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SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 NOVEMBER 2019


SECURE SYNOPSIS: 18 NOVEMBER 2019


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.


Topic:  communalism

1) Is communalism the biggest threat to the National unity? Explain with examples.(250 words)

Economictimes

Why this question:

The question is based upon the concept of communalism and its impact on the Indian society. One must analyse in what way it is the biggest threat to the national unity.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the concept of communalism in detail and explain in what way it is the biggest threat to the national unity.

Directive:

Explain – Clarify the topic by giving a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Define the concept of communalism in the Indian context.

Body:

Communalism is referred in the western world as a “theory or system of government in which virtually autonomous local communities are loosely in federation”. Communalism is a political philosophy, which proposes that market and money be abolished and that land and enterprises to be placed in the custody of community. But in the Indian sub-continent context, communalism has come to be associated with tensions and clashes between different religious communities in various regions. 

Discuss some recent incidents that prove that it is a threat to the national unity.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:    

Communalism is basically an ideology which consists of three elements:

  • A belief that people who follow the same religion have common secular interests i.e. they have same political, economic and social interests. So, here socio- political communalities arise.
  • A notion that, in a multi-religious society like India, these common secular interests of one religion is dissimilar and divergent from the interests of the follower of another religion.
  • The interests of the follower of the different religion or of different ‘communities’ are seen to be completely incompatible, antagonist and hostile.

Body:

Communalism is a threat to national unity:

Communalism has divided our society for long. It causes belief in orthodox tenets and principles, intolerance, hatred towards other religions and religious group, distortion of historical facts and communal violence.

Social fabric:

  • It causes hatred among different religious sections in the society and disrupts the peaceful social fabric of our society.
  • Communal Violence: Communal riots often break out in many parts of the country.
  • Genocides: With mass killings, the real sufferers are the poor, who lose their house, their near and dear ones, their lives, their livelihood, etc. It violates the human rights from all direction. Sometimes children lose their parents and will become orphan for a lifetime.
  • Ghettoization and refugee problem are other dimensions of communalism induced violence, whether its inter country or intra country.
  • Sudden increase in violence against any particular community causes mass exodus and stampede which in turn kills many number of people. For example, this was seen in the case of Bangalore in 2012, with respect to people from North eastern states, which was stimulated by a rumour.

Economy fallout:

  • Economic growth can take place only in environment of peace and tranquillity, communalism creates an atmosphere of intolerance and violence which would impede the flow of goods and capital.
  • The flow of labour from productive activities is diverted to unproductive activities; there is massive destruction of public properties to spread the ideology.
  • The investment attitude towards the country from foreign investor would be cautiousness; they tend to avoid the countries with highly communal country, for not take the risk of end up losing their investment.
  • Barrier for development: Communal activities occurring frequently do harm the human resource and economy of the country. And then again it takes years for the people and the affected regions to come out the traumas of such violence, having deep impact on minds of those who have faced it. They feel emotionally broken and insecure.

Political scenarios:

  • Voting on Communal Basis: Voters generally vote on communal lines. After getting elected, the representatives try to safeguard the interests of their community and ignore national interests. These conditions hinder the progress of democracy in the country.
  • It becomes a threat for the unity and integrity of the nation as a whole. It promotes only the feeling of hatred in all directions, dividing the society on communal lines.
  • Apart from having effect on the society, it is also a threat to Indian constitutional values, which promotes secularism and religious tolerance. In that case, citizens don’t fulfil their fundamental duties towards the nation.

Individual psychology:

  • Due to prevalent communalism in the society individuals are never at peace and a spiritual powerhouse India seems to lose its charm.
  • Minorities are viewed with suspicion by all, including state authorities like police, para-military forces, army, intelligence agencies, etc. There have been many instances when people from such community have been harassed and detained and finally have been released by court orders guilt free. For this, there is no provision for compensation of such victims, about their livelihood incomes forgone, against social stigmas and emotional trauma of the families.
  • Terrorism and Secessionism: As seen during the Khalistan movement in Punjab.

