SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 NOVEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 02 NOVEMBER 2018


NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.


General Studies – 2


Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and
institutions”

1) Analyse the mechanisms through which the separation of powers between legislature and executive has been weakened, thereby weakening the legislature over the years in India. (250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out the various mechanisms whether statutory, convention etc through which the notion of separation of power has been diluted Indian polity when it comes to relation between executive and legislature.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is meant by theory of separation of power. Discuss its application in Indian context.

Body – Discuss some of the mechanisms through which executive has encroached into the domain of legislature such as through ordinance making power, passing ordinary legislative bills as money bills etc. Discuss the impact such measures have on disturbing the balance between the organs of the government and what should be done to curb this practice.

Conclusion – Give your view on the present state and discuss way forward.

Background :-

  • Separation of powers refers to the division of government responsibilities into distinct branches to limit any one branch from exercising the core functions of another.  The intent is to prevent the concentration of power and provide for checks and balances.

Legislature is being weakened due to executive’s action :-

  • Since independence:-
  • Legislative body of the government makes law. Its duty is to propose any bill in the house, to discuss and discover its needs and other probabilities of the same. After discussion, if two third of the total member of the both the houses pass and validate the proposed bill then it has been sent to the President for his consent. If and only President give consent then the said bill get the status of Statute or Act.
    • The consent taking system of Indian constitution clearly shows that there is no fully separation of functioning in law making power of the legislative
      body
  • Legislations by state assemblies can be reserved for President’s assent. Thus in case of conflict between the ruling parties the law may not receive assent.
  • Emergency provisions have also been misused in the past especially during emergency where legislatures have been pushed back foot.
  • The anti-defection law also weakens the separation of the legislative arm from the executive:-
    • This requires all legislators to abide by the party diktat on every vote in the legislature. Therefore, the legislator cannot exercise independent judgement on any issue if the party leadership has taken a position.
    • Thirty years of experience shows us that this has led to concentration of power in party leaderships.
    • The ruling party can require all its MPs to vote in support of a motion. These MPs have effectively lost their rights and therefore cannot do their duty of exercising their independent judgement on issues and performing the watchdog role.
  • MPLADS/MLALADS (local area development schemes):-
    • The argument was that elected MPs and MLAs know the needs of their electorate well and can be effective in allocation of resources. This again subverts the role of legislators. By providing each of them a specific amount to spend on projects, their oversight role is weakened.
  • Recent issues:-
  • Ordinances have become the preferred means of introducing legislative enactments that successive governments from every shade of political opinion have made liberal use of this mechanism. So this needs to be under check unless absolutely necessary
  • The passing of bill as a money bill is the one of the executive’s action to bypass Rajya sabha effectively making the bicameral legislature as unicameral. The recent case of introduction of bill related to Aadhar Card is a proof of it.
  • Appointing parliamentary secretaries to assist council of ministers is another case. Thus, the parliamentary secretaries being legislators may not finely balance the role of a legislator and assisting the executive. These need to be avoided.
  • Limits on the number of parliamentary sittings has allowed the executive to avoid emonetization-related queries, undermining the legislature’s power. Last year’s winter session is for 22 days.
  • President’s rule is imposed by the central government if there is a constitutional breakdown. But, recent case of Uttarakhand where the rule was imposed without floor test by state legislature is a case in point.
  • Discretionary power of executive like governor which is granted under the constitution is sometimes misused as well for instance the role of the governor of Karnataka during the recent assembly elections is questioned by many experts.

Implications of weakening of legislature :-

  • The role of legislators is critical in a democracy. They are elected by citizens, and have the task of ensuring that the government is acting in the best interests of the public. In this, they are expected to exercise their independent judgements on what constitutes public and national interest. They act as a bulwark against autocratic actions of the executive. Therefore, it is imperative that their independence is protected.
  • There is a risk of a slow erosion of the institution of legislatures, which could put at risk the very existence of Indian republic.

