SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 NOVEMBER 2018

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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 03 NOVEMBER 2018


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 – 2


Topic– Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

1) The recent tussle between the RBI and the government points out to the delicate balance RBI has to maintain in its functioning. Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

The recent controversy surrounding the RBI and the central government revolves around sec 7 of the RBI act. However, interference in the functioning of the RBI will have a lot of repercussions for the economy as discussed by the article.

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion on the need to maintain a fine balance RBI has to maintain in its functioning given the veto powers enjoyed by the government under sec 7 of RBI act.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent controversy between the RBI and the central government.

Body-

  1. Discuss the provisions of sec 7 of the RBI act and how it empowers the central government vis a vis the functioning of the central government.
  2. Discuss why RBI has to maintain a fine balance in its functioning. E.g the RBI Act allows the government to give written directives to the RBI in the public interest. On critical issues, often the choice for the Governor is to concede to the government with or without a written directive; the RBI is autonomous but within the framework of the RBI Act; at the same time the RBI is responsible for the country’s monetary policy and inflation targeting; Ultimately, it is the elected representative ruling the country who is answerable to the citizen every five years. The representative cannot split hairs before the voter while explaining the economy’s performance — he has to own up for everything, including the RBI’s actions, as his own; The Governor has to be conscious of the limits to his autonomy at all times, and the government has to consider the advice coming from RBI in all seriousness etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Reserve Bank of India has worked as efficiently as any top central bank of the world right from its inception. It was blessed with absolute independence to control or manage monetary liquidity, price stability, exchange rate stability, and later on financial stability also.
  • However recently simmering differences between the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Central government over issues of public sector bank regulation, resolution of distressed assets and the central bank’s reserves, independent payments bank regulator, easing credit to small firms have raised questions about the independence of RBI.

Why RBI need to balance it’s functioning:-

  • Section 7 of RBI act and how it empowers centre to intervene in the functioning of RBI:-
    • The RBI is an entity independent of the government as it takes its own decisions. However, in certain instances, it has to listen to the government. This provision in the RBI Act is contained in its Section 7 which says:-
      • The Central Government may from time to time give such directions to the Bank as it may, after consultation with the Governor of the Bank, consider necessary in the public interest.
      • Subject to any such directions, the general superintendence and direction of the affairs and business of the Bank shall be entrusted to a Central Board of Directors which may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank
      • Save as otherwise provided in regulations made by the Central Board, the Governor and in his absence the Deputy Governor nominated by him in this behalf, shall also have powers of general superintendence and direction of the affairs and the business of the Bank, and may exercise all powers and do all acts and things which may be exercised or done by the Bank.
    • Clearly, the section empowers the government to issue directions in public interest to the central bank, which otherwise does not take orders from the government.
  • RBI is autonomous but within the framework of the RBI Act. It is thus clear that the central bank cannot claim absolute autonomy. It is autonomy within the limits set by the government and its extent depends on the subject and the context. 
  • Ultimately, it is the elected representative ruling the country who is answerable to the citizen every five years. The representative while explaining the economy’s performance to own up for everything, including the RBI’s actions, as his own.
  • In a democracy, it is unthinkable that to have an institution that is so autonomous that it is not answerable to the people. The risk of such an institution is that it will impose its preferences on society against the latter’s will, which is undemocratic.
  • RBI is autonomous and accountable to the people ultimately, through the government.
  • The progressive widening and deepening of the activities of the RBI in different sectors of the economy affect the lives of millions. 
  • Nature will ignore the short term effects of their policies on the economy, the brunt of which has to be borne by the Parliament.

Topic: Part of static series under the heading – “Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries”

2) Do you agree with the statement that the scope of judicial review in India is much broader than that of what exists in US? Discuss comparing the judicial review in these two countries.(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to compare judicial review in India and America and evaluate whether the nature and scope of judicial review is much broader in India compared to USA.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what is judicial review.

Body – Explain the various points of differences between judicial review in the two countries

  • scope, of judicial review in India is narrower than that of scope of judicial review in USA where Supreme Court of USA the power to reject or abrogate any law which is made by Congress or states.
  • American constitution provides Due process of law which gives wide scope to the Supreme Court where as Indian constitution mentions about procedure established by law which gives narrow scope to the Supreme Court. But from Menaka Gandhi case onwards supreme court also using the concept of Due process of law by accepting the concept of natural justice in some times.
  • US constitution does not mention about judicial review in their constitution either explicitly or implicitly whereas Indian constitution explicitly mentions doctrine of judicial review etc

Conclusion – Give your view on the comparison of judicial review in the two countries.

