SECURE SYNOPSIS: 14 April 2017
NOTE: Please remember that following ‘answers’ are NOT ‘model answers’. They are NOT synopsis too if we go by definition of the term. What we are providing is content that both meets demand of the question and at the same time gives you extra points in the form of background information.
General Studies – 1;
Topic: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues
In 1948 Ambedkar published his book The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? He also published an article titled ‘Did the Hindus never eat beef?’ from which his vies about cow slaughter becomes visible.
- In The Untouchables: Who Were They and Why They Became Untouchables? He wrote: “In the first place, we have the fact that the Untouchables or the main communities which compose them eat the dead cow and those who eat the dead cow are tainted with untouchability and no others.
- The co-relation between untouchability and the use of the dead cow is so great and so close that the thesis that it is the root of untouchability seems to be incontrovertible. In the second place if there is anything that separates the Untouchables from the Hindus, it is beef-eating.”
- He went on to say: “The reason why Broken Men only became Untouchables was because in addition to being Buddhists they retained their habit of beef-eating which gave additional ground for offence to the Brahmins to carry their new-found love and reverence to the cow to its logical conclusion.”
- Ambedkar, in an erudite article, ‘Did the Hindus never eat beef?’ said, “When the learned Brahmins argue that the Hindus not only never ate beef but they always held the cow to be sacred and were always opposed to the killing of the cow, it is impossible to accept their view”.
- Ambedkar underlined, “That the Aryans of the Rig Veda did kill cows for purposes of food and ate beef is abundantly clear from the Rig Veda itself. In Rig Veda (X. 86.14) Indra says: ‘They cook for one 15 plus twenty oxe’. The Rig Veda (X.91.14) says that for Agni were sacrificed horses, bulls, oxen, barren cows and rams. From the Rig Veda (X.72.6) it appears that the cow was killed with a sword or axe.” “With this evidence no one can doubt that there was a time when Hindus, both Brahmins and non-Brahmins, ate not only flesh but also beef.”
Why he allowed cow protection in DPSP?
- Ambedkar was not much expressive about his views on the protection of cow per se. And his first constitutional draft too had no mention of ban on cow slaughtering.
- He even didn’t favor the proposal of declaring the cow slaughtering as unconstitutional as was done for untouchability. He said that untouchability has been banned because it is a crime against human unlike the cow slaughtering which is a crime against animals.
- Though later due to consistent pressure by members of constituent assembly he agreed to a constitutional compromise by which protection of cow was included as a DPSP under article 48 of the Indian constitution.
- This article directs the state to endeavor towards a scientific and economic management of agriculture by prohibiting the slaughter of mulch and drought animals. The provision was inserted as a DPSP because Dr. Ambedkar believed that fundamental rights belong only to human beings and not to the animals. He was of the view that total prohibition on cow slaughtering would have violated a person’s RIGHT TO LIFE AND LIBERTY (article 21) and he found it unconstitutional.
SC too in its various judgments has upheld that total prohibition on cow slaughtering is not reasonable. And any ban on slaughtering of dead, incapable and non-breeding animals would be against general interest of the public. Thus a harmony too has been established between FRs and DPSP.
General Studies – 2
Topic: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries
Iran elects on national level a head of state and head of government (the president), a legislature (the Majlis), and an “Assembly of Experts” (which elects the Supreme Leader). Also City and Village Council elections are held every four years throughout the country. The president is elected for a four-year term by the people. The Parliament or Islamic Consultative Assembly (Majlis-e Shura-ye Eslami) has 290 members, elected for a four-year term in multi- and single-seat constituencies. Elections for the Assembly of Experts are held every eight years. All candidates have to be approved by the Guardian Council.
Irans political structure:-
The national election process is different from India in the following ways;
- The election itself is to offices whose powers and responsibilities are constrained by the theocracy and other classes unlike in India where the constitution sets clearly defined roles for each arm of government.
- The list of electors is vetted by the clerical council to weed out names considered undesirable, whereas in India there is freedom to contest in election, if eligible by law.
- Little to no oversight mechanism unlike in India which has a powerful election commission to oversee elections.
- Elections in India (at the centre) are limited to two houses, president and vice president. Whereas in Iran in addition to president and the legislature, a powerful theological body called the clerical committee is also elected every 8 years.
Comment on recent political happenings:-
- Iran’s election is a complex process that is partially managed and partially reflects the popular will. At least 120 people have registered as candidates. The clerical Guardian Council will vet the candidates and publish the final list on April 27, removing most dissidents. Thereafter the election is expected to be free.