How to ensure there legislature is not weakened:-

  • Allowing Parliament to convene itself
    • Currently, Parliament does not have the power to convene itself. The Constitution mandates that Parliament be convened by the President at least once every six months. In this context, granting Parliament the power to convene at the request of a required number of MPs may allow Parliament to address issues more promptly, even during inter session period. However, this requires a constitutional amendment.
  • Strengthening the role of the opposition
    • Within the institution of Parliament, the opposition can play a central role in monitoring the government and holding it accountable. Opposition parties could play a greater role in deciding the daily agenda of Parliament, or alternatively, time could be set aside each week for opposition parties to set the agenda.
    • Internationally, the UK allows the opposition party to determine the agenda for 20 days of each session of Parliament, and Canada for 22 days.This practice could strengthen the ability of the opposition to hold the government accountable, through allowing for greater specialisation in tracking the government.
  • Revising certain rules of procedure of Parliament related to debates
    • Increasing accountability in Question Hour:
      • At present, the Prime Minister is only required to answer questions that pertain to ministries allocated to him. The UK has a Prime Minister’s Question Time during which the Prime Minister answers question on the government’s policies, across sectors. India can look into this suggestion
    • Strengthening discussions:
      • Currently, the Speaker/Chairman can determine whether to admit a discussion as a debate or a motion. In practice, there is often disagreement between the government and the opposition on the rule under which a discussion is conducted, as motions are put to vote. An alternative practice could be to allow a sufficiently large group of MPs to decide whether an issue should be introduced as a voting motion, or alternatively a debate.
    • Examination of reports
      • Given that a range of parliamentary committee reports are presented in Parliament, institutional mechanisms may be developed to highlight issues raised in these reports.

Topic– Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

2) The tension between the Executive and Judiciary isn’t new but it has assumed a different dimension in recent years. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Directive word

Critically analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deep into the tussle between the judiciary and the executive. It wants us to analyze the brief history of the tussle and also the new dimensions it has assumed recently.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  separation of powers between various organs of the state as envisaged by the constitution.

Body-

  1. Discuss briefly the history of the judiciary-executive tussle in India. E.g The Constituent Assembly was gripped by a question: should the power to remove superior judges be vested in the President or Parliament? In the end, the view of Sir Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar, prevailed and the members decided that both Houses of Parliament, while acting on an impeachment notice, would exercise this power, if at all. For, few members believed that this provision would ever be used; Seventy years later, that very provision is at the heart of a tussle between the judiciary and the executive; Mention the  Kameshwar Singh vs State of Bihar case; Golaknath Case; Kesavananda Bharati case; second and third judges cases etc.
  2. Discuss the new developments in this direction, which have given a different dimension to the issue. E.g In 2015, the Supreme Court struck down the NJAC legislation as unconstitutional; the CJI facing an impeachment motion, the lack of cohesion among senior Supreme Court judges, and the Executive asserting itself etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • Democracy thrives on the three organs of the state, the executive, the legislature and the judiciary, being independent of each other, and not necessarily on their interdependence.
  • In Indian context, three agencies of government are given different powers but not in 
    absolute form. All three have their own powers and functions but another can interrupt in its 
    function if the former has acted against constitutional provisions in described manners.

Issues between executive and judiciary :-

  • Tussle between the Judiciary and the political class came to a head when legislation on agrarian reforms and abolition of the zamindari system across different states came up for challenge under Article 31 that provided guarantees for right to property.
  • Power of the political class to bring in amendments is likely to have generated fears of the Constitution being overridden. The Supreme Court had to assert its position.
  • Court challenged he Punjab Security and Land Tenures Act, which was given immunity from judicial review by being put under the Ninth Schedule after the Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Act, 1964.
  • In the Golaknath Case, the 11-judge SC bench restrained Parliament’s power to curtail fundamental rights.
  • Populist policies such as bank nationalisation and abolition of privy purses suffered setbacks in the Supreme Court.
  • Executive asserted its supremacy over the Judiciary by bringing in another amendment to the Constitution. Executive’s assertion again reached the Supreme Court in a case now famously known as Kesavananda Bharati case.
  • The majority ruling of the Supreme Court declared that the right to travel abroad was part of right of personal liberty under Article 21 and government can’t arbitrarily impound the passport as it violated right to equality under Article 14.
  • With the collegium freeing the Judiciary from the Executive’s alleged interference, the Supreme Court went on to pronounce several key verdicts from the S R Bommai judgment to the 2G verdict many of which went against the Executive of the day.