Background:-

  • One of the most important features of the judiciary is the power of judicial review. Judicial review is the power of the Supreme Court and the High Courts to examine the constitutionality of the Acts of the Parliament and the state legislatures and executive orders both of the centre and state governments.
  • Judicial Review is the power of the Supreme Court to determine the constitutional validity of federal and state laws whenever these are challenged before it in the process of litigation. It is the power to reject such laws as are held to be it ultra vires.

Judicial review in US:-

  • The doctrine of judicial review is one of the invaluable contributions of the U.S.A. to the political theory. There is no clear mention of the Judicial Review power of the court in any part of the US Constitution. Its origin has been the result of a judicial decision and its continuance has been possible due to some conventions.

Judicial review in India:-

  • Although the term Judicial Review has not been mentioned in the Constitution, the provisions of various Articles of the Constitution of India have conferred the power of judicial review on the Supreme Court.
  • Accordingly the constitutional validity of a legislative enactment or an executive order may be challenged in the Supreme Court on the following grounds :-
    Violation of fundamental rights.
    2. Outside the competence of the authority which has framed it.
    3. It is repugnant to the Constitutional provisions.
  • The Supreme Court considerably widened the scope of judicial review in India through its judgement in Maneka Gandhi’s case.

Judicial review in India broader than in US:-

  • The scope of judicial review is wider in India as compared to US and U The Constitution of USA is concise and the words and expression used therein are vague and general in nature whereas Indian Constitution is rigid as well as flexible in nature as it has detailed provisions.
  • There are specific and extensive provisions of judicial review in the Constitution of India such as Articles 13, 32, 131-136, 143, 226, 227, 246 and 372. Though the term judicial review is not mentioned in these Articles but it is implicit. US Constitution also does not have any specific provision for judicial review. 
  • Pre-Constitutional laws and Judicial Review In India:-
    • Article 13 provides for ‘Judicial Review of Pre-Constitutional as well as Post- Constitutional laws’ whereas there is no such provision of judicial review of pre Constitutional laws in US and UK. 
  • Dimensions of Judicial Review 
    • In India, the power of judicial review can be used in three dimensions such as Judicial Review of Constitutional Amendments, Legislative Acts and Administrative Acts. Whereas US Constitution is very rigid in nature therefore review of Constitutional amendment in very rarely used.
  • Incorporation of doctrines 
    • In India, courts formulated various doctrines like doctrine of severability and doctrine of eclipse etc. these doctrines are also implicitly incorporated in US.

However some argue that judicial review in India is narrower than in US:-

  • The scope of judicial review in India is narrower than that of what exists in USA, though the American Constitution does not explicitly mention the concept of judicial review in any of its provisions.
  • In USA the judges exercise judicial review in a very aggressive manner. If the judges think that a particular law and the philosophy of it is not liked by the judges then, also the judiciary may reject the law. But such a thing never happens in India. The Indian judges reject a law only on the basis of unconstitutionality.
  • Moreover, it has also been seen that in USA, if a law is rejected by the Supreme Court then the court will make a new law in its place. Although law making is not the responsibility of the judiciary, the judiciary makes laws. Such judge-made laws are very common in USA.
    • But in India if a law is rejected by the Supreme Court, the Court leaves the matter of making new laws to the legislative. This has also been described as Judicial Activism by some of the constitutional experts.
  • The American Constitution provides for ‘due process of law’ against that of ‘procedure established by law’ which is contained in the Indian Constitution.
    • The ‘due process of law’ gives wide scope to the Supreme Court to grant protection to the rights of its citizens. It can declare laws violative of these rights void not only on substantive grounds of being unlawful, but also on procedural grounds of being unreasonable.
    • Indian Supreme Court, while determining the constitutionality of a law, however examines only the substantive question i.e., whether the law is within the powers of the authority concerned or not. It is not expected to go into the question of its reasonableness, suitability or policy implications.
  • In India the fundamental rights are not so broadly coded as in the USA and limitations there on have been stated in the constitution itself and this task has not been left to the courts. The constitution makers adopted this strategy as they felt that the courts might find it difficult to work act the limitations on the fundamental rights and the same better be laid down in the constitution itself. This is not the case in India
  • Super legislature:-
    • American Supreme Court has consumed its power to interpret the constitution liberally and has made so thorough a use of the due process of law clause that it has become more than a mere interpreter of law. It has, in fact come to occupy the position of a maker of law and has been correctly described as a ‘third chamber of the legislature, indeed, as a super legislature.’ Of course, the US Supreme Court has assumed this position. This is not the case in India.
    • The Indian Judiciary including the Supreme Court is not a Third Chamber claiming the power to sit in judgement on the policy embodied in the legislation passed by the legislature.
  • In the USA, the Supreme Court can strike down legislation enacted by Congress if it finds the same to be incompatible with the constitution.

