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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 DECEMBER 2018


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 15 DECEMBER 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 – 1


Topic: Effects of globalization on Indian society.

1) Critically analyze whether death penalty is justified in the modern times.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question

Some of the activist have made representations for speedier execution of Nirbhaya case accused. This brings out the need to discuss the old topic of the pros and cons of death penalty in a modern society.

Directive word

Critically analyze-  here we have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts, and present them as a whole in a summary. based on our discussion we have to form a concluding opinion on the issue.

Key demand of the question.

The question wants us to look into the death penalty in detail and discuss why it is unwarranted in the present times and also discuss where it should be allowed. Based on our discussion we have to from a personal opinion on the issue.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– write a few introductory lines about the  recent demands for executing Nirbhaya case accused.

BODY-

  1. Discuss the pitfalls and problems of death penalty. E.g
  • The death penalty is error-ridden. Between January 1, 2000 and June 31, 2015, the Supreme Court imposed 60 death sentences. It subsequently admitted that it had erred in 15 of them (25%).
  • The death penalty unfairly targets the poor and marginalised. Those without capital get the punishment. Penurious prisoners on legal aid get it the most, while others with private lawyers remain untouched.
  • The death penalty is impossible to administer fairly or rationally. The Supreme Court has repeatedly admitted that it has arbitrarily imposed this most extreme punishment. Executions occurred in 5.2 cases for every 1 lakh murders etc.
  1. Discuss the situations where death         penalty has been thought imperative to serve the sense of justice. E.g
  • The Law Commission of India has attempted to analyse the need for the death penalty on two separate occasions. While the 35th Report correctly called for its retention in order to see its impact on a new republic, the more recent 262nd Report could not recommend the punishment’s absolute abolition despite a rather desperate attempt to do the same for the first 240 pages;cases of violent terror are constant reminders of the need to protect national stability by ensuring appropriate responses to such actions, and the death penalty forms part of the national response.It is in this idea that there exists a moral support for the death penalty. A punishment cannot be judged by its impact on criminals but by its impact on those who are still innocent etc.

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

Background :-

  • Capital punishment also called as death penalty is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law. The debate on whether to abolish the death penalty or not, has been raging in India and in several other countries for decades

Why death penalty is not the solution:-

  • Death penalty has never been a deterrent against any sort of crime:-
  • There is little empirical evidence to show that those about to commit a capital offence would stop themselves merely out of the fear of being hanged.
  • Even S. Verma committee decided against recommending the death penalty for rape. It rightly took into account the possibility of awarding life sentences without remission for aggravated sexual assault.
  • Further, there is a legitimate concern that the country’s judicial system has not been consistent in awarding the death penalty.It will be especially wrong to force judges to compare the relative ‘merits’ of rape victims based on their age and choose between death sentence and life.
  • The Law Commission, while recommending abolition of the death penalty, except in terrorism-related cases, observed that it is difficult to operate the ‘rarest of rare cases’ principle without a hint of arbitrariness.
  • Provision of death penalty in rape cases will only make matters worse by slowing the administration of justice.Besides, when victim is the sole witness, as in most sexual assault cases, it will induce murder of rape victims by the perpetrators of the crime to destroy the evidence .
  • Even when awarded death penalty the accused do not have remorse for their actionsfor instance documentary showing the accused blaming victim itself in Nirbhaya case etc 
  • The death penalty has not deterred terrorism, murder or even theft.
    • For over a century, stealing attracted the death penalty in England, where spectators at public hangings often had their pockets picked.
  • The death penalty unfairly targets the poor and marginalised. Those without capital get the punishment. Penurious prisoners on legal aid get it the most, while others with private lawyers remain untouched.
  • The death penalty is impossible to administer fairly or rationally. The Supreme Court has repeatedly admitted that it has arbitrarily imposed this most extreme punishment.

However death Penalty is necessary sometimes due to the following reasons:

  • The punishment is not arbitrary because, it comes out of a judicial process.To call it arbitrary, one has to necessarily prove the process as flawed.
  • It is being implemented in the “rarest of the rare” casesand the fact is during the last 13 years, only four people have been executed.
  • The hanging of Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon strongly affirms India’s commitment to the protection of life.
  • People criticise it on arbitrariness, irreversibility and human rightsand these are not valid arguments.
  • Its constitutionality is upheld, even in liberal democracies like U.S. It is not reflection of uncivilised society.
  • India’s neighbourhood is not peaceful, unlike Scandinavia. India has got troubled borders. Several forces are trying to destabilise the very idea of our Nation from across the Border.
  • The sacredness of life can only be seen to be protected, if those who take it away are proportionately punished.

