Attempt the questions individually by clicking on them.
Following the Supreme Court’s orders in the case of Gauri Maulekhi versus Union of India and others, the Government of India sought to effectively prohibit cattle slaughter across the country through rules made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960. Though these rules do not explicitly ban slaughter, they ban the sale and purchase of cattle for slaughter at agricultural markets and therefore, in effect, are attempting to put an end to all kinds of cattle slaughter across the country. Therefore, they came under heavy criticism for violating various Fundamental Rights and interfering with the spirit of federalism.
Fundamental Right to Food– These are said to depriving the citizen of their food choices, imposing forced vegetarism to some extent and also violating Article 21 as right to food is derived from it. Some states like Kerala, West Bengal, Tripura and Karnataka represent allege that they are protected from any such legislative or executive encroachment under Article 29 of the Indian Constitution as they represent a unique culture of their own that comprises of beef and meat eating. On the contrary, some people are supporting the rules as they consider beef eating against Hindu religion.
Fundamental Right to Livelihood- These rules are said to be inconsistent with the Article-19 of the Indian Constitution. Also, it has immensely impacted the livestock and leather industry(most of them Muslim meat and leather traders). They have also deprived farmers of their traditional source of income from selling non-milch and ageing cattle.and have also added the financial burden of their upkeep and care.
Spirit of Federalism-The Centre has taken recourse to PCA,1960 to frame the rules, although cruelty to animals subject is listed under concurrent list, but cattle is state subject. There exist multiple state legislations that permit the slaughter of cattle and the the PCA, 1960 act allows the killing of animals if permitted under other existing laws, therefore the government cannot render such slaughter illegal under this act. Also, in issuing these set of rules the government has exercised the power it does not have under the PCA,1960.The government is justifying the slaughter under DPSP(Article-48), it was framed by the constitution makers in the interest of animal husbandry but the impact of the rules indicate huge losses to the livestock trade.
A glaring anomaly in the new rules is that the government seems interested in preventing cruelty only to cattle and not other animals like chickens, fishes, pigs etc which raises a doubt about the real intentions of the government. But the recent steps taken by the Bombay High Court which struck down the prohibition contained in legislation and also upheld the constitutional liberty to determine individual dietary preference surely protects fundament rights enshrined in the Constitution.
The Ministry of Environment recently permitted states to declare earlier protected wild animal species as “vermin” under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, thereby allowing private shooters and others to kill these species with few safeguards and no risk of prosecution. Recent examples are Nilgai in Bihar and Maharashtra, Rhesus macaque in HP, Wild pig in all States except Himachal Pradesh
Culling is basically selective killing of a species, usually as a population control measure. Section 11(1) A of the Wildlife Protection Act (WPA) authorizes chief wildlife warden to permit hunting of any problem wild animal only if it cannot be captured, tranquillized or translocation. Section 62 of Act empowers Centre to declare wild animals other than Schedule I & II to be vermin for specified area and period.
Arguments in favour of culling
- It is the feasible solution to save life and property of the citizens.
- By law, wildlife is protected because they are too few and require protection.
- It destroys hard work of one year of the farmers and pushes them to the debt crises.
- The absence of lawful intervention often triggers retaliation by illegal means. Hence such a law is very necessary.
- Can be monitored easily using strict guidelines and law enforcement.
- Fencing is not a good measure in this regard and is expensive and its maintenance is not effective.
- Even selection of crops that traditionally repelled animals does not seem to work any longer. For example, farmers in Sirmour, Himachal Pradesh, now complain that monkeys raid garlic fields that they avoided until recently.
Arguments against culling
- Ethical grounds: Even Supreme Court recognized the Right to Life to animals.
- Animal welfare activists believe that every individual animal is ethically indispensable, even at the cost of putting entire species at risk.
- Culling is against animal protection and conservation.
- It shows the barbarian mind-set still existing in human beings, according to the animal welfare groups.
- Culling creates a conducive atmosphere for the poaching mafia to move in.
- Man-animal conflict can be controlled through non-invasive means, including fencing crop fields, planting chilli around cropland, selecting non-edible crops etc.
- Popularizing insurance of crops and other properties.
- Forest department should be more active to deter the animals from harming humans.
