SYNOPSIS: Insights Secure – 2017: 24th December 2016
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Population and associated issues,
1) Now and then, some of the functionaries on the union government have demanded a law on population control and have even suggested that the voting rights of those with more than two children should be revoked. Does India need such law and measures like male sterilization to control population? In your opinion, how population should be controlled? Critically examine. (200 Words)
In India, there has been renewed focus on curbing the growth of the population using methodologies of preventive checks which ignore the gender rights as well as the current socio-economic dynamics of the country. In 2013–14, out of 42,14,950 sterilisations, only 2.2% were on men.
Does India need such laws and measures to control population ?
- Curbs the rights of the citizens – In the past during emergency in 1976, forced mass sterilisation not only reflected misuse of power and authority by the executives, but also shows how the fundamental rights (A-21) of the citizens were curtailed. Checking population growth is concerned with the women’s reproductive health and rights. Putting check on voting rights for population control would be sign of immature democracy, going against the very spirit of democracy, curtailing constitutional rights of the citizens (A-326)
- Women has to bear the burden – Most of the time, the burden of population control is pushed on women. This gender discrimination in population control causes tragedies creating dangerous health consequences for the women, for example – death of 13 tribal women in Chhattisgarh due to carless tubectomies. This shows that the state is setting targets without considering the fallout on people, especially women.
- Reduction in population growth – The census 2011 registered that the decadal growth rate of 17.64 %, which got reduced from 21. 15 % (census 2001). It shows that population growth is reducing. According to the 2013 Sample Registration System (SRS), India’s total fertility rate (TFR) has dropped to 2.3 and is just 0.2 points away from reaching replacement levels. In fact in eight Indian states, the TFR is already below replacement levels. Thus, going by the data’s, India does not needs such immature laws for population control.
- Learnings from China’s stringent population control policy – China’s once child policy for population control has many negative outcomes like – violation of rights, increase in dependency ratio, less population to work due to aging population, etc which made China to reverse its one child policy in 2016 . So, India should learn from China that any stringent laws and measure would have its own negative consequences.
- Male sterilisation is easier – Whenever, male sterilisation is talked about, it gets strong opposition from the society, ignoring that it is an easier and reversible procedure. Due to patriarchal mind-set men feel ashamed to opt for it and they force women for sterilisation, ignoring women’s right to contraceptive choice. So male sterilisation should be advocated. Men should be made aware that it does not affect their masculinity in any way, it simply cuts off the live spermatozoa. But it should not be forced upon anyone.
How population should be controlled ?
- Persuasion and creating awareness- Awarness should be created regarding the benefits of having less number of children. Nudging people towards low fertility by making it a sign of high social awareness and respect. Persuasion through social media, celebrity to control population and reduce gender bias (BBBP, SSY) so that people don’t give birth to more children in the hope of having more sons.
- Use of Contraceptive – Incentivising family planning by providing cheap contraceptives. Educating men and women on the use of alternative forms of contraception- on spacing methods by advocating an Intrauterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD)
- Curbing Child marriages – Marrying at older age in comparison to child marriage, helps women to make better decisions on giving births and family planning. Sajha Abhiyan in Rajasthan is a good initiative to reduce child marriages, thus population.
- Empowering women – The woman should be empowered so that they can have more say in family planning. However, due to rising literacy, participation in labour force, the say of women is increasing, but still a lot needs to be done.
- Improving the health infrastructure – Government should enhance the quality and outreach of health care services especially related to reproductive health, sterilisation, medical counselling for population control, distribution of contraceptives, etc.
As our country is going ahead on a growth trajectory, more people are getting aware about family planning for a better standard of life. Need of the hour is addressing the issue of population explosion with greater vigour at select pockets like – populous states of Bihar, UP where the fertility rate is higher than the national average. Special emphasis is needed on states like Haryana where gender equality seems to be a distant dream.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability
2) Amidst all the brouhaha about demonetisation, the issue of curtailing the deployment of black money by politicians for funding election campaigns appears to have been sidelined. Why is this issue important for Indian polity? What reforms should government initiate in this regard? Critically examine. (200 Words)
The politician-criminal-business nexus as was pointed out by Vohra report is facilitated by the use of black money in elections. This represents the fountainhead of corruption in the country.
