SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 06, 2016
SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A April 06, 2016
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Population and related issues
- It is trade of humans most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery,forced labour or commercial sexual exploitation for the trafficker or others.
- UN defined” trafficking is any activity leading to recruitment transportation harbouring or receipt of persons by means of threat or use of force or a position of vulnerability.”
- In India even though article 23 curbs human trafficking it has not defined it.The first definition is present in criminal law act 2013 that substituted IPC 370 with 370 and 370 A which deals with trafficking of persons for exploitation but forced labour is still not defined.
Reasons for the rise of trafficking in some states:
The factors of trafficking in women and children can be divided into two categories: Push and Pull factors:
The Push factors include:
- poor socio-economic condition of a large number of families
- poverty coupled with frequent, almost annual natural disaster like floods leading to virtual destitution of some people
- lack of education, skill and income opportunities for women in rural areas
- absence of awareness about the activities of traffickers
- pressure to collect money for dowry which leads to sending daughters to distant places for work,
- dysfunctional family life, domestic violence against women, low status of girl child, etc.
- Geographical limitations for West Bengal – Because of the porous border and long international border with Bangladesh cross border trafficking is very rampant in West Bengal.It acts as a transit point to send girls to different parts of the country.
- Again, the social composition of state‟s population where The socially and economically backward sections like Scheduled Castes,Scheduled Tribes and Muslims constitute 54 per cent of its population makes west bengal even vulnerable.
- Poverty and economic injustice is the most common reason especially in North eastern states. women in rural areas who have very little skills and education and very little income opportunities at home, find it hard to reject such offer
- the promise of immediate payments encourages the families living in financial difficulties to sell their daughters to the traffickers. Often, marriage appears to be an easy instrument for trafficking women to far away places and exploit them sexually and economically
- trafficking is closely associated with child marriage. Child marriage is one of the easiest modes applied by the traffickers to send young girls from one place to another
- Especially in tribal areas traffickers lure parents with education,better life and money for these kids.This is the case in Jharkhand.
- Tribal conflicts for instance Kukis in Manipur vs Nagas make many kids homeless and agents take this as an opportunity and this led to increase in trafficking.
The Pull factors are:
- lucrative employment propositions in big cities
- easy money, promise of better pays and comfortable life by the trafficking touts and agents
- demand of young girls for marriage in other regions
- demand for low-paid and underage sweat shop labour
- growing demand of young kids for adaptation
- rise in demand for women in the rapidly expanding sex industry
- demand of young girls for sexual exploitation as a result of the misconception that physical intimacy with young girls reduces men‟s chances of contacting HIV/AIDS, or of the myth that sex with a virgin can cure HIV/AIDS and impotence.
- Trafficking is also closely linked to migration, and of late mobility across the borders has increased to a great extent due to economic globalization. In recent years, the demand for cheap labour has risen everywhere in order to survive in the age of competition.
- Apart from these factors, weak law enforcement machinery helps the traffickers to recruit women and children from the districts and send them to distant destinations with relative ease.
- Rare conviction of traffickers encourages the operators of the trade to continue the lucrative trade and earn huge margin without any investment.
- Moreover, the unwillingness of the victims to seek legal redress due to absence of support from the police and the community members is also contributing to the spread of this crime.
- Lack of awareness and declining value system are other factors.This is the case in west Bengal.
- Men migration for work and the BPO sector workers have also contributed to growing demand for commercial sex in the cities.
- Migrant labourers especially southern metros lure victims with huge salaries and better lifestyles.
- recent report of United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC) titled ‘Anti Human Trafficking, 2013’ revealed that out of over 19,000 women and children reported missing in West Bengal in 2011, only 6,000 could be traced.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
2) In the light of GST and Fourteenth Finance Commission, it is said that India is seeing fiscal centralization and fiscal decentralization at the same time. Elaborate. Also examine the opportunities this situation has created. (200 Words)
GST and fiscal centralisation:
- states will in effect be giving many of their tax powers to centre once the goods and services tax (GST) becomes a reality.
- The Centre will fix the percentage of revenue to be shared with the states. Thus the autonomy of states will be compromised.
- the inclusion of taxes within the ambit of GST leading to loss of states advantages with local taxes .
- even in GST council centre has the veto compromising the authority of the states.
How 14th finance commision favours fiscal Decentralisation?
- increase the states’ share of the divisible tax revenue from 32% to 42%. This was a major step towards improving cooperative federalism between the centre and the states by way of granting greater financial autonomy to the states.
- As states know better their own problems and needs if state is allowed to spend on its own it would lead to higher multiplier effect.
- The 14th FC does not distinguish between plan and non-plan revenue expenditure, which implies that enhanced tax-share devolving to the states now
- Set-up of an autonomous, independent GST Compensation Fund through legislation as comfort provision to the states preceding a sweeping taxation reform
- Reduction in centrally sponsored schemes gives more autonomy to states to act according to its needs.
