Q.1) Initially Civil Services in India were designed to achieve the goals of neutrality and effectiveness, which seems to be lacking in the present context. Do you agree with the view that drastic reforms are required in Civil Services? Comment
- The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country. Initially, the civil services in India were designed to maintain law and order, provide stability, and implement executive decisions in effective and efficient manner. However, they were not supposed to take part in decision making with the executive bodies and thus were aimed to maintain neutrality.
- Of late, our civil services are marred with a number of challenges like corruption, red Tapism, insensitivity, lack of technology and technical knowledge, political interference etc. which decreased its neutrality and effectiveness and thus required drastic reforms to cop up with the demand and need of current situation.
Why drastic reforms needed?
- Increasing population; change in peoples’ aspirations; society becoming more complex etc. needs a reformed bureaucracy which can deal with the problems of modern world. Rising complexity of economy means specialists are needed with lateral entry as recommended by 2nd Administrative Reform Commission.
- Modern society becoming more digital with the use of modern technology, digitalization of governance work etc. requires our bureaucracy to change as per need. For example: My Gov Application, Daksh Application etc.
- E-governance and paperless governance ranking for ministries at central and state levels on the basis of
their move to the e-office system, reduction of paper use, and citizen engagement through the electronic medium etc.
- More and more use of public private partnership model wherever possible in the governance system in order to reduce burden on government administrative machinery.
- Code of conduct and code of ethics for civil servants should be modified in order to deal with conflict of interests and also with the corruption among government officials.
- Good governance is the need of the hour. The citizen, having come centre stage, demands a more responsive, transparent and accountable set-up which is premised on probity and integrity. We need to emulate some of the culture embedded in the civil services of Singapore, Scandinavian countries and the qualities that the British Civil services, from whom we derived our model, still espouse and maintain.
- Periodic training must be given to our bureaucrats so as t keep them updated and increase their efficiency. Their relationship with political executives must be properly defined by code of conduct and other channels.
- Any attempt to re-engineer the bureaucracy would have to deal with two aspects. The first would have to address the systems or structures and the other would have to be the professional or attitudinal aspects of civil servants. No civil service structure can be static in its character. It has to be dynamic and has to change with the times.
- These reforms are more incremental in nature but their implementation leads to big bang reforms as told by the Economic Survey. They will lead to better delivery of goods and services.
- In the globalised world, it is of utmost important that our civil services are SMART i.e. sensible, mobile, responsive, accountable and tech- savvy so as to lead us towards ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.
With the world moving towards digitalization, and India shifting towards everything online (eg cashless economy), cyber threats are at a new height with the number of attacks increasing by more than 27,000 incidents in the first half of 2017. For example: A ransomware — a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid — dubbed “WannaCry” attacked hundreds of thousands of computers around the world.
Potential Threats to Cyber Attacks:
- Cybercriminals have embedded malware into legitimate applications and they’re targeting poorly secured Wi-fi spots, stealing passwords, and more in their quest to steal information. Due to the massive financial gains being made, cyber crime has become a multibillion pound industry.
- India is vulnerable to threats reported including phishing attacks, website intrusions and defacements, virus code and denial of service attacks or damages to data as well as ransomware attacks.
- The increasing number of first-time internet users in India is also posing a big challenge. Since first-time users are least aware about digital technologies and potential threats, they are more likely to fall victim to the most basic malicious tricks like debit card frauds, social engineering, phishing etc.
- There is an ever growing threat to economy, financial sector, key government departments and infrastructure set up which in turn leaves internal security at risk. India remains vulnerable to digital intrusions such as cyber-espionage, cybercrime, digital disruption and distributed denial of services.
India’s security framework to prevent cyber attacks:
- The Government of India took the first formalized step towards cyber security in 2013 with
National Cyber Security Policy, 2013.
- CERT-In is an emergency response team set up under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for dealing with a range of cyber-attacks. Apart from this, the Government of India has four Sectoral Computer Emergency Response Teams to address Cyber Security Threats in Power Systems: Transmission, Thermal, Hydro and Distribution.