Topic– Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

3) As the percentage of aged people in the country increases, improving the lives of people with dementia and their families and carers must become a national priority. Discuss.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question

The changing demography and the growing number of elderly in India is bound to result in the increase of people suffering from dementia. It is therefore necessary to make it a national priority to improve the lives of such persons who suffer from not only medical problem but also face social issues.

Directive word

Discuss- this is an all-encompassing directive which mandates us to write in detail about the key demand of the question. we also have to discuss about the related and important aspects of the question in order to bring out a complete picture of the issue in hand.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to write in detail about the plight of the elderly people suffering from the problem of dementia. It wants us to bring out the need to prioritise ameliorating the situation of such persons.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– mention that data from many parts of the world reveals age as a risk factor for dementia — though the debilitating condition, is not an inevitable consequence of ageing. Dementia is a form of cognitive impairment that affects memory and other cognitive abilities and significantly interferes with a person’s ability to perform daily activities.

Body-

  1. Mention that According to the WHO, it affects 50 million people worldwide; a number that is projected to increase to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050; discuss the problems faced by such patients- the stigma attached to the disease leads to the social isolation of patients, their families and careers; several of the needs of such people — social, economic or those related to health — remain unfulfilled. For instance, leave concessions at work, adaptable housing environments, adequate diagnostic facilities, treatment options, care provisions and risk reduction measures for people with dementia are not in place; Many require psychological support, biomedical facilities, appropriate medications, counselling services and end of life care. But these are not available etc.
  2. Mention India’s commitments in this regard. E.g the World Health Assembly in Geneva adopted the Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025, which India has duly endorsed; The country’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals — especially with respect to Goal 3 that deals with good health and well being — and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background:-

  • Recently 2018 WHO dementia plan focuses on the urgent need for a multi-phased approach and a multi-sectoral policy response to address the needs of people with dementia, their carers and families. The rapid increase in ageing population across countries requires national strategies to deal with age-related diseases.
  • The share of the elderly in India living alone or only with a spouse increased from 9 per cent in 1992 to 19 per cent in 2006.

Why improving the lives of the people with dementia should become a national priority:-

  • Data from many parts of the world reveals age as a risk factor for dementia.
  • According to the WHO, it affects 50 million people worldwide a number that is projected to increase to 82 million by 2030 and 152 million by 2050. According to some estimates, one person gets affected by dementia every three seconds.
  • The stigma attached to the disease leads to the social isolation of patients, their families and careers.
  • Several of the needs of such people like social, economic or those related to health remain unfulfilled. For instance, leave concessions at work, adaptable housing environments, adequate diagnostic facilities, treatment options,
  • Care provisions and risk reduction measures for people with dementia are not in place. Many require psychological support, biomedical facilities, appropriate medications, counselling services and end of life care. But these are not available.
  • Over a year ago, the World Health Assembly in Geneva adopted the Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025.
  • India endorsed the plan, confirming its commitment to improving the lives of people with dementia, their carers and families.

 Way forward:-

  • There is a urgent need to treat dementia as a public health concern by raising awareness on all aspects of the disease including risk reduction, diagnosis, treatment, research, care and support for patients and care givers.
  • India’s commitment to Sustainable Development Goals especially with respect to Goal 3 that deals with good health and well being  and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities should push it into formulating a strategy to deal with this debilitating condition.

Topic – Indian Polity : Issues

4) Reservation in promotion is a contentious matter for which the absolutist position of states is to blame. Critically examine.(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article traces the judicial history of the issue of reservation in promotions and discusses how the states have been complicit in fanning the controversy by taking absolutist stands. The question will help you prepare the issue of reservation in promotions and th court verdict in depth.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out what the SC verdict in Jarnail Singh case was. Thereafter, we need to bring out how the states have, in the past, taken absolutist stands to nullify court judgement related to this. We also need to explain why it was important for states to do. Finally, we need to provide a fair and balanced stand as to whether absolutist stands taken by the state in this matter would lead to issues and discuss way forward.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any.When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight why reservation in promotions is in news. give a brief explanation about reservation in promotions.