 


General Studies – 2


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

2) Judicial independence is not just independence from the government. Do you agree. Comment in the context of growing judicial activism in India.(250 words) 

The hindu

Why this question

Some of the recent judgements of judges from various courts of India point out the pitfalls of unrestrained judicial liberty, which in itself is a product of judicial activism. The article discusses the need for judicial independence and how judicial activism affects it.

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 knowledge and understanding of judicial activism in India and express our opinion as to why it underlines the statement that judicial independence is not just independence from the government or the executive.

Structure of the answer

Introduction– Write a few introductory lines about the judicial activism in India. E.g mention the names of a few famous cases related to judicial activism- e.g doctrine of the basic structure of the constitution to BCCI restructuring to overseeing NRC etc.

Body-

  1. Discuss how judicial independence is more than independence from the executive. E.g Judicial independence, depends on judges recognising a law, while being influenced by politics, is not reducible to it; Law and adjudication must remain autonomous from partisan politics in important ways; control brings with it accountability. Politicians, for example, remain “accountable” to the people in at least some sense, because they depend upon them in order to continue in office after five years. Judges who are insulated from any external control are accountable only to themselves, and their own sense of the limits of their constitutional role etc.
  2. Discuss the perils of unrestrained judicial activism. E.g  The judgments like the national anthem order, the Tirukkural order, the NRC process, and Justice Sen’s recent foray raise an altogether more frightening prospect: that of an “executive court”;whose moral and political compass finds itself in alignment with the government of the day, and one that has no compunctions in navigating only according to that compass. Instead of checking and limiting government power, an executive court finds itself marching in lockstep with the government, and being used to set the seal of its prestige upon more controversial parts of the government’s agenda etc.

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

Judicial independence :-

  • Judicial independence is the concept that the judiciary should be independent from the other branches of government. That is, courts should not be subject to improper influence from the other branches of government or from private or partisan interests.
  • It is vitally important in a democracy that individual judges and the judiciary as a whole are impartial and independent of all external pressures and of each other so that those who appear before them and the wider public can have confidence that their cases will be decided fairly and in accordance with the law.
  • Indian Constitution is designed to ensure that judges can do their work “independent” of government influence: fixed salaries, security of tenure, and an appointments process that through the Supreme Court’s judgments  is insulated from executive control.
  • Independence, however, means something more as well. It also requires that judges perform their constitutional role independent of personal biases, political and moral beliefs, and partisan ideologies. 
  • Judicial independence, therefore, depends on judges recognising that law, while being influenced by politics, is not reducible to it. Law and adjudication must remain autonomous from partisan politics in important ways.
  • The more judicial independence is strengthened in its first sense  which is independence from the government ,the more attention should be paid to independence in this second sense. This is because control brings with it accountability. Politicians, for example, remain “accountable” to the people in at least some sense however judges who are insulated from any external control are accountable only to themselves, and their own sense of the limits of their constitutional role.

Accountability only to oneself, however, is a very weak form of constraint. The temptation to overstep is always immense, more so when such immense power has been placed in one’s own hands. It is here that legal culture plays a critical role in establishing judicial accountability:-

  • The judgments like the national anthem order, the Tirukkural order, the NRC process, and Justice Sen’s recent foray raise an altogether more frightening prospect: that of an “executive court” whose moral and political compass finds itself in alignment with the government of the day, and one that has no compunctions in navigating only according to that compass.
  • Instead of checking and limiting government power, an executive court finds itself marching in lockstep with the government, and being used to set the seal of its prestige upon more controversial parts of the government’s agenda etc.

Topic – Role of civil services in a democracy.

3) What do you think is the importance of civil services for a democratic country like India. Discuss.(250 words)

Reference

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 role and importance of civil services for a country like India.

Structure of the answer

Introduction- write a few introductory lines about the  Civil services in India. E.g

Body-

Discuss in points the role played by civil services in a democracy and try to connect them with Indian civil services. E.g

  • Role in Governance
  • Role in provision of public goods and services
  • Economic policy improvement and implementation
  • Role in fiscal sustainability
  • Role in institutional development

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

Background:-

  • In the process of governance, which involves several set of activities to deliver effective services to people, civil service plays a pivotal role in providing shape to policies that reflect people’s needs and put their suggestive, analytical and informative roles to implement the policies. It is recognized that civil service plays a crucial role in all societies whether developed or developing.

