it comes to treatment of minorities, French minorities feel targeted by “laicite”(secularism) while Indian minorities see secularism as their best protection,thus preventing them from differential treatments and phobias.
  • In India, both state and religion can, and often do, interact and intervene in each other’s affairs within the legally prescribed and judicially settled parameters.
  • As per the French model, the state cannot give any financial support to educational institutions run by religious communities. In India, educational institutions may receive assistance from the state.
  • In India, state has the policy of setting up Departments of Religious Endowments, Wakf Boards, etc. It is also involved in appointing Trustees to these boards.
  • In France, the statetries to push religion into the private sphere, where religious symbols can not be publicly displayed. Indian secularism has no such objectives and special rights are given to different communities, like- Muslims have personal laws and Sikhs are allowed to carry Kripans (Knives).

We may observe this from the fact that very few people in India were radicalised and joined ISIS as compared to their western counterparts. The concept of secularism prevalent in France has its roots in religious wars and discontent but Indian secularism has evolved in relative harmony and in light of great civilizational and cultural antecedents. Thus, Indian secularism is not an end in itself but a means to address religious plurality and aims to achieve peaceful coexistence of different religions. In times of globalisation, when almost all the countries have now become multi-religious, it is the need of the hour to learn from Indian secularism.

  1. Despite the consistent experience of high growth, India still goes with the lowest indicators of human development. Examine the issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive.

Human development is increasingly viewed as the ultimate goal of development. It has multiple dimensions such as life expectancy at birth, education, standard of living, healthcare, inequalities, etc. and these can be improved and achieved with the rapid economic growth.

The Human development is best measured by the United Nations Human Development Index and the World’s Banks Human Capital Index. While, the economic growth is measured by the Gross Domestic Product or gross national product. However, there exists a strong correlation between Economic Growth and Human Development as Economic Growth provides the necessary resources to permit sustained improvements in Human Development.

  • India today is among the largest economies of the world. However, according to the United Nations Human Development Index report 2018, India ranks 130 out of 189 countries. The HDI 2018 highlighted some improvements such as increased life expectancy at birth, increased enrollment in schools, etc. However, India’s gross national income per capita also increased by a staggering 266.6 per cent between 1990 and 2017.
  • According to the World Bank’s Global Human Capital Index 2019, India ranks 115th out of 157 nations. The report also held that a child born in India is likely to be only 44% productive when (s)he grows up, if (s)he receives education and adequate healthcare. So, This clearly states that the Indian economy has failed to provide a trickle-down effect.

Reasons for the lack of Human development

  • Unequal Distribution of Wealth and Non-inclusive growth:In the last five years, only 1% of the wealthiest in India increased their share in wealth of around 60% and the richest 10% in India own more than four times more wealth than the remaining 90%.
    • This results in an uneven distribution of wealth across the various sections of the society and it marks the prevalence of high inequality in the Indian socio-economic paradigm which led Non-inclusive growth and low human development.
  • Jobless growth:With increasing economic growth, the rate of growth of employment has declined.
    • According to NSSO, unemployment is India is highest in 45 years.
    • With rising population and, consequently, the labour force, India will soon experience demographic disaster rather than a demographic dividend.
    • Also, according to ASSOCHAM, there is no deficiency of the adequate number of jobs, but the majority of the labour force doesn’t have adequate skills required by the market.
  • Dismal condition of Education and Health:
    • On comparison with similarly placed emerging economies, India spends way too low in the education and health sector.
    • India spends 3% of GDP on education and 1.5% of GDP on health.
  • Education status in India:
    • Independent India retained the largely colonial superstructureof primary, secondary, and tertiary education, which emphasis on rote learning and obsession with marks in the exams.
    • Consequently access, quality, and outcomes all are far lower than what anyone would have desired.
    • Dropouts are only one outcome of bad quality. Poor learning outcomes, low employability of graduates, low productivity, and consequent low wages constitute another set of outcomes.
    • All these outcomes are reflected in the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2018, which concluded that the quality of education is far from satisfactory.
  • Health status in India
    • Even after many government schemes, both the infant mortality rate and the maternal mortality rate remains high.
    • There is a high prevalence of malnutrition in Indian children, reflected in a high percentage of Child stunting, wasting and underweight.
    • The neglect of women’s health, in particular, is striking.
    • Apart from it, India features the highest deaths in the world due to air pollution.
  • Also, there is a disconnect between the rate of technological growth and ability to distribute the gainsfrom it by adequately focusing on skilling (via knowledge, education) and health, which is critical for greater resilience and sustained productivity.
  • Though the government has initiated many schemes for enhancing human capital i.e. Skill India, Digital India, Startup India, Ayushman Bharat. However, the results are not yet promising.

Way forward

  • The government needs to increase public expenditure on health and education as envisaged by National health policy 2017 (2.5% of GDP) and Draft education policy 2019 (6% of GDP).
  • Apart from holistic reforms in education, Right to Education must be accompanied by Right to Learning.
  • Promotion of Primary health centre under Ayushman Bharat, which focuses on preventive healthcare is a step in the right direction.
  • The government should also focus on promoting labour-intensive sectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles and garments and leather goods.
  • Skill framework in India needs to integrate with industries, so as to increase the employability of the Indian labour force.
  • The government should make efforts to curb digital divide, as it creates and reproduces socio-economic backwardness.

Human development and economic growth share a cause and effect to each other relationship. Therefore, without investing in Human capital and addressing current economic slowdown, the goal to becoming a $5 trillion economy, will remain a pipe dream for India.

  1. There is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. The shrinking of social expenditure by the government is forcing the poor to spend more on non-food essential items squeezing their food budget. Elucidate.

Since the economic reforms, Urban Head Count Ratio (HCR) poverty fell from 32% in 1993-94 to 21% in 2009-10. The fall in poverty in rural India has been even more spectacular, where HCR declined from 50% to 34% in the same period. However, this looks decidedly uncomfortable when confronted with another set of facts on the prevalence of hunger(or under-nutrition) in India.

Despite increase in real income of the people over the last two decades, overall calorie consumption and nutritional intake has not commensurately increased. According to Global Hunger Index, India is second after South Sudan, when it comes to wasting (low weight for height) among children. Also,there are millions of children and adults suffering from “Hidden Hunger”.

  • The poor are increasingly spending more on education,healthcare,transportation,fuel and lighting. The share of monthly expenditure devoted to these items has increased at such a pace that it has absorbed all the increase in real income over the past decades. This has led to a ‘Food Budget Squeeze’.
  • Possibly, the most important reason for this is shrinking social expenditure by the government which is rendering the urban and the rural poor dependent on market prices of non-food essential items, like education,healthcare etc which are typically high.
  • Social sector spending has always been low in India compared to other countries. According to the National Health Profile 2018, India spends 02% of the gross domestic product on public healthcare, while Maldives spends 9.4%, Sri Lanka 1.6%, Bhutan 2.5%, and Thailand about 2.9%.In education, India’s public investment is around 2.7% of GDP, while it is 3.4% in Sri Lanka and 7.4% in Bhutan.
  • Another reason is, rural working people are migrating in large numbers to urban centres or other rural areas in search of work. Most of such migration is temporary and seasonal in character, and involves travelling relatively large distances. This large circulation of labor does have substantial impact on the expenditure patterns of households. For instance, an increasingly footloose labourforce means that a large section of the working poor have to bear higher costs of transportation, maintain communication with the sites of work (much of which is seasonal in character), and are deprived of traditional non-market sources of food when away from home.
  • Hunger persists in India also because of a decline in access to non-market food sources,preference for ‘better tasting more expensive calories and increased spending on luxury items like radio, TV, and mobile phones, as economist Abhijit Banerjee writes in his book – “Poor Economics”.
  • In recent times, talks of Universal Basic Income and replacing food subsidies with Direct Benefit Transfer are gaining ground. These measures may further aggravate the crisis of hunger by exposing the poor to market volatility.

Economists Amartya Sen and Jean Dreze distinguish two aspects of social security — “protection” and“promotion”. While the former denotes protection against a fall in living standards through ill health, accidents; the latter focuses on enhanced living conditions- “capability building”.Government needs to take care of these by increasing expenditure on education upto 6% of GDP as recommended by Kasturirangan committee, and meet the target of spending 2.5% of GDP on health helping the poor to focus on nutrition.

  1. Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based projects/programmes usually suffers in terms of certain vital factors. Identify these factors and suggest measures for their effective implementation.

Misgovernance has been a major issue that have marred the effective implementation of government schemes and policies. Therefore, the government has been spearheading radical digitisation to induce economic inclusiveness and social transformation, through initiatives like, ‘Digital India’, ‘Make in India’ and Skill India.

However, implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based programmes usually faces another set of complex challenges.

Challenges in implementation of ICT based programmes

  • Low digital literacy:Illiteracy rate in India is more than 25-30% and digital literacy is almost non-existent among more than 90% of India’s population.
  • Poor internet connectivity:Rural India suffers from poor internet penetration due to lack of electricity and poor network quality. This has led to difficulties in Aadhaar Enabled Payment Services (AEPS) and last mile delivery of services.
  • Problems in Common Service Centres:Lack of proper infrastructure facilities, unavailability of skilled workforce, huge population to serve, unavailability of last mile connectivity are some common issues faced by CSCs in India.
  • Errors and Omissions in technology implemented:Issues related to identity mismatch and denial of services to beneficiaries. For ex: cases where senior citizens have been denied ration via PDS shops due to fingerprints mismatch.
  • Non-inclusive nature of technology used:Problems faced by senior citizens, differently-abled, illiterate persons due to complex design of ICT based solutions.
  • Privacy concerns:Programme implementation using digital technology requires authorization for collection and usage of public information at large scale. Since, privacy being a fundamental right, there are concerns related to mishandling and misuse of user information.
  • Data theft and online security:Cyber security issues like cyber attacks, data theft can cripple sensitive government digital infrastructure like servers, power supply, communication links, etc.
  • Geographical and weather related problems:Population residing in difficult terrains like North Eastern hilly region, islands of Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep are difficult to reach. Extreme weather events like cyclones, tsunamis, etc can hamper key communication and mobile internet services.

Measures for effective implementation

  • Creating suitable infrastructure:Increasing the number of Common Services Centres and addressing the connectivity issues should be the first priority.
  • Increasing investment in human capital formation:Improving digital literacy among the rural youth. Pradhan Mantri Gramin Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (PMGDISHA) that envisages making one individual digitally literate in every rural household is a step in the right direction.
  • Changes in design and structure of technological solutions:Government websites should be made user friendly so that they can be used by differently abled and senior citizens.
  • Mandating digital literacy in school curriculum and co-curricular activitieson the lines of IT Club ‘e-Kidz’ formed by students of the Government Upper Primary School at Koothattukulam in Kerala.
  • Involving Private sector organizations:Corporates can be asked to spend their CSR funds in digital training and providing technological solutions for societal needs.
  • Role of NGOs and civil society groups:Akshaya Patra Foundation digitized their kitchen and enabling realtime data collection for serving food to more than 1.76 million children across 12 states in India.

Even though there are several challenges in the effective implementation of such programmes but the benefits of ICT based solutions cannot be neglected. It helped to save revenue for exchequer by plugging leakages, weeding out ghost beneficiaries, targeted delivery of services in real time etc. It has improved transparency, accountability and last mile delivery of basic services to the citizens.

Hence, if the challenges and lacunae of ICT based programmes are effectively tackled, e-governance can prove to be an effective tool in bringing social transformation thereby realising the dream of inclusive and prosperous India.

  1. The time has come for India and Japan to build a strong contemporary relationship, one involving global and strategic partnership that will have a great significance for Asia and the world as a whole. Comment.

The India-Japan partnership, described as one of the most rapidly advancing relationships in Asia, has emerged as a significant factor contributing to the stability and security of the Indo-Pacific region. Deviating from the traditional policy of focusing on economic engagements, the partnership has significantly diversified to include a wide range of interests—including regional cooperation, maritime security, global climate, and UN reforms.

The strategic consequences of a rising China in the Indo-Pacific is providing greater momentum to the India-Japan partnership. Both Japan and India through strategic convergence seeks to re-calibrate Asia’s balance of power. It can be reflected in flowing initiatives:

  • Cooperation in Indo-Pacific region:
    • It is a confluence between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo-Pacific strategy.
    • It will strengthen the rule of law and freedom of navigation, which is threatened by China’s muscle flexing in the South China sea.
    • It will enhance cooperation with Japan and ASEAN countries.
  • Asia Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC):
    • Japan looks to invest nearly $200 billion in Asia Africa region, that will turn the 21st century from an Asian century to Asian-African century.
    • Japan will provide the state of the art technology and India will bring its expertise of working in Africa.
    • AAGC seeks to counter China’s influence, that it is establishing through Belt and Road Initiative.
  • Japan, US, India(JAI) and Australia combinedly called Quad, is seen as an informal organisation that seeks to counter China.
  • Japan is taking the North-East Road Network Connectivity improvement project, this will be a crucial link in India’s Act East policy.
  • India and Japan are negotiating cross-service agreements that will give access to each other’s military facilities and could foster much closer military to military relations.

Apart from this, there are several engagements between India and Japan which are independent of China.

  • Economic engagement: Japan has made investment in India’s infrastructure. For example: Delhi-Mumbai economic corridor, Bullet train, Delhi metro etc.
  • India along with Japan, Brazil and Germany forms the grouping called G4 countries, that seeks UNSC reforms.
  • India is the first(non-signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT,) country with whom Japan has signed a civil nuclear deal.
    • This will establish India’s credibility as a responsible nuclear power.
    • It will boost India’ make in India initiative.
    • It will augment India’s INDC commitment at Paris climate deal.

Japan can prove to be a development multiplier in India. Therefore, India should develop an independent relation with Japan which is not to be seen in the context of China, US or any other country.

  1. Too little cash, too much politics, leaves UNESCO fighting for life.’ Discuss the statement in the light of US’ withdrawal and its accusation of the cultural body as being ‘anti-Israel bias’.

UNESCO was created in 1945 with the firm belief that, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, political and economic alliances were not enough to build world peace. In this sense, peace must be established on the basis of humanity and our moral and intellectual solidarity with one another.

The announcement of the US to withdraw from this cultural body has once again highlighted the politicization of its activities and limitation of funds-

  • At the heart of its problems is a financing crisis since 2011, when UNESCO voted to admit Palestine as a full member state and Washington responded by halting payment of its annual $80 million in dues.
  • Since then, Israel has regularly complained over resolutions on cultural sites in the West Bank and Jerusalem, arguing that they are worded to delegitimize the Jewish state. Israel’s foes say it uses U.S. support to deflect bona fide criticism.
  • Without U.S. money, UNESCO, which employs around 2,000 people worldwide, has been forced to cut programmes, freeze hiring and fill gaps with voluntary contributions. Its 2017 budget was about $326 million, almost half its 2012 budget.
  • Other major contributors such as Japan, Britain, and Brazil delay funds, sometimes citing objections to the body’s policies.
  • Japan, for example, has threatened to withhold dues over the inclusion of the 1937 Nanjing Massacre in the body’s “Memory of the World” programme.
  • Russia and Ukraine have been at odds over Crimea, with Kiev accusing Moscow of trying to legitimise its annexation of the territory through UNESCO.

The fact is that UNESCO was all about solidarity and creating a climate for peace between countries, but nations now use their dues/funds to influence programmes. The preservation of shared human heritage needs a concerted effort involving all countries, for this, nations should sacrifice zero-sum game of politics.

  1. On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951? Also mention the remedies available to such person against his disqualification.