- Use sedatives rather killing.
- Reduce activities causing habitat loss of animals
Animals are not the real problem. We need to look into the root cause of such conflicts. Providing human needs, enhancing local amenities, and adopting science-based and sustained interventions will provide more lasting solutions. India is already suffering from serious effects of climate change, including a warming climate, changing rainfall patterns, and droughts—all factors which hurt farmers first. Without healthy forests for our wildlife to live in, animals, and humans, suffer. Also, it is the duty of every Indian citizen under Article 51A (G) of our nation’s constitution to protect wildlife and to have compassion for living creatures.
Q.3) The new law creates a situation where an Indian citizen who has legally bought and developed an enemy property after 1968, will be divested of his rights in the property. In the light of the above statement, Critically analyse the Key features of Enemy Property Ordinance 2016.
Enemy property refers to any property belonging to, held or managed on behalf of an enemy, an enemy subject or an enemy firm. After the India-Pakistan War of 1965, the Enemy Property Act was enacted in 1968, which regulates such properties and lists the Custodian’s powers. The government brought the amendment in the wake of a claim laid by the heirs of Raja Mohammad Amir Mohammad Khan, known as Raja of Mahmudabad, on his properties spread across Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The important provisions of the bill have been enumerated as follows:
- The definition of “enemy” and “enemy subject” shall include the legal heir and successor of an enemy, whether a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy, and also include the succeeding firm of an enemy firm in the definition of “enemy firm” irrespective of the nationality of its members or partners.
- The enemy property shall continue to vest in the Custodian even if the enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm ceases to be an enemy due to death, extinction, winding up of business or change of nationality or that the legal heir or successor is a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy.
- The enemy property shall continue to vest in the Custodian with all rights; title and interest in the property, and the Custodian shall preserve the same until it is disposed of by the Custodian, with the prior approval of the Central Government, in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
- The law of succession or any custom or usage governing succession shall not apply in relation to enemy property.
- No enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm shall have any right, and shall never be deemed to have any right to transfer any property vested in the Custodian, and any transfer of such property shall be void.
- The amendments through the Ordinance include that once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death etc;
- There cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm and that the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
- The Custodian, with prior approval of the Central Government, may dispose of enemy properties vested in him in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and for this purpose, the Government may issue such directions to the Custodian that shall be binding upon him.
- The Central Government may transfer property vested in the Custodian which was not actually enemy property to the person who was aggrieved by the vesting order issued by the Custodian.
- No civil court or other authority shall entertain any suit or proceeding in respect of any enemy property or any action taken by the Government or the Custodian.
- The new law creates a situation where an Indian citizen who has legally bought and developed an enemy property after 1968, will be divested of his rights in the property.
- This situation could be challenged in court as a violation of Article 14 , which guarantees the right to equality and protects people from arbitrary actions of the government.
- Further, following the passage of the Bill, judicial recourse on enemy property disputes will only be available before High Courts and the Supreme Court, limiting the options available to people whose property rights have been affected.
- The thrust of the amendments is to guard against claims of succession or transfer of properties left by people who migrated to Pakistan and China after the wars.
- The amendments deny legal heirs any right over enemy property. The main aim is to negate the effect of a court judgment in this regard. The Act gives the sole right of disposal of enemy property to the Custodian.
- Once an enemy property is vested in the Custodian, it shall continue to be vested in him as enemy property irrespective of whether the enemy, enemy subject or enemy firm has ceased to be an enemy due to reasons such as death etc.,
- Law of succession does not apply to enemy property, that there cannot be transfer of any property vested in the Custodian by an enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm, and the Custodian shall preserve the enemy property till it is disposed of in accordance with the provisions of the Act.
The amendments are aimed at plugging the loopholes in the Act to ensure that the enemy properties that have been vested in the Custodian remain so and do not revert to the enemy subject or firm. However, rights of citizens also. There are no permanent enemies or friends. The citizens should not be deprived of rights including inheritance and succession. Moreover, those assets could be diverted towards public welfare.
- India adopted Parliamentary form of government with representative democracy in which legislatures are elected by First Past The Post system (FPTP) type of election.
- Under this FPTP system in India:
- Entire country divided in to constituencies now 543.