Importance of civil services for a democracy like India :-

  • Stability:-
    • It is widely recognised that the civil services have contributed to stability in terms of maintenance of peace, the conduct of fair elections, managing disasters and the preservation of the unity of the nation, providing stability and maintaining order in a vast country prone to various conflicts ethnic, communal, regional etc.
  • Facilitating democracy:-
    • The civil servants play a vital role in maintaining the democratic ideals by assisting their political heads (Ministers) in policy making function and in implementing the policies made. 
  • Governance:
    • A necessary, but not sufficient, condition for good governance is a skilled, motivated and efficient civil service with a professional ethos. By contrast, a bad civil service is a sufficient condition to produce bad governance.
  • Public goods and services:-
    • Access to public services and their quantity and quality largely depend on the skills and motivation of the public employees who provide the services or oversee their delivery.
  • Economic policy improvements:
    • Whereas some reforms will require political will but little administrative support, others depend on competent and motivated government personnel. Well-formulated policies have failed without the right personnel to implement them.
  • Management of public expenditure and revenue:
    • The civil service is critical for the responsible management of public expenditure and revenues. In its turn, such responsible management requires the provision of sustainable employment opportunities for competent and motivated personnel.
  • Fiscal sustainability:
    • The civil service can help maintain the sustainability of public finances. A well-chosen combination of measures affecting the number of employees and their salaries can improve the effectiveness of the government apparatus while also reducing its cost.
  • The scientific and technological development:-
    • They have led to revolutionary changes in transportation and communication system. The invention of telephone, telegraph, railways and airways has made big government and large scale administration possible.

 Issues:- 

  • It has been pointed out that the Civil Service in India is more concerned with the internal processes than with results.
  • The systemic rigidities, needless complexities and over centralization in the policy and management structures within which the civil service functions are too complex and often too constraining.
  • Rigid organization structures and cumbersome procedures.
  • Elitist, authoritarian, conservative outlook
  • Bureaucrats fulfil segmental roles over which they have no control. Consequently, they have little or no opportunity to exercise individual judgment.
  • The requirement that a bureaucrat should follow the principles of consistency and regularity automatically limits his capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.
  • The general rules which may take for overall efficiency produce inefficiency and in justice in individual cases.
  • Civil service difficulty to cope with uncertainty and change is a key limit on its efficiency

Reforms needed:-

  • The development work needs some flexibility from a strict observance of rigid rules and regulations. Rigid rule bound bureaucracies should be changed into flexible and action oriented.
  • Reforms are required in the field of recruitment of civil servants so that right people could be recruited who can ensure smooth functioning of democracy.
  • Training of civil servants should be able to bring about behavioural and attitudinal changes.
  • Administrative procedures, rules and regulations need to be simplified so that red tapism could be minimized
  • Adoption of modern management techniques such as management by objectives to elimination of corruption so as to secure clean, honest, impartial and efficient administration creation of new work culture and encouraging creativity.

Topic– Part of static series under the heading – “Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability”

4) In recent years, a lot of effort has been put into technological initiatives like digitalization. Analyze how it can help in improving transparency and governance with examples?(250 words) 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to bring out how digitalization would help in improving transparency as well as governance. We also need to provide examples of government schemes and programmes which can help in improving governance and transparency.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that the current government has taken us on the path of digitalization through Digital India etc

Body

  • Explain how by bringing digitalization, transparency and governance improves.
  • Give examples of e-governance initiatives like mygov.in which enhance interaction between citizens and government, discuss about the pillars of digital India and how focus is on better service delivery for citizens, discuss the role of JAM in curbing corruption etc
  • Discuss what more can be done to further improve transparency and governance

Conclusion – emphasize on the role of technology in improving governance and the significant strides that we have taken in recent years.

Background:-

  • Backed up by initiatives like Make in India, Digital India and Startup India, the nation is at the cusp of a big transformation towards digitization.

How digitalisation improves transparency and governance:-

  • Digitisation embodied in manufacturing and services improves efficiency, total factor productivity, spill-over effects, transparency and accountability. For example, e-commerce has improved logistics and supply chains; digital payment services have provided flexibility and transparency; digital identification services have enabled de-duplication and prevention of fraud; and digital learning platforms have augmented literacy.
  • Objectivity of E-Governance is to provide better services to customers.
    • E-Governance would solve the queries of people without the need of people going to the government offices, to get their queries solved.
    • This is in addition to the area of e-Kranti where the services of government departments would be electronically delivered.
    • Another benefit that can be enjoyed by the public is the access to all information regarding important policies that the government brings into action. This includes the usage of Right to Information Act, with Internet as the sole source.
  • The other areas which shall get a boost with this project are facilities of e-health, e-education with better cyber security.National Optical Fiber Network is being stretched which is to provide internet to the people in areas where it hasn’t reached yet. Also, the villages shall be provided with high broadband speed in the days to come under this move.This sends clear cut signals regarding the intentions of the government to bring transparency in its functioning
  • Transparency
    • If the transactions are digital, the consumers are known to the banks, leading to transparency in the system
    • Digitization can help agencies progress faster toward policy goals by helping to create a frictionless government. 

