GS Paper 1
Role Played in Freedom Struggle
- Rajendra Prasad was man of courage, dedication, conviction and utmost sincerity. His name symbolised honesty and modesty. He was an active participant in crucial freedom movements like Non Cooperation Movement, Salt Satyagraha and Champaran Agrarian Agitation.
- Rajendra Prasad came under the spell of Mahatma Gandhi in 1917 when the latter organized the Champaran Satyagraha to liberate the peasants from exploitation by the British Indigo planters. Under the active guidance of Mahatma Gandhi, he gave a new lead to the various movements in Bihar, with a view to taking the country nearer to the goal of freedom and economic regeneration Inspired by Gandhian ideology.
- He concurred with Gandhiji that the only effective weapon to deal with the British Government’s inhuman actions and repressive laws was, ‘non-cooperation’. He was the first leader from Bihar to sign and undertake a pledge requiring every Satyagrahi to remain non-violent during the protest against the Rowlatt Act which came to be dubbed as the ‘Black Act.
- ln 1923, Rajendra Prasad actively participated in the Flag Satyagraha at Nagpur. The British Government arrested him for taking part in the 1930 Satyagraha. The second long spell of imprisonment that Rajendra Prasad suffered was immediately after the passing of the Quit India Resolution in 1942 and he remained in jail for nearly three years till 1945.
Role played in making of the Constitution
- When the Constituent Assembly was formed in 1946 to frame a Constitution for free lndia, Dr.RajendraPrasad, who had been elected as a member of the Assembly from the Bihar Province, was given the onerous responsibility of being its President. As President of the Constituent Assembly, he guided and regulated its proceedings with utmost firmness, infinite patience, incisive intellect and abundant grace. He always permitted members to have a free, frank and full discussion on issues before them and won the appreciation of every section of the House for his qualities, objectivity and impartiality.
Role played by Him in Post Independent India.
- Dr. Rajendra Prasad was unanimously elected as the provisional President of India on 24 January 1950.He served as the President of India for three terms the only person to do that.
- As President Rajendra Prasad, along with India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was able to establish many precedents and conventions culminating in a healthy political relationship between the Head of State and the Head of Government. With the passage of time, these precedents have become the cornerstone of our vibrant parliamentary democracy and have helped it in striking firm roots.
- Even though Rajendra Prasad occupied the highest office in India, he led a very simple life. His integrity, purity of character, humility and devotion, love of humanity and depth of vision marked him out as a towering personality in our national firmament Rajendra Prasad not only gave the most precious years of his life to the freedom struggle but also worked for the betterment of the under-privileged throughout his life. He was a great humanist whose heart always went to the poor and the distressed.
GS Paper 2
- There has been debate since last general election about the system of election our country is having i.e. First Past the Post System. Apprehensions are now being raised that in recent years the FPTP system is not the best suited for India.
- The reason behind this is that, the party getting maximum number of votes is declared elected (won) with majority irrespective of the votes polled even as low as 27% and the number of votes other parties get.
- As evident from the recent UP election where results have indicated that a party getting 39 percent vote share won 312 seats and parties getting 22 percent and 21 percent got only 47 and 19 seats respectively.
- This initiated our parliamentary panel to explore for different system of elections, other than the first past the post system.
Our Constitutional framers favoured First Past the Post System because:
- FTPT is simple to use and easy to understand. It provides clear-cut choice for voters between two main parties. It allows voters to choose between people rather than just between parties. Thus, voters can assess the performance of individual candidates rather than just having to accept a list of candidates presented by a party. It gives a chance for popular independent candidates to be elected.
- However, the issue is that the victorious party has most often not secured the majority of votes. It is possible for a party to win majority of the seats with just 20-26% of vote share; by the same token, a party may not get a simple majority even with 74% of vote share. There is, hence, a mismatch between the number of seats won and the percentage of vote secured by the party.
Further criticisms of FPTP are as follows:
- Distortion of electoral process
- Excludes smaller parties from fair representation
- Encourages caste, religion, Ethnicity and regional politics.
- Exaggerates the phenomenon of ‘regional fiefdoms’
- We note here that during the drafting of the Constitution, various systems of proportional representation were considered, but the FPTP system was eventually adopted to avoid fragmented legislatures and to facilitate the formation of stable governments.
- Concerning the above facts there has been debates and discussions regarding doing away with FPTP system and adopting the Proportional Representation system in India. Proportional representation (PR) is a concept in which the number of seats won by a party or group of candidates is proportionate to the number of votes received.
- Proportional representation undoubtedly falls second in competition with the FPTP system in terms of simplicity in voting, but it scores higher in terms of convenience during campaign. Candidates can simply focus pointed attention on defined groups to appeal to, and consequently, the problems of campaign financing do not feature as prominently in the process.
- Because parties are granted seats in accordance with their vote share, numerous parties get seats in the legislature in the proportional representation system, without any party gaining a majority. This detracts from the stability of the system.