Steps to check the growth of Communalism:

  • Economic:
    • Poverty is one of the major factors for communal violence. Poverty alleviation measures are thus important for promoting communal harmony.
    • Eradicating the problem of unemployment among the youths, illiteracy and poverty and that too with honesty and without any discrimination.
    • Reducing educational and economic backwardness of minorities like Muslims.
    • This can uplift their socio economic status and reduce their deprivation compared to Hindus
  • Social:
    • The religious leaders and preachers should promote rational and practical things through religion promoting peace and security.
    • Children in schools must be taught through textbooks and pamphlets to maintain brotherhood and respect for all religions
    • Creating awareness in the society about the ill effects of communism through mass media
  • Political:
    • Political communism should be avoided recent Supreme court’s directives
    • Identification and mapping of riot prone areas. For Example, Delhi police used drones to monitor to maintain vigil during communal festivals
    • Media, movies and other cultural platforms can be influential in promoting peace and harmony.
    • Social Media should be monitored for violent and repulsive content and taken off immediately.
  • Recommendations of Committee on National Integration
    • Joint celebration of community festivals
    • Observing restraint by Hindus while taking processions before the mosques
    • Formation of peace and brotherhood communities at local level to prevent anti-social elements from engaging in communal riots
    • Respect for religious customs, rituals and practices

Conclusion:

Communalism cannot be accepted as the necessary evil in the society. It is detrimental to the development, social change, democracy and the federal feature of the State. Jawaharlal Nehru had pointed out the issue and termed it as the greatest danger. And so he said that anyone who loves India would hate communalism and anyone who hates India would love communalism.


Topic:Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention

2) Examine the position of data protection law in the country? After the recent WhatsApp breach, what should be the way forward? Comment. (250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

The article discusses the recent incidents of data breaches and the compromised cyber security.

Key demand of the question:

Discuss the position of data protection law in the country and suggest way forward.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief discuss the security aspect of the country.

Body:

Explain in detail the data protection scenario of the country. Explain the legal routes to surveillance that can be conducted by the government. 

Discuss the laws governing this.

Explain the laws regarding legal surveillance.

Discuss the Supreme Court verdict on privacy.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:

The recent incident of Israeli software, Pegasus, which had been used to hack the WhatsApp accounts of — and spy on — numerous Indian human rights defenders, activists, and lawyers. It is yet to be determined who authorised this surveillance — and why — but the revelations placed a renewed spotlight upon the legal framework governing privacy and surveillance in India. The Government’s reaction to messaging platform WhatsApp’s revelation is inadequate and, more unfortunately, far from reassuring.        

Body:

Legality of surveillance in India:

  • There are legal routes to surveillance that can be conducted by the government.
  • The laws governing this are the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, which deals with interception of calls, and the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, which deals with interception of data.
  • Under both laws, only the government, under certain circumstances, is permitted to conduct surveillance, and not private actors.
  • Hacking is expressly prohibited under the IT Act.
  • Section 43 and Section 66 of the IT Act cover the civil and criminal offences of data theft and hacking respectively.
  • Section 66B covers punishment for dishonestly receiving stolen computer resource or communication.
  • The punishment includes imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years.
  • However, the Supreme Court laid down some guidelines that were later codified into rules in 2007. This included a specific rule that orders on interceptions of communication should only be issued by the Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Position of Data protection laws:

  • The Supreme Court in a landmark decision in August, 2017 (Justice K. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. vs Union of India and Others) unanimously upheld right to privacy as a fundamental right under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
  • It is a building block and an important component of the legal battles that are to come over the state’s ability to conduct surveillance.
  • But as yet a grey area remains between privacy and the state’s requirements for security.
  • In the same year, the government also constituted a Data Protection Committee under retired Justice B.N. Srikrishna.
  • It held public hearings across India and submitted a draft data protection law in 2018 which Parliament is yet to enact.
  • Experts have pointed out, however, that the draft law does not deal adequately with surveillance reform.

An U.K.-based security firm Comparitech did a survey of 47 countries to see where governments are failing to protect privacy or are creating surveillance states. They found that only five countries had “adequate safeguards” and most are actively conducting surveillance on citizens and sharing information about them. China and Russia featured as the top two worst offenders on the list. India was third on the list as data protection Bill is yet to take effect and there isn’t a data protection authority in place

Other stringent measures needed to protect the Right to Privacy of individuals:

  • Conscientious whistle-blowers, and a free and active press will be required.
  • when cases of extra-legal and unauthorised surveillance come to light, the courts have a role to play in ensuring that the rule of law is upheld and vindicated.
  • the State must not be permitted to take advantage of breaking the law and illegally snooping on citizens.
  • In a country where data protection and privacy laws are still in a nascent stage, incidents such as this highlight the big dangers to privacy and freedom in an increasingly digital society.
  • There is a need to bring in the data protection bill and the antiquated 1885 Telegraph Act, and its attendant rules should be reformed.
  • It is thus imperative that the Government sends a strong message on privacy, something that the Supreme Court in 2017 declared to be intrinsic to life and liberty and therefore an inherent part of the fundamental rights.