Constraints remain:-

 

  • Lack of Literacy and Knowledge:
    • India currently has the largest illiterate population. This literacy rate is the reason that acts as a challenging task for the government to implement digitization in the country. 
  • Inequality of Income:
    • Inequality of Income plays an important role in proving as a challenge of digitization Imbalance of income will act as a major challenge for the government
  • Corruption:
    • Corruption is the root cause for the need of digitization in India. High level of corrupt 
      practices in some public services in India is an obstacle for digitization in India.
  • Resistance to Change :
    • There are people in the country who will welcome the implementation of e-governance, while on the other hand some would like to continue in the way the system had been working. 
  • Reliability of web:
    • The vulnerability to cyber crimes will raise the question of privacy issues in the mind of the public. There have been incidents in the past where the data collected got completely lost because of the unpredictable problems of the system. Such incidents can erode trust and user confidence in government systems. 
  • Higher Investments:
    • According to the data collected, India is spending about 3% of GDP to bring this information of web-based system. To introduce something that involves high cost is one of the prohibiting factors that come across digitization.
  • Lack of matured technicians:
    • There is lack of matured technicians in the country who can advice the government on technical grounds. A good technician will not only help the government to reduce the cost of installation, but will also be able to handle the technical problems easily. 
  • Lack of qualified administrators:
    • There is a lack of qualified administrators in the country, who are not very techno-friendly.
  • Connectivity to backward areas:
    • Many parts of India are still not connected very well. The connectivity of digitization to these areas will be challenging task for the government. 
  • Frequent changes in technology:
    • The digitization depends on technology so it will be a challenge for the government to keep pace with every changing technology. There may be chances of the system to fail, if the technology is not updated.
  • Fear of meeting up the expectations:
    • Though the government may try to give its best to the public, there are chances that the government may not meet up the expectations of the public.

How to increase transparency and governance :-

  • Governments need to be in line with businesses when it comes to using technology. They can use it to streamline their processes and improve interactions with their citizens. Digital solutions, including a digital core, can create better integrated, more efficient systems—the kind of systems that help governments transform and deliver better outcomes for their constituents.
  • Government should adopt various other effective projects and initiatives to eradicate ICT 
    illiteracy and emphasize on the need of digitalization. 
  • An initiation towards setting up of number of computer centers and kiosks is needed and also 
    training to people by setting up IT training centers in various parts of cities and villages is 
    This will help in building an information based society.
  • The government should launch various awareness programs, which will help people to know 
    the benefits of digitisation and will motivate them to accept the change. 
  • Government should encourage technology rich countries and companies to invest in the Indian 
  • Infrastructure is a crucial part of any country’s development. So, the government should work 
    on improving ICT infrastructure by providing Electricity and good Internet connection. 
  • Strategic framework for implementation of digitisation is needed.
  • It is important for the government to create a trust factor among the citizens by being consistent in taking feedback and undertaking corrective actions for the deviations.
  • Another important suggestion for the government is to hire highly professional technicians 
    who can easily curb any technical issue and keep the system updated. 
  • A support from the other political parties is also required to infuse digitisation in the system.

General Studies – 3


Topic: Indian economy – issues

5) “The progress made in Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings is real, but it’s time for another exercise that takes a ground-up look at our current regulatory frameworks.” Analyze in the context of regulatory architecture for MSMEs?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article highlights the problem of regulatory maze that surrounds the MSME sector and the challenges it creates for them. At a time when credit availability for MSMEs has been focussed on a lot, simplifying the regulatory architecture will also help in the progress of MSMEs.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to highlight the plethora of regulations that exist for MSME sector and why and how rationalising these regulations will help in freeing up the shackles of MSME sector and accelerate their growth.

Directive word

Analyze  – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Highlight that India has recently made rapid strides in EODB rankings. To further improve EODB for MSMEs there is a need for relook into the regulatory architecture for MSMEs.

Body

  • First of all highlight the sheer quantum of regulations that the MSME sector has to contend with.
  • Discuss the challenges caused for the MSME sector as a result of the present regulatory architecture – compliance burden, lack of capacity etc
  • Discuss what needs to be done. Mention that focus has to be on 3 things – vectors—rationalization (cutting down the number of laws), simplification (cutting down the number of compliances and filings) and digitization (architecting for true paperless, presence-less and cashless). Also bring out how the same can be achieved.

Conclusion – Emphasize on the importance of MSME sector for the economy and how tackling this issue would have a multiplier effect on our economy.

Background :-

  • India is ranked 77th among 190 countries by leapfrogging 23 ranks in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) 2018 rankings.
  • This improvement should be welcomed as it will attract more investment, help the depreciating rupee, help towards structural reforms, boost entrepreneurship etc. To further improve EODB for MSMEs there is a need for relook into the regulatory architecture for MSMEs.