Opportunities created by GST:
- it is expected to broaden the tax base. The State GST will expand the base of the prevailing VAT to include services.
- reduce distortions in the economy through a more comprehensive input tax credit. The merger of service tax in GST helps to ensure more comprehensive input tax credit
- enhance export competitiveness by comprehensively relieving domestic consumption taxes on exports
- ensure greater regional equity by getting rid of inter-state sales tax and having a destination-based tax and creating a seamless national market by removing inter-state trade barriers boosting inter state trade as well.
- significantly reduce the compliance cost for taxpayers by simplifying and harmonising the tax structure and by making the administration uniform across states.
- would bring in more revenue to the government. With just one authority managing the tax, collections would go up.
- Under GST, irrespective of where the goods are manufactured, tax would be charged at the point of consumption, which essentially means that even poor states would see more funds being generated which could be used for their development
- Manufacturers will pay lesser taxes and there will be an environment of greater competitiveness and more freedom in business.
- will be easier to understand, easier to administer and easier to dispense with.
- The Jharkhand-esque conundrum: The states like Jharkhand which are more goods-driven and lesser services-driven will thus be sharing their sales revenue with the Center but don’t have enough services to compensate like Karnataka. This is going to hurt some states.
- Burden on taxpayers: The money that was not taken from the producer under the system of tax credit in GST will be recovered from the consumers, which definitely is a negative for the “consumer community”.
- According to the experience of countries such as Australia and Malaysia, GST triggers inflation in the first couple of years.
- Also, if the government doesn’t scrap dual GST (1% being levied by states), the benefits of GST would reduce significantly.
Opportunities created by Finance commission recommendations:
- new arrangement is expected to bring radical changes in the field of governance since with greater responsibility on states they cannot wait for the centre to give its direction rather take active policy measures and put them into practice and drive the state’s economy into a new direction.
- the states seem to have managed their budgets better than centre has in recent years. The combined revenue deficits of the states has come down sharply over the past decade, even as the central revenue deficit has been persistently high.the fiscal performance of states will only increase with devolution.
- the higher flexibility accorded to states could also mean that the Schemes per se to pursue would be discretionary and the funds could be diverted for other purposes within the contours of these allocations.
- larger stream of funds coming from the top, a shortfall in tax revenue at the centre would automatically get reflected in lower allocations to the states which in turn will affect their ability to carry out certain schemes.
- With Uday and 7th pay commission recommendations fiscal deterioration is going to take place as states might have to borrow more.
- Additional burden of funding priority sectors such as health and education fall on the state where central support may be less.
- States such as West Bengal with debt of INR 3 lakh crore will not be able to tighten their distorted finances through the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
There are huge risks to be faced by India if it neglects Iran especially in the present destabilised west Asia.The reasons are:-
Risks of neglecting Iran and giving too much importance to Saudi:
- The question that will Saudi arabia support India in multinational forums abandoning its ally pakistan
- post the removal of sanctions Iran is emerging a stronger player in West Asia.India skewing its west asia policy towards Saudi runs the risk of antagonizing Iran especially when Iran is emerging as a strong player in the region post the removal of sanctions.
- ideology-related concerns,
- particularly funding from Saudi Arabia for organizations in India, which might be increasing the influence of Wahhabism in the country;
- In Syria, the Saudi support for the rebels has played a key role in destabilising the regime, leading to the rise of the Islamic State.
- In Yemen, the war has unleashed chaos and a humanitarian catastrophe, creating conditions for radicalism to flourish.
- Aggressive foreign policy of Saudi arabia is doing great to regional stability, which is India’s most important goal in the region.
- For stability in Afghanistan India faces a huge adversity if it ignores Iran especially in the light of china-pakistan nexus.
- diaspora-related issues – including the treatment of Indian workers in-country and efforts towards Saudization that might limit employment opportunities for Indian expatriates
Despite some hiccups India understands the significance of Iran in West Asia and has increasingly worked towards the normalisation of relations by doing the following:
- Imports from Iran are relatively cheap because of the geographical proximity and the extended credit period it offers Iran’s role in India’s energy security remains important.
- India is looking at the prospects of a gas pipeline or liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports from Iran, as also investing in downstream projects for petrochemicals and gas-based urea plants in Iran
- The established tradition of exchanges between the National Security Councils and Advisors of the two sides could prove useful in this context
- India-Iran defence memorandum of understanding (MoU) concluded in 2001.
- Besides ongoing training and port calls, India could extend its support for hydrography and more intense naval interactions.
- India and Iran, therefore, have a consonance of interests in supporting the stabilisation of Afghanistan. The history of their association goes back to the support they together extended to Commander Ahmad Shah Massoud when he was combating the Taliban.
