SYNOPSIS – Insights Secure – 2017: 22 December 2016
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Role of women, Social empowerment
1) Since the December 2012 gangrape, there has been little progress in ensuring safety of women in the Capital. Examine why despite numerous court hearings on the issue, there has been no progress on this issue. (200 Words)
Background: – Nirbhaya incident of 2012, became a watershed event for evaluation and improvement of women safety in the country, especially in the capital. Widespread protests and public outrage resulted in very speedy trials, setting up of the JS Verma committee, enactment of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013, Nirbhaya Fund and other knee-jerk reactions.
Even after numerous court hearings in these four years, there has been little progress in the issue.
Numerous Court hearings has highlighted following issues:-
- Lack of PCR patrolling – along the ‘dark stretches’ of the Capital, which makes them crime prone zone and thus safety on those stretches becomes crucial.
- Separate crime investigation unit – Court raised the issue of separating Delhi Police’s “crime investigation unit” from its “general law and order” duties.
- Map the high crime areas – The court asked the police to map areas with high rates of crime against women.
- To conduct sociological study- The court also directed the police to conduct a “sociological study” to look at the background of offenders and victims, which revealed that over 60 per cent of all cases of sexual offences were committed by people known to the victim.
- Expedite the process of filling police posts – To the court asked the Centre to expedite the process, but it has been delayed. Frustrated by the delay, the court summoned the central government officials to explain why the sanction for additional police posts was getting delayed. The court was told that the proposals were “too costly”.
- Control of footage – Over a dispute on who should control the footage of the CCTV cameras, the court said that police should have control of the footage rather than Delhi government. But, till now the work of setting up cameras in police stations has not started.
Why there has been no progress?
- Lack of necessary infrastructure – It was found that in high crime areas/ hotspots/ vulnerable areas there is lack of police and CCTV surveillance, missing streetlights are missing and presence of alcohol vends, etc are causing increase in crime.
- Shortage of women staff – Delhi Police has started, all-women PCR vans and deployed in five places of the city. But they were unable to expand the project to other places in the city because they did not have “enough women drivers.”
- Shortage of police personnel in general – The Delhi Police, is facing the problem 0f being “understaffed” and this has been informed to the Home Ministry (MHA), seeking more personnel. But, the request has not been met till now.
- Hurdles in creating additional posts – The demand for additional personnel by Delhi police has been facing rejection by Finance ministry on the name of -costly affair. Also, one high-level committee submitted its report, rejecting the demand for additional personnel and seeking “rationalisation of the jurisdiction” of police stations for “better distribution” of resources.
- Lack of clarity and coordination over jurisdiction – The AAP government offered to “finance” the proposal of installing CCTV cameras for Delhi Police but a dispute arose between the police and the Delhi government over access to and control of the CCTV footage. However, court made it clear that police should have the control, but still CCTV cameras have not been installed, which is delaying the move towards safety of women.
- Other issues – There is no adequate institutional security provision in case of unorganized sector women workers.
- Other concerns ( related to investigation, compensation )- Improper mobilisation of Victim compensation scheme and funds, a delay of two to four years in getting forensic reports since there was only one Delhi government-run forensic science lab (FSL). “Urgent” cases were sent to the CBI’s Central Forensic Science Lab. The government then proposed to set up Regional FSLs in all 5 ‘zones’ of Delhi but it couldn’t reach an agreement with DDA on the transfer of land for the FSLs.
Women’s safety is an indicator of the social development and well-being of the country. Delhi Government, Centre and the civil society should come together to ensure that sensitization of women safety and law enforcement are taken up without delay. In this direction, attention should be paid to the views and concerns raised through the numerous court hearings.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.;
2) Recently, the Supreme Court criticised the government for its “indifferent attitude” towards the implementation of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Examine why implementation of this Act is poor and suggest how it can be implemented effectively. (200 Words)
Background – Indian constitution prohibits untouchability and caste based discrimination, thus Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 was enacted to uphold this provision and to end atrocities committed against SC and ST people.
Why Supreme Court (SC) has criticised?