The Representation of the People Act, 1951 provides for the conduct of elections to the Houses of Parliament and to the Houses of the State Legislature, the provisions regarding qualification and disqualification for the membership, and remedies of disputes in connection with such elections.

The Act of 1951 has laid down certain criteria for disqualifications. According to it, the person is disqualified if he/she:

  • is found guilty of certain election offences or corrupt practices in the elections;
  • is convicted for any offence resulting in imprisonment for two or more years (except for the detention under a preventive detention law);
  • has failed to lodge an account of his/her election expenses within the time;
  • has any interest in government contracts, works or services;
  • is a director or managing agent or holds an office of profit in a corporation in which the government has at least 25% share;
  • has been dismissed from government service for corruption or disloyalty to the State;
  • has been convicted for promoting enmity between different groups or for the offence of bribery;
  • has been punished for preaching and practising social crimes such as untouchability, dowry and sati.

The Act of 1951 also provides for the following remedies against disqualification:

  • An election can be called in question only by an election petition. Election petitions are to be heard in the High Court with its appeal lying at the Supreme Court. They act as a mechanism of grievance redressal for the affected parties.
  • Furthermore, on the question of whether a legislator is subject to any of the disqualifications the final authority to decide rests with the President (in case of members of Parliament) and the Governor (in case of members of State legislature).
  • However, the President or Governor shall act according to the advice of the Election Commission of India.
  • In case of any enquiry, the Election Commission is conferred the powers of a civil court for summoning and enforcing the attendance of any person or any evidence.
  • Besides, after a legislator is disqualified, the Election Commission may, on certain grounds, remove any disqualification or reduce the period of any disqualification.
  1. Parliament’s power to amend the constitution is limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power”. In light of this statement explain whether parliament under Article 368 of the constitution can destroy the Basic structure of the constitution by expanding its amending power?

Article 368 of the Indian constitution gives the parliament the power to amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of the constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down by the law. The power to amend the constitution is necessary to overcome the challenges and to meet the demands for the nation’s growth and development.

However, in the process of amending the constitution under Article 368, the Parliament at times have breached the constitutional limits by transgressing the areas related to federal relation between Union and States, issues of Individual liberty and to a certain extent misused Article 368 itself. This is evident from amendments like 25th and 42nd Constitutional amendment Acts which has threatened the principle of constitutionalism.

Therefore, the Supreme Court intervened to create a harmonious balance between fundamental rights and the Directive Principles which eventually led to the emergence of the doctrine of ‘basic structure’ of the constitution.

The emergence and the application of the doctrine of ‘basic structure’ can be seen in light of following Supreme Court judgments:

  • Kesavananda Bharati Case (1973):The Supreme Court held that Parliament’s power to amend the constitution is limited as it cannot alter the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution.
    • A limited amending power is one of the basic features of the constitution and, therefore, the limitations on that power cannot be destroyed.
    • Parliament cannot, under Article 368, expand its amending power so as to acquire for itself the right to repeal or abrogate the Constitutional provisions which threatens the basic features or the Constitution itself.
  • Minerva Mills v/s Union of India Case (1980):The Supreme Court struck down clauses (4) and (5) of Article 368 inserted by 42nd Amendment, on the ground that these clauses destroyed the essential feature of the basic structure of the constitution.
  • Chandra Kumar v/s Union of India (1997):The judgment held that every provision of the Constitution was open to amendment provided the basic foundation or structure of the Constitution was not damaged or destroyed.

Thus, Parliament is restricted in its power to amend the Constitution so that the soul of Constitution as envisaged by founding father of India remains intact. It is to be noted that, the doctrine of basic structure does not undermine the legislative competence of the parliament, rather it helps in maintaining the supremacy of the constitution and upholding the constitutional spirit.

  1. “The reservation of seats for women in the institutions of local self-government has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian Political Process.” Comment.

A million women have been elected at the village, block and district levels, following the 73rd Constitutional Amendment which reserved 33 percent of seats in Panchayati Raj Institutions for women. The process of decentralization has provided representation but representation has not always led to their participation in the Indian political process.

Patriarchal Character of Indian Political Process

  • The practice of “Sarpanchpatis”: The effective political power and decision making are wielded by husbands or other male relatives of elected women representatives. This makes the intended empowerment of women through reservation infructuous.
  • Rubber stamps:Most of these women are just rubber stamps with the men in their house- can be the husband, father or the son – running the show. They also work as proxies for rural elites hence restricting their autonomy.
  • Lack of exposureof women themselves to politics and the absence of any experience in exercising their political responsibilities hinder their participation. Since most women are illiterate and do not have any training of handling technical issues and financial deals, they have no option but to take assistance from male family members.
  • Stereotypes and traditional norms:This relegates women to the domestic sphere and dissuades them to engage in public affairs. Caste and class factors also play a key role that restrict women to take leadership roles.
  • The burden of household responsibilities,purdah (veil) system, etc adversely affect their performance.

However, there have also been many positive impacts of women representation:

  • Women have done considerable development work on the ground, for example, women sarpanch of Dhani Miyan Khan Gram Panchayat in Haryana built a training centre for women and ensured that every village child went to school.
  • Elected women representatives are also more accessible than their male counterparts who are often not around.
  • It has been seen that though women lacked confidence initially but exposure to local politics gave them new confidence to take independent decisions and not become a proxy of male candidates.
  • There has been a marked improvement in social development parameters such as education and health where panchayats are led by women.

Way forward

  • Capacity Building of Elected Women Representatives (EWR) and Functionaries of PRIs: This would prepare women to discharge multiple roles, enabling them to raise local priorities to the planning process.
  • Strengthening women’s groups and building networks: Formation of women’s forums and networks to develop a sense of solidarity amongst the women.
  • Institutionalisation of mechanisms to strengthen the capacity building of EWRs to better understand and perform their functions.
  • Mobilisation of community and strengthening the processes of constituency building to enable women to better articulate their voices and participate in the electoral process.

The reservation of women at the local level has had various social and developmental impacts like promotion of nutrition, sanitation drive, behavioral changes, etc. Also, women are more aware of their rights now which could be seen in women voters outnumbering men voters in states like Bihar. However, women’s participation in politics in a true sense is still to be realized. Their participation in the political process is a matter of human right and a key in deepening our democracy. It would also help India in realizing the SDG-5 (Sustainable Development Goal) that aims to end gender inequality in all forms.

  1. “The Attorney-General is the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India.” Discuss.

The Constitution under Article 76 has provided for the office of the Attorney-General for India (AGI). He is appointed by the President and holds the office during the pleasure of the President. He must be a person who is qualified to be appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court.

As the chief legal adviser of the Government of India, the Attorney-General has the following duties:

  • To give advice to the Government of India on legal matters, which are referred to him by the President.
  • To perform other duties of a legal character that are assigned to him by the President.
  • To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law.

The AGI is the highest law officer in the country and acts as the lawyer of the Government of India. Through a notification of 1950, he has been assigned the following duties by the President:

  • To appear on behalf of the Government of India in the Supreme Court and high courts.
  • To represent the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.

Along with these duties, the AGI also has the right of audience in all courts in the territory of India. He also enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.

However, the Attorney-General is not the full-time counsel of the Government. He does not fall in the category of government servants and he is not debarred from private legal practice. But, he should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India and he should not defend accused persons in criminal prosecutions without the permission of the Government of India.

Thus, the duties and privileges of the AGI, combined with the limitations imposed on him, make him the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India. Nevertheless, the separate law minister in the Central cabinet to look after legal matters at the government level, to some extent, gives the office of AGI a subordinate position.

  1. Individual Parliamentarian’s role as the national law maker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss.

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was introduced as a private member’s Bill by the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP Tiruchi Siva, and passed by the Rajya Sabha in April 2015. It was the first time in four decades that the Rajya Sabha had passed a private member’s Bill. The Bill brought into picture the plight of transgenders in the country and mainstreamed the issue in the public debate.

Ministers or parliamentarians representing a political party are often bound by populist decision making, election manifestos and the ideology that governs the party. Individual parliamentarians or the private members are free from such boundations and offer a more fertile ground, on the floor of the Parliament, for dissent and debate around various issues that affect the nation.

However, the Individual Parliamentarian’s role as national law maker has been on a decline of late. From 2014-2018 about 900 private member Bills were introduced in the Parliament but not even 2% of these bills were discussed.

In a mature parliamentary system, all ideas should be debated and decided upon. While the legislative ideas piloted by the government get discussed, the ideas of individual MPs get accumulated and more than often remain ignored.

Reasons for the Decline

  • A successful passing of a private member’s Bill is often perceived by many as incompetence on the part of the government and intrusion into the respective Ministry’s domain. If such a legislation is seen getting support in Parliament, the government requests the MP to withdraw it and promises to introduce it as a Government Bill instead.
  • Without support from the ruling party or a party that commands majority, it becomes impossible to pass a private member’s Bill especially in the Lok Sabha.
  • There has also been a shift to law-making by ordinance, which completely bypasses the formal route of debate and discussions. For e.g., the promulgation of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2018.
  • Even individual parliamentarians are obliged to toe the party line, through regulatory frameworks like the Anti-Defection Act. This discourages any deviation from the party decision and takes out the possibility of diverse perspectives that parliamentarians as individuals can offer.
  • Quality of the elected Individual Parliamentarians also affect the quality of debate and discussions in the house. According to the Association for Democratic Reforms’ report (2014), 30% of sitting MPs and MLAs were facing some form of criminal proceedings, and only 0.5% were convicted of criminal charges in a court of law.
    • Currently, a large part of the voting population views their representatives as their problem solvers. So they are willing to vote for a candidate who can get things done ignoring his involvement in a crime.

Way Forward

  • The Anti-Defection Act needs to be recast, and used only in the most exceptional circumstances, while allowing MPs greater freedom of self-expression.
    • The UK, for example, has the concept of a free vote allowing MPs to vote as they wish on particular legislative items. This in effect allows voting in line with the parliamentarians’ conscience, judgement and interests of her electorate.
  • Research staff and resources should be increased for Individual Parliamentarians as the availability of expert in-house advice can further boost their ability to contribute to the national law making process.
  • People’s perception of what they want from their representative should change so that MPs can be viewed as lawmakers with character and integrity. This requires a fresh pool of candidates who can appeal to the voters by their abilities as good lawmakers with innovative ideas.
  • However, apart from paying respect and giving encouragement to the legislations framed by the Individual Parliamentarians, several other issues also need to be addressed to improve the overall quality of discussions in the Indian Parliament and in governance in India. For eg, Members of Parliament have to address their low attendance and increase their engagement in the discussions. Similarly they have to utilise the limited parliamentary time for proceedings judiciously without unnecessary disruption.
  1. ‘In the context of neo-liberal paradigm of development planning, multi-level planning is expected to make operations cost-effective and remove many implementation blockages.” Discuss.

India underwent a transition in its developmental planning from macro policy planning to neo-liberal policies in the 1990s. There has also been a gradual shift towards Multi Level Planning in recent times. Multilevel planning integrates decision-makers at all spatial levels in the planning process through negotiations, deliberations, and consultations. This makes policies relevant and need-based. It also sets up process mechanisms/institutions for affecting such cooperation at each required stage.

Cost-effectiveness operations and better Implementation

  • Tackling Corruption:Through empowerment and involvement of local bodies, various discrepancies in developmental implementation can be solved. This can help enormously in increasing the effectiveness of poverty alleviation programmes as could be seen through the stellar example of MGNREGA.
  • Simplification of the implementation process:This is done by ensuring appropriate role clarity, removing overlapping jurisdictions and establishing necessary linkages across sectoral departments. This will reduce the red-tapism in the administrative setup.
  • Reducing Planning-Implementation Mismatch:The planning process will access the capacity of administration and local institutions to implement the objectives of the macro-plan on the ground. Thus it would help in need better outcome and reduce mismatch.
  • Active people’s participation:It incorporates a mechanism to intensively engage with people to make more relevant policies. This helps to access the needs and interests of people who are intended to be the beneficiaries of the developmental process.
  • Deepen democratic traditions:Multi-Level planning would create a sense of ownership among various administrative units. This would also empower the district level planning committee to contribute to overall policy making. It deepens the democratic tradition in policy making and its implementation.
  • Reducing Regional disparities: Decentralised planning will help suitability of the implementation strategies and resource allocation for desired outcomes. It would increase the effectiveness of government schemes.
  • Better supervision and monitoring:Multi-level planning help in making people and lower administration an active stakeholder in the developmental process. Such planning improves the supervision and monitoring of scarce government resources.
  • Promote competitive and cooperative federalism:Strong emphasis is given on participatory development action from the local level upwards.

Way forward

  • Promoting Evidence-based planning:It harnesses the knowledge gained from data and information and using it to optimize our planning process and improve results.
  • Training of Local Government officials in policy making:This would enable their active participation in the policy making process and its implementation.
  • Revamping District Planning Committee:This is an essential component in the process of decentralised planning as they hold consultation, debate and deliberation and integrates consensus-based choices.

Niti Aayog has taken various initiatives to develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government. Similarly, Aspirational District Scheme is also an innovative step in the direction of multi-level planning and implementation. Going further, more such steps should be taken to usher good governance in the country.

  1. The need for cooperation among various services sectors has been an inherent component of development discourse. Partnership bridges the gap among the sectors. It also sets in motion a culture of ‘collaboration’ and ‘team spirit’. In the light of statements above examine India’s development process.

India continues to remain one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Despite recent slowdown, India’s growth of real GDP has been high with average growth of 7.5% in the last five years. As per Economic Survey 2018-19, the services sector accounts for 54% of India GVA. FDI equity inflows into the services sector account for more than 60% of the total FDI equity inflows into India.

Components of Indian services sector

There are twelve identified sectors where the government wants to give focused attention for promoting their development which are:

  • Education Services
  • Health & Wealth Services
  • Accounting & Finance Services
  • Financial services
  • Tourism & Hospitality Services
  • Transport & Logistics Services
  • Legal Services
  • Telecommunication Services
  • Media & Entertainment services
  • IT & IT enabled services
  • Consultation & Related engineering services
  • Environmental services

Cooperation among various services sub-sectors

  • Initiative of Bharatmala projectnot only provide connectivity through better transportation services but also creates employment in construction sector thereby promoting tourism in remote areas.
  • UDAAN schemeto boost air connectivity not only promotes regional development but also leads to growth in housing and real estate sector, construction, building materials, tourism, etc.
  • ISRO’s technologyof lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries for electric vehicles (EV) is being used in the automobile sector.
  • Increasing digital connectivity through BharatNet projectbenefitted education and health services in rural areas.
  • e-Commerce servicesreaching the rural areas through increased mobile internet connectivity.
  • Initiatives like Start-up Indiagiving boost to start-ups in multiple domains like health care, inter-city cab services, online food delivery businesses, etc.
  • Investment in higher education produces high quality IT professionals needed for the fast growing IT services

Hence, different sectors have functional inter-linkages and investment in one sector creates multiplier effect benefitting the entire economy.

Cooperation at leadership level

The fastest growing Indian economy provides vast opportunity for collaboration among different departments of the government and with businesses as well. This can be seen in India’s development process through the following examples:

  • Government initiative to provide focused attention to 12 identified Champion services sectors through partnership at different levels.
  • Introduction of GST required collaboration among centre, states, and with business groups.
  • Introduction of Government e-Marketplace as a technology driven platform to facilitate procurement of goods and services by various ministries and agencies of the government.
  • NITI Aayog facilitating implementation of programmes and focus on technology upgradation and capacity building, fostering better inter-ministry coordination and better centre-state coordination.