The issue of deployment of black money in elections is important due to following reasons:
- Dummy parties: There are about 1900 registered political parties. But nearly 400 of them have put up candidates for contesting elections. Parties registered with ECI are granted exemption from payment of income tax on the donations received. Thus, dummy political parties are created to launder black money.
- Lack of transparency:A report from the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) shows that 75% of the sources of funding for political parties are unknown. Currently, under income tax act, any donations exceeding Rs 20,000, must be declared along with the source. But this is not often done. Big donations are broken into chunks of smaller donations of less than rs20,000 to bypass the law. Thus, the source of donations is not known to the public who are the sovereign in a democracy. Also, political parties choose “friendly” auditors to approve their books of account.
- Money and muscle power: if not controlled, then money and muscle power will dominate the political scene, promoting criminalisation of politics and politicisation of criminals, which is an unhealthy trend in a democracy where law breakers become law makers.
Reforms that government should initiate:
- Bribery and paid news should be made cognizable offences as it is used as a propaganda to manipulate people and lead them astray from making an informed choice.
- Election commission of India must be given powers to deregister parties.
- Partial state funding of elections as recommended by Indrajit Gupta committee.
- Simultaneous holding of elections to the Lok Sabha and state legislative assemblies in order to cut costs and to reduce the use of black money in elections as expenditure on election campaigning will be brought down.
- The criminal records of politicians should be dealt with strictly by an independent commission as it would ensure that people with impeccable integrity enter the electoral fray.
- Bringing in more transparency by mandating to declare all donations. This can be done by mandating digital transactions which can be tracked.
- Currently, there is cap on spending by individual candidates. There must be a cap on spending by parties too to check use of black money and also to provide a level playing field for all the parties.
- Consensus must be built on brining political parties under RTI.
- Giving statutory status to model code of conduct for its stricter enforcement.
- Checking paid news as per UK Leverson report via seperation of editorship from ownership
Black money and corruption has been a huge impediment to achieving developmental goals rapidly. It is for this reason that some intellectuals have called India a “soft state” – a state of virtual lawlessness and functional anarchy. This needs to be changed if we are to prosper more rapidly and more inclusively as free and fair elections are main pillars of democracy.
Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States
3) The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, replacing the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, is a big step forward in addressing the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in India. Justify. (200 Words)
According to World Bank 15 %of world population was affected by disability of one form or another. In a country with over 2% of differently abled people, it must be ensured that they are not treated as second-class citizens and are recognized as capable individuals in their own right. According to 2011 census 2.21% of India population are disabled. Recently Rajya Sabha passed amended Persons with Disability Bill which is a better version of previous bill passed in 1995.
Comparison with previous bill:
- of disability : Total no of disability recognized now stands at 21 instead of 7. The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 including 3 blood disorder Thalassemia, Sickle cell, Haemophilia.
- Dimensions of disability – Speech and language disability and specific learning disability are added for first time
- Entitlements – Now individuals with at least 40% disability are also entitled to benefits. It provides mentally challenged patients with two types of guardianship –limited and plenary. The definition of establishments has been expanded to include private establishments as well. It mandates to make the public buildings “barrier free” within a stipulated time for easy physical access
- Reservation Recognize the need for reservations for them in promotions. Reservation in employment and educational institutions has been increased to 4% than existing 3%
- Penalty- provision is also included. Penalty provisions for offences committed against the persons with disabilities and violation of new law
- Accounting the demographic transition: additional disabilities can be notified. This ensures that conditions that may arise as a result of ageing population are also considered.
- Promoting education: upper age limit for accessing primary and higher education has been relaxed. This will ensure that they receive education in spite of their delayed enrolment into formal schooling.
However the bill has certain lacunas:
- Reservations: Supreme Court declared in 2013 that reservations should be decided on basis of total number of vacancies in a particular cadre and not on the posts identified by the government to be filled by persons with benchmark disabilities. The bill has however stuck to the latter.