Issues in recent years :-

  • The executive may further affect the functioning of the judiciary by making appointments to the office of  Chief Justice and other judges. 
  • The confrontation between the executive and the judiciary continues to cause serious concern. The latest outburst of the Chief Justice of India against the Government for delaying appointments to the higher judiciary has once again soured the relationship between the two.
  • There has always been a certain amount of creative tensionbut the NJAC judgement was the tipping point here. Supreme Court quashed the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act and reinstated the collegium system of judges appointment.
  • The unfortunate fallout of judiciary asserting its independence and Parliament proclaiming its primacy has been the failure to fill judicial vacancies.
  • The Supreme Court ban on the sale of liquor is an example such policies are unambiguously in the domain of the executive.
  • This, along with a string of other factors the CJI facing an impeachment motion, the lack of cohesion among senior Supreme Court judges, and the Executive asserting itself make for an unprecedented situation.

Conclusion

  • Finalisation of the MoP is the necessity today to ensure balance of relations between executive and judiciary. Also there is a need to ensure judicial accountability so the idea of judicial appointments commission needs to be analysed.

Topic – Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

3) Air Pollution in India can no longer be tackled with short term, reactive solutions. Critically analyze.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article highlights the severeness of the problem of air pollution in our cities and analyzes the limitations of government action in dealing with this issue. In light of the growing challenge posed by air pollution, we need to critically analyze our strategy to deal with the same and devise a way forward.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to answer the following points

  • A peek into how bad the air pollution situation is
  • A mention of what our current strategy to deal with air pollution is and its critical analysis
  • Give suggestions as to how to improve the status quo

Directive word

Critically analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary. When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Give a brief idea of how bad the air pollution situation is.

Body

  • Discuss the current strategy of the government in dealing with air pollution – routine, piecemeal steps without much reliance on establishing causal relations etc. Highlight steps such as implementation of odd even , banning of crackers etc which hardly make a dent in reducing air Pollution
  • highlight that these steps might give temporary relief. For instance, the situation during Diwali becomes hazardous and hence, limiting the use of crackers must be one of the steps of curbing pollution.
  • However, bring out the issues with the strategy – not scientific, not properly implemented such as in the case of stubble burning in Haryana where we are still unable to stop farmers etc

Conclusion – Give your view on our current strategy to tackle air pollution and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • The WHO global air pollution database report that ranked 14 Indian cities among the 15 of the world’s most polluted, in terms of particulate matter (PM) 2.5 concentration, received great attention in India.
  • India’s urban pollution as measured by PM 2.5 level is already about 40 per cent above the global safe limits across major Indian cities. If we disaggregate urban pollution, we find 70 per cent to 80 per cent of it (as measured by PM 2.5) comes from vehicular emissions, domestic activity, construction activity, industry activity and road dust. 

Short term solutions:-

  • Banning the use of private vehicles from November 1 onwards, although drastic, will definitely not be enough to curb pollution.
  • Odd-even schemes and, recently, the allowance by the Supreme Court (SC) for only green or zero-emission firecrackers, are the episodic measures that have been used, and still continue to be, to combat this methodical pollution. 
  • These solutions don’t work :-
    • Odd-even didn’t work because, while vehicles accounted for around 9% of the city’s pollution, just a tenth was due to 4-wheelers that were affected by odd-even.
    • Pollution due to the bursting of firecrackers is relatively small, compared to road dust that contributes 56% and 38% of Delhi’s PM10 and PM2.5 pollution, respectively, and crop stubble burning according to a Harvard study, is responsible for 50% of the pollution in October and November in the NCR.
    • Though both Punjab and Haryana governments have introduced renting of machines, and subsidies for the same, that are part of the mechanised alternative, as per Down to Earth, the available lot can cover just a fifth of the acreage under paddy in Haryana in the short period farmers have between the harvest and sowing period.
    • Public transport system might not be capable of handling these numbers, especially if the Delhi government continues to overlook the establishment of dedicated bus corridors, despite increased metro coverage.