Services sector not only promotes economic growth but also creates opportunity for development in human capital. Thus, India’s huge demographic dividend can only be productively utilized if there is a culture of ‘collaboration’ and ‘team spirit’ at all levels of governance architecture.

  1. Performance of welfare schemes that are implemented for vulnerable sections is not so effective due to absence of their awareness and active involvement at all stages of policy process. Discuss.

The welfare schemes are the schemes, designed to provide the necessary means for the development of individuals, groups or a community. Generally, they are targeted towards the vulnerable and marginalised section of the society.

However, It is observed that the benefits intended to be delivered to the people through these schemes do not reach the beneficiaries because of weakness in administrative planning delivery mechanism and lack of awareness of the targeted groups. It is also observed that many development projects and programmes have failed in the past because of the inadequacies in design, implementation,involvement and general awareness about the policy in the public.

Ineffectiveness of the Policies

  • Weak professional support to design, implement and monitor schemes at national, state and local levels.
  • Too realistic or too optimistic assumptions, based on technical and non-technical parameters without the knowledge of the local situation, proper database and resource constraints, making the policies suffer at last.
  • Poor policy formulation due to the unawareness about the vulnerable sections and area specific approach to handle distinct groups.
  • No systematic attempt to identify people who need welfare schemes, determine their needs, address them and enable them properly.
  • Inadequate analysis of environmental and rehabilitation implications.
  • Delays in clearances from regulatory authorities for land acquisition and in procurement of resources due to poor planning and coordination.
  • Inability of the project management to take prompt decisions on various levels of policy making even if they are necessary to achieve the objectives.
  • There is no consistent approach in the design of delivery mechanisms and do not provide flexibility needed for different development levels of a policy.
  • Lack of strict time frames, financial mechanisms and inter agency cooperation pose challenges.
  • Most of the schemes are unrelated to each other with little horizontal convergence or vertical integration resulting in conflicts.
  • Policies and programmes are not evaluated on their outcomes instead focus stays on monitoring finances.
  • No method to ensure that policies reach everybody they are meant for.

The quality of policy framework and effectiveness of implementation of the policies are as important as the availability of resources for the realisation of the intended policy objectives. Availability of funds alone is not sufficient for tackling socio-economic problems like poverty and backwardness. Both implementing bodies as well as the benefitting people have to be aware of each others’ situations and work harmoniously.

  1. ‘The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations has disappeared on account of its new found role in the emerging global order.’ Elaborate.

As the founding member of the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM), India propagated its vision among the newly independent countries of the colonized world to not align with any of the power blocks as these newly independent countries were weak in terms of military, economics and development aspects.

These ideas of Non Alignment, Peaceful Cooperation and Co-existence, End of Imperialism and Colonialism have made India one of the leaders of the marginalized nations.

The leadership and idealistic credentials of India was sustained and can be seen:

  • During the cold war era.
  • Upholding the interests of the smaller economies in Doha round of WTO.
  • Supporting the cause of vulnerable nations during the Climate change negotiations.

Shift in India’s approach towards its strategic foreign policy perspective:

  • Economic Developmentis now a major agenda of India’s growth as a world power, which is now reflected in India’s foreign policy.
  • This trend was observed in NAM Summit Havana 2006,where India focused on anti-terrorism, nuclear disarmament, energy security, investing in Africa and such issues which are vital to India’s growth and doesn’t resemble priorities of developing or marginalized countries.
  • India has actively supported the cause of developing and marginalized nation in Climate Change negotiations by thrusting on “differentiated responsibility”but recently diluted its stand in Paris negotiations.
  • India has also been blamed for interfering in the internal affairs of neighbouring countries, for instance, Nepal, which led to friction in relations between the two nations.
  • In regional forum SAARC, India has hard pressed its agenda of boycotting Pakistan, which resulted in the non-functioning of SAARC, which may result in delaying of development projects of SAARC in our smaller neighbouring nations.
  • India’s involvement in QUAD, its focus on Indo Pacific Regional Growth and countering China has became its top priority.

These inferences are pointing towards shift in India’s approach from the leader of the oppressed countries to a great power in its own terms. India’s approach is shifting from Idealism to Realism and is prioritizing its national interests over the collective interests of the developing countries.

  1. “What introduces friction into the ties between India and the United States is that Washington is still unable to find for India a position in its global strategy, which would satisfy India’s National self-esteem and ambitions” Explain with suitable examples.

In 2016, the United States designated India as ‘major defence partner’, a status unique to India. However, recently, the US foreign and economic policies have started to appear against India’s self-esteem and ambitions. There are several issues that introduce friction into what US considers its global strategy and what India envisages as its self-esteem and ambitions.

  • West Asia:The US’ West Asia policy is aligned in line with that of Israel and Saudi Arabia which stands adversarial to that of Iran. But for India, a strong, united and peaceful Iran holds significance not only for its oil imports but also for the Chabahar port and International North-South Transport Corridor (INTC) that will enable India to have a reach to Central Asia and counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). However, this stands opposed to the US policy of restricting Iran’s influence in the region. The US has pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement and subsequently imposed sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Iran.
  • Afghanistan:Political development in Kabul have always had its implications in New Delhi. Situation in Afghanistan also poses security risks for India given Pakistan’s close proximity to the Taliban. This is more so given India’s huge investments in Afghanistan to bring peace and stability there. But the US policy has moved to focus on its withdrawal of troops. Any peace deal with the Taliban, an insurgent body, will legitimise the terrorist activities and hurt India’s interests.
  • Russia:India’s strategic relations with Russia have historically been very significant and useful given Russia’s veto power at the Security Council. Russia is also the major defence partner of India. It is also emerging as a major option to meet India’s energy requirements. But, as bequeathed by the Cold War, the US considers Russia as its adversary and it has brought Russia under the CAATSA. This stood opposed to India’s defence deals with Russia involving the S-400 missile systems.
  • Trade relations:Being a developing country, India wants to bring millions of its masses out of poverty and to have a strong economic footprint globally. The US is a major trade partner in this context and it Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) has been a useful mechanism for India. But the US’ policy to bring back jobs home and to restrict China’s growth trajectory has negative fallout on India. The US has accused India of not opening the Indian economy for American trade by means of tariffs, intellectual property regulations, subsidies, etc. and has clamped tariffs on Indian exports to America.

Moreover, the USA’s National Defense Strategy 2018 marked Russia and China as its central challenge and for the US India is an ideal balancer against rising China. In this context, India must convince the US that a strong India is in concurrence with the US’ interest. Besides, India must follow strategic hedging i.e. simultaneous engagements with major powers because in international relations, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies, only permanent interests.

 

UPSC Civil Services Mains Solved GS Paper-III (2019)

1. Enumerate the indirect taxes which have been subsumed in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India. Also, comment on the revenue implications of the GST introduced in India since July 2017.

Goods and Services Tax (GST) is an indirect, comprehensive, multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on every value addition.

The Goods and Service Tax Act was passed in the Parliament in March 2017. The Act came into effect on 1st July 2017.

At the Central level, the following taxes have been subsumed in the GST:

  • Central Excise Duty
  • Additional Excise Duty
  • Service Tax
  • Countervailing Duty
  • Special Additional Duty of Customs

At the State level, the following taxes have been subsumed in the GST:

  • State Value Added Tax/Sales Tax,
  • Entertainment Tax (other than the tax levied by the local bodies), Central Sales Tax (levied by the Centre and collected by the States)
  • Octroi and Entry tax
  • Purchase Tax
  • Luxury tax
  • Taxes on lottery, betting and gambling

Revenue implications of GST since July 2017:

  • GST was introduced in July 2017. After the initial transitional issues following the roll-out of GST, revenue collection picked up from an annual average of 89.8 thousand crores in 2017-18 to 98.1 thousand crores in 2018-19.
  • However in 2018-19, indirect taxes have fallen short of budget estimates by about 16 per cent, following a shortfall in GST revenues (including CGST, IGST and compensation cess) as compared to the budget estimates. Indirect taxes have fallen by 0.4 percentage points of GDP primarily due to shortfall in GST collections.
  • According to the Economic Survey, though there has been an improvement in tax to GDP ratio over the last six years, gross tax revenues as a proportion of GDP has declined by 0.3 percentage points in 2018-19 over 2017-18.
  1. Do you agree with the view that steady GDP growth and low inflation have left the Indian economy in good shape? Give reasons in support of your arguments.

The Economic Survey 2018-19 states that the economy witnessed a gradual transition from a period of high and variable inflation to a more stable and low level of inflation in period 2014-18. However, in the current fiscal quarter, the headline inflation has fallen to the lowest value and also there is a reduction in Gross Value Added (GVA). This has raised various debates around the use of inflation targeted monetary policy and its impact on the overall economy.

Points to agree

  • Provided policy stability:Steady growth rate and low inflation has provided better market conditions for investment and production planning.
  • More equitable:Inflation impacts the poor more as it decreases their purchasing power. Low inflation increases disposable income and therefore increases investment in the economy.
  • Maintaining the fiscal deficit to the appropriate level:Controlled price level has helped in reducing subsidies and unnecessary tax cuts.
  • Helping urban economy:Low inflation rate has kept the living cost in urban areas to a manageable level. This has provided relief to the middle class.

Points to disagree

  • Fall in consumption demand:Decreasing Consumer Price Index (CPI) clearly shows the receding disposable income in rural areas which can be clearly seen in the Q2 GDP growth rate falling to 5%.
  • Reduction in investment:The contraction of the economy due to falling consumption has reduced the scope of further investment.
  • Double Balance Sheet Problem:Due to the slowdown, various corporates are facing the revenue shortage to pay back the interest, leading to NPA problem faced by the banks.
  • Revenue Shortfall of the Government:Due to less income generation in the economy, direct tax revenue has receded. This reduces government legroom for more public expenditure.

Way forward

  • Increasing liquidity:The recent step to slash the corporate tax and providing loans to MSMEs is the desired initiative to infuse more liquidity in the economy and increase investment.
  • Increasing public expenditure:Schemes like MGNREGS, rural housing etc. should be implemented more effectively so as to give a boost to rural income generation and thus demand creation.
  • Promoting labour-intensive industriessuch as Food Processing Industries, Leather Industries, etc. in order to create demand in the economy and provide employment to youths.

Current monetary policy easing should be continued to give a renewed push to the investment cycle of Indian economy. Inflation is a double edged sword therefore a sustainable range of the inflation rate of 4-6% should be maintained so that maximum income generation could happen in the economy.

  1. How far is Integrated Farming System (IFS) helpful in sustaining agricultural production.

The Integrated Farming System (IFS) is a combined approach aimed at efficient sustainable resource management for increased productivity in the cropping system. The IFS approach has multiple objectives of sustainability, food security, farmer’s security and poverty reduction by involving livestock, vermicomposting, organic farming etc.

Indian farm sector needs to address the twin challenges of productivity and sustainability along with augmentation of farmer’s income. For this, IFS emerges as one of the most viable options, as it ensures:

  • Productivity:IFS provides an opportunity to increase economic yield per unit area by virtue of intensification of crop and allied enterprises especially for small and marginal farmers.
  • Profitability:It has the capability to make the sector profitable by reducing the use of chemical fertilizer and recycling nutrients.
  • Sustainability:In IFS, subsystem of one byproduct works as an input for the other subsystem, making it environmentally sustainable. Moreover, IFS components are known to control the weed and regarded as an important element of integrated pest management and thus minimize the use of weed killers as well as pesticides and thereby protect the environment.
  • Recycling:Effective recycling of products, by-products and waste material in IFS is the cornerstone behind the sustainability of farming system under resource poor condition in rural areas.
  • Income round the year:Due to interaction of enterprises with crops, eggs, meat and milk, IFS provides flow of money round the year amongst the farming community.
  • Best utilization of small landholdings:Indian farmers in many regions such as in north-eastern part, practice subsistence agriculture. They also have a rich traditional base in water harvesting, soil management etc. which could be efficiently utilized under IFS.
  • Meeting fodder crisis:Byproduct and waste material of crop are effectively utilized as fodder for livestock (Ruminants) and products like grain, maize are used as feed for monogastric animals (pigs and poultry).
  • Employment generation:Combining crop with livestock enterprises would increase the labour requirement significantly and would help in reducing the problems of underemployment and unemployment to a great extent. IFS provides enough scope to employ family labour round the year.

IFS provides multiple benefits that are sustainable and can pave the way for climate-smart agriculture. India needs to adopt a “well designed” Integrated Farming System (IFS) to realise the vision of doubling farmers’ income by 2022 and having sustainable agricultural practices.

  1. Elaborate the impact of National Watershed Project in increasing agricultural production from water stressed areas.

Watershed project involves conservation, regeneration and judicious use of all the resources like land, water, plants, animals and humans within the watershed area.

The National Watershed Project also known as Neeranchal National Watershed Project is a World Bank assisted watershed management project. The objective of this project is to support Integrated Watershed Management Program (IWMP) through technical assistance to improve incremental conservation outcomes for the natural resources including water, soil and forests while enhancing agricultural yields in a sustainable manner for farming communities.

Water-stressed regions of India such as Northwest India, Vidarbha region of Maharashtra etc. are prone to drought and water scarcity thus affecting the agricultural production in the regions. The National Watershed Project has the potential in increasing agricultural production in these regions:

  • The project has led in reduction of surface runoff thus increasing groundwater recharge, soil moisture and better availability of water in water-stressed areas. It also helps farmers to better manage surface and groundwater resources.
  • This has resulted in incremental agriculture productivity and increased cropping intensity through optimum utilization of natural resources like land, water, vegetation etc.
  • For example, a watershed project in Bangaru, Telangana has increased crop yields and cropping intensity significantly. This is also accompanied by a shift towards higher-value crops especially horticultural crops.
  • It will also help to mitigate the adverse effects of drought and prevent further ecological degradation and support farmers in water-stressed areas to adapt to climatic change and ensuring improved livelihoods for people.
  • It helps in the restoration of ecological balance in the degraded and fragile water-stressed areas by increasing vegetative cover and decrease soil erosion through afforestation and crop plantation.
  • People’s involvement including the farmers and tribal is the key to the success of any watershed management program, particularly the soil and water conservation. Successful watershed management has been done at Sukhomajri, Panchkula and Haryana through active participation of the local people.

However, watershed project faces certain challenges such as very little community participation, lack of coordination between implementing departments and ministries, etc. Properly educating the people about the project and its benefits or sometimes paying certain incentives to them can help in effective people’s participation. Watershed Development on a large scale is the best solution to overcome water-stressed problems.

  1. How was India benefited from the contributions of Sir M.Visvesvaraya and Dr. M. S. Swaminathan in the fields of water engineering and agricultural science respectively?

The British rule in India neglected modernisation of Indian agriculture and little was done to improve irrigation system. After independence, India did not have enough to feed its burgeoning population and it was forced to subsist on “ship to mouth” existence.

At these junctures,two personalities-Sir M Visvesvaraya and MS Swaminathan- emerged who revolutionised their respective fields of knowledge, contributing enormously to India’s development.

Sir M. Visvesvaraya’s contribution in the field of water engineering

  • He is remembered as India’s most prolific civil engineer, dam builder, economist, statesman, and can be counted among the last century’s foremost nation-builders.
  • He played an instrumental role in the construction of the Krishna Raja Sagara Lake and dam in 1924. This dam not only became the main source of water for irrigation for the nearby areas, but is also the main source of drinking water for several cities.
  • Visvesvaraya was, among other things, responsible for the building and consolidation of dams across the country. He invented the Block System -automated doors that close in the conditions of overflow, and also designed Hyderabad’s flood management system.
  • He is recognised for his brilliance and creativity in harnessing water resources, designing and constructing dams and bridges, and revolutionising the irrigation system in India.
  • Due to his outstanding contribution to the society, Government of India conferred ‘Bharat Ratna’ on this legend in the year 1955.