- To combat cyber security violations and prevent their increase, Government of India’s Computer
Emergency Response Team (CERT-in) launched ‘Cyber Swachhta Kendra’a new desktop and
mobile security solution for cyber security in India.
- Apart from this, Government has also developed apps, software, etc to make devices safe.
- The government of India has collaborated with several countries such as the USA, European Union and Malaysia. Recently the United Kingdom government has agreed to assist in developing the proposed National Cyber Crime Coordination Centre in India.
- As agreed by experts, setting up of a National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) in order to address cyber security issues and improve implementation at a national level.
- There are need to bring more number of professionals in this field as the number of hackers are very few in India as well as world. The government needs to incentivize youth with relevant interest to excel in this field.
- India’s budgetary allocation need to be increased from the current 42.2 crore in orders to better cop up with such a situation.
- There is a need to set up high end cyber labs that are capable of critically inspecting every IT components before these are deployed in critical infrastructure across industry sectors.
- India’s demand for electricity is seeing a steady rise. With an increasing number of villages being connected to the grid, this demand is only set to accelerate in the coming years.
- India is a global giant in oil consumption and energy security has long been a concern for India. The fuel demands are growing fast in proportion to its rapid economic development. Despite the current consumption, India’s energy demand is expected to increase due to increasing population, government policy (electricity and housing for all), increasing use of power consuming gadgets and equipments. Meeting these needs will amount to provide 5000 unit per capita per annum to Indian citizens.
- Due to lack of significant domestic reserves of oil and natural gas, India has looked towards the geopolitically challenging West Asian regions to fulfill its requirements throughout much of its independent history.
Energy cooperation with West Asia:
- For decades, India was a passive player in West Asia-a beneficiary of good relationships with multiple actors. Historically, India’s West Asia policy has been multi-directional.
- Energy security, of course, is a key ingredient of India’s interest in West Asia. It is dependent on imports for 80% of its oil needs, of which roughly 55% is sourced from the Persian Gulf region.
- India is engaged bilaterally with different countries like Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia to secure its energy supplies. Various Indian Public Sector Units like ONGC and GAIL have been making investments in these regions in order to strengthen their claims on energy reserves.
- The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is India’s solo chief source of oil as of 2015. Saudi Arabia exported 795,000 barrels per day to India from January to April 2015, an increase of around 4.6 percent over the same period in 2014 and further increasing.
- Abu Dhabi has entered into a strategic partnership in energy with New Delhi, including upstream and downstream investments. Qatar is pivoting towards investing internationally as well.
- India’s increasingly multidimensional relations with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states buttress these energy security efforts.
- Kazakhstan has offered ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL), a stake in a medium-sized Abai oil block in the Caspian Sea.
- Our Link West policy diversifies the base of oil imports, opens up new markets for our trade/exports. Diaspora and remittances are immense advantages.
- Indian refiners have already begun to take advantage of the oil price drop to switch long-term contracts with West Asian suppliers for African oil spot purchases. And some of the former like Saudi Arabia—looking to enhance its share of the growing Indian energy market as it drives a supplier price war to shake loose more marginal producers—have responded. For instance, Riyadh has reportedly been in talks to ship crude to India on its own tankers, saving on shipping costs and passing on the benefits to Indian refiners.
- The security scenario in the region, issue of terrorism, China’s increasing influence in the region etc. has always been a concern for India.
- India is presently trying its best to diminish its dependence on West Asia for its energy requirements,
mainly due to the political uncertainty in the region especially in countries like Iraq. Also the future of TAPI pipeline is of great concern.
- Though increased connectivity with West Asia is strategically important for India, the future of India’s energy security lies in diversifying India’s portfolio through competitively priced renewable energy sources.
- India should expand its energy security department within the MEA, presently operated by a single Joint Secretary level officer, and give it equal importance as the defence department gets.
- India should enhance energy cooperation with other Asian Countries like China, Japan, South Korea etc form a cooperative partnership to ensure continuous energy flow to the region.