Conclusion:

The urgent need of the hour to bring in laws that limit the State’s powers of surveillance only to those situations where it is strictly necessary and never conducted in bulk, upon the entire population. The more important, introduce stringent penalties for illegal surveillance, if — and when — that comes to light. The WhatsApp-Pegasus controversy affords a golden opportunity to do just that.


Topic: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges.

3) Discuss the constitutional status of Rajya Sabha with respect to Lok Sabha. (250 words)

 Indian polity by Lakshmikant

Why this question:

The question is from the static portions of the polity for GS paper I.

Key demand of the question:

One must discuss the constitutional status of Rajya Sabha with respect to Lok Sabha.

Directive:

DiscussThis 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: 

constitutional status of Rajya Sabha w.r.t Lok Sabha to be discussed in three heads – 

    • Where Rajya Sabha is equals to Lok Sabha
    • Where Rajya Sabha is unequal to Lok Sabha 
    • Special powers of Rajya Sabha which are not shared with Lok Sabha  

Body:

Discuss all the headings in sequential manner by discussing the provisions in the constitution in brief.

Highlight the features in detail of both the houses.

Conclusion:

Conclude by highlighting the importance of Rajya Sabha. Example, it promotes the doctrine of checks and balances and scrutinizes hasty decisions of the Lok Sabha.

Introduction:    

Parliament is the head legislative body of India. It occupies a significant position in the country’s constitutional set-up. The Constitution of India divided Parliament as consisting of the President and two Houses known as the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) and the Lok Sabha (House of the People). The President of India is the head of the Parliament. The two houses of Parliament chiefly vary in their powers and functions. The time period of Lok Sabha is for five years, after which it dissolves. The Rajya Sabha is a permanent house, but after every two years, one-third of its members retire.

Body:

Provisions where Rajya Sabha holds equal position with Lok Sabha:

Legislative Powers:

  • In the sphere of ordinary law-making the Rajya Sabha enjoys equal powers with the Lok Sabha. An ordinary bill can be introduced in the Rajya Sabha and it cannot become a law unless passed by it.
  • In case of a deadlock between the two Houses of Parliament over an ordinary bill and if it remains unresolved for six months, the President can convene a joint sitting of the two Houses for resolving the deadlock.
  • This joint sitting is presided over by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha. If the bill is passed in the joint sitting, it is sent to the President for his signatures. But if the deadlock is not resolved, the bill is deemed to have been killed.

Executive Powers:

  • “The Union Council of Ministers is collectively responsible before the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha.” Lok Sabha alone can cause the fall of the Council of Ministers by passing a vote of no-confidence.
  • Although the Rajya Sabha cannot remove the Ministry from its office yet the members of the Rajya Sabha can exercise some control over the ministers by criticising their policies, by asking questions and supplementary questions, and by moving adjournment motions. Some of the ministers are also taken from the Rajya Sabha. Now the Prime Minister can also be from Rajya Sabha if the majority party in the Lok Sabha may elect/adopt him as its leader.

Amendment Powers:

  • Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha can together amend the constitution by passing an amendment bill with 2/3 majority in each House.

Judicial Powers:

  • The Rajya Sabha acting along with the Lok Sabha can impeach the President on charges of violation of the Constitution.
  • The Rajya Sabha can also pass a special address for causing the removal of a judge of the Supreme Court or of any High Court.
  • The charges against the Vice-President can be levelled only in the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Rajya Sabha can pass a resolution for the removal of some high officers like the Attorney General of India, Comptroller and Auditor General and Chief Election Commissioner.

Provisions where Lok Sabha is more powerful than the Rajya Sabha:

  • The Council of Ministers is not responsible to the Rajya Sabha. Therefore, no-confidence motion cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha. The Council of Ministers is in fact, only responsible to the Lok Sabha, according to article 75(3). It can remove a government from office by passing a resolution of no-confidence.
  • In case of a deadlock during the passage of the bill, the joint sitting called for by the President of India will be headed only by the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
  • Under article 352, Lok Sabha in special sitting, can disapprove the proclamation of President, regarding continuance in force of national emergency. Hence, President has to revoke the emergency in this case.
  • Censure motion, adjournment motion and No-confidence motion can be passed only in the Lok Sabha.