- Poor implementation – SC has criticised government for its indifferent attitude towards the implementation of the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
- Poor discharge of duties – Keeping in mind the lacklustre attitude of officials, court has asked the authorities to discharge their duties to protect the SCs/STs to attain the constitutional goal of equality for all citizens.
- Poor awareness- Keeping in mind, the poor level of awareness about the act, court has directed the National Legal Services Authority (NLSA) to frame schemes for spreading legal awareness and free consultations to members of the SC/ST communities nationwide.
Why implementation of the Act is poor?
- Lack of political will: Political parties are not willing to ensure proper implementation of the act. Caste based atrocities are hot topics for vote bank politics.
- Illiteracy & Poor Awareness: Literacy rate among SC & ST is far below national literacy level. As a result most of them are unaware of provisions of the act, which exists to protect them.
- Low conviction rates and wilful negligence by the police: Even if the incidents are reported the conviction rate of those guilty remains low. This discourages the victims from reporting the crime in future. A time bound investigation by police would lead to higher conviction rates.
- Poor condition of DVMC: The act mandates formation of District Vigilance & Monitoring committee at state & district level. Meetings of these committees are irregular & very less.
- Lacunae in Legal system: Victims of atrocities already suffer from insecurities and social avoidance and if the judge delegated to protect them shows indifference, it aggravates their already vulnerable position.
How it can be implemented effectively ?
- Wide publicity should be given to this provision so that the victims can avail the services of competent lawyers at the earliest. SC direction to NALSA for raising legal awareness is a welcome step. Even, programmes like Mann ki Baat and media can be used for this.
- Zero tolerance attitude towards wilful negligence of the investigating officers. Officers responsible for lax implementation of the law should be punished.
- Meetings of vigilance committees should be regular. Fixing a calendar for scheduled meetings will help in proper coordination and vigilance.
- Ensuring safety & security of victims. Accountability of the organisation responsible for implementation of the Act should be increased. However, recently done amendment to this act has made stringent position for the administrators who are implementing it.
- Behavioural changes are required to change the attitude of people towards the backward classes. Government officials and the citizens in general should be sensitized towards their issues.
Way forward – State should promote Dalit entrepreneurship for small and micro industries. The Penal Provisions on practice of untouchability and atrocities against SCs/STs should be displayed on Public Notice boards. Special grievance help line should be started to report against atrocities committed.
Topic: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Background- In November 2016, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, while addressing a complaint relating to a missing child, criticised the State government’s (Tamil Nadu) laxity in tracing missing children. It noted the lack of coordination between officials of the district administration, social welfare, child welfare committee and the police.
Why missing children are concern for the nation?
- Huge number of children missing – Statistics show that over 60,000 children go missing every year in the country. In the past year, 2,953 children have gone missing in Uttar Pradesh alone. These missing children are future demographic dividend of India, which India is losing out.
- Trafficking of missing girls – There are also concerns about the number of girl children who go missing, which, besides being particularly high, is often connected to human trafficking. For trafficking, several causes have been identified by the NCRB. Primary causes are forced marriage, child labour, procuration of minors as domestic help and sexual exploitation. According to an answer to a question in the Lok Sabha in March 2016, a large number of minor girls were rescued from domestic servitude in 2014-15. In 2015, 147 minor girls were rescued from domestic servitude, with the largest number from Madhya Pradesh.
- Violation of fundamental rights – In India, it is a fundamental right under Article – 23 and 24 and state has constitutional obligation to protect children from trafficking and exploitation. In the face of huge number children missing in India, it is a state failure to fulfil its constitutional duties.
How to tackle this problem?
- Keeping online track of records – Ministry of Women and child development has set up a website – gov.in– it has information related to missing children in each State. It also includes information relating to police stations in every State and the number of children missing and traced in real time. Another portal which was set up in 2015 – khoyapaya.gov.in – where information relating to missing children can be submitted. These online portals will give a clear picture to administrators, NGO to work over this matter along with pushing transparency and accountability over progress. However, creating awareness about portal, enough manpower to handle website and its information should be taken seriously.