Long term measures needed:-

  • Short term measures should be accompanied by measures that increase the forest cover of the land and provide farmers with an alternative to burning the remains of their crops.
  • Need to speed up the journey towards LPG and solar-powered stoves.
  • Addressing vehicular emissions is within India’s grasp but requires a multi-pronged approach. It needs to combine the already-proposed tighter emission norms (in form of BS VI), with a push for shared mobility and public transport and adoption of alternate mobility technologies. While shared mobility can moderate the demand for individual vehicle ownership and usage, technology solutions today can allow for a sharp reduction in emissions per vehicle. 
  • Incentives for adoption of alternate mobility technologies:-
    • India might need to consider pushing for battery localisation. Cell investments would need a long lead-time to materialize.
  • Restrictions on elements that contribute negatively to strategic objectives (such as congestion charges on polluting technologies):-
    • London imposes congestion charges during working hours on weekdays to vehicles entering the city centre.
    • All these disincentives to traditional cars help in the push for electric vehicles.
  • Enabling infrastructure.:-
    • There is an early need to standardise charging infrastructure/equipment to ensure interoperability and make it widespread. 
  • Stubble burning issue in North India need to be looked into seriously.
  • Attention to non-technological aspects such as urban planning, to reduce driving, and to increase cycling, walking, and use of public transport are needed.

 


General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

4) Discuss how section 7 of RBI act empowers the central government to intervene in the functioning of the RBI. What are the recent issues surrounding the act. Discuss.(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The central government has recently invoked the said act for the first time in the history of 83 years. Although the act has only been invoked upto the consultation stage, it is important to understand the provisions of the act and the controversy surrounding it.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

the question wants us to write in detail about the section 7 of RBI act, how it empowers the central government to intervene in RBI’s functioning. It then wants us to write in detail about the controversy surrounding the said act.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent invocation of sec 7 of RBI act by the government.

Body-

  1. Discuss the provisions of the sec 7 of the RBI act. E.g Section 7 pertains to management. “The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest,” says Section 7(1) of the RBI Act, 1934; Further, Section 7 (2) gives the government powers to entrust the running of the RBI to its Central Board of Directors.; Subject to any such directions, the general superintendence and direction of the affairs and business of the Bank shall be entrusted to a Central Board of Directors which may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank,”
  2. Discuss the recent controversy surrounding the act. Briefly discuss the differences between the govt. and the RBI over which such act may be invoked.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Reserve Bank of India has worked as efficiently as any top central bank of the world right from its inception. It was blessed with absolute independence to control or manage monetary liquidity, price stability, exchange rate stability, and later on financial stability also.
  • Section 7 (1) of The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, became a contentious issue after the tension between the central bank and governmentturned into a public spat over the last few days.

Section 7 of RBI act and how it empowers centre to intervene in the functioning of RBI:-

  • The RBI is an entity independent of the government as it takes its own decisions. However, in certain instances, it has to listen to the government. This provision in the RBI Act is contained in its Section 7 which says:-
    • The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest.
    • Subject to any such directions, the general superintendence and direction of the affairs and business of the Bank shall be entrusted to a Central Board of Directors which may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank
    • Save as otherwise provided in regulations made by the Central Board, the Governor and in his absence the Deputy Governor nominated by him in this behalf, shall also have powers of general superintendence and direction of the affairs and the business of the Bank, and may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank.
  • Clearly, the section empowers the government to issue directions in public interest to the central bank, which otherwise does not take orders from the government.

