Solutions & Sample Structures – UPSC Mains 2019 GS Paper 2. 70% hit ratio of our Mains Essential Program

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Q.1) Do you think that the Constitution of India does not accept the principle of strict separation of powers rather it is based on the principle of ‘checks and balances’? Explain. (10)

Similar question from our Test series

What is Separation of Power? Examine the idea of separation of powers enshrined in the Indian Constitution with suitable examples? (10 marks) 

Approach:

Its a direct question based on the static portion of Polity. So you should not face any problems attempting it. To score additional marks and stay ahead of the competition your attempt needs to be solid. You also have to keep the answer aligned to the demands of the question. 

  • In the intro, define the separation of power doctrine and mention that it is not explicitly stated in the Constitution (because the question is about the Constitution)
  • In the 1st part of the main body, discuss the three organs of the government and how separation of power works in each organ.
  • In the 2nd part of the main body, mention how the doctrine of checks and balances works with each organ like judiciary having the power of judicial review; legislation having the power to check the powers of the executive, etc. In short, how it is not a watertight compartmentalization of the organs but instead a fine line of keeping each organ in check for excess or abuse of power.
  • You will get additional points to compare with the American Constitution where the separation is more strict. 
  • As a result, no one branch or institution can become so powerful as to control the system completely. 

Answer:

The doctrine of Separation of Power refers to the model of governance where the executive, legislative and judicial powers are not concentrated in one body but instead divided into different branches. The degree of separation varies. ‘Strict separation’ implies branches are independent of each other. On the other hand, ‘checks and balances’ implies that reasonable checks and balances are in place to check misuse of power.

Articles in the Consitution facilitating Separation of Powers are as follows-

    • Article 50: State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive. This is for the purpose of ensuring the independence of the judiciary.
    • Article 122 and 212: validity of proceedings in Parliament and the Legislatures cannot be called into question in any Court. 
    • Judicial conduct of a Judge of the Supreme Court and the High Courts cannot be discussed in the Parliament and the State Legislature, according to Article 121 and 211 of the Constitution.
    • Articles 53 and 154 respectively, provide that the executive power of the Union and the State shall be vested with the President and the Governor and they enjoy immunity from civil and criminal liability.
    • Article 361: the President or the Governor shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office.

How SOP in India is based on the principles of Checks and Balances:

Although prima facie it appears that the Constitution has based itself upon the doctrine of strict separation of powers. But, if studied carefully, it is clear that it is more inclined towards proper checks and balances. 

  • The doctrine has not been awarded Constitutional status. The Constitution doesn’t explicitly back any doctrine.
  • Article 75 implies the executive is collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
  • Articles 13, 32, 131-136, 143, 226 and 246 imply the doctrine of Judicial Review. Judiciary can strike down any legislation that violates the Constitution. 
  • Judgment of SC in Ram Jawaya Case:-
    • Supreme Court of India (SC) had to deal with the question of the extent of executive power and executive function in a situation where the executive was alleged to have violated the fundamental rights of the citizens vested in them by the Constitution of India without a legislative sanction. 
    • This landmark judgment delivered by our apex court in the wake of our independence is now acting as a touchstone for understanding the federal feature of the Indian Constitution through the separation of powers.
    • Even years after this judgment, it becomes an important case not only in understanding the separation of powers in the Indian context but also worldwide as it discusses the basis for the new understanding of the doctrine of separation of powers in present times.

From the above it is clear that

  • First, the Indian constitution ensures that the different branches control each other. This is intended to make them accountable to each other – these are the ‘checks’;
  • Secondly, the constitution divides power between the different branches of government – these are the ‘balances’. Balance aims to ensure that no individual or group of people in government is ‘all-powerful’. Power is shared and not concentrated in one branch.

It’s quite evident that the Constitution of India does not accept the principle of strict separation of powers. Though it appears dilatory of the doctrine of separation of powers, it is essential in order to enable a just and equitable functioning and close coordination. 

Q.2) “The Central Administration Tribunal which was established for redressal of grievances and complaints by or against central government employees nowadays is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority.” Explain. (10)

Approach: Again, it’s a direct question.

  • In the intro, discuss the establishment of CAT, when it was formed and relevant articles and acts associated with it.
  • Then jump to the main body of the answer. In the 1st part, discuss why it was established, its powers and functions. 
  • In 2nd part explain how it has grown as an independent judicial authority over time. What are the features and powers of the body which have rendered it a more independent look and how CAT has established itself at par with other judicial bodies using these very powers? 
  • You can mention how deep it has started going into the cases and how it has been directing state as well as central governments for the strict implementations of its orders. You can quote some recent cases as well.
  • If you have some space and time left, then give a couple of points in the way forward on how to make sure better working of CAT.
  • Otherwise, end with a proper conclusion.

Answer:

Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 provides for the establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal and State Administrative Tribunals. Central Administration Tribunal (CAT) exercises original jurisdiction in relation to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services  The Members are drawn, both from judicial as well as administrative streams Lately, it has been donning the role of a judicial authority.

Functions of the CAT:

  • The tribunal adjudicates disputes and complaints with respect to Recruitment and Conditions of Service of the persons appointed to the Public Services and Posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or any State or of any other Local Authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.
  • Apart from above the Tribunal also has jurisdiction on the employees of 208 Public Sector Undertakings/ Organizations notified by the Government.

How CAT is exercising its powers as an independent judicial authority and why it might be an issue:

  • The CAT has, recently, taken swipe at Delhi HC for directing it to swiftly decide a matter that was originally pending before the Tribunal.
  • The CAT took a dim view of the HC giving directions to it in a case that was pending before the tribunal but was heard briefly by the court during June vacations & then sent back.
  • In its order, the tribunal indicated that such an order was “unwarranted” & against the dignity of the judicial process & judicial functionaries.
  • Recently, CAT has also held that government employees on the verge of superannuation should not be disturbed merely because they have stayed for a considerably long period at a particular place.
  • The apex tribunal said that such a benefit should be extended to superannuating employees to retire peacefully at a particular place after years of dedicated service.
  • In cases praying for regularization of services, the Tribunal usually goes deep into the policy on the regularization of the government in specific cases. 
  • It advises the concerned Ministry or Department on how to change the policy on the regularization of services, as such cases were filed mainly by impoverished Group-C employees. 
  • In cases concerning revoking of suspension orders, the Tribunal did interfere with the decisions taken by the relevant Ministry or Department.
  • Administrative adjudication is a negation of Rule of Law.  
  • Central Administrative Tribunal, with its separate laws and procedures often made by themselves, puts a serious limitation upon the principles of Rule of Law.  
  • Tribunalisation is seen as an encroachment of the judicial branch by the government.
  • The justification of expert adjudication by CAT disappears as this is presided over by retired high court judges.
  • Appeals against CAT order go straight to Supreme Court
  • A uniform code of procedure in administrative adjudication is not there.  
  • At times they adopt summary procedures to deal with cases coming before them.

Way Forward: 

  • Given that tribunalisation is meant to uburden the courts, challenge to orders of Tribunals should be an exception and not a matter of routine.  
  • In-Service Matters, no appeal will be filed in cases where:

a) The matter pertains to an individual grievance without any major repercussion;
b) The matter pertains to a case of pension or retirement benefits without involving any principle and without setting any precedent or financial implications.

  • Further, proceedings will not be filed in service matters merely because the order of the Administrative Tribunal affects a number of employees. Appeals will not be filed to espouse the cause of one section of employees against another.
  • Proceedings will be filed challenging orders of Administrative Tribunals only if

a) There is a clear error of record and the finding has been entered against the Government.
b) The judgment of the Tribunal is contrary to a service rule or its interpretation by a High Court or the Supreme Court.
c) The judgment would impact the working of the administration in terms of the morale of the service, the Government is compelled to file a petition; or
d) If the judgment will have recurring implications upon other cadres or if the judgment involves huge financial claims being made.

In the interest of better justice delivery, their traditional structures and methods of functioning can be reformed. In the interest of maintaining the rule of law in society and to preserve individual freedom, that there should be some kind of judicial control over CAT. Tribunals themselves are better positioned to gauge their own administrative requirements. Therefore providing power to tribunals to create or sanction post

Q.3) What are the methods used by the Farmers organizations to influence policymakers in India and how effective are these methods? (10)

Similar question asked by our Test series

Farmers’ movement in India has not addressed the issues of farmers of lower social strata. Substantiate your view.  

Approach:

Questions on pressure groups, in general, are very common in test series. However, questions on specific pressure groups are rare. The main theme of the answer will be the farmers’ organization.

  • In the introduction, discuss what farmers organizations do and their importance. 
  • Then in the main body, list the methods used by them to influence policymakers.
  • While mentioning those methods, try to have comprehensive coverage and do not stick to the recent events only. Include methods used by them since independence.
  • Then in the 2nd part, discuss their effectiveness in short and long terms. 
  • Before ending, do mention the reasons for their failures in various domains like clustered and regional approach; politicization of the movement etc.
  • In conclusion, be optimistic and lend your support to them and mention how they can move forward in the coming times.

Answer:

Farmer organizations have been at the forefront of articulating farmers’ interests and influencing policy decisions. So much so that every major political party has a dedicated farmer wing. Prominent farmers’ organizations are All India Kisan Sabha, Bharatiya Kisan Union, Hind Kisan Panchayat, etc.

Agriculture based organizations

  • The rise of peasants groups in India has been mainly due to the abolition of Zamindari System, implementation of Panchayati Raj, land reform measures, Green Revolution Movement. They gained power since the 1960s. 
  • Their demands relate to procurement prices of agricultural products, fertilizer subsidy, tenancy rights, electricity charges, etc. 

Methods used by them

  • Prayers and Petitions – Sending representation to Ministers, meeting personally, discussing issues.
  • Protests: Staging protests at state and national levels. This is mainly done on a large scale and sometimes these protests turn violent, as it happened in Madhya Pradesh a couple of years ago.
  • Long march: In recent times, the long march of farmers to prominent cities for their demands has become an active medium of voicing their issues. Recently, Mumbai was gheraoed by peasants’ from various agrarian outfits. Marches to Delhi have been commonly observed. 
  • Media: farmers organizations have started to  made in mass media and education level, there are various experts and members of these farmers organizations who constantly raise their issues and opinions through media, social media and interviews. Through this, they have tried to influence the public opinions.
  • Close rapport with the State apparatus: The agrarian pressure groups also maintain close rapport with the State apparatus, viz., the bureaucratic machinery. The more organised pressure groups maintain a wavelength with the key bureaucrats and executives in framing of agri policies.
  • Supporting political parties in elections: The farmers’ organizations offer support to the political parties during the election time and sometimes even during the non-election times. They control the parties through this voting-in-a-bloc mechanism. 