Ease of doing business Index does not take a look at ground work :- ( Summarise this aspect in short in the answer)

  • Political influence:-
    • Recently world Bank’s chief economist raised concerns that the rankings could have been influenced by politics.
  • Methodology issues:-
    • It limits its sample size to just a few major cities, thus projecting an imperfect picture of overall business conditions.
    • In the real India, it still takes 156 days to get a building plan sanctioned, and 1,445 days in court to get a judicial verdict on a civil dispute.
    • Does not directly measure more general conditions such as a nation’s proximity to large markets, quality of infrastructure, inflation, or crime.
    • Methodological weaknesses, an uncertainty in the ability of the indicators to capture the underlying business climate, and a general worry that many countries may find it easier to change their ranking in Doing Business than to change the underlying business environment.
  • Experts wondered if governments may be gaming the rankings by tailoring their policies to specifically fit the World Bank’s criteria instead of trying to enact wider structural reforms.
  • Questions were raised whether the bank is right to measure a country’s business environment based on written legal rules rather than investigating the actual ground conditions in which businesses operate.
  • Businesses:-
    • Many businesses, for example, may be able to bribe their way out of bad rules. There was significant variation between World Bank’s surveys and actual business conditions.
    • Ease of running a business is just as difficult as before with archaic labour laws, increasingly militant trade unions, undisciplined and low productivity labour, besides the regular rent collecting proclivities of government agencies. There is little sign that this is improving.

Regulations for MSME :-

  • Strong credit demand in this segment, among other things driven by formalization of credit demand is likely to keep the overall NPA rate in this segment in check.
  • In addition, RBI relief to MSME borrowers with aggregate exposure up to Rs 25 crores, giving 90 day extension for repayments, is likely to lead to a reversal of about Rs 15,000 crores Gross NPA in this segment. 
  • Mudra scheme :-
    • Loans offers to small businesses in the unorganized sector are now covered by a credit guarantee scheme. It also helps bridge the shortfall in loans for these businesses. This helps small entrepreneurs save on the interests that they need to pay.

Challenges due to these regulations :-

  • Nearly 16% of the new borrowers who took loans up to Rs 10 lakh between January and June 2016 have defaulted since then. This delinquency rate falls sharply to about 4% for loans above Rs 10 lakh. So this means that the ultra-small businesses haven’t been able to scale up their business or even generate revenue to cover costs.
  • Government’s demonetization drive, MSMEs were among the worst hit sector as their businesses were cash based. The response was not just limited to demonetization but also during the GST.
  • MSMEs are exposed to market-linked volatility thus the credit risk is high.
  • The typical need of a SME is around INR 10-20 lacs, as against a larger corporation which runs into hundreds of croresThe cost of servicing such a small-sized loan from a bank or an NBFC is very high and therefore, financial institutions are likely to avoid such requests.
  • Collateral: 
    • Additionally, to avail loans, one needs to offer collateral – a personal property or manufacturing plant or even machinery. Most the SMEs do have much to offer as collateral; hence lending firms view them as high-risk requests.
  • Financial Reporting: 
    • The SMEs also need to back their loan request with tax-returns, balance sheets and other financial documents which speak about the health of the companies.
  • Recently In his note to Parliament’s Estimates Committee on bank non-performing assets (NPAs), Former RBI governor has flagged three major sources of potential trouble:
    • Mudra credit, which is basically small-ticket loans granted to micro and small enterprises. The disbursement under Mudra loans alone is Rs. 6.37 lakh crore, which is over 7% of the total outstanding bank credit. These loans have been sanctioned under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.
    • Lending to farmers through Kisan Credit Cards
    • contingent liabilities under the Credit Guarantee Scheme for MSMEs, run by the Small Industries Development Bank of India.
  • Impact on MSME due to GST:-
    • Costs:-
      • India’s paradigm shift to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime will increase their compliance costs and snare a majority of them into the indirect tax net for the first time.
    • For manufacturers, the reduction in the threshold for GST exemption to Rs.20 lakh from Rs. 1.5 crore means tens of thousands of unorganised MSMEs will soon be cast into the tax net
    • GST will have a marginally negative impact because of higher tax rates
    • Input Tax Credit 
      • Along with the initial confusion and infrastructure glitches that took some time to stabilize, there were reports of delays in receiving Input Tax Credit (ITC), which directly affected the MSME industry.
    • The advent of GST also affected supply chains, notably where small traders acted as suppliers of intermediates to larger manufacturing companies.
    • In addition, with most MSMEs not being listed entities, their monthly or quarterly business performance filings are also largely unavailable.
    • While the delay in trade receivables impacted all the companies in the MSME sector, the export segment took most of the hit.
      • Increased cost of compliance and an evolving refund mechanism resulted in a spike in working capital needs of exporters.
    • The transition to the GST regime affected the MSME sector more than any other, since its players lack compliance infrastructure to map their outstanding inventory with tax invoices. Furthermore, its weak credit profile and risk weightages attached to it by banks, pushed it closer to higher credit change options from the non-banking finance segment.
  • Labour laws :
    • These pieces of legislation put various restrictions on employers in terms of hiring, retaining and terminating the workers etc. 