Body

  • Discuss the court verdict in Jarnail Singh case and whether and how the position of the court has changed from M Nagraj case.
  • Evaluate the role of states in implementing the judgments of SC in these cases and how the states have tried to nullify the effect of these judgments by making amendments. Also discuss the impact of such actions of states
  • Discuss why is it important for the states to ensure that the weaker section is well represented in higher jobs, matter of social equity etc.
  • Give your view on what should the ideal response of state should be to the current scenario judgement

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view and discuss way forward.

Background:-

  • Recently Supreme Court of India may have virtually paved way for the implementation of reservation in promotions in government jobs.

Role of states:-

  • Mandal Case, 1992:-
    • Reservation was restricted to initial appointments only and not extended to promotions for SC/ST candidates (Article 16(4)). Moreover, reservation can’t exceed 50% in a given year.
  • In 1995 Parliament allowed the reservation in promotions by introducing constitutional amendment: Article 16(4A).
    • Carry Forward Rule [Article 16(4B)] allowed unfilled reserved posts to be considered in the next year without ceiling of 50%
    • Balancing check introduced through Indra Sawhney that reservation shouldn’t exceed 50% in a given year was nullified by introducing the Carry Forward Rule through Article 16(4B) amendment. Under this, if the reserved posts were not filled in a year for want of suitable SC/ST candidates, then the shortfall was to be carried forward to the next year and 50% ceiling would not apply.
  • Lastly, Article 335, which provides that reservation in promotion claims would be subject to administrative efficiency, was eviscerated by adding an exception to Article 335. The exception allowed lowering of minimum qualifications for accommodating SC/ST in public employment.
  • Nagaraj Case,2006:
    • The 2006 verdict had mandated states to provide quantifiable data on the backwardness of Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST), information on inadequate representation in government jobs and the overall administrative efficiency before going ahead with the quota for them.
    • The Centre and various state governments had sought a reconsideration of this verdict on various grounds. The governments had contested that SC and ST communities are presumed to be backward and considering their stigma of caste, they should be given reservation even in job promotions.
    • For all practical purposes, the older verdict had sealed any possibility of extending quota benefits to serving employees. Dalit groups argue this had adversely affected the career progression of SC/ST employees because of an inherent bias against them.
    • State has expressed its inability in collecting the data citing high magnitude of complexities involved in the process.
  • Jarnail Singh Case, 2018:

 

  • The Supreme Court held that there was no need to refer its 2006 verdict on benefits of quotas in job promotions for SC/ST employees to a larger bench.
  • The conclusion arrived at in the Nagaraj case that the states have to collect quantifiable data showing backwardness of SCs and STs was contrary to the nine-judge bench judgement in the Indra Sawhney verdict of 1992, popularly known as Mandal Commission case.
  • Clarified that states need not collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of SC/ST employees to provide benefits of quota in job promotion.
  • The verdict has virtually left it upon the state and Central government to decide as to when and in what form reservation in promotion is to be implemented.
  • SC did not comment on two other conditions given in the 2006 verdict which dealt with adequacy of representation of SC/ST in promotion and not to disturb administrative efficiency,
  • The verdictcleared a major hurdle that was cited by the central government in granting reservation in promotion to its employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST).
  • SC has asked the Centre as to why states have not come forward with any quantifiable data to decide the inadequacy of representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government services even 12 years after its verdict on the ‘creamy layer’.

However some states have played a progressive role as well:-

  • Karnataka:-
    • State has been providing reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees since 1978 — 15% for SCs and 3% for STs. However, the Supreme Court in the B.K. Pavithra and others vs the Union of India and others civil appeal filed in 2011, struck down reservation in promotions for SC/ST employees.
    • However Karnataka found that overall efficiency of administration has not been affected by extending reservation in promotions to SCs and STs.
    • Recently president also has  given his assent to the Karnataka Extension of Consequential Seniority to Government Servants Promoted on the Basis of Reservation (To the Posts in the Civil Services of the State) Bill, 2017, for providing reservation in promotions for employees belonging to SC/ST communities

Why it is necessary for states to play proactive role in ensuring reservation in promotions are