- Each constituency elects one candidate
- Candidate who gets highest number of votes declared elected than others. Even if votes share less than 50%.(Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) massive election victory is the claim that they got 31.84% of vote share and won 282 seats that, therefore, 69% of those who voted did not vote in favour of the winning party)
- This system is also known as Single Member Plurality or Plurality Voting system in which winner takes it all. And all other votes are disregarded.
In proportional representation system Seats are allotted to the political parties according to their vote share. Here voter vote for party not for candidates.
Is it time for India to shift from FPTP system to PR system?
Yes, because Proportional Representation system
- Faithfully translate votes cast into seats won.
- Encourage or require the formation of political parties.
- Give rise to very few wasted votes, depending on the threshold.
- Facilitate minority parties’ access to representation depending on the or the district magnitude.
- Encourage parties to campaign beyond the districts.
- Restrict the growth of ‘regional fiefdoms’.
- Make power-sharing between parties and interest groups more visible.
No PR system also leads to:
- Gives rise to coalition governments and a fragmented party system i.e. Less stable government.
- The inability of the voter to enforce accountability by throwing a party out of power or a particular candidate out of office.
- Difficulties either for voters to understand or for the electoral administration to implement depending on voter’s education and training of poll workers.
- On the lines of European countries Dual system of election model need to be studied in which voters cast vote both to Political party and candidate.
- recommendations of the Law Commission’s 170th and 255th report should be implemented:
- A hybrid of both first-past-the-post and proportional representation should be tried.
- Both the reports have suggested that 25% or 136 more seats should be added to the present Lok Sabha and be filled by Proportional Representation.
- Need to study PR system on pilot basis.
Q.5) The government of India recently decided to build a high-speed rail (HSR) corridor between Mumbai and Ahmedabad at a cost of Rs 97,636 crore with Japanese financial and technical assistance. Does India need projects such as this at such a high cost? Comment.
High-speed rail is a type of rail transport that operates significantly faster than traditional rail traffic, using an integrated system of specialized rolling stock and dedicated tracks.
The first Proposed High speed Train in India would run some 500 kilometers (310 miles) between India’s financial capital Mumbai and the western city of Ahmadabad, at a top speed of 320 km/h. Under the Japanese proposal, construction is expected to begin in 2017 and be completed in 2023. It would cost about 980 billion (US$15 billion) and be financed by Low interest loan from Japan.
Points in Favour of High speed rail Corridor
- Cheap: The rate of interest of 0.1 per cent per annum and tenure of 50 years with 15 years, grace is the best till now for any project financed through a bilateral/multilateral agency in India.
- Speed: High speed is one of the biggest reasons for the proposal of this idea when it was first initiated in India. Major cities connecting with towns of economic growth face the problem of fast transportation. This would save time and boost businesses amongst the connected cities. Reduction in commuting time is greatly required in Mumbai and other metro cities where a lot of time is consumed in the process.
- Promote Make in India: Second, the assistance programme involves transfer of technology and a Make in India component, which will have long-term benefits for Indian manufacturing.
- Stronger and eco-friendly: Not only these High speed trains are stronger enough to carry heavier weight but are also eco-friendly as they do not require deforestations to set tracks. It is a modern and technologically advanced means of transportation which can be a step towards growth and development in India.
- Gestation period is long: The bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad will cost Rs 97,636 crore and will be built over seven years. Hence, the entire Rs 98,000 crore (approximately) will not be spent in one year.
- Will have multiplier effect: A growing economy like India needs investment in infrastructure and railways, which has a multiplier effect. The Indian Railways is not constrained by demand but by capacity, and any substantial investment in railways will enable economic growth.
- Will enhance transport capacity: The HSR will enhance transport capacity by four to five times of the normal capacity and facilitate the movement of a large number of people. The high cost of the project is offset by much higher utilization rates of the network and rolling stock per km than conventional rail.
- Highly Safe: Eighthly since the HSR system is highly safe, they reduce external costs (accidents, air/ noise pollution, impact on climate, etc). There has been no casualty due to accidents on Japanese high-speed trains since they started in 1964.
The project looks ambitious but challenges are many
- Land acquisition: Bullet trains require seamless straight tracks on a flat terrain. Though France managed it in the existing tracks itself, but if new lands need to be acquired, it can come only at an expensive compensation in Mumbai-Ahmedabad industrial cluster. It will also demand huge political will.