- Coalition government becomes inevitable, with challenges to such governments also becoming frequent. This is also why the Constituent Assembly decided that proportional representation would not be suited to the Parliamentary form of government that our Constitution lays down.
- One potential drawback of this system is that the relationship between a voter and the candidate may dilute, for the candidate may now be seen as representing the party and not the constituency. The other way of looking at this is that a constituent could approach any representative of their choice in case of a grievance, which plays out as an advantage of this system.
- As the discussion above has demonstrated, both electoral systems come with their own merits and demerits – proportional representation theoretically being more representative, while the FPTP system being more stable.
- It can be suggested from the experience of other countries to follow a hybrid pattern combining elements of both direct and indirect elections. This, in turn will necessitate an increase in the number of seats in the Lok Sabha, which raises concerns regarding its effective functioning.
GS Paper 3
Q.3) The Government has recently announced that only electric vehicles (EVs) will be sold in India from 2030.Discuss what challenges India will face in achieving this target and also steps required to achieve this target.
Electric vehicles are the future of India’s transportation system and could save billions of dollars in fuel cost while also reducing pollution, a report released by NITI Aayog. In light of this, the Government’s announcement that only EVs will be sold in India from 2030s makes great prominence. It is also believed that this would also save around one giga tonne of carbon emissions between 2017 and 2030. However, there are some major challenges in achieving this target. These are as follows:
- Increased dependence: India will have to depend on countries like China for raw materials like Lithium required for EV Batteries due to its local unavailability
- Huge Investment Requirement: Due to ever growing population of India, huge investment through private participation and local manufacturing units is required to cater their needs
- Large Infrastructure Requirement: Electric Vehicles require large scale presence of Charging Infrastructure to be successful
- Affordability issues: The demand for Electric Vehicles depends on its affordability, which is not so at present E.g. GST regime’s favor for fossil fuel run vehicles and increasing lithium prices increase cost of EVs and reduce demand.
- Procurement of critical minerals: According to a study on India’s critical non-fuel minerals by the CEEW, manufacturing lithium-ion batteries would require critical minerals
The steps that should be taken to promote and spur electric vehicles are:
- Land Acquisition should be easier for faster deployment of dedicated charging spots, charging infrastructure and setting up of Local EV Manufacturing Units.
- Acquisition of overseas natural mineral reserves. These minerals include cobalt, graphite, lithium and phosphate.
- There is a need to formulate policies which can encourage domestic public and private mining companies to invest in overseas lithium mining assets.
- India must focus on creating a vibrant battery research and development ecosystem domestically.
- Recycling lithium batteries will significantly reduce the burden in procuring fresh resources
- Expansion of National Electric Mobility Mission and indigenous manufacturing under FAME scheme should be undertaken on a war footing.
While India is facing rapid urbanization over the next three-to-four years, it must not follow the American model of urbanization which was essentially based on availability of cheap land, water and oil. Electric vehicles are the future of transportation and India needs to embrace them. Like it or not, electric vehicles will happen in India. The challenge is how to do it rapidly and how to do in scale and size. That should be the imperative.
GS Paper 4
Q.4) A young social activist has become very popular within a short period of 5 years because of his honesty, integrity, and human values. He finds rampant corruption in government offices and mismanagement is rural development schemes, which affects the poor and marginalized section of the society. He notices that it is a nexus of bureaucracy, elected representatives and contractors for this sorry state of affairs. It is unfortunate that a section of media has been managed by the nexus. The social activist, having deeply influenced by Gandhian principle wants to correct the things. What steps and action he will take to:
(a) Unite the poor and marginalized so that they could raise their voice effectively.
(b) Moblise the public opinion against the managed media.
(c) Compel the state government to take remedial measures in order to set things right.
(a) It is very important for the poor and marginalized to raise their voice to break the nexus of bureaucracy, elected representatives and contractors. The social activist can unite the people on common issues and on problems which people suffer at ground level. This will help to make sure people’s participation. Same was done by Gandhi in movements like civil disobedience when people realised that they are being heard. It will help to make sure they are united to fight for the cause they are suffering.
(b) To mobilize the public opinion against the managed media, it is necessary people influence the media and put the pressure on it. It is seen that the actions are moved by the people’s opinion, civil society organizations etc. When the people are united, the media will have no option rather than to emerge out of the nexus which governs it. For it, it is very important to make the people stand united and stand together.
(c) The state government is too mismanaged and driven by corrupt officials. They can be approached to tell how the things are going wrong and how are the poor and marginalized sections are suffering because of it. This can be done through NGOs or other civil society organizations. If they do not pay attention to it, a group of people can form a united organization and take steps to change the way things have been going wrong. It is worth learning from life of Gandhi that public opinion has the strength to change government functioning if they wish for it. The same can be replicated in this case also.