  • Even though some have managed to secure promotions, they have been facing caste-based discrimination for a long time. So economic well-being of a section of the SC/ST community does not discount their social exclusion.
  • The litigants, who opposed to reservation in promotion, also contended that Dalits and Adivasis have come to occupy the office of the President, Central Ministers, Chief Justice of India and Chief Ministers, and this section is no more socially disabled as they were in the past. So the contention of reservation based on economic backwardness will be back to discussion again.
  • Absolutist positions on reservation for SC/STs will restrict states’ manoeuvring space for managing the resentment amongst other socially-dominant groups Jats, Marathas, Patidars etc who want inclusion within the OBC fold.
  • The position taken by the Union and states of doing away with controlling checks is likely to raise similar demands for dilution of constitutional checks for grant of OBC status to other dominant classes. 

What needs to be done?

  • There is a need to ensure inclusive education right from childhood to socio-economic backward communities so that there is no need to give reservation in promotion later.
  • There is a necessity for clear data collection regarding the backwardness of discriminated communities as well.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business,
powers & privileges and issues arising out of these”

5) Examine whether parliamentary privileges in a constitutional democracy like India is an antithesis to “equality before law”?(250 words)

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain what parliamentary privileges and equality before law mean, how it might appear that they are antithesis to each other. Examine why Parliamentary privilege are important. Discuss what happens if the privileges are codified.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .
Structure of the answer

  • Explain what Parliamentary privileges and what forms do they take
  • Examine what equality before law entails – absence of privileges, no person above law and equal subjection of law to each and every person. Mention in brief why they might appear contradictory
  • Highlight why Parliamentary privileges were conceived – efficiency, deal with unseen situation etc
  • Examine the issues that are being faced on account of parliamentary privileges

Conclusion – Summarize why the two are not at loggerheads.

Parliamentary privileges:-

  • Parliamentary privileges are defined in Article 105 of the Indian Constitution and those of State legislatures in Article 194.
  • The members of Parliment are exempted from any civil or criminal liability for any statement made or act done in the course of their duties. The privileges are claimed only when the person is a member of the house. As soon as he ends to be a member, the privileges are said to be called off.
  • The privileges given to the members are necessary for exercising constitutional functions. These privileges are essential so that the proceedings and functions can be made in a disciplined and undisturbed manner.
  • The Constitution confers certain privileges on legislative institutions with the idea of protecting freedom of speech and expression in the House and ensuring that undue influence, pressure or coercion is not brought on the legislature in the course of its functioning.

Privileges of Parliamentarians

  • Freedom of Speech:
    • According to the Indian Constitution, the members of Parliament enjoy freedom of speech and expression.
    • No member can be taken to task anywhere outside the four walls of the House (e.g. court of law) or cannot be discriminated against for expressing his/her views in the House and its Committees.
  • Freedom from Arrest:
    • It is understood that no member shall be arrested in a civil case 40 days before and after the adjournment of the House (Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha) and also when the House is in session. It also means that no member can be arrested within the precincts of the Parliament without the permission of the House to which he/she belongs. 
  • Exemption from attendance as witnesses:
    • The members of Parliament also enjoy freedom from attendance as witnesses.

Privileges of Parliament 

  • Right to publish debates and proceedings:
    • Though by convention, the Parliament does not prohibit the press to publish its proceedings, yet technically the House has every such right to forbid such publication.
    • Again, while a member has the privilege of freedom of speech in Parliament, he has no right to publish it outside Parliament. 
    • Anyone violating this rule can be held responsible for any libelous matter it may contain under the common law rules
  • Right to exclude strangers:
    • Each house of Parliament enjoys the right to exclude strangers (no-members or visitors) from the galleries at any time and to resolve to debate with closed doors.
  • Right to punish members and outsiders for breach of its privileges :
    • In India, the Parliament has been given punitive powers to punish those who are adjudged guilty of contempt of the House. Such contempt can be committed by the members of any House or any outsider. When a member of the House is involved for parliamentary misbehavior or commits contempt he can be expelled from the House.
  • Right to regulate the internal affairs of the House:
    • The House has the right to regulate its internal affairs. A member of the House is free to say whatever he likes subject only to the internal discipline of the House or the Committee concerned.

Equality before law :-

  • It entails absence of privileges, no person above law and equal subjection of law to each and every person.