The Rajya Sabha enjoys two exclusive powers:

  • The Power to declare a subject of State List as a subject of National Importance: The Rajya Sabha can pass a resolution by 2/3rd majority of its members for declaring a State List subject as a subject of national importance. Such a resolution empowers the Union Parliament to legislate on such a state subject for a period of one year. Such resolutions can be repeatedly passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • Power in respect of Creation or Abolition of an All India Service: The Rajya Sabha has the power to create one or more new All India Services. It can do so by passing a resolution supported by 2/3rd majority on the plea of national interest. In a similar way, the Rajya Sabha can disband an existing All India Service.

Conclusion:

Disagreement between the two Houses on various amendments to a Bill is resolved by both the houses meeting in a joint sitting and resolutions are decided by majority vote. But it also has some exceptions like this provision of joint sitting does not apply to Money Bills and Constitution Amendment Bills. All matters which are related to legislation demands consent and approval from both the houses of the parliament.


Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges

4) The Citizenship (Amendment) the Bill intends to make it easier for non-Muslim immigrants from India’s three Muslim-majority neighbours to become citizens of India. Comment on the utility of the bill and the furore around it.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The government intends to introduce The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill in Parliament’s Winter Session that commences on Monday and is scheduled to continue until December 13. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

One must explain the features of The Citizenship (Amendment) the Bill in detail and discuss its utility and the furore around it.

Directive:

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

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

Briefly state the nuances of the Bill.

Body:

Explain what the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is.

Trace the chronology of events around the bill.

With the 16th Lok Sabha nearing the end of its term, the government was racing against time to introduce it in Rajya Sabha.

However, massive protests against the Bill in the Northeast acted to restrain the government, and Rajya Sabha adjourned sine die on February 13, 2019, without the Bill being tabled. The Bill is now likely to be introduced afresh in the Winter Session. It will have to be passed by both Houses in order to become a law.

Explain the controversy around the Bill.

Conclusion:

Conclude with what should be the possible way ahead to waddle through the situation.

Introduction:    

The Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016 seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenship. In other words, it amends the Citizenship Act of 1955. The Bill was recently passed in the LokSabha. Nagaland, along with other north-eastern States, has witnessed several protests. The Citizenship Amendment Bill too, therefore, lapsed. The Bill is now likely to be introduced afresh in the Winter Session. It will have to be passed by both Houses in order to become a law.

Body:

The key features of the bill are:

  • Definition of Illegal migrants:
    • The Citizenship Act, 1955 prohibits illegal migrants from acquiring Indian citizenship.
    • The Bill amends the act to provide that the following minority groups will not be treated as illegal migrants: Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians and Buddhists — from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014
  • Citizenship by naturalisation:
    • Under Citizenship Act, 1955, one of the requirements for citizenship by naturalisation is that the applicant must have resided in India for 12 of the 15 years preceding the date of application.
    • It appeals for the minimum years of residency in India to apply for citizenship to be lessened from at least 11 to six years for such migrants.
  • Cancellation of registration of OCI cardholder:
  • The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

Need for Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

  • There are thousands of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis who have entered India after facing religious persecution in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan without any valid document.
  • These refugees have been facing difficulty in getting Long Term Visa (LTV) or Citizenship.
  • The existing Citizenship law does not allow anyone granting Indian nationality if he or she cannot show proof of documents on country of birth and therefore they have to stay at least 12 years in India.
  • Those Hindus who are persecuted due to religion has no other place to go except India.