- Operation and maintenance: Considering the existing scenario of the quality of O&M in Indian railways, the maintenance of this new elephant will pose many challenges even if it is privatized. Fencing all along the track and over bridges at all the line crossings will cost too dearer. The power demand will be more too. It will require the infrastructure of existing railway stations from where bullet train will pass to be upgraded as per the specifications which again will cost enormously.
- Utility: Indian Railways is the lifeline of a common man. Common man will find it expensive. In the era of multimodal integrated transportation, isn’t it wise to better utilize the existing infrastructure more wisely? Invest to improve all existing tracks to make them sustain 160+ speeds. Major part of the city population is middle and lower income household, who demand more capacity rather than ultra high speed.
- Cost-Benefit: The bullet trains in china run in losses. China being an infrastructure driven economy could sustain it. We need to analyze can we bear such a loss. We need huge investment in infrastructure in coming two decades. With limited resources we must ensure that cost benefit ratio is most efficient.
Bullet train has sets of pros and cons under India’s present situations and they need to be properly handled so that it brings prosperity and development in the country and not debacles. Every factor must be considered wisely and safeguarding of people’s living should not be compromised. There are risks in this project but without risks nothing big can be acquired. Constructing HSR lines in the country should be seen as a nation-building exercise rather than a standalone project justified only on transport demand.
There has been a rising trend in farm loan waivers recently with UP, Maharashtra, Punjab and Karnataka announcing them for few categories of farmers. RBI Governor Urijit Patel has recently put up concern with this trend he called them to engender moral hazard as-
- Farm loan waivers pose risk of inflation.
- It creates pressure on State’s finances.
- Undermines honest credit culture, even those who can afford to pay may not, in the expectation of a waiver.
- Entails transfer of taxpayers money to borrowers .
- It also leads to crowding out of private borrowers .
- Other states may also follow the suit.
Also, according to recent report by CAG out of all granted debt waivers, about 8.5% of the beneficiaries were not eligible for it. Thus identification of eligible categories is another set of problem. Many have termed such loan waiver announcements as populist agenda for vote bank politics.
But, at the same time farm loan waivers are justified as-
- Agriculture in India has been facing many issues like fragmented land holding, depleting water table, deteriorating soil quality, low productivity, rising input costs and low output prices for the produce. In addition the two consecutive draught years has resulted into acute agrarian distress which culminated into huge number of farmer suicide.
- No evidence of weak credit culture or repeated demands of farm waivers has been found after the incident of waivers. Also credit culture and timely repayment of loan is an individual attribute and cannot be generalized.
- The present distress in the agriculture is said to be largely because of demonetization following which farmers faced cash shortage to buy farm inputs and sow their crops timely.
- Agricultural loans by banks in India are compulsorily insured by the Agricultural Insurance Company of India (AIC), whose liabilities are back-stopped by the Centre through budgetary support. Hence, even if loans aren’t waived, there is no loss to banks. Only difference being that in case of farm loan waiver States bear the cost and in case of default the Union government pays, thus even in case of default transfer from taxpayers to borrowers is taking place.
- Long Term Solution
The problems faced by Indian agriculture are structural and the government needs to support the agriculture sector by investing the money in irrigation, water conservation, better storage facilities, market connectivity, in agriculture research and insurance. The recent initiatives like PMSY, PMFBY, Sampada Yojana are steps in the right direction.
- In the Short Run to overcome immediate distress the government needs to implement a well designed loan waiver programme, for example which contains eligibility rules like loan utilization, investment and repayment patterns. This will lead to productive investments by the farmers in the future and healthy credit culture.
Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licencing Policy (HELP), recently introduced by the government is being hailed as a landmark policy change.
The merits of the new policy could be:
– Revenue Sharing Contract (RSC) under HELP, instead of Production Sharing Contract (PSC) under the earlier New Exploration and Licencing Policy (NELP). This is in accordance with CAG recommendation. The step could result in lesser disputes and delays in the projects.
– Uniform Licensing and Policy Framework for Oil, Gas and Coal Bed Methane.