What more needs to be done ?

  • Priority lending to honest taxpayers
    • The government need to incentivise MSMEs who pay promptly and within timelines. Adding to this, banks and associated financial organisations can introduce priority lending for honest taxpayers based on returns filing. This would improve the working capital for these businesses and have a positive impact.
  • Reducing time limit for reversal of ITC
    • ITC ought to be inverted under the CGST, in case the receiver is unable to pay to the supplier within a time period of 180 days. Ideally, for MSMEs, this time limit should be lowered to 90 days. As, being a part of the working capital and a lifeline for their business, any postponement in the payments is sure to impact business operations at all times.
  • Increasing definition of class of persons
    • The class of person definition has been raised from Rs 3 crore to Rs 5 crore. An additional increase of Rs 10 crore is recommended because it will then cover MSME service and industrial units, thus, amounting to benefits at large.
  • Adding POS solutions to ‘Digital MSME’ scheme
    • As per the recent changes, taxpayers with turnover of up to Rs 5 crore can file GSTR – 1 on a quarterly basis. The best way to tackle this is to use Point of Sale (POS) solutions that provide end-to-end assistance from generating digital invoices to payments to capturing data.
    • MSMEs with a turnover of Rs 2 to Rs 3 crore can easily use POS, along with the associated digital compliance and filing software, to maintain their data and file on time.
    • And the government can further expedite this process by subsiding POS sales. Under the ‘Digital MSME’ scheme that promotes cloud computing, POS solutions can also be introduced as one of the products.
  • Focus has to be on 3 things :-
    • Rationalization (cutting down the number of laws), simplification (cutting down the number of compliances and filings) and digitization (architecting for true paperless, presence-less and cashless). 

Topic-Indian economy : Issues

6) Discuss why have conditions for workers in most parts of the world not improved commensurately given the global output recovery of recent years?(250 words)

Livemint

Why this question

The article discusses the fact that despite global growth seeing an upturn in recent years, wage growth for workers has not increased at the same pace. The article analyses the reasons behind it and suggests alternate policy measures. In India too, wage growth across sectors has not kept pace and hence this question will help you understand the reasons and give suggestions for improvement.

Key demand of the question

The question expects you to first highlight the status of global growth and bring out the fact that wage growth has not kept pace. Thereafter, we need to delve deeper into the issue to understand why this is so. Your analysis need not necessarily be limited to Indian situation but should also bring out the issues with neoliberal policies all around. Thereafter, we need to give suggestions for bringing about a change in status quo.

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 – Highlight the findings of ILO. The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) latest Global Wage Report finds that, excluding China, real (inflation-adjusted) wages grew at an annual rate of just 1.1% in 2017, down from 1.8% in 2016. That is the slowest pace since 2008.

Body

  • Bring out the situation in developed and developing countries. Also highlight that gap between wage growth and labour productivity remained wide in 2017. In many countries, labour’s share of national income is still below the levels of the early 1990s.
  • Discuss the reasons behind the same
    • large labour-surplus economies’ deepening integration into the global market, together with increased reliance on automation and Artificial Intelligence, has weakened workers’ bargaining power and shifted labour demand into very specific and limited sectors.
    • Highlight the political reason behind the same – governments focused solely on improving “labour-market flexibility” have pursued policies that privilege employers’ interests over those of workers, not least by undercutting workers’ ability to organize. An obsession with fiscal consolidation and austerity has prevented the kind of social spending that could expand public employment and improve workers’ conditions. The current regulatory environment increasingly allows for large corporations to wield power without accountability, resulting in higher monopoly rents and greater bargaining power. Etc
  • Discuss the alternate approach followed by China and how it has been able to get wage growth. Explain that in China what has happened  is productive sector has absorbed surplus labour and push up wages over all. China has augmented this effect through systematic state policies designed to improve labour conditions.
  • Give suggestions for improvements – suggest tweaking the neoliberal paradigm, better policies to protect workers rights etc.

Conclusion – Summarize your findings as regards to the reason behind falling wage growth and suggest way forward.