- Advisory committees: the act provides for a chief commissioner and state commissioners. But neither the commissioners nor any of the members of their advisory committees are required to be PWD.
- Certification: the bill does not stipulate a time frame within which the certificate of disability should be issued. This means that PWDs may have to tackle the bureaucracy in receiving the certificate.
Though there are a few glitches such as ambiguity regarding source of finance for making the public buildings accessible or conditions in which plenary guardianship will be awarded, the bill is a progressive step.
With India having ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities , 2006 the recent The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill is a welcome step. Further, the constitutional provisions Article 39A and Article 41 empowers and puts a moral obligation on the state to take actions and support the differently-abled people.
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
4) When the judiciary and the centre argue about the need for transparency and accountability, it seems that both envision these as duties only towards each other, and not towards society generally. In this context, critically discuss on what reforms should judiciary focus more. (200 Words)
The function of justice in society is to bring transparency and equality among people and judiciary is a means to achieve the same. It is the means of a common man to achieve equality .
Reforms which should be done:
- Judicial appointments- There are questions raised on collegium system for its nepotism and favouritism which is also coupled with the lack of judges. Hence, judiciary should go for JPSC (Judicial Public Service Commission) examination or All India Judicial services, which will attract youngsters towards it.
- Bringing judiciary under the ambit of RTI- The judiciary has managed to keep itself out of the purview of the Right to Information (RTI) Act for over 10 years, by arguing that disclosure of information under RTI could interfere with judicial independence. It should be brought under RTI to make it more accountable and transparent.
- Assessing judicial performance – Though at the lower level it is possible to scrutinize the lower level judges (even that is not regularly and not free from the possibility of a nexus), at the higher level there is no such mechanism which renders some judgements ineffective. Therefore something like Annual Confidential Reports of lower judiciary should also be implemented in higher level and which must be made public to bring judges accountable and their judgements sensible.
- Improving the representation and inclusiveness- Women and people from socially and economically marginalised groups remain underrepresented in the judiciary. While recommending candidates, judges have been informally advised to duly consider suitable candidates from amongst Other Backward Classes (OBCs), Scheduled Castes (SCs), Scheduled Tribes (STs), minorities and women, but this seems to have had little effect on their inclusion. Thus, as step in this direction should be made.
- Use of technology – The potential of technology and citizen–centric services to transform access to justice, expedite justice–delivery, and improve accountability and transparency for litigants should be recognised. Out of the four pillars of the Technology for Justice Initiative —namely, ePolice, eProsecution, eCourts, and ePrisons—only eCourts seems to have taken off meaningfully. Even this project has been characterised by flawed resource allocation, imprecise budgeting, and a lack of institutional coordination, leading to multiple delays in its completion. The executive’s failure to establish links and interoperability between the police, prison, and courtroom services means that digitisation and integration of India’s justice system remains a distant dream.
- Security of tenure – Roaster of judges should not happen before 3 years which happens now within 6/7 weeks and hence it gives very less time to a judge to understand some case and to reach the conclusion as a new judge on the same case can be differed on judgement which can be not beneficial to the petitioner.
- Speedy disposal of cases- It is said that delay in justice is justice denied, thus higher courts should introspect the same and reform accordingly. However, recently a portal was launched to monitor this. Infrastructure of courts must be enhanced , skilled staff , digitization of courts must be done and modern practices of other countries must be adopted for speedy disposal.
- Specialised judges – Judiciary can go for specialisation of judges for example- Criminal , Civil , Tax ,Disputes and create specialised benches for judges with expertise on their respective filed which will reduce the load on judges to manage each and every case .
- National court of appeal- It would better that Supreme Court takes only constitutional cases and cases of National Importance. A National court of appeal should be established (region wise, suggested by Supremes court) to shed the load of SC.
A strong and robust judiciary is a backbone of a country which have to bear the load of expectations of common people , a divided judiciary will erode the faith of people on the system ,its the judiciary which can guide a society for the first step towards democracy and it must always be the torch bearer.