Dr. M.S. Swaminathan’s contribution to agriculture science

  • A plant geneticist by training, Professor Swaminathan’s contributions to the agricultural renaissance of India have led to his being widely referred to as the scientific leader of the green revolution movement.
  • Recognized worldwide for his basic and applied research in genetics, cytogenetics, radiation and chemical mutagenesis, food and biodiversity conservation, he conceptualized ever-green revolutionmovement in agriculture.
  • Swaminathan is the visionary who took India from the bondage of ‘Ship to Mouth’ existence to the freedom of ‘Right to Food’through home grown food.
  • Apart from serving as head of various national and international institutions, he headed the National Commission on Farmers (NCF)constituted in 2004 to address the nationwide calamity of farmer suicides in India.

India needs to adhere to the visions of these two men, especially when our agrarian challenges are mounting due to erratic rainfall, cycles of floods and droughts, unsustainable practices and other endemic issues.

  1. What is India’s plan to have its own space station and how will it benefit our space programme?

A space station is a large artificial satellite designed to be occupied for long periods and to serve as a base for scientific observation. Recently, India has announced its plan to build its own space station, as a carry forward of the Gaganyaan mission, which will be the first Indian manned mission to space.

India’s Plan toward own Space Station

  • The proposed space station is envisaged to weigh 20 tonnes and serve as a facility where astronauts can stay for 15-20 days.
  • It would be placed in lower Earth’s orbit at around 400 km above the earth.
  • The time frame for launch is 5-7 years after the Gaganyaan mission which is expected to take place in 2022.
  • The Gaganyaan mission would equip the ISRO with the necessary technology required for creating space platforms.

Space station’s benefit toward the space programme

  • It would help to sustain Human Space Mission in the future for a longer period of time.
  • Space platforms can be used to perform Microgravity experiments. It would help in scientific and technological developments such as innovations related to water purification and biotechs.
  • It will help in Deep space exploration like the study of other galaxies.
  • The indigenous Space station would enhance India’s image in the international sphere. It would increase
  • India’s position as a space power.
  • India can earn revenue from the commercial engagements with other countries from its space prowess.

India should increase its engagement with the private sector and research institutions in order to create human resources and innovative products for its growing space economy.

  1. Coastal sand mining, whether legal or illegal, poses one of the biggest threats to our environment. Analyse the impact of sand mining along the Indian coasts, citing specific examples.

Sand consumption globally has been increasing and according to a report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), India is in the list of critical hotspots for coastal sand mining.

Coastal sand mining poses one of the biggest threats to our environment:

  • It is very damaging to the beach fauna and flora and is ruinous to beach aesthetics.
  • Resulting in coastal erosion, it frequently causes environmental damage to other coastal ecosystems associated with the beach such as wetlands.
  • Another major impact of beach sand mining is the loss of protection from storm surges associated with tropical cyclones and tsunamis.

Indian coasts are greatly affected by coastal sand mining:

  • For instance, in Periyasamypuram in Tuticorin district of Tamil Nadu, fish catch has come down, the palm trees have dried up, ground water has turned brackish and the sea has entered the village due to coastal sand mining.
  • Seawater intrusion, inundation of coastal land and salinisation of groundwater have been observed along the coast of Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Ernakulam due to sand mining.
  • Coastal sand mining also has many negative impacts on the society. It affects the livelihood of the people, health, science beauty, climate and damage infrastructure.

Better spatial planning and reducing unnecessary construction, using green infrastructure, adopting recycled and alternative substitute materials such as oil palm shell, bottom ash, strictly adhering to Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ), etc. can help in reducing coastal sand mining. Also strengthening standards and best practices to curb irresponsible extraction; investing in sand production and consumption measurement should be adopted at policy level.

  1. Vulnerability is an essential element for defining disaster impacts and its threat to people. How and in what ways can vulnerability to disasters be characterized? Discuss different types of vulnerability with reference to disasters.

According to United Nation Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), Vulnerability can be defined as the conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes, which increase the susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets or systems to the impacts of hazards.

Vulnerability assessment needs to be based on a systematization and conceptualization of vulnerability describing the main linkages between the different components of risk. Only if the population and decision makers know where and how vulnerable the system is and which social–economic, physical, and environmental factors play a major role in it, adequate measures can be implemented to reduce vulnerabilities to disasters. It involves two approaches:

  • Scientific Approach:It includes the research line of practical measurement approaches of vulnerability and disaster risk reduction.
  • Policy Approach:It provides information about the spatial distributions of vulnerability to different natural hazards upon which the authorities need to take actions.

Different Types of Vulnerability

  • Physical Vulnerability:The potential for physical impact on the physical environment – which can be expressed as elements-at-risk (EaR). The degree of loss to a given EaR or set of EaR resulting from the occurrence of a natural phenomenon of a given magnitude and expressed on a scale from 0 (no damage) to 1 (total damage)”.
    • For Example:A wooden house is sometimes less likely to collapse in an earthquake, but it may be more vulnerable in the event of a fire or a hurricane.
  • Economic Vulnerability:The potential impacts of hazards on economic assets and processes (i.e. business interruption, secondary effects such as increased poverty and job loss) vulnerability of different economic sectors.
    • For Example:Families with low incomes often live in high-risk areas around cities, because they can’t afford to live in safer (and more expensive) places.
  • Social Vulnerability:The potential impacts of events on groups such as the poor, single parent households, pregnant or lactating women, the handicapped, children, and elderly; consider public awareness of risk, ability of groups to self-cope with catastrophes, and status of institutional structures designed to help them cope.
    • For Example:Women and children are more vulnerable to disasters as compared to men.
  • Environmental Vulnerability:The potential impacts of events on the environment (flora, fauna, ecosystems, biodiversity).
    • For Example:People living in the tropical areas are more vulnerable to tropical cyclones as compared to people living in temperate region.
  1. The banning of ‘Jamaat-e-islaami’ in Jammu and Kashmir brought into focus the role of over-ground workers (OGWs) in assisting terrorist organizations. Examine the role played by OGWs in assisting terrorist organizations in insurgency affected areas. Discuss measures to neutralize the influence of OGWs.

Terrorism instils an innate sense of fear in the citizen and dilutes the perceived control of the state over law and order. This state of lawlessness creates conditions which help the terrorist group achieve its political aims. Overground workers(OGWs) provide a support system to terrorist groups and networks in carrying out their activities in insurgency affected areas.

The role played by OGWs

  • Food and Logistics support:OGWs assist terror networks to meet their basic needs.
  • Propaganda and radical narrative:This provide the ideological background to the terror outfits.
  • Finding new recruits:Pool of Disgruntled youth provide a fertile ground for OGWs to propagate radicalisation and hire new recruits.
  • Coordination with other stakeholders:OGWs coordinate with secessionist leaders, and Organised crime Networks to meet their political objectives.
  • Conduit for Illegal Money:This is done through illegal trade, counterfeit currency, Tax evasion and Hawala transactions. These funds are also used to instigate anti-state protest like stone-pelting.
  • Assist in the planning and execution of terror plans:They provide operational planning, intelligence information, safety routes, maps and other inputs that are needed for terror operations.

Measures to neutralize the influence of OGWs

  • Address the root cause of alienation among affected communities:This is done by addressing genuine concerns and through awareness campaigns that dispel false propaganda.
  • Rehabilitating orphans and women:This would fulfil the state’s duty to ensure Social welfare. Also, It would counter the influence of OGWs to find new recruits.
  • Intelligence Infrastructure:To keep track of radicalisation attempts by OGWs and recruitment agents in order to stop this process at its inception.
  • Human and Electronic Surveillance:This is used to tap into existing networks to pre-empt terror attempts.
  • International cooperation:To facilitates follow up on suspects and terror networks.
  • Fast track courts:Laws like Public Safety acts for the speedy conviction of terrorists and OGWs through fast track special courts.

However, Misuse of the legal provision in the random booking of youth on mere suspicion should be avoided. The best defence against terrorism is to ensure that the people do not have the incentive to pick up arms against the country by providing them equitable political, social and economic opportunities.

  1. What is Cyber Dome Project? Explain how it can be useful in controlling internet crimes in India.

CyberDome project is a technological research and development centre of Kerala Police Department, conceived as a cyber centre of excellence in cyber security, as well as technology augmentation for effective policing.

It envisages as a high tech public-private partnership centre of collaboration for different stakeholders in the domain of cyber security and handling of cyber crimes in a proactive manner.

India has witnessed a 457% rise in cybercrime incidents under the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 from the year 2011 to 2016.

CyberDome project can be useful in controlling these internet crimes in India

  • The project can help in preventing cyber crimes through development of a cyber threat resilient ecosystem in the country to defend against the growing threat of cyber attacks. To effectively tackle cybercrime, the Government has collaborated with private sector and academia to conform rapidly changing technology world.
  • The Cyberdome will act as an online police patrol. Through its Anti-Cyber Terror Cell and a cybersecurity training unit, its officers will generate intelligence on various cyber threats in near real time and track fugitives online by monitoring their online activities, including social networking sites.
  • It will create a digital repository of stolen and lost vehicles and travel documents, track online payments to prevent money laundering and channelling of funds to dubious organisations and issue cyber security advisories.
  • Cyberdome would have centres for social media awareness, protection of children on the Internet, Internet monitoring and ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in service delivery.
  • Cyberdome in collaboration with the RBI, Banks, payment gateways and other wallet groups can tackle financial fraud.
  • Through its ransomware school, CyberDome can understand, analyse and mitigate ransomware infections, create standard operating procedures to deal with ransomware, creating awareness among the public as well as government departments about ransomware and its precautionary steps.
  • The Cyberdome is expected to enable sleuths to obtain vital leads in cases of cyber-related offences using advancements in the field of information technology.
  • Of late, Cyberdome has used social engineering as the lynchpin of its policing strategy to snoop on radical groups that use the net for extremist activities.
  • Cyberdome has made successful propaganda war against online games such as Blue Whale.
  • Of late, Cyberdome has launched a covert cyber-surveillance and infiltration programme to crack down on child pornography. Thus, Cyberdome project has great potential to control internet crimes and must be replicated at the national level.
  1. It is argued that the strategy of inclusive growth is intended to meet the objective of inclusiveness and sustainability together. Comment on this statement.

According to the World Bank, Inclusive Growth (IG) refers to ‘broad-based’, ‘shared’, and ‘pro-poor growth’. It encompasses both the pace and pattern of growth, which is considered interlinked and therefore needs to be addressed together. Inclusiveness, on the other hand, is a concept that encompasses equity, equality of opportunity, and protection in market and employment transitions and is therefore an essential ingredient of any successful growth strategy.

  • Rapid pace of growthis unquestionably necessary for substantial poverty reduction, but for this growth to be sustainable in the long run, it should be broad-based across sectors, and inclusive of the large part of the country’s labour force.
    • Thus, IG focuses on productive employmentrather than income redistribution as a means of increasing incomes for excluded groups. Also, the focus is not only on incremental productive employment growth but also on productivity growth.
  • Growth can be ‘inclusive’ and “pro-poor”, if and only if the incomes of poor people grow faster than those of the population as a whole, i.e., inequality declines. By focusing on inequality, the inclusive growth could lead to optimal outcomes for both poor and non-poor households.
  • Sustained, high growth rates and poverty reduction, however, can be realized only when the sources of growth are expanding, and an increasing share of the labour force is includedin the growth process in an efficient way i.e. growth associated with progressive distributional changes will have a greater impact in reducing poverty than growth which leaves distribution unchanged.
  • The inclusive growth approach takes a longer-term perspective, where it is important to recognize the time lag between reforms and outcomes. Inclusive growth analytics is about policies that should be implemented in the short run, but for sustainable, inclusive growth in the future.
    • For Example:The lag between the time when investments in education are made and the time when returns from improved labour skills are realised- this implies that the growth analysis must identify future constraints to growth that may not be binding today, but that may need to be addressed today in order to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.
  • Sustainable developmentshould be followed wherein we should not only be inclusive with respect to people but also bring the environment in its inclusion thus causing minimum depletion of resources and going for a circular economy.
  • In the past few years, the government is aggressively focusing on the strategy of inclusive growth in its various programs and policies.
    • For Example,Jan Dhan Yojana has focused on incorporating the unbanked masses into the financial sector and has increased financial inclusion statistics to more than 80%.

In the last few decades, India’s growth story has been phenomenal but the outcomes of this growth were not visible on the ground as India has performed badly in several social indicators as well as Human Development Index. Therefore inclusive growth is the idea to realize the dream of sustainable and qualitative development for present and future generations.

  1. The public expenditure management is a challenge to the Government of India in the context of budget making during the post-liberalization period. Clarify it.

The public expenditure management (PEM)is an instrument of state policy and mechanism for good governance. The broad objective of PEM is the achievement of overall fiscal discipline, strategic allocation of resources, operational efficiency and macro-economic stability.

Various challenges faced by the government with regard to PEM

  • Global Shocks:Global slowdown, Federal rates (for eg. reversal of quantitative easing), Trade wars, Oil prices etc. impact the budget estimates which in turn impacts the subsidies allocation and tax revenue collection.
  • Narrow tax net:More reliance on indirect tax makes the taxation policy more regressive. It also constrains the government to increase its social spending, which is low in India as compared to other major global economies.
  • Less capital expenditure:Budget’s capital expenditure is essential to ensure inter-generational equity and competitiveness of the economy. It has remained around 10%-12% of government expenditure.
  • Populist tendencies:This leads to unproductive spending of the scarce government resources. For eg. giving tax sops, farm loan waivers in the pre-election period.
  • Fiscal deficit:Keeping the deficit within the desired limit is essential for maintaining the fiscal prudence.
  • Managing public debt:It is essential to ensure that the burden of the current generation’s needs doesn’t fall on the next generation.
  • Trade deficit:It should be reduced in order to have healthier global trade and improve market competitiveness.
  • Containing inflation:It is one of the most important objectives of monetary policy which is also impacted by the revenue and expenditure policies of the government.
  • Estimates of revenue and expenditure:In order to have effective PEM, comprehensive and realistic estimates of revenue and expenditure are essential. Currently, there is uncertainty in providing correct budget estimates.
  • Ensuring equitable development across regions:One of the pressing challenges faced by the government with regard to public expenditure management is to ensure equitable development across the regions.
  • Inadequate capacity and efficiency of public institutions:Substantive portion of budget allocation towards various schemes remains unutilized and underutilized due to poor implementation and structural bottlenecks. It leads to poor efficiency and cost overruns. For e.g. stalled road projects.

Government measures for effective PEM

  • FRBM (Amendment) Act:Government has targeted to reduce the fiscal deficit gradually and stabilize it by 2023 to 2.5%.
  • Removing Plan/Non-plan distinction:Removing plan/non-plan distinction and instead adopting the revenue-capital classification of public expenditure will help in allocation of more resources for creation of capital assets which in turn will help in improving the efficiency of economy.
  • Monetary policy framework:Inflation targeting by the Monetary Policy Committee has helped in price stability, which is key to effective PEM.
  • Deepening of Fiscal Federalism:More tax revenue has been devolved to states from the divisible tax pool. It would help in better allocation of scarce resources based on the needs of states.
  • Monitoring system framework:It has been developed at the central level to enable the outcome budgeting. Also, it enables the timely assessment of resource utilization. E.g. Public Financial Management System (PFMS).