- Capitalizing power of social media – The outreach of social media is increasing with the increasing penetration of internet and smart phones. In the past, it has been used to mobilise support of people for social issues, political matters, etc. In the same way images of missing children can be shared on social media in an attempt at increasing outreach and tracing them.
- Urgent need for legal reform – was the issue of tracing missing children and the links with trafficking. The draft Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2016, which seeks to address loopholes in the legal system, impose stronger penal measures and address issues of rehabilitation, should be given priority by the legislatures.
- Vigilance along borders – Child trafficking along the international borders needs an updated data repository. Coordination with the neighbouring countries at diplomatic level coordination between BSF and child protection agencies would be helpful in checking trafficking.
- Special cells and sensitisation – Sensitisation training and special cells in Police stations for addressing the issue should be done on the lines of Operation Muskan and Operation Smile to rescue missing children.
Way forward – Strong, well-coordinated platforms along with sound rehabilitation measures for the well-being and protection of rescued children who have been victims of violence are needed to deal with the problem of missing children and to harvest the benefits of demographic dividend.
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
Background – Manipur capital Imphal is a valley which is surrounded by hills from almost all sides. The approach roads are through the two National Highways, 2 and 37. Apart from that there is a 100 km road from Moreh, on the Myanmar border. All three roads cross the Naga-inhabited hills to reach the valley.
‘Economic Blockade’ has been the favourite tool to create pressure on the valley for all the hill groups. Imphal valley which caters to almost 90% of the population of the state has a majority of Meiteis. The hills which has the 90% of land are mostly the Naga, Kukis and the other hill tribes.
Since November, 2016, the UNC (United Naga Council) has called blockade of the national highways leading to the Manipur valley.
Causes of Ongoing Ethnic crisis in Manipur:-
- Opposition against newly formed districts – The blockade is in place to oppose the creation of new districts by the Okram Ibobi Singh government. On December 9 it issued a gazette notification for the creation of seven new districts by bifurcating seven (of a total of nine, making it 16 in total) districts.
- Move is being seen as political in nature – With State Assembly elections around the corner, the decision of creating new districts by the Congress-led government is being seen as a desperate measure to woo the hill residents.
- Opposition by UNC for not being consulted- While residents and groups in the new districts have welcomed the decision, the UNC has protested, alleging that areas with a Naga population have been divided and that the lack of consultation is a violation of commitments made by both the Centre and the State in various memoranda of understanding.
- Jeopardy to Greater Nagalim- Naga groups are unhappy because the creation of new districts jeopardises their claim for a Greater Nagalim , which would include Nagaland and earstwhile 4 hill districts of Manipur. Manipur is adamant at not ceding its territory to the Nagas.
Nature of the crisis: – Due to blockade in the Meitei-dominated valley, there has been violence both in the hills and in the valley. It is causing ethnic polarisation and threatening the fragile peace in the State. This has severely affected life in the State, with shortages and escalating costs of essential supplies such as fuel and food, even as demonetisation has exacerbated problems. Petrol prices have shot up to Rs 200-250. Government claims it has fuel reserve only for about 2 days. Thousands of trucks carrying essential commodities are stuck at the various parts of the highway. The international trade via Myanmar has come to a virtual halt.
What should be the role of government in defusing this crisis:-
- Use of paramilitary forces- Government should use parliamentary force immediately to maintain the law and order situation and zero tolerance attitude should be adopted towards such blockade as it stalls the life of the people.
- Negotiations- There should be a dialogue that involves all major stakeholders — the State government, groups that support redistricting, the UNC and the Centre. Centre should assist to end the blockade, taking the help of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) group that supports the UNC, as it is already conducting peace talks with them.
Way forward – The documents like NE Vision 2020 present best ways to deal with armed ethnic conflicts and policies like Look East and Act East are imperative steps which should be expeditiously implemented. Peaceful northeast region is essential to security of the nation as a whole because neighbour countries has also stake in the matter and must not be allowed at any cost to let them leverage their interest by jeopardizing our national security.