 

Recent issues surrounding the act:-

  • The issue of invoking Section 7 (1) of RBI Act came up during the hearing of Allahabad high courtin a case filed by the Independent Power Producers Association of India challenging RBI’s 12 February circular. The high court said the government could issue directions to RBI under Section 7 of RBI Act.
  • Against this backdrop, the government issued a letter to the RBI governor seeking his views on exemption for power companies in relation to the 12 February circular. The second instance was when the government on sought the governor’s views on using RBI’s capital reserves for providing liquidity.
  • Exercising powers under this section, the government has sent several letters to the RBI governor  in recent weeks on issues ranging from liquidity for non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), capital requirement for weak banks and lending to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) , withdrawal of Prompt Corrective Action for public sector banks
  • Government believed that easing of lending rules for the banks under the prompt corrective action (PCA) framework could help reduce pressure on MSMEs .However, the RBI argued that such a move would put the clock back and undo clean-up efforts.
  • With the credit markets tightening after the IL&FS default in September, non-banking finance companies lobbied the government for more liquidity. But RBI maintained its position since the bankingsystem did not witness any spike in borrowing costs and the market was just repricing risk in an evolving situation
  • Reportedly, the government and the RBI disagree on a large number of important issues such as classification of non-performing assets (NPAs) and setting up of a payments regulator independent of the RBI.
  • This section has never been used in till now:-
    • It was not used even when the country was close to default in the dark days of 1991, nor in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis.
    • It is not clear how this Section operates since it has never been used.

Way forward:-

  • International examples:-
    • There has to be a forum within the democratic structure where the RBI is obligated to explain and defend its position.
    • Different countries have taken different routes and by and large each model is appropriately tuned to their specific contexts.
    • US example is a good model to work upon. Presentation by the chairman of the Federal Reserve to the Congress makes for public exposure and transparency but does not take away the chairman’s autonomy.
  • The governor should be responsible and accountable to Parliament and not to a particular government or the ministry of finance, or ministe He can testify to Parliament twice a year. In separate testimony in both houses of Parliament, the lawmakers can ask questions of the RBI Governor and the latter can respond.
  • A better way to sort out these differences and to come to a conclusion is to have a larger debate with technical experts weighing in.
  • On issues of operational autonomy, the central government needs to lay off its pressure on the RBI.
  • On macro issues such as exchange rate management and RBI’s dividend policy, written agreements that clearly demarcate roles and responsibilities can be thrashed out.
  • The Monetary Policy Framework Agreement and the FRBM Act are good illustrations of how a mutually agreed rule-based framework can broker peace between the central bank and the executive arm of government.
  • If the issues are not resolved, the tussle will undermine investor confidence and strengthens fears about institutional erosion when India is already experiencing economic turmoil.

Topic– Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

5) Rural India faces a huge problem of air pollution, towards which sufficient attention has not been paid. Analyze. (250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

Indian cities are grappling with the problem of air pollution and the issue has been sufficiently highlighted. However, rural India is also sailing in the same tide but remains largely out of the purview of the media and policy makers. The article discusses the issue in further detail.

Directive word

Analyze-here we  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to dig deeper into the issue and bring out the situation of air pollution in rural India and why it is worse than the problem in cities.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  problem of air pollution and indoor pollution in the rural India.

Body-

  1. Highlight the problem of air pollution in rural India in detail. E.g  The World Health Organization’s Air Pollution and Child Health: Prescribing Clean Air report released earlier this week underlines the fact that  India had almost 61,000 deaths of children under five years due to ambient and household pollution; For other children who are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution in India—which is 98% or so of them—the issue links to a number of long-term physical and mental developmental problems; It is also connected with the country’s shifting epidemiological profile, feeding into the rise of non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular conditions and cancer; of the 1.1 million air pollution-related deaths in 2015, 75% were in rural India; Stubble burning, brick kilns, coal-fired factories and wood fires for heat all contribute along with stubble burning in north India to a high degree of air pollution in rural India; The draft National Clean Air Programme has set out a miserably low number of monitoring centres for rural areas etc.
  2. Briefly discuss the efforts made by the government in managing the problem and bring out the inadequacies in those efforts. E.g Ujjwala yojana.