Effectiveness of these methods:

(a)Areas where they have been effective

  • The overall impact has been tremendous for landless labourers and tillers of the soil.
  • Not only the farmers’ organizations succeeded in many places increasing the wage rates for agriculture labourers and securing a due share for poor peasants.
  • Pressure has been exerted by organized agrarian lobbies to persuade the government to improve the socio-economic position of the farmers. Hence varied land reforms measures have been adopted since independence.
  • Major reforms due to the intervention of these farmers’ bodies include abolition of Zamindari system, tenancy, reforms, ceiling of land holdings, setting up of co-operative farms etc.
  • As a result of these interventions, intermediaries between the actual cultivators and the states have been abolished.
  • These organisations have pressed governments to pursue better realisation of prices for farm produces through policies like MSP and agri export policies etc.

(b)Grey areas

  • The overall impact of these groups and organizations has been feeble when compared to other big economies.
  • The overall political voice and influence of these groups has been less.
  • The organisations have limited territorial reach because of fractured mandate, political party’s support, geography and various other factors.
  • These organizations have become a tool for the vote bank politics and because of lack of a truly national organization since last couple of decades, has rendered these organisations ineffective in their persuasiveness.
  • The interplay of language, caste factor, weak financial positions, etc. have been greatly responsible for non-emergence of national level pressure groups.
  • Farmers’ organised groups largely influence the administrative process rather than the formulation of policy. This is dangerous as a gap is created between policy formulation and implementation. 
  • Unlike the farmers pressure groups in the developed countries of the West, where these are invariably organised to safeguard economic, social, cultural interests, etc. of farmers, in India these groups are organised around regional and ethnic issues.

Despite the limited impact, farmers’ organizations are indispensable to our democratic process. The fact that the government cannot ignore them and has to engage with them, talks of the weight they possess. 

Q.4) From the resolution of contentious issues regarding the distribution of legislative powers by the courts, the ‘Principle of Federal Supremacy’ and ‘Harmonious Construction’ have emerged. Explain. (10)

CD Reference

https://www.civilsdaily.com/division-of-powers-between-union-and-states/

Approach:

The nature of the question here is analytical. You have to explain how, through judicial interpretation and judgments, over the years, the legislative powers have been devolved and federal supremacy has been upheld and Doctrine of Harmonious construction has evolved.

  • In the introduction, define the doctrine of federal supremacy and harmonious construction. 
  • In the main body, you have to discuss how the principle of federal supremacy was upheld and how harmonious construction has emerged.
  • The most important aspect will be the discussion on the five principles laid down by the on the rule of Harmonious Construction in the case of CIT vs Hindustan Bulk Carriers.
  • To drive home your point, you can give examples of how some state laws were quashed which were ultra vires or against federal laws recently. 
  • Conclude with summarizing the whole discussion.

Answer:

The nature of federalism in India has been a point of intense debate. It has led to many disputes between the center and state with the judiciary taking a final call.

This has led to the emergence of the “Principle of Federal Supremacy” and the theory of “Harmonious Construction”.

Harmonious Construction:

  • When there is a conflict between two or more statutes or parts of a statute 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 as per law and should be read as a whole. 
  • The interpretation consistent with all the provisions of the conflicting statutes should be adopted. 
  • The case where it is impossible to harmonize, the court’s decision regarding the provision shall prevail.
  • The rule of harmonious construction is the thumb rule to interpretation of any statute. 
  • The Courts should avoid “a head-on clash”, in the words of the Supreme Court, between the different parts of an enactment and conflict between the various provisions should be sought to be harmonized. 
  • The normal presumption should be consistency and it should not be assumed that what is given with one hand by the legislature is sought to be taken away by the other. 
  • The rule of harmonious construction has been tersely explained by the Supreme Court thus, “When there are, in an enactment two provisions which cannot be reconciled with each other, they should be so interpreted, that if possible, effect should be given to both”. 
  • A construction which makes one portion of the enactment a dead letter should be avoided since harmonization is not equivalent to destruction.

The Supreme Court laid down five principles of rule of Harmonious Construction in the landmark case of CIT vs Hindustan Bulk Carriers:

  • The courts must avoid a head-on clash of seemingly contradicting provisions and they must construe the contradictory provisions so as to harmonize them.
  • The provision of one section cannot be used to defeat the provision contained in another unless the court, despite all its effort, is unable to find a way to reconcile their differences. 
  • When it is impossible to completely reconcile the differences in contradictory provisions, the courts must interpret them in such a way so that effect is given to both the provisions as much as possible.
  • Courts must also keep in mind that interpretation that reduces one provision to a useless number or dead is not harmonious construction.
  • To harmonize is not to destroy any statutory provision or to render it fruitless.

Principle of Federal Supremacy:

  • The system of distribution of administrative powers between the union and states is followed in the Constitution of India in various administrative fields. 
  • In addition to the array of subjects allotted in the VII Schedule of Constitution, even in normal time parliament can under certain circumstances, assume legislative power over a subject falling within the sphere exclusively reserved for the states. 
  • Besides the power to legislate on a very wide field, the Constitution confers on the Union Parliament, the constituent power or the power to initiate Amendment of the Constitution.
  • In the West Bengal case of 1963, it was the first time where this issue was discussed at length by the Apex Court. 
  • The main issue involved in this case was the exercise of sovereign powers by the Indian states. 
  • The legislative competence of the Parliament to enact a law for compulsory acquisition by the Union of land and other properties vested in or owned by the state and the sovereign authority of states as distinct entities were also examined.
  • The Supreme Court held that both the legislative and executive power of the States are subject to the respective supreme powers of the Union.
  • The court concluded that the structure of the Indian Union as provided by the Constitution one is centralized, with the States occupying a secondary position vis-à-vis the Centre, hence the Centre possessed the requisite powers to acquire properties belonging to States.
  • The crux of the majority judgment, in this case, is that even though both the Union and the States in India derive legislative powers from the same Constitution, the States would have no legal rights as against the overriding powers of the Union, because of a general theory of paramountcy or superiority of the Union.

Q.5) What can France learn from the Indian Constitution’s approach to secularism? (10)

CD Reference

https://www.civilsdaily.com/secularism/

Approach:

It’s a direct question. It wants you to compare 2 models of secularisms – French and Indian and asks you to what 

  • In recent times, France has been the target of various terror attacks and subsequently, France has banned various religious insignias and dresses. While France follows the rigid principle of secularism whereas Indian secularism is equal respect to all religions. 
  • In the intro, define secularism and state that there can be many models. France has a strict separation while that of India is ‘principled distance’. 
  • Then in the 1st part of the main body, discuss the basic differences between Indian and French secularism.
  • In the 2nd part, mention the challenges and issues with the French version of secularism.
  • Highlighting the recent events of terrorism and subsequent banning on many religious activities in France. 
  • Mention what can France learn from India in terms of secularism and maintaining harmony in a multi-religious and multicultural society. Highlight how accommodating our Constitution is. 
  • Discuss, though briefly, some of the issues with Indian secularism as well before ending the answer in an optimistic tone.

Answer:

Secularism refers to the separation of Religion from Politics. It’s a western construct that finds its origin in the Treaty of Westphalia. There are many models of secularism.

France follows the wall of separation model – it calls for a water-tight separation between the religion and state. The state actively tries to confine people’s religion to their private spheres It takes a tough stand to prohibit any visible religious symbols in public space. Eg. banning burkinis, hijab, etc.

Problems with French Secularism 

  • Due to the lack of support from the state in western secularism minorities get marginalized. 
  • For instance, recent Hijab and Burkini ban in France has created anxiety among minorities. 
  • If religious women forbids a woman from becoming a priest, then the state cannot do anything. Like this, if a particular religion forbids the entry of some of its members in the sanctum of its temple, then the state has no option but to let the matter rest exactly where it is.
  • So in France, religion is a private matter, not a matter of state policy or law. This model interprets freedom and equality in an individualistic manner. Liberty is the liberty of individual. Equality is the equality between individuals. There is little scope for community based rights or minority rights.
  • On the other hand, the drawbacks of this model can be seen as, such states focus on intra-religious domination by strict separation of state from church to realise among other things individual freedoms, issues of inter-religious (and therefore minority rights) equality are often neglected. 
  • This model leaves no scope for the idea of the state supported religious reforms.

Indian Constitution’s Approach 

The Indian Constitution gives many rights to create a more inclusive society where any religion can thrive.

Freedom of Conscience – Every person is guaranteed the freedom of conscience and to freedom to profess, practice and propagate his own religion

Freedom to manage Religious Affairs – There is not only the freedom of the individual to profess, practise and propagate his religion, there is also the right guaranteed to every religious group or denomination.

Cultural and Educational Rights – The Minorities can preserve their culture and education. 

While in France, laws are made in isolation from religious principles, in India, the law seeks to accommodate the multiple religious principles that followers of different religions adhere to.

Indian Secularism has made room for and is compatible with the idea of state-supported religious reform. Eg.  Indian constitution bans untouchability under Article 17. Abolition of child marriage and lifting the taboo on inter-caste marriage sanctioned by Hinduism. 

The Indian Secularism can be best described as that of ‘Principled Distance’. The doctrine of Principled Distance allows states to interfere in matters of religion to stop discrimination and ensure that all religions are treated equally.

It should go without saying that no state’s approach to religion is perfect, and India faces its own significant problems with diversity and integration. But in many ways, its approach is more forward-looking than France and hence France can adopt many of the best practices. 

Q.6) 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.(10)

Similar question asked in our Test series

Indian Economy in the post-reform era faces the paradox of a high growth rate with the continuous increase in the incidence of poverty. Explain the reasons behind such paradox and suggest ways to resolve it 

Approach:

This is a recurring theme of many editorials, op-eds and articles on current affairs. So you should not have issues in approaching this question.

  • In the intro, you have to show the dichotomy between India’s GDP growth and its inclusive development indicators. You can come up with facts related to human development indicators in India – India’s rank in HDI (130) while showcasing recent GDP indicators which show higher growth trajectories.
  • In the main body, you need to identify those factors which are creating challenges to inclusive development and how it is impacting the nation.
  • Economic inequality, poverty, lack of awareness on government initiatives/schemes/welfare programs, jobless growth, patriarchy, uneven access to health and education etc are some of the issues which you can mention.
  • In the 2nd part, you need to discuss the way forward.
  • Conclude in an optimistic tone.

Answer:

India has grown rapidly since 1991. Average industrial growth in the 25 years since 1991 has been around 6.7 percent. While average economic growth since 1991 has been around 7 percent.While India is surging ahead in terms of GDP growth, it is faring poorly on the human development front which means that millions of Indians have less healthcare and education than in more advanced countries or even in Emerging Economies like the BRICS where India’s rank is the lowest. China’s rank is at 90th, Brazil 79th, Russia 49th and South Africa 119th. Even among SAARC members, India’s Human Development Index( HDI) rank is lower than Sri Lanka and the Maldives and a little higher than Bhutan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nepal.  