- It is not clear if Mr. Ahmadinejad intends to stay as a candidate or plans to shape the election agenda in favour of the hardliners. As of now, the most powerful conservative candidate is Ebrahim Raisi, a close ally of Ayatollah Khamenei and a clear favourite of the clerical establishment.
- For the conservatives, this is an opportunity to reclaim the presidency — one of the three main pillars of the Iranian state, but the only one with a popular mandate — and reclaim legitimacy for their hard-line agenda. For the moderates, the challenge is to push back the strongman narrative of the conservatives and shape the agenda around economic development and incremental freedoms, as opposed to strengthening theocracy and a stand-off with the West.
- In 2013, Mr. Rouhani had shown the political aptitude to stitch together an alliance with moderates as well as conservatives who had fallen out with the clerical establishment, while cashing in on popular impatience with the Ahmadinejad government. It is time the political climate changed. It may take greater political guile for Mr. Rouhani to withstand the hardliners’ campaign at a time when economic troubles and regional challenges remain and the U.S. is again taking a confrontationist stance towards Tehran.
Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary
The role of the Judiciary in India has recently come under considerable attack, particularly from the Legislative branch, which feels that the courts have been exceeding their authority in interpreting the law, and that they have become an extra constitutional law making body. This has been called Judicial Overreach.
A few examples: Supreme Court has ruled that operators with cancelled 2G licences should stop services. Iron ore mining has been banned in Karnataka and Goa. Gujarat High Court has ordered that all new vehicles registered in the state should run on compressed natural gas. Chandigarh High Court is deciding what tolls should be charged at a toll plaza in Gurgaon.
Some are of the opinion that the courts have moved far beyond the function assigned to them under the Constitution’s division of responsibilities among the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. This cannot but hurt the nation.
The latest example to be added in it is the highway liquor ban by judiciary. The Supreme Court, ruling on a public interest petition about road safety, has banned the sale of liquor at retail outlets, as also in hotels, restaurants and bars, that are within 500m of any national or state highway. Also the NEET examination conduct and rules, Jallikattu orders etc.
Impact of Judicial Overeach on executive:
- Limits executive freedom in democratic sphere
- Hindered public officials in charge to make objective decisions
- Executive has remained a puppet, since legislature formulate programmers and judiciary by its excessive intervention disrupt effective execution in long run
- Recent decision on liquor imposes a fiscal burden on state governments, in the form of revenue foregone, which is at the expense of some priority expenditure
- This could lead to political passivism.
- Trust deficit Executive and Judiciary.
- Breach of Separation of Power as set up clearly in the Indian constitution.
- Judicial Overreach transforms judiciary into an extra-constitutional body of law making from a body of law interpretation, thus undermining the functions of executive.
- It affects checks and balances essential in the democracy.
- Governments fiscal burden will increase inevitably by unplanned expenditure such as loan waiver.
- Loss of revenue, tourism and erosion of trust in the minds of the business class towards government caused by decisions like liquor ban.
- Government’s planning get a hit as will not be able to implement what envisaged during polls
Judicial activism is a great tool in the hands of the judiciary for imparting complete justice. But overuse of the same creates distortion in powers. If judiciary feels something need immediate attention should give guidelines rather binding orders.
Topic: Powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Universal Adult Suffrage has been cornerstone of election process in India since its inception. Indian constitutional makers adopted this concept at the time when India had low literacy, factional issues and its condition was politically instable. Despite this Election Commission of India has achieved the major fit of conducting elections for all adult population.
Why did India adopt the concept of Universal Adult suffrage (UAS)
- Adult suffrage had been one of the rallying cries of the freedom movement for around three decades preceding the drafting of the Constitution.
- British made the use of limited franchise specifically to minimize their responsibilities to which nationalist leaders objected strongly.
- Indian nationalist leaders truly believed in the concept that all human are born equal and they have certain rights just on account of being human irrespective of their nationalities.
- Indian constitution makers were aware that limited adult suffrage would exclude the under-privileged and marginalized sections of the society to whom it is most needed. UAS makes government accountable and responsible to all citizens and compels them to work for all.