- Develop closer ties with countries like Iceland, Israel etc. to develop India’s renewable energy
technology and to backup with an alternate way other than oil and natural gas.
- Though increased connectivity with West Asia is strategically important for India, the future of India’s energy security lies in diversifying India’s portfolio through competitively priced renewable energy sources.
Q.4) Hunger and Poverty are the biggest challenges for good governance in India still today. Evaluate how far successive governments have progressed in dealing with these humongous problems. Suggest measures for improvement.
- Good Governance is all about empowering citizen by strengthening their living condition. However, the recent Global Hunger Index puts India at 100th position out of 119 countries shows that India lags behind many developing countries in curbing poverty and hunger despite being the fastest growing country in the world.
- According to FAO estimates in ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World, 2017” report, 190.7 million people are undernourished in India. By this measure 14.5% of the population is undernourished in India. Also, 51.4% of women in reproductive age between 15 to 49 years are anaemic.
- Further according to the report 38.4% of the children aged under five in India are stunted (too short for their age), while 21% suffer from wasting, meaning their weight is too low for their height. Malnourished children have a higher risk of death from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria.
- The Global Hunger Index 2017 ranks India at 100 out of 119 countries on the basis of three leading indicators — prevalence of wasting and stunting in children under 5 years, under 5 child mortality rate, and the proportion of undernourished in the population.
Progress in Poverty Reduction:
- By adopting various strategies and approaches like self employment programs, wage employment programs, food security programs, social security programs and urban poverty alleviation programs etc. the government of India has been able to reduce a significant number of poverty and hunger.
- Since post liberalization, those below India’s official poverty line have reduced from 45% to 22%. This means that 133 million people have been lifted out of poverty. From 55% since independence to 22% now.
- Some population groups in India are substantially worse off than other groups. These include the Scheduled Tribes (STs), 43 per cent of whom were below the poverty line in 2012, and the Scheduled Castes, 29 per cent of whom were below the poverty line. Poverty also seems entrenched among the STs, with the pace of poverty reduction slower than that witnessed in other groups between 2005 and 2012.
- However, the absolute number has reduced only slightly. India still is home to 1/5th of world’s poor people, about 300 million people still living under poverty. With the recent Food Security Act, Insurance driven social safety net, and focus on SHGs, it can be hoped that India will make bigger strides towards completely eradicating the poverty.
- Over the next decade and a half, the goal of citizens and policymakers in India should be improvement in Goals 1 and 2 of SDGs.
- Growth alone will not be enough but must get translated into jobs for the poor and marginalised for it to become truly inclusive. This will not be easy considering the pressure that automation and newer technologies are putting on jobs and employment. Newer skills will hold the key for translating growth into jobs over the coming decade.
- Also, there is a need for decentralization of the programmes by strengthening the panchayati raj institutions as poverty is not merely economic deprivation but also social marginalization that affects the poor most.
- The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is one of the six principle organs of the United Nations responsible for coordinating the economic, social and related work of 15 UN specialized agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions also known as UN Family.
- It has 54 members and holds meeting one four-week session each year in July and since 1998, it has also held an annual meeting in April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Functions of ECOSOC:
- To serve as the central forum for discussions on international economic and social issues.
- To promote higher standards of living, full employment and economic and social progress.
- To find solutions of international economic, social, health and related problems, and international cultural and educational cooperation.
- To encourage universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
- To assist the organization of major international conferences in the field of economic and social and related fields.
- To make or initiate studies and reports with respect to international economic and social matters.
- To prepare draft conventions for submission to the General Assembly.
- To coordinate the work of the specialized agencies and programmes and their functional commissions and five regional commissions.
- To make arrangements for consultations with non-governmental organizations.
- Managing the transition from MDGs to SDGs.
Different Functional Commissions attached to ECOSOC:
- Statistical Commission: Established in 1947, it is the highest body of the global statistical system. It brings together the Chief Statisticians from member states from around the world. It is the highest decision making body for international statistical activities especially the setting of statistical standards, the development of concepts and methods and their implementation at the national and international level.