Issues that make balanced and inclusive development elusive

    • Jobless growth: Since India’s growth is led by services (Which is not a labor-intensive sector) It has been considered as jobless growth as the employment growth has declined for the same level of economic growth. Thus growth has only affected a very small section of India.
    • Uneven growth: Secondly, growth has been uneven across sectors and locations. For instance, agriculture has been lagging behind and in countries such as India and China, some regions have advanced faster than others. Policies are also relatively ignored the agriculture sector.
    • Marginalized sections unaffected by growth: A major weakness is that the growth is not perceived as being adequately inclusive for many groups, especially Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), and weaker section. Development will not be inclusive if some groups are discriminated against, overtly or covertly. 
    • Patriarchy: In a hugely patriarchal country like India, one cannot expect India to score high on gender equality.
    • As much as 50 percent of malnutrition is caused, not by a lack of food or poor diets, but due to poor water, poor sanitation facilities, and unhygienic practices. 
    • Lack of Government expenditure on education: India spends only 3.4% of the total budget on education which is one of the lowest in the world. This results in poor quality schools and colleges.
    • Lack of Government expenditure on health: India spends just 1 percent of total GDP on health which is lowest among the BRICS countries. This has resulted into single hospital for every 61 thousand, and one bed for every 1833 people.

Way forward:

India needs to address the various parameters of human development separately—and simultaneously.

  • First, it cannot possibly envisage a long and healthy life without addressing the issue of malnutrition which is plaguing it. The recent improvements in nutrition have been noteworthy but not enough.
  • Second, in terms of knowledge, India needs to ensure access and quality through effective implementation of schemes such as Digital India and Skill India.
  • Third, for a higher standard of living, it should ensure that work is quantitatively and qualitatively enhanced in the country. The country’s efforts in terms of employment guarantee schemes have been lauded for its role in reducing unemployment. But it is by no means a long-term remedy. . 
  • Indian government must also focus on improving quality and access in education. Education has a major role in promoting inclusive economic development. 
  • It can particularly help reduce the share of informal employment going forward and promote social inclusion. 
  • India needs to reform its rigid labour market governed by obsolete laws, address problems of child labour and forced labour, and bring about wage equality.
  • Policy makers and government officials need to work on agriculture productivity, in order to be more inclusive. 
  • Efforts are needed to increase energy and resource efficiency, notably through lower fossil fuel subsidies, and accelerate the adoption of clean technologies. 

Development is now a multidimensional achievement, the gains achieved from the 25 years of LPG reforms must help build capabilities and improve the health of all sections. We need to also handle the challenges such as urbanisation, the housing deficit, access to power, water, education and health care. A central focus on social indicators is necessary for India to break free from its position as an underachiever and bring inclusive development.

Q.7) 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. (10)

CD Reference

https://www.civilsdaily.com/news/op-ed-snap-setting-a-proper-diet-plan/

Approach:

The demand of the question is that you should substantiate with examples and data to show how there is growing divergence between the poverty and hunger.

  • In the intro, mention the present condition of hunger in India despite on of the best GDP numbers in the world.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, you need to explain with examples about how the government’s expenditure of social sector is decreasing and thus leading to poor spending more on non-food essentials like Health, Medicines etc.
  • There are also various other reasons for it like uneven access to jobs in all parts of the country, displacement of farmers etc. All these, coupled with lack of public investment in health, education and other social sectors, has led to poor fetching out more out of pocket expenses on these items than on food.
  • Before ending the answer, mention the improvements India has made in halving poverty, reducing malnutrition, child wasting & Stunting among others.
  • Also, propose a way forward from your end.

Answer:

During the last decade and more, even though India has become the highest growing economy in the world after China, it has continued to outnumber Sub-Saharan Africa in terms of the absolute number of hungry people. The government of India claims a substantial reduction in the prevalence of poverty in the country, but evidence suggests a startling divergence between the real per capita expenditure and the per capita calorie intake, which underlies the divergence between the decline in poverty and hunger.

Growing divergence between poverty and hunger and reason behind it:

  • Contrary to the popularly held belief that food insecurity is a symptom of poverty, there is a growing divergence in the relationship between poverty and hunger in India. 
  • India is currently experiencing a “food-budget squeeze” owing to shrinking social expenditure by the government. 
  • This makes the urban and rural poor dependent on private entities for essential services like education and transportation, which are likely to be more expensive. 
  • Consequently, the portion of income that can be spent on food also shrinks.
  • Rather than being a matter of choice, the poor have been increasingly forced to spend more on non-food essential items such as 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 three decades. 
  • This has led to a “food budget squeeze”, which has meant relatively stagnant real food expenditure over the last two decades. 

Several factors have led to or compounded the effects of the food budget squeeze.

  • Primitive accumulation of capital has led to increasing displacement and dispossession of farmers, destruction of rural livelihoods and loss of access to common property resources like forests, ponds, grazing lands and rivers. Along with the growth of landlessness, shrinking access to common property resources have led to sharp declines in access to non-market sources of food.
  • Second, the structure of occupation has been undergoing rapid change. 
  • 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 labour will have substantial impacts on the expenditure patterns of households. 
  • For instance, an increasingly footloose labour force 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. 
  • Most important, shrinking social expenditure by the government is rendering the urban and rural poor dependent on market prices of non-food essential items, which are typically high. 
  • Contrary to what is commonly believed by pro-reform economists and commentators, economic reforms initiated in the mid-1980s did not increase efficiency, and reduce the relative price of essential services like healthcare, education, transportation. In fact, the price of food relative to miscellaneous components – education, healthcare, conveyance, and consumer services – of the consumer price index for agricultural labourers (CPIAL) has slightly declined between 1983 and 2017.
  • It is the resulting squeeze on food budgets that has led to calorie intake declining even as per capita consumption expenditure has risen.

Way Forward:

  • Despite the fact that the rate of global food production has been consistently higher than the rate of population growth, there is a persistent and pervasive crisis when it comes to food security. Therefore, hunger can only be dealt with by, carrying out the policies of income redistribution, which respond to objectives of social justice rather than economic efficiency as perceived by neo-liberalism.
  • Scholars have argued that a substantial push in public provisioning towards social protection might go a long way in ensuring food security.
  • In most developing countries, one of the biggest issues, with respect to public provisioning towards social protection, to address hunger and food insecurity is organically connected with that of adequate fiscal or ‘expenditure space. 
  • Contrary to the view that countries with low GDP cannot create such a space, even at low levels of income it is possible to mobilise adequate resources for the provisioning of social protection. 
  • Neither conceptually nor historically, there is no reason to believe that a country needs to wait to reach relatively high levels of per capita income before it can make adequate progress in this regard, even though higher income of course helps in doing so.

When the public distribution system (PDS) is absent or out of reach, people have to rely for nutritious food on the market, where prices for such food items are typically high. The result is calorie deprivation. In such a scenario, a way out is to make nutritious food available through the PDS at a price that is much lower than the less calorific, tasty food, so that the price difference between the two becomes an incentive to stick to nutritious food. But, to ensure that this mechanism is effective, we need to move towards a robust, universal PDS, and not the limited one as visualised in the National Food Security Act.

Q.8) 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. (10)

Similar question asked by our Test series

Write a critical note India’s ‘Digital India‘ programme, concerns raised against it and measures needed to address these concerns. (Samachar Manthan weekly test)

Approach:

  • Its a direct question but asking about the issues and challenges of the ICT, rather than asking about its benefit. So you need to identify them, factors involved and suggest measures to address them.
  • Introduce ICT and e-governance in your intro.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, mention some of the programs in the areas of ICT like Digital India, Bharat Net, NeGP, Aadhaar, tech in PDS  etc.
  • Then mention the challenges which accompany these OCT based projects like low penetration of tech in rural areas, lack of skilled manforce to implement these programs, lack of digital literacy, issue of infra and access in various parts of the country, lack of human touch, mistrust on tech, issue of privacy etc.
  • Before going to the 2nd part of the main body, give some positive aspects of ICT. 
  • In the 2nd part, mention the steps that need to be taken for the improvement in these projects and effective implementation.

Answer:

The “e” in e-Governance stands for ‘electronic’. Thus, e-Governance is basically associated with carrying out the functions and achieving the results of governance through the utilization of ICT (Information and Communications Technology). In the last couple of decades, there has been tremendous growth in the usage of ICT for various sectors, schemes and programs. Digital India and DBTs are the latest examples.

Some of the ICT Based projects:

  • My Gov.in
  • Universal Access to Mobile Connectivity
  • Digital locker
  • e-Governance: Reforming Government through Technology
  • e-Kranti – Electronic Delivery of Services
  • Information for All
  • Electronics Manufacturing
  • IT for Jobs and
  • Early Harvest Programmes

While they hold significant advantages for all the stakeholders, but ICTs bring some challenges too with them, during the implementations of programs. 

Issues with ICT based programs and projects:

  • No  person to person interaction :  The main disadvantage of an ICT based project is to move the essential public services into an electronic based system. This system loses the person to person interaction which is valued by a lot of people.
  • Easy to make excuse: It is often easy to make the excuse (e.g. the server has gone down) that problems with the service provided are because of the technology.
  • Literacy of the users and the ability to use the computer, users who do not know how to read and write would need assistance. An example would be the senior citizens. In general, senior citizens do not have much computer education and they would have to approach a customer service officer for assistance. And also in the case of rural people, it gives scope for middle man, who distort the information.
  • The resistant to change phenomenon can explain much of the hesitation that occurs on the part of constituents in moving from a paper based to an ICT based system for interacting with government.
  • Rural areas are still underserved in terms of ICTs infrastructure and capacity building. As a result, ICTs have not been able to play their expected role in the development of rural areas.
  • The limited supply of electricity restrains stakeholders to fully utilize ICTs applications especially at village and Tier 3 cities level. 
  • Issue of training: If villagers (especially farmers, youth, and beneficiaries) are willing to utilize ICTs based applications then who will regularly train them to acquire the desired knowledge and skills is a major concern.
  • Lack of internet penetration: The ICTs based applications need uninterrupted services of telecommunication and internet. Presently, there are many patches in India where reach of mobile telephony along with internet is still not up to the mark.
  • Lack of content: The content part plays a dominant role, especially for rural farmers, artisans and poor beneficiaries. The content creation (In local language) needs to be addressed altogether in different manner to have the balance between rural and urban context.
  • With India carving a niche for itself in the IT sector, dependence on technology is also increasing. With Indians using the internet for all their needs, ranging from shopping to banking, studying to storing data, cyber-crimes have also increased in proportion to usage.

Measures for ICT based projects’ effective implementation:

  • The country should recognize the potential ICT has for their communities residing in rural areas and tier 2 and 3 cities. 
  • The policies, schemes etc. should be equipped with the ICTs enabled plan to avail the benefits of latest technologies. 
  • To formalize the concept of Digital India for various sectors, we should have a clear cut e-plan or e-policy that guides the government priorities to adopt ICTs for inclusive development. 
  • It demands proper understanding of the social and development priorities of various regions. 
  • It also requires a vision and leadership of the highest levels of the government along with political will. 
  • It requires rationalizing how every ICT objective needs to be carried out both in terms of responsibilities assigned to government agencies as well as the continuous financial support. 
  • Access to ICTs should not be restricted only to the upper strata of the society but should also flow freely even to the lower strata of the society.
  • Government should set up Multifunctional Converged Applications Community Centres (MCACs) at panchayat and block levels to derive benefits from services like tele-education, telemedicine, internet access etc.
  • Today, Societies are transforming to information-societies by adopting cashless economy, social network and other communication mechanism. Recognizing the present needs of promoting ICTs applications and cashless economy, people should be empowered by capacity building programmes.
  • There should be increased partnership of government and private sector since the majority of the country’s cyber resources are controlled by entities outside of the government.
  • More investment in this field in terms of finance, skill training and manpower is required. 
  • Explicit privacy laws in the country must be enacted addressing the concerns regarding encroachment on citizens’ privacy and civil-liberties.