- Alladi Krishnaswamy Iyer of the constituent assembly said in November 1949, “the Assembly has adopted the principle of adult franchise with an abundant faith in the common man and the ultimate success of democratic rule and in the full belief that the introduction of democratic government on the basis of adult suffrage will bring enlightenment and promote the well-being, the standard of life, the comfort and the decent living of the common man. The principle of adult suffrage was adopted in no lighthearted mood but with the full realisation of its implications.”
Has it succeeded?
Though there are less quantifiable data to evaluate the success of UAS, its success is clearly visible in-
- Voter’s participation- the voter’s participation is gradually increasing and the current Loksabha elections witnessed one of the highest participation of voters.
- Political literacy at ground level- political literacy of poor and marginalized is increasing and is being witnessed in their demand for rights and welfare.
- Women empowerment- the women’s participation both in voters and as political leaders is increasing. In fact women leaders form the one third proportion of total at the Panchayat level.
- Rights to minorities and backward- UAS has preserved, protected and nurtured the political, cultural and socio-economic rights of the minorities and backward communities of India.
- Quest for good governance- UAS plays instrumental role in rising the standard of governance and making political leaders more accountable to the people.
Role of Election commission in implementing the universal adult suffrage-
The role of election commission has been critical in realizing the concept of Universal Adult Suffrage.
- Election commission in the initial period managed the herculean task with the low funds and shortage of human resource.
- Conducting The Great Indian Election: It has managed the mammoth logistics associated with conducting elections with universal adult franchise.
- Free and Fair Elections:Vital for instilling and retaining faith in universal adult franchise. EC has been able to so through Moral Code of Conduct and efficient administration.
- Protecting the voter:Anonymity on choice of voter is vital and EC has been able to manage that.
- Spreading Awareness:Has been taking timely and painstaking efforts to ensure that citizens understand the importance of voting.
General Studies – 3
Topic: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.
American giants like Netflix and Amazon prime are aggressively entering into India and are poised to disrupt existing situation. This could affect existing service providers and challenge their monopoly in the Indian market.
How this will affect the various stakeholders?
- Indian viewer would have different options for video streaming, movies and other entertain purposes.
- Competition between different service providers would lead to cheaper cost for viewers.
- Users now can have access to more rich, diverse and hitherto inaccessible content.
- Service providers-
- The cut throat competition among service providers may minimize their profits, make them offer their services at cheap rate and reduce the monopoly of the few.
- Customer base of the existing service providers may decrease on account of entry of foreign players.
- The entry of Netflix and Amazon prime and their services at low cost could also affect the movie theatres in India by reducing their audience.
- At the same time demand for smart phones could go up for the easy accessibility of the content of these foreign players.
- Government which has little regulatory powers may step in to restrict the Predatory attitude of the foreign giants through clear and transparent regulatory mechanisms.
Television sector may undergo another revolution with the entry of foreign players. With the increasing globalizing tendencies, such moves also strengthen domestic service provides to take on global players.
Topic: Economic growth
Pilot project is being undertaken by the three public sector oil marketing companies — Indian Oil, Bharat Petroleum and Hindustan Petroleum as an effort to reform the pricing mechanism. Starting next month, in select cities fuel prices at the pump point will be reset daily in tandem with global oil price movements. Till the project’s outcomes are assessed, the rest of the country will continue with the existing system, under which petrol and diesel prices are calibrated generally on a fortnightly basis.
Why adjusting the fuel prices daily is said to be long overdue reforms?
- It is illogical for an economy integrated with the global financial and commodity markets to keep fuel prices unchanged for as much as a fortnight
- Aligning prices daily and spreading out the degree of change will lessen the impact on consumers, on both the upside and the downside.
- A transparently formulated and dynamic pricing regime would hopefully prevent populist distortionary measures normally taken by ruling parties before elections in the future.
- It would also allow private companies to compete with the PSU oil marketers, which today control 95% of fuel outlets.
- Gradual change of prices will be beneficial to consumers compared to drastic ones associated with prevalent policy.
- The petroleum companies shall see a better cash-flow as the selling prices will be more reflective of their purchasing prices.
However this move is fret with following challenges-
- Geopolitics:Often oil-producing countries tweak their production schedule to meet their vested interest. Greater dependence on international market will affect Indian consumer relatively more.
- Instability in prices:Petrol prices have a widespread influence of prices of other commodities in markets. A daily change in petrol will bringer subsequent change in prices of other items, hampering price stability.
Though changing the oil prices on daily basis seems positive reform, government needs to analyze the results of the pilot project launched to check its feasibility. Once positive results are seen in market, people will have no difficulty to switch to new model.