– Open Acreage: Private explorers can also bid on blocks not put up for bidding by the government
– Boost to Ease of Doing Business
– Boost to investment in the oil and gas exploration and development, increased transparency and employment opportunities in the sector
– Reduced dependency on imports
– Settlement or withdrawal of pending arbitration, since the new regime applies only if there’s not any pending legal proceedings.
– Pricing freedom, subject to a cap, on hydrocarbon discoveries in deep sea and other difficult areas would promote investments in their exploration
Possible demerits of the policy could be:
– Price rise in downstream industries, which might have an adverse impact on sectors such as fertilizers, power and steel which take in raw materials from downstream sector. This might lead to inflation. The ceiling price may be higher than ideal.
– Higher risk on the investor’s part
– Blocks already under production aren’t covered
– Banks may not give credit easily to such projects given their high gestation periods and the rising NPAs
– A shift from PSC to RSC shows lack of faith in investors on government’s part.
Overall, the policy is a step in the right direction. It should be tweaked in the future to ensure better implementation. If followed in its letter and spirit, the policy can help India achieve energy security in the long run.
- Myanmar is the bridge between ASEAN and India which can boost the relationship among East Asian countries with special focus to the development of northeastern region of India in terms of strengthening cultural, economic, social, political and strategic ties.
- Both the countries have history old common cultural and religious bond between their citizens which flourished due to open border and trade relation through the maritime boundary in the Bay of Bengal.
- However, in the time of decades both the countries have not been able to exploit these close historical and cultural connections. For the development of North-Eastern region of India and western part of Myanmar, both the countries need to be effectively engaged with effective cooperation on strategic line.
Problems in North-Eastern region and their solutions:
- Throughout the year since independence the northeastern region remained underdeveloped due to its isolation from the mainland India, difficult terrain, ethnic clashes and history old insurgencies. This led to the feeling of alienation among the people of North-east and developed hatred against India.
- Active engagement with Myanmar will open the positive opportunities for the people of northeast. The projects like Kaladan Multimodel Project which ensures faster connectivity with the hinterland of NE states will be highly beneficial in this regard.
- This underdeveloped condition is also with the western part of Myanmar consisting of Chin, Sagaing and Kachin states which has caused multiple problems like rise in insurgencies, illegal trade and human trafficking. Such tendency of insurgents/illegal merchants for taking shelter across border will effectively be tackled with positive cooperation.
- The energy produced in Myanmar will fuel the NE state to push start the industrial development in the region subsequently providing livelihood opportunities to millions of people there by raising entrepreneurial skills and multiple business opportunities.
- The cases of illegal migration impacting the demography as well as exploitation of limited resources in the region (for example: recent Rohingya Crisis) from Myanmar will be effectively dealt with strong ties between the countries.
- India is known to be the hub of education since ancient. Connectivity with the East Asian countries and other South East Asian countries will develop the North-East as a new hub of education in India which will attract the students from across the border.
- The project like India-Myanmar-Thailand highway will boost connectivity among the states of NE and will provide greater market access for India in ASEAN region. This will have multiplier effect in the Economy of North East.
- Projects like BCIM Corridor, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, developing sittwe port in Myanmar by India along with forums like BIMSTEC, ASEAN and SAARC etc. will not only boost the economy but also will bring people together with amalgamation of cultural ties and regional cooperation.
- The saying that Southeast Asia begins in northeast India takes credence. The need of the hour is to have positive will power among the political bosses of both the countries to take the faster implementation of projects for the sake of regional development of both the countries.
- With the coming of democratic regime in Myanmar the opportunities have doubled for India for active bilateral engagement. This positive engagement will certainly ensure strengthening of close cultural ties, geopolitical as well as geo-economical stability of both the countries and also for the NE regions of India.
Introduction: Internet of Things
- IoT is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, or people that are provided with unique identifiers.
- Thus it can be said that it is an inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles, buildings and other items—embedded with electronics, software, sensors and network connectivity.
- This internetworking has the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.
- IoT is also dubbed as the infrastructure of the information society. It allows objects to be sensed and controlled remotely across existing network infrastructure.
- Thus it creates opportunities for more direct integration of physical world into computer-based systems, and resulting in improved accuracy, efficiency and economic benefits.
How Digitization will help in IoT?