With the 1991 reforms, the Indian economy was linked with the global economy. The effective PEM becomes more essential in this globalised era to meet various objectives of state policy. Various fiscal targets should be followed prudently and monitoring of resource utilization should be made robust.

  1. What are the reformative steps taken by the Government to make the food grain distribution system more effective?

The National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 provides for the Right to Food as a legal entitlement by providing subsidized food grains to nearly two-thirds of the population. However, the current food grain distribution system is fraught with various defects.

Issues with the Food Grain Distribution System

  • Inaccurate identification of households:Presence of inclusion and exclusion errors in identification of beneficiaries.
  • Leakages in the delivery system:This takes place during the transportation of food grains to ration shops and from there to the open market.
  • Financially inefficient:The centre bears a large financial burden of the food subsidy as the cost of procuring and delivering food grains is about six times its sale price.
  • Shortfall in the storage capacity:It leads to the rotting of food grains.

Reformative steps taken by the Government:

  • Procurement
    • Promotion of nationwide procurement:Food Corporation of India (FCI) has tried to revamp and restructure the procurement system to cover the entire country. In this regard, FCI has also made special efforts for procurement in the eastern states of India.
  • Stocking and Storage
    • Use of modern technology in storage:To prevent rotting of food grains. Irradiation Technology has also been introduced.
    • Online Monitoring System:To bring all operations of FCI Godowns online to check leakages.
  • Distribution
    • Digitization of ration cards and use of AADHAR:It has helped to eliminate duplicate and ghost (fake) beneficiaries, and make identification of beneficiaries more accurate.
    • Technology-based reforms implemented by states:End to end computerisation has curbed large-scale diversion of food grains by tracking its delivery from state depots to beneficiaries.
    • GPS tracking of delivery:The tracking of the movement of trucks carrying food grains has helped in monitoring the supply chain. It has been implemented by Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
    • SMS based monitoring by citizens:Allows monitoring by citizens as they can register their mobile numbers and send/receive SMS alerts during dispatch and arrival.
    • Use of web-based citizen’s portal:For public grievance redressal as they can register complaints or provide suggestions.
    • Implementing Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) in Public Distribution System (PDS):Currently, pilot projects have been started in Delhi and Puducherry.

Way forward

  • Decentralized Procurement:Decentralized procurement operations by leading states that have gained sufficient experience in this regard. This would help Food Corporation of India (FCI) to focus on lagging states.
  • Engagement of the private Sector:This can help to modernize stocking and warehousing facilities.
  • Home delivery of food grains:This can help in increasing last-mile connectivity.
  • Full implementation of Shanta Kumarcommittee recommendations.

Food security is crucial for reaping the benefits of demographic dividend and this can be achieved through a robust food distribution system. Competitive federalism should be promoted among states so as to learn from the best practices of other states in managing the food economy.

  1. Elaborate the policy taken by the Government of India to meet the challenges of the food processing sector.

The food processing industry (FPI) is considered a sunrise sector that has gained prominence in recent years. The industry is of enormous significance because of the vital linkages and synergies that it promotes between the two pillars of our economy i.e. industry and agriculture.

The food processing industry is struggling with the following challenges:

  • Poor supply chain linkagesthat results in high wastage and high costs.
  • Infrastructure bottleneckssuch as packaging facilities, cold storage, transportation, etc. cause a significant amount of food produced getting wasted.
  • India lacks basic standardisation and certification infrastructure,as there is a huge gap in the availability of laboratories, trained manpower, and certification agencies.
  • Lack of trained human resourcesat different levels in the food processing industry mostly due to lack of training infrastructure; lack of specialised training programmes etc.
  • In addition, there are challenges like inadequate demand-based innovations, access to credit, proper branding, etc.

Given the above-mentioned challenges, the government has taken the following policy initiatives:

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is implementing PMKSY (Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana)as a comprehensive package for creation of modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet. It is expected to provide a big boost to the growth of food processing sector, help in providing better returns to farmers, create huge employment opportunities especially in the rural areas, reduce wastage of agricultural produce, and enhance the export of the processed food. Under PMKSY the following schemes are to be implemented.
    • Mega Food Parks
    • Integrated cold chain, value addition and preservation infrastructure
    • Creation/expansion of food processing/preservation capacities
    • Infrastructure for agro-processing clusters
    • Scheme for creation of backward and forward linkages
    • Food safety & quality assurance infrastructure
    • Human resources and institutions
  • Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy:FDI up to 100%, under the automatic route is allowed in food processing industries.
  • Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA):As an apex organisation under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, APEDA focusses on ‘export’ of scheduled products.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)is working to strengthen the food testing infrastructure in India, by upgrading the existing food testing laboratories and setting up new mobile testing labs across the country.
  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries announced a scheme for Human Resource Development (HRD)in the food processing sector. The scheme has the following four components:
    • Creation of infrastructure facilities for degree/diploma courses in the food processing sector
    • Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP)
    • Food Processing Training Centres (FPTC)
    • Training at recognised institutions at State/national level

The food processing industry is critical to India’s growth and the government should focus on providing adequate impetus to the sector. With the correct set of policy implementations and support, the industry can grow by leaps and bounds, taking India to a new position of strength and prosperity in the global economy.

  1. How is the Government of India protecting traditional knowledge of medicine from patenting by pharmaceutical companies?

Traditional medicine comprises medical aspects of Traditional Knowledge (TKs) that developed over generations within various societies before the era of modern medicine. India has diverse set of traditional practices arising out of Ayurveda, Siddha, and diverse Tribal Practices that have developed over generations.

Issues involved in the protection of Traditional Knowledge

  • Non-codification of TKs:Non-codified traditional knowledge are vulnerable to lose their relevance with the influences of modern medical practices.
  • Patenting of TKs by Biotechnology companies:Various cases of Bio-piracy were raised in India where Biotech companies used the Traditional Knowledge to develop products and issued patents. E.g. Jeevani sports drug was derived from traditional knowledge of Kani tribe.
  • Access and Benefit Sharing from TKs:Traditional knowledge is also often held collectively by communities, rather than by individual owners. This makes the benefit sharing difficult.
  • Inadequate International Regimes for protection of TKs:Due to the community nature of traditional knowledge, it is not recognized in international laws explicitly.

Steps of Government To Protect TKs

  • Legal Steps:
    • Biological Diversity Act:It contains the provision for fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
    • Forest Rights Act 2006:It provides for community rights over forest resources. It can help in the protection of traditionally owned knowledge and practices. It also protects and promotes the livelihood of tribal community which is often based on their knowledge system and forest produce.
    • The Geographical Indication of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999:It provides a collective right to the holders of the traditional knowledge associated with a particular geographical area.
  • Institutional Steps:
    • AYUSH Ministry:To cultivate education and research in Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Homoeopathy, Sowa-Rigpa (Traditional Tibetan medicine), and other indigenous medicine systems.

Policy Measures, Initiatives and Projects

  • Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL):It is a repository of traditional knowledge, especially of medicinal plants and formulations used in Indian system of medicine.
  • National Ayush Mission:It promotes AYUSH medical practices, quality enhancement and mainstreaming these practices to our healthcare system. It also promotes the education and awareness of AYUSH medicine system.
  • Research Centres and National Instituteshave been created across India in the fields of Ayurveda, Unani, Homoeopathy, Siddha.
  • India has also signed agreementswith the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office and other countries’ patent office like USA etc to prevent the grant of invalid patents by giving patent examiners at International Patent Offices access to the TKDL database for patent search and examination.

The interest in traditional medicines is growing rapidly due to the increased side effects, adverse drug reactions, and cost factor of modern medicines. So, awareness and development of various traditional knowledge practices should be done along with a focus on their mainstreaming so as to reap its potential of great livelihood support particularly for the tribals. Also, a sui-generis system should be developed that can recognize the diverse nature of Traditional Knowledge and provide them with adequate legal and commercial protection.

  1. How can biotechnology help to improve the living standards of farmers?

In India, the majority of the population is involved in agriculture but it is not remunerative enough, especially in areas which did not go through the stages of the green revolution. In this scenario, biotechnology holds good potential to transform agriculture. It can affect all steps of the production chain, from agrochemical inputs to final food processing.

  • Under biotechnology,plants, bacteria, fungi and animals whose genes have been altered by manipulation (Recombinant DNA Technology) are called Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). GMO technology has brought significant changes in agriculture and areas related to it.
  • Tissue Cultureis the science of cultivating animal/ plant tissue in a prepared medium. Technologies based on this can be harnessed to achieve crop improvement objectives.
  • Crops have been made more tolerant to abiotic stresses(cold, drought, salt, heat) so the farmers do not have to worry about the weather conditions and can help plants adapt to environmental stress and climate change.
  • It has reduced reliance on chemical pesticides (pest-resistant crops)which is pocket-friendly for the farmers and eco-friendly for the consumer by eliminating harmful chemicals from the ecosystem.
  • Post-harvest losses have been reducedby increasing crops’ abilities to withstand the transportation period without being perished.
  • Efficiency of mineral usage by plants has been increasedby it (this prevents early exhaustion of fertility of soil), so a piece of land can be used for a long time for equally good yields.
  • It has enhanced the nutritional value of food(like Vitamin A enriched rice) which increases the market value of the product, profiting the farmers and improving human health.
  • Plants developed using biotechnology naturally resist specific insects, weed plants and diseasesso there is no loss of crop due to these reasons. (Like Bt crops).
  • In addition, it has been used to create tailor-made plantsto supply alternative resources to industries, in the form of starches, fuels and pharmaceuticals etc. which can boost the agricultural-industrial relations uplifting the farmers.

The benefits of biotechnology are especially meaningful at a time when our global population is growing and our demand for food is increasing, mainly in developing countries. Biotechnology allows farmers to grow more food on less land using environmentally sustainable farming practises which are necessary for them to have a good income and a better living standard. Biotechnology is a powerful tool to feed an increasing world population, but its “positive and negative potential” should be carefully evaluated.

  1. Define the concept of carrying capacity of an ecosystem as relevant to an environment. Explain how understanding this concept is vital while planning for sustainable development of a region.

Carrying Capacity (CC) can be defined as the population that can be supported indefinitely by its supporting systems.

  • In ecological terms,the carrying capacity of an ecosystem is the size of the population that can be supported indefinitely upon the available resources and services of that ecosystem.
  • In the broader sense, carrying capacity also means that all plants and animals which an area of the Earth can support at once. Change in carrying capacity for one species affects other populations in the area.
    • simple exampleof carrying capacity is the number of people who could survive in a lifeboat after a shipwreck. Their survival depends on how much food and water they have, how much each person eats and drinks each day, and how many days they are afloat. If the lifeboat made it to an island, how long the people survived would depend upon the food and water supply on the island and how wisely they used it.
  • Sustainable development, which entails the maximum use of resources without damaging the system’s regenerative capacity,has a definite role to play in future policy planning. Sustainability requires managing all households — individual, community, national, and global — in ways that ensure that our economy and society can continue to exist without destroying the natural environment on which we all depend.
    • Population Control:The notion that resource limitation must eventually constrain the growth of population is appealing, but appropriate estimation of regional carrying capacity would help to forge a definite course for planning.
    • Women sensitization and education toward reproductive choices can play a dominant role in controlling pollution.
  • Economic Planning:By carefully assessing the present and future availability of local resources, economic zones can be planned, which will help in mitigating the adverse effects of economic activities.
    • For Example:The establishment of Coca-Cola bottling plant in Plachimada, Kerala in 2000, resulted in the depletion of groundwater in the area and was shut down in 2004 due to widespread protest. Careful assessment of regional carrying capacity can help us prevent such incidents
  • Agriculture Management:The concept of carrying capacity of an ecosystem can be very useful in proper crop management across the length and breadth of the country. It has been found that farmers are overutilizing the capacity of land without giving any due importance to its regeneration, which has led to the problem of desertification in Punjab and Harayana.
    • For Example:Farmers in water stress areas of Maharashtra are growing water intensive crops which have created drought like conditions in the region. Prior estimation of carrying capacity can help avert such chronic conditions.
  • Under-used capacity of Food Production & Biodiversity:Using appropriate technological advancement, sustainability in food production methods and diversifying the use of biological resources can help attain harmony between natural resource and their utilization.
  • Resource Management:Adaptive management is the most widely accepted solution for confronting the unpredictability of renewable resources. Natural resource management must consider the ever-changing interaction between physical and biological systems, and react according to acquired experience and historical knowledge in a continuous, iterative learning process.

The current ethos of ‘sustainable development’ is slanted towards preservation of the replacement capability of natural systems, rather than maximum use. However, the unceasing growth of world population may eventually bring inequilibrium between the two. To face this future with confidence, humanity must endeavour to maintain the Earth’s carrying capacity at a productive yet sustainable level, through improved logistical foundations, a more cooperative political climate, and better scientific understanding.

  1. Disaster preparedness is the first step in any disaster management process. Explain how hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides.

Disaster preparedness refers to measures taken to prepare for and reduce the effects of disasters i.e. to predict and prevent disasters, mitigate their impact, and respond to and effectively cope with their consequences. These are achieved through programs that strengthen the technical and managerial capacity of governments, organizations, and communities.

Disaster preparedness is a continuous and integrated process resulting from a wide range of risk reduction activities and resources. It is considered as the first step in any disaster management process as it involves:

  • Risk assessment (to point out which measures to implement) and early warning systems
  • Life safeguarding equipment, for example, cyclone shelters
  • Resources and emergency kits in anticipation of need, maintaining emergency rosters and evacuation plans, emergency information and communication systems
  • Training to ensure adequate emergency response capacity, maintenance of preparedness levels, public education and preparedness campaigns

That said, hazard zonation mapping is one of the disaster preparedness mechanisms to mitigate the risks associated with landslides. Landslides involve mass movement of loose soil and uncompact rock materials under the effects of gravity along a sliding plane.

According to a recent study, India is among the most landslides affected countries, accounting for at least 28% of such events in the past 12 years. In such a scenario, hazard zonation mapping will help disaster mitigation in the case of landslides.

  • Landslide hazard zonation (LHZ) mapping refers to the division of land into homogeneous areas and ranking of these areas according to their degrees of actual or potential hazard caused by landslides and mass movements.
  • The susceptibility of a given area to landslides can be determined and depicted using hazard zonation. Once landslide susceptibility is identified, intervention projects can be developed which avoid, prevent, or substantially mitigate the hazard.
  • These maps provide important information to support decisions for urban development and land use planning. Also, effective utilization of these maps can considerably reduce the damage potential and other cost effects of landslides.
  • The LHZ maps identify and delineate unstable hazard-prone areas, so that environmental regeneration programmes can be initiated adopting suitable mitigation measures.
  • Even if the hazardous areas cannot be avoided altogether, their recognition in the initial stages of planning may help to adopt suitable precautionary measures.

Landslides and their consequences are still a great problem for many countries, particularly in India due to rapidly increasing populations. The most recent example being that of Kerala. For this reason, landslide hazard zonation mapping serves as one of the many components in an integrated disaster management planning.

  1. Indian government has recently strengthed the anti-terrorism laws by amending the unlawful activities (Prevention) Act, (UAPA), 1967 and the NIA Act. Analyze the changes in the context of prevailing security environment while discussing scope and reasons for opposing the UAPA by human rights organisations.

The Union Government by amending NIA Act and UAPA Act seeks to provide more powers to India’s anti-terror agency and expand the scope of India’s anti-terror law, thereby providing a big push to India’s internal security machinery.