How are parliamentary privileges antithesis to equality before law:-

  • Unfortunately, breach of privilege is invoked for the ostensible reason of protecting the image of the House on the whole or its individual members; too often, it is a thinly disguised mechanism to insulate elected representatives from criticism.
  •  Without a law codifying the legislative privileges, there is little merit in subjecting anyone, leave alone a journalist, to penal action for allegedly breaching a legislator’s privilege, unless there is a move or attempt to obstruct the functioning of either the House or its members.
  •  The problem also stems from the Constitution’s provisions on privileges and powers of the legislature.
    • These provisions are loosely worded .Article 194 (3) states that the powers, privileges and immunities of a House of the Legislature of a State until defined shall be those of that House and of its members and committees.
  •  It is sometimes used to counter media criticism of legislators and as a substitute for legal proceedings. All persons have a right to trial by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal.
  • Breach of privilege laws allow politicians to become judges in their own cause, raising concerns of conflict of interest and violating basic fair trial guarantees.
  •  There is also misuse of the privileges given to them because they do not have many restriction on the rights. They have the power to be the judge of their own proceedings, regulate their proceedings, what constitutes the breach and what punishment should be given for the breach, are solely decided by them.
  • The power vested in them is too wide as compared to the fundamental rights vested in the citizens. With no codification of the privileges, they have gained an undefined power because there is no expressed provision to state the limitations on their powers.

Way forward:-

  • Justice M.N. Venkatachaliah heading the Constitution Review Commission also recommended to define and delimit the privileges for the free and independent functioning of the legislature. This is based on the apprehension that codification will involve interference of the court as the matters would be presented in the court of law.
  • Supreme Court in Keshav Singh’s case observed that the privileges conferred on the members are subject to the fundamental rights.The Supreme Court has also held that any conflict arising between the privileges and the fundamental rights would be resolved by adopting harmonious construction.
  • If the privileges are not in accordance with the fundamental rights then the very essence of democracy for the protection of the rights of the citizen will be lost.
    • It is the duty of the parliament not to violate any other rights which are guaranteed by the constitution.
    • The members should also use their privileges wisely and not misuse them. They should always keep in mind that the powers do not make them corrupt.
    • The parliament cannot adopt every privilege that is present in the house of commons but should adopt only those privileges which accordingly suits our Indian democracy.

General Studies – 3


Topic – Indian economy : issues

6) Examine the role played by NBFC sector in the Indian economy and issues plaguing the sector?(250 words)

Indian express

Why this question

The question discusses the role NBFC sector has played in the Indian economy and delves deep into the nature of liquidity issue that is faced by the sector in the backdrop of IL&FS crisis. The issue of NBFC has been in the news and is currently at the centre of alleged tussle between RBI and Govt. Hence this question is important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain what NBFCs are and the role they play in our economy. Thereafter we need to explain the problem of liquidity crisis in the sector and RBI’s position on it. Finally, we need to discuss what needs to be done to address the crisis.

Directive word

Examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any .

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what NBFCs are

Body

  • Discuss the role played by NBFC sector in the economy – NBFCs being financial intermediaries are supposed to play a supplementary role to banks. NBFCs, especially those catering to the urban and rural poor — including the micro-finance institutions (NBFC-MFIs) and asset finance companies — have a complementary role in the financial inclusion agenda of the country. Further, some of the big NBFCs — infrastructure finance companies — are engaged in lending exclusively to the infrastructure sector, and some are into factoring business, thereby giving a fillip to the growth and development of various sectors. In short, NBFCs bring diversity to the financial sector.
  • Discuss the issues plaguing NBFC – that of liquidity crunch, regulatory challenges etc. Explain the relevance of IL&FS crisis and how it is related to the problems being faced currently.
  • Discuss how government and RBI have responded to the situation and the steps taken by RBI to address the liquidity problem of NBFCs

Conclusion – Give your view on the way this problem should be dealt with.

Background:-

  • Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFC) are establishments that provide financial services and banking facilities without meeting the legal definition of a Bank. They are covered under the Banking regulations laid down by the Reserve Bank of India and provide banking services like loans, credit facilities, TFCs, retirement planning, investing and stocking in money market.
  • However they are restricted from taking any form of deposits from the general public. Some of the examples of NBFC in India are Bajaj finance, Mahindra and Mahindra financial services etc.
  • Recently Indian non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), especially housing finance companies, have witnessed a fall in valuations and rising bond yields. Liquidity for NBFCs has also significantly contracted across the board.