Conclusion- based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Rural Indians, who make up about two-thirds of the country of 1.3 billion people, are disproportionately at risk of breathing polluted air, according to new research. Of the 1.1 million air pollution-related deaths in 2015, 75% were in rural India.

Rural air pollution:-

  • Stubble burning, brick kilns, coal-fired factories and wood fires for heat all contribute.
  • The problem is that of the 600-plus air quality monitoring stations the CPCB set up across the country, there are none in rural areas.
  • Exposure to the smallest and most dangerous airborne pollution particles, known as PM2.5, was roughly equal across rural and urban India.
  • Residential biomass burning is the largest individual contributor to air pollution across India, with many poor residents relying on burning wood, crop residue or cow dung to heat homes or to cook food.
  • The problem of outdoor air pollution in rural India is rarely acknowledged, even though chulhas contribute to it too when the smoke they produce drifts outdoors.
    • Villagers burn fires for warmth for four to five months of the year, and emissions from chulhas and rural industries occur year-round. Regardless of how good rural air may be in the summer, the certainty that it is highly polluted for almost half the year merits notice and investigation.

Efforts made:-

  • In 2003, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) issued guidelines for ambient air quality monitoring. They differentiated between the types of pollution affecting urban and rural areas. When it comes to the latter, the guidelines focus entirely on indoor air pollution.
  • Draft National Clean Air Programme put out earlier this year was an opportunity to plug the gaps.
    • So far, that opportunity has not been realized.
    • The programme aims to expand the monitoring network to include 50 rural areas with at least one monitoring station each.
    • There is also little detail on how violations of existing emission norms should be addressed.
    • Most crucially, the programme doesn’t envisage any cooperation and coordination across crucial ministries such as health, transport and energy.
  • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, aimed at shifting poor households from biomass to clean liquified petroleum gas (LPG), had the right idea.
    • But it hasn’t quite worked out that way in practice. LPG costs are a major deterrent to adoption and that even in households where LPG is used, fuel stacking using biomass fuels alongside LPG is common.
  • Other measures that could improve rural outdoor air quality are also falling short. In December 2015, the National Green Tribunal, or NGT, banned crop-burning in the National Capital Territory, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
    • However, the state environmental secretaries, state pollution control boards and district magistrates in these territories are not enforcing the ruling effectively.
    • Crucially, the ban is highly impractical for farmers, many of whom have no means or incentive to clear their fields in any other way.
    • The government offers subsidies for machines that help farmers plant new crops without having to remove the dry stalks from the previous harvest, but these are still too expensive for most.
  • Rising awareness of outdoor air pollution in rural areas in forums such as the UN is in part the result of recent advances in computer modelling and satellite technology, which have allowed experts to estimate air quality using satellite data.
    • These estimates cannot capture the same level of detail that on-the-ground monitors do, but they are indicative of the scale and severity of the problem.

Measures needed :-

  • There is a need for the comprehensive framework on the data collection.
  • The draft policy should be put to immediate effect with adequate budgetary provision
  • State pollution control boards, among their other functions, must inspect factories and power plants to ensure compliance with emissions standards. 
  • CPCB has to start monitoring pollution on the ground :-
    • Government-collected data will be important both for understanding variations in air quality over time and space, and for convincing relevant agencies of the problem’s gravity. 
  • In 2015, the ministry of health and family welfare officially recognised the issue in a report that emphasised the importance of addressing pollution and health in an integrated manner in both urban and rural areas. Other organs of the government should follow suit.

Topic: Indian economy : Issues

6) It is said that well- anchored inflation expectations can improve the strength of the domestic economy. Discuss in light of India’s flexible inflation targeting framework?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article highlights the importance of selecting an apt anchor for inflation targeting which would enable the central bank and the government to have greater flexibility in dealing with growth inflation conundrum. The issue gains particular significance in the current situation where it appears that RBI and government are not seeing eye to eye on certain issues.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out what is meant by anchoring of inflation targeting, how it manifests in India’s monetary policy framework, the advantages that it has for the macroeconomy, the flexibility that it provides for resolving the growth inflation dilemma and challenges therein.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain about inflation targeting and India’s monetary policy framework which is based on flexible inflation targeting.