- Digitalization is the process of making available the services to the citizens electronically by improved online infrastructure and by increasing Internet Connectivity or by making the country digitally empowered in the field of technologies.
- India is set for a “digitization revolution” which, in turn, would fuel the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Digitization would bring digital connectivity, affordability, accessibility and would provide a platform for Internet of Things. With a push to digitization in India like Bharat-Net, Optical Fibre Network etc. IoT can be taken to even the remotest of areas.
- Digitalization will bring technology and technological illiteracy among masses which in turn will help in Internet of Things and fruitful use of IoT applications. IoT is bridging the physical, digital, cyber and virtual worlds and this requires extensive information processing capabilities.
How IoT will help India in turn:
- Internet of things on broader scale can be applied to things like transportation networks: ‘smart cities’ which can help us reduce waste and improve efficiency for things such as energy use, health care, other sectors of day to day life like collecting data on temperature, signal strength, pressure, pH, voltage etc. technical parameters and helping us understand and improve how we work and live.
- Other fields of applications include: waste management, urban planning, environmental sensing, social interaction gadgets, sustainable urban environment, continuous care, emergency response, intelligent shopping, smart product management, smart meters, home automation, smart events and smart grids etc.
- IoT itself, fuelled by the advancement of digital technologies, is dramatically changing the way companies engage in business activities and how people interact with their environment.
- With the explosion of data, the role of information technology is shifting from that of an enabler to a strategic partner. The digital wave, in this backdrop, is turning out to be a disruptor in multiple industry verticals. For example, the present banking system is much impacted by digitization and accordingly every sector of the economy is transforming itself from being cash based to using the Internet as the growing means of payment.
- Among other things, IoT has made the mode of payments so easy that there is no direct access to the customer at the time of purchase. The process—where customers can pay their bills through any of the multiple acquirers via multiple banks and points of sale terminals to the merchant/brand—is possible with help of IoT. For a country such as India, digitization coupled with IoT could be a real game changer.
- Paid news is “any news or analysis appearing in any media (print & electronic) for a price in cash or kind as consideration”.
- In other words, ‘The news or articles on Newspapers, Magzines and the Electronic Media which has/have been brought by some institution for vested interests in return of payment in cash or kind.
- This kind of news has been considered a serious malpractice since it deceives the citizens, not letting them know that the news is, in fact, an advertisement. Secondly, the payment modes usually violate tax laws and election spending laws. More seriously, it has raised electoral concerns because the media has a direct influence on voters.
Challenges in dealing with the Paid News:
- Corporatization of media, desegregation of ownership and editorial roles, decline in autonomy of editors/journalists due to emergence of contract system and poor wage levels of journalists are the main reason as well as challenges in dealing with paid news.
- Lack of adequate power with regulators, lack of effective penal action against those who violate the rules and inaction by the government in cases related to paid news are also important challenges to deal with.
- Establishing transaction of cash or kind is almost impossible as it is usually done without any record and promptly denied by both sides when enquired. In these circumstances, identifying cases is a herculean task.
- Media violations, surrogate advertisement and unreported advertisements are often mistaken as Paid News sometimes in true cases also.
- It is difficult to identify and solve the cases in a set time limit. The cases keep on pending for a long period of time before the courts.
- The independence of the media and its ability to bring about transparency in society by playing an adversarial role against the establishment get compromised because of corruption within the folds of the media itself and it is usually difficult to fix the accountability in such cases.
Should paid news be made an electoral offence?
- Paid News deceives and misleads the public and hampers the ability of people to form correct opinions.
- Paid News causes undue influence on voters and also affects their Right to Information by furnishing fake news or news of vested interests.
- Paid News seeks to circumvent election expenditure laws/ ceiling. The payment modes usually violate tax laws and election spending laws. It displays the role of money in election.
- Paid News adversely affects level playing field by favouring one party. Such practices interfere with free and fair elections in the country by violating democratic principle enshrined in our constitution.
- Media is described as the fourth pillar of democracy. Such incidents bring down the faith of people in democratic institutions by conveying incorrect and false information to the people.
- The above circumstances show that there is no any benefit of paid news for the concern of citizens and of democracy. By providing benefits to individual, it harms the society and the country most. Hence, the Election Commission should declare the paid news as an offence which should be punishable also.