The issues surrounding the bill:

  • Violates Article 14:
    • Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality to all persons, citizens and foreigners, differentiating between people on the grounds of religion would be in violation of the constitution.
    • Civil society groups are opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, terming it “communally motivated humanitarianism.”
  • Endorsing a particular religion:
    • The bill undermines the Assam Accord which was signed to deport all the illegal migrants, majority being from Bangladesh, who entered Assam after 1971.
    • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 imagines India as a Hindu homeland, which is a refutation of the constitutional idea of the republic.
    • Experts see it as a move to endorse Hindus from Bangladesh who migrated to Assam after 1971.
    • The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees right to equality.
  • OCI:
    • The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences
  • Discrimination of Muslims:
    • Alleged illegal migration from Bangladesh has been at the heart of Assam’s discontent. Not just the Muslim Bengali, but the Hindu Bengali has also been a reason for political mobilisation in the state. But only Hindu Bengalis are being favoured by the bill.
    • While Hindus and Parsis, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians might be naturalised, Muslims will not be offered the same advantage even if they are persecuted

Special concerns of NE indigenous people:

  • The Bill has not been sitting well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported.
  • Mizoram fears Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs from Bangladesh may take advantage of the Act.
  • Meghalaya and Nagaland are apprehensive of migrants of Bengali stock.
  • Groups in Arunachal Pradesh fear the new rules may benefit Chakmas and Tibetans.
  • Manipur wants the Inner-line Permit System to stop outsiders from entering the state.

Other legal fallacies of the proposed law:

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill also fails on the tenets of international refugee law.
  • Although India is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, granting refuge based on humanitarian considerations is arguably a norm of customary international law.
  • Shelter to individuals of a select religion defeats not only the intention but also the rationality of refugee policy.
  • Muslims are considerably discriminated against and exploited in the neighbouring countries of China, Sri Lanka and the 36,000 Rohingyas Muslims from Myanmar who fled to India in the wake of 2015 insurgency is just one such example.
  • Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar are not offered such hospitality. The only way for them to live in India is by obtaining a valid visa and refugee status.

Conclusion:

India’s citizenship provisions are derived from the perception of the country as a secular republic. Discrimination is often at the root of identity-related tensions. Such tensions have a potential to develop into crises that could ultimately lead to conflict, forced displacement and, in the worst cases, to atrocity crimes, including genocide. The whole governance network must recognize that effort to promote and protect the rights of minorities must be multidimensional and engage the entire System. Hence, before these instances develops into a broken window syndrome, these must be allayed as early as possible. What the communities and civil societies need to look after is the sense of developing an integrative humanistic framework which allows for affirmative discrimination in favour of minorities at the same time ending avenues for potential abuse.


Topic:   Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

5) With the economic centre of gravity shifting to states, India’s growth hinges on cooperative federalism. Elucidate.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The question is based on the cooperative federalism.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the current scenario of the Indian economy and why cooperative federalism is the key to this problem.

Directive:

ElucidateGive a detailed account as to how and why it occurred, or what is the particular context. You must be defining key terms where ever appropriate, and substantiate with relevant associated facts.

Structure of the answer:

Introduction: 

In brief define cooperative federalism.

Body:

First provide facts for the current economic conditions in the country.

Explain in detail the cooperative federalism.

Take hints from the article and explain in what way the federalism can prove to be a solution.

Conclusion:

Conclude that India’s prospects, including our aspiration for a $5 trillion economy, depend on the Centre and the states working together.

Introduction:    

Cooperative federalism is a system in which there is joint decision-making between several jurisdictions of government based on consensus. India has a federal form of government, and hence a federal fiscal system. For successful operation of federal form of government, financial independence and adequacy forms the backbone. The Economic Survey 2017-18 highlighted the need for fiscal federalism.

Body:

There is a growing importance of states in India’s economic management. This can be illustrated with the following instances:

  • The Central Government’s attempt to reform the land acquisition law by tweaking the balance in favour of investors, but quickly buckled down as many states took umbrage. This, even though land is on the concurrent list in the Constitution, and a central law would have prevailed notwithstanding states’ opposition.
  • When the government amended the terms of reference of the 15th Finance Commission a few months ago asking that allocations for defence and internal security be carved out upfront, before determining the pool of resources to be shared with the states, the latter baulked at the highhandedness of the Centre.
  • In the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index released last month, India ranked 63, an impressive jump from its lowly rank of 142 when the NDA government first came into office in 2014. Yet, there is anecdotal evidence of investors being frustrated by venality, indifference and corruption at the operating level – the states.

Pre LPG reforms era:

  • In the early years of our republic, the Centre dominated across all domains — political, economic and administrative — and states, even those led by leaders with political heft, acquiesced to this unequal arrangement.
  • The reaction to central dominance came in the early 1980s when strong regional leaders started agitating against “the hegemony of the Centre”.
  • The Centre yielded to the states, but largely in the political space.
  • Much of the economic policy control stayed with the Centre which decided not just public investment but even private investment through its industrial and import licensing policies, leaving the states on the margins of economic management.