Information and Communication Technology has changed the world like never before. It has enhanced the human ability to communicate more efficiently and easily. It has changed the lives of individuals, groups, and entities around the World. The emerging challenges due to ICT needs to be tackled properly to ensure that its benefits become inclusive for all and losses are greatly reduced to the minimum. The contribution of all the stakeholders including the service providers, users and the government is necessary to achieve this goal.

Q.9) ‘The time has come for India and Japan to build a strong contemporary relationship, one involving global and strategic partnerships that will have a great significance for Asia and the world as a whole.’ Comment. (10)

Similar question asked by our Test series

India and Japan share a commonality in the past and convergence of interests in the future. Comment. (200 Words) (Samachar Manthan weekly test)

Approach:

  • The key words of the question are: Global partnership and Strategic partnership.
  • So your main body should discuss these two aspects in a cohesive manner.
  • Introduce with the recent Indo-Japan relations.
  • Then in the 1st part of the main body, mention why these two nations need each other’s support.
  • Then discuss the prospect of India and Japan in global partnership and strategic partnership in Asia.
  • Role of QUAD in countering the aggression of China, Tackle common challenges of terrorism and proliferation, Asia-Africa Growth Corridor or AAGC is an economic cooperation agreement between the governments of India, Japan and multiple African countries etc. Then mention nuclear deal, bilateral agreements, investment in north eastern countries, cultural exchange, military ‘exercise malabar’
  • Mention some way forwards in the last part of the answer, as in, what should be the future endeavour of Indo-Japan ties.

Answer:

Japan and India have shared a long enduring strategic and economic partnership which got further elevated to a ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’ in 2014. Ever since Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation’s investment in India in the early 1980s, which transformed the automobile sector, ties between the two countries have grown from strength to strength.

Why India and Japan need to build a strong contemporary relationship?

  • Complementarity: Abe sees India as the key to expanding Japan’s security options beyond its current US-centric framework, while Modi views Japan as central to the success of India’s ‘Look East’ strategy. ‘
  • Dissimilarity: The two countries’ dissimilarities actually create opportunities to generate strong synergies through economic collaboration. Japan has a solid heavy manufacturing base, while India boasts services-led growth. India is a leader in software and Japan a leader in hardware. India has the world’s largest youthful population, while Japan is aging more rapidly than any other major developed country. Whereas Japan has financial and technological power, India has human capital and a huge market.
  • Economy: Abenomics’ and ‘Modinomics’ are both geared to the same goal – reviving laggard growth — yet they need each other’s support for success. Whereas Tokyo sees New Delhi as important to its own economic-revival strategy, India looks at Japan as a critical source of capital and commercial technology and a key partner to help upgrade its infrastructure and manufacturing base. 
  • China factor: The China Factor Japan clearly has an interest in a stronger, more economically robust India. Just as Japan assisted China’s economic rise through large-scale aid, investment and technology transfers for over three decades — a role obscured by the recent flare-up of disputes — it is ready to help India become an economic powerhouse on par with China

What will be the significance of relationship for Asia and the world as a whole

  • Countering Chinese assertion: China has become increasingly assertive in its bilateral and regional relations, opening multiple fronts of competition and challenge as it seeks to intimidate and exhaust any resistance into passive acquiescence if not outright submission.Of all the Asian countries, India and Japan are the best placed to withstand China’s pressures and provide cover for other Asian countries to also resist.
  • Economic development of Asia and Africa: They have also teamed up to pool comparative and locational advantages to launch their own “Asia-Africa growth corridor” connectivity and infrastructure projects for Southeast Asia and Africa as a counter to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • QUAD: As the rationale of value-oriented foreign policy (based on universal values like democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights and so on) gained traction, India has been accorded space in Japan’s value-based foreign-policy frameworks including  ‘Arc of Freedom and Prosperity’, ‘Confluence of the Two Seas’, ‘Quadrilateral Initiative’ and subsequently Asia’s ‘Democratic Security Diamond’.

What should be the focus of India-Japan relationship?

  • The Indo-Japan relations is to countering China Influence in Indian Ocean and the South China Sea but now countries should go beyond countering China.
  • Having made this leap, it is imperative that India and Japan also look beyond their lofty geopolitical aims, at the more basic aspects of bilateral engagement.
  • While Japan is India’s largest donor and the third largest provider of FDI, bilateral trade has steadily declined since 2013, and is down to $13.61 billion in 2016-17 from $14.51 billion the year before. The contrast with India-China trade, at $71 billion a year, and the Japan-China trade, at $279 billion, is stark.
  • Synergizing their resources and capabilities, and ensuring the efficient implementation of joint projects will be critical.
  • As the Indo-Pacific construct assumes greater space in policy designs given its geo-political and strategic dimensions, it is imperative for both Indiaand Japan to engage in forward thinking to accomplish the full potential of this ‘Special Strategic and Global Partnership’.
  • India and Japan must coordinate and cooperate on connectivity projects in South Asian neighbourhood including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and even Myanmar.
  • India and Japan will benefit by exploring the potential for joint projects in Africa, including in countries like Nigeria, Mozambique, and Angola and elsewhere, given common energy interests.
  • Close cooperation with a democratic India, located midway along trade-routes connecting East Asia with the Middle East and Africa, would be advantageous to Japan.
  • At the same time, a technologically deficient India has much to gain from a relationship with a country like Japan.

For securing the global commons and realizing a stable Indo-Pacific, India and Japan both have to work individually, bilaterally and at a regional level in order to guarantee a rules-based order in accordance with international law.

Q.10) ‘Too little cash, too much politics, leave 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’. (10)

Similar question asked by our Test series

What is the mandate and structure of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) of the UN? How has the nature of UN peacekeeping operations changed over the years? How can the operations be made more effective? (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • In the intro, link the issue of current events with the mandate of UNESCO and how it has been affected in recent times due to the politics of member nations.
  • In the 1st part, discuss the mandate and importance of UNESCO.
  • In the 2nd part, mention why US left and what are those allegations of UNESCO being anti-Israel.
  • Briefly mention what are the issues of politicisation of UNESCO mandates by various member countries that has also affected the world boy.
  • In the next part, mention the effect of US withdrawal and too much politicisation on the overall working of UNESCO.
  • In the conclusion, discuss what lies ahead for the world body

Answer:

The U.S. stopped paying dues to the U.N. Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization after it recognized a Palestinian state in 2011. The U.S. eventually left the group in 2018. It had major  implications on the world body, especially financially. The fact is that UNESCO was all about solidarity and creating a climate for peace between countries, but nations now use their dues to influence programmes

UNESCO:

  • The UN Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization was founded in 1945, and is a catalyst for far-reaching and important environmental and sustainable development initiatives. 
  • Today it’s the only UN organization with a clear science mandate, and it works on a broad scope of environmental issues, directing projects from a scientific, cultural, social and educational perspective.
  • Its activities deal with the ecological sciences (Man and the Biosphere Programme and World Network of Biosphere Reserves), water security (International Hydrological Programme and World Water Assessment Programme), and earth sciences (International Geoparks and Geoscience Programme, and disaster risk reduction).

Why US left UNESCO?

  • The United States helped found the UNESCO after World War II, but has been at odds with it in recent years. 
  • US cited a 2012 decision not to expel Syria from its human rights committee after the civil war in that country began, and repeated resolutions that refer to Israel as an occupying power.
  • At the heart of its recent 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.
  • The United States and Israel were among just 14 of 194 members to vote against Palestine’s membership. 
  • Washington says it favours an independent Palestinian state some day, but it must arise from negotiations, and admitting the Palestinians to international bodies beforehand hurts the peace process.
  • The recent major issue which made the US leave the UNESCO was when UNESCO designated the old city of Hebron in the West Bank, with its Tomb of the Patriarchs, a Palestinian World Heritage site.
  • According to US when UNESCO voted to recognize the Palestinians as full members, it undermined an important U.S. policy goal.
  • Israel has regularly complained over resolutions about cultural sites in the West Bank and Jerusalem, arguing that they are worded to delegitimize Israel.

Impact of US withdrawal from UNESCO:

  • While the U.S. will remain engaged in many of these programs, the absence of U.S. funding makes it increasingly difficult to meet the challenges that are so vital to the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.
  • The U.S. has played an important role in many Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) programs critical to ocean health and wellbeing of coastal communities. 
  • 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.
  • As a result, the number of permanent science positions has decreased, while less funding has meant a sharp refocusing of the Organization’s work. 
  • For example, UNESCO’s Basic Sciences efforts were severely impacted, and the organization is no longer directly involved in earth observation and remote sensing projects, with few exceptions. 
  • That’s a serious problem when one considers the rapid natural changes underway due to climate change. 
  • Furthermore, UNESCO no longer spends regular budget on renewable energy activities, and its engineering activities have been strongly curtailed.
  • UNESCO has failed to persuade member states to pay their dues and stop politicising UNESCO’s work.

At the time when the fight against violent extremism calls for renewed investment in education, in dialogue among cultures to prevent hatred, it is deeply regrettable that the nations use the platform of UNESCO to put forward their domestic politics. It is a loss for multilateralism. All the members of the UNESCO should come together for grassroots reforms and efforts to de-politicise the institution. They need to find ways of getting nations to talk these issues through, but if they can’t, then the global body should be able to say ‘no’ and kill these controversial texts.

Q.11) On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified under the Representation of the People Act, 1951? Also, mention the remedies available to such a person against his disqualification. (15)

Similar question asked by our Test series

What is the significance of Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (RPA)? Critically comment on the opinion of the judiciary on this section (Samachar manthan weekly TS)

Approach:

It is a direct question. 

  • In the introduction, mention the RPA of 1951 and RPA of 1950 and brief differences between them.
  • Then in the 1st part of the main body, mention salient features of RPA of 1951.
  • In the subsequent parts, discuss on what grounds people’s representative can be disqualified. For ex election offences and corrupt practices in the election, dismissal for corruption or disloyalty, failure to lodge account of election expenses, corrupt and malpractices in any type of media.
  • Then mention remedies to protect them from disqualification. Mention the changes after the SC judgement in Lily Thomas case.

Answer:

The Representation of People Act, 1951 was enacted to fill the seats of House or Houses of Parliament and to the Houses of each State, the qualification and disqualification for the participation of those houses. Be that as it may, we as voters have the privilege to know who are we voting in favor of and why as it will help us in discovering the best contestant in the election. The qualification of contesting elections in India gets invalidated if there are any criminal allegations going on or the applicant has been sentenced before for any offense.