- Like India, Iran is constructively invested in Afghanistan and can play a much more significant role there as it gains strength in the post-sanctions period.
4.Chabahar port :
- India and Iran are poised to ink an inter-governmental agreement on the Chabahar port, where India is investing, in the first phase, a modest amount of $85 million to equip two of its existing berths for container and multipurpose cargo shipments meant for Afghanistan.
- India’s presence in Chabahar will offset the Chinese presence in the Pakistani port of Gwadar.
- Delhi and Tehran value the Chabahar port as a means to improve their geopolitical leverage vis a vis Pakistan and pursue their common interest in providing Afghanistan and Central Asia alternative routes to the Indian Ocean.
- Iran’s Bandar Abbas port, conceived as the hub for the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), remains, nevertheless, the shortest and most economical route from India to Central Asia, Russia and Europe.
5. India’s decision to remove Iran from the list of countries in the restricted visa category. The move will primarily liberalise the visa approval process for Iranian citizens, paving the way for enhanced people-to-people cooperation.
All these show that for a balanced west asia policy a balance of relations with Saudi, Iran and Israel are needed and India is increasingly working towards it.
Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
Concerns with simultaneous elections:
- Voting behaviour of people from the evidence is that they vote to the same party for the state and central government when elections are held concurrently for both.In 1999 people from 77% of the constituencies voted to the same party at both levels.
- simultaneous elections bring to a standstill normal functioning of the governmentand life of the citizens and bring a heavy recurring costs.
- Huge task and increased burden for election commission to conduct the elections.
- if loksabha is dissolved then all state governments need to be dissolved too is the question.For example when the former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s 13-day government fell in 1996, should all the State Assemblies have been dissolved at that time? Would it have been valid to disturb the mandate of those governments
- local and national issues do get mixed up to distort priorities.
Merits of simultaneous elections:-
- governance gap leads to policy paralysis and governance deficit:
- During two and half months of lok sabha elections-government cannot announce any new schemes,make any new appointments, transfers or postings without EC approval.
- Ministers get busy in the election campaign, the district administration machinery gets totally focused on elections.
- political parties and its workers have been wasting too much time and money in electioneering.if implemented, would free up a lot of time and resources for political and social workers to bring change at the grassroots level.
- to avoid the costs of the electionas they have gone up enormously. It has two components — the cost of management to the EC/ government and the cost to candidates and political parties. Though there are no exact estimates, one guess estimate puts it at Rs 4,500 crore..
- The bigger problem is the havoc played by the money power of political partiesand contestants. Though the law prescribes a ceiling on the expenditure of candidates, the fact is that it is violated with impunity
- enhances accountabilityas there is a tendency by the elected representatives to forget voters after the elections for five years and frequent elections keeps them on their toes.
- Infringement of the people’s right to choose their representativesfor the sake of saving money or for administrative convenience cannot pass judicial muster.
- elections give a boost to the economyat the grassroots level, creating work opportunities for lakhs of people.
- there are some environmental benefitsalso that flow out of the rigorous enforcement of public discipline like non-defacement of private and public property, noise and air pollution, ban on plastics, etc.
- Results at the central level influence the state elections based on the work done by the central government too when elections are not held simultaneously.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Environmental pollution
- Currently 62 million tonnes of solid waste is generated every year. Out of that, only 70 per cent, or 43 million tonnes, is collected. Of that, only 30 per cent, or 12 million tonnes, get treated. The rest of it goes into the dumps
- projections point to about 165 million tonnes of waste being generated by 2030.
1.Expansion of mandate:
- beyond municipal corporations to include railway stations, industrial townships, airports, ports etc.
- This is expected to bring an estimated 450 million people under the rules as compared to the earlier 150 million.
- manufacturers of sanitary napkins and diapers will now on have to provide separate pouches along with the products for their proper disposal.
- All waste generators will have to segregate and store the waste generated by them under three separate categories – bio-degradable, non bio-degradable and domestic hazardous waste – in suitable bins before handing it over to authorised rag pickers or waste collectors.
- the new rules will oblige the organiser of an event or gathering of more than 100 persons at any licensed or unlicensed place to ensure segregation of waste at the source and its handing over to a waste collector.
- All hotels and restaurants will also be required to segregate biodegradable waste and set up a system of collection to ensure that such food waste is utilized for composting / biomethanation
- local bodies can charge a certain fee from generators for proper management of such waste
- waste-processing facilities will have to be set up within two years by all local bodies having a population of 1 million or more.
- included for spot fine for littering at public places.
- Rules stipulate zero tolerance for throwing, burning, or burying the solid waste generated on streets, open public spaces outside his premises, or in the drain, or water bodies.
6.provisions for the integration of rag pickers and waste dealers (kabadiwalas) into the formal system through facilitation by state governments.