- Commission on Population and Development: Its goal is to follow up the implementation of the Program of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development. This would also monitor, review and assess the implementation of the Program of Action at the regional, national and international level, integrating population and development strategies and on population and related development policies and programs.
- Commission for Social Development: Its purpose is to advise ECOSOC on social policies of a general character and in particular on all matters in the social field not covered by the specialised inter governmental agencies. It is also in charge of the follow up and implementation of the Copenhagen Declaration and Program of Action.
- Commission on Sustainable Development: was established by the UN General Assembly in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth Summit.
- Commission on the Status of Women: It is a global intergovernmental body dedicated to promoting gender equality and empowering women.
- Commission on Narcotic Drugs: It assists the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties. Now it also functions as the governing body of the UNODC.
- Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: The Commission acts as the principal policymaking body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.
- Commission on Science and Technology for Development: The Commission provides the General Assembly and ECOSOC with high-level advice on relevant science and technology issues. UNCTAD is responsible for the substantive servicing of the Commission.
- United Nations Forum on Forests: The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is a high-level intergovernmental policy forum. The forum includes all United Nations Member States and Permanent Observers, the UNFF Secretariat, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, Regional Organizations and Processes and Major Groups.
The Schedules listing the castes and tribes recognized as deserving of special treatment because of the massive discrimination practiced against them were drawn up in 1935 by the British Indian Govt.
India with 700 tribes constitute a significant number of population (over 10 crore) which have been notified under Article 342 of the Constitution of India.
The two major initiatives addressing discrimination against Tribals are: Reservation and Forest Rights Act.
- The most important state initiative is popularly known as ‘reservations’. This involves the setting aside of some places or ‘seats’ for members of the Scheduled Tribes in different spheres of public life.
- These include reservation of seats in the State and Central legislatures, reservation of jobs in government service across all departments and public sector companies; and reservation of seats in educational institutions. The proportion of reserved seats is equal to the percentage share of the Scheduled Castes and Tribes in the total population.
- India provided reservation to scheduled Tribes in education and jobs with 7.5% reservations in government-aided educational institutions and public sector in 1982.
- In parliament, tribe based reservations are provided to make it more representative. Today, out of 543 seats in India’s parliament, 47 (8.66%) seats are reserved for ST/Tribes.
- According to a new study, 26% male and 35% female students from India’s most disadvantaged
castes and tribes in 245 engineering colleges would not be there without reservation.
Forest Rights Act:
- This is the beginning towards giving communities and the public a voice in forest and wildlife conservation. This Act grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws.
- There are three types of rights tribals gets under this Act – Land Rights, Use Rights and Right to Protect and Conserve. This Act revises 200 years of colonial and postcolonial history in which the state had taken over control of forests.
- Regarding decision on who gets right, the gram sabha (full village assembly, NOT the gram panchayat) makes a recommendation – i.e. who has been cultivating land for how long, which minor forest produce is collected etc. The gram sabha plays this role because it is a public body where all people participate, and hence is fully democratic and transparent. The gram sabha’s recommendation goes through two stages of screening committees at the taluka and district levels.
- In spite of legal safeguards and the efforts of the central and state government, the tribal’ progress and welfare has been very slow, and even dismal. Due to ignorance among tribals, outsiders such as moneylenders, traders and other middlemen and their nexus with government officials exploiting tribals leading them to indebtedness, low literacy rate, retreating deep into hills and forests etc.
- There is need of political will to address tribals’ problems through proper training to governemnt officials dealing with tribal regions to inculcate a sense of compassion towards tribals and awareness among masses and all politicians so that they can give positive heed to tribal prevailing conditions in India.
- A monsoon is a seasonal shift in the prevailing wind direction that usually brings with it a different kind of weather. It almost always refers to the Asian monsoon, a large region extending from India to Southeast Asia where monsoon conditions prevail.