Representation of People Act, 1951:

  • Article 324 to 329 of Part XV of the Constitution deals with the electoral system in our country. 
  • Constitution allows Parliament to make provisions in all matters relating to elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures. 
  • In exercise of this power, the Parliament has enacted laws like the Representation of the People Act 1950 (RPA Act 1950), Representation of the People Act 1951 (RPA Act 1951) and Delimitation Commission Act of 1952. 
  • RPA Act 1951 deals with the disqualification of people’s representatives.
  • ‘Election’ is defined in Section 2 (d) of Representation of People Act, 1951 as “an election to fill a seat or seats in either House of Parliament or in the House or either House of Legislature of a State.”
  • ‘Conviction’ is defined as “an outcome of a criminal prosecution which concludes in a judgment that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged.”

On what grounds a people’s representative can be disqualified:

Section 8 deals with Disqualification of representatives on conviction for certain offences. This section states that :

  • If a person contesting election is charged with any criminal charges or has been convicted for the same earlier loses his right to stand for election according to the statute. Section 8 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 provides various grounds under which a person may be disqualification on conviction for certain offenses.
  • Section 8(1) states that a person convicted of an offense punishable under
    • Section 153A i.e. offence of promoting enmity between different groups on  ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony or Section 171E i.e. offence of bribery or Section 171F i.e. offence of undue influence or any offence relating to rape given in Section 376 or offence of cruelty towards a woman by husband or any relative of husband or sub section (2) or (3) of Section 505 which states offence of making statement creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes or offence relating to such statement in any place of worship or in any assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies; of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).
  • Likewise, there are various other offenses which if committed by a candidate will lead him to disqualification. For instance :
    • Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955 which provides for preaching and practice of untouchability.
    • Section 11 of the Customs Act, 1962 which states the offense of importing and exporting of prohibited goods.
    • Sections 10 to 12 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 i.e. offense of being a member of an unlawful association.
    • The Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
    • The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
  • Shall be disqualified, where the convicted person is sentenced to –
    • Only fine, for a period of six years from the date of such conviction;
    • Imprisonment, from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.

Remedy available to those disqualified:

  • Even if is a person is on bail, after the conviction and his appeal is pending for disposal, he is disqualified from contesting an election as per the guidelines issued by the Election Commission of India.
  • On 10 July 2013, the Supreme Court of India, in its judgment of the Lily Thomas v. Union of India case, decided that any MP, MLA or MLC who is sentenced for a crime and granted at least two years of imprisonment, loses membership of the House with immediate effect.
  • This is opposed to the earlier position, wherein sentenced members clutched their seats until the point that they exhausted all judicial solution in lower, state and Supreme court of India. 
  • Further, Section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act, which permitted elected representatives three months to appeal their conviction, was proclaimed unconstitutional by the seat of Justice A. K. Patnaik and Justice S. J. Mukhopadhaya.
  • If an aggrieved person wants to complain about the corrupt practices going on in any phase of the election process then he can make a complaint to the Election Commission of India where there is the office of Chief Election Commissioner.

Q.12) “Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution is a limited power and it cannot be enlarged into absolute power.” In the 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? (15)

Similar question asked by our Test series

Discuss the contribution of Kesavananda Bharati Case Judgement in retaining India as a cherished republic envisioned by its founding fathers? (10 marks) (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • In the intro, discuss the need to amend the Constitution – to make it relevant to changing times. Parliament has been vested with amending power so as to make the Constitution a living and dynamic document.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, introduce the doctrine of basic structure and mention Kesavananda Bharati Case which gave the doctrine of Basic Structure.
  • Then in the 2nd part of the main body, discuss various judgements by SC which have made near impossible for the legislature to amend the basic structures mentioned by the judiciary.
  • Important Judgements that can be used: Minerva Mill v. Union of India (1980); Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997); I. Coelho v State of Tamil Nadu etc.
  • Briefly mention the objections raised by the scholars regarding this doctrine of basic structure.

Answer:

The case of Kesavananda Bharati v. State of Kerala (Kesavananda Bharati) is perhaps the most well-known constitutional decision of the Supreme Court of India (Supreme Court). While ruling that there is no implied limitation on the powers of Parliament to amend the Constitution, it held that no amendment can do violence to its basic structure (the “Basic Structure Doctrine”). Further, it established the Supreme Court’s right to review and, therefore, established its supremacy on constitutional matters.

Basic Structure of the Constitution Doctrine:

  • The “basic features” principle was first expounded in 1953, by Justice J.R. Mudholkar in his dissent, in the case of Sajjan Singh v. State of Rajasthan. 
  • In 1967, the Supreme Court reversed its earlier decisions in Golaknath v. State of Punjab. It held that Fundamental Rights included in Part III of the Constitution are given a “transcendental position” and are beyond the reach of Parliament. It also declared any amendment that “takes away or abridges” a Fundamental Right conferred by Part III as unconstitutional.
  • Kesavananda Bharati case was considered as the historical landmark case, where for the first-time Supreme Court recognized the basic structure concept. 
  • In this case, the validity of the 25th Amendment was challenged with the 24th and 29th Amendment was also questioned. The court by majority overruled the judgement of Golaknath case.
  • The inherent ambiguity of the doctrine, as well as that of the ratio in Kesavananda Bharati, resulted in various challenges both to and under the doctrine before the Supreme Court. 
  • The period following Kesavananda Bharati was one where the doctrine has evolved on a case-to-case basis, resulting in a gradual expansion of the doctrine.
  • In Indira Gandhi v. Raj Narain, a Constitutional amendment to regularise Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s election was struck down citing the basic features of democracy, rule of law and equality. 
  • From 1975 onwards, the courts have interpreted and expanded the doctrine to include judicial review of decisions by the High Court and Supreme Court under Articles 226 and 32, secularism and federalism, the freedoms under Article 19, judicial independence, and recently, judicial primacy in the judicial appointment process to the basic structure and framework of the Constitution.

Can Parliament destroy the Basic Structure of the Constitution by expanding its amending power:

  • In Minerva Mills v. Union of India, the Parliament, through the Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976, attempted to circumvent Kesavananda Bharati by making Parliamentary power unlimited. 
  • Immediately after the decision of the Supreme court in Kesavananda Bharati and Indira Gandhi case, the parliament introduced the 42nd Amendment and added the word secular and socialist in the preamble and added clause 4 and 5 to Article 368 of the Constitution. 
  • It indirectly declares that there is no limitation on the power of the parliament regarding the Amendment. 
  • The Court in this case struck down the amendment on the grounds that the judicial review of Parliamentary enactments, and the limitation of Parliamentary power to amend the Constitution, were themselves part of the basic structure of the Constitution.
  • However, it was not until much later that the Supreme Court ruled on the question of whether an addition to the Ninth Schedule would make the listed statute immune from the requirement of not infringing on a fundamental right. 
  • In I. Coelho v State of Tamil Nadu, the Supreme Court held that all laws were subject to the test of being consistent with fundamental rights, which are a part of the basic structure.
  • Hence we can summarize that:
    • Parliament has limited powers to amend the constitution.
    • Parliament cannot damage or destroy the basic features of the Constitution.
    • The Procedure prescribed for the amendment is mandatory. Non compliance with it will result in invalidity of the amendment.
    • Clauses (4) and (5) inserted in Art. 368 by the 42nd Amendment Act are invalid because they take away the right of judicial review.
    • Parliament cannot increase its amending power by amending Art. 368.

However, experts have had major objections against the doctrine of basic structure like:

  • Amending power is not necessary to amend non-essential parts of the constitution.
  • This power is needed to make changes in the basic features of the constitution.
  • The doctrine leads to the uncertainty in mind of the parliament as to where it stands as to the extent of its amending power.

One certainty that emerged out of various SC judgments is that all laws and constitutional amendments are now subject to judicial review and laws that transgress the basic structure are likely to be struck down by the SC. In essence Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution is not absolute and the Supreme Court is the final arbiter over and interpreter of all constitutional amendments.

Q.13) “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. (15)

Similar question asked by our Test series

Do you think Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) plays a significant role in political empowerment of women? What more needs to be done to increase women participation in PRIs?  (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • In the intro discuss the current status of women representation in electoral politics and provide stats to show the stark difference between numbers in LSGs and other political forums like Parliament and state assemblies.
  • In the main body, provide both positive impacts as well as negatives of women reservation in India at the local governance level. 
  • Give reasons as to why these high number of women representation in LSGs do not get reflected in higher representation in other forums.
  • The domination of male members in these local institutions coupled with inadequate capabilities of women (administrative and educational) has led to continuance of Patriarchy in higher political forums.
  • Give way forward.

Answer:

Even though a significantly large number of women vote in the country, yet only a few of them assume the reins of power. Gender inequality leading to deprivation of power among women continues to be a political reality in India today. Although the Constitution of India attempts to remove gender inequalities by interdicting discrimination based on sex and class, and enshrining fundamental rights for all citizens, women still have only de jure rather than de facto access to political representation. There is no denying the fact that greater participation of women in the political process would be a precondition for their economic and social emancipation. 

How reservation of seats for women in the institutions of LSGs plays an important role in political empowerment of women:

  • LSG institutions are a watershed in India‘s democratic history as they not only percolated democratic decentralisation to the grass root level but also made a giant leap in women empowerment by granting them 33% reservation restoring its faith in women leadership.
  • The recent Economic Survey states that there were 13.72 lakh elected women representatives (EWRs) in LSGs, which constitute 44.2 per cent of total elected representatives (ERs) as on December 2017.
  • Women Sarpanchs accounted for 43 per cent of total gram panchayats (GPs) across the country by December 2018.
  • This is a testimony to active leadership of women in local government. 
  • They are bringing their experience in the governance of civil society making the state sensitive to the issues of poverty, inequality and gender injustice, thus influencing the decision-making process, planning, implementation and evaluation of various developmental programs at the local level.     
  • It also provided an opportunity to hitherto deprived low caste women to participate in mainstream political process. Its spiral effect boosted women confidence in their abilities and encouraged them to seek a meaningful role in society.  

Why this reservation of seats for women has had a limited impact on the patriarchal character of the Indian Political Process:

Nonetheless, this representation has been limited by the patriarchal norms. Also, women‘s representation at the level of LSGs has not translated to other levels of participation. For instance: 

  • Lok Sabha had 11.8 percent and the Rajya Sabha 11 per women MPs.
  • In 2018, out of the total 4,118 MLAs across the country, only 9 percent were women. In the recent general election total of 78 women representatives have been elected which constitutes 14.6% of the total Lok Sabha strength. Out of 78 women representatives 46 have been elected for the first time.
  • Thus, in a country like India with around 49 per cent of women in the population, the political participation of women has been very low.
  • Factors such as domestic responsibilities, prevailing cultural attitudes regarding the roles of women in society and lack of support from family were among the main reasons that prevented them from entering politics.
  • In LSGs as well the real power was usurped by the husbands of elected women representatives colloquially known as the Sarpanch Pati depriving them of any meaningful gains.
  • Lack of political will by all parties to give tickets to women candidates. 
  • For a common woman, it’s not that easy to raise the ladders of politics without a strong political background. Therefore, the elected women mostly come from the 3B brigade – beti, bahu, biwi. 
  • 108th Amendment Bill, calling for reservation for women in legislature, is languishing for 2 decades.
  • The empowerment of the women at the top has not trickled down while the achievements of 73rd and 74th CAA have not moved up towards state legislatures and parliaments.
  • Cultural environment puts maximum emphasis on men. Apart from that criminalization of politics and the political environment of instability and personality traits are the primary causes for marginal participation of women in politics.