Topic: mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
5) Critically analyse the various aspects of crime committed by juveniles in India, such as the trend of such crime over time, the socio-economic characteristics of juvenile offenders, and the role of the state in dealing with it. (200 Words)
A juvenile or child means a person who has not completed 18 years of age. The crimes committed by juveniles such as robbery, theft, drug abuse, heinous crimes such as rape etc needs special attention and care by all the stakeholders ex parents, government, NGOs, schools etc.
Trend in juvenile crimes:
- After the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 came into being, juvenile crime has only slightly increased, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of total crime. A part of this increase is attributed to change in the definition of a juvenile (earlier, it was till 16 years, the act increased it to 18 years).
- It is seen that mostly the school dropouts and ones belonging to the poorest of families comprise the highest proportion of those committing crime. For instance, in 2013, nearly 14,000 juveniles arrested had education only up to primary level and a little more than 8000 arrested were illiterate.
- In 2013, the number of juvenile delinquents belonging to families earning up to Rs 25,000 was nearly 22,000; while the number for families earning between 1 lakh and 2 lakh was nearly 3000.
- It is seen that a higher gini coefficient (rural), high incidence of child labour and a high corruption indicator seem to correlate with increased juvenile crime.
- High gross enrolment ratio, sex ratio, high per capita income of the state correlate negatively with juvenile crime. For instance, Gujarat, Kerala have some of the lowest recorded juvenile crimes. Data also shows that youth unemployment seems to increase juvenile crime.
Role of state:
- Education and employment: the root cause of the juvenile delinquency stems from lack of education and employment. State should play role in providing education, skill development (skill India Programme), generation of jobs (by encouraging MSMEs etc). Focus should also be on value education and sex education
- Police: police density is very important in curbing crimes. But, geographically as well as in terms of per capita, it is rather low in most states, is worrying
- Awareness generation: governments should create awareness among the population in general and potential delinquents in particular so that they are well informed of the consequences of their actions
- Rehabilitation homes: state should provide rehabilitation homes where the juvenile offenders are counselled, they are engaged in their skill development. State must engage them in community service, so that there is greater chances of reform in them.
- Drug de-addiction: it has been found that many juvenile drug addicts commit crimes. Thus state should promote drug de-addiction centres, check the supply of checks through robust vigil and undertake timely counselling of the juveniles.
- Engaging in constructive activities: state has a role to play in engaging youth in constructive activities like sports, cultural fests and so on so that the energies are channelised in the right direction. As for instance, Odisha hockey tournament is weaning youth’s attraction towards naxalism.
- Institutional mechanism: setting up of child welfare committees in every district, providing for psychological support and counselling.
- Educating the parents: state has a role to play in educating the parents about dealing with their children when they observe deviant behaviour in the latter.
- Legislations: government has enacted juvenile justice act, and provided for proper rehabilitation of juvenile offenders
Hence such measures should be implemented in letter and spirit and requires efforts of all the stakeholders such as govt, NGOs, parents, education system etc to prevent juveniles from committing crimes
Topic: Poverty and hunger; Performance of welfare schemes
6) Malnutrition is a severe problem among India’s women and children. In this light, critically evaluate performance of Integrated Child Development Services and anganwadis in addressing the problem of malnutrition across states. (200 Words)
The Integrated Child Development Services aims at providing supplementary nutrition, growth monitoring, immunisation, preschool education, health check-ups and referral to children between the ages of 0 and 6 years, as well as health- and nutrition-related education and facilities for pregnant women and lactating mothers. These services are provided through childcare centers, called anganwadis, with the primary aim of fighting malnutrition in utero, as well as in very young children
Success of ICDS:
- Nutrition support: As part of the supplementary nutrition programme (SNP), freshly cooked meals and morning snacks, consisting of milk/ seasonal fruits, are provided to children in age group of 3 to 6 years. “Take home rations” consisting of micronutrient fortiﬁed and energy-dense foods are provided to children aged 6 months to 3 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
- Benefits to girl child: it was found that 0–2-year-old girls who received supplementary feeding daily are around 1 cm taller than other girls in rural India
- Infant mortality reduction: Positive correlation was found between infant survival and receiving supplementary nutrition
- Immunization cover: has increased as a result of ICDS in many states.