- Monsoon plays a vital role in the food production for millions of people around the world, particularly in India and Southeast Asia. Roughly, 80% of annual rainfall in India occurs during the monsoon. More than 235 million people in India alone rely on agriculture, and 60% use no irrigation, so they must rely on rainfall to grow crops for food.
- The monsoon occurs in sub Saharan Africa, South Asia, China, Korea, Japan, North-East India and Bengal, Indo China, the Philippines, Part of Australia and to a much lesser extent in Europe where it is called the Return of the Westerlies. In these regions the people more or less rely on monsoon to grow their crops and thus rightly said that the monsoon feeds more than 50% of the world population. Moreover, the regions of Asia especially India and China are the largest producer of food grains in the world and also are most populated and hence feed more number of people.
Characteristics of the Monsoon climate:
- Tropical monsoon type of climate has high annual temperature (approx 26 ° Centigrade).
- In tropical monsoon type of climate, there are two dry seasons with low rainfall. For example in India, summers and winters are dry with only little rainfall. While northern parts of the country receive little rainfall during the summer season due to cyclonic depression, Tamil Nadu receives rainfall during winters. Rest of the country experiences hot and dry summers and cool and dry winters.
- There is a distinct rainy season with very high rainfall. During the monsoon season in India, many parts of the country receive rainfall as high as 200cm. However, some parts of the country like western Rajasthan, western Gujarat, Punjab and Haryana receive very little rainfall due to relief features.
- Rainfall in the tropical monsoon climate is seasonal in nature and is often irregular and uneven.
Monsoon type of climate has various advantages:
- Rain water infiltrates in to the ground and hence the ground water table rises that is very useful for irrigation and drinking purposes. Around 90 % of the world’s drinking water supply depends on the rain water.
- Rain is very helpful in keeping the dew balance in the atmosphere which balances the temperature on our Earth.
- In country like India, monsoon season has its own importance because crops, animals and the whole population are completely dependent on rain water.
Q.8) Explain the salient features of the constitution(One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016. Do you think it is efficacious enough ‘to remove cascading effect of taxes and provide for common national market for goods and services’?
The constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 deals with the Good and Service Tax (GST) which aims to subsume all kinds of indirect taxes in India constituting a common market of taxation.
Since GST bills involve a huge interest of the state governments, such a historical tax reform cannot take place without making suitable changes into the constitution. The amendment brought changes in Article 246A, Article 269A, Article 279A, 7th schedule and other rules.
Salient Features of GST:
- Single tax on supply of goods and services, right from the manufacturer to the consumer.
- It is a value based tax as credit of input taxes paid at each stage will be available in the subsequent stages.
- The final consumer will bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain.
- Parliament and state legislatures will have concurrent powers to make laws on GST. Only the centre may levy an integrated GST (IGST) on the interstate supply of goods and services, and imports.
- Alcohol for human consumption has been exempted from the purview of GST. GST will apply to five petroleum products at a later date.
- The GST Council will recommend rates of tax, period of levy of additional tax, principles of supply, special provisions to certain states etc. The GST Council consists of the Union Finance Minister, Union Minister of State for Revenue, and state Finance Ministers.
- The Bill empowers the centre to impose an additional tax of up to 1%, on the inter-state supply of goods for two years or more. This tax will accrue to states from where the supply originates.
- Parliament may, by law, provide compensation to states for any loss of revenue from the introduction of GST, up to a five year period.
Is it efficacious enough for common national tax market?
- Historically, India’s constitution did not invest power to either the Center or the States to tax the supply of goods and services. Up until now, the Center has been able to tax services and goods during the production stage and the States have been able to tax the sale of goods. The Center did not have the power to tax the sale of goods and the States did not have the power to tax the provision of services.
- Hence, the primary intent of the legislature (GST) is to bring in uniformity and harmony to the existing indirect tax laws governing goods and services in India.
- As a result of the merging of these taxes, the GST is anticipated to be a single tax on the inter-state supply of goods and services, covering the entire supply chain from the manufacturer to the consumer.