However, the LSGs have provided the much needed opportunity to women. The need of the hour is to make women aware of their rights to better exercise their powers.

Way Forward to reverse the trend of less women participation in Indian politics:

  • Politics should be seen as a career rather than a muddy affair where only rogue elements participate. It will be a first and a much needed step.
  • Political parties should come forward to increase women representatives. 
  • Gender stereotypes which perceive women as weak representatives should be changes through awareness and education. 
  • Efforts need to be taken to enhance the participation of women in governance in large numbers.
  • 108th CAA or Women’s Reservation Bill which reserves 33% of seats for Indian women at the legislatures has to be passed soon in the Parliament.
  • Women’s leadership and communication skills need to be enhanced by increasing female literacy, especially in rural areas. They should be empowered in order to break socio-cultural barriers and improve their status in the society.
  • Women LSGs members have to be trained to analyse and understand their roles and responsibilities given in the 73rd and 74th amendment act.
  • Thanks to the university and colleges elections, some from student politics have made their mark but their examples are miniscule and we need more like them. 
  • Some form of political activity like elections for unions or head girl should be encouraged at the school level, so that girl children can have a taste of how democracy works and they should be realised that politics is not a bad thing after all.
  • Financial support for women candidates is an idea worth considering.
  • Promoting the idea of significance of women‘s role in decision making at educational institutions and homes.

Q.14) “The Attorney-General is the chief legal adviser and lawyer of the Government of India.” Discuss. (15)

Approach:

This is a direct question.

  • All you need is to elaborate the role and duties of Attorney-General of India. 
  • In the intro, mention about Article 76 of the Constitution which has provided for the office of the Attorney General for India.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, elaborate on the appointment and terms of the office of Attorney-General.
  • In the 2nd part of the main body, expand on the duties performed by him/her. 
  • Conclude the answer by highlighting the need for such office (Government is the biggest litigant in Indian courts)

Answer:

Article 76 and 78 deals with the Attorney General of India. The President appoints the Attorney General (AG). The person who is appointed should be qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court. That means, he should be a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years.

Attorney General:

  • He/she must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court, also must have been a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years or an eminent jurist, in the opinion of the President and must be a citizen of India.
  • The term of office of the Attorney General is not fixed by the Constitution. 
  • Further, the Constitution does not contain the procedure and grounds for his removal. He holds office during the pleasure of the President. 
  • This means that he may be removed by the President at any time.

 

Attorney General as Chief Legal Advisor and Lawyer of GoI:

  • A law officer implies that the person is a lawyer. The Chief Justice of India is in no way a law officer, as the CJI is the head of the Judiciary as an organ of State, just as the President and the Speaker are heads of the other two organs of State – the Executive and the Legislature.
  • In layman terms, Chief Justice is a Judge and Attorney General is a Lawyer, both have distinct roles to play.
  • The Attorney General of India is the highest law officer of the country and he/she is the chief legal advisor to the GoI. 
  • He is responsible to assist the government in all its legal matters. 
  • He gives advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, which are referred or assigned to him by the president under Article 143.
  • He performs such other duties of a legal character that are referred or assigned to him by the president.
  • He discharges the functions conferred on him by or under the Constitution or any other law.
  • In the performance of his official duties,
    • He appears on behalf of the government of India in all the cases in Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
    • He appears on behalf of the government of India in any reference made by the president to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the constitution.
    • He appears on behalf of the government of India in any case in a high court in which the Government of India is concerned, if Government of India requires so.

Following are the Rights of the AG:

  • In the performance of his duties, he has right of audience in all courts in the territory of India.
  • He has the right to speak or to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament and their joint sittings, but without a right to vote.
  • He has the right to speak or to take part in the meeting of any committee of the Parliament of which he is named as a member, but without a right to vote.
  • He enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of parliament.

Below mentioned are the Limitations placed on the Attorney General:

  • He should not advise or hold a brief against the Government of India.
  • He should not defend accused persons in criminal cases without the permission of the government of India.
  • He should not accept appointment as a director in any company without the permission of government.

Unlike the Attorney General of the United States, the Attorney General for India does not have any executive authority, but he is a part of Union executive. Those functions are performed by the Law Minister of India. Also, he is not a government servant and is not debarred from private legal practice. 

Q.15) Individual parliamentarian’s role as the national lawmaker is on a decline, which in turn, has adversely impacted the quality of debates and their outcome. Discuss. (15)

Similar question asked by our Test series

How far do you agree with the view that Rajya  Sabha is the safety valve of Indian Federalism. In view of the above,Critically examine the performance of Rajya Sabha since independence? (15 marks) (CD Mains TS)

Highlight the main features of the Anti-Defection Law. Has it made Indian democracy more stable? Comment.  (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • The question needs to mention the reason for the decline of quality of debates and consequences of such trend.
  • In the intro, mention the declining capacity of parliament and state assemblies in scrutinizing various bills while the number of bills passed, more or less, remained the same, throughout the last 70 years. Link this phenomenon with the decreasing role of individual lawmakers
  • In the 1st part of the main body, mention the reasons for its decline.
  • Later, discuss the impact of this decline 
  • Conclude by suggesting reforms to rectify the situation. Quote some ARC 2 recommendations to get better marks

Answer:

Parliament is considered as a temple of Democracy where elected representatives arrive at decisions regarding governance after debates & deliberations. It is considered as the highest platform for holding the executive accountable for their actions. However, of late the great institution has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons such as devaluation of parliamentary authority, falling standards of debates, deterioration in the conduct and quality of Members, poor levels of participation and the like. This has led to a certain cynicism towards parliamentary institutions and an erosion in the credibility of parliamentarians and parliamentary processes.

Declining role of Individual parliamentarians and its effect on quality of debates and their outcome

  • Absenteeism: The problem of absenteeism in the houses has increased in proportion to an increase in the indifference of Politicians towards public issues.
  • Party politics and the politics of survival are also responsible for declining standards. 
  • Regarding absenteeism it is said members cannot always be present in the house because attending the session is not their only function and they are responsible to their conscience, country, and constituency and to their party in whatever they do. 
  • Frequent disruption and logjams: Moreover, disrupting parliamentary activity through walkouts, the staging of dharnas and gheraos of ministers without reasonable ceases are also indicating towards parliamentary decline. 
  • Live broadcast: Live telecasting of Parliamentary proceedings incentivizing sensationalization of issues often neglecting meaningful discussions
  • Criminalization of politics: ADR reports that 34% of the MPs in the 2014 Lok Sabha faced criminal charges, as compared with 30% in 2009 and 24% in 2004. This results in unparliamentary behaviour.
  • Anti Defection Law and Instruments of Whip:Today, the parliamentarians and state legislators lack vision, commitment, quality and competence for nation-building. 
  • They use parliament as a body of legitimization of personal and class dominance by the party. 
  • The enactment of the anti-defection law in 1985, which allows parties to herd their members, weakens incentives of legislators to invest in developing their own viewpoints and express them freely as they cannot use their own stand on different issues to evolve or develop their own political careers. 
  • The rigidity of party discipline has tied down party members to follow the dictates of party bosses once elected to the Legislature. 
  • He or she votes according to the directions of the party whip even if larger social and national interests are being sacrificed to short-sighted policies for short-term political gains.
  • Majority of ruling parties: Ruling parties’ dominance was another factor, i.e., responsible for parliamentary decline. 
  • The parties today enjoy a virtual monopoly in political power, and its decisions were pushed through the Parliament and state assemblies because of sheer majority. 
  • Political instability and a divided Parliament—with the ruling coalition often a minority in the upper house—were the principal causes for the decline in the legislative output over the years. 
  • Politicisation of role of speaker: The office of speaker is getting politicised. As a result there is lack of confidence towards the office of speaker.Hence there is more number of disruptions leading to declining role of parliament.
  • Live Telecast of the proceedings: The live coverage of the parliament sessions and increasing tendency to play to the gallery and media has led to deteriorating quality of parliament.

Way Forward:

  • A strict code of conduct should be implemented for regulating their good behaviour and attendance in the House. 
  • The onus is on all political parties and parliamentary institutions to manage dissent in order to minimize disruptions. 
  • The parties and their leaders should not be allowed to reverse roles on the basis of winning or losing elections.
  • Another possible solution, going by the global experiences, is reserving a day in the week for the Opposition to set the agenda for Parliament. 
  • The advantages of this mechanism are evident– the government can’t shy away from discussing issues inconvenient to it; the Opposition won’t be smarting as it would get ample opportunities to vent its anger and raise issues.
  • Yet another solution could be to spread out the parliamentary proceedings to round-the-year, Monday to Friday, instead of the three sessions, as is the current practice. 
  • Episodic meetings are bound to create episodes, so to speak. Parliamentarians want to appropriate time to raise issues dear to them.
  •  Anti-defection law should be applied only to confidence and no-confidence motions (Dinesh Goswami Committee on electoral reforms, 1990) or only when the government is in danger (Law Commission 170th report, 1999).
  • Instead of making Speaker the authority for disqualification, the decision should be made by the president or the governor on the advice of the Election Commission.  
  • This would make the process similar to the disqualification procedure as given in Representation of Peoples Act (RPA).
  • Individual MPs and MLAs need to be empowered to think independently.

Also, a parliamentary government is described as government by discussion. Therefore, by allowing for wider and more impactful participation in parliament, it is possible that some of the causes of disruptions would get addressed.

Q.16) ‘In the context of the neo-liberal paradigm of development planning, multi-level planning is expected to make operations cost-effective and remove many implementation blockages.’ Discuss. (15)

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Metropolitan planning committee is the weakest link in India’s decentralized planning structure.In the view of above Critically examine the performance of MPC since its inception? (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • In introduction mention the change in developmental planning in the context of the neo-liberal era. 
  • In the main body, explain what is multi-level planning.
  • Then explain how multi-level planning is going to make operations cost-effective and remove implementation blockages.
  • Multi-level planning is expected to reduce regional disparities and bring more equity in development 
  • Briefly mention issues with MLP and what should be the way forward.

Answer:

Neoliberalism is a policy model—bridging politics, social studies, and economics—that seeks to transfer control of economic factors to the private sector from the public sector. It tends towards free-market capitalism and away from government spending, regulation, and public ownership.. In this change in the economic scenario where the government is supposed to be an enabler rather than a player or provider of first and last, multi level planning holds significance.

Multi Level Planning:

  • Multi-level Planning opposed to centralized planning is an exercise where local institutions are actively involved not only at the implementation level but MLP is a more integrative effort that seeks to involve all hierarchies of administrative, geographical, political and regional levels in planning process. 
  • It seeks to involve active participation of the lower hierarchical levels in information generation, data collection, policy suggestions, plan implementation & monitoring of all developmental activities. 
  • The various levels of multi-level planning in India are: 
    • Centre
    • States
    • Districts
    • Blocks
    • Villages.