Body

  • Explain what is meant by well anchored inflation expectations. Explain with the help of India’s own policy
  • Discuss the advantages of having such anchors and then decide on the monetary policy. Discuss advantages and disadvantages such as
    • The inflation targeting framework put into place is expected to establish the credibility of the central bank by reducing the uncertainty about future policy actions through increased communication, transparency and predictability in the policy actions
    • improve the strength of the domestic economy to counter adverse external shocks, reduce inflation persistence and curtail the pass-through of exchange rate depreciation to domestic prices
  • Discuss the situation in India and whether our inflation expectations, anchors and targets have left scope for flexibility

Conclusion – Discuss if any changes are required in the current framework.

Background :-

  • Inflation targeting (IT) is a monetary policy strategy used by central banks for maintaining prices at a certain level or within a specific range.  Using methods such as interest rate changes, this could help guide inflation to a targeted level or range. This policy is designed to assure price stability.
  • Recently Finance ministry and Reserve Bank of India agreed to adopt flexible IT based on the recommendations of a panel headed by Urjit Patel. (To bring the inflation rate below 6% by January 2016 and to 4% by the financial year ending March 2017, with a band of +/- 2% points).
  • Price stability is the main goal of this monetary policy.

Well anchored inflation :-

  • Effective implementation of monetary policy under inflation targeting depends upon how well anchored the inflation expectations are.
  • When actual inflation drifts away from the target in the short run, the crucial task before the policy is to anchor medium to long term inflation expectations around the target.
  • Anchoring of inflation expectations depends upon a number of factors such as the credibility and independence of the central bank, clarity and transparency in the communication of policy decisions to general public etc.
  • Furthermore, the anchoring of inflation expectations occurs only gradually as it takes some time for the central bank to gain credibility.
  • The inflation targeting framework put into place is expected to establish the credibility of the central bank by reducing the uncertainty about future policy actions through increased communication, transparency and predictability in the policy actions.

These expectations can improve the strength of the economy :-

  • World Economic Outlook, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provides very interesting insights about the improved inflation performance of emerging markets since mid-2000.
  • Domestic factors, mainly long-term inflation expectations, are the major drivers of inflation in emerging markets. The inflation expectations in emerging markets have become increasingly anchored over the past two decades.
  • The behaviour of inflation expectations have important implications for the actual inflation outcomes and the monetary policy. Also, the extent of forward versus backward looking elements in the expectations formation actually determines the magnitude of the output loss under disinflation process.
  • Moreover, well- anchored inflation expectations can improve the strength of the domestic economy to counter adverse external shocks, reduce inflation persistence and curtail the pass-through of exchange rate depreciation to domestic prices.
  • Ideally, a firmly anchored medium to long term inflation expectation would not respond to temporary shocks to actual inflation and would become more stable around the target.
  • If inflation expectations over the medium to long term horizons are firmly anchored around the target, this provides some space for monetary policy to address growth concerns, even when the actual inflation spikes temporarily due to shocks. Firmly anchored inflation expectations prevent the second round effects of a relative prices changes.

Positives of inflation targeting :-

  • Balancing Predictability and Expectations
    • Inflation targeting instills predictability. If one was to take a broader view of the world, then situations will appear to be relatively predictable. 
  • Preventing Bubbles and Fuelling Sustainable Growth
  • Preventing Economic Collapse
    • Without inflation targeting, costs can skyrocket.
  • It allows monetary policy to focus on domestic considerations and to respond to shocks to the domestic economy.
  • It facilitates well-informed decision-making by households and investors, reduces economic and financial uncertainty, and increases the effectiveness of monetary policy.
  • An explicit numerical inflation target increases a central bank’s accountability and it can also insulate the bank from political pressure to undertake an overly expansionary monetary policy.
  • In emerging markets Inflation targeting appears to have been associated with lower inflation, lower inflation expectations and lower inflation volatility relative to countries that have not adopted it.