Under the UAPA Act, the Central Government can designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it commits or participates in acts of terrorism; promotes terrorism; or is otherwise involved in terrorism. Currently, only an organisation can be declared a terrorist. The amendment allows government to designate individuals suspected to have terror links as ‘terrorists’.

Likewise, the amendment to NIA Act widens the powers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to investigate crimes related to human trafficking, counterfeit currency, dealing in prohibited arms, and cyber-terrorism. These were earlier under State police. NIA can also investigate a crime irrespective of its place of occurrence.

These amendments are in pursuance of the government’s zero-tolerance policy against terrorism. These hold significance in the context of the prevailing security environment.

  • Terrorism emanating from Pakistan has been a consistent challenge whereby terrorist organisations have been devising new methods to threaten the stability of the region.
  • This often included formation of new terrorist outfit by the individuals if their previous organisation was banned. This issue emerged during India’s efforts to designate Masood Azhar as terrorist when some foreign diplomats questioned India’s domestic law which didn’t provide for individual’s designation. Now, declaring an individual as a terrorist will help the government to deal with such situations.
  • Besides, there is growing menace of terror financing and organised crimes like human trafficking, cyber terrorism etc. An empowered NIA is a good step in this direction

However, human rights organisations allege that these amendments violate the basic human rights and seek to create a police state.

  • The UAPA does not clearly define a ‘terrorist act’.
  • The presumption of innocenceis considered a universal human rights principle but the UAPA creates a presumption of guilt for terrorist offences based on the seized evidence.
  • Moreover, there is no set procedure for designation as a terrorist. By excluding judiciary and empowering the executive to designate, it dilutes the difference between a terrorist and a terror accused.
  • Similarly, the term ‘affecting the interest of India’in NIA act is undefined and the civil society fears that it can be used to curb freedom of speech and expression.

Thus, though the changes are required to meet the prevailing security environment, the policy framework dealing with terrorism must incorporate the state duty to protect against human rights abuses and greater access of victims to remedies. Apart from dealing with terrorism, emphasis should be on to improve the functioing of the police force and to make India’s judicial mechanism faster.

  1. Cross-border movement of insurgents is only one of the several security challenges facing the policing of the border in North-East India. Examine the various challenges currently emanating across the India-Myanmar border. Also, discuss the steps to counter the challenges. 

India and Myanmar share a long 1,643 km geographical land border and maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal, which act as India’s gateway to South-East Asia.

India-Myanmar border is highly porous, poorly guarded and located along a remote, underdeveloped, insurgency-prone region and proximate to opium producing area.

Various challenges across the India-Myanmar border

  • Cross-Border Terrorism:Indo-Myanmar border area have become a safe haven for dozens of insurgent groups. These insurgent groups performs offensive action in India and brings instability to the area by promoting separatist tendencies and take an easy hide in Myanmar.
    • These groups also take advantage of loopholes in free movement regime across border to supply arms and drugs in India.
  • Connectivity:Several connectivity projects like Kaladan Multi-Modal project and IMT Trilateral Highway project are underway, but the ground level progress is quite unfortunate.
  • Free Movement Regime:It permits tribals to travel 16 km across the borders without any visa restrictions and allowed them to carry heavy loads. This loophole is well utilized by insurgents for trafficking of arms and drugs and to find safe havens in Myanmar.
  • Boundary Agreement 1967:Though the agreement has delineated the borders between the two countries but not much has been crystallised on ground level.
  • Tribal Linkages:The Indo-Myanmar border is densely populated with tribals, and these tribal communities have strong social-cultural linkages across borders and they refuse to accept the artificial border lines.
  • Security Forces:Assam Rifles had a responsibility of guarding the Indo-Myanmar border, but most of it battalions are engaged in counter-insurgency operations. Therefore, it functions like counter-insurgency force rather than border-guarding force.
  • Infrastructural Facility at Border Check-Points:The infrastructure facilities at border check-points is not sufficient to meet the required challenge. Moreh-Zokhawater point has been declared as Integrated Check-Point (ICP) but nothing much have materialised on the ground.
  • Difficult Terrain Across Border:The geographical terrain around border areas is highly inaccessible, so it becomes quite difficult to develop communication and connectivity.
  • Trafficking:Proximity to ‘golden triangle’ has made Indo-Myanmar border highly vulnerable to drug trafficking and the border has become a gateway for trafficking of women and small children to South Asian Nations.
  • Rohingya Issue:Influx of marginalised muslim minority rohingya community has raised a serious sociocultural confrontations in the areas due to increased burden on local resources.

Steps to Counter the Challenges

The vulnerability of the India-Myanmar border is posing a serious challenge to the internal security of the country. The Government of India should pay immediate attention to effectively manage this border.

  • It should strengthen the security of the border by either giving the Assam Rifles the single mandate of guarding the border or deploying another border guarding force such as the Border Security Force (BSF).
  • It should initiate a revision of the FMR and reduce the permitted distance of unrestricted travel.
  • The construction of the ICP along with other infrastructure should be expedited.
  • The Comprehensive Integrated Border Management System (CIBMS)which is touted as a robust and integrated system, is capable of addressing the gaps in the present system of border security by seamlessly integrating human resources, weapons, and high-tech surveillance equipment, should be proactively deployed.
  • Sustained community interaction programmes so that the border tribal communities can be sensitised to participate in the nation building on both sides of the border.

India should endeavour to meaningfully engage with Myanmar and solicit its cooperation in resolving all outstanding issues and better manage their mutual border.

UPSC Civil Services Mains Solved GS Paper-IV (2019)

  1. (a). What are the basic principles of public life? Illustrate any three of these with suitable examples.

The fundamental principle in a democracy is that all persons holding authority derive it from the people; in other words, all public functionaries are trustees of the people. With the expansion of the role of government, public functionaries exercise considerable influence over the lives of people. The trusteeship relationship between the public and the officials requires that the authority entrusted to the officials be exercised in the best interest of the people or in ‘public interest’.

One of the most comprehensive statements of what constitutes principles of public life came from the Nolan Committee, which outlined the following seven principles of public life Selflessness, Integrity, Objectivity, Accountability, Openness, Honesty, Leadership.

  • Leadership:Holders of public office should promote and support the principles of public life by leadership and example.
  • For eg. Lal Bahadur Shastri used to fast every Monday to save grains for poor people of the country and he gave a call for the nation to follow it. Thus exhibiting a true example of how leaders should lead from the front.
  • Selflessness:Holders of public office should act solely in terms of public interest. They should not do so in order to gain financial or other benefits for themselves, their family or their friends.
  • For eg. Tukaram Omble of Maharashtra police tackled Kasab one of the terrorists of Mumbai attack so that he couldn’t attack his fellow servicemen. Thus showing exemplary courage and the highest degree of selflessness by giving away his life for the cause of his nation.
  • Gita also in one of its shloka- karmanye vadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana reiterates the principle of selflessness which means one should only focus on our actions and should not worry about the result.
  • Accountability:Holders of public office are accountable for their decisions and actions to the public and must submit themselves to whatever scrutiny is appropriate to their office.
  • For eg. Vikram Sarabhai accepted the failure of ISRO first mission without actually putting it on the mission head (APJ Abdul Kalam). Thus taking full accountability for the failure of his team.
  • Thus it can be established that principles of public life are important for every democracy. Guidelines of public behaviour arising from such principles can play a crucial role in creating trust between the public functionaries and common public. Therefore any person who is privileged to guide the destiny of the people must not only be ethical but must be seen to practice these principles of public life.
  1. (b). What do you understand by the term ‘public servant’? Reflect on the expected role of the public servant.

A public servant is generally a person who is employed directly or indirectly by the government, either through appointment or election. A public servant values public good over his/her personal interests. Taxpayers and public funds partially or fully fund their wages, which is why they are known as servants of the public. The duties of public servants are as diverse as the duties and responsibilities of the government.

There are many elements which a public servant can imbibe to bring about a more humane and ethical governance structure. A few of these are:

 

  • Public Servants have an obligation to protect and promote our constitutional idealsenshrined in the preamble, to uphold the rule of law, dispense administrative justice and ensure administrative facilitation.
  • As an elite segment of society, public servants have an important role in informing and even formulating public opinionand perception on various issues.
  • The public servant should be emphaticas also advised by Mahatma Gandhi’s that if anyone was in doubt if an action was good or not was to put oneself in the situation of the poorest of the poor in the country and see how a particular policy and programme will impact him or her.
  • S/He should also be ‘efficient’as administrators occupying positions of power and authority, it is their responsibility to translate policies into programmes, to implement schemes on the ground.
  • They need to be agile in their thoughts and actions. For eg. they should be able to access the latest information and knowledge and use them for improving service delivery.
  • They should be impartialand incorruptible as also observed by Sardar Patel and should work for an inclusive national development as mandated by the Constitution.
  • They should behave in a dignified mannerand have the ability to patiently listen and take a balanced view. They must eschew arrogance and authoritarianism and be able to approach even the most intractable issues and irritants with a calm demeanour.

Kautilya in his Arthashastra emphasised on the importance of the common citizens: “It is the people who constitute a kingdom; like a barren cow, a kingdom without people yields nothing”. Thus the success of the administration depends upon the involvement, commitment, dedication and sacrifice with which the public servants put their efforts for the welfare of the teeming millions in the country.

  1. (a). Effective utilization of public funds is crucial to meet development goals. Critically examine the reasons for under-utilization and mis-utilization of public funds and their implications.

Effective utilization of funds for welfare services is one of the key tenets to ensure social and economic justice and meet developmental goals. However, as former Prime Minister Rajeev Gandhi had remarked, “only 15 paise for every 1 rupee spent on public welfare actually reaches to the masses”, thereby highlighting the gravity of ineffective utilization of funds in our country.

Public servants are the trustees of the hard earned public funds, therefore it becomes their moral and legal responsibility for their effective utilization. The various reasons due to which these funds are under-utilized and mis-utilized are given below:

  • Under-Utilization:
    • High administrative cost and procedural delays in government offices which keeps the funds tied in administrative tangles and bureaucratic loopholes.
    • Inappropriate budgetary allocation, for example: use of guillotine voting
    • Lack of sufficient staff in government offices
    • Improper technological penetration at grass root level
    • Ineffective decentralization of financial power
  • Mis-Utilization:
    • Corruption leading to diversion of funds to unauthorised sources.
    • Poor accountability mechanism preventing their effective monitoring and utilization.
    • Lack of coherence in planning.
    • Ineffective decentralization of power
    • Populist politics in the country.
    • Corporate impact on policy makers i.e crony capitalism
    • Favouritism and misuse of office i.e favouring someone over others while allocation of government projects.
    • Expenditure rush during the month of March, popularly known as ‘March Rush’, which leads to unplanned and improper fund expenditure, to prevent lapsing of funds that have remained unutilized.
    • Diversion of funds to other purposes.

Implications

  • Social:Violation of the rights and entitlements of the masses. It leads to social problems like inequality, illiteracy, poor health and sanitation, increased animosity among different communities etc.
  • Political:Misallocation and underutilization has led to unequal development in the country, increased corruption and inequality within different states. This has created the problems of regionalism, naxalism, and separatism.
  • Economic:India’s continuous struggle with poverty and inability to build on its demographic dividend has been the major impact. Inspite of having a potential of double digit growth, our growth story still revolves around 7%, along with inadequate improvement in infrastructure, human indices, employment etc.
  • Ethical:Breach of ‘Doctrine of Public Trust’ which lays responsibility on public servant for judicious use for the benefits of the masses.

No matter how good the policy we frame, its impact drastically depends on the allocation and effective utilization of funds. Therefore, to realize the ethical and moral duty incorporated in Directive Principles of States Policy to maximize welfare measures and prevent concentration of wealth in few hands, it is important to take appropriate policy measures to realize the goals of national development.

  1. (b). “Non-performance of duty by a public servant is a form of corruption”. Do you agree with this view? Justify your answer.

Transparency International regards corruption as abuse of power which erodes the fabric of society. It undermines people’s trust in the political system, in its institutions and its leadership. A distrustful or apathetic public can then become yet another hurdle to challenging corruption.

All civil servants are entrusted with public duty for the welfare of the masses. Negligence to the public duty cost masses by loss of their freedom, health, education, rights and even life sometimes, and hence, nonperformance of duty by a public servant is also a form of corruption. For example: A doctor not reaching hospital on time threatens the life of the patients, a teacher not performing his duty not only endangers the future of children but of society as a whole and a police officers not doing what is mandated in riotous situation leads to loss of life.

Corruption amounts to breach of faith reposed by the public in civil servant and violation of the rights of individuals. It presents a roadblock to effective administration, law and order, failure to achievement of objectives of welfare policies and eventually guarantee of realisation of constitutional goals like social, economic and political justice.

Non-performance of duty by public servants for which they are morally, legally and constitutionally mandated to do, is a form of corruption as the Prevention to the Corruption Act considers non-performance of public duty as an offence.

Therefore, it is essential for every civil servant to perform their duty as mandated in order to uphold the constitutional values and become a vehicle for change in the life of masses, so that common public can enjoy what they are entitled to.

  1. (a). What is meant by the term ‘constitutional morality’ ? How does one uphold constitutional morality?

Constitutional morality means adherence to the core principles of the constitutional democracy. In classicist George Grote’s perspective, it means “paramount reverence for the forms of the constitution, enforcing obedience to authority and acting under and within these forms, yet combined with the habit of open speech, of action subject only to definite legal control, and unrestrained censure of those very authorities.”

Constitutional Morality

  • In India, the term was first used by  B.R. Ambedkarduring his parliamentary debates. In his perspective, it would mean an effective coordination between conflicting interests of different people and the administrative cooperation to resolve it amicably without any confrontation amongst the various groups working for the realisation of their ends at any cost.
  • In contemporary usage,it refers to the substantive content of a constitution. To be governed by a constitutional morality is to be governed by the substantive moral entailment any constitution carries. In this sense, constitutional morality is the morality of a constitution itself.
  • Its scope is not limited onlyto following the constitutional provisions literally but vast enough to ensure the ultimate aim of the Constitution, a socio-juridical scenario providing an opportunity to unfold the full personhood of every citizen, for whom and by whom the Constitution exists.
  • The sourcesof constitutional morality are the text of the Constitution, the Constituent Assembly debates and the events which took place at that period.
  • Constitutional morality is important for constitutional laws to be effective. Without it,the operation of a constitution tends to become arbitrary, erratic, and capricious.
  • An important case which employed this concept in an innovative manner was the Naz Foundation Casewhich used the concept of constitutional morality to strike down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalise homosexuality.

How does one uphold constitutional morality?

  • By letting constitutional morality guide the Court’s decisioninstead of popular morality, while interpreting the constitution.
  • By locating the content and contoursof constitutional morality so that it is not being ignorantly and dangerously used in courts.
  • By making a commitment to the valueslike constitutional supremacy, rule of law, liberty, equality, parliamentary form of government, self restraint and intolerance for corruption etc.
  • By using it as an aid in making choicesbecause it can give another set of clues while searching for constitutional meaning in cases wherein the words of the constitutional clause can be read in different ways.
  • By having paramount reverencefor the forms of the constitution, enforcing obedience to authority and acting under and within these forms.

Even the constitution itself mentions this concept only four times (twice in Article 19 and twice in Right to religious Freedom under Article 25 and 26), and it has been understudied and ignored for a long while by people in general as well. It needs to be changed in order to understand the constitution with a new perspective
exploring further possibilities of this concept.

Public conscience, moral order and constitutional morality- ethics of politicians, that constitute the core of policy making, must be very sound and strong if democracy is to survive for the long period of progress and prosperity of the people.