How multi-level planning is expected to make operations cost-effective and remove many implementation blockages:

  • Relevant policies: MLP involves involving decision makers at all spatial levels in the planning process through negotiations, deliberations, and consultations by way of communication through information flows and mutual partaking of perspectives which makes policies relevant and need based.
  • People’s participation: As a natural corollary to decentralisation of planning, mechanisms for peoples’ involvement need to be intensively explored for each level for more ‘relevant’ policy since interests cannot be adequately articulated without active participation of people who are the intended beneficiaries. 
  • Articulation at local levels could then be factored in policy proposals. 
  • Cost effective operations: Multi level planning is expected to make operations cost effective by providing better linkages between relevant sectors and ready access to required information, which would remove many implementation blockages.
  • Doing away of regional disparities and imbalances: By way of delayed decisions, Multi level planning is expected to reduce regional disparities and bring more equity in development, since the chief factor behind persistent regional imbalances has been diagnosed as unstudied application of the macro plan at micro levels without necessary modifications/detailing by the local development planners to address the particular requirements of an area/target group. 
  • Fight against corruption: Corruption has been another persistent problem. For example, the main problem with poverty alleviation programmes has been identification of beneficiaries and articulation of their needs, which has been far from orderly. Omissions/commissions alleged/inadvertent have largely thwarted efforts. 
  • Identification through local bodies can address the problem. Development planning is expected to simplify the implementation process by infusing role clarity, removing overlapping between sectors and establishing needed linkages for set output levels. 
  • Local development planners can decide on the territorial level, viz. gram sabha, samiti or zilla parishad, where a function can be performed with maximum impact and economy. 
  • Revival of local self governments: As per the MLP approach, establishment of local “self-government” would renew local administration, which would have positive spin- off effects on business generally. Improved investment climate is expected. 

Issues with MLP in neo-liberal paradigm:

  • A major problem, widely recognized, is one that relates to the activities that should 
  • An important issue of discussion for long has been whether the division of powers Multi-level Planning and functions between State and sub-State level should be nationally determined or left to individual States to decide. 
  • In a given geographical area, there are various levels of government, such as Centre, state and district and several agencies at each level functioning in the same area. 
  • The relationship in each category could vary in degree from superior-subordinate, equal, to semi-independent in nature. 
  • The way the agencies are structured at each area level in terms of representation to area-levels, and the superior-subordinate, semi-equal or equal nature of relationship in access to resources and powers of decision making, constitutes the core of multilevel planning. 
  • When the framework at sub-State level is varying and unclear, the functioning in reality can be very much at variance with formal structures (leading to accusation of hypocrisy or real centralization in the guise of decentralization).

Way Forward:

  • In determining appropriate area levels, there is need to take into account not only planning requirements in terms of techniques and processes, but also social, political and administrative structures.
  • There is a need to introduce Constitutional provisions to ensure continuity and authenticity to such arrangements, particularly in regard to elections for bodies at sub-state levels.
  • Since multi-level planning involves the shar­ing of policy and planning functions with the sub- national levels following six operational sing prin­ciples have been suggested for devising necessary mechanisms and procedures for effective flows of information for planning and for frequent interac­tion with the participating levels.

In India, our planning process has mostly been centralized and a single- level sectored planning has been going on for a long time. In the context of neo-liberal paradigm of development planning, for a country as wide and diverse as India, every state, district, block and village has to formulate its model of development, outlining its short-, medium- and long-term perspectives. 

Q.17) The need for cooperation among various service sectors has been an inherent component of development discourse. Partnership bridges bring 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.(15)

Approach:

  • Answer wants you to discuss the significance of cooperation in service sectors, which plays an important role in a country’s development. 
  • In the intro, discuss the importance of service sector in India.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, discuss the issues of the fragmented service sector in India and reason behind it.
  • Later examine the present scenario of co-operation in India’s service sector and what are the steps taken by the government regarding better assimilation of various service sectors
  • Conclude with suggestions in overcoming the gap among various sectors.

Answer:

Service sector has been the growth engine of India’s development story post LPG, contributing more than 50 percent of India’s GDP.

How the cooperation among various service sectors help Indian development process:

  • India has a huge demographic dividend and it has to be leveraged fruitfully over the next few decades. 
  • The potential of our youth has to be realized through education, skill development, elimination of gender bias, employment and good health. 
  • The resultant issue of job loss due to the technological interventions can be tackled better in Indian development and growth context.
  • While India is among the top 10 World Trade Organization members in service exports and imports, the growth and export of services is less than that of the People’s Republic of China, and exports are competitive in only a few services and are concentrated in a few markets. Hence, the close cooperation and collaboration is the need of the hour.
  • Most of the poor in India do not have access to basic services such as healthcare and education, and infrastructure is weak so the cost of service delivery is high. If India needs to breach the gap between GDP growth and inclusive growth, then this cooperation is necessary.
  • Research and development and ICT can play key roles in inclusive growth by ensuring access to cheaper technology and by disseminating knowledge

However, lack of cooperation among service sectors have dented India’s  growth to some extent.

  • Disintegrated transport sector- Road and Rail transport are seen in vaccum by policy makers.Result is road development fail to take into account railways(frequent tussle between highway developers and railways for demand of highways  of rail blocks by highway developers)
  • Education and healthcare especially for children have suffered due to this lack of cooperation.
  • SEBI IRDA conflict over ULIPs is a classic case of dent in regulation due to lack of cooperation  among service regulators..
  • Fragmentation: Multiple ministries and central government departments regulate services such as energy and transport while others like construction and retail do not have nodal ministries. 
  • Non-Homogenous: The services sector is a highly non‐homogeneous sector comprising a wide range of activities. There are differences within the services sector with regard to the contribution of different sub sectors to GDP and to employment. Services are inherently diverse; thus, it seems unreasonable to provide an integrated management framework that can apply to all industries.

However of late many integrative measures have bore rich dividends.

  • JAM trinity is a novel integration and cooperation between three services-Banking, Universal ID and mobile services..This lead to financial inclusion and inclusive development
  • Concept of integrated multimodal transport is a very good way to extract the best of all modes and provide a reliable and cheap mode of transportation system.
  • Merger of water resources and drinking water ministry would synergize efforts of both the ministries, as well as bring out a kind of team spirit among them.
  • Hence better cooperation must be sought after.Govt can devise a services council in line with GST council so as to cooperate among federal service sectors as well . 

Way Forward:

  • There is an urgent need to focus on the service sector and to identify the key barriers faced by different types of services and then to undertake specific reforms. For instance, in road transport, reforms should focus on establishing a seamless supply chain by removing barriers to the interstate movement of goods. 
  • In the case of industries like energy, various government departments should work together to design a policy that will facilitate equitable access at affordable prices. 
  • Regulations should be transparent and non-discriminatory, should take into account the evolving nature of the service sector and its links with other service related sectors, and should support its growth.
  • The government can work with industry and with educational institutions in public–private partnerships to identify skill requirements and design appropriate courses and training programs to facilitate their better cooperation. 
  • Focusing on vocational training and developing appropriate curricula will increase the employability of students in the service sector. The quality of education can be improved through proper collaboration with other service sectors at international standards. 

The service sector will be able to contribute to inclusive growth by enhancing investment, creating employment and human capital, developing infrastructure and lastly, by better cooperation & assimilation among themselves. It is important for a developing country like India with a large, young population to generate quality employment and to move up the value chain. If the reforms suggested here are implemented, they will enable better cooperation among sectors which in turn will enhance the productivity and efficiency of the sector and lead to inclusive growth.

Q.18) Performance of welfare schemes that are implemented for vulnerable sections is not so effective due to the absence of their awareness and active involvement at all stages of the policy process – Discuss. (15)

Similar question asked by our Test series

Poverty Alleviation Programmes in India remain mere show pieces until and unless they are backed by political will’. Discuss with reference to the performance of the major poverty alleviation programmes in India. (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • In the intro, mention the constitutional backings for various schemes regarding vulnerable sections.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, mention some of the cases where government intervention for vulnerable did not yielded expected results and the schemes and programs suffered failure.
  • In the 2nd part of the ain body, discuss the reason behind such failure. Keep the focus on the main demand of the question here: absence of their awareness and active involvement at all stages of the policy process.
  • In the end, give way forwards keeping the main demand in mind.

Answer:

The Directive Principles of State Policy puts certain obligations on the state to provide social welfare schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society. Such schemes are conceptualized at ministerial level and implemented at grassroot level.

Indian government has often been criticized for inadequate implementation and last mile delivery of such schemes. One of the major reasons is that there is a lack of involvement of stakeholders in the policy making for whom the policies are being made, in all the 3 stages of the policy process- policy formulation, implementation, evaluation.

Some examples of the issues with the schemes and how active involvement is missing:

Example 1

  • Despite the central government’s minimum support price scheme, it failed to support the marginal farmers. 
  • In 2018-19, just 12% of the 33 million farmers who were growing wheat availed of the government’s minimum support price (MSP), or the price at which it promises to buy 25 crops from farmers, regardless of their prevailing market price. 
  • The rest were sold in mandis, whose access was usually controlled by middlemen and where market prices are often below government MSPs. 
  • This is a case of lack of awareness among the farmers and also price is not fixed based on the consultation with the farmers.

Example 2

  • The Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme (BBBPS) is a flagship programme run by the central government to ensure the survival, protection and education of the girl child. 
  • The programme has failed in few districts because of  lack of policy implementation, diversion of funds and the failure of monitoring mechanisms. This is a case where stakeholders are not involved in policy monitoring process.

Example 3

  • These are some of the common trends witnessed in the poor implementation of many schemes such as ICDS in Bihar, NREGA in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa, Mid day Meal in Madhya Pradesh, Health Insurance Scheme in Maharashtra, Old Age Pension scheme in Chhattisgarh and Bihar and the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Program in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh among others.

Example 4

  • In 2013, in the Mid-day Meal tragedy in Bihar, 23 children were killed after eating contaminated cooked food, the flagship government scheme which provides lunch to nearly 120 million children in India every day facing lack of monitoring and hygiene, and also huge corruption.
  • The public distribution system has suffered because of lack of identification and verification of the specified people. 
  • Today, if we analyze we will find the entire nation has only 35% of cards distributed among the BPL families under BPL card scheme. But the quota is coming in full to all the covered states. 

Why implementation of these schemes is hindered:

    • Inefficiency of executives: Reason of inefficiency can be attributed to improper monitoring, lack of accountability, corruption and misalignment of incentives. 
    • According to CAG Report 2013, MNREGA scheme failed in Bihar and Karnataka due to misappropriation and subversion of funds.
    • Insufficient monitoring by the central government, misalignment of incentives which encourage rent seeking activities and finally, a lack of accountability which distorts the management of funds. 
    • Infrastructural issues: Lack of adequate facilities across sectors like health, education, transport, etc further deteriorates the chances of success of welfare schemes.
    • It can be said that there are several factors that hinders last mile delivery of welfare schemes in India. However, sometimes there are flaws in policy design stage as well.
    • Design flaws: 
    • It can be said that there are several factors that hinders last mile delivery of welfare schemes in India. However, sometimes there are flaws in policy design stage as well.
    • Political bias in schemes: Certain schemes are announced considering the political gains and not overall national interest. For ex: farm loan waivers across states were criticized by bankers as such practices are not good for the country’s credit culture.
    • Beneficiary identification: Use of SECC 2011 data which does not truly reflect the ground reality. Sometimes, those in need are left out.
    • Hence, the design flaws in the welfare schemes cannot be neglected. Both implementation and design of schemes are equally relevant.
    • There is the example of exclusion in the ‘flawed design’ of the contributory Atal Pension Scheme. 