7.Burning of solid wastes and biomass, a common practice, has been categorically prohibited and will be dealt according to the provisions off the Environment Protection Act.
8.New townships and group housing societies have been made responsible for developing in-house waste handling and processing arrangements for bio-degradable waste.
9.The developers of special economic zones and industrial estates and parks will also have to earmark at least 5 per cent of the total area of the plot or minimum five plots or sheds for recovery and recycling facility.
10.A Central Monitoring Committee under the chairmanship of the environment secretary will monitor the overall implementation of the rules.
11.Every street vendor has been asked to keep suitable containers for storage of waste generated
Topic: Prevention of money laundering
- FIU-IND (Financial Intelligence Unit – India) is the national agency responsible for receiving, processing, analysing, and disseminating information relating to suspect financial transactions.
- he first step it took was to appoint an SIT (Special Investigation Team), as ordered by the Supreme Court, to investigate the unaccounted-for money stashed by Indians in foreign banks
- government appointed a high-level committee headed by MC Joshi in June 2011 to study the generation and curbing of black money.
- India became a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that promotes policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing and Prevention of money laundering act 2012 was passed to keep in check the money laundering activities.
- Double taxation avoidance agreements and Tax information exchange agreements have been signed with many countries.
Recent government Initiatives:
- In 2015 the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on black money had recommended mandatory disclosure to the regulator, as per Know Your Customer (KYC) norms, of the identity of the final owner of P-notes because bulk of it come from tax havens like Cayman islands.
- To curb the generation of black money, the Parliament has passed the Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets (Imposition of Tax) Bill 2015, in short ‘The Black Money Bill’. The Bill criminalises tax evasion in relation to foreign assets, punishing it with imprisonment up to 10 years and a penalty of 300 percent.
- India has been lobbying at the G20 and in other global forums for automatic information exchange on matters relating to taxation and banking. G20 members have agreed to share information by 2017, which will open the road to locate the illicit wealth stashed in foreign banks.
- The Union Government has made pan card a mandatory input for any serious transaction. Of the 1.25 billion people in the country, 223 million are Pan Card holders
- To deal with the problem of black money, especially in the real estate sector, the government has passed a benami transaction act 2015 to target transactions that are carried out in other people’s names.
- Indian taxpayers have to disclose details of all bank accounts held by them in the country and also foreign trips, as per the new income tax return
- the Budget for 2016-17 had announced a scheme that would allow Indian residents to declare their past undisclosed income on payment of close to 50 per cent tax within a compliance window of four months
- panama leaks-government has set up a multi-agency investigation team to probe if any illegalities have been committed in such remittances.
Failures so far:
- The present government however, reneged on its promise to reveal publicly the names of the people holding illegal money in foreign banks once the list had been submitted to the Supreme Court. It disclosed only two names
- Governments efforts are inadequate to secure the return of an estimated $1.5 trillion deposited illegally abroad by Indian citizens in about 90 countries.
- postponement of the enforcement ofGeneral Anti-Avoidance Rules (GAAR) to 2017, and more spectacularly, on the issue of participatory notes, or P-notes.
- No successful negotiation is signing the DTAA with Mauritius as part of OPEC’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project causes concern as Mauritius accounted for 34 per cent of India’s FDI equity inflows from 2000 to 2015.
- Tax reforms:
- strict enforcement of tax laws to prevent misuse of the existing system and a transparent and rule-based tax administration system.
- Stability in tax rates is needed.
- simple taxation regime enforced by a revenue department that has a non-adversarial approach to tax-payers.
- Whistleblower laws must be strengthened to encourage reporting and tax recovery
- curbing tax evasion to boost public finance is part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Fali nariman’s method invoking the Resolution of the UN Convention against Corruption, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2005 and ratified by India in 2011.This requires Parliament to pass a law to nationalize all the bank accounts of Indian citizens in the 90-odd nations where black money is stashed.
- Learning from china which too had the same problem with Mauritius, has already renegotiated its DTAA, and it can force investors to pay 10 per cent capital gains tax in China.
- financial auditors of companies have to be made more accountable for distortions and lapses..
- all India needs to do to attract FDI is to become an Off shore company(OFC), or create an OFC on its territory bring offshore onshore .these are less tax havens than regulatory havens, which means that financial capital can do here what it cannot do ‘onshore’. So every major hedge fund operates out of an OFC.
- Strict enforcement of law to punish the guilty and lesson from Iceland which sentenced 26 corrupt bankers to a combined 74 years in jail.
- based on its reading of an estimated 11.5 million leaked tax documents, more than 500 Indians paid Mossack Fonseca to set up offshore entities in tax havens.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions;
7) In India, in the past there have been instances of fake encounters by police targeting suspected terrorists and extremists. In your opinion, why a civil servant resorts to such crime? What values are compromised in such acts? How should they be trained to prevent such acts? Discuss (200 Words)