Negatives:-

  • Created an imbalance between India’s foreign exchange debt and its reserves that has brought international hedge funds into the Indian money market.
  • Making price stability the first goal of policy, therefore, sacrifices growth at the altar of stability. That is what the RBI has been doing since January 2007.
  • Unrealistic :-
    • Economy will react and be influenced by thousands of factors and it is not possible to always counter so many influencing elements. Hence, in an attempt to target a certain inflation rate or to keep it within a certain limit, central banks and governments take measures that prove to be wrong. Many a time in the past and in developed nations, governments and the central banks have not only failed to contain inflation but their attempts have led to more problems.
  • Against development:-
    • It is not entirely possible to keep the inflation in check at all times. Even today, there are places in every country where inflation targeting simply doesn’t work.
  • Side Effects:-
    • Inflation targeting can be hazardous for a country in the long term. It can render various industries to become uncompetitive. The governments may take up too much of the onus or the financial burden of keeping inflation under check. This can lead to higher fiscal deficits, poor welfare policies or stimulus packages and eventually the economy may cease to remain as free flowing as is needed.
  • Increases in inflation are not necessarily coupled to any factor internal to a country’s economy and strictly adjusting interest rates will potentially be ineffectual and may restricts economic growth.
  • It neglects output shocks by focusing solely on the price level and it may leads to potential instability in the event of large supply-side shocks.
  • It may leads to restricted ability of the central bank to respond to financial crises or unforeseen events.
  • Due to interest Rate high, borrowing cost became high inside country.
  • Capital intensive industries like infrastructure , power can not sustain high interest rate to check inflation .
  • Policy of inflation targeting by RBI made borrowing in the Indian market very costly for industrial borrowers, thus increasing their exposure to currency volatility.

General Studies – 4


Topic-  Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships.

7) “Ethics is neither feelings, nor religion. It is neither following the law nor  doing whatever society accepts.” Comment.(250 words) 

Reference

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion based on our knowledge and understanding as to why Ethics is neither feelings, nor religion; not following the law and not doing whatever society accepts. We can form our opinion either in favour or against the statement but our opinion should be properly backed.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  meaning of ethics. E.g

Body

Discuss individually-

  1. Why ethics is not feelings.
  2. Why ethics is not religion.
  3. Why ethics is not following the law.
  4. Why ethics is not doing whatever society accepts.

Take the help of the article attached to the question to frame yur answer.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue. Give a simple and a conclusive definition of ethics to sum up your answer.

Background:-

Ethics is the evaluation of behavior on the basis of the good, the right, or of what makes for happiness. 

Ethics is neither feelings :-

  • Being ethical is clearly not a matter of following one’s feelings. A person following his or her feelings may recoil from doing what is right. In fact, feelings frequently deviate from what is ethical.

Ethics is neither religion :-

  • Most religions, of course, advocate high ethical standards. Yet if ethics were confined to religion, then ethics would apply only to religious people. But ethics applies as much to the behavior of the atheist as to that of the devout religious person.
  • Religion can set high ethical standards and can provide intense motivations for ethical behavior. Ethics, however, cannot be confined to religion nor is it the same as religion.

It is neither following the law :-

  • The law often incorporates ethical standards to which most citizens subscribe. But laws, like feelings, can deviate from what is ethical.
  • Pre-Civil War slavery laws and the old apartheid laws of present-day South Africa are grotesquely obvious examples of laws that deviate from what is ethical.

It is neither doing what society accepts :-

  • Finally, being ethical is not the same as doing “whatever society accepts.” In any society, most people accept standards that are, in fact, ethical.
  • But standards of behavior in society can deviate from what is ethical. An entire society can become ethically corrupt. Nazi Germany is a good example of a morally corrupt society.
  • The lack of social consensus on many issues makes it impossible to equate ethics with whatever society accepts. Some people accept abortion but many others do not. If being ethical were doing whatever society accepts, one would have to find an agreement on issues which does not, in fact, exist.

What is ethics ?

  • Ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud.
  • Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.
  • Ethics refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standards. So it is necessary to constantly examine one’s standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.

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