SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure Q&A August 12, 2016
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General Studies – 1;
Topic: Salient features of Indian society; Social empowerment
1) In Many parts of India Dalits are denied entry into temples, public and social spaces, and are threatened when they try to assert their basic human rights. Do you see a pattern in such injustices across regions and societies in India? What needs to be done to stop such injustices? Critically comment. (200 Words)
- Recently the Madras High Court observed that it was both a moral obligation and the legal mandate for the state to permit Dalits to worship at the Badrakaliamman temple in Kallimedu in tamilnadu. This brought into light the apathy faced by the Dalits in the Indian society .
Yes,there is a pattern in these kind of injustices across regions and societies in India:
- In many villages of India the nature of certain social equations has not changed from what they have been for centuries.
- Recent incidents reported from Tumakuru in Karnataka about village barber shops denying haircutsfor dalits upholds this notion.
- The Dalits’ struggle for an equal share of honours in temple festivals has repeatedly ended in failure. Despite repeated judgements by the courts favouring Dalits it has not been put into force .
- Discrimination against Dalits is widespread and ingrained in the psyche across India, in rural settings in particular. In some places it takes the form of violent oppression, in others it is disguised yet omnipresent.
- The number of registered cases of anti-Dalit atrocities, notoriously under-reported, jumped by 17.1 per cent in 2013 (compared to 2012) according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
- The Prevention of atrocities Act has not made a huge impact either, as evident from the figures mentioned above.
- Atrocities have continued, unbearably as seen in the recent case in madhya Pradesh a Dalit woman was beaten up because her shadow castes on an upper caste man .
- In parallel, Dalit women continue to be victims of violence and rape
- Gau rakshaks killing Dalit men for taking the meat of a dead animal shows the cynicism .
- The police and the judiciary do not change their attitude. In spite of the fact that the PoA Act has introduced special courts for speedy trials, the conviction rate under this act has remained very low and has declined even from 30 per cent in 2011 to 22.8 per cent in 2013
- But to have a case registered under the PoA Act is in itself a problem. On average, only one-third of the cases of atrocities are registered under the PoA Act. The police is reluctant to do so because of the severity of the penalties likely to be imposed by the act.
- Educated Dalits want more to join the university system. Some of them have succeeded in doing so, but they often face frustrating experiences when they are discriminated against in the very institution that should promote social mobility
- The absence of social reform movements in the heartland states in contrast to the southern states has contributed to the presence of brutal caste wars in the north.
- Government data suggests that the usual suspect in terms of incidence of crime committed against SCs is the Hindi heartland. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan top the list with 8,075 and 8,028 cases respectively in 2014.
- Part of the reason for this is the backlash by privileged groups against a new form of assertion of rights and display of aspirations by Dalit youth
- An assertion of Dalit rights, whether in terms of identity politics (in Uttar Pradesh), or class politics (Bihar and Andhra Pradesh), leads to a backlash
- But discrimination isn’t a rural problem alone. Joblessness among Dalits runs through the urban landscape as well.
- According to 2011 Census data, the unemployment rate for SCs between 15 and 59 years of age was 18 per cent, including marginal workers seeking work, as compared to 14 per cent for the general population. Among STs, the unemployment rate was even higher at over 19 per cent.
- After all, the Constitution guarantees the right to equality of all citizens and affirmative action for Dalits. Years of following the policy of affirmative action has yielded a high degree of participation and representation of Dalits in politics and in governance
- Certainly, reservations have given birth to Dalit entrepreneurs and a Dalit middle class benefiting from government jobs.
What is needed?
- It would help if the political actors who have accommodated Dalits among their party and governance structures, due to the their sheer weight of numbers as a representative section, also believed in and worked as conduits for social transformation.
- A recent study pointed outthat barring exceptions such as the Bahujan Samaj Party, the leadership of major political parties suffered from a clear diversity deficit, with Dalits being severely under-represented in the leadership across parties
- Economic empowerment is the key for quality of life.stand up India and Pradhan mantri mudra yojana gives an opportunity for the Dalits to become entrepreneurs.