Post LPG reforms: Three trends, in particular, have shifted the economic centre of gravity from the Centre to the states

  • Change in the content of the reform agenda:
    • The Centre could push through the reforms of the 1990s without even informing, much less consulting, the states because they all pertained to subjects such as industrial licencing, import permits, exchange rate and the financial sector, which were entirely within its domain.
    • In contrast, the second-generation reforms on the agenda now shift the emphasis from product to factor markets like land, labour and taxation, which need, not just acquiescence, but often the consent of states.
    • GST negotiations: There was a clash of interests not just between the Centre and states but also between producer and consumer states, large and small states and coastal and inland states.
    • The grand bargain that culminated in the GST, admittedly imperfect, involved all parties making compromises.
    • But the deal could not be clinched until the Centre guaranteed to fill the revenue gap, if any, of states according to an agreed formula.
  • Changing dynamics of our fiscal federalism:
    • Ballpark estimates suggest that the Centre collects about 60 per cent of the combined revenue (Centre and states), but gets to spend only about 40 per cent of the combined expenditure.
    • This asymmetry is mirrored on the states’ side. Together, they collect 40 per cent of the combined revenue, but spend as much as 60 per cent of the combined expenditure.
    • More important than the aggregates are the greater autonomy that states now enjoy in determining their expenditure.
    • Post Planning Commission, the states now not only get a larger quantum of central transfers but also get to decide on how to spend that larger quantum.
    • Poor public finance management: The RBI in its latest annual report on state finances, raised several red flags — states’ increasing weakness in raising revenue, their unsustainable debt burden and their tendency to retrench capital expenditures in order to accommodate fiscal shocks such as farm loan waivers, power sector loans under UDAY and a host of income transfer schemes.
    • The quality of expenditure at the state level has a multiplier effect on overall development outcomes.
    • Conversely, fiscal irresponsibility will take a heavy toll on our growth and welfare prospects.
  • States’ critical role in creating a conducive investment climate in the country:
    • Much of the responsibility for improving the ease of doing business rests not with Delhi but with the states.
    • This highlights the need for coordinated action.

Conclusion:

There is an urgent need to tackle the above challenges in fiscal federalism by using the co-operative federalism to ensure socio-economic development of India. The spirit of cooperative federalism requires both the Union and the State governments to sacrifice their fiscal autonomy in favour of a collective decision-making process. Thus, India’s prospects, including our aspiration for a $5 trillion economy, depend on the Centre and the states working together.


Topic:  Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

6) The Inter-State River Water Disputes are one of the most contiguous issues in the Indian federalism today, discuss. Also explain if it’s time for a new mechanism rather than tribunals.(250 words)

Indianexpress

Why this question:

The article discusses the river water dispute across the states in the context of Mahadhayi. 

Key demand of the question:

Explain in detail the Inter-State River Water dispute and the concerns around it. Suggest the mechanisms that can be found around it.

Directive:

DiscussThis 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: 

In brief narrate the background of the issue.

Body:

Explain in detail the current dispute between the states of Goa and Karnataka.

Discuss the present mechanisms for dispute resolution present in the Indian scenario.

Suggest what the possible ways to resolve the issue are.

Conclusion:

Conclude with way forward.

Introduction:    

India has seen protracted river water sharing disputes in recent years. Depleting groundwater, drying rivers and increasing demand for water have led to long legal wrangles between warring states. But very soon, India might have a single national tribunal — the Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal — to arbitrate inter-state water disputes. Its recommendations will be binding on the competing parties. Over the years, there have been several tribunals hearing disputes between states on river water sharing, but they have not been effective in resolving disputes in a time-bound manner. While there are suggestions for reconsidering and reviewing the structuring and functioning of the tribunals, there is also a need to look for an alternative mechanism, based on environmental thinking, to resolve such disputes effectively, amicably and sustainably.

Body:

Causes of Inter-State Water Dispute:

 

  • Water is a finite resource and its demand has increased several times in agricultural, industrial and domestic sector than what is available at present as the country is growing and lifestyle is changing such as increased urbanization.
  • The moment water is accumulated at a large scale, it gives rise to dispute where commissions come into play and this goes on. This is also more of a political issue because when these disputes are used as emotive issues, all parties jump in, several vested interest are created which leads to further problems like bandhs and strikes.
  • There is a huge debate on development/growth versus environment as well. Problems are also related with the storage of water such as dams, using it for production of electricity etc. which lead to disputes.
  • There is an administrative system at present which is in conflict with what people want.