- The media acts as a repository of public trust for conveying correct and true information to the people. The “paid news” is therefore, a serious matter as it influences the functioning of a free press. There is an urgent need to protect the right of the public to accurate information before voters exercise their franchise when such incidents are on rise.
- Hence, a legal framework in which electoral issues are expeditiously adjudicated must be put in place if election laws are to be enforced in both letter and spirit.
The conscience is defined as that part of the human psyche that induces mental anguish and feelings of guilt when we violate it and feelings of pleasure and well-being when our actions, thoughts and words are in conformity to our value systems. Conscience is not be bound by the logic, facts and arguments. Conscience for a civil servant should be derived from constitutional morality and galvanized with emotional intelligence.
There are several different interpretations of conscience based on which it can be classified such as:
- Conscience as a faculty of moral cognition: A faculty that enables us to ascertain what is morally right and what is morally wrong (Buttler).
- Conscience as a mode of developed sensibility: Such that we feel painful regret and remorse when we act contrary to it (Mill).
- Conscience as an internal judge or the moral worth of our ends and motives: Conscience does not determine what we are to do, but it can judge whether we have acted in a morally worthy manner (Kant).
- Conscience as a faculty of practical reason by which we deliberate with a view to deciding on
particular actions to perform, in aiming at conformity with moral principles. Conscience specifies particular actions in the overall project of aiming at what we take to be This allows scope for the possibility that an agent could be conscientious but have wrong values(Aquinas).
- Conscience as a reflective consideration guiding employment of criteria of moral soundness with a view to ascertaining which actions meet those criteria (Smith).
In case of doubtful pension claim by an old man as mentioned in the above case, the civil servants should act in conscience manner. The following steps he can include in his action.
He should take through enquiry of the legitimacy of his claim. If found genuine, he should be facilitated with the pension as soon as possible and in case of doubtful claim the person should be asked to clear the doubt by furnishing the relevant document as a proof. The office staff should be asked to cooperate with the old person in his effort of finding the valid documental proof.
The Civil Servants have delegated authority and are allowed to act with conscience in times of need. His action should not be bound by the common code of conduct rather should be guided by his experience and rationality.
Strictly following the rules and regulation will not be in conformity of the dynamic nature of our society and values. In case, if the minor proof in missing, the Civil Servant should take action as per his cognizance if his inner conscience allows about the same. Person with the old age should be looked with sympathy and empathy and should not be harassed and asked to furnish the relevant proof again and again. Here, the action of the civil servant should be in accordance with his conscience.
However, the civil servant should also look for other options for availing the benefits to the old age person to avoid any confrontation with laws and regulations. There should not be huge compromization with the rules and regulation while allowing for pension, and also it should not hurt in any manner to other beneficiaries.
Q.12) You are a senior functionary in rural development ministry of government of India and in course of your tour in the remote part of the country you want to have a first hand assessment of rural development programmes and their impact on the socio economic condition of people especially of BPL category. The district officials show you some of the houses constructed under rural housing schemes. You also talked to the people and local PRI representatives.
The officials gave you a brighter picture of the situation where as people in general were critical about the attitude and approach of the officials. You were sad when you found impact of the rural development programmes/schemes far from satisfactory.
(a) Bring out the ethical issues involved in rural development programmes.
(b) What would be your reaction after your above visit?
(c) What recommendations you propose to make so as to bring impact on rural development programmes.
(a) The various ethical issues involved in rural development programmes are-
– Lack of proper evaluation on part of officials shows acting in an irresponsible way
– Failure to realize the flight of poor reflects the lack of empathy.
– The officers are responsible to make sure the benefits of these schemes reach the poor for whom such schemes are intended. But they are not doing it and moreover giving a different picture in front of senior officials. It reflects negligent attitude on their part.
(c) When it is found that the impact of these programmes is far from satisfactory, it is the duty of the senior officers to himself conduct an evaluation programme and arrive at the real solution of the problem.
– He should check the records himself rather than believing the officials.
– He should set up some monitoring committees, the function of which is to see if the benefits
of such schemes is ultimately reaching the poor people or not.
– Adequate steps to fill any gap in the results should be taken.