- Recently the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, passed by Parliament, made several critical changes.
- New activities were added to the list of offences. Among them were
- preventing SCs/STs from using common property resources
- from entering any places of public worship, and from entering an education or health institution.
- In case of any violation, the new law said that the courts would presume unless proved otherwise that the accused non-SC/ST person was aware of the caste or tribal identity of the victim.
- Banish untouchability in educational institutions
- Ensure food security by incuding dalit families in Antyodaya Anna Yojana in the national food security act 2013.
- Implement Sukhdeo Thorat committee report.
- New activities were added to the list of offences. Among them were
General Studies – 2
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
Yes,the growth of political dynasties is exclusionary and undemocratic:
- Dynasty amplifies the dominance of the ‘forward’ castes in representative institutions.
- Upper castes still remain a dominant force in the legislature, around 43 per cent in 2009, and around the same in 2014, despite the change in parties in power.
- Even in the dynastic class, there too the upper castes have an even greater percentage:
- In 2014, 53 per cent of all political dynasties represented in Parliament came from the forward castes. There is, therefore, an amplification of dominance.
- Measures of qualification, skill and winnability are not significantly associated with parties’ preference for dynastic candidates. parties favour dynasties because family ties act as an informal substitute for loyalty.
- Subaltern parties like the BSP do not patronise dynasties. But they do so from among upper caste candidates, as the threat of a dynasty to the central leadership from a subaltern group is greater in terms of dominating the party’s core.
- The insecurity of the leader is always tied to the survival prospects of the central leadership.
- Dynastic imperative:
- Indian parties are so weakly organised that the need for loyalty, the need for trust within the party apparatus pushes even those leaders who were non-dynastic to begin with to go down this road
- In India, the number of independents who fight elections is going up, but those winning is decreasing. Therefore, however weak a party structure may appear, it remains important.
- Essentially, the success rate of a person from a political background is far higher than one from a non-political background. This makes the opportunity cost for a person of non-political background disproportionately higher as compared to one who belongs to an established political lineage.
- Unlike other forms of government, in a democracy, the selection of political leadership is a bottom-up process. However, in India, certain families tend to monopolize the sphere of political leadership. This, in some ways, puts a glass ceiling on the political process because certain offices become restricted by birth and other non-democratic parameters
- Inner-party democracy:
- Ticket distribution in any election is a ripe example of how several such factors are at play in determining party candidates.
- Undermines the idea of human ability:
- Often, proponents of dynastic politics put forward the logic that the son of a political person is better trained to be a politician than someone from a non-political background.
- This notion grossly underestimates the ability of humans to rise or adapt to the occasion.There is no empirical evidence to validate any such contention.
- Breeds stagnation in the political system:
- Democracies work, in the long run, because they keep pace with change, often outpacing it, pioneering it. Dynastic politics chokes the democratic institutions by acting as a barrier to new participants and ideas.
- It has provided a channel for representation for members of social categories women, backward castes, Muslims, and youth who donot find a space in politics through normal channels. In an unequal polity in which there are already high barriers to the entry of new groups into politics, dynastic politics has become an informal, second-best means of overcoming some of them. In fact, in the absence of dynastic ties, the level of representation of these groups may have been even lower.
- When a candidate comes from a political dynasty, people believe that he/she has been exposed to the workings of the politics and government of the land and can therefore ensure a smooth transition from public life to public service. The Nehru-Gandhis were a prime example, from Indira Gandhi when she took over from her father.
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations.
Pakistan’s role :
- Pakistan never reconciled to the fact that J&K is a part of India. Because of their failure to accept this, they continued with their twisted politics. This even led to a war between the two countries. .
- There are reports that Pakistan has resorted to using terrorism as a means to their end
However the way government acted has also been criticised:
- Centre has now started looking after current situation directly which shows the failure of the state government in handling the situation.
- State government of Jammu and Kashmir acknowledged that there appears to be an issue of police excesses.
- The use of pellet guns recently to disperse protesters has been severely criticised as it had severe impact on health. This triggered the protesters further.