Topic:Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
5) World Bank’s “Doing business” project ranks India 130th out of 190 countries. What is the criteria used by the World Bank to rank India? In which areas should India improve to better its rank? Examine. (200 Words)
Ignoring that point, these rankings are based on 10 heads: Starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency. Only two cities, Delhi and Mumbai are considered. In trading across border, there is an import side and an export side. For exports, a shipment has to go from a warehouse in India (Mumbai/Delhi) to the US; and imports should come from Republic of Korea. It also takes into consideration documentary compliance, border compliance and domestic transport.
Areas which require improvements:
- Logistics: there are too many unorganised and unregistered players; registration, regulation and accreditation is done by too many agencies under many statutes. Charges are levied under multiple heads. Formats for documents are also non-standerdised. For instance, RFID control system launched in Paradip can be implemented in all ports to reduce delays.
- Excessive Documentation: including bill of lading, invoice, packing list, customs declaration, terminal handling receipts, import general manifest, bill of entry, cargo release order, certificate of origin etc
- Easing entry: In New Zealand, it takes one day to start a business. In India, it takes nearly a month. Start-up India and Make In India programmes are, in this regard, directed at liberalising entry through single window portals, faster registration of business and so on.
- Enforcing contracts: India fares very low in enforcing contracts at 172. This can be expedited by setting up special regulatory mechanisms, fast track tribunals
- Trading across border: steps have to be taken to reduce the time taken, paper work. Following India’s ratification of Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO, India has SWIFT (Single Window Interface for Facilitating Trade) that integrates into IceGate (a portal that provides e-filing services to the trade and cargo carriers). This can help in integrating government agencies and standerdizing documents, declarations and forms.
- Resolving insolvency: insolvency procedures currently, on a average take 4.3 years to be solved. This leads to exit barriers, loss of value of underlying asset and loan defaults. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy code can expedite the resolution and ease the exit barriers.
- Taxation policy: policy on MAT, Double taxation issues needs simplification to ensure easier compliance and better predictability, especially after the Vodafone and Cairn tax disputes. With the passage of GST bill, the inter-state tax complexities have been reduced enabling easier compliance.
Increase in rankings would provide a great boost for business sentiments. Both FDI and domestic investment would increase. Employment would be generated and sustained high economic growth could be guaranteed.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Security challenges and their management in border areas;
6) Along with a disturbing rise in attacks on Army camps across Jammu and Kashmir, the Line of Control and the International Boundary in the State are also alarmingly tense today. Do you think India’s surgical strike across LoC was a strategic mistake? Critically comment. (200 Words)
After the Uri attack, there has been rise in attacks on army camps, as was evident in Nagrota attack and recently, attack on an Indian army convoy in Kashmir’s Pampore. With this, the armed forces in Kashmir have lost over 60 men this year alone. Ceasefire violation-related military casualties on the Indian side itself are 12 so far, highest since the ceasefire agreement, which was arrived at in 2003.
Was India’s surgical strike across LoC a strategic mistake?
From military point of view, the surgical strike was limited and was carefully calibrated. Pakistani military installations were not targeted. The operation was against the terror camps and not against Pakistani army. (Director General of Military Operations (DGMO) telephoned his Pakistani counterpart after the operations ended and conveyed the counter-terrorist intent behind the strike).
However, some quarters have criticized India’s post-strike triumphalism, as it had a negative reputational impact on Pakistani army and for the Pakistan government. Also, such strikes, based on the assumption of Pakistani indulgence is rife with multiple challenges:
- It would be difficult to fix the degree of complicity of state in an attack within the limited time frame for any retaliatory operation.
- The local commanders along the LoC on the Pakistani side could misread the assumption and act differently than expected when attacked.
- Indian side could exaggerate the success of the retaliatory strike. Pakistan could, on the other hand, deny the operation altogether. Trying to exploit a fine balance between the two positions may be setting out on a dangerous course of action.
- Pakistan’s response: though Pakistan did not acknowledge any strike from Indian side, it is responding by firing on the border and organizing coordinated attacks on Indian Army bases/convoys through its proxies such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba. The LoC and the IB have become the new battlefield
- Vertical military escalation: While border firing might seem less escalatory than cross-border raids, ceasefire violations are a slow killer: as ceasefire violation-related casualties continue to rise, they could lead to political and diplomatic escalation. Such sustained violations could lead to vertical military escalation.