 Inter-State River Water disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019: The Bill seeks to amend the Inter State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 with a view to streamline the adjudication of inter-state river water disputes and make the present institutional architecture robust.

Features of the bill:

  • Disputes Resolution Committee: The Bill requires the central government to set up a Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC), for resolving any inter-state water dispute amicably. The DRC will get a period of one year, extendable by six months, to submit its report to the central government.
  • Members of DRC: Members of the DRC will be from relevant fields, as deemed fit by the central government.
  • Tribunal: The Bill proposes to set up an Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal, for adjudication of water disputes, if a dispute is not resolved through the DRC. This tribunal can have multiple benches. All existing tribunals will be dissolved and the water disputes pending adjudication before such existing tribunals will be transferred to this newly formed tribunal.
  • Composition of the Tribunal: The tribunal shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and not more than six nominated members (judges of the Supreme Court or of a High Court), nominated by the Chief Justice of India.

The Centre’s proposal to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate on inter-state river water disputes could be a major step towards streamlining the dispute redressal mechanism. However, this alone will not be able to address the different kinds of problems—legal, administrative, constitutional and political—that plague the overall framework. To strengthen the cooperative federalism, disputes must be resolved by dialogue and talks and the political opportunism must be avoided.

Other measures needed:

  • The need to work at the basin level for which River Basin Organization should be created.
  • The Centre’s proposal to set up a single, permanent tribunal to adjudicate on inter-state river water disputes could be a major step towards streamlining the dispute redressal mechanism.
  • There should be cooperation and consensus among the states.
  • However, this alone will not be able to address the different kinds of problems—legal, administrative, constitutional and political—that plague the overall framework
  • Environment is a huge challenge in coming days on which increasing water needs and industrialization requirements to address it serious policy reforms should be done.
  • Centre’s proposal to set up an agency alongside the tribunal, which will collect and process data on river waters, can be a right step in this direction.
  • To strengthen the cooperative federalism, parochial mindset making regional issues superior to national issues should not be allowed.
  • Awareness level between the states.
  • So disputes must be resolved by dialogue and talks and the political opportunism must be avoided.
  • A robust and transparent institutional framework with cooperative approach is need of the hour.

Conclusion:

The bill is a step towards the cooperative federalism and will promote a prompt decision making in case of the various interstate water disputes. The solutions on water disputes will help in the socio economic development of stakeholder states. The implementation of the proposed steps in the bill in its true spirit will develop an integrated regime of river water utilisation.


Topic:  Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

7) The recently passed Code of wages, 2019 is a welcome progress. Discuss the main aspects of the code and the significance of the code.(250 words)

The hindu

Why this question:

Public consultations over the rules for the Code on Wages, 2019 have begun recently. Thus the question.

Key demand of the question:

Explain the details of code of wages 2019 and the significance. 

Directive:

DiscussThis 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: 

In brief narrate the background of the question.

Body:

Discuss the detailed features of the bill.

The Code acknowledges that the aim in setting the floor wage is to ensure “minimum living standards” for workers and the draft rules incorporate criteria declared in a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in 1992.

Highlight the significance of the bill.

What are the provisions and possible concerns ahead?

Conclusion:

Conclude with its impact on the overall economy.

Introduction:    

The new Parliament passed the Code on Wages Bill, 2019 mandating a minimum wage across the country in its first session itself. This law mandates a universal minimum payment of ₹178 a day. The codification proposes to simplify 32 central labour laws into four codes to bring them in sync with the emerging economic situation, facilitate easier compliance by establishments, promote ease of living and ensure labour welfare and wage and social security for workers. The Code of Wages Bill is the first in the series of four labour codes.