- By counter-firing of bullets and pellets by the Indian forces, the deep-rooted problem of Kashmir has vanished from public discourse, sharply dividing Indian people on communal and nationalist lines.
- The public anger against the media, especially television news, is strong and widespread. The media is seen as “a mere propaganda tool of the State” and blamed for “hiding the truth”.
- The ensuing polarisation of opinions have further precipitated a cloud of distrust and hate.
- It is essentially a reflection of a deep rooted uncertainty. The greater targeting of the minorities, unreasonable, irrational statements against them by those in authority has only added to the already existing uncertainty in Kashmir.
- The protests were more visible in south Kashmir, which is traditionally the ground of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Before the ruling party PDP was considered as a life changer But as it turned out, the PDP allied with the BJP. This made the already volatile situation more vulnerable.
- The government must understand that Kashmir’s problem is because of accumulation of political, social, and human factors and not merely because Pakistan is trying to make inroads in Kashmir.
- Kashmir’s problem is a historical one and the massive unrest has been deepened by the some successive wrongs of the governments
- The big presence of military is also an irritant now.
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary
Problems of judiciary :
- Enormous burden in the form of civil and criminal appeals.
- dealing with mundane disputes like quarrels between land lords and tenants which have little bearing on the larger public interest.
- court’s inability to devote itself substantially to the determination of important public questions
- number of cases decided by constitutional benches has steadily declined from the time of the court’s inception.From 1950-1954-15% cases were handled by constitutional benches but in 2005-2009 -only 0.12% cases.
- Two judges benches are vested with enormous power of ruling on significant metters of public importance like section 66 A,suresh kumar koushal vs Naz foundation in the section 377 ban.
- In recent times, it is a matter of regret that some major decisions involving interpretation of the Constitution were delivered by two-judge Benches, whereas such significant questions ought to have been decided by at least a five-judge Bench.
- The verdict reversing the Delhi High Court decriminalising homosexuality and the judgment upholding criminal defamation are two examples.
- Supreme court using the pliability of its power to grant special leave to often intervene in mundane disputes
- Judicial activism by dealing with PIL’s.
- Appointment of judges:
- There was not one instance of all the judicial posts being filled. The average vacancy in the Supreme Court, high courts and lower courts is about 10, 30 and 20 per cent, respectively
- One argument for not filling the sanctioned positions that is proffered is that it is not possible to find good judges. If anyone says that 22,000 good and suitable people cannot be found to take up judges’ positions in India, it insults the nation.
- This is an issue for which both the judiciary and the government must take responsibility. Though there are 462 vacancies for high court judges, only 170 names have been recommended by the collegium.
- Incompetent judges, rampant malpractices like corruption and the existence of favourtisim in the courts
- Decreasing quality of legal education, unethical lawyers are some of the most important reasons that are bogging down the third pillar of our democracy.
- Refusal to switch over to technology and lack of computerization in courts delays the justice further.
- The lack of transparencyin the functioning of the system, the absence of a culture of openness and willingness to engage with civil society, academics and other stakeholders, and near absolute lack of quality statistics on the functioning of the system, the judiciary escapes accountability
- Rejection of NJAC by Supreme courtshows its rigidity that external influence is not welcome into the tenets of judiciary.
- On the other hand, there is a liberal dose of admission of cases without ensuring their disposal. This is mainly because some want to please the Bar. Only when you control the inflow, you can increase the outflow.
- Session court judges are not fearless to write clear judgements
- It is not just judiciary’s fault government is to be blamed too:
- the government is rightly being blamed for not accepting the names expeditiously
- lack of funds by the government to the judicial infrastructure and computerization
- Lamenting the plight of litigants and people languishing in jails and making a case for the development of the country,
1.Establish national court of appeal:
- it can act as an intermediate forum between supreme court and various high courts.
- can relieve supreme court of the weight of hearing regular civil and criminal appeals allowing supreme court to only concentrate on questions of constitutional importance.
- Also regional branches of national court of appean would allow greater access to litigants from remote areas of the country.