- Benefits to mothers: preschool facilities like immunisation, feeding and health checkups of children has significantly increased mother’s labour force participation rate. It has also increased school attendance of girls in 6-14 age group.
- Fund underutilisation: studies have found that funds allotted for provision of lunch and take home rations is not utilised or is diverted in many states, particularly in poor states like UP, Bihar. Funds for infrastructure building, medical kits procurement are also found to be very less.
- Poor reach: studies show that ICDS has been less successful in reaching out to areas with very low education levels or unbalanced sex ratios.
- Skewed focus: it was found that there was overemphasis on preschool education and feeding of children aged 4 to 6 years and failure to reach out to children who are 3 years of age and younger
- Lower utilisation by lower castes: combination of low awareness level about ICDS entitlements, along with caste-based discrimination, implies low utilisation of the ICDS by the lower castes.
- Skill levels of anganwadi workers: it has been found that in certain states, the knowledge of anganwadi workers about the amount of food intake by pregnant women, normal birth weight of children, breastfeeding initiation, age at which complementary food can be introduced to children etc is inadequate.
- Infrastructure inadequacies: several anganwadi centres work in temporary sheds without any permanent buildings, there is no barrier free access for disabled friendly children, toilet and drinking water facilities within the premises is also inadequate.
- Poor financial incentives for anganwadi workers: they are given temporary appointments, the honorarium levels are also poor in many states. Goa is an exception. It has even formulated a retirement benefit scheme for anganwadi workers which acts as an incentive to individuals to become AWWs. The state also provides job training and refresher training to AWWs.
- Corruption: cases of anganwadi workers selling protein powder meant for children and pregnant mothers in open market at higher prices have been found. This shows prevalence of leakages and corruption among the workers.
Way forward: Successful implementation of the scheme calls for involvement of Panchayats in running the programme for a closer scrutiny on anganwadi workers. Also, Organisation of Village Health and Nutrition Day at Anganwadi Centres every month is crucial, during which villagers can interact with health personnel to acquire information about healthcare. Presence of proper gas connections for cooking food, medicine and preschool education kits, WHO growth charts and baby weighing scales in AWCs needs to be provided. Technological initiatives like in Maharashtra where a training software for record-keeping of training details of all ICDS functionaries can also be used.
General Studies – 3
7) A study by the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO) shows that India is the third largest importer of illegally logged timber in the world, after China and Vietnam. What is illegal logging? How does it affect forests and its dwellers? In the light of its top ranking in importing illegal timber, in your opinion, what should India do to tackle illegal logging and its importing? Critically examine. (200 Words)
Illegal logging refers to the practice of illegally harvesting, processing and trading in timber and timber products. For example processing of logs without the necessary licenses; non-payment of taxes; or exporting products without paying export duties.
Study done by IUFRO estimates almost one-third of tropical timber traded globally to be illegal, sourced from clearing and converting natural forests. Most of the forest conversion has taken place in Amazon region and Southeast Asia. While forest conversion in the Amazon has been curtailed to some extent in recent years, timber trade has shifted to markets like China and India owing to the less stringent regulations. The study also highlights that the economic growth in these two countries is driving the demand for illegally harvested timber.
Effect on forest and dwellers:
- Commercialization of agriculture: forests are being cleared for planting export-oriented crops like palm, oil, soyabeans etc.
- Affects biodiversity: the flora and fauna of the forests are affected. For instance, Amazon forests have a fragile ecosystem. Large scale illegal deforestation deprives many animals of their home, and leads to loss of biodiversity.
- Affects livelihood: forest dwellers are deprived of their livelihood. Many forest dwelling communities depend on forests for food, fuel, shelter, medicine. This gets denied to them. It also leads to alienation of tribal communities.
- Exacerbates climate change impacts: forests act as carbon sinks. With deforestation, atmospheric carbon dioxide increases, causing greenhouse warming and global climate change. Forests are also very helpful in causing rains. Illegal timber sale leads to more deforestation and changes in rainfall patterns
- Land degradation: deforestation for illegal logging causes soil erosion and land degradation, which makes it unsuitable not just for agriculture but also for forest regeneration.