Body:

Main provisions of the Code of Wages:

  • The bill aims to transform the old and obsolete labour laws into more accountable and transparent ones and seeks to pave the way for the introduction of minimum wages and labour reforms in the country.
  • It regulates the wages and bonus payments in all employments where any industry, trade, business, or manufacturing is being carried out.
  • It seeks to subsume relevant provisions of The Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Wages Act 1936, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act 1976
  • It universalizes the provisions of minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all employees irrespective of the sector and wage ceiling and seeks to ensure “Right to Sustenance” for every worker and intends to increase the legislative protection of minimum wage.
  • It has been ensured in the bill that employees getting monthly salary shall get the salary by 7th of next month, those working on a weekly basis shall get the salary on the last day of the week and daily wagers should get it on the same day.
  • The provisions of the bill will apply to all the employees. At present, the provisions of both the Minimum Wages Act and Payment of Wages Act apply on workers below a particular wage ceiling working in Scheduled Employments only.
  • Many unorganized sector workers like agricultural workers, painters, persons working in restaurants and dhabas, chowkidars, etc. who were out of the ambit of minimum wages will get legislative protection of minimum wages after the bill becomes an Act.
  • The Central Government is empowered to fix the floor wages by taking into account the living standards of workers. It may set different floor wages for different geographical areas.
  • The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage.

Significance of the wages Code:

  • According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey 2017-18, 45% of regular workers are paid less than the minimum wage.
  • The law would benefit about 50 crore workers.
  • With an easily understandable national wage floor— which would apply across job types and geographies—the hope is that compliance will improve.
  • At the moment, women earn roughly 45% less than men in the same occupation. It prohibits gender discrimination in matters related to wages and recruitment of employees for the same work or work of similar nature.
  • A national wage floor would also hopefully reduce rural-urban gaps.
  • Since casual workers can be fired easily, estimates show that the wage may even go down to a miserable ₹20 a day in times of poor demand. A mandated minimum wage will hopefully reduce these glaring inequities.
  • It will substantially reduce the number of minimum wages in the country from the existing more than 2000 rates of minimum wages.
  • This would ensure that every worker gets a minimum wage which will also be accompanied by an increase in the purchasing power of the worker thereby giving a fillip to growth in the economy.

Shortcomings of the Code:

  • For one, the wage prescribed is less than half the ₹375 a day recommended by a high-powered labour ministry panel.
  • It is also miles away from the ₹700 fair wage that the 7th Central Pay Commission had arrived at.
  • The new law increases the prevailing minimum wage standard by a paltry ₹2 a day.
  • The minimum wage laws raise business labour costs. That’s already the largest budget item for most of them. When the government forces them to pay more per worker, they hire fewer workers to keep the total labour costs the same. This increases the unemployment rate.
  • It hits low-wage workers the hardest since they must now compete for fewer jobs. Some smaller companies may not be able to operate with fewer workers. They may be forced to declare bankruptcy instead.
  • According to the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), states should have the power to determine minimum wages as the concept of a national minimum wage will affect job creation.
  • A minimum wage penalizes companies that are labour-intensive. By default, this rewards those that are in capital-intensive industries. Over time, this can shift the very fabric of the country’s economic base.
  • Minimum wage laws may increase job outsourcing. Companies move their facilities to countries where labour costs are lower.
  • Minimum wage laws may not reduce the country’s poverty. It helps the workers who have jobs but increases unemployment. Research shows experienced workers received higher pay for less experienced workers lost their jobs.
  • It could raise the cost of living in some areas. A higher minimum wage allows workers to pay more for housing. As a result, landlords could raise rents, creating inflation.

Measures needed:

  • Increasing the ambit of the minimum wage system, it recommended deciding minimum wages on the basis of skills and split across geographical regions.
  • With the government in the process of bringing the Code on Wages Bill in Parliament, the survey said the rationalisation of minimum wages proposed by the Bill should be supported.
  • The survey suggested the government should notify a “national floor minimum wage” across five regions, after which States can fix their own minimum wages, but not lower than the floor wage.
  • This would bring uniformity and make States “almost equally attractive from the point of view of labour cost for investment as well as reduce distress migration.”
  • The proposed Code on Wages Bill should extend applicability of minimum wages to all employments/workers in all sectors and should cover both the organized as well as the unorganized sector.
  • A mechanism for regular adjustment of minimum wages should be developed, with a national-level dashboard at the Centre that States can access and update.
  • An easy to recall toll-free number to lodge complaints about non-payment of minimum wages should be publicised.

Conclusion:

A simple, coherent and enforceable Minimum Wage System should be designed with the aid of technology as minimum wages push wages up and reduce wage inequality without significantly affecting employment. An effective minimum wage policy is a potential tool not only for the protection of low paid workers but is also an inclusive mechanism for more resilient and sustainable economic development.