- But based on india’s constitutional structure there is little scope for establishing this court of appeal.
2.Strengthening lower judiciary:
- greater vigour needed to choose judges
- socially conscious and meritorious if selected as judges at lower courts and then High court,supreme court ‘s role as court of appeal can be renounced altogether and reduce the burden to correct simple errors.
3.Atleast two constitutional benches can be designated to hear cases in the week there by solving problems concerning the inability of supreme court to devote itself to its most important duty.
4.lokadalats need to be strengthened
5.creating specialised benches and greater involvement of experts like adhoc appointments of retired judges can be made.
6.To reduce experimental special leave petitions
7.E-court project of supreme court needs to be implemented soon to increase technological advancements for justice dispensation and improve accessibility
8.Transfer petitions which consume lot of court time can be handled over to a single chamber judge as it does not contain substantial question of law.
- Implementation of Malimath committee reforms for overhaul of criminal justice system.
10.All India judicial services need to be started soon
- Comprehensive reforms in all the government machineries as every institution is linked to Judiciary for instance better scientific investigation by police will lead to quicker case disposal along with sunset clauses in legislature are needed.
- The Law Commission in its 229th Report suggested having a Constitution Bench in Delhi, with four ‘Cassation Benches’ in different regions..
National judicial data grid data :
- 1 judge for 73000 people in India which is 7 times worse than in USA.
- at the present rate of disposal civil cases would never be disposed of and criminal cases will take more than 30 years.
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications
How can this technology make state more accountable ?
- For its potential to resolve the trust and centralisation problems of the present information architecture.
- The centralised control over information governance meant to infuse trust into the system normally results in blocking access to important data and cluttering real-time decision-making,this can be avoided.
- Uses single shared ledgers to store information. Instead of one centralised agency with access to a single ledger, different nodes in a suitably designed peer-to-peer network will have access to multiple copies of the same distributed ledger.
- By using advanced cryptography technology, blockchains ensure that information once entered into the ledger cannot be altered except if the changes comply with certain pre-set parameters.
- The ledger is also less vulnerable to attacks from outside, such as cyber-hacks, because the decentralised system does not present a high-cost single point of breach the way centralised information architecture does.
- At the same time, all trusted peers can effect changes to the ledger so long as they comply with the pre-set parameters. These changes will be immediately reflected in the ledger and be accessible to all trusted peers for quick decision-making.
- The design of the distributed ledger can also be tweaked to create hierarchies within the structure, with a suitably tailored degree of access and modifying authority to each level.
- can revolutionise the management of land records. Currently, trust is at an all-time low in the real estate market due to the inefficient and non-transparent functioning of property registries. These registries thrive on centralised access to land records and associated property transaction deeds.
- Using distributed ledger technology to access, manage and modify this information can protect the public from fraudulent land transactions.
- Similarly, corporate compliance can be streamlined and integrated across sectors and regulatory areas by using distributed ledgers that contain all compliance information made available in real-time to government departments and third parties including banks and investors.
- The implementation of social welfare schemes can be tracked better by integrating data points from multiple schemes and providing quick feedback on how beneficiaries access these schemes.
- The initial cost of transitioning to a data storage system so unique in its architecture
- The identification of peers or hierarchies within the network that can be trusted to access the data
- The privacy and security dimensions brought on by decentralised access and possible changes to the Information Technology Act.
- Most of all, there will be resistance from government staff to the massive shift in state-citizen interaction ushered in by blockchain technology.
Topic: Important International institutions; Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
6) Jurists and diplomats have pointed out that India has failed to develop and nurture sufficient legal expertise in the field of international maritime law. Do you agree? Critically examine. (200 Words)
India’s legal expertise in the field of international maritime law is less as seen from the following reasons :
- Within the ministry of external affairs, there is no dedicated legal team which could be entrusted with conceiving and strengthening the government’s stand across fora.
- Katchatheevu island:
- A dispute has been brewing over its status following a spurt in the number of Indian fishermen being detained by the Sri Lankan navy for transgressing into that nation’s waters.