  1. (b). What is meant by ‘crisis of conscience’ ? How does it manifest itself in the public domain?

There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supersedes all other courts. — Mahatma Gandhi

Crisis of Conscience

  • It is the dilemma of being ethically unfair or wrong in the decision making process.
  • Sometimes in complex and emotional situations, it is very hard to decide what is the right thing to do. The situation might need a different solution practically which might be immoral but our conscience strongly suggests us a completely different approach.
  • It is ethically proper to violate an ethical principle only when it is clearly necessary to advance another true ethical principle which will create the greatest amount of good and the least amount of harm to the greatest number of people, which is the utilitarian approach.

How does it manifest in public domain?

  • It manifests in the decision making process by civil servants where the decision can impact a huge number of people. The problem arises when they are pressurised under some ministerial influence to take immoral decisions or implement unethical policies.
  • It manifests in the tussle between ethics and the law. For example, restricting public movement in Kashmir for upholding law and order raised the situation of crisis of conscience. Similarly, despite having a legal status as a third gender, transgenders continue to face oppression, marginalisation, lack of employment opportunities which forces them to resort to beggary, and this failure to ascertain to them life of dignity is a manifestation of the crisis of conscience in public domain.

It is common to come across such crises of conscience in public domain where lives and decisions overlap and come face to face almost every time. The key to overcome such crisis of conscience for public servant is through keeping all dimensions in mind, freeing himself from desires or pressures and staying calm & true to public service ethical code and legal framework.

  1. (a). Explain the basic principles of citizens charter movement and bring out its importance.

Citizen’s Charter is a document of voluntary commitments made by a government organization to the citizens/client groups in respect of the services/schemes being provided to them or to be provided to them.

The main objective of Citizen’s Charter is to improve the quality of public services. The aim of the exercise is to build bridges between citizens and administration and to streamline administration in tune with the needs of citizens. This is done by letting people know the mandate of the concerned Ministry/ Department/Organisation, how one can get in touch with its officials, what to expect by way of services and how to seek a remedy if something goes wrong.

Principles of Citizen Charter

  • Quality:improving the quality of services
  • Choice:for the users wherever possible
  • Standards:specifying what to expect within a time frame
  • Value:for taxpayers money
  • Accountability:of the service provider (individual as well as organisation)
  • Transparency:in rules, procedures, schemes and grievance redressal
  • Participative:consult and involve

Importance

  • It is helpful in making administration more transparent and accountable.
  • It is citizen-centric in nature and makes the administration more citizen friendly.
  • It promotes good governance
  • It improves service delivery to the citizens.
  • It provides a pathway for grievance redressal.

A Citizen Charter cannot be an end in itself, it is rather a means to an end- a tool to ensure that citizens always remain at the heart of any service delivery model.

  1. (b). There is a view that the Officials Secrets Act is an obstacle to the implementation of RTI Act. Do you agree with the view? Discuss.

Right to Information (RTI), 2005 is a path breaking legislation that brought in an era of transparency in Indian governance system. It empowered the masses in the following ways:

  • Making information accessible to the masses
  • Increased accountability of government for their decisions
  • A tool to ensure curb on corruption
  • It enhanced public trust on the government
  • Efficient working of Government employees.
  • Ensured Impartiality

However, The Officials Secret Act (OSA) enacted by the British Government in 1923, to curb down its Enemy States, acts contrary to provisions of RTI. Not only is it anachronistic and lacks usage in a liberal, modern day democracy , it creates obstacles in the implementation of RTI, in the following ways:

  • Colonial era act.
  • Majorly used by government to withhold information from citizens by citing security concerns.
  • also used to cover up government impropriety.
  • Used as a draconian weapon of threat against Journalists and activists to unearth governmental shortcomings.
  • Used to silence specific investigations undertaken by citizens or civil society.
  • May lead to wrongful suspicion of spying on citizens eg: S Nambi Narayan,an eminent ISRO scientist, was investigated in the ISRO spy case. He faced a criminal trial under OSA and acquitted now after 24 long years.

Moreover,

  • Liberal and modern democracy runs on complete participation of citizens in each and every Government decision.
  • There would be no espionage if every information is already available in public domain.
  • Why should government be afraid/concerned, if there is nothing to hide?
  • Why only government get to decide what needs to be kept secret, in a democracy?

However, Complete transparency is neither possible nor desirable due to security concerns, especially when India is faced with multifaceted threats on account of being placed in a hostile neighbourhood.

  • Classified and sensitive documents on national security issues like Nuclear Installations, Movement of Troops etc. is of little use to the public and also jeopardise the safety of the nation.
  • Espionage concerns cannot be ruled out. Recent theft of design plan of Scorpene Class Submarine is one such example.

Despite, Section 22 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act explicitly stating that it overrides the OSA by forbidding the Government to deny access to a document demanded through an RTI question just on the sole ground that it has been marked secret under the OSA, there needs to be a firmer system in place to differentiate between the use and misuse of OSA. Now, that we have systems like Lokpal at place, so giving an Independent committee the responsibility to curb government’s autonomy on deciding what qualifies as “secret” will be a welcome change.

Hence, there is a need to balance secrecy and transparency. As, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission (SARC) Report, 2006, suggested that a culture of secrecy breeds confidentiality, making disclosure a rarity.

  1. (a). What do you understand by probity in governance? Based on your understanding of the term, suggest measures for ensuring probity in government. 

Probity in Governance is a vital need for executing the governance system and socio-economic development. It is defined as adherence to ethical and moral values like honesty. Integrity, rectitude, uprightness etc. It is the presence of procedural integrity with high standards of ethical behaviour.

Probity in Governance additionally elucidates that rather than the conventional civil service values of performance, integrity and patriotism, it’s vital for civil officials to adopt as well as undertake ethical and integrity values, which includes respect for human rights, morality in public life and compassion for the downtrodden and dedication to their welfare.

Probity in Governance seeks to fulfil the following purposes:

  • It preserves public confidence in Government processes
  • It maintains integrity in public services
  • It ensures accountability in governance
  • It ensures compliance with processes
  • It seeks to avoid the potential for misconduct, fraud and corruption

Measures to Ensure Probity in Government

Lack of probity in governance has become one of the biggest menaces of society. To inculcate probity & adherence to ethical practices among them certain strides could be taken:

  • A dedicated unit to oversee violation of Code of ethics & Code of conduct by government officials be set up both at state and centre level.
  • Information must be made accessible to common public through websites.
  • Mandatory declaration of assets and liabilities of government employees, accompanied by proper auditing.
  • Establishment of Independent Anti-Corruption Agency
  • Citizens Advisory Boards to incorporate ideas of common public in improving governance.
  • Mandatory Social Audit of all government programs, for example: Meghalaya has passed a law for social audit of government programs.

Apart from laws and policies, the government should also focus on bringing behavioural change in government employees so that they can easily empathize with the problem of common mass so as to fulfil the democratic goal of “government by the people, for the people and to the people”.

  1. (b). “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to make your emotions work for you instead of against you.” Do you agree with this view? Discuss.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) refers to the ability to understand one’s own emotions and those of others to regulate and manage them and utilize them to execute tasks. It is the basis of the social skills of administrators that contribute to organizational effectiveness.

These set of skills are imperative to deal with the challenges of administration such as political interference, communication with people and conflict management.

E.I. works in your favour in the following manner:

  • It helps in maintaining objectivity while dispensing work
  • It leads to efficient and desired outcomes.
  • Increases trust among colleagues.
  • Reduces stress and any extreme outburst.
  • Helps in understanding the state of mind of others.
  • Prepares you to deal with unexpected circumstances.
  • Emotional Intelligence could help an officer to be motivated and to inspire her/his subordinates to execute the given tasks efficiently.
  • In Decision making,Emotional Intelligence helps civil servant in restricting the overflowing of their emotions and keeping their temperament under control in case of any unwarranted influences.
  • Moreover, EI helps the civil servant to have an empathetic attitude towards the common people, especially poor and vulnerable ones.

Eg1: If you had a fight at home just before coming to office, then there is a strong possibility of a spillover of the bad mood at workplace in the form of shouting at the colleagues or being rude and excessively defensive. But, if you are good at E.I., then you’ll calm yourself down, managing your extreme emotions. This will assist you in better discharging your duties to the best of your capabilities.

So, this way , you moulded your emotions to work for you, rather than letting them create a hindrance for you.

Eg2: Suppose, you are supervising a very important project in the public domain with a strict deadline. As the deadline approaches, if you have low E.I. you will get easily agitated, anxious, frustrated, discouraged and pessimistic. This will create further obstacles for your projects.

But, if you have high E.I. then you will excel, motivate your team members to expedite the work, will calmly think of other innovative ways to hasten the work through a positive outlook and happy disposition.

Thus, E.I. helps in curbing the randomness and extremity of emotions. This further leads to a positive perspective and stable performance rather than creating any hindrance which may go against us.

  1. What do each of the following quotations mean to you?

(a) “An unexamined life is not worth living” — Socrates

An unexamined human life, is deprived of the meaning and purpose of existence. The ability to introspect removes the individualistic absurdity by invoking a commitment to moral integrity and social solidarity.

Just like a seed needs soil, sunlight and water for its germination, human life needs introspection and examination for its growth. An understanding of the experiences gained in the life at any particular time, enriches one’s engagement with self and the universe.

Mahatma Gandhi’s examination of self through his autobiography ‘My experiments with truth’ highlights the significance of reflection on life. Mahatma Gandhi was not only able to map his weaknesses and vulnerabilities through the examination, but was also able to question his prejudices and understand his strength as a human being.

This very ability to reflect on life adds more depth to the character of ‘Arjun’ in Mahabharat than most of the other characters like Bheeshm, Yudhishthir or the Kauravs. Instead of following the norms and fighting with his clan, Arjun questions the meaninglessness of the war and the purpose of his life.

The fast changing societies and consumerist culture in the contemporary world leave less time for human beings to examine and think about the changes. Adaptation to changes have become automatic and unquestionable.

The quotation has strong relevance in the present times where human beings are burdened with the histories of war, colonisation, nationalisation, erosion of morality in the scientific and technological advancements and the sense of spiritual uprootedness.

It is in these times that one needs to delve deeper into the conscience to find the purpose of existence and engage in a more meaningful manner with the society.

  1. (b). “A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks he becomes.” — M.K. Gandhi

Actions of a person are largely determined by her thought process. One’s thoughts are the first engagement points with the society. Thoughts impact behaviour as well as the attitude, while moulding the actions. It therefore, becomes very important for the thoughts to be fixated to a compass of morality and conscience. Ethical behaviour and regulation of actions emerge from ethical thought process.

Thoughts or reflections on experiences open up possibilities for the choices of action to be taken. An understanding and awareness of one’s thoughts and feelings, or emotional intelligence can help in regulating her actions accordingly. For example, while thoughts of kindness and compassion can create more empathetic individuals, thoughts of violence and anger can contribute to the making of criminals in society.

Technological advancements like Artificial Intelligence and Big data invoke new questions around ethics in the present day society. Individuals’ thinking has become more self centred under the impact of increasing individualism and consumerism, this has further led to the individuals’ detachment from the community and society. There has also been an increased desire from the market and the state for the control over people’s thoughts, behaviours and actions. This is not only in violation of a person’s right to speech and expression but also reduces the individual’s tendency to question and to think critically.

It is in these times that people’s ability to think freely in a society should be nurtured. Societies need to emphasise more on the education as inculcation of critical ethical thinking can produce individuals who act ethically, thereby impacting society, nation and the world at large.

  1. (c). “Where there is righteousness in the heart, there is beauty in the character. When there is beauty in the character, there is harmony in the home. When there is harmony in the home, there is order in the nation. When there is order in the nation, there is peace in the world.” — A. P. J. Abdul Kalam

A.P.J Abdul Kalam had highlighted the importance of quality of righteousness through this quote and had given a beautiful connectivity between heart, character, nation and the world.

  • Righteousnessis the quality of being morally right and justifiable which forms the basis for any peaceful and prosperous society. Every religion focuses on the quality of righteousness as a means to an end.
    • For example:In Hindu mythologies and texts, the path of righteousness i.e dharma is regarded as the ideal path or ultimate duty of every human being.
  • By the above quote, he lays down the path for enabling peacein a society. By focusing on individual rejuvenation as the locus of all activity, he aims to reform and integrate the whole society.
    • For example:In the 3rd century BC, Ashoka promoted the code of Dhamma in his empire, which was the set ideal social behaviour for promoting peace and enabling prosperity in the kingdom.
  • The contemporary society has been seen digressing from the path of righteous behaviour and has shown more inclination toward the materialistic way of life, which has led to the eruption of several social and societal problems.
  • If individuals follow the righteous path, they are more likely to spread happiness to others and succeed in their personal endeavours and will contribute to the upliftment of their household status, which indirectly will contribute to the happiness and upliftment of whole society, and then many social problems like crime, corruption, mob lynching etc can be eliminated from the society.
  • Similarly, the more prosperous society will contribute to a more prosperous nation.
    • For example:Terrorism has beacame a severe menace in many West Asian countries and threatening the safety and security of whole world. Focus on enabling the order of righteous path in these nations will contribute to maintaining peace in the whole world.

Righteousness in multiple dimensions in the society with the indomitable spirit is essential for realizing the vision of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”.

  1. You are heading the rescue operations in an area affected by severe natural calamity. Thousands of people are rendered homeless and deprived of food, drinking water and other basic amenities. Rescue work has been disrupted by heavy rainfall and damage to supply routes. The local people are seething with anger against the delayed limited rescue operations. When your team reaches the affected area, the people there heckle and even assault some of the team members. One of pa-Ur team members is even severely injured. Faced with this crisis, some team members plead with you to call off the operations fearing
    threats to their life.

In such trying circumstances, what will be your response? Examine the qualities of a public servant which will be required to manage the situation.

My response in such a fervent atmosphere should be thoughtful, cogent and humane because there are various dilemmas involved. Leaving thousands unattended, when they are completely dependent on government help, would be an act of timidity and self preservation which is unbecoming of a public servant.

Morale upliftment: The primary response for me, as the head of the rescue mission, is to reorient the focus of the group towards our real objectives. Since some of them are requesting to call off the mission I need to exhort them, with examples like – During the 2014 Floods in Kashmir, when the NDRF team started rescue mission, they were pelted with stones,their boats were snached and one of them was stabbed but they did not yield and went on to rescue more than 50000 people.

Initially, when Mahatma Gandhi was marching barefoot in riot hit areas of Noakhali, his path was strewn with pieces of glass and animal excreta by the riot-affected people. Later, His unflinching courage and love for humanity created a miracle, when people themselves promised not to retaliate.

Here, the anger of people is misplaced due to the popular perception of government servants. Once, people witness self-abnegation, dedication and courage in the rescue work they will start cooperating.

Secondly, I would try to persuade people by taking help from those who are willing to cooperate, in such an exercise local leaders can also help.

Apart from this, I will try to get cooperation from the government with respect to protection of my team members so that they may not be hurt in helping the people.

Qualities required to effectively manage such situation

  • Spirit of service: Since the rescue team is vulnerable to physical and verbal attacks,only some higher cause can help an officer in composed and coordinated rescue work.
  • Leadership: In such circumstances,finality of any decision lies completely on the wisdom of the leader.He/She also needs to lead the team from the front; displaying personal courage and conviction.
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence: An officer needs to have empathy and emotional intelligence for understanding the behavior of disgruntled local people otherwise one may abort the relief mission or resort to use of force-which will only heighten their anger.
  • Power of persuasion:People seething with anger are reactive and short-sighted, making them agree for something requires the power of persuasion.
  • Patience and Presence of mind:A Public Servant can not afford to make spontaneous decisions in such situations. Any further course of action should be guided by considerate assessment and swift thinking.