Role of NBFC in Indian economy:-

  • Profitability :
    • NBFCs are more profitable than the banking sector because of lower costs. This helps them offer cheaper loans to customers. As a result, NBFCs’ credit growth is higher than that of the banking sector with more customers opting for NBFCs.
  • Infrastructure Lending :
    • NBFCs contribute largely to the economy by lending to infrastructure projects, which are very important to a developing country like India. Since they require large amount of funds, and earn profits only over a longer time-frame, these are riskier projects and deters banks from lending
  • Promoting inclusive growth :
    • NBFCs cater to a wide variety of customers  both in urban and rural areas. They finance projects of small-scale companies, which is important for the growth in rural areas. They also provide small-ticket loans for affordable housing projects. All these help promote inclusive growth in the country.
  • Variety of sectors:-
    • NBFCs are beginning to meet the consequent unmet demand for credit across a variety of sectors and ensuring continuing credit flows to the real economy.
  • NBFCs have been maintaining low net NPA ratios of 3.5% unlike their banking sector counterparts.
  • NBFCs have been found to be relatively more resilient to stress applied for credit risk as observed by the RBI in its financial stability reports of the past two years. NBFCs, even under severe stress conditions, continued to remain stable.
  • NBFCs have been able to complement the credit intermediation by banks by serving regions, sectors and customer segments that banks have either been unable or unwilling to serve profitably.
  • NBFCs often take lead role in providing innovative financial services to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) most suitable to their business requirements.
  • NBFCs do play a critical role in participating in the development of an economy by providing a fillip to transportation, employment generation, wealth creation, bank credit in rural segments and to support financially weaker sections of the society. Emergency services like financial assistance and guidance is also provided to the customers in the matters pertaining to insurance.

NBFC’s aid economic development in the following ways

  • Mobilization of Resources – It converts savings into investments
  • Capital Formation – Aids to increase capital stock of a company
  • Provision of Long-term Credit and specialised Credit
  • Aid in Employment Generation
  • Help in development of Financial Markets
  • Helps in Attracting Foreign Grants
  • Helps in Breaking Vicious Circle of Poverty by serving as government’s instrument

Issues plaguing NBFC sector in India :-

  • NBFC is passing through a turbulent period following a series of defaults by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) and the subsequent liquidity crunch. 
    • Several corporates, mutual funds and insurance companies had invested in short-term instruments such as commercial papers (CPs) and non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of the IL&FS group that has been defaulting on payments since August.
    • This has stoked fears that many of them could have funds stuck in IL&FS debt instruments which, in turn could lead to a liquidity crunch in their own backyard.
  • There are rising fears that the funding cost for NBFCs will zoom and result in a sharp decline in their margins.
  • Higher borrowing costs and narrowing options to raise funds will pose challenges for retail non banking finance companies (NBFCs) in the fiscal year ending March 2019 .
    • The bond yields have gone up sharply to around the 8% mark. That is making borrowing costlier even at the short end of the yield curve. 
  • NBFCs are likely to witness higher pricing pressure as competition in the retail segment intensifies going forward this is expected to be accentuated by narrowing funding avenues and higher systemic rates. 
  • Higher fuel prices, weaker dollar and the trade war could hit the SME sector badly. This would mean defaults by SMES, which have been a traditional market for NBFC lending
  • Investors are worried about a credit downgrade backlash on NBFCs. That could mean huge write-offs for investors.
  • Mutual funds who have invested in market instruments of NBFCs have faced increased redemption pressures.

 

Measures taken:-

  • In 1996, following the collapse of a large NBFC, RBI mandated that no new NBFC would be permitted to raise deposits from the public. Subsequently, when the NBFC sector began relying heavily on the banking system for funding, RBI put in place exposure limits for lending to the NBFC sector. RBI also introduced asset side prudential guidelines for NBFCs.
    • RBI is likely to tighten the guidelines for NBFCs, bringing them almost on par with commercial banks in terms of regulation.
  • After the 2008 financial crisis, the RBI has prescribed tighter prudential norms for NBFCs. The minimum tier-I capital requirement was raised to 10% from 7% in a phased manner by the end of March 2017.
  • Asset classification norms were revised from 180 days to 90 days in a phased manner by the end of March 2018, in line with that of banks. Analysts say NBFCs are facing a liquidity squeeze and not a new credit shock. 
  • The RBI opened a three-day special liquidity window of Rs 25,000 crore for banks to meet the cash requirements of debt mutual funds facing redemption pressures after bond prices fell leading to lower Net Asset Values.