- Diplomatic efforts have not made any breakthrough and talks between fishermen have not yielded any result.
- Enrica lexie case:
- There are questions if India adopted the correct strategy in recognising the jurisdiction of PCA in interfering in the Enrica Lexie case when the Indian court is in the midst of considering the legality of the acts of the two Italian marines accused of unlawfully killing two Indian nationals.
- Experts criticise that India surrendered its criminal jurisdiction to an international tribunal by engaging with Italy’s application to the PCA.
- Italian Marines on an Italian-flagged ship fired on an Indian fishing vessel 20.5 nautical miles from the Kerala coast, and therefore in India’s contiguous zone, killing two Indian nationals. There are no provisions in UNCLOS that cover a crime like this.
- It is baffling that the Indian member of the tribunal neither dissented nor put in an explanatory declaration to oppose a decision that so gravely weakens India’s case on merits
- There is a question especially as China did not heed to PCA judgement and US earlier had not accepted the international court of justice judgement about Nicaragua.
- Even Another case in the spotlight is MV Seaman Guard Ohio, where people from three different nations were convicted by a trial court in Tuticorin in January 2016 of illegal possession of firearms in the Indian waters contrary to Indian Arms Act, 1959 and sentenced to five years rigorous imprisonment.There is confusion whether it falls in the criminal jurisdiction of India or under international jurisdiction of UNCLOS.
However instances show Indian government has made some breakthroughs in the maritime law:
- New Delhi’s acceptance last year of an international award on the maritime territorial dispute between India and Bangladesh last year.
- Analysts in East Asia could not but notice the sharp difference between India’s peaceful settlement of its territorial disputes in the Bay of Bengal and China’s refusal to accept the law governing maritime territorial claims in the South China Sea.
- Delhi’s responsible approach to territorial conflicts and its respect for international rule of law in the Bay of Bengal.
- In the Italian marines’ case, the Supreme Court suggested creation of a special court. Acting under the Maritime Zones Act, the Government of India should extend the criminal law of the land to the entire EEZ to all cases in which:
(1) the victim is an Indian national,
(2) the consequences of the crime extend to the coastal State;
(3) the crime is of a kind to disturb the peace of the country or the good order of the maritime zones of India;
(4) the assistance of the local authorities has been requested by the master of the ship or by a diplomatic agent or consular officer of the flag State; or
(5) such measures are necessary for the enforcement of other laws of India such as those relating to suppression of illicit traffic in narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, organised crimes, and WMD Act.
- (2) to (5) are analogous to the provisions of Article 27 of the U.N. Law of the Sea Convention 1982 relating to the Territorial Sea.
- Since the Supreme Court ruling in the M.V. Elizabeth case (1992), it is now well settled that all High Courts have legitimate Admiralty Jurisdiction under the Constitution of India.
How to strengthen legal expertise ?
- Maritime cell :
- Diversify maritime cell by involving representatives of all the coastal states especially.
- Regional offices of this cell in costal regions
- Law colleges should be equipped with the maritime law curriculum as well
- A clear maritime policy for security needs to be framed in consensus with the armed forces .
Topic: India and its neighborhood- relations
- Besides looking to sell end products to Chinese consumers, another way of making this relationship more equal, according to analysts is to market India as an investment destination.
- Urge Chinese companies to set up their manufacturing facilities in India
- Chinese businesses play an important role in improving Indian infrastructure and hold a stable position on the Indian market in sectors like electricity, communications and metallurgy
- China’s strength in the manufacturing sector, which is vital for providing mass employment. India, for its part, has strength in services, innovation and certain manufacturing sectors, which can benefit China. A linked challenge for India is in skill development, where both can learn from each other’s experience.
- NDB and AIIB:India and China have a significant role to play in the success of these two initiatives
- Modernisation of infrastructure :India plans to invest one trillion U.S. dollars in infrastructure in the next five years and we would welcome China’s expertise and investment in this sector.
- There are numerous business opportunities for India and China, in sectors such as
- agriculture and food processing
- asset management
- construction and infrastructure
- electronics and information technology
- transport and logistics.