Thus, we need to have a sensitivity of the situation and not blame people for their reactions. Empathy and support is the key to rescue people in problems.

  1. Honesty and uprightness are the hallmarks of a civil servant. Civil servants possessing these qualities are considered as the backbone of any strong organization. In line of duty, they take various decisions, at times some become bonafide mistakes. As long as such decisions are not taken intentionally and do not benefit personally, the officer cannot be said to be guilty. Though such decisions may, at times, lead to unforeseen adverse consequences in the long-term.

In the recent past, a few instances have surfaced wherein civil servants have been implicated for bonafide mistakes. They have often been prosecuted and even imprisoned. These instances have greatly rattled the moral fibre of the civil servants.

How does this trend affect the functioning of the civil services? What measures can be taken to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes on their part? Justify your answer.

The role of civil servants is to take decisions which have huge ramifications on the socio-economic growth of the country. However, instances of wrongful prosecution of honest officers deeply impact the morale of honest officers. It has multiple effects on the functioning of civil services in India:

Affect on the functioning of the civil services

  • Impact on decision-making of officers:Officers will be averse to expressing their views. This may further aggravate red-tapism due to fear of departmental action for their incorrect decisions.
  • Hampers economic growth:With increasing private sector participation in public services, fear of prosecution may restrict honest officers to take progressive, bold and courageous decisions across sectors. Delay in taking key decisions will lead to poor governance.
  • Tool to harass honest officers:Corrupt political leaders and bureaucrats may harass honest officers through baseless complaints and investigations.
  • Impact on reputation of honest officers:Prosecution of honest officers leads to mental agony and heavy financial loss besides being defamed in the society.

Measures to ensure that honest civil servants are not implicated for bonafide mistakes

  • Ensuring maximum transparency in administration:The key policy making decisions should be made ensuring maximum clarity and openness about how decisions are taken. This will prevent blaming select individuals for incorrect decisions.
  • Legislative actions:As recommended by the Hota Committee report, amendment to Section 13(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act , 1988, that deals with criminal misconduct by a public servant is a welcome step. It will protect honest civil servants from malicious prosecution and harassment.
  • Reducing politicization of bureaucracy:The fear of transfers, denial of promotions, or being punished post retirement may impact decision making of officers. Ensuring fixed tenure to civil servants is a much needed step for systemic reforms in civil services.
  • Role of institutions:
    • Approach of judiciary:In a democracy and a rapidly growing economy, courts have to make decisions with a very constructive interpretation of laws. It must clarify the distinction between corruption and wrong administrative decisions.
    • IAS Associationof India and other civil society groups should support and stand by honest officers undergoing wrongful prosecution.
    • Creating internal oversight mechanisms:Internal enquiries in each department should consider integrity and past career record of officers before recommending for criminal investigation of bonafide decisions.

Justification

  • Since every decision taken may not prove to be correct in the long run, it is unjust to prosecute honest officers for genuine mistakes. Young and aspiring civil servants should preserve the key values of honesty, impartiality and fearlessness.
  • Dynamic and honest officials, who are risk-takers for the greater good, must be encouraged, not restrained. No bureaucrat or public official should be fearful for a bona fide decision.
  • Officers must stick to honesty and righteousness and ultimately there is victory of right over wrong. As the national motto suggests – Satyameva Jayate:Truth alone triumphs; not falsehood.
    • For ex:Former coal secretary HC Gupta who is known for his integrity and clean career record was acquitted by the Delhi High Court after CBI failed to prove the charges of criminal misconduct against him in the coal scam.

Thus, the need of the hour for the civil servants is to follow the code of ethics along with code of conduct.

  1. An apparel manufacturing company having large number of women employees was losing sales due to various factors. The company hired a reputed marketing executive, who increased the volume of sales within a short span of time. However, some unconfirmed reports came up regarding his indulgence in sexual harassment at the work place.

After sometime, a woman employee lodged a formal complaint to the management against the marketing executive about sexually harassing her. Faced with the company’s indifference in not taking cognizance of her grievance, she lodged an FIR with the Police.

Realizing the sensitivity and gravity of the situation, the company called the women employee to negotiate. In that she was offered a hefty sum of money to withdraw the complaint and the FIR and also give in writing that the marketing executive is not involved in this case.

Identify the ethical issues involved in this case what options are available to the women employee?

Facts of the case

  • lleged sexual harassment at workplace by the marketing executive.
  • Marketing executive important resource for the company as he increased sales in a short period of time.
  • Company management’s indifference in not taking cognizance of the woman’s complaint.
  • Company pressurizing the woman employee to withdraw the case.

Stakeholders involved

Ethical issues

Woman employee

§  Handling mental agony and societal pressure in pursuing the case.

§  Loss of self respect in negotiating with the company for monetary benefits.

Marketing executive

§  Saving professional life by negotiating with the woman employee and proving innocence if not guilty.

Company management

§  Insensitivity towards dignity of a woman.

§  Priority to profit over organizational values by indulging in illegitimate negotiation with the woman employee.

Other employees

§  To continue working with the marketing executive against moral conscience of other women employees.

Following options are available to the woman employee:

  • Continue with her case by taking a firm stand against the company management.
    • This would give fair chance to her to prove her viewpoint in a court of law and will give her mental peace that she stood for herself.
    • However, she will have to face mental agony and societal pressure in pursuing the case and may even prove detrimental for her career prospects.
  • Accept the negotiation offer by the company and withdraw the case.
    • This may be beneficial for her career and will save her from rigorous investigation process.
    • However, this would create dissonance and affect mental peace as her conscience would not allow her to accept monetary gains over self respect. Also, she would never be able to stand for herself in the future.
  • Resign from the company and focus on other career opportunities.
    • This will let her avoid the situation and will be beneficial for her career prospects.
    • However, the scars of sexual harassment will remain with her throughout her life and she will regret that she herself is responsible for denial of justice to her.

Option(1) seems to be the correct way of handling the situation. The women employee can play a leadership role. Her actions will give voice to other genuine concerns of women employees. It is her moral responsibility to come forward and show exemplary behaviour. This will not only bring self satisfaction to her but also increase her confidence and inner strength.

Also, there is a major fault of company management in giving priority to profit motives by saving the marketing executive and not forming the internal complaints committee as mandated by the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013. Gandhiji considered ‘commerce without morality’ as one of the seven social sins. Thus, it is not only an individual’s fault, but an organization’s which lack values such as respect for the dignity of woman, work-culture ethics, and gender  equality.

  1. In a modem democratic polity, there is the concept of political executive and permanent executive. Elected people’s representatives from the political executive and bureaucracy forms the permanent executive. Ministers frame policy decisions and bureaucrats execute these.

In the initial decades after independence, relationship between the permanent executive and the political executive were characterized by mutual understanding, respect and co-operation, without encroaching upon each other’s domain.

However, in the subsequent decades, the situation has changed. There are instances of the political executive insisting upon the permanent executive to follow its agenda. Respect for and appreciation of upright bureaucrats has declined. There is an increasing tendency among the political executive to get involved in routine administrative matters such as transfers, postings etc. Under this scenario, there is a definitive trend towards ‘politicization of bureaucracy’. The rising materialism and acquisitiveness in social life has also adversely impacted upon the ethical values of both the permanent executive and the
political executive.

What are the consequences of this ‘politicization of bureaucracy’? Discuss.

Cooperation between elected representatives and bureaucrats is essential for democratic governance of the country. However, due to ‘politicization of bureaucracy’, there is a deterioration in the functioning of the civil services.

Values involved in the case

  • Political neutrality and impartiality
  • Integrity and probity
  • Courage of conviction
  • Following the code of conduct
  • Legal responsibility

Consequences of politicization of bureaucracy

  • Detrimental to moral fibre of bureaucrats:Even honest civil servants with political leanings have compulsion to take biased decisions in favour of one political group.
  • Dilemma in personal v/s professional life:A bureaucrat indulged in material benefits have to compromise with his conscience or inner voice just to be in tune with outside reality, thereby disturbing his mental peace and work ethics. The person loses self respect and trust of his family and children who inculcate such inadequate values from him.
  • Impact on governance system:Lack of impartiality in functioning of civil servants has direct impact on their decisions in day to day administration either in public service delivery or implementing social welfare schemes.
  • Problems in chaotic situations:Difficult circumstances like communal riots demands officers with strict political neutrality. Biased decisions can lead to loss of lives and property. Hence, a civil servant must be accountable for his decisions in such situations.
  • Policy paralysis:Fear of political vendetta against non-cooperative officers in the form of frequent transfers, delay in promotions, etc results in red-tapism and culture of secrecy in their decision making.
  • Negative impact on civil society:Civil servants occupying top positions in the government are role models for young aspiring Indians. Their impartial attitude is detrimental to the societal ethics at large.

Therefore, a civil servant must be politically neutral. As a civil servant, one has the responsibility towards public and must adhere to constitutional principles keeping his conscience intact. His primary job is to perform Nishkama Karma (selfless and desire less duty). He must be rational, exemplary, and committed to the public
cause.

Materialistic things charms anyone only for short span and in the long run person derive satisfaction by doing his job honestly and making positive contributions in the lives of others. Therefore, civil servants and even politicians should stay away from material gains.

Also, a civil servant should be ready to serve at any position at any time. Fear of transfer should not refrain a civil servant from his commitment towards public cause and larger interest of society.

  1. In one of the districts of a frontier state, narcotics menace has been rampant. This has resulted in money laundering, mushrooming of poppy farming, arms smuggling and near stalling of education. The system is on the verge of collapse. The situation has been further worsened by unconfirmed reports that local politicians, as well as some senior police officers, are providing surreptitious patronage to the drug mafia. At that point of time a woman police officer, known for her skills in handling such situations is appointed as Superintendent of Police to bring the situation to normalcy.

If you are the same police officer, identify the various dimensions of the crisis. Based on your understanding, suggest measures to deal with the crisis.

The situation in the aforementioned district seems daunting, with the social and administrative system inching towards a total collapse. Consequentially, the prevalence of such a scenario must be leading to wastage of human and social capital, rise in crime rates, and endangering the future prospects of the district and its people.

The district is grappling with myriad problems which have various dimensions of the crisis can be summarised as below-

  • Legal dimension:The activities like money laundering,poppy farming,arms smuggling,emanating from narcotics menace, are legally prohibited under respective laws.
  • Security dimension:Frontier districts in India are susceptible to subversive groups trying to undermine democracy and authority of the State. Arms smuggling and money laundering provides easy means of financing their anti-social activities.
  • Social dimension:A society ridden with such maladies can never focus on education, health, development, empowerment and welfare which are the key aims of a welfare state.
  • Economic dimension:Involvement of people in such activities will lead to the emergence of a black economy eating away at the vitals of a state.
  • Political and administrative dimension:Allegedly, local political leaders and senior police officers are hand in glove with the drug mafia and are providing clandestine support to them- which raises the question of moral and ethical propriety.

Measures to deal with the crisis

  • Since the problems have permeated through the social, political and administrative structures, my response, as a lady Superintendent of Police should be calculated, precise and swift, with long term implications in mind.
  • Firstly, a thorough investigation must be conducted within the police establishment to identify the black sheep and they should be subjected to lawful punishment.
  • Law enforcement:I would focus on scrupulous and strict implementation of existing laws -taking a cue from inspirational lady SP of Sonitpur district, Sanjukta Parashar, who efficiently curbed insurgency, seized tons of illegal arms and ammunition and arrested dozens involved in illegal arms racket.
  • Taking help from Border Security Forces:Since my district lies in a frontier state; there is a possibility of involvement of transnational elements. For this, the police force must act in tandem with Border security personnel because with rigorous patrolling and search operations local elements can be isolated.
  • Going beyond just law enforcement, I would also discuss the social dimensions of the problem with other administrative officers like District Magistrate- and suggest to involve other benign actors like NGOs, Panchayat heads etc, acting in a concerted way, for engendering education and addressing the issue holistically.
  • Efforts should also be made to wean off regular farmers if involved in poppy cultivation.

India’s frontier districts need to remain economically prosperous, socially in harmony and free of illegal criminal networks because an afflicted district can have long-term adverse implications on the security, unity and integrity of India.

  1. In recent times, there has been an increasing concern in India to develop effective civil service ethics, code of conduct, transparency measures, ethics and integrity systems and anti-corruption agencies. In view of this, there is a need being felt to focus on three specific areas, which are directly relevant to the problems of internalizing integrity and ethics in the civil services. These are as follows:

Suggest institutional measures to address the above three issues.

In recent times, there is an increasing expectation from ordinary citizens, business leaders and Civil Society for higher standards of ethical behaviour and integrity in the Civil Services. To promote this, various methods like Code of Conduct, Citizen Charters, etc have been developed. However, the focus should also be on internalizing professional ethics and integrity in civil services to make it more citizen-friendly.

Values involved in the case

  • Ethical integrity of civil servants.
  • Probity in governance.
  • Moral aptitude of civil servants.
  • Accountability and responsibility.
  • Transparency and citizen participation.

Specific focus issues and measures to address them

  • Anticipating specific threats to ethical standards and integrity in the civil services.
    • Red-tapism:Unnecessary administrative complexities to effective service delivery should be identified and removed.
    • Culture of Secrecy:Decisions made by civil servants and public officials should be made as transparent and open as possible. Reasons must be given for official decisions.
    • Inadequate grievance redressal System:Effective mechanisms should be put in place to ensure timely resolution of public complaints and appropriate feedback provided to the public organisations. Grievance redressal processes should be monitored so as to ensure that systems are reviewed and performance is improved.
    • Biasedness and Partisan Attitude:Implementation of conduct rules and code of ethics in order to create a professional and non-partisan civil service hierarchy.
    • Elitism of civil servants:Public orientation in Civil servants is crucial to increase public participation and improve public service delivery. Civil servants should be given proper training to ensure citizen-friendly behaviour.
  • Strengthening the ethical competence of civil servant.
    • Training and performance appraisal:This would incentivise the honest civil servants and make them role models for others to emulate.
    • Reward and honours:It will infuse competition in the civil services to perform better and develop innovative solutions for public service.
    • Promotion of inclusive work culture:Diluting strict hierarchy to increase the cooperation among public officials to increase the effectiveness of services.
    • Social and cultural competence:This would help the civil servant to understand the diverse Indian society and perform as per the high aspirations of the public.
  • Developing administrative processes and practices which promote ethical values and integrity in civil services.
    • Promoting accountability:Effective laws which require civil servants to give reasons for their official decisions. For eg. RTI act.
    • Reducing Corruption:Punitive provision like Prevention of Corruption Act and Whistleblower Protection act, technological Interventions in the form of e-governance to remove discretion, promotion of Social Auditing etc to ensure accountability of the administrative work.
    • Human Resource management strategies:Performance-based pay, Lateral Entry, Multi-Phase training will increase the efficiency and quality of public service delivery.
    • Internal and External Committees:To ensure redressal of complaints and grievances of civil servants and public. This improves the work culture and aligns the behaviour of public servants to the desired civil services values.
    • Code of Conduct Rules:It ensures appropriate behaviour from public servants that should be unbiased and non-partisan.

Promotion of ethical behaviour and integrity in civil servants, and revamping the public administration is critical to ensure that the policies of social welfare are implemented in true spirit. It would improve the responsiveness of public servants towards the common citizenry. Also, public trust would increase in the government setup. Greater social capital can in turn help in the promotion of ethical governance.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

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