With an annual import value of over Rs 40 billion, India accounts for close to 10 per cent of the global illegal wood trade. In this regard, India should take the following steps:
- Utilising waste and fallow land: timber demand can be fulfilled by bringing waste and fallow land under utilisation for planting trees which can be harvested as timber.
- Use of technological solutions:
- Digital microscopes: In Brazil, for instance, the law enforcement staff has been trained to take macroscopic anatomical photographs of timber shipments they stop. The police then send these to a laboratory via e-mail where experts study those samples and revert to the officers within 15 minutes.
- DNA profiling: as all trees have a unique genetic fingerprint, DNA profiling can be used to identify illegal wood, which are often added to legal consignments.
- Isotope analysis: Most of the illegal timber is smuggled across porous land and sea borders, making it important to identify its geographic origin. Isotope analysis can thus prevent illegal export of timber.
- Involving local community: this is important because, the further away a shipment of timber gets from its forest of origin, the harder it becomes to identify. Empowerment of Gram Sabha in this regard for surveillance and monitoring is required.
- Stringent penalties: for illegal timber logging so that it acts as a deterrent
- Improved Surveillance: training of forest guards, local communities, using drones, CCTV cameras, night vision and thermal cameras can help check suspicious movements in the forests and thus check illegal timber logging. )Strict vigil on ports and entry points is also important.
- Checking the nexus: measures must be taken to check the mafia – forest officials nexus (as was allegedly observed in the sheshachalam red sanders encounter)
- Inter-state cooperation: is very crucial as illegally harvested logs as transported across state borders through organised networks
Illegal logging is the serious crime as it leads to severe damage to our ecological wealth as well as on country economy, like tax evasion, corruption and reduce income of producer countries India and china both are fast growing economy, it is the responsibility of both to secure and promote forests for their better future.
General Studies – 4
a) Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviors.
b) How can hit be managed and controlled?
CSE Mains 2016 GS-IV
a) Anger is a negative emotion which is an outcome when a person is unable to control the emotions when he or she sees or hears something that is unpleasant according to his or her ideas, thought process and conscience. If it is not controlled, it harms not only the individual but also the environment and people around them. It causes flow of negativity in both personal and professional life.
An inappropriate expression of anger by father on child might permanently breed fear in the mind of the child, or this might push child into depression. Violent expression of anger might damage mental health of victims. In a family setup, anger, if expressed improperly, will create an environment of hostility between members and might damage relationships. Anger triggers more anger and leads to violent reactions, especially in group situations. Anger might also result in loss of property or lives. The person who is prone to anger will eventually face isolation and might slip into depression because of guilt and lack of forgiveness from victims.
An ill-tempered, inconsiderate and impatient manager or an employer will affect productivity at workplace if his/her anger is unjustified. Such attitude develops fear, hatred among employees and the ambience of the organization becomes very unhealthy and tensed. In this case, employees seldom develop loyalty towards their orgnaisation. Customer or visitors will hesitate visiting such workplaces as demotivated workers will show lack of enthusiasm in addressing problems of their customers. Ultimately it impacts the employer’s reputation and brings losses to company.
b) Anger can be managed by:
- Cultivating habit of listening to music, talking to friends about emotional instability.
- Developing emotional intelligence: this can be done by introspecting the causes of the anger, the reason for a sudden, ill-thought response and trying to address the cause.
- Practicing meditation, yoga can also help to manage emotions.
- Adopting a consequentialist approach: thinking about the consequences of reacting in anger. This can give a necessary warning to control and manage the anger
- Spirituality can also help manage emotions
- Engaging oneself in sports, pursuing hobbies like cooking, travelling can also help manage frustrations and consequent angered responses.
- Breathing and physical exercises, counting of numbers can help in immediate control of anger
Holding of anger is like drinking the poison & expecting another person to die. Thus, moral & spiritual awakening is important to increase the threshold of patience & tolerance to overcome anger.