- India is a potential market for agricultural inputs like fertilizers and processed chemicals. In turn, Indian firms can focus on Chinese markets in processed and frozen foods and dairy products.
- Both India and China have been the victims of terrorism especially the Xinjiang region in China . Internationally both countries have increased cooperation in terrorism .
- Climate change:
- Both have similar views with respect to climate change and are supportive of funds from the developed countries for increase in technology support to deal with this issue.
- In recent years, through BRICS, the BASIC Countries, G20 and other joint associations like SCO China and India have pursued effective cooperation in areas like combating the financial crisis and climate change, assisting in multi-polarizing the world today, democratisinginternational communications as well as protecting the rights of developing countries
- China has significant experience of urbanisation and national planners, city administrators and entrepreneurs should share experiences and seek solutions in dealing with the physical, social, environmental and human challenges of mobility and urbanisation.
- As large and growing consumers of energy, both should intensify cooperation on the shared challenges of energy security, including joint development of renewable energy resources, as well as working jointly with third countries.
- Growing population, shrinking land, improving consumption levels and price volatility make food security a key policy priority for us. India has launched a major legislation-based food security programme. Both countries should pool our resources and expertise in this area.
- More broadly, in an uncertain global environment, India and China can work together to impart stability to the global economy and sustain growthin the two economies by leveraging their resources, large unsaturated demand, economies of scale and growing income levels.
- Maritime securityin the Pacific and Indian Oceans is vital for these economies just as peace and stability in West Asia and Gulf are essential for the energy security.
- Tourism is another area of cooperation and many Buddhists from China come to India while visiting the birthplace in neighboring Nepal of Shakyamuni Buddha, the founder of the religion.
- The recent news that Delhi and Beijing may be establishing a military hotline has shown how much the Sino-Indian relationship has expanded and matured in recent years
General Studies – 3
Topic: Awareness in S&T
- The entire process of Radiocarbon dating depends on the decay of carbon-14. This process begins when an organism is no longer able to exchange Carbon with their environment.
- Carbon-14 is first formed when cosmic rays in the atmosphere allow for excess neutrons to be produced, which then react with Nitrogen to produce a constantly replenishing supply of carbon-14 to exchange with organisms.
- Some of the carbon-14 might find its way into living creatures. After a creature’s death the isotope would slowly decay away over millennia at a fixed rate. Thus the less of it that remained in an object, in proportion to normal carbon, the older the object was
- When plants die, they suddenly stop absorbing C14. When humans die, ingesting C14 happens.So, since C14 is radioactive and decays, the amount of C14 in any organic matter begins dropping as soon as it is dead.This drop in level of radioactive isotopes is the very foundation of radiocarbon dating.
- If we know the speed at which radioactive substances decay, we can use that to determine the age of an artifact that contains such substances.
- In the case of C14, we know that a given amount of it will reduce by half in about 5,700 years. This is called C14’s “half-life”
- In general, if we have to estimate the age of some archaeological discovery, we only have to compare the concentration of C14 in it to the 1 in a trillion figure and stack that up against the half-life.
- It ticks well for objects up to about 60,000 years old .Older than that, and C14 levels drop too low to measure accurately.
- One of the most frequent uses of radiocarbon dating is to estimate the age of organic remains from archeological sites. For example, age of the earth, moon, rocks, and mineral deposits can be determined by using the principle of radioisotopic dating
- As for still earlier periods, carbon-14 dating excited scientists (including some climate scientists) largely because it might shed light on human evolution — the timing of our development as a species, and how climate changes had affected that.
- Carbon-14 might not only provide dates for long-term climate changes, but point to one of their causes
- Another completely different approach is to use 14C to study the times that meteorites have resided on the surface of the Earth.
- Radioisotopes are also used in the field of medicine. For example,
- 2411Na is used for examining the blood circulation.
- 6027Co is used for curing cancer.
- 13153I is used for studying disorders of thyroid gland.
- Radioisotopes are also used in the field of medicine. For example,