What needs to be done:-

  • Given the growing size and dominance of the NBFC sector, it is important that the threshold capital levels for entry be substantially increased. It may be prudent for RBI to evaluate the need to shore up minimum capital requirements for various NBFCs.
  • While RBI has identified systemically important NBFCs, it needs to step up the monitoring of NBFCs which belong to large, diversified groups. Checks and balances are needed to ensure that risks do not build up in the sector due to structures which are too-complex-to-manage. 
  • RBI could consider re-visiting some of the unimplemented recommendations of the Working Group on Issues and Concerns in the NBFC Sector chaired by Usha Thorat in 2011.
    • One such recommendation was the introduction of a liquidity coverage ratio for NBFCs. The objective was to ensure that NBFCs have cash balances and holdings of government securities which may fully cover gaps between cumulative outflows and cumulative inflows for the first 30 days. This would be the buffer in times of stress.

 


General Studies – 4


Topic- Emotional intelligence-concepts, and their utilities and application in administration and governance.

7) “As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership.” Comment.(250 words) 

Reference

Directive word

Comment- here we have to express our knowledge and understanding of the issue and form an overall opinion thereupon.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to express our opinion as to whether the progress and increased adoption of AI needs to be complemented by more emotional intelligence in the leadership. We can present our opinion for or against the statement but we have to back up our opinion with sufficient and valid arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  growing importance and adoption of AI technologies in our life.

Body-

Discuss why AI needs to be complemented with EI. E.g mention that the growth of AI will lead to job losses across almost all sectors. Those that want to stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating — understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings; A smart machine might be able to diagnose an illness and even recommend treatment better than a doctor. It takes a person, however, to sit with a patient, understand their life situation (finances, family, quality of life, etc.), and help determine what treatment plan is optimal; Similarly, a smart machine may be able to diagnose complex business problems and recommend actions to improve an organization; A human being, however, is still best suited to jobs like spurring the leadership team to action, avoiding political hot buttons, and identifying savvy individuals to lead change; It’s these human capabilities that will become more and more prized over the next decade.  Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks etc.

Conclusion– based on your discussion, form a fair and a balanced conclusion on the given issue.

Background :-

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been implemented and is delivering on its promise at least at large companies including Facebook, Google, and Netflix. Retailers are using AI-powered robots in their warehouses, Utilities use AI to forecast electricity demand,
  • Automakers are using AI for autonomous cars, and Financial Services companies are using AI to better understand their customers, look for potential fraud, and to identify new products/services customers will want. 

Why artificial intelligence need to be complemented with emotional intelligence :-

  • AI and automation/robotics will change markets and workforces with many people forced out of employment and seeking new jobs .So those that want to stay relevant in their professions will need to focus on skills and capabilities that artificial intelligence has trouble replicating understanding, motivating, and interacting with human beings
  • A smart machine might be able to diagnose an illness and even recommend treatment better than a doctor.  It takes a person, however, to sit with a patient, understand their life situation (finances, family, quality of life, etc.), and help determine what treatment plan is optimal. This is where emotional intelligence would help
  • Similarly, a smart machine may be able to diagnose complex business problems and recommend actions to improve an organization.  A emotional intelligent human being, however, is still best suited to jobs like spurring the leadership team to action, avoiding political hot buttons, and identifying savvy individuals to lead change.
  • Skills like persuasion, social understanding, and empathy are going to become differentiators as artificial intelligence and machine learning take over our other tasks.
  • If we are going to empower machines, algorithms, and software to do more of the work that humans used to perform, we have to imbue them with some of the empathy and limitations that people have.
  • For example Chatbots are becoming good at mimicking our language. But until they can detect our emotional state and respond accordingly, they might never reach their full potential.
  • AI systems that are emotion-aware will have an immense competitive advantage over AI that has only cognitive or computational abilities, especially in real world usage.
    • Social robotics is an area where social and emotional intelligence skills are key.
  • Building AI systems that have empathy with clear ethical guidelines is critical to the decision-making logic of these AI systems. Emotional intelligence is a key part of that.

Conclusion:-

  • Job satisfaction has been on the decline for years in many industries, and it may be that achieving synergy between man and machine will reveal the true value of emotional intelligence.
  • In a world order led by super intelligence, emotional intelligence will be the only arrow in the human quiver to rein in super intelligence.