 

Way forward

  • There are examples of successful implementation of schemes when the overall goal is collectively shared among the citizens. Government adequately tackled several diseases such as polio, malaria and HIV when the target was well publicized and clear.
  • The policies are made in ministries but implemented at state, district and village level. Hence, there is a need to strengthen grassroot governance. Also, proper feedback should be channelized to the policy makers to modify the systemic flaws.
  • Apart from participation of citizens, the need of the hour is to simplify procedures, incentivize performance, reduce red-tape and make the best use of technology to achieve the desired goals. 

Good governance does not occur by chance. It must be demanded by citizens and nourished explicitly and consciously by the nation state. It is, therefore, necessary that the citizens are allowed to participate freely, openly and fully in the planning process of schemes meant for them. The efforts of the present government on the principle of “Reform, Perform, Transform” seems to be in the right direction.

Q.19) “The long-sustained image of India as a leader of the oppressed and marginalized Nations has disappeared on account of its newfound role in the emerging global order.” Elaborate(15)

Approach:

  • Discuss how modern India prefers to prioritize its own national interests over the collective interests of developing nation.
  • In the 1st part of the main body, discuss how and why India, was long been hailed as a leader of the oppressed and marginalised nations or least developed nations 
  • You can quote examples of formation NAM, G77 etc.
  • In the 2nd part of the main body, highlight how in post-economic liberalisation (especially in the 21st century) economic prosperity is seen as the key to a county’s attainment of great power status and has been the driving force in India’s current worldview.
  • You can give example on how India has engaged in economic development in Africa, securing oil fields in Central Asia, being Israel’s biggest arms market.
  • So now, modern India prefers to prioritize its own national interests over the collective interests of developing nation.
  • Conclude the answer with suitable summary of the whole answer.

Answer:

India has been taking an increasingly pragmatic stance in the conduct of its foreign affairs in recent times. This shows a gradual shift from conventional foreign policy that india had adopted. 

How Historically India was the leader of the oppressed and marginalized Nations

  • India took control of narratives regarding various developing and marginalized nations in the first 4 decades since independence.
  • Important among them were NAM and G-77.
  • G77 is a coalition of 134 developing nations (including China) at the United Nations.
  • Traditionally G77 speaks with a single voice before the 193-member General Assembly and also at all UN committee meetings and at international conferences.
  • The Non-Aligned Movement is a movement of countries representing the interests and priorities of developing and oppressed countries. 
  • India was a founding member of this grouping.
  • India was at the forefront of these attempts to create a global space for developing nations and regions whose voices went unheard.
  • This policy continued throughout the Cold War, when India leaned toward the Soviet Union while deftly maintaining strategic autonomy and charting its own course in a bipolar international order.

India’s newfound role in the emerging global order:

  • This worldview began to evolve following the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic crisis at home. 
  • A newfound pragmatism began to emerge and by the late 1990s India was willing to place its own national interest – both economic and security – ahead of broader ideas of global justice and equity.
  • The high rates of economic growth ushered through domestic reforms attracted international investors and India quickly captured this opportunity. 
  • Economic attractiveness gave the country space to engage the rest of the world on its own terms. 
  • This meant that India would not give in easily on strategic issues, but it would at the same time be flexible and engage with the rest of the world to achieve win-win outcomes.
  • This shift, which is ongoing today, seeks to position India among the great powers by showcasing a willingness to take on more international responsibilities. 
  • Today India is at the centre of the international security architecture, and key to the economic and technological debates of the age. 
  • By virtue of its economic growth, its world- class space programme, and its contributions from medicine to IT, India has become indispensable to global needs and a shaper of the world economy, not just as a market, but also as an engine of growth and ideas.

How India is maintaining its current foreign policy using realpolitik:

  • India now prefers multi alignment rather than Non- alignment. Ex, SCO, BRICS, QUAD etc.
  • There is a growing convergence of views between India and the U.S. on the security and diplomatic architecture of the Asia- Pacific. 
  • India deals with China with confidence and candour. This is the new normal in the relationship. India and China engage, cooperate and compete simultaneously
  • India is taking a dehyphenation stance on Israel and Palestine. That means India’s relationship with Israel would stand on its own merit and will be independent from her relationship with Palestine.
  • India has pursued a strong Indian Ocean policy and unveiled a vision framework for the Indian Ocean. India has announced a new initiative, SAGAR- Security And Growth for All in the Region- not only to safeguard India and its island territories, but to broaden economic and security cooperation in the region.
  • India has coupled diplomacy and development in a turn towards quantifiable outcomes. Prime Minister’s foreign visits have focussed on the search for technology, resources and best practice.
  • India is willing to shoulder the responsibility of securing the global commons. 
  • This was demonstrated by humanitarian relief operations in Yemen, Nepal, South Sudan, Fiji, Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and in India’s continuing lead in UN peacekeeping operations. 
  • India stood in the frontlines in keeping the maritime commons safe and secure, and in global negotiations, such as on climate change.
  • Active engagement in development work across the globe. Ex. African nations, Afghanistan etc. 
  • Focus on better suited regional groupings like BIMSTEC or ASEAN over SAARC.
  • Wooing foreign investments and at the same time investing big in other nations. Ex. Vankor Oil Field; Taas-Yuryakh; Lower Zakum Concession etc.
  • At the same time, Indian companies have become one of the biggest sources of FDIs in countries like Britain, Nigeria, South Africa etc.
  • So we can see that now India cooperates with other countries but on its own terms and defects when it is not able to do so

At the global level, we see a shift towards playing a leading world role, rather than a mere balancing one, with ambition, energy and confidence. There is a realisation in the government that, to become a true great power, India will need to set the agenda on the burning international issues of the day, rather than merely shaping outcomes. At the end of the Second World War, India was a passive witness to the creation of a new security architecture for the world, as decisions concerning India were made by the British. But India now is prepared to lead the negotiation of global covenants.

 

Q.20) “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. (15)

Similar question asked by our Test series

India-US tensions are fuelled by rise of national-populism in both the countries and Delhi’s policy of multi-alignment.Discuss (15  marks) (CD Mains TS)

Approach:

  • India aspires to be the leader of the emerging global order (Ambitions in terms of economic, political), but that does not perfectly fit in the US’s strategy which is leading to friction between India and the US.

 

  • In the first part of the main body, the theme of the discussion should be on the line of: “India cannot ensure its global rise without a stable global economic order”
  • Mention in the 2nd part, how the USA is distorting the global economic order.
  • Also discuss the issues of frictions in other spheres between India and the US.
  • Give way forwards suggesting measures to find the middle path for the two nations.

Answer:

The partnership with India is one of the few U.S. relationships that has deepened notwithstanding transitions from the Bush to Obama to the Trump administrations. But a number of differences are coming to a head that could stall or even derail progress. Key among them are trade and strategic issues.

Reasons for continued frictions between India and the US on strategic and global platform:

  • India cannot ensure its global rise without a stable global economic order, but America under present administration is challenging the basic foundations of economic globalization. 
  • The U.S.-China trade and technology conflict is rising, with huge consequences for a global economy already under stress from several directions. 
  • With Washington flexing its economic muscles, India has begun to face heat.
  • New Delhi has been forced to stop concessional oil imports from both Iran and Venezuela, and these heavy-handed American steps have led to sharp rise in India’s oil import bill. 
  • India’s energy security requires a stable Middle East and New Delhi cannot be expected to downgrade its profile in the region. 
  • But more than that, the U.S. attempts to undercut India’s strategic ties with Iran are going to pose serious challenges for Indian foreign policy. 
  • India’s attempts to reach Central Asia are also likely to suffer if New Delhi’s ties with Tehran show downward trend. 
  • The United States has also been critical of India’s bid to purchase the Russian made S-400 air defense system. 
  • The biggest challenge New Delhi faces is that if it defies American diktat, there would be economic sanctions as well as restrictions on high-tech defense cooperation with Washington. But if India cancels the S-400 deal, its traditional ties with Russia are bound to suffer.
  • Trade ties are also a source of tensions. India has been a huge beneficiary of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program, but the Trump administration ended it. 
  • Hyper-nationalism and a combative approach has fundamentally defined the motivational structure of India’s current foreign policy. 

 

The US is unable to find for India a position in its global strategy:

  • A major obstacle to deepening bilateral relations at the U.S. end is the recurring failure to remember why assisting India’s success remains fundamentally in America’s national interest. 
  • This shortcoming is only amplified by the fallacious presumption that India is somehow in the same league as the United States and, as such, should be expected to cooperate by bearing the requisite costs of upholding the global order
  • What compounds these problems is the capacity of various interest groups in American society and narrow bureaucratic interests within the U.S. government to hijack national policy making toward India, turning it away from what U.S. grand strategic interests demand in favor of more parochial preferences.    
  • The United States views international politics from the vantage point of a hegemonic power and remains determined—as it should—to preserve its primacy. 
  • In contrast, India views the international system very much as a subordinate state and desires a multipolar system that would more easily accommodate its preferences. 
  • In the US, bolstering ties with India is still not a pressing foreign policy priority given that the US has stronger and more committed allies willing to readily partner with it in managing the challenges posed by a rising China. 
  • In India, the U.S. relationships with both Pakistan and China fuel doubts about American credibility in different ways, and the country as a whole has yet to rid itself of old suspicions of the US nurtured during the Cold War. 

Way forward:

  • The US should return to the best of its past practices toward India: acting to deepen the relationship by strengthening India’s capabilities without any expectations of clear quid pro quos. 
  • It is in U.S. interests to bolster Indian power even if no repayment is forthcoming because doing so will help limit the rise of a Chinese hegemony in Asia that could undermine the enduring strategic interests of the United States. 
  • The administration must resist the demands both of pressure groups in American society and of narrow bureaucratic interests in the U.S. government that push for transactional policies that subvert the nation’s larger goals.
  • India should articulate a geopolitical vision that preserves a special priority for the US and look for creative ways to demonstrate strategic solidarity with Washington. 
  • If India is to enjoy the kind of preferential support that the United States usually extends only to its closest allies, its leaders must offer their American counterparts a vision of strategic partnership that they find both appealing and consistent with their own conceptions of the national interest. 
  • Such a vision should be reinforced by increasing cooperation with the United States across the widest possible range of issues.

A long-term American commitment to India in the Indo-Pacific region is the only way to operationalize the vast potential in Indo-U.S. strategic relationship into concrete policy outcomes while preparing India as a credible counterweight to the Chinese power in Asia.

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By Er S

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