Background :-

  • The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) latest Global Wage Report finds that, excluding China, real (inflation-adjusted) wages grew at an annual rate of just 1.1% in 2017, down from 1.8% in 2016. 
  • Gap between wage growth and labour productivity remained wide in 2017. In many countries, labour’s share of national income is still below the levels of the early 1990s.

Why condition of labour has not improved :-

  • Large labour-surplus economies deepening integration into the global market, together with increased reliance on automation and Artificial Intelligence, has weakened workers’ bargaining power and shifted labour demand into very specific and limited sectors. 
  • From country to country, legislation and court judgments are increasingly trampling on long-recognized labour rights. Governments focused solely on improving “labour-market flexibility” have pursued policies that privilege employers’ interests over those of workers, not least by undercutting workers’ ability to organize.
  • Increase in focus on  fiscal consolidation and austerity has prevented the kind of social spending that could expand public employment and improve workers conditions.
  • The current regulatory environment increasingly allows for large corporations to wield power without accountability, resulting in higher monopoly rents and greater bargaining power.
  • Neoliberalism’s intellectual capture of economic policymaking across a wide range of countries, is resulting in the exclusion of most wage earners from the gains of economic growth. 
  • Indian scenario:-
    • The crucial Labour Code on Industrial Relations is already diluted to pacify labour unions .The government had first sought to allow companies to lay off 300 workers without approval but later abandoned the idea saying it would stay with the current level of 100 workers.
    • The much-touted rationalisation and consolidation of 44 labour laws into four omnibus codes is yet to become reality.
    • Attempts at reforming Indian labour market have been rather slow. Even the globalization and liberalization process impacted labour market in limited manner.  
    • India missed the opportunity of being manufacturing hub of the world due to rigidities in labour market, archaic labour laws and glaring skill deficit.
    • Significant skill shortage across the country makes the labour market quite unattractive especially for foreign direct investment.  
    • In terms of vocational skills, India fares worse than some of the developing countries such as Mexico where the percentage of youth having vocational training is 28 per cent.  
    • Lack of a holistic labour policy is a major obstacle in the way of developing a liberal labour market which can contribute towards making a competitive manufacturing and service industry ecosystems in the country.

Way forward :-

  • China has augmented this effect through systematic state policies designed to improve labour conditions.
  • At the same time, the government has expanded other forms of social protections for workers, all while pursuing industrial policies geared toward boosting innovation and productivity growth, thus moving the country up the global value chain.
  • Labour laws need to be simplified and brought in line with contemporary economic realities, including especially current international practice.
  • The labour enforcement machinery needs to be further strengthened in the interest of better enforcement of labour laws.  
  • It is important to eliminate absurdities, dualities and ambiguities from existing labour laws so that industry is in a better position to leverage full potential of labour market.  
  • Labour laws should foster an enabling environment so far as employment practices are concerned.
  • Faster reforms in the power sectors, facilitation of entry and exit of firms, level playing field for small and large firms, improvement in access to finance and informing firms will lead to improvements in ease of doing business norms. 

General Studies – 4


Topic– Part of  the series of Ethics Case Studies

7) An international soft drink company has a signature soft drink that it sells all over the world. In India, the version of the soft drink complies with Indian food and health regulations, but is less healthy than the drink sold in the European market where the law is stricter. The soft drink company is obeying the law in India, but it is selling an inferior, less healthy product in a developing country.

 

  1. What are the issues of integrity, ethics and law posed in the case study?
  2. What options does the soft drink company and the government of India have
  3. What should they do and why?(250 words)

 

Guidelines for the answer

Some of the questions raised by this case study include;

  • how the issue first arose, including globalization, and why the company and the country would benefit and not benefit from the current position;
  • whether the company and country are acting ethically, with integrity, and consistent with law;
  • the role that consumers in India and elsewhere play in this case study;
  • and the different approaches the company could take to health standards, e.g. establishing its own standard to meet even if that standard exceeds what is required in a particular country.

Take the help of these guidelines and use your own critical understanding to frame your answer.

Answer :-

In the era of globalization there are different standards adopted by different countries. In this light the companies take advantage of the standards set by the developing countries which are mostly inferior to the many developed countries like EU/ US.

The stakeholders involved in the above case study are the company manufacturing the soft drink , Indian government and the consumers of the soft drink.
1. Issues of integrity, ethics and law posed in this context :-

  • The soft drink company even though complying with the Indian law is aware that the drink is of inferior quality showing the utter lack of responsibility from its side and the motive towards profit . This also shows the unethical means adopted by the company neglecting the health of millions of people.
  • Even the Indian government need to realize that Indian food and health regulation standards are inferior to European countries. This can threaten the lives of people.