- Attacks on army camps: While border firing hurts both parties, low-intensity strikes (for example, Nagrota and Pampore) hurt only India since it loses soldiers in such raids, whereas Pakistan only loses proxies. Some argue that precious lives of soldiers could have been saved if India had not followed an aggressive policy towards Pakistan.
- Kashmir uprising: Pakistan may continue to fan the Kashmir uprising with even more vigor. This will keep Kashmir on the boil. Pakistan may internationalize Kashmir issue.
- Collateral damage: lives and livelihood of people living across the border is lost. The year-long violations in 2014, for instance, had displaced them for several months. This is a collateral damage that goes unsung and unacknowledged.
- Loss of moral high ground: India now enjoys a moral high ground in the international community. Such surgical strikes could hit a blow to this advantageous position.
The strike, however is justified on following grounds:
- Failure of talks: the diplomatic channels failed to yield results. NSA level talks, foreign secretary level talks did not lead to any stringent action on part of Pakistan to contain any terror attacks on India and to bring terror suspects to books
- National morale: after the Uri attack, morale of the army and the nation in general had fallen. This will create insecurities and is antithetical to national security and development.
Way forward- Mobilizing International Opinion, Isolating Pakistan, diplomatically should be taken up. Also focusing on a proactive approach by strengthening border security under which ‘Swach Paridhi (prevent infiltrations),” Paridhi Suraksha (patrolling), and ‘Jagrook Hindustani (alert Indian)’ is a good step. Recognizing the role of Citizen cooperation is also very crucial as most attacks were successful due to their presence in Civilian surroundings and connectivity links.
General Studies – 4
Topic: Attitude; Social influence and persuasion
Most legal systems across the world are retributive. The punishment centric approach to justice delivery assumes importance as it communicates to the offender that society condemns his act and to the victim that society disapproves of the offender’s deed, thus a moral support to the victim. It reassures the larger society that it vindicates law and upholds several values that are dear to society.
Do punishments deter wrongdoing and reform the offender?
Punishments do deter wrongdoing in several cases. There are many examples to prove- it is because of punishment under Protection of civil rights act, 1955 that untouchability has decreased to large extent in India. Because of Domestic violence act, 1961 domestic violence decreased in India, because of Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostics Act (PCPNDT), 1994 sex determination tests decreased.
Along with law acting as a deterrent force, education, empowerment and awareness has also helped in the decrease of wrong doings. However, in the above cases, it has not led to reform, for instance- even today, girl child is considered as burden and female feoticide is still being practices, even violating the law for it.
However, It has been observed that even after punishment, offender’s behaviour hardly changes and the punishment does not help the offender in taking a new and right path. For instance, studies show that 66% of those in the US set free after serving a prison sentence will be rearrested within three years. This shows that punishment neither deters wrongdoing nor has it led to any reforms in the offender. That figure is close to 60% in the UK. Canada show that more than 30% of those who drive under the influence of alcohol are repeat offenders. The trend is similar in India as well. It is observed that people who are caught are quickly learning how not to get caught the next time, thus making mockery of criminal-justice system.
In the present system of punishments, the role of emotions, which can trigger behavioural change is being ignored. If we talk about capital punishment than it is fundamentally wrong as a cure for crime because it denies an individual a chance to change and reform. For example, Afroz Khan, serving a life term in the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, is emerging as the state’s poster boy in its fight against radicalization.
Thus, an innovative alternative can be given a try. A person jumps a red signal because he wants to avoid the certain and immediate loss of having to wait for few seconds, or simply because most others are doing it. As a punishment, the reckless drivers should be asked to undertake a task that consumes a lot of time. Instead of monetary fines, more “reward killing” punishments could create stronger impact in the wrongdoer’s brain. Studies have shown that public commitments given in writing, and made to significant people, can have a strong impact on one’s behaviour. This should be tried too. Gandhiji said “Hate the sin, not the sinner.”