- Credits for taxes paid at each stage of the value chain will be available in subsequent stages of value addition, which makes the GST essentially a tax only on value addition at each stage. The final consumer will therefore bear only the GST charged by the last dealer in the supply chain, with the seller benefiting from set-off from the tax paid on previous downstream transactions.
- The GST has merged the previous Central and State indirect taxes into a single tax, by subsuming central excise duty, additional excise duty, service tax, additional customs duty, special additional duty of customs (earlier collected by the Centre) with value added tax, entertainment tax, central sales tax, octroi and entry tax, purchase tax, luxury tax and taxes on lottery, betting and gambling (earlier collected by the States).
- The above provisions clarifies that constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016 is efficacious enough to unify all existing taxes of India paving a common market for uniform tax.
Politics in India is considered something which is very dirty. The criminalization of politics, criminals getting elected, reflection of its bad image by media, illegal practices for winning election as well as for maintaining power etc. has created a bad image of politics in general masses. It is seen as a field for the uneducated, the uncouth, the jobless and the scum of society. This is unduly harsh and prevents the youth from entering into this arena.
The reasons why the ethical young minds are not attracted towards politics are:
- Economic condition of individual: With a rising population, scarcity of resources and job opportunities, and fierce competition in any given job market, the priorities of the youth does not include public service and welfare. The average populations in this country are busy about fulfilling their own priorities and needs rather than being a politician and social workers.
- The psychological fear of having criminal cases pending in their name along with the strict background checks before employment for criminal records makes sure that the youth interested in politics, but who also want to enjoy a good standard of living, become only mere spectators instead of active participants in the democratic process.
- Underhanded nature of the field: All is fair in war and politics. The moment one enters politics and comes into the limelight, it becomes a no holds barred dirt slinging festival. Defamation becomes an everyday occurrence. Criticisms become everywhere’s affair and one will be painted into the worst possible light, digging up every skeleton to show downwards in the eyes of public.
- Less Rewarding: Politics, unlike professional careers are not instantly rewarding and required prolonged risk involved with unending hardwork.
- No Role Model: Role model influences people especially the youth to participate in certain field of his/her. The current scenario of politics lacks the existence of such role model who in actual sense motivates the youth with his/her decisions and actions.
Moreover, the true politics is not bad per se. Politics is an important aspect for the governance of any country. It involves the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power, policy formulation and implementation with general consensus which affect large number of people.
Ways to motivate youngsters for joining politics:
- Institution plays greater role in shaping the minds of individual. The curriculum about the good faces of politics, the achievements of good leaders and innovative ideas about politics should be taught in school levels to make young minds aware about politics and its outcomes. Like other fields of profession, Politics should also be considered an open option by the parents as a career prospect for their children.
- The knowledge enhancement about politics, political work and job profile is important to make general people aware about the work of politics and its members. Youth in college and university level should be encouraged to participate in campus politics and public welfare work which will provide practical experience along with their academic knowledge.
- Politics like other career prospects should be made lucrative by legal emoluments so as to attract more candidate in order to earn and live a happy life at the same time bring innovate ideas about legislation, policies and decision making.
- At last the veterans should act as role model by setting the height of their work for public welfare as done by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawahar Lal Nehru, Sardar Patel etc.
Q12) You are the manager of a spare parts company A and you have to negotiate a deal with the manager of a large manufacturing company B. The deal is highly competitive and sealing the deal is critical for your company. The deal is being worked out over a dinner. After dinner the manager of manufacturing company B offered to drop you to the hotel in his car. On the way to hotel he happens to hit motorcycle injuring the motorcyclist badly. You know the manager was driving fast and thus lost control. The law enforcement officer comes to investigate the issue and you are the sole eyewitness to it. Knowing the strict laws pertaining to road accidents you are aware that your honest account of the incident would lead to the prosecution of the manager and as a consequence the deal is likely to be jeopardized, which is of immense importance to your company.
What are the dilemmas you face? What will be your response to the situation?
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