2.Options with government:

  • Government can revise its standards further that put public lives as priority and ensure that the supply of soft drink of the inferior quality is immediately terminated in India.
  • It can avoid taking any action as the adverse effects on the people are not visible.

 Options available with soft drink company :-

  • Soft drink company need not change its stand as it is following Indian laws.
  • Soft drink company can ensure their product in India is of same quality in Europe.

3.The Indian government need to stop the supply of inferior quality soft drink and revise the existing standards even though there are no bad effects of the drink yet visible in India. The proactive stand of the government can send a warning to the companies of not circulating inferior products in India . Also the government need to make people aware of the food safety standards for better transparency.

Soft drink company need to increase the quality of the soft drinks in India as inferior quality product can adversely impact the customers and the company itself in the long run.


Topic – Part of static series under the heading – “citizen charter”

8) Though Citizen’s charters have been formulated by many public service delivery organizations, there is no corresponding improvement in the level of citizens’ satisfaction and quality of services being provided. Analyse.(250 words)

 

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain the purpose of citizen charters and thereafter, examine why despite the formulation of citizen charters corresponding improvement in service delivery by has not happened. Finally, we need to provide suggestions for improvement.

Directive word

Analyze – When asked to analyze, you  have to examine methodically the structure or nature of the topic by separating it into component parts and present them as a whole in a summary.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what citizen charters are.

Body

  • Discuss the reasons why despite many public organizations coming out with their charters consequent improvement in public service delivery has not happened. Discuss the findings of 2nd ARC regarding the same
    • Lack of training and awareness at cutting edge level
    • Top driven approach and not bottom up approach
    • standards/time norms of services mentioned in Citizens’ Charter were either too lax or too tight and were, therefore, unrealistic and created an unfavourable impression on the clients of the Charter. Etc
  • Give suggestions for improvement
    • Internal restructuring should precede charter formulation
    • No one size fits all charter
    • Involve customers in the creation of guarantees, standards, redress policies, complaint systems, and customer service agreements
    • Effective redressal mechanism etc

Conclusion – Summarize your arguments and discuss the way forward.

 

Answer :-

A Citizens’ Charter represents the commitment of the Organisation towards standard, quality and time frame of service delivery, grievance redress mechanism, transparency and accountability. The concept of Citizens Charter enshrines the trust between the service provider and its users.  

The basic objective of the Citizens Charter is to empower the citizen in relation to public service delivery.

The main objective of the exercise to issue the Citizen’s Charter of an organisation is to improve the quality of public services. This is done by letting people know the mandate of the concerned Ministry/ Department/ Organisation, how one can get in touch with its officials, what to expect by way of services and how to seek a remedy if something goes wrong. The Citizen’s Charter does not by itself create new legal rights, but it surely helps in enforcing existing rights. 

Despite formulation of citizen charters level of citizens satisfaction and quality of services:-

  • According to second there is
    • Lack of training and awareness at cutting edge level
    • Top driven approach and not bottom up approach
    • Standards/time norms of services mentioned in Citizens Charter were either too lax or too tight and were, therefore, unrealistic and created an unfavourable impression on the clients of the Charter.
  • The mismatch in aligning public service delivery with citizen’s expectations.
  • The organizations looked at the exercise of formulating Citizen’s Charter as a direction from above. It became one of the routine activities and lacked focus.
  • The employees responsible for implementing the charter were lacking training and orientation.
  • Sometimes, the initiative got hampered due to the transfer/reshuffle of concerned officers responsible for the implementation of citizen’s charter.
  • Awareness campaign to sensitize the citizens/clients was not adequate.
  • There was no continuous improvement and assessment of performance.
  • There was no benchmarking of quality of service delivery and grading them on performance

Measures for effective implementation of citizen’s charter :-

  • An effective awareness campaigns amongst all the stakeholders has to be designed and delivered innovatively and effectively.
  • The mere issuance of citizen’s charter will not alter the mindset of people and staff overnight. So, regular sensitization programmes and persistent efforts are required to effect attitudinal changes.
  • The charters should be subjected to both internal and external monitoring, evaluation and review in all the organizations for effecting improvements.
  • The charter should also be provided with a necessary statutory backing by passing an appropriate legislation as the Citizen’s Charter Bill, 2011 got lapsed with the dissolution of Lok Sabha.
  • Recommendations of 2nd ARC:-
    • Citizen’s Charter should be prepared for each independent unit under the overall umbrella of the organization’s charter.
    • Wide consultation which include civil society in the process.
    • Firm commitments to be made.
    • Internal process and structure should be reformed to meet the commitments given in the Charter.
    • Redress mechanism is case of default
    • Periodic evaluation of Citizen’s Charters.
    • Benchmark using end-user feedback.
    • Hold officers accountable for results.